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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Saturday, June 30, 2007

First Drafts

I have not finished Keepers of the Flame yet, though the end continues to be maddeningly in sight. I revised my list, then lost it for a few minutes yesterday and was panicked because it was handwritten and I hadn't duplicated it anywhere -- which was immediately rectified upon finding buried under other papers on my dining room.

So the scenes to finish the book are painstakingly written and marked out. Problem is, when I write, I know I have to add a little of this or that -- another scene that is not on the list. So I can do three scenes a day, but if they aren't on my list it's almost as if they don't count...

Anyway I did 4000+ words today (Friday, this will go up Saturday) in spurts. I think what really saves my hide is that I write a relatively clean draft. I TRY to just zoom along and not give any thought to craft or word choice but it doesn't often happen. I may have to cut, I may have to add, I may have to tinker, but usually the scenes are pretty clean. So far (knocking on wood) I haven't had to do any major revision after I've sent the book in. Some fair amount after reader comment, but nothing that took me more than a few days.

I am hoping this continues.

Since I haven't put the chapters together, I don't even have a rough estimate for how long this book is, but I'm pretty sure it must be running long. I tell myself over and over again just to write the scenes and put them together and THEN cut when necessary, but I keep second-guessing myself, and trying to make sense of it all in my head.

I DO think that I have made real progress. I'd like to turn it in before RWA but that isn't looking good. So I may have a draft I take with me and mark up and revise. Worse comes to worse, they get the draft as is.

Only 9:30pm and I'm writing this for tomorrow, but I've been up since 5:45 and have done those words, so I'm beat and heading for bed, and since I'm so tired, I'm a little blue, hope it doesn't show too much.

Read another book by the author I spoke about yesterday. Again the ending was abrupt and not quite satisfying, left a thread hanging accidentally or on purpose. I think it will be a while before I buy the author again, which is a shame because there were lines that made me laugh and laugh, but an ending really has to nail the book.

May your escape into the zone today.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Readers -- Final Image in Book

I was talking with my mentor about a book I'd read, and as usual, I knew there was something about it that bothered me, I had an idea what it was, then as I spoke I figured it out.

It was the final image of the book.

The book was a romantic suspense and had a soulless villain, just ewww. And a ravening monster. Well, it didn't take much to know that the ravening monster would eventually eat the soulless villain, and with great gore and mastication.

So, the adventure is wrapped up. The love story is wrapped up. And the last thing we see is the soulless villain losing blood and dying and the monster coming his way.


I didn't even hate this guy so much that this was a cathartic release, a "YAY monster eats villain!!!"

And having a gory image in my head was a real downer for me.

So, be aware, as I will be in my future books, of the LAST image your reader will see in his/her mind's eye.

And this, I believe, goes for the FIRST image, too.

Ok, this advice may be simple, and something you already know. I might have known it once and forgotten, but with this bad example in front of me, I was certainly reminded.

May you provide excellent images for your readers today.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just heard...

That Heart Dance is selling early in some places.

May you forget nerves as you write today,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Best Films

The American Film Institute has released an updated 100 best films listing. Bold those you've seen, strike out those you couldn't make it through, italicize the ten *you'd* have put in the top 10.

