Spooky Nook

The Calling Audiobook Now Live


The Calling is now available as an audiobook via Audible and iTunes, all 10 hours of it (Spooky Nook, also available at Audible and iTunes, is only an hour). Both are narrated by Tristan Morris, who does a fantastic job. Truly, I'm thrilled with how these two audiobook turned out. I'm a big audiobook fan, and practically listen to audiobooks every time I'm in the car. Since I've signed up to become an Audible Member, I listen to even more audiobooks -- in the car, yes, but also at the gym, at the grocery store, and when I'm doing work around the house. Anybody who regularly listens to audiobooks knows that a narrator can make or break a book. I've heard some good books ruined by the wrong choice of narrator. So I listened to over one hundred audiobook narrators and narrowed them down before I picked Tristan. And, thankfully, he was available. (I plan to do a podcast with Tristan sometime in the future.) Check out the sample.

Now I know not everyone is a fan of audiobooks. That's okay. As an author, though, I feel audiobooks are just another market, and the more markets a book is available the better. There's a group of people who just listen to audiobooks, and then there are readers such as myself who enjoy both reading and listening to books.

Anyway, to celebrate, I want to host a giveaway. I have some really cool swag (Swartwood Swag, let's call it) to giveaway to anyone who purchases one or both of the audiobooks or who helps spread the word. I have some large, slick magnets to give away. Yes, you heard me right -- magnets. One has The Calling cover on it, the other Real Illusions. Send your audiobook receipts to robert (at) robertswartwood (dot) com, or share the link to this post on Facebook or Twitter or wherever and let me know in an email along with your address, and I'll send out a magnet or two.

Exciting, huh?

Also, if you're not an Audible Member but have always wanted to sign up, consider making The Calling and Spooky Nook your first two purchases. Audible gives me a nice bonus, and you'll become my new best friend.

And as always, if you listen to the audiobooks and enjoy them, please consider leaving a review. Audible makes it very easy in that you can simply leave a star rating.

Spooky Nook Audiobook


My novelette Spooky Nook -- a "prequel of sorts" to my first novel The Calling -- is now available via Audible and iTunes. The narrator is Tristan Morris, a relatively new voice in audiobook narration, but one that I'm certain will become well-known very soon. I'm thrilled with what he did with both Spooky Nook and The Calling, and will talk more about it once The Calling becomes available in the next few weeks. For now, check out the sample below.

Spooky Nook Sample

Spooky Nook, A Year Later

Last year around this time I decided to really dive into the digital world and start self-publishing a handful of novels that had been collecting virtual dust on my hard drive. It was a risk, as there was no guarantee any of the books would sell, but thankfully that risk seems to have paid off. The first novel I published was The Calling, which I released nearly a year ago this month, and I'll talk more in-depth about that title in the next week or so. For now, I want to look at Spooky Nook, which I billed as a "prequel of sorts" to The Calling, a 10,000-word novelette about a writer whose wife has been missing for eight months encountering a familiar old woman with an odd request — a request that will introduce him to a surprising evil.

I forget if I mentioned this before, but the initial idea for the story came to me all the way back in high school. I was working at a local movie theater, and one night I was outside changing the marquee, and one of the movies coming in or going out was the Jodie Foster flick Anna and the King. And I, being the huge Stephen King fan that I was (and still am), gave it this very minor tweak: Anna and Stephen King.

Not that original, sure, but the idea stayed with me, and I began to wonder just who Anna was, and what Stephen King had to do with her. Of course, the story changed through multiple drafts, and then at some point I realized I could connect it with The Calling. Both the novel and the novelette can stand apart, but both make reference to events in the other work, which can be neat for those readers who like stories crisscrossing. My ultimate goal was that, when The Calling was eventually published, to have Spooky Nook appear in a magazine or online just before the novel's release, to help promote the book. Obviously that didn't happen, and so I decided to release the novelette as an ebook a month or two before I released The Calling. I included the prologue and first three chapters of The Calling as a teaser (including the great photo as the cover, provided by Greg Miller). I never expected Spooky Nook to be anything more than a promotional piece for the novel, and didn't expect many sales.

