List of my books currently available

All are available as eBooks and some as paperbacks as well.

NOVELS
Mountain Rose http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HQOEYBE/

THE LEGENDS SERIES (Short Stories)
The Treasures of Li Quan http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I1MSCCC/
Dreamcatcher http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J0DG22I/
Encounter at Fox Creek http://tiny.cc/nua2hx

MEMOIRS
“Hey Joe” – Poems and Stories from the Peace Corps http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AI7ES80/

POETRY
Shaker Lane – Poems Beneath My Feet http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AQ4BYWI/

ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN’S POETRY (Educational)
Mr. McSnipper and Other Verses http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AZOA858/
AlphaAnimals http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BB0ANYQ/

The menu above has a section for each book – with some examples.

The sidebar at the right will also take you to where you can purchase copies. Those in paperback are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace.

My author’s page on Amazon is at http://amzn.to/1juqqnY

My readers outside the US can find my booklists at:
UK http://amzn.to/1kOigX5
France http://amzn.to/1kOmhL9
Germany http://amzn.to/1jupHmH

If you want to download and install the free Kindle app from Amazon for your devices, here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

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FoxCreek-Research

The first thing I do when writing a new story is to create a favorites folder in my web browser. This is one of the main places I store things for future reference.

Other than what I already know from life (68 years of it), I do all of my research on the Internet, or using a variety of programs/apps. I normally use Wikipedia as a starting point, then branch out, searching the web for additional references. I tend to use only commonly available information, so there is no need to do any extensive crediting of sources. More on this later.

When I find a website that I find interesting, I either bookmark it in the browser favorites folder I created, or use Pocket to store it. If you haven’t used Pocket, it is both an app and a favorite in your browser toolbar. All you have to do is click on Pocket in your toolbar, and it will be stored in the Pocket app, but striped of all the ‘junk’ surrounding that webpage, i.e., ads. Then go back to the Pocket app on your device to look at it. From there, you can copy and paste, export in various formats, etc. You can click on any links embedded in the Pocket copy to return to the Internet for further research.

If I only want to grab a snippet from a website, I copy it and paste it into an Evernote work file. Both Pocket and Evernote, which are free, run on multiple platforms – in my case, my Windows laptop and iPad. Anything I do on one device gets automatically synced over my WiFi to the other. I find storing all of my research in my browser, Pocket or Evernote much easier that making notes. Hey, even I can’t read my own handwriting.

At some point during the writing process, I go through what I have tucked away and pull my thoughts together into Evernote files, adding my own personal twist to everything. This way, all my research is available to me when I am sitting at my laptop to write, or relaxing in a recliner at night with my iPad watching boring TV. And if I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, my iPad is on the nightstand to jot down notes or make edits that will also show up on my laptop. Neat!

That covers basic informational research, but what about the look and feel of a place? I use the Internet, Google Earth, Google Maps and YouTube to ‘see’ the world from the comfort of my desk.

For instance, in Mountain Rose, the science fiction crime novel I coauthored with my friend, Tim Farnum, we wanted to set part of the action in a plaza in Havana, Cuba. But we’ve never been there. So, we used Google Earth and Maps to scour Old Havana in Cuba for plazas, and settled on Plaza Vieja. Then we scanned the web for “Plaza Vieja Havana Cuba photo”. Bingo! Up came loads of photographs of the plaza. We stored them in Pocket as well as creating a Mountain Rose favorites menu in our browser to store them. Then we tried YouTube and came across a wealth of videos of the plaza, which we also stored in our favorites menu. Finally, after absorbing what the area looked like, we sat down and wrote the chapter filled with description of what the plaza was like, which streets you walk down or cross to get there, what our characters were doing there and how they felt about the beautiful plaza and the people they would meet. We invented a cigar store, a flower shop, an outdoor restaurant and a bank which we placed on some of the streets. It brought that chapter to life.

Then there is the problematic issue of generating names for your characters. Let me use the example of Robert E. Lee’s assistant on the Argo I space colony in Mountain Rose. We knew we wanted him to be of Polish ancestry. Back to the Internet and search for “Polish surname” and then “Polish male name”. We discovered websites that not only gave us a list of names, but also their meanings. Since Lee and his assistant are both into wrestling and boxing, we came up with Andrzej Stoklosa, Drugi for short. Why that choice? When asked, Drugi tells Lee that his name means strong, manly, brave – a warrior. Lee tosses him a pair of boxing gloves and comments, “Shall we put that concept to the test – warrior to warrior?” As you can imagine, Drugi didn’t hesitate to slip on the gloves. It added a spark of interest to the story.