1. Citizen Kane

2. The Godfather
3. Casablanca
4. Raging Bull
5. Singin' in the Rain
6. Gone with the Wind
7. Lawrence of Arabia
8. Schindler's List
9. Vertigo
10. The Wizard of Oz
11. City Lights
12. The Searchers
13. Star Wars
14. Psycho
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey
16. Sunset Boulevard
17. The Graduate
18. The General
19. On the Waterfront
20. It's a Wonderful Life
21. Chinatown
22. Some Like It Hot
23. The Grapes of Wrath
24. E.T.
25. To Kill a Mockingbird
26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
27. High Noon
28. All About Eve
29. Double Indemnity
30. Apocalypse Now
31. The Maltese Falcon
32. The Godfather Part II
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest
34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
35. Annie Hall
36. The Bridge on the River Kwai
37. The Best Years of Our Lives
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
39. Dr. Strangelove
40. The Sound of Music
41. King Kong
42. Bonnie and Clyde
43. Midnight Cowboy
44. The Philadelphia Story
45. Shane
46. It Happened One Night
47. A Streetcar Named Desire
48. Rear Window
49. Intolerance
50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
51. West Side Story
52. Taxi Driver
53. The Deer Hunter
54. M*A*S*H
55. North by Northwest
56. Jaws
57. Rocky
58. The Gold Rush
59. Nashville
60. Duck Soup
61. Sullivan's Travels
62. American Graffiti
63. Cabaret
64. Network
65. The African Queen
66. Raiders of the Lost Ark
67. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
68. Unforgiven
69. Tootsie
70. A Clockwork Orange
71. Saving Private Ryan
72. The Shawshank Redemption
73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
74. The Silence of the Lambs
75. In the Heat of the Night
76. Forrest Gump
77. All the President's Men
78. Modern Times
79. The Wild Bunch
80. The Apartment
81. Spartacus
82. Sunrise
83. Titanic
84. Easy Rider
85. A Night at the Opera
86. Platoon
87. 12 Angry Men
88. Bringing Up Baby
89. The Sixth Sense
90. Swing Time
91. Sophie's Choice
92. Goodfellas
93. The French Connection
94. Pulp Fiction
95. The Last Picture Show
96. Do the Right Thing
97. Blade Runner
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy
99. Toy Story
100. Ben-Hur

May YOUR stories always be your own favorites.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


This is about as interested in punctuation that I get (though I can occasionally go off on commas).

Your Score: Semicolon

You scored 30% Sociability and 76% Sophistication!

Congratulations! You are the semicolon! You are the highest expression of punctuation; no one has more of a right to be proud. In the hands of a master, you will purr, sneering at commas, dismissing periods as beneath your contempt. You separate and connect at the same time, and no one does it better. The novice will find you difficult to come to terms with, but you need no one. You are secure in your elegance, knowing that you, and only you, have the power to mark the skill or incompetence of the craftsman.

You have no natural enemies; all fear you.

And never, NEVER let anyone tell you that you cannot appear in dialogue!

Link: The Which Punctuation Mark Are You Test written by Gazda on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

May you not worry about punctuation today.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pontificating on Writing - Priorities

I was at critique group and got started on a lecturing/pontificating tone about priorities. One of my critique buddies does excellent characterization, but she DOES like a big character arc, so sometimes her characters start out as less than sympathetic.

I've been thinking about this a lot (and was thinking of doing a blog on it), and I know I've discussed it before, and since I've made the mistakes, I feel that I can pontificate about them, especially when I see them.

You want a great character arc, you want a depressed hero/heroine to grow greatly, problem is, readers aren't very interested in reading about unsympathetic and/or wimpy characters. So you gotta problem.

Bottom line, you want to tell the story the way you want to tell the story? Or do you want to be published?

So I said. I think this blog has been going to my head, I feel able to lecture at the drop of a hat.

AND, I just finished listening to Northern Lights by Nora Roberts, one of my favorite books. I'm really going to have to see how she manages to start and hook with a severely clinically depressed hero. I think because he IS struggling to emerge from his depression, that he does value life, that he lives day to day, and now that I really think about it, he isn't a loner. He forces himself to socialize, and enjoys peoples' company. Brilliant. The first person he really spends time with is a young boy, so you sort of see the shadow of the man the hero once was.

That is an exception to the rule, but it's an exception because she handles it so well.

My thief had to have less anger and resentment at the beginning than I originally wanted. My suicidal heroine (Heart Change, if I sell it), can't want to throw herself off the cliffs anymore, she just is "blue." Melancholy. That's going to take a little bit of doing, but I've started, and think that I've got it right.

So, there you have it, the "advice" for the day -- 1) blog every day on writing and your ideas will solidify and you will pontificate. 2) One of the reader's rules is that heroes and heroines have to be sympathetic, so no angry thieves or suicidal heroines.

And really, this is another one of those things where you think your own work is ok, but when you see the same error in someone else's, you get it.

May you enjoy your night.

