On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! Celta Thursday, Return of ZANTH AND THE TREASURE.

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for all of you who enjoy my work, and who share such wonderful words and feelings with me. Celta Thursday, a return of the piece, ZANTH AND THE TREASURE (Free Short Short Story set in the Celta Universe)

Celta, 406 Years After Colonization, Summer

Zanth's whiskers twitched. The smell was incredible. Incredible and wonderful and with the scent of great Flair magic.

He padded warily through the night and the bushes that rose high above his head. He'd never been out of the city of Druida before. Here on his FamMan's southern, overgrown estate there were creatures that might try and make a mouthful of him. But he was a canny and clever cat, the pre-eminent cat of Druida, and therefore, of course, the whole world of Celta.

The bushes loomed and rustled with animals and midnight noises. He placed each paw carefully, flexed his claws.

There was treasure up ahead and he meant to have it.

Slithering under the rusted greeniron gate, he wallowed for a few instants in the dirt and dust, spreading his own scent. Notifying all in the area that the mighty Zanth was on the prowl, that this estate, once abandoned, was now his.

He sniffed luxuriously. No celtaroons. He'd cleaned out two nasty nests in the few days they'd been here. There was wolf, far away, but the pack was made of low, unintelligent creatures and no match for Zanth.

He was a FamCat of the highest order, of the greatest nobility. Now he was pampered, and that was absolutely his due. He'd found the boy child, Rand T'Ash, in the slum of Downwind and cared for him, let Rand love him and be a Familiar companion.

Then they grew big enough to walk the Vengeance Stalk. They'd killed those men who'd murdered Rand's Family. Zanth had gotten his Residence and his room and his bed and his velvet pillow.

And his chef.

It was a lie that Zanth was soft and fat. He could still take any feral tom in Druida.

The tantalizing scent came from beyond the ragged gliderway...it came from the road. Not a big road, but one with lots of odors of stride beasts, llamas, a horse or two. And predator and prey animals and carrion eaters.

The lake to the south ladened the air with rich smells of fish and small prey and his favorite, sewer rat.

But even wet rat didn't smell as good as this human-Flair-made-thing.

He sauntered out, nose lifted, reveling in all the excellent new smells, the slight breeze sliding against his fur, the beingness in a new place just waiting for him to put his paw prints all over it.

In a few bounds he found the sphere. Glass with interesting-unique-special stuff floating inside. It smelled of woman and strange places beyond any Zanth had experienced. There was a little tang of the Great Platte Ocean that he recognized, and of Gael City where he'd been, and even a icy wind that caused him to shiver and his hair to raise, the far north. More recently was the gaminess of the Hard Rock Mountains. Slightly buried in dirt, he pawed it out, grinning as his claws dug deep in the rich earth of this new place that would know him.

He rolled the sphere a little way, watching something sparkle inside it. Tasting it, his tongue absorbed some of the Flair that created it and emanated from it and he purred. It made him feel better. A treasure indeed.

**That is MINE.** The snarling shout – mental and physical – stopped Zanth in his tracks. He rolled the globe behind his front paws. It felt good against his heart.

A scrawny and scruffy fox slipped onto the road. Not much like those aristocratic foxes in Druida City. Zanth was as big as this one and had more muscle and mass.

But the last time he fought a fox his emerald stud had been ripped from his left ear and lost. He'd also teleported home with a broken hind leg.

FamMan Rand T'Ash had sworn and had taken a long time to make the new stud.

FamWoman Danith had cried.

**Mine!** the fox yelled again.

Zanth didn't run from fights. He could win against this dog fox. The fox lifted his lip, showing teeth, and Zanth growled back, packing it with power. The fox set his paws and hunkered, ready to fight.

**Go away!** Zanth commanded. **This is my place and all here belongs to ME. All prey, all leaves to chase, and essspesssially this TREASURE THING.**

The fox barked challenge. Zanth hissed and growled until he could only hear himself. Then he grinned because the fox hopped backward. Still there was something in the animal's eyes that told Zanth the fox might pounce if he turned his back, or took his gaze off the fox to enjoy his new treasure.

**Leave the sphere,** said the fox.

The sphere sent warmth into Zanth's middle. He wanted it. He would have it. **This Treasure Thing is Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine!** Zanth switched his tail. That was that. Six "mines" and that pointy-nosed creature should know it was his. Cats never backed down after six "mines."

The fox snapped out a bark. **That landscape globe belongs to my FamWoman. She made it.**

Zanth sniffed. **Then why doesn't she have it?**

**She makes them and lost some. I have gotten two.**

Zanth saw in the fox's mind that there had been three. He reverted to the slum speech of his kittenhood. **ME HAS THIS ONE!**

Again the fox showed a lift of upper lip and muzzle, growled. This time the toughness of battle reflected in his eyes. **Del made it with sweat and blood and Flair.** A shifting of balance of the paws and tail. The stringy fox would fight.

With one strong kick of a hind leg and a demonstration of his own fabulous Flair, Zanth sent the "landscape globe" soaring back into the estate, between the rails of the green iron gate.

The fox narrowed his eyes, flexed his dark, dirty claws.

Zanth matched glares. **I am Zanth, and the bauble is Mine. I will win.** He swaggered forward and his very presence made the fox step back.

**Zanth. I have heard of Zanth,** the fox said.

**Of course.** Zanth smiled with all his teeth. **I have killed many sewer rats, many celtaroons, sired many litters.**

With a long stare, the fox looked Zanth from tooth to tail tip. **You are uglier than I thought.**

Zanth curled his lip. **You are so ugly the twinmoons hide.** They'd gone behind a cloud.

**You are FamCat to T'Ash,** the fox said.

It was a rare fox who could match insult with insult and this one obviously wasn't so smart, though annoying all the same. **T'Ash is MY FamMan.**

The fox darted in and swung a paw. Zanth hopped aside, then hissed and surged forward, back arched, all his hair out. Yes, he was more muscular, thicker than this stupid, scrawny fox.

It hunched it's back and screeched so Zanth had to flatten his ears.

**I WILL fight you!** Even as he rumbled a growl deep in his throat, Zanth's thoughts sped.

In a fight he might lose his emerald ear studs and his collar. FamMan refused to fix them again or make him more. FamWoman would be sad. Tears might drip down her face and onto Zanth's fur like the last time he came back bloodied. That made him feel almost worse than losing his gems.

But he extended his claws. He let battle anticipation sit on his tongue before saying, **I am Zanth and I will win this battle, as I win ALL My battles.**

He paused. He was so clever. Then he said, **But...**

The fox snapped up Zanth's bait. **What?**

**I could pay you for the landscape globe with rabbit.** In Zanth's experience foxes loved rabbit.

His adversary's tongue rolled out and a string of drool hung to the ground. **Real Earthan rabbit or the Celtan mocyn?** The fox asked.

Snorting, Zanth said, **Rabbits. Two. Freshly killed and put in a cold spot where I can get in with my Flair.** A neighboring farmer had done the killing, but Zanth didn't care. If it was available to him and no one guarded it from him, it was his.

**Done!** cried the fox, and he was equally irritating as he kept up with Zanth on the run to the neighbor's cold shed.

Feeling magnanimous, Zanth showed the creature how to manipulate the latch with Flair. The fox took both rabbits while Zanth sat and groomed his paws. The treasure was his and it would last a lot longer than a couple of rabbit meals. Besides, he didn't like rabbit.

Once they were away from the shed and the road, they eyed each other, then the fox nodded and said, **I am Shunuk.**

**I haven't heard of you,** Zanth said.

The fox's tail bristled and flicked, then he was gone in the night, nearly as quiet and stealthy as Zanth himself.

