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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Thursday, May 31, 2007

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La prophétie de Lladrana

de Robin D. OWENS

Luna n° 26

01 mai 2007

Prix : 6,90 € / Sfr. 12,00

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Attirée par un chant mystérieux, Alexa, jeune avocate du Colorado, se retrouve du jour au lendemain dans le monde de Lladrana, un univers dominé par la magie et peuplé d’êtres étranges. Soutenue par Sinafin, une créature féérique qui la guide et la conseille, et secondée par le chevalier Bastien, elle accepte de combattre pour défendre ce monde qu’une prophétie la destine à sauver. Mais il lui faudra un jour choisir entre le Colorado, où personne ne l’attend, et le pays de Lladrana, où elle sera toujours une étrangère…

A propos de l’auteur
De nombreuses fois primée pour ses romans fantastiques et futuristes, Robin D. Owens signe, avec La prophétie de Lladrana, son premier ouvrage pour la collection Luna, un roman initiatique empreint de poésie.


I'm going to have to get this...or should be getting a few copies (3) so I can see what they did with my Fractured French...

May validation and pleasure come from an unexpected source today.


Sometimes I do surf the web too much, particularly for photos. But I had a setting in mind and couldn't visualize it clearly. So off I went. I also forgot the differences between corbels, bosses, keystones and capstones (Sevair Masif, a hero of Keepers of the Flame is a stonemason).

Anyway, I saw this a few years ago. You recall that my Mom likes cathedrals? I think I might have pics, too, but not nearly as good.

AND, I needed a BATH room in the bottom of a tower and I thought, ok, how cool would THIS be! Especially after Sevair added a few little flourishes.

Sure, sometimes it's better not to spend the time and just make up things. But if you're going to do some detailed description and you have something in mind, it's good to have it in front of you.

And since I'm talking visuals, the Exotiques have symbols of themselves that appear as tatts on the inner arms of the others. Alexa a jade baton, of course, Marian a lightning bolt... My heroines of Keepers needed symbols. I wanted a caduceus for Beth, but didn't think of anything for Bri until last night/this morning. So I've contacted someone who might have knowledge of what I want...

These are my rationalizations and I'm sticking to them.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Disruption -- Just Do It

All right. My life is in a state of total disruption right now, and I've been feeling pretty pitiful and sorry for myself. Sunday was a good revision and writing day (after Saturday critique), Monday was also good, but Tuesday....

I moped. I whined. I bored myself and others. I worried about all the disruption to my schedule. And money.

I couldn't get organized to find where I wanted to work in the book. Hadn't I written that scene?

Finally, I told myself to just sit down and write. A few words. A page. A little scene.

And some of the answers as how to shape this part of the book came as I was writing. Imagine that.

So I want to remind you, that no matter how late, no matter how pissy you feel, if you sit down and write, odds are something will come that will surprise you if you let it.

Reminding myself, too.

May your writing go smoothly today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Motivational Quote Today

Others can stop you temporarily; only you can do it permanently. -- Page Sullivan

Never quit.
Love, Robin

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cultural Values

I need to make a note of this for my seminar with Linnea at RWA Dallas this year. But other cultures will have other values.

For instance, in both Lladrana and Celta there is no shame in nudity, so the people are less self-conscious nude. The Lladranans have public baths and I've used the contrast of Alexa and Marian bathing to good effect. Also, a critiquer for Heart Thief wanted my heroine to be embarrassed when she was caught naked in a pool, but that isn't Celtan culture. She might feel vulnerable, she might feel sexually aware, but she wouldn't be ashamed of her nudity or her body. No discrimination against heavy people in Celta or Lladrana either, or gays. These are my worlds and those are my rules.

There IS discrimination -- not race in Celta since most are white, but I don't think that there would be discrimination since everyone on the planet is descended from the colonists and recognizes that. Furthermore, the human population on Celta is still struggling to prosper on the planet.

Celta's discrimination runs to class and this came up in Heart Dance again. There might be that hoary old theory of "bad blood." This will be a key point if I ever get to write Antenn's story -- the adopted son of Straif and Mitchella Blackthorn, who I plan on having do something that will be quite unpopular, too. Antenn's brother was a murderer.

