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, May 19, 2016

Celta Thursday, final cut from Enata in the Vault, Lost Heart

(something with Barton next week):
When her brother had left and she didn’t remember, had that been when her marrow deep loneliness began? Her dissatisfaction with her life? And if it affected her, it would have affected all of her Family!

She looked at the picture. Her father’s light brown hair had silvered significantly since that viz. And she hadn’t noticed. Her mother seemed harsher . . . herself more plaintive — and she must work on that! — Glyssa more restless. Though perhaps Glyssa weathered the unknowable tragedy better than the rest of them. She had two very close friends, closer in some ways than Enata herself. Her parents had each other, as HeartMates, but they’d both suffered a loss, not only of a significant portion of the memories or lives, but of their son. How could that possibly happen?

Enata’s head hurt with the thinking of it, her whole body ached with the feeling of the devastating bereavements. She curled over the book, snuffling in the honeysuckle smell and didn’t care when her tears fell onto the papyrus. The lines of print blurred before her eyes and she trembled with sobs for several moments before she used a softleaf in her sleeve pocket to clean herself up.

She read her brother’s biography. Twice. Knew that she and he had been closer than she and Glyssa, a pity. Let her own awareness of Reg gush through her. How his hand felt when it held hers, all the way from a child to when he helped her from a glider while wearing formal clothes the last full twinmoons ritual they spent together. And . . . yes! That was the last time she’d seen him. Full twinmoons.

Yesterday, last night, the moons were new.

It had to mean something. Or did it?

She had too few puzzle pieces.

Determined, she tried to turn the next page. And couldn’t. If not forward, then backwards, with long experience she riffled the pages . . . but beyond her brother’s biography they stuck firmly together.

Slipping a thumbnail — a golden with silver sparkles thumbnail — under the edge of the former page, she pried, to no avail.

Gritting her teeth, she positioned her hands on the bottom and the of the book, ready to rip the damn pages up, uncaring if she might harm it. She needed to know what was going on! Her fingernails dug into the deckled edges and she—

The book flew up, away, snapped shut and slid onto its shelf.
Glyssa stared. A distant chiming came to her ears that she couldn’t place for a moment. The belltower near CityCenter. Which she shouldn’t be able to hear. Had never heard here.

Stranger and stranger and now so weird she began to shiver, her body reacting to nerves once again. A headache slammed into her and terrible darkness began to devour her vision. Fumbling, she reached into her sleeve and came up with a thick nibbed writestick, scrawled drunken lettered words on her arm. Take recordsphere to Secure Vault Prime.

Darkness swallowed her.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Celta Thursday, Lost Heart Cut, Enata in Vault continued

Celta Thursday, Lost Heart Cut, Enata in Vault continued: She flipped the large pages, less than ten, so quickly an edge caught her finger and sliced open a deep and painful paper cut. Like all librarians, she stopped immediately and checked the papyrus of the book for blood, nothing. Whew.

A simple Word closed her cut,though the ache seemed to stick to the other hurts accumulating in her muscles and along her nerves. She turned to the end of the biography and saw: REGLIS LANDU LICORICE, REASON FOR RECRUITMENT: Excellent skills in the following areas: librarian, archival, document reservation, non-fiction writing and fictional story telling. Acquired Full Twinmoons of the month of Holly, as the colonists count time. Far, far down at the bottom of the page, in a tiny footnote, it said: Current status: subject exceeding expectations.

He lived! Or had when the book — this wonderful, awful magical book was printed. There were some volumes that when a person wrote in it, updated all of them. Magic, psi power, Flair. She could only hope this very important volume was one of them.
Her breath whooshed from her.

Reglis lived. Did he have a HeartMate?

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Celta Thursday, cont. from Last Week: Cut scene with Enata in the Library, Lost Heart

Celta Thursday, cont. from Last Week: Cut scene with Enata in the Library: Always quiet, a deeper silence seemed to flow from the corners of the huge foundation room. That didn’t scare her. She felt as home here as the D’Licorice Residence, everyone in her Family did. This building and their careers, their Family, had been founded before the house. The earliest librarians had slept here. . . and, at times, all of the librarians, Licorice or not, had found a corner chair or twoseat or sofa and crashed.

Nothing to fear. But the nerves under her skin yet twitched. She walked to the vault, opened it, and the correct amount of light for the records within brightened for her human eyes.

The scent of honeysuckle blossoms wreathed around her and she saw a thin hint of colored air, not smoke, drifting to her in curls. Within that stream sparkled flecks of silver and gold. She glanced down at her fingernails. Yes, like those.

She stepped inside, blinked, and the shape of the objects on one shelf of the far wall changed. Her eyes widened and recollection flitted around her mind as she stared at the large midnight blue volume now revealed. Catching her breath, she swallowed, then she turned in place and waved the door shut with a solid and quiet thunk. No one would know she was here.

A little recollection began sifting back. The materials of this book were rare, thick papyrus, leather binding from an animal she didn’t recognize . . . and the scent of honeysuckle that she thought came from the glue. Impossible. But the fragrance would always attract her. Her grandfather, MotherSire, had been from the Honeysuckle Family and there were plenty of those shrubs planted in both the library grounds and around their home.

When she grazed her fingertips along the spine of the book, again feeling the sparks along her skin and sinking into her, memories collided inside her brain and she remembered. Her brother! She’d had a brother! No, had a brother. One not here, one not remembered by anyone.

Yanking at the book, she fell backwards, danced a couple of steps with weak knees, then sank cross legged to the ground.

The book opened and floated before her on an inbuilt anti-gravity spell. Once more it flipped to the opening page of the article on her brother, Reglis Landu Licorice, CHOSEN. Aquired early summer of 421 years after colonization, the print read.

Aquired! Enata shuddered. A few months ago. Looking at the color viz showing her Family and Reglis, she recalled when they’d stood for that portrait, last spring.

Last spring.

Lady and Lord. Her big brother Reglis had been in Druida City last spring.

He'd lived in everyone's memories just last spring.

Breathing rapidly, actually trying not to hyperventilate, another thought occurred to Enata. She’d been born the middle child, and . . . and now, outside this space, she’d thought she’d been born first. Her role in the Family had changed. What conflict did that cause in her mind and her character?

Surely being thought a first born child must have affected how people treated her?

Not only that, but a whispery inner voice in the back of her mind wondered if her older brother had a HeartMate — wait, did he still live?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Belated Celta Thursday, Cut from Lost Heart

Belated Celta Thursday, Cut from Lost Heart: Enata and the Vault: The Next Night

She awoke, pain radiating through her. Though weariness hunkered behind her eyes, she couldn’t sleep. Her nerves itched. This morning she’d felt awful, too. She hadn’t quite been the same since . . . backtracking through the day, she found nothing…then the night before…that evening meal, the long nap in the afternoon, suffering through the nausea, the aching body, the filthy headache . . . after she’d been in Secure Vault Prime.

She rose and crossed to the long glass doors that led to the balcony, opened them and stepped out into the warm summer night. Not a hint of autumn coming next month. Glancing to her right, she saw only darkness from Glyssa’s rooms. Her sister had flown away to a new adventure at the excavation of the recently discovered starship, Lugh’s Spear and for other reasons Enata sensed but Glyssa had hidden from her and their parents.

Enata missed her sister, but they hadn’t been close since the spring. Enata rolled her shoulders. Mostly her fault. A deep dissatisfaction with her life had hit her about that time, along with an overwhelming loneliness and the hard realization that she didn’t have a HeartMate like her parents or her sister. She’d never connected with a HeartMate during the fugues that freed her Flair as her sister, her younger sister, had.

And HeartMates bonded so closely that they always died within a year of each other. So when one of her parents died . . . . and if Glyssa found and HeartBonded with her HeartMate and one of them perished . . . Enata would be left alone. The sole member of her Family.


She leaned on the rail and sucked in air. Here, in the privacy of her own rooms, she could weep. Self-pity. Anticipatory loss. Both of those emotions coursed through her, both rather foolish, but Lady and Lord, Enata ached.

Wiping her tears away, she noticed across the green park of their back grassyard, in the PublicLibrary that connected with their land, a small light shone in one wing. The building never closed, was always open and available to the public, with a librarian ready to serve patrons.

Impulsively, she decided to head back to the vault, discover what might have affected her.. Dressing in an acceptable robe if she were discovered and arranging her hair simply, Enata teleported to the staff’s basement pad closest to their strongest vault. No one should be down here unless a patron requested something from restricted stacks, very unlikely.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Belated Celta Thursday -- CUT FROM LOST HEART (to lure those who haven't bought it)

Belated Celta Thursday -- CUT FROM LOST HEART (to lure those who haven't bought it)

A week and two days earlier, the reference to the matchmaker torturing Barton had been humerous. Now, after a full morning session, Barton gritted his teeth to hide his discomfort. Thankfully, his Flair-made clothes wicked away sweat, though they released an herbal scent that would clue anyone in that Barton perspired.

Saille T’Willow ignored that, as he had with the earlier humiliating evidence that one of the tests — the illusion of a naked woman who morphed until she sexually appealed to Barton — had aroused him.

Barton felt fully as pummeled mentally and emotionally by Saille as Barton had previously, and often, physically walloped the guy. Payback was hell.

Yeah, tests of what Barton found emotionally pleasing, mentally compatible, as well as physically attractive. All sorts of assessments, the amount and quality of which boggled his mind. Who knew surviving a matchmaking appointment was so tough?

He felt like he’d run a gauntlet, a rough game all the Clover boys played now and then.

