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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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Writing Schedule

I've been trying a new writing schedule and it is working more often than not which is a very good sign. It's two hours.

Feed the cats and get drink in the am. Write two hours or 1250 words, whichever is more (it's the words). Take two hours off, then back to write again two hours. This should always net me at least 2500 words a day.

So far, I've usually hit at least twice a day, but I hope to work up to a third time (and dream of a fourth). A couple of times the writing has been going well and I just keep on until 2500 words. Usually just making that is wearying. So far.

Consistency, which I'm not great at, is what I've always believed to be important.

May you make your writing goals today.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Quote About Artists...

I DO have permission to use the below image and quote that is (c) by jstone

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting(c) jstone

As you all know, I have a page on my website called Free Your Artist, with motivational quotes, exercises and affirmations.

I also firmly believe that every person is creative and an artist in some way, even if it is a mother raising children (which I consider a great art form).

I think I also have told you that a hobby is doing collage or decorating my engagement calendar/journal (more on the journal later). So I keep a lot of cards and advertisements and stickers that catch my fancy.

I ran across a card (see above) I was given one holiday season by Steven, a critique buddy of mine, and I'm SO GLAD I kept it, because it is a quote that shouldn't be forgotten.

The most visible creators I know of are those artists whose medium is life itself. The ones who express the inexpressible~without brush, hammer, clay or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt~their medium is being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see and don't have to draw. They are the artists of being alive...(c)jstone

Inside it says: With best thoughts & warmest wishes to each friend, artists all.

May your creativity run high today,

p.s. On a lighter note, Steven always searches for perfect cards and one year I got Santa with flying monkeys.

Rolling to the End

There comes a time in writing my manuscript when it becomes less of a matter of wordcount and more of the exact scenes I can visualize, then list, that will complete the book. That is always a great time of relief. I know where I'm going. I may still not know how long it might take me, and may underestimate, but I know I'm not mushing around in the swamp anymore.

Maybe plotters know this at all times and it keeps them from panic. But, me, when I can list those scenes, it's a golden moment.

May you have golden moments, whatever kind they may be, in your writing today.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pacing and Pacing

I had an axiety dream, one of those unkillable monsters that reproduces rapidly and you have to kill all the offspring too, OR ELSE it will devour the world. I've had this dream before.

I did win. I set fire to the house (not mine) and burnt down two or three. There were casualties, but I knew it was better that they die in fire than the monster get them. YECH!

Back to pacing. This is NOT something I speak well about, more like "you know bad pacing when you see it." Keep your action sentences quick and active, paragraphs short. Don't repeat long scenes or paragraphs. That's my advice, you need someone who has studied this to tell you more about technique. I took a seminar once on pacing and it was long and boring so I prompty forgot much of what the teacher said.

Pacing yourself and your work. I know Catie Murphy has a 20 page a day book challenge on. Hi, Catie! I can do 20 pages on a good day if I kill myself and do NOTHING else but write (and can you believe I spelled that 'right'?) I might have taken her up on the challenge, but I'm still recovering from a huge push and the house needs cleaning.

I've found that 10 pages (2500 words) is hard but doable, and 5 pages I can make even if I drag myself to the keyboard later at night.

And I've found myself pacing myself. I'm not sure whether this is a good or a bad thing. I reach my word count, either push more for a rounder figure (2000 if I'm at 1925), and I usually finish a scene and get into another so there's a place for me to pick up the next day. On the one hand this is not working the hardest I can, on the other hand, I'm not burning myself out. So right now I'm sticking to pacing myself and a slower pace. I can see in the future that the rougher pace may be coming.

Oh, and btw, my hero has been pacing a lot, too. ;)

May the pace of your writing day, whatever it is, please you today.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

First Chapters Again

I had to revise the first chapter of Heart Fate, and I did it tonight, put it off as long as I could, but critique group is tomorrow.

I HATE revising first chapters, but often that must be done, even as late as after finishing the book. Usually I whine and moan and when I finally do it, it isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Well, you know how I hate wrenching scenes, and how I dislike sad openings. I have both in Heart Fate. I cried. And I think I made the book stronger in the first scene with my heroine, cleaned up some "legalities" in the scene with Tinne.

