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Dreaming of the Waltz & Robin’s Winner!

Diana at the Viennese Waltz

     I’ve always dreamt of being at a grand ball and waltzing.

     The image of tall, mysterious men circling a floor to the strains of Strauss, while their partners’ dresses billow behind them, is incredibly romantic – like a music box springing to life.

     Too bad it only happens in novels.

     So, when the invitation came for a true Viennese Ball at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, I begged my husband to go.  It was a wonderful cause and the fairytale event every girl dreams of.  Poor guy never stood a chance.  Imagine, a beaux art mansion in the middle of D.C., a candle-lit dinner on the mezzanine, overlooking the marble dance floor where a twenty-piece orchestra played.

     Sigh.

     My imagination has played this scene for so long it morphed into the first chapter of my spy novel.  My heroine sneaks into a very fancy, very private ball in modern day Budapest in a mansion overlooking the Danube.  (excerpt)  The adventure takes her to Hong Kong where she battles traitors and falls in love.  So, even if  the view was that of

Guests beginning to waltz. Later the floor was completely full.

New York Avenue, instead of Strauss’ famed river, last Saturday night really was a fantasy come true.

     It’s amazing how plots get inspired by these kinds of settings.  While other people worried about dance steps, or romancing their partner, my husband had to deal with me checking out alternative exits, stairwells, and figuring out who might make a good villain in my next book.  It’s wonderful when every event takes on the nuances of a Bond film.  Too bad it is more exciting in my head than in real life.

     And, oh the beautiful people!   Everyone wore black tie.  Some women went for full ball gowns, and military men, in perfectly fitted dress uniforms, sparkled with medals.  There were couples who put Fred and Ginger to shame, and then there were couples like my husband and me – let’s just say my toes will never be quite the same.  Still, I wouldn’t have traded him for any other guy in the room.

     By the time the evening was over, we’d met some lovely people, got the hang of dancing counter-clockwise, participated in the grand march, and learned the quadrille.

     And every now and then, behind billowing ball gowns and marble pillars, I may have seen my hero and heroine laughing, as they danced in the night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Now without further ado, the winner of Robin Perini’s new release, Finding Her Son, from Harlequin Intrigue is … Rebecca York!  Please contact us within ten days with your preferred email address.

Stop by tomorrow because Roxanne St. Claire will be back with an exciting announcement on behalf of her fellow authors from the MurderSheWrites blog: Their exclusive e-book anthology Guns and Roses. And she’ll be giving away a free copy!

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.

SEVEN.

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!)


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