Zanth hurried back to his estate to claim his treasure. He stared at it and for an instant in the twinmoons' light and an image solidified inside the sphere – Zanth's Residence and room and his velvet pillow. He lipped up his treasure and grinned around the globe.

He was the strongest and cleverest and best FamCat – FamAnimal – on all of Celta. Naturally.

Life was good.

Monday, November 24, 2014

CE Murphy Kickstarter: Rosie the Redeemer

A kickstarter by my good friend, Catie (CE) Murphy, urban fantasy and fantasy author. The deets and READ THE FIRST 3 CHAPTERS at --> link:
BLURB As monsters follow the boys home from WW2, Rosie learns she can redeem a damned soul--but will she lose her own in the process?

The war is over...but for Rosie the Redeemer, the homefront battle is just about to begin!

It's July 1945, and handsome young Johnny B. Goode is home from the war. Reportedly shattered by his experiences, he takes a night shift job at the local factory. It's no surprise that the girls there are smitten with the handsome young soldier, but as they start to leave their jobs--and no forwarding addresses--Rosie Ransom begins to suspect there's more to Johnny's homecoming than believed.

When Johnny tries to turn a vampiric bite on her, Rosie kills him in self defense--and sees his soul, pure and uncorrupted, rise into the ether. Within hours, she's approached by handsome, dangerous Hank Turner, who believes her to be a Redeemer--a rare talent who can save a lost soul even after demonic possession has taken place.

Rosie, facing the loss of her factory job as men--and her fiance Rich Thompson--come home from the war, is eager for any future that grants her the independence she's come to cherish as a working woman. If there are monsters to slay, she'll embrace the opportunity. Because without Rosie's help, the scare started by Johnny may turn into a full-fledged nightmare...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Celta Thursday. Heart Choice re: Pinky becoming a FamCat:

Celta Thursday. Heart Choice re: Pinky becoming a FamCat: THIS ORIGINALLY TOOK PLACE IN HEART CHOICE AT A DINNER IN T'ASH RESIDENCE WITH: ANTENN, MITCHELLA CLOVER'S WARD; PINKY, ANTENN'S CAT; T'ASH (HERO OF HEARTMATE); DANITH D'ASH THE ANIMAL HEALER (HEROINE OF HEARTMATE); MITCHELLA CLOVER (HEROINE OF HEART CHOICE); STRAIF T'BLACKTHORN (HERO OF HEART CHOICE). DRINA, STRAIF'S FAMCAT, IS MENTIONED.

Talk around the table lapsed into comfortable silence. Antenn cleared his throat and the adults fastened their gazes on him. His face was one of mulish determination. He lifted his chin. "Pinky wants to become a Fam." He shut his mouth, lips tight, and stared at Danith. She looked astonished.

"There are Fam animals and regular animals," T'Ash mumbled. "Look at Zanth, see how big he is, his brain–"

"He can't be smarter than Pinky!" Antenn didn't move his gaze from Danith. "He wants to be a Fam. He's a little cat, but he's very smart, and there are other cats as little as he is that are Fams." His voice took on a note of desperation and the cat in question, no doubt reacting to his friend's emotion, jumped onto the dining room table. Antenn petted him.
Mitchella winced.

T'Ash raised his eyebrows, but one side of his mouth lifted. "We have a rule in this Residence. No animal on the table while a human is eating." T'Ash looked around at the empty plates.

"Pinky knows the rule!" Antenn's chin jutted. "He wants to be able to talk to me and I want to talk to him, and he maybe wants to talk to other humans and other Fams. Fams who might think he is stupider than they are. Snotty Fams."

Straif coughed and T'Ash joined in, hiding their smiles behind their hands.

This was definitely Drina's fault, Mitchella thought. A day hadn't passed where she hadn't picked on Pinky – hiding around corners and swatting his rump as he strolled by. Hissing at him. Making comments to Straif about the young tom. All that Queen of the Universe Fam's fault.

Danith appeared thoughtful.

"I can pay!" Antenn said.

Staring at Pinky, Danith waved that away. "Gilt isn't important in this matter, knowledge is. I've never actually done a study as to why some animals are Fams and others aren't."

She nibbled at her lip, glanced in the direction of her MistrysSuite. "I don't know whether Princess would like to be a Fam. I don't think so. I think she's happy to just be a cat of the T'Ash household. Though she does communicate to Zanth, on occasion. She might not want to be a Fam, but I don't see why I couldn't give her that choice." Danith held out her hand to Pinky and he trotted over to butt it with his nose. Mitchella noted that he left a smear on Danith's hand, but she didn't seem to care. Probably got slimed all the time, Mitchella thought with an inward shudder. She could never accept that as part of her vocation.

Danith scratched Pinky's head, looked at Antenn. "Does Pinky have any relatives? Any family that might have been Familiars?"

Antenn bit his lip. "I don't know. I got him right after the gang–" He darted a glance at T'Ash.

"Don't worry," Danith said, "we aren't distressed by speaking of the Triad."

But Mitchella saw a fine tension running through T'Ash. After all, the Triad had kidnapped Danith and tried to kill the Ashes several times.

"I only found Pinky. Or he found me."

T'Ash relaxed. "That's what happened to me, too. Zanth found me."

"Where is Zanth?" asked Mitchella.

A smile played at T'Ash's mouth. His eyes gleamed. "Hunting Celtaroons."

By this time, Danith had stood and was examining Pinky on the dining room table.

Mitchella shook her head. There were some things that she and her friend completely disagreed on. Animals on the dining room table was one of them.

Danith's eyes went foggy. She was using her Flair. An instant later, she spoke to Antenn again. "Pinky is a fine cat in excellent health. I'd like to keep him here to study for a couple of days."

At Antenn's frown, Danith continued hurriedly, "I won't harm him in any way."

"You won't let Zanth beat him up?"

"Absolutely not."

Danith bent down and caught Pinky's gaze. A few heartbeats later, she looked up. "I believe Pinky understands that he will stay and we'll explore the difference between Fams and regular cats. Antenn, how did you know he wanted to be a Fam?"

Antenn reddened. "I don't know. A dream, maybe." He shifted in his chair.

Danith just nodded. "All right. Pinky and Princess and Zanth will all be part of my study." She tapped a finger against her lips, glanced at T'Ash and Straif. "Holm and Lark Apple are coming to visit this weekend, I'll make sure to ask them to bring their Fams. Their cats are just out of kitten-hood. I'll have two more Fams to work on – uh, with." She smiled.

Everyone except Pinky looked dubious.

Straif sighed theatrically and looked at Mitchella with a half-smile. "I suppose you think this is all Drina's fault."

"You must be telepathic," she said drily.

"Drina is a snot," T'Ash said.

"Really–" Danith started.

"I'm afraid you're right," Straif said. "And she'll be preening with triumph over the next few days, thinking she's banished Pinky." His eyes narrowed in thought. "It's going to be rough if Pinky comes back a Fam."

Monday, November 17, 2014

For New Friends: Feral Magic

All right, for my new friends, who might not know. I did publish an ENOVELLA about 2 years ago for $2.99 here: http://amzn.to/1yd83sW The ghost books took me in a different direction, but I'm hopeful I'll get back to Dak and Brandy...

A blue moon rises, bringing with it magic and danger to a sleeping Denver.

Brandy Svensson mourns her lost soldier fiancee and struggles to move on. Her own near-death experience has brought her an odd "gift" – she has a telepathic connection with cats. She's coping with life’s changes until the night she finds a lost jaguar cub, just the start of the greatest changes of all...

Dak, a warrior Pantherman, is alarmed when his baby nephew, the Chief of the klatch, vanishes. Dak must find the infant before his enemies do...or be branded a murderer and risk igniting warfare among the clans.

