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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Friday, September 30, 2005

Juggling Priorities

There is nothing I want to do right now more than stay in bed and sleep...but I am at Archon with FOUR panels today, I have this daily blog :) and you may have noticed it is now the end of the month...

Well, my website update HAS been done and sent to my new webmistress -- I figure those who read it monthly, and maybe look at the Free Your Artist pages (ok, ok, those who come for the contest), like to see it updated in a timely manner, which I don't always do. Sometimes it's more like 6 weeks before it's updated instead of a month.

BUT. I promised to judge contests. I can be a sucker for doing that. I finished one contest on time and sent the stuff back. This next one is due today. I've read the entries and sent one back, the other two I'm dithering about because I want to help and am considering the scoring...

And I asked for a "Tell Tale" page at Access Romance, and that has to be done. So I'm sitting here in the dim room and getting the blog done and thinking about everything else I have to do and that it's an hour EARLIER here (midnight comes earlier...yes, I'm that desperate and who sleeps at cons anyway?)...and crunching a granola bar I happen to have with me. My hotel doesn't have mugs so I can't have tea yet....

Back on topic -- priorities. Every writer has them. Those who have a day job (I really recommend this) has more. I am lucky that I don't have a husband and children, because they would come first. As it is, the cats muscle in on my writing time.

Contest judging is important. It's important to give back to the writing community, but right now, thinking All About Me, that's what I would cut. Especially around deadline time. And I'm pretty sure the effort I put into Archon is NOT going to payoff -- but with writing and publicity, who knows?

So Me and Promotion and Writing Heart Quest and Paying Back all mush together in my mind and I know my life is out of balance. I did not choose my priorities well this month - or rather I bit off more than I could chew...

And that's my writing and publishing wisdom for today - by example. Set your priorities, try and figure out how much time each will demand (double it) and WRITE.

May your writing flow freely today so you can make the most of every minute.

Love to all,

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Archon 1 -- Romance vs. SF/F

Well, I'm here, but I am having doubts. It will be better when the con is actually going. I've attended Mile Hi Con for years, but this is supposed to be much bigger.

And I'm afraid of tomatoes. Ok, some people might not be that rude, but on the whole, the romance genre isn't given a great deal of respect. This is true of sf/f fans (science fiction/fantasy fans, too) So, though this con is trying to talk about cross-over and has a couple of lines of programming on it, I don't know. I was singed badly at a con a couple of years ago -- truly the most humiliating moment of my life (and NO I won't tell the story. Ever.) So I am a little wary.

I slacked off in getting promo items (teaser booklets) of Guardian of Honor, so most of my promo stuff is for the Heart books -- wallet calendars, etc. and some booklets, but I am hesitating putting them out. I DID bring all my cover flats for Guardian and Sorceress and will put them out, whether anyone will want them, I don't know. I'll see how things swing before I put out the leftover booklets (HeartMate, Thief, and Duel).

Now, I went to bed at 10:30, got up at 1:30 and I'm pretty beat, so off I go...

May the writing come smoothly today.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sorceress of Faith Arc up for Katrina Auction

This is brief. It's gray and rainy here and will be the same when I reach St. Louis for Archon tomorrow...but meanwhile, I'm doing another bit for Katrina victims. A Rough, rough (ruff ruff ruff) draft of Sorceress of Faith is up for auction, with real cover flat, here.

ALONG WITH Luna books from Anne Kelleher and Christie Golden. Go forth and bid -- you, too, can see how I write rough. I did say my word for the book was "nasty" right? The monster was nasty, the monster's TEETH were nasty....

No, the galleys haven't come for it yet...today I hope because I'm leaving at 3am tomorrow for Archon.

May inspiration STRIKE us all today. LOL. Is that a blessing or curse?

Love to all

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Galleys and Titles and Art, Oh, MY!

Well, I got a few emails from my editor of my next Luna book yesterday....The one that was called Knight Protector. I finally had talked myself around to liking "Defender of Trust." My editor is doing the art sheet (we talked about art sheets here -- and I had to submit another one last week) and the art meeting is today. The new art sheet wanted to know about themes and relationships, etc., so I cut and pasted bits of my synopsis (log line, overall series arc, character descriptions) and plugged them in. Did NOT have time to make the 12 page synopsis 1000 words. I have a feeling the art sheet is what goes EVERYWHERE (to other editors/sales people) to explain the book, but I simply had no time last week. So that's the Art bit of this blog.

My editor didn't like the title, "Defender of Trust," so now it looks as if the book will be "Protector of the Flight" (the volarans -- flying horses). Another thing completely out of the author's hands (unless it's written in the contract or it's one of those battles you want to use up any goodwill you have fighting). I hope I hear what the title is soon, so I can refer to the right book.

