Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy THanksgiving!

Quick tip for Thanksgiving. . .Do all your writing before you eat the turkey.

Otherwise, you'll be dozing while you write or writing something that will make absolutely no sense.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On my publisher's site

My publisher, L& L Dreamspell is updating their website and I'm now listed. Sorta. No book cover art yet. . .but there is a placeholder. Check it out!

Last days of NaNoWriMo

Okay, so I haven't been the best at paying attention to NaNoWriMo. Shame on Me. My friend Nora is cruising though and her story is excellent.

Me, because I focused on finishing my WIP I didn't get too much done. BUT after I came up with my next story idea and in between research (a lot of research), I did manage to write 8300 words on my new novel. And I still have 4 more days to go. Not that I will have the novel done in 4 days, but I will be into a very good start. So far I'm averaging about 2000 words (give or take) a day or 2 chapters a day. That's not bad considering the research I've had to do on human intelligence gathering and the reading of body language.

My next blog I'll post some of the body language traits I've learned. Maybe you can use them in your next book. . .or in your interactions with people. Very interesting stuff.

Okay, off to write.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Next Story Idea

After two days of frustration I finally figured out, at least at a high level, my next story. Sometimes it's best to just step away from the computer and everything else and go with old-fashioned paper and pen. I found a quiet place to sit and just let thoughts, questions, and ideas drift around in my head, writing all of them down as I went.

As I did this the story started to unfold. Not in any detail, but enough to keep me motivated on this next story and actually do some research into it. The sad part is, that there isn't much readily available on HUMINT (human intelligence) or the Intelligence Community as a whole. And, oh my gosh, if you read some of the information that is listed on sites it is so convoluted and indirect you can't even figure out what they are actually saying.

No fear. This morning I woke up and had the storyline more clearly outlined in my head. So today my job will be do try and write a rough outline and more than likely write chapter 2. I'm one of those writers who really can't outline more than a couple of steps ahead. Believe me, I've tried.

I think someone should come up with a good outline template for a romantic-suspense novel. Not just the Beginning, Middle, and End stuff you see all over the place.

Anyway, I'm to plan, outline, write, and do more research. If anyone has suggestions on good sites on HUMINT collection, feel free to post a comment here.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I'm working on the content for my website, so the other day I contacted my editor and asked if she had received any reviews back yet. What Lisa sent me was the review that will be on the book cover. See below:

Denise Robbins' delicious debut novel, It Happens in Threes, begins with a bang and doesn't let up. Fueled by a heady mix of action, suspense, humor, and romance--and a couple of thoroughly engaging protagonists--the book kept me turning pages (and hoping that the wild, sexy ride wouldn't end!). IHT marks the launch of a career to watch.

--David Daniel, author of Reunion and The Marble Kite

Thank you David!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Story Idea

Hello everyone!

As you know, as of yesterday I finished my second manuscript. Yippee for me, right?

Yes, well, now I need to write the next story. And when I say need, I mean "lookout honey, where's the chocolate before I shoot you" kind of need. It's an addiction!

That doesn't mean I didn't get up this morning and write. As a matter of fact, I wrote 1200 words this morning, the start to my new manuscript. The problem is, I don't have a clue where I want to go with this story.

I have 2 great characters and they just met, but what is going to happen? Here's the other thing, I write romantic-suspense. I really like to read and write romantic-suspense so it needs to be one of those kind of ideas. Plus, my hero has already been seen in my two previous books and he works for a secret government agency.

Now, I did just skim through a bunch of gosh-darn (midwest accent showing through) articles on the net about how to sit down and come up with several ideas. HA! Are they kidding or what? I can't force an idea. Kinda isn't the definition of "idea" if I can PLAN it. Sheesh!

So what I need is inspiration and brainstorming. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Manuscript is complete!

Yeehaw! Yes, this is me doing the happy dance!! I officially finished my second manuscript this morning and it feels EXCELLENT! Okay, it felt so good I actually teared up because I DID IT!

