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

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Party's Over..

And if we aren't openly glad, we are secretly glad. I didn't even think of catching up on this blog yesterday when I arrived to a hot house (with no food)...and there's that flat tire I absolutely positively have to deal with (been driving around on a donut).

I think Mary Jo Putney said that National is three days of introverts pretending they're extroverts. So we're all happy to be back home and writing (if not working the day job).

LINNEA WON BEST PARANORMAL!!!! That is so cool. I had a drink with her and met her delightful husband. She didn't win best first book, but then, neither did I...nor any other paranormal author. Doesn't happen.

My mentor learned an inner truth -- she's pretty much happy with her career as it is. I learned some interesting facts about my career (to be announced later), and saw my agent in action. My roomie, Janet, attended many seminars and bought tapes on site (as opposed to the mp3s which will be delivered in SEPTEMBER, like I did). So she had a refreshing of information.

Unless things change in a big way for Kay and Janet, neither of them will be returning to an RWA conference in the future. Many writers are hesitant about going back to Dallas next year.

I didn't get to see any of Atlanta, not even the aquarium, except from the Sundial (the revolving restaurant), that, of course was my own choice of priorities. It was interesting being downtown, but I like staying at places where you can really get out and walk and explore from the hotel. I didn't schedule my clothing right, and I didn't get enough sleep which makes me cranky. The roomie thing went ok, though. Kay has a daughter in NY, so from now on, she will continue to make trips there to meet with her editors. It's a different way to go.

I will probably go to Dallas...I'll decide next year.

May you all feel good writing today.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Friday/Saturday at RWA

It's been a couple of eventful days. Yesterday I attended a seminar for Harlequin / Silhouette authors (Luna is from Harlequin Enterprises) and the sheer business knowledge was awesome, as were the targeting and marketing programs. Made me goggle eyed.

I signed at the "free books" Berkley signing. They had HEARTMATE!! It is gorgeous. I ran out of books fifteen minutes before we officially closed and signed and gave away my wallet calendars.

Attended the Berkley cocktail party and talked to some good people, Angela Knight, Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney, my agent. More like screamed...

Then went on to the H/Q party to which everyone pants to be invited. FABULOUS food, particularly those little chocolate cups with Bailey's inside. Slurp. Love the spanikopita, too. Much to drink (all free). I had about two cocktails.

LOTS OF DANCING. So you haven't experienced 400 women dancing? It's a sight to behold and WAY fun.

Today crawled out of bed too late to make one of the seminars I wanted. Attended one, spaced the Luna one for which I'm flagellating myself. (**Curses**)


Christina Dodd gave a wonderful, inspiring, talk at lunch and thus you see me here. The RITA's tonight, but first dinner with my editors...

May your writing be free of distractions today.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Awards Addiction -- Reasons for Entering Constests

First, I had an appointment with the sr. editor of Luna yesterday and the news was interesteing. I want to mull it over a while.

I didn't attend any workshops and didn't get out of the hotel area (though I did step out of the hotel).

Next, I WAS cranky yesterday morning. Wow. I must have had Awards Addiction, like reviews addiction or fanmail addiction -- again all that is OUTSIDE VALIDATION and like a drug. You need more and more of it every time and it has to be BIGGER. Anyway, I didn't win National Readers Choice awards and I took 3rd in the Daphnies and got a really cool silver (pewter?) bookmark engraved with "Third Place, Paranormal 2006" which is nice and solid.

Yes, I was disappointed, but I forgot why I entered the contests, which wasn't Award Addiction, but for business reasons -- ok, the RITA (which I didn't final in), and the Daphne (in which I took third) were for recognition, to spread my name around a bit more.

The Booksellers Best (in which I didn't final) and the National Readers Choice was to get my work in front of Booksellers and readers who hadn't heard of me and hopefully grow my readership. That's it. So those I will continue to enter.

AND WRITING CONTESTS ARE ALWAYS, ALWAYS SUBJECTIVE...so consider that my rationalization.

I was, and am, surprised and pleased that Heart Choice -- a middle-of-the-series book with murder lite -- even made the finals of the Daphnies, so that's a triumph itself.

And there's always next year. I think Heart Quest might have a good shot. It has a larger mystery....

I missed Moonlight Madness which is where you can get all sorts of fun things made by the chapters (like the t shirt I'm wearing as my pjs "Romance Writers, Turning Frogs Into Princes On a Daily Basis). But I attended a small welcoming gathering after the awards as I usually do, and it soothed me very much. I completely forgot about the Harlequin PJ party, which is a shame since it would have been good promotion for me.

I'll see if I can get to some seminars today...the big event are the publishers parties tonight. I guarantee I'll dance from 8 to midnight with all the other loud and crazy Harlequin authors. Nothing like being part of a 200 women mass dance. I should be able to talk to a couple of my favorite authors at the Berkley party, and I had a good conversation with Angela Knight, her husband, and Diane Whiteside at the Daphnies yesterday.