Finally, finally, they’d paused. The “comfort” chair that conformed to Barton’s body, tilted from a horizontal position to nearly straight. Barton sucked back a groan of relief. His fingers loosened the white-knuckled grip that he had on the chair arms.

“Good job,” Saille murmured, clapping Barton’s shoulder as the man walked around him and sat behind his desk. Not as nice as Walker’s, but centuries older. Saille T’Willow, a FirstFamily GreatLord, wasn’t as tall as Barton, not quite as solidly built, but moved reasonably well. He’d never touch Barton as a fighter, but Barton didn’t have a thousanth of the amount of Flair as the guy.

Smiling — that was a good sign, wasn’t it? Maybe the fliggering evaluation was over? — Saille T’Willow said, “I have no doubt I’ll be able to find an extremely harmonious woman for you, a true love.” He paused, then went on. “I’ll keep my eyes out, ears straining, and senses primed to find a wife for you.”

“We’re done?”


Barton bolted from the chair and to the door of the room before stopping. “Good,” he said. “Really fine. Thanks.” Reluctantly he dropped his hand from the latch to give Saille, who’d risen, a bow worthy of his status as a descendant of the people who’d funded the trip from Earth to Celta, a FirstFamily Lord. “My thanks and the thanks of all my Family.”

“We can discuss this—”

Barton waved his hand before he put it back on the latch and opened the door. “No, no. I trust you. Implicitly. Gotta go!”

“One moment, Barton,” Saille called.

Barton darted a glance over his shoulder.

"I trust you won't take this out on me in the next general melee at The Green Knight Fencing and Fighting Salon."

Barton angled his head, grinning. "Oh, you can be sure of that."

Saille sighed. "I was afraid of that."

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lost Heart E-Novella Live on Amazon!

Here it is! http://amzn.to/1VsPfEB


$9.50 LOST HEART IS AVAILABLE IN PRINT COPY HERE, NOW! https://www.createspace.com/6076721 And, yes, the estore is pretty.

The novella has been uploaded to Amazon for the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. Ibooks and All Romance Ebooks are still checking me out and I haven't been able to upload. So it should definitely be available next week, in electronic copy, for $3.99.

RITA®Award Winning author Robin D. Owens’ first Celta novella!

Celta, a place of magic, telepathic animal companions, and romance . . . Lost Heart, a story rife with hidden agendas and dangerous secrets.

Barton Clover, Chief of Security for his large and noble family, is deeply aware of his responsibilities. When two young relatives repudiate the family and later disappear, he's determined to find them and convince them to return. He has no time or inclination for love . . . but his family disapproves of his nothing-but-work life. They decree that he must visit a matchmaker or lose his position.

Enata Licorice, a respected librarian, has been doing research in a mysterious records vault . . . and is finding odd blanks in her memory. Lonely, she yearns for a good husband and arranges a matchmaking session of her own.

It's love at first sight for Barton and Enata, but both are crucial members of their families. Clans who practice opposite lifestyles. And both families demand the couple's time and attention, causing strife.

While trying to resolve their issues, Barton discovers Enata's secret and they must work as a couple to resolve the puzzle that includes Barton's missing relatives -- if they dare. And if they fail, more than their own lives are lost.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Celta Thursday Cut from Heart Legacy

A LONG excerpt from Heart Legacy. This was the original conversation between Draeg and Tinne Holly, took place later in the book, and is Too Detailed and Long. So it was cut and put up front

