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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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Back from Karvel Kon

I had a Car Problem on Friday, so I rode out with Rose and Matthew (not spouses), and came back after Rose and I dropped Matthew at his parents' place in Elizabeth, CO. So I'm much later than anticipated and car (Milton) will have to go in to The Shop this week or next week. All involved at Day Job are fervently trying to get it done Wednesday at the latest. Fine with me.

Karvel was wonderful. Very fun, engaging interesting folks with different (warped) perceptions on pretty much everything. I talked writing with the other authors (Hilary Bell and Thea Hutchinson), and got that fix in.

Last night was Masquerade, Skits, and Games. My masquerade (since I spaced this weekend until the last reminder) wasn't as prepared as usual. I work on it quite a bit. Since robot was the theme I wore a mixing bowl ($1 at Hoffman Drug) and a burner protector ($1 for 2), on my head and one on my chest in minimalist costume and did a few lines of I am the very model of a modern robot an-der-oid that I wrote myself and self destructed. Did a lot of "dying" last night...in the masquerade and the skits and the games. We took a list of famous robots and inserted them in equally famous movie scenes. I was Woody in Toy Story with Gigelo Joe, the Cylon in Stargate, and Data in Silence of the Lambs, oh, a mermaid in the bath scene with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and David in AI. I think there was another, completely unmemorable scene.

My art, "Eye at the End of the Universe" won the Two Billion Years Before the Lash Award and went for $2 at the art auction. I was too cheap to win any art this year.

The games were excellent -- World Greatest Party Game -- pull bits of paper with famous people/characters on it and 3 rounds -- full description, 2 words and pantomime. I'm best with the two words. Very active and rousing. I died as Princess Diana, a Bones actress and a coupla more folks -- Anne Bolyn, I think. Not Isadora Duncan this time. Werewolf was the first time we've played the game and was quite excellent. I got lynched as a peasant once, eaten twice by the werewolves, and munched a couple of peasants as a werewolf. We played 5 games and it ended up Werewolves 3, Peasants 2. For a smallish group (10) I got to be all the major cards, peasant, Night Owl, Werewolf, and Seeker.

No writing yet today since I went to bed at 2 am and rose at 8. Plan on snoozing, grocery shopping, watching Charmed (just came into this series), and then perhaps writing. Cats are fine, though mad.

Love to all and remember to diversify your creativity to refill your creative well today.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Small Town Libraries

Well, here I am at the county library in Limon, Co. It's open until 2pm, and I don't think they have any of my books -- the librarian was thrilled to be able to say she could accomodate all 10 of us with computers and led me to the back room up the stairs. The wall s here are white and covered with small photos of windmills...those small metal windmills that pump water that you see so often on the planes. One of the photos says "Harnessing the Wind bringing lift to the plains."

These pics, like the view of the endless horizon I experienced last night and this morning, and the piling gray storm clouds over meandering cottonwoods that I saw on the way here, remind me that though I am mostly an urban human, my forebears knew the plains. And I've spent plenty of time driving the plains myself during my life, so they're a part of me, as are the mountains.

And you all know that landscape can play an integral part in a story, as if it is a character itself, right? Providing atmosphere, challenges, blessings.

Yes, the writing went well this morning, how could you tell?

What's most touching here in this room is the small plaque over the exit. "Our computer lab funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation." It almost makes me feel warm and cuddly to microsoft. Over a couple of computers is the legend (in bright pink paper "Do not play Runescape on this computer." I've never heard of Runescape, I'll have to ask my fellow geeks, someone will know. (A friend who is a software engineer is sitting nex to me reconfiguring the monitor -- the refresh rate is not set right -- on the computer to my left), every one else is in the main room.

So today, think of your landscape, what is part of your blood and bones as a writer. Think of the landscape of your story (Calli is once more soaring over the rolling hills of Lladrana). How can it play a part in your work today?