Galleys -- and why I am so cranky. Galleys for Sorceress of Faith are coming.

In two packages because it's so large.

Due back October 10.

Galleys are what Berkley calls Page Proofs, the layout of the book as it will look printed. Galleys is the stage of the publishing process where I completely lose it. From the moment I saw the page proofs of HeartMate, I've freaked at this particular time. I used to think it was because it means the book is REAL. Staring in the dark last night, I revised that opinion. Galleys are the point where you MUST get things right or it goes to print with all the mistakes. And it's written in every author's contract that you can only make so many changes to Galleys (that was because the type use to be hand SET and changing it was a hassle, in these days of computers, I don't know if that still is true).

I don't do Galleys. Usually I'm so tired of the book that I can't see any problems, and punctuation precision is not interesting to me. So I hand them off to a friend who LOVES to line edit, Rose Beetem, and I pay her a pittance. Over the last few books, the pittance has grown, but it is still small. I hope she'll stick with me after this one.

I think I told you that I revised the first three chapters of Sorceress of Faith several times. Well, one of those times was after I turned it in, which means when the copy edits came, I hacked those chapters to pieces and moved text around and deleted. So much so, that the first chapters of the copy edits are NOT PRETTY. One might almost say "barely legible." Well, Rose has to compare the galleys to the copy edits I photocopied before I sent them back.

I HAD made most of the changes on my computer as I revised, naturally, but not the punctuation stuff. So last night, instead of writing, I worked on ensuring the chapters on my computer conformed to the copy edits so I could print them out as a help for Rose. Oh, and I attended a chat with Christine Feehan at sff.net. (I have a page at People at sff.net, or at least I paid for one).

Galleys still scare me.

May you be able to work through any fears you have today as you face your writing. (that's the meagre affirmation/blessing of the day).
Love to all,

Monday, September 26, 2005


I've overextended myself on conventions this year. There are many reasons to go to various conventions for a writer:

Romantic Times (to promote and meet readers and friends)

Romance Writers of America (or other professional association -- to network with editors and agents and colleagues and meet friends)

Archon (see above link -- to promote, and, hey, guess what two of my favorite people will be there -- Harry and Susan Squires -- Harry writes as H.R. Knight)

Mile Hi Con (to have fun with friends, to promote -- hey, I've been going to this one for years!)

World Fantasy Con (to network -- but I have to miss this one, my niece is getting married)

So that's it. Next year I'm already promised to RWA in Atlanta, where my agent is, and Romantic Times, where a good friend, Linnea Sinclair is.

But if you're an introverted writer -- these can be exhilerating but draining.

See you online, and may you find inspiration within and without today.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Staring at the Ceiling

So. What works for you to spark inspiration? Walking is good for me, sometimes exercising. I've heard some people get the best ideas driving (and consider a microcasette recorder for this). That's happened occasionally for me, too. My best critique buddy works in the garden (and probably Nora Roberts does, too. I understand she has fabulous gardens).

When I'm asked this, I usually say staring at the ceiling -- and it usually brings a smile or laugh. But it's true. I have a waterbed and I stare at my white pebbled textured ceiling and let my mind wander (or think hard). If I wiggle, the bed and I rock and it's more fun, though that's an effort. And I repainted my bedroom walls with that sponge technique so now they can be REALLY pink or quite coral or a mixture, depending on the light. So sometimes I look at the walls.

I'm better at letting my mind rest than I was, and I believe that's what's needed...a quiet mind to let ideas free-float, shape, re-shape, metamorphose, and stick.

My 2 cents for the day. But if one thing doesn't work for you, try another -- candlelit baths, working with your hands on another creative project, washing dishes, vacuuming, cooking.

A quiet mind can be a very good thing.

Love to all and may inspiration leak through your busy thoughts from your quiet mind today!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Creativity 2

All right. If you've been following my blog, you all know that I have strong feelings about creativity. First, I believe that EVERYONE is creative -- whether it's at baking, raising children (there's no more creative process!) knitting, fishing, mapmaking, or software design.

I also believe that if you want to be a writer, you focus on your writing and not any other creativity. That is, you give most of your creative input/output to your writing. You don't split between writing and painting or writing and composing.

But playing with other creative outlets is fine. I used to do improv and was pretty good at one time, but when my group broke up, I didn't search for another one. It didn't mean that much to me. Every year at this time I'm asked to participate in an improv show at Mile Hi Con. I decline. I am beyond rusty and nervous onstage. Now, as I said before, I play with graphics.

In HeartMate, I mentioned a set of Divination Cards, and a spread (way to lay them out). A couple of months back I was asked where to get these a couple of times (I don't know, but I think there was a bet going on -- "they exist" "no, they don't"). Well, I'd made them up, but it got me thinking that I could do my playing with graphics thing and make some up.