May you all have fun in your writing today.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


One of THE reasons to come to conference is to network. There are, of course, the editors and agents that you may speak to in a more relaxed setting than pitching across a table. I saw the sr. editor for Luna several times last night (and am still meeting with her this morning).

My roomie, Janet Lane, is attending PRO panels (that is the status of those who have finished at least one book, gotten "declined" by an editor or agent) today. My mentor, who I told to call the RWA national office and TELL them she was multi published forever, does not have the acceptable stripe to her badge to attend the PAN (published author network). And I am incredibly cranky this morning (got in 1:30, up at 5:30), so I will hang with her and wander until about 11 am when I will go prepare for my meeting with my Luna editor.

Since I AM cranky, I'll have to schedule some time alone (in the hot tub maybe?) where I can compose myself so if I have to handle disappointment tonight I won't be ungracious (ok, I really meant to say throw myself on the floor and beat my fists and head up and down and turn red -- which I never did because I was The Perfect Child ;) ) And if I can write that, you KNOW I'm cranky...no tea this am yet.

I met with the Squires last night for a late dinner and we talked about the business. Only some technique and stories, and a lot about the business.

As usual, it ended up with us shaking our heads and saying "This is a funny business."

May your writing be without constraint today.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Literacy Signing, Knight Party

First, I'm writing between the end of the literacy signing and going to the Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal chapter do. I think I'll be footing the bill for the daily internet fee....however, at least one of you dropped by and said hi, so I guess I owe you! ;)

The Knight agency party was incredible. Beautiful, fab food (especially the made-as-you-watched pralines which I inhaled far too many of)...speaking of that, I'm hungry, but I don't think I'll be getting anything to eat unless I head for the food court and some stuff might be closed.

I've given away many, many walet calendars, almost my whole stack. So that's nice, folks might be coming to my website, then this blog. Huh.

I met with my agent this am, then my editor and agent (Berkley) this pm and saw my agent in action. AWESOME!! I hope to have a little news later.

I'm not up for awards until tomorrow night, but it's fun to hang with the FF&P crowd who see things in the skewed way I do.

Oh, and I sold quite a few copies of Sorceress of Faith and a nice number of Guardian of Honor and some of the anthology What Dreams May Come. There was a small snafu about the books (assigned to Sherrilyn and not me), but I straightened that out far before the signing.

The noise was hideous. Hundreds of women confined in a large conference ballroom.

Hmmm. What else? I'm hungry, so I guess I'll go.

Sorry to miss yesterday, but DIVA woke me at 3 am and I got to bed at midnight Eastern, but both my roomies had trouble travelling. Tough.

So, wish me luck at the Daphnies (Heart Choice) and the National Readers Choice (Guardian of Honor) tomorrow. I'd really like Guardian to win a BIG award. I personally think the book deserves it. ;)

Take care, and may your writing dreams come true.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Off to Conference, Knight Agency

Well, I couldn't sleep and I'm up, crafting an ad for Protector of the Flight, then last minute cleaning. Off to Atlanta at 8 (that's just to get to the airport). First up: the Knight Agency party tonight. I'm so thrilled to see the agency!

Will keep you posted.


May you put your dreams into your writing today.

Monday, July 24, 2006

HeartMate Reissue Cover Reprise....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here they are, side by side. Again, one of the first things my editor said was "send pictures of cat." I still smile at that, and the first time I saw the original art was approximately 5 years ago, just before the RWA convention. So I'm sentimental about the cover, but frankly, I like the new one better -- EXCEPT THERE IS NO TATTOO MENTIONED IN THE BOOK.

As I started to write this, I got an idea of a scene to explain the tattoo -- as it is fading from T'Ash's arm many years before the start of the story...BUT, I think I've figured out that it could actually HAVE been in the story, but not noticed by anyone...LOL.

Thanks for indulging me.

May your muse indulge you today.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Binge Writing

I've been known to do this. It was much funner when it was the story railroading through me and I sat down and all the words flowed -- when I was unpublished and never under deadline.

It's much harder doing it on purpose -- under deadline.

Yesterday I got up, mowed down most of the brown weeds that covered my backyard, went in and revised my synopsis for the fourth Luna book (the title gives away something that I don't want common knowledge yet, so it will be referred to the fourth Luna book for a while). Then I went to critique and got massacred and did a little bloodying of my own, came back and revised the fourth Luna book synopsis AGAIN until it was in final shape -- most of the afternoon and evening. Then I worked on Seamistress (5th Luna book), and Singer (6th Luna book, yes, the titles are lame). The 6th book is easiest of all, since it's action, action, action, sex, action, action, action, END.

My brain fried and my eyes crossed and I still don't know if I'll be able to get the last two whipped into shape today or not. I still have to revise the pages (some cutting of dull food parts).

