#Introvert

Decorations

Decorations

Yesterday we hosted a BBQ to celebrate my step-daughter’s graduation from college. I’m so proud of her, and was thrilled to host a party so that everyone could let her know what a big deal this is and how much we all want to support and encourage her. It was wonderful, and I had a good time.

But here’s the funny thing. I dreaded it. The idea of having lots of people here. Wondering if everyone would have a good time. Trying to figure out how much food for how many people. Thinking about drinks. What about alcohol? Good idea? Bad? I didn’t get all the decorations done. It was hot. Would people get too hot? Were there enough chairs? How much tea did I need to make? The house was a mess. I couldn’t clean fast enough. I hauled 2 boxes of stuff to the Salvation Army.

The Grad

The Grad

And now that it’s over, I’m exhausted. Totally and completely exhausted. Drained.

I think it’s because I am an introvert. I’m happiest when I’m alone. Would be perfectly happy as a hermit, most of the time. Some people freak out being alone, wondering what they’ll do, how they’ll survive. I’m the opposite. I need time alone to recharge. And, I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous of my stepdaughter, who is such a happy, delightful person – someone that everyone enjoys being around. She just makes you smile. Proof is in the pic. ;o)

How about you? Introvert? Extrovert? Whichever – how to do you recharge?

#RIPArleneMartel

After the shock of losing Robin Williams yesterday, I was so sad to hear the news of Marlene Artel’s passing. I had the pleasure of meeting her last spring at the Chicago Star Trek Convention. She was an absolute delight. In honor of her memory, I decided to share my previous post this evening:

Arlene Martel

Arlene Martel

Arlene Martel was the first celebrity I saw at the Star Trek convention in Chicago in May 2013. I passed her in the hotel lobby with a fairly large man accompanying her. She was so elegant, with her striking good looks, dark hair and large sunglasses. At first, I thought she was Joan Collins. She nodded to me and said, “Good morning.” I was agog – a celeb spoke to me! But who was she? Would Joan Collins actually make an appearance? I knew she had been a guest star, but nothing had been said in the emails from Creation about her. When I got in the vendors area, I spotted her and immediately noted the pictures on her table – she was Spock’s wife! It was Arlene Martel! If you don’t know anything about Arlene, please check out her website here. I made my way through the line and finally got up to her. I was trying to decide which photo to buy, and one photo was of her as Spock’s wife in Amok Time. She leaned over and said, “What the hell am I holding there?”

I laughed, looked closer and said, “I think it’s a ring.”

“Oh, yes!” she said as she settled back in her chair. “They had the most fabulous jewelry on that show!”

I leaned forward and whispered, “They didn’t let you keep it, did they?”

“Oh, no, we had no idea what we were making when we were making Star Trek. Like those ears in that photo,” she pointed to the picture of her with Spock, “Those ears hurt so bad and when shooting was over, I ripped them off and tossed them on the makeup table. Couldn’t wait to get rid of them. And someone told me they sold at auction for $35,000. And I threw them away!”

Arlene Martel: In Star Trek and The Twilight Zone

Arlene Martel: In Star Trek and The Twilight Zone

When I finally settled on the photo of her with Spock, we talked about the episode and had a hilarious conversation about Vulcans going seven years without sex. Arlene laughed and said, “Seven years – can you imagine? I couldn’t go seven days!”

Arlene was an absolute delight to meet. She actually spoke with me – not just at me. Asked my opinion about television and movies. I was so impressed with her. She and her husband have written a book about mental illness. She was such a delight, I can’t imagine her having any struggles. But after meeting her, I want to read more about her.

Rest in peace, Arlene. I am honored to have met you.

Virtual #BookTour: Sunshine Book Promotions

Do you like to win? Do you like free stuff? Pop on over to Sunshine Book Promotions today, read an excerpt of Denim & Diamonds and sign up for a free Amazon gift certificate! Have you gotten your free ebook? If not, go get it!!

Bonus: Throwback Thursday picture from vacation 2010 at my favorite family vacation spot.

http://lorilrobinett.com

Katelyn & me at Silver Beach

Margo Dill: Caught Between Two Curses

I met Margo Dill at the first Missouri Writers Guild conference I attended (2005). She immediately struck me as someone who was going to succeed. I’ve seen her at subsequent conferences, heard her speak, and have had several opportunities to chat with her over the years. As I predicted when I first met her, she has become a published author and a well-regarded editor and speaker.

Margo Dill

Margo Dill

Margo L. Dill is the author of Caught Between Two Curses, a YA light paranormal romance novel about the Curse of the Billy Goat on the Chicago Cubs, and Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, a historical fiction, middle-grade novel. She currently has two more books under contract–both are picture books–with High Hill Press and Guardian Angel Publishing. Besides being a children’s author, she is also a freelance editor with the business, Editor 911: Your Projects Are My Emergency! and she is part of the WOW! Women On Writing e-zine’s staff as an editor, blogger, instructor, and social media manager. When she is not writing, editing or teaching online, Margo loves to spend time with her husband, stepson, daughter, and crazy Boxer dog, Chester in St. Louis, Missouri.

