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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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Copy Edits AGAIN?

Huh. I got a package from Penguin Putnam (Berkley) and my scrambled brain said "more Sorceress of Faith cover flats from Luna"!

They weren't. They were, actually, new copy edits for Road of Adventure for the mass market paperback. This is interesting, because I may get to TINKER with them. I think there were a couple of typos I can remove and an awkward sentence. Now this is COOL! I'm pretty sure that when Guardian of Honor goes mass market, I won't get to tinker, which is too bad because there's a scene I'd move...or definitely alter...

But, as an author, new things continue to happen to surprise me. And that's cool.

May your writing make you smile today.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Styles -- Romance/Fantasy/SF and Back Again

I've been thinking a lot about styles. I know fantasy and romance may have a very divergent style, but frankly, I haven't done a big study and I enjoy reading both so I haven't studied genre styles as much as individual author styles. Since Luna has writers from both genres, I think I'll do a study. I am hoping that my style isn't unreadable for fantasy writers.

Off the top of my head, I would say that romance might be laden more with intimate POV, and an abundance of sensual input, more emotional reactions by the heroes and heroines.

But if anyone else wants to comment please do.

Whatever style you chose today, may it work for you!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Research -- Horse Camp

It's the last day at horse camp and I will have my lesson today. I've been with the horses and Judy quite a lot and spent some time watching them. Talked a lot about writing and publishing with Judy and current events and Stuff.

The horses are awesome, big and beautiful and the different colors of the Lipizzans because they change color as they age. The Lipizzans look like Old Horses, horses with nice, round butts and bellies that you see on the Parthenon, in the Chinese statues of flying horses, in paintings. Beautiful and awesome.

I have led a horse (Kephera) and been walked around on his back, and today Judy and I have a lesson. The modular set up here is awesome with gates to open/shut stalls and arena and observation area and breezeway and paddock to change the size and variety of space. Since horses are all about space and spacial and status relationships (defined by who can get into whose space), I think just the set up of the farm and how the space is changed can be interesting to them. The space is arranged in a certain way on lesson day so now they know what's coming...

I was supposed to ride Capria, but she has a hurt leg, Pandora is too big, my legs would stick out, so I am riding a neighbor's horse, Sancho. Sancho is considered one of the herd. My lesson is in about 3 hours.

Lot's of "hanging over the fence watching and petting" time.

Mom and Aunt Sylvia seem to have made the round of Father Kino missions in Mexico ok and Mom should be here to pick me up late afternoon. I still worry a little.

I am in my new jeans with the legs rolled up. I don't have the new boots on yet ("all man made material") but I've walked around in them some. I suppose I could gear myself up into something next year including the boots for booksignings.

I think the Lipizzans will be excellent models for my volarans and I'm working them into Calli's time on Earth, too. Did I say they were awesome and beautiful?

May today find you with beautiful and awesome words.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Me at Horse Camp

;) :o =:o :)

Observing, watching mostly...I know there are different learning types. For me, this new physical stuff needs to sink in and be absorbed by osmosis before I can talk a lot about it...and the more I watch the better ideas I get for my books.

May you all incorporate a new experience wonderfully into your writing today,

Friday, February 24, 2006

Research Trip...Do's and Don'ts

Yes, very, very late...I have a few do's and don'ts of a Research Trip.

First, if you're with a parental unit, you automatically fall into "child" mode, and defer to the unit (at least I do)...then the priority to write gets moved down.

Don't do it during the Olympics if you love watching them. If you drive all day, and watch the Olympics at night (or other sporting/TV event), you lose writing time.

Leave time for exploring interesting places...no matter if you don't think the place doesn't apply to what you're currently writing, it will stick in your mind and you can use it (like you can use anything) later.

I'm beat, and still processing consciously and unconsiously my first day of Horse Camp.

May all your experiences funnel into your writing today.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

02-22-06 Tools & Memories

Written late 02/21/06 for tomorrow. We will be leaving early tomorrow am. I am going to look exactly what I am, a city girl tenderfoot. I will be wearing brand new jeans (I usually wear cords, that's not good at horse camp) and I bought new cowboy boots. They are probably poorly constructed, but I needed boots and since they matched the cover art of POF, I was weak. I don't think I had a pair of cowboy boots since I was 5. I wanted red ones, like the ones I had when I was 5, but they didn't have them in my size. Mom's been her usual teasing self -- when I was getting the map out..."We are in New Mexico. Arizona starts with an 'a.' New Mexico is two words...." so it went throughout the day

I am in the lobby of the hotel because they don't have wireless and whilst running around looking for boots this am, I neglected to pack a cable. So consider this a reprise of the last time I went on the road, pack the right tools.

