Friday, September 30, 2011

Welcome Phyllis Johnson (Could be titled: I'm going to get blogger!)

If Phyllis looks familiar, you may have seen in her on television in bit roles on website advertising the has classroom ma


              I want to welcome Phyllis Johnson here today. She is one half of the team who wrote the YA novel, inkBLOT.  It’s great to have you, Phyllis.     

     Why did you decide to write inkBLOT?

One day I was taking an inkblot test online and the images and questions grew stranger and more twisted somehow. I started wondering what it would be like if the person receiving the information used it against me. It was the classic “what if” that gave birth to the book. 

     How long have you known Nancy Naigle? (Nancy is the other half of Johnson Naigle, this awesome writing team.)  
I’ve known Nancy for six years. She's a great friend and an award winning writer. Her debut novel, Sweet Tea and Secrets is getting rave reviews and her next novel, due out soon is titled Out of Focus. Nancy and I met through our romance writing group and went to some writing retreats and conferences together. Our personalities and love for writing meshed and we decided over time that it would be fun to work together.  I started working on inkBLOT and somewhere along the way got distracted by other writing projects. Nancy heard the synopsis of the story and kept asking about it. She didn’t want me to give up on it and decided she’d like to work on it with me. That’s when our co-authorship began. I’m really happy she fell in love with the characters like I did. We plan sequels to the book and have outlined them already. 

    How did you come up with such a fantastic idea for a YA novel? 
    Like I said earlier, it was the inkblot test that triggered the whole book. Different images on the test made me think of various crimes and how someone could carry them out. 

       I must tell you that the first line of the first chapter is one of the best first lines I’ve ever read. Pulled me in. Fast. How long did you work on that first line? 
      Nancy has to take credit for the first line. I had removed the first chapter from the book so it could begin with real action. After all, suspense has to grab you from the beginning. It’s Nancy’s first line that hooks you.  We sent the manuscript back and forth trying come up with the strongest hook. 

     What character was the hardest to create? 
   Chelsea may have been the hardest to create. She’s strong willed and competitive but we wanted her to show some compassion too. It was a balancing act. We found that we had to go back and soften her up a little to more easily win the readers' hearts. 

    What would you tell a young person who wants to be a writer?    Being a writer is a labor of love. You do it because you feel something is missing when you go too long without writing. Some of my best advice is to join writing groups. Networking with others takes some of the solitude out of it and you learn a lot from others, such as publishing information and critiquing skills. Developing a thick skin to rejection is important and you should always believe in yourself. Never give up your dreams.

        Which children's book authors are your favorites?
        Jon Sciezka, Alice McLerran, E.B. White, Peggy Deitz Shea, Anne Frank (which explains my poetry book based on her diary, Being Frank with Anne- which I plan to re-release as a new edition in the near future)

      Do you ever get writer's block?

      When I get writer’s block, I look at artwork or photography and listen to music.
     Anything creative jump starts my Muse.  Swinging in a hammock with notebook and pen helps too.

    If you could say anything to your readers, what would it be? 
    I hope you love Ronnie, Chelsea and Tiffany as much as we do.  
   And the next time you enter a lot of information over the internet about yourself... be careful. :.)~  

   Thank you for visiting with me, Phyllis and Nancy. I heart your novel.

  You want to visit this awesome writing team and their most exciting novel? I knew you did. Check out the linkage. You'll be glad you did. Support these lovely ladies. Go buy this novel. It's awesome. *wishing I'd had the idea first*
        Phyllis's place
        Nancy's house  
   I've never had  so much trouble with the formatting and uploading as I've had this week.   *shakes fist at blogger* 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Give a huge welcome to Tess Hilmo!

              I want to welcome my cool writerly blogging friend, Tess Hilmo. We were pals in our early blogging days. She’s one of my first followers. Bless her! And I have learned a lot from her in the past couple years. Her book, With a Name Like Love debuted on my birthday. Thanks for that Tess! HA!   
            What made you decide to become a writer?  I’ve always loved reading and literature but it wasn’t until I was put on 30 weeks bed rest with my second child that I started to write.  I had so much time and was tired of the television so I turned to books and began writing stories.  That child is now 12 years old!

            Will you ever or have you considered writing a sequel to With a Name Like Love? No, I think it would take away from the charm of this story.