He'd disrobed and taken a waterfall, pulled back the bedsponge linens, when his perscry -- his personal scry pebble -- sounded in the quick blazer hum Draeg had programmed for Tinne Holly. Tinne was Draeg's contact with the cadre of nobles who'd sent him to find out what might be happening at D'Yew estate. And to discover if D'Yew or her Family was involved in attacks on others, as Tinne suspected.
The Yews had been the strongest and most conservative Family in all the FirstFamilies. Tinne and some other younger nobles of the FirstFamilies had thought that a fanatic fringe of the ultra-conservative Traditionalist Group had recruited them as well as being behind the attacks.
Though every group, political, religious, even sports related, could develop fantatics, the FirstFamilies hadn't had to deal with murderous ones for a long time . . . since the Black Magic Cult, nearly two decades ago.
Three weeks ago, when Draeg had been called into the company of his friends to undertake this spy job, the atmosphere had been grim.
Now he grabbed a long tunic and pulled it on, stroking his thumb on the scry pebble and saying, "Here."
The holographic image showed the head and shoulders of Tinne Holly, who seemed to have extra lines in this face than the last time Draeg had seen him.
"Greetyou, Draeg."
"Greetyou, Tinne. News?"
"Yes, and of the worst sort."
Sucking in a breath through his teeth, Draeg said, "Murder?"
"Attempted, and did include death." Tinne rubbed his temples with forefinger and thumb.
"Who?" demanded Draeg.
"A workman in the new GuildHall." Tinne's mouth twisted. "It appears as if he brought in a celtaroon to let loose. Probably bespelled to find and bite a particular person. But celtaroons are notoriously stupid and difficult to control. The guy got bitten himself."
"Good luck for our side," Draeg said.
"Target?" asked Draeg asked.
"The man was scheduled to be working on the office of the new Captain of AllCouncils."
"Walker Clover," Draeg said harshly, "a former Commoner raised to Noble."
"Walker Clover." Tinne matched Draeg's tone. A few seconds hesitation on Tinne's part when the lines in his face deepened, then he added. "As usual, Walker had brought a couple of his children with him today and would probably have done so tomorrow."
"Cave of the Dark Goddess. Still after the kids?"
Tinne rolled his shoulders as if shifting a burden. "Who knows? Getting rid of Walker would be . . . a great blow on behalf of the Traditionalist Stance."
Draeg followed his logic. "Walker is the first born Commoner to rise so high politically on his own merits."
"That is correct. And the Traditionalist Stance doesn't want any more Commoners to be ennobled, despite the strength and potency of their Flair."
"Yeah. What went on?" Draeg asked.
"Zanth and Felonherb FamCats happened to be in the GuildHall." The ends of Tinne's lips curved upward. "They sensed prey, found and tore the celtaroon to pieces. Apparently they considered destroying the thing a competition."
Draeg considered that. "Just as well."
Tinne snorted. "I suppose, though if there was any spell evidence on the creature, it was demolished."
"Huh. Any chance of such a spell remaining?"
"We don't know. That is to say, neither our chief investigator in this matter, Garrett Primross, nor the Clover head of security, nor the Captain of the Druida City guards have been able to determine anything from the shreds of the celtaroon."
"FamCats who 'help' can be a pain in the ass."
"Also correct," said Tinne, who had one of his own.
"So the workman got killed himself. Can't say I'm too surprised. Staging 'accidents' is problematical. When did all this happen?"
"At the change of shifts in the GuildHall from day to evening, WorkEnd Bell. A lot of people coming and going."
"I understand," Draeg said. As far as he knew, all the Yews had been at one of their formal dinners. Tired of standing, he went over to the bedsponge and settled in against two hard, thick pillows that no longer puffed out dust when he leaned against them. "What about the dead guy? Do we have any info about him?"
"He is a known member of the Traditionalist Stance, a minor relative of the Equisetum Family in the north who had their estate confiscated three years ago when their previous crimes were uncovered."
Draeg grunted, frowned and shifted his gaze to the beamed ceiling instead of Tinne's expression that seemed to age before his eyes.
"What about the Yews?" Tinne asked.
Draeg raised his eyebrows. "I'm sure that you and the others realized that when I hired on as a stableman I would be living near the stables. I am, three rooms over the stables. I am not allowed in the Residence. However, I saw no glider leave the estate tonight."
"They must be embroiled in this," Tinne said. This time he sent fingers of both hands through his hair. "No one else hates my lady, my children, so, and we were the first targets and none of us Commoners. And the former D'Yew made threats--"
"Thirteen years ago," Draeg reminded softly.
"All of the FirstFamilies are known for holding a grudge," Tinne shot back.
"Got me there," Draeg said. "So you suspect the Yews are behind this. That the 'accident' of the broken balcony was really an attack on your wife and daughter, and your son's near miss at being hit by a glider a week ago was intentional."
In the holo, Tinne stretched until Draeg could hear his joints pop. "I do. I suspect the Yews. My wife has no enemies except for them. Aurea and Marin have no enemies at all. True enemies of ours should be calling feud and sending guards out to fight, but these are sneak attacks." His face hardened. "Only the Yews would sneak around like this. They don't have guards?"
"None that I have seen."
"They've kept themselves confined to that self-sufficient estate, not participated in society. We don't know what's going on there."
"Thus the reason you sent me in. Still no evidence on your part."
"No, nothing I can point the authorities to, either Garrett Primross as our unofficial guy or the Druida guards, let alone good reason to convince my father call feud on the Yews," Tinne snarled. Then his face smoothed into a haughty expression Draeg had only seen when the man booted someone out of his place of business, The Green Knight Fencing and Fighting Salon. Tinne's voice dropped into a good imitation of his sire, GreatLord T'Holly. "My dear SecondSon,"
Draeg winced. He was a SecondSon and he'd never liked being called that in that particular tone.
Tinne's eyes gleamed as he recognized a good audience, and he repeated himself. "My dear SecondSon, we have no good and solid reason to suppose the Yews were behind the accidents, nothing that would stand up to scrutiny of other FirstFamiles. We would be ostracized if we called feud. Our old feud and other . . . missteps . . . have not been forgotten." Tinnes eyebrows raised as T'Holly must have raised his. "And who, precisely, would I call feud upon? The current GrandLady has not been confirmed by her Family as D'Yew, and is, I recollect, the age of one of my Son'sDaughters, not part of society. Innocent. Untried in political affairs. That would be perceived so very well by the authorities and the FirstFamilies Council."
Clearing his throat, Draeg said. "The man has a point."
"He does." Tinne paced and the new scry pebble Flair tech kept him in Draeg's view.
"Your G'Uncle Tab would not have approved a formal feud."
Tinne stopped, stared at Draeg, his expression fading from T'Holly's to Tinne's more mobile one. "You said his name," he whispered.
"Who? Tab's? Yeah."
"I think that's the first time you mentioned G'Uncle Tab by name since he died seven years ago."
Heat crawled up Draeg's neck. He hoped the dim light in his room didn't reveal it to Tinne. "I should have gotten over his death sooner."
"There is no set time for grieving," Tinne said. "And, in some ways, you were nearer to him than I. I'd already found my love, my HeartMate, been blessed with a daughter and son. You were Tab's closest protégé, and you'd just lost your parents." Tinne frowned. "The losses kicked you into Passage, didn't they? And you nearly died? Took a ritual to keep you with us."
Draeg so didn't want to hear that, go over that again, especially since he wasn't done with Passages to free his Flair. He should have had another one last year, or maybe next. His Passages weren't as well regulated as other people's.
"Yeah, well for a proper and official feud, Tab would have expected–" Draeg closed his eyes, he should be able to remember this. His mentor had schooled him more than he'd wanted on feuds and duels. "A list of five good reasons to call feud including enemy actions threatening the Family fortunes, Family estate, or lives of the Family. The most important being the lives of the Family."
Tinne grunted. "Yes, a deadly attack on one of our Family members."
"That would do it, too."
"No evidence, only suspicions." Tinne resumed pacing.
"Your wife and children are protected," Draeg said.
"Yes, they have Holly guards." Tinne's mouth flattened. "And I bought them amulets from T'Ash that at the first hint of hurt will teleport them to Noble HealingHall. But none of them, not even Marin, like the guards accompanying them everywhere, and my daughter objects to wearing the same piece of jewelry every day."
Idly, it crossed Draeg's mind that he hadn't seen one bit of jewelry on D'Yew. He said, "We seem to have two different issues here–"
Tinne made a disgusted noise, chopped his hand in the air. "I've heard that. If the Yews were behind the attack on my ladies it would be revenge for harm to their house, because Lahsin killed the old bastard T'Yew in self defense and his unstable daughter went mad and withdrew into that estate and no one has seen hide nor hair of a Yew in society since."
Draeg inserted, "And if, as it seems, the Traditionalist Stance has a deadly fanatic fringe making 'accidents' happen to ennobled Commoners . . ."
"Or their children," Tinne slanted Draeg a glance, "which could include all you Blackthorn adoptees."
Draeg felt blood drain from his head, his breath shorten, and was glad he wasn't standing. "I will point out that all of us adoptees came from Noble Families to begin with. Dad was GraceLord Betony, my sister Doolee is an Elecampane–"
"But Antenn, your oldest brother was a Commoner." Tinne did point at Draeg. "He was Mitchella Clover's ward when both of them were Commoners. And Antenn was nearly squashed by that block of granite while working on the cathedral a month ago."
"That was an acciden–" Draeg stopped.
"Was it?"
"You don't think the falling block was accidental."
"I think that your brother is a better architect and craftsman than to have left any tottery blocks of granite that might fall. I think that the near fatal balcony accident of my ladies had something in common with that block of granite."
Tinne strode back and forth. "That balcony did not just happen to break. Everyone knewAurea wanted to watch the parade** and that my wife Lahsin would be with her. And everyone knew Lahsin and I had rented it for Aurea as a NameDay gift." Tinne shuddered. "If they hadn't fallen together when it broke and Lahsin hadn't teleported them away . . . ." His fingers fisted. "Druida would have seen a true and bloody Vengeance Stalk."
Wanting to distract the man, Draeg went back to Tinne's previous statement. "What do those accidents have in common?"
"Construction accidents, building," Tinne said. "And three years ago, when the Traditionalist Stance first came into being, there was a builder ruined because of his association with that political stance."
Draeg found his jaw hurting from clenched teeth. "That noble was ruined because he refused to honor his contract."
"Ruined in one day. By your brother, Antenn Blackthorn-Moss, who is not beloved of the Traditionalist Stance since he ruined at least two Nobles and uncovered the murderous tendencies of their founder. Doesn't it occur to you, to anyone that a murderous founder might have drawn other people of like mind into the party? The Traditionalist Stance has a deadly fanatic fringe. I'm sure of that."
"And you think the accident with Antenn wasn't one."
"Antenn is a Commoner who is part of a FirstFamily. He may be considered as your adopted father's heir. Isn't that true?"
"And as for the rest of you, you who were Noble by birth already, you all moved upward into FirstFamily status and society and influence. Your good friends are from the FirstFamilies, you belong to FirstFamilies clubs like The Green Knight Fencing and Fighting Salon, and social clubs. You have access to the strongest Flaired people in the world. People who shape society and the world. That can cause a lot of resentment in those from older Families who haven't been able to climb so high, that Commoners are better connected than Nobles who've had titles for three or even four centuries. And Commoner women like Danith Mallow and Mitchella Clover have married into the highest strata."
"They're HeartMates of FirstFamily Lords, fated mates," Draeg protested.
"They're Commoner women who have married FirstFamily Lords, born children of mixed blood, Noble and Commoner."
Draeg's mouth dropped open at the wrongness of that statement. "Nobody cares–"
"Born children with odd Flair, perhaps. Born children who might be mutants."
"We're all fliggering mutants here on Celta. Probably were on old Earth, too. Nobody cares about blood," Draeg's words exploded, the last bit of calmness from his meditation vanished.
"Most people care about the strength of Flair, true, but I think those of the Traditionalist Stance care about mixing Noble and Commoner blood. And I think the Traditionalist Stance has fanatics, like this workman today who targetted Walker Clover or his children."
"Your're sure the workman was involved."
"He was found in an empty room with a Celtaroon. A hole in the wall had been drilled for the beastie to be placed, for it to nest. Signs in his workbox showed he'd stashed a celtaroon in it and brought it in."
"You think this incident is linked to the accidents to Antenn and your ladies."
"You'd rather think them coincidental? That there are two sets of deadly folks running around?"
"Other than that, why do you think the Yews are behind this?"
"Gut feeling."
Well, Draeg wouldn't call him on that since Draeg trusted his own gut. But serious lack of evidence. He kept quiet and Tinne stopped pacing, said slowly, "Lahsin is suffering from nightmares, about the time she was T'Yew's child bride, caught in his Residence and with his Family who put DepressFlair bracelets on her." Tinne touched his own wrists that showed elegant marriage bands. "She's gone back to the MindHealer for sessions about that time in her life."
"And you think she's picking up on – what? – inimical energy from the Yews?" Draeg kept his voice even. He stared Tinne in his cold pewter eyes. "I can and will assure you that the current D'Yew is not involved in hurting your woman or a girl a year younger than she or a boy of ten."

Chapter 8
"You're sure D'Yew isn't involved in any of the accidents or with the bloody Traditionalist Stance fanatics," Tinne Holly snapped, holographic gaze on Draeg blazer intense.
Draeg shot back, "All of D'Yew's energies are going into her Household–"
Tinne's mouth twisted. "And that doesn't clue you in that something is twisted in that Family, that they should demand such and drain her so?"
"–and in loving and caring for her animals. Her stridebeasts, new horses, and FamCat."
"She has a Fam?"
"That's right, one called Baccat."
Tinne grunted. "Fams usually don't hang around people who aren't loving to them." But his face set again. "Doesn't mean the rest of the Yews aren't up to something." Finally he hesitated, then said, "and I'm sure that the Yews are deep in the Traditionalist Stance."
"Maybe. We haven't established that connection."
"Except for my gut."
"Except for your gut."
"Three years ago people of the Traditionalist Stance said they had members in the highest households of Celta." Tinne pointed at Draeg again.
Draeg raised his hands. "Not me."
"No, no one in the Blackthorns, and no one in the Ashes. Both of your Families and staff have been rebuilt from one member these last twenty-four years." Tinne considered. "Probably not anyone in my Family, the Hollys. We're large, with relatives running our Residence, but we aren't so good at hiding agressive tendencies and sly sneaking." Tinne flicked a hand as if dismissing his relatives. "But we were never one of the ultra conservative Families who would be drawn to the Traditionalist Stance anyway."
So Draeg put into words the rest of the logic. "The Yews were the most conservative of the FirstFamilies, the bastion for following the old ways."
Ticking off FirstFamilies on his fingers, Tinne said, "From most conservative to least: the Elders, until he died and the new GreatLady from a minor branch of the Family inherited. The Yews, the Birches, the Ivys, the Hawthorns. The Hawthorns now have a young, progressive entrepreneur as a GreatLord, who is enriching his Family more than the last three have, if he had Family members who were of the Traditionalist Stance bent, I doubt they'd have remained that way. Since the contretemps three years ago, the Ivys have distanced themselves from the Traditionalist Stance. T'Ivy stated publically that he no longer belongs to the party. I believe him, though he might have people in his Residence who do."
"That leaves the Birches and the Yews."
"That leaves the Birches and the Yews," Tinne agreed, "and, I think, primarily the Yews."
"I hear you."
"Glad you do. Too bad others don't. Someone is putting gilt into the Traditionalist Stance's coffers, more than just those Nobles whose names are public. Significant gilt."
"Generational FirstFamily gilt?" Draeg asked.
"First Family gilt. And that's why you're there at the Yews. Thank you for that."
"Tinne, darling, Aurea and Marin want snacks with us!" called Tinne's wife, outside of the scry area.
"Draeg, come see me and report tomorrow night," Tinne ordered. "Later."

