2016: Review and Reflection

There’s something about finishing up the year that engenders review and reflection. I love the idea of a fresh start, whether it be a new journal, a new day planner or a new calendar.

The common consensus seems to be that 2016 sucked. I have to say, losing Prince, David Bowie, Glen Frey, George Michael and Carrie Fisher (among others), flat out sucks. But on a personal level, 2016 was pretty good for me. Fatal Impulse sold really well in the beginning of the year, and I released Diamond in the Rough and the Novel Idea Generator. One of the biggest events, though, was my husband’s heart attack. It happened in February, as I was getting ready to walk out the door on the way to a writers retreat with my critique group. My hubs called and said he didn’t feel good, thought he needed to go to the ER. He never wants to go to the doctor for anything, so I knew it was bad. He had a major heart attack while he was at the ER. He was rushed to the cath lab. Afterwards, the doc told me it was a miracle he’d survived. That blockage was 100%, but he had another bad one. Three days later, he had another cath. And now he’s on a handful of meds to try to clear up two more blockages. The point is, we feel like we have a second chance. We enjoy life.

And the other reason 2016 rocks is that we became grandparents. Our oldest (my stepdaughter) gave birth to a little girl in November. That adorable little bundle has wiggled her way into our hearts and brought a new level of happiness to our house. Being a grandma rocks!!

So, while 2016 sucked in so many ways, we each can find happy memories. And I have high hopes for 2017. Great things will happen in 2017. Fatal Obsession will be released in early 2017, and I am putting the finishing touches on my “school” for aspiring writers (think Girl Scouts for writers). Do you want in?

Sign up here – for my mailing list for fiction if you want info about books and/or for WriteScout classes if you want info about how to write, publish and promote your books.

Subscribe to Lori’s mailing list

* indicates required


Subscribe to the Writescouts mailing list

* indicates required



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 People Respond Differently to Scandal

The Superbowl is today, and the country has been talking about DeflateGate. Oh, the scandal! There’s something about scandal that generates buzz – we seem to like tearing people down, and take delight when we learn that someone who is up can be torn down. Most of my stories include some sort of scandal – something that causes outrage, the topic of gossip. Some big, some small. Why do I include them? Because scandals are a great motivator. Part of writing a layered character involves making them realistic. They need to have motivation for what they do. For instance, if one character kills another, there needs to be a reason for that death to happen. It could be out and out murder, or it could be a justifiable homicide. Regardless of which it is, there has to be a believable reason for it. That reason could vary greatly, depending on the character. Your characters become living, breathing individuals, and their actions have to match their personalities.

Let’s play with a character and see this in action.

  • Helen is the president of her garden club. Her husband is the CEO of the biggest company in town. She is the queen of the local society types, and takes great pride in her status.
  • Tamara is a paralegal, active with her kids’ school activities. Her husband works construction. Her life is work, then kids, then sleep. It may not be a glamorous life, but she has no complaints.

What happens when we add scandal? Imagine Helen and Tamara. How will each react when her husband announces that he’s having an affair? Tamara will likely take it in stride. They may get divorced, but life will go on. Helen, on the other hand, will be more desperate. It will be more embarrassing for her. In fact, she might even go so far as to let that desperation drive her to do something horrible . . . like murder. Her victim could be her husband or his mistress.

Let’s take another example:

  • Dr. James Whittenhaus is a well-known researcher, credited with discovering the cure for cancer.
  • Dr. Grant Gibbons just graduated with his doctorate, excited that his article was selected to be published in a trade journal.

What happens when we add scandal? Imagine James and Grant. How will each react when a national news reporter exposes the fact that the research was not original? Who will be more desperate? What lengths will each go to in order to keep this story from going public?

Another thing to consider is the environment. In a small town, scandal can rip someone to pieces and destroy an individual’s life. In a large city, scandal may be easier to escape. What motivates the person behind the scandal? Every time a story breaks loose and goes viral, someone is driving it. A story doesn’t have legs all on its own. Someone has to expose the wrongdoing, and publicize it. With social media, that doesn’t take much. A simple mistake can grow and morph into something barely recognizable, and the truth can be lost along the way.

Pay attention to the stories you hear this week, both by major news organizations and by regular people on social media. Think about the scandals and how those involved might react, based on their backgrounds.

 

 

Strong Women: #divorce

When I was trying to think of a tag line for my blog (and for my writing), I realized that something that most of my writing includes strong women, often dealing with scandal of one sort or another, and, last but not least, second chances. In Denim & Diamonds, Beth finds herself with a cheating fiance and a dead daddy. In a nice twist, her dead daddy leaves her his horse ranch, with a provision that she has to run it to get her inheritance. She takes the challenge, relieved at the chance to escape the chaos of her life and start over fresh.

broken-heartMost of my friends know I was married before, but it isn’t something I talk about a lot, largely because it’s not a part of my life I’m particularly fond of. It was flat out hard. My job was demanding and required a lot of travel (Kay & Ann Marie & Kim can back me up on that!). In hindsight, that may be the only reason the marriage lasted as long as it did. We were young when we got married. I was 20, he was 19. After five years of marriage, I came home from a business trip and a neighbor asked who the cute little green sports car belonged to that had been at the house while I was gone. Don’t get me wrong, there were problems before that. Arguments about money. Frustration about house work. He took a couple of late night calls from his employee, Chris. When I found out that Chris was short for Christine, and she drove a little green sports car, I knew. It cut like a knife. I confronted my husband, asked if the marriage was over, did he want a divorce. His reply? We can’t afford to get a divorce. NOT the answer I was looking for. In an odd way, I was relieved. The decision of whether or not to leave was no longer a difficult one. In spite of having a challenging job that I enjoyed, a home that I loved, and neighbors that were good friends, I picked up and moved. In order to make it on my own, I needed the love and support and security that home provided. I didn’t move home with the parents, but to a nearby town.

