Robert Swartwood

USA Today Bestselling Author

Category: News (page 1 of 14)

Kobo Weekend Sale

The good folks over at Kobo are having what they’re calling a TGIF Summer Sale this weekend, where you can get 30% off select titles using coupon code TGIFSAVE30. You can use the code as many times as you want, but only for those select titles. Two of my titles are included in the sale — The Serial Killer’s Wife and The Calling — so if you have a Kobo and don’t have either of those books, now would be a good time to grab them. And check out the other books on sale too!

Pillar of Salt

I just released a new ebook called Pillar of Salt. It’s a short story that originally appeared in Postscripts a couple of years ago. As I mentioned before, I plan to make more of my short stories available as single ebooks because … well, why not. Plus, with the recent announcement of Kindle Unlimited, I figured it would be a good chance to test the system.

What’s Pillar of Salt about? Here’s a short blurb:

In a small Pennsylvania town, the dead still get their mail.

The rule is simple: do not open the mail.

Somebody is about to break that rule.

I priced this ebook at $2.99, much higher than I normally price short stories, mostly because I don’t expect anyone to actually buy this. Instead, I want people to download it via Kindle Unlimited, seeing as how everyone has a free 30-day trial. You download it for free, read it (or at least get past the 10% mark), and I still get paid. Win-win.

Obviously, because this ebook is exclusive to Amazon right now, it won’t be on Nook, Kobo, iTunes, or Google Play for another three months. Also, from what I understand, Kindle Unlimited is only available to U.S. residents right now. Sorry.

In the meantime, download Pillar of Salt on Amazon, and add it to your Goodreads bookshelf.

Operation: Ice Bat – A Benefit Anthology

OPERATION: ICE BAT is a new benefit anthology edited by Brian Keene. It’s available for $2.99 on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

It contains new stories and reprints by Brian Keene, Christopher Golden, J. F. Gonzalez, Kelli Owen, James A. Moore, Mary SanGiovanni, Geoff Cooper, Robert Ford, Mandy DeGeit, Nate Southard, and many, many more. My story is a rare reprint entitled “Noogle Knock.” Here’s the whole table of contents:

Introduction – Brian Keene
Breathe My Name – Christopher Golden
The Tin Box – Kelli Owen
For Whom We Mourn – Geoff Cooper
Inviolable – Mandy DeGeit
Mouth – Nate Southard
Little King – Nikki McKenzie
Home – J.F. Gonzalez
The Taste of Our Indiscretions – Robert Ford
In the Details – Michele Mixell
The Guardian of Tsalal – Brian Keene
A Family Birthday – Jacob Haddon
Emily’s Kiss – James A. Moore
Pretty, Pretty Shiny – Alyn Day
I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday – Mike Lombardo
The Mime – Mary SanGiovanni
The Wretched Spawn – Michael H. Antonio
Arrearages – Wesley Southard
Noogle Knock – Robert Swartwood

100% of the proceeds go to our friend Dave Thomas, who is going through hard times right now.


Writer’s Digest Conference Two Weeks Away

So in the next two weeks I’ll be at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York City, hanging out with the likes of Harlan Coben and Hugh Howey … or, at least, seeing them from a distance. The dates are August 1 – 3, at the Roosevelt Hotel. I’m on two panels  Expanding Your Brand with Co-Writers, with my Refuge co-authors Jeremy Robinson and Kane Gilmour, as well as Sean Ellis, and Getting Real about Self-Publishing, with Jeremy and Kane, as well as Judith Gille and Ember Reichgott Junge. You can see the rest of the schedule here. AND, if you haven’t signed up yet, you can use this (case sensitive!) discount code for $50.00 off the Basic Conference or Pitch Slam/Basic Conference Package: WDSPEAKER. Hope to see some of you there!

Writer’s Digest Annual Conference

What does Harlan Coben, Hugh Howey, and I have in common? We’ll be at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference this summer in New York City (though, admittedly, many more people will be attending to see those two dudes … okay, basically everyone will be attending to see those two dudes). The dates are August 1 – 3, at the Roosevelt Hotel. I’m on two panels  Expanding Your Brand with Co-Writers, with my Refuge co-authors Jeremy Robinson and Kane Gilmour, as well as Sean Ellis, and Getting Real about Self-Publishing, with Jeremy and Kane, as well as Judith Gille and Ember Reichgott Junge. You can see the rest of the schedule here. Hope to see some of you there!


My flash fiction piece “Wart” is up today at Vol. 1 Brooklyn. This is the first flash fiction piece I’ve written in a long time, so it’s nice dabbling in the genre again. A big thanks to Tobias Carroll and everyone else at Vol. 1 Brooklyn for giving it a place to be read.

Me In Google Play

Not too long ago Google contacted me about making my ebooks available in Google Play. And now several of them are. Mostly just my novels right now, but eventually I’ll get the short stories and novellas up at some point. Anyway, if you use Google Play, or know someone who does, help spread the word!

New Hint Fiction Contest

It’s been almost five years since my essay “Hint Fiction: When Flash Fiction Becomes Just Too Flashy” was first published at Flash Fiction Chronicles. Since then Hint Fiction has really taken on a life of its own. Besides the anthology published by W. W. Norton four years ago, there’s been an art show, a film contest, and even recently an anthology of Sri Lankan Hint Fiction. There have been three contests in the past — judged by Stewart O’Nan, James Frey, and Joyce Carol Oates — and this year I thought it was time to host another contest.