Truly, coming up with plot and putting it in a decent form is HIDEOUS for me -- and three in a row? Well, I've literally worked all month on this. Of course, the first time around I worked November through February on the first three books. My agent said it was the best series proposal she'd ever seen.

So I binged yesterday, and plan on doing it today. Then get my act together to go to conference. Eh.

May you write easily and get it done quickly today.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Late -- Critique Group

Yes, very late today. Just returned from my in-person critique group, to which I took my synopsis (shudder) for the 4th Luna book. I was massacred.

And, I "heard" THIS IS TERRIBLE. When actually, everyone was saying HERE'S HOW YOU CAN MAKE IT BETTER.

You have to laugh at yourself, 'cause that's how some folks do critique group, make jokes, and most of the time I managed, but a couple of times I was hurt, so that's MY problem and next time I'm too thin skinned, I'm going to have to let those who tromped on my delicate feelings know. Whew, what a sentence! And since that, too, sounded hurt and/or whiney, I guess despite the end of group and reassurances that I could send out the synopsis the way it is and still sell the book, I'm still brooding on comments I can't quite recall.

And I probably stepped on some toes, too. So if anyone was keeping score (which we don't, I don't), all should be even.

As you can see, there are several issues I'm talking about here:

1) Critique group is for constructive comments, and my group gave me a slew of that. Janet Lane, the fearsome plot dissector, wasn't there so I was both spared major surgery and denied the benefit of her excellent advice.

2) You have to grow a skin. If you can't take what your critique buddies dish out (talking about a good, constructive group like mine), you aren't going to be able to work with agents or editors, let alone handle reviewers.

3) If someone hurts your feelings during group, it's up to you to let them know. At one point, I DID say, "I need reassurance here" and thus the comment that I could send it in as is. Which I won't. I'll do my best to fix, won't meet my own standards doing that, but off it will go.

4) There are things that some want "fixed" that I can't or won't do for various reasons: it doesn't fit in with the vision I have of the book; it duplicates what I've done in the previous 3 books; it contradicts something that I've done in the previous three books.

5) There may be people who just don't "get it," can't buy into my fantasy world, or don't know the genre I'm writing in. Most of my group REALLY didn't get the urban fantasy I sprung upon them in May. One of my members has since read Laurell K. Hamilton and said that my urban fantasy has the tone of her writing (dark). Well, she didn't know that at the time, but I did. So.

All in all, it was an excellent critique and, again, I'll do my best to fix the $%^$^(&(&(^%$#_%$ synopsis, but it won't hang together or read as smoothly as I like, especially since I want it out no later than Monday, and I need to finish two (shorter) ones also, and buff the pages, and change them because of the synopsis... Another hideous sentence. Guess I should end now.

Except for one more thing. I am sure as the sun rises tomorrow that whatever synopsis I turn in, I will get revisions on the story. It's how this publishing company works. So I'll send in my best and see what happens. Hopefully a 3 book deal. If so, that will have been worth it. Whew.

May your next synopsis fall right into place.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sue Grant's BAAAACK!

Finally, Sue Grant is BACK! Take a look at this!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(HQN Books, July 25, 2006)

Think the grocery store is a great place to meet men?

Hunky interstellar fugitive, aisle 5.

With outrageously false accusations piling up against her famous political family and an ex-fiancé in hot water determined to take her down with him, the last thing Jana Jasper needs is more trouble--especially man trouble. But when she heads to the grocery store for an ice cream fix, not only does the muscled hunk in the frozen foods section ranting about spaceships and invasions look crazy, he looks... familiar.

Cavin of Far Star has never forgotten the girl he met during his weeks spent on that quaint little world, planet Earth, the girl who didn't believe he was real. And now he'll risk his future to save her. All she has to do is take him to her leader. Simple enough plan--although Jana isn't so easily convinced. Hell-bent on charming his way past her defenses, he's determined to stay one step ahead of the galaxy's most feared assassin--and may just capture his favorite Earthling's heart in the process.


May your writing day be out of this world!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

HeartMate Reissue

I got 2 advance copies of HeartMate yesterday and opened them up. The cover IS metallic and gorgeous, and I had to check because at first, I thought the page numbering is a little different because I didn't recall the end being where it was...the last page break I mean. But just the same, yep.

Now for a story. The first time I held a book in my hands it wasn't an incredible WOW, more like a quiet joy. I ordered it from BN.com which jumped the street date almost a month early, so early that they'd sold out and couldn't ship in December for Christmas, but that's another story.

I opened the book up. Looked at the page I saw, which was at the end of a chapter. My first thought was that the paper wasn't nearly as white as the manuscript paper. Then I recalled writing the scene. MORE, I remembered that I went back and broke that scene at that point for a better chapter ending hook.

I haven't opened the book at random yet, but I did take one to the day job and put it in my gray cubicle, which livens things up.

But I did read the ending and smiled. One of my best endings ever.

