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.

My Photo
Location: Denver, United States

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

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, March 31, 2006

Crimson Rogue

Such and interesting and intriquing series and books!
Image hosting by Photobucket
CRIMSON ROGUE by Liz Maverick
(Dorchester, April 2006)

From the four strata of Crimson City come rogues: vampire, werewolf, human, demon. These rebels, rakes and unsung heroes have turned their backs on the extravagant vampire skyway, the gritty werewolf underground, the iron-fisted human stronghold and the fiery power of the demon underworld. Walking a thin line between heaven and hell, they make their own rules and follow their own destinies. Ironically, they will be the ones to determine if the City flourishes or fails.

Cydney Brighton knows them well, for she too is now rogue. Having escaped hell, she’s discovered that the City is not what it once was—and neither is she. Only one man understands her, understands what it means to be someone or something beyond control. He’s ready to come out of the darkness; and part-man, part-machine, he’s willing to sacrifice almost anything to make himself whole.

Liz Maverick created and developed Crimson City as a series for Dorchester. The full slate of rockin’ authors and their books is as follows:

Book #1: Crimson City, by Liz Maverick
Book #2: A Taste of Crimson, by Marjorie M. Liu
Book #3: Through a Crimson Veil, by Patti O'Shea
Book #4: A Darker Crimson, by Carolyn Jewel
Book #5: Seduced by Crimson, by Jade Lee
Book #6: Crimson Rogue, by Liz Maverick


May your writing take a unique spin today,

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Celebrate Romance Convention

Image hosting by Photobucket Tomorrow evening I leave for Celebrate Romance. Right now my desk and credenza are stacked with goodies that will go in my raffle bag (the pet carrier). My books, of course, and something for each.

HeartMate: Tea and Tarot Cards
Heart Thief: Fortune Teller
Heart Duel: Pet Carrier
Heart Choice: Bookmark from Cliveden

Road of Adventure: WhimsyClay Cat Pin

Guardian of Honor: Jade Chopsticks and Holder, Tea
Sorceress of Faith: Chinese Knot

Additional Goodies

Butterfly Pin
Fairy on Moon Pin
Heart Box

Yesterday I got my hair cut and my suitcase out (in the scary storage room where Cats are not allowed but by which, of course, they are fascinated).

I'll pack today -- a mixture of casual and Author Clothes. I need to get my wallet calendars together and rustle up my labels so I can put them on back of a Mini Connolly Tarot Deck as gimmies during the signing.

I'm leading a discussion on covers so I printed some out last night -- with 3 samples each of Cartoon Covers, Kick-Ass Heroines, The Hunk Hero, and The Classic Clinch. I'll be taking what cover flats I have, too, but think I might have only 1 each of the old HeartMate, Heart Thief and Heart Duel. And the cover flats I have for Heart Thief and Heart Duel don't quite match the actual book covers. Luna made a little blooper with the Protector of the Faith cover so I am taking that, and it's correction.

Since I can only find about 5 copies of HeartMate I'm willing to give away, I printed off a VERY ROUGH copy of Heart Quest and that will be in my raffle basket (Diva is sitting on it to remind me it's time for Food as I type).

I'll let you all know how it goes!
May your characters get in trouble today.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Promo - E-Cards

I used to do these quite often...sending to the loops I'm on with an excerpt, and tracking how many people picked them up. If I sent to a sensual group, I'd do a couple a few months apart and see which excerpt worked the best. I had "action" excerpts and "Wiccan" excerpts, etc. A couple of my groups don't allow excerpts now, and when I send the post, it includes the excerpt, so I don't do it as often as I did.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Here's the original page: http://writerspace.com/postcards/owens.html
and if you note the rotating banner in the right hand corner -- I did banners for all my Heart books on Writerspace.

May interesting ideas occur to your characters today.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Promo - Distinguish Yourself 2

Image hosting by PhotobucketSome writers have a logo line "Inspirational romance with an edge," Pamela Thibodeux

I suppose I could use a couple of things like what I sign in books (I try to add a little blessing), like Follow Your Heart And Magic Will Come, or May A Little Magic Always Grace Your Life.

Follow your heart (to paranormal romance by Robin D. Owens) :P

or Put a little magic into your life with books by Robin D. Owens :P

Right now I usually say that I write futuristic/fantasy romance with telepathic cats with attitude...and don't all cats have attitude?

May writing go smoothly today,

Promo - Distinguish Yourself 1

Image hosting by PhotobucketGetting the word out there about you and your books is important...and it can be difficult. My friends and I were talking about this over brunch yesterday...we are all bombarded with advertisements all the time. Lately I've heard it takes about 75 impressions/ads before something really sticks anymore.

