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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Friday, November 30, 2007

Titanic Exhibition -- Book Theme Again

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Yesterday I went to the Titanic Exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature and History (and did a brief scan of the minerals/jewels hall afterwards).

There was a time as a child when I was fascinated with the Titanic, and I still have the hearings on my bookshelf. It was more than just a tragedy, it was an event that changed the belief systems of the western world.

And I'll never forget that my ex-roomie (who is coming with my holiday gift of framed covers of Heart Dance and Keepers of the Flame today and we will be hanging them) took me to the local dinner theater one year for my birthday and it was Titanic. November 2001, after 9-11. Another event that shook the world and changed beliefs. And I'm stopping the segue into politics and the war right now.

Back to the Titanic. I bought some DVDs and watched them (here in the office since Laptop went into the shop yesterday). A new DVD about the latest finds that showed how she might have broken up and sunk -- and why the crew thought they might have had more time.

The Titanic Disaster is one big huge WHAT IF? or IF ONLY? If the first officer had NOT reversed the engines that slowed and compromised the rudder, but flung the ship into a hard turn at full speed ahead, the iceberg would have been missed -- so said one excerpt. But the first officer (Murdoch) had 37 seconds to make that decision, holding the lives of over 2000 people in his hands.

Like I've said before and REALLY truly believe now -- a minor theme that runs throughout my work -- WE ALL MAKE FATAL MISTAKES. SOMETIMES WE ARE CALLED ON THEM AND SOMETIMES WE AREN'T.

May all your decisions be quick and minor today.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beach House

Here's the wonderful, wonderful house. My room was on the second floor left.

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May you know where you are and where you're going today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Need Title Help

I'm beginning to do research on my Older Woman/Younger Man "Heart" book proposal. She will be an explorer, he will be an actor.

I need a working title for the folder.

Any ideas?

Many thanks,

Things that take your breath

Writers use something like "received a jolt to the heart" and the standard "it took her breath away." Occasionally something like that happens.

This morning when I looked out it had snowed last night about an inch. I knew weather was coming in but hadn't expected a white morning. To me it was pretty and I looked at it, and then thought that I didn't have the shovel I wanted yet to clean the stuff up. To someone from warmer climes it might have taken the breath...My window shows a beautiful light tracing of snow on bare branches and twigs. Pretty.

But the following was new to me:

Walking into the house and getting the first glimpse of the ocean literally took my breath away. It was a shock, then came the sound -- of the surf rolling in, fading out. Incredible.


It was evening and I wanted to look around (and we were using the elevator -- a teenie thing -- to move our suitcases up and down. I was asked to do so by a new acquaintance and couldn't figure out why until I realized she must have issues with claustrophobia. I mean, I didn't have to stretch out my arms to touch the walls, I think it was about 4 x 4), so I didn't take a picture immediately.

I don't have photo of the ocean through the entry hall, living room window, but here it is on the deck of the first level. Just below is the pool (I didn't bring my suit :( ) and then the boardwalk (with benches) to the beach. The near white stuff is sand, not snow. The far white stuff is surf, not snow.
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I think that the thing that really took my breath was how BARE the horizon was. Not even the scrub of the northern plains, which can also look endless. Just water. No mountains or buildings...nothing. It WAS a jolt.

May you enjoy the horizon of your life today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunrise at the Beach

Got the photos back, some are excellent, others are grainy and I don't know whether that's because of the camera or the processing (I only got them on disk so I may go back and get some prints). WARNING, I HAVE 20 PHOTOS OF SUNRISE AND SUNSET ON THE BEACH....
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May you enjoy your view today.

Fixing Mistakes

I get another shot at fixing the choreography error in Heart Dance -- where in Heart Quest Saille T'Willow says his creative talent is purfume making, then in Heart Dance he's a potter. Since Heart Dance is coming out as mass market, I get to clean up a couple of noble titles, inches into metric and this.

Since I can't change Heart Quest (and knew of this error, then it slipped my mind in the crush of getting the copy edits done and I didn't fix), I will have to add a sentence to Heart Dance saying that Saille lied to Trif Clover...remembered to be discreet at the last moment and it was his father's talent or something. That's how I intend to handle it. If anyone else has any other ideas, I'm open. ;)

May you make no mistakes that "count" today.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Who Influenced You?