When the cub turns into a human baby, shock and confusion flood Brandy. And when a full-grown jaguar arrives to claim him, then transforms into a man, fascination sweeps through her. Dak's protective instincts are triggered by this lovely woman, and the certainty that he's followed by a killer.

Drawn together in their fight to protect the baby, Brandy and Dak confront the enemy and the final choice threatens. Will the feral magic they've discovered together save or doom them?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Celta Thursday, Heart Fire cut (because too creepy)

Celta Thursday: HEART FIRE, Cut because too creepy (said mentor), Tiana touring TQ after being requested to reside there:

"Do you have tears in your eyes?" TQ asked.
She sniffed. "Yes. I truly am honored."
"May I have some of your tears?"
Wiping a finger under her eyes, she gathered a few droplets, touched them to the doorjamb and saw them vanish.
TQ sighed like the wind passing along his windows. "You are generous. I like the feel of your tears, priestess."
"I hope that you don't want me to shed a lot of them while I'm here," she said, walking again along the corridor, turning right to follow the ell of the house.
"There are tears of joy, yes?" TQ asked.
"Absolutely."

Friday, November 07, 2014

Belated Celta Thursday: SPOILER FOR HEART FIRE




Belated Celta, sorry, I lost track of the days. I wrote some of the flashback to the night Tiana's Family's house was firebombed in Antenn's Point of View. Here's a bit:
"You're looking out the windows, yes?" Primross asked.
"Yes," girl's voice pitched even higher with tension, with fear. "Artemisia is hiding under the desk, but I can't. I can't. I have to see who would hate us so that they threw a firebomb in our house. Who?"
"And you can see faces," Primross continued.
"Yes!"
"Which room are you in?"
"The ResidenceDen in back. I think they are all around the house. I need to check everywhere!"
"Tiana, can you stay calm for now, please?"
A whimper. Antenn sat, his fists tight, his knuckles white. He hated listening to this.

Monday, November 03, 2014

HEART FIRE OUT TOMORROW!!! EEEEEK, SQUEE?

http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Fire-Celta-Book-13-ebook/dp/B00INIJHVO/ref=la_B001HCRY18_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415052354&sr=1-1
HEART FIRE OUT TOMORROW!!! EEEEEK, SQUEE?

Friday, October 31, 2014

And another excerpt to celebrate Halloween/Samhain

You can find it here:

http://paranormalhaven.com/

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Celta Thursday, Heart Fire Excerpt

Yes, next Tuesday Heart Fire is out, and here's a last excerpt:
*Stooopppp! Let me IN!* screeched a mental voice.
Reacting instinctively, Tiana snapped, “Stop the vehicle immediately.”
The glider whooped a warning to others, jerked still, deployed the landing brackets, and rocked back and forth on them.
*Windooww!* yelled something. Tiana turned toward the sound and jolted as something dark and furry showed beyond the tinted window.
“What are yo—” she began, but saw a whippy cat tail. All right. She commanded, “Thin the back windows to air.”
The spell took hold, and the furry animal bolted through, landing close to her. She put out a hand to keep the cat from tumbling onto her and thought she saw drool or spittle flying toward her, too.
*Yay! Look at Me! I am with My FamWoman! I have CATCHED her!*
Tiana stared at the brindled cat of drab shades of brown and gray. One of his ears was half gone. Obviously not a pampered Fam, but a feral.
He smiled ingratiatingly, showing a broken fang, too, and then his loud and rumbling purr filled the glider.
“FamWoman?” Tiana asked faintly.
His head bobbed. A white scar showed the length of his head and disappeared into the fur near his neck. *I am your Fam.*
“Do you even know who I am?”
The Fam snorted. *Acourse I do. You are the priestess who lives in the secret place that welcomes the really scared or sad.*
Her heart thudded and her mouth dried. That was true.
*You are not the Healer who lives there and who has a raccoon Fam.* The tom lifted a paw and flicked it as if dismissing such a creature. But Tiana’s sister’s Fam was young and pretty, especially compared to this one.
So was everyone else’s Fam.
Light-green eyes fixed on hers. *I am a good fighter. Like you.*
“I see.”
He preened and turned his head and licked a mat by his shoulder. *We will be good together. I have been smelling you for the last two weeks, and knew I had to find you.*
That simply appalled Tiana. “Smelling me?”
He sniffed. *Yes. You are my FamWoman.*
Well, he had no doubt about that.
“I take it you haven’t come from GreatLady Danith D’Ash’s Fam Adoption Rooms.”
The tom made a disgusted noise. *Bunch of soft pussies.*
“We are now ten minutes late to the appointment,” the mechanical voice of the glider said.
“Oh! Resume driving!” Tiana ordered.
*This is a nice glider,* the tom said, looking around, flexing his claws. *I have always wanted to ride in a glider!*
“Don’t you dare put your claws in the leather seat—”
But in went the claws and Tiana bit her lip as she watched the cat knead, but when he pulled out his claws, his whiskers turned down at no holes in the leather. A very good trick.
“Ah,” she said. “What’s your name?”
The cat sat proudly. *I am RatKiller. All the Fams in the world know RatKiller!*
Tiana just stared.
*But you may give me a human-gift name, too. A Mugwort name. That will be good. Then I will be Something RatKiller Mugwort.*

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mile Hi Con

I guess I should have posted here EARLIER that I am at Mile Hi Con this weekend (as usual, I've been going since before I got published, since before I started seriously writing, even). I have a 1pm panel, Ask The Authors, and a 4 pm panel Suspending Disbelief (reminds me I'm moderating those and I have questions fine for Ask the authors but not Suspending Disbelief so I need to look at those...) Come by and visit me. I have hardcopy ARCs of Heart Fire with me.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Testing

Celta Thursday: Heart Fire, FIRST MEET


The priestess was late. Annoyingly unprofessional.

Antenn Blackthorn-Moss wanted to pace the flagstoned sidewalk in front of his business, a nicely elegant building with tall rectangular windows set in rough-cut red sandstone that he’d recently redesigned and rehabbed. But he couldn’t show his impatience or tension because his client, a Chief Minister of the Intersection of Hope, a stocky man but with an innate elegance, remained serene.

Antenn couldn’t even look at his wrist timer, though his preliminary engineering crew awaited them at the building site, a dusty piece of land at the edge of the Varga Plateau, the geographic area Druida City was built on. His forewoman knew what to do, so hopefully they had started without them.

Finally a glider stopped near them and the door rose. A woman gathered a formal robe and stepped out before Antenn could take the couple of paces to offer his arm. When she turned to them, her face seemed flushed with irritation, which immediately annoyed him. THEY were the ones waiting on her . . . but his frustration simply dropped away as he got a good look at her. She’d made an attempt to tame curly brown-black hair by putting it in a bun that might have once been smoothly elegant, but tendrils wisped in fine strands around her oval face.

As she’d exited the vehicle, the fabric of her gown had tightened here and there and he’d seen she was slender but with nice, and nicely proportioned, breasts and hips. Her fine-boned features eased into a standard priestess pleasant expression.

Elegant, dainty. Out of his league. And exasperatingly late.

Chief Minister Custos moved toward her, stopped, and bowed four times. “We of the Intersection of Hope had requested you be our liaison but had not hoped you’d agree. The High Priest and High Priestess stated it was your decision.”

The priestess’s emerald eyes flickered and Antenn guessed that the Powers-That-Were in the Temple hierarchy had put pressure on her. Yet her manner held the strength and serenity of most priests and priestesses he’d met, along with steely determination.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chihuly at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Spent the am at the Chihuly Exhibit in the Denver Botanic Gardens with Mom. Wonderful! And really glad because now it's clouding over.