Also, I think there is a slight religious discrimination. That is the value most people hold in common as important, so if you aren't pagan you aren't quite in the run of society, but, again, your ancestors made the trek, so if your beliefs came with them, they are generally respected.

Lladranans ARE racially discriminatory. I haven't made this a huge issue in the books, but it's obviously there. It isn't a big concern for my women from Earth because they are seen as fascinating and fabulous and exceptions to the rule that foreigners aren't to be trusted. After the war is done (no one believes they aren't going to win the fight, right?) I anticipate the borders to open again, though there aren't any people in the north, and to the east is an escarpment. However, trade will flourish and I see my women helping to prevent racial discrimination. I have tried to give them different names. Fitzwalter is Irish, Harasta is Hungarian (I have a Bohemian ancestor), Torcher is German, Drystan is Anglo-Saxon, but because I wanted a particular meaning for the twins' last name.

Lladranans are fighting a war against the Dark for survival. So another discrimination is added. Those who don't fight, don't believe in the "cause" (good vs. evil), or are betrayers, are regarded by those who do with contempt and/or loathing.

And, again, in Lladrana homosexuality is completely accepted.

May you make your world unique today, or bring a different slant on our own world.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Determination is more important than Talent

I believe this.

I know people with LOADS of talent who haven't stuck out the time before publication. Or those who've developed their technique and are polished writers and give up. Or both.

You must continue to be determined to have a writing career.

May your faith never waiver today.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Don't count your chickens

I wrote a proposal that had a cavern figure prominently in it. Then I wrote Calli's Story in the Summoning series that had her falling into Lladrana through a cave wall. Then I thought to myself (ok, I said to my friends) "I can't have Calli in a cave, not with other cave books coming out!" So I changed the opening to the hillside, which needed some research on the largest crystals, what they were and where they could be found -- say a day's worth of work. The rewrite took longer still.

So, have you heard of any books coming out with a cave from me? -- That answer is no. The cave books were submitted to two places with turn-downs and we pulled it until I could revise. I've done part of the revision, but my critique group has seen it so often they can't give me good input. I have a list of "fresh eyes" from some time ago if I ever go back to the project (and the longer I've been away from it, the better I like it again).

Moral of the blog. Don't change one book in the hand (I think Calli was sold), in case others sell. You can always put your best out to sell, but that doesn't mean it will.

I DO think the new opening is better, and it certainly shaped the rest of the story, don't know exactly where it would have gone with the cave instead of the crystal, but on the other hand it cost me time.

May you have all the time you want today to shape your worlds and words as you wish.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

No Post Friday

I have had a very bad day. A domestic crises $4500 day (paid in advance for work tomorrow).

Yes, I love the old house. Yes old houses cost a lot of money.

Friday I will be supervising plumbing, and later eating myself silly on ice cream or taking to my bed and pulling the cover over my head or somehow trying to get over the Bad Days.

No word count today, hope to try and cope tomorrow. All/any plans shambles.

**whine** oh, poor ME.

Being single means I can't hide my head in the sand and must deal with STUFF when it comes up. Of course it means no arguments about domestic crises, I guess.

It's not too early to go to bed, so I will.

May you have a WONDERFUL day.

Scenes You Hate To Get Rid of But Must

About to go to bed. What I really like about some DVDs is the extra stuff, the director's take, character/story development. I've been watching the 2nd Disk of the Incredibles and listening to the Writer/Director Brad Bird talk about those scenes that he loved but didn't really fit in the film -- or the story.

This happens. Something that you absolutely adore, a scene you think needs to be there to make a particular point, a scene that ALL your critique group loves...but it is essentially extraneous or everything works better without it or takes up too much space that more important scenes need. Or the set up is too long and the payoff too small for the story.

I've had these. Particularly with regard to Heart Thief, which I think I told you I was writing before HeartMate sold, and changed from a romance to a sf/f story. Added lots of sf/f stuff. Then I sold HeartMate and Heart Thief had to be massively revised to become a romance, removed most the sf/f stuff. Some of these cut scenes can be read on my Worlds page under Heart Thief, because though I had to let them go, it soothed me to put them up there.

