Forgotten April Named Finalist in 2012 Book Bundlz Contest

Apr. 3rd 2012

I’m excited to announce that my novel Forgotten April is a finalist in the 2012 Book Bundlz “Book Pick” contest. And guess what? You can help me win. Book Bundlz “Clubies” vote for the winner.

It’s free to become a Clubie, and you can vote once a day from now until voting closes on 4/26. If you love the book and/or you love the idea of helping me out, I encourage you to vote.

Here are some other ways you can help:

  • Spread the word (on FB, Twitter, Google+, or any of the other places you hang out).
  • If you have read the book and you liked it, consider leaving a review on Goodreads or on the bookstore website where you bought it from.

Thanks in advance for all of your support!

By the way…Book Bundlz is a really cool site…it’s all about books, book clubs, and the readers who love both. Poke around and have some fun. Enjoy!

xoxo

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Posted by Robyn | in Contests, Forgotten April | 6 Comments »

Book Purging

Jan. 3rd 2012

I moved into my studio apartment in May of 2008. When I made that move, I downsized my book collection. This past weekend, I took the next step: getting rid of all but a handful of books. Extreme? Maybe. Maybe not.

For the longest time, I’ve had this fantasy of living so simply that if I had to move all of a sudden or if I wanted to run away to Key West, I could pack up the car and the cat and just go. Even though this fantasy may never come to fruition, it’s still a comforting one for me to have (control issues, maybe? Leave me alone).

Thanks to my Nook, whatever book I want or need is just a click away. The few books I may keep — and I’m not even sure I will — are books that I re-read and that have some sentimental significance like Anne Lamott’s book for writers, Bird by Bird. I have a couple of signed books that I wouldn’t necessarily keep if they weren’t signed (but I kinda feel I have to).

I’ve filled a box full of books that I’ve read (around 50-ish), and I’ve lined my few remaining shelves with the books I haven’t read yet, but that I’m determined I will (I recently picked up The Memory Keeper’s Daughter as a result of this downsizing and simplifying urge).

Of these books, I don’t see myself wanting to keep any of them, no matter how good they are. Into the box they’ll go as I read them (except for the three that I’ve borrowed — Colleen and Dawn, if you’re reading this, don’t worry!).

And I’m not going to waste my time, either…if I can’t get into a book after 50 pages, into the box it will go. The only book that’s currently in the box that I haven’t read is Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, which I’ve tried reading on three separate occasions over four years. It just ain’t happening for me. I’m sure this is a personal defect on my part.

Please don’t get me wrong: I love books. But the definition of a “book,” to me, isn’t the vessel that contains the words. Books mean stories. Some true. Some not. I can get those stories in one convenient place now and fuel my run-away fantasy at the same time.

How ’bout you? Have you downsized your book collection at all, or will you if/when you get a digital e-reader or tablet? Share in the comments.

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Three Firsts…

Sep. 1st 2011
  1. I told someone that my second novel is coming out in October. Here’s what he said (via email): “Will I be able to get it on my Nook? Or in store?” (Notice the order of those two phrases.)
  2. I was driving through the winding roads of my apartment complex, and I spotted a young woman walking up a hill, her attention completely focused on her Kindle.
  3. I’m reading Lolita, one of those classics I’d never gotten around to checking out. I bought it from Annie’s Book Stop, a wonderful indie bookstore that’s hosted my writers’ group for the last 6.5 years. The owner closed the shop this past weekend, and he’s had these amazing “everything must go” sales.” I bought Lolita for 50 cents. When I was reading it in bed the other night, sand poured out from between the pages (that’s a first for me…and not something that’s likely to happen with my Nook).

What interesting things have happened to you this week?

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Posted by Robyn | in e-readers, eBooks, Random | 4 Comments »

“Read Forever” Anthem from Nook Color

May. 13th 2011

Yeah, it’s a commercial, and I know that in and of itself will rub some people the wrong way, but I think the commercial part is really downplayed and the message is 100 percent accurate.

This is why I read. This is why I write.

Happy Friday!

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Posted by Robyn | in Reading, Writing | 1 Comment »

Letting Go

Mar. 8th 2011

I’m getting ready to email my novel to the folks at eBook Architects. They’re the ones who convert my Word doc file into Mobi (Kindle) and ePub (everything else). Then it will be time  for me to sell the thing.