May your writing give you joy today.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Protector of the Flight Back Cover Copy

Here’s the full Back Cover Copy for Protector of the Flight
ISBN 139780373802647

If horses could fly…then Calli Torcher might ride again. But a devastating accident left her in such pain, she thought the chimes and chanting in her ears were a hallucination…until she found herself transported to another world, and met the Lladranans who had Summoned her.

Lladrana was a parallel, magical earth filled with exotic creatures, noble humans and magic – all threatened by an encroaching evil.

And when the mighty volarans stopped obeying the Chevaliers, the flying horses’ unexpected rebellion had thrown Lladrana into an uproar. In desperation, the sorcerers had sought help from afar – and gotten Calli. If she could fulfill this mission, perhaps she would also finally find all she had longed for – a mate, a home, a family. But against this great darkness, she had no battle experience, no strategy plans. She had only a bond with horses…

May your ideas take flight today.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I've often wanted to talk about my dreams, but I think many people aren't interested in hearing others' dreams and telling dreams is self indulgent, and this is a blog on writing, after all. And as I sit here in the dark with a bright light trained on the computer and black words marching across a light background, the beauty of the dream is fading anyway.

Like most people I occasionally play with photography, and like most people, I think I've framed a few works of art with a camera. And that was the basis of my dream – it had everything, this dream, but mostly it had beauty.

I dreamt my mother and I were in England (or Wales or Ireland, though I've never been to Ireland), we were driving (which we don't do, her thinking you miss things that way and I thinking I'd kill us both and others with distraction), and we came to this incredible place. It had a name, but I can't recall it now. But it was gorgeous, all shades of green. I saw openings into a haunted garden (and, yes, I'm getting meaning, but don't want to think of that), of mist and dips and rises in the land and interestingly shaped trees. We decided to go on into the town so I could get a camera, but they only sold a black and white one that you could later have the pictures colored. Much of the little town was sunken, wet brown beams of ancient wood, the wet marsh reclaiming old houses. I took a lot of photos and knew they were wonderful...

It went on from there, and I think as I was rising from sleep, in those few moments that can be eons, my mind spun a story, a love story, about another photographer, a man, who's very famous and comes to photograph the town, but realizes his work isn't as good as hers/mine. Well, I'm a romance writer, and I'm single. I get to be the heroine of my dreams.

Then I woke and it was still dark and I thought that perhaps the weather people had been wrong and the mild front had arrived early, cooling the hot, dry yellow-brown land.

Why I'm breaking my rule and telling you a smidgeon of this dream is because the sights I saw and the photos I took were of surpassing beauty, beauty that makes your heart ache, and I'm a little surprised but quite joyful that I have those images inside me.

So cherish your images, and don't analyze your dreams to death (there was a rushing river, too), and if your dreams lead to a story and it pleases you, write it.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Protector of the Flight Cover

After much begging:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Needless to say I think it will sell, and am very pleased I can finally share it with you.

May your imagination have wings today.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Waiting for Insipiration and Self Indulgence

Which are pretty much the same to me, and I've been engaging in a bout of the latter. Didn't do much except sleep and read yesterday -- a couple of books for cover quotes, and no, I'm not going to talk about them until I mull the stories over.

Anyway, I'm late this am, and in thinking mode, if I was rationalizing, I'd say refilling my well, but I think I'm just being self indulgent. It's easy to do as I live alone. Sigh.

And I'm hot. I have a window air conditioner in the back junk room, so I may start thinking about tidying it up enough to work with my laptop on the tiny desk there (my old roomie, an interior designer said I never saw a desk I didn't like and I actually COULD have desks in every room, fine with me). Or I might start taking my laptop to work and stay a couple of hours.

I'm way behind on the next heart book because I wanted the first turning point to be great and I've printed out all my work and need to arrange it, still, and I've been concentrating on the Luna proposals, which I had anticipated having in a week ago and it will probably be next week. Sigh.

I guess I'm scared, too, and just keep going, which is good (though the omlette I just ate is not sitting well when I think about all that I need to do). So I guess I'd better go do it, turn off this monster, maybe cool off by dipping in the tub full of water I keep in the bathroom this time of year, MAYBE induldge a little more, then really hit it. I hope. Maybe time to pull out those subliminal affirmations I use, too.

May inspiration visit you today.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Adjustment Time

I'm brooding. Actually, I'm sulking. I worked hard on the pages for the 4th Luna book last week (and am hoping to get 3 synopses done this weekend, all in varying stages of completion with book one being about 10 pages and 2 & 3 being about 3-4 pages). My mentor, the only one who read the pages says it has problems. Brood. Sulk.

Since Denver is icky with heat, it's a hot sweaty sulk that is even more miserable. I will, of course, FIX the d*** pages, ADD conflict and tension, cut to make the tension more, and add more description....but I don wanna do it. I'm tired, I'm hot, I'm sulky. And I can't find my glasses. I have an old pair on now.

I'm whiney.

