RWA National Conference Workshop – Transforming a Good Book into a Great Book

Posted at Jul 21, 2018 8:11 pm

This week I was lucky enough to give a new workshop at the Romance Writers of American National Conference. My topic was How to Transform a Good Book into a Great Book. I was, unfortunately, under the weather so had to leave early, but I’m so thankful for those of you who stopped and said how much you enjoyed the workshop.

As usual, I ran out of time during the talk, so I promised the attendees I would provide the slides and handout online, so here you go. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. There’s nothing more I like to discuss than writing.

Handouts: DOCX, PDF

Slides: PPTX, PDF

I hope you enjoy! 


Be the First to Comment

Independence Day – The Meaning Behind the Day

Posted at Jul 4, 2018 4:50 pm

Today is Independence Day. The Fourth of July. It’s a day of fireworks, barbecues, swimming and summer fun, but today is actually the day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It’s been celebrated every year since 1777.

For me, today holds a lot of meaning. Legs of both sides of my family go all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Of course, there’s also the Perini’s. My great grandfather travelled here to help his brother get back to Italy, and my great grandmother and her oldest son came through Ellis Island. They stayed and he became a coal miner in the West. I’ve always found it interesting that other Italian family members wanted to come, but a quota was instituted on how many Italians could enter the country. Many of those relatives ended up in South America.

Five of my great-uncles from the Perini family fought for their new country in World War II (against Italy). Can you imagine? The first generation born here had to fight to defeat the country from which they’d come. And yet, they all volunteered. I’m always in awe of them. Luckily, they all came back and were honored with a flag draped over their coffins. 

The flag has always been intertwined with me. I lived in a town with a President’s Park (now closed), including an Abraham Lincoln train and a George Washington river boat.  The flag became intertwined with the holiday for me, even though Flag Day is in June. When I was in high school, I attended a camp to study how government works (yes, I was a definite geek). One of the ways I got involved, was to learn about the flag. I helped raise and lower the flag every morning and every night. I’m not sure if they teach this sort of thing in schools anymore. I kind of doubt it, so I thought I’d share a bit of the symbolism and etiquette about the flag today. Next time you see the stars and stripes, be it flying tall, half staff or perhaps being folded at a funeral, you’ll give Old Glory a second look.

THE COLORS (First were identified in meaning from the Great Seal of the United States)’

  • White signifies purity and innocence.
  • Red signifies hardiness and valor.
  • Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.


13 stripes (also called pales) represent the original 13 colonies that declared independence from England.

50 stars symbolize the current 50 United States


There is actually a Code in Title 4 of the United States Code which includes instructions and rules about the use of the flag which was codified by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 and was reenacted as part of the Bicentennial celebration is 1977. 


  • The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.
  • Only displayed from sunrise to sunset unless properly lit.
  • No other flag should be placed above, or on the same level as the U.S. Flag
  • The blue field (aka the union) should be uppermost and to the observer’s left. 
  • When a flag is flown at half-staff, it should be hoisted to the peak for an instant, and then lowered to half-staff. That action should be repeated when it’s lowered for the day.
  • When a flag is used to cover a casket, the union is at the head and over the left shoulder.

  • The flag should never be allowed to touch anything beneath it: the ground, floor, water, or other item.
  • The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  • The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress.
  • If a flag must be destroyed because of condition, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.


  1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
  2. The second fold signifies our belief in eternal life.
  3. The third fold is made in honor and tribute of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace.
  4. The fourth fold exemplifies our weaker nature as citizens trusting in God; it is to Him we turn for His divine guidance.
  5. The fifth fold is an acknowledgment to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
  6. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies.
  8. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
  9. The ninth fold is an honor to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
  10. The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first-born.
  11. The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  12. The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
  13. The last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

Be the First to Comment

Walk to End Alzheimer’s Is Here (Albquerque, NM)

Posted at Sep 26, 2015 2:42 am

IMG_0322September 26 is the day of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. I’m walking in honor of my mother, Karen Perini, and in honor
of my father, whose love and devotion of her epitomizes the very definition of hero.

I have a great team who has agreed to take part with me. Here’s the Team Perini Page. 

I’ll be hanging out in Albuquerque with a purple pony tail and a balloon.

Here’s the route. (Direct Link to Print). If you want to come out and cheer us on. You’re welcome. 

Alzheimer's Map

There’s still time to donate if you’re interested. I will tell you that the Alzheimer’s Association has been a God-send to me and my family. I highly recommend this organization if you’re facing dementia or if you have a loved one with demential. To donate, click on Dale Perini’s Walk Page.

Bless all of you who are patients, caregivers and loved ones. This is a difficult journey, but we are not alone.

