A Cinderella Success Story: The Fabulous Robin Perini!

Writing is hard work.

An author works on a manuscript for years, prays for an agent, begs for a sale.  More than anything it is a waiting game.  Waiting for time to finish, time to revise, waiting for an agent to get back to you, waiting for an editor to fall in love with it.

No one knows more about waiting than Robin Perini.  Devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes adventures, with love stories sure to melt hearts, she’s spent years perfecting her craft — and winning a few awards along the way.  

Did I say a few?  

Robin Perini

Robin finaled for the the prestigious Golden Heart a mere seven times.  Last year I was thrilled and honored to stand on the stage with Robin when she won the medal for Contemporary Series Romantic Suspense, and I won it for (Single Title) Romantic Suspense.  In a way that makes us sisters.  So, I was especially proud of my GH sis when she sold seven of her books in one single year.


No one I know sells seven manuscripts, in one year, straight out of the gate.  If this tells you anything about Robin’s skill and perseverance, you will share my prediction that she is sure to become a major talent.  If you need proof, here is the beginning of her debut novel, In Her Sights:

“The trigger felt right.

     The sight was zeroed in, the balance perfect.  The Remington 700/40 fit her body and her mind like an old friend she could trust, and Jasmine “Jazz” Parker didn’t trust easily.  But she and this rifle were connected in a way a lover, friend or family could never be.  The Remington would never let her down.”

Then …

     “Slowly, deliberately, Jazz exhaled and, between heartbeats, squeezed the trigger.”

Wow.  With talent like that, how could she not have won the Golden Heart?  

Here is the book trailer for In Her Sights:

Robin is giving of her time, always encouraging fellow writers.  Her workshops are nationally acclaimed and she really knows her suspense first hand.  In fact, she competes in small-bore rifle silhouette shooting.  Today she is also gifting one special reader, who comments below, with  a copy of her latest release, Finding Her Son from Harlequin Intrigue .  

While it is wonderful to see any author find success, when that person is as nice as Robin, it is special.  After working so hard, she is finally on her way — and just like Cinderella — she’s making an incredible splash and, I hope, having a ball.

(Tune in tomorrow, Wednesday 29th to find out who won and hear about Diana’s adventures Viennese waltzing!)

So, without further ado, Robin Perini asks:

How Long is Too Long to Leave Your Christmas Tree Up?

by Robin Perini

I love Christmas.

Not the hubbub or the shopping, but the meaning behind the season, the reminder to think of others and not ourselves can be joyous.

I know for many the holiday season can be a very tough time of year, but I am lucky. I have the most amazing family, and spending time together at Christmas is one of the highlights of the year. Usually that means travelling.

Even though I don’t spend Christmas at home, I still decorate. I put up a nativity scene, decorate the fireplace mantle and then put up a tree. I get to pull out Christmas ornaments from when I was a kid, and every one has a story behind it.

I love putting up the tree.

Robin's Tree

I hate taking it down.

I’m not quite sure why it requires so much effort to take the tree down compared to putting it up. And this year has been tougher than most, because there’s a lot going on in my life. Day job, family obligations, book deadlines…trying to work out on occasion. I’m sure you know the feeling.

So, we are now at February 28, and I still have my Christmas decorations up in the living room.

So, how long is too long to keep the Christmas Tree up?

I was thinking about this earlier today. You know the Gretchen Wilson song, Redneck Woman ? There’s a line in the song,

“And I keep my Christmas lights on, On my front porch all year long.”

Does that apply for trees, too?

I know I should take a deep breath and just put it away, but frankly, it’s a priority C on my ‘To Do’ list. And since I can’t seem to get to all my As and Bs each day. The Cs just sort of…well…don’t get done.

A few days ago a friend came over and just stared at the decorations in stunned disbelief. I shifted uncomfortably on my feet, and blurted out…My October Harlequin Intrigue® is called Christmas Conspiracy. I’m using it for inspiration.

Yeah, that’s it! That’s why my Christmas decorations are still up. Once I finish the book, surely I’ll have time…

Hmmm. At what point does taking down your Christmas Tree go from priority C to priority A. I have to wonder if July 4th – Christmas in July? At that point, do I leave the Christmas tree up all year long, too?

Hmmm…maybe I could take off the decorations and replace them each season with something…well…seasonal. Clovers and hats in March; flags and ribbons in July.

So, any advice, dear readers? How long does your tree or decorations stay up after the holiday season? Any holiday? How long is too long?  Comment or help me find the time to take care of my C-priorities, and you get a chance to win a copy of my latest release, Finding Her Son from Harlequin Intrigue.

