Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thoughts on Thankfulness

Today I’m writing about Thanksgiving.  I know I’m tardy, but that’s not too surprising.  My license plate reads, “ILBL8.”  *smile* 

How was your holiday?  I hope it was filled with moments that will become warm memories of family and food and perhaps, football.  That’s what Thanksgiving is all about in the South, at least where I come from. 

We celebrated on Thanksgiving Day with a feast at my hubby’s folks.’  His ninety-one-year-old grandmother was there.  I have to wonder what she thinks of the world today.  It’s so different than the one she grew up in.  In many ways, the world of her youth was more like the books I write – a simpler time, a less ‘sophisticated’ time, perhaps.   She watched very patiently as we all glanced at our smart phones throughout the afternoon, while my daughter and niece took lots of photos for “Snapchat” and sent them off to friends, and then while we all checked our Twitter feeds for the latest news on games and players.   Yes, the world has changed.

Thanksgiving is a day to spend celebrating your blessings, big and small.  It seems ironic to me how our society has managed to change the day after Thanksgiving into one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  Of all days, it seems that Friday might be a day to say, “No, I just realized I’m at peace with what I have.  Thanks anyway.”

I know, I know – it’s about the sales – and the opportunity to get a head start on Christmas.  But it just seems funny to me, juxtaposed as it is with a Day of Thanks. 

In honor of the occasion, I wrote a silly poem that I want to share with you today. 


Dear Lord,

On this sweet Thanksgiving Day

I bow my head low and take time to pray

For I, among all, am so richly blessed --

As You can well see by this house’s mess


I have boxes and bags that lie in piles

From my last two trips to the mercantile

Fripperies that I shall never quite use --

But I purchased them because they amused


Thanks for being so generous to me

For a credit card with no yearly fee

Now I need Your help more than before

Preparing to shop the Black Friday stores


Please give me true WISDOM and the FORESIGHT

To pick the best stores to purge at midnight

Send me the STRENGTH I'll need to see me through

When I must fight for a pair of new shoes


I’ll need ENDURANCE for this tiring day

And the host of troubles that’ll come my way

Please give me COURAGE to push to the fore

So I’ll be first shopper inside the store


Then please grant me HEALTH, don’t let me linger

I must take good care of my ten fingers

In all the bustle of this busy day

I can’t forget…


Cyber Monday is just two days away!





However you spent your holiday, I hope it was happy and filled with family and friends.  I hope you created memories to hold close in the years to come.  And if you went shopping on Black Friday – I hope you found some crazy awesome deals.  You’re braver than me! 


Special Notes:

My historical romance, Melinda Heads West is up for Sizzling Hot Book Cover, a reader’s poll that begins Saturday morning, December 1st, at  I’ll need all the help I can get, so PLEASE visit the website to vote and then pass the info on.  Thanks! 


I’ll be back on Wednesday with another Author Interview.  See you then!   (P.S.  Don't forget to feed the fish!) 

 -- robyn


Monday, November 19, 2012

An Interview with Romance Author Becky Lower!

Today, we have romance author Becky Lower visiting with us.  Thanks for stopping by, Becky!  I have lots of questions for you – let’s get to them.  First of all, please tell our readers three interesting things about you that they might not know.

I am single and have never been married…I liked to play too much to settle down.
I know how to handle a chain saw.

I am an amateur interior decorator.

Wow~ Those are certainly interesting facts!   I almost need to ask about all three, but I’ll try to stay focused. *smile*  So tell me what inspired you to write your first book?

It was the fulfillment of a life-long ambition. I had just finished orchestrating a designer show-house as a fundraiser for a local arts council. I worked with fourteen different designers who each took a room and put his/her spin on it. I was fascinated by the process, so I decided to write a book about a woman who takes on an old Victorian home and renovates it to be her showroom and living quarters. After a few attempts to interest an editor, I shoved it under the bed and moved on.

Do you feel you have a specific writing style or genre? 

With my historical novels, I like to take ordinary people and plunk them into events that were happening in their day--some big, like the wagon train migration, some small, like the introduction of the silk top hat and the subsequent collapse of the beaver pelt industry. Then, after I surround my characters with these events, I consider how they would react by asking myself how I would respond if placed in the same situation.

If I ran into a young black woman with a baby in an alley, and knew she was being tailed by slave mongers who wanted to return her to her plantation, would I be able to turn my back on her and walk away? Then, I transfer my response to that of my character.

I like to take a break from the heavy research involved in writing historicals by having a line of contemporary books. The baby-boomers of this world are about to rebel against every heroine being in her twenties, so my books are about the over-40 woman who is ready to move into a new phase of her life. The first one, Blame It On The Brontes, will be released in the spring by Soul Mate Publishing.

