Than you for your interest in my professional services. Below are brief introductions to my various communication-related services. I specialize in small business promotion and web design with integrated social-media marketing plans. I don’t work alone; I have a cache of professionals who assist me and who work independently. If I’m not able to handle your project, I can recommend a capable person.

I also work with several companies as a freelance contractor or consultant. If you have a large project that demands more time or skills than I can offer, I won’t hesitate to recommend you seek their services.  Contact me if you would like to discuss your need or would like a quote.

Editorial Services

Writing a book?

Are you a writer trying to get published?  We’ve been there, both in the traditional publishing trenches and in the independent, battling to produce a worthy, salable book. The good news is, independently published books are economical to produce and the rewards are innumerable. If you’ve been doing some research, you know there are many companies willing to take your manuscript and turn it into an eBook. If you’re like most indie writers, however, you’re working on a book in your spare time and you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on a project that may not see much of a return. Not many writers are able to earn a living on royalties. One thing you can afford is time, especially if the return is the rewarding ability to publish your book yourself. That’s where we can help.  We’re committed to helping you learn how. We’ll also teach you how to create a winning author’s page and a book video trailer that you’ll need to help promote your new eBook once it’s available for sale. Click here to learn about our Editorial Services

Web Development

website plansDoes your website convey the right message? Does it combine accurate information, beauty and usefulness? These are the most important aspects of website architecture, and creating the best impression can make a difference when you publicize on the Internet. We invite you to consider our intuitive, personalized web-development services. We can help you create and establish intimacy with your clients, broadcasting your special services in powerful way. By combining traditional marketing with vibrational marketing, we give you the tools to create a harmonious and successful presence on the Internet. We’ve been building and supporting websites since 2001, primarily for individuals, small companies and non-profit organizations. If you don’t have a website, we can help you in two ways: We’ll make a complete website with a gorgeous theme, customized just for you and your business, or we offer one-on-one training to help you make a free or low-cost website. Click here to learn about a Professional Website

Social Media


Social Media Package

You’ve got good news to share, but which social media platform should you use? Not only that, but who has time to mess around on social sites? Not us. We’re too busy trying to be creative in our own fields of interest. If you’re like us, then you need the Social Media Package. We suggest the Social Media Package to make the three most important social media applications — Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — easy to use and maintain. Like all of our plans, you can do it yourself using our workshops as a guide, or you can contract with us to help you create and personalize the social media package that’s right for you. Do you find yourself wasting time on the Internet? There is a time to work and a time to play online. If you’re not being creative and efficient, then chances are you need two things: Knowledge and Discipline. If you aren’t able to set boundaries, perhaps it’s because you don’t know which tools are useful and which are destructive. We can help you discern the right tools for you.  Click here to learn about Social Media Services


2109, 2015

Small Changes Ripple Outward

I spent a delightful 12 minutes today watching a Ted Talk by Shawn Achor, a psychologist who teaches about positivity and its effect on happiness.

Not only did I laugh most of the the time, but […]

1305, 2015

Crash Site Remains Worst Airline Disaster in Lycoming County History

One man’s quest to memorialize the victims of the worst airline disaster in Lycoming County history, the crash of Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 on Bald Eagle Mountain, is coming to an end. The crash site has […]

3004, 2015

Just Below Your Feet

A year ago, during American Archaeology Field School, one of my students asked about Cultural Resource Management in Pennsylvania. I told her about CRM and about PA Act 70, which has devastated professional archaeology in […]

2604, 2015

Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park in Benton, PA, is a haul up to the top of a mountain, but it's worth it!
1409, 2014

Grub Hub Camp Kitchen

If you’re in the market for a camp kitchen, you should be looking at the Grub Hub Outdoor Camping Kitchen. This amazing, patented contraption is easy to setup and is packed full of features. The […]

2106, 2014

Outdoors with Jerry Zeidler

I first met Jerry Zeidler while on assignment for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. At the time, he was a  Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation officer and I visited his office for background on an article. We chatted and became […]

2904, 2013

Heritage Downloads

My History Is America’s History

This free eBook, “My History Is America’s History: 15 Things You Can Do to Save America’s Stories,” is a guidebook to help families and individuals to explore family history and […]

2404, 2013

Public Archaeology

As a historical archaeologist, I work with museums and non-profit organizations, colleges and universities, public and private schools, and avocational archaeology groups.  Services I offer include:

Field trips
Field schools
Hands-on heritage programs
Historical research, oral histories
Ethnographic research and […]

2702, 2013

Social Applications

If you are considering adding social media and other interactive elements to your public relations and marketing plan, here is a comprehensive list of the more popular and effective applications. The bottom line is that […]

2702, 2013

WordPress Tutorials

So you want to use WordPress but not sure how to go about it?