When HeartMate was out and my only chick for a year and a half, I tried all sorts of things. I did mini excerpts with my signature lines in email -- lines that SHOULD intrigue but aren't my BEST lines...I'd hate to use all my best lines. I have these filed according to chapter for chronological month by month, and by topics, such as action. Here are a few:

T'Ash rolled the divination dice. They spun and stopped: "Today you will meet your HeartMate."

T'Ash sighed, quenched he dagger in the trough, and heated up the fire. "We're nothing but Downwind scruffs, Zanth." **Speak for self,** Zanth retorted, lashing his crooked tail.

A man came running, sword blade gleaming...a hand caught his shirt and Rand squealed, a high caught-animal sound. Papa had taught him a spell Word and Rand shouted it.

[Not including sensual one that I used on my sensual romance lists]

Looking back, I see I used review snippets:

Robin http://www.robindowens.com
"This story is magical, the foundation of which is founded in what we now call paganism, but the magic goes beyond mere spells" The Best Reviews "Full of magic, rogue warriors looking for trouble and lots of danger" at Author’s Den

Or my absolute favorite for Heart Thief: "I loved Heart Thief" -- Jayne Ann Krentz

Now I have a couple:

Robin http://www.robindowens.com
On Writing and Publishing http://www.robindowens.blogspot.com
2004 Rocky Mtn Fiction Writer of the Year
2002 RITA Winner

Robin http://www.robindowens.com
Excerpts at:http://www.robindowens.com/reads/reads.htm
2004 Rocky Mtn Fiction Writer of the Year
2002 RITA Winner Best Paranormal Romance

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Casting Call


Are you an animal lover? At one time in the past did you consider a career focused on helping animals but somehow life got in the way? Do you want a second chance? Wild Summer will give 4 people the opportunity to work alongside experienced animal experts and rescued animals of all species, which may include tigers, bears, lions, various types of birds, chimps, wolves and more!

3801 Quebec Street, Denver, CO. 80207

For more information please email us, castingcall@painless.tv!

*Must be over 18 years of age and available for 4-6 weeks starting Spring/Summer, 2006.
*Please DO NOT apply if you already have extensive experience with animals.
*Final 4 participants will receive compensation for your time with us.


I saw this a week and a half ago at Common Grounds. Today is our usual monthly critique group day.

What do you think I did?
Of COURSE I went. I arrived at about 9:40 and was #22 in line. At about 1:20 I had my 3 minute interview. Approx 4 hours of waiting and 3 minutes of jacklighted Robin on camera. LOL!

Most of the people there were either animal activists or actors...I don't think they got any other coffee shop walk-ins. I filled out a form with questions that I answered nervously off the top of my head (not knowing I'd be keeping the sheet for several hours) like what are my 3 worst traits...(hmmm, blogging everyday?), what Life has Taught me, etc. I listed my occupation as "Novelist." I really consider myself a writer, but I was afraid they'd think I was there just to write. No, to me, this was a Chance In A Lifetime.

Then the wait and stories of snakes (and nasty snake bites), horses, some acting, etc. One guy had an albino boa in a pillowcase. TRUTH. It was warm and flexible, head much smaller than the body...but I had a roomie who worked in the National Zoo in DC when I lived there and she had a boa, too. I, of course, am more used to feather boas...

When I got in, I wouldn't shut up. It was like they turned on a spigot and away I went....my Dad had a very mobile face/body/attitude, and I'm sure I rolled my eyes, grimaced, shrugged etc. and I'm SO not photogenic. And I'm pretty darn sure I talked more about writing than animals...sigh. Babble. Babble. Babble. But I think I was entertaining.

I did NOT get a Call Back. Today they are checking people out with animals. Sigh. I coulda done better, babbled about Animals I Have Known...Duh. Two days with No Call Backs. Sigh...

But, yeah, I handed out 3 wallet calendars when I left...(hey, someone made a comment about reading the Heart books)...so maybe I got new readers.

May you draw from an unusal idea or experience today.

Golden Hearts/RITAs - Romance Writers of America Awards

Image hosting by PhotobucketYes, the calls to the Golden Heart and the RITA finalists went out yesterday, and No, I didn't receive any (I entered all three pieces so I'm "out" a big chunk of change). Boo hoo. Yeah, I'm disappointed and clutching my rationalizations to my bosom, using them in turn. Since I'm published, I have the option of NOT receiving the scores and I won't -- don't need that downer, too. My hope now is that though I didn't final, the people who judged my work enjoyed it and may consider me as a new author they'd like to buy...(yeah, rationalization). I usually like to forget when the calls are going out and somehow didn't manage that and got blue all day, and WORSE, I ALLOWED the distraction and depression of it to blow what was shaping up to be a good writing day. I'm irritated at myself for that. I can't afford to blow good writing days. Enough about me.