Oh, and I just flipped the image of the background. I think I like it better. Let me know.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Office Surroundings Again

It's 8 am and I'm writing in the dark. My office faces south, so I get direct sunlight all winter and it pretty much leaves in late April (I think, I meant to note it down, but didn't).

And it's getting hot in Denver, and I have the massive computer that puts out heat. So the blinds are drawn and the fan is pumping cool air in (until about 10 am, then I turn it on at night).

Meanwhile, since this has just started, and it's the first time I've been here in the summer as a full time writer, I am not accustomed and am not working well. I think I need sunlight. Like, who wants to turn on a lamp and add heat? But I can't see the function keys of my keyboard well, since my fingers are small it's a stretch and the first few times I look, especially since I have to turn the function keys on and off.

I did my work yesterday while catsitting (yeah, that again, because my massage therapist is working this), so I think I'll pop down to Common Grounds. I want pie for breakfast.

May you enjoy the light of your day.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


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I can't sleep. Concerns are crowding my mind. Promotion for Heart Dance, updating my website and how to pay for it, my upcoming seminars at RWA. The DEADLINE.

Right now I'm thinking about the Amazon blog. I blog there very irregularly, but now they have a feed that I can link this blog to. I haven't been getting major comments and don't know whether it would help or not to do that, but I'm thinking of giving it a trial. If so, this blog may become more "professional." I probably won't be talking about stress at 4:41 am (and I've been up for an hour. Surely there must be an all night liquor store in Denver, I ran out of liquor in January, I think, and have not replaced it. Not a big drinker).

So, if I do a feed to amazon, hopefully not alienating readers in droves, I will probably be adding links to my site -- the excerpts at READS and the WORLDS page, at the top of every post. Just FYI.

Well, the room is cold with the great fan in the window going full blast, and I think I'll return to bed and listen to my meditation tapes. Today is both critique and the RMFW program (book reviewer from the Denver Post), and I still need to print out a scene (thinking of taking a group scene from Keepers of the Flame, when all the Exotiques descend on the twins), and write my goal of three scenes a day.

The house has some repairs that are needed, too.

May you be calm and collected when you write today.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Weight of Subplots

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From Tickie's Backgrounds. I think I'll have another tomorrow.

All right, I've just acknowledged to myself that Keepers of the Flames will be the lightest on the romance of any book I've ever written.

There's just too much character growth and plot. I have the twins who need to learn their lessons which is THE point of Luna, a woman's/womens' journey, and the fantasy stuff, and the fact that the twins have loving parents at home (don't think I've said that before), and keeping up with my old characters...and squeezing in the subplot that was to be book 5.

So both romances won't be as smooth or as up front as I'd anticipated, and the consummation scenes will be mostly fade to black.

This is not necessarily a bad thing except for my avid romance readers, and they should be able to "forgive" me one book.

When you weave or juggle, you have to weigh your plots and decide which are the most important. With Luna's it's the women's journey and the fantasy.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking how I might possibly re-work a series for Nocturne....maybe.

May you know where you're going today.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Series Quotes

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I got one copy of Heart Dance last Friday (and gave it to Mom on Saturday because she whined).

The quote on the front cover seems bland to me, and I realized that was something I didn't do. I didn't send my editor review quote about the series she could put on the cover. It bothers me that I slipped up in this.

So I've sent out an email to the main paranormal romance list for review quotes I can use for the SERIES for Heart Fate. I only have a couple, so I'm collecting more and offering an ARC of Heart Dance and the proposal chapters (with vow of secrecy) of Heart Fate. That to the one I like the best. 4 other Heart Dance arcs to the rest.

I hate when I screw up in the marketing of my books.

May you only think about writing today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Signing Clothes -- Advice requested - WEDNESDAY Background

All right. I have this turquoise/pink/green/yellow pastel floral pajamas type outfit that I love for summer signings. It's casual, but looks fun, and people can usually spot me in a crowd. Problem is that I've worn it to the RWA signings probably since I've been published, that's 6 years.

Naturally, I have jewelry that matches, etc.

So, I am wondering. Would it be deleterious or a comfort to a reader if you see me in the same thing year to year? Do you even notice?

