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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Monday, October 31, 2005

How I Got Published.

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HeartMate won the Wisconsin Fabulous Five contest, paranormal category in 2000 judged by Cindy Hwang of Berkley/Jove. I was pleased and excited because the contest had been advertised heavily on RWA's Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal Chapter Loop and I knew the competition was stiff. Also, I'd gotten used to my futuristic doing erratically because of (my rationalization) competing with time travel, ghosts and other paranormal stories that seem more accessible to the standard reader/writer

Due to the market at that time I'd been rejected by several agents. I revised HeartMate and sent the ms. off to Berkley in a Priority Mail envelope written with permanent marker in LARGE letters: "Awarded First Place in Wisconsin's Fabulous Five Contest by Cindy Hwang.". A few months later I sent a follow-up letter. It was returned. Berkley Publishing Group had moved (merged into Penguin Putnam). I invested in an Express Mail letter that I could track. It was forwarded. About a month later Cindy Hwang left a message on my answering machine (which is unusual for her) that she wanted to make an offer for HeartMate (I'm sure the telepathic cat with an attitude sold the book). That was a Friday in January, and I picked up the message on Superbowl Sunday. HeartMate came out in December of 2001 as part of Berkley's Magical Love Line (now defunct), the first futuristic fantasy romance published by Berkley.

May all your writing dreams come true.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pictures vs. Writing

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Check Out the 1994 Edition on Amazon.com for a larger image (or maybe the following link will work) http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0061081531/ref=sib_dp_pt/102-4616309-9543366#reader-link
All right, in the next few days, I'm going to pull from some articles I've written in the past.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or is it? One year a while back I had a calendar from Harper that featured heros from their book covers every month. Now Mr. January, a Tudor sort, intrigued me. He seemed to issue a subtle challenge, but I couldn't quite figure it, or him, out. So I decided to do what I usually do when I can't solve a thorny problem in my writing, present the issue to my romance critique group.

I knew the facilitator of my group had the same calendar, and that we tend to congregate in her office before group officially starts. And so it was on the first Saturday of February. We had been talking of this and that when the calendar caught my eye, still showing Mr. January. I brought up the idea that it would be interesting to do a character sketch of the man -- and his subtle challenge.

"Challenge" was the wrong word. Adjectives shot through the room. He was welcoming, generous. No, he was selfish, conceited. On the contrary, he was debonair. No, wily, dangerous -- as many adjectives as there were people.

"He's sensitive," someone said.

This man does not have a sensitive bone in his body, I thought. "Hey, he's arrogant," I said. "He's got his hand on his sword hilt."

"Where else would he put it? He doesn't have any pockets," my friend Liz retorted.

This is true. The guy is only wearing boots, thigh-hugging tights, a white, billowy shirt baring his manly chest, and a sword belt.

More discussion. I was astonished. No one in the room had the same view of the hero that I did. If we all sat down and did a character sketch, showing strengths and weaknesses, secrets and hopes, we would end up with seven very different heros. And seven very different stories. How fascinating. How wonderful.

But another thing to ponder is that a writer has more ability to direct the reader than the artist or photographer. By fashioning our stories, presenting certain characters and throwing light on their actions and thoughts, we can hopefully guide the reader. We can wring emotions, we can point out truths, we can make a point, state a theme. And while photos and pictures can do this as well, in writing there is less chance that seven different people get seven different points. Readers may identify with some characters more than others, recognize and emphasize some themes more than others, but all would have the same general understanding of the basic story.

A picture is not worth a thousand words -- not when it can't convey precisely what the photographer/artist wants. But when we deal in words, a point can be skewered home.

The critique group never did agree on Mr. January. When we continued to argue, the facilitator wisely flipped the calendar to Mr. February.

"Ugh!" someone said.

"Too tough," someone else agreed, as we filed downstairs to start our session.

I looked at him. A Western man -- unshaven, narrow-eyed, and with his hand on his gun-belt. His build, hair and eye color were wrong, but there was something about his expression, something subtle, that reminded me of my last hero. Too tough? Nah.
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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Where Ideas Come From

Today I'm going to visit an old critique buddy whose adoption of a child is final. A PARTY! I met Anne at the first real Critique Group I attended on the way to becoming a serious writer -- after the first Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Conference.

I think I told the story before, but you'll have to suffer through it again. When I developed the "charm key" for one HeartMate to find another in Heart Duel (and that took a couple of times), Anne said if she'd had one she'd go door to door (with gestures). We all laughed, but we all remembered. At the time, I didn't know who would go door-to-door, but when Trif Clover started appearing on the scene, I figured she had the temperment to do so. I also decided that a Tinne Holly/Trif Clover would be too many T's, and too darn frenetic to write -- at the beginning they were very much alike. Who was Trif's opposite? Older, solid, quiet Winterberry -- who until Heart Quest didn't have a first name. And a May-December story would be good -- as well as throwing in another conflict or two. Excerpts in the back of Heart Choice and on my READS page, or maybe Acrobat will open it up here. http://www.robindowens.com/images/01HQ.pdf

So Heart Quest, with Trif Clover going from door to door, will be dedicated to Anne. I don't know that I would have thought of the idea...and it's been MANY years, but finally the story is being written.

