robinvanauken@gmail.com

About Robin Van Auken

I’m Robin Van Auken, an author, researcher and educator specializing in cultural heritage projects. I teach at Lycoming College, and when I'm not teaching, I write. I've authored more than a dozen books, ranging from nonfiction history to fictional novels. I'm also a public archaeologist. Learn more about my projects on the web at: www.HandsOnHeritage.com
I’m Robin Van Auken, an author, researcher and educator specializing in cultural heritage projects.

Find the Beautiful, the Strange at Your Local Botanical Garden

Botanical Gardens Have Historic Roots I am not a botanist, but I enjoy spending time at Botanical Gardens. According to Wikipedia, the inception of botanical gardens is linked to the history of botany, and most 16th and 17th century scientific gardens were devoted to growing medicinal plants. The concept of a botanical garden evolved to encompass, "displays of the beautiful, strange, new and sometimes economically important plant [...]

2017-04-06T11:43:19+00:00 By |

Out of Nowhere? Generating New Ideas

How do you generate ideas? Has it ever been a priority for you? Or do you simply wait for an idea to surface, not wondering how it formed? You may be interested in the concept of producing ideas on demand, and the techniques you can use to hurry them along. I am. I'm a "thinker." I love to spend time researching and thinking about things. I hyper-focus on a [...]

2017-01-11T16:06:14+00:00 By |

The Eager-Beaver Writer

Are you an Eager Beaver Writer? Does this describe you? This person has wonderful intentions, and after riding the wave of motivation, promises to: Wake up early to write Write 1,000 words per day Learn how to use Scrivener Build an author’s website The Eager Beaver Writer burns out, generally in the first week, because motivation doesn’t endure without a constant injection of enthusiasm. Setting far-reaching goals is a sure-fire way [...]

2016-12-20T14:31:52+00:00 By |

Useful Guide to Free Photos, Media and More

As a writer, you're not always concerned with visual or audio artwork. It's often secondary to the Muse dictating the story to you. As a Self-Sufficient Author, however, you need media for marketing your author brand, so how do you find it and use it legally? The Ultimate Guide to Free Photos, Media & More was too ambitious, plus it wasn't an achievable goal, so I created A Useful Guide [...]

2016-12-19T15:44:16+00:00 By |

Reawaken Your ‘Sense of Wonder’: Remembering Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson The spirit of Rachel Carson lives on, instilling in the Earth's human population awareness of its fragile environment and an urgency to protect it from toxins. Although it's been five decades since the publication of her runaway bestseller, "Silent Spring" (1962), Carson remains one of the greatest nature writers of America and one of America's Top 100 Scientists according to a Time magazine poll. "The beauty [...]

2016-12-31T15:53:30+00:00 By |

Register Your Author Website Domain Before It’s Gone

Claim Your Name Now Register Your Author Website Domain Before It's Gone What are you waiting for? An invitation? If you haven't registered your name with ICANN as a domain for your Author's Website, then you better get a move on. I have a unique name, and there are still several people in the United States with the same name. Lucky for me, I'm tech savvy and I registered [...]

2016-12-31T15:05:03+00:00 By |

Why I Broke up with Smashwords

Why I Broke up with Smashwords Fall In Love with D2D Excuse me, please, but this is a "Rant Post." I've been struggling with the dreaded Meatgrinder at Smashwords for years. In fact, it's been a battle since I self-published my first novel, DISTRACTED. The problem with the Meatgrinder is, it requires you to upload your book as a Microsoft Office file, with no formatting (or minimal). Smashwords also [...]

2016-12-31T15:05:15+00:00 By |

Use BOTH Sides of Your Brain in Harmony

Use BOTH Sides of Your Brain in Harmony Does the left side of your brain dominate your actions, or the right? Are you logical, organized and methodical, or are you intuitive, spontaneous and creative? Or, do you use both sides of your brain in harmony? Scientists have studied brain-injury patients for years and have determined that both hemispheres can affect personality. Did you know, however, that it is possible [...]

2016-12-31T15:05:25+00:00 By |

We Know We Have to Market Our Books, But What’s the Best Way to Do It?

We Know We Have to Market Our Books, But What's the Best Way to Do It? Let's face it, there's too many types of social media applications, and software subscriptions, and email providers, and landing pages and funnel pages and squeeze pages and ad nauseum, to learn how to use all of them. Trying to find our way through the business of Internet marketing is a minefield, and we're wary [...]

2016-12-31T15:05:35+00:00 By |

Easy on the Hooptedoodle

If you've never read Elmore Leonard's Rules for Writing, you're in for a treat. Justified's Timothy Olyphant and creators Graham Yost and Elmore Leonard, right, with their Peabody Award at the 70th Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon. Image courtesy Stemoc, Flickr. Leonard was an American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. His earliest novels, published in the 1950s, were Westerns, but he went on to [...]