So please join Robin and those of us at Kiss and Thrill by commenting below.  Remember the chances of winning depend upon the number of entries.  Good Luck!  And go out and buy Finding Her Son which rolls off the presses this week! (click here for an excerpt But make sure you come back and comment or you won’t be entered in the drawing!)

About Diana Belchase

I am an author, who won the Golden Heart for my suspense novel "The Spy in the Mirror" and was a Golden Heart finalist, once again, for my second novel, "The Spy in the Harem." I am also a triple Daphne Du Maurier finalist for three other books. Please follow me at my website: TopSecretWashington.com, or friend/follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter or on my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/DianaBelchase See you there!

Posted on February 28, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 68 Comments.

  1. That is amazing to sale seven stories in one year. You are blessed and talented, Robin. Keep writing.

    My Dad use to keep the light up all year long. Mainly because he didn’t like putting up or taking them. Finally after rotted off, he had my brother take them down. I do love Christmas. Despite all the hassle and mess.

  2. Robin, it was such an honor and a pleasure last year in New York to see you win the Golden Heart! You worked so hard for that, and then to sell so spectacularly to both Harlequin Intrigue and Montlake Romance is just incredible. Congratulations on your tremendous success. It’s such a thrill to be both a Golden Heart and Harlequin Intrigue sister of yours (although my first Intrigue doesn’t come out until next year). I look forward to reading ‘Finding Her Son’. Now, as far as the Christmas tree goes, it would drive me bonkers to have it up so long. I’m a fanatic about things like that. I want my tree down the day after Christmas! Here’s my recommendation – throw a take-the-tree-down party. Have your family and friends bring food and drink and come over and have a blast, and then they all should help you take the tree down and put it away. If you have some extra special friends, maybe they’ll even agree to vacuum once the party is over. You could always bribe them with a free book! 🙂 Congratulations again on your success. May you have many, many sales and life-long fans.

    • Lena–what a sweet thing to say. I can’t say often enough how I’m living a dream! I had an amazing time in New York. Major congrats on your successes as well! I can’t wait to read your Intrigue!

      brilliant idea! Love it! After my next deadline LOL I think I’ll set something up. With appropriate bribery 🙂


  3. Good idea, Lena — but for that you’d need really, really good friends. Uh, Lena, I’m having this take the tree down party next year, can I sign you up? Ole buddy, Ole friend of mine …


  4. Hi Robin! I’m so happy for your success. You probably don’t realize what an inspiration you are, but all of your GH sisters (myself included) were thrilled by your win and your sales. And as far as the Christmas tree goes, I say keep it up all year as long as you don’t mind dusting it periodically. Christmas will be back in a blink and think of all the time you’ll save having to put it up again.

    • Oh Sharon. Thank you. I don’t think of myself as that inspiring. More like a bulldog who won’t let go LOL. I have been so lucky in all the amazing friends I’ve made over the years. The GH sisterhood means the world to me. They’ve been there all these years.

      I’m tempted by your solution, too! Except…I don’t like to dust either! LOL. Are you sensing a theme? I think I’m lazy!

      All my best,


  5. Seven sales in a year. That’s fantastic!
    About Christmas trees. I have a live Norfolk pine in my living room behind the sofa and by the window. I have lights and decorations on it all year round so I can enjoy them any time I want.. It’s not as wide as a tree you’d go out and buy just for Christmas, but it’s stand makes it almost seven feet tall. I made the decorations. They’re all painted cardboard cats. There’s a picture of them at http://rebeccayork.com/the-author/rebecca-at-home/ I suppose it’s not technically a Christmas tree because it’s always there, and I love having it.

    • Rebecca, the cat decorations on your tree are lovely. What a wonderful idea. And the new website is gorgeous. Everyone, make sure you go and check it out — lots of photos of Rebecca’s beautiful home, too!

    • Thanks, Rebecca. Such an honor to have you here! Hmmm…maybe keeping my tree up isn’t so far fetched…I say with hope…

      BTW, ditto what DIana said…love the web site!

      Thanks SO much for stopping by! It means the world to me!


  6. Diana, thanks. Sometimes I have to stop writing and get into a craft project!

  7. Robin: Thanks so much for being here today. It was wonderful to meet you last year, and I’m excited for your meteoric rise in the publishing world after such a long wait.

    I’m like Lena. Tree down ASAP. Love the house party idea. Or maybe you could just move it as-is to somewhere less visible and then pull it out in November?