Not my idea at all, and sometimes those are the very best.

May many ideas whisper in your ears today.

Love to all,

Friday, October 28, 2005


Another Bewitching stoy by GENA!

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“The Witches of Brokenoggin and the Dead Who Love Them” featured in BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED by Gena Showalter
(Triskelion Press)
All proceeds from the sales of this book will go to the International Red Cross.

In which the well-endowed Tawdry triplets accidentally raise the dead while dealing with an overzealous peeping John.

Be on the lookout for MYSTERIA, an anthology expanding on the episode and characters Gena created in BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED. MYSTERIA (Berkley) hits shelves in August 2006!

Gena Showalter holds a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics (lie), is an expert in Krav Maga (bigger lie), and once worked as a body guard for the stars (the biggest lie of all). Actually, Gena Showalter is just your everyday, average girl who enjoys creating sizzling paranormal tales of kick ass women and the men who can't resist them.

WEBSITE: http://www.genashowalter.com

May all your writing be GREAT today!
Love Robin

Thursday, October 27, 2005


As a reader, every now and then I get immersed in another world so much that when I face "reality" I feel disoriented and it takes me a few minutes to figure out that the world I've been living in isn't the real one.

It happened first when I was going to grad school and working nights -- reading the Dorothy Dunnett Lymond series. Earlier this year, it was when I did watched, and rewatched, "Firefly."

Now, it's listening to the Magic Time books by Marc Zicree et al. Serious disorientation (and Thank Heavens!). Luckily the fruity male readers in Angelfire were a little over the top, and the female as well, but just not as much.

Interesting world. I've got Ghostlands in my hot little hands and it seems to be excellent, too, though since I'll be reading it instead of listening, it will be a slightly different experience.

I think a reader losing themselves in my worlds would be the ultimate compliment. Maybe the Heart series is long enough for that now, if one zoomed through them right after another.

Just a comment.

Love to all,

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Ok, you now have to type in a word. I don't CARE if you call yourself anonymous or a reader or whatever you want. I like a public blog. But spammers can no longer hit and bother those of us who track the blog. I'm sorry it isn't as easy, but it had to be done.

Love to all,


Brief, brief, brief today because I woke up and started thinking about the WIP (work in progress) and a few lines of dialogue came and I want to get them down. I know you all will understand.


love robin

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Losing Writing

Yes it happens. It happens if I handwrite things, it happens on the computer.

It happened last week. Mostly it happens if I'm working and I have two copies open or something and save the older version...or am working on a new doc and forget and don't save it...much gnashing of teeth. I have a couple of things for this. One is Restore 2000, which will help, I have Norton now, also a help, and I have Filehand Search, which will help me FIND stuff I know I wrote (esp. useful when working on a couple of projects at a time).

Yes, I've torn my office apart and wept and raged, and used all of the above. Luckily last week, I'd only lost a few lines -- about three sentences. Important sentences, but I knew it would take longer to try and find them than to reconstruct. That's the bottom line...will it take you longer and stop your flow longer than it will take you to write them again. Was the scene really, really so good that you couldn't improve on it?

I DID improve on the lines I lost -- so it turned out good. But, truly, this is one of the worst things about writing. It can throw me off for a long time, upset me so I obsess on getting the stuff back instead of just going on.

So SAVE. I save to hard drive and flash. I save to a gmail account. Occasionally I print out pages.

Love to all,

Monday, October 24, 2005

Doing a Reading

I've read my work aloud before and learned some things and yesterday I learned even more -- mostly from the other one scheduled to read (who shall remain nameless and who WASN'T Christie Golden if you happened to be curious to look at the Mile Hi Con schedule posted online. Christie has been writing and reading her work for a long time and is WONDERFUL at it).

I read from Sorceress of Faith, which was a mistake. I DON'T have that many people panting to hear me that they would have read Guardian of Honor, and I didn't have anyone there in the audience that had heard my Guardian of Honor reading, and Guardian of Honor is OUT and was available at the con, whereas Sorceress can be a dim memory by February.

I read Jaquar's scene, http://www.robindowens.com/reads/sorceress_of_faith.htm
, which has a lot of heavy-duty set up, and I wonder about that...then we discussed openings and I read Marian's dream, THE HOOK (see last week's blog) and got a lot of good reaction.

Then I listened to my companion read and confirmed a couple of things I knew. She read a passage from the middle of her book (not necessarily bad, but you need to explain, but I had to do that, too), and there were a lot of undefined monster terms and history of the world, which we, as readers reading along, would have picked up during the story. It wasn't BAD, it was just unnecessarily confusing...

