Thank you to indieB.R.A.G. for honoring Robin’s Blue with your Medallion. I appreciate the recognition. It takes many years to write a novel and even more to publish it. It IS an art and people like you help to bring it notice.

Pam Alster, award winning author, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl

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I appreciate the quote “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” I’d like to credit the person who said it but alas, though I can find many people citing it, I don’t see it attributed to anyone other than “unknown.” It’s a good one, however, and I not only say it, I live by it.

Any of my colleagues will tell you that the act of writing is a solitary one. It can be evolutionary, reflective, demanding, passionate, heartbreaking. It takes years and mistakes and drafts and negative feedback and shamelessness to complete a manuscript. But that and even more –a determined commitment — to see it through publishing with the sad knowledge that no one may ever actually read your words. It demands backbone and resilience to weather the rejection, criticism and reviews, if you even get there.

Having experienced this journey, I can’t help but take this brief and tiny moment of joy in relaying that after more than a decade since beginning the process, Robin’s Blue was honored this week with two awards: “Finalist” in the category of Chick Lit in the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards and as a “Finalist” in the 2014 International Book Awards in the category of “Fiction: Chick Lit/Women’s Lit.”

Though touting my wins may be annoying to some and sound as if I’m bragging about the achievement to others, I hope that serves as inspiration instead. It’s these rare acknowledgements that make an enduring commitment to creativity, art and the desire to say something feel like it hasn’t been a total waste. Love me, hate me — no one else is going to announce it for me.

Ellen Reid at the National Indie Excellence Awards said in her letter, “Your book truly embodies the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, we salute you and your fine work.” I will nestle her words close to my mountain of rejection letters.

So, thank you to the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards, the 2014 International Book Awards, the 2013 USA Best Book Awards and the Kindle Book Review Awards for your recognition for Robin’s Blue. Now I will return to my seclusion and continue to throw mud at my next attempt to say something.

 Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl

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The awards keep coming!

INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS ANNOUNCEMENT

Robin’s Blue by Pam Alster named 2014 Award-Winning Finalist in the “Fiction: Chick Lit/Women’s Lit” category of the 2014 International Book Awards.

A complete list of winners and finalists in each category can be found at:
http://www.internationalbookawards.com/2014awardannouncement.html

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl

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Thank you National Indie Excellence Book Awards for honoring Robin’s Blue as a 2014 FINALIST in the Chick-Lit Category.*

“Your book truly embodies the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you and your fine work.”

~Ellen Reid

President & CEO
National Indie Excellence Awards 
*See Robin’s Blue and full list of Winners at- www.indieexcellence.com
Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl
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2013 USA Best Book Awards!
Your book Robin’s Blue has been honored as a “Finalist” in the “Fiction: Chick Lit/Women’s Lit” category.
http://www.usabooknews.com/2013awardannouncement.html 

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl

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Robin’s Blue  – Pam Alster  (2012)

This story follows the life of a self-destructive young woman, Robin Daniels, through the 1970s and 1980s.  The novel begins with Robin being a hard partying sixteen-year-old who becomes involved with drugs and married men.  We follow Robin as she continually makes dangerous choices through her life.  Her drug use escalates and she supports herself by drifting between men and eventually getting sucked into prostitution.  Throughout the novel, Robin has points where the reader hopes she sees her reality and will choose the right path, however, Robin just spirals continually downward.  Robin’s intelligence is obvious, yet frustrating to the reader.  This dark novel is depressing, yet incredibly well written. (AO)

http://chicklitclub.com/robinsblue.html

Twitter @chicklitclub

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl

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Dorie’s pain seared again. “Motherfucker,” she shouted. The epidural hadn’t kicked in yet. The fluorescence of the labor room, if you could call it that—it was more of a windowless closet with a bathroom –made her head pound.

The nurse came in, checked the baby’s heartbeat. The machine bleeped.

“Can you turn off the lights?” Dorie said. “It’s too fucking bright.”

