Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Tis the Season!

I believe in Christmas!

One of my favorite Christmas carols is 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.' The message of comfort and joy is what I wish for everyone in this season of giving and love. I know there are those who celebrate this season differently, but the message is universal. Love one another.

I ask that God blesses each and every one of you now and in the New Year. 

Merry Christmas!

The nativity story and the miracle of it, the supernatural awesomeness of it are what I believe. It's the story of the ultimate gift. Everything else pales in comparison and it doesn't stop at a celebrated birth. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Little Things

Little, random things make me happy. Sometimes they even restore my faith in humanity or at least make what's rude in the world a little less so.

What triggered me to write this, is a random act of kindness. I sat in the drive through of Starbuck's Wednesday morning, ready to pull up, give the barista the gift card I'd received two days prior, and grab my order, only to be told that the lady in the van ahead of me had paid for my breakfast. We both exclaimed at how generous and kind that was as she handed me my scone and coffee.

I hadn't recognized the van, and I couldn't see the drivers face, so I have no idea if I knew the person, or if it was a total stranger. Did the season prompt her to do this? Could she see the stress and distraction on my face? Was it simply a kindness that she felt compelled to do?

None of this matters. What does, is the fact that there are still people in this world who perform random acts of kindness. This person, whether I know her or not, can be sure that I will pay her act forward at the first opportunity. I believe in this philosophy and wish that more people would.

Thank you, whoever you are. I pray you are blessed for your generous spirit. Your simple gift made my day and boosted my outlook. The warmth of this act stayed with me that day and will for some time.

My wish for everyone today, this Christmas season, and all year is that you experience this phenomenon at least once, either as a recipient or as the benefactor. Either way, it makes the soul sing.

Warmest regards - Robin

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The voices in my head.

I hear voices. I know what that sounds like...crazy.

The loudest voice in my head is my character Simon. Lately he's been nagging me to get on with revisions of "his story." Yes, he is a little possessive of the novel since it is about him. I won't argue with the fact that he did have something to do with the direction it took.

Lately, Simon is competing with Grace, who is a new character in a new idea for a novel. Unlike Simon though, Grace is content to sit back and wait her turn. She does; however, get a scene in when Simon shuts his mouth.

There are also, Hayden and Blush, characters from a short story that I wrote, which won 2nd place in The Creatively Crazy Writing Competition. They are biding their time until I decide to write a full length story about them. They whisper now and then, never raising their voices, just reminding me that they should get a turn eventually.

By now, several of you are contemplating a call to the nearest asylum. I don't blame you, I might have too if someone told me this a little over a year ago. That was before I started writing my book. Now, if I don't hear from one of them, I worry. I need them to motivate me, but not just my characters, I need my friends, family, and followers to encourage me as well.

I want to see Wayward published, so does Simon. He's very adamant about that. Actually, so is Grace, because the sooner that happens, the sooner her story gets told.

I hope you all get where I'm coming from and understand. My mother told me once that when I was little, and she would put me in time out (usually for my smart mouth), she would hear me telling stories. Making them up where I sat on the little red bench, in the hallway, by myself. So, obviously, I've been hearing voices most of my life. If only I had listened to them sooner.

: ) Robin

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Going Up...... (I hope) - "Top floor, Agents, Publishers, Readers!"

I've heard it called a pitch, or a log line, but my favorite phrase is elevator speech. It's the quick version of a self marketing ploy, that can be spewed forth between floors - hopefully - going up.

Now that I've said this, I would like to put my pitch out there for you to read. I will preface it first by telling you that my book is called Wayward (at least until someone tries to talk me into changing it) and it is a paranormal fiction (or speculative genre). I welcome any comments or questions you have, and will answer them, but keep this in mind, if you ask me anything where the answer might be a plot spoiler, you will get the game show buzzer.

Without further ado, here it is:

Simon isn't sure how to tell his disapproving father that he wants to move home to the small mountain town of Farrell Springs. The need to make a decision escalates when he is inadvertently pulled into a conceptual plane called Wayward, where dreams are tested and the dead interact with the living. But, Wayward also holds memories, and after a disastrous family gathering, he returns there to uncover the family secret and decide on the life he truly wants.

