About Robin Van Auken

I’m Robin Van Auken, an author, researcher and educator specializing in communications, the publishing industry, as well as 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 books projects on the web at: www.RobinVanAuken.com. Learn more about my publishing industry projects on the web at: www.WholeheartedAuthor.com Learn more about my archaeology projects on the web at: www.HandsOnHeritage.com
I’m Robin Van Auken, an author, researcher and educator specializing in cultural heritage projects.

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 [...]

2017-10-27T17:02:02+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 [...]

2017-10-27T17:03:04+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 [...]

2017-10-27T17:03:27+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 [...]

2017-10-27T17:04:35+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 [...]

2017-09-21T11:41:25+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 [...]

2017-10-27T17:05:40+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. [...]

2017-10-27T17:08:54+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 [...]

2017-11-05T17:57:58+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

 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 World Series. If you're interested in viewing a video sample, watch it [...]

2017-11-10T12:05:24+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, [...]

2017-10-27T17:09:05+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 |

Small Changes Ripple Outward

Small Changes Ripple Outward I spent a delightful 12 minutes watching a Ted Talk by Shawn Achor, a psychologist who teaches about positivity and its effect on happiness. Shawn Achor(Photo courtesy Alexismbr, Wikimedia Commons) Not only did I laugh most of the the time, but I was inspired to pause the video (so yes, it took longer than 12 minutes to watch) to jot down some [...]

2018-01-07T16:17:56+00:00 By |

Hands on Heritage: Keeler Company

  Hands on Heritage: Keeler Company The E. Keeler Company, manufacturers of boilers, etc., conduct Quo of the old industries of the city. The business was established in 1864 by J. Heathcote & Company, who conducted it until 1877, when it was incorporated with a paid-up capital of $50,000, the executive officers being George W. Sands, president; Isaac Barton, treasurer, and A. G. Anthony, secretary. The E. Keeler Company manufactures [...]

2018-01-07T17:17:45+00:00 By |

Hands on Heritage: Market Square

Hands on Heritage: Market Square This 1875 photograph shows the southwest corner of Market Square in downtown Williamsport. Bustling with downtown traffic despite the muddy thoroughfares, Williamsport's booming lumber trade summoned entrepreneurs eager to capitalize on the region's wealth and new construction. The block featured a ticket office for the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Company, a hardware store and a pianoforte maker. Michael Ross, an indentured servant of Scottish origin, [...]

2017-11-05T22:03:10+00:00 By |

Ask a Curator Day

We're all curious about what goes on behind closed doors, and that's true for museums and galleries and historical societies, as well as private residences. Spencer F. Baird, the first Curator of the National Museum and second Secretary of the Smithsonian, oversaw the development of the Smithsonian as the national museum of the United States. My favorite closed doors are at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution in [...]

2018-02-11T17:08:10+00:00 By |

Kitchen Sink Bars

I like the portability and stability of Lara Bars when I'm in the field. They hold up well in the backpack, and they're not outrageously expensive. They are a treat, however, and when I'm shopping, I'm already spending more than most people because I'm choosing organic, whole foods. I'm not shopping for candy. But when I get a hankering, I have to satisfy it and it has to be sweet and chocolatey [...]

2017-10-27T17:09:32+00:00 By |