Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 12.33.03 PMAs author Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, author of The Piano Player’s Son, points out in another stop on this tour, “the blog tour is the electronic progeny of the old chain letter, where you’d receive a letter and have to pass it on to ten of your friends to make something magical happen.” Here, the writer’s hope is to spread the word and attract readers along the way — in other words, make something magical happen!

I was asked to take part in this Writing Process Blog Tour by Chioma Iwunze Ibiam, a fellow writer in my Internet Writing Workshop group. The IWW, comprised of writers across the world, is good like this. Not only do we, as participants, nudge each other to greatness in our writing endeavors, but we look after each other’s marketing efforts. As everyone knows, the only way to sell books is word-of-mouth and good press. I thank Chioma for looking out for me. 

Chioma has a new novel slated for publication in September of this year. You can read more about her work here 


This tour requires answers to four questions about my writing and my process.


Marketing, marketing, and more marketing!

My second novel THE SECRET MISS RABBIT KEPT  was recently published and sadly, those characters are still inhabiting my head. I can’t seem to move on from their lives and into another story. I trust this will happen soon, but in the meantime, marketing calls. Books don’t get sold unless the word gets out.

Being a bit of an all-or-nothing gal, I’m hyper-focused while writing, and marketing is a distraction. I spent many weeks preparing my pitch and manuscript for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. This last week, I learned that Miss Rabbit is now among the Quarter Finalists in the General Fiction category! While marketing and promoting are not among my favorite activities, this ABNA achievement lends credibility to my efforts.


Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 12.38.12 PMTHE SECRET MISS RABBIT KEPT is quite unlike anything out there in the General Fiction genre (in my very humble opinion, of course). Told in first person POV by sixteen-year-old Sophie, the story centers around her work in a nursing home. Someone not familiar with the story might scoff and say that’s not the kind of stuff anyone wants to read. Though there are some heartbreaking scenes, the story revolves around Sophie’s quest for answers to her abandonment as a newborn,  her frustration with Miss Mable Rabbit’s refusal to speak, and the life lessons Sophie learns along the way.  The book is a bit of a coming-of-age story, but the questions posed speak to readers of all ages.  Ripe with poignancy and humor, it’s a story of unexpected friendships and second chances.  As one of Amazon’s contest ‘expert reviewers’ said, “The psychology of this piece is brilliant.”


This particular book came about as a result of many things: my experience with adoption, my own work in a nursing home when I was sixteen, and the political climate of this country (as it relates to women’s issues). I wanted to offer my readers food for thought, as well as immortalize some of the dear souls who entrusted me with their care on their final journeys so many years ago.

I hope after reading my book, readers come away with a new respect for the elderly, as well as respect for the choices others make. I find we, as a nation, are often too quick to judge these days. Everyone has their burdens, yet so few take the time to consider this.  As my mother always liked to say, “Never judge a person until you’ve walked a day in their shoes.”


In this case, the title of the book arrived out of the clear blue. I had a vision of Miss Rabbit, but she refused to speak. From there, I used creative license in crafting the reasons for her silence. I built characters around her and filled in the blanks. As for the actual mechanics, I start in longhand on blank, unlined paper and flesh out the plot basics.  I transfer my rough work to a WORD file, where I spend days, weeks, and often months, writing, editing, and tossing what doesn’t fit. With Miss Rabbit, I subbed a chapter at a time to the writers at IWW, then made changes based on their feedback.

There are likely more efficient ways to craft a story, but none of them work for me. Every writer has their own system. The key is finding what works.

If I’ve sparked your interest in my latest book, I encourage you to download a sample at Amazon, or visit my website www.robincain.com

For the next stop on the ‘Writing Process Blog Tour’ please visit these participating authors. I’m certain you’ll find your next great read!



PETER BERNHARDT: Having grown up in Stuttgart, Germany, Peter spent the first twenty-three years of his life writing in German. That changed when he emigrated to the United States. After learning a new language in college and law school and after a civil litigation career with the U.S. Department of Justice, he finally found the time to harness the creative juices necessary for writing fiction. The combination of a German upbringing, a lifelong love of opera, and his experiences as an attorney inspired Peter to write ‘what he knew’. Now the best-selling author of The Stasi File:Opera and Espionage: A Deadly Combination — a spy thriller that takes place during the collapse of the East German police state after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Stasi File was a finalist for Book of the Year by the British Arts Council and a quarter finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. There is also a German edition Die Stasi-Akte -Oper und Spionage: Eine todliche Kombination. Peter also wrote Kiss of the Shaman’s Daughter , a tense mystery/thriller that interweaves the activities of a vicious gang of smugglers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with the story of a lost treasure and a Native American family’s struggles during The Peublo Indian Revolt of 1680.

You can learn more about Peter and his work here. Read his contribution to this Blog Tour here.



DELLANI OAKES : Dellani Oakes makes her home in Florida, but she grew up in Western Nebraska. Bitten by the writing bug early in life, Dellani first pursued poetry as her medium of self-expression. Soon, she moved onto song parodies, short stories, and humorous essays until she took up writing full time when her youngest son started kindergarten. Since then, she has published five books: The Ninja Tattoo, Lone Wolf, Indian Summer, Under The Western Sky,and Shakazhan. Her two romantic suspense novels are with Tirgearr Publishing, though she has a historical romance and two sci-fi novels with Second Wind Publishing. She has also contributed to several anthologies, MJ Magazine, and shares her unpublished works on her blog. Dellani hosts two talk shows a month on Blog Talk Radio. Listen in every second Monday of the month at 4:00 PM Eastern for Dellani’s Tea Time, and every fourth Wednesday, at 4:00 PM Eastern for What’s Write for Me. You can learn more about Dellani here




BRIAN HEFFRON: Poet and novelist, Brian is a staff writer/director/producer at Public Television where he creates educational programming.  He has worked in Los Angles since the early nineties as a screenwriter and TV producer/director. A winner of Telly Awards, Aurora Awards, Videographer Awards, Emmys, and the Davis Award, he is also credited with creating the first animated web series on AOL entitled “Hollywood Nights”. Brian is the author of Sustain Me with Your Breath (a handmade poetry chapbook), a  poetry CD entitled, “Something You Could Touch”, and the novel Colorado Mandala. You can learn more about Brian and his work here.