Be the First to Comment

Walk to End Alzheimer’s!! – Get Involved! Please!

Posted at Aug 16, 2015 2:15 pm in

Dear Friends and Family,

This isn’t my usual type of post, but I wanted to share something with my wonderful reader and writer family! One of the reasons you haven’t seen a book from me, and won’t for a bit longer (though I’m working on Rafe’s story from the Carder Texas books), is that I have been helping take care of my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. I thought I’d let you know, but also ask for the support from you wonderful readers.

11206572_10205466894345998_2557114747271998682_oI’m joining the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on 09/26/2015. I’ve committed to raising awareness and funds to support Alzheimer’s care, support and research, and of course, in honor of my mother. I need your help. Together, we can become an unstoppable force against Alzheimer’s disease. You can help in three ways:
1. Join me in the fight against Alzheimer’s by walking with me
2. Help me reach my goal by making a donation to my fundraising page.
3. Join a walk in another location, or even start a team!

The Alzheimer’s Association has helped my family so much throughout our journey. I can’t begin to tell you what their classes, their support groups, and just their resources have meant to our family. The research–well, that goes without saying. I hope to make a big contribution in the fight against Alzheimer’s by reaching my team fundraising goal of $2,500.00, and I’d be so grateful if you would join or sponsor me. Your support of Walk to End Alzheimer’s will help the Alzheimer’s Association to enhance Alzheimer’s care and support and advance critical research for all those affected by this devastating disease.

We all have a reason to end Alzheimer’s. Please visit my fundraising Web page to sign up or to donate today.

Hugs to all of you…and please, if you are so moved, pass this post and link on!

Happy reading everyone and I’m working on my new books as fast as I can!!


Be the First to Comment

Happy Easter

Posted at Apr 5, 2015 6:11 pm in , ,


May this day bring you every blessing. Happy Easter. Here is a beautiful version of Hallelujah to enjoy.

1 Comment

Wacky Weekend: Office Evolution 3

Posted at Jan 25, 2015 6:07 pm in , ,

My writing office is coming along. I now have my new shelves and cubbies finished and I’ve started throwing away the old, and putting back in those items that I use on a daily basis.

Here’s the empty office, with my computer and printer set up. I’m SO excited! 

Do you find organizing fun? I don’t like doing it, I will admit…but I LOVE having done it :-).

office_shelves Office_comp

1 Comment

Fitness Friday: Breathing is Good

Posted at Jan 23, 2015 6:37 pm in , ,


I’ve been having allergy problems recently. My voice is about a half octave lower than normal, my throat feels a bit closed up and my breathing has been strange. I’m not sure if it’s the new Printventilation system at my day job or the fact that I’ve been cleaning out my office and garage at home for the last month…but whatever the cause it’s impacting my energy level and my ability (and desire) to exercise.

My trainer, Ingrid, recommended I do some deep breathing exercise, because when I work out, by the end of the session I’m breathing better. The thing is, when your breathing is off, it’s harder to get to the gym. At least it is for me.

I’ve surfed the web and found some great breathing exercises from Dr. Andrew Weil. (Reference:

He offers three types:

1) The Stimulating Breath (which is inhaling and exhaling rapidly).

2) The Relaxing Breath (which is complete exhalation and inhalation and holding your breath).

3) Breath Counting (focusing on exhaling).

I’m finding number two helps me the most right now, but I must say that all three have their good points. And not just for getting through allergy season (or whatever is going on).

Take the time to try them. You may want to make them part of your daily fitness routine!

Note: Allergies and Asthma can be serious, so please, if you’re having symptoms do go and see your doctor. It’s important.

1 Comment

Thursday Take Five: My Fave Author Movie

Posted at Jan 22, 2015 12:26 pm in , ,

Some movies hit you JUST right. Movies about writers make me smile. A few that I’ve seen and enjoyed include:

AmericanDreamerThere are more, but those are some of my favorites. But, my absolute favorite of all time. Drum roll.

American Dreamer. Have you even heard of it. It’s about a woman who is a huge fan of a romantic thriller author and enters a contest. She wins a trip to Paris, hits her head and thinks she’s the main character in the book. I laughed out loud watching this movie, and to this day it’s my all time favorite. If you haven’t seen it, please do. It’ll make you smile. And we all need more smiles!

Be the First to Comment

Wednesday Wisdom: Einstein and Miracles

Posted at Jan 21, 2015 2:37 pm in , ,

Miracles. These are the things of the Bible, fairytales and for other people. Or are they?

In our cynical world, we have explanations for everything. Or do we?