I'm usually this way (except for the heat) when I've worked hard on the writing, want to GET IT OUT, and have to revise. I'd like to kick things except due to the heat, I'm barefoot. However, I think I'm sulking a bit longer about these pages than usual. I think I'll tackle the revisions tomorrow afternoon, after I take a break.

Do I consider NOT fixing the pages. No.

Trust me, baby, you NEVER send anything less than your best out. The competition is too tough.

So, I guess I might eat breakfast, take a cool bath, tidy up the various areas where I might have left my glasses...then work more on the synopses.

May your writing day be smooth.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Angel With An Attitude

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingANGEL WITH ATTITUDE by Michelle Rowen
(Warner Forever, July 2006)

When you're hot for a demon, you might as well kiss your halo good-bye...

Falling naked into the killer whale tank at MarineLand is always bad news, but it's a real bummer when you've just been kicked out of Heaven. Former angel Valerie Grace is determined to reverse her banishment-Earth's just no fun.

Her best friend is a slightly perverted human-turned-rat, and she's being tailed by a sexy Tempter Demon named Nathaniel, who's trying to lure her to hell with kisses that are almost worth the trip. With the talking rodent sneaking peeks down her shirt and Nathaniel getting more irresistible every minute, this ex-angel has only one hope: find the stolen Key to Heaven and go home.

Then the oddest thing happens-Nathaniel starts to show signs of loyalty and love. And soon Val is asking herself if it is such a bad thing to have the hots for a demon.


So, what would your writing be like today if you added an angel?

May an angel guide your writing today!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Professional Conferences

When I went in to type the title, it was automatically filled out, so I think I must have spoken about Romance Writers of America and have definitely written about Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Two weeks from now I will have been at RWA for going on 3 days. Tuesday, the 25th, I'll be travelling, then getting a view of my agent's abode and the agency itself. RWA this year is in Atlanta and I woke up thinking about "goodies." My first set of wallet calendars weren't the right size. So I have a second set on my doorstep to open and review. I'm attending a Bookseller's Tea and I have some boxes of tea I need to slap labels on, as well as mini-Tarot cards I usually give away in a small bowl at the literacy signing.

I've been lucky at the signing, not selling all my books because they order too many, and I am, after all, a nich writer. But usually some folks drop by my table to introduce themselves and I LOVE that. The signing is open to the public and you can see who will be signing here

All proceeds, including my royalties go to literacy, 1/2 to a national group and 1/2 will stay in Georgia.

I'm hoping to see the Aquarium (though, in main, fish are a phobia) and a Shakespeare play (sort of) and maybe the Diorama. I will have meetings with my agent, my agent's publicist, and two of my three editors.

Yesterday I was emailed by Jude Griffin who is adding this link as someone who'll be blogging about National.

I'm up for 2 awards, the Daphne (Romantic Suspense Kiss of Death Chapter) for HEART CHOICE, for which I'm THRILLED because it's a niche series book and I didn't think it would make it, and the National Readers' Choice Award for Guardian of Honor, and I really want Alexa (my character in that book) to win. I don't enter many contests anymore since I won the big one
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

and I've won 2 PRISMs so I didn't enter that one either this year.

Now the cats are whining, I'm wincing at the rambling of this blog but don't want to go back and correct it since it has taken 10 MORE minutes than I anticipated, and I (oh, joy!) must get back to writing a synopsis for my 4th Luna book, I finished the pages yesterday.

May you or your characters look forward to a big event in anticipation today.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cover Flats

A Cover Flat is a sample cover of the whole cover of the book, usually given to salespeople with "sales points" on the opposite side to pitch to booksellers.

I usually only get a couple of cover flats from Berkley, and on several of my books the art didn't QUITE match the flat which didn't quite match the book.

A couple of days ago I got the cover flats for the mass market paperback of Guardian of Honor and I'm a little concerned because it looks a lot darker or "grayer" than the trade paperback cover. I haven't actually compared the two yet and I'm hoping that when the book comes out (in January), it will look ok.

So that's the blog for today, short at least.

May your imagination go far beyond any cover images today.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Different Strokes for Different Folks

I sent three ARCs out for Protector of the Flight and got a GREAT review for the book and the series back from Huntress Reviews (will post sometime later), and an email back from a "horse" friend of mine who was reading it for verisimilatude for the horse part (the non-telepathic, Earth and Lladranan) horse part. She said that it was my best book since HeartMate.

I blinked. She's ALWAYS been a big supporter, always said she liked my work, and I never knew that she liked HeartMate the best. Huh.

My good critique buddy for many years, Sharon Mignerey, said that there would be people who liked the first book of mine they read better than any other, and I've run across this, myself.

Heart Thief, since it has a darker, tortured (literally), outcast hero (as well as being the deliberately sexiest book I wrote) is usually some people's favorite of all my books. This is interesting to me, but I grew accustomed to it.