Friday, April 28, 2006

Creativity Weekend - Karvel Kon

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMany years ago the real mover and shaker and extrovert of all my friends (Rose B., above) worked as a teacher in a small Colorado town called Karvel. And she started a yearly sf/f convention (8-25 people, invitation only, full participation required). For my writing friends, I usually call this my Creativity Weekend, for my family, it's the weekend I go to Limon (Karvel doesn't have facilities, i.e. a motel).

Friday night we commit art. I usually do sticker art or collage or something as I am pretty pitiful at everything else. I know I will win a prize (everyone does). I know someone will bid on my art during the art auction Sunday, even if it's only a nickle.

Saturday we break into groups and draw for movies according to theme (this year it's Robots) and decide which movies we'll use in our "dramatic" presentation, then we go shopping for props. Saturday night is first the masquerade (scrambling this year as the weekend caught me by surprise), then the plays. I know I will win an award for my masquerade effort, no matter how feeble, and the group will win an award for the plays. Everyone does – support is there for any sort of creativity.

Incredibly fattening food is usually partaken by all, during the entire weekend.

Just letting you know because Limon is not exactly online. I think I managed to check email in the library last year (it was open Saturday morning!). So I'll have this up today, Friday, then post something late Sunday, for sure, but Saturday may not have anything from me for you all.

May your own creativity shine this weekend.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Prologues 1

Prologues should be included for only two reasons. A huge incident in the past of the hero or heroine (occasionally the villain) is shown instead of included in exposition, dialogue or flashback (a flashback always STOPS the forward motion of a story) OR something is going on (set up wise) that the reader should know about but the protagonist doesn't.

The key to the Prologue is KEEP IT AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE, definitely under, say, ten pages. Some people will skip prologues. Truly. They will read to a point in the story where they don't know what is going on and may go back. Some might not even pick the book up.

I recently bought some Christina Dodd books. I read the one with the concept VERY like Linda Howard's White Lies (except it was set during the Crimean War) and enjoyed it very much (and no, I'm not going to mess around trying to recall the title of the book because I am writing this before the new day job and I have a scene of my own burning in my brain and I need to iron my pants, too).

After finishing the first book, I turned to another -- which had a prologue, as did two others. I stood there stymied. I always read prologues, but didn't feel like reading a prologue before getting into a book (I now regret that little "poem" I put at the top of Guardian of Honor).

That was last week. I've re-read other books since.

Prologues tend to be wrenching in some way, and I am needing comfort reads.

So, that's it today for prologues. This dialogue goes on in writerly circles, but if you MUST have one, do it.

May your hooks be excellent today.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Right now I don't have a clue to say here on the blog...lots of ideas went through my head but none stuck. I did write a blog last night for today, but it's a little depressed and posting it now would reinforce folks ideas that I'm bipolar (which I'm not, I'm just a Scorpio, and the royalties blog was written a week back before the Day Job). If I can figure out at all how to live without a day job, I'll do it. By the time I get home my shoulders and neck are so tense that I don't want to write, the work station isn't set up properly and I don't really feel right about moving everything around...I've been soaking in hot baths.

So, if this were a book, I'd be brainstorming it with my critique group -- and usually in brainstorming with critique groups, the problem is them running away with an idea in five different directions. Sometimes you have to say, "that's not going to happen, deal." Usually I just have a muzzy feeling in the head, heart or gut that means something is lurking in my subconcious and Will Be Revealed and I work with that and others' ideas.

But brainstorming has been Critical to the success of my career. Sharon Mignerey came up with the idea that T'Ash's HeartGift could be stolen when I reached the end of Chapter 1 of HeartMate and didn't know what came next.

Anne Tupler had the fabulous idea (in Heart Duel) of having a heroine go from door to door to find her HeartMate with a charm key (the basis for Heart Quest, coming out in September).

Steven Moores helped with the resolution of HeartMate. Kay Bergstrom gave me the idea of singeing whiskers in (hope to sell) Heart Match...Yes, I owe a lot to the free wheeling of critique groups.