            Was Ollie based on you or anyone from your life? A little bit of myself, I think.  Ollie longs for a stable home.  Growing up, I had a single mom who bought and sold real estate.  We lived in ten different homes by the time I was 14!  So, in that way, my wants aligned with Ollie’s.  The name comes from a distant relative on my father’s side.

            How did you come up with the name Binder? Real town?  Not a real town, but a real law firm!  I was taking a break from writing and heard a TV commercial for a local law firm, “Binder and Binder.”  The name stuck in my head and so I made it into a town. 
            What kind of books do you enjoy reading the most?  Anything middle grade!

            Who are your favorite characters from With a Name Like LoveJimmy is by far my favorite character.  He is in a terrible mess.  His mother is in jail for killing his horribly abusive father and yet he never once questions her innocence or his own self worth.  He believes in himself so deeply.  That kid is amazing.

            What are your tips for aspiring novelists? Believe!!!  And, some advice I heard was that writing is not a race, it is a marathon and there is room for all of us at the finish line.

            What are you working on right now?  Divulge my secrets?  Hmmmm….ok!  I am working on another middle grade story.  It is set in Wyoming, modern day and has a fun cowboy flare to it.  It has been a blast to write!
             Tess, I have loved having you here. I truly wish you great success and I am one of your biggest cheerleaders. Everyone go buy Tess’s book, With a name Like Love. It’s awesome. Just look at that cover! Wouldn't you pick this book up if you were browsing?Tess is having a humongous giveaway over at her place. Head over, ASAP! Tess's place and visit her awesome website too.

Buy this lovely book at:


Monday, September 26, 2011

Ta Dum!

The winners from the Who Started Your Dream blog circle are:

Blueeyedadri please contact moi (robyn at robyncampbell dot com)for your signed for you copy of Across The Universe, (Clap, clap, clap) I have tried unsuccessfully to contact her. If I do not hear from her by Sunday October 2, a new winner will be drawn.

J.A. Bennet please contact Ali Cross (ali at alicross dot com)for your signed copy of "Supernaturally" by Kiersten White. (Clap, clap, clap)

Mina Burrows please contact K.M. Walton please contact K.M. Walton (kmwalton1atverizondotnet)for your copy of "Crash Into Me" by Albert Borris. (Clap, clap, clap)

Joanne Fritz  please contact Katharina Gerlach (katharina at katharinagerlach dot com) for your coupon of William L. Hahn’s heroic fantasy "Fencing Reputation". (Clap, clap, clap)

Small Town Shelly Brown  please contact Katharina Gerlach (katharina at katharinagerlach dot com) for the eBook "The Witches of Greenwitch". (Clap, clap, clap)

Michael Di Gesu please contact Katharina Gerlach (katharina at katharinagerlach dot com) for your eBook-excerpt "Chasing the Grimm Reaper". (Clap, clap, clap)

Rusty Webb please contact Stephanie (lizziebennet45at yahoodotcom) for your 30 pg critique. (Clap, clap, clap)

Kim please contact Rachele Alpine (ralpine at aol(dot com) for your 25 pg critique. (Clap, clap, clap)

Tina Moss  please contact M.G. Higgins (info at mghiggins dot com) for your 20 page critique. (Clap, clap, clap)

Alex J. Cavanaugh please contact Michele Helene (michelevhelene at gmail dot com) for your first 500 words
intensive critique. (Clap, clap, clap)

Congrads to all you peeps and this was a fun bloghop. I loved doing it. Thanks to everyone who shared their memories of Who Started Your Dream?

Super Fantastic Chocolate Contest!

Head on over to Sher's place . Uh, you do like chocolate, right? Git on over. :-) Go on now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Top Three Excuses Are:

1. I can't write today. No one has any clean clothes to wear.

2. My horses need riding. (I love this one.)

3. We need food in this house. I mean, how can I write if I don't have anything to eat?

Now I admit that number two is my most favorite excuse. But I have learned that when I am riding one of my horses, I'm thinking. About my stories. Things are coming together in my head, so in a way, I am writing.

But the other two are just, well, lamo! Trust me! I'd much rather write than wash clothes. But I think I make this excuse because I'm afraid. Afraid to write the beginning. Afraid of the middle. Afraid to reach The End.

