Tag Archives: Personal Blog

2015: Waiting to get off the roller coaster…

2015 had its highs and lows. Unfortunately the low spots were way lower than the highs were high.

For the lows, I lost two students in June and had two more suffer significant injuries. Then this month I lost my new grandson, Nolan Luther. You can read my posts about these here. Scroll through the few personal blog posts that I wrote this year. The two most significant start with the word Sad.

It is through this haze of sadness that I write today. Because that’s what I do. Working through my grief, building shelves, cooking food for family and writing. I don’t have it in me to write fiction and I’ve wrote most of what I can for now. I’ll finish with some of the things that went right in 2015.

A stand-alone parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE.
A stand-alone parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE.

My birthday, February 15th, marked twenty years as an professional educator. I released the first o f two books: The short Deserted Lands novel, TOILS AND SNARES, on my oldest brother’s birthday, February 28th.

Following the sad end of the school year, Elena and I took my youngest son, Ian to Italy for his high school trip, a tradition started by my parents with all his older siblings and cousins. We saw great art, opera, a street cellist, and many wonderful places: Rome, Florence, Venice, Verona and the foothills of the Dolomites. Other than intense heat, some allergies for Ian and my phone left behind in Vancouver, B.C., the trip was splendid.

After sending Ian to England for some time with his mom, aunt and grandmother (and a lot more chilly weather) Elena and I headed to Torino to visit her cousin. We loved Torino, the museums, the lower heat and the food. Then we headed south through Genoa to Cinque Terra for a night and then back to Rome and home.

At home, I headed to the finish line to STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, the sequel to my debut novel ALL IS SILENCE. I was pushing hard, but it was going hard. My deadline was a release party at Village Books on August 28th. I went to Worldcon, the Science Fiction and Fantasy convention, in Spokane. We arrived to an apocalyptic red sun from all the forest fires. I spent most of my time in the room trying to finish book II. But, alas, my computer died. The fan stopped working and I could not even get it to start for long enough to back up. My backups to the cloud had inexplicably stopped a few days before we left for Spokane. I took the last day to see people. Greg Bear remembering me was the highlight. He accepted a personally inscribed copy of my debut novel, and signed a copy of his new novel, WAR DOGS.

I came back to Bellingham, we managed to print 25 Advanced Reader Copies for the release party, which was well attended, and sold quite a few books, a shirt and some download cards for Village Books and me. I spent that next week before school started turning out a better copy and printed 25 more copies. After I printed the next 25 I realized there was no identifying that STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS was Book II. So if you have a copy of it that doesn’t say Book II, you have one of the first 75 printed! Hopefully, that will mean something someday.

Our school year started really well, despite a bunch of changes in staffing and less students than we had hoped–a building year in both senses. Part of my building has been working with another wonderful student teacher who has become a friend and a writing critique partner, Tegan Shelton. You can check out her first book here.

Having such a capable student teacher enabled me to begin building a school library. With two student book drives and a bunch of help from the last years worth of TAs, and Ro, a Windward parent and librarian at Whatcom Community College, it is coming together.

Then third quarter started at the end of November 30th, (a date that marks six years together with Elena! Yeah!) and I am teaching English 11/12, Drama AND Spanish I (for the third time in 20 years.) I have found myself challenged and overwhelmed, but exciting to be teaching again.

The year has ended not well, but with another outpouring of love. Please keep my family in your thoughts in the days ahead. Pay it forward with some Random Acts of Kindness, please.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and much peace and joy.

rob-sign-Trans-blue

 

December Smorgasblog – Keep Warm and Dry

12 mini-blog posts for the Holidays. If the weather gets too bad, curl up with a book or an e-book.

A stand-alone parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE.
A stand-alone parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE.

I’m re-submitting Toils and Snares for a FREE [Free for the reader, not for me! ;-)] promotion at BookBub today.  If you have read Toils and Snares, please leave an honest review here. In order to successfully submit a book to BookBub, they want enough reviews to be certain it is good enough for the people who subscribe to their service. If you are willing to read and review it, I will send you a FREE ebook copy of it to read. Just send me an e-mail or comment at the bottom of this post. Thanks.

My first novel,  ALL IS SILENCE, won a WATTYS 2015 Award for Collector’s Dream. Wattpadders can add books they want to read to their Collections and they made it one of the the most-added stories of 2015.  Today there are three easy ways to buy ALL IS SILENCE:

  1. KOBO 30% off ebook – $2.79 with this link and code DEC30
  2. Still waiting for Amazon to put the kindle version at the $3.99 price, so it’s $2.99 for now here.
  3. Want a print version? Go to Village Books and get SIGNED COPIES of one or both of my books in time for the holidays with only $0.99 shipping.

I’m having a great month on Kobo. STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS is being featured on their Science Fiction Next Picks lineup and ALL IS SILENCE is in their December 30 as mentioned above.

In December I will be making appearances at the following events and locations. Come see me there.

  • December 10, 2015. 5:00PM until 8:00PM. Holiday Book FestivalBellingham Cruise Terminal. 17 local authors. Signing, chatting and selling. I’ll have books, t-shirts & ebook download cards.
  • December 12, 2015: GIFTS FOR GEEKS II. 2:00pm – 9:00pm AFK Elixirs & Eatery. Signing, chatting and selling: books, t-shirts and ebook download cards.
  • I’ll be visiting the Whatcom County Juvenile Detention center to talk to the kids there and donate some books.

