Why Bowe Bergdahl makes us uncomfortable

June 20, 2014 Rob 2

When it was first announced that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was being released by the Taliban, the American media embraced the news as a feel-good homecoming story, and the President himself made hay of the occasion, claiming that “Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.” Bergdahl’s home town organized a parade in his honor. But then the official narrative of Bergdahl’s release began to unravel amid […]

Amazon is amazing, and nobody is happy

June 16, 2014 Rob 0

There’s a video clip of Louis CK on Conan that went viral a while back in which he observes our cultural tendency to go from a state of amazement about new technology to a state of disappointment almost instantaneously. Musing about a man next to him on a plane who is irritated about the in-flight Wifi malfunctioning, Louis CK says, “How quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only ten seconds ago!” The clip is well worth watching, if you haven’t […]

The time I was detained by the U.S. Border Patrol

June 13, 2014 Rob 3

Note: I originally posted this on Facebook in January 2014. I’m re-posting it now because I think the existence of these Border Patrol checkpoints deserves more attention than it is getting. For those who don’t know, the U.S. now has border patrol checkpoints at various places in the Southwest, many miles away from the Mexican border, where travelers are stopped and asked questions regarding their citizenship before being allowed to continue (the ACLU has referred to these as “Constitution-Free Zones” ). I […]

How to customize your author page on Facebook

June 12, 2014 Rob 3

Last week I blogged about a Facebook marketing seminar given by Cindy Ratzlaff that I attended at BEA. One of the topics Cindy covered was customizing your author page to make it a more effective tool for reaching readers and selling books. Recently I’ve been trying to implement some of the things I learned on my own author page. Keep in mind that I’m not putting my author page forth as the new paradigm of author pages. I’m just trying to […]

When “always” doesn’t mean “always”: The ABA tries to have it both ways

June 11, 2014 Rob 0

A rather galling post recently appeared on the Publisher’s Weekly website with the title “ABA Thanks Amazon.” It features a logo created by the American Booksellers Association that reads “Independent bookstores sell books from all publishers. Always.” The problem with this fun little jab at Amazon? It isn’t true. For example, many independent bookstores specifically refuse to stock books put out by my publisher, 47North, despite the fact that 47North has published books by sci-fi luminaries like Neal Stephenson and Greg […]

Can you sell books on Facebook?

June 6, 2014 Rob 2

Pretty much everyone is on Facebook these days. And like many authors, I have no offline social life, which means I have a fairly prominent Facebook presence. I’ve had a fair amount of success in getting the word out about my books on Facebook, but I suspect I could do a lot more. With that in mind, I attended Cindy Ratzlaff’s (it sounds like “rat’s laugh” when you say it out loud, but I swear that’s really her name) seminar on […]

Obsession and Persistence

June 5, 2014 Rob 4

I’m an obsessive person. When I’m interested in something, I’m VERY interested in it. And when I lose interest, you couldn’t pay me enough to spend another hour on whatever it is. Having a brain that works this way is unconducive for many common life activities, like, for example, holding down a job. The upside of this trait (one eventually learns after banging one’s head against metaphorical walls for 39 years) is that it’s very conducive to executing short term projects. […]

Review: Man of Steel

June 16, 2013 Rob 0

The question of whether you will like Man of Steel is probably best answered by asking yourself how you feel about a two-and-a-half hour movie that’s essentially a commercial for itself – or, more precisely, a commercial for the idea of Superman. The best analog I can come up with is The Passion of the Christ: if you go into it thinking, “What’s the big deal about this Jesus guy,” it’s probably not going to do much for you. Similarly, […]

Guest post: Melissa Olson, author of Trail of Dead

June 5, 2013 Rob 0

Hello, and welcome to my Trail of Dead blog tour! A big thank you to Rob for letting me commandeer his blog for the day to do this. Trail of Dead is available in stores and on Amazon NOW, and it is the sequel to my first novel, Dead Spots. Both books fall into the urban fantasy subgenre, and they both follow a young woman with an unusual ability: Scarlett Bernard is a null, a rare human who cancels out […]

Interview with S.G. Redling, author of Damocles

May 28, 2013 Rob 0

One of the best novels I read last year was S.G. Redling’s Flowertown. So I jumped at the chance to get an advance copy of Sheila’s latest book, Damocles. I just finished reading it, and I was not disappointed. Damocles is officially out today, so you can get your own copy now. As Meg, the linguist in Damocles, would say, “Trust me, you want/need this book. It’s very good/okay.” Here’s an interview I recently did with Sheila. Your first novel, Flowertown, […]

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