Take it away, Margo!

With the release of my young adult novel, Caught Between Two Curses, in March 2014, Lori asked me to reflect on my path as a children’s writer. When I stopped to do this, I realized that my path has been going on for almost 15 years. Like most writers, it’s been bumpy, full of success and failure, highs and lows, but I wouldn’t change it. I love being a children’s writer!

People ask me how I got started, and so I thought I would focus on that because maybe it will help someone who is looking for that answer. Then I will also go into how Caught Between Two Curses was published, in case any one has a novel manuscript looking for a home.

In 1999, I saw an ad in Family Circle magazine for the Institute of Children’s Literature, and I decided to take their correspondence course, where I learned more than I ever thought I could. I learned that nonfiction is easier to get published than fiction, how to read magazine submission guidelines, how to find and enter contests, and how to research and start a novel. (I actually started my first novel that got published in 2012 in that class, titled Finding My Place, historical fiction middle-grade.) My teacher was amazing and offered wonderful feedback and guidance. A couple of the stories I wrote for the class placed in contests—once I had that taste of success, that’s all I needed.

From there, I found a critique group. Once you have a basic knowledge of writing for kids or adults—whatever your goal—I believe you need a critique group to offer you feedback on a regular basis. Not only did the members help me become a better writer, but they also challenged me to write pieces outside my comfort zone, including essays, short stories, and poetry for adults. I learned the most about writing in this group, and I went to many writing conferences with them, too, where I learned even more. Each step of the way, I had some success and acceptances, and then I had many rejections. But the successes helped keep me going.

Now onto Caught Between Two Curses, I worked on it some with this first critique group and at the same time as Finding My Place, but I didn’t start seriously working on the manuscript until I got the contract for the middle-grade. I wrote CBTC as a young adult novel, and I had two different critique groups that offered advice and suggestions on it. I pitched it at several conferences—some agents told me that they just didn’t get the storyline with the Cubs and the Curse of the Billy Goat. I tried to explain that it was just a small part of the novel—the real story was Julie’s, and her life as a teenager with a boyfriend pressuring her to have sex and a family that was stuck in the past with the curse. So either I was terrible at pitching my book or they hated baseball that much—or both. I had a couple ask for more pages, which resulted in more rejection. Then I revised it ONE LAST TIME and pitched it in April 2013 at the Missouri Writers Guild in St. Louis to Robin Tidwell of Rocking Horse Publishing. She said, “I love baseball. The novel sounds fun. Send it to me.”

So, I did, and the rest has been nothing short of a homerun. If you are looking for a publishing house, consider Rocking Horse Publishing! Robin has been great to work with. If you are looking for a fun, quirky read with a bit of baseball, magic, and romance thrown in, I would love for you to check out Caught Between Two Curses!

Find out more at http://margodill.com/blog/

LINKS:
Group blog: http://www.thelitladies.com
WOW! Women On Writing: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Margo_L_Dill
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MargoDill.author.editor
Tumblr: http://margoldill.tumblr.com/
Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780991069569
Book trailer: http://youtu.be/foFvYdh8KNs

Caught Between Two Curses

Caught Between Two Curses

SYNOPSIS of Caught Between Two Curses:
Seventeen-year-old Julie Nigelson is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either—it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs.
Julie must figure out this mystery while her uncle lies in a coma and her entire love life is in ruins: her boyfriend Gus is pressuring her to have sex, while her best friend Matt is growing more attractive to her all the time.
Somehow, Julie must figure out how to save her uncle, her family’s future, and her own love life—and time is running out!

 

Need a Guest Blogger?

Are you overwhelmed? Feel like there are just not enough hours in the day?

Girl, I feel your pain! ;o)

I need to set up a blog tour for July – do you need someone to write a guest post for you one day in July? I’d greatly appreciate the opportunity. I can post on a topic or theme of your choosing, and ask that I be allowed to end the blog with a link to my blog and upcoming release.

Interested? Email me at robinett.lori[at]gmail.com

Have you added Denim & Diamonds to your to-read list yet? If not, I’ll make it easy for you!

http://carypress.com/denim-diamonds-by-lori-robinett/

Denim & Diamonds by Lori Robinett

Denim & Diamonds


Working for Success

Denim & Diamonds

Denim & Diamonds

I’ve been on pins and needles lately. I am THRILLED that CaryPress offered a contract on my novel, Denim & Diamonds. And now I’m waiting to find out if The Wild Rose Press will offer a contract on my manuscript, Widow’s Web. I’ve been writing seriously for over ten years now, and desperately want to be successful. Sometimes I think about how long it has been, how long it took to get that first contract, and I wonder WHY. Why did it take so long? Why am I struggling? Why do I open myself up to rejection time and time again?

