SuperFans most of you know, my second book was just released. My hobby is quickly becoming a second job. As I work harder, I’m looking for a few special SuperFans to help me beta-test ideas. If you are selected, you will get to:

  • read some of my work before anyone else
  • have some say in what makes it to print – and what doesn’t
  • have input about book covers.
  • attend launch parties (virtual and real)
  • enter exclusive giveaways only available to my SuperFans.

As part of the planning process, I am trying to decide whether to just call this group “SuperFans” or give the group a name. What do you think? Do you want to be SuperFans? Or Lori’s Gems? Other suggestions? I’m just spitballin’ here . . .

If you are interested, please send an email to lori(at) and answer the following questions:

  • How many books do you estimate you read a year?
  • What social media outlets are you active in/on?
  • Are you interested in live or virtual events?
  • Do you leave reviews anywhere online? Where?
  • Do you have an e-reader? If yes, Nook, Kindle or Other (please specify)

The importance of Reviews

http://lorilrobinett.comBefore I started writing, I never left reviews on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Goodreads. But after I started writing, I began to pay attention to how I used reviews. Not only did I want them as a writer (and, oh, how I looooooove reviews!), but I want them as a reader.

When I finish reading one book, I’m immediately ready for another. Because I have LOTS of books on my to be read list (I mark mine on Goodreads – feel free to connect with me if you want to share lists/books!), and it’s really hard to decide what to pick up next. Admittedly, part of my decision is made on the cover of the book. But the main thing I do is read reviews. I look on Amazon and Goodreads, look at the average star rating, then read a handful of reviews – from those who liked the book and those who didn’t.

Once I realized how much I used reviews, I decided to start writing them. Some reviews are really long and in-depth – a work of art in and of themselves. Some reviews are short and to the point – “I liked it.” Some are serious, some are hilarious (one of my favorites is the banana slicer – pop over & take a read). My reviews are somewhere in the middle.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Did you like the book?
  • Was the plot engaging? Did it keep your interest?
  • Did you like the characters? Are they people you’d want to have lunch with, travel with, meet at a pub . . . or would you cross the street to avoid meeting them?
  • Was the setting something you could relate to? Someplace you’re familiar with, or did it transport you to an exotic location?

If you haven’t written a review yet, go try it on one of my books. You’ll get some experience and you’ll make my day!

Denim & Diamonds

Fatal Impulse

How to Write a Novel: The First Draft

Blank to 50K(1)I’ve been writing for a long time – semi-seriously for over 10 years. I spent years on the first draft of my first novel. And it’s still not finished. So, how did I break through and finally FINISH a first draft?

  • Recognize that a first draft is an imperfect grouping of words, sentences, paragraphs. It is perfectly simply because it exists. It’s not supposed to be perfect.
  • Declare your intentions. You need to be accountable. You don’t have to tell the world, but tell a good friend. And have them check your progress.
  • Decide what method to use. There’s the snowflake method, or Holly Lisle’s index card method, or you can just fly by the seat of your pants. It doesn’t matter what you use this time. This time is all about learning and experience. If it works, use it again. If it doesn’t work, try something else next time.
  • Treat writing as exercise. Writing is like a muscle. Do it daily, and it will get easier.
  • Start. You can sit and think forever, but that doesn’t get that first draft written. You have to actually sit your butt in the chair, put your fingers on the keyboard and type.
  • Slog through. The middle is mucky. You’ll get stuck, the forward movement will be slow. Just keep going.
  • Finish. Find a way to wrap things up. It doesn’t have to be the perfect ending. You’ll polish it later.
  • Finally, put it away. Give the draft time to percolate and let yourself get some distance before you go back to revise. And celebrate. You did what very few people actually do.

Denim & Diamonds: A Book Club Guide

Denim & Diamonds

Someone I know through work emailed me a week or so ago to let me know that her book club has chosen Denim & Diamonds as their April read. Exciting stuff! I’m looking forward to meeting with the Bookies and talking to them later this month.

When the book first came out, someone suggested I create a book club guide – and now I’m so glad I did! Here’s an electronic version – feel free to use it for your own reading group if you choose to read the novel. If you have specific questions, feel free to email me and I’d be happy to answer or speak at a book club meeting.

Discussion Questions

  • When Beth learns that her father’s Will stipulates that she must move to the Diamond J for a year, she takes the challenge. Do you think she would have taken that challenge if her fiance hadn’t cheated on her? How would things have been different if she and her fiance hadn’t broken up?
  • Beau struggles with his own lack of family (for instance, he wants a relationship with his crazy aunt, but doesn’t trust her). How do you think this affects his relationship with Beth?
  • Beth is bitter about her father’s lack of involvement and support, and is jealous of his relationship with Beau (and, for that matter, other members of the Diamond J family). How does that jealousy color her own feelings about the ranch?
  • What event is the tipping point in the relationship between Beth and Beau? Why?

Questions and Answers with the author

  • How long have you been writing? All my life, but seriously for a little over 10 years.
  • Where did you get the idea for Denim & Diamonds? The seed of the story came from a client at the law firm I worked for. A client wanted to make sure her horses were cared for after her death.
  • How long did it take you to write this novel? I wrote the first draft in 30 days, as part of National Novel Writing Month, but it took years to rewrite, edit and polish the story.
  • Who was the inspiration for Beth? As for her physical appearance, I always pictured the actress Molly Quinn as Beth.

Enhance Your Book Club

The theme of Denim & Diamonds is the importance of family (which doesn’t necessarily mean blood relatives). I encourage you to try one of the following activities after you’ve read the novel:

  • Share a story from your youth with a younger member of your family (like Beth telling about visiting the planetarium with her brother).
  • Write a letter to a member of your family telling them why you value them, and perhaps share a special memory with them.