    Good luck getting all the important things done on your list!

    • We had a friend of the family who did that, Gwen. Her home had an elevator that she never used. She was too scared to get in it, because she lived alone and knew no one would find her if it broke down. So, she converted it into a Christmas tree closet.

      Every year she’d open the doors, roll out the fully decorated Christmas tree, plug it in, and then exactly on the Epiphany, she’d roll it back in again.

      I think every home should come with a Christmas tree closet! Wouldn’t that make life so much simpler?


    • Moving it is an option! Great idea, Gwen.

      I don’t know about meteoric rise, but I must say it’s definitely been a stellar year….another pun intended to go along with being a Starcatcher (the 2011 class of Golden Hear finalists for those who didn’t know).

      I really enjoyed meeting you as well. And am LOVING your Scrivener class, even if I’m invisible!

      All my best,

  8. First off, I have to say a HUGE thank you to Diana for the wonderful intro and for inviting me to Kiss and Thrill! Can I pay you to do PR? I SO appreciate the kind words! It’s been a truly amazing year and I’m blessed. With amazing friends and colleagues. Romance Writer are the coolest people ever!

    I LOVE the idea of a taking down the tree party. I wonder if I’ll keep my friends if I do that? Hmm…perhaps I can bribe them with food and beverages and chocolate! Writers like chocolate usually!

    I’m popping in between breaks on my day job, so keep those suggestions coming! I can’t wait to see more!

    All my best and thank you SO much. For everything!


  9. Wow, seven books in a year is awesome. Major congrats to you! And your tree is lovely, as are you. It comes down early in our house, right after New Years, but that’s thanks to my husband. I loathe taking it down – there’s no fun in it, no reminiscing over each ornament. It’s just a pain in the butt!

    • Oh, thanks for the kind words, Stacy! I’m with you on the pain in the butt. Reminiscing is for when I put it up…dos that mean I have to take it down…darn, just when the Christmas tree closet was easing ahead in my decision for what to do.

      Glad you stopped by!

      All my best,


  10. The main reason that I took the tree down this year was that it started drooping and dropping ornaments on its own. I think that when people ask you about the tree you should say, “What tree?”. Congratulations on your success.

  11. Robin, so excited to have you with us today! I was thrilled and delighted when you announced your first sale and continued cheering with each announcement thereafter!!

    As for Christmas trees – I hate taking them down too, but my daughter’s birthday is in early January, so for the last dozen years taking down the tree the first Monday of the new year became priority A, so we’d have room for her party. If we had a bigger house, it would stay up for months. 🙂

    I think it’s perfect that your base color is white on your tree. I suggest removing the snowflakes and replacing them with hearts in February, Shamrocks in March, cherry blossoms in April…

    • Hi Rachel. Thanks so much. Writers are some of the best people. I really appreciate all the kind words today. I’ve gotten teary-eyed over it.

      I’m loving that tree idea…maybe I need to host post-Christmas party since we don’t have any January birthdays. Then I’d HAVE to take it down.


  12. Robin:
    Seven golden hearts! Your “overnight” success is a story in persistence for us all!
    Liese Sherwood-Fabre

  13. Robin:

    Yay! I’m not the only one who still has Christmas decorations up. If it gets any later, people will just think I’m well prepared for December.

    I was there in New York at my very first conference when you won the GH. Congratulations!

    Great book trailer by the way – love the music!

    • Jenna…I am so doing a happy dance right now!!! Christmas tree procrastinators unite!!!

      Thanks on the trailer. It was fun! I want to do more of them….with the help of my web guy….hmmm does that rank above a C….if so, guess the tree will have to wait a while longer. Darn…and evil grin!

  14. Robin thanks so much for being with us today and for sharing your tree story! Mine, sans decorations, is still up! Don’t know if this link will work in a comment, but I snapped a photo this morning for proof-

    Congrats on your well deserved success!

  15. Welcome Robin and heartfelt congratulations on the sales!

    As I said on my FB page you are the romance writer’s poster child for Perseverance! I think most of us in the industry knew your name years ago because your talent was so obvious each year when the Golden Heart finalists were called.

    As for Christmas lights- there’s a house down the street that still has their red lights framing their front door. I figured they just had the foresight to keep them up and be ready for Valentines…now that they are still up I figure they’re getting ready for 4th of July…anything goes in Houston!

    Best of luck to you, you deserve SO much for hanging in there.

    • Oh, thanks so much, Sarah! That means a lot. I do feel like finally preparedness met opportunity!

