Tag Archives: Worldcon

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

 

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

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!

Time Pressure and a Turkish Translation…

Well…  Time pressure is upon me. I’ve got deadlines coming up and time to meet them. Will I have the stubbornness to keep my nose to the literary grindstone and git ‘er done? I’m planning on it, but next time, I am not setting a date for the release before I have the beta copy in my hot little hands. Really. I’m serious this time.

It’s not easy being an optimist. And I seem fairly incurable in that area. If I fall on my face this time, perhaps it will teach me a lesson. But I’m still thinking I can pull it off. Me and Crazy Lizzie.

AiSinTurkish
ALL IS SILENCE in Turkish

In other news:

Efşan, wattpad name: @efsanokur, has asked my permission to translate ALL IS SILENCE into Turkish. You can click on the link on the image at the right and read it in Turkish. If you can read Turkish……..

Three weeks from now I will have returned from Worldcon in Spokane, hopefully, with some new industry contacts and some fire burning under my feet!

Cheers. I’m following Marshall Ryan Maresca down into the word mines.

Don’t Buy My New Book…

… not yet. Please. Really. Wait. Why?

Well, it’s an experiment. STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS will be up for pre-sale on Amazon sometime in the next 24 hours. This means that it can be pre-ordered for the next 90 days.  Why am I putting it up for pre-sale if I don’t want you to buy it? Well, because I want people who don’t know me around the world to be able to buy it when they find it. I want people who are thinking about buying ALL IS SILENCE to know that there is another book coming. But mostly, I want the people who know me personally or who have become my fans and supporters to help me get a buzz going and get as many sales as possible as close as possible to the release date giving it the biggest chance of busting out!

So, when do I want you to buy it? As close to the release date as you possibly can. When’s the release date? August 18th? Why? 18 is my lucky number and it’s the day before Sasquan, the World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention right here in our backyard, Spokane, Washington. Also my class reunion is the week before, the release party for the print book is two weeks later… And then back to school.

BUT I CAN’T WAIT, ROB! Okay. I’ve got a fix for that. Sign up for my newsletter. When I finish the third draft you can be a beta reader. Read it free. Read it early. The catch is that I also want feedback on what works and what doesn’t. If you can’t wait for that, please e-mail me for a copy of TOILS AND SNARES to read and review.

Thanks, for all the support. I’m going down into the word mines as my friends, Eddi Vulic and  Marshall Ryan Maresca, [I’m deeply engrossed in his debut novel THORN OF DENTONHILL.] say.  See you in a thousand words.

Too Much To Say Today…

Okay. Too much to do, too much to say. So. Short bullet-like sentences. As if my story is building to a climax…

Wattpad Right Now! [DATA OVERLOAD WARNING]: ALL IS SILENCE is at 504,471 reads! So many people read it yesterday [11513 reads] that I forgot to upload the next section. 71,396 individuals have read chapter 1. 17,554 [24.59%] have continued on to the next chapter. 13,499 of them read the entire first chapter! 7K+ read 3 ch. 5K+ read 12 ch. 3+ have read 24 chapters. 1000 people have read everything I’ve uploaded so far. About 800 individuals read it every day. I have nearly 1200 followers. 18,877 votes. 1786 comments.

More WATTPAD. Next Monday, 6pm, Mar 23, 2015 at the Upstart Crows Writers Association Meeting at the WECU Building, 511 E Holly S, +Amanda June Hagarty and I will share our experience as successful Wattpad authors. All welcome. First meeting is free! Bring snacks and drinks to share.STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS-c4-fronteaser

Cover art is practically finished for Straight Into Darkness. I’ll give you a bit more on Sunday. I’m back into writing, rewriting and editing on the first draft. I plan to have the second draft off to the editor by the end of Spring Break, April 10th.

TOILS AND SNARES is selling well, I think. And my suspicion that 1/4 of the readers would go on to buy ALL IS SILENCE  seems to be an accurate guess! If you want to Read and Review Toils and Snare for free. Send me an e-mail. This offer will continue until I have 10+ reviews on Amazon.

Amazon has ALL IS SILENCE on sale for $3.82 cents. Not sure how that happened, but happy that they’re promoting it and I still get full ‘royalties’ from them. Be one of the first 50 to Review it on Amazon and get a 1 in 50 chance of winning a limited edition 1 of 50 signed hardcover copy of ALL IS SILENCE! Currently there are 29 reviews. So 21 slots left!

I’ve decided to forgo going to Norwescon this year. I’m a bit conned out and still have Worldcon in Spokane coming up this August. Besides, I need the writing time to finish  Straight Into Darkness.
My magical realism, women’s fiction, short story JUST DESERT will be free this weekend and next. I have two other short stories in the hopper to release on Kindle once I finish the draft of the next novel: both are speculative fiction on the science side. Expect those end of April and May.
PLEASE sign up for my newsletter if you want to be on the list to Beta read Straight Into Darkness. Now, back to writing.

Noveling: 7 Ways You Can Help

Okay. Really, really, need to get more fiction written. Lots of marketing, some plotting, etc. Some great times with family in the last 10 days, but not enough words!

