The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Friday, March 30, 2012

Robbi Sommers Bryant's Pink Diamond Interview and Guest Blog

Good morning people! Sinner here!

I hope you enjoyed my interview yesterday with Robbi.

Click here if you missed it ---> Robbi Sommers Bryant Pink Diamond Interview

Today Robbi was gracious enough to return and write a guest post on the criminal mind.

Click here for her fascinating post ---> Robbi Sommers Bryant on The Criminal Mind



Thursday, March 22, 2012

You Write What You (Think) You Know

Or ...

Writing is not what non-writers think it is :)

Some fiction writers will often take a relatively small incident from their lives and weave a whole story behind it. I know I do that. Thus, the thinking: you write what you know. But even that isn't always the case. You know the event you're weaving the story around very well because it happened to you; you lived it. However, that event can be too small to build a 300 page story upon, so your imagination kicks in.

This is where the "you think you know what you're writing about" comes in. This is where you find out that there is lots of research to be done. It is entirely possible to spend hours on the internet reading other people's research. You could conceivably write a story based solely on that kind of research, but I think writing a story that way gives the story a somewhat sterile feel. So what do you do then?

You talk to people; experts. In my case -- because I've been blessed with having lived a full life and having met people in all, and I mean all walks of life -- it means I harass those friends for detailed information. I don't know how they put up with me! Sometimes I can't put up with myself!

You might also physically visit sites that give you a feel for the places that will serve as background for your story; places you believe will give your story the right feel.

All of the above takes time. I am often asked "When's the next book coming out?" Divergent Lives is slated for release December 12, 2012. I am 160 pages in and the deeper I get into this story, the more questions I have for my expert friends. So, for this story, I'm working hard to meet a deadline I set for myself and trying not to overstay my welcome in my friends' brains; trying really hard not to get on their nerves!

Because I always try to come from a place of gratitude, I believe this is a good time to publicly thank those friends, particularly: J. Salgado-Reyes (who also doubles as my publisher), D. D'Avanzo, P. Bazin and B. Benjamin. These fine gents have been extremely patient with me having spent countless hours on the phone with me and exchanging emails in which they answered question after question about the minute-est detail I can come up with. Sometimes they did this at ungodly hours! Thank you!!

The people named above, along with many others, keep me excited on a daily basis! They keep me inspired! Buoyed! Even though this story was borne from a very small - tiny - incident in my life, the idea is engorged by my imagination. I live each and every one of my characters' emotions and I adopt their way of thinking as I write the story. It's hard to live out a character's life in a year's time when you haven't even lived out your own life. It's hard to capture in writing how a character might or might not react to a situation -- with or without justification for that action. But I will never stop doing this.

The plus is, that unlike your own life, you know the ending to the story you are writing.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

Have you ever thought about where you came from; what your ancestors' lives were like? Who they were as people?  Have you ever wondered what was hidden in your ancestral lineage?

I've talked a lot of my father and I have a pretty good idea of his immediate personal history as he had told me stories of what it was like for him to grow up in Puerto Rico in the '20's and early '30's. I knew that my paternal grandparents had quite a bit of land, which is still in the family and is currently inhabited by my cousin and his family. But I don't really know much about my grandparents, his parents, except that they were together for over 70 years, raised a family and that my grandmother never worked outside of the home. I knew they were devout Pentecostals, went to services pretty regularly and I knew they were strict.

A few years ago, I started to ask older members of my family questions about them, and there was one story that totally shattered my image of them as this elderly, saintly couple. There were no crimes committed, but based on the ideals that surrounded them, I thought this particular story was kinda out there and was considered shocking in that time period. I realized that they were just people just like everybody else who sometimes did things without thinking them through.

My mother is about to be 91 years old. Two years ago she had a stroke that has left her bedridden and dependent upon others to help her in her everyday living. My mother had a tough time growing up and she never talked about her childhood. I would only hear snippets of her life: She lived for a time with her maternal grandmother, and depending on who you talked to, her mother died either when she was 2 or when she was 12. I remember a conversation when I was much younger where I asked my mother why she never talked about her mother and she said it was too hard to talk about because she had died when my mother was very young. I asked what her name was. She responded "R. Lahongrais".  The surname sounded like a song to my young ears. I swore that when I grew up, I would take that name as my own. So I asked her to spell it for me, and she spelled it the way I spell it today. She said it was a French name -- from Haiti via France and that we were part Haitian.

When my father was sick in 2005, I began to again wonder where I came from. Here was this couple, my parents, who despite all of their struggles, were still together after 58 years -- though not without incident. I recalled conversations with my dad about his upbringing and childhood and it struck me that I knew very little about my mother's background except that her grandmother's last name was Longrais.

Yes, I just discovered last night that it was spelled differently in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  I took that name as my professional name because my intention was to try and find members of my mother's family and help reunite them.  No wonder no one's come forward! I think I misspelled it!

So, I went on and so far I have been able to track back my mother's family, on her mother's side to 1870 via the 1910 census and in 1910, the name is spelled the way I spell it today. Now, I'm REALLY curious! Questions are now germinating in my brain: I did a google search of my name's origin. I find conflicting information. There are some in Spain with the name, and some in France; but none in Haiti. Am I descendent of African or Haitian slaves that maybe took their name from their owner upon being freed? I always knew that I was probably a descendent of slaves. Now, I'm on my way to confirming that notion and it brings up even more questions! How far back can I go? And what of my mother's father? So far, I have hit a wall regarding him.

Let's see where this all leads me!  I'm putting together the puzzle of my life, my very existence and I can not wait to find out more!!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Andy Christofferson - Guest Blogger

Hello my friends!  Sinner here!

Did you enjoy yesterday's interview with Andy?  Hope so! I enjoyed interviewing him!  Today we welcome Andy back as our guest blogger with tips on time management for all you lovely writers!

Click here --->  Andy Christofferson on Time Management