Okay, that's it in a nutshell. I hope to hear from you and the next time I post about the book, I might just include an excerpt.

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Gather Together

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am taking this time to relate how thankful I am for my family and friends. I have a network of people that are always there. We may not stay in close contact, or see each other often, but I feel you there.

I am especially thankful to have my children home for Thanksgiving. They are amazing people and I am very proud of them.

I'm not an overly sentimental type, so this won't be a long, maudlin regale of what I'm thankful for. It's simply this...I'm thankful for life in all it's guises; the joys, the messes, it's never ending cycle.

Whatever belief system you have, I ask that all of you are blessed tomorrow, with food, with family, with friends, with love and life.

God bless and keep every one of you.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Waiting on a Train

This will be a short entry, but I just had to share something that made me smile Friday morning while waiting on the Light Rail train.

As I was standing there, I saw some movement below me along the tracks. As I watched, a field mouse appeared from a small pile of leaves. I then heard the chitter of the tracks, the prelude to the train arriving at the station. This clearly panicked the mouse and I watched as it scurried along trying to decide which way to exit, across the tracks or up the side of the platform wall.

I silently urged it to choose the platform wall, and was relieved when it did. The diminutive creature climbed up and over the edge, sighted the landscaped beds lining the outer edges of the platform and dashed for the closest one. I mutely cheered it on.

What really made me giggle, was the reaction of two people at the back of the line next to mine. The mouse, in it's haste, did not care if it ran toward the human hedge on it's way to the cover of the real thing, so it did. The woman jumping didn't  surprise me, it was the well over six foot tall man, who leapt higher, that put the grin on my face.

Hope your weekend has been a good one.


Monday, October 31, 2011

An Homage to Dracula

For over 30 years, I have been a vampire fan. I'm an equal opportunity vampirephile. I like the traditional and the modern (yes, even the sparkly ones). I can't say that I read or watch everything out there, that would be insane. There is so much. I've logged enough vamp time to qualify me to say that all of it is based on a novel, the one that started it all, Bram Stoker's, Dracula.

Do yourself a favor. Turn off True Blood, put down your copy of Twilight and pick up the original. It remains, by far, my all time favorite book and vampire. Oh, and if you want to know which Hollywood vamp gets my
 vote. It's ....
Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker's-Dracula

Trick or Treat!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Music to haunt by

I told my son that I was going to put together a Halloween playlist. So I've finally done it. It's based mainly on song content, but some are by title (although they had to have some "creep" factor), and others may not make sense to you, but they evoke something for me.

Here, without further ado, is my Halloween 2011 playlist. Have fun checking out any of the songs or the entire list. Enjoy!

This is Halloween - Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Toccata & Fugue in D Minor - Bach
Howlin' for You - The Black Keys
Beat the Devil's Tattoo - Black Rebel  Motorcycle Club
Killer - Plain White T's

October - Broken Bells
Blood - Band of Skulls
Hotel California - The Eagles
Severed Hand - Pearl Jam
  Bleed to Feed - CC Adcock & The Lafayett Marquis
Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett & and the Cryptkickers
Mayhem - Imelda May
Creep - Radiohead (explicit)
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) - Marilyn Manson (version)
Bad Things - Jace Everett
Strange Times - The Black Keys
Who's That Creepin' - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Body in a Box - City and Colour
Unnatural Selection - Muse
Wolf Blood Honey - The Upsidedown
Bodysnatchers - Radiohead
Danse Macabre, Op. 40 - Camille Saint Saens
Bones - Little Big Town
Dracula Moon - Joan Osborne
Black Magic Woman - Santana
Eli, the Barrow Boy - The Decemberists
Bring Me to Life - Evanescence
Ghost Opera - Kamelot
If I Was Your Vampire - Marilyn Manson
Devil's Dance Floor - Flogging Molly
Cirque dans la rue - Plain White T's
Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo
Light of the Morning - Band of Skulls
Jonathan Low - Vampire Weekend
Spiriti - Mediaeval Baebes
My Immortal - Evanescence
Night of the Dancing Flames - Roisin Murphy
Oogie Boogie's Song - Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Strange - Tokio Hotel & Kerli
Welcome to Mystery - Plain White T's
Monsters - Hurricane Bells
Full Moon - The Black Ghosts
The Wolf - Fever Ray
Shankill Butchers - Sarah Jarosz
Inquisition Symphony - Apocalyptica
Spiders - System of a Down (explicit)
Vicarious - Tool
Swampblood - Th' Legendary Shack Shakers
Wolves and Werewolves - The Pack A.D.
Tamlin - Mediaeval Baebes
A White Demon Love Song - The Killers
Turkish Song of the Damned - The Pogues
Oh Lately It's So Quiet - OK Go
Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost? - Taking Back Sunday
This Blood - Black Lab
Waltz from 'Maskarade' - Aram Khachaturian
Worms - The Pogues