I'm sure some scenes from Keepers will be cut and go up on the Worlds page, but until I get to the end of the book, I don't know which ones -- though I have a lurking idea about one.

In Protector, there was a little bit about Calli and Marrec's squires, meeting them, hiring them, etc. that got cut due to space. Scenes

Well, as I said, it's been a long day and I worked on 3 chapters and am about 90 words short of my goal, but I can live with that. So I hope I made sense above.

Moral of the blog, no matter how much you love a scene, if it doesn't add to the story, take it out. Put it on your website, keep it in your files.

May you know where you're going today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dedication and Acknowledgments

Keepers of the Flame Dedication and Acknowledgments are due next week (with other front matter -- I'm going back and forth with the art department on the maps, apparently the paper doesn't accept very well the kind of maps I do).

I'm not sure who to dedicate the book to. To readers and writers, maybe, or my fellow Luna authors, or what. Not to mention having no sort of lovely dedication.

As for acknowledgments -- no one except me has seen the book so far, though I've spoken to my mentor and critique buddies about it. OTOH, I've mined information from my massage therapist/homeopathic healer friends for years. And the web. I acknowledge the web for the sheer amount of information out there.

So I need to put my thinking cap on. Sewing pages together and need to get a good hook for the present chapter and onto the next. I think I told you that when I do this, word count is minimum, so I have a smidgeon under three pages right now. I'm thinking my 5 pages a day, with plans of binge writing/revising near the end, is still ok.

Heh, heh, heh. I write out of sequence, you know, and wrote the ending a couple of days ago. Actually, a little later than I usually do.

May you write whatever scenes you want to today.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Full Time Writer III

I wish I could get this full time writer thing going right. I don't know how other people manage it, but what works for me one day doesn't work the next. And if something blows my schedule somehow, I find it difficult to sit down and write.

The days are beginning to meld together, and I don't like that, and they all go too fast.

Do these things bother anyone except me?

I DO get up, feed the cats, and sit down to write or revise. Today I am doing the dreaded sewing together of chapters and that prompted a scene that brought me my wordcount and I'm quite pleased. I did take time out for a very quick bite after I finished one chapter and began on the next (which had my hero, Sevair, arriving on the scene three different ways in three different bits -- ok, this is not efficient, but I guess I accept this is how I write).

I've been toying with going different places on different days -- coffee houses or libraries, that would give me structure. However lately Common Grounds has been too darn loud. But the office is on the second floor and Massive Desktop puts out a lot of heat and during the summer this room can become unbearable. I have a window unit air conditioner in the "guest" room, but it's heavy, and the only outlet it could be moved to is the one that is dedicated to my computer and I'm not sure I want THAT.

So, enough of the rambling. I guess the topic of this blog is about a writing schedule, and the advice that I usually give of establishing one is now in a shambles.

Well, it looks like it's going to rain and I washed my comforter today and hung it over my fence to dry, better get it in. Then I'll do the email thing and hope no one needed my input immediately.

May your day go smoothly.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Critique, ARC, Copy Edits Available

I am offering a critique of a proposal, an autographed ARC of Heart Dance, and the copy edits for Heart Quest (see how Robin writes and is corrected, or revises) for the annual Diabetes auction put on by Brenda Novak.

Critique: This will be a line edit if you want, and as tough as you want...
Item: 815256

ARC of Heart Dance. I'll print this out landscape, both sides of the page, and depending upon time (and winner's wishes) may or may not bind, will personalize with one of my blessings...hmmm, haven't thought of one -- something like "Enjoy life and Dance," or something.
Item: 818902: 818902

Copy Edits of Heart Quest. Ok, these ARE huge, single sided manuscript pages. And since it's Berkley, I don't know that I had more than 4 pages of edits all total, including, I think, 3 pages that I added, some paragraph and line changes. But you can see the raw product or see how Berkley likes (or my editor Cindy Hwang) likes things done.
Item: 818717, 818717

This is for a very good cause. May you take a step forward in your own writing today.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hiding Things from the Reader -- Fairness

I've been reading a mixture of things. One day I read J.D. Robb's Memory in Death (set in the 2050's) where Eve Dallas, cop, seals up before going onto a crime scene. The next I'm back in the 1920's with Dorothy L. Sayers where amateur (fascinating) sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey strolls onto a crime scene and picks up a dead artist's pallet (ruining fingerprints that could be vital) and rummages through his bag -- Five Red Herrings. Culture Shock. Granted, Lord Peter does realize the death is murder and the police don't, so he starts the investigation.

