Stories That Sweep You Away
The stories behind the stories
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.
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
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
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.”
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
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!
"Do you ever wonder where the nice women are?" Alessandro's question to his good friend Jason drove the story. Alessandro is a world famous soundtrack composer with the reputation of a gazetta rake. We seldom think of men in those terms in these days of a more relaxed social setting. The fact remains, Sandro is a playboy...but is he...or is it a mask he wears? Well, he wears it very well, but deep down he yearns for a woman who isn't drawn to his reputation or success.
Natural talent has always held an appeal for me and that appeal forms the basis for Sandro's career as a successful, internationally-acclaimed composer of movie soundtracks. The catch? Sandro's musical talents are instinctive not learned. His teachers at the conservatory in Florence had to trick him to confirm he could not read music. Yet, his work is brilliant and his reputation outrageous. Along comes a nice woman...one who wears a mask of her own...who is the direct opposite.
Masquerade is part of our society and the dating ritual. We seldom wear our true faces when we first meet someone new. So, the third book in The Venetian Masquerades works on the premise of two people with opposite backgrounds, secrets to hide, and a strong physical attraction who meet under unusual circumstances. What happens? Read the book and find out where the nice women are!
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Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers.
On this July 4th weekend, flags, fireworks, and outdoor
activities are all signs of celebration—all visual symbols that demonstrate our
independence as a free people. From ancient times, signs have held a
significant place in the way people communicate. Belief in symbols as a sign or
direction one should take in life finds expression in the many superstitions
that remain part of our social consciousness. For Italians, the belief in a
sign from God is an enduring tradition.
The second book in the Venetian Masquerades, “A Sign from
Heaven Sent,” grew out of this tradition. The story’s heroine, Diane Carrero,
appeared briefly in “What Hides Behind the Mask,” but her strong personality
demanded a story of her own. The mask she wears is one with which many of us
are familiar. We choose a path in life and work toward its attainment. But what
happens when we find that goal once attained isn’t what we want after all? What
do we do? Well, many of us grit our teeth and drive on. We clap on masks that tell
the world and ourselves we’re happy as the proverbial clams with our choices. Others
re-evaluate their chosen paths, and for those of us with superstitious or religious
beliefs, we place our faith in asking for signs that our way forward has the
benediction from some higher power.
In Diane’s case, her sign from Heaven comes from the
appearance of an unusual visitor...one rooted in Roman antiquity with ties to a
twenty-first century man. What role do the two play in Diane’s future? “A Sign
from Heaven Sent” is an enjoyable read with enough mystery to give a surprising
twist to its ending.
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Available in electronic download format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers
This week I continue with my blog
posts about the stories behind the stories.
The whole mystic surrounding masquerade has always fascinated me. No where is it more evident than in Venice,
the ancient Italian city famous for love and intrigue. In writing the first book in my Venetian
Masquerades series, WHAT HIDES BEHIND THE MASK, I wanted to combine my love of
Venice, the fascination of masquerade, and a character inspired by my
Dee is my late mother’s first
cousin and an active, vibrant, and very beautiful senior lady. Even at this stage of her life, she still
travels alone, and while she might not consider a solo trip to Italy, her
personality provided the inspiration for my heroine’s grandmother, Francesca. Doctor Chiara Mackenzie Davis and her
stepbrother Chas Weston must travel to Italy and discover the reason why Francesca,
Chiara's 84 year-old grandmother, travels to Venice—a place she has no reason
to visit—without telling anyone.
The plot allowed me to combine my
love of masquerade, a mysterious trip, and a spunky older woman in a story that
explores the concept we all wear masks.
Until we know why we wear one, we never know ourselves or have the
opportunity to know others, but is left
behind when a person discards the last mask?
Probably another mask...or perhaps, nothing. Masks allow us to cope with our own
insecurities while providing a way for us to understand others and the society
in which we all live.