Still, life is good. We ate at La Placitas which I also remember from childhood. It has a tree growing through one of the rooms and we sat next to it. Hard to forget that. It's one of my good memories of my father, eating with the family at La Placitas.

So, use your memories...in fact, I still have my website to update. Maybe I should use that as my theme for my Artist Excercises.

I DO want to see the Olympics, so I'm signing off.

If you use a memory in your work today, may it be awesome!

Research Trip

I do these occasionally and one's coming up this week/next. Mom (itchy feet) will be coming with most of the way and we'll be driving her car. Tonight, Albequerque NM. Tomorrow Tucson. Then a Horse Camp in AZ.

Gotta go, running late...and do you know I can only find ONE boot with a heel. Have little feet so they're hard to fit and all my regular (not dress) shoes have heels.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006


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First, thanks to everyone who already congratluated me on the comments to my previous blog. Needless to say, I'm very, very pleased. Feel like a Olympic gold medalist!

I can't really claim that the Paranormal Excellence Award in Romantic Literature for Best Anthology for What Dreams May Come as all mine, but I'm sure Rebecca York and Sherrilyn Kenyon will be equally pleased.

I WAS quite surprised that Heart Choice won the Best Fantasy/Magical Romance, since Guardian of Honor was also up and I was sure that the vote would be split.

What REALLY touched me was that Road of Adventure won Best Novella/Short Story. I don't know whether I posted here about that story. I used it to work through a couple of rough events in my life and it's very special to me.

So thanks to all those who belong to the Paranormal Readers loop for honoring me!

May you find great satisfaction in your writing today.

Monday, February 20, 2006

8PM Eastern. PEARLS announced tonight Live!

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I'm up for four. I hope to win one. I could only, with the greatest of luck, win three, since Heart Choice and Guardian of Honor are nominated in the same category. I anticipate that my vote will be split there and I won't win that one...but I can hope ;)

And I wonder if I can split my attention between the chat and ice dancing. I LOVE ice dancing because they usually tell little romantic stories...but I've always attended the PEARLS so I won't slough it off now.

May all your writing dreams come true,


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Yes, I'm late, I stayed up late watching the Olympics, got up early and worked on the first scene of Heart Change that I want to include with my synopsis of same. Then worked on the (&$(#&)(%(%$*$#&$^!!!! synopsis (no it never gets easier).

A proposal (also called partial) is usually the first 3 chapters (or first chapter, or first 50 pages depending upon the agent/editor) and a synopsis that can be anywhere from a page to ten (also depending upon the request). I know some people who sell on a paragraph, and I must admit that the last book I turned in was a "blind" book, Berkley had no clue what it was getting, but now I'm back to synopses.

The chapters and synopses should showcase your talent. They should be as perfect as you can make them and still have your own, unique voice.

I'd rather do chapters than synopses, as you all know, and since I wasn't sure what would be required of me, I'd already written the beginning of Heart Match. I have TWO beginnings of Heart Fate that I will "meld" together, and the first scene (only 4 pages) of Heart Change that I wrote this morning. For me, this is to show my editor that I CAN still write after stilted synopses.

The synopses are the best I can make them and get them out at this time...but I'm not really willing to go through 3 more critiques to polish and polish and polish every word, turn of phrase, and the whole darn thing. They will go out more awkward than I really like, but there comes a time when polishing the thing takes hours and the brain bleeds, and may be as productive as changing a comma. So out they'll go, a trifle rough, WITH pages.

A synopsis is to let the editor know YOU can tell a story and have it hang together.

For those of us who write and find the story mostly hangs together after we type "The End," plotting can be a real challenge. But I've said this before.

Proposal = first three chapters, Synopsis, Query Letter (and no, I probably won't ever have a query letter here because I never did a cold query, always had a request to send a partial).

It's rare that authors are immediately asked for a full manuscript, usually partials are requested, then the full. And that's writer speak. "I was asked for a partial." "They requested a full!"

So best of luck today on all your submissions. May they not need any polishing.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Writer's Tools -- Basic -- Block

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Yesterday, I shut down the computer so I could dress for my signing. I went to my "author's clothes" closet and flicked the lightswitch. It didn't go on. I thought the bulb was out...and eventually realized my power was out...Not have my computer! Not have my laptop for more than a couple of hours (I have it loaded with programs that suck up the juice fast)! What would I do?!


I've often written with pen and paper, pencil and paper. I don't care to, because I jump around and do weird things like "Insert A here," "see margin page 2 under BB."

But it is a different feel when you write with pencil and paper, pen and paper, and that could break a block. And unless you are handicapped, I don't think that writing on a computer should define you.