But I didn't like doing it, so there.

At least it's done (didn't even feel much relief, either).

May you have no nasty revision today.

Friday, January 26, 2007

PROTECTOR OF THE FLIGHT IS **OUT** & Publishers Weekly Review

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThis is a big deal because Publisher's Weekly is a respected magazine by bookbuyers and librarians (said Mom, the ex-high-school librarian: "Publishers Weekly is very good, not as good as Library Journal, but very good." She was really thrilled with Heart Thief's review in Library Journal and having it named one of the 5 top romances of 2003).

It isn't a coveted STARRED review, but I think I'd be too nervous for that anyway.

"In the solid third entry in the Summoning fantasy series (after 2006's Sorceress of Faith) by RITA Award–winner Owens, crippled, self-doubting ex-rodeo rider and horse trainer Calli Torcher is summoned from Colorado to Lladrana, a medieval French society on a magical parallel Earth, to assist in a dangerous fight against evil. There she meets two other Colorado women, Marian Dumont and Alexa Fitzwalter, known as Exotiques, who have risen to positions of power. After a spell heals Calli, she learns that she's needed to help train the flying horses—volarans—and the Chevaliers, their riders, who form the front lines against evil demons from the north. Calli must also choose a mate, so she bonds with the skilled warrior Marrec, with whom she fashions a life and family. Though most appropriate for romance readers, fans of Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey will appreciate the novel's honorable protagonists and their lively animal companions. (Feb.)"

Well, it IS sexier...and anything that compares me to Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey rates high with me!

May your writing voice be strong today.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Writing Rule of Romance -- I love you. -- Reader Rules

When I started writing romance I was told that the "I love you," by one of the protagonists must be as late in the book as possible, like the last line. You will see if you look at the Heart books that I try and do this. The couple might even HeartBond, but the words come late. Since I write in both points of view, sometimes the love isn't in doubt, but the words are not said, because admitting aloud to your partner that you love them is important.

I was taught this rule in critique group with a devastating example with my work Sapphires and Emeralds (which was marketed under Shades of Honor and didn't sell). My hero said "I love you" (he was telling the heroine what she wanted to hear but that didn't get on the page). A critique buddy said, "She's said she loves him. He's just admitted he loves her. This is a romance, I would stop reading right now."

I've seen this rule bent more and more often lately, and I think I'm in favor of it. It depends, of course, on inner and outer plot. If it's a romantic suspense it's more often bent because there is still peril to one or the other or both of the couple. If it's a wrenching emotional drama, the couple might admit their love but still have BIG, BIG internal problems between them that are still in doubt.

It depends on the writer, if he or she can convince you that the doubt is still there (I know, we all know there is a Happily Ever After in romance, but if you/we are enjoying the story, there's doubt).

But the above is a writer rule. READER RULES are those that if you break them you will lose readers, like killing your heroine in the romance at the end.

I think my buddy was right, it heightens the drama and the doubt if the hero and heroine don't admit their love until the very end of the book, it will keep some readers to the end. But in the hands of a good writer, that rule can be broken (as many which aren't READER RULES can).

May you completely forget about any rules today when you are writing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reader Rules

You've heard writing rules: mystery, body on page one; short romance, first meet within 3 or 5 pages. One I'll talk about tomorrow is when the h/h say "I love you" in a romance.

These writer rules are based on READER RULES which I define as what will make your READER put down the book and never buy you again. READER RULES are those you break at your peril of losing a reader, like killing off your heroine at the end of a romance (as if your editor would let you).

A hook is very, very important (I've realized that in the last few days in my own reading). The best way to hook a person who's picked up a mystery is to have the body on page one. Same thing with romance readers, have the meet soon (and I violate this one all the time...maybe I should try it sometime -- oh, I finally did, Heart Quest, duh).

So WRITING RULES evolved from READERS RULES, but some have definitely gone their own way.

Writing rules can usually be broken if you're a skilled enough writer, you can build tension and show the body in the middle of chapter two, you can focus on your hero or heroine and show the reader their problems before they meet.

