Robbi Perna - Analyst, Author, and Artist
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A Pony for Christmas
Animal Companions
Ballroom decorations for the Royal Wedding
Last preview installment for "Where the Lion Dwells"
We continue the preview of "Where the Lion Dwells"

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A Pony for Christmas

On this Sunday afternoon before Christmas, I'd like to continue with my series on the animal characters in my stories and the real life animal companions who inspired them. A recent post by my niece on Facebook states, "No matter how old I am, I'm always going to want a pony for Christmas." I can attest to the truth of this. However, my ponies these days are the ones in my stories.
 
In my latest release, "Where the Lion Dwells" my heroine rescues an abused Arabian stallion which she names "Tuscan." Is there a real life Arabian named "Tuscan?" Oh yes, I am blessed to have been his owner back in the day. He wasn't a stallion nor had he ever been abused, but his personality was much the same as the character in the book and writing about him brought back many happy memories of the big lug.
 
Arabians are a very special breed. They are beautiful to behold, extremely gentle with children, and smarter than the average human being. I never figured out whether my two thought they were people in horse's clothes or I was a very funny looking horse. In any case, both horses went on to a new owner about twenty years ago due to circumstances beyond my control, but I cherish the memories I have of them and both are characters in my stories. The picture shows Tuscan on the right, Rikin on the left, and both in flight as I shook a bottle of rocks to play tag with them and make them run. You can read about Tuscan in my current release, and his stable buddy, Rikin, is a character in my new story "Triumph without Glory," which is currently in production.
 
Yep, I'd like a pony for Christmas. I just don't know what I would do with one.

Animal Companions

            Happy Sunday—a bright sunny, warm one here in central Florida. Hard to believe it’s the holiday season and the end of 2015 is looming. I’d like to take the remaining Sunday afternoons of this year and talk about a few of my supporting characters.
            Many of us share our lives with animal companions. For an author to write a story in which the main characters do likewise, it’s important to devote as much time and effort to the character development of the animal as it is to a human one. If the author has a pet or has lived around animals, this type of character development is easy. However, if an author doesn’t have the “animal” experience, developing the character traits and personality is more of a challenge.
            In my case, I have had animals all of my life so it is easy for me to draw on those experiences when I write. In my latest release, “Where the Lion Dwells,” my heroine Joanna Sansone has two animal companions—both rescues—a parti-poodle she names Santino, and an Arabian stallion to which she gives the stable name “Tuscan.” As you might guess, I used my own companions for the characters. Today I’ll introduce you to the real life “Santino.”
            He came to me as a very scared, underfed four-year old abandoned puppy. The first time I visited him in the foster home, he cuddled against me—snuggled as close in my arms as he could get, and I lost my heart to him. Eight years later, he is a happy, well adjusted, and (need I say) well-fed companion. While I don’t suffer from ODD (that’s obsessive dog disorder), I do think of him first. He’s asleep in one of his many pet beds here in my office keeping me company while I post this. His quirky personality and loving manner are constant delights in my life and I used those traits as well as his name when I crafted the fictional character for my heroine’s animal companion. Unlike my book where my words have to paint the picture, I’m including a photo with this post that I took several months ago. As you can see, he has become the prince and the world revolves around him!

            If you’re interested in reading about his exploits, “Where the Lion Dwells” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers. Next week, we’ll talk about Tuscan, who sadly the real-life Santino never knew, but through the magic of fiction has become his best friend—next to me of course!    

Ballroom decorations for the Royal Wedding

Post holiday blahs affect us all and we think of ways to combat them...like eating turkey sandwiches to prolong the festive atmosphere.  At least, I tell myself that's what those dry, stick in the throat offerings do.  Instead, how about attending a wedding?  Here's an offer you can't refuse!
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     His Majesty Vittorio Emanuele wished to have no delay in the wedding of Prince Umberto and Princess Margherita.  On April 21, the Crown Prince and his chosen bride signed the marriage contract in the Palazzo Reale in Turin.  The Piedmontese aristocracy, the official representatives of the new government, members of the diplomatic corps with their wives, and the delegates charged by foreign Sovereigns with their congratulations on the happy event thronged the ballroom.

    An army of designers and servants had transformed the normal décor of the great ballroom into a rich five thousand square foot conservatory.  Large jardinières filled with mature Italian Cypress trees, profusions of flowers, fruit trees, and ornate water features vied for attention with the gilt and white interior.  The fluted Cararra marble columns with their gold Corinthian capitals framed mirrored alcoves that reflected back the scenes of nature watched over by classical maidens who danced in the frieze that circled the room above the windows and arches. 