Started another sentence about four more times, but I think I'll just leave it there. Don't let your tools define you. You're better than that.

May the writing flow for you (and me) today no matter what we use.

Robin (oh, and due to the extreme cold, Denver had rolling blackouts yesterday morning...but my story includes frantic calls, a walk to the local electrician and making my gay neighbor come to the door in his bathrobe).

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Series -- Timeline/Worldbuilding

Image hosting by PhotobucketYes, I now have to keep track of my timeline for the Heart series (HeartMate, Heart Thief, Heart Duel, Heart Choice and Heart Quest...working on proposals for Heart Match, Heart Fate, and Heart Change). Since this is also another world of 13 months of 32 days (moons cycle) and 70 minutes to an hour...I need to factor in how long a pregnancy could actually take, etc.

The timeline that proceeds in irregular spurts as I need it to for the story. Actually, the main thing determining the progression of the timeline is Tinne Holly's story. He has a young HeartMate wed to another and I need time to pass to develop Tinne's relationship with his wife and his HeartMate's relationship with her husband.

So here's how I keep track:

Celta Timeline:

HeartMate: Druida City, Celta, 400 years after Colonization, Summer
Heart Thief: Druida City, Celta, 400 Years after Colonization, Autumn
Heart Duel: Druida City, Celta, 403 years after Colonization, Summer, Month of Holly
Heart Choice: Druida City, Celta, 404 Years After Colonization, Spring
Heart Quest: Druida City, Celta, 405 Years After Colonization, Late Autumn

Heart Match: Druida City, Celta, 405 Years After Colonization, Early Winter (two months after Heart Quest and the New Year, i.e. January/)

Heart Fate: Druida City, Celta, 406 Years After Colonization, Mid Winter (one year after the end of Heart Match)

Heart Change: Druida City, Celta, 407 Years After Colonization, Late Summer

May your timeline stay solid and untangled today!


Friday, February 17, 2006

Goddess of the Rose, All hail another Berkley and Luna Author!

Phyl is such a fascinating woman who spins fascinating stories! And Beauty/Beast stories are second only to Zorro/Scarlet Pimpernel for me.

Image hosting by PhotobucketGODDESS OF THE ROSE by PC Cast
(Berkeley, February 7, 2006)

GODDESS OF THE ROSE is a magical, sensuous retelling of Beauty and the Beast – with a modern slant. Our Beauty, Micki (named after the Mikado Rose), and all the women in her family have a special affinity for roses – their blood, diluted in water and applied during the night of a new moon, makes roses grow spectacularly. What the women don’t know is that they have this ability because they are descendants of a High Priestess of the Goddess Hecate. Hecate is Goddess of Night, Magick, the Crossroads of Man, and of Beasts. She is also the proctrectess of The Realm of the Rose – the place wherein all dreams and magick originate. This realm is guarded diligently by The Guardian, a creature on which the myth of the Minotaur was based. The Guardian swore himself into Hecate’s service for eternity, and in return the Goddess gifted him with the heart and soul of a man, even though he has the body of a beast. But all is not well in The Realm of the Rose. The Guardian made a terrible mistake, arousing the Goddess’s wrath to such an extent that she bespelled him and the realm, and Hecate swore that they would sleep eternally unless the Beast was awakened by a woman who carried the magickal blood of Hecate’s priestess, and was wise enough to see the truth, and compassionate enough to act upon it.

Micki does awaken the Guardian and he abducts her to The Realm of the Rose, thinking that she would automatically break the curse placed on the realm and set things to right, but modern woman Micki is a very unexpected kind of High Priestess, and there are forces at work within the realm, both of love and of hatred that might change the shape of dreams and magick for all of eternity unless Micki is brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice…

And may your writing go as well as your reading today!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Image hosting by Photobucket Yes, I will be at Beth Anne's Bookcorner this Saturday from noon to two p.m. all of you in Colorado who want a drive. (And yes, it snowed last night and is expected to be cold, but I took Milton my car into the shop yesterday and he is ready to go).

I don't expect many people to show, but unlike other single signings I have no problem talking to Beth Anne for two hours (she's one of the savviest women in the bookseller business) -- and her shop is very comfortable. Last time I was there I signed with Kathy Morgan and the rain was a real deluge, so I'm used to being there in poor weather.

Looking forward to it -- and to anyone else who wants to show. Hmmm, think I'll print out a rough of Heart Quest for her...

May all your signings be happy (and THAT is an incredible blessing).
Robin Image hosting by Photobucket

Writing Paranormal -- Consequences of Magic

Image hosting by PhotobucketI Called this, The Basic Rule of Magic You Must Not Break -- to keep your readers.