I AM VERY PLEASED to announce that my friend, Linnea Sinclair
http://www.linneasinclair.com/ is up for TWO -- Best first book, Finder's Keepers, and Best Paranormal, Gabriel's Ghost -- these are excellent futuristic space stories that I've enjoyed and since I'M not up for a RITA, I'm glad SHE is. It will be a real blast partying with her in Atlanta.

May you let no depression of mind or spirit keep you from your creativity today.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats

Image hosting by Photobucket I went to a book signing last night...just recalled it by accident about a half hour before it officially started, and since I wouldn't have forgiven myself if I'd missed it, I consider this a nudge from the universe. I had it in my palm (which was upstairs in my office beeping, no doubt, when I was downstairs eating), but hadn't transferred it to my desk engagement calendar. And I happened to be using my desk calendar this week...

Mario was welcoming, excited, happy, and donated the royalties of the night to a Latino Fine Arts group. He said he'd just mailed off the 2nd book in the series (and we know that was a spur, right, so he could say he'd mailed the 2nd at his signing). I wish I'd set up dinner with some of my friends of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers because I REALLY wanted to talk A LOT to other people there.

We all had a great time.

BUY THE BOOK, You'll love it.

Image hosting by Photobucket

May you get all the support you need for your writing today.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Office / Cave

It's been nearly a week of gray days and, yes, it's affecting me. The cold has ensured that I keep bulky layers on and the snow means I don't walk much...um...did I tell you all I had a little fall last Saturday? Wrenched my right ankle...anyway it's still twinging and I don't want to take it out in the snow.

Bottom line is, I'm stuck at the desktop in my office. I've been keeping downstairs too cool to really work there on a laptop. The office is the warmest room in the house, especially with the monster 'puter running.

Anyway, I was asked for pics of "my cave" and used some of the horse camp film to take them. These are actually the TIDIED desk...yeah, chaos happens...

is my credenza with RITA, too high and stuffed for my now-older cats to hop up onto.

Desk (wincing) http://www.paigecuccaro.com/OwensDesk.jpg

As you can tell I can handle what my ex-interior-designer roomie calls "pattern intensive" space...lots of stuff to look at everywhere. I DID take the pic of the desk with the Protector of Flight cover, which you can barely see. The stack to the right is much smaller, and I've been working on the bookcase, too.

Love to all,

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Worldbuilding Getting details right.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Sometimes when I'm writing, I have to think of worldbuilding details in every paragraph I craft, and hope that this flows smoothly.

Why does Alexa work better with horses than volarans?
Why do only some people wear full fighting leathers made of dreeth skin? (Because they killed the dreeth. But don't people who kill dreeths sell the skins to get money (zhiv)? Yes, but only those people who killed the dreeth can COVER their body with the skin of the dreeth they killed. Thus they can sell the skin (which naturally brings a high price), and smaller garments may be made with the skin, but only the people who killed it can wear the skin. Magic.....

And yes, this can slow me (you) down, but it adds richness to the world, it keeps your world consistent, and thus keeps your readers happy.

May you add a little more richness to your story today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Seasonal Writing

Image hosting by PhotobucketI have headphones on, listening to the tunes that make up my soundtrack for the Exotique Summoning books (that's how I have them filed on my computer). The full spectrum "sun light" on my desk glows.
But I am really flying high in a summer sky with Calli, delighted at the freedom, the golden sun. I'm ducking dreeths, fighting, feeling the hot breath of fire pass me, sweat sliding down my body as I swing my sword...

Then a whisk of air sends a plume of snow from my neighbor's roof across my window and I'm back home, dressed in three layers, with feet that are chilly. The sky is not summer blue. What I can see of it is as white as the damn snow.
I don't really like writing Summer in winter, though I've done it before and vice versa. I like to write in the same season. However, with the new timeline I have of the Celta books (if they buy them), the story will definitely dictate what season it will be...as does the Summoning series...

So I guess I'll be remembering the days of summer in March, the chill of winter in July...

May whatever season you're writing in today, give you good ideas.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Author's Reading Copy

Image hosting by Photobucket Image hosting by Photobucket I found it! My original "Reading Copy" that I marked up for several reasons...marked the sections I read, circled the words I'd stumble over, put "slow" in the margins, added names. For a while I used "signature excerpts" under my emails...so I have those marked. With my website, I try and tie in my prizes to excerpts, one each chapter, so those are indicated. I sent out email postcards (hmmm, will do one this week for you) to different groups -- cat groups, pagan groups, readers who like sexy excerpts groups...with different excerpts, so those, TOO, are noted.

Now I'll check the scenes with T'Ash wearing a vest, then in the garden shed thinking about gangs...though I'll probably do a word search on "gang" on my computer, too.

