Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New writing prompt

Anybody besides me need a little creative boost? Let's get those creative juices flowing. Here is a new writing prompt.

When she discovered. . .

That is a wide open beginning. See what you can do with it and share it here. I will share mine as soon as I come up with it. :-)

Remember to make it a hook so the reader wants more.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Editor/Agent Pitches - Feel the pain

Last night, I returned from my long weekend at the Expo - exhausted. But, I did manage to read some of my email. In it was a message from one of the writers who attended the NEC conference this weekend. Apparently, she gave a pitch to an agent and it did not turn out well.

I have no details other than she never wants to do it again. :-)

How many of you have ever felt the same way? Maybe the agent/editor did not ask for anything? How about the editor/agent asked for a submission only to reject you via letter?

This writer's answer to her pain is to never pitch in person again. Can you sympathize or what?

How do we boost her and any other writer's confidence and get them prepped for taking on the in-person task of sharing her passion with the ultimate being YES - GIVE ME YOUR WORK but the scarier response being THANKS BUT NO THANKS?

Being a person who used to spend her time in front of classrooms teaching computers to business folks and more computer literate people than myself, I know how it feels to put yourself out there. Maybe I'm immune to rejection because I know I can never be 100% to everyone, not even myself. But I don't think that's how I survived getting rejections on my manuscripts.

So how do you survive the pitches?

Here is one theory. Know this. . .There is always someone who won't like you or your manuscript. In opposition to that there is always someone who will like you or your manuscript. Believe me!

Look at the pitch as an opportunity to learn from it and go in with no expectations. It used to take me 3 times teaching a class before I was comfortable and good at it. Each time I improved and enjoyed it more. Pitches and queries are the same. Take away from each meeting/response how you could improve your pitch, if at all. Also, remember that it could be that the particular agent/editor just does not like your kind of story and it has nothing to do with your pitch or writing. No matter what you do, you would not succeed with the wrong agent/editor.

With that in mind, research the editor/agent you are going to pitch to. If you write cozy mysteries, don't waste your time or the editor/agent when all they do is historical romance.

Remember, that even big-time published authors still get rejections. Yup, it is true.

What else? Anyone want to add their 2 cents??

Friday, March 27, 2009

Made in NH Expo Special

If you can't make the Made in NH Expo, I posted on my website http://www.deniserobbins.com the opportunity to order a signed copy of IT HAPPENS IN THREES from me between March 27 and March 29 and automatically be entered in a drawing to win a FREE copy of KILLER BUNNY HILL when released in July.

Yesterday's Writing Prompt Response


Throwing her purse over her shoulder, Jane opened her front door and froze. . .

My hook sentence:

Throwing her purse over her shoulder, Jane opened her front door and froze as a masked man shoved a black 9-millimeter Beretta in her face.

What did you come up with?? Feel free to share.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Made in NH Expo Setup & Writing Prompt

Luckily, I have already done some writing this morning, but the majority of the day I will be packing and setting up for the Made in NH Expo that starts tomorrow.

Checkout their website for more information and I hope to see you there. http://millyardcommunications.com/index.php?submenu=madeinnh&src=gendocs&ref=MadeinNHExpo&category=events

Since it will be such a busy next few days, this morning I am going to leave you with a writing prompt. I will, of course, come up with a response to the prompt and show that tomorrow after you all respond with your own idea. Think HOOK!!


Throwing her purse over her shoulder, Jane opened her front door and froze. . .

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What is toe headed?

First, is it toe-headed or tow-headed?

Second, what does it mean?

This morning I was listening to an audiobook and that word was mentioned. I came home and looked it up, or I should say I attempted to look it up and could not find the definition.

So, what is it? Why use it? And am I the only person who has no clue as to the definition?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More books in library

If you're a writer, you should read. Correct? At least that's what everyone says in all the articles you see about being a writer. Since I agree with that and I have always been a book fiend, I decided to take a picture of my library shelves.

What you see are shelves of my previously read books. . .with the exception of the plastic bag on one shelf that has the 8 books I just purchased today. Sheesh! I just could not help myself. Now this does not include the 6 books I picked up the other day at Miranda Neville's book signing.

The top 3 shelves are doubled-up so there are twice as many books. What you do not see is that below my shelves are 4 cupboards, each with three shelves in them, also doubled-up. All of them except one cupboard are previously read books. So you can see I just HAD to get more books for my TO BE READ PILE.

How about you? What does your library look like? Is it mostly the previously read pile or the to be read pile?

Monday, March 23, 2009

A book you refuse to part with

Is there a book on your shelf that you refuse to part with? Maybe there is more than one.
What is the title and who is the author?
Why do you refuse to lend it to another living soul, not even your spouse or best friend whom you have known since 2nd grade?
Is it autographed by the author? Did you meet the author in person? Was it a gift from your first love or your parents?
Do you every once and a while look at the book and think, "I should get rid of it." Then you get heart palpitations, freak out and put it back.
How many times have you read the book cover to cover?