So, advice for the day -- unless you are very big and people have probably already bought everything you've ever written, stick to a book that's out. Know your audience -- I DIDN'T read any of the Heart series at the sf con (though I had them on book displays), and last year I read the opening of Guardian of Honor because it's set on Lladrana and people READ fantasy at cons. For other audiences, I started with Alexa's scene.

And pick a passage that is easy for the audience to identify with and understand.

Finally, mechanics. It's best if you've practiced (I didn't), and WHEN you practice take the book and mark where you stumble (I call these Author Reading Copies). I usually circle words, if I need to slow, I write that in the margin. If I need to change a word or two, I do that, too.

Love to all,

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Undead and Unreturnable

(Berkley, October 25, 2005)

Even the undead celebrate Christmas, and Betsy is in heaven shopping for gifts.

But all is not merry in the mansion. It’s become infested with ghosts—really needy ones who have no qualms asking Betsy to run errands for them to rectify their pasts. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose, and, being tall and blonde, Betsy perfectly fits his type.

They say Christmas is a time for friends and family. But with a half-sister who’s the devil’s daughter, an evil stepmother, a fiend living in her basement, and assorted spirits and killers running amok, Betsy is not sure she’ll survive the holidays. Oh, right. She’s already dead…


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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.

“This is one of the funniest, most satisfying series to come along lately. If you’re fans of Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake, don’t miss Betsy Taylor. She rocks.”—The Best Reviews

“Mary Janice Davidson is a refreshing voice to both the romance and vampire world of writing…I cannot recommend her enough!”—ParaNormal Romance Reviews

Website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net

May you all make your wordcounts today!

Love to all,

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Someone's reading YOUR book while you're in the room.

This is happened to me twice and it's been nerve wracking -- mostly because I know the people. Once was last night and that's why I'm bloggling.

On Writing and Publishing -- how do you handle this. My advice, be cool and pretend not to notice...Of course, I am also of the opinion that 1. I never ask a person whether they've bought my book 2. If I know a person has bought my book, I don't ask them if they've read it or enjoyed it. (I have done this twice and regretted it.)

The first time someone read my book in the room was my MOTHER. It was my first copy of HeartMate, my first book, and I'd purchased the copy online from bn.com who had no concept of "release date" -- which was the first Monday of December and they shipped before Thanksgiving (consequently they ran out before the holidays and pointed people to other books -- have I forgotten, NO, which is why I'm not one of the authors who rant about amazon). Anyway, my author copies hadn't come from Berkley yet.

Ahem, yes, I took my first copy to Mom's at THANKSGIVING and when stuff was winding down she began to read it. NERVE WRACKING. She looked up about 3 pages in and said "You have notes on all this stuff?" "Yes." At this point of time my Mother had never read my work (I actually believe she never thought I was seriously writing). Since then, she's one of my best supporters.

Last night I was at a party at Mile Hi Con and a sister of one of my good friends was reading Guardian of Honor. I also had a panel in about 30 minutes, wanted some sort of food, wanted to wind down from the non-event of signing, and talk to my friends and change my clothes and stash my stuff since I didn't have a room...you get the idea. Again, nerve-wracking, esp. since she was reading the ending, and I think actually finished the book...of course since I'm a coward, I don't know whether she liked it.

So -- my advice was above, keep cool, and to let you all know that this DOES happen.

May you write rockin' scenes today!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Publishing Rights - Reissues

Now, this is my understanding. Contracts are different at different
publishing houses, and things may work differently than I understand.
This will be a brief bit just to answer Michele's question...because it
could probably fill a month worth of blogs.

As an author I sell my book to ONE publisher which has the right to
publish it. That means I can't sell it anywhere else for more. ;)
Among other things, the contract says the publisher has the rights to
publish the book for a certain amount of time after they put it into
print for the first time...say 6 years.

Publishing a book means it's "in print," and "in print" is usually
defined as a certain amount of copies being sold per year - say 500.
So, the publisher prints the book the first time and we all see how it
will do. If, after the end of 6 years, the book isn't selling 500
copies a year and a publisher doesn't want to reissue the book, I get my
rights back and can sell it again somewhere else.

That's why bestselling books are re-issued, not only because they
continue to sell well, but if the publisher DOESN'T reissue it, the
author can get the rights back and do with it whatever the author

So, Author is waiting for 6 years to go by. Publisher decides to
"publish" the book electronically (and Author has signed over these
rights)...E-book publishing has very low overhead. Every year,
publisher sells at least 500 books and Author doesn't get the rights
back. PRINTING AND DISTRIBUTING 500 books a year can be a pain, so
ebooks have made it easier for publishers to hold onto the rights of
authors' books.