2016-12-31T15:05:44+00:00 By |

Devil’s Den

The Devil's Den in Florida is a dramatic freshwater spring, and popular for scuba diving and snorkeling. To reach the Den, visitors must descend narrow, limestone steps to the karst. Lycoming College Nautical Archaeology class visit the Devil's Den, Florida Lycoming College archaeology students got a rare view into a prehistoric cave structure created by an underground river while diving at Devil’s Den in Florida. The famous diving [...]

2016-11-29T12:24:42+00:00 By |

Doing the Difficult

I recently had a great, and at the same time miserable, experience. I'm working towards my Advanced Open Water PADI Scuba Diving certification, and completing the Deep Dive is one of the tasks I selected. I knew it would be tough, and I dreaded it. I had to build up my confidence. I should have built up more, specifically, my lung capacity and energy level. I was sucking wind [...]

2016-12-31T15:05:55+00:00 By |

Solo Camping

I spent a week solo camping, as a way to kick start my writing this summer. I viewed solo camping as a "Writing Retreat." My Constant Companion: Chubbers, an Australian Shepherd-Husky Mix. Confession: I wasn't alone. I brought my constant companion, my dog, Chubbers. My husband and the cat can get along without me for a few days. She can't. Feeling ambitious, I took half a dozen books with [...]

2016-12-31T15:06:09+00:00 By |

National Archives Releases Civil War Documents, Photograph

National Archives Releases Civil War Documents, Photograph Interested in the ephemera of the Civil War? The National Archives has released thousands of documents and photographs from the American Civil War, and Wikimedia Commons is organizing them. Civil War Photo: Captain Harry Page, Quartermaster. "The Halt." Here's just one of many photos of U.S. History in the category: Virginia, Army of the Potomac Headquarters. [...]

2016-12-31T15:06:18+00:00 By |

Kids Dig ‘Arch in the Park’

Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8, Lycoming College Unite to Offer One-of-a-Kind Archaeology Experience to Area Youth MUNCY -- Arch in the Park is a hands-on heritage program designed by students for students. Organized by communication students at Lycoming College, Arch in the Park is an archaeological outreach offered by Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8 and Lycoming College's archaeology department, under the direction of Robin Van Auken with Hands [...]

2016-11-29T12:24:42+00:00 By |

Grit Chronicles: Suffrage in Williamsport

On occasion, I share historic news reports and here's one of interest, in honor of Women's History Month. People don't often think of Suffrage as a community effort, but without commitment on the local level, the 19th Amendment would never have passed. Thanks to the dedication of women in smalltown America, as well as the "Silent Sentinels" who picketed the White House and went on Hunger Strikes in our nation's [...]

2016-11-29T12:24:42+00:00 By |

World of Little League Museum videos

Lance Van Auken of World of Little League Museum Hands on Heritage assisted the World of Little League Baseball Museum cast and videotape local children in the "Where in the World of Little League Museum" series to celebrate the 2015 Little League World Series. The videos were part of a social media campaign. The videos were posted on Facebook, once per day during the annual Little League Baseball [...]

2016-11-29T12:24:42+00:00 By |

Our Milestone: 35 Years Together

We celebrated a milestone in the Van Auken family: our 35th wedding anniversary. I made a short video for my sweetheart that summarized some of the adventures we've had this past year, and I'm looking forward to many more. Van Aukens observe 35th anniversary Lance and Robin Van Auken Mr. and Mrs. Lance Van Auken, South Williamsport, observed their 35th wedding anniversary Feb. 14, [...]

2016-11-29T17:27:29+00:00 By |

Muncy Heritage Park Offers River Access

Muncy Heritage Park offers river access. MUNCY — River enthusiasts, canoeists and kayakers have another gorgeous access point to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, this one overlooking a significant historic site: the Last Raft Crash Site at Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail. Muncy Heritage Park offers river access. Muncy Historical Society built the trail, another phase of the organization’s Master Plan for its Heritage Park and [...]

2016-11-29T12:24:42+00:00 By |

Get a Great Night’s Sleep

Have you, your family, or a friend ever had difficulty sleeping? For years, I've struggled with going to sleep and remaining asleep. I would lie awake for hours, agonizing over my "To Do" list or tasks I hadn't completed. Drift Off to Sleep I've found a solution that works for me, and it's been working for more than six months. It's similar to guided meditation. It's called self hypnosis. I've [...]

2016-12-31T15:06:37+00:00 By |