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Celta Thursday Cut Scene from Heart Legacy

Heart Legacy Cut Scene (too many people, too much politics): This will be for those of you who know the books very well. This is in the FirstFamilies Council Chamber after the poisoning attempt on Marin Holly:

"Loridana Yew has no power-hungry wish," Draeg stated.

"And we only have your word for it," T'Ivy, a former Captain of the Council said.

Spearing him with a look, Draeg said, "I think a few of you are allied with the Traditionalist Stance?"

"No," T'Ivy snapped, his mouth pulled down. "They go too far."

"They challenged your leadership of the group?"

"They did not listen to us FirstFamily conservatives."

"Of course not, they want power, and will never be able to match the power we have in Flair, not in this generation, and I do not think their group will last through the next."

"The lower nobles and the middle class commoners are becoming stronger in Flair," D'Grove said comfortably.

"But the Traditionalists are correct that if we continue with the current qualifications for noble, we will have many Commoners becoming noble," T'Ivy stated.

"As a people we're all growing in Flair, and in wealth," T'Hawthorn, who wasn't that much older than Draeg, and knew all about wealth, said. "I consider that a good mark of a society."

"We got rid of the old Downwind slums," T'Ash said. "And none too soon. We have homes and jobs for those who cannot support themselves because of weak brains or bodies." He stood and stretched, Draeg heard pops. "Those who do not fit in our society have mostly left the city to carve out a living of their own on their own land. That's good, too." His bright blue gaze swept the room.

"We care for our own, an' harm none. That is how it's supposed to be. Every individual should be prized on Celta, 'cuz we could still die out here."

Draeg said, "We still have thieves, in the cities and preying on the merchant caravans."

"Will always be evil people, too," T'Ash said. "As for me, I don't think the mind behind these attacks belongs to an eighteen year old girl. If young D'Yew is involved, she's taking orders from someone else, and Zanth thinks not."

Draeg just stared. "Zanth. What does Zanth know about this?"

T'Ash's white teeth gleamed against his olive toned skin as he smiled. "Zanth still prowls the alleys of Druida. He sometimes meets other cats. And other cat Fams." Then the powerful man set his hands on his hips, scrutinized every person in the room. "What we all need to think about is how we will evolve. Not only the society around us, and how we might be able to shape our culture through rituals for the good of all as we have since our ancestors landed, but how we FirstFamilies as a group should evolve." He grunted. "That's my thought for the evening."

He slanted Draeg a look. "Can't you figure out how to bring young D'Yew to me to Test her?"

"Not great T'Ash," Draeg said. "Maybe a roadside peddlar, or low-class shopkeeper."

Now T'Ash's eyes gleamed, he tipped a hand in Draeg's direction.

"That might be fun." Then he teleported away. Draeg thought that Zanth might not be the only one who missed a little rough and tumble in the alleys.

Draeg wouldn't let them interrogate her. Not only would that blow the whole original scheme out of the water and reveal him being undercover – which he wasn't ready to explain until he found the right words – but he didn't know of anyone who'd react well to being hauled in and questioned by very powerful strangers. He'd pointed that out.

She might very well just shut up. She could even demand an advocate, and if she did, Draeg would request SupremeJudge Ailim Elder, a telempath, who would not be pleased with the FirstFamilies intimidating a young, naieve woman.

Nobody liked that idea.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Celta (etc.) Thursday

Celta (etc) Thursday: Working on my Biography (again!) for Lost Heart. So here's a list of my work (Celta in Reading Order), if you have questions, ASK, of course.
:) :
Celta HeartMate Series, in Reading Order
**Hearts And Swords (story collection, the first story, Heart and Sword, takes place on board the generational starship Nuada’s Sword)

Heart Thief
Heart Duel
Heart Choice
Heart Quest
Heart Dance
**Hearts And Swords (story collection, Heart Story)
Heart Fate
**Hearts And Swords (story collection, Heart and Soul)
Heart Change
***Free Short, short story ZANTH AND THE TREASURE
Heart Journey
***Script of the Heart novella, Coming Autumn 2016
**Hearts and Swords (story collection, Noble Heart)
Heart Search
Heart Secret
Heart Fortune (Glyssa Licorice and Jace Bayrum)
Lost Heart (Coming Spring 2016!)
Heart Fire
Heart Legacy
Heart Sight (Coming 2017)
* * *
Feral Magic, a Contemporary Paranormal Romance E-Novella
* * *
The Ghost Seer Series
Contemporary Paranormal with Romantic Subplot (featuring ghosts of the Old West)

Ghost Seer
Ghost Layer
Ghost Killer
Ghost Talker
Ghost Maker (Coming October 2016)

The Mystic Circle Series
Contemporary Fantasy

Enchanted No More
Enchanted Again
Enchanted Ever After

The Summoning Series
Average American women are summoned to another dimension to fight hideous evil…yes, flying horses!

Guardian of Honor
Sorceress of Faith
Protector of the Flight
Keepers of the Flame
Echoes In The Dark

* * *
The Road to Adventure (contemporary paranormal romance novella),
in What Dreams May Come, with Sherrilyn Kenyon and Rebecca York

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Celta Thursday - Lost Heart novella print cover

We (I) am inching closer to getting Lost Heart published. The novella will be in ALL EBOOK FORMATS! For those of you who want print, here is the first look at the cover. The print will be darker or the background lighter. We (my cover artist and I) are thinking of a specific graphic to indicate it is in the Celta HeartMate series. The final manuscript still needs to be copy edited by Final Eyes, then I'll see a sample print book, then uploading and everything else. Advertising is AFTER that just because this is my first effort and I have other obligations, too. Though I do hope all you who read me will help me.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Celta Thursday, Lost Heart Cover Copy

Yes, I think the last piece of work I needed to do was the cover copy for Lost Heart before it's ready to solidify the final formatting. So here it is:

RITA(c) Award Winning author, Robin D. Owens’ first Celta novella!

A magical society rife with telepathic critters with attitude, hiding their own agendas and secrets in their furry little paws.

Barton Clover, Chief of Security for his large and noble family, is deeply aware of his responsibilities. But two young relatives have left the family and disappeared. He's determined to find them and convince them to return. He has no time or inclination for love . . . but is presented with an ultimatum that his life is unbalanced. He must visit a matchmaker or be removed from his position.

Enata Licorice, a revered librarian has been spending time in a mysterious vault, and suffers from odd blanks in her memory. Desperately lonely, she yearns for a good husband and attends a matchmaking session of her own.

It's love at first sight for Barton and Enata, but they are crucial members of their families who demand their time and attention and both feel torn.

While trying to resolve their issues, Barton discovers Enata's secret and they must work as a couple to resolve the puzzle that includes Barton's missing family members, if they dare. And if they fail, they lose their lives, and others' too.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Celta Thursday: Heart Quest Cover story and pics

Celta Thursday, Heart Quest cover story and pics. First, the idea of Heart Quest was given to me by one of my critique buddy's during our reading of Heart Duel. "If I knew I had a HeartMate, I'd go door to door and try opening them!" So thanks to Anne Tupler. I bought several keys and sent various images to my editor. The cover is shiny, and a little too pastel for me. I wanted something more in keeping with the Black Magic Cult story inside so I changed the color of the font (I am NOT artistic), but, as usual at that point of time in my career, they didn't listen to me.

Below see a mockup I did with the red font, and also a pic of MidClass Lodge I made.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Celta Thursday, Heart Fire Cut, Tiana and the Turquoise House

Celta Thursday, Heart Fire Cut, Tiana and the Turquoise House:

"Turquoise House, I will need a meditation room, as soon as possible, can you direct me to an appropriate chamber?"
"I have prepared one for you, dear Priestess," said the House. "Down the right, the last door on the left. The windows face the back gardens."

"Thank you."

She walked through the sparsely furnished entry room and reached the hallway running the length of the house and turned right. A stray wisp of wondering where her sister had worked and her brother-in-law had suffered crossed her mind, but she said nothing aloud. Their time here was over and she was sure that Garrett wouldn't care to ever see the place again.

Of course the whole house had been sterilized since then. The hallway was wide enough for two normal sized people and she went to the door, pressed the latch, and opened it on a pale peach gem of a room. The wall of the room facing the grassyard was a window of medium square glass panes. Currently they were tinted smoky gray, blocking light and fogging her vision. Fine.

In the room were two simple black comfort chair-lounges, of some sort of woven material, like one might see outside on a terrace. Still, they appeared top of the line. But she only needed one. She went to one and folded it up, set it against the wall with the door that would be behind her.

"Please lock the door, Turquoise House and notify me if anyone wants inside this room. Please hold all but urgent calls from my Family or GreatCircle Temple."

"Done!" he caroled.

"Thank you." She eyed the comfort lounge – a piece of furniture that would conform to her body – dubiously, as she was accustomed to meditating as she sat. But the wooden plank floor was bare with no large pillows in sight. "We will have to order some big pillows, and for more than this room." She and her two friends loved such cushions.

"Wonderful!" said the Turquoise House. "Varying patterns and textures..." He hummed quietly to himself.