I hope I explained it well.

May all thoughts of the business of publishing flee and inspiration strike!



Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sex Scene, Love Scene, Consummation Scene

Yes I wrote two last night one from his Point of View and one from hers -- the first was very stop and start, but I don't think I'll have to revise it much, the second I will continue to work on tonight.

And yes, we can use these words pretty indescrimately, but they ARE different. Sex is just that (and in a strict, true romance it takes place between the hero and heroine only) -- sex is a lustful desire, a heat of the body. Love scene is different, even if it's hard and fast and up against the wall. Consummation Scene would be the ultimate love scene in the book where both parties know they are in love, have expressed their love and committment to each other and are now celebrating that love.

What makes them different? The core of EVERY genre book -- motivation. Motivation in a love scene means that the emotions shown or felt will be that of love, more than desire, a yearning for this one person alone, even if the people involved don't know this.

One more note. My characters are different people. That means each couple makes love differently. Think about it.

And I really should get back to the writing, or clean up and go in to work early today so that I can put in enough hours that I am not short when I leave at 3 for an early panel at Mile Hi Con tomorrow. It's about my fav topic, covers. I have one at the end of the day, too, a PJ panel on...ha, ha...sex/romance in sf/f. Since I don't have a room at the hotel, I'll be wandering, and I WILL take my laptop and see if I can squeeze in a bit of work. My 1,000 Wallet Calendars with Sorceress of Faith on it (with 2006 on the back) have arrived. No booklets this year.

Love to all and may your motivations be solid today!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rules of Genre Writing

Writing has "rules." The breaking of these rules can mean a work is more literary than genre. And specific genre's have "rules," too: mystery, body by page 3; romance, the first man the heroine meets is the hero... Now most of these rules can be broken, especially after you know your craft. I can probably get away with (i.e. my editors will accept) breaking some rules that unpublished people can't. Nora Roberts can Do Anything She Wants -- why? because she has a huge following of readers, most of all because she is an excellent writer and knows her readers and rarely strikes a bad note.

One of the general rules of genre writing is "Don't Open With A Dream." Well, every few books, I have real problems with the first chapter. Sorceress of Faith was one of those. It would have been great if I could open on Lladrana as previously planned (see excerpt http://www.robindowens.com/reads/sorceress_of_faith.htm ) This would have worked, however I am writing Women's Epic Fantasy, so the main focus must be on Marian, and her story isn't as dramatic at this point as the hero's, Jaquar's.

And since I usually follow mythic structure and start in the "ordinary world" I needed a GOOD hook for Sorceress. So I started with a dream -- or a foreshadowing. After all, Marian HAS already heard the chants and chimes and gong that are projected into her past to Summon her into Lladrana.

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Naturally, when I get to the point in the book that was foreshadowed in the dream, it is MUCH nastier...

May all your hooks come easy today.

Love to all,

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Slice of a Writer's Life -- Monkey mind, Negative Inner Critic, Tools

Yes, I have it -- when your mind ALWAYS chatters at you. Some of it's good -- ideas, characters whispering in your ears. Most of it I just don't want to hear anymore, the negative inner critic -- you don't do this right, you forgot to do that, everyone is passing you by...

So, for the good ideas, I keep a pad or pencil, or a microcassette near. Beating the negative inner critic is harder. Affirmations help. Hey, how many times do you think your negative critic puts you down throughout the day? Affirmations counter that. I AM a good writer. People enjoy my books. The person who gave me one star on Amazon is obviously quite, quite deluded...and yes, we've seagued into Artist's Ego -- the one star was for my book -- but what is THE best reflection of me? My work. That's why we take everything so personally. Giggles hasn't attacked anything of mine lately and for that I am profoundly grateful....so now we've gone a little literary and stream-of-consciousness, which is fine for journals and blogs but not too hot for genre writing.

I have an icon on my desktop to banish the negative inner critic, that I use too rarely. It's a .wav file of the Wicked Witch of the West screaming, "I'm melting. Melting..." Love that, always gives me a lift.

As for Monkey mind, when you focus on your writing, it can go away. Then there are meditation programs, too. I'm working through the new Wild Divine computer biofeedback game now. Raise energy. Lower energy. Breathe....

So this is a bit of a slice of a writer's life today. What did I do yesterday? Wrote very little a couple of paragraphs, but I had an "aha" moment on what came next in the chapter. I'd already set it up, (I LOVE when that happens) all I have to do is write it when I get home from the day job and massage tonight. My pinched nerves have been making themselves known.

Yesterday, I also bought and set up a new multi-function machine so I could scan and email galley corrections of Sorceress of Faith off to Luna. Popcorn for dinner for the rest of the month. Did a lot of inputting for promo for Access Romance which will have stuff (blurb, excerpt, reviews) of each of my books...

May you have a long stretch of writing today, and may inspiration smack you on the head.

