Monday, January 31, 2011


Do you journal? When I first started writing, everyone told me to keep a journal. So I bought a fancy journal with blank pages. Then I wondered what to put in this fancy journal. So I sat down one day with this journal in front of me for an hour. What did I write in it? NOTHING. NATA. ZERO STUFF went in that little book that day. After a while I figured out why. Writers had told me I had to write in it every day. So I felt like I was being forced to use it and when I failed to write in it, I felt like I would never be a writer. I had failed myself.

It wasn't until sometime later that I pulled that wondrous book out again. This time I filled the pages. What with? Extra words. Flowery words. Phrases that I overheard people speak. Kid language. This and that. That and this.
I do not keep a journal, though. There are no rules where I MUST write in it every day. I carry it with me when we take Christopher to the hospital.You'd be surprised how many conversations you can listen to while waiting on appointments. Not to be nosy. But for ideas. And those extra words and phrases.

Beth got me a beautiful journal for my birthday. It's the color of my website and blog. Exactly. The pages are filling up quickly. But only when I feel the need to. They are messy, unkempt. But they are filled with beautiful stuff. Stuff I KNOW I will use later. The color of a particular woman's skin. The kid at the hospital. He looks drawn and tense. Drawings of things for picture books. (No I cannot draw, I just think I can.) Writing exercises, ideas, things I want to look up, books I see I want to buy later. I write in my journal when I'm grouchy. You'd be surprised how many times you will refer back to that one. :) 

Do you journal? Why? Because you feel you have to or because you really want to?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Huge giveaway people

Do you have a MG/YA manuscript ready for its debut into the world? Well click on over to Dear Editor. Check out her giveaway. Go. Now. :) Dear Editor

What Tools Do You Have?

Like any craftsmen, we writers know there are a few tools that we must have in order to do our jobs well. The good news? Most of them are free. Woo-hoo

If you are a beginning writer you definitely do NOT need any expensive computer software, office supplies or those fancy smancy writing journals. You do need a pencil, some paper, paper clips and highlighters. (And a good cup of coffee, plus some chocolate can't hurt either.) Highlighters are wonderful, btw. :) I can't forget post it notes. They are a writers best pal.

Other tools which do NOT cost anything? The ol' butt in chair, library books, and confidence. And learn to write what you want to write. Not what others tell you to write. Oh and listen. To other folks. I write about kids, so I listen to kids all the time. (They do not know this.) But I keep my ears open.

After you have practiced writing for awhile, invest in a great writing book or two. They are worth their weight in gold.

The most important tool you can have? Even better than the aforementioned post it notes? YOU! To use this tool you just have to sit down and write. It's what's inside you that helps you become a writer. Use it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

How do you KNOW you're done?

You've written and revised your novel. And I mean you have really REVISED that book. Not just once, but many, many times. You've tossed the telly unneeded junk. You've added the showy, sparkly words. Now you KNOW THAT YOU KNOW IT'S FINISHED. Or is it?? Hmmm *thumps fingers on desk*

Do you really know? Tough question. Here's my take on all of this. Pick up any book. Read through it. Critique it. You WILL see things that you would want to change. Even bestsellers. It's always going to happen. Black Beauty is my ALL TIME favorite book. (Y'all know this, I know.) But. I. Still. Find. Things. To Change. Even in my ALL TIME fav book.

You can have a story critiqued until it's unrecognizable. Until it has changed so much you hate it. Don't do that. Trust yourself. Respect yourself.

I like for two betas plus my critique partner to give it a thorough going over.  I also give it an honest look. Revise accordingly and then I decide it's DONE.

I have used this as a writing exercise. (It's a really good one, too.) Pick a book and rewrite the first chapter. You'll be amazed at how different it is. The difference between you and that author? He/she decided the book was finished. They made the decision to stop revising and start working on finding an agent. Or publisher.

Point? I do have one. People will always see things in your novel that they would write differently. You will know in your heart that it is done. So stop having it critiqued. Know that it is ready and get it out there.

What say you?

Friday, January 21, 2011

How do you decide on a title for your book? And is that important?

Title contest went well. I had lots of entries with Candy taking the first prize and Lydia taking the second. And I have a title for my WIP. I usually don't have any trouble picking out titles. But for some reason with this one, I could NOT think of any.  Lucky for me, I know some clever writers. hehe

Usually the title comes to me first. Then I write the AWESOME book around the AWESOME title.

Did you know that TWILIGHT was once called FORKS? The word twilight was on a list of "words with atmosphere" that Stephenie Meyer sent her agent. And the title to end all titles (or one of the MOST recognized title) was born. Catchy titles sell books.