Repeating: Break READER RULES at your peril. Do NOT kill your hero or heroine in a romance. Do NOT kill your romantic hero or heroine off stage between books and recycle them with a new hero or heroine. Do NOT solve all the characters problems with Magic. Do NOT bring in a character at the end that has never been mentioned in your mystery to be the murderer. (That sentence is awkward, but I've revised twice and the muse is calling -- or at least the cats).

Give the readers what they expect from your genre. You can do it. So think about "writer" rules and "READER RULES." What will you enjoy breaking? What do you have the skill to break?

May you enjoy playing with the rules today.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quote and Upcoming News

First, I've done a couple of interviews in the last few days and yesterday I was asked my favorite quote, one immediately came to mind, but then another followed and I changed my mind about four times. I finally went with:

You jump off the cliff and build wings on the way down. -- Ray Bradbury

Which is what I feel like I've been doing lately. In the news category, I have some very difficult decisions to make.

Thanks for hanging around. May your writing be easy today.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Best Books

I'm judging now (not in my category) and done with my panel of (I think) 6. I had 3 mixed categories, one more than others, all good books. Now as for me. I DID enter the RITAs with my two books that were published last year. I can say, as most writers do, that each of those books were books of my heart and that I wrote them as best I could with the tools I had then, so I hope they are better than my previous years' writing and not as good as what I'm doing now. Yes, I would like them to win. I know some readers might not like them for various reasons and ALL CONTESTS ARE SUBJECTIVE.

But now I doubt and wonder WHY I entered. Habit? Paranormal tastes are so diverse. Futuristic/Fantasy is such a niche genre most people don't read (Heart Quest). It is a series book, and it has "funny" words and a complex world. Sorceress of Faith is in the category of "With Romantic Elements" which means it's competing with a great deal of women's fiction. I think Guardian of Honor was an easier and more fun read in the Lladrana universe...still...

So I rationalize that my work will probably get before new readers and hopefully they will want to see more of it, even if they don't give it top scores. That's definitely why I enter Bookseller contests, just to let people know I'm out there.

But you should know WHY you are entering before you do. (Actually my editor entered Heart Quest. Because it is her favorite of the series. So how cool is that? Of course that DID make writing Heart Dance tougher). So when you weigh which contests to enter, know why you are doing it, and how you will cope with rejection.

My standard RITA rationalization will work for a while...I know for a fact that if my book is up against something else and a judge likes them equally well, some judges will give the higher mark to the author that doesn't have "RITA Award Winning Author" on the cover, so the award gets spread around so to speak. That's my rationalization and I'm sticking to it. ;)

May you love your writing today.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Seminar -- Speaking Tips for Introverts

Speaking went well, the HOD ladies were gracious and we had good interaction. I revised my cards and practiced them. Getting to the church where I gave the talk was interesting because once again there were only icy ruts in the road (and an incline) and, as usual, I scraped the bottom of my car. Sigh. BTW, it's snowing AGAIN.

I DID make one mistake speaking. I stayed behind the table. Didn't realize this until later. So, though I pride myself on being an informal speaker, I didn't act like it. Now the table did seem a little small for leaning against it and I had all my stuff carefully arranged (including the RITA, I thought some folks would want to see her, and rubbing her is supposed to be good luck), but still I should have come out from behind it at intervals. This is interesting to me because when I first started speaking I was in front of the table all the time (of course I only had one book to wave around).

Nor did I circulate before or afterwards. Before I was busy setting up and getting a cup of tea for when I talked. Afterwards, I was busy breaking down and packing up during the short break before the business meeting -- oh, and I sold a few books.

Also, I always give away goodies, and I should have added in a little more time to share the motivational quotes, etc. So those were the mistakes I made and I'm pretty sure they're the kind of mistakes that introverts make. Extroverts wouldn't need to be reminded to circulate...

May you look at your characters from a different point of view today -- maybe make an extrovert do something very introverted or vice-versa?

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I'm going to give my Seminar, Survive To Write/Write to Survive later today. I think it's at 9:30 am at the Heart of Denver Chapter. I DID find my notes -- 2 sets, so I'll go over them and my stories.