There are no writers in my family, but my Mom tells little vignette stories as we travel or go along or while she is on the phone to me. I think her mother, too, had a writing talent but no ambition to write.

So I think that's where the story-telling gene came from....I know she'll enjoy my stories, I enjoy hers and she shaped my world view, of course.

WHEW! I gave Mom an author copy of Keepers of the Flame with the proviso that there might be glaring errors and she said she reached pg. 157 and saw no errors and was enjoying the book.

This is a relief. The horrible error I saw may be one of those minor things people don't notice, or notice and pass by....

May you enjoy your family today.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Life is Good

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"Life is good," is Zanth's (the alley tomcat gone noble in HeartMate) tag line. Considering he went from living in a crate in the slums to a brand new Residence and getting to terrorize the chef every morning, he was pretty satisfied with his life. Everyone loved Zanth and I think he sold the book, so that's the publishing advice I have for you. Secondary characters CAN sell a book.

Slept VERY late today, but brunch is coming up and I'm walking around like an old woman from the stiffness of all the cleaning. Fourteen for dinner and everyone had a great time. Good conversation, laughter, fellowship. One of our members gave the prayer in Lakota while we held hands. Then we ate.

The turkey turned out well. He got stuck in the oven at 10:45 for a 3pm liftoff. We actually didn't sit down to eat until about 4:15 or so. I think I should have set it for a little earlier.

Good food and good friends. Life is good.

I'm donating a near new cat tree to one of my friends who has new, young cats, just hauled it down from my bedroom to the living room.
Mistral is too old and fat to play on it. She has to take a step up from my nightstand to my bed. And she needs that exercise. It's heavier than I remembered. Or rather, I think I put it together in my bedroom in pieces and it hasn't moved.

Back to work today.
May you have good food and good friends in your life today.


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The laptop is dead. Or rather the hard drive is corrupted and can't be repaired. I figured that out after most of yesterday looking for a boot drive and the software, online and here in the office, which now looks worse than usual and I have people coming at 3. Luckily no one judges each other by the state of their Residence....

And I was the only one who volunteered. So.

I thought hard about it and decided against a new one, though I'd "built" an HP Pavilion dv9500t and a Dell Inspiron 1720. I JUST bought a gorgeous new satin-sided bag for my 15 inch. It has floral decals on the top that I love...so I bought a new hard drive for it on ebay and will pay for someone to put it in. I'm not ready for Vista. It's too new. Like many, I'm waiting for the bugs to get fixed (though I know others may invade).

So, now I'm behind and MUST make the place look decent.
May you have no pressure today.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Old Copy Edits, Page Proofs

I've been cleaning and found some old copy edits/page proofs/galleys of more recent books. I've decided not to save them.

The single print sided ones I'll recycle myself and print on both sides. The double sided ones I'll put in the recycling bin.

I don't anticipate my books to be deathless classics. If I were J.K. Rowling or Nora Roberts it might be one thing, but me being me, I'd just as soon save trees.

May you all be pleased with your decisions today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I am thankful for my family and friends and readers.

Thank you.
May you have a joyful day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Motivations -- Reactions

And we have snow. November is traditionally one of Denver's wettest months along with, I think, February and March. Right now there's just a little more than an inch on my neighbor's roof as I write. The streets are wet but clear, the sidewalks have a little, so I'll go out and shovel in a bit.

I wonder about people today. Who is calling in sick and not wanting to come in for work. Who is cursing the snow as it hampers them from doing last minute Thanksgiving stuff.

At my last workplace, it would be humming with that suppressed air of excitement before a holiday. Most of the people I worked with would already be completely ready for Thanksgiving. Speculation will be going around the office as to WHEN the office will be closed early -- at three? two? NOON? Two was usually the "you can go" time. As a contract worker I usually tried to put in comp time for holidays because of course I didn't get paid (well, my agency had a rule that if you worked for nine months you got paid for Thanksgiving and Christmas if the year was a good one for them).

I miss the office some. I'll miss it today.