It was hard. Flat out HARD. Leaving behind the life I’d built was difficult, but the hardest part was admitting failure. My marriage had failed. The how didn’t matter. The first night in my new apartment (in a bad part of town – it was all I could afford), I curled up in the fetal position and cried myself to sleep. I allowed myself that night to mourn the death of my marriage. Then I made a conscious decision to look forward. I felt like I’d wasted five years of my life, and was ready to get on with life.

Second Wedding (and my stepdaughter!)

Second Wedding (and my stepdaughter!)

I reconnected with friends from high school (hi, Denise!). After working as a professional at a college, I found myself working nights at a telemarketing company selling children’s books and encyclopedias. Quite a fall for me. Finally got a job as a receptionist at a law firm, which led me to the career that I love. Met my now-husband. We just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary (we all look real happy in that pic in the upper left, right?). My life is sooooo much better than it was. I’m so much happier than I was. And I am stronger than I thought I was at the time.

In my writing, I often draw upon those feelings – the fear of being alone, feeling like a failure, the sadness, the anger, the hurt, the betrayal – to make my characters more real. I’m drafting the second novel in the Diamond series, and it features another strong woman as the main character. I hope she turns out as strong as I think she is. I want my readers to experience the fear, anger, and happiness of my characters. And I hope, in some small way, it helps my readers through their own bad times.

Because, dear readers — just like me, just like Beth, you are stronger than you think.

 

Book Tour: Sonar the Crashing – Shiray Romeland’s Inner Goddess

Shiray Romeland is a strong, passionate woman who is not afraid to fight for those she loves. Shiray faces the ultimate test. Her morals and values are the only thing that keeps her grounded.
Her husband develops amnesia and doesn’t remember their marriage. Trials challenge her relationship, but Shiray refuses to give up. Life wreaks havoc in her path. But she knows that life is not always black and white. She reaches deep inside herself and learns not to always look for a reason why trouble was in her mist. Sometimes there’s not a logical explanation. She had to accept the situation and forgive the people she loved. Shiray’s tribulations made her a stronger person.
Shiray’s not perfect, and makes mistakes, but she believes love is eternal. Love is so bold it has no boundaries to hold.

Shiray’s planet is dear to her, as is her family. Although she is royalty, she fights right alongside her comrades to protect Kadan. She is willing to sacrifice everything to keep her loved ones safe.

B. Truly

Author of Sonar the Crashing

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

Amazon . . . It’s Heeeeeere . . . .

Denim & Diamonds

Denim & Diamonds

I popped onto Amazon yesterday to check on my Author Page and was surprised to see this on my page! Yup – Denim & Diamonds is available on Amazon!

I don’t want to be one of those buy-my-book authors. That kinda drives me crazy. Still – I need the support of readers if I’m ever going to claw my way up the best seller charts (it could happen, right?). But what does that mean? How do readers support writers?

I’ve been feeling very Zen over the last year, and truly feel that what goes around, comes around. In that spirit, I thought I’d share what I do to help support and encourage the writers I like:

  • Like and share their Facebook posts (those with book-related links, not their pics of the tropical drink they’re enjoying while lounging on the beach)
  • Like their Amazon author page
  • Like their Goodreads author page
  • Mark their books to-read on Goodreads
  • As I’m reading their books, I TELL people what I’m reading – in person, on Facebook, on Twitter
  • After I read their books, I leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads

I know a lot of my friends are readers. What else can we do to support and encourage writers?

 

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?

Denim & Diamonds: Proof Copy

Denim & Diamonds

Denim & Diamonds

 

I just got an email from CaryPress. They are mailing a proof copy to me. I can’t wait to actually hold this book in my hands.They had no further changes after my last round of edits – but I bet I find something else when I read through the book again.

There’s something about reading something in a new format. If you have to proof something, print it out in another font or print it on colored paper. The human mind is an amazing thing. It sees what it wants to see. It knows what you meant to say. So, sometimes you have to trick it. That goes for writing of any kind – fiction, non-fiction, stuff for work.

Try this trick the next time you need to proofread something, and I bet you find something you’ve missed before.

Juggling Jobs

Denim & Diamonds by Lori Robinett

Denim & Diamonds by Lori Robinett

I work full-time as a paralegal. For the past several years, I’ve written during my spare time. In the last few months, I’ve upped the ante and started treating my writing as a true “second job.” What’s this mean?

  • I’m doing the fun stuff . . . and the not-so-fun stuff like editing and rewriting and marketing.
  • I’m writing for publication, not just for me. Which means when my critique partners tell me to kill my darlings, I do. <insert evil laugh here>
  • I’m writing every day, whether I am inspired or not. Regardless of how tired I am, I show up at the page and put my fingers on the keyboard.
  • I’m submitting. Although I think there is true value in the indie revolution, I wanted a contract. And I feel so honored that Cary Press offered me that first contract!
  • I’m spending a vacation day ensconced in my writing perch at the end of our sectional, instead of lounging in the pool with a drink and a book.

This is harder than I expected, and I have a newfound respect for those who turns hobbies into second careers. It can be done, but it’s tougher than expected! Not that I’m complaining! 🙂