     Overhead, coffers separated by heavily carved gilt moldings and set with neoclassical motifs made from paper-mache centered into each box provided a rectangular frame for the center panel with its bright colored mural showing the Hours dancing around the allegory of time in the presences of Apollo and the Muses at a feast of the gods.  The loggia on the second level above the thrones glimmered with gold railings.  An orchestra would play musical selections for the guests who remained after the ceremony. (Read the full account of the wedding in Chapter Five)
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Available in Print and Electronic Downloads from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

Last preview installment for "Where the Lion Dwells"

Happy Sunday afternoon to all from a Florida cool autumn day.  That means its 71 degrees here heading for 74 later today--balmy for those of you up north. Here, folks tend to bundle up.

Today I'm giving you the last preview installment (for now) of "Where the Lion Dwells."  Enjoy the short segment and if you're curious about where the story goes from here, you can download an electronic copy or buy it in print and have an entertaining read for Turkey Day.
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            Joanna watched him vanish into the dark night before heading back to the house and preparing for bed. As she slipped between the cool sheets, her thoughts returned to her conversation with Shahin’s uncle. Distraction my Aunt Fanny. Who the hell does he think he is? Dictating who I can and cannot spend time with is way outside of insulting. If the good doctor calls me again for anything whether it’s social or has to do with Shahin, al-Najid’s dictates have guaranteed I’ll accept. She rolled over on her side, pillowed her head on her cocked arm, and tried to get comfortable. Europe? Why not the Middle East?

We continue the preview of "Where the Lion Dwells"

Two weeks ago, Joanna returned from a dinner engagement with Mick Riliuni who gave her an update on her favorite student's medical condition.  She found the student's arrogant uncle waiting for her in the barn when she returned. 


* * * *
            Joanna pushed open the stall door to check the automatic watering system. She glanced over her shoulder at her visitor. “The Prince will not take kindly to the information that Shahin won’t return to the Institute.”
            The Middle Eastern doctor shrugged his shoulders with a dismissive movement that indicated he believed her comment not worthy of note. “I will meet with Prince Talib in the morning before his classes begin. Like royal princes the world over, he is spoiled and accustomed to getting his own way.”
            Joanna kept her expression neutral with difficulty as she shot him a wide-eyed stare. Spoiled and accustomed to getting one’s own way aren’t qualities limited to royal princes, my fine friend. I could say the same for you.
            “His affection for his cousin is genuine and he will see the necessity, I assure you.”
            “Yes, I can imagine you will guarantee he will. Well, Tuscan is set for the night, so my work here is done.” She gave him a wintry smile. “May I offer you a cup of tea or coffee before you leave?”
            “Thank you, but no. I won’t trouble you further. As soon as I have more details, I will inform you.” He nodded his covered head in her direction and indicated she should precede him from the stable.
            “Perhaps Doctor Riliuni as Shahin’s attending physician would take over —”
            “Sayyida, I will keep you informed.” No one could mistake his emphasis on the personal pronoun in either language. “We do not want the good doctor distracted from his duties, and forgive me for again stating the obvious, but you are a distraction.”
            Joanna bristled at his words. “I assure you, Doctor al-Najid, I have no intention of providing a distraction. Tonight, that is, I’m sure tonight is an example of your promise to allay my concerns.”
            “Yes, I will be your informant. And now I will bid you a restful night’s repose.” He bowed once again in her direction, turned on his heel, and disappeared into the darkness. (Preview concludes next week.)
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    Can't wait to find out what happens?  Download the electronic version or purchase a print copy from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other online retailers.

Support our Troops this Veterans Day

In honor of the Veterans Day memorial this week, I encourage you to support our troops by making a donation to the veteran's group of your choice. If you would consider purchasing a copy of "Once A Soldier," you will enjoy a good read while supporting The Wounded Warrior Project.  All my author's royalties benefit the project.


Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

Joanna has a surprise visitor waiting for her in the barn

This week I'd like to continue with a preview from Where the Lion Dwells.  We'll pick up the scene when Joanna returns home from a dinner engagement with Doctor Riliuni to find Tabib al-Najid waiting for her in the barn.  Enjoy the teaser!
* * * *
           “Masa alkhair. You are late tonight, Sayyida. What irregular hours you keep.” Tonight, he dressed all in black with the trailing edge of his ghutrah pulled across his lower face. The shaded glasses again hid his eyes.
            He then proceeded to repeat some of the same information that Doctor Riliuni had related over dinner ending with the news that once Shahin had recovered enough to travel, they would move him to a private clinic.
            “Private clinic? Where?” A puzzled frown pulled down the corners of her lips.
            “In Europe. Shahin’s family places its full support and confidence in the doctor’s abilities and will comply with his decisions concerning Shahin’s welfare and recovery.” He placed a hand on his chest near his heart as though pledging that support.
            “If this is the case, why are you here in Virginia? I thought your presence indicated a lack of confidence in… Oh, never mind.” She brushed away her statement with a wave of her right hand.
            “I’m lending the encouragement of my presence and standing by to ensure the transfer goes smoothly. We will use my private jet to transport Shahin once he has recovered sufficiently to travel.” (To be continued)
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A rainy Sunday Afternoon

      The dog and I awakened to the patter of rain this morning...a harbinger of a rainy Sunday afternoon--or so I thought.  The sun is now shining with temps hovering at the 80 degree mark, but the air feels like autumn in Florida.  No complaints, however.  Whatever the weather, I never have to shovel it!
           This Sunday Afternoon, I thought we'd start the preview of "Where the Lion Dwells" and give you all a glimpse of the book, which is available in print and electronic formats from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other online retailers.  Enjoy!
* * * *
            Joanna changed into her jeans and boots when she arrived home, and then let Santino out for a short run in the yard. “Will you hurry up and do your work. You know you don’t go to the stable with me at night. Come on.” Her encouragement didn’t impress the poodle and he took his own sweet time sniffing all the bushes he had already sniffed earlier in the day. Finally, he deigned to do his duty and return to the house. She put a compact disk in the sound system that ran throughout the house, flipped on the power switch, and then headed for the stable. Low music played through the speakers in the background and the stallion stood hipshot in his stall dozing in the dim glow of the overhead light. At his head, Doctor al-Najid stood murmuring to him in Arabic. He turned as she joined him and spoke to her once again in the same language.
            “Masa alkhair. You are late tonight, Sayyida. What irregular hours you keep.” Tonight, he dressed all in black with the trailing edge of his ghutrah pulled across his lower face. The shaded glasses again hid his eyes. (To be continued)
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Florida Writers Association awards RPLA to The Roman Phalera

The Florida Writers Association honored me with its coveted Royal Palm Literary Award for my book, “The Roman Phalera,” at its annual award banquet on October 17. The book released electronically in 2014 and in print this year, is a work of fiction. Dedicated to my late brother, Paul, the novels tells the story of twin brothers, one a doctor, one a vintner, who are close until tragedy strikes. Carlo, the remaining brother, struggles to survive the death of his brother. An attractive neighbor distracts him but it is a dream that changes his life and teaches him a important lesson. As long as he keeps Paolo alive in his memories, they will both fulfill their destinies.

As Katelyn Hensel for Readers’ Favorite remarked in her review, “There was romance here, but it was an undertone. The main focus really was sibling bonds and brotherly love and I think we can all get behind that."
 
 One hundred twenty-one judges from the U.S. and abroad reviewed entries in thirty-two categories, the majority of which were book-length. My entry was one of three hundred, ninety-three entries received in this year’s competition.
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Available in Electronic and Print Formats from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other online retailers

Joanna knew if she didn’t clear this hurdle, Mick would leave, never to return, and then the rest of her life would remain in the grave with Renzo.

A lovely Fall afternoon here in central Florida...a lazy Sunday afternoon that is a good time to settle in with a good book.  Here's the first preview of my latest release.
* * * *
           Joanna sighed and turned away to encounter the intent gaze from a pair of brilliant blue-green eyes that dominated the face of the handsomest man she’d ever seen. Awareness of her surroundings faded and a slight hum filled her ears. A thread of physical attraction stretched between them like a fine silver thread.
            “What are you doing here?” His baritone voice with its hint of the broad “a” common among the speech patterns of Bostonians held an overt note of challenge.
            His hostility jolted her attention back to the here and now, and she studied him for a minute longer. Her eyes flicked to the nametag pinned above the pocket on his white lab coat. “Doctor Riliuni, how do you do? We haven’t met. I am Joanna Sansone, Registrar at the Virginia Institute. Since Shahin is one of our students, I’ve made it a point to visit as often as I can to check on his progress.”
            “As you say, we haven’t met, and there hasn’t been much progress. I’ve ordered additional tests and started a new protocol today.”
            Joanna hitched the strap of her soft-sided briefcase higher on her left shoulder. “Has the desert healer shown up yet?”
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Available in print and electronic formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

Autographed copies available from Robbi
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