In my new job -- here -- if I wanted to get a hum of what people were thinking, reacting, experiencing, I'd go to the local coffee shop. But I have the house to ready for Freehold Thanksgiving on Saturday. An 18 pound turkey is defrosting in my fridge (and I don't know about that, he looks as solid as he was yesterday am -- I may start the cold water thing). I'd like to give the wooden floors a good going over, and, of course, I still have stacks of paper on the dining room table that need to be cleared.

May you have a safe, warm, day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2007 and Publishing demands

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The leaves are all gone, most fell while I was away.

I know I talk about this a lot. How the weather affects your stories, how rituals are important, whatever they are, and holidays.

Yesterday was the last nice day of the year -- I mean in the 70s. We won't see that again until, perhaps, May or June.

Today is cooler.

Tomorrow is snow.

I filled my many bowled fountain in my entry way (it will last for 20 days), and cleaned off my small outdoor table and read scenes of Heart Fate (which I'll be interspersing with housework today). I haven't had my film developed yet, so I'll take 5 disposable cameras in today. One isn't of South Carolina, but of my lost (early this year) cat Diva, the ruler of the household.

Now I think I want some orange juice.

I've had a number of publishing demands lately. Sending pics for the cover of Heart Fate, approval of the back cover copy.

Luna doesn't like Singer For A World as a title, so wanted more titles, punchier titles. I gave them Destroyer of the Dark, that didn't seem to go. My editor likes Echoes of the Dark. **Shrugging**

Naturally, with Luna, the proposal wasn't approved first shot (though I took it to critique and revised it three times and it WORKS). I am actually confused as to what my editor wants, so I've asked and am waiting for clarification. Anyway, I can't mess with changing the last Luna book on Lladrana when I need to concentrate on Heart Fate, so that is now definitely back-burnered for a while (reminds me, should have cleaned the oven yesterday, may take a shot at it today and open the door to 50 degree weather anyway).

I have unpublished friends who have watched those of us who are published struggle, and still think that being published is easier. Yes, the validation is there, that you are a good writer, that someone besides your critique group believes in you, but the frustrations can be enormous. Deadlines. Poor, irregular pay. You sometimes are not writing the book you wanted but what someone else thinks your book should be.

Guess I'm more tired and whiny than I thought this morning...
May you be cheerful and optimistic today.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mining my Articles -- The Photo Shoot

Originally written April 30, 2002, published in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Newsletter

Yes, I finalled in the RITA. This led to a dilemma.. RWA wants a publicity photo (they even sent me little stickers to slap on the back). What photograph do I use? This picture will be projected on a LARGE SCREEN! Oh, ugh.
I think I have one pic left of the four I ordered from Glamour Shots (I did it for an RT ad. I thought I might find GS fun, I took a friend, even. It was agonizing). I didn't like the GS photo. I've been flip about this picture, posted for all to see on my website, I writhe (not in passion). "This photo makes my face fat but my cleavage just right," is my standard disclaimer.

It's been hell living up to this photo. I don't wear makeup. I rarely curl my hair – let alone shoot it with enough spray that the "do" would survive a hurricane. My fine hair usually goes limp within 20 minutes. I had to practice for hours until I appeared like a reasonable facsimile of the Glamour Shot. If I use the GS and I win I'll be walking up right after my photo has been displayed. I'll have to look the part. All that time and effort...I can't imagine getting myself together in such a nervous state...

Of course. I've only liked three photos of all the dozens taken of me in my entire adult life. I remember two that I was smiling naturally in. After consideration I decided to do informal photos. I chose a friend, Rose, who's a good amateur photographer. She's also someone I feel at ease around and can make me laugh.

I cancelled the first shoot. (I need to write – now that I've sold this excuse ALWAYS works). The next shoot was scheduled within just enough time to get the film developed and FedExed to RWA national in Houston. I HAD to go through with it. But I forgot that I had a wedding to attend that evening. Then my Mom called, "Make sure you come to the birthday party for your brother and your niece. Bring baked beans". The shoot was squeezed in before the party and my anxiety level rachetted up.