I'm not usually an indecisive person, but Conference Clothes brings the wishy-washy out in me.

And I can't find my two Shakespeare shirts that I use when travelling.

May you costume your characters well today.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Background Tuesday -- Contests

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Light ruddy leather.

Sorceress of Faith has won Best Paranormal in the More Thank Magic Contest! I got a big whomping gold pin (it takes 2 back bits) for my name/badge for National. Since I only entered Sorceress in, I think, three contests, this is wonderful!

I believe I only entered Heart Quest in the RITA and the Daphne and I didn't final in either of those. I think the futuristics, in the middle of a series (though I TRY to make them stand alone) are more difficult reads or need more flexible minds -- current rationalizations. Looks like Heart Quest will be my first book not to win any awards, and I feel ok with that. I mean, you can't win something for everything forever can you? I thought I might be depressed at the thought -- but on the other hand, my editor told me she liked Heart Quest the best, and that's still enough for me.

I think Protector of the Flight is a more accessible book and will be sending that book out around the contest circuit quite a bit next year.

And this reminds me of before I sold, and the spotty showing of my books. Contests are so subjective that HeartMate hit all the rungs -- not finalling, finalling and taking 3rd, taking 2nd, winning.

I'm grateful I've had the run that I have had. And I'm smiling. I truly believe this, it isn't just some "be a gracious loser," stuff. Though I thought Heart Quest would do better in the Daphne with it's mystery aspect. Such is life.

So smile and accept the wins and don't dwell on the losses in any contest your work is in today.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Background Poll -- MONDAY -- Romantic Times Review

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Dark patterned velvet

Looks more like this: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

During the next work week, I'm going to be putting up backgrounds, including the two I've already used and the current one. We'll call the current one (dark velvet with a little pattern) MONDAY.

Note, the backgrounds show up lighter as backgrounds on my screen than as swatches.

I'd like you all to see which ones appeal to you most and let me know next Saturday.

Here's the Romantic Times Review of Heart Dance (4 Stars)

Alliances and secrets can come back to haunt, as the protagonists in Owens' newest spellbinding tale of the planet Celta discover. Owens' worldbuilding skills are quite evident, and she continues to deliver stories that are heartfelt and intensely rivettng.

Summary: Dufleur Thyme survived kidnapping and near murder, only to lose her father and family name to a time experiment gone bad. Determined to clear her father, Dufleur experiments in secret with only her Famcat, named Fairyfoot, as witness. She knows she has a potential HeartMate, but she has no time for marriage.

GreatLord Saille T'Willow gained control of his "Matchmaking" Family House after his vicious grandmother, D'Willow, was placed in a crygenics tube. It sems that his grandmother did a lot of damage, including keeping Saille from his HeartMate, Dufleur. But since it was D'Willow who helped destroy the Thyme's reputation, matchmaker Saille knows he has a tough courtship ahead of him. He does have an ally in Fairyfoot however, so all is not lost. – Jill Smith

May your work please you today.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Timing of Reviews -- Promotion

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe first reviews of Heart Dance (coming July 2) are beginning to appear on the net and in print (may post some tomorrow). I've been worried about this book since it's in trade paperback, the characters aren't well known secondaries, and, ok, the hero is more beta than alpha.

Just plain nervous.

Most reviewers (all right, the ones who like my book), send me reviews before or as they are posted, so I can use them for promotion. If I really wanted to ramp up the promotion, I needed to send ARCs of Heart Dance out six months ago. And I should really be promoting my buns off Right Now. But I have this pesky book to finish...

May people say kind words about your work today.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ka-Boom, Outta the Zone, Distractions

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Photo from:
I'd been dragging my feet writing one of my transition scenes. These aren't going to be as much fun, because due to space they'll be more "telling" than showing. "Days passed and they fell into a routine, this is how Bri felt, this is how Elizabeth felt." Hopefully slightly perkier and amusing (note to self, add the roc).

But I'd just gotten into the zone, words and ideas were chugging along when the phone rang. I don't have caller id. I answered it and it was my massage person confirming an appointment that I'd meant to cancel...then I realized she was going away and I'll be cat sitting next week for her, so no appointment for a couple of weeks.