“Sure,” the nurse said and adjusted the dimmer. She pressed Dorie’s wrist for her pulse. “You’re heart-rate is highly elevated, have you been taking any medications?”

“Just some cold medicine,” Dorie said and coughed, then innocently smiled through her stained crooked teeth. She and Dean thought that one up before he dropped her off at the E.R. She knew they’d find shit in her blood and they didn’t want any cops coming.

Dorie’s water breaking was a buzz kill. It’d been a goddamn week since her and Dean had scrounged enough to score. Now Dean was back at the motel sucking the last of it off their glass dick. There’d be no ice cream left for her after she got sprung. She wanted another hit so bad that she barely paid attention to how her back hurt. Another contraction. Dorie howled and the nurse patted her back as she writhed through it.

“The spinal tap will start working soon. Just hang in there,” the nurse said, “I’ll be back to check your progress. Remember, breathe.”

Dorie stared, tweaked out and alone, in the darkened room. She was sure the bitch was on her way to rat her out to the doctor. If Dean were here, it’d be worse–him pacing, looking out the window, wanting to light up. It was their plan for him to leave her, since the night she’d peed on that stick at the Chevron. They’d sell this baby like they had the last two. Shit, those kids were probably in Beverly Hills in a mansion. Or maybe at the beach. Whatever, they’d thank her if they ever met.

The room was icy, but she was sweating. The crunchy bed held that hospital smell, all bleach and plastic. She was naked under the sheet gown that tied at the back. Her clothes were on the chair. She probably reeked of cigarettes and the torch. So what if the baby came a week early, the adoption agency would be all hands out for her bundle of love. Good people, just waiting for her to call and tell them to where to pick up their package. She’d get the money –Birthmother Expenses they called the payments to her –something about a child-trafficking law –and then Dean and her, they’d be hot rolling, buy Croak, or better, some Mexican speed balls.

Dean was good-looking. Everyone said so. He was stringy with some bad-ass muscles and ink. Dorie didn’t care that he called her a stupid ugly ho. He still fucked her. That meant something, didn’t it? He only hit her because he had to teach her shit and Dorie knew she was dumb, people been telling her that since she was little and couldn’t remember her times tables. It took beatings to remember things, is what her adopted mother used to say when her father would get out the belt. Didn’t matter that Dorie was shaking and screaming, that she had strap marks across the back of her thighs when she went to Parker Elementary. When she told Dean about that after the first time he hit her, he agreed. He always had a good scam—it was his idea to go to the adoption place the first time. When she got herself knocked up, most dudes woulda left, but not Dean.

Giving a baby away wasn’t hard to do, Dorie knew because she’d been adopted. She figured that her mother must’ve really loved her to leave with those Pentecostal’s in Lancaster. She’d do the same for this lucky bastard kicking its way out. Life was cool like that.

And Dean was all sweet, too, each time she got knocked up. They’d been at it for almost ten years, since he’d found her at that Dollar Store stocking shelves. You’d think he’d say by now that she was fat and ugly, but no, he called her his little money maker. He was all lovey-dovey, he went to the liquor store for cigarettes and he hardly hit her. It was good times. As long as she could keep spitting out money, she had her man.

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl

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I dropped my nine year old daughter off this week for her first year at sleep-away camp –or boarding camp, as we used to say. It wasn’t without a lot of dread mixed in with all the practical and emotional prep. I’d told her about this all-girl’s camp, which I went to with my sisters when I was young, pretty much since the day she was born. Instead of lullaby’s, I sang her camp songs. Kooky, right? Not so much. Apparently, I’m not alone with my fond memories of summer in the sticks away from home. Many of my friends and even relatives have sent their kids to the camps they went to. Generational or legacy camps such as mine, each unique in their location, activities, songs and lore, are not at all unusual. But whatever they feature, wherever they are, they universally share (along with the lanyards, hikes and bug bites) the valuable life skills of bonding and self-reliance.

Just the other night, my sister recounted what a colleague said who had daughter at the same camp. “What’s with all the tearful goodbyes and having to go back every year? It’s like a cult or something,” she said. Definitely someone who’d never been to summer sleep away camp.