She angled the chair toward the windows, the foot part raised, the upper part one level down from upright. Tentatively, she moved onto the piece of furniture. It was unexpectedly solid for such a light frame and mesh, and the minute she leaned back, she felt the spell take hold and curve into support of her back, along her ankles and legs, around her derriere. A sigh escaped her.

Arms rose the exact amount for comfort and she grinned. Her very own comfort chair, as pillowy softness seemed to cradle her neck and head she knew she'd enjoy living here, even for a short while. Perhaps she might make enough to purchase a chair like this...or even this one, since when she left it would be well-used and maybe she could get it at a discount.

Then she regulated her breathing and began descending into a meditative state. She sank deep, deeper, deepest into a trance, letting her cares, the anxiety at this project, the nagging sense of foreboding, fall away as if they were blocks of stone tied to her body and the ropes frayed and broke.

And as she found her still center, she pulsed in the blissful moment of being one with the flow of the world. No thought but feeling infused her...the ancient, slow gong from the core of the planet of Celta itself, with an odd hollowness in the rising note beneath her. The slow warming and awakening in the soil around her, bulbs about to stretch sturdy shoots upward, the push from roots to grow. Then she felt the House itself and smiled. She swore the air around her fizzed with rainbow evanescence...and she, too, was rising in her mind, spending shorter in that time-without-time than she wanted, but she accepted reluctantly that this session was over.

"FirstLevel Priestess, FirstLevel Architect Antenn Moss Blackthorn is outside the door and ready to knock," the House said.

"Call me Tiana." When she used her voice again it was a breathy sigh. She couldn't care. "And, please, let him in."

She heard the door open in a fast shove and lifted her lashes to see Antenn stride in, an intense expression on his face. **There you are. You're mine.** The thought sliced through her drifting thoughts like lightning through mist. She shook her head to clear it, and her whole body tensed to suppress a surge of shocking heat that tingled all her nerves.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Belated Celta Thursday: Chapter notes from Heart Choice

Belated Celta Thursday: Chapter notes form Heart Choice: (I don't usually do these, so they're unusual)

25 – Being on the road and using his Flair to track exhilarated him...

So Mitchella and Drina spent the time together and at the end of the day they walked the halls. Drina exuded satisfaction. **Soon you will be gone and this will be mine. All mine.** Later that night, Mitchella....Mitchella kept busy as long as possible so she keep from dwelling on Straif and Antenn. She knew from her links with both of them that they were fine. She finally quit her office and dragged herself up to her guest suite. She knew from her links they were fine. She was a welter of nerves and she didn’t want to go to sleep for fear something would happen to them while she slept. To her surprise she found Drina sleeping in the middle of her bed – Drina and Mitchella arguing over whose bed it is and whether the other wants to share it. "It’s my bed and I intend to sleep in it. You may share it." Though Mitchella knew to a cat there is hardly ever any compromise. “My feet are cold.” Drina warmed her feet and they fell asleep in harmony with each other.

26- Arrival at mine, mine stuff, hearing, on the trail home, ending with arrival of Straif at the hearing. And since it took two days – the third night...can’t use Flair to hurry the animals up and get back...Straif noticed an easier way to go than T’Ash, because T’Ash is the best with stones, but Straif is better with tracking so he finds a shortcut and they get back a day earlier so he shows up at the hearing.

The day before, Straif was due home, Mitchella was summoned by the noble councils to a hearing...no, someone comes and says, come with me...they come to the Residence, yes, and they convene it there in the Residence. T’Reed and some other people. She’ll say this isn’t fair becuase of the open house stuff and they’ll say this is a preliminary survey. If they’re doing a preliminary she can force it. Everyone who comes will be of higher status than she.

Staif comes home and sends everyone away.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Heart Duel Original Opening

Heart Duel original first chapter, as you can see, most of it turned up in the 3rd scene :): Celta, 403 years after Colonization, Summer
When Holm Holly saw his mother perched on the side of his father's desk, her hand in her husband's, Holm tensed for the emotional blow.

He grumbled inwardly. He'd known someday that this moment would come, but, as usual, they'd surprised him. It must have been T'Ash getting wed or Ruis Elder's love match.

But Holm had just run out of time. And he needed time. He wasn't ready to start his wooing. She wasn't ready.

"Please, sit, son," his father, T'Holly, rumbled and gestured to one of the large, comfortable wingchairs stationed in front of his desk.

Holm stared balefully at the chair. It represented all the reprimands of his childhood. When he became T'Holly and succeeded to the title and the estate, that chair would go.

He reminded himself that he respected his parents and had sworn a loyalty oath to T'Holly as GreatHouse Lord. But Holm's mind sharpened as he sat. He had to play this game of wills smoothly.

His father cleared his throat. "Your mother and I have been talking . . ."

Holm's gut tensed. The worst news always began: "Your mother and I have been talking." Whether it had been problems with manners, responsibilities, his tutor, his psi power -- his Flair -- he'd always sat in this chair and heard those words. Though his father said the words, Holm knew who prompted the little talks. He stared at his Mamá. She didn't meet his eyes.
His teeth clenched in anticipation.

His parents exchanged glances, then his father turned his pewter-gray gaze again onto Holm. "You're thirty-seven, and while that isn't the great age here on Celta as it was on Earth, it is time you married."

Holm would give a great deal of gilt for a stiff drink right now. He sucked in a deep breath, trying to keep his face impassive. "None of my three Passages, the emotional storms that freed my Flair, indicated a HeartMate. I want what you have." Maybe that would earn him a little more time.

His Mamá looked at him with sorrow in her turquoise eyes and moved closer to his father.

"We know you don't have a HeartMate, dear." She sighed. "Many don't." She nodded with determination. "But it's time you wed. A fine marriage can be had with a good woman. Love can follow, I'm sure." Her voice faltered at the end, since being a HeartMate, she couldn't know personally. She swept her hand wide as if encompassing the city. "The Alders have a perfectly happy marriage, and your Aunt Leea loves her husband . . . ."

T'Holly continued for his HeartMate. "We need to know the Holly line will continue. We need heirs. At least two sons from you." His father was being less than his usual diplomatic self. The fact that T'Holly found the topic distasteful didn't stop Holm from resenting him.

"A few daughters would be nice, too," D'Holly murmured. She flashed the charming smile Holm had inherited. "As many as you can engender."

A growl rolled from Holm's lips before he could stop it.

His father raised winged silver brows and looked down his nose. "We expected this reaction."

He tapped a crystal set into the desk. A calendar-moon holo materialized between Holm and his parents.

The ResidenceLibrary spoke. "An appointment with the matchmaker,

GreatLady Saille D'Willow, has been made for Holm, HollyHeir. The meeting was expedited for two days from now, on Quert. It is to be a full session, no gilt limit."

Holm winced. The globe spun faster until it disappeared in a flash of blue-white light.

"We want you to be happy, dear, that's why we're sending you to the foremost matchmaker on Celta. D'Willow shouldn't have any difficulty finding you a suitable wife." His mother sounded troubled but determined.

"But you don't want me to be as happy as yourselves, with a HeartMate marriage," Holm said.

His father snapped into straight rigidity. "You know, if you had a HeartMate, we would do everything in our power to welcome her to the Family."

Holm narrowed his eyes and let a faint smile play on his lips. "Would you?"
"Of course," D'Holly said.

Holm lifted his brows. "By your Words of Honor?"

T'Holly scowled. D'Holly furrowed her forehead. "Yes, by our Words."

"By our Words," T'Holly echoed. "Not that it is applicable. D'Willow's matchmaking ability is the best. She doesn't personally see very many." He cleared his throat and handed Holm a sheet of papyrus. "Perhaps this will help her, and you."

Holm didn't have to read the papyrus to know what was on it. "A list of eligible women from Families with whom it would be advantageous to form a close alliance?" he mocked.

"Don't take that tone with your father," D'Holly said, in reflexive defense of her husband. "I'm sure several of the ladies listed are women you could come to love. I quite like Hedara of GreatHouse Ivy and am very fond of Gwylan of D'Sea."

Holm had heard such names before in the form of dropped hints. He stood. "Speaking of alliances, I trust that this appointment with the matchmaker didn't also include an alliance."

"It's a straight gilt payment," his father gritted.

"Good." Holm went to his mother and lifted her free hand to his lips. "I will follow your wishes in this." But he didn't smile at her like he generally did.
He'd go to the matchmaker. Better to keep his parents in the dark about his mate. A situation they didn't know about, they couldn't meddle in. He'd have to revise his plans, move sooner than he'd wanted. "I trust you will be satisfied with my choice of a wife."

They wouldn't.

He squeezed his Mamá's hand and dropped it, then left.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Heart Thief Cover Story: Belated Celta Thursday

Celta Thursday: Heart Thief Cover: Yes, belated. I was in England when my (new) agent saw the cover of Heart Thief. She was very pleased because it was a "single element" cover, in this case a green emerald heart against a silver background (and the background in the first editions was metallic).

I asked her what it was like, but I don't think she had the cover in front of her, because she couldn't tell (I was at an internet cafe at an odd hour, in Winchester, I think).

