Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Latest Book

I know I said I was writing a detective series set in Rhode Island. I still am. Kind of. I was side-tracked by a shiny new idea in late July that I just couldn't let go of. 

It's a contemporary romance, set in Providence, with a magazine as the center of attention. The main characters are uniquely drawn from experience and out of thin air, as most characters should be.

Friends have said the story is timely and relate-able to modern day society, targeting women who are looking for the elusive Prince Charming. 

Within the context of the novel, the main character has to develop articles for the magazine showing how easy it is for a woman over 40 to be struck by lightning than it is for her to find a man. I delve into some very interesting insights, old wives tales, and research for these articles, which several friends have read and concluded are "very authoritative." Fun stuff this.

I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of September. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the paperback should be out around Thanksgiving, with the e-book coming out at Christmas. (A rather unique marketing/publicity plan is in the works with this one.)

I'm very excited about this novel and will let you know when it's done. I'll be looking for readers/reviewers. 

Stay tuned.

Robynne Rand (c) 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I'm Homesick -- That's Why

Why would I set my all my contemporary stories in Rhode Island? you many ask. The answer is two-fold--

For years, I've heard the phrase -- Write about what you know. Well, I know Rhode Island.

The second reason -- I'm homesick. Wicked homesick.

I miss my little state with such a ferocity I sometimes pull up Google maps and look around. I feel like an ex-Patriot living in a foreign country. And somewhere out there, I know there are other Rhodies who feel the same way. I guess that's why I reconfigured this blog. Even if people don't read my books, they might stop here as a way to reconnect with the place they miss.
The Big Blue Bug

Not every one who moves from their origin of birth gets homesick. Some people (like my mother) have no ties. They're free as a bird and flit from one place to another. Life is an adventure for them. And hey, well, if that's your thing, go for it.

Me, on the other hand, I'm a Taurus and we like to keep our feet firmly planted in one place. For me that means home. I always thought home would be Rhode Island, but when my parents decided to move to North Carolina, I had to go with them. (Yes, I HAD to go with them.)

the ice cream store was next door
Part of why I like writing about Rhode Island is the nostalgia. Because Rhode Island is so compact, when something isn't working, or antiquated, they tear it down and build something new.

Do you remember Peerless in Pawtucket?
Or the original Del's Lemonade on the Cumberland Lincoln line?
The drive-in? In Lincoln and Smithfield?
The little ice cream store on Front Street in Lincoln before you got to Lincoln Woods?
B.A. Dario's horse farm?
Crescent Park Carousel
The original Lincoln Downs?
Jolly Cholly's? Rocky Point? Crescent Park?
Climbing to the top of the Fire Tower in North Kingstown?
The old Jamestown Bridge?
Route 6 before the big box stores took over?
Downtown Providence before Waterfire?
The highway system before 295?
Johnson & Wales before it became famous?
Lido and Olivo's beach?
The Fo'c'sle?

on 146 near the drive in
Then, there are those places that I hope and pray will never be transformed.

Trinity Repertory Theater.
George's in Point Judith.
Aunt Carrie's.
Federal Hill.
McCoy Stadium (sadly, I've heard that's on its way out.)
The clock tower in Jenks Park.
Newport Creamery.
Wiener Genie.
Federal Hill
The Carousel in East Providence.

There are so many places I've forgotten it's hard to think about sometimes. But then, like a wave hitting the shore, memories crash into me. I want to say to somebody, "Hey, do you remember that?"

Sadly, there's no one here to do that with.


Tell me -- What do you remember from your hometown that isn't there anymore?

Robynne Rand (c) 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Rhode Island Writer

Hey now. It's been a helluva long time since I've been here last.

I've made a few changes to this blog, designating myself the Rhode Island Writer. People say, "write about what you know". I know the state of Rhode Island pretty well. I lived there for 45 years. I miss it terribly and want to move back (now residing in the Foothills of the Piedmont, NC) but my parents are here and old now, so...

As a writer/author, I have to pick and choose what to spend my time on. For the last few years, I've pushed to get my Regency series finished (under Anne Gallagher). And now that it is, I want to focus my attention on contemporary writing.

I have several books in progress -- what author doesn't -- and I'm not feeling the love for romance these days, so I developed a new series, in the detective genre, set in the fictional town of Nannaquonset, Rhode Island. For those of you who live there, or know the state, I'll let you in on the secret -- it's really Narragansett. (Where Monster and I spent our vacation last summer.)

I think it's pretty good, but won't really know until I get it back from a couple of beta readers. Actually, I don't care if they like it. I do and for me, that's all that counts.

Bristol harbor
Writing about my place of origin makes me less lonely. There's something about knowing the beach is only 40 minutes away. That seagulls are everywhere, even in the city. That fog can roll in at any time. I've gotten to the point where I'll watch just about anything on television just to hear that familiar accent. I immerse myself in Google maps and hit "street view" just so I can be there.

