Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting to know your MC Blogfest!

Welcome one and all. 

This event is hosted by the lovely Elizabeth Mueller. I am supposed to ask my character three questions in order for me to get to know her better, courtesy of Jeannie Campbell. (You can try this at home and if you sign up for Jeannie's newsletter, you receive the Writer's Guide to Character Motivation for free!) How cool is that?

Question 1: What is your greatest fear, Anna? 

Failure, Robyn. Even though I'm only thirteen, I'm a motivated teen girl. I know what I want to do with my life. I want to become a veterinarian. But I'm afraid I won't be able to for one reason or the other. Maybe I think I won't 'get' the math. I had to study a lot just to understand algebra 1. What will  happen with advanced algebra and geometry? I am afraid I won't be able to stand up to the pressure. And that means I won't live my dream of helping animals. What's a kid to do? I don't believe that even Sylvan Learning Center can help my poor, dumb old brain understand math. Deep down, I feel it's a lose-lose situation. I'm smart in English, science and history though.  

This is what Jeannie says about question 1:

While this is not the first question on my form (I ask for basic info like name and age first), it’s perhaps one of the most important. Our fears, which usually center around a limitation or a failure, perhaps a disappointment or frustration, hold the key to our biggest vulnerability. The same is true for characters.
Fear is fundamental—present in every living thing. It’s relatable to every reader simply in its existence in a character’s life, whether or not they can relate to the specific fear or not. We all have fears, and we all go to great lengths to minimize opportunities for that fear to manifest. This says a lot about a character.

Question 2: What is your biggest accomplishment?
Oh man, that's easy. Claire and I went on an endurance horseback ride and we were lost. For SEVENTY-TWO HOURS we hung on as we tried to find our way out of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And you know what? We made it out alive. Of course I know that Daddy, my brother Ian, and Claire's step-father Ted found us after I had passed out do to complications from my diabetes, but we took care of ourselves. We fished and ate all kinds of natural nature stuff. Our horses survived too. But right now our horses have been stolen and we're going to go and find them. Of course, that's another story, right Robyn?I think besides that, my biggest accomplishment was learning to ride horses. I love being with them They understand me so well and they never ask me if I've done my homework. Or what grade I made on my math exam.
This is what Jeannie says about question 2:
The answer might reveal a time when the character showed great courage in the face of danger or kept their integrity when faced with the opportunity to cheat. The joy that a character feels from their moment in the spotlight, so to speak, can follow them through their life and be a constant reminder of how good life used to be, or it can be held as a standard they seek to attain again and again.
It’s interesting to see how far back in a character’s life their greatest accomplishment occurred. How old were they? And what have they done since then? These questions really dig in deep at the core of the character, helping you get to know them.

Question 3: What is your biggest regret?

 Have I lived long enough to have regrets? I guess I do have one. The fight that Claire and I had when we were lost. I got bossy and she resented it. I don't blame her one bit either. I wish I wasn't such a control freak. Is that on your list of questions Jeannie? I always have to control every situation. Maybe that's why I am so afraid of math. That's one thing I can't control. I can study and hope for the best, but that's about it. If I don't have a math brain then I'm in trouble. Controlling everything in my world and math. Hmmm. I think you've helped me figure something out about myself, Robyn You're a good writer girl.

This is what Jeannie says about question 3:

The answer to this question truly reveals a goldmine of information about someone. If a person feels shame or embarrassment over something they said or did, this connects to their self-image and values. If a person feels guilt over their actions or inaction's, this is connected to their moral code.
Sit your character down and force them to answer these questions. I suggest filling out my intake form in the voice of your character. I’ve been told by all my beta testers that my form helped them get to know their characters better than ever, so give it a try!

What Robyn says about questions 1-3:

I didn't know that Anna was awful in math . Now that I do know, I can write that into the story I'm working on now, which deals with the same characters.

Thanks for helping Anna, Jeannie. You rock!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My most precious and awesome friend's book is finished. It is over at Amazon. Now you can get it on a Kindle (ugh), which you can't caress...too cold. Or a paperback version yay, which you can caress...smell the pages. You get the pic.