WordPress is a popular CMS used by companies, large and small, as well as individuals. There are two versions of WordPress — […]

2702, 2013

Google Apps & YouTube

If you’re not using Google, then you need to consider all that this amazing company has to offer. Most amazing of all is that it is free, open-source and easy to use. There are literally […]

501, 2013

Man of Grit: Dietrick Lamade and the Williamsport Grit

Man of Grit: Dietrick Lamade and the Williamsport Grit
By Robin Van Auken


Americans recall the Grit Sunday newspaper with nostalgia. For more than 100 years, this popular weekly delivered news, features, fiction, coupons, and comics to […]

2304, 2012

Stewards of the Past

I thwarted my husband’s vacation plans. Days before he purchased tickets for a Caribbean cruise, I suggested Scotland.
In the blink of an eye, I wasted months he spent researching itineraries. Gone were his plans to […]

1804, 2012

Books by Van Auken


“‘Play Ball!’ is a delightful walk down the storied history of Little League Baseball. For those of us who played the dreams of your youth, it brings back mighty memories. For those of us reluctant […]

2402, 2012

Canfield Island

Canfield Island is a recent addition to the Susquehanna shoreline, having been added during the 19th century during Northcentral Pennsylvania’s lumber boom. But, before sawyers toiled in the mill, processing logs into lumber, American Indians […]

2402, 2012

The Heritage Trail

A stroll along the James P. Bressler Heritage Trail on Canfield Island is invigorating and educational. It’s also tranquil, this quiet spot along the Susquehanna River’s West Branch.

The trail is part of Loyalsock Township’s Riverfront […]

1411, 2011

Hobie Makes Kayaks

Hobie, a leading catamaran design company, expanded and introduced a line of sit-on-top kayaks, fishing kayaks and float cats. One of its more useful boats for use on local creeks, lakes and rivers is the […]

108, 2011

School Days

Working with Muncy Historical Society and the students (past and present) of Muncy Jr/Sr High School, historian Robin Van Auken created a 30-minute DVD oral history project that features 35 alumni and current student interviews.

Historical […]

3107, 2011

Pennsylvania’s Forests

Pennsylvania’s forests reflect a history of choices — from peaceful coexistence between humans and the forests to the massive harvesting of the forests in the late 1800s. Pennsylvania’s borders encompass 17 million acres of forestland, […]

3107, 2011

Lumber Heritage

The Lumber Heritage Region holds a key to the rich heritage of Pennsylvania’s forests–from the struggles of the pioneers to the cut-and-run practices of the early lumber industry to the conservation efforts that led to […]

2806, 2011

Mighty Susquehanna

The Susquehanna is a shallow river that flows about 440 miles, from Cooperstown to the Chesapeake Bay. Nearly 200 years ago, canals were used to transport goods and people instead of the river. Canal boats […]

2806, 2011

Shawn Gardner

Artisan Shawn Gardner, of Fair Chase Designs, presents on prehistoric technology and Native American art. This is presentation is suitable for people of all ages, including families and school-aged children.

Gardner lives in Montoursville, often presents […]

2806, 2011

Barbara Barnes

Barbara Barnes’ art vessels reflect a keen appreciation for nature in shapes and colors. She uses interactive glazes, often firing multiple times until she gets the results that mimic the hues of earth, flora, fire […]

2806, 2011

Joy McCracken

Joy McCracken is a spinning and weaving expert. McCracken demonstrates the craft of creating fabric from animal hair to students. One of her specialties is drop spindle spinning, an early technique for making yarn without […]

2706, 2011


She’s gone. Dan picked “To Blave” up one bitter, cold day in April and headed for Wisconsin. He sent us a note; he and his son finally went sailing after picking up a new battery […]

2706, 2011

Muncy Historical Society


Muncy Historical Society and Museum of History, a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization founded in 1936, focuses on preservation and conservation of the rich history and heritage of Muncy and surrounding communities – its people, businesses, […]

2706, 2011

A Monument to Exodusters


DUNLAP, Kansas — On a lonely, country road in Dunlap, Kan., a monument soars. An engraved stainless steel plaque stretches between two pillars of limestone and marks the family farm of a freed slave.