You can see why I didn't want to lose this particular book. It has gold labels on it, too, to let me know that this is MY main author's copy...an oval label that says "Local Author" and one that says 2002 RITA(R) WINNER! The corners are turned up...yup, love this particular book. Someday it might sell for big bucks on ebay (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha).

May you include an object special to you today in your writing.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Reading Your Own Books

You know, I'm going to have to read HeartMate again to figure out a story for the tattoo (which I'll probably post on my website under the Worlds page in July/August)...no, I never really read HeartMate after it was published. I did READINGS (first chapter, modified in my own Author Copy book), and glanced through it now and then, but never read it through. I think the only book of mine I've ever read through as a book is Guardian of Honor, and Road of Adventure, the novella. I think the others I just lived with too long or worked too hard on them.

But talking to my mentor yesterday I realized that T'Ash DOES wear a vest (probably sleeveless) in the book, and the whole thing is about gangs, and MAYBE I mentioned he was in a gang. And let's face it, he did grow up a Downwind tough, and followed a Vengeance Stalk. I'm thinking now that when he swore to do a Vengeance Stalk, the tattoo appeared (Heaven knows what the tattoo IS -- it does have leaves instead of feathers which is more in keeping with Celta, but I'll think of that), then when his revenge was done the tattoo disappeared, except, you know, when he had that little berserker problem...which is why Danith never noticed it...

May you give your characters unique qualities today.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Here it is!

I want to be able to link to it, so I AM putting it up. Consider this TOMORROW'S post. I am NOT going to be able to write in that tattoo.

May your mind be shaken up today.
Image hosting by Photobucket

Mindboggling. OMG! New HeartMate Cover.

No wonder my editor has been lax about sending me cover art. I thought I was getting an amber necklace (single element) on the cover, but....THEY obviously brainstormed about gangs...I don't think I'm gonna be able to write this in....

And, yeah, I'm gonna make you wait until tomorrow.


How to Write Books 2

First, there's a classic about creativity: The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and another old favorite, Walking on Alligators, Meditations for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy (I based my Free Your Artist page on my website on this).

The best How to Write Book I know is The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler. It works for me. Other books I reach for when plotting, I think I've already mentioned: How to Write a Fiction Synopsis by Pam McCutcheon, and The Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders.

The above books are those that I always use. I sometimes look in Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon and Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham. I've also used The Observation Deck my Naomi Epel (a group of us worked several months on this for a while).

I do have others that I've bought and haven't really read, Tehcniques of a Selling Author by Dwight Swain (a classic) and Howe to Write a Damn Good Novel by James Frey, among 4-5 others.

I have sf/f worldbuilding books, too.

So that's pretty much my How to Write Book Toolbox. These are the ones that work for ME. Others may speak to you better.

May you make your wordcount today.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

How to Write Books 1

Yes, there are thousands out there, stuff from Writing Fiction for Dummies (I think) to The Obsaervation Deck...a Tool Kit for Writers by Naomi Epel. Yes, I have my fair share of them, and yes, I sometimes get pretty pissed when a new one comes out and I think "someone is trying to make money on all those people who want to become writers."

I know, I should be more compassionate, like I am with poorly written romance books, but even when I had the day job, some new writing book would come out and I would wonder whether to spend my hard earned $$ on it. But, the real fact is, there are more people who want to write, who play at writing (and that's not a necessarily a bad thing), than those who take writing seriously enough to work hard for a career. And sometimes I resent people writing these How Tos, as if all they want is a buck. I'm probably wrong. They probably want to help writers.

Hey, after all, I'm writing this blog, which I hope illuminates different issues on writing and publishing, and I wrote plenty of articles for my newsletter, and did a few seminars. But, you know, this is free (though I wouldn't say "no" to anyone who offered me a deal on them), and if I'm going to blog, it will be about my personal obsession, writing....and the strange publishing business.

Well, that's enough for today, I've noticed the side bar has appeared, and I'm thinking that smaller blogs are probably more "marketable." Besides, I want to try out ANOTHER new writing schedule for today, and that's feeding the cats, getting dressed decently, and going away, hopefully before 7 am.

Tomorrow I'll share (don't really like that word particularly when someone is sharing something with you that you don't really want) the writing books I use all the time, some I use occasionally (including The Observation Deck) but wouldn't be without...then maybe Saturday I'll talk about a notion that sent me to my writing books...got it planned out, maybe, perhaps.

May you NOT have to consult your writing books at all today and may beautiful prose dance from your fingers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Atmosphere/Abridging books

Sorry I forgot to post yesterday...it was a day of errands and I had lunch with old work buddies, then I got hijacked into an audio book, The Eyre Affair. Very interesting concept and world, the POV was quite strange, but what really struck me was the "atmosphere" of the book.

