Thursday, September 6, 2012

That Stanek guy! The audacity! The nerve! The pomposity! How dare he sell Millions of books!

Robert Stanek, That Guy

Heard about that Robert Stanek guy. Heard he spends his days writing books. Heard he illustrates sometimes. Heard he helps others when he can. Heard he reads to his children. Heard he served in the military. Heard he wrote a book about it. Heard he’s written like 150 others too. Heard millions have read them. Some nerve, that guy. He’s got big brass ones, that guy. The audacity! The nerve! The pomposity! How dare he! Who does he think he is?!

Menace to society, that guy. Heard his bug stories teach children. Heard there’s books about numbers and letters. Heard there’s books about counting and spelling. Heard children love them. Heard children write to Buster. That guy, hate him. That guy better watch out. Better keep looking over his shoulder. Better not write any more books. Better not get any more readers.

Such wasted potential, that guy. Heard his books are in 50 countries. Heard there’s translated editions. Heard his books are in audio. Heard his books are in libraries. Heard his books are in schools. Some nerve, that guy. He’s got big brass ones, that guy. The audacity! The nerve! The pomposity! How dare he! Who does he think he is?!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Summer of Indie Ahead! Nearly 40 sign ups already. Are YOU in?

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet...

#Readers, once you #GOIndie, you get Great #Books, Better Prices! #FB: #Blog: via @RobertStanek

#SummerOfIndie #ahead #AmIn Are You In? via @RobertStanek

And join us today!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Intermission & 3 Great Reads

Normally, I post about a particular author and his or her books. Today, I decided to mix it up a little and feature three great reads.

Justice For Emily
by Sandy Wolters

Find @Amazon

The Paranormal Romance Guild nominated Justice For Emily as one of 2011's best reads.

Rachael Merchant is on a cross country trip running from the tragic images of her last case that are embedded deep in her soul. She is a City of Phoenix Homicide Detective that is trying to deal with the freak show her life has become.

Three days ago, she was sitting in a hospital room with a man that had just murdered his three small children because he was angry his wife had left him. After making the arrest, she let the perpetrator know that when he got out of prison she was coming after him. He would not be able to hide from her. She left the hospital, went back to work and quit on the spot.

After a great deal of persuading, her captain convinced her that an indefinite leave of absence was in order instead of quitting. She went home, packed her bags and jumped in the car. With no destination in mind, she just drove.

Rachael found herself on the side of the road, unsure of where she was and on the phone with her partner. All she wanted to do was run as fast and as far as she could from the image of those three small babies with bullets in their bodies.

Officer Patrick Sheehan pulls in front of Rachael while she is bent over the hood of her car looking at a map. He overhears the conversation between Rachael and her partner and thanks fate for dropping a homicide detective right in his lap. His good friend, Emily, was murdered just days ago and Patrick knows who killed her, her husband and his boss, the Chief of Police of Brownwood, Texas.

Boyd Campbell has taken extreme measures to cover up his wife's murder but Patrick is going to do everything in his power to put this monster away. He doesn't care what he has to do or say to get this cop to stay and work this case. He needs her help and she is just going to have to deal with it. She could just blame fate for bringing her here when he needed her expertise. After all, the only important thing at the moment is getting Justice For Emily.

Dead Game
by Jennifer Chase

Find @Amazon

2010 AWARD WINNER for Thriller at Readers Favorite

In her independent efforts to catch child killers, Emily Stone discovers the evidence that the cops can’t — or won’t — uncover. Now, this covert investigator is back on the hunt for the world’s most sick and twisted murderers. But even with help from ex-police detective Rick Lopez, this time she’s facing her most dangerous opponent yet.

The headlines in the San Jose Mercury News blare updates on a serial killer who seems able to slaughter with impunity. Men, women — it doesn’t matter; the victims serve only to satisfy a perverted need to kill. The killer watches the moment of death on multiple computer screens, over and over again. The only connection is that they’re all devotees of the latest video-game craze — a sophisticated brain-puzzler called EagleEye.

When the killer goes after Lopez’s law-enforcement mentor, Lopez and Stone decide to give the cops a little extra, unsolicited help. What follows takes them deep inside a shocking high-tech world, a kind of social-networking community for serial killers. But when they start getting too close to the truth, all hell’s going to break loose.

Now, Stone and Lopez become the killer’s next target as Stone must make a difficult decision to leave the ones she loves in an all-or-nothing effort for survival. Can they stay alive long enough to blow the whistle on this unlikely perpetrator?

