Tag Archives: Village Books

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

 

12 Great Book Ideas for Holiday Gift-giving.

Here are a dozen books for the holidays from Rob’s Recently Read, Ready to be Read, and Requested to Read piles. And as James Wells  reminded me, “that most or perhaps all of the books you list are available at local booksellers including Village Books, Cozy Corner, and (we can call them local because they support local authors) our Bellingham Barnes & Noble store.”

Rob’s Recently Read

Also available as an audiobook.

Just finished The Great Symmetry by James R. Wells, I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for those true Science Fiction fans. Far future, what-ifs and a tightly plotted story. Really a 4.5. From my blurb: Mr. Wells does a wonderful job of beginning en media res and jumping from the tense opening sequence into a media race to propagate competing versions of reality throughout the author’s well-developed setting. The theme of infoterrorism and the power of the media control gives us, like all great science fiction, a thoughtful what if to consider in our own time.

The Immortal Game by Joannah Miley. A great blend of Science Fiction, Greek Mythology with a touch of Romance. Oh, and Chess.

Ready to be Read

Started Elements, Book II in the Biodome Chronicals by Jesikah Sundin. This series will satisfy the fantasy and science fiction. Sort of a historical fiction meets a Blade Runner prequel universe. Book I – Legacy is out and currently on-sale for ebook at $0.99.

Also started The Ariadne Connection SaraStameyAriadneConnby Sara Stamey. A science fantasy about a plague healer in a near future earth damaged by changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.

Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern, a grand epic fantasy by Selah J Tay-Song is also on sale for ebook at $0.99 and its sequel Dream of a City of Ruin is on my TBR pile!

GirlattheendoftheworldThe Girl at the End of the World by Richard Levesque features a tough teen after a strange virus has killed off most of humanity.

The Eternity Series by Mike Hartner, historical fiction told through generations in I, Walter; I, James and I, Mary.  I, Walter is currently free on Amazon.

For another historical jaunt, check out Jacob Kilgore’s Vagrant Prince also on sale as an e-book $0.99 at Amazon.

Harry Takes Off: Astounding Stories of Adventure (Iron Pegasus Book 1) is a steampunk novel by Steve Turnbull that I am looking forward to reading.

Requested to Read – On my list, but not yet on my pile:

Noble Smith’s Spartans at the Gates, sequel to the gripping Sons of Zeus, has been out and the third book in the trilogy: Sword of Apollo is out now, too.

Mindy McGinnis has released a book unrelated to my recent apocalyptic faves: Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust. A Madness So Discreet is a dark, historical novel of mystery, madness and murder!

And finally, not that any of you get to read it yet, but I am reading a beta copy of my brother, James G. Slater’s space opera, Claustrom!

Happy holiday reading!

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…

Partnering with your Brick and Mortar Bookstores

I realize that I have already written a love letter of a blog to Village Books, but in this time of Thanksgiving, I wanted to thank them again and tell you what they have done for me lately and what I hope to do for them.

They have partnered with me to sell ebook download cards, sort of cutting edge and so far not a lot of sales. This is what the signed download cards look like. Click for a larger picture.Signed Download cards

I can even sign them with a metallic pen. They’re like collectable cards. The cover art is cool enough to display even at that small size.  I’m hopeful this will be another tool to put control of an author’s intellectual property and sales firmly in their own hands, as well as offering a way for brick and mortar bookstores to sell e-books to their customers who would like them.

They have also agreed to send folks MY SIGNED BOOKS, SHIPPED TO YOU FOR ONLY $0.99! They go slower than standard shipping, so if you want them by the holidays, order them now. If you want a special personalized inscription, include that in the notes when you check out. It’s the only place on the planet besides my hands that you can get a signed hard-cover of ALL IS SILENCE, part of a limited print run of 50!

Sam from Village Books invited me to come hang out, talk to readers and sell books during Small Business Saturday and Indies First! So last night, I got to meet a bunch of Village Book patrons, talk about apocalyptic politics and other fascinating subjects, as well as give away some of the above mentioned e-book cards. I only signed and sold one of my own books, but it was lovely to be home. I even had a customer come up to me to tell me they’d read and enjoyed the first book!

 

Village Books, I love you, let me count the ways…

Hey folks,VillageBooksHeader

If you have ever been to Bellingham, Washington and never set foot in Village Books, you have missed out. Village Books, once housed in a single older building has expanded along with Paper Dreams into a multi-layered party cake of printed and print-related materials.

They are my favorite bookstore. The location on the Village Green, where many concerts and movies are offered free to the public, is lovely. From the top floor there is a view of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. Though, in the evening there are times that the sun takes full advantage of its view of shoppers requiring the addition of sunscreen and sunglasses to shop or write with the writer’s groups they host.