So there's the blog, a pastiche, and now I'm running late for day job, but you know, I still have to figure out that tattoo on the cover for HeartMate, guess who I'll turn it over to?

May your words come easy today.
Robin (who just misspelled her name)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Royalties/Sell through/Earn out

Image hosting by PhotobucketI got royalties! From Berkley! Ok, HeartMate has been bringing in a very small trickle every six months...Heart Thief is still in the hole due to a larger print run, but Heart Duel has EARNED OUT! WOW. Got royalties from the anthology, What Dreams May Come, too. WHEEEWWWW! This was a good check. Not great, but I am a niche author.

Sell Through -- this is how many books of your print run have sold and is determined in percentages (though I got the check I don't have the royalty statements from my agent yet, so I'm not exactly sure of the print run/etc. this term). A 50% sell through is considered good.

Earn Out -- that's when the book has sold 100% of the advance money they paid the author, and the author now gets royalties. This is considered very, VERY good.

Since the writing has been going well, too, I'm damn well happy today and might even treat myself to a meal out. Maybe steak.

May no financial worries cloud your day,

Dialogue Drift

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So, you're writing along, knowing where you need to go in a certain conversation and someone says something that's VERY important...but not part of the original plan. What do you do? Usually, this means a cut and paste deal for me while figuring out which bit should come first and how to yank the dialogue back to where it needs to be for set up for the next scene...and, yes, that takes work...or I try a couple of different ways and only hope that when I'm done, the flow seems natural...

May all your dialogue be smooth and brilliant today.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Splitting Books/Agents/Royalties


Image hosting by PhotobucketYour agent is the person who speaks with your editors on the books only (s)he sold to them. For that, the standard amount is 15%. It's worth every penny.

Since I "negotiated" and sold my first two books, HeartMate and Heart Thief, whenever I have problems with those two titles I usually email my editor (if the issue is minor), and copy my agent, just for FYI. If the issue is large, I'll call and talk to my editor (and sweat every minute).

All my other books, my agent handles. This is important since I just received a royalty statement (and very small check) for HeartMate from Berkley...and no statement on Heart Thief. I'm pretty sure that I'm still in the hole for Heart Thief and will not be getting royalties on that one for a while, since the printing was large and the returns were, too, but I do like to see how much I'm in the hole so I can dream of a future when I may someday get small checks for it, too.

I don't have a fax. I have the capability but haven't set it up. So Berkley will fax Heart Thief's statement to my agent, then they will include it with the other royalty statements that come to them first and I will get it. Bottom line -- I will always have to deal with Berkley on my first two books, and I know it.

May business be far from your mind as you write today.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I thought I'd save the promo for a Sunday. ;)
Here are a couple of banners I had made (they had to be shrunk to fit the blogspot size limits) for Heart Choice.

Again tell me what you think...I suppose I'll have to do one for Heart Quest. I wrote the script, btw.

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May today be a BANNER day for your writing, heh, heh, heh.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rushing to The End

Image hosting by PhotobucketI've had a couple of comments in my career that I rush near the end of the book – say the last quarter. Even my mentor, who LOVES fast climaxes and ends, told me that Sorceress of Faith went too fast, ended too quickly. So I lengthened some scenes and wrote another couple. Those of you who have read Sorceress of Faith, the walk with Jaquar after the battle was much shorter, and the scene with Marian and Jaquar and Chalmon and Venetria was new. I believe everything I added helped keep the headlong zoom of the book to the finish to a more reasonable pace and added depth to the book.

This is one of the things I have to watch. It's not that I am sick and tired of the book when I reach this point (though sometimes that's the case), it's just that I'm hitting the climax, tying up all the loose and and WHAMO, here's a really good ending!