She Belongs To Me
by Carmen DeSousa 

Find @Amazon

When wealthy construction company owner and Charlotte detective, Jordan Monroe, meets Jaynee for the first time he is awestruck and determines to make her his wife. Jaynee, however, has a history she cannot easily overcome and is fearful to submit to love. Jordan succeeds in making her his wife, but five years into their marriage he realizes she is keeping secrets. Before he can decipher her duplicity, he discovers her unconscious in their home from a gunshot wound only hours after giving her an ultimatum concerning their relationship.

With Jaynee’s life hanging in the balance, the mystery of her past drives Jordan to investigate. But what appears to be an attempted suicide turns out to be something far darker. Is someone from her past stalking her? Or worse, is someone close to Jordan trying to kill them both? As Jordan edges closer to the truth, it may be deadlier than he could ever have imagined.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Madison Knight Where Are You?

Wow, how do you follow up after posting about a Titanic book on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster? Those are some big shoes to fill, so I brought on board (pun intended :-) Carolyn Arnold.

Carolyn Arnold writes mystery novels, including, ElevenTies That Bind and Justified. Her upcoming Summer 2012 release is Sacrifice.

Carolyn was born in 1976 in a rural town of Ontario, Canada.  She currently lives with her husband, and two beagles in a city near the well-known Canadian center Toronto. She hangs out online on
Twitter, on Facebook and on her Blog.

Wondering what Carolyn's books are about? Me too, so I asked her about Ties That Bind. Here's what she said:

The book's about Detective Madison Knight. Early on Madison concludes the case of a strangled woman is an isolated incident. When another woman's body is found in a park killed by the same line of neckties, she realizes they're dealing with something more serious.

Madison faces mounting pressure from the Sergeant and Chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars. Her partner isn't much help either, he's more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, leaving Madison to go it alone in solving the case.

As it turns out, Ties That Bind is the first but not the last Madison Knight book. Carolyn's written two follow ups:
In Justified, readers see the softer side of Madison Knight as she's assigned to a case on Christmas Eve.

In Sacrifice, coming Summer 2012, Madison must risk her career and her life to bring a killer to justice.
 Sound interesting? Go check out Carolyn Arnold's Amazon author page and start reading. You also can learn more about Carolyn Arnold at her Website.

Thanks for reading,

Robert Stanek.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time Travel & The Titanic

Earlier today on the Read Indies Blog (, I talked with Marlene Dotterer about her book The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder, which my friends over at the Sony Reader Store were kind enough to feature in yesterday's Reader Store Newsletter spotlighting Titanic related books. (Thank you, Audrey and Cindy @ Sony -- you're the best!)

I decided to follow up with an official interview here at Robert Stanek's Around the Town Books.

Tell my readers more about your book.

My book is about Thomas Andrews, who built the Titanic, and was one of the 1500 people who perished when she sank. I've used a time travel/alternate universe format to tell his story - what he was like, how he lived, and to give him a second chance at life. The book is fiction, of course, but based on actual events in his life. I wanted this book to be available for the hundredth anniversary of Titanic's sinking, which is this April.

Where can people get your book?

For Sony e-reader: The book can be purchased here.

For Amazon Kindle: The book can be purchased here.

In your book, who is your favorite character?

Oh, it's Tom Andrews, no doubt about that. It was a joy to write about him, and include him in my time travelers' attempts to change history. He was a very intelligent man in real life, and I think he would have been delighted to work with real time travelers. He just came to life for me, as I wrote the book.

What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?

I've read so many, it's hard to choose! But one that I had a great time with, was "The Boots of Saint Felicity" by Jean Cross. The first line is "Eloueese Turtlewine stood in her kitchen and gazed out the window." Well, any book that has a character named Eloueese Turlewine is a book I need to read. The first page went on to reveal how Eloueese hates Tuesdays and why she hates Tuesdays, and it has all these delightful names for everyone and everything, and a wonderful, lilting voice to the narrative.

What's your favorite book of all time?

I can't say that I have a favorite of "all" time. I change too much.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I love authors who give me worlds I want to live in and characters I want to know. Some of my favorite are Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Anne McAffrey, Diane Duane, and Julie Czernada.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Participate in critique groups, and use an editor. If we want Indie Publishing to succeed, we need to put out quality products.

What's next for you in your writing?

By fall, I hope to publish the second time travel journals book: Bridgebuilders. It spins off from Shipbuilder, but takes place in the future, and is much closer to actual science fiction than Shipbuilder is. It's about people from the alternate universe of Shipbuilder who figure out how to return to our original universe. They aren't prepared for what they find when they get here.