Ghost Seer Page Proofs

Well, I'm fretting a little. The fabulous Rose Beetem worked on my page proofs (galleys) for me for Ghost Killer despite her crazy schedule for Mile Hi Con this weekend, I worked a little on it, then sent it off last night. THEN remembered I had to check on a scientific fact (which they got WRONG on Forever last night). So as soon as I remembered I went through the pages, caught another comment I didn't see by Rose, and now I'm just hoping the fact is fixed.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gwydion Ash's story

**head desk** I am BEHIND on Heart Legacy. And what comes to my mind this morning? The opening to Gwydion Ash's book, that I've been thinking about a little (and it's at least #2 down the line, after Vinni's book):

*You don't speak Fam properly,* the young fox whisked it's tail at Cordata as she sat, nearly defeated, on the park bench just inside of the south gate of Druida City. She'd just had enough energy and money – gilt – to get this far. How she was going to obtain any more was a question.

Her spine straightened so she sat properly as her G'Auntie had taught her as a child. Her chin lifted as she stared the gray fox in its light yellow eyes. Unlike the rest of her Family, except that G'Auntie, she'd wanted to drift away from the grift and the con and better herself. Who knew it took so much more work to be honest? More gilt, too. She was broke.

But she had prospects.

*Are you going to speak to me and take me as your Fam or not?* The thing hopped onto her bench walked across her knees insolently waving her tail in Cordata's face – yes, she noticed the femaleness of it – tickling Coradata's nose and making her sneeze at the scent of fox and road dust.

*Greet you, fox-ling,* Yeah – yes – her mind accent was broken, but she wasn't accustomed to talking to anyone telepathically. One of her prospects – a strong, wild Flair she'd need to tame.

Note: I spend a lot of time on Facebook, but I know you all might not be there, so I will be posting more of what I do there, here. I THINK this blog feeds into my amazon page, where you might be able to read it, and to my goodreads page.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Celta Thursday! Heart Fire excerpt, the Turquoise House! Coming November 4!

Celta Thursday: Heart Fire (coming 11/4!) excerpt:

The Turquoise House hummed to himself, happy with his existence as much as he’d ever been since his HeartStones had wisped into awareness twenty-two years ago.

The tune wafting through his walls was one of the latest that Trif Winterberry had composed for him. He was beloved of the FirstFamilies and had had many wonderful guests.

But he was impatient and it was time to gather in his Family.

He was no longer an adolescent, but a mature adult. He was wealthy from his leases and the belongings his previous Family had gathered over two and a half centuries, but most of all, he was beautiful, with a gorgeous, shiny light turquoise exterior.

No one, not even the person he’d been luring and who had not come back, could resist him now.

And TQ was brilliant. He’d set his plans. Soon he would have his Family, and everything would be perfect.

*****************************************
Yes, for the first time ever I have a different Point of View than the hero or heroine in a Celta HeartMate book! The intelligent house, the Turquoise House. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Celta Thursday: Heart Fire, intro of heroine

Celta Thursday. You might have seen the intro of Tiana in Heart Fire before, but here's a bit again: “I know you desire my position, dear,” the High Priestess of GreatCircle Temple, the main priestess on the planet, said to Tiana Mugwort.

Tiana stumbled over a small rock in the meditation path. Her mentor’s comment caught her off guard. She’d been concentrating on keeping her new, expensive, and white formal robe from catching on some of the twiggy bushes along the trail instead of watching where she was going.

“Most FirstLevel Priestesses would be honored to have your position,” she said. No help for it, she’d have to use psi power, Flair, to coat her gown. She’d anticipated this career review would take place in an office instead of one of the winding paths near GreatCircle Temple.

With a huge, hopefully discreet breath, she used nearly the last of her Flair to protect her robe for a half septhour. Surely that would be enough. She’d spent her psi energy recklessly this morning with several teleportations before the meeting.
She’d thought there’d be tea and flatsweets. Instead she needed to catch up, both on the path and with the conversation.

Of course she shouldn’t have expected her own ambition to become the High Priestess—no matter how masked behind a quiet manner—to have been overlooked by the savvy woman.

“And despite the rumors, I am not ready to retire within the next few years.” The older woman, GrandLady Ulmaria D’Sandalwood, paused in their trek and smiled with good humor plumping her round cheeks, kindness showing in her sparkling dark-brown eyes. “I may never be ready to retire. Nonetheless, it is time to evaluate you for your next step up this career ladder you wish to pursue, yes?”

Sunday, October 05, 2014

5 book bundle for 99 cents!

Today I'm doing some promo for my friends, in the order the request was received:
First: Get FIVE BOOKS for .99 cents. This includes the wonderful fantasy world of my critique buddy Cate Rowan. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1uoNN6H
BN: http://bit.ly/DarklyD-BN
iTunes: http://bit.ly/DarklyD-iT
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/DarklyD-SW

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Heart Thief cut: Sick Puppy

Again my apologies for this being late due to Jury Duty.

This was from Chapter 10 of Heart Thief:


A warm puppy nose nudged at her cheek and woke Ailim. Primrose panted in distress. *Me not feel good.*
"Scry bowl, voice only, call D'Ash," Ailim commanded.
Swearing came across the link, a holo showing intertwined bodies. "Holo off!" said T'Ash. His voice was followed by a lighter one. "D'Ash here."
"D'SilverFir, my Fam is ill."
"Stones don't have these sorts of emergencies," grumbled T'Ash and almost made Ailim smile through her anxiety.
"Can she still speak to you?" asked D'Ash.
Primrose made a small yip. *D'Ash!*
"Not too terrible, then. I'll teleport to D'SilverFir Residence within the next quarter septhour," D'Ash said and ended the call.
*Aunt Whitey,* Ailim mind-called her housekeeper. *Please arrange for an elegant breakfast in the nook next to the solarium. D'Ash comes. I'd like an assortment of pastries. Please inform anyone who asks for me that this is to be a private, uninterrupted, meeting.*
*Humph!* her Aunt snorted. *We have no budget for elegant pastries.*
Ailim grit her teeth. *The no-time box index I saw yesterday showed enough pastries to host a breakfast for the full NobleCouncil. Indeed, haven't we been feeding our visiting Family from the no-time?*
Whitey's distinctive sniff came through telepathically, but she didn't respond to Ailim's last question. *No-time foods do not taste as well as others. Why some of those dishes were prepared when my Father'sDam was D'SilverFir!*
Ailim ignored her aunt's protest and dressed hurriedly in a soft tunic and trous suit of teal that came to hand. Though it was one of the days she sat in Judgment Grove, a dark purple robe would cover what she wore. With a quick spell, her hair was intricately arranged in braids.
She picked up Primrose. The pup felt hot and her little tongue flopped out of her mouth.
*Me hurt.*
"D'Ash is coming."
*You say pastries? Me like pastries, like from no-time.*
"You'll eat what D'Ash says, and nothing more. And I agree, there's no difference in taste in no-time dishes, unless it's that we could afford a good pastry chef during the era of the generations ago D'SilverFir. Ignoring no-time stocks while preparing fresh is only Whitey's foolishness, a stupid Noble custom to make us more exclusive. Donax was right in indexing the no-time larders, and in recommending we use what we have," she muttered, petting Primrose and hurrying down to the breakfast nook set in the curve of one of the towers.
A glass table was set with the best china and held a three-tiered set of platters heaped with mouth-watering sticky-buns, scones, rolls, cakes and filled croissants.
*Yum,* Primrose said weakly, eyeing the bounty.
"No." Ailim set her Fam down on a cushioned chair and poured herself a cup of caff.
"D'Ash arrives," said the mellow tones of the Residence.
Ailim looked out the arched window that faced the lake and the drawbridge, but couldn't see beyond the trees of the estate to the great greeniron gates.
"D'Ash here," said a breathless, cheerful voice, transmitted by the resonating stone embedded in the wall by the gates. She looked as optimistic as she sounded and relief lightened Ailim's heart.
"Come," Ailim teleported the GreatLady to the nook.
D'Ash examined Primrose. "What we have here is a puppy who has been eating well, but not too wisely. No doubt taking advantage of the banquet yesterday, the Ritual foods, and all your fascinated relatives who'd slip her anything she begged for."
Primrose opened her eyes very wide, tilted her head, flopped her ears and looked pathetic. It didn't soften Ailim's heart. "I'll make sure the family knows that she must strictly adhere to her diet."
Primrose whimpered. *Candies. Wildrunner. Honied CeltaHen. Cat food so goood.*
"Cousin Canadena will have to stop feeding you. You can't visit her kitten if she's going to ignore my orders," Ailim said.
Primrose moaned.
D'Ash stroked the long hair falling over the Fam's eyes. "I can heal her, but using such Flair on a bellyache is a little overmuch. If you'll let me, I'll take her with me, treat her with a bit of herbs and spells, and return her later in the morning."
"I'm in Judgment this morning."
"I've always wanted to take a look at Judgment Grove when something interesting is going on. Now that I make my own schedule, I can." D'Ash unfolded a carrier bed lined with fluffy CottonSorbaroot and carefully placed Primrose in it. The animal healer touched a finger to Primrose's head. "Sleep, and feel no pain."
Primrose's body settled limply into the bed.
"She will be fine in a few hours," D'Ash said, pouring herself some t'caff and reaching for a cocoa-filled croissant. "Oh, these are delicious. For my fee, could I take them all?"
"I owe you more than that."
The GreatLady raised green-hazel eyes, and Ailim saw a wealth of compassion. A flush of embarrassment at her Family's lack of funds heated her neck.
"As T'Ash says, we are GreatLords, what we choose to set as our fee is completely up to us. His Fam, Zanth, has a habit of terrorizing our chef. A terrorized chef doesn't have a very light hand with pastries." Danith sighed. "And we all have a taste for sweets."
"The pastries are yours, then."
Primrose's stomach rumbled.
D'Ash glanced at the puppy. "I'd better be going. I'll be at the Judgment Grove at mid-morning bell. See you later, D'SilverFir." D'Ash expanded a visible sphere of Flair around her, the pastries on the table, and Primrose.
"Call me Ailim, and my most heartfelt thanks. Merry meet."
"And merry part."
"And merry meet again," Ailim said, just before D'Ash winked out.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Celta Thursday to be Delayed