I'd rather expected that this would NOT be the case in Protector of the Flight. Wrong. I started the climax today – wrote some quite solidly, snuck in lines of paragraphs to be fully fleshed later. Revelation. Big battle with evil. Death. Fire. Destruction. Triumph. And before I knew it, I'd skipped down a half a page and written an okay ending line.

Huh. The only thing I can say is that I'll try extending, then hand it off for comment and advice.

Oh, this doesn't mean I'm finished with the book. Nope, still writing out of sequence and thinking of writing from the ending back.

May your pacing be *just right* today.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Heart Quest Cover -- Tell Me What You Think

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I am NOT a pastel sorta gal, so this doesn't do a lot for me...if you can see the cover quote -- that they will be changing to something more punchy, like I'm a sensational author... I went through my reviews to find something. ;)

May your writing be sensational today.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Burning



Image hosting by PhotobucketWant some really interesting, edgy vampires? An intricate and fascinating read?

Buy Susan Squires.

The Burning is her latest book and here's the blurb.
THE BURNING (April 2006) — It is 1821, and all who know the beautiful, mysterious Ann Van Helsing believe she is insane. Yet Ann's curse is not lunacy, but rather the deep psychic ability that allows her to know everything about another human being -- their history, thoughts, and desires -- simply by touching them. Overwhelmed by a power she can barely control, Ann roams the woods and caves near her estate, searching for a peace that eludes her. It is here she encounters the man who will change everything. To repent for an unforgivable transgression against his own kind, vampire Stephen Sincai has become a vigilante who must hunt and kill those whom other vampires have made. When Ann discovers Stephen bleeding in the woods, she reaches to touch him before she can stop herself. In an instant, Ann knows every fiber of Stephen's being -- and the knowledge is at once frightening and insatiable. Ann and Stephen are drawn together by a force more powerful than they know. As Stephen and Ann continues to fight against the evil surrounding them, an unseen treachery has yet to be revealed: an enemy bent on destroying them by making them choose between what they love and fear the most.

Susan really is one of my favorite people. I hung out a lot with her and Harry at Archon and Celebrate Romance (lately) and a while back Mom and I hung with them at various RWA conventions.

Buy her books. I did. Mom was quite upset when she finished The Companion and didn't have The Burning yet...

Oh, and Susan has a book trailer movie up at her site, take a look and tell me what you think. AND SUSAN IS BLOGGING AND TAKING QUESTIONS AT THE MIDNIGHT HOUR TODAY AND TOMORROW:

And may the worlds you build be unique (but of course, they are).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mainstream/White Space -Tastes

Image hosting by Photobucket I read (skimmed, read the full beginning and ending) a mainstream novel this week. I disliked it intensely. I think I picked up the novel because the cover was fantasy-like and the back blurb sounded ok. I don't think I checked out the spine where it said "Novel."

Not much "white space." White space is what you see when the book has a lot of dialogue (all that white space around short lines) and action. A book with little white space is exposition, explanation, inner musings, etc. And, yes, "white space" is a term used in writing/publishing circles, I didn't make it up.

I don't like mainstream, or mainstream women's fiction much. Too much like reality, I think. Every main character in this book loved and wasn't loved back, or loved ill-advisedly, usually both, from the 6 year old boy to the 75 year old woman. Oddly enough, I think the theme was supposed to be Love Conquers All. Furthermore, I think it missed (or was too subtle with) the MAIN payoff, which was pretty irritating. It has excellent reviews at amazon, so I think that on the whole, her target market enjoyed it.

It depressed me so that I went looking for my favorite comfort author, Jayne Ann Krentz, and a book of hers I hadn't read so often that I could repeat MOST of the dialogue.

And, naturally, being mainstream, sympathetic characters died. Nope, I don't read, judge mainstream stories, and I don't ever intend to write it. This book is going to the used book store which may or may not give me credit -- and since my Mom uses my credit and reads mainstream, it might turn out to the good somehow.