The first card mentioned is Heir of Wands (I had to look that up, it's a wonderful thing, FIND in document), but I haven't made one of those up. I mentioned the GreatSuite, which I would liken to the Major Arcana (but not 21 cards) of the Tarot. One of the next cards mentioned was the Crimson Nuts of Knowledge -- Hazel, which includes the salmon of wisdom eating the nuts, then being eaten himself. Well, I got the Hazel tree, hazel nuts, and a salmon. I know this isn't great art, but it satisfies me. And someday, maybe--- or maybe not.

Anyway, here it is. My playtime to help refill my writing muse.
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May the knowledge of a new technique grace you today,

Friday, September 23, 2005

When To Quit The Day Job

I ran across this formula by Robert Asprin (I believe it’s him, if it isn’t my deepest apologies and I will correct). Quit the day job when:

You have 5 books published (each doing better)
You have 3 books under contract
You have 150% of your annual salary saved.

Depressing, ain’t it…most of my “extra” money goes to promotion/advertising. I’m going to Archon next week which will cost more than anticipated and I’m uncertain whether the exposure will help me.

Sigh. It’s Friday, I have critique tomorrow, but…

OTOH, my PRISM Winner pin came today, yeah!

Love to all,

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Themes - Names

Every story has a theme whether you know it ahead of time or discover it through the book. The general theme of romance is: Love Conquers All. Mystery: Crime Doesn't Pay.

And authors tend to explore or use a theme time and again. I think the underlying theme of all my work is Know Thyself. The hero or heroine, or both, are usually discovering their true self in my books. And for me, for a while, this was symbolized by a change in their names.

In HeartMate, Danith Mallow finally discovers that she DOES have magic and is Tested and jumps a couple of social classes -- and is asked by a clerk what she wants her new Noble name to be. T'Ash struggles with integrating his various "parts," Noble young childhood, slum growing-up years, powerful Noble adulthood. The overall "outer" plot is haves vs. havenots/gangs.

In Heart Thief, Ruis is denied his name because he has no magic (Flair) and INSISTS on justice (actually he wants revenge, but he ends up with justice). This is an outcast vs. society story.

In Heart Duel, Holm thinks he knows who he is, but finds out he doesn't. He also wants to call his mate by something no one else does, so uses one of her middle names. The outer plot is Romeo and Juliet, and family approval.

In Heart Choice, Straif Blackthorn has been searching for years for a "cure" to a faulty gene so his family name is carried on. He learns that families can be "made" and love of family members is what makes them family more than blood.

And in Guardian of Honor, when Alexa goes to Lladrana, they can't pronounce her name. Those people who CAN are the most important to her. The theme for this book was "What would you do to fit in?"

Or, you can say that I write about families -- becoming, disintegrating, changing.

That's my work. Take a look at yours.

May your writing flow as easily as a great river today.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005


A very short post this am since I'm running late. Tools -- how do you write? Pencil and paper, pen and paper longhand? Typing on an AlphaSmart? Desktop only or laptop only or both? I have desktop and laptop and type on them according to mood, whether I think I'll be distracted by the net (the laptop has no net access) and how messy my u-shaped desk is. Right now I have Diva sitting staring at me waiting for her food. Definitely clutters up the desk.

Keep your tools in working order. I thought of this because I have to take my laptop into the shop. The "k" key is sticking. This is not good when you are writing about a Kitten Fam named GreyKu. Oh, and I have to take Diva into the vet, too -- she's part of my inspiration and she has a wet cough.

Also, do you know (or make) macros that save you time? Wordperfect has one I LOVE called SAVTOA (which I've modified with various success to SAVTOE or SAVTOF) where you press one icon and the program saves your work to your hard drive and a diskette/flash drive. It's one of those "extra" macros that isn't installed regularly but hides out on the "custom" part of the install program...sorry if I'm not describing this right. I HAVE to run.

Take care and GOOD WRITING, (hmmm, I think I should add a little blessing every day) You all deserve it, and I do, too!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pantzer Problem Solving -Wordcount

Yes, I am a pantzer (writing by the seat of my pants, flying into the mist, driving into the fog) and I write Out Of Sequence. I'm also obsessive about wordcount (to prove to myself that I'm progressing, and to hold myself accountable). So what happens when I write up to a scene (or several) that I've already done and are previously "counted," like yesterday?

I keep a separate file, called Wordcounts and as I write I copy the new stuff into the file called 09-19-05 (the date). Yesterday (you people are keeping me motivated) I didn't make my 5000 words, but I did make my 20 pages. I wrote 4422 words = 20 pages and 1 line. And I did that plot thing.