Well, I got on a jury, so I will be a regular 7-6er for the next three days and Celta Thursday will probably go up Friday. Take care!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Quest, Mitchella Gets A Baby (Long)

Mitchella sat straight up in her chair, eyes widening in horror, hand to her throat.

"What is it?" demanded Trif.

"The Turquoise House," pressing fingers to her temples. "Something's wrong. Something's bad. I need to get there now!"

Trif braced herself, wet her lips. "I might be able to teleport us there." She'd helped Mitchella work on the house, restoring it, and watching the place gain in sentience.

Her face white, Mitchella said, "Are you sure?"

Jerking her head in a nod, Trif said. "We are linked and both know the house, so we can visualize it well. You'll lend me Flair and urgency." She set her shoulders, began the breathing sequence that Winterberry taught her. Grappled with her unruly Flair and sent it down straight paths – known 'porting pathways in her mind.

Mitchella stood and joined Trif, squeezing her hand. "Let's do it. Here's how the courtyard looks." An image appeared in her mind, formed by Mitchella. It had glowing yellow gridlines on it. That would make it easier.

Belief is EVERYTHING, Trif heard Ilex's words as if he spoke them calmly beside her. From the corner of her eye she saw the gray light of the day and modified Mitchella's visualization from sunlight to cloudy.

"Good," Mitchella said on an exhaled breath, and Trif realized that Mitchella believed utterly that Trif could 'port them to the house with no trouble.

Of course you can, purred Greyku from her bag. The kitten reinforced the image. The three melded Flair, Mitchella's small but perfectly steady and understood, Greyku's young and bright, Trif's strong and directed.

"On three," Trif said, sinking into the heightened awareness that she needed as she began to feel the place in her mind take on three-dimensions. "One courtyard. Two courtyard. Three."
The air popped as they appeared in the center of the cobbled space. Exultation surged through Trif – she'd done it. No grayness, no flickering. Just complete control.

Then her Flair spiked and the heat of it tingled from the soles of her feet through her to raise the hair on her scalp. She muttered under her breath, stumbled.

Everything looked quiet at the house – the clean cobblestone yard and trimmed bushes, the solid door – seeming peaceful. But as she watched the turquoise colored walls pulsed in a disturbed pattern.
Mitchella ran to the house. It began pulsing gently in a disturbed pattern. She set her hand on the door. "Tell me." Cocking her head, her face strained as she listened. Then she cried out and ran past Trif to the gate, shoving it open, turning to the left.

Trif followed to see Mitchella disappear through the portal of the house next door.

Put me down. I want to run and see, too, Greyku demanded. Grumbling, Trif did.

When they reached the house, the door was already open and Mitchella nowhere to be seen. She screamed.

Hurrying, Trif followed the sound to the mainspace where Mitchella crouched over a young woman who lay crumpled on the floor. Trif's heart clutched and her breath stopped in her throat. She hadn't seen death often, the Clovers were a hearty and long-lived family, but she knew the woman was dead.

Greyku screeched. Dead thing. Won't stay. She retreated outside.

"Oh, Lady and Lord!" Mitchella whispered.

Trif joined her, tentatively reached out a hand and touched the woman's shoulder. Cold. Trif shivered.

Mitchella jumped to her feet. "Her baby!"

Dimly, Trif heard a small, fitful crying. Before she could say anything Mitchella had shot out of the room. Trif stared down at the young woman, slowly stood and glanced around the room. It was furnished with a minimum of old, rough pieces. The walls showed damp and mold and gray patches. Everything about the house spoke of a once affluent Family now impoverished.

A moment later Mitchella appeared, holding a bundle. Tears welled from her eyes to trickle down her cheeks. "Thank the Lady that we arrived in time." She jiggled the blanketed baby. "Cordif doesn't seem to be hurt." She bit her lip. "If...if...the Turquoise House hadn't heard him crying and called me, he might have died here alone." She shuddered.

Trif stared down at the woman. "Who is she? What's happening?"

"She's – she was – Murica, GraceLady Gale, the last of her line, except for Cordif here." Mitchella shrugged. "She had little more Flair than I do, and is – was – a fourth level PerSun." She shook her head. "I don't know what's happening."

With a firm nod, Trif said, "Well, I know that we have a mysterious death on our hands. Black Ilex Winterberry!" she called, sending the mental cry with a touch of fear and alarm. They'd linked during his lessons on teleporting, but how closely, and whether he'd hear her–"

A slight "whoosh" announced his arrival. "Trif, what's wrong?" With one observant glance he took in the room, Mitchella, herself, and the body. He strode over to the dead woman. "Tell me what happened."

Clearing her throat, Trif said. "Mitchella is working with the house next door – midwifing it into being a sentient Residence."

"The Turquoise House called to me," Mitchella said. "I only understood that something was very wrong and I had to get here fast." She looked at the young woman. "Even though Trif 'ported us here, we were too late. The house told me that it heard bad noises from next door." She cuddled the baby.

Ilex had squatted by the body and was running his hands a few inches over it, reading it's aura? Did dead bodies have auras? A chill quivered at the base of Trif's spine. She would never care to find out, how proficient Ilex was!

He glanced at Trif then looked at Mitchella. "Trif 'ported you?" His voice was expressionless.