I know a friend likes Heart Duel the best because it echoed her own experiences with her family and her choice of husband.

I like Heart Choice because it pulled out the most powerful scene I think I've ever written out of me (though there was a scene like that in HeartMate).

I like Guardian of Honor because Alexa is so easy to write, so over the top. Need someone who'll accept danger and continue without counting the cost like Harry Potter? That's Alexa. I think of her as the utterly free from worry part of me and am pretty damn sure she is actually my father's daughter.

So, different strokes for different folks, and when I hear a friend likes one of my books more than another, that's a fascinating insight on their personality for me. Of course, I expected my "horse" friend to like Protector. It is, after all, about the Volaran's Exotique.

May you always have different stories that will engage different people.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Too Much Plot

When I was unpublished and HeartMate was making the contest rounds, I got a couple of comments that my synopsis had too much plot, that the judges couldn't see how I would make it work. I did, of course, but that was the last synopsis I did after I'd written the book. And in my opinion synopses are FAR easier to do after the book is written. Pam McCutcheon's Writing the Fiction Synopsis really shines then.

I had one "trust me baby" book, where Berkley bought a book without knowing even the vague idea I had in my head for it. Sigh. That was truly wonderful. It was Heart Quest, out this September, and the book my Berkley editor likes the best of the Heart series. The next three Heart books have synopses.

But I still have trouble with Too Much Plot. (I don't know if my editors read this, or how often, but don't think they do, or rarely. So I feel ok revealing the next bit.) As a matter of fact, about a third of the story in the synopsis of Protector of the Flight (from the middle to the 3/4 point) wasn't done at all. I'm sweating this. I've had good response to the story as is, so as a book, it works without that other stuff, but....yup, sweating it.

Too Much Plot came up as I was/am writing the next Luna book synopsis. I had something NOT in the Protector of Flight synopsis, but roughed out in a couple of scenes of that book, that also didn't make it into the story (hey, the draft ms. was 635 pages, cut to 590 upon submission). I think I can get this thread into the next book, though, and what with I've already planned, it may be the longest book I've ever written, and I may keep it that way...

I love my characters, and consider my stories character driven, but it's also gratifying to think that I have plots, too, since they are so damn hard for me to put together. And Too Much Plot can always be cut, and saved for another day.

May your mixture of plot and character be just right today.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Flash Drives

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI LOOOVE Flash drives. I have everything from a little 64K, to 256K, 512K, a couple of 1Gs and a 2G and a 2G on the way.

I kill Flash drives and I hate this. There really is NO way to get them back if you screw them up. Trust me, I have spent hours asking friends and surfing the web trying to find a fix.

I recently killed a 2G on my, maybe, fifth use of it. Furious at myself. I was SURE that the computer had shut down. Apparently it hadn't.

YOUR COMPUTER CHECKS THE USB PORTS WITH FLASH DRIVES ABOUT EVERY 10 SECONDS. Don't even think you can take the flash out without harming it.

That said, I have had some success in retrieving files with Restorer2000. Some. Sigh.

May your writing be never lost.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Manuscripts and Books and Reissues, Oh My!

Scary. I was watching the banner of Heart Choice cycle and I realized that it came out a year ago. It felt more like three. I believe I turned it in November of 2004, and I haven't read it through since. Huh.

I can remember sitting at Common Grounds on one of the weeks I took off to work on it. That week was one when a friend of mine died and I was able to visit her before she passed on. I attended the memorial service of the mother of my friend who now has brain cancer.

Time passes. But Heart Choice, the LAST Heart book out, is now two stories away from the one I'm working on now, Heart Match, and I have one more story under contract and a third at proposal stage in the Heart books and am working on the next three Luna books. Beads on a necklace.

Some of this delay was all my fault. My schedule was so tight that when Sorceress needed the rewrite, all my other deadlines got screwed up and I'm still playing catch up.

Still, Heart Choice seems a long time ago, and HeartMate, coming out next month, seems positively ancient. Which reminds me that I need to make up a story for that darn tattoo on the new cover.

May all your stories feel fresh today.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What, No Roses?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
WHAT, NO ROSES? by Marianne Mancusi
(Love Spell, July 4, 2006)

And you thought your Valentine's Day was bad?

Unless Dora Duncan can stop it, it's going to be another St. Valentine's Day Massacre. A year ago, her (now ex) boyfriend Nick stood her up at the worst possible moment. That was when she gave up important TV reporting for stories like "Too Stressed for Sex." And though such clips have a certain relevance, things have been a whole lot quieter. Too quiet. Until now.

Now she's gotta go back in time (don't ask!) and stop that very same Nick from messing up the time-space continuum. She has to travel back to a place where everybody speaks easy and cuts a rug-and this Chicago ain't no musical. Here, there are tommy guns and torpedoes, guys and dolls, gin joints, flappers, stoolies, rats and a whole lot more; and prohibition means anything but no.