BTW, today, 6 years ago, I got The Call, or rather my editor left a message on my answering machine that she wanted HeartMate. I actually picked up The Call on Sunday...and I think I told you all that story a year ago. ;)

Anyway, that's part of the seminar, and no one ever tires of talking about The Call.

May you find joy in your writing today.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Schedules again -- A little sad

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI haven't started writing yet.

It's been a month now, so I guess I can say something. Last month when I was pushing hard on Heart Dance, my cat Diva suffered a seizure. I took her in the next day and they found nothing. That night she had another, longer seizure that definitely affected her brain. I took her in the next day and put her to sleep. That part went well. She totally trusted me and actually slept (this is not like previous times).

What this has to do with schedules is this: Diva (Drina in Heart Choice) ruled the household. She and the day job kept us on a schedule. She made sure I got up and fed the cats at a certain time. She started lobbying for dinner an hour before so I'd come to the end of my patience and feed them even if I was working.

Mistral (Samba in Heart Thief) is fat and lazy and will eat at any time. She has NOT taken up the reins of the schedule keeper.

Bittersweet, a new tom who came in this winter (I'd fed him for many years), is now the schedule keeper. But he has different ideas of what should be done. With Diva, after I fed the cats, I got free time for quite a while -- the day job reinforced this because I would leave.

Bittersweet thinks that Cat Admiration Time, most particularly Bittersweet Admiration Time, should come directly after Feeding.

So we are testing our wills against each other. This morning he won, and I read on the bed with one of my RITA books that I am enjoying enormously. Soon I will take a bath, and then I may get to writing.

I don't anticipate having a problem making my word count because I've kept it low -- 1250 words, and the book is going well, and I'm sending Tinne after Lahsin and First Meet will occur. Tinne has to be at the bottom of the barrell for this, since the secret garden will only let in desperate people, so I've been torturing him. Yesterday it was breakfast with his Family, the Hollys. ;)

Anyway, I haven't grieved much for Diva, and I don't know why, so that bothers me a little.

May you torture your characters and not yourself today.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Refilling the Well

Writers often talk about Refilling the Well, taking a break after a large project to play, read, experience other creative things that will lead to the enhancement of their own creativity.

I am of two minds of this matter. There are times when it's hard to write. But even with a minor schedule, or granting yourself permission to write whatever you want or however much you want, you can keep going.

Of course it is just after midnight now, and my brain is foggy, so this is NOT the time to be saying there is no such thing as burn out or a dry well. I think more often than not a refocus is needed...but that's just me. And heaven knows I've been VERY tired of writing...

So I hope I made a little sense. Feedback on this is welcome, and may you have wonderful fresh ideas today.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I am taking it easy, writing in the morning and getting a minimal amount done -- my goal is 3 pages, but I really want 5 and will work up to 10. The snow is still keeping me home (that's my rationalization).

Otherwise I am resting, playing, reading.

I got the RITA(c) books I need to judge today, so I'll be reading New Stuff.

The writing is going well, somewhat in sequence, definitely diverging from the synopsis but for the better!

That's my bit for today.

May your writing and your schedule please you today.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Writing -- Emotional Cost

Heart Fate opens with a couple of wrenching scenes, then goes on to only slightly lighter scenes. I've been putting the revision of the first two scenes off, because they CAN hurt when I write them.

I did a lot of writing yesterday -- additional wrenching scenes, and felt as wrung out as the characters.

So I guess I'm saying that if you believe in your characters, when you write scenes that hurt them, you can pay an emotional and creative cost, too. I believe, of course, that it's worth it, but know that you will pay.

May humor grace your writing today.

Monday, January 15, 2007

WOW! Protector of the Flight & Armor

I'm thrilled. Sometimes you get gifts you never expect...and your characters should too.

May you smile today at your work.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

January 2007 Website Update

Finally got it up -- whether fast or slow, when it goes up is usually my fault...my webmistress only took a day to get it up this month.

The Free Your Artist Page has words from my various magnetic poetry sets that I pulled at random, with links to play magnetic poetry online. Divination this month is an old favorite, Voice of the Woods, e-cards sends you to a poetry site to craft your own.