Now, I'm waiting hear back from my critique friends as to what they think and then send to my editor. YES! Throw my hand in the air in a sign of triumph.

What do you do after you complete a manuscript?? Go to Disney World?! NOT!
You edit. Yes, you've been doing that all along, but now you do the nasty search for those passive voice sentences, and as my father like to point out (too many contractions).

And yup, already did that today. Let me tell you, 318 pages takes a long time to go through to make certain you caught all the bad stuff. Hours and hours. And even after I went through once, I had MSFT Word do the grammar check on it and of course it still found some leftovers.

Anyway, big sigh. I feel good, no great, no flippin' fantastic! I did it, I did it!! Be jealous.
Now I gotta come up with the next in the series. :-) My hero Jake is going to take center stage. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What do writer's drink?

I'm sitting at Panera waiting for Nora so we can critique our work and hopefully brainstorm me through the ending of my WIP. As I sit here drinking my Mountain Dew, I started to wonder what do other writers drink when they're in the creative spirit. For me, there are only two things that boost me along. Mountain Dew during the day or a lesser caffeine soda if MD is not available, and a Corona Light when I'm writing at night.

Occasionally I'll drink a Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks when I can get it, but that's not as often.

What do the rest of you drink when you lock yourself away to write?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Home Stretch

Had an amazing day of writing yesterday. Wrote several chapters and in the last one kind of peterd out so this morning I had to revise it. I do believe it is much better.

But now, I'm literally on the last or second to last chapter and I haven't a clue of how it should go. Every time I start an idea I end up not liking it. I think I've started this chapter at least 3 times.

I even tried going for a drive, thinking that would clear my mind enough to get past my writer's block and get it done.

Is this happening because the end is near, I'm in the home stretch, or because I should have planned this?

With my last book I didn't have this big of a problem, although I did write it twice. I had an original idea but during the actual writing of it, the chapter took on a life of its own. The girls in my writers group straightened me out on that one so of course I fixed it.

But this one is killing me. I need the hero and heroine to catch the bad guy and the heroine to tell the bad guy she loves him. I mean come on! How hard can it be?

OK - enough ranting. Any suggestions on how to get past this would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


How do you manage your revisions? You know, like you write a chapter then realize it pretty much stinks so you edit, tweak, or completely rewrite the thing.

For me, it depends. It depends on if it's just tweaks. If it is then I'll make the changes and save it as the same file.

If I am doing some cutting (like big chunks/paragraphs) then I have a separate file for my WIP cuts. That gives me a nice file to go grab stuff that I may have written but ended up not using for one reason or another.

If it's a complete re-write I generally save an old version of the manuscript and then use the new version from that point forward so I can refer to the old in case I wanted something. Plus it gives me a copy of my work at least to a certain point in time so if other backup methods fail I will at least have something.

So why am I mentioning this topic? To re-inforce the fact that you should never delete or throw away anything you write. You never know when it could be of use. How would I know this?

Besides listening to many other writers, I have just learned this lesson the hard way. I wrote a chapter then decided I hated it so I pretty much rewrote the entire chapter. But do you think I can find it so I can borrow pieces of it for a chapter that I am now working on?. . .NO.

And now here I am, having to re-create some of the work I had previously done. Learn from my mistakes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pets and story ideas

I know - great title for a blog, right?

I have these two cats (pictures are on the left) and they just love to play. This morning when I was making the bed, one of them decided to attack me toes from underneath the bed skirt. Talk about a heart attack!

Of course, after the initial shock, I teased the little guy until he got tired. :-)

Then I started thinking, as I often do. Wouldn't someone (not a cat) under the bed waiting to do evil be a great part of a story? But then I thought, yes, a cat would be cool because you could use that as the prelude to a person being under the bed.

First event a woman comes home at the end of a day, exhausted, she kicks her shoes off, and gets undressed standing next to the bed and the cat attacks her foot. Yes, the woman jumps, but then laughs, and plays with the cat.