I bought the film for Rose and drove to her house. "What sort of look are you aiming for? asks Rose. "Professional casual," I say, taking off my jacket. I'm posed against the blooming cherry tree. Rose fiddles with the camera and my fake smile fades. She's ready. "Ah," she says, glancing up, "I see we're aiming for professional and grim."

So we take pics in dappled light and shade, with and without jacket, with and without glasses...we go to my place and take photos indoors with a different blouse against lace curtains. Rose really tries. I really try. I scooped up a cat and relaxed a bit. This was good, but he's not the right cat. I grabbed The Cover Cat. He hissed and wiggled away, several pics are ruined.

Rose and I trouped outside. Rose became desperate. "Ah, another pensive look.....Lean against the tree, pretend to be a dryad. You LOVE the tree....Think impure thoughts about the tree." Heaven knows what expression crossed my face then, but I think I smiled a little. We're on a roll. "Think impure thoughts about the hedge. Think/say chocolate. Think/say guacamole....All right we can be arty...soulful—"

The two rolls were finally gone. I was delighted the ordeal was over and I thanked Rose effusively. I only hoped there was one acceptable pic.

I arrived at the birthday party (with baked beans), and explained why I was a little late. "You look nice, Rob," says my brother (not taking his eyes off the closed-caption tv showing a golf game). "Thanks for my present," says my niece of eighteen. My fifteen-year-old niece looks at me and flips her blonde-streaked brown hair with long purple-ends. "You should try purple." "It wouldn't look nearly as good on me," I say, flinching at the thought of me in purple hair on a LARGE SCREEN.

I dashed home and prepared for the mountain wedding. My hair has lost most of its body and I tuck it behind my ears. I look so much better! Why didn't I try this look earlier? I'm sure all my photos will show me with puffy hair that makes my face look fatter.

Forty five shots were developed.. I didn't really like any of them, but I needed to chose one that would show me in all my glory (?) on a LARGE SCREEN. Actually, the soulful one seemed to be the best of the lot. I look visionary...definitely lost in the thoughts of a Paranormal writer....ok, maybe just on a different plane, as usual... I slapped the identifying stickers on the back and FedExed it with all the other material that's been awaiting the photo to go out to national.

I do have one consoling thought, at least I wasn't professionally tortured, the picture isn't a Glamour Shot.. If I win, the real me will dance up and claim that beautiful statue(s). And I'll look happier, thinner, BETTER than the photo.

May your inner peace be great today.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


"The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business." John Berryman

May you have an easy day.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Last night I had a nosebleed in the night. I checked and there's blood on the pillow. I don't know why.

I woke up and Bittersweet (Myx in Heart Dance) was worse. He seemed ok on Sunday when I returned, but since Monday he'd been throwing up and having problems eating. This morning he wobbled as he walked and wouldn't eat the baby food I'd been giving him.

My regular vet has hurt his hand so I took Bittersweet to another...four hours later it was confirmed that my suspicions that he had Feline Aids (FIV) was true. He had kidney failure. I promised him milk as we put him to sleep with an overdose of anesthesia.

I drove home and Chopin's Nocturne in E flat was playing. Beautiful. When I reached home I went to the wine store and bought some Westerhall rum. Drank some before I went to bed. It let me cry.

I have one cat now. Mistral (Samba of Heart Thief). She's the only one left and she's 16, soon to be 17. Fat, in remission for diabetes. She likes being the only cat.

Peace be with you.

L'Appel de la Lune

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Love the cover, but obviously have screwed up my scanner glass. It seems to work with documents but not pics....urgh. Maybe it's time for a new one...


Thursday, November 15, 2007

REMAINDERED! And Why I'm Not Crying

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThis is a word that makes authors shudder. It means that the publisher is selling their inventory of a book to some of those cheap, cheap places at discount factory stores/malls.

I must admit when I first saw the email my gut clutched. It's the first work of mine that went this way.

BUT, the Remaindered book is the anthology What Dreams May Come and it's the trade paperback size. So the mass market is still out there for a while. I am ok with this.

I am particularly ok with this because I gave away ALL my author copies -- both mass market and trade paperback -- to the conference goers at Colorado Romance Writer's Conference earlier this year. I have precious few left. So I bought some at the deep, deep discount for my own shelves (no, I ain't tellin ya the price).