We’ve had a long journey, this novel and me, and I’m having a hard time letting it go. I think I may have driven my wonderful and patient copy editor, Laura Matthews, a little crazy this past weekend as I revised the opening page about five times, and each one I sent to her for feedback.

There’s always more you can do, always a phrase you can improve, a thought you can sharpen, a character you can deepen. At some point, you need to let it go. Or so I’ve been told.

The good news? In this digital world in which I choose to work, at least for now, I can easily make changes should a typo be spotted or a modifier dangle. In the print world, those mistakes live on in paper until another print run (provided there is one) or a conversion to paperback.

I’ve published five short stories to Kindle, Nook, etc. since I started this venture last fall. I got my first royalty payments from Amazon and Barnes & Noble this week. You’d think sending this file off wouldn’t be a big deal since I’ve done it five times already. But for some reason, it is. Maybe because it’s my debut novel. Maybe because I’ve worked on this piece since 2001. Then again, maybe it’s normal to feel this way every time you send out such a big part of yourself to the world.

I keep doing searches on words like “really” and  “studies” (which became my new way of saying “look”) and double checking hair and eye color and fact checking some of the history and wavering on whether I should take the risk of including two lines from an Adrienne Rich poem and hoping it qualifies as fair use or plucking them out. I worry that some of my corrections have resulted in typos, so I read and reread until the words swim, as do my eyeballs, and I have to adjust the zoom every page or two so I can trick my brain into spotting any lingering or last-minute mistakes.

I’ve come to this point in a really (sorry, Laura) circuitous way: Mrs. Shea’s fourth grade class, radio, copywriting, creative writing, querying, snobbing on self-publishing, epiphany, self-publishing.

Am I good enough? Who’s to say? What defines “good enough” anyway?

I know I’m not alone in this moment of self-doubt, a moment that I imagine most writers go through right before a work comes out. Anne Lamott writes about it in Bird by Bird on the chapter called “Publication”:

“The first time you read through your galleys is heaven. The second time through, all you see are the typos no one caught. It looks like the typesetter typed it with frostbitten feet, drunk….By the fifth reading, you are no longer sure that publishing this would be in your best interest.”

I’m going to hit “send” now, take a deep breath, have a nervous breakdown, and then get over it and myself.

Until the next time.

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My Latest Short Story is Available

Feb. 25th 2011

I’m excited to announce my latest short story, “Crush,” is now available for download on Kindles and Nooks (you’ll need the Nook app or Kindle app for your iPad since the iBookstore is backlogged — hope it goes live on there soon). And yes, it’s a buck or less (depending on where you buy it).

If you have another eReader that uses ePub files, you can side load from Lulu. And if you don’t have an eReader, you can download the PDF.

Here’s the eBook trailer — make sure your speakers are up:


Some background on the story’s genesis: I worked on this story on and off for about four years. Last summer (2010), I finally got it to a point where I thought it was done. I shared it with some beta readers and revised some more.

How’d the story come about? Freak accidents and deaths fascinate me. Four years ago, it seemed like I was hearing about more and more of them. We’re talking those deaths where someone is struck by lightening or killed by a falling coconut (it happens) or injured in a carnival accident or swept away by a rogue wave while standing at a lookout point. All deaths are painful, of course, but the freakish nature of some of these deaths has to mess with the psyches of the surviving family members. Or so I imagined. And thus, the story came about, albeit slowly.

A piece of trivia that may interest only me: I use Animoto to create my book trailers. It’s web-based software that’s easy to use, and I don’t have to worry about licensing music since it provides a vast library. The music for this particular trailer is an instrumental piece called “Epiphany” by composer Mark Petrie.

When I saw his name pop up on the piece I selected, I smiled. I met Mark probably eight years ago when he was living in Boston. I wrote one of his early bios (it was one of my early copywriting gigs). He’s in LA now and has quite the career going. The most intriguing part of his “story” is that he was deaf as a young child — he had to undergo a bunch of surgeries to restore his hearing (I don’t know all the particulars). He’s extremely talented, and I think it’s cool that the music I ended up selecting for this trailer was composed by someone I’ve met in real life.

