Lori Robinett: {Creating} My Path

musings of a wife, mother, writer . . .

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Chase Masterson: Dabo Girl Extraordinaire

Chase Masterson as Leeta

Chase Masterson as Leeta

As Carol and I walked through the vendor area, she spotted a man putting together some type of game. It took a few minutes, but it hit both of us . . . and Carol shouted, “Dabo!” Although Chase wasn’t at the table, but we saw her on stage shortly thereafter. Max Grodenchik was on stage talking about his character, Rom, and talk of course turned to his love interest, Leeta. The curtains parted and out came Chase, dressed in a black sequined gown with jewels that sparkled with every move of her wrist. They sang a song together and then Max told how things were a bit awkward during the filming of Deep Space Nine, because he has his on-stage love, Leeta, and his real life love, mmmmm – her name escapes me at the moment – were sometimes together. His real life love was a writer (?) for Deep Space Nine. Everyone snickered at the uncomfortable position Max described, then the curtains parted and they were both on stage. It was a Rom sandwich! They sang a bad parody of I’ve Got Two Babes, which was a hoot.

Shortly after Chase’s time on stage, which was largely spent singing, we met her out in the vendor area and I got her autograph. Dabo was set up, but we didn’t play. Oh well – she still gave us an “I played Dabo with Chase” button pin!

Chase Masterson

Chase Masterson

These pages are part of my Star Trek mini-album, which is an 8 x 8 Maya Road binder album. The pages are both Simple Stories patterned paper over Kraft paper, which has been spritzed with Heidi Swapp Color Shine in teal. The first page incorporates some Tim Holtz tissue tape. I used Stickles black diamond to highlight the black swirls at the bottom of the second page, used some Queen & Co. Trendy Tape (film strip on the first page, black w/ stars & swirls on the second).

Thanks for looking!

Blog Hop: Writers write

I’m honored to have been asked to participate in an author blog hop with my friend Tierney James this week. Be sure to click on her link at the bottom of the page and visit her! Blog hops are a great way for authors and readers to connect, plus by adding links to each other’s pages, we create some dynamic group marketing.The blog hop rules are simple. Each author answers four questions and invites three other children’s authors to participate the following week. I invited some entertaining, talented authors to participate. You’ll see their names, book titles and links to their sites below.First up, my job is to answer four blog hop questions as follows:

What are you working on right now?
I am working on a rewrite of a suspense novel drafting during National Novel Writing Month. It is about a pregnant woman who kills her researcher husband, and then discovers that he was using their baby as a guinea pig for his research – research that his boss will do anything to complete.
How does your writing process work?
I draft a story from beginning to end, completely linear. I can’t skip around like some writers do. Once the story is drafted, I let it sit for a couple of months at least, then I read it through, beginning to end, making note of plot holes, character changes, time line goofs, that sort of thing. And then the rewrite starts (and it is definitely a rewrite!). At that point, I send it to my critique group, a couple of chapters at a time, every couple of weeks. They are a tremendous asset. Once it goes through them, it’s time for a line edit.
What is the hardest part about writing?
For me, the hardest part is that first draft. Turning off the internal editor and getting words on the page. Once I can get that done, and reach “THE END,” the next hardest part is rewriting. It is so difficult to kill your darlings, but that is often what must happen.
What scares you?
Failure. And success.
Thanks for stopping by . . . and be sure you drop by to say hello to my friend Tierney James and let her know I sent you. And check out her debut novel, An Unlikely Hero.

Aron Eisenberg: Follow Your Dreams

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Aron Eisenberg is probably best known as Nog on Deep Space Nine. We watched him and Jake grow up together, but I had no idea that he was actually an adult at the time he was cast as Nog. Aron was born with kidney problems, which stunted his growth. He had a transplant when he was a teenager. If I remember correctly, he also lost his father at a young age. As Aron shared his experiences, it really hit home – here was a kid that was short, had health concerns, and still was successful in Hollywood.

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Then he told a story about driving to work every day and seeing a beautiful tree. Every day, he thought about shooting it. And every day he drove past it. One day, he stopped mid-trip and turned around to retrieve his camera. He returned to the tree and took the photograph that started his photography business. You can see it in the photo below on his business card.

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Aron was so nice – very personable. He was OK with me taking a photo of him, and was courteous to everyone who approached him. I really enjoyed his talk – and his admonition to not “pass that tree” day after day was so powerful. He set his sights on goals and made his dreams come true. Best of all, he’s encouraging others to do the same. That, in my book, says a great deal about his character.

These pages are part of my Star Trek mini-album, which is an 8×8 Maya Road binder album. These pages use Kraft paper as a base, misted with Heidi Swapp Color Shine in Teal, and are embellished using Simple Stories Destination patterned paper and stickers.