I had to revise a chapter because of the plot (and I'm setting up characters for the next Heart book I hope to sell), and I reached a scene which was no longer applicable because of the plot growth and salvaged only a couple of paragraphs out of 5 pages. :(

With those "unuseable" scenes I do a couple of things. First, since the plot has moved past it, I look to see if I can incorporate it into the earlier scene that I wrote that had the same arc. In this instance, I could have, but it would have made the previous scene longer and more unweildy. That is, I could have satisfied my artistic ego to add some cute dialogue with the kitten instead of keeping the scene leaner for my readers. I went with craft.

I also saved the scene in a file I call "Holds," which is a catchall -- for backups, revised scenes, original scenes, bits I don't use. And when Heart Quest is published, I can post this particular scene -- a cut one -- on my website, which also pleases my readers.

That's it. I'm tired (and while writing this, I had inspiration for the next book and wrote a scene for it in another window. You NEVER turn down inspiration unless you're at a place where you can't write or dictate or jot a note. I wrote the beginning of Heart Quest before a memorial service -- the mother of a friend died of alzheimer's complications and age). Anyway, I'm tired and it's a work day.

So checking in to you with my free Monday, I did well. I also got a reality check budget wise, so it's more Costco shopping for me. But that was the tradeoff and I'm happy.

Love to all,

Monday, September 19, 2005

Every Book Different

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They say that writing every book is different. And that's true (see you got my pithy advice in the first line today, you can go now...). Sometimes you get stuck in different places, sometimes it comes easily and sometimes harder. Sometimes you have trouble with your heroine or your hero.

Today something happened that hasn't since my very first ms. I've been fretting about Heart Quest, I have some scenes written and I have to tie them up chronologically...and I woke up and thought about the PLOT! Yes, I know. I DO think about this...but it really got out of hand, until I was PLOTTING the book. What a concept.

Anyway, I knew if I stayed in bed, I would lose it all, so I got up and put as much down on computer as I remembered (even walking from the bed to the office can have a deleterious effect on my memory, especailly accompanied by hungry cats who sit in front of the monitor and pat your face with their paws, claws not -- quite -- extended). So I made a list of what would happen next and of course NEW ideas came, too. Excellent!

This is not something that happens to me, and I don't know as I'd care for it to happen. I'd like the time to sit down and write and meander along, but I don't have it.

I DO, however, know when I'm coming to the end of a book. THEN is when I sit down and list about 12-15 scenes (one lines) of what happens. That is usually solid, and REALLY tells me when I am close to done. It's a moment I prize because now I know I can finish the book. Maybe I'll look up an old one for you and post it tomorrow.

Love to all, Robin (btw, the locket with key -- Heart Quest will have a key on the cover, you know!) is from the collection of one of my favorite places. The Victoria and Albert museum in London.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

An Angela Knight Novella!

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Angela is a true mistress of writing short (not that her long books aren't awesome, either), but I first learned of Angela by her short, exquisite pieces.


“Warfem” featured in KICK ASS by Angela Knight

They're sexy. They're smart. And they aren't afraid of a little danger-not even when it comes to matters of the heart...

In “Warfem,” Alina Kasi reunites with her lover Baird Arvid after two decades apart. Passion instantly blazes between the two superhuman warriors, but old enemies and new lies may tear them apart. And Alina dreads what Baird will do when he finds out about the secret she’s been keeping for the past twenty years. But she soon discovers she’s not the only one keeping secrets.

Four of today's hottest authors present a quartet of stories about bold women who take no prisoners-either in a fight or in love. Whether it's in the bedroom, in the outer limits of the galaxy, or out on the mean streets, they kick heart-stopping action to the next level. These are women who can hold their own and aren't to be trifled with. The men in their lives know that-and they love it...


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Now THIS is a Pegasus -- Kinuko Craft

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By Kinuko Craft -- The Luna books also has a contest through this gallery. I can't enter it, of course, but you can!


It's the Duirwaigh Gallery.

love Robin (sorry, Diva is sitting in front of a corner of my monitor).

Publishing Fire Drill -- Art Fact Sheet

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I was also told I needed to get stuff for the art sheet of Knight Protector/Defender of Trust asap, as usual. This particular heroine (an ex barrel racer due to a bad fall, and rancher) will be working with the Chevaliers of Lladrana. The volarans (winged horses) believe that she is Summoned for THEM. I want a woman on a flying horse and I told them this:

"Calli (Callista) Torcher: Average height, girl-next-door pretty, blond hair, blue eyes, rancher, ex-barrel racer, curvey and athletic. I'd like her riding a volaran (see pics of winged horses). Volarans are regular colored horses, any color is fine. In Colorado she will wear jeans/flannel-plaid or chambray shirts. In Lladrana she will wear flying/fighting leathers which can be brown or ANY COLOR EXCEPT WHITE, if you want to do gray lizard skin, that might be good. She can have a chain-mail tunic and a helmet, or a helmet attached to the saddle. A filly can also be shown, mother and daughter."