This is the hardest cover to show up okay on computer screens, the toned down one works best.
smile emoticon

But the story about Heart Thief is that I had no emerald heart in the book. I had an emerald necklace, but no heart. I had a gyroscope that became the emerald heart. I rewrote the book to include the heart.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Celta Thursday, T'Ash Interview 2, HeartMate Cover Reissue

Celta Thursday, HeartMate Cover Reissue

Early in my career I had very little input into covers, so I didn't see the reissue cover until I actually got my author copies. I like the colors but it was a surprise...and I got that awful "but I didn't mention a tattoo in the book" feeling (as you can tell, I am over that). So I thought about it and when a "vengeance stalk" tattoo might occur. When looked at the text, I saw that Danith would have been the one to see the tatt since it was in T'Ash's point of view. As one of the first things I did for my original website was to interview T'Ash (which I've posted here more than once). I decided to interview T'Ash again, and here it is:

Robin: Hey, T'Ash, I didn't know you had a tattoo.
T'Ash: (smirking) You thought you knew everything about me. Ha!
Robin: (in a small voice) ha ha. (clearing her throat) Tell me about your tattoo.
T'Ash: (raising an eyebrow: You've never heard how the vengeance stalk marks one?
Robin: Uh, no.
T'Ash: It does.
Robin: Do tell.
T'Ash: (staring off into the distance at the starship Nuada's Sword): The tattoo is a matter of Flair, of psi power. I believe it first developed on the generation ships. (He shrugs). You can research that better than I, you are more interested in it than I.
Robin: I 'spose. It was sorta sprung on me.
T'Ash: Now you know what it feels like.
Robin: Tell me more about the tattoo.
T'Ash: When a person formally dedicates themself to the vengence stalk, the tattoo appears, stinging, on the body. Mine is black and red. It is an aspect of the god Arawn, god of vengence. He holds a heart, which means he holds the heart of the one who has sworn revenge. The heart is not then available to give to a mate until the stalk is done.
Robin: Huh.
T'Ash: Is that all?
Robin: Um, so, uh, you had it on the vengence stalk.
T'Ash: Didn't I just say so?
Robin: Yes.
T'Ash: (scowling and looking away, mutters) It also showed up when I went berserk, during the fights with the gangs in HeartMate. No one saw it, but it burned on my arm. I think. I did not look. I was fighting.
Robin: Of course.
T'Ash: I have never felt it since. Never gone berserk since. I will not do so again. (glaring at Robin) Right?
Robin (too heartily): Of course you won't. You got a happily ever after ending and will continue to have one.
T'Ash (narrowing his eyes): I think I see that you have something bad in my future. (putting his hand on his blazer sheathed at his hip). You'd better not hurt my Family.
Robin (llicking her lips): Uh, well, you wouldn't want things TOO perfect, would you?
T'Ash: Yes:
Robin: Oh. Well, I may have, uh, an idea, but you will all survive. I promise.
After a dirty look, T'Ash stalks away.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Celta Thursday, Original Cover of HeartMate

Belated Celta Thursday. :)

Yesterday I spent with a seminar (only half through) of Scrivener with Mac and setting up the new-to-me machine. I am confuddled with the Mac file system, and have found it to be less able to personalize than a windows machine, oddly enough (will talk of that later, I mean menu bars, window colors, icons for folders).

That said, I thought for the next while on Celta Thursday I would talk about the covers of the books. Let me know if this is not of interest to you.

First, of course, HeartMate and it's original cover. As soon as I sold that book in late January 2001, I got an email from my new editor. "Please send pictures of cat." Though the cover is very dated now, it looked fine for the time. For promo, since Danith drank tea, I had teabag covers made. HeartMate was part of the "Magical Love" series of Jove (which had just been acquired by Berkley Publishing Group and the offices had moved...thus one of the reasons I hadn't heard I'd sold for 6-8 months...).

As part of the Magical Love line, HeartMate had to have the magical element in the center of the cover, that's the HeartGift T'Ash is wearing. I didn't have another Fam on the cover until the recent Heart Fortune, but with the novellas I'm doing, from Script of the Heart on, I hope to have a couple and a Fam.

Here's the original cover, with Zanth and his emerald collar. I did describe his head as perfectly round and his ears flat. The reason for this I have learned was because he was a feral, unneutered male (until I let him -- Maddox -- inside). The ears were flat due to either fights or ear infections as a feral cat.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Celta Thursday: Pics of T'Blackthorn Residence

Celta Thursday: Pics of T'Blackthorn Residence (Cliveden). 1) Front, Heart Choice 2) Clock Tower, and still room and herb buildings (used in the secret garden, BalmHeal estate), Heart Fate 3) Draeg's Room above the roof of the wing, Heart Legacy, and Antenn's former rooms on the bottom, Heart Fire

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Celta Thursday: Map

I am not at home with cats and catsitter, and quite tired, so I am posting a black and white map of the northern continent of Celta.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays! Favorite Yule Scene!

This is my favorite Yule scene from Heart Fate:

Celta Thursday, Fav Yule scene: Lahsin opened the door and Tinne Holly saw her FamDog, Strother, trot in. For reasons known only to them, a big, red ribbon tied in a bow was around his neck. He looked ridiculous, but Tinne kept his mouth shut

He also realized that he didn't have a gift for the dog. He reached to the Turquoise House for a bag of cat treats he hid from Ilexa. Since she was still loafing at T'Holly Residence, engorged on Yule feast, she'd never know that he'd given her treats to Strother. He'd replace them before she found out. With effort, he ported them to a spot behind the pillows.

The dog sneezed, blinked watery eyes. **Too much smoke smell in here.**

With a wave and a little regret, Tinne banished the fragrant spirals of incense, another bit of the ritual atmosphere that had blanketed him and Lahsin together, gone.

"I have gifts," Lahsin said, looking at him and Strother.

The dog sat, his tongue lolled out.

"I do, too," Tinne said. "Gifts between Fam and person, then man and animal first."

Strother wagged his tail and gave an approving look to Tinne. **My first gift.** He sat straight and watched as Lahsin brought out something wrapped in softleaves. She put it in front of Strother and he pawed at it until a string of beads fell out.

**A Fam collar!** Strother sounded thrilled.

Tinne studied it. The necklace was composed of bright dried berries and larger rosehips of orange and red, accented with dark seeds and a nut or two, all strung on thread.
Lahsin untied the bow and fastened the collar around the dog's neck. "It looks good against your gray fur."

Sure wasn't the emeralds Tinne's FamCat, Ilexa, had demanded.

But Lahsin had made it with her own hands and that was more important than emeralds, though Ilexa might not think so.

"I've spellshielded the string. It will only break if you get caught and can't get free."

The dog's brows lowered.

"I'll make you a new one if that happens," Lahsin said.

Strother grinned. He trotted to the door and brought a large mass of gray-brown something gently held between his jaws. He dropped it at Lahsin's feet and sat with a doggie grin.
"Mushrooms! Prized truffles! Ooh."

Wagging his tail, Strother said, **I have heard that people consider these tasty.**

"We do," Lahsin assured him. "I haven't seen these in the estate, where did you find them?"

Strother's chest puffed out with pride. **Saw little ones near my den in the glasshouse. Sent them Flair and they grew. For you.**

"Thank you!" Lahsin hugged him.

The dog rumbled satisfaction, then turned his head to Tinne. Tinne brought out the packet of treats. Strother's nose twitched. **Good morsels.**


Lahsin raised her eyebrows at the wording on the envelope: **Special bits for your FamCat from D'Ash**.

Tinne shoved the packet to Strother, who gave it a strong sniff. "Good." He decorated the wrapping with drool.

Lahsin opened package. "You want just one or all of them?"

Strother appeared torn. "Some now. Most for later."

"Excellent," Lahsin said, and fed him about a third.

Strother crunched and slurped. **Human gifts,** he said.

After washing her hands in a bowl of water on the altar, Lahsin reached under the cloth and brought out a small potted plant. "I didn't know if you'd really come," she said to Tinne. But I made you a gift anyway." She handed him the pot.

It was a delicate evergreen tree he'd never seen before. He touched one soft, flexible branch. "Nice. What is it?"

"A Norfolk Pine. They only grow here and in the great greensward of Nuada's Sword, the Residence told me. When I found it, I did some research. Norfolk was a place on old Earth."

He met her eyes. "I'll cherish it."

She handed him a note. "The tending instructions."

Tinne slipped the page in his bag, turned the pot around to admire the small tree from all sides until Strother nudged him. Tinne turned to his bag and lifted out his presents.

He brought her two gifts. One was pale green training robes trimmed in dark green.

Her eyes lit up. "Real robes!"

"Yes. The trim shows you're a second level beginner."

She clutched the robes to her breasts. "Really? Am I?"

He smiled. "You have a few holes in your training, and need to learn the first basic pattern, but you could probably win any match with my beginning students."

She did a little hopping dance at that, put the tunic on. Only then did Tinne realize she was wearing old clothes, though the aura of the Goddess had cloaked her during the ritual.

Strother was nosing Tinne's bag. **Something else, here, something that smells of slowbeast.**

"I have another gift, one made with my creative Flair."

Lahsin looked up with curiosity in her eyes.

Tinne pulled out a small drum he'd made...not his HeartGift. She grinned and eagerly took it from him, settled back on her pillow and began to thump with enthusiasm but little technique. He laughed, pulled his own drum, equally small, and poured his feelings through his hands in cheerful, rapid beats.

"Now we can follow the ancient ways and drum the night away and to the dawn!" Lahsin raised her voice over the sound.

Strother's muzzle gaped. **You will pound on those all night?**

"Yes!" Lahsin threw back her head and laughed.

Her laugh reached inside Tinne, stirred him near painfully, touching places that had been wounded by another woman.

Strother went to his portion of the food and ate and drank politely, then burped and turned to Lahsin. He cast a yearning eye toward the cat treats, but then lifted his muzzle in pride. **You will put my treats in the no-time?** he asked.

"Yes, the Fam no-time in the kitchen that the BalmHeal Residence has so graciously opened to us now."