It did occur to me later that my OWN trade paperbacks may go this way in the future, but to be quite honest, Berkley has been conservative in the print runs, so I'm hoping this won't happen in the future.

Anyway, that's what "Remainder" is.

And, by the way, if you liked that anthology with Sherrilyn Kenyon and Rebecca York and me, I've always felt sad for it's 3 stars on amazon. Just saying. ;)

May no bad news come your way today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I am still on Eastern time, and I woke up not knowing where I was...so here's a little bit I wrote last week.

All right. I firmly believe that a person must laugh at themselves to keep perspective on the world. So that's why I'm telling this story (and because Anna DeStefano is going to tell it too, this week).

Part of the reason that I didn't get much done Monday - Wednesday was that I was drinking this "fruit juice" in bottles. Now, I didn't really look at the ingredients of the fruit juice until Wednesday noon to check if it had High Fructose Corn Syrup which I am not eating anymore.

It didn't.

It had malt liquor.

Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Fruit....(I drank 3 flavors). Of course, being a rum drinker "Captain Morgan" should have tipped me off so I wouldn't tipple...but that didn't happen. And, sure, it's not VERY alcoholic. But, like, anything that can distract me, will.

There's the story. Sometimes I feel very naive.
May you enjoy laughing today.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Books In!

I got the French Sorceress of Faith, coming out THIS MONTH, and Keepers of the Flame. Both were here when I arrived home.

I haven't had the heart to check the 3 1/2 hour review I did on the final page proofs. I DO know I missed a choreography problem. I don't know when, if ever, I will be able to read that book, and I really liked the story and enjoyed the writing of it, though the deadline was such that I'll never take something that short again.

My scanner is acting up a little so I can't scan the French edition. Maybe I'll get it fixed by tomorrow.

May you enjoy the fruits of your work today.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Since I'm working on my schedule and am figuring out what will be optimal for me, I can't stress enough that you should determine a schedule that works for YOU and stick with it.

For those who have a day job, it's somewhat easier -- write before work, or on lunch break, or after work -- around other important priorities.

For me, single with cats, I have to be very disciplined to get things done. And I don't feel I've been disciplined enough.

So, to find a schedule. Blog may happen before I feed the cats and the sun is completely up (like now), or in email breaks, or after all writing is done.

Personal: I got in late (Eastern time) due to plane problem last night, felt stiff from hauling around all my stuff. The house doesn't look too bad considering two angry/abandoned cats were in it.

This morning I woke up at sunrise Eastern time, went back to sleep. Am up now at Denver sunrise time (lovely sunrise by the way, wish I hadn't used all my disposable cameras). Feeding cats, maybe even me, then getting flash drive to work. I DO know that I like natural light for work, mostly to save my eyes.

Read J.D. Robb's new short story and the rest of that anthology, liked how she handled the vampire (which, in general, was how I thought she would, though, also, as usual, she had a good twist for me).

Reading a book by an author people raved about (2nd book, I think) and am not feeling the emotional punch, world is interesting. Also reading Christie Golden's latest Luna book (ebook only, one of the reasons I got a new palm), Under Sea's Shadow, which is excellent of course.

May you be blessed with sunshine today.
Robin (who is not hearing the surf, but street traffic; not seeing the ocean but the curtain over the window light and dark with tree and sun; not greeting Blythe after she does her morning pages and walking onto the deck and down to the beach; but sitting in a dim room in her pjs writing the blog). Schedules can be established in a short amount of time. Stick with the schedule that works for you.

p.s. Weather in Denver was actually warmer last week than at the Isle of Palms. Looks like cold is going to hit this week though.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Leaving New Friends

We are all trickling out. A couple left on Friday, someone yesterday, and the rest are going today. The 2nd Hermit Week begins at 9am, so I need to be out of the room in about an hour and 10 minutes.

My roomie has already left. Cynthia Cooke...on the way back to North Carolina. She moved into a new room on Friday morning, but before that we shared. I think I'm going to be one of the last people to leave at noon, since most folks drove from neighboring states and want to get a good start.

Since I still need to take my morning shower, I'll say good morning to you all, and as a writing/publishing tip:

You don't have to do this alone. Nothing is better than connecting and talking (whining) to other authors...