Well, I talk to my massage therapist, mostly about her life, so in cancelling the appointment, I took that away from her. And she recently had a death in the family. I asked her how it was going and she'd had **another** death on the opposite side of the family. And she and her s.o. were having problems. (I'm aces at giving relationship advice and seeing what's going on -- from the outside and that I can't follow, at least with this lady).

So I listened and we talked and processed and analyzed like we would have done if I'd been on the table.

But so much for the effing transition scene. Blown to hell. And now I'm writing this.

I HAVE to go back to it today, and I will. After I have toast. Then on with the earphones and subliminal music and, hopefully, back into the zone.

I really don't anticipate more than four or five more paragraphs to the next "showing" scene that I'll be revising. Then transition again...

Anyway, advice of the day. If you can sluff (slough) a phone call or visit or interruption off, do so. I couldn't this one, and I wouldn't have been happy with myself if I had.

Otherwise, take a little break, reset the mind, and come back to attack the problem. I don't need thinking for this transition, I know what should happen. I just need to put my butt back in the chair.

May you be successful in keeping your butt in the chair today.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The List v. Synopsis

Yes, of course I have a synopsis for every book. I sell on proposal now and synopses (which take me long, long, long) must be included with every proposal. Editors actually want to see how/where the story is going and an satisfying resolution.

I printed out the synopsis for Keepers of the Flame, ready to look at it. But I didn't, and probably won't until after the book is done and sent. Because things change and there may be WONDERFUL ideas in that synopsis, but by now, if they don't match the list, they won't fit.

This book can't match the synopsis anyway because it's including a thread which would have been book 2 of 3. Like the next book will have to include the rest of the thread. And I'm VERY pleased how I handled this. I think it works.

All the major turns of the synopsis, the story which was in my head, will be covered. Nothing that contradicts the back cover copy will be written.

And now a first line has come to me about one of my scenes, so I must be off.

May the end of your pet project be in sight today.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The List

I made my list.

When I'm coming to the end of the book, I always list chronologically the scenes that must be included. This is a HUGE waypoint for me.

Granted, a couple of things are different about this particular list.
First, all of the end chapters are done except for one scene which I am awaiting expert advice. I've tinkered with the last few lines time and again, trying to find the right note, hopeful or doom? -- and that will probably change when I put together the whole book and reread it.

Secondly, there are more scenes than usual, but I'm not going to let that get me down. I actually printed out the list and put * by the scenes already written.

Thirdly, there's a couple that say "set up for" which might be two paragraphs. But there are also some new things that aren't named, and simply say "Transition" which is a little nervous making, but I am hopeful this will be ok.

If I write a scene a day (or hook them together), I will be done in time to read the rough through for a few days and send it off to readers.

But maybe not by the 9th which is the day I leave for RWA National. And I have to get my workshops together. So I'll do more than one...of course, there's something called "Elizabeth Healing" that I already know is done and has 4 parts.

A little shaky, but feeling like the end is in sight. I wrote about 1 1/2 scenes, 1500 words today, and revised two chapters.

A lot of his has been heavy thinking, what happens in what order? This has been a problem because I've had to add a thread in that was supposed to be a whole book, so it moved things around, etc.

May your work come together today.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Like most writers, if I'm in the zone, I can see my story unwinding like on film -- their gestures, et cetera. And that's good.

But I also use visualization for my work. For instance today has been disjointed and I'm trying to figure out the sequence of some scenes. I think I need to push one back. It's a scene that I previously thought I should bring forward.

I still need to do some thinking, or letting the thing simmer in the back of my mind, so I'm visualizing myself packing up the laptop which is on the dining room table and walking down to Common Grounds this evening and working.

That helps.

May visuals come to you easily today.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Promo Wordcount

All right. When you sell, you will probably want to advertise. That means that you will probably have to massage your text, back cover copy, to fit into an ad. I've been slow in doing this for Heart Dance because I've been concentrating on writing.

However, in the past I've done ads as much as 300 words and as little as 15 (not to mention the banner ads).

So know your story and its hooks. The following are various ads for Heart Duel that were in my files and easily pulled up.