Atmosphere -- overall tone. Dark/light -- dark for brooding, tortured heroes or heroines, things that don't go right, characters who die...perhaps main characters. Light -- humor-laced romps, perhaps less emotionally engaging. I consider my books with edges of both. The most wrenching scene I ever wrote was in Heart Choice, yet that book had lighter moments, usually with the cat since I often use the Fam animals for comic relief.

So, I was wrapped up in the tone of the book -- which was more dark than light, more filled with brooding on the past and a sense of despair in that the heroine had to finally face and deal with some very unpleasant memories.

Then I found out that the book was SLIGHTLY ABRIDGED...which further sent my mood out of whack. I HATE that. I didn't check when I took the book from the library. Hell.

I don't KNOW who makes the abridgements in audio. I don't think it's the author. And I was, of course, most interested in the love story, and being an alternate-universe action adventure with a romantic subplot, I'd bet that the first thing that was "abridged" was part of the romance -- the subplot. Yech.

So I've ordered the print books and will reread IF they come...since this is the 2nd time I've ordered them, the first package is lost in Media Mail (got a refund).

I don't much like media mail, either, as it can take months. Really. Months.

Ok, enough of my generalized whining. May you bring unique elements to your story today.


Horse Camp Photo

All right, I'm very late, and I don't have much to say, so I'll just show a photo of Pooka, the Stallion at horse camp!

May all your research be as lovely!

Image hosting by Photobucket

Horse Camp Photo

All right, I'm very late, and I don't have much to say, so I'll just show a photo of Pooka, the Stallion at horse camp!

May all your research be as lovely!

Image hosting by Photobucket

Monday, March 13, 2006

Tools 2

Image hosting by Photobucket

I spent yesterday loading Wordperfect Office 12 onto my home machine, calling Corel to register (they have a screw up on their site), and making my toolbar, which includes the wonderful macro I modified, SAVETOE which will save on my hard drive and a flash drive, at the same time. It's the blue E on the toolbar.

Yes, this took me a long time, but I'm used to my buttons being a certain color and shape...for instance the expand and condense a master document (which I use quite a bit) have simply awful icons so I made up the red and blue arrows.

I'm trying out a couple of new buttons to see how they'll work, if I use them, I'll keep them on my toolbar.

Of course, this is efficiency. I've got my keyboard set, too. The less you have to think about formatting, the more your mind is freed up for your writing.

May you forget all about formatting today and write!

Bad books vs. Good books & Authors

I just finished judging 11 books in 3 romance sub-genres for a contest. One of the books was terrible. I felt the heroine's behavior was inappropriate and immature. The hero was slightly more than cardboard. The setting was interesting.

I gave this book an AVERAGE.

Why? Because it was the best book the author could write with the resources she had. I'm pretty sure it's a first book. And the author was proud enough of this book to enter it in a contest.

Let's face it, no author knowingly writes a bad book. Every author writes the best book they can with the resources they have. If they could have written a better book, they would have (and yeah, MY book is still not going well).

My first book is still on my shelf, never to see the light of day. The hero's motivation is weak. The romantic conflict is superficial. The setting is interesting.

I'm lucky that there are no books out there that will ever shame me, even though I wrote them the best that I could at the time, and I hope I've grown. Yes, there are things I'd like to change, but it isn't likely I'll ever have the chance, and I don't know that I'd take the time to do it anyway.

So next time you read a bad book, give us a break, we really did our best.

May your writing be exceptional today,

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Mind your Body

When I woke up this morning, my shoulder blades hurt. I have tendonitis, most particularly in my right arm, but my shoulders are where I keep stress, and since I haven't seen any writing income this year, and I'm thinking HARD about Protector of the Faith, I DO have stress.

I haven't been switching my chairs. My walking buddy has been under deadline and unavailiable, it's been cold and snowy and I haven't been walking.

So I hauled up my laptop from the dining room table and worked out in the bedroom to this VERY old, very beloved low impact excercise tape that my brother had copied onto DVD for me. I've had it so long that I've made up "embellishments" move faster, double time sometimes, add arm movements...not today. Today I did it straight and half way through, I could feel that my hips needed some loosening, too.

I feel better. The blog had to wait, writing has to wait, breakfast has to wait. The best I've ever felt in my life is when I excersized (to this 28 minute tape) every day. I did some last month for the same reason and to prepare for horse camp, and I noticed the difference right away.

As a writer, it's easy to abuse your body...not stand and stretch every hour or so if you're on a roll...skip meals (though this hasn't happened to me lately ;) ) not excercise. But this is WRONG. Daily excercise feeds the mind. Stephen King walks an hour a day.