Dallas states in Memory near the end of the book (3/4 turning point I think is where my mentor says murderers can be revealed), that she had a gut feeling who the murderer was all along. But Robb didn't tell the reader. This isn't the first time Dallas has made this statement late in the book. I'm pretty ok with it, but it does niggle at me a little.

But I will continue to read these books despite knowing this may come up again because I love the characters and sometimes the stories can blow me away. I could go on and on about Divided in Death and Survivor in Death, particularly the latter and how the fate of the young girl mirror's Eve's while the contrast in their home lives is nothing alike.

In Five Red Herrings -- granted another age and completely different style, Sayers in authorial POV reports that Lord Peter deduced something and told the police, and the savvy reader would know what he told them (paraphrase). Since I've read the book several times before and something tickles in my memory, I think the clue is that the artist didn't have any white paint. I will continue to return to these books too, because like most women I fell in love with Lord Peter at a young age.

Now, The Lake House. I finally saw it a few nights ago. I enjoyed the mailbox and the dog that crossed time and was willing to suspend my disbelief for those (and the house was fabulous) I liked the glimpses of each other. I didn't see the ending coming until the very end because it violated the rules of magic (ok and it was 1:30 am) that had been set up. That they were living the same day two years apart. I loved the characters and the premise, but the UNFAIRNESS of this -- having something happen BEFORE it should actually have happened -- stopped me from buying this film. I'll think about it, but don't know that I'll ever watch it again. This was too big for me to overlook and ruined the film.

The best job of "hiding something from the reader" I've ever seen was Kay Hooper's Amanda. Love that story. And you know that the author/Amanda is hiding something from you, which is a little distancing, but the story pulled me along. The romance and characters pulled me along. I reread this often (I have the hardback and paperback), and now I see how she did it, but don't know if I would ever be able to do it as smoothly myself.

May you know all your story's secrets today.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Line Edits Definition

Last weekend Linnea Sinclair needed fresh eyes for her manuscript (due beginning of work day Monday), AND needed to cut 50 pages. I said I'd help, of course. And it's a WONDERFUL BOOK, DOWNHOME ZOMBIE BLUES.

Regular edits/revisions can be just a read through and comments on big stuff like character motivation, plot development. Line edits are the word choice, repetition, word by word, line my line. Anyway line edits are time consuming.

In the whole book, I only found a couple of full paragraphs to cut because it's so tight. Linnea herself took care of the widows and orphans (I did a blog on that so you can check it previously) -- the one word and one sentence lines at the end of a paragraph/page.

Critique groups usually do a line edit of your material unless you say otherwise or want to know something specific -- does the choreography make sense, etc.

So that's line edits.

May you write tight today.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Hard Work

My mind is a mish mash of what to talk of -- how I love writers who make me laugh out loud, the fast line edit of Linnea Sinclair's book, Downhome Zombie Blues and lack of sleep lately, the revising of maps and writing a Cast of Characters for the front matter of Keepers of the Flame. It took me 2 hours this morning just to check the maps, write the email and get them sent, and do the Cast of Characters.

The new household tyrant, the scruffy ex-alley tomcat I call Bittersweet tried to get me up as soon as the sun came in the window at 6:15, and was insistent at 7:30. I still wasn't ready, since I woke from deep REM sleep and dreaming about booksignings. I'd stayed up reading the latest Amanda Quick, which wasn't an Arcane Society book, and I like those best.

Last night I went to general critique at Capitol Hill which is a mixture of genres and writing levels. I took my Urban Fantasy a few weeks ago and will revise pursuant to remarks.

