Tag Archives: Chanticleer

Books By the Bay – Free book fair, signings, panels…

This weekend is a really cool local conference for authors sponsored by Chanticleer Reviews. This is a conference more focused on the how to of the business side of being an author/marketer or authorpreneur. The bonus for local readers is the Books By the Bay occurring Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 11:00am and 6:00pm.

Here’s the schedule of the the three day Book-fair. There are panels, giveaways, author signings and maybe a reading or two outside if the weather cooperates.

Here’s the schedule for the Books by the Bay events. Many of my author friends will have signings and books for sale. Including: Selah Tay-Song, Tom and Nance Wise, Christine Smith, Pamela Beason, Sara Stamey, Susan Collen Browne, James R. Wells, Bennet R. Coles, Jesikah Sundin.

My signing will take place at 3:30 on Sunday. I’m thinking I’ll try to do a reading outside near the Bellwether at 3 p.m. if I can arrange it. Then at 4:10 I’ll be paneling with Science Fiction Authors:  James R. Wells, Jesikah Sundin, Vijay Laksham, and Bennet R. Coles (Moderator.) Following the SF panel will be another signing at 5:15.

Hope to see you there.

Books by the Bay and the Chanticleer Authors’ Conference

Something for everyone who love’s books, authors and readers.

On September 26-29, 2015: Chanticleer’s Conference, Awards Banquet, and Books By the Bay Book Festival will take place at the beautiful Hotel Bellwether, in Bellingham, Washington.

There will be…

  • workshops for writing and marketing for authors serious about making good business decisions about their writing careers.
  • author panels including a Science Fiction Panel I get to be on with James Wells and others.
  • author readings
  • book signings
  • and a banquet and awards ceremony

This is the second annual event and I hope it continues to grow as we support literary endeavors in our community.

Thanks to Chanticleer and all the lovely supporting sponsors. For more info check out the website or ask me.

Thanks,
Rob

Whelmed, but not in Europe. What’s up?

As I power through the last month before release of my second novel, I realized that I hadn’t updated my events page. Since I had three to add I thought I would share it with you. If you meet me at these events there will always be special deals on my books and an opportunity to talk. See you out there.

  • August 19-23, 2015: Worldcon 2015 — “Sasquan” The 73rd World Science Fiction Convention. Spokane, Washington, USA – Attending.
    • Autograph Session: Sunday 10:00 – 10:45, Hall B (CC)
    • Possible Podcast. TBA
  • 28 August 2015: Novel Release Party Village Books, Bellingham, WA. 7pm. Reading, Q&A, Signing.
  • September 26-29, 2015: Chanticleer’s Conference, Awards Banquet, and Books By the Bay Book Festival. Science Fiction Panel with James Wells and others. Signing.
  • November 2015: [Date TBA] Local Authors. Barnes and Noble, Bellingham, WA. Reading. Signing.
  • April 3-6, 2016: Norwescon – Attending [Tantative]

If you have somewhere you would like me to speak, Convention, School, Library, please contact us at pr@rockettears.com.

Thanks, hope to see you all at one of these events!

The Doldrums, Rising Tide and Banned Books

The last month has been a hard one in terms of writing. Though I wrote 55,000 words this summer, probably more than I have ever written, it was not the 75,000 and the finished rough drafts of a novel and a novella. Instead, I have unfinished drafts of two novels and a novella. I also hit some walls in terms of writing everyday, one of the biggest was my day job as a teacher coming back into 45+ hours a week focus.

My sales also fell, despite being involved in two sales for e-books. My book is no longer new and no longer getting lots of attention. Now is the time to be gearing up for the next book, but the state of the next book is not where I want it to be which is also somewhat crippling.

I’ve had a steady increase of readers and reviews on GoodReads, followers and readers on WattPad and followers on Facebook. Twitter has stabilized at about 1000 followers and my e-mail list at about 130. I feel like I am in a good place, but the doubts of the doldrums decimate my desires. [Can you tell I’m teaching poetry and literary devices?]Hot#3WP

On the other hand, the good news is really good. On WattPad the number of people who read the first section and go has been trending steadily upward from approximately 3% to 4% and now over 5.64%. It’s broken the top hundred in Science Fiction and hit #3 on the SF/Teen Fiction list! At this rate I’ll hit 100,000 reads in April as I release book two, Straight Into Darkness.