I told them the background I wanted (but won't tell you because it might give away the story a bit), but also told them they could use pics of her flying above Windsor (top left) or Warwick (top right). For those of you who have read Guardian of honor, I had this picture in mind when I described when Bastien went to the Castle and met his father (though the buidlings aren't exactly the same and the courtyard is stone, I'm talking about the SUNDIAL).

So I sent a few winged horses. Ever look at wings on horses? I spent hours a few months ago when writing Sorceress of Faith doing that. Some wings are horizontal and go across the body. These are more likely but I've had Alexa and Bastien riding double and even with Alexa being small, that doesn't look probable. So I've considered wings angled across the shoulder. Ciro Marchetti has a wonderful one of his Knight of Swords in his Tarot of Dreams (which I purchased), but I don't know if it's up on his website: http://www.ciromarchetti.com and Nene Thomas has the Carousel Horses (I bought TWO posters of the brown one and gave one to a friend). http://www.nenethomas.com/galleries/faefants/prints/hunterbrown.html

You will notice that the last two times I've been immediately requested for art, I haven't had to scramble. Just pick some ideas that I've saved and send them off. I do my art ideas well in advance -- and I DO spend hours looking at things -- like the best pics of the Flatirons (not on Sorceress of Faith cover, but emailed to the art dept. all the same), or swords, or boxes, or pegasuses (pegasi? pegasae?) or keys.

So, be prepared. Know what you want ahead of time.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Publishing Firedrill

I received a note from my Luna editor last evening (you know, it always seems like quitting time Thursday afternoon in NY that I get these little prizes), that the Knight Protector name has to go. She said they wanted something active like Defender. Huh. I LIKE Knight Protector, it seems active to me. But this is one of those Pick Your Battles sort of things, and in this instance, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t win anyway. When a publisher wants a new title it’s rare for an author to win. I’ve only known one person to do it.

And I’m NOT a good title crafter. One of my mss. was known as Opus 3, and Guardian of Honor was always “The Summoning, Castle – Exotique Alexa” until crunch time a while back and I set down and wrote out a LONG list of titles. Didn’t learn what was chosen until I attended a live chat…So I gave her Defender of Trust. And since the Coloradan woman Summoned will be living with the Chevaliers (Knights) and the volarans (flying horses) think she has been Summoned for THEM, I said also Defender of the Flight.

And I was told to get art ideas to them immediately, too. I think I’ll talk on that tomorrow.

Love to all,

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Of the nine books I’ve written, (3 not contracted for) only the second – never sold – was based on a dream I had. BUT I’m a believer in “think about a tough problem and you can wake up with the solution.” I had a horrible dream last night – either about a writing career or life – in the general “nobody gets out of this alive” theme, but I woke up with an idea for revising a scene that didn’t work as well as I wanted.

So pay attention to your dreams – and they CAN be a mine of story ideas, twists, SO IF SOMETHING STRIKES YOU WRITE IT DOWN before it fades away into the ether and hits someone else on the head in one of those synchronistic moments….

Love to all,

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Writing Process -- Archon

First, this is the 3rd week I've been officially "writing" on Monday. I really didn't count last Monday since it was a holiday.

The first Monday I spent hours with my mentor/critique buddy, Cassie Miles, refining and plotting my contemporary paranormal romance series. Last Monday I did family stuff and a little writing.

Today I fiddled around and really didn't get going until afternoon. BUT, I did manage to put my butt in the chair long enough for me to drip drip drip some words from a vein onto the page and finally some inspiration came and some scenes unrolled. I fussed with one chapter, wrote another (16 pages) and finished the first scene of a third. Total word count didn't quite make my goal of 5000 words -- 4659 -- but DID make my goal of 20 pages (about 21), which is why I prefer wordcount, it is almost always larger than 250/pg.

I am now up to some written-out-of-sequence scenes that I'll be able to plug in.

OTOH, I found out that I screwed up my travel plans for Archon -- thinking I was going in on Friday but am actually going in on Thursday. I'll probably park my stuff at the concierge of the hotel I'm staying at (NOT the conference hotel, I was late in that, too) and pound on the laptop to work on Heart Quest.

All in all, I'm feeling exhausted (brain dribbling out of my ears) but satisfied. A lot of ** in my work today -- characters I need to name, mostly.