Worlds Update is under CELTA, a Family Tree of the Holly-Blackthorn connection (with Apples thrown in ;) ).

It's snowing here AGAIN, and temps frigid, I have on all my layers and my hands are cold so I need to put on my fingerless gloves. Heart Fate takes place approx a year after Heart Dance, and that makes it WINTER again... just not as bad a winter... still, cold.

May you write about warm climates.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Surviving Demon Island

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Bantam/Dell, December 26, 2006

She's all curves and combat boots.

He's six feet of lean, dangerous male.

Join them in a game of survival.

That's as real - and hot - as it gets.

What's America's top female action star doing on a tropical island shrouded in secrecy? To Gina Bliss, competing in a survival-type reality show is a nice change from fending off on-screen villains. Until she meets real-life action hero Derek Marks. A survival specialist in a tight black T and sexy stubble, he's arousing every bad-boy fantasy she's ever had...and testing her survival skills to the max.
Martial arts, jungle warfare - Derek's done it all. But his latest mission is more dangerous than a stick of dynamite. Try telling that to the sexy, adrenaline-pumped actress who's got his libido racing off the charts. As the heat rises between them and real-life violence erupts, suddenly Derek and Gina are on the run...and when they uncover a secret so explosive it could blow the lid of their so-called reality show, these two unlikely heroes are about to discover what surviving's really about....

Burton has an uncanny aptitude for intertwining the human and the paranormal so seamlessly that sudden demon attacks and labyrinthine underworlds are perfectly believable. Realistic dialogue, spicy bedroom scenes and a spitfire heroine make this one to pick up and savor. – Publishers Weekly

Big applause goes to Burton for succeeding in setting up a rousing & timely premise that is a real roller coaster ride. Not only does this book set the stage for further exciting adventures, it also delivers a great group of characters that have plenty of room for growth. Burton doesn’t skimp on the sizzling sex or romance either; this book has it all! Brava! 4 ½ Stars – Romantic Times BookClub

Fantastic reading is in store for paranormal fans with Jaci Burton’s new series about fighting demons. It’s a great good vs. evil story that will leave you breathless at times with the chills and thrills, and ready to take a cold shower at others as two of the neatest hero’s and heroine’s pull out all the stops as they get beneath the sheets, and behind their weapons. – Reader to Reader Reviews

May you triumph in your writing today.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pure Genius

I once had a reviewer who consistently makes fun of me and my work call one passage in Heart Thief "pure genius" (or something like that, I try not to think of her comments, especially the other ones).

Naturally I remember that passage. I remember writing the thing. I remember rewriting the section. I think I did it about ten times.

I have a critique buddy who is incredibly lyrical, and sometimes I work hard at being lyrical just to show that I can do it.

But I rarely have the time to craft every sentence of my work as well as I'd like it to be, to consider a phrase for a few hours. And I often think that's what it takes, a lot of time and no pressure, to create some lyrical masterpieces or a work of genius.

In the end, I'm happy if I entertain.

May you have a touch of genius today.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Oh, let a man of spirit venture where he pleases
And never tip his golden cup empty towards the moon!
Since heaven gave the talent, let it be employed

Li Po

May you have grace in your writing today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apologies - Scenes

I didn't realize I didn't post yesterday until I saw this. I think I thought I posted.... In any event, I've been walking around in a small haze, doing some last minute promotion for Protector of the Flight, life errands (today, too) before we get blasted with snow tomorrow and frigid below zero temps on the weekend.

And talking to my mentor about her proposal for a paranormal romance, and scenes in Heart Fate. I've already had a very wrenching scene in Heart Fate and it looks like I'll need another (any way she said "that will be a very powerful scene" which means I probably can't skate over it).

I hate when powerful scenes are skated over. I was reading a vampire romance that had several points of view, including a secondary/previous hero, and the first confrontation with the evil villain stalking the heroine was not shown. Big fight, not shown. I don't know why, whether the author was worried about word count or because she didn't want to lose the major focus on the heroine, but I felt cheated. Couple of fights in that book that were described in dialogue.