This weekend I got to hang out with readers and writers at The Chanticleer Conference, Awards Banquet and Books By the Bay festival. I sold more books than in the previous month and got to network with some awesome authors.

I’ll be starting my PubSlush campaign October 17th to crowd-fund higher payments for cover art and editing on book two so that it is an even stronger book than All Is Silence was. Glad you’re along for the ride!

Oh, check out my Banned Books reading from Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. “I grok humans, Jill.”

 

 

Two great new reviews… and a sneak peak of the next Deserted Lands novel…

Two great new reviews [Hint: If you want to help out Rob’s discoverability and have read any of his books, the links are here, all in one place, to rate and review.] and a sneak peak of the next Deserted Lands novel…

Virginia Herrick for Chanticleer Reviews:

All Is Silence is [a] suspenseful, sensitive debut novel… juxtaposes the tragic (a young girl singing at a loved one’s deathbed) with the darkly comic (plenty of unused dishes–throw the dirty ones in the backyard!)… grabs our heartstrings… keeps us snorting with laughter at the probability this is what teens would do thrust into [an] Apocalyptic world. Devastated & lonely, with a growing ragtag band of misfits in tow [Lizzie goes] cross-country to find a stranger from [her] past who might be the key to her future.

Bottom line: Slater draws us into a familiar-yet-drastically-changed world and makes us care about his cranky, vulnerable, sometime-exasperating, always-engaging characters. His terrifyingly real dystopia reminds us that, really, the only choice for Lizzie, Zach, Nev, and all the rest of us, is to keep loving one another and find some way forward, even when our future is turned upside-down. Read the full review here.

From RACHEL ANN HANLEY: WRITER AND READER

Post-apocalyptic worlds ravaged by disease have become commonplace in fiction these days, but vivid characters and a dose of realism can still make a dystopian novel unique. A kind of plague has cleansed the world of humans… I liked Lizzie, a believable narrator and a believable teenager with her own recognizable voice. I adored her when she starts rescuing pets abandoned in locked houses after their owners died. What a fantastic way to contrast this story against All the Other Post-Apocalyptic Novels. So many similar storylines hinge on an every-man-for-himself attitude. Lizzie (and her friends) not only consider but actively look out for others and clearly value life of all forms.

This is a fairly gritty book, with lots of violence and swearing. For the most part, I mean that as observation more than either praise or criticism. However, I did occasionally find some violence more momentum-serving than something that feels organic.

There’s also a lot of romantic tension, sometimes a bit too much for my taste… most of the characters are teenagers and many teenagers are very crush-fixated. (And, yes, that’s a polite euphemism for sex-fixated.) Read the full review here.

SPOILER/TEASERtoils&snares3

If you’ve already read All Is Silence and want more… There is another Deserted Lands story in Outward Bound, one that I am sending out to magazines/ezines and a novella–Toils and Snares–coming in the fall. All three stand alone. But if you want more Lizzie… follow this link and you can read the current draft of the first 500 words of Straight Into Darkness, which starts a month after All Is Silence ends.

Also, sign up for the newsletter and you can become a beta reader for these stories before they come out. It also will get you links to other short stories. The newsletter comes out once or twice a month.

My Path to Indie Publication: Part VIII–Print Release, Awards and Readings.

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIII. Part IX.

Print Release, Awards and Readings *

February 15th was my 47th birthday and that week Pintado’s cover for All Is Silence was awarded a Gold Star by Joel Friedlander’s Book Designer Cover Contest.ECDA-GoldStart-Jan-2014 The shipment of 500 books came in and I was ushered into the bowels of the Village Books store, where I discovered that 28 boxes of books will fit in a RAV4. The first of many surreal moments was sitting in the VB basement signing a box full of books. Paul Hanson, Store Manager, suggested that VB could host my Release Party. We set a date for March 14th which would give us time to advertise.

That weekend I wrote and published the first post in this series as I tried to create content for my blog instead of just announcing my writing progress. I spent the weekend away on Lummi Island in a friend’s cabin, updating my blog, creating the Rocket Tears Press website and a website for the cabin we were renting. [You can rent it, too. Special discount for Educators.]

Dystopian-compactThe following week the 2013 Dante Rossetti Young Adult Fiction Awards were announced and All Is Silence won 1st Place in the Dystopian category. Not only did it feel great to have the recognition, but part of the award is a professional review and promotion by the Chanticleer Reviews folks.