How do you go about picking titles for your books?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Heeeeerrrre's Patti!

Welcome Patti. It's wonderful to have you on the first day of your Rhythm of Secrets Blog Tour. Patti is here to answer some questions as she starts her tour. Her third book, The Rhythm of Secrets has had five star reviews. Thank you Patti, I love being a part of your blog tour. This is AWESOME!

        Rhythm of Secrets Blog Tour 
About the Author

Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University in 1977 with a BS in education. She taught at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, until she retired in 2006 to pursue writing full time. She and her husband, Alan, have two grown children. Visit Patti’s Web site at

Patti, where did you get your idea for Rhythm of Secrets?
Robyn, you got personal REALLY FAST! It’s a good thing we are friends. You know I’m a woman fascinated with the secrets women keep and why they keep them, so I guess you thought you could just dive in…
Oh! Back to your question!

On the morning of July 8, 2007, I opened the Chicago Tribune. Coffee (yeah, I’m an addict of this substance. Also tea and chocolate) sloshed onto the table…and I didn’t care. Gail Rosenblum’s article about a mother giving up…and then reclaiming…a child caught my heart and wouldn’t let go. The idea for my third story rustled right there in the newspaper pages, begging to be SET FREE! 

How long did it take to write? (Including revisions.)
Robyn, I wouldn’t have had a CLUE but Googled the date of that Tribune article. SO. It started around that time. Can YOU BELIEVE IT? It stopped around November 15, 2010, when I had another manuscript due.
Will you keep a secret? I was allowed not the usual ONE, but TWO have-at-its at the galley proofs. There were just so many rhythms to try to get in sync.
So…to answer succinctly, a REAL PROBLEM with me, we are talking OVER THREE years!! I had NO CLUE of that till you asked. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!

What is your favorite part of Rhythm of Secrets?
Oooh, gracious. You need to know something about me. When I type that last letter on a book, I am DONE WITH IT! You see, the Spirit constantly nudges, tweaks…and I can’t STAND to see my past mistakes embodied in an actual volume because I can’t CORRECT THEM NOW!!!!
Robyn, I didn’t know you were so pushy! O-KAY! I guess the scene where Thelma, the stuffy secretary of my heroine Sheila’s pastor husband, comes a’calling…wanting church bulletin information AND gossip fodder!!! Then the big blow-up between Sheila and husband Edward. Oooh. You asked about ONE PART!!! Forgive me!!!  

Which of your characters is your favorite?
Definitely my Sheila, who’s masqueraded under THREE different names! I just LOVE those secrets!!!!

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Oh, sure, I let my fingers do the walking to blogs and Amazon, especially early on. Then I try to forget the whole thing. Often it’s not constructive, and I have tissue-paper feelings. I mean, why put yourself through that? If we truly write for God, He’ll whisper a Holy critique.
I’ve got an agent with a brilliant knack for sifting through my stuff for a good story and unbelievable critique partners. That’s really the “influence” I need!
When I do read something hurtful, I try to rejoice in the knowledge that we live in a country where anyone can read anything and comment in whatever way they choose.

If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?
Not whine about the twists and turns of the author’s life. NEVER criticize another writer NO MATTER WHAT. The Spirit’s helping me with a too-gabby and often negative nature on this one.    

Which of your books was the easiest/hardest to write?
Hmmm. I believe this third child, who I’ve nicknamed Secrets. I had to enlist SO MANY experts, read SO MANY books. Let’s see. A Thai national. Two Vietnam vets (or was it three). My usual stand-by, my doctor, and his helpful staff of nurses. Two firemen. Several octogenarian New Orleans residents who took me back to the 1940s. A master Southern gardener. Adoption experts. Amtrak engineers.
I’ll stop here. Research is WONDERFUL, but sometime it dragsssssssssss. 

Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
Oh! I’d definitely have Mary from An Irishwoman’s Tale, and HAVE HAD HER, not just to dinner but for a sleep-over or two! Then we were in Ireland for a week! Mary’s my best friend and cooks like a chef from a five-star organic slow-food restaurant. Just how I love to eat!!!!

Hmm. Who would I least like to have for dinner? I’m still ticked at Edward, Sheila’s husband in The Rhythm of Secrets, for his pompous, judgmental ways and really don’t want him in my house. Why am I finding it hard to forgive that man? I’d better go read Matthew 6:15.

Robyn, you are SO amazing! Thanks for the invitation. Now…when’s dinner???