So that's taste. The characters (when they weren't angsting and being depressed and depressing) were interesting enough to have hooked me, especially the boy, but the small plot wasn't sufficiently engaging to keep me from skimming (and, yeah, I KNOW some people skim my books, too).

I guess the point of this long, rambling blog is that SOME READERS YOU WILL JUST NEVER PLEASE. GET OVER IT.

And that's something I have to remember myself ("I don't read talking animals," someone once told me. I told her (in a nice way) that she would NEVER like my books, so don't bother to buy them.

May you write to your market today.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New Day Job

Image hosting by PhotobucketFirst day of the new day job went fairly well. It’s going to be eye-frying and mind-numbing, and need intense concentration, but I think it will be ok. I got home late today because we started late, then I took part in a live Paranormal Romance chat, then ate dinner and began writing. I’d done 1569 before I went to work and managed to get the rest of my wordcount done before 10 pm, so that went well. I wrote two scenes. Once again I’m at a point where linking the scenes demands long amounts of time and attention, so I’ve been writing new scenes I think will be in the book. Probably.

So, this might work out well, except...I have a feeling that this job could go on for a long time...one of those questions being thrown at me by the Universe. “Do you really want to be a full time writer and risk yourself or do you want to make good, steady, reliable money?”

Heaven knows the money comes in handy for advertising and promotion.

Time will tell.

May your hero/heroine make difficult choices today that reveal their character.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Worlds Upon Worlds -- Tastes

Image hosting by Photobucket I spent some time last week reading Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series which people have raved about. I skimmed book 1, Ill Wind, book 2, Heat Stroke was my favorite, and enjoyed book 3, Chill Factor. I haven't picked up book 4, Windfall, yet, but I will.

When you write fantasy you make up your own worlds. Depending upon the reader, these worlds may be comfortable or not. They may be totally opposite the world you like and UNcomfortable, but still fascinating (like the Weather Warden worlds are to me), or they may clash so that you'll never pick up a book by the author again -- either you can't buy into the world, it's TOO uncomfortable for you if you're solely looking for entertainment, or it's boring. (And, yeah, that was a humongeous long sentence).

It is, as all reading, a matter of taste, and this, dear readers, is something an author has no control over if you/I don't want to sell out our voice. Ok, I KNOW that authors can channel different aspects of themselves. I'll be reaching for an edgier Robin soon (I had it for a few minutes a while back, then it slipped away -- I think the problem is that this sort of edge is usually written in first person and I'm not sure I really like first person) as I have an edgier IDEA, but I sure don't want to pull something off have-baked and unrewarding to my present readers and not acceptable to new ones.

And I think I'll quit now before my sentences turn page-long.

May your voice ring loud and true today.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Splitting Books/Agents/Royalties

Image hosting by PhotobucketYour agent is the person who speaks with your editors on the books only (s)he sold to them. For that, the standard amount is 15%. It's worth every penny.

Since I "negotiated" and sold my first two books, HeartMate and Heart Thief, whenever I have problems with those two titles I usually email my editor (if the issue is minor), and copy my agent, just for FYI. If the issue is large, I'll call and talk to my editor (and sweat every minute).

All my other books, my agent handles. This is important since I just received a royalty statement (and very small check) for HeartMate from Berkley...and no statement on Heart Thief. I'm pretty sure that I'm still in the hole for Heart Thief and will not be getting royalties on that one for a while, since the printing was large and the returns were, too, but I do like to see how much I'm in the hole so I can dream of a future when I may someday get small checks for it, too.

I don't have a fax. I have the capability but haven't set it up. So Berkley will fax Heart Thief's statement to my agent, then they will include it with the other royalty statements that come to them first and I will get it. Bottom line -- I will always have to deal with Berkley on my first two books, and I know it.

