The Birth of a Novel

I was cleaning up my home office today (because I always feel the need to purge at the end of the calendar year), and ran across the critiques from my writers’ group on a piece that was the very first inkling of Diamond in the Rough.

Whether or not you’ve read Diamond in the Rough, I thought you might enjoy this peek behind the curtain, to see how my novel was born. Hope you like it.

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett/dp/1631030035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433871817&sr=8-1&keywords=denim+%26+diamondsRusty is a cowhand at the Domino Ranch, where he’s been for years. He lives in a small house, which he shares with Beau, Joe and a couple of other guys. Thursday nights he spends at a neighboring ranch, playing poker with the guys. He drives an old gray Chevy pickup that has more miles on it than he does.

He was with Beau and Beth the night that Bert’s herd was stolen by rustlers. The mutilated steer affected him deeply. A love of animals is what led him to life on the ranch. Growing up, he was responsible for taking care of the family dog and made money summers taking care of neighborhood pets. That was back when he was known as Russell Warner. He dreamed of living in the country, surrounded by rolling green hills and dogs and cats and horses. Once in high school, he joined 4-H. Other kids made fun of him for his project – he raised rabbits. It was the only project he could do in city limits. The girl he had a crush on – her name was Penny – raised a bottle calf every year. Her brother Mike was the one who had given him the name Bunny Boy. His high school years were a blur of embarrassment. He had been a country boy stuck in the city, a disappointment to his college educated parents and an outcast in the FFA / 4-H circles that he desperately wanted to join.

The day after he graduated high school, he packed his meager belongings into the used maroon Toyota Tercel that his parents had given him as a graduation present and headed west out of St. Louis. He stopped for gas in Kingdom City, picked up a newspaper and went to Denny’s to peruse the want ads while he wolfed down a Grand Slam. The girl who was waiting tables chatted him up, and told him about her cousin who worked at the sale barn just down the outer road and how they always needed extra hands on sale days. She jotted her cousin’s name on the back of his receipt and told him to go on down to the sale barn and introduce himself.

The girl’s cousin showed him around, and Bill, the owner, hired him on the spot. The crusty old man gripped Russell’s hand and give it one firm shake. “Welcome aboard, Rusty.”

And in that moment, Russell the Bunny Boy became a distant memory and Rusty the cowhand was born.

***

<SIGH> I always feel nostalgic when I come across a piece like this, that grew into an entire novel. If you want to keep up to date with my new releases and other book news, make sure you sign up for my mailing list – and if you’re intrigued by how stories like this kernel of an idea become a full-fledged novel, sign up for my WriteScouts newsletter.

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The Ecstacy of The End

I finished the rough draft of Diamond in the Rough last week. This is the second in the Diamond J series, set in Missouri, featuring Aidan and Gina. If you haven’t read Denim & Diamonds yet, make sure you do before Rough comes out next year!

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett-ebook/dp/B00M8N210Y/It was incredibly exciting and fulfilling . . . an adrenaline fueled push to that last scene. I knew what had to happen, I just had to get there. I took two days off work and PUSHED myself. I wrote over 10,000 words in those two days. Once I got going, the words were flying from my fingers so fast. It was . . . awesome. And I don’t mean that in the overused way that it falls from our tongues these days. I mean it in the true sense of the word. I was in awe of the way the words flowed through my fingers and appeared on the screen, as if I did not actually play any part in the creation of them.

It gives me chills just to think about it.

Now, that manuscript is on the back burner. It needs to rest for a bit. I’m too close to it now. I’d never be able to see the flaws that I know exist, because in my mind, that manuscript is perfect as it is right this moment.

And, in a way, it is.

Simply because it exists.

So, for the month of November, I will escape into another Widow’s Web novel . . . The Danger Within. Sophie Kendrick will be chattering away in my head, as she goes on the run and tries to escape the clutches of Blake Chaney. First, I need to decide . . . will this happen in Maine, Colorado, or Missouri? What’s your vote? Reply to this post (or comment) and let me know where you want it set.

Oh, I can’t wait!