Sad, isn't it. But hey, we all have to do what we need to survive. And right now, that's all I'm doing.
Surviving. You can't know how I feel unless you've been separated from something you love. I miss Rhode Island. I miss the beach. I miss doughboys and coffee milk, chowda' and clam cakes, the smell of low tide in July, the Bristol Parade, a stroll on Thames Street in Newport, Awful Awfuls, whole belly fried clams, lighthouses, the Hurricane Barrier, the Paw Sox, Federal Hill, hell, I even miss driving on 95. (Okay, maybe not that since they put in the I-way, but I miss the familiar streets I used to drive to get around having to drive on 95.)

Narragansett docks
I miss my family -- the cousins, aunts and uncles, the Christmas parties, summer parties, reunions, weddings, funerals. I miss everyone and everything I used to know.

So, here I am. Writing about the people and places that I miss.

I'm going to try and post here on Thursdays from now on. We'll see how it goes. As a writer/author, we're told we need a "brand". Well, I'm the Rhode Island Writer now. I guess that will be my brand.
Hope you'll stop by.

Robynne Rand (c) 2015

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Story of the Copperhead Snake

Once upon a time, in the land of Carolina North, there lived a writer who ripped up the rug in her kitchen. Eww, you must be thinking, a rug in the kitchen. Yes, a rug in the kitchen, which is why the writer ripped it up.

It was a large rug, so the writer, who was handy with an electric carving knife, cut the rug into manageable portions, rolled these portions up, tied them with an old clothesline and laid them in a small pyramid out in the carport to take to the dump at a later date.

As the writer knew deep down she would probably never go to the dump, she decided to place the rolled up portions of rug into the trash can. There were six portions in all, three small and three large. The writer took the smallest three and placed these portions down the street in her parent's trash cans, because, although not being the brightest bulb when it comes to math, she does have decent knowledge of what will fit into a trash can.

With that, she lifted one of the larger portions of rug to heave it into her own trash can and to her surprise, a snake laid in between the two remaining portions of rug. The snake was lovely, brown and yellowish green, small, and wrapped around in a lovely coil. He lifted his head slightly, as if to acknowledge the writer's presence and wondering for a moment why she had taken his warmth away, but then placed his head back onto his lap and returned to sleep.

The writer wondered what kind of snake it was, although did not give it a second thought that it could ever be something potentially dangerous, and so placed a box over the snake and then a large rock on top of the box.  Knowing the woman across the street liked snakes, the writer called her. However, the woman would not be available to look at the creature until later on that day.

And so, the writer continued cleaning the rest of the carport, cleaning the house, going about her regular Saturday cleaning business; laundry, kitchen, bathrooms. (If you thought this writer had a cleaning staff, I'm afraid you have the wrong writer.)

Early evening brought the woman across the street to the carport. And she was excited because all day long she had dreamed this small snake would be a replacement for a corn snake she had lost after 27 years. The woman eagerly lifted the box, and then quickly placed it back over the snake.

The writer asked, "What is wrong? Do you not like the snake?"
The woman said, "It is not a corn snake, my dear. It is a copperhead. And they are exceedingly dangerous."

The writer, who had grown up on the shores of Rhode Island, who had only ever seen a garter snake in real life, who at least had had the forethought to cover it with a box, said to the woman, "Well, what shall we do with it?"

The woman suggested they call -- the police, the fire department, animal control, the science museum, the hospital, the pest control business -- and all refused to deal with the poor little snake. When one last call prompted the response, "Oh, you must destroy it," this made both the writer and the woman very sad. It was a lovely little snake and not bothering anyone, and why was death the only option?

Surely, God had created the snake for a reason, although perhaps did not mean for it to be in the carport of a writer in Carolina North, near a small child, a little cat named Henry, and three very stupid dogs. Was there a way to transport the snake to a better place, where he would not upset so very many people, where he would be safe and not so dangerous?

Well, yes there was, however, the woman and the writer remained stymied as to how to pick up the snake in the first place without getting injured. He was a copperhead after all. Unfortunately, what they needed, was a man. A man who would not be afraid to deal with a little snake under a box. Okay, a poisonous little snake under a box.

Surprisingly, the man down the street had a son, a very lovely young man who was not afraid of anything, and after much deliberation, killed the little snake with one quick chop of an ax. The woman and the writer each said a prayer releasing the little snake's soul up to the Lord and asking for forgiveness in killing it.

Let this be a lesson for you all -- Be careful what you leave outside in the carport in the fall.

Did I happen to mention this writer also has a cord of wood stacked on the other side of the carport, and that copperhead snakes like to curl up into wooden stacks to hibernate?

Robynne Rand (c) 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Marketing the New Book

I'm not exactly the best marketer in the world. Matter of fact, I hate marketing. Just the thought of hawking my book makes me cringe. I feel like becoming an ostrich and hiding my head in the sand. You know, and it's not because I couldn't come up with a campaign. It's because I just don't want to bother anyone.

So what do we do? How much of a pain in the ass to our friends and followers do we really want to be?