May business be far from your mind as you write today.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Public Speaking

Image hosting by PhotobucketI recently spoke to a group of older ladies after lunch at Marie Callenders. If you know me, you will know that I can be really on or really off. Today (thankfully) I was on. I now have a sufficient amount of stories to ramble on interestingly for an hour. And this time, I managed to ALWAYS circle back to my main point (which might happen after 5 minutes of stories). I also managed NOT to be distracted (much), by my books being passed around and back cover copy, inside back cover copy, etc. read. Whew!

I answered questions (as they came up) about inspiration, writing day/output, finding a publisher, my publicity photo, university presses, what sort of computer I use, contracts, etc. I usually figure that most older women are interested (like ALL women) in sex, but since they were all dressed up and most were wearing spiffy hats I wasn't as earthy as I sometimes am. However, I did give away 2 books (readers choice) and when asked which was the sexiest, I handed out Heart Thief.

So I was on. Naturally you focus a talk on the type of group and I started out with a definition of romance and the difference between romance and fantasy. The best question of the group was indicative of the group -- whether I had any older characters. I had all my books, so I talked about Guardian of Honor, which opens in an older woman's POV -- an older woman who, by the time of Sorceress of Faith, becomes the leader of the most elite fighting force in the world. That went over well. (I think I even heard a "Hear! Hear!") I also mentioned Winterberry in Heart Quest.

Once again, whew. OTOH, I wish I hadn't spoken after a wonderful lunch. I am prone to stomach upset and spent a few minutes in the bathroom afterwards.

I had a good time, I'm glad it's over, and I am most profoundly glad I was ON.

May all your writing be on today.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Plotting -- Emotional Ups and Downs

Image hosting by PhotobucketI know one suspense/thriller author who believes in every moment of the book escalating suspense until the last, huge release of the climax. This works for him.

For me, I like my ups and downs -- the emotional tension, the release, the build again. Not necessarily sexual tension, but the personal growth of the heroine...or in this case, the hero. Whew.

Oops! Just realized that I did it again, made a hero with his family all killed (Marrec). Darn it. This is getting to be a habit. Remind me that this is THE LAST TIME for a good long while. OTOH, Heart Quest, whose hero, Ilex Winterberry, will be out in September, has a hero with a mother, brother, nephew and niece-in-law (I think they all made it in the book...they were there at one point). So at least I won't have back-to-back Hero's Whose Family Have All Died (Straif Blackthorn/Marrec Guardpont). And those who read the Berkley books, haven't all read the Luna books...so I may even have MORE time for them.

I finished writing Marrec's emotional anguish and while I don't think it has the power of Straif Blackthorn's in the ballroom (I think I actually came down with shudders when that scene flowed from my fingertips), I think that Marrec's is still pretty good.

And, yes, I'm a little giddy from the endeavor. It was one of those days with business demanding to be handled (as tomorrow will be), and trying to finish up a chapter with a drip drip drip of words like blood upon the screen, then getting caught up in a new scene that stopped-started-RAN AWAY.

I'm satisfied. May you also be satisfied with your tension or release today.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Day Job Again...

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Well, I have a new contract paralegal job coming up (hopefully, haven't gotten the absolute confirmation). I shouldn't take it, I'm under deadline, but the siren's call of steady (though short) income is too much to refuse.

It's data entry for two weeks and probably dead boring, but that's ok. Not challenging is GOOD. I've noticed that the mind compensates for boring if I plan to write after work (and I must) by thinking of good ideas, set-ups that (hopefully) all pours out when I sit down.

And for two weeks, I can write four hours a day, anyway, before work and after. I'll get up early (groan).

For you folks, it means that I'll be stockpiling blogs, probably beforehand, so if you notice any incredible mood swings, don't automatically prescribe medication...I may have written the blogs a couple of weeks apart. And I'll confess, that I'm writing the blogs usually the day before for posting – so that before I go to bed and when I wake up, I'm thinking of the book and not crafting the blog in my head. Any creativity at these times are now going to the writing, which is how it should be.

I may start tomorrow or on Monday.