The next time though, she thinks it's the Fluffy the cat and thinks it's funny until the person under the bed grabs her ankle and pulls. . . Where it goes from there is up to you. Have fun!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Have you ever noticed...?

Have you ever noticed that the busier you are the more creative you are?

On Sunday when I planned to sit with the football games on television and do nothing but write and eat homemade soup I couldn't write more than two sentences.

Yesterday, in between phone interviews, making homemade soups, and getting ready for my Saturday Holiday Open House (kicking off the shopping season with chocolate and friends), I managed to write over 2000 words (not a lot, but decent). Plus, I revised the last chapter I had written and even if I do say so myself, it is way better. Much more tension andit jumps off the page.

SO why did this happen? I have no clue, do you?

Anyway, it's after 5:30 AM my time and I have to get up and get ready for what I hope will be another productive day of writing and other. Gotta see if I can get my hero's chapter to jump off the page. Wish me luck.

Found my blog

For those of you who found my blog, I apologize for the move. In honor of my new website getting ready to come on board I'm moving everything to my name (Denise Robbins), in case you didn't know where you were. :-)

That way everything should be in place when the site is ready.

I apologize in advance but please visit my site at and you will be re-directed until all the new stuff is live...hopefully soon!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Couldn't Sleep - More Marketing

Last night while my body wanted to sleep the sleep of the dead, my mind decided to take a detour to the amusment park.

Sound silly? Maybe it's a funny description but it really does explain what happened. So what did I do to curb the spinning of my mind?

I came up with and emailed an idea for a magazine article to Susan Caldwell, Publisher/Founder of magazine. It's a magazine all about NH and MA women. I met Susan several years ago when we both were starting our businesses, hers the magazine, and me

Anyway, I decided to reach out to her and propose doing an article on NH Romance Writers. I believe in our group and what we do and would really like to see others become aware of what we do and who we are. I want to spread the word.

If you have a local magazine or newspaper in your area, propose an article/idea. Start telling people about you, your writing, and the other writers who support you. What's the worst that could happen? They turn you down, okay, go to the next one.

Ha! It's kind of like trying to get published!!

When the end is near

Have you ever gotten close to the end of a WIP and just wanted it over? Or you're so close, but you get writer's block? Or, my favorite, when a character from your next story creeps into your current WIP?

Yup! That's where I'm at now. I had a self-imposed goal of finishing my current WIP by December so it was completed and out the door to an editor before the first one is released in January. I am soo close, I can see the end, and I want to reach the finish line.

I had writer's block on Sunday, but today, thanks to my critique and brainstorming session with Nora I managed to write about 1500 words and get the latest chapter finished in my WIP and the start of the next. Hopefully I'll get the next chapter completed tomorrow morning. Keep fingers crossed.

And yes, I have this one character that I just adore. He's so cool and got this sexy southern drawl, and whenever he makes his way into my stories he manages to take over. Well, Jake has done that a couple of times while I've been trying to wrap up this story. He's become a PITA! :-)

The problem is, Jake wants his own book. Now I'm feeling the pressure to really finish this book so I can write his story. The funny thing is, I started another story with him in it for NaNoWriMo, only its not a romantic-suspense, it's a kid's mystery. I came up with the idea when I took a children's writing course over the summer and it's kind of stuck in my head.

Well, if I actually succeed in finishing my WIP soon (like maybe this week) then maybe Jake will have two stories, the kid's mystery and a romantic-suspense. Greedy guy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Soo Close

I am so close to finishing my current WIP. So close that I have brain freeze. I had all day yesterday to write, was looking forward to it, and the only thing that came out was 2 sentences. UGH! Talk about frustrated.

Today I'm meeting Nora LeDuc to critique our work and get some brainstorming done.

Wish me luck!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More marketing

David Daniel, fiction author, and English teacher, forwarded me an email today with information about an Open Mic night at UMASS Lowell. The university did this last year which is what inspired me to write my first poem and then submit it and it was published...(see previous post).