Simple.

Because anything worth doing, is worth working hard for.

Success should not come easily. The things we want should not be handed to us. We need to learn to work for the things we want, so that we appreciate them. I mean, come on. We all know kids that were given everything they wanted, and they appreciate nothing. Think back to the 16 year old kid that is handed the keys to a new car on his birthday. Does he take care of it? Does he drive it carefully? Does he signal when he switches lanes? Does he keep it clean? Of course not! But when I got my first Mustang at 40ish, I washed that car every Saturday. I never ate or drank in it. That car was cleaner when I traded it in than it was when I bought it. I even did the wrenching on it myself (full disclosure: I do not have man hands. That’s my hubs in the picture.)

Doing our own wrenching

Doing our own wrenching

I hope the same is true with publishing. Because I want success so bad I can taste it. And, I promise, I’ll be super appreciative if the publishing gods will just smile down on me and grace me with another contract. (that sounds terribly greedy of me, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t change the fact that I want it . . . )

Shameless plug: Check out Denim & Diamonds on Goodreads. Here’s what you can do to help me out:

  • Enter the giveaway
  • Mark the book Want To Read
  • Share the book

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Denim & Diamonds by Lori L. Robinett

Denim & Diamonds

by Lori L. Robinett

Giveaway ends July 23, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Living with Lupus: Laying by the Pool

http://carypress.com/denim-diamonds-by-lori-robinett/

Butterfly (symbol of lupus)

I’ve been living with lupus for many years now. That’s the reason my kiddo was born at 28 weeks. Lupus was lurking, but didn’t rear its head until I was preggers. I can’t complain (well, I can, but it doesn’t do any good . . . ) – I live a normal life and do pretty much what I want. But I’m able to do that because I take care of myself, and take the disease seriously. Part of that is keeping regular appointments with my docs. Last week was my annual exam with my regular doc, which involves doing my impression of a human pin cushion, and this week was my semi-annual exam with my rheumy.

It was good news/bad news. My vitamin D levels were low, and my white blood count was low. Not dangerously low, just enough to notice. I joked today that the prescription should be laying by the pool and napping. That should totally be a real prescription, right?!

Whether it was prescribed or not, I’m going to make time for that in the next few days. 🙂

How ’bout you? What do you do to take care of yourself?

From There to Here: T. Sue VerSteeg

I’m happy to have T. Sue VerSteeg guest blogging today. I met her at the Ozark Romance Authors Conference last September in Springfield, Missouri, and picked up a copy of her book, Secrets of the Sapphires, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Since then, I’ve picked up other books including her recent release, My Ex-Boyfriend’s Wedding. I’m not finished with it yet, but it had me laughing on page 1, which is a very good sign!

http://www.amazon.com/My-Ex-Boyfriends-Wedding-Sue-VerSteeg/dp/1499389922/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402883205&sr=8-1&keywords=my+ex+boyfriend%27s+wedding

My Ex-Boyfriend’s Wedding

T. Sue VerSteeg has always loved to make people laugh. It was only natural to pull that element into her writing. Whether it’s long lost castles, covert paranormal agencies, romantic comedies, or cozy mysteries, her snarky, quick-witted characters can’t help but follow suit. When you add her super hubby to the mix, there also has to be a happily-ever-after to wrap things up.

Please help me in welcoming Sue today!

First off, thanks to Lori for hosting me! I can’t wait to read your book.

Lori asked me to share about my writing journey. Well, my writing path has been more of a back-woods, pitted gravel road. I’ve always loved to write. That’s never really been an issue. You know those notes we all passed in high school? Yeah, mine were always several pages long. I had friends who would groan when I handed them that creatively folded twelve paged letter. There are also lots of notebooks in my home, full of my attempts at poetry, short stories, and beginnings of books I was too scared to finish. I mean, writing for yourself is fun. Knowing someone is going to read it? Petrifying!

I’m very blessed that Super Hubby came into my life, for so very many reasons. Where my writing is concerned, he’s the one who kept pushing my chair back up to the desk and saying, “Just write the book.” He may have used a few extra adjectives or adverbs on occasion. 😉 If not for him, I never would have finished. The story would still be bouncing around in my mind, wanting to be told, blocking all of the other book ideas to come. A year or so after the fact, he finally admitted to abusing a few things at his job to work out the frustration.

Boy, was I ever shocked to find out writing was the easiest part for me. You really discover how much you want to be a writer when the rejections start rolling in. But, I can’t turn back or stop now. Writing is as much a part of me as the nose on my face. As long as I wake up each morning, there will be words on the page or ideas brewing for the next writing session.