I have declared every Monday through Friday for the rest of the year, No Excuses Can Be Heard, holiday. I'll let you know how it goes. This simply means that I write early morning after exercising and before homeschool. Something. Anything. If it's only 100 words, then so be it. At least I have something to show for it. And if there is anytime left after supper and family time then I write then too.

So tell me. What are your excuses?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And The Winner Is!

September Mom !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just won the copy of Saving Redwind. Congrads and thanks to all who entered. :-)

And don't forget to stop by and comment on Who Started Your Dream ? Ya wanna win a prize, don'tcha?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Go Visit Michael!

Head over to Michael's house and read about the fabulously gifted C. Alexander London. Did I say giveaway? That's right. But remember. Tell the Don that Robyn is in his corner. Bribes never hurt anyone, yanno? Robyn would love to win said author's book. Mention my name. Go, go, go! *smiling*

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Pal, Author Kris Yankee is here.

Welcome Kris! It is so great to have you here discussing your middle grade novel, Saving Redwind. This book is a must buy, people!

I loved reading your book, Saving Redwind. I was pulled into Nick’s story and was sad to leave Nick’s world when I finished the book. (Yep, this book has a male main character.) I am doing a giveaway. I have an extra copy to give to a lucky reader. Just comment on this post and I’ll ask to pick a winner.

Thanks for your kind words, Robyn, and thank you for allowing me to take over your blog for the day! I’m so excited to be here and am looking forward to your extremely hard fun questions. So, here we go…

Why did you decide to write Saving Redwind?
My agent asked me to try a new genre. She signed me on a women’s fiction manuscript, but was unable to sell it. I had a story idea floating around in my head for years, which ended up being Saving Redwind. She wasn’t able to sell it and she instructed me to self-publish it.

What is your favorite thing about writing?
I think my favorite thing has to be spending time with my characters. I just love them, even the bad ones! I have a lot of fun while writing and hopefully the reader can sense that.

What's the worst part about writing?
The worst part is that I don’t get to write every day. I’m an editor for a small press and an editor/writer for a non-profit. I’m also a wife, a mom to two boys and two dogs, the team manager of my son’s hockey team, and all the other things that a “wife” and “mom” are supposed to be.

What would you tell a young person who wants to be a writer?
I would tell them not to wait. If they have any inclination about writing, go for it. I waited so long before really listening to my gut. I knew, deep down, that I wanted to write but I didn’t have the confidence. If you have a story to tell, don’t give up. Keep working on your craft, making it the best it can possibly be. Always have faith in what’s in your heart.

How did you think up such an imaginative title for your book?
I have to admit that Redwind is a version of Redwing – as in the Detroit Redwings. The story, of course, has nothing to do with the Wings. But the main character is a hockey player and the Wings are his favorite team.

If you could say anything to your readers, what would it be?
I’d like to thank them for taking a risk on me and my stories. I know that there are so many out there, and I’m always outstanding when I get an email or comment on my blog about how much someone loved/liked something I wrote.

Are you working on a new book now?
I’m working on a young adult story with a screenwriter. He’s completed the screenplay (it was his idea and he came to me to write the corresponding novel). It, of course, involves hockey. J

Why do you think it's so important that young people read?
Whether we’re driving, grocery shopping, or surfing the web, we’re reading every day. It is an essential aspect of our day-to-day life. But there’s so much more; there are stories, fiction and non-fiction, that help us all relate to the world, that help us realize we aren’t so different. Without stories, the world would be so boring.

What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m currently reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I loved Shiver-such unforgettable characters.

How do you choose your themes and storylines?
All of my stories have some sort of hockey aspect to them. There are so many life lessons that are learned through team sports, and I wanted to bring those out in stories, especially for kids who don’t play team sports. My main characters are always boys, but I try to throw in at least one girl! Saving Redwind’s main character has a little sister. She’s not a big part of the story, but she serves a purpose.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a writer?
I’d tell them to hone their craft. Many people think it’s easy to write a story. For some, it is. But for most, it takes practice. Take classes, join critique groups and/or websites that deal with the craft of writing. Learn about point of view, scene and sequel, story question, character development. Write the best you can, and the edit it to make it even better. Also, have a tough skin. This is a very subjective field. One person may love your story and another may hate it.

Are you particularly attached to any characters?
I think I get attached to all of my characters. I often wonder what they’re doing after I’ve finished the story. I once asked my mentor, Bonnie Hearn Hill, if she ever felt that way. I was relieved when she said yes!