NOTE, you might be called for an ad, like, TODAY, so have them ready...

Following RITA(R) Winner HeartMate and 4 1/2 Stars Top Pick Heart Thief...

Holm Holly and Lark Collinson -- he's a fighter, she's a healer. Their Families are at war. This isn't the time to fall in love.

This story could not be put down. [T]he challenges Holm and Lark face...make them ready [for] their future. Keep them coming! I'm waiting! Kathy Boswell, Managing Editor of The Best Reviews

An artist, a magician and a wonderful storyteller, Robin deftly uses all these skills in her third Celta tale that is as brilliant as first two. Deborah Anne MacGilllivray, RIO Member



Following RITA(R) Winner HeartMate, Top Pick Heart Thief...

Holm Holly and Lark Collinson -- he's a fighter, she's a healer. Their Families are at war. This isn't the time to fall in love

This story could not be put down. Keep them coming! Kathy Boswell, Managing Editor, The Best Reviews


Following RITA(R) Winner HeartMate and Romantic Times 4 1/2 Stars Top Pick Heart Thief...

The story of Holm Holly and Lark Collinson. He's a fighter, she's a healer. Their Families are at war. This isn't the time to fall in love.

Robin D. Owens has done it yet again. She's drawn us into her world of Celta with another story that is equally as intriguing as the two previous ones. This story could not be put down. [T]he challenges Holm and Lark face...make them ready [for] their future. All of the characters I enjoyed reading about in the other two books are in this one as well which makes it even more enjoyable! Keep them coming! I'm waiting! Kathy Boswell, Managing Editor of The Best Reviews

HEART DUEL...shines with such amazing emotion. An artist, a magician and a wonderful storyteller, Robin deftly uses all these skills in her third Celta tale that is as brilliant as first two. Long may Robin D. Owens= thrill us with her very special talent. -- Deborah Anne MacGillivray, RIO Member

Robin D. Owens...provides a wonderful, gripping mix of passion, exotic futuristic settings and edgy suspense. B Jayne Ann Krentz.

Library Journal on Heart Thief: As have others before her (e.g., Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley), Owens has penned a stunning futuristic tale that reads like fantasy and is sure to have crossover appeal to both sf and fantasy fans. Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

First chapters online at: http://www.robindowens.com

May your characters and not you be irritated today.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Luna Book Themes

I see a theme here....

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May you understand the themes in your own work.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

No More Wordcount

No, I haven't finished the book. But counting the words I write won't help me. Now it will be scenes I have to do, and the transitions between them. This will be both harder and easier. I can't just reach 1250 and call it a day, move on to email and promotion and the rest of my life.

On the other hand, some of the scenes I'll be writing can be very brief (have to be) and I'll be able to measure my progress to finishing the book better (I can't say the end of the book, because I'm working on that and it will be done before the middle). At least the end will be solid. I dislike when I read a book and the end is obviously rushed because the author was running out of time. I've been accused of rushing the ends of books, but that hasn't been the problem, I'm usually just on a freight train hurling to the end. BTW, I don't write "The End," until I've finished the book.

I'm still considering what I can keep in and can delete since this book has to do the work of 1 1/2, and that stuff takes place in the middle. A lot of things that I'd anticipated having scenes of their own will either be combined with others or will be told in a sentence or two.

As for the beginning, I have a feeling it will be cut, cut, cut. I'd written a good chunk before this one became 1 1/2.

Once I get the end nailed down (today or tomorrow), I'm off to the middle nest of worms.

I DO have some scenes there that I can work around, but I'm going into the synopsis and list what MUST happen, then I can check items off.

May you enjoy your work today.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Keepers of the Flame COVER!

LOVE this! Though it was nothing like the idea I had, which was pretty cool.

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The outfits they are wearing are RIGHT (well, there's a white cross on the robes). I DID write the bubbles in...

Keeping the daily blessing from the previous post.
May you learn something new about your characters today.
And now I can go to bed.

8 Things

A while back, Gail Dayton tagged me for a meme of 8 things you might not know about me. So here they finally are.

I more a tactile person than visual or audial.