Love to all,

Monday, October 17, 2005

Galleys / Page Proofs

The old word is galleys. My Berkley editor calls them Page Proofs. Here's a sample from Sorceress of Faith.

Mostly minor corrections, this time, but a few lines added here or there. You'll notice that when we did the copy edits we came out with a sentence that made no sense, so I'm correcting it.

The Characters:
Marian -- Heroine, grad student of Comparative Philosophy and Religion, Boulder CO
Jaquar -- Sorcerer, seen in Guardian of Honor, Hero of Sorceress of Faith
Alexa -- Marshall of the Jade Baton, Heroine of Guardian of Honor, formerly of Denver
Sinafin -- Shape-shifting magical being more powerful than she seems
Bastien -- Marshall of the Black and Silver Baton, Hero of Guardian of Honor

Setting: Walking up a hill from the town of Castleton to the Marshalls' Castle.

Jaquar is of Earth-Lladranan blood. Marian has just asked: "Has anyone ever kept track of all the mixed bloodlines in a historical genealogical way?"
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May all your revisions be easy.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Finishing a Book

Finishing a book is a BIG DEAL. Many of you belong to writers' groups, or reading groups, and might know a lot of people who have finished a book...but in the real world, in the business world, how many people do you know who have written an entire book?

I believe everyone is creative, and we're not talking about that. We are speaking entirely about Finishing a Book. Even in the writing groups I belong to, there are people who have started many and never finished. I have several unfinished stories (mostly those before I began seriously writing) sitting in my drawers. Yes, plural, drawers. I have several proposals sitting around, too.

So, if you've finished the book, you MUST be in the minority in your non-writing friends. Congratulate yourself!

And if the first book doesn't sell, and you're a serious writer, send it out until you realize it WON'T sell (for any of a number of reasons) and keep writing.

May the writing come easy today and finishing that much closer...
Love to all,

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Online Critique Groups

All right, this will be short because I really want to get some good writing done today and I also am going to a bridal shower.

I've belonged only shortly to an online critique group. But one thing that you have to be aware of for ALL online transmissions is the lack of body language, voice inflection, the visual and aural clues people depend upon when interacting with each other. Even in-person critique groups can be rough, if it's online and you try and sound cute or humerous when making a point it can hurt.

Yes, I believe in honesty. When I judge I try the layer effect "this is good," "this needs work" "Love your style!" "I got confused here." But writer's egos are fragile, so be aware of that, too. They don't see your half-smile, hear your chuckle, and it is all to easy to point things out that need work (especially if you make the same mistake yourself) without remarking on the lines or concepts that really rocked.

All for now, may your writing be unblemished today...


Friday, October 14, 2005

Susan Grant

Well, I got off schedule with my Other Blogger's Tours, so here it's Friday again and Sue Grant is up! Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Garden of Good and Evil
Welcome to Brokenoggin Falls where:

The housewives are not only desperate, they’re Witches

The husbands are as almost as disposable as the competition

The hot young studs are silent, willing and plentiful

The skeletons in the closet are as real as the bodies in the cellars

The spells cast by moonlight …

And there are times when toads seem as abundant as black flies in summer – right around the time PMS seems to run rampant too.

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May interesting ways to explore good and evil slither into your writing today...heh!
Love to all,

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Panting with Joy (?)

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Ok, good news (and another publisher fire drill -- that makes, what, like 6 since May...guess you should count on about 1 a month and hope they don't stack...

Got an email last night that HeartMate is going to be RE-released in August! And they decided to do new art and wanted stuff by now this am. So I thought about it. I worked so hard on that book that I haven't actually read it through, but I had 4 ideas: 1 Amber Heart Necklace, 2 Bloodstone Runes, 3 "Glisten" Silver Vase, 4 Marriage cuff...the runes and the cuffs I had on my computer. The Amber Heart Necklace and Silver Vase I surfed for...

Interesting, thrilling, but anxiety making, as always...

May unexpected inspiration come to you today (because we only have OUR goals we can accomplish. Something like the above isn't something that we can always influence. I wondered about reissuing, but said nothing, and since I sold this book by myself, it's not something my agent would push -- so there's more Writing and Publishing Information for you).
Love to all,

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Of Websites and Blogs and When to Advertise

Yes, I love my website, and I like this blog, too. And I LOVE the design of both. For those of you who’ve been with me from the first (a different template of the blog), you’ll know that I fumbled around making this look exactly how I wanted. For instance, the left column of links doesn’t exist on the Template, so I made it, and made a .gif of “Links” that approximates the other fonts on the page. The background is different as are the link colors and some font colors…and that’s my teeney experience with html.

Now, as most of you know, I recently moved to the writers community, Access Romance. And I can get my hands on my pages, now. You know I have over a 100 pages on my site? Mostly the Artist Archives. Someday, in the future, I hope to be more knowledgable and do many of my updates myself.