Built by […]

2804, 2011

Moving On

We sold our Precision 15K, an excellent starter sailboat. Hold on, I have to wipe a tear from my eye.

It moved to Wisconsin. A local judge there wants to use it on a lake. We […]

2304, 2011

Lakes are Great for Beginners

The temperature simmered in the mid-90s last Sunday, but it did not deter the sailors from a rendezvous at Rose Valley Lake. As the bass boats trailered out, sailboats took their spot. There seems to […]

804, 2011

Van Wagner

Van Wagner

Since he was a child, Van Wagner has been singing, strumming, rambling, and picking his way through the hills of Pennsylvania. With more than 100 original songs under his belt, and co-production of nine albums, Van has developed a unique style of musical expression. He has performed several times in Europe as well as all over the United States.

His style is a hybrid of influences from bluegrass to blues. His songs tell the story of growing up in rural America. Coal mining, iron milling, lumbering, religion, and farming all work their way into Wagner’s songs. His hometown of Danville Pennsylvania is often the focus of his songs. Danville’s people, places, and rich history continue to inspire Wagner to write about small town life. […]

2703, 2011

Widow Smith’s Walk

While Michael Ross was settling the City of Williamsport, selling parcels of land to frontier families and immigrants, another enterprising resident of the West Branch Valley was being hoodwinked from her home and business.

Catherine Smith, […]

2703, 2011

A Heroic Duo

While Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army fought the British, settlers along the Susquehanna River also considered themselves at war with the displaced Indians.
Conflicts escalated daily. Rumors of a planned massacre of settlers were taken seriously.
In […]

2703, 2011

Long Reach

Historic preservation is an admirable, though difficult, goal to obtain. Preservation works best in communities that have programs managed at the local government level.
In 2003, Williamsport’s City Council considered an amendment to a zoning ordinance […]

2703, 2011

Rewards for Indian Scalps

During the tumultuous years leading up to the French and Indian War, early settlers in Northcentral Pennsylvania had two choices: They could leave the fertile valleys of the Susquehanna, or take their chances with sporadic Indian raids during which farms were destroyed and entire families would be slaughtered.
2703, 2011

Indians of Susquehanna

Prehistoric Indians skillfully managed the natural bounty of the Susquehanna River region by living in accordance with the seasons. They hunted, fished, gathered nuts, berries and other wild foods, and they cultivated corn, beans and […]

2703, 2011

Lycoming County: Williamsport Firsts

Williamsport, Pennsylvania is a small metropolis with a dramatic history. Famous throughout the world for its impressive forest products, it once boasted more millionaires per capita than any American city.

A hale and hearty pioneer village […]

3101, 2011

Knots and Some Do Nots

There’s value in sailors learning how to properly tie a knot because a bad thing can happen with poorly tied knots: The boat could drift away.

A short walk down a long pier on Cayuga Lake […]

309, 2010

Birthplace of ‘Grit’

Famous in the 19th century for its lumber products, Williamsport, Pennsylvania is a small mountainous town. Situated on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, its residents enjoyed easy access to virgin forests of hemlock […]

907, 2010

Sunday Grit: A Newspaper Legacy

Make room on the shelf for another book about local history. Written by author Robin Van Auken and published by Ogden Newspapers, parent company of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, “Sunday Grit: A Newspaper Legacy” is the […]

2806, 2010

Boat No. 2


I admit it — I’ve been waffling. There are so many awesome boats available and every time I go to a boat show I fall in love with a new one. Or one that’s not […]

1106, 2010

My History Is America’s

If you’ve ever wanted to know who you are and where you came from, you’re not alone. More than 100 million Americans are looking for their roots, a remarkable explosion in genealogical research inspired, in […]

3105, 2010

Newport in the Winter

NEWPORT, RI – Seagulls surf the bitter wind off Narragansett Bay as a lone lobster boat chugs home. By January, the blue bay in Newport, the “Sailing Capital of the World,” is empty and few […]

3105, 2010

Head for Mile Marker Zero

KEY WEST— It is time for the annual migration of snowbirds. Houses are secured, SUVs are packed, and neighbors are waved farewell. Those fortunate enough to have a lifestyle that allows them to trade views […]

3105, 2010

Snorkeling the Tortugas

DRY TORTUGAS – If you can swim – okay, if you can float – then you can snorkel and the best snorkeling in North America is at Dry Tortugas National Park, nearly 70 miles west […]

3105, 2010

Where Is the Best Boat Show?