So, today, may your excercise bring new insights to your writing. It happens!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Copy Editors

Image hosting by PhotobucketA copy editor is a person who checks your manuscript for spelling, grammar and punctuation. They might also catch overuse of words, choreography problems, awkward sentences and things that confuse the reader.

I have the same copy editor for my Heart books at Berkley. I realized this when she corrected my second manuscript (Heart Thief) for one of my made-up words...spellshield and a couple of other words that weren't consistent with HeartMate, the first book.

This is not the person who worked on Road of Adventure when it went from trade to mass market size. I could tell. How?

In my books, my cats refer to themselves as "Cats." Uppercase at all time. As Me, Mine is uppercase at all time in their dialogue. Though Road of Adventure is a contemporary paranormal romance, the cat in it -- a ghost cat going for wings -- does this, too. ("The Cat needs food," Boris pressed on. "Shauna feeds the feral Cats in her neighborhood. That's how she got Me." "That's what I'm afraid of," Jake muttered.)

I think the Me, Mine stayed, but the Cats got lost in the shuffle...anyway, I corrected them and the page proofs are on their way back to NY.

May no grammar, spelling, or punctuation shadow your mind when writing today!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Heart, Evil and Animal Magnetism...

Yeah, yeah, I'm waiting for my virus scan to finish before I log off. I think I got rid of a bug and want to double check...so...

Your Heart Is Purple

For you, love is about establishing and developing a deep connection.

If it's true love, it brings you more wisdom and inner strength.

Your flirting style: Sincere

Your lucky first date: An afternoon at a tea house

Your dream lover: Is both thoughtful and expressive

What you bring to relationships: Understanding

You Are 34% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Your Animal Personality

Your Power Animal: Deer

Animal You Were in a Past Life: Panda

You are a fun-seeker - an adventurous, risk-taker.

While you are spontaneous, you are not very rational.


Well, this was difficult...so I might be a different soul tomorrow.

You Are a Retrospective Soul

The most misunderstood of all the soul signs.
Sometimes you even have difficulty seeing yourself as who you are.
You are intense and desire perfection in every facet of your life.
You're best described as extremely idealistic, hardworking, and a survivor.

Great moments of insight and sensitivity come to you easily.
But if you aren't careful, you'll ignore these moments and repeat past mistakes.
For you, it is difficult to seperate the past from the present.
You will suceed once you overcome the disappoinments in life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Traveler Soul and Prophet Soul

Thick Envelopes

UPS came yesterday and left me a thick envelope (7 lbs). My heart started pounding. Thick envelopes ALWAYS mean a physical/emotional reaction. I thought it was the copy edits for Heart Quest, and since I hadn't even heard that my editor had read it, it was quite a surprise. I began thinking how I could wedge in a big copy edit project with my daily writing and when I'd get paid for the book. Then I opened the envelope to find the OLD copy edits of Road of Adventure and Heart Choice being returned. This is the first time this has happened to me, so I figure it's because of my editor's new assistant. I'll drop her a line to say that they can recycle and she doesn't need to send stuff back to me.

When you're unpublished thick envelopes cause nausea. You take one look and know that your manuscript has been rejected. Again. So, on the whole, I'm glad of the reactions I have now.

When you're first published, large envelopes bring excitement. You see one and are sure that the publisher has decided everything was a mistake and they AREN'T going to publish you after all, then you rip it open to find contracts. The copy edits are sweaty-palm stuff, too, but I can usually wrap my mind around those. The page proofs/galleys weird me out (though I have been getting better at this lately). Since the ones from Berkley look so much like a book, I immediately put in a call to my friend Rose, who does the line editing for me.

A Thick Envelope Day. Whew.

May all your writing use excitement today.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Proposals are OUT!

Image hosting by Photobucket

Yes! **doing chair boogie** I have SENT the proposals for the next three "Heart" books to my agent to forward to my editor. Each has at least the first scene written and a synopsis ranging from 7-9 pages. A complete story. HOORAY!

The books are Heart Match, Heart Fate, and Heart Change. Please send a few good wishes my way that they buy all three. I am a little concerned that they will only buy two (Heart Fate is Tinne Holly's story and they may feel that is a good place to stop the series).

As a side note, only one Fam appears in the opening pages of one book so far (Heart Match), but that may change. I didn't have a hideous time with any of the three openings. So I am feeling good. I will probably take myself off to Common Grounds and listen to some live music (Celtic), and work on hand edits of Protector of the Flight.

May one of your scenes, chapters, books have a satisfying ending today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Of Widows and Orphans

I've done a second check of the 1st Pass Pages (galleys/page proofs) of my novella Road of Adventure which will be coming out in mass market paperback this June. Since it's going from trade paperback to mass market paperback, I get another look at it. I've changed a little wording and added an important sentence.