If you use magic, or psi, or paranormal powers or futuristic technology that seems like magic, you MUST be consistent in your worldbuilding and in your own rules of magic. If you aren't consistent you will alienate the reader. That is, if everyone can teleport only in the city, if suddenly everyone can teleport outside the city in long distances, you have betrayed your reader.

With that basic rule follows two others. Magic MUST have a price. Whether it's the depletion of physical or mental energy, or the sacrifice of anything else, magic can't be free and easy.

Finally, magic can't solve the hero/heroine's problem. Whatever climax you have, whatever emotional black moment you set up, you can't use a magic wand to wave it away. The characters have to pay a price or change deeply to solve their problems. They have to grow – just like in any book.

So if you love paranormal, think outrageous thoughts, jot down ideas, feel the magic and reach for the stars – write the story that only you can tell.

May all your writing dreams come true.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Writing Paranormals -- The Basic Rule of the Hook

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The Basic Rule of the Hook
Tie your world EMOTIONAALY to the here and now so readers can identify with it. Your protagonist MUST experience the same emotions as we all feel. Their goals must be human and easily understood. In that respect, hooking your reader is no different in paranormal than other genres. Later you can branch out...building your world from little to big. My "telepathic cat with an attitude" who appeared on the top of page 4 sold HeartMate. Celta expanded in the viewer's vision from the relationship between hero and cat to a whole different world.

This is a whole lot harder than it seems, really get into your hero or heroine's emotions in the Ordinary World -- just before Things Change.

May all your hooks work today (and that means at the end of chapters, too).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I haven't found a toolbox option that I like so no pic today. JUST installed a new Adesso keyboard with touchpad instead of a mouse...the keys feel different, a little harder than my microsoft split keyboard with hot keys....hmmm the delete button is smaller, too. Anyway, so far (this msg) it's doing ok except that the upper button which should be right click is not. One of the cool things about this is that instead of the mouse you single or double click the keypad. Slick.

I got this because I've been having problems with my right elbow-tendon, and the mouse reach was contributing. I hope this isn't another one of those Good-Ideas-But-Just-Don't-Work-And-Cost-Time-And-$ (I mistakenly bought a MAC keyboard then had to find a USB adapter). But I use my right click ALL the time, don't think I can live without it.

Hmmm, I have another idea (ok, I bought a d***n lot of SIX on ebay), maybe I should try a different one out.

Or I might just be screwed and have to go back to the old keyboard and mouse thing.


May you NOT have to fiddle with your computer today (and when you don't have to do that, it makes everything better, right?)


Monday, February 13, 2006

Writing Paranormals -- Basic Rule of Worldbuilding

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe Basic Worldbulding Rule:Image hosting by Photobucket

Know your science and explain in general terms how your paranormal is built on reality. Try to give your reader an explanation that will let them "suspend disbelief." This circles back to knowing your genre – a romance reader will care more about the relationship and is willing to be ignorant of science than a reader who likes their science fiction more than romance. Such things to be aware of is how much blood does a vampire need and how fast can they really drain a person? Can human/non-human people really breed? Wouldn't a world with two moons have an incredible tide? Is there really faster than light travel and communications? Do ghosts photograph, affect fine-tuned machinery, leave cold spots? How strong are your psi's telepathic/prophetic powers, what range do they have, what blind spots? What are your superheros' individual powers? And, yeah, how do cats fly in saucers?

May all your questions be easily answered today.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Writing Paranormals -- 2nd Genre "Rule"

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe Second Genre Rule:
Know the magical worlds/rules of others in your genre and MAKE YOURS FRESH AND DIFFERENT: This can best be seen in the various Vampire "worlds." Maggie Shayne's Vampires and Christine Feehan's Vampires/Carpathians are DIFFERENT, as are Janet Miller's and Susan Squires', Angela Knight's, Charlaine Harris'. Some of the comparison questions you can ask to define your world are: Are your vampires dead? Do they accept their nature or hate it and fight against it? What caused them to be vampires (a virus? basic nature?) How do they become vampires? How do they react to sunlight, crosses, holy water? The two rules I think you should keep in writing a vampire story is that blood is food and that vampires live longer than humans. That's my take.

Werewolves: Ruth Thompson's and Nora Robert's and Emma Holly's and Mary Janice Davidson's and Rebecca York's are DIFFERENT. Again, do they accept their nature? What is the culture and set up of the pack? What happens to their clothes when they change? Is the change painful or ecstatic?

And I may get around to doing a were-panther-tiger etc. but trying to make up a world for vampires just makes my head hurt...

May all aspects of your world be fresh and fun today.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Playing Again --- What's Your Funky Inner Hair Color

Your Hair Should Be Blue

Wild, brilliant, and out of control.
You're a risk taker with an eye to the future.