May you cherish your writing time today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Career Discussion with Agent

Image hosting by PhotobucketMy agent and I usually handle things through email...on books Heart Duel through everything else. But one of the reasons I chose my agent is to get career advice and a couple of times a year I ask to talk by phone, and once a year I meet her at RWA. The Knight Agency, and Deidre especially, has been excellent in her career advice, and since we went through some rocky times about my Unrealistic Expectations, and Ranting About Deadlines, and are still working together, I know of what I speak. In these days of the end of contracts and continuing unemployment, and forcing myself to write through depression and the deadline swamp, and Staring at the Ceiling, I gave her a call.

Things look good for continuing both my Heart series and finishing up the Luna series with 3 more books. Now NOTHING is solid in the land of pre-contractual agreement, but Things Look Good.

Whew. Maybe the nasties that keep swooping around my brain and nibbling on my self-confidence will back off a bit.

And, again, the best thing a writer can do to make their career is TO WRITE A GOOD BOOK!

May your writing be strong and true today,

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


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I wrote a simple scene today. Nothing huge, nothing tortuous – a simple scene using simple words that will, I hope, work on the emotions just as simply. The scene seemed to call for it and I don't think it's too trite.

Usually I craft each sentence as I can, varrrying word choice, structure. But this one I just let be. The one simple scene of mine that the infamous Mrs. Giggles ever approved of I rewrote about ten times. I hope this one matches it.

Or perhaps no one will really even notice the scene and the simplicity, merely feel the emotions I want and move on. And that will be the best.

May your writing be your best today.

Monday, April 10, 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!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Promotion can combine with "other creative outlet." Like figuring out the right excerpts of your work to put on postcards, or making divination cards like I use in HeartMate (Cave of the Dark Goddess, earlier -- and I only have 3-4). And the favicon.

You know those little icons that pop up on a toolbar or favorites or bookmarks when you log onto a certain website?

Well, I wanted one, and I got one! Made by yours truly (which is why the white Celtic heart on red background is slightly lopsided). Take a look at your toolbar or favorites when you load it up http://www.robindowens.com

And here's where you go to get one: http://www.html-kit.com/e/favicon.cgi

And here was the original art I worked with: Image hosting by Photobucket

May you have fun with any visualizations in life or writing today!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Writing Out of Sequence – Set Up

Image hosting by PhotobucketHuh. All right, I went to a chapter that I'd been working on a while back and found I'd set up a scene but have no clue where it was supposed to go. I hadn't left myself any notes.

I THINK that I was going to explain a magical world-building concept here since I had characters on hand (Marian and Jaquar) who are Sorcerers who could explain it in dialogue. But I reread the previous chapter and I think that's enough, as well as putting in a sentence of exposition. So though I worked on the scene, I think it's time for it to go into the "hold" file where all my out-takes are. I'll use a couple more paragraphs to tell what happens and then move on to the next, more important, scene.

May you write fast and good today.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I've been PANTING for this one!

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(Signet Eclipse, April 4, 2006)

It has been years since exiled alien king Jared Bennett thought of anything other than his people's fight for freedom. Now his rebel force has the one weapon that can turn the tide against their enemy: the key to the secrets of time. Victory has never been closer-but one woman has the power to change everything.

Kelsey Wells can't deny that there is something unearthly about her fierce attraction to Jared Bennett. His revelations about alien wars and time travel can't possibly be fact-yet with every seductive touch, every searing kiss, Kelsey circles closer to the truth: that although Jared is exactly what he says, he hasn't told her everything. And when the future crashes into the present, Kelsey must decide if his deception will cost them the love that should have been their destiny.


May your writing go smoothly today,

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Motivation 2

Image hosting by PhotobucketThis time the motivation blog is about me as an author. One of the reasons that Celebrate Romance was great was because people there read and liked my books...and told me so.

I think one of the last conversations I had before I left the dining room where breakfast and the informal booksigning was consisted of...