Well, just over a year has passed, and between Kindle and Nook, Spooky Nook has sold just over 1,500 copies. Because I like numbers, here's the monthly breakdown starting in February of 2011 and working its way to last month:

  • February: 6
  • March: 5
  • April: 10
  • May: 23
  • June: 30
  • July: 47
  • August: 72
  • September: 76
  • October: 115
  • November: 143
  • December: 209
  • January: 369
  • February: 397

As you can see, a nice progression there near the end of the year. Of course, ebooks sales were high across the board heading into Christmas and the month after, but even into February they have been strong. Now the question is, is Spooky Nook selling because it's a "prequel of sorts" to The Calling? I think it is. After all, I excerpt Spooky Nook after The Calling, so readers who enjoyed the novel will most likely have no problem dropping 99 cents (or 77 pounds) on the ebook. So there's that.

Anyway, if you haven't had a chance to check out Spooky Nook yet, it can be purchased in the US Kindle store and the UK Kindle store, and in the NOOK store. Let's see what kind of year this little novelette can have in 2012.

Spooky Nook Giveaway Contest

The Calling -- which I announced last week -- won't be available until April, so for now I present you with a "prequel of sorts" called Spooky Nook. The 10,000-word novelette tells the story of Kevin Parker, a writer whose wife has been missing for eight months, who encounters a familiar old woman with an odd request -- a request that will introduce him to a surprising evil.

While Spooky Nook is connected to The Calling, the novelette is meant to be a standalone story. Readers do not need to read one to enjoy the other. However, included after the story is a special sneak preview of The Calling, featuring the prologue and first three chapters.

Spooky Nook can be downloaded for $0.99 at the following places:

Some fun facts:

  • The term "first novel" is thrown around a lot (many "first novels" are really second, third, even fifth novels), but The Calling is in fact my first completed novel. I originally wrote it back in college and, through the years, have tweaked parts of it here and there. Many writers eventually become embarrassed by their first novels, but I have always had a soft spot for it, and that's why I'm making it available soon as an e-book. Spooky Nook was always supposed to be a "prequel of sorts" to The Calling, the idea being that the novelette could be released a few months before the novel to gain reader interest.
  • Spooky Nook was written in 2005, back before there were Kindles or Nooks, so no, this is not a story about a haunted e-book reader. (Come on, you know you were thinking it.)
  • The novelette's working title was "Anna and Stephen King." That's all I'm saying about that. Except that it now brings me to our giveaway contest.


  • 1st place: Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished by Rocky Wood with David Rawsthorne & Norma Blackburn, published by Cemetery Dance. This oversized signed limited edition slipcased book originally retailed for $75 and is out of print. (Note: this is not signed by Stephen King)
  • Runner-up: Oblivion by Jay R. Bonansinga, published by Cemetery Dance. This is a signed limited edition that originally retailed for $40 and is out of print.
  • Runner-up: She Wakes by Jack Ketchum, published by Cemetery Dance. This is a signed limited edition that originally retailed for $40 and is out of print.

Contest rules:

To enter, purchase a digital copy of Spooky Nook and e-mail your receipt to robert [at] robertswartwood [dot] com (paying with a Tweet or Facebook does not make you eligible for the contest). This will throw your name into the virtual hat. To increase your odds of winning, you can do the following:

  • Link back to this post via Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc. The more places, the better.
  • Review Spooky Nook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, and any other suitable place. The more places, the better. Please note this means honest reviews.
  • Mark Spooky Nook as to-read at Goodreads.
  • Review any of my three other e-books -- The Silver Ring, Through the Guts of a Beggar, In Solemn Shades of Endless Night -- at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, and any other suitable place. The more places, the better. Please note again this means honest reviews. You do not have to purchase any of the e-books to review them (there are Pay With A Tweet or Facebook badges on each page), but if you feel the undying need to purchase them, feel free.

For each of the above, include the links in the comment section of this post. Try to nest all your links together if possible. The contest ends March 31st, midnight EST, and the 1st place winner and two runners-up will be e-mailed shortly afterward and announced here on the site. Good luck, and have fun.