Davin Malasarn writes with passion and emotion. This book is filled with seventeen short stories. All of which made me wonder, made me connect with the characters. Davin's characters are real, they are enthralling, and seem to come alive inside the pages, so much so, it felt like I could reach out and touch them. I have read Red Man, Blue Man before and loved it, so I was thrilled to see it was included in this book. But there is much more. The Wild Grass is a heart wrenching tale of a woman's loss. As I read it, my heart cried for Kimchaa and I cried for the life she led, much different than I have ever known. And that is just it about Davin's writing. He pulled me into these worlds. Worlds I have only read about or seen covered in news stories. Worlds I now feel like I have lived in, if only for a little while.

Davin portrays human beings as we are. With all of our faults, jealousies, and complications. As I read Bohemian I thought about how vividly Davin sees human nature. He is without a doubt an observer of the human psyche, besides being a writer and a scientist.

Davin's writing is truly intense and truly honest. Please go buy the book, you'll be glad you did. Thanks for reading. :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

And the winner is...

Bish Denham! Bish email me your address and I'll send Ian's three books to you. (Better late than never.) Apologies, but I forgot about this. Twice. :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And the winner is...

Karen Lange! According to number six is the winning number. And Karen was number six. CONGRADS Karen! I'll let Jeannie know.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Favorite Therapist and How She Helped Me + a Giveaway

I'm talking about THE CHARACTER THERAPIST, Jeannie Campbell. I've always been partial to her last name too. Wonder why.

Jeannie has this GREAT new website that she will use to help our MC's with all their nagging problems. If you've never used her, followed her, or otherwise supported her, get going NOW! Well, after you read how she helped me with Miller. (My character in my YA mystery.)

My question had to do with my MC's behavior after his mother's untimely death. I wanted to know if I had written him right. In other words, I had him making very unusual, uncharacteristic decisions. He was always goal oriented up to this point. Now he was skipping school, etc. Jeannie was spot on and the very thorough advice she gave me led to a new and exciting plot for the book. Things happened that I never anticipated. The book took on a new life and I truly believe it was because of the direction Jeannie gave me in her answer while I was on her couch. She mentioned that his goal of becoming a physician for his mother is divided by his desire to find the mother’s killer. Both goals involve his mother and doing something for her, but he can only choose one. These are the type books that keep readers turning. What will he decide? Make sure to include plenty of pressure from the school system administrators and teachers, threatening to take away his valedictorian status, which will in turn prevent him from getting into a good college, which won’t help him get into a good med school….see the angst? This advice plus added stuff about his aunt turned my story around. And she can help you too.

 Isn't she GORGEOUS???? Hmm, lovely smile, Jeannie. Yanno? I'm shopping for a smile. Yours would do quite nicely. Mwa ha ha ha

Jeannie's bio:

Jeannie the Therapist:
Jeannie Campbell is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC # 45366) in the state of California. She is Head of Clinical Services for a large non-profit in Humboldt County, and enjoys working mainly with children and parents.
Jeannie graduated summa cum laude from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity with Specialization in Psychology and Counseling and magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi with a double major in psychology and journalism. She has worked in a crisis pregnancy center, psychiatric hospital, drug rehabilitative program, several non-profits and homeless shelters, a foster family agency, and in private practice.
Jeannie the Writer:
Jeannie has been writing ever since she received a diary for her fifth birthday. She began writing angst-ridden middle-grade novels in junior high, often commandeering the family computer for hours on end. After eight years of higher educational pursuits, she moved onto adult contemporary romance and romantic suspense, frequently using her day job as a therapist to generate lots of fodder for her night job as a writer.
Two of Jeannie’s “therapeutic romance” manuscripts have garnered the high praise of being finalists in the Genesis Contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), of which she is an active member. She writes a popular monthly column for Christian Fiction Online Magazine and has been featured in many other e-zines, newspapers, and blogs.
What is Character Therapy? From her website:
Character Therapy is what I do when I use my professional training and experience as a licensed clinician to evaluate and diagnose fictional characters.

How can you—a published or aspiring writer—benefit?
1) Write characters more realistically.
Using a search engine to find out information about a mental disorder yields a very different result than asking a therapist who has treated those same problems in real life. Instead of getting a bunch of stale facts, I can help you breathe life into your characters while taking into consideration your unique story world.

2) Plot more feasibly.
Plotting the external conflict around your character’s internal conflict is essential to create tension on every page. Understanding the character’s driving goals and motivation in relation to their emotional state will help you figure out what plot points need to occur to maximize the character’s arc to its fullest potential.