The next few weeks were a blur. Chanticleer Reviews invited me to do a reading at their booth at the Association of Writers and Publishers in Seattle and asked for books to sell. The reading was standing room only, since it was in the middle of an aisle, (As you can see in this photo montage by fellow author and editing peer, Jesikah Sundin) but it gave me a chance to try out my material. My editor and writing buddy, Amanda J. Hagarty helped out at the booth and got folks excited about the book. After the reading she came running. Hugh Howey had been sighted at the Amazon Booth. Jesikah and I rushed after her with books in hand.

We got pictures and Hugh asked if I was the writer of the book in my hand. He took it and flipped through it, seeming impressed. “Did you do the pagination yourself?” I nodded,  way too FanBoy at the moment to think of much to say other than thank him for all he’s done for Indie Authors with the Author’s Earnings site. I didn’t even offer him a copy of my book. Oops.

While researching this post I found a draft of a post [now published] I had started March 3rd titled: Pubslush & Kobo Winner. I had entered a random drawing this time and won! So, this summer I will be running a Pubslush crowdsourcing fundraiser so I can pay my cover artist and editors more on the second novel. Mark from Kobo had asked me to write a post about my relationship with Village Books for the Kobo Writing Life Blog. I had written the first draft over my Birthday weekend, submitted it and then forgot about it. It appeared somewhere in there.

Indieinsiders-nextpicksAll of these interactions with Kobo lead to the next big win. Thanks to Mark Lefebvre [writer name: Mark Leslie] of Kobo who nominated ALL IS SILENCE, it was listed as #1 on the inaugural IndieReader Next Picks list for April. In this maelstrom of excitement, I also forgot to post this one!

Next: Part IX – Party On. Where our author protagonist does a release party and some readings.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

My Path to Indie Publication: Part VI–Playing the Professional.

My Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V

Playing the Professional *

I had started marketing as soon as I knew I would be publishing the novel. I took my Twitter account created the previous year, created a similar named Google+ account and began posting on Facebook. I began building a emailing list for semi-monthly newsletters with a goal of having 100 names by the end of the year. The Twitter goal was 1000 and though I didn’t have numeric goals for Facebook and Google+, I intended to be actively involved and grow my ‘friends’ lists/circles.

I had purchased the desertedlands domain at the beginning of 2013, excited to find it not already parked or purchased. I began blogging using WordPress on both www.robslater.com and www.desertedlands.com in March and May of 2013 respectively.

On August 7th, I woke to a happy surprise, an email from Analog reviewer Don Sakers, a friend of a friend on the Heinlein Forum on Facebook. He requested the opportunity to read All Is Silence, warning me that he wouldn’t publish a bad review. I thanked him and promised an Advanced Reader Copy [ARC] by late September. My writer friends told me how rare it was for a reviewer to request an ARC. I was flying high.

By August 22nd, the release of my chapter of the serial, Memories of Light, in the Bellingham Herald, I was posting to the blogs 2-3 times a week, but mainly little updates, nothing resembling content. When Memories of Light came out, I got a huge bump in traffic that has not yet been surpassed. I humbly explained my changes of plans and the updated release dates and continued to stumble forward with the rewrites. The updated goal was to have a completed manuscript to enter into Chanticleer Reviews’ Dante Rossetti Young Adult Fiction contest by late September.

So, a new school year started and my day job resumed, with the added bonus that I got to teach a NANOWRIMO: Young Writer’s Program class, I began with 15 students all planning on writing at least 30,000 words. This gave me time during the day to plan when my students planned and write when they wrote. With early October approaching and a reading at Village Books for the Herald’s serial story I was scrambling to get Electronic Advanced Reader Copies [eARCs] out to be followed by print ARCs. When I sent off the manuscript to Chanticleer, it was complete, but not finished.

The next professional appearance was the reading at Village Books for the Herald serial story. I ended up getting to be the Master of Ceremonies and read Larry Goolsby’s section, the first ‘chapter’ and my own, the last. It went well we had a good house of about 35 people and I handed out a bunch of postcards with my two covers back to back. I dressed up in a button down shirt and did my best to ‘be’ the pro writer I wanted to be. After the reading I made sure to thank Sam, our Village Books host, and he asked if I’d be willing to be a future featured author in the Kobo e-book newsletter VB sends out monthly. Of course, I said yes.

I held off sending it off to Don Sakers of Analog until I’d done another pass on the manuscript. I was torn between not meeting deadlines I’d already extended and sending off something I knew needed to be better. I compromised with myself, did another edit and sent it to Don.

