Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Night Special

Each Saturday, I venture out of my "comfort" reading zone of Suspense/thriller/mystery/romantic suspense to bring you a recommendation in a different genre.

Today's Recommendation is: Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow

Friday, June 29, 2012

CBD Interview

Recently, I sat down and had an interview with it is: What was your inspiration to write the Justice Seekers Series? If you read the papers, watch the news, or listen to the radio, you hear story after story about injustices. Social. Legal. Human. It literally breaks my heart. I had the opportunity to sit in a local federal courthouse during three different trials. In each instance, I personally found a witness or someone who came across as untruthful. I realized that in every profession, even legal and law enforcement, shortcuts can and are taken in the rush for a conviction. How much of the story comes from personal experience? A vast amount of everything I write is personal. In To Write A Wrong, I was able to pull much of the emotional impact of the story from events in my own life, in my own family. It’s hard to sit and watch people lie about people you love. How much research did To Write a Wrong take? Luckily, I had great friends who are in “the system” as parole board judges, lawyers, and law enforcement, not to mention my friends who are in the medical field and those who have spent time in prison. Every time I asked my relentless and pointed questions, they were only too happy to take the time to give me very in-depth answers and explanations. I do preliminary interviews with my sources, then keep a running list of questions that come up as I’m actually writing that I usually ask once a week or so. Why do you choose to write in the romantic/suspense genre? I write what I love to read…it’s funny. I get a lot of emails and snail mail from readers who love, love, love the romance aspect of my stories, then I get almost the same number of contacts from those who prefer the heavier suspense and lighter romance. I don’t ever consider a “balance” requirement-I write it as the story calls for it. What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing To Write a Wrong? One thing that was really cool to me was learning about the “remote” parole hearings done over monitors. That is so cool…yeah, it’s the odd things that impress me. LOL I don’t know if I’d say this was interesting, but one of the most disheartening facts I learned was how many innocent people are convicted and sent to prison, only years later for forensic science to advance enough to prove that person innocent. To me, this is horrible and inconceivable. It’s become my personal opinion that we don’t have a justice system-we have a legal system. What are some of the challenges you face as an author? The ever-changing industry is always a challenge for any writer. Back when I completed a Writer’s Digest novel class in the late 90s, there wasn’t even a hint of an e-reader on the horizon. Now, everyone has one (including me, my husband, and two of my daughters). The explosion of e-books is just an example of the changes in the industry. To me, that’s the biggest challenge. What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most? Hands down, the best part of being a writer for me is when I receive an email or letter from someone who informs me that a story I wrote changed their life, their outlook on an issue, or renewed their faith in some way. THAT’s why I write! What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing? I can attribute ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) for helping me on my writing journey. I learned so much about the craft from their online courses and conferences, and the open and giving attitude of the members. And I wouldn’t have met and become great friends with my mentor, Colleen Coble. What new projects are on the horizon? Speaking of Colleen Coble—we’re working on a brand new series in a co-author venture together—Rock Harbor Search and Rescue series. The kids of Rock Harbor get wrapped up in mysteries in this age-appropriate youth mystery series based on Colleen's best-selling Rock Harbor series. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we are on writing this. Thomas Nelson will release the first book in April 2013, with the 2nd book releasing in the fall of 2013. What message would you like your readers to take from reading the Justice Seekers series? One of the messages I learned during research and in personal trials…don’t be so quick to judge. Sometimes the truth isn’t what it seems, and often, VERY often, there are layers of interpretation of what is consider just. I hope that after reading each book in the Justice Seekers series, the reader will be changed in some way. The third book in the series, Strand of Deception, releases in February 2013 and takes a medical bent on my romantic suspense. It’s one of my favorite storylines. What is your greatest achievement? Hmm, that’s hard because I hope I haven’t acquired it yet! What do you do to get away from it all? I have always been able to lose myself in story, so naturally, I read a lot to get away from everything. I’ve learned that I can’t ever just “do nothing” or I’d go insane. LOL I love spending time with my family and that’s probably when I’m at my most relaxed.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday's Southern Recipe

In honor of my Justice Seekers series, to which I've included some of my family's favorite recipes in the back of the upcoming release To Write a Wrong: A Justice Seekers Novel, releasing in September. But I'll be sharing some with those who are signed up for my newsletter, and I'll be sharing some here every Thursday.