Though I let everyone I know I have a blog, I don't think many of my fellow local writers read this. Nevertheless I am NOT going to say anything about those writers unless it is glowing, know that. Anyway I listened to a couple and just thought how new the writers were -- not that their craft wasn't good, but that they were at the beginning of their learning curve, mostly in marketablility, and understanding that is hard work.

I think I recall when I was new and people talked about what would work in selling the book the best and I didn't want to hear the comments since it didn't really relate to my writing. I thought, of course, I'd be the exception to the rule. No.

Now I'm making comments more focused for the sale of the story, as well as general writing tips -- make sure what's in your head makes it to the page, a reader needs to become emotionally invested in a character, decide how much time you want to give to a secondary character and scene, blah-blah-blah. I asked my mentor if my comments were too commercial and she said that they were good overall writing things.

Of course I haven't started writing myself today, and it's going to be one of those, piece-together-days where I may revise whole chapters and get them into my chronological file, but may not make my wordcount. Still, progress is progress.

Writing is hard work, give yourself applause today.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Journaling - Freewriting

I'm a firm believer in this. Sit down with pen or pencil and paper and write 3 sheets. Never letting your pen stop...this may be whining, a description of what's around you, or something over and over again.

Like Julia Cameron says in the Artist's Way, it usually takes at least 1 1/2 sheets before what's really bothering you comes out.

Oh, and yes, I HAVE "facilitated" freewriting before and will do so at RWA National Convention. I think I have 3 writing exercises.

May you put your true voice on the page today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Just a reminder that YOU and your stories (and/or creativity) are UNIQUE. That there are projects/stories only you can tell.

Also, that if we were all given the same project, we would all tell it differently.

Cherish your individuality today.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Plotter, Pantzer, Leap Frogger

Pretty much everyone knows what a Plotter is -- someone who plots the story before s/he writes it, and a Pantzer is one who writes by the seat of the pants (and sometimes out of sequence). I recently heard Leap Frogger. Plot 3 chapters, write the next 3 by the seat of the pants, plot the next...

It's an interesting idea, but I think I'll stick with my pantzing.

May you be proud of your work today.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Conference 3

Good conference, EXCELLENT, motivational speakers, which is very important to me. I attended a couple of interesting seminars and, as always, learned something new.

Presentation went fine -- otherwise my day was disastrous. I think it was nerves and the fact that I raided my seminar bag (everything ready for a seminar, this includes book stands for most of my books, and books, but since the seminar was only a half hour I didn't think putting many books up was appropriate) instead of just taking the whole thing.

First I misplaced my notes (left them in the car). Then I misplaced my purse (left it in a seminar when I had to go out for a short meeting, then disrupted the seminar when I called my phone to try and find my purse). Then I left my badge on the table during lunch -- since it has my 3 RITA pins and 4 PRISM pins and my Beacon pin and service pin this is a big deal.

I like to give out goodies for my seminars, especially those on motivation, Self-Care Cards by Cheryl Richardson and one of my fav artists -- Jean Paul Avisse. Left them in my seminar bag at home. Went home and got them.

Unprepared to drive others to a restaurant downtown, I hadn't paid much attention to where I reparked my car and we wandered around the parking garage. Then I had to clean out book boxes, books, portfolios etc. from the back of my car so people could ride.

Yes, such wonderful famous, inspiring author things to do. I'm hoping that my stars were misaligned, but worried slightly about Alzheimers (my father died of early Alzheimers). But I've heard that if I remembered that I'd misplaced stuff, it was not Alzheimers. Whew, I think.

Felt like an idiot most of the day, but the seminar went well. It was the last seminar of the day.

I do wish I'd finished with "Go forth and write good stuff," but I was so relieved I just read the thanks I already had written on my last card.

So, go forth and write good stuff today.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Romancing the Rockies 2

I should be writing because I'm due across town in 1.25 hours at the latest, but it's a sure thing I won't get my wordcount done in that amount of time, soooo

Had more great time with Linnea and Sharon Mignerey my LONGEST critique buddy (made the mistake of calling her my oldest yesterday and have been teased mercilessly about my lack of inches from the same).