May you connect today.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Trying to Fix Massive Internet Mistake By Yourself...

First, I think I'm the only one up in the house, and the link is wonky so might go at any time.

Second, I have been surfing the net once more regarding Keepers of the Flame: ISBN-13: 9780373802623. Occasionally I find someplace I can request the webmaster or SOMEONE to try and change the information. Usually the ISBN is correct, but a blurb for Guardian of Honor and that cover shows up -- if the Summary says Twins it is RIGHT, if it says "savvy Denver lawyer Alexa Fitzwalter" it is WRONG.

I feel like a one woman campaign, and it's irritating and frustrating and important to ME, but, of course, lives are not going to be lost if this is not fixed, and if/when fixed, I shall gratefully subside into my standard non-crusading self.

Trying to pinpoint the problem, I've emailed a couple of my local bookstores to see what THEIR sources have for information about Keepers of the Flame...so if those sources are wrong, I can, perhaps, call/contact them and get the original mistake cleared up.

Still, the mistake seems pervasive on the net, and in languages I can't begin to correct. So it goes.

And that's the publishing bit for today -- sometimes it's up to you and only you. Figure out how much time you want to spend fixing stuff like this. And, for an author of my level, it's completely obscure how much sales I have online anyway and whether this mistaken information will affect my sales or not.

So, yours in confusion, and may your course be clear today,

Friday, November 09, 2007

Posts, Research

Yesterday was my 1000th post. Some were more than one day, but if I were Anne Bolyen, I'd be on my way out....

The sun is just up (got it rising but before I located the camera it was yellow instead of orange). I'm the only one down here for the moment.

I haven't gotten as much done as expected and I have several rationalizations for that --- one of which is that the fruit drink I've been drinking is (unknown to me since I didn't check the ingredients for high fructose corn syrup until yesterday noon) alcoholic. Not much, but probably enough to up the distraction level.

Yesterday Gabrielle (Cate Tiernan) and I went to Magnolia Plantation. We didn't make it to Middleton Place. A very interesting setting and helped a little with First Grove. And I have a map, so that should help too.

Looks like the router is dying, so off I go. Would like to really hit the story today.

May you get a lot of your current project completed.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Series Clutter

I have too many characters, and more, I have too many little stories in the Heart series, so when I refer back to something, avid readers (and moi) would remember that, others and new readers might go "huh." So.

I've decided to see if I can cut much/most of the references to other books. I KNOW people like them, but it might be one of those things that some believe my books from being stand alone. You do NOT need to know the entire history of everyone to enjoy the book.

Since I've put a good amount of stuff like this in Heart Fate, that means cutting when I put it together and do a good read through.

I'm sure you all will let me know if this is an idea that works for you.
May new ideas come to you today.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Birthday at the Retreat

High tide was at 6:19 (I am obsessed with the tides and particularly the high tide) and I woke up at 6:23, so instead of making my bed, I flung on my clothes I'd worn last night and ran down to the beach. The sun was rising. I walked until it was above the horizon, orange and framed by streaming clouds. Then I came back in.

I'd passed Wendy/Blythe Gifford while doing her morning pages. She's always the first up who makes coffee (which I don't drink). Then I was here for a little by myself (eating a banana, then a brownie that Anna Destefano made last night) until my roomie came down to reset the server. I worked some on Heart Fate while that was happening, and now Rita Herron is down, too. At the dining room table, I think, but that's on the far side of this huge room in a bay that I can't see. I opened the door to hear the surf, but it's a little too cold. Supposed to be colder for the rest of the week. Still brightly sunny now, though, directly in my eyes.

Anyway sometime this week Gabrielle and I are going to visit a couple of plantations down the way so I can get an idea of garden design. I was figuring out where to put the summer pavilion (mentioned in Heart Thief) in FirstGrove last night. I don't seem to have my map of the garden on my laptop (though I do have the software) or my many flash drives that I brought, so I pulled it off here, which will be good enough for now.