© Robin Cain 2014

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It’s official!

Anita Romero, with her entry SAX, took 1st Place. She wins a $50 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of WHEN DREAMS BLEED and an article in The Examiner showcasing her entry. Her lovely short story is below:

Unable to sleep, his mind was engrossed with the rain. Each drop erupting on the hard pavement outside was another note; a beat within his mind, pure music, fluid, precise, forming around each object as it struck. Splat.’ Ta, tat…tat, splat…ta, tat.

Rising from bed he padded across the floor, much like a small child sneaking out of bed for one more look at his Christmas presents. He had so much to do in the morning but the joy of the rain was a small sacrifice against his mundane life.

Where was she? There, between the crack made by the ragged chair and the wall. Yes that was where she was, shouting, begging, louder than the rain outside. She should have been in her case, safely tucked away for the night, but he knew that rain would fall tonight. Fondling her body, he stopped and admired the inviting mouthpiece, formed only for his lips. He pushed aside his jealousy of the previous owner. She was his now, only his.

It wasn’t long before the sad rhythmic pitch of the sax rang across the room, the rain complementing like a drummer in a band; splat, ta, tat…tat, splat, ta, tat. Soon he would have company. Three in the morning was not the time for his music to penetrate the paper-thin walls of the south side apartment building. Maybe tonight would be different.

His music was sad, but sweet as a memory. If they listened, everyone would dream tonight. It had happened before, and in those times, he knew he had helped them push aside their nightmares, and reach another world. If they listened, he would help them again. It was his gift.

The rain built to a crescendo and ravaged the city outside; splat, ta, splat, tat, ta, ta, tat, splat, ta, ta, ta, splat, tat. His notes followed suit; frustration, failure, and all of his desires came to greet the rain. He wanted more, he wanted to play for more than the walls, and he wanted to dream in the daytime.

The knock finally came, just before dawn. “Marvin, it’s time for bed.” A loving voice echoed through the door.

“OK, Mom.”

He carefully cleaned the instrument, making sure that every inch was chaste, ready for the next rain and padded off to bed.

2nd place goes to the extremely talented poet, Brian Heffron, for his entry. He wins a $15 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of WHEN DREAMS BLEED and a feature here. His beautiful entry follows:

The punch remembered from then on
Looping round in endless song.
When dreams bleed they are funneled south
Blood still dripping from the mouth.
My heart cannot be wounded more,
I have taken all you had in store,
And rolled over into a newer sorrow,
Understanding this won’t end tomorrow.

There is sadness beneath your childhood bed,
Stored there, like the things unsaid.
But if you come to me at night
I will give you a lamp to light
And point you to a spot secure,
Down here amidst the other poor.
Who will welcome you like a long lost brother
Although at heart, you’ll remain the other.

Brian has recently published a book of his work.

Brian's new poetry book

Back cover

Entitled, Sustain Me With Your Breath, and it’s a beautifully hand-bound compilation of love poems. It can be purchased through his website here.

Last, but certainly not least, 3rd place goes to Lori Kurowski. Having not attempted a fictional piece in some time (or so she tells me), Lori’s entry was a strong interpretation of the theme. Her work is below:

Sheila awakened to the sound of shattering glass downstairs. She grabbed her robe and sat up in bed. Listening carefully, she didn’t hear another sound. She twirled around on her bed and got up slowly, not wanting to make the old wooden floor squeak. Quietly, she tip-towed to the bedroom door and peered outside.

It was dark and drafty in the silenced hallway. Feeling a shiver, Sheila tightened her robe and cautiously headed towards the staircase. The old worn carpet, felt hard on her feet as she approached the landing. The shadows from the ornate furniture downstairs, cast vicious visions dashing across the walls. Sheila shakily grasped the staircase railing and began her descent.

Proceeding cautiously she still did not hear any more noises, or see movement of any kind. Suddenly, she felt a whisper of fur cross her bare feet. She quickly glanced down to see her cat, Luca, rubbing his face on the end of her robe. “Silly cat”, she thought, “you must have decided to finally come home, and knocked something down on your way into the house”.

With emotions now at ease, Shiela casually walked in to the dark kitchen, her hands searching for the elusive light switch. That’s when she saw his face in the beaming moonlight. Eyes lit with anger, and a slight smile, she knew instantly this was the end. She put her hands over her head, anticipating the first blow, as she fell to the floor in panic. But she felt nothing, nothing at all. She looked up to see yet another face peering in the moonlight. Then a gunshot rang out sending Luca scrambling for the door. Shiela heard a loud thump, and felt the wooden floor shake. She gingerly stood up and found the light switch. The eyes that greeted her where familiar and safe. She ran to them and knew, after years of dreading the release of her ex-husband from prison, the dreams were finally going to stop bleeding.

A grant writer in Phoenix, AZ, specializing in educational grants involving children, community, and women’s causes, Lori has been a Arizona State Certified Teacher for the last 18 years. She can be reached at grantyourfutre@gmail.com


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