However I was concerned by some remarks I saw in the margins. When I see comments in the margins, they're usually from the copy editor or my editor and I address them. This time it was all about "loose line to avoid orphan?" and occurred several times. Well, this novella was very tightly written for me, so every line counted. I called my editor's assistant, then got an email from my editor which I replied to with my concerns. I was then told that my editor consulted with the managing editor (I think this must be the person in production who looks at manuscripts) and I was to disregard the TYPESETTER's comments. I'm a little concerned that the typesetter is messing with my story, but that's a different blog.

Your word processing program should have an on/off option for Widows and Orphans. A widow is when the first line of a paragraph is left on the bottom of the page (or at the top), like this:Image hosting by Photobucket

An orphan is when one word is carried over to the top of the next page, like this:
Image hosting by Photobucket

A widow just looks bad to some people. An orphan wastes space...a whole line which could be printed for one word.

This is not usually a problem UNTIL the galley/page proof stage, and I've never found editors worry about this because the ms. (manuscript) format will change when typeset.

Handling Orphans: If you need to cut pages or tighten for a contest, the first place to look is at orphans (a paragraph ending with one word). If you can tighten that paragraph, you will have one more whole line. This is also good if you want to tighten your work in general. However it does have a drawback, which is altering the rhythm of the paragraphs which can, in turn, make them flat. If you have something like 4-full-line paragraph, 4-full-line paragraph, 4-full line paragraph, you can definitely sound flat.

That's it for today, may the rhythm of your words SING today.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

March Website Up!

What's new for March? I'll be at Celebrate Romance in Long Beach at the end of the month, http://www.crspring.com/ For those of you in California, it has day rates...

I have a beaded/jewelry type bookmark for the contest...that echoes the passage (one of my favs) from Sorceress of Faith. Actually this was the first scene I ever wrote when I started on the book, then had to back off a little and show Marian in her Ordinary World (I really believe this should be done, show the life right before the Big Change).

WORLDS Page has another cut scene, this one between Marian and Golden Raven. I know some of my readers wanted to see more of Golden Raven (that's the main link).

Oh, I have a READING ORDER up since I've gotten some questions about that, too, both on my home page and my Bookshelf Page.

Free Your Artist (as I said here) has exercises about memory, fun links and Surprise, as always.

May you start every scene at the right place today.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Awards -- Golden Statues, Golden Medals

Image hosting by Photobucket
Yes, awards are wonderful, both those judged by your peers and those judged by readers. Mostly because it gives you a sense that you are on the right track, that maybe you were meant to be a writer after all. I don't know if athletes have doubts that they were meant to pursue their calling. I'm sure actors do. And I know that I'm not alone in wondering whether I should be a writer, in doubting myself, my talent, my work. That if I let it, a bad reveiw can get me down (though I firmly believe that inner validation is THE ONLY thing a person can depend on). But sometimes doing the best you can with all the resources you have doesn't seem enough. I know most other writers doubt themselves, too, that's why belonging to a supportive writing community WHICH INCLUDES BLOGS, is important. Oh, can you tell my current project is not going as well as I want?

And yes, I have a couple of golden medals, too. Gold for first in Colorado State gymnastics that I won as a kid. I don't know where they are. I thought I'd moved them from a storage box to my jewelry box and was going to scan one, but when I looked, they weren't there. They aren't big, about an inch round. I don't particularly like them. I did that for my father. HE wanted those medals. I happened to give them to him one year (and, boy, am I glad that we aren't always judged on one shot).

So the awards that I have won, because I'm doing something I love, mean much more...and I've circled around to the inner validation thing. My gut is still quivering, my mind still doubting, but, on the whole, I love writing and even if I never got published again (remember, one of my bottom line questions!), I would still write. And I'd go back to a day job and that would be easier, too.

So you may doubt yourself, but if you do, contact your buddy. I know my writing friends won't tell me a piece of work is good when it isn't, and that can be priceless.

May no self doubt shadow your thoughts today and writing be fun!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Alternate Realities 2

Be creative in other ways (but keep your focus on your main endeavor). For a long time I was part of an improv group until we all moved on. We still hang together, and if I weren't so behind I'd head over to brunch and meet most of the people on the website above.

Laura took pics of us in dramatic lighting for her work. She's currently art editor for Tales of the Talisman, and I have couple of pieces of her art that I love. Anyway, here I am on Tuffet Patrol, and you know, I'm really not too afraid of spiders...

Anyway, someone else can always give you another slant on your work or yourself.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Maybe I'll head to brunch after all. I love these folks.

May your writing include good people today.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Writer's Voice from Blogging?