An improv Boo-Yay moment yesterday. I "sponsored" two shirts with book covers for the retreat before this. I was told that Protector of the Flight was snatched right up (yay), but found that no one chose Heart Dance (boo), but that meant that since the shirts were fair game, I got it (yay). It's a pale pink and the colors are more vivid because I got the art on the disk and the covers with the metallic added are a little dimmer. I'm wearing it now (though I also ordered a Protector of the Flight for myself in white and, of course, spilled dark mushroom sauce on the front the other night at dinner).

Feeling a little cold, though the sun has gone behind a pillar and is no longer directly in my eyes, so I'm going to get some tea and back to FirstGrove.

May your heart dance.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

At Retreat

So it's 1pm. Today is cooler and the ocean is rougher, the sky isn't as blue. I moved around yesterday, trying to find a spot. Working on the decks outside -- my bedroom or outside -- is impossible due to the glare factor. I can't see the screen. I actually lost about three paragraphs while messing around trying to get the computer in a good spot. So no more outside.

My roomie is working mostly in the room, but I like the openness of the living dining, sitting area (have taken many photos), and like hearing the surf so I am downstairs. I'm going to go out and walk soon. I"m not sure when high tide is, but we have a wonderful clock in the pantry that shows it. The walk to the beach from the bottom of the stairs is 80 steps for me. The walk out to the sea at high tide is 37.

As for writing, I got one transition scene done only yesterday. Finished knitting together Chapter 10. Now I'm working on 11 and went to the grocery today and other stuff, but am doing better. I bought 3 disposable cameras. The camera I wanted was not locally available.

One of the days I'm here a couple of us will be going to two plantations, tomorrow or Thursday, I think. I've been eating well, mostly leftovers. Anyway that's it from the beach, I can't think that I could NOT do this next year.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Well, I'm here and it's gorgeous. Only two folks are up -- wait,one just walked in the door from the beach. No one is speaking because someone is working a few feet beyond me in a sitting area near the kitchen bar. I am typing on the bar, watching the surf roll in, the sun is blinding on the sea. I think I'll go walk for a little (my crocs are too big so not walking long)and I want to get to work.

May you not envy me too much.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thyme / Time

Reread Heart Dance today. I like the book. I think I put enough motivation in with everyone. I DID wince at some mistakes that I was sure I caught in the copy edits.

I reset my time on this computer, but not on the new palm, and I have to set my office clock (battery). Kitchen is done and so is bedroom, but not the dining room... probably have to mess with the cell, too..

Suitcase and laptop are packed -- too much as usual, purse still needs to be done.

I'm tired and Bittersweet had an Incident, so I need to take a bath.

May you enjoy your day, wherever and whenever it takes you.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I'll probably log on early am (12-5:00 tomorrow morning), but not sure when you'll hear from me after that. The retreat house is supposed to have WiFi, and I took my laptop in to reset from operator error (and Geek Squad did it, but it took about 20 minutes) and I haven't tested it since.

I haven't been writing. I've been doing some hard cleaning, yard and kitchen, and dealing with the skinny feral tom cat I brought in. I am pretty sure he is Not Quite Right, his skull has three ridges like it's mended badly, and I'm trying to figure out how we can live together. Right now my bedroom is off limits, but it won't be when I leave, because it's Mistral's (though she might defend it), then it will be off limits again when I come back. We'll have to adjust.

So I've been taking a break, or just plain scared. Or THINKING. Or maybe recovering. Or the year anniversary without a day job has been shaking. Or I'm lazy. Not sure.

I have spent hours trying to get the #$#$$* new PDA to work in some manner. I DID get some books downloaded and mobipocket, but the palm hasn't done a good sinc since. Urgh. Probably overloaded it. Or it could be mobipocket. Maybe after I read the last 2 of the 4 books I bought I'll take it off both. Yes, I've been reading.

Anyway, I DID work on the office some, and ran across the printout of my first book, The Token (which will never be published). It's in a 3 ringed notebook, and has LOVELY comments from my critique group carefully transferred by hand to the pages. Somewhere I have the first draft of it, all done without critique and full of beginner's mistakes and spiral bound. I was thinking of throuwing this final out -- I literally have NO shelf space left in the office, but now I'm not so sure. I think I would miss it if I threw it out (even though I have it electronically in a couple of forms). So it will stay.