"Yes, she did." Mitchella smiled. "She's been such a help. I'm so glad she's here. And proud, of course."

"Of course." He rocked back on his heels and studied the body.

"She's dead," Trif said.

His eyes were sad when they met hers. "Yes."

Trif gulped. "Was it...."

"Unnatural?" He shook his head. "I don't believe so." He stood, lifted his hands and sent a swirl of energy throughout the room. The force of it raised motes of dust to catch the light. When everything settled again, he shook his head. "I felt no presence other than GraceLady Gale's and her son's in this room for the last day, but for you two." He moved over to Mitchella and looked down at the baby. "May I?"

Mitchella hunched protectively over the baby, but Ilex just waited patiently. Finally she straightened and held him out. "He was dirty and I used a spell to clean him and the blanket." Her lips trembled, then she pressed them together. "I don't think he's eaten recently. He needs to be cared for."

Ilex held the baby easily, staring down at him. "I sense no knowledge of anyone else here from him, either."

"I'll take him."

Lifting a brow, Ilex said, "In these instances, we of the guard call the Maidens of Saille who run the House for Orphans."

"I'll take care of him," Mitchella said fiercely.

Trif got the idea that Ilex was thinking the same thing that she was. Mitchella would fight for the infant.

"He knows me," Mitchella insisted. "It's better for him to be with someone he's familiar with."

Sweeping a hand around him, Ilex said. "I'll teleport the Lady's body to Noble DeathGrove where a Healer will examine her. But I'll have to report everything regarding the circumstances I found here.

Mitchella sniffed. "Cordif will do well with me. With Straif and me."

"And you have the ear of SupremeJudge Ailim Elder who has already placed a child with you," Ilex said. "I'll go through the house to glean additional information, and probe for any hidden treasure belonging to the boy, though I don't think there's much to inherit except this place, which should probably be sold and the gilt invested for his future."

"How do you know?" Trif asked.

He lifted and dropped a shoulder. "It's my business to know. I'm a guardsman." He scanned the room again. "This is not the first untimely death in this Family. There is much concern about these older Families who are dying out." He looked at the body and sighed. "I'll speak to the Healers and see if this occurrence was expected."

"I'm sure she would have told me if she had health problems." Mitchella's brows dipped.

A corner of Ilex's mouth lifted. "I'm sure she would have." He gazed at her, then Trif. "The Clover women are easy to talk to." Again he shook his head. "I've heard quite a bit about GraceLady Gale, but not that she made provisions for her son if she died so young. Or about the father."

Mitchella clutched the baby to her breasts. Her lip curled. "His name is not on record Murica didn't tell me who he was – we weren't that close. Yet." She swallowed. "But she said he wanted nothing to do with his son." She lifted her chin. "That's unnatural, but I think he was married. Not to his HeartMate, of course." Shifting, she said, "I'd like to get Cordif home and call the Healer T'Heather to examine him."

Ilex made a little bow to her, smiled wryly. "I see GraceLord Cordif Gale will have only the best from your hands."

"Yes."

"Remember he has a name and heritage."

Her lips tightened, chin rose. "I'll see if T'Ash will come and give us an idea whether he might have Flair, what sort and how much."

"An oracle should have done that at his birth," Ilex said.

Looking pointedly around at the shabby room, Mitchella said, "Cordif's only a couple of months old, and Murica didn't have any relatives to be an Oracle, or gilt to pay one at his birth."

"Ahem," Trif cleared her throat. "Mitchella, what of Straif's opinion–"

"–Straif wants more children, too," she replied.

"And Antenn?" prompted Trif gently. "What will he think of a new younger brother?"

Ilex took Trif's arm. "You're being unusually pessimistic."

Trif grimaced and shut up.

The baby wiggled and let out a small cry. "We all must consider Cordif, firts. Guardsman Winterberry, please take care of poor Murica, then can't you teleport us all to T'Blackthorn Residence?" Mitchella asked.

Staring at them in turn, Ilex shrugged. "Very well." With a solemn spell and gestures, he sent the shell of Murica Gale to the DeathGrove. Then he swept a hand before him. "Let us depart from outside. I will seal the house until I, and some other guards, return to examine the house in detail."

They walked to the front grassyard and waited for Ilex to spellshield the entrance. Greyku was waiting for them, grooming a forepaw. She looked up and her ears rotated forward as she stared at Ilex. Greetyou, Ilex.

"Greetyou Greyku."

The kitten smiled. I always like hearing that. She turned her head and fixed her gaze on the swaddled infant in Mitchella's arms, then pranced over to her. I have not seen a human kit. May I?
Mitchella's eyes narrowed, but then she slowly crouched and moved a corner of the blanket aside. Greyku had to stand on her back paws and stretch to see the baby's face. The tip of her tail twitched. Uglier than most humans.

"He's beautiful!" Mitchella protested.

Greyku just rumbled a noncommittal sound, then lowered to run back to Trif, who picked her up, cradled her on one arm. The little cat butted her head against Trif's arm, insisting on being petted, so Trif did. She went over to look at young Cordif.

Mitchella beamed down on the baby boy. Trif glanced at the red-faced, round-headed child whose black hair stuck out in all directions. She shared a glance with Greyku, who smirked. "A wonderful baby," Trif said. It was a safe observation, and true. All Clovers believed every baby was wonderful.

"Yes, he is," Mitchella rocked the boy.

"All set," Ilex said, joining them. "Lady D'Blackthorn, since I am the strongest teleporter here, I think it would be best if I held the baby."

I 'port well, too, Greyku broadcast.

"Yes, you do, and I value your help," Ilex said.

Greyku preened. Trif sighed. "Let's go."

Reluctantly Mitchella handed Cordif to Ilex, then linked her left arm in his right. Trif hung onto his left biceps. He felt infinitely comforting.

"On three," he said. "One Clover. Two Blackthorn. Three."

And they materialized in the parlor from which they'd departed. Trif was close enough to the chair she'd been sitting in to sink back into it.

So much had changed in just a septhour! Mitchella crooned to the baby, who fretted, then instructed the Residence to request T'Heather's professional services.

Ilex bowed. "I'll be going–"

Trif jumped back up and crossed to him. His face was as impassive as usual, but she found gentle kindness in his eyes. She smiled. "Thank you for hearing me, for coming and helping us." She lay her hand on his arm, and he covered it with his own.

"You're welcome," he said. "I'm glad the occasion wasn't too terrible for you. You didn't know GraceLady Gale, did you?"

"No."

Some tension eased from his stance. "It's a sad situation." He looked at Mitchella. "But she will ensure the babe isn't neglected."

Trif glanced over to Mitchella, who stood at a sidebar newly covered with baby clothes. "After her infatuation dims, she'll be thanking you, too. And probably Straif as well." Frowning, Trif said. "How much trouble did I cause you, taking you away from your duties as I did?"

"None. Only put me a little behind schedule."

"It sounds as if you might not eat dinner again tonight."
"I have work," he said.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Celta Thursday (belated)

The last weeks of conference and retreat put off my day-sense. Here is Celta Thursday in the raw, i.e. absolutely no edits from a dictated bit of Heart Fortune

Nov 13 2012 Dictation

Thunder rumbled outside his tent and he shivered as memory came. She'd been hurt when he'd withdrawn. He'd seen it in her eyes. She'd opened her mouth to push again, as always, but had stopped. For that he was grateful, but it dug in like a thorn in his skin, that she was pushy and he spiraled down into the worst thing he'd done in his life. He'd been barely seventeen when the fever of Second Passage snatched him. He'd stumbled along through that Passage (where), and she'd been there, in that feverish** dreamstate with him. It had been a long time since his First Passage at seven years old. He didn't hang out with other teens who had enough Flair to experience Passage – not that he felt he had much Flair, either. So he hadn't figured out what was happening to him yet. Nor had his self-centered mother. And his father, well, his father had been a nice man. Not exactly smart, though. So Jace had been stumbling through Passage. SETTING

His mother had been talking in that sweet, persuasive voice that he hated. The voice she used to get whatever she wanted from his father. This time she wanted a bracelet. Some flashy, ugly thing that they couldn't afford unless his father left their village for the bigger city in the north near the Plano Strait and work as a warehouse man for the merchant's guild there for an entire month...including the three weekend days. And, like always, Jace was expected by his parents to up his own work schedule doing all the odd jobs for the small merchants in their village.