Yesterday I bought some online advertising for February 2006 and Sorceress of Faith. Yes, it’s time to do that! I’ll be buying print advertising later this week.. Anyway the ads are banner boxes at Romance Designs. They wanted a link for the ads, preferably a bookseller or an excerpt page with a link to booksellers. Well, I HAVE an excerpt page for Sorceress of Faith. With trepidation I tried to add a link to amazon. (SOF is available for preorder there). AND IT WORKED! Wowie, Zowie! http://www.robindowens.com/reads/sorceress_of_faith.htm

So, writing and publishing advice? If you’re an unpublished author who plans to be published or a currently published author YOU NEED A WEBSITE! Even if it’s a little freebie at Author’s Den. Look at the magazines and print ads and see the lead time you need to put in an ad the month before and the month of your ad (at least).

May word of mouth go out about your work.

Love to all,

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Where's that blush icon when you need it. I was informed Guardian of Honor would be released in January 2006, then either misread or missed the email that it will be January 2007!

So don't get TOO excited folks!

Love to all,

Ebooks, and Contract Rights

Still gray today -- yeah, that's what you dropped by to hear, right?

The Luna news. I've heard that Guardain of Honor is coming out in January, right before Sorceress of Faith, and Laura Gillman's Staying Dead and Curse the Dark should be out beforer her next one Bring it On (I think that's the title, sorry Laura). This I haven't confirmed.

E-books: for the futuristic/fantasy genre ebooks makes sense. Many of our readers are online and surf-savvy. I carry a pda, and so does Marian in Sorceress. It plays a part in Sorceress of Faith. I download and read ebooks. Anyway, Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy is out at fictionwise and In Stone's Clasp by Christie Golden is ebook, too!

Now ebooks can be difficult for writers because of our rights clause in our contracts. A book is out of print if less than a certain amount have sold, and aren't printed anymore. Ebooks can virtually stay in print forever, thus, our publishers would have the rights if sales trickled in...there are, of course, arguments both sides, and our Luna ladies are happy to see their books available in this form...but I think we're all checking our contracts, too. Ebook rights are like audio, film, etc., they can be negotiated to belong to the publishing house or the author.

Love to all,
Robin, and may you have a kind day...and the muse be kind to you, too!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Writing Monday -- First Snow.

Yes, it's writing Monday and I'm home and there's snow on the roof of the hidieous luxury condos next door that my neighbors and I fought tooth-and-nail against (I gave brilliant speeches of course), and the City Council let go up anyway. My house is coming up on 100 years old, every other place on the block is brick. This one isn't and is oddly shaped to fit in the lot and goudge the most amount of money from the buyers. The construction was horrible and I have a few new cracks in my place (yes I got a surveyer out here). Don't ever think (as I did) that local politics is more caring of the individual, it's probably dirtier than national politics, because they have so little to lose (yes, I know that's the definition of academic politics). And I didn't mean to rant on about that.

I should say how pretty the snow is, but it isn't. It's a gray day, here and still drizzling rain-snow. One of the approx. 65 cloudy days we have a year. There is enough snow for icy slush on the streets. The trees haven't lost their leaves, OF COURSE, and I'll have to go and shake off those I can reach. It WAS lovely waking up late -- 7:30 when my pda beeped my "Get to the Bus NOW" alarm, though Diva had tried to wake me up earlier. Apparently the cats are worried that they might have to hunt their own food -- IN THE SNOW -- if I didn't pour dry food and open cans for them. Ha. Ha. Ha.

I'm really grumpy because I have to do a project I've been putting off for a long time and run some errands. No way out of it. Indirectly writing connected, and now going back and writing that scene where Winterberry questions someone that I avoided all weekend looks da*n good.

I MAY get 10 pages done today if I'm lucky. Sorry for the grumpy note -- affirmation for you all, USE your emotion in your writing today. If I do get to Winterberry, he may have an edge, and that would be a mistake in questioning this person...

Love to all, may writing smooth your day,


Sunday, October 09, 2005

PC Cast

Image hosted by Photobucket.com“Candy Cox and the Big Bad (Were) Wolf” featured in BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED by PC Cast
(Triskelion Press)

Welcome to Brokenoggin Falls, where the housewives are not only desperate, they’re Witches! (And one of them might be a Harpy) The spells cast by moonlight frequently go awry. And there are times when toads and Chihuahuas seem abundant as black flies in the summer, the dragons are a little touchy, the Forest Trolls are in danger of extinction from teeny-boppers, the Gryphons need help conceiving and...the scientist are crunchy and good with ketchup...

All proceeds from the sales of this book will go to the International Red Cross.