3) Avoid clichéd or incorrect depictions of mental disorders.
My passion is helping those not afflicted with mental disorders understand those who are. Since one in four adults have a mental disorder, the likelihood of one of your characters having one is pretty high. But you want every nuance to ring true about the character, not feel cardboard cutout or stereotyped. So pick my brain instead of yours to avoid pitfalls of re-writing later.
Have I piqued your curiosity?  Think your characters might benefit from some couch time?

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT
the character therapist
 And I had to show you this: Elizabeth Mueller  did this. Is she talented or what?

 Jeannie will give away a copy of her Writer's Guide to Creating Rich Back Stories. So do a comment and she'll do a giveaway. Jeannie is here if you have any questions. So?? :-) Ask away people. Ask away. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tomorrow Jeannie Campbell Will Be Here

Jeannie Campbell: The Character Therapist will be here tomorrow discussing her new website with you and she's gonna do a giveaway. You gotta come back for that. Which reminds me. YIKES! I forgot to announce the winner of my giveaway. I'll do that Friday. :-) See you here.

I've been tagged!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My pal Medeia Sharif (who has an awesome YA book coming out in July) and you NEED to buy it. It's called BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. Be looking for it. Anyway, she tagged me. Then my bud Trisha over at  Word + Stuff (who is awesomely Australian and musical too), tagged me again. So here goes:

Do you think you're hot?

Meh. (I've been shopping for a new smile. One that doesn't make me look, well, meh.)

Upload a picture or wall paper you are using at the moment.

Do I havta??? (Ivy has been wallpapering my computer, just so you know.) *turns red*

The Song(s) you listened to recently?

Creedence Clearwater Revival. Oh yeah! (When Ivy's iPod isn't turned up to high volume with Taylor Swift and Bieber songs.) Not my thing. *shakes head* So NOT my thing! Not that there's anything wrong with them, it's just well...

What were you thinking as you were doing this?

Am I going to sound, er, yanno, DORKY, STUPID??

Do you have nicknames? 

My dadai never called me Robyn in his life. He called me Peggy. (My sister named me. I think there was conflict there.) :-) Personally, I always wished they would have named me Victoria. It sounds sooo elegant. *sobs*

Tag eight Blogger friends.

Mwa ha ha ha ha (I'm soooo evil) *rubs hands together*

Tricia    (Got ya back.) Mwa ha ha ha

Who's listed as number one?


*scrolls back up* Tricia! She's one of my earliest writerly blogging pals. I love her. She is so cool. And she writes the loveliest  haiku's. :-)

Say something about number 5.

All this scrolling is maddening, I tell you! (And then I gots to count too.) She has become so very dear to me. I love that woman! She is someone I can count on. She knows what I mean when I say that.

How did you get to know number 3?


Just a second...I have to count again. Okay, she's one of my bff's and she writes picture books like me. We're amigos. And we love to wear shades. But only cool shades. She rocks. Uh-huh.

How about number 4?


*Scrolling, counting* Oh that's my pal Sharon. I love her blog. She writes picture books. She's WAAAY cool. *Gotta get her off the motorcycle for once and get her on a horse*

Leave a message for number 6.

 *thumps fingers* This scrolling is getting longer and longer. Dang, I forgot and had to scroll back up again.

Michael, how do you write that fabulous flash fiction so seemingly effortlessly? Whoa, that's a mouthful of adverbs. *slaps hands*

Leave a lovey-dovey message for number 2.


Okay, that's easy! She's the other amigo. She also wears cool shades. And her blog is awesome. I recently won her co-op booklet and it is utterly fabulous. In other words, SHE ROCKETH!

Do number 7 and number 8 have any similarities?

*Scrolls* Actually they do. They should meet. They are both very lovely and caring human beings. Okay! Enough of the sap. They are SOOO cool. And their kids love them and they care about the earth and...

Formatting courtesy of blogger. Grrr they know how to ruin my day!

That is all! :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Putting Pen To Paper has been spammed!

Spammers! UGH! So what to do?? I may have to monitor comments for a time. By the by.(Blogger is makin' me mad too.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Freeby from YA Author Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow spreads the love by giving away free eBooks. And here is why he says we should consider doing it too. It is worth your time to read and it's FREE. He thinks free is good. I agree with that. And he goes against the grain, so I'm having to rethink things, but there is a lot of good stuff that he has to say. :-)

The problem isn't Piracy. The problem is obscurity.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Deeper Understanding: The Dark Is Rising

 I've been a very bad girl. I haven't blogged in a week. *slaps hands* Next week I'll be back to my regular Mon. Fri. blogging schedule. Sorry.