Today's recipe is shared by my niece, Krystina Harden (pictured with my youngest grandson, Zayden) and is the recipe of her great-grandmother (my grandmother) Una Brannon Shannon.

Green Jello Salad

1 large package lime Jello
1 small package tiny marshmellows
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
3-1/2 cups of boiling water
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 carton small curd cottage cheese

Put Jell-O and marshmellows in a bowl, add hot water, and mix well. Mix cream cheese with a little sweet milk and mix well. Add to Jell-O mixture. Add pineapple and cottage cheese. Chill in square pan.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Putting It Aside, Moving On

I remember the first manuscript I hacked out on a typewriter. (Showing my age, aren’t I?) It was bad, and I mean, bad. That was back in the 90s. Thank goodness I lost that manuscript in one of my moves. Yes, it was THAT BAD. Then I wrote a story I just loved. Wrote it, rewrote it, polished it until it was “ready.” Submitted it to a publisher. Um, it wasn’t ready. It now sits happily UNDER my desk. That was early in 2000. Between then and now, there have been many a manuscript on my computer in various stages. Some completed, some not. Some I really love, some, not so much anymore. But there is a story on my system that I love. It’s one that comes straight from my heart. It is ready for submission. Matter-of-fact, it’s been submitted to many places. Oh, I’ve gotten the personal, nice rejections, but not a contract. Again, let me reiterate, I LOVE this story. My writing buddies love this story. But for some reason, editors don’t. Or it’s not right for them. Or it’s too similar to something they’ve already contracted. Or . . . Know what I’m talking about? There comes a time in every writer’s career when they have a story that means so much to them, is so personal to them, that it’s almost obsessive in the way we write. And when it’s done and edited and ready to go out, we just KNOW it’s going to be snapped right up. But it doesn’t. We get rejection letters. We get depressed. We pull the story out again and revise. We resubmitted until our story has seen every editor’s desk in the business. We’ve revised until we can’t revise anymore. And still it’s not contracted. We can spend months, years even, on this one story to no avail. No contract. No interest. Each writer will come to this crossroads sometime in their career. Each writer will have to cross the hurdle, much like overcoming writer’s block. Each writer will have to make that painful decision to put the story aside and move on. Yep, you heard me—put the story of our heart aside and move on to something else. Ouch, that hurts. For me, it was several months of pouting. Kicking the couch. (Would never kick my dog) Pouting again. Stomping around the house until the hubby and kids were cowering in closets. Depressed. Angry. Depressed again. Pouting. Watching others getting their stories of their hearts published. Pouting. Depressed again. And then I grew as a writer. I saved the story of my heart onto a disk. (Ok, two different ones—I’m obsessive, what can I say?) Then I did the hardest thing, I deleted it off my desktop. My heart pounded, I felt nauseous. But I knew I had to. And then I did the unthinkable—I started a new story. I’d learned there’s a time to put away a story and move on to something else. I’d grown. I’d become a “professional” in my career thinking because I would write something else, something that might have a chance of being published. One story does not a writer make. I still miss that story of my heart sometimes. Every six or seven months, I pull out the disk and read through it. I don’t save it to my computer though. I read it, then put it away. I’ve moved on to something else, and doing so got me published. One story does not a writer make. One day . . . one day it’ll be that story’s time. It’ll be its turn. And I’ll take it out, probably revise it for the millionth time, and send it out again. Who knows? It might be snapped up in a minute. But until that time, I’ll keep pressing forward. Keep writing what I can. Keep giving each current story all my attention. I’ll keep doing so because I want to be an author, because I DO have more than one story in my heart. One story does not a writer make.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Looking for a Vacation Read?