MIAMI BEACH – The traffic had stalled on Collins Avenue, also known as A1A. Drivers didn’t seem to mind; their eyes were glued on the mega yachts moored in the nearby canal, part of the […]

3105, 2010

Visit Annapolis Offseason

 Visit Annapolis Offseason
ANNAPOLIS, MD – If winter winds on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island aren’t your cup of tea, then consider heading south to the Chesapeake Bay and spend a weekend in historic Maryland. Visit Annapolis […]

3105, 2010

Which eReader Do You Need?

The eReader is emerging as a true friend of the reader: they’re useful, entertaining and you can have thousands of eBooks on your virtual bookcase without taking up valuable space.

If you don’t know much about […]

3105, 2010

Consider Trailer Sailing


Living in Northcentral Pennsylvania is advantageous for land-locked sailors. In addition to several large lakes and reservoirs nearby, boaters can use the Finger Lakes of New York.

Trailering a boat from Williamsport to the Finger Lakes […]

3105, 2010


Daysailing, also called dinghy cruising, has been described as “a magical way of exploring new coastlines and experiencing nature at close quarters.”

You don’t have to wait until the bank account is full and until you […]

3005, 2010

Swallows & Amazons

Barbecued Billygoats!

You mean you haven’t read Swallows and Amazons or any of the other books in the 12-volume series? Technically, we’re all supposed to read these books when we’re children, but if you haven’t […]

2703, 2010

‘Madame’ Montour

New World history is filled with tales of frontier adventure, and here in the Susquehanna Valley, one of the most interesting tales is that of “Madame” Montour and the lost village of Otstonwakin.

Her life is sketchy, […]

1502, 2010

Learn to Sail the Right Way

We made the decision to learn how to sail and to purchase a sailboat in 2005 so we took Basic Keelboat (BKB 101) sailing lessons with Flagship Sailing in Clearwater, Florida.

Captain Gardner Lloyd taught us […]

702, 2010

Easy on the Hooptedoodle

Elmore Leonard’s Rules for Writing

Don’t write what the reader will skip over anyhow.
Never open your book with weather.
Never begin with a prologue
Never describe the physical look of a character in such great detail it takes […]

205, 2009

Thinking Like Leonardo

I’ve been pondering the concept of a New Renaissance.

On the topic, Parade magazine’s resident genius Marilyn Vos Savant once wrote she would: “… found a school for art and music, dedicated to bringing back the […]

2112, 2008

Greenwich: Where Time Begins

GREENWICH, England – This is where East meets West. This also is where Time begins and when the New Year begins, this is where the first clock chimes the midnight hour.

Each day at 12:55 p.m., […]

2112, 2007

Your Ticket to Rome

ROME, Italy – Despite best intentions to relax and to slowly wander the city and ruins, a visit to Rome is guaranteed to cause anxiety because there is so much to see and so little […]

2806, 2007

Tony Smith’s Small Boat

ANNAPOLIS, Md — Tony Smith, designer and builder of the 28-foot Telstar trimaran and the 35-foot Gemini catamaran, has retired and has hit the road — as promised — traveling the countryside with his wife, […]

811, 2006

Finding a Small Boat

We purchased a Precision 15K in March 2006 after investigating small, trailerable boats that we could tow with our Chrysler Sebring. We can only tow 1,000 pounds, so the boat had to be light. As […]

702, 2006

Getting Published Requires Homework

So you’re one of 20 million Americans who want to write a book. If you’ve already written a manuscript, chances are you’re looking for agent representation. As an editor, I’ve had the opportunity to read […]

512, 2005

Small press publishers fill the niche

Dedication and faith are the foundations of many small press and independent publishers. By printing primarily what interests them and focusing on authors they trust, this group is growing rapidly. Whereas many major publishers consolidate […]

2406, 2004

Small Publishers in the Making


If you’ve thought of small publishing houses as recent developments in the print world then you might be surprised to learn that the small publisher has been around for centuries. Some of history’s most famous […]