Have you seen this? Deeper Understanding: The Dark Is Rising  It is in response to the Wall St Journal article from Jennifer M. Brown (she wrote the poem not the article). On Saturday (if you haven't heard), the Wall Street Journal posted an opinion piece about YA literature.

The article's opening statement was from a mom of a thirteen-year-old who is NOT happy with the graphic covers she is seeing on YA books these days. She is judging a book by its (forgive me) cover. :-)
Covers are made to grab you. To pull a reader in to look through the pages. Many times  they have nothing to do with the real story that lives between the covers.

 I am going to send you over to read the article. WSJ  Then pop over to read the response. I think you'll find all this very interesting. This was on twitter with the #YA saves hashtag too. So pop over and read some of those tweets.  :-)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Lenny Lee Day and Welcome to the Lenny Lee Fest. The best blogfest EVAH

I am joining some other writers in spreading Lenny Lee sunshine. The following is a story I wrote for my friend Lenny Lee. I hope he enjoys it. He's the BEST! He's so COOL I want everyone to hop over to his blog right after this and check it out. Here's the link:  Lenny's World

         Super Lenny and Rocky (Lenny’s Rad, Rockin’ Raccoon)
      Super Lenny stared at his sidekick waiting on an answer.

      Rocky (Lenny’s Rad Rockin’ Raccoon) counted that Lenny had eaten five lemon tarts and topped them off with three Reese cups.
       Lenny rolled his eyes. “I couldn’t have eaten that much.” He exhaled and fell back onto the kitchen floor. “What will happen if someone needs us?”

       Rocky thrust out his hand to pull Super Lenny up.

       “I am afraid you did eat that much. I counted.” He shoved his calculator into Super Lenny’s view. Rocky couldn’t count and he always held his calculator in case of an emergency. “If we get an urgent call, you’ll be okay. You are Super Lenny, after all.”

        Super Lenny and Rocky were always on duty. At any moment they might have to go to the ends of the earth to bring sunshine into someone’s life. Super Lenny had the gift.

         Super Lenny pulled the curtain back and looked through the window. The sun had disappeared behind the mountain. 
         “It’s getting late,” Rocky said. He put his hand over the knob and pulled the door closed.

         Super Lenny watched as Rocky climbed his favorite tree. He wondered why Rocky insisted on sleeping in a tree. He would never understand that. He’d tried to do it one night. It made his back hurt, because he rolled over and fell to the ground. OUCH! Super Lenny rubbed his back as he recalled that night.

         He shoved his hands into his pockets, turned the telephone ringer to high setting and headed off to bed. His nice soft bed.

          A loud ringing in Super Lenny’s ears woke him up. It must be a call for sunshine, he thought. Super Lenny looked at the number as Rocky (Lenny’s Rad, Rockin’ Raccoon) raced in through the door. Rocky was so rad, he had a connection to the phone in his tree and man was he ever fast! 

            “Looks like it’s from North Carolina, someone named Robyn Campbell,” Super Lenny said. He pulled off his comfy jammies. (Super Lenny slept with his clothes under his jammies. He had to. It saved time. Rocky didn’t have these worries, since he didn’t wear clothes.)

            Super Lenny and Rocky (Lenny’s Rad, Rockin’ Raccoon) hopped into the Lenny mobile. That kickin’, solar powered super car just happened to travel faster than the wind.  Of course, he drove responsibly. Flying when there were other cars on the road.

            “Set it for North Carolina,” Super Lenny said. He pulled down his shades, because the blast from the liftoff was too much for his eyes and they flew off through the wisp of clouds that appear so delicate when looking at them from the ground. But Super Lenny knew these clouds were strong and hardy. He was always stunned at their beauty.
            Super Lenny and Rocky arrived at Robyn’s house five minutes later.

            Super Lenny and Rocky (Lenny’s Rad, Rockin’ Raccoon) brought sunshine to Robyn. So much sunshine that it looked like daytime in the dead of night. They laughed together, talked about animals and rode horses. They ate strawberry shortcake and topped it off with apple pie and vanilla ice cream. She promised to keep in touch and made Super Lenny promise to blog as much as he could. They waved goodbye as Super Lenny and Rocky (Lenny’s Rad, Rockin’ Raccoon) flew off feeling good, because they created sunshine for their friend. 

Thank you Lenny. For always bringing me sunshine and laughter. I love you tons and tons!  (^_^)  XOXOXOXO