Writing "Rules" for Paranormals 2

Image hosting by PhotobucketBack to "Rules." These are, of course, not as much Rules as sensible advice to get YOU ahead in your writing career.

The Basic Rule of the Genre:
Know what you're writing. Is your book truly a paranormal? Or is it a mystery, suspense, romance, romantic suspense with paranormal elements? The simplest way to understand this is: Can you take away the paranormal element and will the story still work? Imagine one of Christine Feehan's Carpathians as a normal man. No story. In Nora Robert's "Three Sisters Island" trilogy, their magical natures define the characters. Elizabeth Lowell's Running Scared has paranormal elements, but these elements could be excised (or logic/reason could be substituted instead of "odd feelings") and the story would remain the same.

The reason this is important is so you can figure out what editors and agents prefer what kind of book and pitch it to the right person.

May all your paranormal bits come together today.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Jewel of Atlantis

Image hosting by PhotobucketI'm going to the bookstore later today and I've got to get this one!

Well, the title is tempting enough, but take a look at the excerpt! http://members.cox.net/genashowalter/excerpt.htm

And here's the blurb!

Enter a mythical world populated with vampires, dragons, demons and Nymphs…enter a world of dark seduction and powerful magic…enter Atlantis…..

All Atlantis seeks the Jewel of Dunamis, which legend claims can overcome any enemy. Grayson James, human agent for the ultra-secret Otherworld Bureau of Investigation, has orders to keep it from the wrong hands – or destroy it. What he doesn’t know is that Jewel is a woman, not a stone! But once he meets this precious gem, destroying her is the last thing on his mind…

Jewel, part goddess, part prophet, is a pawn in Atlantis’s constant power struggles. She needs Gray’s help to win freedom and uncover the secrets of her mysterious origins. Gray needs her wisdom to navigate monster-ridden Atlantis. But need blossoms into passionate love as they fight demons, dragons, vampires – and a prophecy that says the bond between them could destroy them both.


May all your words be jewels today.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Spectral Analysis

Get your own spectral analysis from Area 23®

Nope, not writing...not at all...and is this weird or what? Not exactly my colors but it ain't that awful yellow green I loathe and despise, but what's with the ripples?


Writing the Paranormal. Rules? Yup.

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This is a bit of a seminar I called Rules of Magic and did a couple of years ago... I'll probably dribble it out in dibs and dabs (and YES, I am STILL working on those THREE Synopses, that's why you see me elongated and screaming)

Here are some basic rules.

The Basic Rule of Writing
First, write paranormal only if you read it and love it. We all have subgenres we are drawn to, and the books that we write will reflect our values and identity. So like all subgenres, if you write a story because someone asked for a ms., or the genre is hot, or for any other reason and your heart isn't in your work, it will show. This is bad not only for you as an author, but it is bad for the genre itself. Since I've been pursuing my dream in this area I've heard that one of the reasons it took paranormal to cycle back into being more acceptable is that when futuristic/fantasy romances were "big" the last go round, quite a few poor books were written. This "sloppy/bad" label stuck.

HeartMate was published just before the paranormal surge and at the time, I was SURE that if HeartMate (the first futuristic/fantasy romance Berkley purchased) had flopped, it would have been A LONG TIME before Berkley bought another one.

As it was, they waited until they got solid sales figures before buying the spin-off.

May your love of genre be clear in your story today -- hmmm, sounds more like a curse. Ok, so may you really like what you write today!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Synopses, Animated Headbanging Icon Wanted...DESERVED!

Image hosting by PhotobucketYes, moi, the archetypical Pantzer is plotting and writing a synopsis (worked on 2 yesterday, though I don't think I have it in me finish Heart Match -- rough -- today) and I am left with several burning questions.

First, why am I writing a synopsis when banging my head against the wall would make it feel the same anyway and is easier?

Is blood really dribbling from my ears? How 'bout my eyes?

How the h** did this %$#%^$*)(_)^^%^%$ brief synopsis get to be 4 solid Times New Roman Single Spaced Pages ANYWAY?

But I think I've cleaned up most of the stuff my critique buddies criticized and if I didn't, well too d**n bad. WHERE'S THAT ICON AGAIN?

So I'll pass it onto my mentor (by hand since her 'puter crashed and burned last week), and maybe walk and whine with her and feel better.

And NO, I WILL NEVER GIVE IT TO ANYONE WHO LIKES MY BOOKS TO READ BEFOREHAND. This is Tinne Holly's story and I WILL NOT let the plot out. To nobody else. Nowhen.

Hey, it's 11 am. Maybe eating breakfast and bathing would make me feel better after all this nose to the grindstone.

