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Stories That Sweep You Away

What's New in Robbi's World

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

The Roman Phalera Print Version

My apologies to you all for my absence, but I've been tied up with family affairs for the last two months and only now have the opportunity to resume some sense of normality.  While I was away, Muse It Up Publishing released the print version of "The Roman Phalera."  It's gorgeous cover by C.K. Volnek is only a hint of the rich story the book contains.

The Roman Phalera is the story I started writing fiction to tell. As an author, the first question at least one person in a group will always ask is, “where do you get your ideas.”  For me, answering that question is easier than writing the blurb for the story after it’s finished.  My stock answer is all my stories start with the basic premise “what if” and I build on whatever the answer is to the question.  In the case of “The Roman Phalera,” the idea for the setting of the story grew out of a conversation with an Army colleague.  We were chatting over lunch one day and she remarked that with my love of houses, I should write a story about one in which everyone who visits it has a different experience.  The idea grew abetted by my desire to work through the grief over the loss of one of my brothers.  While Paul and I were not twins, we were as close as a brother and sister born four years apart could be.  The idea of a house where one twin would have a shared experience with his lost twin and find peace and a level of acceptance held an irresistible appeal for me.  Since my educational background is the art and architecture of ancient Rome, the choice of the Divine Twins’ appearance at the battle of Lake Regillus in the fifth century before the Common Era was a logical choice for the twins’ shared experience.
The actual writing of the story was not smooth sailing.  I found composing the funeral scene very difficult on both an emotional and a humorous level.  The emotional one was of course because it brought my brother’s back as fresh as if it were last week instead of ten years ago.  On the humorous side, I found it difficult to keyboard through tears while attempting to reassure the dog that nothing was amiss.  He couldn’t get it through his little doggy brain that there wasn’t a lot he could do to stem the flow.  The other problem stemmed from the quantum mechanics of time travel to the past.  In the end, I gave up on a logical scientific explanation, which no one would want to read anyway, and fell back on the New Age beliefs of ley lines
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The Inspiration for Stories That Sweep You Away

In any gathering of people when the subject of my writing profession arises, someone always asks, "where do you get your ideas?"  The short answer is, "I wake up with them."  While admittedly, that's a flip remark, it is true for some of my stories.  My dreaming mind processes my personal experiences and sorts them into scenarios that form the basis for story plots.  Some are plausible and worth developing...when I can remember them...while others, such as polka-dotted giraffes, may not be worth the paper they aren't printed on!  In the case of the former, the old Italian proverb, "A well lived runs backwards" is the best explanation I can give for some of my inspirations.

Authors tend to write what they know and in that respect, I'm no different.  I have lived a very interesting life, and while I would never bore anyone with an autobiography, the experiences I've enjoyed over the years provide grist for my fiction mill.  For example, if my characters go to Rome for some reason connected with the plot, and take time to go sightseeing in the ancient ruins...well, guess what?  Yes, you're reading about an experience I enjoyed on one of my own trips and it's special for me on two levels.  The first is the enjoyment of sharing an experience with those who are important to me.  Of course, the second is the pleasure I get by reliving a experience that enriched my own life.

So, the next time you pick up one of my stories, you'll be able to guess the source of my inspiration...maybe.  Of course, there are always those polka dots, and who knows.  They may one day appear in a story.

Enjoy your Sunday afternoon pursuits!  Next week, I'll share with you some of the inspiration behind some of my individual stories.  Stay tuned.

Happy Mother's Day

Today I'd like to share my best wishes to all our mothers for a wonderful day.  My beautiful mother,  Lucia Audrey Marino Perna, was always my best friend.  She's been gone now for fourteen years, but I still have the inclination to pick up the phone and call her...or think, "Mom's gonna love this one," whenever I read a good book.  Cherish the time you have.  It will never come again.

I love you Mom!


Three nights at Barnes and Noble - Florida Mall Store

I'm signing copies of my historical romance, "My Heart Still Surrenders" at the Barnes and Noble store at the Florida Mall, 8358 S. Orange Blossom Trail on Tuesday (4/14), Wednesday (4/15), and Friday (4/17). If you're vacationing or live in the Orlando area, stop by between 6:30 and 8:30.

Attaining another career milestone

A community theater group in the Poinciana/Kissimmee area notified me this past week that it has selected two, one-act plays I submitted for its play writing festival.  The group will present the plays on May 5.  I am honored beyond words that the producers like my work and I look forward to hearing actors saying my words on stage.

Readers' Favorite Review

My historical romance, "My Heart Still Surrenders," received a five-star review from Readers' Favorite Reviews.  I am so excited.  The reviewer said in part, " 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!"