Thanks again, Robyn! It’s been fun. If your readers are interested in learning more about me or my books, please visit my website, or my blog,   

Thank you Kris. Excellent answers. Please visit Kris everyone. She’s a wonderful author/pal who has taught me a thing or two in my own writing. :-)
Comment away for my extra copy, people.

And don't forget to comment on the Who Started Your Dream post. Prizes, prizes galore. Who Started Your Dream?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Who Started Your Dream?

Who Started your Dream?

As you all know, I am in Rachael Harrie's 3rd Platform Building  Campaign. What fun! Meeting bloggers all across the cyber universe and learning from them too. They're very smart, these bloggers.

One of these smart (genius really) bloggers, Cat Gerlach from our MG/YA group (The amazingly creative group 3) organized this really, really, made of chocolately awesome blog circle/hop. Okay! It really isn't made of chocolate, it just has a sweet, silky goodness like chocolate. ;-)

I'm supposed to tell you which book, which author started my dream.  Dum dum de dum! (And my blogging pals who have known me a while all ready know the answer to this question.) Black Beauty! Written by the remarkable Anna Sewell. This was the first novel I read as a child. I didn't have horses then, but wanted a palomino appaloosa and a black quarter horse in the worst way! Anna introduced me to that wonderful world and I read her beautiful story five times, one right after the other. I used to pretend I was her, sitting at my desk (which was really the kitchen table), writing my book, Black Beauty. I learned all I could about her and then started reading Walter Farley's books too. If I hadn't checked Black Beauty out of the library that day, I probably wouldn't be typing this post right now. Did you know she never meant for it to be a novel? She wrote it for vets and horse owners. It was meant to be a how to book for them. If she could only know what it meant to me to read her beautiful words. To live in Black Beauty's world and ride him in my mind's eye. I still read this book from time to time. It takes me back to a world I love. And it gave me my love of writing stories. I owe her a lot. I figure I can repay the debt by writing my own lovely stories and creating a world that might someday give another little girl a love for this craft. Thank you for reading. xoxo

 Now here are the secret prizes that are no longer a secret after today:

 Michele Helene (500 words)
 Cat Gerlach(coupon code for an epic fantasy novel eBook by William
L. Hahn)
 K.M. Walton(YA novel)
 Stephanie(30 pg critique)
 Rachele Alpine(25 pg critique)
Bonnie Rae (YA book)
And me (a query crit and a signed just for you copy of Across The Universe)

Here's the deal:

  1. Leave a comment here explaining the book that started your dream, or the book that you are reading right now, or just a comment on your flavor of chocolate. Yeah. That'll do!
  2. Hop to the next two blogs on the list below and leave a comment there too. The more comments you leave, the more you increase your chance of winning one of those most excellent prizes listed above.
  3. Every blog will tell you where to hop to next. 
  4. The very last day to comment is Thursday, September 22nd.
  5. Winners will be selected through
Okay! Hop to:

In Time The blog of Michael Di Gesu, for those of you who don't know.

A Wanderer In Paris Michele Helene's blog.

Hop away. And comment often! :-) Good luck.

Foot note: This was saved as a draft, not a scheduled post like I thought it was. Which is why it's late. Blogger's on my last nerve!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I wanted to tell you about the blog ring I'm in. It's the Who Started Your Dream blog hop. And did I mention there are prizes? Very cool prizes. It all starts on Thursday, September 15. Any commenter has the chance to win a prize, and that chance increases the more blogs she/he comments on. There are eleven blogs participating.  September 22 is the deadline to comment. Our old friend will pick the winners. Did I mention prizes? Big, wonderful prizes. I'll link to two writers who are in the circle. They will also link back to me, and so on and so forth.

Tune in on Thursday to see who did it for me.

Thanks to Ali Cross for making the very awesome button. See it? >

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cool Contest But Hurry And Enter!

Head over, contest ends tonight at midnight, California time. (I'm so slack these days!) Elizabeth Varadan's Fourth Wish

Monday, September 5, 2011

My interview

I'm being interviewed today over at A Wanderer in Paris Stop by. I haven't had internet all day or I would have had this up this morning.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We have a winner!

Lynn Kelley of LynNerd's Random Acts of Writing is the winner of The Magic Warble, by Victoria Simcox. Thanks to all who entered. Congrads Lynn. I know you will enjoy the book. :-)