May you have a wonderful synopsis, next time you need one.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Image hosting by Photobucket Yesterday I was working on one of my new Heart book proposals (Heart Fate, Tinne Holly's story). I've already decided to revisit a setting I've used before, FirstGrove, seen in Heart Thief. I did a word search for all my books and found that I'd only used FirstGrove in that particular book (though it is mentioned in Heart Duel), then I loaded my last file of the complete book of Heart Thief and checked out the setting.

Three scenes took place in FirstGrove and I copied down EVERYTHING that described the place. Geographically, I ended up with: path through arbor, 2 gates, wall, healing grove, healing hot spring, ritual grove and altar, glider drive, gardenshed/stillroom, pavilion, regular hot springs to play in (2 pools?), path to exit

This is important because I envision much of Heart Fate taking place in FirstGrove and I want to keep it right. I am hoping to use some of my ProFantasy software to draw a map of the place in the future in my multitudinous free time.

May your choreography and visuals come easy today.

Amazon Promo: Heart Thief & Heart Choice buy 3 get 4th Free


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Amazon is doing a 4 books for the price of 3 and Heart Thief and Heart Choice are included...just an FYI.

Oh, and there are no more first editions of HeartMate available on amazon. Your best bet is half.com where they're sellin' cheap!

Robin (yeah, I know I have too much time...that's what happens when you're in RESEARCH mode)

Writers Helping Readers

Image hosting by Photobucket Image hosting by Photobucket ;) I thought it only right...Actually an email from a reader prompted the whole writer/reader interaction thing. I got permission to use the email, so here it is:

When I moved into my new house, one of the first books I read was Heart Duel, and it told me exactally what I wanted to do with my backyard.

Well, two years later I am getting it started. I am having my own meditation, celtic walking path in my backyard. :) Except it will most likely only have a few cactus out there, my plant of choice, I can't kill them. LOL

I will be sure to post a picture of it when it is completely done if anyone wants to see it. But I want to thank you, Robin, for all you research and detail of writing the couple different meditation paths in that book.


I write and read for the same reason, to entertain and be entertained. So when something like this happens, it gives me an added glow.


And may your winding paths lead to inspiration today.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Readers Helping Writers

This morning I revised this article I wrote in April 2002...

Readers Helping Writers Image hosting by Photobucket

I never in my life thought I'd write a telepathic mole.

One of the wonderful things about being a writer is getting feedback from your readers. At the beginning of 2002 the online SFR newsletter (Science Fiction Romance, now Speculative Romance Online http://www.specromonline.com ) Since my planet Celta barely has one part of a continent geographically determined and named, I offered the winning entrant their choice of naming a mountain range, river, ocean, plant, animal, etc. to appear in my second book, Heart Thief.

When the winner was drawn (Ann-Jones Rodriguez http://jollyroger.com/navy/amazing/ann/
she chose to name a plant after herself and her sons: An'Alcha. Well, An'Alcha sounds exotic to me and I visualized a climbing vine with trumpet flowers, and not ordinary flowers, but passion flowers. I emailed Ann and this was fine by her and we talked further. I immediately thought of an upcoming scene I was revising. The hero and heroine were in a lush garden and after sharing a passionate kiss, he was going to give her flowers. She'd been hurt earlier and in the scene as written he was giving her "balmheal" with a sweet scent that would help her headache. But wouldn't it be more touching if he had a choice between An'Alcha and balmheal? And passed the An'Alcha for the balmheal because he was thinking of her welfare? Of course it would. It would add a layer to the scene that it didn't have before.

Then there's a reviewer I've been corresponding with who wanted HeartMate's heroine's best friend's story (Mitchella Clover, my most recent “Heart” book out, Heart Choice, July 2006). To oblige her I did a quick revision of the two chapters I have written. She enjoyed the piece and we talked a little about the story and torturing the characters. Naturally, this got me thinking and I realized that the second scene was a lot like the second scene in HeartMate – the hero walks into the heroine's shop. Now this won't do! Where should the new setting be? Where would the heroine be on a rainy summer weekday evening? In an upscale members-only social club. Not only did my reader help me find a weakness in my story, but she helped me think more about character development.

Finally, during an online chat I connected with a woman who loved my book and has a great deal of the same reading background I do (we think we are the only ones who remember Cliffs of Night by Beatrice Brandon). Tal is fascinated by moles. HeartMate mentions mining and stones, so we talked about moles. I offered that maybe a future story could include a mole and we hashed out a few details of a young miner whose legs are crushed and so genetically engineers sentient, telepathic moles to continue the work. I saved the notes in my "Celta stories" file and returned to revising Heart Thief , then realized I had a problem in chapter 13. The heroine is trapped in an active earthquake fault. The hero is facing his inner fears and discovering an old murder in his childhood home. The heroine's telepathic puppy was left behind (she knew she was going into a dangerous situation). The hero's cat is with him to add a bit of comic relief. I need to get the hero to the heroine and decided to use the cat --removing it from the hero's scenes. Another big rewrite and cutting of humor I didn't want to do. Inspiration strikes -- enter Tal, the telepathic mole.