Einstein, one of the greatest minds of humankind has a thought on the subject. And perhaps one you won’t expect. What do you think?

Einstein Quote


Tuesday Tunes: Stronger Woman

Posted at Jan 20, 2015 2:49 pm in , ,

In perusing my Itunes library, I realized something. I love music that inspires and with a message. I have some fun songs as well, but I guess I love in my music what I love in books: I want to feel something. And I want that something to enrich my life. Here’s one of my favorites. So, believe in yourself…and then share yourself with others. Inspire someone else. Because the more you can reach out, the more fulfilled you’ll be.

Be the First to Comment

Monday Memories: What I Wish I’d Stuck With

Posted at Jan 19, 2015 2:54 pm in , ,

Looking back, there are a few things I wish I’d have done differently. I’m relatively certain most people feel that way. What’s one of mine?

little girl in yellow dress asleep on pianoThe piano.

I took piano lessons for several years. We moved a lot, so I changed teachers. I progressed. But in order to play a new song, I had to practice a lot. Then, by the time I reached junior high school I got into swimming and I worked out with the high school team before and after school. Piano fell away.

I always wished I could pick up a piece of music and just play. If I weren’t writing, I think I’d take piano lessons again. Maybe someday. I hope so.

Do you have something you started out and wish you’d kept at? I’d love to hear about.


Wacky Weekend: Office Evolution Part 2

Posted at Jan 17, 2015 2:38 pm in , , , , , ,

So, I spent more time in my office closet this weekend. I’ve been in my home for about ten years now. When I moved in we put a ton of stuff into my office closet, but now I’m cleaning it out. New Year’s Cleaning instead of Spring Cleaning you might call it.

I found this:



Anybody out there know what it is? For those who don’t…it’s an electric typewriter. Pretty cool for its time. You could switch out a font wheel and have italics, if I remember correctly. But mostly, it had a CORRECT button. That meant no corrector paper or white out! YAY!

For those too young to remember, when you wrote a paper on this, you couldn’t go back and revise unless the word you wanted to fix was the same number of letters as the word you mistakenly wrote. I composed 20-page and 30-page school and college papers on this wonderful beauty. I even started my very first book on it. I wrote quite a few pages. None to see the light of day, of course.

It works. It’s in great condition. A few scratches exist on the case that covers the keyboard, but that’s it. 

What do I do with it? Toss it? Send it to a museum? Let it gather another ten years of dust? I don’t even use it to fill out forms or address envelopes anymore. Sigh. I don’t even think Good Will would want it.

What do you do with the obsolete when it still works?


Hopefully people don’t fall into that category..because I’m getting close, I’m afraid!

1 Comment

Fitness Friday: Ouch – Charley Horse!

Posted at Jan 16, 2015 2:29 pm in , ,

This morning I was relaxing in a recliner when my calf muscle just started to spasm. I really hate charley horses. They are painful, and even after stretching them out they tend to linger.

Calf leg pain, muscle injuryA charley horse is really just a muscle spasm. I get them occasionally. Usually in bed or when I’m relaxing. What has helped me: drinking a glass of milk or orange juice and eating a banana. A hot bath works wonders, as does ice after the fact. If I’m still sore at the end of the day, I pop a couple of ibuprofen as well. And of course, hydrating. 

I find I usually get them when I’ve upped my exercise a bit and aren’t as hydrated as I should be.

According to the National Institutes of Health

  • “Stretch to improve your flexibility.
  • Change your workouts so that you are exercising within your ability.
  • Drink plenty of fluids while exercising and increase your potassium intake. Orange juice and bananas are great sources of potassium.”

I would love to know if you have any great suggestions on dealing with charley horses! Happy Excercising!

Be the First to Comment

Thursday Take Five: Television Jewels

Posted at Jan 15, 2015 4:08 pm in , , , , ,

Remote control in the hand against pop-corn and TV-setPeople say there’s nothing on TV anymore. I think they’re wrong. I hadn’t watched much television for about 3 years (ever since I sold my first book). Priorities, you know.

But, when I took a few months off to help with my mom’s care, I found myself searching for a bit of distraction when she was resting or asleep. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Instant Video, and Xfinity On Demand and Apple TV became my friends searching for inspiration, distraction and great stories. 

I found several. So what are my favorites?

Blue Bloods – My absolute favorite. It’s what I want to do with my books. Suspense, mystery and family drama. Just perfect.

The Blacklist – Strangely compelling. A thriller with twisted villains and an anti-hero I can’t seem to look away from (of course I’ve always loved James Spader).

Madame Secretary – Compelling International Intrigue, great family drama and a strong female character. I’m all over it.

Downton Abbey – Do I really have to say why? I just love the character interactions.