Anyway, you don't have to read a poem. You can read an excerpt from a work-in-progress. What an excellent idea! Here's a perfect opportunity to check and see if your hook works.
Again, look at how many people will hear/read something you've written and now know your name.

Hopefully, if you do something like this you remember to take your business cards which will not only include your name, book name, but your website URL and the ISBN number for your book.

Remember, no one can or will promote you as well as you promote yourself. TELL EVERYONE!

How else to get your name known as an author

I was just sitting here trying to plot through my current WIP (obviously it's not going too well, otherwise I'd be writing there and not on my blog). :-)

As I was sitting here trying to write, I received an email from Tammy, the editor of the NHRWA newsletter. She dropped me a quick line to let me know that other chapters have used an article I wrote for last month's newsletter. First, that was great that Tammy kept me updated. Second, that's so cool!

Now I'm sitting here realizing what a wonderful way to get your name out there and to get more visitors to your website and ultimately to your books.

For those of you who are part of a writing group, I recommend you write a short article on a writing subject that interests you. Remember, if you're interested in it, someone else is too. Besides, think of the marketing benefits.

As a matter of fact, another author several months ago suggested to time getting a magazine article or two published with the release of your book. Hm...makes sense.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Book in a month update

Well, yesterday was not the greatest writing day. I only wrote about 300 words.

Today, I had very good intentions to do my usual of going to Panera to write. Instead, I prepped for an interview and talked with a friend on the phone. By the time I actually wrote anything I was sitting in the lobby of the company where I had the interview. And of course, I only had my current WIP printed out and with me and not the last part of my NaNoWriMo novel, so I worked on that.

And now what's my excuse? I'm in the zone of writing for my WIP and hate to break it for more than sending a quick "hello" to you all.

Hope you're doing better than I am. But at least I'm writing something.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update

Day 2 - I wrote 1591 words, Day 3 - 1044.

How's it going for everyone else?

I'm getting ready to meet a writer friend this morning who is also participating in NaNoWriMo. We're getting together to critique what we've written so far that way we can either tweak what we've written and thereby add more words :-) or help with tweaking the plot to move forward (always my issue). Of course Nora LeDuc, my author friend can write way more words than me in one sitting. Ugh!!

Check out her site and books at

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quick Quip

Last night I went out with a friend of mine for dinner and afterwards she asked me to stop by the post office so she could drop a couple of letters in the mailbox. The mailboxes were the big metal ones that sit at a curb and you can pull up in front of them, slip the envelopes in, then drive away.

Of course it's not that easy. :-)

We pulled up right behind a car and waited for him to slide his mail in. And waited. And waited. His hands would go sneak out the window and then back in again. Not once did I see any paper.

Finally, I turned to my friend and asked her, "Do you think he's having trouble ordering his Venti Caramel Apple Spice?"

Seriously, I thought the guy was trying to order food or something. No, I did not honk. We were having too much fun laughing at the fact that it took forever. Plus, he finally did figure out how to put the mail in the mailbox. Of course when it was our turn we knew what we wanted so our order didn't take nearly as long. LOL!

Now, how could you use that little event in a book? I can think of a couple of ways.

Your hero or heroine could be in a hurry but just have to do this one little errand. That could lead to all kinds of scenarios. . .they're late for whatever they were in a hurry for, like getting to a stakeout, or a meeting with a bad guy. Or maybe that little detour and lengthy wait in line gave the bad guy an opportunity to ambush them. Any ideas spring to your mind?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Official start of NaNoWriMo

Good evening everyone! Today is the first official day of nanowrimo. How many words have you written??

So far today, 1093 words for me. Not the greatest, but definitely not bad since I am still working on my current WIP as well.

I've been trying to get into the site and update my word count but I have a feeling the site is very busy with all the other writers. That's a good thing!!

Let me know how you're doing.

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