My grandmother made original brass rubbings when she lived in England and I have them hanging on my walls. I staggered against one after I'd heard the news I'd sold my first book and it fell and the glass broke and I'm superstitious enough not to fix it.

I consider my eyes the color of hazel because my grandfather told me so.

I've broken my right little toe twice as an adult and my left arm once as an adult and my knees are shot from gymnastics.

I have committed much art in my time: pottery, shadow boxes (I have 2, one is VERY tacky with feathers and three coctail "swords" crossed and glitter – and that was done only a few years ago), jewelry, drawing (stick figure type), and am currently playing with collage, even though cutting and pasting has always been my worst thing.

I only started reading creativity and self-help books after I met my writing buddy, Sharon Mignery, now I have dozens.

My favorite flower is the rose and I find that average.

(looking around) I have a backscratcher on my desk that I use frequently, and I use a knife letter opener to stir my tea.


1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

I hope my 8 people haven't been tagged with something like this recently.
Michele Bardsley, Jaci Burton, Michele Hauf, Gena Showalter, Angela Knight, Jeri Smith-Ready, Marjorie M. Liu, P.C. Cast

May you learn something new about your characters today.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Check What's New

Take a look.
Larger tomorrow.

May you enjoy your day today.

Hermitting or Support?

I've been staying close to my house since the sewer episode last week, going out only when I absolutely had to, barely talking to anyone -- though I did the chat and have handled my email. But still, here in the house.

Tonight I'm up because it was my turn once again to read at the evening RMFW Capitol Hill Critique Group, and I actually went out afterwards to drink at a bar -- had artichoke dip and diet cola.

The reading went well, though, as always I have things to fix -- motivation and backstory -- to drop into this scene, adding some description and details. The scene itself is pretty edgy, maybe too much so if I plan on making this a romance. We'll see.

But the getting out was good. It's very easy for introverted writers to hermit, and that should be in moderation, especially for those who live alone like me. Being around other writers who like my work was very liberating. And most of them hadn't heard some of the stories I usually tell of my writing journey, so I got to tell those, AND I got to whine.

So it was good.
May you find the right mixture of solitude and company today.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pages vs. Books

I was talking to the lovely Gena Showalter last night and listening to her upcoming books (which sound wonderful), and the two great realizations that blinded me the last couple of years were emphasized.

1) I am writing in a niche market with the Celta books. I love them, fans love them, but there aren't enough fans, for, say one of the huge bestselling lists.

2) I am writing many pages -- the Luna books weigh in at 600 ms pages (and I usually cut so they're that long), and the Heart books always run over 500 (and I cut to a ream of paper). That's two big books and nearly four 400 page books.

Of course, I was also working full time until lately, so that's slowed the production.

So I need to streamline my stories, not pull in a lot of characters or subplots. I know readers will notice this, but frankly, I think most would like quantity (more) over complexity.

When I started, I wasn't writing this long. I think every time I've gone to contract I've told myself these books have to be BIG and complex to sell. Which is, of course, not necessarily true. I don't need a lot of subplots going on.

I'm going to try thinking simple, or at least simpLER. Voice is voice. Style is style. If I include interesting characters and a solid plot that should be enough.

Like ALL of the advice I give here, that is easier said than done.
May you not tangle yourself up in intricacies today.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Writing life stuff

All right, evening and I haven't done any work, except thinking and some brainstorming about a fight scene (with my mentor, but I have a friend who is an expert who I'm waiting on -- that's my rationalization).

I do have a chat tonight at Night Owl Romance where I'll be giving away an ARC of Heart Dance...in an hour or so.

Other author stuff: ordered July 2007-June 2008 wallet calendars of Heart Dance for RWA. I also joined the Washington DC chapter of RWA, just for the retreat next spring. ..at Harpers Ferry. Mom and I were at Harpers Ferry and it is a beautiful spot. Retreat sounds wonderful.

A note on contracts. Both my publishing contracts run out in the same year. It just happened this way, and I don't advise it. Stagger it if at all possible.

That's it for today, a little of this and that.
May you be able to focus today.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Real Life Meets

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketOne of the very cool things about being an author is when someone looks you up and you meet in real life.