Meeting Rom: Max Grodenchik

Max Grodenchik as Rom from Deep Space Nine

Max Grodenchik as Rom from Deep Space Nine

Carol and I were in line early, PDF tickets in hand, waiting to get into the Star Trek convention. A perky young woman scanned our tickets and affixed wristbands to our arms. We were in!

It was a bit overwhelming. We spotted the theater where we would watch speakers throughout the day, scanned our schedules and headed off to check out the vendors. Almost immediately, I spotted a blank journal – a “Personal Log,” but I passed it up, determined to take it all in before purchasing anything. Tip: don’t pass something up that you really want. It wasn’t there when we went back. But I digress. We looked at various memorabilia and photos, then found a row of tables set up along the windows. A man was placing 8×10 photos in neat stacks on one of the tables.

Carol grabbed my arm and pointed, “Those are pictures of Rom! Rom is going to be here! I’ve seen him in every episode of Deep Space Nine! He was Quark’s brother. I wonder when he’ll get here.”

The man turned slightly and leaned towards Carol, then whispered, “I’m Rom.”

Carol and I blinked. She said, “You’re Rom?”

The woman behind the table grinned and confirmed, “Yes, he’s Rom!”

Carol said, “I can see the resemblance!”

“My dear,” he said with a grin, “I don’t think that’s a compliment!”

Max went on to ask us where we’re from, and was quite helpful when we told him it was our first conference. He asked our names, then excused himself so he could finish setting up. When we returned to his table later to get his autograph, he remembered us! This is a photo that makes me smile every time I see it.

Max Grodenchik

Max Grodenchik

As you can tell, this is from my Star Trek Scrapbook. Here’s another page I did. Both pages use Kraft paper as a base, misted with Color Shine in Teal (by Heidi Swapp), and embellished with Simple Stories Destinations line. The edges are inked using Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Soot. The journaling is from my stash – Jenni Bowlin, I think. This is an 8×8 album, so there’s not a lot of room for journaling. Using hidden journaling like this tag that slips behind your photo is a great way to include personal details without taking up a lot of space. It also comes in handy when the journaling is really more for you than the folks you’ll share your album with.

Hidden Journalling

Hidden Journaling

Thanks for looking!

Star Trek Chicago: The Westin

Westin O'HareAs I mentioned before, going to a Star Trek convention was a dream come true. As soon as I decided to go, I made reservations at the Westin because that was the host hotel. Although it was expensive, I think it was worth staying, largely because it was easy. We got to the hotel and that was our home base – we didn’t have to worry about getting here or there, plus there was the added bonus of running into folks in the hallways. The night we arrived, we saw several other Trekkies, all spotable because of their sci fi themed shirts.

The morning the conference opened, I saw Jeffrey Combs walking through the lobby. He is my favorite alien, on my favorite series – Shran, the Andorian captain. I smiled shyly at him and he nodded, probably thinking, oh, dear God, please don’t let that fan-girl bug me. And was probably hoping I wasn’t a stalker. Later that morning, I passed an elegant woman in the lobby with a large man escorting her. She was gorgeous, in that old movie star way. I thought she was Jackie Collins, perhaps, hiding behind large sunglasses. As we passed, I smiled and she said, “Good morning.” Watch for an upcoming post to find out who she was.

The layout above is part of my Star Trek album. It’s done using Kraft paper from my stash, misted with Glimmer Mist in roll top desk, and Core Crackle Paper. I inked the edges of everything with Soot Distress Ink, and attached the wristband with a Fastenater Staple. The final touch were some stickers from the Simple Stories Destinations collection.

Lincoln’s Tomb

JR & Lori rubbing Lincoln's nose for luck.

JR & Lori rubbing Lincoln’s nose for luck.

We’ve been to Lincoln’s Tomb twice now. Each time has been a moving experience. The sense of powerful greatness and respect is overwhelming. It is truly an awe-inspiring experience. If you happen to be going through Springfield, Illinois, plan to stop by Lincoln’s Tomb. It’s easy to find, and won’t take you very long.

If you go, here are some tips:

  • Stop on the way in and see the burial site of Roy Bertelli, also know as Mr. Accordion. Check out more info at Roadside America.
  • Silence your cell phone before you go in. It’s about respect.
  • Rub Lincoln’s nose for luck.
  • Look for the hidden horse inside the building where the tomb is. Hint: it is much like looking for animals in clouds.
  • Depending on the direction you’re going, consider checking out other Route 66 spots.

 

Star Trek: Chicago!