How can I help, Rob?  Here are a variety of options that take anywhere from a little time to a lot. You can also ask me if you see anything on a social media site whether I’ve met my daily word goal! 🙂

  1. Write me a review. Post in on Amazon, GoodReads and anywhere else you feel like! Here are one-click links to All Is Silence for all major markets so you don’t have to search for the book.
  2. No time for a review? You can still rate it/rank it on Amazon/Goodreads. Those count, too. Please be honest. If it’s a TWO STAR please give me TWO STARS! “This is for posterity!”
  3. No time to rank/rate? Share/forward one of the links on WattPad, FacebookGoogle+Twitter, Pinterest, or THE CAN’T MAKE IT TO WORLDCON SALE. Like my author page on Facebook.
  4. Other things that may take slightly longer. Fan me on PubSlush for my crowdsource fundraiser to increase what I can pay editors/cover designers up front.
  5. Request a copy at your local library. Donate a copy to your local alternative high school, or any H.S.
  6. Buy a copy of the signed, limited edition [50 only] Hardcover editions. Or buy a shirt, a paperback, a CD or an e-book.
  7. Make me dinner? 🙂

 

Best Laid Plans: Falling and getting up again…

I broke my 500 words a day streak two weeks ago at 34 days. I restarted and went another five days. Now I’ve blown it two days in a row. Not just the 500+ words a day streak, but the Write Everyday Streak after 52 days! No words. No fiction. No blog posts. A few social media posts, but very few, at that. And now the anti-streak is started…

Did I get Word Count Paralysis? Maybe. Did I fall out of love with my WIP [Work In Progress]? Well, WIPs in this case, but yes, perhaps. What I didn’t do? I didn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to sit here until I write 500 words.” I have been thinking intensely about the two pieces I’m working on, but both are at a bit of a waiting point. And I don’t really feel like starting on the next two WIPs. Yes, there is a queue. Yes, I know what I’m going to write next. Do I want to start on them without finishing drafts of these? No way.

What I did do while I was not writing? I did put in several hours of Author Work. I reworked the order of the Outward Bound: made the Foreword into an Afterword and cut down the stuff a reader must read before getting to the fiction. Tis also allows the potential reader to read a whole story, plus the beginning of the Title Story. I also added a bonus sample of Toils and Snares. All this is in anticipation of a re-release on KDP select.

Outward Bound has sold a total of FOUR copies on non-Amazon distribution (and about SIX sales on Amazon!), at least one of which was to me. So, I am pulling it from Bookbaby for the time being. In the early years of self-publishing [2012] they charged $100 to list a book and then $ each year. I snagged a killer coupon $29 deal, which obviously never paid off. Even with sales of All Is Silence. BookBaby still made $ off me!

So, I’m going to use Outward Bound to play around with Kindle Select. It can’t do much worse. My goal with Outward Bound was to learn about self-publishing systems, so I am still going to use it as such. I’ll be giving it away for free from time to time. Maybe doing a countdown deal and probably eventually make it PERMA-FREE (kinda like Permafrost, but different.).

So, I did some marketing. Coming Soon, in addition to the Pubslush for Straight Into Darkness’ Editing and Cover Art jumpstart [Save the date 10/17/2014], I will be running a short “Can’t Get to Worldcon” ebook sale on All Is Silence. I’ve also started releasing All Is Silence on Wattpad as an experiment to see if I can expand my readership before the next book comes out. Come check it out, vote for it, comment, tell when needs to happen in the next two books!

Now. Back to writing.

Path to Indie Publication: Part II–First Sale

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.

First Sale *

So after following Kris and Dean to that Rustycon workshop in Tacoma where I learned THE SECRET of breaking through in publishing, I focused on short fiction. It made sense. My pace was somewhat off the mark for one a week, closer to one a month or so. I managed 17 submissions in 1996 and 88 in 1997. In 1998, submission #141, “Shooting Star,” sold to Millennium SF&F. The story was inspired by an off-hand remark by Dean, I still hear his voice when I read the last lines of that story. It took me about 20 minutes to write the first draft. It went on to sell two more times totaling over $30 and let me call myself a published and paid writer. It also helped me believe in Kris and Dean’s suggestion that writing fast was not necessarily writing bad.

I continued to write and submit short fiction while I puttered away at a traditional fantasy novel, which I will publish along with its unwritten, but envisioned sequels at some point. I submitted it to the same slushpiles as the other novel. Again, no luck.

I went to conventions, Worldcons in 96-97 and many other local cons, collected rejections, took workshops, participated in Schrodinger’s Petshop Cyber where I re‘met’ Holly Lisle. Holly was a friend of a friend through the Heinlein Forum and the Galactic Citizen contacts and I bought and loved her first book, Fire in the Mist, and its follow-ups. I participated in the Critters online critique group and attempted to create and fit in with other in-person writer’s groups.

I kept up a steady stream of submissions and discovered Slater’s First Law of Submissions. If one had enough stories in the mail, they didn’t sting much when they come back. Its corollary is when one has gone without seeing or thinking about a story for weeks to months, an honest reading and rewrite is easy when it finally return. [This editing breaks one of the Roberts’ Rules of Writing, but I think fits within the developing yourself as a writer piece.]

The Second of Slater’s Laws of Submissions is more of a guideline or probability—Maybe Slater’s Rule of 12. Whenever I managed to have 12 stories submitted at one time, I would sell one by the time the other 11 came back. [Hhhmmm… 11.]

Over the next few years I sold several more stories, started many more and finished quite a few of them. Was I ready for prime time? No. Not by a far piece of hard road. I had racked up 300+ submissions, gained a pretty thick skin and hated it when people gave me critiques of, “this is good.” I wanted to get better.

My next near-big breakthrough happened the year I managed 101 submissions.


Coming next week: Part III–2003: Breakout year?

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