I had a lovely time with a lady who enjoys my work and is in town. She works for the foundation of my alma mater, Indiana University, and we sat and ate and chatted about all sorts of topics. Apparently it took her a while to research that I was an alum of Indiana U, since I never said anything about it here or on my website.

AND she brought all her books. How flattering!

So I gave her an ARC of Heart Dance and Sorceress of Faith (since Marian is somewhat of an academic).

But, you know, things stick with you. Some of the interior scenes in the Marshalls' castle (the Marshalls' Dining room and council chamber) are based on places at I.U., and some of the lushness of the land, I think. A very beautiful place, Bloomington, IN. I need to go back.

May you be pleasantly surprised with your writing today.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Feel Your Way

I'm working on scenes of the book. Now I am a pantzer, and don't often plot. I consider the scenes I'm writing and what came previously and what should come next and what they need: danger, sex, tenderness, bonding.

Anyway, sometimes I get a feeling when something should be there, even if it isn't in the synopsis, or critique buddies disagree. I usually go with it.

Remember that you are the expert of this story. Write it. If something that felt right at one time doesn't actually work, you can always fix it.

May things fall into place for you today.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hook me.

Every now and then I'll pick up a new book and say, hook me. Many do. I turn the page, then I'm reading and into the story.

Some don't. Now if you're one of the huge bestsellers, you don't always have to hook with that first sentence or line. And I must admit that I've sometimes forgotten that a first line needs to hook and have gone back and fixed it.

I recently picked up a book and read the first couple of pages and put it down again. Granted, I was in my car, waiting out a summer shower, but the premise just didn't grab me. And don't you HATE when someone says your premise doesn't grab them? Or your style, or your writing, or the character you introduced?

Wandering into subjective reading again. When I was a brand new author I was convinced that everyone would like my book if they gave it a try. I don't know where I got this notion, but I really believed it. I didn't actually insist to people's faces (real or virtual) that they would love my book, but I believed it.

But people really do have partialities when it comes to genres and sub-genres. I really won't read anything with a zombie protagonist. I'd have to know up front they weren't disintegrating or dead or grotty -- like before I bought the book. I have trouble with Christian fiction. I rarely like coming of age stories, because usually someone dies in coming of age stories. Those have to be disguised big-time for me to read.

So the hooks in stories I don't usually care for have to be phenomenal for me to keep reading. I'll give leeway to writers in my genre, of course, or authors I sometimes like and sometimes don't, or recommendations from friends.

That's the nature of the hook, to get people to read who are giving you a chance. Sometimes it doesn't have to work hard, sometimes it must be phenomenal.

May you set your hooks just right today.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I need to update for this month, occasionally I miss a month and I did that last month...

Anyway for about a year now I've wanted an "entry" room for my website, something interesting and fun (like Lisa Kleypas' old website but it's gone). This would be a room with a desk with objects and you could click on objects (like a window showing Calli flying on Thunder) and go to the Worlds page, or a cat and go to About Robin, etc. J.K. Rowling has her desk, but this would be a room with a desk. There would be a regular sidebar for navigation, too.

REALLY wanted this. But I didn't find any sort of a good background-type template until recently. Unfortunately the artists are Russian and my Russian is more than rusty (took it all through high school and college). I've sent 2 emails (in English), but have had no reply.

Still, it seems a step closer to getting it.

May you have no distractions in your day today,

Friday, June 01, 2007

Green, Green the Grass is Green

Green is my least favorite color, but I can't resist quizzes.

You Are Grass Green

Down to earth and a bit of a hippie, you are very into nature and the outdoors.
You accept the world and people as they are. You don't try to change things.
You are also very comfortable with yourself, flaws and all.
Optimistic about the future, you feel like life is always getting better.

By the way, we are in that time of year. The week the hills are green and not brown or white. The mountains are no longer completely white. After the winter the rivers are very full, even the lowly Platte. With the winter and spring we had (hail lashed the leaves earlier this week), we may actually have more than two weeks of the hills being green. I like to go up in the mountains at this time and pretend I live in a lusher country than I do.

May you write of your surroundings or write colorfully today.

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