I also have several other novels in progress. Sometimes it's a race to see which gets done first, but I'm concentrating on Bridgebuilders for now.

Anything else you'd like to tell us?

My husband and I are on board the Titanic Memorial Cruise, which is tracing the path of Titanic - except we hope to end up in New York. We are also touring the shipyards in Belfast, where Titanic was built, and also the house that Thomas Andrews lived in. I'll be blogging about the trip as it happens, so everyone tune in to follow along!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Debits, Credits, & Finding Balance with Ashley Fontainne

Earlier this week I talked with Ashley Fontainne about her books, Accountable to None and Zero Balance. Today, I decided to take a closer look at her books here at Around the Town Books.

The Eviscerating the Snake series is set inside a large, fictional accounting firm in Phoenix, Arizona. The first book, Accountable to None, is about Audra Tanner. Audra was a brilliant CPA that for years worked the grueling hours her job demanded as she made her way from lowly grunt auditor to a minority partner at the firm. One night she met with a managing partner, Olin Kemper, to discuss a promotion but learns she has to give something to get something in return. She doesn't want to and it leads to her violent beating and rape.

Five years later, Audra sets out to take down Olin, and all those in power at the firm who knew about Olin's plans to coerce her that night and looked the other way. Now head of the IT department and a self-taught hacker, Audra digs in and takes the opportunity to exact revenge on all those responsible for her pain.

Without getting into spoilers, in the sequel, Zero Balance, Audra gets a starker lesson in reality than she hoped for. She learns she only wounded the snake, and that the snake is out for vengeance of its own.

I'll leave it to your imagination, and reading of the book, to determine whether the snake is metaphorical or physical. I will tell you that bent, but not broken, Audra may learn to dance in the the hurricane raging around her.

Sound interesting? Want to watch Audra make a few debits and credits to balance the ledger? Then check out Accountable to None and Zero Balance.

Learn more about Ashley Fontainne at her blog. Ashley's also on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Check Out Grimsley Hollow -- the Debut Novel of Nicole Storey!

Today, I'm writing about Nicole Storey, an up-and-coming novelist. Nicole hangs out online at her blog (, on Facebook (at and on Twitter (at!/Nicole_Storey).

Nicole's Grimsley Hollow - The Chosen One, a fantasy novel for young adults, stars 11-year-old Gage Gilbert. Gage has always been happy with the safety and security of his family, but longs for new friends and adventures, not just the ones he makes up in his head. When he meets Eve, a young witch from Grimsley Hollow, everything changes and suddenly he’s off on an exciting adventure.

In the tradition of Narnia and other stories which take readers from our contemporary world to magical lands, Grimsley Hollow delivers a fun ride. A good middle-grade reader. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Find the book at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stepping Outside the Classroom with Greta Burroughs

Recently, I talked with Greta Burroughs about her teaching days and her books. Greta Burroughs loves to read. No matter where she is, there is always a book close at hand. Her love of reading began at an early age and blossomed over time to include many different genres, her favorite now being fantasy.
As a preschool and elementary school teacher, Greta tried to instill the joy of reading in the children she worked with. Books were an important part of her classroom and story time was the highlight of the day.
It has been a while since Greta was in a classroom but she had lots of experience in reading to children of various ages and remembers what they enjoyed listening to. She tries to incorporate that knowledge into her work as an author and believes it makes her a better writer of children's books.
"Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat" was written several years before the book was published. The manuscript was put away while she concentrated on her career as a freelance journalist and before that in aviation education. When medical issues kept her from being able to work outside the home, the writing bug hit her and the old manuscript was dusted off, rewritten, illustrated and published.
"Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat" is a collection of five stories about a couple of friends who learn valuable lessons while out on their adventures. There are illustrations to go along with each chapter and questions at the end of each story. The target audience is ages 5-8 but the book can also be read aloud to younger kids.
Greta has also published a young adult fiction fantasy novel entitled "Gerald and the Wee People". Wee People was written for teenagers but adults also enjoy the exploits of the two main characters as they literally fall into another world and interact with the villagers, helping them to defeat a forest god intent on destroying their world. Greta has plans to write a sequel called "The House on Bo-Kay Lane."
Her one nonfiction narrative, "Heartaches and Miracles" describes the roller coaster ride she has been on fighting an autoimmune disorder called ITP. In this book, the author and several other ITPers give an insight into this chronic blood disorder and try to give words of encouragement to others trying to cope with ITP. "Heartaches and Miracles" is also Greta's way of telling the world what ITP is, how it affects its victims and that it is more widespread than most people realize.
That is not the end of her literary itinerary; Greta has several other children's and young adult books in mind for the future--and hopefully, she'll come back and tell us about them.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