WHAT HIDES BEHIND THE MASK
is an entertaining tale, however, not a social treatise. So, that said, go don
your favorite Carnivale Mask and enjoy the read. Next week we’ll talk about the
second book in the series, A Sign from Heaven Sent.
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.
I’d like to continue
my series on the inspirations behind my stories today and in honor of Fathers’
Day, talk a little about my motivation in writing “My Heart Still Surrenders.” Three
incidents in the life of my great-great grandmother, the Contessina Carolina
Antimori, provided the major plot line. Those three incidents included her
father’s actions in disinheriting and disowning her after she acted contrary to
his dictates. Family mythology has always branded the Count as a first rate SOB.
He may well have been, but since I’m talking about a very distant grandfather
here, I’d like to take a broader view. Admittedly, his actions are not those of
a loving caring father, but it’s important to remember nineteenth century Italy
was not kind to women and the Count was a man of his times.
Italian women born
into upper class Italian society had no value as anything but chattel. They had
no say over their lives. Women of that time possessed very little education
beyond the basics and their expectations for their adult lives didn’t go beyond
marriage to a man chosen by their fathers and the production of children. When
Carolina took matters into her own hands, her father’s actions matched those of
any man of his times. His character provided the perfect inspiration for my
fictional heroine’s father and a foil for the hero who comes to her rescue.
Navarre is my favorite character. He is a Basque who is a hired mercenary of
questionable parentage, but he is the true gentleman while Carolina’s father,
Count Aurelio who is born a nobleman, is the true bastard.
Orford of Readers’ Favorite reviews awarded five stars to the story saying, "This
is a thrilling historical romance set in late nineteenth-century Italy. Author
Robbi Perna has taken aspects of her great-great grandmother's life, another
Carolina, the Contessina Antimori. The historical facts that surround the story
are very well researched. With a flair for artistry and the dramatic, the
author has provided the reader with a very fast-paced plot that is also very
informative. A great read. Well done!"
My Heart Still Surrenders is available in print and
download from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers.
This weekend marks the 240th birthday of the United States
Army. As many of those who follow me
know, I love soldiers. I’ve worked alongside them in a civilian capacity for
almost twenty years and I admire, respect, and celebrate their selfless
service. Soldiers will do anything we
ask of them—including sacrifice their lives—to ensure we remain a free nation. The hope and change catchpenny beloved by the
politicians needs a solid foundation of peace in which to grow. Sometimes, that peace only comes on the other
side of war.
Today, I’d like to talk about the story behind the plot of
my novel, “Once a Soldier.” All my
royalties from this book benefit the Wounded Warrior Project making it a story
near and dear to my heart. When I wrote
the first story in The Domenico Family Case Files series, I wanted a strong
protective “big brother” prototype for my heroine. However, this character needed to appear,
make his “older-brother-knows-best” pitch, and then disappear. Delta Force operative, Marco Domenico, did an
admirable job at fulfilling the role, so admirable that I couldn’t get him out
of my mind. A tall, strong, handsome,
protective man...we all know at least one...but who protects him when things go
All stories start with the question, “what if” and Marco’s
story is no different. When a mission
goes wrong and Marco suffers severe injuries that may prevent him from walking
again, he needs a little help from someone besides the Army, his family, and
the woman who is his secret love. An
unusual therapist with a love of the Old West comes to his aid and with his
help, Marco heals and begins a new life.
Not all our wounded warriors are as fortunate, but Marco’s
story gave me the opportunity to talk about what they face psychologically
while describing their personal challenges, courage, and the determination to
heal and live full lives. I am a romance author, however, and “Once a Soldier”
is no exception. In this short novel, I attempted to bring my readers into today’s
environment, give them the sense of the impact of war on a relationship, and allow
them to experience the complex emotions of two people attracted by fate.
I don’t often ask people to go out and buy my books. Certainly they are for sale, but I leave the
decision up to them. “Once a Soldier” is
the exception. Go to your favorite
online retailer and download the book.
You won’t be sorry. Your purchase
will give you an enjoyable short read and benefit the Wounded Warrior Project
at the same time.
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