Me? Well, I used to have an all-time favorite first edition by Iris Johansen called THE UGLY DUCKLING. A couple of years ago I gave it to a friend. Bye-bye book.

I have a couple of signed Janet Evanovich books. One, I waited in line for hours to get (my first book signing ever). The nice thing was that the bookstore gave all of us in line a slice of cheesecake. When I finally made it up to meet Janet, she was funny and friendly and made the drive and the wait well worth it. Ever since then, I have loved going to book events.

Reviews of It Happens in Threes

The following are review links on my computer-thriller/romantic-suspense It Happens In Threes. Check them out and leave a comment on their pages.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review from Coffee Time Romance

My day just got better. A lot better!

IT HAPPENS IN THREES just received a review from Coffee Time Romance. I posted the review to the right. . . see their image.

Or, click here. http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/Ithappensinthrees.html

Gosh darn computers

Okay, is it just me or did some windows update hose my computers. Everytime I reboot them and sometimes it doesn't wait for that, I have to reset stuff that should never change. This just started happening in the last couple of days and it's driving me nuts!

Yes, I'm ranting. No, I will not switch to Linux or some other such thing. I'm a Microsoft baby and always will be, but gosh darn it, I just want my stuff to work correctly.

I'm also probably more freaked out because I still haven't made a decision about the job thing. UGH! Which also means I haven't been writing squat. And tomorrow morning I have to have some writing done to take to my critique partner and I have to have a decision mad about the job in south boston.

Can't life, just every once and a while, be a tad simpler? You know, kinda like a in a good book. Something happens but in the end everything ends happily ever after?? :-) I don't think that is too much to ask. Do you?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Miranda Neville's book event

Good morning everyone!

While my mind will obviously be occupied today, I am also going to enjoy myself. I will be attending Miranda Neville's book event at Booked Solid in Bradford, VT from 11AM to 1PM.

If you're in the area, or like my want to enjoy a nice drive on a beautiful day, then you should join us. Meet a great writer and a wonderful person with a terrific accent.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Writer's Dilemma

For 3 days now I have done very little writing because I have spent the majority of my time mentally debating with myself.

About what you ask? And I'm glad you did.

On Tuesday, I was offered a job (contract-to-perm) at a company in south boston. The money is good. The commute is not. That's at least a 90 minute drive in traffic each way and it could be more.

I've just recently gotten comfortable with my current situation and have found myself VERY happy because I am writing. . .like a crazy woman! I mean I just had book 3 signed for publishing and I'm 1/3 of the way into writing book 4, which I hope to have completed by end of April.

It's killing me because I am ecstatic that I believe I am doing what I was not only meant to do, but love doing, and now I have to decide if making a living is more important.

Yes, I believe that is the choice I have to make. Why? Because the commute will take extra hours from me. And if you don't know me, I am one of those people who is a perfectionist so therefore I pour all of me into anything I take on, which mean I will also spend more time at the office cleaning up the mess the company has. (Which is the only kind of place I like to work :-) )

It's a 6 month contract to permanent position, but just like everything else in life there is no guarantee.

Now that I have spilled everything, I need feedback. I've had some people say get a grip and walk away from it as life is too short. Others say, the pay is good so go for it, especially in this economy. And yet, others who say consider it for just the contract portion and decide after that.

So, I ask you all, my fellow writers and friends. . .what say you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

440 Chocolate lollipops

Ready for the Made in NH Expo. Wanna see what 440 chocolate lollipops look like??

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good writing day

In spite of the fact that my mind has been on something else all day and in a mental debate, I did manage to get some writing done. I got to over 35000 words today and just sent dad chapter 20 for editing. Now he has two chapters to send back to me. So happy when I get ahead of him.

I went out to my publisher's website http://www.lldreamspell.com/DeniseRobbins.htm
and noticed that they have my third book already listed with its ISBN number. Wahoo!

Check it out and look at the top of the page in the red block to see how the title CONNECT THE DOTS was typed in. It's so cute! Love my publishers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's on a book cover?

Now we all know that in spite of what we say, "don't judge a book by its cover", that we all do. Speaking of which, let me tell you a little story.

I had this call with a man for a radio interview.
Anyway, the guy is a marketing guy and when we chatted about the cover of my book, he stopped me and said, “Wait. You have a woman’s butt on the cover of a book?”
Of course, I answered, “Well, it’s not her naked butt. She’s wearing a bikini.”
He went off. He thought it was terrific! He said, “I could make you famous on that idea alone.”
So then I said, “The second book will probably be similar only she’ll probably be in a tight-fitting snow suit.”
He laughed and said, “OH MY GOSH! A series of butts on book covers. That’s genius.”