So, even though I don't particularly like writing wrenching scenes (and I hadn't planned on writing the worst wrenching scene, in Heart Choice, it just CAME so that doesn't count), I can't just skip this one. **Sigh**.

Now I REALLY have to get to the bank. The GOOD thing about the bank is that I can walk to it, even in sub-zero temps (a check is coming that will keep me for a couple of months). The bad thing about the grocery (we used to have a local grocery when I moved into the neighborhood), is that I CAN'T walk to it, and I am low on Cat Food.

May you have a good chunk of time to write today.

Thinking, Believing, Feeling

Thinking, Believing, Feeling

What IS your character experiencing? I use all of the above a lot. I try to use "feeling" the least, as I am a firm believer in "Show, don't tell." If someone is angry, their hands should fist until their nails hurt their palms, they shouldn't FEEL angry (and I'd imagine I do this too often in my own work).

For me:
Thinking: Logic, Deduction, something your brain is working on and actually does

Believing: More of a spirit or gut thing.

Feeling: All about emotion.

Again, showing this is better than telling.

Thinking: nibbling lip, thrumming fingers
Believing: gut warning
Feeling: see above.

This is brief because I'm in the middle of the scene and really shouldn't have taken time....

May your characters have a range of emotions today.

Monday, January 08, 2007


There are several writers who collage when they start a new book -- go through magazines for hero/heroine/characters faces, settings, etc.

I spent a lot of time on the net yesterday looking at images of gardens, and garden design portfolios for Heart Fate. Most of the action, such as it is, will take place in FirstGrove, the sanctuary/garden/Healing grove for the desperate.

My subconscious memories, of course, helped me out. When I lived in DC, I went to Dumbarton Oaks a couple of times, and the memories stayed. Also, before I began writing seriously I was starting to get into gardening. So I have some design books.

I wanted images of doors for the cover (digits crossed) for Healers of Hope.

So I didn't write and need to catch up on my word count. But images are important to fix in your brain while you write.

Thinking of designing a garden today. I have some BBC software as well as a good landscape design program (which has proved very frustrating).

May the images you use for your story be clear today.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Titles -- Contracts -- Themes -- Covers

I've started on Tinne Holly's story, Heart Fate. Since I had problems with the title of Heart Match (which I still like, but my editor didn't), I spoke with her about Heart Fate and she liked that title.

My contract says something like futuristic romance Untitled Book 1 set on Celta and futuristic romance Untitled Book 2 set on Celta. So I wanted to clear the title before I got into the book and had to search for titles again.

Heart Dance WAS my title, and I feel proud that I not only worked that thread in, but also that I used the odd necklace on the cover a couple of times in a couple of key scenes.

The pages went easy today, but they tend to at the beginning of the book. I DO have to revise the first chapter to add more conflict (critique group, and they're right) and revise to bring Tinne's scene in line with Heart Duel. That bit is written and needs to be integrated. The first scene (Lahsin's), needs to be rewritten or a large thread added, which is more work and for later today.

Since I've been up from my regular time and it is now very late, I'll wish you all fairydust for a good title.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Time Again for Themes

Just so you know, this is a revised post. It will not be wrenching to write or read.

Times in our lives will come out in our work. In Heart Dance I dealt with time (which, if you haven't noticed, I'm NEARLY obsessed with -- and have been aware of this since college). I also dealt with death, and with lingering disease. I had a minor theme that I've done before come up too: Everyone makes mistakes that can be fatal to themselves or others (usually when young, I once did a poll of my critique group and got 100%).

And, now that I think of it, I might have gotten the NEAR obsession with time with the theme I dealt a little bit in Protector of the Flight. When I told my brunch group (mostly geeks) that I was going to write about a barrel racer. One of my friends got this confused look on his face and said, "But -- WHY?" I said, "It's the father thing." He nodded, "Yes, you writers work your problems out in books." And I suppose he's right.

Calli's father is not my father. He's much worse on the emotionally abusive end, and this will be touchy for my Mom, but at least the man is WORSE. I wonder if we will talk about it. We don't, usually.