That's not just all "fluff?" How about reading something that was written to make people uncomfortable...make them think...make them take action? That's partially why I wrote Deliver Us From Evil....check it out: I watched a television special on child trafficking with my husband. As a mother of three daughters, I couldn’t stop the ache in my heart long after the show was over. I couldn’t get the image of these poor girls’ faces out of my mind. The horrors these children endure in their own poverty-stricken country is horrible enough, but to be brought to America and be further exploited and abused is appalling. When my outrage settled deep inside me, I knew I had to write a story about this most serious issue.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Night Special

Each Saturday, I venture out of my "comfort" reading zone of Suspense/thriller/mystery/romantic suspense to bring you a recommendation in a different genre.

Today's Recommendation is: Grasping God's Word

Friday, June 22, 2012

Upcoming Release...HALF PRICE!

Yep, you heard me right...the 2nd book in the Justice Seekers series, TO WRITE A WRONG, the sequel to INJUSTICE FOR ALL is available for preorder at HALF PRICE! I don't know how long the sale will last, so hurry...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday's Southern Recipe

In honor of my Justice Seekers series, to which I've included some of my family's favorite recipes in the back of the upcoming release To Write a Wrong: A Justice Seekers Novel, releasing in September. But I'll be sharing some with those who are signed up for my newsletter, and I'll be sharing some here every Thursday.

Here is a recipe from my sister-in-love, Lisa (pictured with my niece, Rachel)
Lisa’s Red Beans & Rice

1 16-ounce bag of dried beans (I use pinto)
2 teaspoons or so of Tony Chachere’s Original Creole seasoning
1/4 teaspoon or a dash of garlic powder
1 pound of skinless link sausage. (I use Eckrich. Down Home sausage is very good too.)
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 cups cooked rice
Large Crock-Pot

Wash beans well and presoak them the night before (if you have time, but it’s not necessary) in a 1/2 pot of water in the Crock-Pot. In the morning, cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces and add to water. Add all other ingredients. Cook on high for at least 6 hours, depending on your Crock-Pot.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Review of Injustice For All

By Nora A. Stlaurent "TBCN Founder" (Georgia) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME) This review is from: Injustice For All: A Justice Seekers Novel (Paperback) "Every muscle in my body stiffened, and my mouth went spitless. Chambering a round was a distinct sound, unmistakable." Are you hooked? I was. These are the first two lines of this riveting, suspenseful novel called Injustice for All. It's the first book in the Justice Seekers series. Wow, what an amazing start. I'm thankful for the review copy that has introduced me to characters I instantly cared about and story that kept me up late reading. My heart went out to the main character Remington Wyatt as she walked in on her godfather, Daniel's tragic situation. The men don't see her but she can hear every word they say as they plan his termination. She recognizes their voices. She can't believe this is happening - everything she's believed in crumbles right before her eyes!! These men were supposed to be good guys. She's got to run so she can stay alive long enough to seek justice for Daniel's murder. Where do you hide when the system is corrupt and you don't know who the good guys are? Who do you trust? No one but yourself, of course and that's what Remington does. At the same time Rafe Baxter confused about his relationship with God and where he's headed in life. Rafe accepted Christ as his Savior but struggles to believe he is truly forgiven for his past. He accepted God's unconditional love but is hung-up on being forgiven for past sin. He takes a new job so his partner can stay in the area to help with his daughters medical care. Rafe hopes that maybe this sacrifice would pay for his sins? I enjoyed Hayden, a man who's trying to do the right thing, praying and staying grounded when his world is rocked apart. He try's to help his sister who's bi-polar, and a mom who is a worry-wart. He's so thankful God has brought him a friend to help, Bella, she's someone he can talk to and trust. I loved the banter between characters. They have fun with one another in a good way. This author has well timed humor mixed in with the suspense! Great blend. Bella and Rafe talk about what their hobbies are, Rafe says to Bella, "I like walks and hikes...reading? Not so much!" Bella's response, "How can you not love reading? It's wonderful. An excursion, an escape from reality." Bella adored reading and has a hard time grasping anyone not loving it. I could just hear Robin Caroll saying this to someone too! Bella is a passionate person with spunk I enjoyed reading about. Rafe is an FBI Agent trying to prove himself in a new office, so he picks a dead case to work on. Maybe he'd be the one to find the killer and make new friends. This was one gripping novel from the start, and one I couldn't put down. I loved Robin's well timed humor mixed in with a believable spiritual thread. All this in the first book of the Justice Seekers series, I can't wait to read the rest!! The Book Club Network CEO