How do you come up with your titles?
The first book in the historical series, The Reluctant Debutante, was a collaborative effort between me and my best friend. When Crimson said they needed a better title for it, she and I just kept bouncing ideas off one another and came up with the title. The very next day, another person, from my critique group, suggested the very same title, so I figured it was a perfect choice. The Abolitionist's Secret was my own creation -- not the first title I had for the book, but I think it fits both Crimson's style and the book. For the contemporary, I had the title banging around in my head for a couple years, and tried several times to write a story connected to it, but could never get it to gel until I created the fractious and contentious Bronson sisters.

Where do you get your ideas?

My ideas come from all over the place. The Cotillion series was prompted by my love for Regencies, but I didn't want to have to learn about English royalty. Too time-consuming.  I was watching ice skating on television one night, and the commentator was filling in the backstory on one of the lovely young ladies. He said she was planning her debutante ball, which would take place at the end of her skating season. That got me to thinking about the Debutante balls as part of American culture, and the series was on its way.
For my contemporary book, my sister drug me to a class on jewelry-making using sea glass, or ‘beach glass’, as it's referred to in Ohio. The instructor told us a poignant story about her love of collecting the glass and how it bound her family together, and I was inspired -- not to make jewelry but to write about how sea glass could bind a family together.

Do you mind telling us what book you’re reading now?  What rating would you give it?

I'm struggling to get through Gone Girl right now. As my sister says, I should read these best-sellers to see what they're doing right, but I am to the point where I'm just skimming through it and can't wait for it to end. The writing is fine, but I don't care enough about either character to want to know if they live or die. I felt the same way about Fifty Shades of Grey. Hated the book, and only got one-third of the way through the first one before I gave up on it. So, to answer my sister's question of what these authors are doing right, I'd have to say they are hiring great publicists.

What are your current projects?  Can you share a little of that here?
My next book to be published will be the third book in the Cotillion Ball series. It's about Basil Fitzpatrick, one of the brothers in this large family, and I truly enjoyed writing it, since it was written from his perspective. That's the first book I've written from a man's point of view, and I enjoyed sitting down every day and working on it. It's due for release in May, 2013. I just began working on Book 4, which is all about Jasmine, the other twin. It's a bit unusual for me, too, since she's the one who needs to change, not the man. I can't wait to see how it unfolds.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Take classes on craft, enter contests, and join a critique group. Don't be afraid to let others take a look at what you're working on. Oh, and develop a thick skin.
Do you write an outline before every book ?  Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I started off being a full-blown pantser, but I kept painting my characters into corners from which there was no escape. I kept hearing about Blake Snyder's book on plotting called Save The Cat. It has a simple, 15-beat outline, where you fill in the major events in your story. It's a very loose outline, but it allowed me to work the kinks out before I began to put words on the screen. I used it for the first time in my story about Basil. I outlined it and then put the outline away. Didn't look at it once as I wrote. But because I had the major points already in my head, I was able to write quickly, and get it done. I went back after I was finished and compared the outline to the actual story, and it was really close. So, I'll probably be a loose plotter from now on. I kind of like that moniker.

Okay, Becky, if you were marooned on a deserted island and could have only one of your heroes with you, which one would you choose and why?
Sigh. It would have to be Joseph, the hero from my first book in the Cotillion series. When I was a teenager, I dreamed about finding a strong, tall, muscle-bound Indian in my backyard and falling in love. Obviously, since I'm still single, it hasn't happened yet. And now that I've created my ideal man in Joseph, something tells me it's not ever going to happen.

Okay, now for some fun stuff.  Please fill in the blanks:
I love pizza with pepperoni and bacon--not the Canadian kind but real, cholesterol-laden bacon.

I'm always ready for a night at the movies.

When I'm alone, I cuddle with my dog by the fire.

You'd never be able to tell, but  I would love to be able to tap dance.
If I had a halo it would be bent.

If I could go back in time  I'd be an outlaw.
I can never grow up because that would be boring.

Finally, where can fans find you?

To order the book:  Keep checking The Abolitionist's Secret should be available for pre-orders by November 26.

Thanks so much for being with us, Becky!  Good luck to you and many sales! 
Okay, now it's YOUR turn to ask Becky anything you want!  Use the comment section and have fun!  *smile*


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In a Perfect World...Part II

In February, I posted a small piece about life in the Perfect World.  Here are a few more thoughts... Enjoy!

In a Perfect World...

You could eat all you wanted on special occasions, without the miserable, bloated feeling afterward.

Children would never have homework - so you wouldn't have to show how stupid you are.

Hair would never need cutting, coloring or styling. Great hair days, every day! (no gray!)

We'd all be fabulously rich, widely acclaimed, published authors and poets. (*smile*)

The faucet would never drip.

No one would have to take meds.

There would be no such thing as wrinkles.

Your neighbor would carry all your favorite brands of food! (For when you borrow, get it?)

Krispy Kreme donuts would be healthy. (Or -- fill in your favorite brand.)

All flowers would be perennials, and there would be no such thing as weeds!

Your scales would lie. (So would your mirror.)

You'd soon find the hair on your shirt that has been tickling you for hours!

Onions would never make you cry (and neither would your children!)

There'd be no such thing as computer viruses!