Godiva Tawdry casts a spell and burned-out school teacher Candy Cox finds the sexy young were-lover of her dreams. But when she finds out he’s really the pack slut, she sets out to “teach” him a life lesson. It’s never smart to piss off a woman who makes a career of disciplining teenagers…

Be on the lookout for MYSTERIA, an anthology expanding on the episode and characters PC created in BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED. MYSTERIA (Berkley) hits shelves in August 2006!


Award-winning author PC Cast is a dynamic, entertaining orator and an extraordinary teacher. Currently, her realm is in Oklahoma, where she resides with her daughter, her spoiled cat, and her rotten Scottie dogs.

WEBSITE http://www.pccast.net

May the muse be giving to you today, and you be giving to others...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Still Cool: Author Speak and Autographing and News

Since I am "out of the closet" as a writer (that means people at work know what I do -- and DID before I sold) I put my books up around my very bland, very gray cubicle (hey, we moved floors last year and I'm NOT across from the men's room anymore -- that was pretty disgusting...the guys would have talks in-out of the bathroom and hold the door open while they were doing so -- need I say more?). So, I'm out of the closet and coming up on the 4th Anniversary of HeartMate in late November (bn.com didn't observe the street date so I got one early from them...full of digressions this am).

Anyway, my agent talked to my editor yesterday (and saying that's still cool). What is also still cool is that a colleague asked about my books in the elevator yesterday and I could say that -- my editor was talking to my agent. Since there was a stranger in the elevator it felt pretty cool, too.

And autographing books is pretty cool, too, still. I usually try to do a little blessing, like "Follow your heart and magic will come," or "May a little magic always grace your life," for the Heart books, and something like "Always Sing your own Song" in the Luna books.

Now that I've completely burbled away any anticipation you might have had -- yes, I have news, apparently Guardian of Honor will be released as a mass market paperback next January, a month before Sorceress of Faith. So shortly I will see the sales of GOH plummet on amazon (yes, I watch my numbers there) until the paperback edition goes up. I'm very pleased.

Love to all and may something cool really happen in your writing today.

Friday, October 07, 2005

October Website Update

First, the news. I did a radio interview with Dana Taylor that is now ARCHIVED at http://www.healthylife.net under DEFINITELY DANA. I'm on the same program as Susan Elizabeth Phillips and I spoke about the Heart books and world building and writing short...

Next, I did my usual October website contest prize, a gently used First Edition of Dark Prince by Christine Feehan these are getting harder and harder to find.

For Free Your Artist I did another "magnetic poetry" random word exercise, including some words of the season. ;) with links to interesting Autumn sites and Corn Maizes near you! http://www.robindowens.com/freeyourartist.htm

The WORLDS page http://www.robindowens.com/worlds/worlds_heartchoice.htm under Heart Choice, I gave you a scene that I later cut, or moved around a bit here and there, between D'Willow, the matchmaker whom you saw in Heart Duel (she's dead by Heart Quest btw) and Straif Blackstone.

I am, of course, running late and will undoubtedly miss my first bus. There's frost here this morning and this week people have started wearing coats. The trees outside my office windows are no longer a dark green, but have tinges of yellow.

May the changing seasons bring a rich harvest in your writing today.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Be In A Book! Unique Contest.

It's October, and I have an article on my new Web Community, Access Romance, in the Tell Tale Section -- see link above. It's a little bit about World Building, and pretty much about Fams and companion animals that I use in my books as comic relief, tricksters, mentors and companions.

There's three questions asking for your opinions at the end of the article, and #3 is a contest -- yes, there's a hitch. You have to sign up for my infrequent newsletter (it says quarterly and it's about that, I don't want to impose...). BUT, YOU GET TO TELL ME A NAME OF A STREET, RIVER, ETC. TO BE A PERMANENT PART OF CELTA. Or, I really need the name of a murder victim...

Writing fantasy means you make up worlds. If you spend any time at all with them, you need to name the mountains (Hard Rock), Oceans (Great Platte), Rivers (Huckleberry Finn). And there's usually more land than names. As with any research I only do as much as I need to for the current book, because otherwise I get sucked in and days later the map is great but the words are not written...

Right now I'm filling in the west part of one continent on Celta, so there's plenty of space to play with. So, go, read the article. Think of what you'd like to see on Celta, and submit it!

BTW, for those of you who don't regularly visit my website =:O (more on the update tomorrow), here's a map of Celta for you.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

May worlds and writing be solid and RIGHT for you today.

Love to all Robin
(and Heaven knows what keywords will be spam magnets today)...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Writing Out of Sequence

Well, my Monday wasn't as productive as I had hoped. I wove about four chapters together and cleaned them up -- still leaving some ** for names and scents until I get Scott Cunningham's Magical Aromatherapy. Seems my hero Winterberry has a sensitive nose, who knew? So I decided to let myself rip and write out of sequence.