It's the 1920s. Time for Dora to roar.


May your writing reflect the whimsy of your past.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Blog Explorer

I lied. I tried to fix this blog this am with explorer. I had to download 7.3 beta and install it which took 3 reboots. Explorer still doesn't seem to be working correctly (i.e. loading pages with errors). It literally took up all my pre-job writing time and I'm not done yet. Cost of doing business, eh? But it looks fixed. I'll see what pics might have triggered the thing and see if I can add them back in. Or not.



As I said yesterday, most readers want to see our average American woman on Lladrana as soon as possible, so I took a look at my openings for the first three books. Pages = manuscript pages.

Guardian of Honor – Start in Lladrana with Thealia and Reynardus for 8 pages. Then to Alexa Fitzwalter: 6 PAGES SET UP ON EARTH.

Sorceress of Faith – Start on Earth with Marian, set up 9 ½ pages, then to Jaquar on Lladrana 11 pages, then additional set up with Marian on Earth 4 pages, back to Jaquar for 8 pages, then back to Marian for 8 pages. Total set up time 21 PAGES ON EARTH, 19 pages on Lladrana, = 40 pages. Whew. That was a rough sucker. Literally re-wrote the opening about 14 times, no wonder I couldn't get it down.

Protector of the Flight – Start on Earth with Calli, 11 ½ pages. (I did have a Chapter 1 set on Lladrana, but that got nixed so it will go up on my website. Websites are wonderful things, you don't have to believe all that work was wasted).

So far, chapter 1 of the next Luna is about 13 pages, and I have at least one short scene to do, then the actually "going to Lladrana bit." I'd originally liked her falling down a hole in the street after dark. One of our sidewalks has "noises" coming from beneath grates – urban art – subway cars, music, and HORSES, and I thought that would be VERY cool, but, alas, the geography – downtown – isn't right. I could have a highrise apartment building, but it isn't by a hospital, and I wanted that because she's a doctor (Medica in Lladranan). Or I suppose I could combine the two...

To analyze: Alexa was the first and the shortest because she really had no family at all. Protector of the Flight was the worst because my hero, Jaquar, was involved in a scheme that related to Marian from the first and that had to be set up, Marian's motives were murky and had to be cleaned up, Marian had a mother and brother, and I had to do rewrites. The rewrite thing will always make something longer for me because by the time I find something that works, I'm so tired of the darn thing that I can't cut worth a darn.

Also, this relates to any back-and-forth between Lladrana and Earth. Alexa didn't have any. Marian did, and I'll let you stew about Calli and what I'm thinking for books 4& 5. I don't know myself about 6.

So I started combining, arranging and rearranging scenes and transitions and there went my day, still it felt good.

May all your transitions fall into place today.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sorry -- Explorer

Sorry, apparently this blog is dropping WAY down in Explorer (I use Firefox myself), and I'm not quite sure what's wrong. Whether it's the latest blogspot gliche or a too wide photo or link (I'll be messing with photos, they may disappear and perhaps reappear). I put in a bunch of time modifying the template a year ago, but that doesn't mean I remember anything...

But for some reason my Explorer on my home machine is wacko. Takes terribly long to load (I mean several minutes) and can't even pick up my home page (excite) well, so working on this at home is very, very time consuming.

I DO have a question into the blogger help group, whether they CAN help is another matter. But, I'm very much afraid that considering how slammed I am by writing, dayjob, upcoming conference, needy friends and family, this is going to be one of those lower priorities. I'm truly sorry, but that's how it is.


Timing. Planning. Pacing.

I've been thinking a lot about timing lately, and not only in my writing. The bathroom for my dayjob is down a long hall, outside a secured door, and through a door with one of those button locks. The bathroom door sticks and I've found myself trying all sorts of different ways to shove it open after a usual three attempts. So I definitely don't wait for the last minute.

This reminds me of timing and planning every day.

I can do this. I am a mostly unorganized and distracted person, but I can also focus obsessively and my paralegal training has made me detail oriented.

But now I'm struggling with timing the Summoning to Lladrana in book 4. There are certain things that I want to occur and certain things I want my heroine to have when she does the travelling thing. So I have pieces I need to put together.
Also, what my readers are really looking for is when the heroine arrives in Lladrana. Everything else is set-up for the adventure and whether my heroine will return to Earth, for how long, and whether she will stay. That's motivation. I'm giving her a loving family. I intend for the next two books to have heroines with loving families. So that needs to be set up, too. As does the common Earth thread I introduced in Sorceress.

Timing. I can't make the beginning of the book too long and lose my readers. Just long enough for the set up. That's it. But I have four different scenes so far. So I think I'll go easy on the description and do the minimal and see if it flies with my critique buddies.

This comes into pacing, too. I can be too fast in pacing, and too slow. Too fast and people feel the book is rushed, too slow and readers put the book down. If the details are just enough and the pacing is good, a long set up isn't necessarily noticed.