May you be pleased with your work today.
[First up on the music this am was Sequoia's Season of Renewal, really. currently Lisa Gerrard/Patric Cassidy Psallit in Aure Dei]

Friday, November 02, 2007

Technology and Orphans

I've spent most of the night and a lot of money on software for my new Palm TX to make it function even half as easily as my Cassiopeia E125. Not working. No way to set an appointment for the first Thursday of the month, or the 3rd Saturday. Takes 3 screens to tell the calendar that a vacation will run from 6 am on Thursday to 9 am on Saturday. Not to mention no dictaphone.

Pretty disgusted with technology. I chose the TX because of the reviews, but I'd still be with the Cassiopeia if they supported it. Nope. All programs older and new programs (like the new .lit) won't run on the older programs. I have a .lit converter for my old .lit books into the ereader...urgh.

Not happy, and it isn't JUST the change. My old PDA could do wonderful stuff compared to this one...but Casio got gobbled up by HP and now the Cassiopeia is not supported. Grrrr. Much gnashing of teeth.

Anyway, I'm beat, and I only have 2 full days left before the retreat to get things organized.

May all your technology work smoothly today.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Autumn and Work

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Song on random music selection: Never Let Go, by Omar. I think the album is Mystic Visions, and it is sweetly melancholy. It's the first song that came up when I hit my 5G or whatever of music to play. It's a new download from emusic so is not familiar. It's still dark here, though I know people are up and getting ready for work.

The first thing I did this morning was email some old friends at the day job. We have not kept in touch. But in the corporation I worked at, the floors of the law dept. would have a great decorating competition for Halloween, and a great feast. I don't know if they went all out this year like they did last year, but WALLS were covered.

It's been a year since the day job ended. I have only finished two books, one large, one massive and should finish another by the end of the month. It still doesn't feel enough. I can't say that I've gotten a good home/work schedule set up yet. It would be better if I got up and wrote every morning before I did anything else (except feed the cats, of course). I DO miss the company, though I was an introvert in the extreme there.

I was cleaning my office last night (which invariably looks like a bomb went off in it), and ran across a few rejection letters. Two by publishers for HeartMate, one a small press and one the only publisher who was issuing books like mine at the time. It hurt badly when I received it. I stopped writing for a while. Then I put HeartMate away and decided to make Heart Thief a fantasy instead of a romance....stop me when you know you've heard this story.

[Music, another beautiful but melancholy piece -- Phil Coulter's Toward the Mist]
Now, I don't like the word "smirk." The connotation can be ambiguous to some. To me, it's always negative, so I rarely use it with hero/heroine (Cats excepted), that's my publishing advice for the day. But I think when I saw the rejection letters I smirked. Have I told you of the meeting with the editor who rejected me? When I was up for the double RITAs?

The agent rejection I just shook my head at. Betrothal and Blackmail didn't elicit the great enthusiasm she needed to really market a work from an unpublished author (I think the first part of that paraphrase is correct). This got a shrug. I am VERY happy with my agent, and this one might still not know my name, and if she does, I'm sure she doesn't recall that she rejected me, or care.

[Music, atonal, irritating piece by Alex de Grassi called Endless Pain]
And I found the pen, logo wearing off, from the first National RWA conference I ever attended, eleven years ago. Naturally, I thought [NOT TO MYSELF, DON'T ***USE*** THOSE WORDS, USUALLY PEOPLE ONLY THINK TO THEMSELVES] "what would I have said if someone told me I'd be published in 2007?" and the answer was a little depressing

[Music, Deuter's Silent Wave, what is it with quiet melancholy this morning? Maybe I need to add more flamenco to my collection. Where is David Arkenstone and upbeat when you need him?]

I'd have thought "What took me so long?"

I can see the sky becoming light over the roof of the house next door, tree branches stark against light gray. Neither of my neighbors have turned on the dining room light, though C. has probably already left for the day. I think I might make breakfast and I think it might be ham and an egg and an English muffin this morning, I need to consume the slice of ham before I leave, and that melancholy music is just ending. [Another minor key, repetitious piece, Harold Budd's Pearl]. Nice to know I can Let Go and walk away.

May you be content with your day.

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