Returning to the Diamond J

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett/dp/1631030035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433871817&sr=8-1&keywords=denim+%26+diamondsAs some of you know, I’ve been working on the 2nd novel in the Diamond J series. The working title is Diamond in the Rough. Though it still needs a lot of revision, it is coming together quite well.

The story takes place in the Diamond J world, shortly after Denim & Diamonds occurs. The male lead is Aidan, who was a ranch hand in the first book. The female lead is Gina, who makes a brief appearance in the first book as owner of the local scrapbook store. Want a peek into what I think the Diamond J world looks like? Pop over to Pinterest and look at my Rough board.

And I’m happy to announce that CaryPress has indicated that they are interested in publishing it.

So . . . help me celebrate this little accomplishment this evening.

SuperFans

http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Impulse-Widows-Web-Novel-ebook/dp/B00UB2U7WS/As 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)lorilrobinett.com 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)

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

I Heart Reading: First #BookReview #4Stars

Going on this virtual tour hosted by Enchanted Book Promotions has been very exciting. The biggest part of this, for me, was getting a review. I was curious to see what someone who reviews books regularly would think of Denim & Diamonds. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword. It could be good, or it could be bad. It took me a while to gather up

www.lorilrobinett.com

Book Tour August 2014

enough courage to read the review. I finally did. And, yup, I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Please, stop by I Heart Reading and see the review for yourself. Then pop on over to Amazon and download a FREE copy of the ebook for yourself.

If you enjoy reading, be sure to support the authors you like. Buy their books. Download free books (even if you already have the paperback!). Review their books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. Tell people about their books. Your favorite authors will appreciate the love. 🙂

Going on Tour: Countdown to Launch #giveaway #romance

As you likely know, my book, Denim & Diamonds, recently was released. I’m going on a blog tour this next week, and one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card. Please mark your calendars, visit these sites and help me spread the word!

www.lorilrobinett.com

Book Tour August 2014

August 3rd:  I Heart Reading

August 3rd: Underneath The Covers

August 4th: 100 Pages A Day

August 5th:  I Heart Reading

August 7th: Sunshine Book Promotions

August 9th: Books and Tales

Personal Appearance at Village Books in Columbia, Missouri

August 10th: Cajun Book Lover

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?

 

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!

 

Vacation 2013: Leaving Missouri

I had so much fun sharing my Star Trek album with you that I thought I’d share my vacation album as it evolves. This was an odd vacation year for us. We had thought it would be our last family vacation with the youngest kiddo, but she moved out a bit earlier than we had anticipated. So we thought it would just be the two of us, our first vacation as empty nesters. Then we were talking to the eldest kiddo and as it turned out, the week we were going was the week between summer classes and fall classes (she’s starting her last year in dental hygienist school), so we asked her to go and, to our delight, she said she would love to. So, we decided to head north for our favorite vacation destination – Michigan. Aunt C asked if she could go along, too, and plans were finalized. As you know, I am finding my way along this new path . . . and learning to let go and go with the flow is huge for me. I want to plan every detail. This trip wasn’t planned like that – it was all about relaxation, and just enjoying life.

Leaving Missouri

Leaving Missouri

Jo & Aunt C met at our house at an ungodly hour, and we set off (after getting coffee – me without coffee in the morning is not a pretty sight). This photo was our first woo-hoo moment, as we crossed the Mississippi River and left Missouri in the rear view mirror. I don’t usually do one photo layouts, but I thought this one turned out OK. And it works well as the first page in my album.

This page was a fun challenge for me. I ran across a brand new challenge blog called 1 2 3 Get Scrappy. It’s a neat idea – they post a tic-tac-toe board and you pick three things in a row to include in your layout. This month’s challenge offered something that caught my eye: red, free, and Thickers. I have some Subway Thickers and I wanted to use the wavy lines to represent the Mississippi River. After that, it was easy to put this layout together, using some papers from my stash (from a paper stack by Brenda Walton that I’ve had for at least a couple of years). In particular, I like the way the photo matting turned out. It was fun to do a challenge – I think I’ll have to try more in the future!