I have to say, I never realized there are no “tushes” on book covers. But (no pun intended) it sounds like it was a winner of an idea.

Sunday, March 15, 2009



Yesterday, I was given a bottle of champagne and decided to save it and celebrate when/if I sold book 3, CONNECT THE DOTS. My favorite hero!!

Well, it just happened tonight. I got the email from my publisher and the contract.

Now I am dancing the happy dance. . .champagne will be tomorrow night!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

NHRWA meeting today

Fun, fun, fun!

If you ever want a good laugh, just attend a NH Romance Writer's meeting. Think you're hearing voices in your head? Nah, it's just the writer in you wanting out. If you're not sure, just attend a NHRWA meeting. You'll find out you're in good company.

Plus, think of all the young (not necessarily in age) writers you can and will meet. There are a bunch of us that are just ready to bust out. It's only a matter of time. You can honestly say "I knew her when." And vice versa.

Oh! Next month I will be the speaker. Great. . . tough act to follow Carla Neggers. But, I shall try.

First, I have to come up with something interesting to talk about. Notice, I said "interesting". The last thing I want to do is put people to sleep. And, I would really like to do something that had a lot of interaction between all the attendees. So, I am hereby opening this up for any terrific suggestions. If you were going to go see a writer give a spiel on some topic, what would you want to find out?

I know what Jennifer will say. . . the journey of a novel. Cool by me, but tell me what that means. :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Book Exposure and Free Book

Only two days left to leave a comment at Jessica's blog and possibly win a free copy of my book IT HAPPENS IN THREES.

Check out her blog at http://bookexposure.blogspot.com/

Good luck!

Booksigning Reminder for Saturday, March 14

For those of you in the area and who want a good breakfast along with a fun book to read, I will be at Sammy J's Breakfast Cafe at 144 Main Street in Salem NH from 8 AM to 10 AM Saturday morning signing my book IT HAPPENS IN THREES.

Stop by, have a cup of coffee or some Italian French Toast (my personal favorite), and get a book to read.

Hope to see you there!

After that, I'm off to see Carla Neggers talk at NHRWA and hopefully get a copy of her latest book (signed). If you have not read Carla. . .you definitely should! She writes terrific romantic suspense. Gee, do you think I consider her a mentor? :-)

You know you're a writer when. . .

It's not the day you decide to write a story. It's not the day you finish your first or even third manuscript. You're not a writer when a publisher accepts your manuscript. You're not even a writer when the book hits the stand and you can hold it in your hand.

Although all of those events make you feel good, make you believe in your skill or talent, make you feel like you accomplished something major in your life. And you have! But none of those things make you a writer.

It's the culmination of all of those that lead up to the one event that marks you as a writer. For me, that was yesterday. For me, that was having two women I barely know who purchased my book come up to me at different times and tell me that they love my book.

One woman came up to me yesterday at breakfast and with a smile on her face and cheer in her voice exclaimed that not only did she read my book, but she loved it. You should have seen and heard the surprise in her voice. She proceeded to exclaim that she had never read a romance before, but was thrilled that she had read my romantic suspense because she liked the mystery. Not fond of a lot of swearing, she was happy to see that there was a minimum in the story. She also loved the fact that she could tell when it came to the computer stuff, I knew what I was talking about and that I described it so she could understand. She loved that she got to use her own imagination to get a feel for the characters and they weren't spelled out in every detail. She cannot wait for the second book. :-)

Yesterday afternoon when I met my friend Nora for critique, another woman who had my book approached me in the ladies room. (Yes, us women do those things.) Anyway, drying her hands, she told me with a great deal of excitement she had read the first 135 pages of my book the previous evening and didn't want to put it down because it was so good. She said it was even funny and went on to tell me the funny part she liked with Jake and Ruby in the bathroom. She could not wait to read more.

All the 5-star reviews could not do for me what those two ladies did. Those two ladies not only made my day, but let me know I had achieved something I didn't even realize I hadn't until yesterday. When I started writing It Happens In Threes, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Yesterday. . .I became a writer!

Thank you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nothing like a good critique session

Late this morning, I met my author friend Nora Le Duc at Panera to critique our works in progress. She just returned from Florida, the lucky dog. I mean that in the nicest way. Mostly.

Anyway, we chatted about her trip. She had a marvelous time! Chatted about politic stuff. Ick! Ate some good, warm soup on a miserably chilly day.

Then we got down to writing. It is amazing how someone else can pick up on nuances in a story that you the writer cannot catch. Afterwards, I came back home, put in the edits, and then was able to tweak a few spots Nora suggested which gave me almost another 1000 words. Yes! I have achieved the 30000 mark in my story.

