I just got a nice review of my mystery novel ASPECT OF PALE NIGHT from the Good Book Alert review site. An excerpt:

Rob Steiner describes mystery ASPECT OF PALE NIGHT as having a similar voice to Stephanie Plum, which drew my interest right away. Plum is a quirky character with a lot of spice and a big heart. Steiner’s Toni did not disappoint either….Honestly, it was hard to believe a guy wrote this. Steiner did a fabulous job of writing emotions from a female perspective. Absolutely, no cheese dripped from the heart of his main character, Toni, very genuine.

Read the whole thing.

Love letter to Scrivener

Scrivener, I’d say, “You complete me,” but that’s gross and hackneyed. You do, but, well, still gross and hackneyed. I mean, you’re writing software, I’m human. It could never work, my wife would never understand.

The thing is, I can’t hold back any longer. Yes, you’re an elegant word processor, but it’s your single-source and compile features that give me those butterflies. You see, indie authors like me need to send different file formats of our books to Kindle, Smashwords, PubIt, CreateSpace, etc.

Scrivener, you are quite possibly the greatest tool ever for generating those different formats from one file.

There, I said it. I’ll stop gushing and explain.

One file to rule them all

Before I met you, I used trusty old Word to publish my epic fantasy novel, THE LAST KEY, to Kindle and Smashwords. I had to create separate files since Kindle (at the time) wanted an HTML file, and Smashwords wanted a stripped-down DOC. Quite the hassle to maintain two separate files, especially when I found typos and had to fix them in both.

Then you came along, Scrivener, with your sassy single-source ways.

You let me write my novel/screenplay/article in one place. Now, when I do find those inevitable typos, all I have to do is fix them once, then click ‘Compile’ to generate whichever format I want. Done and done.

Compile feature alone makes me <3 you

Scrivener, so far you’ve helped me compile four novels into MOBI, EPUB, PDF, DOC, HTML, and print-ready versions. You helped me create version-specific presets in which I can define fonts and layouts, file types to compile, and pages to include. Once I saved those presets, I used them over and over again for each compile without recreating all those settings.


And the option to choose which pages/chapters to include in each compile? Dreamy.

For example, in my recent mystery novel, ASPECT OF PALE NIGHT, I have three different “About the Author” pages in my project. One for my Kindle MOBI, with a link to my fantasy novel on Amazon; one for my Smashwords DOC, with a link to my fantasy novel on Smashwords; and one for my print-ready version, with no hyperlinks. I also have three different “Copyright” pages specific to each format.

So when I compile my novel in, say, Kindle MOBI format, I can un-check the Smashwords and print-ready versions of my “About” and “Copyright” pages. Ditto for the other formats.

No need to maintain separate files, copy/paste version-specific content, etc. Before you came along, Scrivener, the word “tedious” does not begin to describe the process when I did this in Word for THE LAST KEY. Scrivener, you let me do it with a few clicks. I weep with joy.

What else is there…? Oh, a LOT!

I’d write poems and books extolling your other features, but that’s already been done. From your word processing functions to your outlining tools to the “snapshots” feature that lets me save multiple versions of my work…well, Scrivener, you’re the best writing tool I’ve found since I learned how to type in the 5th grade.

And you’re available for Mac and Windows. How beautifully open-minded of you.

ASPECT OF PALE NIGHT – My new “geek chic” novel is live!

Buy it on Amazon!

Buy it on Smashwords (all other e-formats)!

Think Stephanie Plum meets The Big Bang Theory, and you’ll have the premise behind my all new “geek chic” mystery novel, ASPECT OF PALE NIGHT.

Times are tough in metro Detroit, especially for Hamtramck girl and part-time tech blogger Toni Dzielny. Within days, she’s lost her technical writing job, has to swear off coffee due to her hypertension, and interviews for her dream job as a writer for the Detroit Free Press, only to find she’s competing for the same job with her beautiful nemesis, Kayla Ratcliff.

As if that weren’t enough, she learns her ex-boyfriend, Leo Donnelli, was murdered less than two miles from her house. But before he died, he snail-mailed her a mysterious computer disc telling her to “keep it secret, keep it safe.” And the fact the police consider her a “person of interest” in Leo’s murder doesn’t bode well.

So when the real murderer threatens violence against Toni, her friends, and her family, she’s had enough.

Toni enlists the help of her brilliantly nerdy friends to clear her name and learn the contents of the disc before she shares Leo’s fate. They discover the disc not only points to why Leo was murdered, but that it holds a secret that could destroy a local cancer center’s new research…and her mother’s only hope for treatment.

WARNING: It’s rated “R” for naughty language, so if that’s not your thing, you may want to skip this one.