May your timing, planning and pacing be on the mark today.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Beige White and Blue

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I've been wanting to put this up, but like all promo on this blog, I feel slightly guilty, so I figured people wouldn't read it much today. This is the latest banner I have for one of my books. I did the wording, though Cissy at Writerspace also does excellent wording, even when she hasn't read the books.

I need to really batten down today and work on my writing. I haven't been making my wordcount because I need to string the MANY scenes I have for the first part of Heart Match together and fill in the holes. I'm only up to chapter 4.

I also MUST get in a new 3 book proposal to Luna, and I'll be working on the pages (50 pages) today, and as much of the plotting as I can.

All of the above has been fluttering around in my head, trying to gel into semi-solid shapes that can be useful.

If you're in the US, Happy Fourth! If you're a Celtan fan, Happy Landing Day! (I actually think it's sometime in June, but still, the summer).

May you do whatever you need to today, writing or promo.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Set Up From Previous Books

Thought I'd put up this teeney excerpt while few folks were watching...Anyway, it's time I work on some scene polishing, which means adding more description in Heart Match. This is the description of Saille T'Willow and his home that appear in Heart Quest (and dammit, I put a door in the wrong place, but no one will know but me...most readers, to my delight, don't pick up on such minor details). Now that Saille is my hero, I need to make sure the description and choreography is right from Heart Quest and expand upon it to show him in his own.

I've excerpted this scene to my own files and bolded the things I need to remember. If I were really organized, I might change the colors for description, motivation, actions and/or events that occurred, but all is just in black.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

May all your choreography work today.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Writing About Patriotism

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAll right, there really isn't much patriotism in my books, mainly because I write fantasy and I don't USE patriotism as a motivating force for any of my characters.

For the Celtans, they are all colonists from Earth and still struggling to keep a toehold on Celta and I decided early that there isn't any religious or property (in the largest sense) struggle. Those who didn't want to be part of mainstream Celtan life simply left. There are other communities with other religious backgrounds (one was slated to be in Heart Duel but didn't make it). With a frontier, and with no one claiming sacred places, there is no conflict there. There are communities over the ocean, enough so there's a thriving import/export business. I envisioned that one of the colonial starships went down "over there," then most of the upper hierarchy (FirstFamilies) came to Druida, but many of the crew stayed. I thought there was much moving back and forth in the early days. CELTA:

For the Lladranans, they are simply bone-deep patriotic in that their country has something the Dark that battens on and is draining the planet wants. They are defending their country and their planet. I mention other countries in Sorceress of Faith and Protector of the Flight, and you can take a look at my maps and see there are City States to the East and Shud to the South. Lladrana

As an American, I'm smack dab in the middle of the country, and though that is true geographically, I'm also a "Westerner." That is, I feel Denver is more like California than the East Coast, which is probably why my landscapes are more oriented to a western coast than an eastern.

I DID write one patriotic piece, for an anthology to fund a veterans memorial, with forwards by Dole and Kerry (see link above). Since I sold just as it was coming together, and it was supposed to be two volumes, and volume two was never published. I don't know if my small (true) story was included in the book.

And, I think that's all I'm going to say about patriotism on this blog. From my writing, you should know I'm idealistic and believe in love for all of humanity. I definitely don't believe in getting political in the public, though I also definitely believe in whirled peas.

May love imbue your writing today.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ah, Research

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Slow this am. Night before last (too late), I'd discovered the Lipizzaner Stallions were up in Loveland (about 52 miles away). Didn't know they'd be here in Denver tonight, and bought tickets for me and Mom and off we went (I drove) through holiday traffic at rush hour. Urgh.

The show was wonderful. With two horses able to do one Air Above the Ground, including the excellent capriole. The announcer said the capriole was to allow a rider a quick escape from footsoldiers, but anyone could see that it was to kick heads in on the way out...or maybe not heads, kicking chests in would be good enough, too.

I saw these gorgeous horses up close etc. on my Horse Farm trip, and I used Lipizzaners as models for the volarans in my Luna books, as well as having Lipizzaners themselves in Protector of the Flight. But it was fabulous seeing them perform.

It did occur to me that if performances of dressage and military patterns were what audiences were used to in Europe in the nineteenth century, then Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show must have been a real eye-opener.

So, except for the traffic and getting lost in the wilds of Larimer County at 10 pm on the way home, all was good, but I'm pretty tired this morning, haven't written on Heart Match yet, and allowed myself to sleep in.

But I REALLY hate it when Diva brushes her whiskers against my face to wake up. HATE it. A bath and slow, hot day is waiting for me, and my desk, as usual looks like a bomb has exploded. I think there might be a four inch square spot of free space on it. Maybe. And I count 4 mugs, a glass, and a Pepsi can within easy reach, including the celedon one I'm drinking from -- which leads me back to Judith Tarr and her beautiful celedon china at the horse camp. See above.

May research be fun for you today.

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