What is Hint Fiction? It’s a story of 25 words or fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story. Think of Hemingway’s apocryphal six-word story: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” It doesn’t have a title, but those six words convey a punch. Not only that, they stand on their own. They’re not the first line of a story, or a random sentence plucked from a longer story.

The reason I didn’t host a contest the past two years is because the stories submitted in 2011 seemed rather … formulaic. After all, there is only so much that can be done with a 25 word limit. Having said that, I have a faith that more can be done with the genre, that writers can think outside the box, so that’s why I’m doing another contest.

This year’s judge is the one and only Benjamin Percy. He is the author of two novels, Red Moon and The Wilding, as well as two books of stories, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His honors include an NEA fellowship, the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Plimpton Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics. His story “Impact” appeared in the Hint Fiction anthology.

The submission period will be from April 1 to April 30 at this website. You can submit up to two Hint Fiction stories (subscribers to my newsletter can submit up to three, those lucky sons of guns). After April 30th, a top 20 will be chosen and will be published online, where readers can vote for their favorites à la American Idol. Then from there a top 10 will be narrowed down, which will be sent to Benjamin Percy (please note that I hold veto power, so if a story I feel strongly about in the top 20 doesn’t make the top 10, I may include it anyway).

The prizes are as follows:

  • 1st place $100, 2nd place $50, 3rd place $25.
  • All winners and runners up will receive signed copies of the Hint Fiction anthology, as well as signed copies of my very short fiction collection Phantom Energy.
  • Perera-Hussein Publishing House has generously donated copies of their Sri Lankan Hint Fiction anthology Short & Sweet to the winners and runners up as well.
  • Finally, the 1st place winner will also have his or her Hint Fiction story animated by Dustin Grella, who has animated a few Hint Fiction stories in the past (here and here and here).

There is no entry fee.

Still not sure what Hint Fiction is? It’s strongly recommended you check out the anthology, which is still available in paperback. Also, Norton has kindly lowered the price of the ebook for a limited time, so you can purchase it for just $2.99 on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.

So check back here April 1st. In the meantime, have fun!

EDIT: The contest is currently open.

What’s Coming This Year

The other day I posted the cover for a new novel coming out shortly called Bullet Rain. What the heck is that? Well, I thought I’d share some of the books I plan to release this upcoming year …

  • LEGION – a standalone novel that takes place in the Man of Wax universe. In many ways it works as a prequel to the trilogy, and characters that appear in this book will show up in the third book. So I guess when this whole thing is complete, it won’t be a trilogy at all but a … saga? Those who have read the book already tell me it’s one of my best, so that’s certainly promising.
  • BULLET RAIN – a standalone novel that’s part of the Holly Lin series, and in fact is set right after the events of No Shelter. Basically we catch up with Nova and the trouble he gets into while driving across the country. There’s a lot of action. In fact, I think there’s almost too much action. And in the end it sets up the next Holly Lin book called …
  • THE DEVIL YOU KNOW – second Holly Lin novel, which takes place right after the events of No Shelter.
  • DOWN IN A HOLE – third Holly Lin novel. I actually started writing this over a year ago, but then realized I needed to write The Devil You Know first because, well, the second book should come before the third book, right?

I’m also going to attempt to squeeze in a novella and short horror novel if possible, but mostly I’m concentrating on novels because novels sell the best for me, and as a writer, I want to sell books. Plus, Legion and Bullet Rain are pretty much done, so those should be out relatively soon.

What about the third Man of Wax book? many of you are no doubt wondering.

That will probably be next year. In fact, after the books listed, that’s what I plan on tackling. Someone asked me on Twitter the other day if I’ll ever conclude the trilogy, and the answer is yes. It’s just right now the Man of Wax books sell decently, but nowhere near a demand that would force me to get the third book out ASAP (so, um, if you love the books and haven’t reviewed them on Amazon, please consider doing so as that really helps!). No Shelter is actually one of my worst selling books, which is odd, because pretty much everyone who reads it loves it. I think the reason is I originally published it under a pseudonym, and then when I announced it was me, I didn’t change the cover, so it still says Z. Constance Frost, who doesn’t exist, so maybe there’s confusion? The reason I didn’t initially change the cover is because the plan was to rebrand the entire series … but I wasn’t going to do that until the second book came out, and again, demand trumps desire. As No Shelter is my slowest moving book, there hasn’t been much hurry to continue Holly’s adventures. But I’m hoping this year with more books, the series will pick up steam. Also, I mentioned how last year I didn’t release much? That’s entirely on me. Some stuff in my personal life has been keeping me from producing as much as I’d like, but this year I’m going to do my damnedest to write and publish as much as possible.

Coming later this year, too, is a short story I wrote for a David B. Silva tribute anthology being published by Cemetery Dance. The anthology is called Better Weird and my story is called “Muse.” I’m really happy with how the story turned out, and I’m honored to be included in the book.

So that’s it for now, though if possible I might even surprise you with more stuff. Or who knows, maybe I will only get to half of this. Basically I’m putting this here as motivation for myself to get my ass in gear. So now, with that out of the way, it’s back to work …

Eight The Hard Way

Nick Stephenson put together this anthology of mystery and thriller short stories called Eight the Hard Way. It includes my story “Mr. Mockingbird Drive,” which originally appeared in Needle magazine. The other authors, besides Nick and myself, include David Vandyke, Ryan King, R. S. Guthrie, Kay Hadashi, Alan McDermott, and Micheal Maxwell. And the best part? All proceeds go to charity. More formats are forthcoming, but for now you can purchase the ebook at Amazon.

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