Image hosting by PhotobucketI was judging some unpublished manuscripts in a contest last night (not paranormal) and while I still had critical eyes, I went ahead and worked on the "1st Pass Pages" for Road of Adventure. I read them clear through even though in my huge attack on my desk I found both the copy edits and the original page proofs. I'll look at them later.

But back to the contest. When I do critiques I'll mark up pages to my heart's content if I know the person (or, in the case of the charity critiques I've done, if a person wants me to dig deep). My first entry I could have done this. NONE of my entries were without potential or promise. All were pretty good, one was excellent in the pages but confused the hell outa me in the synopsis. But one lacked...something...I finally figured out that it was voice. I don't think the writer has developed her own voice yet.

And it's really a pain when you hear that! 'Cause I did. I had crit buddies give me books on voice. But I really think it's a matter of writing 1,000,000 words, and perhaps BLOGS like this help. They don't often do story arcs, but they might help you definitely develop your own unique voice. Everyone has them. I listen to audio all the time and if you read me Rowling or Roberts or Krentz or Lowell or Howard I could tell you who it was. The rhythm of the words, the sentence structure, the word choice.

As for Road of Adventure, I'll look at my previous stuff because there was a couple of awkward phrases, and I'll look at "1st Pass Pages" again because there was some copy editing questions about cutting a sentence to stop an orphan (one word hanging at the end of a page or paragraph) which I didn't SEE. Huh. Maybe I'll call my editor's new assistant on Monday. Give her a try.

May your voice ring fresh and true today.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Alternate Realities 1

Image hosting by PhotobucketWe all form our own ideas of the world, and those ideas inevitably form our creative endeavors -- our writing. And every so often a little shake up of the brain box is good.

The trip, for instance -- different landscapes, for sure. Huge distances before the horizon (which I like and having travelled in the west a lot, am used to. Get out of Denver a few miles and you have those distances). There was a lot of cactus, and that I'm not used to. A different landscape will definitely slant anyone's life and story (we'll talk about landscape as character someday).

A different way of thinking -- I'm used to upscale yuppy restaurants where if I ask for tea, I usually get a little basket of Celestial Seasonings (they're local) herbal teas. I like the caffinated stuff (and we won't go into hotel tea, conference tea -- which is worse than conference chicken -- or the general abuse of tea drinkers in this country). So when I'm out in Denver, I usually say I'd like some "hot black tea." Then I usually get at least a Lipton, Farmers Brothers, Earl Gray or Celestial Seasonings English Breakfast tea. Earl Gray has bergemot and Constant Comment has clove in the tea, but if I'm desperate....

Well, a few miles outside Pueblo, we stopped at this place Mom knows. I asked for hot black tea. The waitress came back, confused. They didn't have "black tea." I said just to bring me tea. I got Lipton's, all was ok. One morning at a McDonalds (Mom is comforted that their coffee is the same everywhere), I asked for a medium tea and the server immediately went for iced. Didn't know where the hot tea bags were. Didn't know the price of hot tea... So, yes, these showed me a different way of thinking where "tea" meant only one thing to each of these servers, and you wouldn't get a Tall, Light, Mocha, Latte either.

Then there was the rhythm of life at the horse ranch. No worry about excercise, of course. Hearty meals because physical work demands lots of calories. The day revolved around the horses -- the feeding of them, caring for them, and that was a good change of reality, too. BTW, I'll be taking the disposable cameras in today to get the film developed, then you will see photos of horses.

And, like I've said before, just taking your laptop and writing somewhere new can change attitude and outlook.

May your writing take a fresh slant today.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Horse Camp 1

I fell in love with the horses.

I don't think it was horses in general, but these particular horses. Or maybe Lipizzans. Individual personalities on hooves. Oh, they were loving themselves, and sly, and mysterious, and pushy and...all the things an animal companion can be.

It was a wrench leaving them, but, you know, these horses BELONG WITH Judy. They are bonded to her.

And yes, I liked the horse I rode, Sancho the Mexican Ranch Horse. He was sensitive and gentle. I could tell he understood what the trainer and I were trying to communicate to him.

The main thing about horses that I've learned is that they are very sensitive to gesture, body position, probably individual personal forcefields. One twitch and they can misread you -- and humans don't often communicate well in Equine.

More later, and may your secondary characters provide wonder today.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Flee! Flee at once!

Image hosting by Photobucket I spoke to some high school seniors and juniors today, and that's probably what I should have told them. Instead, I think I bored them to death (I left my notes in the car and I should have gone and gotten the d*#$(& things).

In any event I gave them a lot of information, DID support their dreams to write, and told them to get a day job.

I am obsessing over this, as I think it's important, but the really good thing is that those serious will have probably gotten some information and those who aren't will think of me of that strange and boring women they went to see to get out of class and forget all about me.

May your writing endeavors go well today,

Out of the Blogosphere
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >>]