      And I kind of wore out the Golden Heart thing, didn’t I. LOL Several asked why I kept entering. I almost didn’t enter in 2011, but my best friend convinced me. And low and behold, because of the Golden Heart I sold Stolen Lullaby (aka Finding Her Son), so I will encourage anyone to enter as many times as they can — if that’s what they want.

      Love the story of the lights…goes with the video :-). And you’re right, anything goes in Houston. Actually, I’m setting part of Christmas Conspiracy in Houston. I may have to get in touch with you later! 🙂


  16. So thrilled for you, Robin! It couldn’t happen to a nicer, more talented person. 😀

    As for the Christmas tree dilemma, one of my friend’s moms kept her tree up for an entire year once and just changed the decorations based on the holiday. St. Patty’s Day is coming up! 😉 And Easter trees can be beautiful, too.

  17. My dear Italian cousin–Through your wonderful workshops, you taught US how to write. Only fair you’re having such success. I have a sand-filled burlap Christmas tree, three feet tall, that lives in a closet 51 weeks a year.

    • Dearest cousin Jane, you might make me cry. Thank you. The thing is I always learned more from my students than I ever thought I shared.

      But you know there’s nothing I like more than learning something new, and the study of writing never ends. I’m in heaven.

      Love the tree in a closet. Easy, peasy. Can’t argue with that!

      Love you!


  18. Hi Robin, you are an inspiration, for sure, and I loved the short excerpt posted here. I didn’t put up a real Christmas tree this year. I have these little fake pines that I decorated with lights and ornaments. I took the ornaments off in January, but I still have the trees up, and I’ll probably leave them until the lights burn out. The Christmas tree closet is a great idea. I wish I had space to to that.

    • Hi Anita. Thanks SO much for stopping by! Wow. Guys, Anita is a fellow Montlake author.

      I’m glad you liked the excerpt. I must admit Jazz is a favorite character of mine. She’s just…cool. Way cooler than I am for sure.

      Love the tree alternative idea, Anita. Sounds lovely.

      All my best,

  19. Robin! I need to find my way back into our writing cave in the early morning–but I’m so thrilled that you are doing well. You rock! Stardust and Unicorns for the win!:)

    As for me, I decided a few years ago to keep my old-world santas up all year round. I just throw a little bit of fake snow around come Christmas, and they are good to go! 🙂


    • Hey gal…sorry I was AWOL. Meetings and then working out. I would love to see you back in the writing cave. I haven’t been there the last bit, though. Too much editing going on :-). Not enough writing!

      Thanks! I’m psyched.

      Love the Santa idea. Why not have those wonderful things up and visible. Why hide them away! Besides, can’t go wrong with Santa :-).

      So glad you stopped by! I’m waiting for your book to come out with bated breath!


  20. Can you all believe that Robin’s book is coming out THIS Thursday? I’ve already placed my order.

    Robin how are you going to celebrate?

    • Actually…I’m going to be writing on my October book, Christmas Conspiracy. It’s due VERY soon and I’m a tad behind.

      I think I’ll celebrate later! I’m thinking manicure, pedicure, hair, a self-indulgent day spent just for me! Then, back to the next book LOL!

      Actually, I AM going to try to take a week off of writing after I get everything turned in. All work and no play makes Robin a dull girl! I haven’t seen a movie since Harry Potter came out. And I haven’t seen Grimm or Once Upon a Time or Walking Dead. I’ve heard I need to. I think I’ll be hanging out with hulu!



  21. So, I’ve received a couple of requests about the seven books.

    My first sale was GH finalist, In Her Sights, to Amazon’s Montlake Romance. It’s available now.
    Of course, Finding Her Son is out this week (2011 GH winner).
    Cowboy in the Crossfire and Christmas Conspiracy come out in July and October of this year.

    And now the news. I’ve agreed to a three book deal with Montlake Romance for the Montgomery Justice series. Luke’s brothers from In Her Sights take center stage.

    As I said…what a great year! I am truly blessed!


  22. Wow, that’s wonderful news! I’m so glad the ban of secrecy is off and you can finally reveal the Montlake deal. I’ve been itching to tell everyone the news and now I can.

    One of our starcatchers wanted to know what you thought about the differences between Harlequin and Montlake’s approach?

    • Yeah, me too! I’m so excited about writing the Montgomery stories. I have a fondness in my heart for In Her Sights and Luke and all the boys! (There are 6 brothers, actually).

      Interesting question RE: Harlequin and Montlake. Well, in many ways they have a very similar approach when it comes to the process. There is an editing process (line edits, copy edits, then final proofs). There are marketing questionnaires to help the art departments design the covers.