By the way, do you remember I mentioned I write my stories using Scrivener rather than Word these days? Scrivener helps in naming your characters: Tools – Writing Tools – Name Generator. That’s my first choice to name characters these days. It’s fantastic!

Language. Do you have a character who speaks a different language? Want to slip some of his native dialect into your story? Just go search the Internet for a free on-line foreign dictionary. In my short story, Dreamcatcher, I found one for the Ojibwe language and interspersed words from their fascinating language throughout the novella. Again, it added some flair. Be sure to create a glossary at the end of the book for your readers.

Well, that about covers how I go about doing my research. Now as to documentation for sources. In the acknowledgments section of Mountain Rose, we referenced The World Wide Web, Wikipedia, Google Maps, YouTube and NASA. In the case of The Treasure of Li Quan and Dreamcatcher from my Legends Series, I included links to several of my sources at the end. I thought readers might want to explore some of the topics I covered in more depth.

The next section will cover the outline for Encounter at Fox Creek. I almost have it completed with a few sections already fleshed out. Either follow this blog (the FOLLOW button under the right side of the graphic header here), or check my Twitter account, @boblenx, to keep informed of new sections to this writing process.

I almost forgot to mention what I had to research for this short story: the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition, John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company, the flora and fauna of Saddle Mountain in Oregon and one other thing. Now what was it? Hmmm. Oh yeah, BIGFOOT !

Click http://lenxbob.wordpress.com/foxcreek to see the entire discussion from the beginning.

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FoxCreek-Hardware-Software

For hardware, I use a Windows 8.1 laptop, an iPad and a Kindle Paperwhite. My Windows software includes Scrivener, Word 2013, MS Paint and Gimp. On the iPad, I like Apple’s Pages, but I use it rarely. I would love to use the Word app on my iPad, but I already own Office 2013 on my laptop and can’t see spending 100 bucks per year for the fully functional iPad version. But it would be nice. The app looks pretty good.

Additionally, I utilize OneDrive (cloud), Evernote and Pocket all of which run on both my laptop and iPad. This lets me sync some files between both systems rather than always having to email myself everything.

When typing, I use a Bluetooth keyboard that offers three pre-linked devices. I simply select button-1 on the keyboard for my laptop, button-2 for my iPad or button-3 for my Android tablet. This way, my hands only have to master one keyboard for all of my devices. It makes life much easier. I also use a Bluetooth mouse rather than the trackpad on my laptop – just my personal preference.

When writing, I refer to the Dictionary.com app on my iPad. I find it to be very useful for spelling, synonyms, antonyms, rhyming words, related forms, grammar, etc. (Several of the options require you to pay for an upgrade.) You can also access this on-line at http://dictionary.reference.com. Another helpful website is http://thesaurus.com. In addition, I check the following websites for grammar and punctuation rules: http://www.grammarbook.com and http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index2.htm.

The Kindle app on the iPad is a godsend. I use it to proof/edit my books using the highlight and note features. That saves a lot of paper and ink. I rarely print anything until the last step shortly before publishing.

Now for Scrivener, which is my latest and favorite writing software. Another writer on Twitter suggested it to me, and what a great tool it is. It allows you to outline your book – frame it into chapters and subsections. You can view the framework as index cards, or as the text that goes with those cards – the actual ‘book’. Moving sections is a simple mouse movement of the associated index card – no more copying and pasting. You can rearrange the sections/scenes within a chapter, move a scene to a different chapter, or reorder chapters. You can even flag the status of sections from draft through final.

With Scrivener, you can have blocks of the master file which do not get included in the ‘book’ itself. This lets you store research notes, develop characters, etc. There is a trashbin, so you can access or recover old drafts, if need be.

Another nice feature is that you compile your book – either to print it, make a Kindle file, a PDF, MS Word document, text file, RTF and so on. In other words, write once and then produce the final product any way you want. It gives you lots of control.

The only caveat, at least for the Windows version, is that the compiled Kindle file is not exactly what Amazon wants – close but not quite. Therefore, I wait until the book is ready to go and compile it as an MS Word doc, load it into Word and apply all the styles, formatting and table of contents. One last proof and it’s all set to upload to Amazon. A short story takes me less than an hour from Scrivener to Word to finished product.

As is true of any software, there is a learning curve. The company has on-line tutorials to help – and a users’ forum. You can purchase Scrivener on-line for about $40.

NEXT: http://lenxbob.wordpress.com/foxcreek-research/

Click http://lenxbob.wordpress.com/foxcreek to read the entire discussion from the beginning.