Anyone with fond memories of camp will agree, that though it wasn’t as dramatic as a “cult,” it was some of the best times of their childhood. Here’s a list of the positive life changing things your child will gain by leaving home for those weeks that aren’t necessarily articulated in the the camp brochures:

1. Independence

For my child (and most kids) this is the first time away from home for any extended period. How they are helped through this difficult transition with the support of great counselors, camp staff and their own critical thinking will ingrain a sense of security as they approach future change.

2. Intense shared experiences

Sharing personal and physical space with up to 8 kids, all diverse in personalities and background heightens their experience. Climbing a rock face, swimming in ice-cold ponds, slipping on moss-covered creek stones, getting thrown from a horse are all things that will burn indelible images into their conscience. It’s these “firsts” that their buddies are witness to, which they support them through, that will engender confidence.

3. Life-long friendships

Even after the years pass and the world has its way with us all, inside, we’re still those pure-hearted kids, who made real “BF’s” with those, who by luck of the draw, ended up sharing our bunk-bed. Thanks to Facebook, we are all re-connected with those dear old friends. It’s as if no time has passed. What a gift to give your child.

4. Personal Responsibility

We do so much for our children that our parents didn’t. From driving them to school, to spending entire Saturday’s on the soccer field, to throwing themed birthday parties, to supervising their homework and Internet activity. Let’s face it, the habit is all-consuming. It’s a necessary learning step for kids to manage their own day-to-day minutiae. Simply brushing teeth, doing cabin chores and arriving at scheduled activities on time without being prompted or “nagged” instills individual competency.

The first time your child shirks a cabin duty, shows up for swim class late, or fails to get along amicably with another camper, it will be met with consequence and disapproval by their group, further imbuing social accountability. What better “prep” for college or that initial job?

5. Athletic Achievement

Photos of smiling faces on zip-lines, climbing rocks or serving a tennis ball, abound those glossy camp pamphlets but they don’t explore those epic underdog stories of valor and accomplishment that have originated for decades at summer camp. Each child is made to challenge their fears, to learn a new skill, to compete individually and on teams, and to support their friends to do the same.

6. The Cure for a “Picky” Eating

Each meal is served in the mess hall with maybe a few options. So what if the sandwiches don’t have the perfect amount of mayo or the exact bread from home? Go ahead, skip that intro lunch! Following a full afternoon of outdoor activities, come the dinner bell,  your kids will voraciously eat, without complaint, whatever is put in front of their faces.

7. Emotional Growth

Leaving home for the first time is exciting and scary and thrilling and sad. So much has to happen to get to “good-bye.” But what your child gains, though their parents are not physically present, is the sense that they can survive, that they will be supported throughout with letters and care packages from home, and they will be received with open arms to help them transition back to the “real” world at the end of their journey. A feet-first jump into self-reliance, with  life-long friendships and remember when stories to share.

With all my worrying, lists and efficient packing strategies to make sure that my daughter had just enough insect spray, stationary and underwear safely stowed in her trunk, after a quick “Bye, Mommy!” without a tear, she ran up the hill to play with her new “bestie” without looking back. Ironically, the next day, I received a call from camp that she’d fallen and broken her wrist that first night — they were taking her to the E.R. So much for those perfect waterproof nametags! Anyway, the good news is, she’s fine, a trooper. She’s got a 6 week cast and can’t ride horses or swim, but her letter says she’s having a blast — “This is the best camp ever!”

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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Thanks to Broadway World for their thoughtful review (below) and for “getting” Robin’s journey.
Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.
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Happy to announce that my book finally made it to #1 on Amazon Bestsellers List today. There’s a lot of great indie-fiction out there, so I’m honored and glad to see that people still like reading long-form. Hoping the fire is well-stoked and that people will continue to buy/share Robin’s Blue while I move on to my next projects.

Thanks to all the indie-bloggers who reviewed me, helped with the promotions and invited me for interviews. And thanks to Kim Castle for the gorgeous cover design.

 Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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