      Harlequin has all the lines, of course. I love writing Intrigues. They’re fast-paced with larger than life heroes. Probably the fastest paced of all the Harlequin lines. The Harlequin guidelines are here: http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=538&chapter=0

      Montlake is more like a single title house. They publish a variety of genres and lengths (though most are more than 70K). There’s more about them on my website if you’re interested. http://robinperini.com/for-writers/writers-notes-by-robin-blog

      Montlake (because it’s from Amazon Publishing) has focused more on the ebook side of things, though paperbacks are available. Harlequin of course, has both ebooks and paperbacks as well.

      They’ve both been terrific and the editorial staffs are awesome. I couldn’t be happier. Not sure if that answered the question, but if you have a more specific question, feel free to ask. I’ll try to answer.


  23. Congrats on your multiple sales, Robin.

    Not sure what to tell you about your beautiful Christmas tree. My roommate and I used to put ours up the day after Thanksgiving (after a morning of shopping for great deals) and take it down on New Year’s Day.

    But if it’s up into March, just throw a few shamrocks on it and call it St. Patrick’s Day decor. It’s all green, right? 😉

  24. Robin, your tree is still beautiful, even if it nearly March! Keep writing, maybe it can be a clue in another suspense novel soon! In our house, we did keep the tree up until almost Easter once, when we were still doing the live tree thing. When we finally dragged it out, the needles were mostly gone. A few years later, we had one last live tree – it fell over. Oh, well!

    • Susan, that was really funny. Though, I bet it was hard to take when the tree fell over at the time. I no longer have a real tree — cannot bear the thought of killing trees just for decoration. Besides, no mess, and no fuss, with an artificial tree.

      The first year I was married, we had a real tree. Every year afterward, we had an artificial one that I took great pains to pick. The branches had to be just right, it had to be uniform, and it had to be able to hold heavy ornaments without sagging.

      After decking it out, I’d spritz it with pine fragrance. My fourth year of marriage, my mother said, “I don’t know where you get your trees, they are always so perfect!”

      When I revealed it was artificial, she almost keeled over! I haven’t laughed so hard, since. Now, that was a tree worth keeping up all year long.


    • Hi Susan…Love the idea of a clue! I am writing a Christmas book right now, so I am using it for inspiration. I have a special ornament in the book actually. That was fun research to do.

      So, your tree was up until Easter..YAY! That could be March or April. Poor tree, though. Naked with no needles.

      Ouch on it falling over. Been there, done that. With water everywhere! I’ve gone the artificial route now!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Happy reading,

  25. Robin, congratulations on all your success! With seven book sales, I’m amazed you only have Priority A through C 🙂

    • Oh no. Don’t tempt me, Krista. I’m a spreadsheet kinda girl. I might go crazy!

      Actually I took the Franklin Covey class on time management and they A, B, and C.

      C’s are ‘nice to have’s. A’s are important to my long term goals, etc. Maybe my tree really is a C :-).

      Thanks for the congrats. It’s been an amazing time for me. I have to pinch myself most days!

      Thanks for visiting today! So glad you made it!

      Happy reading,

  26. I love to dance. Those days are gone. But I still love it.

  27. Good night all! Thank you Robin for coming. See you all tomorrow when I announce the winner and blog about waltzing!

    Diana Belchase

  28. Thanks, Diana! It’s been a real pleasure. I think I’m going to have that ‘taking down the Christmas tree’ party as soon as I deliver my book. I don’t really have room for a tree closet (though that’s a great choice) and decorating for the seasons means I’d have to take off decorations…I guess I’m just too lazy for that LOL.

    I love to hear from readers. You can read excerpts, reviews, sign up for my mailing list and even request trading cards or a Kindlegraph on my website at http://www.robinperini.com. I’m also on Twitter (@RobinPerini), Facebook (www.facebook.com/RobinPeriniAuthor), and Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4900163.Robin_Perini). I’d love to hear from you.

    You can check out my books anywhere. In Her Sights is available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0053TIBCM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=robinpecom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0053TIBCM and Finding Her Son is available at most any retailer.

    Thanks again, Diana! I really enjoyed being here with everyone!

    All my best,

  29. Congratulations! What a wonderful accomplishment! ;o) I look forward to reading your work.

    As for the tree? I like the idea of changing the decorations out.
    I had an aunt who did that–it was beautiful all year round–even at Halloween! lol After a few years, everyone simply got used to it. lol

    Keep up the most excellent work!

    Suzan T.

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