Through the red haze of fever Jace stared at his father and saw a worn man. Big as he was, he hadn't looked well for the last month or so, still working hard to pay off his wife's last bauble. Jace hoped his dad would see a Healer while in the city, but probably wouldn't take the time, even though the free AllClass Clinic was a good one.

And in the fever** Jace's mother's sweet voice became a high-pitched whine, then a buzzing screech piercing his mind, going on and on and on in his ears, never ceasing, always demanding. Like a bitemite, a huge, nasty bitemite sucked into his head and eating his brain from the inside. He'd waved, flailed, at the thing, and he'd slapped her. He'd hit his own mother.

His father had hit him twice and twice as hard.

He came from that, from petty greed, from a man loving a woman and killing himself to give her what she wanted. From selfishness. From easy violence, and he never forgot it.

He always kept his relationships light, always surface, never deep so they roused anything he couldn't control.

So he was selfish himself, wouldn't let himself be manipulated by a woman for what she wanted that wasn't good for him, too.

The mutual sex with Glyssa was damn good. His chest loosened at the thought and his relieved sigh escaped. He'd escaped the past again. Just as he'd left soon after that incident, all of them knowing he'd gone through Second Passage and was officially considered an adult.

The misery of Passages without the payoff of greater and defined Flair, when he was seven, seventeen and twenty-seven.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Celta Thursday: Heart Quest



Once again Ilex walked the places where the bodies had been left, starting with a park.

He tested every meter of the perimeter for spells – and discovered muffling spells as well as illusion spells .... the spells were noble crafted, but one carried a sufficiently unique signature that sent hope shooting through his veins and spurred his hunting Flair.

At least now he knew what sort of place the cult preferred, nothing round. Nothing within hearing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ghost Layer is OUT! And it's the days of Ghost Layer, so pics

It's been a week, and thank you for all who have purchased it!

This IS the time of Ghost Layer, so I'll do some pics for Day 1, etc.

Day 1:
At Clare's (new to her) historic house in Denver:

Day 2:
Clare going up to South Park and DL Ranch:

Day 3 and 4: View from the ridge of DL Ranch AND Buckskin Joe/Fairplay Cemetery

Thank you. I appreciate each and every reader.

Monday, September 01, 2014

GHOST LAYER OUT TOMORROW! I'm very excited! But THAT story actually starts on September 7th (a Wednesday).

Clare Cermac’s adjusting to a new man in her life—and a lot of ghosts. The passing of Clare’s aunt gave way to a sizeable inheritance of not only money, but also the ability to communicate with the dead. At the same time, she met Zach Slade, a private detective with a rough past, and just like Clare, he’s not yet ready to accept her gift—or his own.

But Clare has another matter to look into. A multi-millionaire needs her help after relocating an old ghost town to his mountain estate. The bones of a murdered prospector are making nightly appearances in his guests’ beds. When the gold miner’s ghost contacts Clare, she promises to help find the name of his killer—but someone doesn't want the past revealed and might find her first…

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Celta Thursady: Antenn Moss Blackthorn and Tiana Mugwort as I visualize them

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Celta Thursday: Heart Change: After consummation scene:

Celta Thursday: Heart Change: After consummation scene:

A few minutes later her ears stopped ringing enough to hear his ragged breathing. She opened her eyes to see the moonslit room of gray and silver shadows and night and Cratag's sharp eyes were closed, his smile that of a man savoring an experience. Her arms clamped around him tight, she wanted to keep this experience in her memory always, too. He didn't seem to notice the extra pressure, but that was fine. Her arms encompassed all she needed tonight.

"Wonderful," she murmured and liked the low, throaty sound of her voice.

He stiffened. "I'm too heavy."

"No." She paused, was he withdrawing again as he had earlier in the day? She wouldn't ask and spoil the moment. Perhaps she'd been imagining it. He'd been worried about Laev Hawthorn, and the last few days had been packed with change for Cratag, too. "No," she repeated.

"I'm glad you're here, that we're together here." Finally.

"If you're glad, I'm glad," he said gruffly, then added as he began removing himself gently from her with long stretching motions. "I am damn near ecstatic. Was – was ecstatic."

She chuckled, reached out and let her fingers trail down his thigh from hip to knee. "There's a washroom..." but he'd already headed there. Of course he would remember the layout of the house, he'd been through it often enough with his walks. Grinning, she thought she'd given him an excellent alternative for all those walks.

Stretching herself, she couldn't recall feeling quite as good as she did now for a long time. Longer than a long time, years, eons, her whole life. The man was a fabulous lover.

Before she knew it, he was back, and to her disappointment, dressed. His face was in shadows, but he draped her robe around her. "Sorry, for the tear, and I can't mend–"

But she'd already repaired the rips, though had nearly been sentimental and brain-softened-by-sex enough to let them be.

"Done, then," he said, and she didn't know what he meant. Whether she was finished weaving the fabric back together with Flair, or they were done with sex...surely not done with more? She refused to think so,
refused to let him think so. "Done? Oh, no, we aren't."

He smiled slowly then and she returned it. Offering his hand, he said. "Let's go upstairs then, to bed." He hesitated, then said deliberately, "Your bed."

"Oh, yes."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Finished with Ghost Killer! And editor thinks it's Awesome!

So, yeah, I'm chuffed my quick deadlines are over. Writing 5 books in 1.5 years, none of them under 85K (the average Heart book is 105K, and so were Ghost Seer and Ghost Layer despite my wish to make them shorter, but Ghost Killer came in at 85K+ because I didn't add another subplot) was Brutal. And two of those five books I seriously revised.

I may post here more often, I DO post on Facebook quite often, but I understand a lot of people don't care for that.

Anyway, I wanted a new wallet calendar (I usually get them for Heart books before I go to Romance Writers of America), and discovered if I wanted them for the Rocky Mtn Fiction Writers Colorado Gold in Sept, that I had to do them yesterday. So they were done yesterday.

Remember, these books are in mass market paperback.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Celta Thursday, original end to Chapter 13, Heart Change.

Celta Thursday, original end to Chapter 13, Heart Change. Some remains in the book, some is different.


The morning of lessons on architecture was blessedly broken by a scry from Laev. Cratag excused himself to take the call. He'd been interested enough when the Residence had talked and shown holos of the construction and development of itself, D'Marigold Residence. But after that it had begun going through each FirstFamily Residence, the history of the Earthen place the thing was modeled after, and the Families, and Cratag had gotten bored. He knew all he needed to about the FirstFamilies – who were T'Hawthorn's allies, enemies and neutral.

Which Families had any smoldering ill-feelings that might explode into a feud and lead to civil unrest.

He'd have liked to have learned a little more about T'Hawthorn Residence, but at the rate the lecture was going, that would show up a few days from now.

So he slipped away from the downstairs library to his suite and took Laev's scry, with more than one reason for gratitude. The Hawthorn colors of purple and gold, along with a slight tinge of green light, pulsed through the room. Laev's colors.

He strode to the bowl. "Cratag here."

The water droplets above the bowl showed Laev's smiling face, but there was a hint of trials undergone and survived in the backs of his eyes. Another exhalation of relief from Cratag. "You look good, Laev."