Out of sequence writers are about 50% of us (in a very informal around-the-table luncheon poll). So I stuck my butt in the chair last night and the muse was generous. I wrote part of the Black Moment (when the hero and heroine break up and All Is Lost), then a good chunk of the Climax, and when the hero has the Awful Realization. The last is my verbage -- in this story it is the hero being stubborn about loving the heroine, all along. So it is he who must make the last move, thus the Awful Realization that she is (a. either in danger) or (b. he can't live without her).

So last night went well and I am pleased except that I woke up in the middle of the night wanting to write with ideas buzzing in my head and had to force myself back to sleep so I'd be a little fresh for the day job.

Love to all,

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Archon Panels

Unlike most writing conferences, sf/f conferences don't ask for proposals for seminars/panels. They ask for input, but being overwhelmed as usual, I didn't give much. I WAS surprised at how many panels I was listed for, and didn't prepare for any except the one the moderator rounded us up and asked about -- the Sex in S/F How Far Can You Go. (see below, they gave me a nifty little card to carry around with all my panels)

I've been published since December 2001, and even before then I was doing interviews to get my name out across the net, so a lot of this I can do off-hand. I did note that my diction and word choice was a lot fuzzier the later the con got...

In any event, the Sex one was rather restrained, the telepathy one was two of us, a guy writing horror (sorry not to use his name but I'm running late as usual and will miss my first bus and the cats are whining for food) and me, neither of us knew each other and I think that's where I lost my upright bookholder. It was a good panel.

Actually, the only one that got really out of hand was the last, Out of the Apron....we grossed some men out so they left and the rest of us laughed ourselves silly.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

May humor bless your day,

Monday, October 03, 2005


We all need bios -- from 250 words to 30. Archon took the following off my website (which was fine, though outdated...note to self, new bio on website...). That's 2 bits of advice -- do multiple bios and keep them up to date on your website.

Now, being a fragile-egoed author, I immediately turned to make sure I was listed in the program book, and there I was! Opposite what I, as a girly-girl, consider a grisly drawing (see below). After a couple of moments of thought, I figured out that I could use it to introduce myself, so I did..

At the first panel I said, "Since this is my first time here and I have a fragile ego, I immediately turned to make sure I was listed in the program book. And found out I'm next to a drawing of a warrior woman holding a severed head. Being a girly girl I said "eeew." I want to say that none of my heroines have ever decapitated a man. Well, it might not be a man. It might be a monster, and in that case, Alexa, in Guardian of Honor has probably done that by now. But offstage! I want to assure you, the most gruesome act one of my heroines has ever done was reach into a chest and rip out a heart." I ended (virtuously).

Drawing is COPYRIGHTED by Mitch Foust http://www.pmkane.com/mitch/
May you write great battle or love or dialogue or action scenes today!
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tools -- Laptop

Well, shoot, just lost my blog...so here it goes again.

Get your tools in shape before you leave on a trip.I've told you that I don't have internet access on my laptop. That meant when I got to a place where I needed my wireless card, it had turned itself off due to lack of use. I also needed java, which I didn't have. SOOO, I spent time I would have (probably) written on messing around with the computer. Hours. First trying to find why the wireless didn't work, then finding out why I couldn't download and open java with Mozilla. Finally, with the first, I called Dell support and someone led me through the steps and we figured it out. The second time I just kept trying and finally, I think, java.com told me what to do -- load it on offline. A simple step I should of thought of in the first place...but Archon has been intense...

Moral of the story: have your tools in working order -- and test them -- before travelling...and yes, I'll have to log on now and again with the laptop so it doesn't turn itself off.

May your connection to inspiration be strong and sweet today, Love to all,Robin

Saturday, October 01, 2005

SF/F Convention Day 2 (yesterday) Archon

Yes, it's 10 am here and I just got up. Still pretty groggy. So much for writing until my 3pm panel...

I knew it would happen someday -- I have a signing and there are no books. I did panels promoting and none of my books are available here at the con to buy. Some slip up. I didn't say anything, what's the point?

This is no one's responsibility except the author. YOU are supposed to make sure that the books will be at a signing. If you fear they won't be there, you bring some. I was told there would be books, but I didn't get a name and number to follow up with, didn't press the issue.

You see, the books issue is vital only to me, so I should handle it, just like I should have made sure I had enough teaser booklets and other promo. I just didn't take the time or spend the money (on promo stuff). Now I have to hope that readers will be sufficiently interested to look up my site once they leave the con -- if they have a wallet calendar or a cover flat or one of the few booklets I put out. But it's a pain.

I'd blow the signing off, but a lovely woman came after my first panel (cross-over writing) with all my books and we were being rushed out of the room by the next panel and I told her of the signing today...

Well, I missed breakfast here at the hotel, want to bathe, put out my last bit of promo, and try and get some solid writing done on Heart Quest.

May your writing go smoothly today -- from my lips to Heaven's ears...

Love to all,

Out of the Blogosphere
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