What are you favorite television series? Are they from the past or the present? I’d love to know.


Be the First to Comment

Tuesday Tunes: I Won’t Give Up

Posted at Jan 13, 2015 3:52 pm in , , ,

Some songs truly touch me. I write romance novels because I love the optimism of the genre. There’s too much tragedy in the world. But there are also beauty and hope and honor and heroes. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing lately. What kind of writer I want to be known as? I love writing suspense, but more than that, I love showing men and women who face challenges and don’t give up. This is one of my favorite songs that really speaks to what I try to do with my writing. Enjoy!

Be the First to Comment

Monday Memories: My Milwaukee Brace

Posted at Jan 12, 2015 3:27 pm in , ,

Most people (except those I went to school with) don’t know it, but from the time I was twelve until I was a sophomore in high school, I wore a Milwaukee Brace for scoliosis. My spine was curved, and the lower curve was about 30 degrees. The upper curve around 20 degrees.

A school screening test found the condition. I ended up with my parents at a hospital helping kids with conditions like spina bifida, complex orthopedic conditions and long-term disabilities. 

I was twelve, having just moved to a new school and over spring break I went from outgoing to someone just trying to hide. The best part was that because I was in swimming and dance, I could take my brace off, and it didn’t count against the 1 hour per day I was out of my brace (Yep, I slept in it). Here’s what a brace looks like, though mine had a white girdle and white straps.

scoliosis(photo with thanks from

I won’t deny I hated it. The first time, after I put it on, I saw my image in the rearview mirror in my folks’ car and left the car, crying, running down the hill). I felt sorry for myself. When I went back to school, some kids told me how sorry they were for me. And yet, every time I went back to Carrie Tingly Hospital (at the time it was located in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico), I would recognize how blessed I was, and how brave other children were. 

It was one of those journeys that made me who I am. Not all the memories were good, but it built me into the person I am today. So I am grateful.

1 Comment

Wacky Weekend: Office Evolution

Posted at Jan 10, 2015 2:56 pm in , , , , , , , ,

Well, I’m cleaning out of my office. I can’t wait to show you the final produce…but until then I’m delving into the dark hole that is my office closet to clean out items I haven’t touched since I moved in. GULP! And what did I find? A box that used to hold a case of paper.


There are telephone cords, ethernet cords, video cords, monitor cords, USB cords, velcro strips to HOLD cords together. Cords and Cords and Cords, oh my! Cords to items I have NO idea what they went to? Most are even organized in ziplock baggies (thanks to my Uncle and Aunt who visited about a decade ago when I was ill in the hospital for a couple of months). The implication: most of them have been there for at least ten years. 

How many times have I dealt into the box? Probably once, looking for an ethernet cord. I’m thinking it’s time to let it go! What do you think?

Do you have a closet or a drawer or an area in your garage full of stuff you haven’t looked at in a decade? Guess what…soon I won’t have that :-). YAY! (Am heading over to The Fly Lady to see if I can get some tips!)

Be the First to Comment

Fitness Friday: I’ve Got the Music in Me!

Posted at Jan 9, 2015 3:55 pm in , , , , , , , , , , ,

I try to work out four times per week. Of course, it doesn’t always happen. Last night I didn’t leave the day job until after 7 pm and I had to get home instead of go to the gym, but…I try. My workouts typically consist of 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of floor work and strength training. That 30 minutes of cardio can be interminable, particularly if I’m trying to keep up a particular pace…so I’ve created a ‘Workout’ playlist on my ipod. I choose songs I like that have a nice beat. What do I include? Here are my top 5!

  • Rumour Has it by Adele
  • Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood
  • Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson
  • Stronger by Kelly Clarkson
  • How Bad Do You Want it by Tim McGraw

So what are your top 5 workout songs?

Be the First to Comment

Take Five Thursday: My Favorite Sci-Fi Book

Posted at Jan 8, 2015 2:49 pm in , , , ,

I love InherittheStars2to read. That shouldn’t be much of a shocker. I read a lot of different types of books, and in my professional life I’m a bit of a geek so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love Sci Fi. Sci Fi movies and books.

Hands down my favorite Sci Fi book is Inherit the stars. Just the concept should make you want to pick up the book. Mankind is populating the moon. They find the skeleton of an astronaut in an unfamiliar spacesuit. When they take the skeleton back to earth, they discover it is 50,000 years old. Enough said.

A lot of science and a lot of mystery, I was enthralled by this book. It truly excited my imagination! What’s one of your favorite books?

Be the First to Comment

Next Page »

Tweet! Tweet!

Connect with Robin

Get the Newsletter

* = required field

The Latest News