One of those Bottom Line Questions. Does Writing Make You Feel Better?
Yes. I glow with triumph, and I'll wake up with that glow, too, even though I'll have to make my workday wordcount all over again.

So, writing information today -- wordc0unt, the process of one pantzer, and a reminder of a bottom line question.

And, of course, you all (and my dayjob people, who ask if I was productive) keep me honest. THANK YOU.

Love to all,

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Critique by Me on Ebay

RIGHT NOW, IT'S ONLY $10. All right, I did two of these for Trish Jensen last year (one for about $40 and one for about $100) and both victims -- er, winners -- said that they benefited enormously. I got thank you cards!

One said she did much better in a contest this year and gave me much of the credit though it's her own hard work, and her own willingness to take critique that really made her final. Of course I was brutal, and I'll ask the winner how tough they want me to be and whether they want me to line edit (change wording, pace, move and delete paragraphs) or be general -- this idea needs development, here I was confused...

So go forth and bid. There are many, many people who lost everything, and I've donated to people and for pets and sent food and supplies, but this is how I KNOW I can help one. Bid often! I promise to do an excellent job -- but I won't tell you it's sparkling if it needs work.

Love to all,

Monday, September 12, 2005

Saving Your Work -- Redundancy is Not Too Much

All right. I looked at my laptop files, my desktop files, and my 512 flash drive for the 1/2 of the blog that didn't get loaded. Not on any. Not in my email. So I am hoping I saved it (I don't often save my blog entries) to a flash drive I keep at work in case my house burns down...yes, writer = neurotic.

Yes, I save to all. I also have a couple of gmail accounts. One for author/promo/website stuff and one as a backup for my writing.

Too many times in the past I've ripped my office apart to find something on a scrap of paper, or searched and searched my computer for that bit of brilliance...I spoke on organizing files for a pantzer and on saving. And the best desktop search program I've found (mostly because I use wordperfect) is Filehand search. This is my Monday to be writing, so I'm not going to get on the net to find a link because I don't trust myself. It's filehand.com or filehandsearch.com It's FREE.

Love to all,

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Networking -- Conference

Just a quick update on the RMFW conference. I went, did my seminar "Problem Solving for the Pantzer" introduced Cindi Myers, visited A LOT with friends and exchanged news.


Talking in person with writers is the best way to share stories, gain support, learn -- and network. People know who are buying and what they are buying, which editors and agents like what kind of stories. And they share.

So if there's a local conference you've been thinking about, GO.

Love to all,

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic

I taped a bit of a book for the blind last Thursday. When I saw the call for “authors” to do this as part of the Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic outreach program, I volunteered, and took time off work to do this.

Well, I guess I was thinking junior high math book. I got Rethinking the Holocaust, by Yehuda Bauer, Chapter Two, Is the Holocaust Explicable? Very heavy. Lots of six syllable words, lots of abstruse comments. Paragraph long sentences with mucho qualifiers. French words, German words, Russian words (or maybe Polish), sometimes mispronounced and I definitely “fluffed” others, too. Gave the French my best shot, though I didn’t know how to pronouce the town Beziers, and couldn’t remember the right pronunciation of Nez Perce (I think there are regional pronunciations of that one, like many Native American tribes and the way I learned it is not the way it should be pronounced). Names of people I’d heard of and unknown historians.

Then there were the few horrific descriptions…

The whole experience was --surreal. I am used to reading aloud, and even reading my own work aloud cold, but the taping experience was completely new. I got lost and when I was supposed to say page 21, I said page 20 and we had to retape and then I got rattled. The one thing I’ve learned from speaking, is that you CAN’T get rattled (Yes, I draft my speeches ahead of time and then practice until they look extemporaneous). If *I* get rattled my diction goes). I got back in the rhythm by the next page or so.

Then, of course, I had to find my way back to work. I don’t know what it was – maybe my mind was a little overloaded -- and I made a couple of bad decisions about one way streets and wandered around a while. Oh, forgot, they took PHOTOs. Ick. I was not wearing one of my most flattering outfits and I'm too d**n plump in the face and have no chin. No makeup, either. Ick. Maybe the pics won't make it all over the net. I try to pretend that the camera adds pounds and uglifies me, but it doesn't. Sigh.

Yes, I did learn something.

There’s apparently a debate going on as to whether the Holocaust can be explained as (in)human behavior as opposed to (I’m guessing) some sort of

Friday, September 09, 2005

WHOO Hoo, another book by Gena Showalter!

Oh, yes! Time to indulge....and Gena had these temporary tatoos as give aways at RWA...

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He’ll make you burn…

He is a Dragon, a rare breed of warriors able to transform into the legendary creature at will. Though the mighty warlord breathes fear into the minds of his enemies and fire into the blood of his women, no one has ever stirred his heart -- until he encounters Grace Carlyle of modern day Earth. He burns to possess this proud, alluring beauty . . . but he has sworn to kill her.