God would answer every prayer immediately.

Your bathroom would clean itself.

You really COULD earn $5000 a week from home.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Tag, You're It!" with me - Robyn Corum!

Hey all!  I’m participating in a fun round of interviews with sister authors this week!  We’re all part of a dynamic campaign called, “Tag, You’re It!”  I’m posting my interview questions and answers here today and at the bottom, you’ll be able to (come back and) find the links to the other girls’ interviews! 

Questions for Robyn Corum for Tag – You’re It!
What is the title of your book?
Melinda Heads West
Where did the idea for the book come from?
The idea actually came from a flash fiction contest on a writing website.  I created the first chapter and really liked the character of Melinda.  I decided to ‘play’ with it, and more chapters followed.  Soon, I was in the middle of a novel!
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a Historical Romance/Western
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I am so bad at this.  Matt Damon as Boone, maybe, and Jennifer Lopez as Melinda.  The only problem is that I don’t see Melinda as classically ‘pretty’, and her hair is always a mess!
If anyone can come up with better characters, let me know!  I’d be interested to hear your ideas. *smile*  (Leave them in the comments section!)

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A young girl traveling across three states for a family deed finds misadventure, danger and love.

Will your book be self-published or agented?
It’s published by Crimson Romance, a division of Adams Media! It was released October 8th, 2012.  The paperback should follow in about a month. 
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About seventy days.
What other books within your genre would you compare your WIP (writing-in-progress)to?
I can’t think of a single book similar to the one I’m currently writing, except that it has a very loose mail-order bride plot! 
Who or what inspired this book?
I have often heard about the tenements in New York City at the turn of the century.  I wanted to try to capture the harsh realities of that life on paper and in a character people could relate to.  “Ama” was born.
 What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest?
It’s a hard story to tell.  I threw myself couple of hard curves, which I can’t really share or it would give away too much.  But suffice it to say that like today, the mail order ads in the 1800s didn’t tell the whole story either!  *smile*
Here are some ways to catch up with Robyn after the interview:
To purchase Melinda Heads West: Melinda-Heads-West
Authors Den:  authorsden
Twitter: @robyncorum
Here are the links to other authors participating in the Tag- You're It! Fun:

Thanks so much!  robyn

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An Interview With Galen Rose!

Hi Galen!  I’m so happy to have you visiting with us today!  Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few quick questions.  Let’s get right to it:

Can you tell us what your work space looks like?
Hi, Robyn!  Right now, my workspace is a mess. I’m not sure what happened because last week it was clear. Can I blame my cats?

Sure!  *smile*  What do you think are the best and worst parts of being a writer for you?
The best part is seeing people reading your work. Having them tell you how much they enjoyed it and ask when the next book is coming out.

The worst part for me, is the promo. I don’t enjoy it and find it tends to get in the way of writing.

Yes, I’m learning that the marketing side of things isn’t nearly as much fun as the writing!  Do you have a specific writing style?
I like writing in first person. I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially in romance, but I feel I can get inside the head of the main characters that way.

That’s so unusual!  Makes me want to read your book even more!  Please tell us how you came up with the title for  A Place to Rest My Heart.
For most of the time while writing A Place to Rest My Heart, the title was ‘Laney’s Law’. But at the end that title made it sound more like a western theme.  I had to think about what my main character wanted most in life, and that was a place for her to truly allow herself to love and trust someone.

Where do you get your ideas?
I watch people all the time. Then I throw in what-if scenarios and go from there. The idea for A Place to Rest My Heart just popped into my head on a long drive and then would not leave my head, so I had to write it down. At the time I had no idea a novel was being born.

Do you read much?  If so, what book are you reading now and what rating would you give it?
Lately, I have been reading a lot of Carla Neggers books and Catherine Coulter. They are both five-star writers and I really enjoy their characters.

Are there any new authors that have garnered your interest?
Nikkie Locke, I really enjoyed Unbound and can’t wait for more.

What are you working on now?  Can you share a little of it here?
I am working on two projects right now. One is a left-at-the-altar adventure in Maui and the other is set in Washington about a woman who has not left her house in years and the man who helps her take that first step to love.

They both sound like something worth exploring! Do you ever experience writer's block?  What do you do to overcome?
Writer’s block is my arch-enemy, and it is a sneaky one too. To overcome it, I make myself step away from the project and do something that requires some manual labor. And if that doesn’t work, I head to the beach and take a long walk.

One last question, Galen:  What advice do you have to help other authors improve their writing?
Take advantage of all that RWA has to offer with writing classes, read your genre and don’t hesitate to work with a critique partner.

I know readers will want to find you and your book, A Place to Rest My Heart.  Can you leave us information on that?




To order A Place to Rest My Heart:


Thanks again for spending time with us, Galen.  Good luck with your new projects and with your marketing! 

To our readers, what project are YOU currently working on?  Can you share a little of it here?  Or if you’ve read Galen’s book, tell us what you thought of it, please.  Thanks!