Every book I write has incorporated something from my discussions with my readers. So, for me, listening to readers stimulates my writing, and I'm thankful to them for making my stories richer.

You know, telepathic moles do speak differently than telepathic cats....

May your characters all be unique today.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Hero's Journey / The Writer's Journey


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When I saw Bill Moyers speak with Joseph Campbell about the Hero's Journey and storytelling (when I was a kid, before I was seriously writing, though telling myself stories at night), the interview blew my mind open -- like an explosion.

Then, much later, I heard about Christopher Vogler and his The Writer's Journey. I heard praise, then attended a seminar where he spoke and bought his book (autographed and I think I lent it to someone and never got it back), but I've read and reread that book. I know the mythic structure steps.

What also rang a chord with me is that I'd finished a book the day before I heard Vogler speak. I went home after the seminar and figured out the three acts of my novel and looked for the mythic structure. There it was. The threshold guardian. The approach to the innermost cave. In my pantzer fashion, I had told a "mythic" story.


So this is one of those books that I would take to a desert island with me. That I refer to several times a year. That I work with every time I plot.

Once I have ideas for plot events, I use this to refine it...like I'm doing with Heart Fate, Tinne Holly's story. With luck and sweat, I'll have the synopsis done and ready for critique by some friends by Sunday night.

There's been plenty of articles on the Writer's Journey, on Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces (I think that's the book), on Following Your Bliss. You can get info off the web, but if you think it would work for you, buy the book.

May your bliss infuse you today.
Robin Image hosting by Photobucket

Still scratching head...Owens Policy on Other Authors

All right, I've finished my wordcount for the morning (need to work on proposals and do more words later, and string the scenes together) and looked at my email and a reader said that my Saturday post had disappeared and wondered if that was because I talked of other authors and books.

And I'm still clueless. :p I can't recall what I wrote yesterday. Sorry, maybe later.

But as a matter of policy, if I speak of other authors and presume to criticize, unless they are very, very well known and secure in their career, and I don't think they'll be hurt, I'm not going to name them. On the other hand, if I love an author's books, and that author, then I will name them. Oh, SHOOT! I wrote about The Writer's Journey! Finally recalls!


Guess I'll make breakfast and think about how to reconstruct the post....

Sorry for this.
And may your memory be better than mine, today...
Robin (who just had to erase her name from Rpbkn...)

What the F? And Why I write. And Publication.

All right. I was SURE I posted a blog yesterday--but I don't see it. And being early, I can't recall it, and OF COURSE, I didn't save it anywhere...AND I wrote up a blog for today and it's gone too. I think I went delete happy... So my apologies if you didn't get a blog, or if it disappeared. Shoot!

Why I write. The simple answer is that I can't NOT write. I would write even if I knew I wouldn't be published again.

I told stories to myself all the time when I was a kid. I read voraciously. But the books never went the way I thought they should. Books are excellent, wonderful, and a surprise twist is the best, especially in mystery or suspense. But, I think, I wanted deeper character, or something explored a little more...or what happened in the land to the north?

Other peoples' stories could spark my own. Movies. TV.

And then, of course, I started having people in my head not only before I went to sleep. They'd hang around during the day. Some wonderful thing of inspiration or imagination would make me smile and I'd want to write it down to release the pressure, or keep it forever so I could read it and relive the moment or just smile again.

So I became a writer. And once you begin seriously writing and hook up with other writers, you learn technique (I have the first draft of the first book I finished after I became a serious writer and BEFORE I hooked up with other writers -- yeah, started with a dream; yeah, Point Of View all OVER the place; yeah, not too compelling a story, short on the conflict). And after you hook up with your writer friends you begin to dream of publication, are funnelled down the publication path.

This can be a killer for some people. So don't do it if you're content making up stories for yourself, reading and writing them for others.

As Writer of the Year for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, I gave away a free critique. The guy just liked to write for himself. He DID send me a chapter or two and I critiqued it...and I told him that if he DIDN'T want to read the critique to throw it away because I pointed out errors in his story, and messed with how he wanted to tell it to make it more compelling to me (and hopefully for others). I never heard from him. I THINK and HOPE he never looked at my critique, because he'd wanted to write his story, shelve it in his own library and have someone discover it and smile after he was dead (he told me this).