Tinne figured it hadn't been gracious at all. She glanced at him. "May I keep the orange juice?"

"By all means. The juice was for the ritual, the decanter is my gift to the Residence."

**I will be able to get my crunchies when I want. Good. Then I will go out and show my new collar to other Fams.**

Perhaps not so very different than Tinne's hunting cat after all.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Celta Thursday, Vote on the Cover of Script of the Heart!

I can't decide.

Please vote on which you like the best. However, I will be the one making the decision. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Full Scene in Chapter 4 of Heart Legacy, before revision

Celta Thursday, Heart Legacy. Quick and dirty because I'm WRITING. I think this is a full scene that was cut from Chapter 4 of Heart Legacy (that's the file name):

Sweet and savory spice smells wafted around them and she relaxed more. Now Baccat sent a detailed mental image of the abandoned warehouse district in the northeast part of Druida.

She frowned down at him and said in a quiet voice, "I thought we agreed to leave by the new and small southwest gate in the city?"

His back rippled. **You should know all of Druida, experience various neighborhoods of the city,** he replied in pompous tones.

Impatiently, she said, "I'm not interested in staying in Druida City. I'm determined to leave it. Living in the country at the Valerian estate will suit me fine. And it is in the south, so going out the north gate or the east gate would cause us to circle the city."

**You don't need to lecture, Me!** he snapped.

She ignored him and continued. "The more time we spend near Druida, the more chance we will have of getting caught. And I don't want to even think of the consequences of getting caught."
Her memory shied away from the hardest punishments in her life – whipping when she was young and, after she'd developed her psi powers, having depress-Flair bracelets manacling her wrists. Both had been awful, the physical and emotional hurt as she wondered why her mother would whip her when Lori hadn't thought she'd been bad.

Then the psi-blocking cuffs shutting off all sense of her magic, being unable to use an integral part herself.

It had been scary that there'd even been depress-Flair things small enough to go around her nine year old arms.

No, she didn't want to discover what her Family would do to her if they caught her. "They might kill you, you know," she murmured to Baccat. He hissed and leapt from her grasp, hunched in energetic anger.

Staring at him, she continued, "I'll try my best to protect you. To translocate you away if we're caught, but Cuspid and Folia, and especially the twins, can be sneaky."

**I agree. They can be sneaky and mean. Your Family is mostly unpleasant and all are sneaky and mean.**

She sighed. "Yeah, they are." And she appeared to have gotten the sneaky gene. Maybe if she were away from her Family, she'd do better.

**We should go to the northwest quadrant that I visualized for you,** her Fam insisted.


**Because the legendary secret sanctuary of Druida City is there.** He sat, stopping their progress to the front of the temple and the street, and looked at her from the corner of his eyes, lifted a forepaw and licked it.

**FirstGrove? The estate that only lets in the desperate?** She replied telepathically. All right, that did intrigue her. Then she shook her head and continued the conversation telepathically. **I am not desperate.** She frowned. **I don't think I could be desperate . . . unless they caught us, and if they did, we would probably never escape the Residence again.**

Her Fam sat solidly, staring up at her. **You brim with hope.**

**I do. I truly am full of hope.** She smiled. **I feel better today than yesterday. Probably the horses.**

She drew in a big breath and again herbal smells swirled into her nostrils, but also the scent of the city, of people, of shops selling wares she'd never find on her land, crafted and Flaired goods. Wonderful things. **I am not going to the warehouse district.**

**Would you like to view the Turquoise House?**

"No, why would I?"

**To educate yourself. You should not believe just what the Yews and Yew Residence teaches you.**

"I don't," she said curtly. "I haven't since I was young and my nurse told me to think for myself, and not to believe people who were mean to me." Since her Valerian nurse had been dismissed within a week of that warning, it had truly stuck with Lori.

Along with the kindness of the old stableman and finding her father's memory spheres and recording spheres, she'd been able to block most of the toxic negativity of her Family and their teachings. Lately she'd considered that her heart and spirit had been saved from tainting by her nurse and the stableman, and her father's spheres.

But Baccat's words that she lacked a wide education flicked her on a raw spot. It hadn't been easy, analyzing the Residence's and her teachers' words and figuring out what might be true or not.

"You've told me of the Turquoise House often enough," Lori said. "Let's go explore!"

That shut the cat up.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

News and Celta Thursday: Backstory of Lost Heart

News: I will be publishing Lost Heart (a novella) myself. It's ALREADY WRITTEN. I'm aiming for March so I can release print on demand at the same time.

Celta Thursday: Backstory I wrote for Lost Heart (not in the novella). Barton had never thought that he'd be the last Clover man of his generation to marry. Clovers usually wed early and got started on their families. But they weren't the man who was responsible for the security of the whole Family. Family with a capital f. The entire, now noble, clan.

And that was a job that Barton would never have imagined he had when he was one of the group of children like those who ran past him in the dusk that draped over the Clover Compound courtyard.

But like everyone in his generation, Barton hadn't known that his brother Walker wasn't his full brother, a secret the elders had kept. So having Walker experience three Passages to free his considerable Flair in a couple of days and raise the whole Family to noble status, had been a surprise.

Barton hadn't given Walker enough credit for weathering those stormy seas at the time, he knew now. Because Barton was womanless– well, wifeless – and scrambled every day to keep on top of his job as Head of Security. Even though he'd had that job for ten years.

And now Barton could also see that Walker would fulfill his potential. His quietly sneaky brother would rise to the very top of Celtan society and become the highest leader of them all.
Barton swallowed more brithe brandy that singed his gullet nicely. Yeah, Walker would eventually become Captain of AllCouncils, Barton had no doubt. And that meant security for his brother and the rest of the Family was vital.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Belated Celta Thursday: Cut Scene from Heart Legacy

Belated Celta Thursday, Cut Scene at the Council after attack on young Holly: "Loridand D'Yew has no power-hungry wish," Draeg stated.

"And we only have your word for it," T'Ivy, a former Captain of the Council said.

Spearing him with a look, Draeg said, "I think a few of you are allied with the Traditionalist Stance party?"

"No," T'Ivy snapped, his mouth pulled down. "They go too far."

"They challenged your leadership of the group?"

"They did not listen to us FirstFamily conservatives."

"Of course not, they want power, and will never be able to match the power we have in Flair, not in this generation, and I do not think their group** will last through the next."

"The lower nobles and the middle class commoners are becoming stronger in Flair," ** said Someone Else.

"But the Traditionalists are correct that if we continue with the current qualifications for noble, we will have many Commoners becoming noble," T'Ivy stated.

"As a people we're all growing in Flair, and in wealth," T'Hawthorn, who wasn't that much older than Draeg, and knew all about wealth, said. "I consider that a good mark of a society."

"We got rid of the old Downwind slums," T'Ash said. "And none too soon. We have homes and jobs for those who cannot support themselves because of weak brains or bodies." He stood and stretched, Draeg heard pops. "Those who do not fit in our society have mostly left the city to carve out a living of their own on their own land. That's good, too." His bright blue gaze swept the room. "We care for our own, an' harm none. That is how it's supposed to be. Every individual should be prized on Celta, 'cuz we could still die out here."

Draeg said, "We still have thieves, in the cities and preying on the merchant caravans."

"Will always be evil people, too," T'Ash said. "As for me, I don't think the mind behind these attacks belong to an eighteen year old. If young D'Yew is involved, she's taking orders from someone else, and Zanth thinks not."

Draeg just stared. "Zanth. What does Zanth know about this."
T'Ash's white teeth gleamed against his olive toned skin as he smiled. "Zanth still prowls the alleys of Druida. He sometimes meets other cats. And other cat Fams." Then the powerful** man set his hands on his hips, scrutinized every person in the room. "What we all need to think about is how we will evolve. Not only the society around us, and how we might be able to shape our culture through rituals for the good of all as we have since our ancestors landed, but how we FirstFamilies as a group should evolve." He grunted. "That's my thought for the evening."
He slanted Draeg a look. "Can't you figure out how to bring young D'Yew to me to Test her?"

"Not great T'Ash," Draeg said. "Maybe a roadside peddler, or low-class shopkeeper."

Now T'Ash's eyes gleamed, he tipped a hand in Draeg's direction. "That might be fun." Then he teleported away. Draeg thought that Zanth might not be the only one who missed a little rough and tumble in the alleys.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Fortune

Celta Thursday, cut from Heart Fortune. Since I'm working on Lost Heart, the novella that fits in the timeline of Heart Fortune, I've been perusing that book. I might have used this before, but here it is: "We can put a satellite up!" Dani Eve Elder beamed. "I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time.

The Ship, Nuada's Sword, said, "I, too. A communications satellite."

"I've been working on one, and receivers for its waves. We'll need to send equipment with you," Dani Eve said. "Something that's easily assembled by amateurs," she grumbled. "We don't know anyone who is there with good and simple mechanical experience, do we?"

"No," Nuada's sword said.

"Having instant communications between people who aren't telepathic with each other over long distances would be a great boon."

Dani Eve frowned. "I'll double check all my work, let you know. You'll need a bigger airship than a bullet plane."

Glyssa was grateful for that, she hadn't been enthusiastic about sitting in a little two-person ship going at extreme speed.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Legacy

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Legacy. I didn't know when I would start the story, so this became backstory:

**I have decided to accept your offer of a home with you and living in your stables,** said a slightly pompous voice in her head.

The Fam she'd found! He'd called to her mentally for a month, since she'd first begun her excursions into Druida and had found him prowling from one alley to another. She'd given him furrabeast jerky she'd had with her, and they'd actually talked, discussed various topics. He'd helped her firm up a map of the city in her head.