35 Years of Math, A Few Books, A Few Witches, and a Pot of Gruel

Earlier today at Go Indie – Read Indies on Blogspot ( I was talking with Robert Spiller about his book, Radical Equations, and decided to continue the discussion here at Around the Town Books. Let's see if I can get him to admit he's a Ruin Mist fan, or will he go to the dark side. Hmm...

Robert Spiller taught mathematics for 35 years, all the while writing both Sci-Fi and Mystery.  Now that he’s retired he hopes to write full time.  As I've been writing stories for 30 years, nearly 20 full-time, I was intruiged and hoped to help get Robert off to a good start as an indie. Most intruiging to me is the numerical significance of the number 4. 4 being unlucky and all in some parts of the world, and 4 being the number of books in the Ruin Mist, Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches, and In the Service of Dragons series too. Hmm... 4.

Robert Stanek: What can you tell us about the Bonnie Pinkwater series?

Robert Spiller: The Bonnie Pinkwater series is four books so far: The Witch of Agnesi, A Calculated Demise, Irrational Numbers, and Radical Equations.
Bonnie Pinkwater is a teacher and a good one. She cares about her students. So when Peyton Newlin, a thirteen-year old math genius, disappears, Bonnie decides to nose around and that’s how The Witch of Agnesi starts.

One by one, students who were competing with the young genius start turning up dead and Bonnie suspects Peyton may be narrowing the field. Then Peyton himself is murdered. Bonnie's investigation ratchets up.

What she discovers is a coven of witches, a teenage comic book magnate, a skinhead neanderthal with violent propensities, an abusive father, an amorous science teacher, and a mistranslated medieval mathematics manuscript. Somehow, all the pieces have intersected in the tragically brief life of her math protege.

As the body count mounts, Bonnie realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Because whoever is eliminating her beloved students has now decided East Plains, Colorado would be better off without one aging math teacher.

Can you tell us more about the book and what motivated you to publish it now?

I recently parted company with the publisher of the first Bonnie books and couldn't find a new publisher.  The decision to venture into the world of managed self-publishing seemed ideal for my situation.

I believe I like self-publishing several increments better than the traditional track I was on for a number of years.  Of course I am responsible for promotion decisions (actually, I share responsibility with Deb Courtney), cover art, editing, and the quality of the final product, but the truth is, I was responsible for most of these even when I had a publisher.  I am at the moment heady with this new experience and intend to enjoy it to the utmost.

What’s your favorite indie book that you’ve read in the past 12 months?
I have recently read a non-fiction book about addiction, The Other Side of Hell, by Charles Bynum.  It was a fascinating look into the world of meth addiction and one man's journey through prison, rehabilitation, and eventual spiritual rebirth.

What’s your favorite book of all time?
The Lord of the Rings without a doubt.  I also have read the Count of Monte Cristo more than few times.

Geez, really? *grins* I know you wanted to say The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches or maybe Into the Stone Land, right? *grins* Do you have any advice for new writers?
With the way publishing is changing and more and more folks getting into self-publishing, I would find ways to make sure of the quality of your writing.  Critique groups are helpful here—readers who tell you the truth and who know what they're talking about.  Don't put low-quality stuff out there just because you can.

What’s next for you?

I am working on the next Bonnie Pinkwater novel, a YA Fantasy, and my first incursion into Horror (this one gives me nightmares).  I also have a historic YA mystery series with two novels in the bag.  I would love to see these in the hands of teenagers everywhere.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I teach classes in humor, critique groups, YA literature, and female mathematicians.  I am not averse to travelling to speak—within reason.  Also, I would invite teachers to give the Bonnie books a look-see.  Having taught for an eternity, I've infused these books with a feel for the world of the high school hall.  Lastly, I want to thank you for this opportunity.

You're welcome, Robert. Good luck with the books, and watch out for Number 5, er... 4. ;-)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Around the Town Books Goes Live

I founded Go Indie and run the Read Indies blog to help promote indie books, authors and bookstores. My personal blog, Robert Stanek's Books & Things, is about my books and current projects. This blog, Around the Town Books, is where I hope to host other authors and discuss the books of other authors.