I, for one, despise blog tours. I won't do one, and with over 12 tomes out in the last two years, you may wonder how I ever got noticed. (Yeah, I'm not really sure of that myself.)

Guest posts? Not so much. I can't write anything unless I'm given a topic. Not big on personal essays, unless you count blog posts, but that's different. I remember when I did a guest post for Tara when I first released Remembering You. I had to rewrite it 3 times, at her urging.

Twitter campaign? Nah. Did one of those for one of the  books and the markers drove me over the edge. However, the thing that kills me, every time I turn around, there's some multi- million dollar author says that's how he made all his money.

Free doesn't work anymore. There's so many books still out for free, I'm hearing they're only producing a couple of hundred takers at best, with no reviews, whereas 3 years ago, you'd get 10,000 downloads and at least 100 reviews. My how times have changed. But free doesn't work anymore anyway.

So what else is there to do?  I announced I wrote a book. I have buy links on all the blogs, I made 1 (one) announcement on Twitter (through LinkedIn -- killed 2 birds with one stone there) and now, even though I feel like I should be doing something, I'm not.

But this is a different kind of book. (Yes, I'm speaking of my recently released Regency -- the "school story" project). It's not my typical Regency. It was written for a specific clientele, so I guess I'm going to market to them, in person. I'm going to have to push the paperback version because it's a fundraiser after all. That should be fun.

And you know, I think really, the best way to market is to have a couple of reviews in place when you first publish the book. I keep forgetting to do that. But how many of my friends really want to read one of my books and then leave a review, especially if they don't like it. I know how I feel when one of my friends asks me to write a review. (And I've gotten stuck with a couple of really shitty books so I know exactly how they feel. I never wrote the review.)

I guess the only thing to do really is just to write the next book. I believe in this atmosphere if you're not seen every 3 months or so, people forget you. At least that's what's happening to me. But that's a story for another day.

Tell me -- Do you have any marketing or promotion tips other than the above mentioned? Keeping in mind I hate marketing. lol

Robynne Rand (c) 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taking a Break

School is starting next week, and I need to take a little break. I'll be back soon.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

They Say Authors Shouldn't Spam, But What is Everyone Else Doing?

Okay, I don't know what's going on, but lately I've seen ads popping up EVERYWHERE.

Take Twitter for instance. I haven't been on the site in a while now. A couple of months anyway and when I finally did get on to share my news that I published WHEN WE WERE IN HEAVEN (my one and only promotional Tweet) I was hit with advertisements to get rid of unwanted belly fat and how I could get my bachelor's degree in less than two years. (Sorry, already have mine and it took 6 through no fault of my own.)

Then, I was doing some stuff to my other blog, through Google Chrome because that's the only way I can get my pictures uploaded, when BAM, a bunch of pop ups started happening and I couldn't get rid of them. I finally had to shut down my computer to close all the pages.

What the *&$#& is going on?

When I first started blogging, I saw blogs that had ads on them. It's called AdSense, and I guess how it works is for every time a person clicks through to the ad, the blog makes money. Yeah, okay. I guess if that's how you want to blog, fine. It's just not my thing. I blog because I have something to say. I don't blog with the hope I'm going to make money.

They say we need to build an online relationship with readers and not to spam them every five seconds with unwanted crap. I used to Tweet all the time about my books, but then THEY said it was a no-no. That wasn't the way to sell books. But I see it all the time on Twitter. Every other Tweet that hits the roll is a link to buy a book. Or a review with a link. Or a ReTweet with a link.

And now, they have these big glaring ads coming in as well. Do I really want to see spam about how to enlarge my penis, (sorry no penis here) or any other crap they're trying to sell? Do the marketing directors of these huge conglomerates think that we will click on these links? Are they really so stupid that they think we'll trust them not to infect our PC's?

It's bad enough I get emails all the time from crazy people in other countries telling me I've won 8 million dollars in a foreign lottery and for only a small fee (thousands of dollars) I can be the recipient of the cash.

Yeah. Right. Like I'm going to fall for that.

So why would anyone in their right mind click on any of the links on Twitter or through Google?

I have all my stuff on my computer. Thousands of hours of writing material, not to mention pictures. Would I really want that to be corrupted? I don't think so.

I mean, it's bad enough we only get to watch tv for 8 minutes and then are bombarded with commercials. (Thank God for PBS!) It takes an hour to watch a whole program that's only 42 minutes long.

Yeah, sure I get it. That's how they sell. We're not living in the same world we used to. When newspaper ads were all they had. But jeez criminy, is this what it's all coming down to now? Ads, ads and more ads.

Pretty soon, we'll all just be walking billboards. Buy This, Buy That, Buy ME!

Makes me just want to get off ALL social media.

But then again, I live a solitary enough life as it is. Social media IS really the only way I get to be sociable.

Tell me -- Do you click through on anything you see that may interest you? Or are you still old school and Google the brand you want to buy and click on the trusted link?

Robynne Rand (c) 2013