So get it now!

You can learn more about the lovely Gena herself, here: http://www.genashowalter.com

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fear and Trusting

All right, we may be going over a couple of things I've said before on this blog, or probably in the comments.

I did an online class a while back that I pulled from my Survive to Write, Write to Survive seminar. And in that week, I got people who were having problems motivating themselves to write, even fearful about writing. Sort of like I feel now. So I thought I'd take my own advice.

I'm allowed to be afraid, I'm not allowed to panic or freeze. So that means I can sit down and write with my stomach quivering, but at least I've shown up at the page.

Another thing. Heart Quest is a trust me, baby book. Berkley bought "a second Celta story." My dream come true. Only now I don't think I can make it hold together.

So, I have to trust in myself that I'll write a good story. I truly believe that I've read enough to soak up the rhythm of a story (or the mythic structure a la Vogler) and if I write, that rhythm will come out. I attended one of Vogler's lectures once, on a Sunday, and immediately went home to check out the ms. I'd finished on the previous Friday (still in my drawer, a romantic suspense set in Regency England, no paranormal). To my surprise, I'd hit all the "beats," the plot points. I was a believer.

I give myself permission to wander a little off the path, exploring characters, setting up for more books if I get another contract, and if the book is too long, I'll cut scenes to yank it back on course.

That is, of course, easy to say, but when you give yourself permission to do things like that, you can end chapters with "Now he'd have to beg a spell from his mother." Ka-boom.

Love to all,

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Writing Samples

Every now and then you have to put together a writing sample. I consider this different than a proposal, which is supposed to sell. It's more like a contest. Well, I have an application and I looked over my work -- and decided on a modified opening of Guardian of Honor. And I started asking myself why. I looked at Heart Quest, and that jumps right into action, with a bunch of heavy worldbuilding -- like most of my Heart books.

I wanted something a tad easier, and I consider the second scene in Guardian the most lyrical I've ever written, which should appeal to this particular audience more (and no, I'm not going to tell you what I'm doing for selfish, Scorpio reasons. At least not now). I think you all know the trouble I had with the opening chapters of Sorceress of Faith, so that wasn't even considered.

I formatted and worked on the Contemporary Paranormal Romance, but still didn't think it got my voice across as well as Guardian -- ok, I only have 10 pages and in the Contemporary Paranormal Romance, the action begins with the heroine as a youngster and it's one person on stage for a while with some internals and backstory. So I decided on Guardian of Honor, but maybe I should also look at Knight Protector....

Love to all,

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Writer's Life -- Waiting

Much of a writer's life, especially before you're published, is waiting. I once waited an entire year to hear about a manuscript (rejected) from a publishing house that didn't allow multiple submissions. Huh. Most writers are in the same boat. Even with an agent, I wait. I sent in my Luna proposal in February of 2003 and heard about it in late June of that year (after getting several emails asking where it was...)

And, as you all know, I sent off the Contemporary Paranormal Romance Proposal (since it took more than a year to do, I get to put it in Caps), last Friday. My agent won't look at it until today....yeah, I still have a nail-biting problem (and can't give into it anymore this week because I'll be signing, hopefully, at Rocky Mtn. Fiction Writers' Conference on Friday).

So today, I am REALLY waiting, because I'll learn how much more effort I might need to put into the work to sell it. I am HOPING it won't be any, but who knows? My agent is more aware of the market than I.

In any case, there's only one good way to wait -- and that's to continue writing and continue submitting and try not to think about it. Usually it works. Never stop the creative process while you wait to hear about a ms. You'll grow old. Truth.

Love to all,

Monday, September 05, 2005

Writer's Block -- Where Do I Go From Here?

One of the ladies at the Hypnosis for Writing session on Saturday was stuck in her writing. Now, there are many reasons to be stuck, but this particular reason I'd run into before.

She'd started the book and reached a point where she could take it down a couple of different paths -- let it become a paranormal for instance.

I, of course, piped up. The best solution to this particular problem is to write a couple of chapters in each direction and see what feels right, which one really calls to you.

So if that's why you're stuck, try it now!

Love to all,

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hypnosis for Writers

I went to a session yesterday of Hypnosis for Writers by Lynda Hilburn (and I spelled her name wrong on my checks, sorry Lynda).

It was very interesting, and since there were only four of us there, 2 unpubbed and 2 multi-pubbed, it was small and diverse. The session itself was awesome, and, guess what, we all needed bolstering in "discipline." LOL. Wonder how that happened...