Anyway, my father was a stage father, picture the mother in Gypsy Rose Lee's Coming Up Roses (I think that's the musical, naturally I haven't watched it more than once). So most of my childhood time went to fulfilling my father's wishes and needs. I had little "time" of my own. Usually I could get away with reading, as long as it wasn't conflicting with something we HAD to do, like trampoline practice every night after school.

Ok, as an old friend said, enough with the violins. That's why I write about time. Thanks for being my counsellors.

Someone else said something like that when an author writes a book, it's like putting their bare a** in the wind. I think that's true, too. Eight books and one novella later, and I am still exploring my own issues.

My mentor, who read Heart Dance, seems to think it's all about Honor. It is about family responsibility, too. Yeah, I have a lot crammed into that book.

May you cover your a** and not look quite so bare today.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Author Copies

I got my author copies for Protector of the Flight yesterday, three cases. Several are already earmarked for myself (my Author Reading Copy, which I hole-punched with a star front and back so I know), my critique group, my Mom.

Though it is half the size of Sorceress and has larger print, it also has more pages, so it is NOT a smaller read....just lettin' ya' all know. Also, I picked it up and began reading and chuckled at some turn's of phrases I forgot I did. I LIKE this book. I hope you all like it, too. -- Of course, Alexa is still over the top, so I get to play with that.

We should hear back about whether the series will continue this month, perhaps as early as next week. Digit crossing is going on.

I did get a thrill when I glanced at the top of the page and saw "Robin D. Owens." Wow, that's really ME!


Snow has socked us in again, and I dug the car out for the THIRD time today. One of the 65 completely gray days Denver has in a year. Phhhhpppptttt.

May you enjoy your writing today, in all senses of the word.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Why Keep This Scene?

I am now of the opinion that every scene must move the plot forward -- this is another do what I say, not as I do, because I hardly ever think of scenes moving the plot forward.

It used to be if the scene revealed character then you also kept it, but every scene, in my opinion, reveals character. Now it should reveal character AND move the plot forward

I have one scene in Heart Dance that I know doesn't move the plot forward, but I'm thinking of keeping it. I am a pantser, I wrote this scene early in the book and it was to serve the purpose of making the heroine financially independent (since she spends all her money -- gilt -- on scientific equipment, this will hardly happen). But as I continued with the book, other scenes did what the first had, better.

But, like I said, I'm leaning toward keeping it in. I could argue that it reveals an aspect of my heroine's character that the others don't, but there are other reasons.

One is that it reveals a little more of the world of Celta, and my readers like that. Another is that it can be the set up for a book a while down the line, if I keep writing and Berkley keeps buying the Heart books (for my readers, it can feature into a book about Antenn Moss, who is now not quite a teenager).

So those are my rationalizations/reasons. I'm not sure they're good enough, but until someone says cut it (before its published), I'll keep it.

May all your scenes work today,

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thinking Time

No matter how fast I want to write, there always comes a time when I have to sit down and think -- probably every few chapters of the book, filtering the misty idea of the story into words. Going back and tweaking things -- or going forward and noting something down for the end of the book and the black moment.

And is that one long sentence! But I'm barely awake and I have a LITTLE more snoozing time before the sun comes up and I need to hit the office.

Sleep and thinking time can't often be hurried. I usually go around saying "huh," a lot, and I fervently believe in letting the subconscious doing most of the work, which, since I believe in it, it usually does.

May the writing come quickly today.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I'm thinking of putting up quotes I run across. I've done this a couple of times before, I believe, but I tend to collect them, use them on my website (not updated for January yet), and think about them.

Here's one:

"Some writers are only born to help another writer to write one sentence." Ernest Hemingway

I agree and disagree. At first it seems comforting, then the height of hubris. Writers do help other writers and that's important. But even if the writer never gets published or his/her work isn't stellar it has worth. To the writer as a fulfilling creative activity, sparking other writing.

Tell me your take if you want. And may all your sentences be easy today.

Monday, January 01, 2007


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Yes, I'm beat and won't be writing on writing except to say that may all your writing dreams come true -- and if it's this year, that's FABULOUS.

And thank you for dropping in.

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