Also sharing this view is Book Fare, purveyors of delicious snacks, meals and beverages. If you sign up for the Village Books frequent buyer club, you get a card every year with a 25% off discount on one book, PLUS a free drink at both Book Fare and the world famous Collophon Cafe downstairs, home of the renowned African Peanut Soup.

VBfriendsThe staff, from Manager Paul Hanson to the most recent hires, are amazing, friendly and helpful. And, oh so, passionate about their job, the books! They’ll remember your name and probably even what kind of books you like, or be happy to try to track down that book. You know, the one with the blue cover and the lampost by that guy who wrote that other book set in Seattle.

As a reader and a teacher, Village Books has many high-quality lightly-used books specially priced. I’m a sucker for the little round colored stickers on the spine that tell me somethings at a reduced price. The Village Books staff have combed their collections and catalogs to get my classroom sets at a discount and individual books at the best possible prices, new or used.

Hangin'WiTheBiggiesAs an author, Village Books has been amazing in supporting my books. Since I used their publishing services for my small press publishing company, I get special rates on my books that they sell on consignment. Brendan Clark, who helped me maneuver the maze that is Ingram Spark publishing, earns his  pay and much respect as the last set of eyes and advice before we go to press. He also has great local connections if you need a quick print run because your computer died two weeks before your book release party!

We also partnered to print a limited edition hardcover of my first novel, All Is Silence, the first hardcover Village Books brought through their print partnership.

They’ve been helping me to marketshelf-hanger my ebook download cards, so that people who like to read ebooks can buy them from a local store and benefit the economy and the local writer more than an online purchase.

In addition, they will ship my signed books anywhere in the continental U.S. for only $0.99! How cool is that?

Village Books also sponsors stellar events such as The Chuckanut Writer’s Conference, The Bellingham Steampunk Festival, The Chuckanut Radio Hour and many, many more.

So, I’m not going to count the ways. There is too much, lemme sum up.

Village Books in Bellingham is the place to go. My only complaint? Fairhaven is such an amazing, revitalized neighborhood, largely due

Chuck and Dee, owners on VB’s 35th anniversary!

to the actions of Village Books owners Chuck and Dee Robinson and a few others, that finding parking can often be a challenge! So, if you’re heading there for an author reading, a book or writer’s group or a film on the gree, go early. Have a donut at Rocket Donuts or dinner at one of the excellent restaurants nearby!

Oh, and lest I forget, they’re also opening up a second location in Lynden.

See you at Village Books!

Now is YET! Live, but not Memorex.

I’ve been telling people for six months about when to buy STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS. That answer was always, NOT YET, please. Well… Now is YET! It’s LIVE!

If you want a copy of the ebook, buy it from your favorite ebooksellers: Amazon/Kindle, B&N/Nook, Kobo, iBooks.

If you want a print copy, it’s available signed from . It is live on VillageBooks.com (Signed with $0.99 shipping and handling! If you want it personalized, leave a note in the Order comments box at the bottom.) and Amazon as a print book.

It will be a few weeks before you can get it at your local bookstore (Unless you’re lucky enough to live in Bellingham!) or your library, but it should be available soon. I’ll be sure and announce it.

If you haven’t read ALL IS SILENCE, order it here:  Amazon here, or Kobo here, or nook here or iBooks here! Thanks.

Get Ready, Get Set… It’s almost Yet!

Now is almost yet! I’ve asked those of you who are regulars to these parts to wait to buy your ebook/book version of STRAIGHT INTO STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS-frontDARKNESS until the book goes live. This will give the book a boost if bunch of folks all buy it close together. This increases its visibility and hopefully more people will fall in love with the cover, realize it’s book II and buy book one as well! So. It is live on VillageBooks.com  (Signed with $0.99 shipping and handling! If you want it personalized, leave a note in the Order comments box at the bottom.) and Amazon as a print book. It will be live as an ebook on September 8th on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBook, Smashwords and other ebooksellers!

So, please consider purchasing Straight Into Darkness and/or All Is Silence September 8th. If you have read All Is Silence and have not left a review on Amazon, you can do that here, or Kobo here, or nook here or GoodReads here or iBooks here!

Hope to see you all this year. If you live in the PNW and have a book store or library you’re friends with that would host, I’ll come to your town for a reading and signing!

Thanks,
Rob

SmorgasBlog Post III: Worldcon, Woops and WATTYS 2015!

Robert Slater saw Robert Sawyer at a Spider Robinson play, while Spider joined us by Skype! I saw and heard Robert Silverberg’s hilarious, tambourine accompanied plea for peace like they had at the 1968 Worldcon in Berkley. In between the tear gas and cannabis smoke wandered the Hari Krishnas chanting calmly. Also got to nod a greating to him. Hadn’t seen him in about 10 years. He looked great.