Laev stood straighter, his smile brightened, as if Cratag couldn't have said anything more complimentary. Cratag thought he felt – no, did feel – a wave of satisfaction from the seventeen year old. "My first fugue went well." His voice was slightly deeper, more resonant, from emotional storms. "I have more Flair than ever and I think the Hawthorn talent for business will be confirmed." He frowned a little and a distant look came to his eyes. "I think...I think I understand more of the web of the alliances that FatherSire has made."

Then a flashing smile with more warmth than Cratag had ever seen from T'Hawthorn. "And I did a few fighting forms and I believe I'm more flexible, have more strength, even than I did before."

A seventeen year old young man was plenty flexible. Cratag eyed Laev. There did seemed to be some sort of almost colorless waves around the young man. Cratag thought it was his own meager Flair that showed him that. "Could be," he said. "Congratulations on reaching your manhood, Laev HawthornHeir."

Laev beamed. "There will be a huge celebration later." He frowned a little, nodded decisively. "When you're home again. It wouldn't be the same without you."

Cratag's heart squeezed. "Thank you."

Rolling his shoulders, Laev said, "I miss our workouts already. May I have your permission to come there and train with you? FatherSire has given his permission."

Even more emotion choked Cratag. This was a man who would not forget him, who would value him as a part of the Family.

"Of course. Will MidAfternoon Bell work for you? That's when my sessions are scheduled. We run on set schedules here."

Laev raised his brows. "I wouldn't have thought D'Marigold – ah, it's the little one, Avellana."

"Yes." Then Cratag recalled what Signet had said about Laev perhaps triggering Avellana's Passage. He'd consult with Signet, but he wanted to see – to hug the man who had been his younger brother.

While he was considering this, a masculine gleam came to Laev's eye. "And Cratag, I think, I really think that I connected with my HeartMate!"

That admission tangled Cratag's emotions. Pride that the youngster was growing up and at his achievements, his potential. But also a sharp envy for such a love. He forced a smile. "Come this afternoon."

"I will." Laev tilted his head, grinned. "T'Hawthorn Residence has told me that I only have a few more minutes in my morning break, and that I should eat. Since I'm hungry...."

"See you later," Cratag said gruffly and watched the young man nod as he ended the scry.

Cratag rubbed his head, feeling more helpless than he had in a long time. He didn't know, exactly, what he was doing here, no solid mission. He didn't understand – in his gut – great Flair or Passage or HeartMates.

The place was beautiful but strange, the woman beautiful and strangely compelling.
"Is everything all right with young HawthornHeir? I knew you were worried about his Passage," the very woman Cratag was thinking about said, standing at the threshold of his sitting room. Had he closed the door? He didn't recall it latching, and gravity, or the Residence, might have swung it open.

"Yes, all is well." He let a breath out slowly. "His Passage is coming along smoothly." Cratag hesitated.

"You'd like him to visit here," Signet said.

"Yes, MidAfternoon Bell."

She nodded. "Avellana's Flair seems relatively stable, and my own catalyst Flair doesn't appear to be affecting her yet." Signet raised her brows at him.

Cratag nodded. "Yes, I think I'm being affected by you – by your Flair." Definitely by her and the attraction that vibrated between them. He went on, "My senses seem to be becoming sharper, and my Flair stronger in general." He shrugged. "I don't think even with all the catalyst nature of your Flair my own will increase to much more."

"Maybe not." She smiled at him and knots in his muscles that he hadn't known he'd had untangled. "I'm going to take Avellana to the craft room now." There was a slight lift in her voice as if asking if he'd join them.

"I need to look around the Residence again." Find a room suitable for sparring.
She spread her hands. "Be at home."

But when she left Cratag admitted that he wasn't quite sure who or where or what "home" was.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Belated Celta Thursday!

I'm so sorry, folks. I've been housesitting and not with my regular computer. Here's a belated Celta Thursday.

Celta Thursday: Cuts from Heart and Sword in the Hearts and Swords Collection:

"We’re lost," Kelse, the Captain just revived from the cryonics tube said.
"And we’re all dying. The crew doesn’t want to do their prescribed jobs. The ship is only automated to a certain extent," said Chloe, his exec who'd awakened him.
Something floated in Kelse’s memory, something about artificial intelligence and Nuada’s Sword, but it vanished with Chloe’s next words.
****
"The crew needs purpose," Chloe said.
"Who are our best astronavigators, astronomers?" Kelse asked.
"That’s the problem, we didn’t have many, maybe six. Julianna Ambroz is the best and she’s done everything she can. She’s currently the Captain of Arianrhod’s Wheel. Your wife, Fern, assisted our original astronomer...."
"I’m not having Fern awakened until this is all over." One way or the other. She could die in her sleep.
The thought that she’d die, they’d never have that future they fought for, stabbed him, made him wild inside, panic slid through his nerves and he grabbed is cup with white-knuckled force. He could not let that out. He’d known fear and panic and loss before and withstood it.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bubonicon, Five books done in 1.5 years! And Celta Thursday

First, I will be at Bubonicon this weekend! A couple of panels and a writing seminar and 55 minutes with Robin... so I'll answer anything about writing and publishing that you want. I'll be taking ARCs of Ghost Layer.












Second, as of yesterday...it's in. After a year and a half with 5 books over 85K words due, I've turned the last one in...late, but DONE. (Ghost Killer)


And Celta Thursday: Last Section of Heart Fire Cast of Characters:

Others, in order of appearance:

GreatLord Muin (Vinni) T'Vine: friend of Antenn, the prophet of Celta

GraceLord Hymale Equisetum: enemy of the Mugworts, founder of the Traditionalist Stance movement

Mica: FamCat to GreatLady Camellia D'Hawthorn

Brazos: FamCat to GreatLord Laev T'Hawthorn

Rusby: FamCat to Garrett Primross

GreatLord Rand T'Ash: jeweler/smith (hero of HeartMate), Fam Zanth

GreatLady Danith Mallow D'Ash: animal Healer (heroine of HeartMate)

Arvense Equisetum: farmer, cuz to GraceLord Equisetum

GraceLord Majus T'Daisy: newssheet owner and editor

GrandLord Walker T'Clover: statesman (hero of the novella Noble Heart in the collection Hearts and Swords)

GentleLady Avellana Hazel: daughter of a FirstFamily House, artist, fiancé to Vinni T'Vine.

GreatSir Tinne Holly, owner of The Green Knight Fencing and Fighting Salon (hero of Heart Fate).

GreatSir Nuin Ash: eldest son of T'Ash and D'Ash, fire mage

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Celta Thursday: upcoming Heart Fire Character List


Celta Thursday, Heart Fire Character List continued (coming Nov).
Tiana Mugwort's Best Friends:

Felonerb: her FamCat animal companion

Camellia Darjeeling D'Hawthorn: GreatLady D'Hawthorn, businesswoman/cook, owner of teashops (heroine of Heart Search), FamCat Mica

Glyssa Licorice Bayrum: FirstLevel Librarian (heroine of Heart Fortune), FamFox **


Tiana Mugwort's Family:

Artemisia Mugwort Primross: sister, Healer (heroine of Heart Secret), FamRacoon Randa

Quina Mugwort: mother, devotee of the Intersection of Hope religion, Healer

Sinjin Mugwort: father, former judge, writer of legal articles

Garrett Primross, brother-in-law, private investigator, FamCat Rusby.

The Temple People:

High Priestess GrandLady Ulmaria Meadowsweet** D'Sandalwood of GreatCircle Temple

High Priest GrandLord Alb T'Sandalwood of GreatCircle Temple

Lucida Gerania of GreatCircle Temple, FirstLevel priestess and rival of Tiana Mugwort

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