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Posted by Robyn | in eBook Short Stories, eBooks & online short stories | Comments Off on My Latest Short Story is Available

My latest eBook Short Story for Kindle, Nooks, & More

Jan. 9th 2011

My January/February 2011 title is available on Kindles, Nooks, iPads (via the FREE Kindle app – the iBookstore remains backlogged through Lulu), and more. You can sideload to any device that accepts ePub files when you buy it off of Lulu (where it’s a buck, not 99 cents). And if you don’t have an e-reader? No prob. Read it with Kindle for PC or Mac. Or print out a PDF through Scribd. Lots of options. No one is left out in the cold.

This short story actually has an interesting history (well, interesting to me). It was inspired by a postcard I saw on PostSecret (if you’re not familiar with this awesome and worthwhile community art project, CHECK IT OUT. That’s an order). The story won a short story award in 2007 from The Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN). And even though it was considered “published,” all that meant was that it was stapled together with the other winning entries (there were about six of us, I think). This stapled-together-concoction was handed out at a reading at TCAN (where about maybe 50 people attended, if that) and then was relocated to the bowels of the Morse library in Natick. So maybe 75 people — tops — ever got a chance to read it.

I decided to resubmit it to see if I could gain a wider audience. I was completely transparent about its history. A small lit journal named Metal Scratches republished it last fall. Metal Scratches has been around for a decade, but, like most lit journals, it has a small readership. So I decided to release it as an eBook — hoping to reach lots more readers.

Okay, so maybe its journey wasn’t THAT interesting, but I figure it’s important to share the background and give props to Post Secret, TCAN, and Metal Scratches. So there you have it. And below, I have the eBook trailer. Enjoy. And please share with friends, retweet, visit my FB page, and, oh yeah — buy a copy of the book and lend it out. 🙂

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Posted by Robyn | in eBook Short Stories, eBooks & online short stories, Kindles, Nooks | Comments Off on My latest eBook Short Story for Kindle, Nooks, & More

e-Reader Device Debate – Why I Chose a Nook

Oct. 12th 2010

Ready to hear my reason for choosing a Nook, B&N’s official e-reader? I’d like to say I did months of research and pored over reports and reviews. But here’s the truth.

I’d been thinking about the e-reader thing for a little while and simply decided to pull the trigger. I ordered a Kindle 2 (3G) on July 23, 2010. Why the Kindle? I think I’m a perfect example of how marketing can work. I felt familiar with the brand name, and I’m “comfortable” with Amazon. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with the e-reader most people had (or so it seemed to me).

I WAS VERY EXCITED. (It was an all-caps-shouting sort of excited.)

I tracked my shipment as it left the warehouse and traveled to PA and then CT and then Chelmsford, Mass., on July 26, 2010, where, sadly, it remains. I think. Or perhaps it has been resold on eBay or something. (I like to think that maybe my Kindle ran off with another package, perhaps a big, rich iPad that stole her heart away a la Toy Story).

The Amazon folks were happy to send me a replacement ASAP. The problem, as I reminded the customer service rep when I called on Thursday, July 29, 2010, was that Amazon had just announced it had sold out of its Kindles and that it wouldn’t be shipping the next generation until early September.

I didn’t want to wait. (Yes, I’m working on the patience thingy.)

A guy from my writers group has a Nook and loves it. So I called him, asked him some questions, and decided to go with that. In hindsight, I’m glad I did because I was able to waltz into Barnes & Noble (on Sunday, 8/1/10, for those keeping track), buy one, and have them set it up and give me the lay of the land. Also, you can go to B&N with your Nook and read any book for free for up to one hour a day. And there are special deals when you’re in store — special free downloads and discounts on books plus coupons for the cafes etc.

The only issue I’ve had with the Nook — which is a known issue and a software update will likely fix — is it occasionally freezes up. I need to try popping out the battery in the back because that fixed the issue for my friend’s Nook, but I need a teeny screwdriver and have been lazy about getting one.

I don’t really think you can go wrong with either a Kindle or Nook. If you have the bucks, an iPad would be nice, but I hear from friends who have iPads in addition to an e-reader like a Kindle, that the iPad is heavier and more unwieldy to carry around.

If you need more scientific research behind the dozens of e-readers already out there (Border’s has a $99 version) and the others that will show up before Christmas, follow The Digital Reader blog and browse the archives.

So what made you opt for your e-reader? Was it as scientific as my approach or…? Let me know in the comments.

You can also check out my Facebook page where I polled fans on what e-readers they chose and why (oh, and become a fan if you’re not already!) 🙂

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Posted by Robyn | in e-readers, iPads, Kindles, Nooks | 4 Comments »