Plus, thanks to Nora's and my Dad's effort, I concluded that they were both slacking on the job. As I read back through the story, I realized that we all forgot a piece of the story that happened a little earlier but then fell off the face of the earth.

The heroine had picked up an envelope, stuffed it in her pants and gee it never appeared again. And that was after she had been shot and taken a shower. HA! That letter must be pretty nasty by now. :-)

Long story short, well, not that short. Critiquing and editing right afterwards is a great way to motivate the writing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Forgot to blog today

Wow! There are days where time just gets away from you. This morning I got up and after working out (yes, I do that most days for the energy), I made some chocolate lollipops for the Made in NH Expo. Then I made some chocolate books for this Saturday's book signing.

After that, I ordered business cards which seemed to take an inordinate amount of time. Then I moved on to crafting interview questions and tweaking my bio for an upcoming radio interview.

Finally, I did a little bit of writing . . .actually editing in my WIP by putting in the tweaks dad sent back to me.

Between all these things, I emailed friends working on schedules to get together, updated my salon appointments in my calendar which somehow got completely hosed, and spoke to recruiters about various jobs and a possible interview TOMORROW. But that will only work if the VP can meet me up here since I'm already committed in the middle of the day.

Then I realized I hadn't blogged today so here I am. I should probably be writing, but obviously the creative juices went elsewhere so now I'm deciding if I want my hair stylist to put more blonde or red in my hair. Either way, I need something new. You ever feel that way?

Anyway, tomorrow will be all about writing and critiquing unless I go on that other interview.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Okay, forgive me if I mentioned this already, but did I tell you I found out that KILLER BUNNY HILL is scheduled for release in July?

I emailed my editor last week to ask what she thought of CONNECT THE DOTS, but of course she'd only had it a few weeks and hadn't read it yet. Not to worry, she knows I have no patience. :-) She just laughs at me when I ask such questions.

Anyway, she said that CTD wouldn't be released until next year anyway until several months after KBH. So then I was like. . . WAIT! Does that mean you know when KBH is coming out.

I'm not allowed to hold her to this but she said KILLER BUNNY HILL should be released in July 2009. WOOHOO! Two books in one year.

And yes, I'm shooting for two books next year too. If I ever finish my current WIP.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chocolate and Book Happenings

First, let's start with IT HAPPENS IN THREES. This week it is featured on Jessica James Bookexposure Blog. http://bookexposure.blogspot.com/

Next, I will be at the Made in NH Expo (March 27 - 29) doing double duty, signing IT HAPPENS IN THREES and selling Sweets by Denise chocolate! Check out my chocolate site to get an idea of what I'll be selling. www.sweetsbydenise.com

Anyone who buys a copy of the book at the Made NH Expo will get a FREE chocolate lollipop!

Who could ask for anything better than a great book and delicious chocolate.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What undergarments do your characters wear?

Like the topic? What can I say? This morning this question struck me.

What do your characters wear for undergarments? Do the womem all wear thongs or "granny panties"? Why? Is it because that's what you the writer wear or is it because of something your character has revealed?

And if your character sleeps in a G-string, have you ever? I mean seriously, have you ever worn a pair to bed and woken up with the string some place it just should not be?

Do the men wear "tight whities", Speedo type underwear, or what? Again, why? Especially the Speeedo type. Ick! I would gag if one of my characters did that. That's like going to the beach and seeing these bigger men walk around in the "barely-there" swim suit thinking they look sexy when in fact their wife or girlfriend should tell him to go put on those white socks and flip-flops because then his outfit would be complete.

Seriously. How many of you describe that part of your characters wardrobe? Including what color are they or the type of material? Does the heroine always wear silk or does she occasionally wear cotton?

Is there ever any humor involved when you show these undergarments? Like what?
Like does the hero get caught going commando? Who catches him. . .the heroine?

These are all very interesting questions. Let me know.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Book Exposure

Remember last week I told you about a blog called Bookexposure and the author Jessica James who was a newspaper editor? She also writes historical fiction. Truly a woman of many talents.

After she helped me with my press release for IT HAPPENS IN THREES, she has given me many more tips on how to expose my book for others to know it exists.

The other day, she sent me an email to let me know that she was going to feature my book on her blog. If you haven't checked out her blog before then, please check it out from. . .

03/09/2009 - 03/14/2009: IT HAPPENS IN THREES will be featured on Bookexposure, http://bookexposure.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Romance Novel Column

Good morning all!

A friend of mine and writer, Stephanie Giancola, has announced the launch of a new romance novel column.

Take a look here and subscribe. Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/x-2533-Romance-Novel-Examiner~y2009m3d2-New-romance-novel-column--the-launch

Congratulations Steph! and best of luck!

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