I went because I am angsting over the deadline for Heart Quest. I came back and messed around, but finally DID get some revising done and a smidgeon of writing and an ah-ha! moment of how to tie a couple of books together (assuming I get another contract for more Heart books).

Yes, I'm interested in new age things (hey, I write paranormal futuristic fantasy with a pagan Celtic world where the inhabitants developed their psi powers and have telepathic pets), so I took a chance on the hypnosis and I'm hoping it will pay off. And this blog is not going at all the way I wanted, so I'll just say that it was very thought provoking, the meditation-visualization itself so helpful I wanted a CD to use over and over, and it was well worth the fee.

Love to all,


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This Blog is part of the Weekend Blog Relief.

Yes, I've donated some money to a writer's fund for some specific romance writers victims. I'm going to have a critique auctioned off for Larissa Ione (a bit of promo here, I did two for the Trish Jensen fund last year, and both ladies raved about them...one said she did better in contests after my crit -- I WAS brutal, but that's what they asked for)...

You all know that I am a major cat/pet lover, and I really don't want to IMAGINE what has happened to all those poor animals. So in the Blog for Relief, I am asking that you donate, like I have, also to The Humane Society, here, https://secure.hsus.org/01/disaster_relief_fund_2005

Also, I'm supposed to put a couple of other tags on this to make it part of the official Blog Support for Katrina Relief.


and http://technorati.com/tag/hurricane+katrina

Please help. And if you want to post pics of the animals in whose names you donated for, feel free.

Love to all,


First, you'll notice that I'm posting this on a Saturday on a holiday weekend -- so I probably won't have an extreme number of hits. ;)

Every author has a weakness, and I'm not just talking about using certain words in every book (I think someone inhales deeply in all my books...) One author, say, has problems keeping secondary characters secondary -- as soon as they're introduced, they overwhelm the hero and heroine and you're not as interested in the main characters. One author has TERRIBLE endings. Flat, "telling" sort of endings that just ruin the book as if s/he wrote most of the book on proposal, but has too much work now, and just wrapped it up in a few paragraphs of narrative.

I like a cast of many characters and "get together" scenes. From the first time I started writing seriously I had a "will reading" in the first chapter. Now that I'm cognizant of this weakness, I'll keep an eagle eye out for it...but...I like them. I like the interplay of characters...anyway, in Sorceress of Faith, I kept...um...uh, oh...anyway there are a couple of times where folks are in a ritual circle, and only one real big meeting scene...I think. Sigh.

Love to all,

Friday, September 02, 2005

Touring: Mary Janice Davidson

REALLY UNUSUAL BAD BOYS by MaryJanice Davidson
(Brava, September 2005)

Meet Damon, Maltese, and Shakar - three noble brothers from an enchanted kingdom where wooing and pleasuring is practically a royal commandment. They're hot. Irresistible. And just a little different. But what woman doesn't like a guy with a few surprises?



MaryJanice Davidson is the best-selling author of several romance novels, including UNDEAD AND UNWED and HELLO GORGEOUS. Her books have been on the USA Today best seller list, as well as the New York Times list. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, two children, and dog, and is secretly addicted to Peanut Buster Parfaits.


These three amusing erotic romantic fantasies are terrific fun stories starring strong females who match up well with REALLY UNUSUAL BAD BOYS. Once again nobody combines humor, romance, otherworldly elements (including that), and erotica into fabulous tales like MaryJanice Davidson. -- Harriet Klausner

REALLY UNUSUAL BAD BOYS is a sizzling fast beach read with an interesting, unique and creative plot. – Armchair Interviews

Website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Do You Need An Agent?: Panel -- Everything You Want to Know About Selling Commercial Fiction

I think so. It IS possible to sell to NY without and agent. It is possible to negotiate without an agent, but... I think that as the publishing industry has changed (more writers, more GOOD/TRAINED writers, less distributors), an agent is needed more. Less NY publishers accept unagented material -- mostly, I think, because they are simply swamped, and an agented ms. has at least been through some sort of screening. But to just network and KNOW the editors, what's opening up, who's buying, get better $$, know the contract clauses, keep your career on track...yes, I think you need an agent for all those reasons.

That said, A BAD AGENT IS WORSE THAN NO AGENT AT ALL. Got it? I've had three and one was bad. I'd make contacts through contests and conferences and she wouldn't send my mss. to my contacts. I lost THREE YEARS that way.

So, yes, submit to both editors and agents when your ms. is done. And ask around about an agent you're thinking of. Ask their clients. No reputable agent I know refuses to give someone who they're wooing the names of their clients.

Do not submit to agents who charge fees, reading or otherwise. Check to see if they are a member of AAR, American Author Representatives.

There is no licensing for agents. If I wanted to become one, I could hang out a shingle tomorrow.

Love to all, Robin

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