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AlphaAnimals

Interest Level – 4 Years and Up – Reading Level – 4th Grade and Up
Cover-Gimp-300dpi

Paperback from CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4181382
Paperback or eBook from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BB0ANYQ
Paperback from Barnes&Noble: http://tiny.cc/y2w6sw

Gather around for some terrific family fun with letters and words. Are you all set to have a good time? Are you ready to learn? Let’s explore those amazing twenty-six letters of our alphabet using animal poems and facts. We will even throw in some limericks, tongue twisters and alphabet/picture puzzles along the way to make it more interesting.

This book is chock full of fun – 81 graphics – 29 Poems – 20 Limericks – 47 Tongue Twisters – 44 Word/Picture Puzzles – Over 150 fascinating facts about animal group names. Did you know a group of crickets is called an ‘orchestra’?

No matter how young or old you are, you will enjoy listening to these. As your language skills improve, you will have fun reading more of them by yourself. I double dare you to say some of my tongue twisters three times fast! And just wait until you try my alphabet tongue twisters in which EVERY word in the tongue twister starts with the same letter of the alphabet. Phew!

So shift your brain into high gear and let’s pay a visit to the amazing world of AlphaAnimals.

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Hey Joe – Featured on Indies Unlimited

My 4.8 star rated memoirs “Hey Joe” is currently the Featured Book on Indies Unlimited

http://wp.me/p1WnN1-e98

Availsble at #Kindle #99Cents http://tiny.cc/b841rw

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The Treasures of Li Quan

The Legends Series #1 – A short story

Twelve-year-old Thomas Linton lives with his parents, Charlie and Mary, in their seaside home in Ogunquit, Maine. Tom fell victim to the polio epidemic of 1949. He wears a brace on his right leg and walks with crutches, or is pushed in a wheelchair by his father.
On August 8, 1951, the family visits an old curiosity shop in Kennebunkport. It is run by a portly old oriental man whose bare belly protrudes over his baggy trousers.
Tom enters the shop as a sad young boy, but emerges with a gift that will radically alter his outlook on life.
Join Tom as he discovers ‘The Treasures of Li Quan’.

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Yours for a mere 99 cents: http://t.co/Cpb0QfxXMM

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New Novel: Mountain Rose

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Available for Kindle eReaders and the Kindle App.

http://tiny.cc/1zlc9w

‘Mountain Rose’ – A SciFi Detective Novel

The year is 2111. Enrique Vargas knows exactly who he wants to help him overhaul ISEC, the International Space Enforcement Consortium, which has regulatory control over the Space Flight Administration, the Gaia I and Argo I space colonies and all seven lunar mines.

Robert E. Lee’s company, ‘PerformPros’, offers discrete services – security and investigation. Lee’s associate, Thomas L. Jackson, has developed the most sophisticated, near-human-intelligence, holographic computer system in existence. Her name is Noni, and she is an integral member of the ‘Rebs’ team.

Lee heads to Argo I to assume management of the faltering space division of ISEC. Even Noni could not have envisioned that their involvement would take such a dramatic turn.

Times may have changed, but human intrigue and greed … have not.

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Review of Hey Joe on a returned volunteer Peace Corps website

You can read the review of my Peace Corps memoirs here.

http://tiny.cc/cpl6xw

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Interviewed by Nick Wale

Life Experiences on Paper: Author Robert Nicholas Talks to Nick Wale

Click here to ready the whole interview:

http://nickwale.org/2013/02/26/life-experiences-on-paper-author-robert-nicholas-talks-to-nick-wale/

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ACROSTICS

Do you like puzzles? Try Acrostics.

An acrostic poem has a word or words running down the length of the page – one per line. The lines of the poem start with, or cross over those letters. Acrostics can have meter or not. They can rhyme or not. They can be long or short. It’s all up to you.

I like to put the acrostic in bold letters in parentheses, brackets or braces to make the base word jump out at the reader. Let’s try several variations using the word PEACE.

In the first poem, we will use the letters in the word PEACE as the first letter of each line.

[P]eople link to people
[E]ach in his own way
[A]ll of us united
[C]aring every way
[E]ndless unity

Now let’s make it a little trickier. This time we’re going to spice it up by moving the key letter one space to the right as we go down the poem. So [P] is the first letter, then [E] is the second – [A] the third – [C] the fourth – [E] the fifth. Ready?

[P]eople link to people
B[E]coming unified
Cr[A]ving what we all need
Pea[C]ful hearts survive
Peac[E] is what we need

Get the picture? Acrostics can take a little effort. They aren’t difficult, but you have to work at them. Try your hand at the word PEACE and see what you create. Then try these words – LIFE – TIME – GARDEN – PARENTS – FRIENDS – FAMILY. Go for it!

Copyright © 2013 Robert F. Nicholas

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