I missed the Heinlein Blood Drives and my autograph session was mostly a bust other than as a test run for the download cards from Greenerside Digital I’ll discuss below. I ended up spending a lot of time in my hotel room putting finishing touches on Straight Into Darkness.

I ignored the funny sounds that seemed to be coming from my laptop speaker which was, of course,  muted. I should have known. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my own advice, and when the darn thing crashed with a Fan Error and refused to boot I have not backed up my in three or four eventful writing days. I recovered much that I had done on GoogleDocs, but what was done in my Scrivener file? It’s still there as I my two day shipping on the fan turns into three or four as well.

I nearly cried when I couldn’t find a scene that I had written. I sucked it up and used the school computer to create a new Scrivener document, so that I could release an updated version of the one I’d uploaded to CreateSpace a good two weeks before. Sigh…

So, all that to say, I should have taken note of the apocalyptic sun that greeted me in Spokane and been more wary! I may or may not Download cards Medhave print books at the release party. I will have download cards like these. The four e-books included would cost $16.96 on-line and you would not get the cool credit card sized cover art. They are good for one download each in either epub/kobo/nook/itunes or mobi/kindle formats. Your cost Friday at Village Books? $11.99, the same price as the paperback of Straight Into Darkness all by itself. I am willing to sign and mail these as well. I don’t have them up on the store yet, but if you want a set, let me know and I’ll send you a paypal invoice. Shipping is pretty cheap compared to a full book, too!

Please don’t forget to TWEET something like this: Check out my favorite for the Wattpad People’s Choice Awards. ‘s

Thanks. Hope to see you all soon for a reading near you.

WATTYS 2015 – Peoples Choice Award

So, just a quick note. I survived Worldcon/Sasquan with some great stories and some not so great ones. Prepping for my Reading for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS at Village Books THIS Friday at 7pm! But more about that later this week.

The purpose of this post is to let you know about WATTPAD’S People’s Choice Awards for the 2015 WATTYS. All Is Silence is eligible! Please consider voting for it. Yes, it actually is a popularity contest. What the book needs is votes between August 24th and 31st! Those votes are tallied by Twitter activity. Simply post this link https://www.wattpad.com/story/21270135-all-is-silence-deserted-lands-1 to ALL IS SILENCE with this hashtag: #MyWattysChoice.

Something like this: Check out my favorite for the Wattpad People’s Choice Awards. ‘s

Thanks for helping.

Rob

SmorgasBLOG Post II: WorldCon, Countdown Deal, Book Release.

In honor of two years publishing ebooks, I’m running a WORLDCO(u)Ntdown Sale! TOILS AND SNARES – a short Deserted lands novel at 42,000+ words will be marked down from its regular price of $3.99, on a countdown sale for $0.99-$2.99!

eBookSoda will start the ball rolling Wednesday, August 19th featuring it at a price point of $0.99! That price will continue for three more days with BettyBookFreak doing a Daily Pick listing on 08/20/15, Book Barbarian on 8/21/15 and Robin Reads on 8/22/15. BKnights will probably close out the promotion (unless I have extra time between now and then) on 3/23/15 $1.99 at the $1.99, 50% off price-point. It will interesting to see if that will help or maintain any traction I have gained.

In addition to the U.S. Sales, TOILS AND SNARES will also be on sale across the pond on the U.K. Amazon site. Marked down from 2.99 GBP to 0.99 GBP from 8/19 until 8/22, then 1.99 GBP until the end of the day 8/25.

My hope as an author is that people will buy the deeply discounted TOILS AND SNARES and then about a week later there will be a bump for ALL IS SILENCE, followed by a bump a week or to later on STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS. These promotions are not free and this will be the first time I have tried to build a promotion. We’ll see how it works!

WORLDCON/SASQUAN:

Robert Silverberg, Robert Sawyer, and Robert Slater…. Well, hopefully, someday I’ll feel like a part of that list. The three of us and many thousands of other Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans are heading to Spokane, Washington to get our FANDOM(s) on!

I didn’t get chosen as a panelist this time around, but they’ve scheduled a signing to me on Sunday morning at the same time as their church services! 😉

I will have books (paperback, hardcover and e-book download cards), t-shirts, and CDs. Just send me a message on any of the social media I frequent and we can set up a time to exchange goods.

I’ll also be finishing final edits and uploading the files for the printer FROM WORLDCON! Crazy? Yeah. I’m doing this so I will have physical print copies of STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS for….

…wait for it…next

Friday’s release part at Village Books in Bellingham. 

Hope to see you before school starts up again. Cheers and wish me safe and smooth travels. Also wish me good edits, please!

Thanks,

Rob