Straight into Darkness, the next book in Lizzie’s story, had begun to take shape. I hit 1732 words on November 1st. But the Scrivener to Print formatting had a learning curve took a major bite out of my time when I wanted to be writing. What I haven’t figured out yet, even as I try to be a pro writer by acting like one, is how to balance the writing and all the business: marketing, production and distribution.

Next: Part VII–The Harder I work the Luckier I Get.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

My Path to Indie Publication: Part IV–Synchronicity

My Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Part IPath to Indie Publication. Part IIPart III.

Synchronicity *

I had a book. I had a title. I couldn’t stand the ending. Rewrote it. Waited. Fiddled. Hated it. Cut it. Waited. Rewrote it. Close.

I discovered the Speculative Fiction writers group at Village Books and was chosen for the Bellingham Herald’s annual serial story, Speculative Fiction this year, six writers, 800 words each, released on consecutive Mondays.

I attended the Children’s Literature Conference at WWU and stalked author Michael Grant for a couple days. He didn’t seem to mind. He gave me advice on blurbs and marketing and asked me what I thought of his choice to use “swore” instead of including the profanity as part of the dialogue. As a school teacher I assured him, that for his audience it was the perfect choice. He declined my request to read All Is Silence. I also managed to reconnect with Tamar Clark, one of two Teen Services Coordinators at the Whatcom County Library System. She and her partner in crime [fiction], Aubri Kelerman, have been great helping me understand the public library systems.

With great guidance by Dean Kahn, the Serial Story: Memories of Light, came together quickly and cleanly, leaving me with the issue of wrapping up the ending. I had volunteered, thinking that since I wasn’t great at endings, forcing myself to come up with one and not let my fellow writer’s down was a good challenge. Amanda Hagarty was the writer before me and she left me in a place where I didn’t know I could write myself out of in 800 words. My first draft that got to the ending was 1200! But with the help of Amanda and the other serialists, I cut it down.

Cory Skerry, local writer and slush-pile reader at Tor.com stalked me enough to decide I would be open to him contacting me by e-mail. He invited me to join the Bellingham Writer’s Group that included fellow serialist, Amanda. She became my Story Editor for All Is Silence and her fixes and suggestions made it from a 103,000 word mess into a too trim 88,000 words with some suggestions on adding some muscle to that taut frame.

The Chuckanut Writer’s Conference at Whatcom Community College added value and excitement. I met Alice Acheson, connected more with Kiffer Brown of Chanticleer Reviews and joined IBPA, The Independent Book Publishers Association.

Post-NANOWRIMO, I did the Book Doctors Webinar, a deal at $70 for NANOWRIMO. Arielle and David were most helpful. Then I entered their online Pitchapalooza, which since I had already purchased The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published for some ridiculous sale price of $2.99 or something, got me a 20 minute telephone conference with David. Killer advice on the pitch on going traditional or indie and how to get good cover art. In order to be truly professional when the novel came out I needed to pay for a cover and editing.

One of his suggestions was 99Designs. I set up a contest on 99Designs, and after a scary first few days, started to get really exciting designs. I ended up with 146 designs from 30 designers.

As I began to think of ways to develop buzz for my novel and learn the process of self-publishing, I decided creating an e-book of my published fiction would help both goals. Along the way I decided that it made sense to include some new fiction set in the Deserted Lands Universe. I contacted the runner up in the novel cover contest, Portugal—Alexandre Rito, for the cover design of the Outward Bound eBook.

This post is chocablock full of links because I put myself out there where I could run into people who could help me. And run into people I did. I accepted offers and invitations and I asked people what I could do to help. My meager assistance for many of these folks has been returned sevenfold and continues to ripple through my universe.


Coming next week: Part V–Reality and instability of Time, or learning to use Scotty’s Law of Estimation.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

1st Place Dystopian – Dante Rossetti YA Contest

Dante-Rossetti-images1-134x150

All Is Silence is the First Place in the Dystopian Category of the Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Fiction 2013Congratulations, most especially to fellow local author Joannah Miley for The Immortal Game and nods to Mike Hartner and Nely Cab and the rest of the Dante First Place Winners. One Blue Ribbon winner will be chosen from the First Place category winners for a cash prize and entry into the Best of the Year award. Thanks, Chanticleer Reviews, the sponsor of the contest.

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