Join my ‘street team’ The Desert Club [Pronounced Dessert club so it’s a play on The Breakfast Club which Lizzie loves.] and help me promote my books to new readers.

On my personal blog I’ve a post about drivers, the inattentive and tentative, titled Drive South [a nod to one of my faves: John Hiatt…]

Pintado’s cover art for ALL IS SILENCE is up for another award at COVER WARS. You can vote everyday! Scroll to the bottom to vote.

And a partridge in a pear tree…

What comes around… Mad Max lyrics from 1982

Crossposted to my personal blog.

I haven’t been able to shoehorn the time into my schedule to go see the New Mad Max movie, but I am anticipating the event something fierce. So, for a bit of a flashback, here are some song lyrics I wrote in Mr. Gregory’s Geometry class at Hoquiam High School. Since my 30th reunion is coming up this summer, I’m thinking a lot about those days.

These are from the embarrassing lyrics era, but transcend that trend a little. Derivative? Hells yes, but fun. Sort of like I hear the new Mad Max movie is… And two different publications liked them enough to pay me to publish them! Rock on!

Highway Rider

The flatlands are burning in this land we’ve turned to hell
The world keeps on turnin’ inside this fragile shell
We’ve got to get away from here before we start to rot
We’ve gotta get to somewhere else, this hell is all we’ve got

Off in the distance about to top the rise
The noise of tortured metal the smoke just fills the skies
I jump into the cockpit the mighty engine roars
The tires spin, the gravel flies, my foot is to the floor

Gasoline is life, it’s the blood in my hands
It’s the only ticket out of this cruel and battered land
My tank is full I cannot waste a single precious drop
The race is run my time is done, if I can’t make him stop

The law of the land is the fittest survive
The only thing I’m working for is tryin’ to stay alive
Across the desert wasteland his fate he comes to meet
His car is getting closer burning through the blazing heat

I power brake and spin around and slow to catch my breath
The warrior is coming, running for his death
A deadly game of chicken means the fittest survive
The only thing I still can do is close my eyes and drive

Accelerate, my tires spin, my posi grips the road
The RPM’s are runnin’ up – about to overload
The nerves of steel come in play, the chaser now the chased
His fault he realizes now, his car a flaming waste

The smell of burning gasoline mixed with burning flesh
I slow my car to watch the scene and sigh a weary breath
I must escape this savage land, I cannot stand the pain
My son becoming just like me with all my work in vain

I leave the flaming hulk and drive into the setting sun
One day I’ll make it out of here, today is not the one
Some think our lives are fixed, left to the hands of fate
But I believe I shall escape, I hope it’s not too late

Appeared in the Spring 1994 issue of The Galactic Citizen.
Appeared in the February 1999 online issue of Jackhammer E-zine.

3W: Weird Wiki Request, Winning on Wattpad & Writer Worries…

WIKIPEDIA: This is a weird request for me. As I ready myself to release my second novel, I feel like I should have wikipedia entry, so people can find me and I believe it also gives an air of respectability! Since the first novel has one some awards, has decent sales, and the newer works are also getting good press, I think it is time. I know I could write it myself, but that feels even more weird than asking for someone else to do it! If you are a wikipedia editor, know one or would like to become one, I’d like to invite you to practice on me! 😉 Thanks.

WATTPAD: Today, ALL IS SILENCE is #21, STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS is #17, and TOILS AND SNARES is #72! I miss being #1, but happy with the staying power… Come read it for free if you can’t afford to buy it or you live in the Philippines! 😉 Seriously, 17% of my 108,000+ Wattpad readers are from the Philippines!wp05232015

There have been a few burps and hiccoughs as they adjust their algorithms. At times ALL IS SILENCE has disappeared from the charts while having some of the best numbers ever. I think it’s impacted the number of new reads and followers, but since I’ve gotten 2300+ followers and they are helping me out, I can’t complain much!

I put a request for reviews on Wattpad and within a few days I had five new reviews! This alone is probably worth the price of the time I’ve spent. On the bittersweet side, I am getting so many questions and comments [40-60 a day] that I can’t even begin to think about answering them all. I used to answer each one, but now, if I did, I would get no fiction written and that would kind of make answering the fan questions sort of moot!

WRITER WORRIES: This week I put STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS up on Amazon as a presale. [Please don’t buy it yet! If you want to know why, read this post: PLEASE DON”T BUY MY NOVEL.] That means I have 76 days to finish it. It is by far more challenging than the first novel was: hree major plot-lines/point of view characters and no road trips! I’ve got the Second Novel Omnipresent Blues as Mindy McGinnis calls them.

In addition to writing the novel, I need to continue to maintain my web presence: this blog, my personal blog, twitter, facebook, Google+ and more. I’m hoping to have a bit more time next year to focus on the writing, but we’ll see if my day job agrees to help!

Thanks for reading, please check out the newest page on the website. R U There?, a page to send Lizzie messages and get responses… Thanks Amanda J. Hagarty, excellent editor, writer and media maven!