Monday, October 24, 2011

Here's the windup.....and the pitch!

The world series is going on and it's nearly Halloween, so why not throw a little of both in here. This past Saturday, my critique partner and I went to the Hearts of Denver Romance Writers conference. Neither one of us writes romance, but it was open to any genre and we had the opportunity to pitch to an agent. The idea was that we would give this a shot and see how it went, you know, kinda like being in the bull pen, practicing.

We get there and I find out that I'm the very first pitch of the day - right after the welcome and introductions. Here is where is gets Halloween scary. I think I might have looked like Elsa Lanchester in the Bride of Frankenstein. I'm pitching to an agent from New York, not a local agent, but one from the city of the New York Times Best Seller's list (cue Psycho music).

So during the introductions/question and answer session, we meet the agents. They are normal people. They even seem a little on the nervous side themselves. Okay, maybe this won't be so bad. This line of thinking did nothing for my Tell Tale Heart, which was trying to beat it's way out of my chest. Taking a few deep breaths, squaring my shoulders, and putting on my most determined face, I made my way to the table and introduced myself. After that it was a blur. I actually managed to recite my pitch (log line/elevator speech) from memory (and the crowd roars!) and I answered all the questions he asked without hesitation and satisfactorily. Then when I expected him to say, 'Well, it sounds interesting, but I don't think you're ready.' he takes his business card, flips it over, clicks his pen, and writes on the back, '50 pages and synopsis' (hallelujah!). My critique partner, Lisa, came away with the same results. We are happy and ready to learn about openings and query letters, and even though it was a long day, it was a good one.

The day ended with getting my blog fixed up and some delicious chili prepared by Lisa's daughter. A big thank you to Lisa, Brandi, and family. It was great to meet Lizzie T. Leaf! And thank you Jim McCarthy, for chasing the ghouls away and giving me the chance to tell you about my story. I hope to send those 50 pages soon!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Importance of Being Ernest

I want to say, that it is very important to have a critique partner or group. That person or persons can put things into perspective that you, as your own worst critic and editor, may not see or catch. Just sitting at Starbuck's and discussing the plot of your book can bring that AHA! moment or the subtlest of changes that help the flow of your prose.

Make sure that you establish ground rules, even if they are unspoken/unwritten. When my critique partner and I met for the first time, we barely knew each other. We each brought something to read, but we also found out a little about each other and what we wanted to get out of the "business" of our meetings. We would not demoralize, humiliate, be hypercritical or mean. We would be honest and supportive, offering suggestions and constructive criticism. I would liken it to a couple who are courting, everything is tentative at first, but as the relationship grows, a more open dialog is established. Pretty soon, you each know how to approach critique with your partner.

I am truly blessed with a critique partner, who is becoming a good friend as well. I also belong to a writing group where learning craft is the focus, but we manage to throw in a little critiquing from time to time, and the people in it are honest and constructive, never destructive. That is key!

So, cheers to Lisa and the Golden Wannabe Writers Group! They are awesome!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

...and away we go!

This is my introductory post!

I recently finished the first draft of my first novel. I'm taking a break from it, so that I have a clearer perspective when I start revisions. In the meantime, I'm working on a short story for the next Creatively Crazy contest.

Speaking of crazy, I'm also going to make an attempt at pitching my book at an upcoming conference, that is, if I can get one constructed that conveys what I want to say about my book, and that has a big enough hook to snag readers.

In subsequent posts, I will introduce my book and keep you updated on the revisions.