To learn more about Patti, visit Early reviews and purchase information of The Rhythm of Secrets can be found at:

About the Book

Sheila Franklin has lived three separate lives. Now a conservative pastor’s wife in Chicago, she is skilled at hiding secrets—a talent birthed during childhood romps through the music-filled streets of New Orleans. But when the son she bore at the age of eighteen comes back looking for answers and desperate for help, her greatest secret—and greatest regret—is revealed.
Eager to right past wrongs, Sheila’s heart floods with memories of lyrical jazz music and a worn-out Bible. But when her husband learns of her shady history, Sheila is suddenly faced with an impossible decision: embrace the dream—and son—she abandoned against her will or give in to the demands of her safe but stifled life. As she struggles to reclaim both her son and her identity, Sheila soon realizes that God’s grace spans both seas and secrets and that He is all she really needs. With dynamic writing that makes the reader feel the heartache of a teenage mother, struggle with the disillusionment of an abandoned boy, and revel in the idea of grace despite flaws, rising star Patti Lacy takes her fans on a journey they won’t want to end—and won’t soon forget.

Purchase the Book Online at:

For More Information

·         Visit the author online at
View the blog tour schedule at

Friday, January 14, 2011

Are you thinking out of the imaginary box?

This is me. (Like my hairstyle?) Could this be you? I've climbed outta the imaginary box. And it do feel goooood. Ahh, fresh air. You want to join me?

Know how I did it?

I think we put ourselves in the imaginary box by negative thinking and building mental blocks around us. We have to climb out of the imaginary box by changing the way we look at our writing. Notice I said imaginary. Our box isn't really a box. It is a mental wall. An obstruction that we built all by our lonesome. We have to look at it that way in order to climb out.

Get those creative abilities flowing again. Toss the negative thinking. Remember why you write. BECAUSE YOU LOVE TO. :)

On that first draft, kick your inner editor in the head. Realize it ain't going to be perfect. It is what it is. A first draft. Revisions are the time to ask your inner editor back into your life.

Learn from your mistakes. When I first started writing, I thought I knew everything there was to know. After all, I'd read three articles on writing. *grin* I was a pro!

Uh, yeah, I was pretty stupid. ;) But I have learned from my mistakes. My first drafts were YUCK. I still have one of them. I read it when I need a good laugh.

Awaken your creativity. Read lots of books in  and out of your genre. I read children's books, because I write picture books, chapter books, and MG novels. But I read big people books too. I know I can learn from any book. And I rewrite books too. Books like THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, and CHARLOTTE'S WEB. It's a great way to stir up your creativity. The best writing exercise I can recommend.

So join me outside the imaginary box. It's awesome out here. :)

Please join me on Monday for The Rhythm of Secrets Blog Tour when Patti Lacy answers some questions you've been wanting to know. Visit that wonderful woman at her blog Patti Lacy You'll be glad you did. :) Come out and support this great writer. The blog tour will be HAPPENING all next week. x

Monday, January 10, 2011


Today is Christopher's birthday. We are celebrating all the blessings that he brings to our family. :) As you know, he was born with a rare brain disorder called Sturge-Weber Syndrome. The port wine birthmark is just one indication of that rare disorder. Years of medical problems.Tons of hospital visits later. I can attest to that. Uh, er, he's the Marty Stewart fan. :) But we had fun that night. I love him sooooooooooo much!

Friday, January 7, 2011

What spurs great writing?

 Praise? Money? Or the need to write? Paul Auster says, "it's the burning need to do it." Agree?

I sure do. A lot of young wanna be writers have decided that they want to become novelists so they can become rich. I read their comments all over the internet. Now there are some that know they want to write, because they have a love to write. But for the most part, they see it as a get rich quick scheme. Oh man! Are they ever in for a HUGE surprise.

Auster also says, "Don't be a writer, it's a terrible way to live your life, there's nothing to be gained from it but poverty and obscurity and solitude. So if you have a taste for all those things, which means that you really are burning to do it, then go ahead and do it. But don't expect anything from anybody."

Sound advice? AMEN! Do it because you love to do it. :) What say you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope that all your new year wishes come true. I pray you are healthy, safe and wise. :)

"Even if you are on the right track, you'll still get run over if you just sit there."
Will Rogers (Wise words, don't you think?)

I have loved getting to know everyone this past year. I have loved your WISE comments, too. I hope this is YOUR year. And mine too, of course.

I'm posting two days a week for a while. Mondays and Fridays. (I started working on my new novel and I have set a date when said novel WILL be completed.)

What resolutions have you made? Or, are you like me? You don't believe in resolutions. Just results! :)