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why I Write for HIM...

I’m a stubborn person. Okay, all who are reading this who know me are now laughing aloud and thinking, “That’s putting it mildly.” Anyway, I’m stubborn and independent and a little headstrong. (Ok, stop laughing now.) I just knew that when I wrote my first book, it’d be published. I mean, I wrote it, right? It should be published. Wrong. I spent many a year writing stories that I thought were good, but something just wasn’t right. Wasn’t there. And one day I realized why. Because my stories were like the ones I’d read and finished, then been depressed or sad. While I had given my stories a happy ending, I wasn’t honoring the One who gave me the storytelling gift. What an aha moment that was for me. To write a story, but bring honor to God within the lines. It was a brand new concept for me. But I didn’t know how to do that, or was there even such a thing. My sister introduced me to Christian fiction by loaning me some of her books. I’d had no clue there was even such a thing as inspirational fiction. I was hooked from the first one. I devoured those stories. Just had to get more. And it occurred to me that I could do this—I could write a story and fill it with hope and honor My Savior in doing so. Wow, amazed me. So I joined writing groups that focused on edifying and teaching, directed at the Christian market. I bought craft books and attended conferences. And I prayed. A lot. I told God that published or not, I’d write to honor Him. I made that personal decision five years ago and have never looked back. I love writing stories of hope, of promise, of sharing the love I have for Christ with others. There’s no job I could love more. And even in the midst of tight deadlines, I remind myself to be thankful of being able to do what I love, and bring honor to God. Me signing my first contract! Having just turned in my 15th novel, I'm still grateful for the gift He gave me and letting me write to honor HIM!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Night Special

Each Saturday, I venture out of my "comfort" reading zone of Suspense/thriller/mystery/romantic suspense to bring you a recommendation in a different genre.

Today's Recommendation is: The Circle Maker

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Papa!

I am so blessed to have such an amazing father figure in my life. The man who taught me about unconditional love and encouragement. Support. Family. He also taught me to shoot a gun, change a flat tire, drive, slow dance, and how to appreciate life.

Happy Birthday, Papa! I love you!

Pictured with my youngest grandson, Zayden.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday's Southern Recipe

In honor of my Justice Seekers series, to which I've included some of my family's favorite recipes in the back of the upcoming release To Write a Wrong: A Justice Seekers Novel, releasing in September. But I'll be sharing some with those who are signed up for my newsletter, and I'll be sharing some here every Thursday.

This is for my best friend, Tracey...who LOVES my spaghetti! :) And that's us in the picture...cute, huh? lol

Robin's Spaghetti

1 1/2 pounds lean hamburger meat

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 green bellpepper

1 red bellpepper

1 whole clove garlic, crushed

dash each of salt, oregano, dried basil, rosemary, and cayenne pepper

1 tspn each black pepper, baking soda and brown sugar

1 large can whatever brand spaghetti sauce

1 small can tomato paste

1 small can crushed tomatoes (but I crush mine even further)

Brown hamburger meat with onions & bellpeppers. Add in garlic for last 5 minutes of browning. Drain well. Mix all ingredients in large pot over medium heat until just before boiling. Reduce heat to lowest setting and let simmer for at least an hour. Serve over your choice of spaghetti noodles.