So, what has your writing path/life path been like so far? I’d love to hear who or what inspired you or kept you going. I’ll share an e-book with one commenter picked at random. You can browse my books at www.tsvbooks.com Thanks for stopping by.

 

The Big Easy Blog Tour

I’m honored to be a part of The Big Easy Blog Tour. My friend, Tierney James, who I was lucky enough to meet at the Ozark Creative Writer’s Conference a couple of years ago nominated me to follow her. She and I ended up at a big table for lunch one day and discovered that we had something in common: scrapbooking. A little bit later in the conversation, a friend of mine mentioned that my husband had gotten me a sniper rifle as a gift (I mean, seriously, what says love like that?). Tierney immediately perked up and we compared notes about what we like to shoot. We’ve been friends ever since – there aren’t many friends that I can talk to about shooting and scrapping!

Anyway, on to the tour:

What am I working on? I recently submitted a manuscript to the Crimson Rose line of The Wild Rose Press for their upcoming Lobster Cove series. I’m very excited about that possibility. I’m also working on Diamond in the Rough, which is a follow up to my soon-to-be-published novel, Denim & Diamonds.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? I write romance and mystery, and most of my books have a bit of each in them. One thing that makes my books stand out from others is my legal experience. I’ve worked in the legal field for about 20 years, and my stories are usually inspired by some nugget of truth I’ve come across in real life. For instance, Denim & Diamonds was inspired by a client who wanted to leave her horses and ranch to a niece, but she wanted to make sure the ranch would be well managed.

Why do I write what I do? I’ve always been inspired by strong women. When I was young, I read novels and was disgusted by the wimpy, swooning women. I was thrilled when female characters began to grow spines, and take on the bad guys – both in romances and mysteries. Whatever genre I’m writing, I love writing about characters who inspire me. Hopefully they’ll do the same for my readers.

How does my writing process work? Well, that’s a good question. Personally, I tend to write by the seat of my pants. The process of turning off that internal editor and getting words on the page is a must, otherwise, I’d never get a manuscript finished! That said, the more novels I get under my belt, the more pre-writing work I do. For my current novel, I’m using index cards to plot the scenes before writing them. Oh – and Pinterest helps. I pin images that remind me of my characters, settings, etc. It serves as inspiration, and helps to fix the characters in my mind. Here’s the page I used as inspiration for Denim & Diamonds.

http://carypress.com/denim-diamonds-by-lori-robinett/

Denim & Diamonds by Lori Robinett

Please join me on the Big Easy Blog tour next week as we visit these writers:

Colleen Donnelly: Colleen lives in the rural Midwest with her dog, Mia. She believes in hobbies, hard work, and down time. Her first book, Mine to Tell, is historical fiction, and her second book, Asked For, will be released soon. Check out her blog here.

Angela Drake: Angela has been writing most of her life. She writes in several sub-genres of romance as well as a wide variety of freelance markets. Sometimes research crosses both her fiction and non-fiction journeys. She loves speaking at conferences, judging writer competitions and mentoring others who share her passion. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her ever-supportive husband of twenty-seven years and various fur-babies. Her first book was just released this month. Check out her blog here and look for her book here.

Miniature Diamond J

When I was growing up, I always said I was going to live on a farm surrounded by animals. I wanted dogs, cats, horses, goats, cows . . . I wanted it all! I spent my summers armed with a recycled jar with nail holes in the lid, determined to catch lightning bugs, frogs, crickets and praying mantises (OK – that word has shown up twice today . . . I really need to look up the plural for that. Manti?). And I awoke each morning horrified to find the tiny dessicated carcasses of whatever creature I had caught the day before.

But I digress. Animals, whether large or small, were destined to be part of my life. When I met my husband, I was delighted to learn that he wanted to move to the country. And we did. Several years ago, we bought the 10 acres that we live on, then we bought a modular home, built a shop and built a barn. We’ve had cattle (and, oh, boy, are there some stories there. When you read Denim & Diamonds – which you will, right? – the scene where Andi helps deliver the calf is the story of our first calf), horses (tip: If someone offers to sell you a horse named “Satan’s Lady” – run.), dogs, cats, turtles, fish.

Cali, Cinnamon & Jasper

Cali, Cinnamon & Jasper

My favorite farm animals by far are our miniature horses. We bought Jasper when our kiddos were little, and gradually added to our little herd over the years. We’ve had babies and we’ve lost horses. Right now I’m sitting on the back deck watching Jasper, Cali and Cinnamon graze in the small pasture behind the barn lot. There is something so calming about the snuffling of horses, the small of fresh hay, and their soft nickers when you talk to them. Though I dreamed of having a horse ranch like the Diamond J, I’m quite happy with our little mini farm here in rural Missouri.

When you were a kid, what was your dream home?