**Thank you!** she enthused back to him telepathically.

**You promise good food and a warm room of my own.**


**You may come and get me tonight.** A feline sniff.

**I will.**

**I will be in the alley near the beginning of Bountry Boulevard. I will see you later.**

**Yes.** Her very own Fam, a thrill surged through her. Life was good.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Heart Legacy Tomorrow!

Heart Legacy tomorrow! Starred Library Journal Review:
*Owens, Robin D. Heart Legacy. Berkley Sensation. (Celta, Bk. 14). Nov. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780425263976. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781101604953. FUTURISTIC ROMANCE
For centuries, the FirstFamilies, descendants of the original psychically gifted (Flaired) Earth colonists who settled Celta, have been the most powerful social tier on the planet. Now with strongly Flaired Commoners beginning to make their way into the Nobility, threatening the status quo, there is dissention in the ranks and sly, near-deadly attacks begin against the children of newly raised families. When the evidence points to the conservative, reclusive Yews, adopted FirstFamily Fighter Draeg Betony Blackthorn goes undercover as a stableman to see what he can learn. What he finds is his HeartMate in young Loridana Valerian, the embattled titular head of the Yews. Sharply depicted characters, a touching, passionate romance, and a plot promising more political turmoil make this a worthy addition to Owens’s magical world that becomes richer with every book. ­VERDICT A cruelly used, animal-loving heroine set on rejecting her heritage and a hero determined to change her mind come together in a captivating story highlighting issues of loyalty, responsibility, and trust. Owens (Ghost Killer) lives in the Denver area.

http://amzn.to/1kmBvv5 At Amazon

BN: http://bit.ly/1KU0Zp4

Many thanks! Now comes the nervous time!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Samhain Ritual, LONG Excerpt from Heart and Soul in Hearts and Swords

Genista blinked as she exited her back door. Cardus had removed a large section of the fencing between their back yards and placed the altars across the property lines. It appeared a little odd, and she noted that the section of fence was propped against his southern boundary. He stood, waiting, his face impassive, watching her – to see if she’d object?
Something about the space, the flow of energy on this special evening, had her remaining on the stoop and closing her eyes...and feeling the last hint of summer warmth in a breeze, then the air stilled and thrummed with the promise of a new year.

A saying goodbye to the last, and a welcome to the new.

Cardus’ energy was vital and masculine and pulled to all the feminine in her. She became aware of the soft, heavy robe she wore, her only garment. She recalled the kiss the night before, his lust that had sent heat through her body. The small and quiet moments they had shared.

Then another bounding energy swept towards her.

**I am here! Whin projected. And I have gifts!**

She laughed and her eyes opened and her cheeks flushed when she saw that Cardus still watched her. The FamDog sat beside him, two bundles of cloth before him tied with a string. Intriguing.
She moved toward them, carrying a basket containing items for the altars, and food to honor the Lady and Lord.

Cardus wore leathers – good furrabeast that might have been harvested at this time years ago – honoring the animals that fed and clothed him.

Walking slowly, she watched the sun set with red and pink and orange at the horizon. Twilight blue gave way to deep black in the sky, and the full twinmoons soared high and bright and silver. Stars twinkled like diamond spangles.

The altar for the dead was small, he’d put a silver wheel there to represent acquaintances lost in the past. The object would serve for both of them. Her steps hesitated as she saw the weathered sculpture of a family of three, and she knew that it was his family. She’d never asked, but now she knew he was the sole survivor of a small family.

Her Family was large for the nobility, and no unexpected or tragic deaths had touched it.

She had only one remembrance marker for the altar and it ripped the scar in her wide open. When she reached the wooden altar, she placed the small white stone image of a curled, sexless baby on the black cloth. Her womb felt empty and cold and her cheeks colder still as tears ran down her face and chilled in the evening.

Standing, head bowed, she wept as she’d wept the last two years when she’d done this, as she anticipated she’d always weep in the future.

Then warmth surrounded her. Cardus was close behind, then his body was touching, then his arms wrapped around her and drew her to him.

"I’m sorry for your loss," he said in a low, rough voice and she knew it wasn’t just a platitude, he meant it. Immediately after she’d lost her baby, there had been more pity than she could bear. Her pride had made her futilely grasp for outward status to set people at a distance.

"I’ve heard that nothing is as devastating as the loss of a child, and I wish you hadn’t had to experience that," he continued, rocking her gently in his arms.

They stayed together until she pulled a softleaf from her sleeve and wiped her eyes, blew her nose. Then he turned her to face him, his expression sympathetic and tender.

He said, "We have lost, yet we go on. The old year is passing, the new year rushing toward us. We bring memory tokens of our loss, food for our Lady and Lord and our dead, a scrip of that inside us we wish burned away." His voice was vibrant as he said the first words of the ceremony.

Reluctantly she drew away from him and stepped toward the altar. From her basket she withdrew her cauldron, her goblet, a statue of the Lady, a rose quartz candlestick. She put a small shell bowl on the altar and poured fragrant herbal water into it. Last, she stacked oat and apple cakes that she’d made a couple of days ago.

Cardus set her candlestick on one side of his Lord candlestick and her Lady figurine on the other side. Though they were of different materials, they all seemed to match and a small smile curved her lips.

He caught her gaze. "They look well together."

"Yes." His Lord candlestick was leafy and green and taller than her voluptuous Lady.

Hesitantly she placed her rolled up papyrus next to the cauldron and next to his. She wanted to vanquish grief and regret.

Whin stood and sniffed at the altar, sneezed. His tongue swiped out and caught a cake and he crunched it, bits falling from his muzzle.
Instead of scolding the dog, Cardus flung back his head and laughed. Genista laughed, too. Cardus caught her fingers and lifted them to his lips, brushed a kiss on her fingertips, nodded to the small cairn of stones marking the north elemental point. "Shall we cast the circle?"


Hand in hand they crossed to the north and continued to each compass point, calling the Elemental energies to guard the circle and contribute to it. As they chanted the circle closed the atmosphere was imbued with power. Inside the circle became a mystical, sacred space where they were linked to the Lady and Lord, where psi Flair could affect their lives. Every moment she was aware of Cardus’ hand holding hers, of the energy they called cycling between them, closely connecting them.

Her breath and Cardus’ whispered out at the same time. She turned back toward the altar and stumbled over Whin.

Cardus steadied her and they both looked down at the FamDog.

Genista cleared her throat as she spoke to their companion. "It’s unusual for Fams to be part of a such a small circle."

Whin looked aside, whined a bit. **Never been with people in circle. Like the feeling. Stay?**

"Of course you can stay," Genista said, just as Cardus said, "Sure."

Standing and wagging his tail, Whin lolled his tongue in a doggie smile. **Thanks.** He did a long stretch, popping joints. **Feels very good.**

Dog following, they walked to the altar. Cardus looked down at her and said softly, "I accept the godhood of the Lord within myself," he rumbled and she grew hotter at the sound of his low voice, with more. He lit his candle, took her hands again and she accepted the jolt of attraction that melded into a bond between them.

His gaze caught hers and heat radiated from their hands throughout her body. "I cherish the Lady within you."

She breathed unsteadily, felt a sifting of feminine power shiver through her, from the earth, the moons, the stars, settling into her blood. "I accept the goddesshood of the Lady within myself." Her voice sounded rich and sultry to her own ears, and a flush tinted Cardus' cheeks. She squeezed his hands. "I cherish the Lord within you." Then she lit her candle and they sang the Blessing Chant, welcoming the power of the deities into their circle.

They took turns with the rest of the general ritual, singing songs that had been passed down through their culture for centuries. Genista felt both herself, and Other, and that Other was so much more than she, wise and knowing that this was a reverence for the dead...but underneath it all, joyous. That Other knew the mysteries of life and death.

And for a brief while, Genista sensed such knowledge and was comforted, her heavy grief was gone. She moved slowly, deliberately, and when she glanced at Cardus there was Another below his skin, occasionally looking out of his eyes, a man of wisdom and wildness. Warrior. Lover.

He grasped her hands once more and they seemed even harder with callouses. His voice was richer, deeper.

"We honor the dead," he said. "Those who have passed to the Wheel of Stars."

"We honor the dead," she repeated, "Those who have passed to the Wheel of Stars." She was so mesmerized by the flicker of candlelight in Cardus’ gaze, the feel of the soft and warm breeze swirling around her, that she didn’t look to her token. True surcease.

"And we celebrate Samhain, the new year," Cardus said, continued,
"As the Twinmoons cycle,
As the seasons change and
Life itself cycles,
We honor the dead and the past
And embrace life and the future."

He reached out to his piece of papyrus and flicked it into the cauldron where it flamed and vanished in smoke. She did the same.

Then they reached for each other’s hands. She knew the next words, the old words, but felt them shiny with newness.

"By the arcs and cycles of the twinmoons
By the dance of the sun through the sky and the seasons
By the circle of life and the circle of stars
I will live, love, die, and live again.
Always loving.
I will live, meet, remember, embrace love and life again."

It felt like a promise to this man.

Whin howled and that enriched the ceremony, enriched the night. Then she looked at Whin and said the words again with Cardus.

They held his large goblet between them. He drank first, then she. She fed him an oak cake and he did the same. They allowed Whin to dip his tongue into the wine, eat another cake.

In a daze, Genista thanked the deities, felt the Other rise away, and opened the circle with Cardus.

Cold air rushed in and the stars themselves seemed to frost.

Out of the Blogosphere
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