"Good luck on the book!"
"It's...um...Protector of the--"
A hand wave. "Doesn't matter what it is, I love all your stuff. Keep on writing!"

Oh, YEAH! So I have more nuggets of appreciation to hold to me in the downtimes and motivate me as I enter the deep darkness of the Deadline Cave, filled with robin-sucking-quicksand swamp.

May all your deadlines seem like journeys today.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Neurotic Writer Paranoia, D&A

Image hosting by PhotobucketA long time joke is that "neurotic writer" is redundant...every writer is neurotic, and like my good writing buddy, Sharon Mignerey, says "If we can suck the joy out of anything, we will."

I got news that my editor will put the money through for D&A (delivery and acceptance, contract terms) of Heart Quest last week. HOORAY!!!

BUT she said she was almost done with the manuscript. Terror strikes, scenarios explode in my mind...how long has she been reading it? Where did she stop and why? How much revision will I have to do? Yup, major sucking of joy.

I DO know that when I get the revsions, I'll have only about 10 days to get them back to my editor. I've already made changes in the manuscript on my computer, but I'll have to go back and look again at critique buddies' comments, and see my own notes. And work hard.

I usually have a minor suspense thread running through the Heart books -- the gangs in HeartMate, the threat of being caught and executed in Heart Thief, the duelling Families in Heart Duel, the personal threats to Mitchella in Heart Choice. But in Heart Quest I changed that to a minor mystery. I am NOT a mystery writer, so I think some of my set up and threads of that subplot might need more work than I'm used to in revisions. But my editor is a good one, so she'll help. I think.

May your threads be strong and bright today.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Motivation 1

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The MOST CRUCIAL thing in writing is motivating your characters. Making readers understand WHY your characters would do what they do -- whether it is jumping off a cliff into a raging river (something more deadly is after them), or agreeing to allow The Song (Deity) to chose a mate for you (Sorceress of Faith -- because all you ever wanted was a family and you sure don't trust your own judgment anymore). This is all important because, you guessed it, if readers (including me) don't believe a character will do what he/she does, we start being less sympathetic to the character, begin pulling out of the story, then may put the book down. If a reader puts the book down, the writer has lost their attention and the reader may or may not pick the book up again. If they don't, the next time they go to the bookstore and see a writer's name on a book they may recall they never finished the author's last book and the new book next to the author's may appeal to them more.

My friend and writing buddy, Sharon Mignerey, http://www.sharonmignerey.com says you can convince her of anything as long as you motivate the character right -- making the character FEEL that actions (s)he takes is the right one based on his/her emotional background and the way (s)he thinks.

And yeah, writers talk about motivation all the time. Is it strong enough? And if motivation isn't strong enough, what can the writer do to deepen it, make the character more sympathetic, more believable? And writing buddies can help.

May all your motivations be deep today,

Monday, April 03, 2006

Celebrate Romance

First, my apologies for not logging in, but to my parsimonious indignation, the large hotel chains such as the Marriot and the Westin charge $10. a day for internet access.

Also, just before I left, I broke the enter key on my laptop. This may have been Freudian so I couldn't write.

I had a great time, the people were warm, welcoming, and everyone had great stories to tell and books to share. My discussion group on covers went well, and I met up with the Squires (Susan and Harry -- who wrote a fascinating book called This Rough Beast under the name of H.R. Knight) and we talked Writing and Publishing until we would have glazed over the eyes of a roomful of people who aren't writers...

The food was very good, except they had no tea set up for breakfast and I was running late every morning so I didn't make it in my room with my coil heater and own tea.

By the time the conference was over, I was so tired that I ditched the plans for visiting the Queen Mary and Titanic Exhibition -- and was pretty saturated with people. For a person who lives alone, these things can be intense.

Oh, and my Raffle Basket (the cat tapestry pet carrier with goodies) did well, too. Tomorrow I'll probably talk about Covers again, since I now have had excellent input from folks in the discussion groups.

May you all feel ultra dedicated to writing today.


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