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When I realized that there was going to be a Star Trek convention in Chicago, I started making plans. Going to a con has been on my bucket list for ages – at least since the hubs and I visited Las Vegas in August 2007 and did Star Trek: The Experience (that’s a whole ‘ nother post!). Since this was our first convention and we were doing it on a budget, we opted to go for the Friday session only, general admission, to sort of get a feel for things and figure out the best way to do a con. If you enjoy Star Trek at all, I highly recommend going. Here are some tips to make the experience the best possible on a tight budget:

*Stay at a nearby hotel. The Westin in Chicago was expensive as all get out, and I felt a bit out of place. I paid $179 a night, for a hotel that featured $29 burgers and a broken pool. That said, it was nice to be able to just walk up to the room after the Star Trek Rat Pack.

*Bring your own food. There were no food vendors around, and the hotel restaurant was really expensive. When I asked the concierge for some suggestions for a reasonably priced restaurant, she directed me to a list of nearby steak houses. When I called to get prices for entrees, several happily told me their entrees ranged from $49 to $150. I went back and asked for directions to something cheaper, like an Outback or a Texas Roadhouse. The poor woman nearly broke her lips twisting them in disgust, but she did give us directions to an Outback. Only later did we find out there was a McDonald’s nearly adjacent to the hotel, and a Ruby Tuesday’s just around the corner.

*Bring cash – preferably $20 bills. Most of the stars will sign autographs, and most charge $20, $40 or $60.

*Bring a camera. Ask permission before you take photos, but you’ll want photos of the attendees as well as the stars!

*General admission seats are still decent. They’re much cheaper than the full package seats. Granted, you won’t get all the included autographs, but if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be able to pick and choose the autographs you want to purchase.

*Have fun! Document your trip! Keep souvenirs like your hotel bill and your wristband. And if you need help with your album, let me know. I’d be glad to make one for you (and I won’t charge you an arm and a leg).

 

 

Family, Surprises and Growing Older

Eula's 90th Birthday

Eula’s 90th Birthday

I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person, but I write, scrapbook and papercraft. Though I usually share writing, I thought I’d share a layout with you today.

This is a layout about my great-aunt Eula. This was when my mom and her brother (Joe, in the photo with Eula) surprised Eula with a cake for her 90th birthday. When she walked into the room, her face registered disbelief, surprise and happiness. It was a fun weekend, and I was glad we got to help her celebrate her birthday.

This year, I turned 45. It has been a tumultuous year so far. After I turned 45, we had the whirlwind of my daughter’s senior year, culminating with Prom and Graduation. Then she moved out, which has been a struggle for me. But as I look at this photo of Eula, I realize that this year is but a blip. It is the way of life – we raise our children, then they leave. That’s the way it should be. And now that she has moved out, it is my turn. I can explore my creative pursuits and get to know me again.

What have you let take a back seat over the past few years? Are you ready to explore?

Location, Location, Location

ImageLocation, location, location – that’s not only true for real estate, it’s true for fiction, too. The setting may be simply the backdrop for the story, or it may be a character. Think about Gone With the Wind. That book was set in the South – and it provided a beautiful backdrop for the story that simply would not have worked set in any other location. The setting is tied so closely to the story that there was no option for locating Scarlett anyplace else. Then there are stories like the Stephanie Plum series written by Janet Evanovich. Yes, the setting provides a nice backdrop and there are certain regional aspects to the story – but you could just as easily place Stephanie in another tight-knit community and the story would still essentially be the same.

Think about Lost. I know, it’s television, but the storytelling in that series was awesome (well, up until the finale)! I loved the way all the threads (characters) were woven together (plot) to create the tapestry that was Lost. In that series, the Island literally became a character in the show. It was a force to be reckoned with. That story would not have been the same set anywhere else.

I chose to set Denim & Diamonds in western Missouri, largely because I live in Missouri and am comfortable describing the area. It is essential that you know the location that you are writing about. You don’t absolutely positively have to have first hand knowledge, but it helps. I read a book a few years ago by an author who wrote about a woman’s travels as she was trying to outrun the mobsters after her. At one point, she was in Kansas City, Missouri. The author described her stepping onto her front porch and looking south to the mountains. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Missouri, but you sure don’t see mountains from your little bungalow in Kansas City. I was naive enough to think the author might want me to point out the error, in case she was writing a sequel. She emailed me back and pointed out that she had seen a map and the Ozark Mountains are clearly in the southern part of Missouri. So, she had (sort of) done her homework and looked at a map. But she was from the East coast where something in the southern part of the state could conceivably be within view of something in the center of the state. That ain’t the case in Missouri! And the Ozarks aren’t what most people think of as mountains.

There are resources available to help you make the location in your story realistic (I apologize – these links are not live yet due to a problem with my blog software, but you can cut & paste them into your browser until I get the issue resolved):

www.city-data.com/  – for basic information about a BUNCH of cities.

maps.google.com/ – for map information. Street view can be very useful for writers.

www.writerswrite.com/journal/nov98/keegan13.htm – Great article on creating the perfect setting.

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