Saturday 28 July 2012

Public Speaking Events, Ahhhh!

Recently, I told my marketing manager: "If you would have told me a year ago that I would be doing school presentations, library visits, book signings, and live radio interviews, I would have told you that you were crazy."

You see, I am not one of those naturally calm public speakers that engages an audience. In fact, I have more of a tendency to run away from being the center of attention in a crowd.

My fear of public speaking goes back to my childhood. I was an extremely shy child and mostly only spoke to my parents, sister, and grandparents.

My first day of grade one: my mom, my grandma, and my teacher all trying to pry me off the classroom doorknob. I was winning for quite awhile, but eventually, they did get me off the doorknob and sitting in a classroom desk. The whole class was laughing. I was not laughing. I vowed to never speak again, well until supper, anyway.

 I don't know why I was so terrified of being in front of a crowd, or even around a crowd, but I was. I was the kid in the school play that was frozen, mouth agape, eyes bulging. You know, you've all seen that kid and probably wondered, what the heck is wrong with that kid? Sheer terror, I tell you.

What was going to happen if I said the wrong lines or did the wrong actions? Was I going to be sucked into some kind of dumb-kid vortex where all the unable-to-speak, frozen kids from the earth were kept?  Then hoping my parents could rescue me from this dumb-kid vortex, and assuming they wanted to rescue me, how long would I be in this frozen-kid vortex?

 And another question I had: why are all those other kids able to say their line, dance, do what they were asked to in front of a crowd and not seem scared? The answer--they were not real kids, they were robots! I was sure of it.

Some of these robots were my friends. But my good friends were really non-robots acting as robots for the benefit of parents and teachers.

Ahha! Soon, the answer came to me. I had an acting problem, not really a fear-of-crowds problem at all. Intent on fixing my fear-of-crowds problem I focused on my acting lessons.

My main and only acting pal was my younger sister. I would make up the situations and plot the adventures. She really would go along with all my senerios as long as she could wear her cowboy suit. This didn't quite fit into my princess/prince stories (which all the plots were), but with a little imagination on my part, she was a fine prince. She listened to me.

Same plot, different day: I was a princess in distress, she was my hero prince about to rescue me.

One day, I took the plotting too far (or so my mother said). My sister was to jump from the edge of the roof and spring on top of the imaginary, nasty villian that was trying to kidnapp me. She played her part perfectly, her flight from the roof was spectacular--all except for the part about breaking her arm.

According to our parents, my acting lessons were over. Indefinitely.

Well, to me, indefinitely meant moving my plays deeper into the forest, where we had more privacy. I thank my sister for all the years of helping me with my acting lessons, that in turn have helped me to become a better plotter, a better writer.

As an adult, I have found a  few things that help me prepare before a public speaking event:  a 10 minute session of  deep breathing before I have to engage a crowd, and visualization meditation such as Kundalini the morning of the event. If these things fail, a big yell outside the building you are about to enter does wonders too, although this does make you look unstable and ridiculous. Use this last technique with caution.

In the last several months since my first book's released, I have participated in several public events. A couple of crowds were nearing 100 people. They always clap and some buy my book. Whether they are clapping because they liked the presentation or they are giving encouragement to the stunned, horrified looking adult on the stage, I don't know.

 But book signings, presentations, school and library visits, will all become a big part of an author's promotion of their book. It's something an author must do.

The good news is, it does seem to get easier each time I do an event. Maybe it is something, like all things new, we learn with time.

My first author event was a book signing in Maui, Dec. 4, 2011,
at Maui Grown Coffee House. This is me with the owner, Jeff.

Sunday 15 July 2012

The Princess Stories

I recently had a photo shoot for my upcoming and improved website for my books. The photographer is Kim at KAS Images, and she did an amazing job. I'm so impressed to have such a talented photographer in my small home-town of St. Paul, Alberta.

All the photos were taken at my acreage. The photo above is in the horse field. The chaos just out of the photo are two dogs and three snoopy horses. Of course, when we tried to get a horse in the picture, he would just nonchalantly walk off.

This photo is on a path from the house leading to the horse field.

The whole point of the fantasy photo shoot is to create an image for the new website. And to create a branding statement about me, the author and fantasy writer.

I write fantasy-adventure-princess-dragon-faerie stories for children. My first book, Sir Princess Petra - The Pen Pieyu Adventures, was released in January, 2012. Book two in this series will be released in late 2012 or early 2013. I am currently writing book three.

My belief is, that as a fantasy writer, I have to somehow immerse myself in that world to be able to write well.

I don't usually walk around in a princess dress or believe I am a princess (well, maybe sometimes), but I do try to get into the frame of mind of what it would have been like to live in those days. Some research is involved, of course. And keeping a record book of words that portray that period is also important.

Most of my inspiration comes from the forest that surrounds my place. I believe in the magic of the forest. Since I was a child I've envisioned the adventures of princesses, dragon, gnomes and faeries in one forest or another; their adventures, just beyond my site.

When I'm seeking a new character for a story, I gaze into the forest or go for a stroll through the woods. This never ceases to amaze me. When I  immerse myself into the magic of what could be, fantasy characters of all natures seem to come out to greet me. I call this process; the character auditions. (Read the blog below for more on character auditions).

Of course, my husband thinks I'm somewhat delusional, but he's not a writer. And non-writers don't understand what a writer has to wrap their head around to write the story.

So, if being delusional is what it takes, I'm all in. I must conquer the quest of bringing my characters and stories to life. And hopefully, and if I've done my job right, enhance the reader's experience while they are in that world.

Award Winning Author,
Diane Mae Robinson

Don't die with your music inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your inner soul.  Dr. Wayne Dyer

Thursday 5 July 2012

Now Accepting Character Applications For Book 3


Diane Mae Robinson, author of Sir Princess Petra - The Pen Pieyu Adventures, book one, is now accepting applications for a character role in book 3.

Book two is being published now and all character roles are taken.

The applicant for the character in book three must be, well . . . a character. One who is willing to appear in a children's chapter book along with many other zany characters. THIS IS NOT AN APPLICATION FOR REAL, LIVE  PEOPLE (but real, live people can leave comments).


  1. You must be willing to live in the land of The Boogie Goobies, which is quite a nice land for a story character to live in.
  2. Must be witty and fun to work with.
  3. Must not have previously been involved in any lawsuits with a writer or film director.
  4. Neat appearance not necessary.
  5. Must get along relatively well with the other characters: Sir Princess Petra Longstride, Snarls, Prince Nastybun, and Duce Crablips, to name a few.
  6. Must, absolutely, positively, listen to the writer.
  7. Pay is very minimal, but snacks are included.
  8. You may or may not appear in book 4.
                         This is the end of the application form

To those of you that are new to my blog site, welcome. To those of you that actually read my blogs, thank you. You are reading a blog written by a person who lives in a forest and talks to fairies, gnomes, the occasional troll (though I'd rather not), and one unruly dragon and one strong-headed princess.

I am currently writing book 3 in The Pen Pieyu Adventures.

But, seriously, if you'd like to know more about "Where Do My Characters Come From", read my guest post on my friend Sue's blog site Kid Lit Reviews

Diane Mae Robinson, Award Winning Author.