And that should be enough.

May your words sing to your own soul today.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Urgh! Don't do it!

=:o There is one copy of HeartMate left on amazon.com. For $75.00! Urgh. Don't do it. As much as I would like to think my prose is deathless, I mean, this book has only been out 4 years. They're out there. And it will be reprinted in August.

I mean, save your money. This is NOT a big deal collectors item...unless I happen to become the adult J.K. Rowling, but I don't believe that's going to happen in the foreseeable future.

Go to half.com they have some reasonable books there.


Cut Scenes -- February Website Update

Image hosting by PhotobucketFirst, cut scenes...yes, it hurts when I gotta do it. I remember all the time I put into writing it, polishing it...and it won't work, or the book is too long and this doesn't sufficiently move the plot forward or reveal character that the scene should be in.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I rewrote the first chapter of Sorceress of Faith several times. Well, one of the best ways I know of to soothe myself over cutting scenes is to put them up on my website -- some of them. I still have huge swaths of Heart Thief that never went up...

In any event, you'll be seeing more of Sorceress, if you want.

As for the rest of the Website Update -- Contest is for a large "tower" pin by Kirks Folly. The Free Your Artist page is about PLAY this month, and the Worlds page, as stated, is a cut scene between Marian/Brandy and Richard/Jack Wilse.

May you not have to cut a word today!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Free Writing

Image hosting by PhotobucketImage hosting by PhotobucketWell, I usually get up and post a blog. Seriously, this is usually my first morning task. Either I've written one before and I re-load it, or I have an idea and write, whatever.

This morning I was listening to my subliminal meditation tape (the cats have been getting me up at outrageous hours) before dawn, and as often happens when I'm listening to my tape, I started thinking about the current Work In Progress. I got a good line, a scene. When this happens and I'm feeling energized (as opposed to sinking into sleep) I get up and start writing. I RARELY ignore inspiration. Can't afford to.

ANYWAY, my brain buzzed and I finished the scene and made my wordcount and didn't continue writing because this was a "sandwich" scene, coming between other scenes I've already written, and now it's time to sew them together. I've got too many just hanging out there, like oddly stacked blocks. (Different metaphors, I know). So I need to spend time with the rough manuscript. Sure am glad I have the rest of the day.

Blathering, I know, but that is pretty much the essence with free writing. I think I've spoken about Free Writing or journalling before. That's when you sit down WITH PEN/PENCIL AND PAPER IN HAND and write, keeping your hand moving across the paper, moving, moving, moving, until you've reached your goal of 3 pages or 1/2 hour or whatever. Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way) is of the opinion that if you're not used to free writing, you need to do it for at least three full 8 1/2 x 11 pages, because what's really bothering you won't come out until about page 1 1/2. When I followed the program (The Artist's Way), I found this to be true, then later, I was able to just purge from sentence 1.

There are many, many benefits to free writing -- purging your feelings of inadequacy, talking about what's working against you in your artistic endeavors, time commitments to family, fear of failure, etc. And you don't even need to do free writing for just your life, once I wrote all the things I was scared of about a manuscript. It was trite. The hero was stupid. My word choice s*cked. The plot would NEVER come together and I wouldn't be able to finish. (I think this was Heart Duel). Anyway, getting all my fears out on paper really helped. Pretty cool, too, when I lit a match and watched the thing go up in flames.

Now, I had no clue what I was going to write about today, which is not how I usually do it. Mind was blank. But then I thought of free writing because I'm proposing a seminar on it for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference in September. We haven't had a free writing session in a couple of years, so I think we're due. And I think I can do it. With a little more preparation. ;)

So I thought I'd lay this on you. It's a good technique. Especially when you're stuck. Try it.

May your subconcious help you in your writing today. (and mine came in fits and starts).
RobinImage hosting by Photobucket

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Word On Promotion

Image hosting by PhotobucketImage hosting by Photobucket As a Luna author, I am encouraged to answer questions on Luna Discussion Board the month that my book is spotlighted (that starts TODAY), and to keep up with my other, current message list...Summoned to Chat with Robin D. Owens...I have a feeling someone has alread grabbed the hot #1 on my monthly board.

Since Sorceress of Faith was the Luna book club book, some folks (including excellent author, Gail Dayton whose March book which I've already read -- The Barbed Rose is out next month) have already read the book.

So if you want to drop by, great...but PUBLISHING is all about promotion. Really. The best thing you can do for your Writing and Publishing Career is to write the best book you can.

But the way to keep a writing career going AFTER you write the best book you can is to promote. And sometimes promoting is much easier than writing, so it can eat up your time.

Yes, I'm revved today. How can you tell? ;)

May you be immersed in your writing today.

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