Excellent talk from Susan Grimshaw of Borders and will soon be taking all my 1st chapters of excerpts down from my website and putting chapters from later in the books up so people don't look at the book and think they've read it. I knew this but I've been lazy...

WONDERFUL book signing, I sold out of Guardian and Heart Quest and nearly of HeartMate, the whole damn spread was there and looked impressive, but was a little embarrassing. I gave away all of my stash of What Dreams May Come as books in the goodie bags. Dinner was ok, Susan Wiggs' presentation was marvelous and inspiring I re-introduced myself to Margaret Marbury (sp?) of Harlequin who knew who I was, but naturally didn't recall that she'd dashed my hopes once upon a time when I'd pitched Betrothal and Blackmail to her, or perhaps it was Shades of Gray (which I always think of as Sapphires and Emeralds).

Everyone liked the draft cover for Keepers of the Flame and I wrote in the bubbles on the front yesterday (when I CAN post, I will).

Today will be another long day, my presentation from 4-4:30 of something that usually takes at least 50 minutes and sometimes much longer if I include exercises and discussion.

HOW TO HANG IN THERE UNTIL YOU'RE PUBLISHED: PRACTICAL TECHNIQUES: Set Goals, Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate the Positive (flipping through my 22 note cards here, will definitely cut the stories), Explore Your Options, Bottom Line Questions.

I hope you have a very creatively fulfilling day, whatever you do. Bath is ready!

Friday, May 11, 2007

In Person Networking -- Romancing the Rockies

Just finished talking with my friend Linnea Sinclair who is here for the Romancing the Rockies conference. Excellent discussion of everything from childhoods to real estate to, of course, publishing.

On line is GREAT, and very good for introverts like me, but nothing can really beat personal one-on-ones with other writers. Very supportive.

Anyway a couple of things. I will be going to Archon this year (Linnea convinced me), and for the conference today, if any of you are local, please note there is a public booksigning this evening and you can see the link above.

I'll be there, all dressed up and prepared to be witty and charming, and will have the art layout for Keepers of the Flame, not the final cover, but close, they think.

I'll also be floating around to various seminars and participating. As well as giving one of the last seminars of the day on Saturday. Wallet calendars will be available, so drop on by.

May you get all the support you need today.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Motivational Quote 2

If you do the best you can, you will find, nine times out of ten, that you have done as well as or better than anyone else. - William Feather

Remember that you are unique, your voice and your stories can't be told by anyone else.

Book Tour & Elaine Home From Hospital

Elaine Viets

The young couple looked like inept burglars sneaking through the lobby of Sybil’s Full Moon Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. They were both dressed in black, which made them stand out against the white marble. At their wedding two days ago, they’d been slim, golden and graceful, trailing ribbons and rose petals through the hotel.

Now they moved with the awkward stiffness of amateur actors trying to look natural. The bride’s black crop top exposed a midsection sliding from sexy to sloppy fat. The groom’s black T-shirt and Bermudas failed the test for cool. They were boxy rather than baggy. He looked like a Grand Rapids priest on vacation.

The honeymooners avoided the brown plastic grocery bag swinging between them, carefully ignoring it as it bumped and scraped their legs. That screamed, “Look at me.” They stashed the bag behind a potted palm while they waited for the elevator.

“Red alert,” Sondra at the front desk said into her walkie-talkie. She was calling Denise, the head housekeeper. “The honeymoon couple just passed with a suspicious grocery bag. They’re getting out on the third floor.”


This is an unusual book tour as it isn't paranormal mystery, but very intriguing, right!

May you enjoy your writing today (I did).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Self-Motivation, Every little bit counts

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI'm still weaving together scenes that I've already written. Yesterday's morning's wordcount was 1168 in a smoothly flowing transition scene, then I had some errands to run that took me most of the day, fell asleep to the rain while reading Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers (Mom borrowed my complete set years ago and finally gave them back to me).

I awoke late but determined to make the word count, and while revising the next scene and breaking scenes into chapters I did.

And I counted every minor word that I added:

the right spot
but more east
he'd staggered against
The home surgery at the house they'd given her and Elizabeth had crystals but they weren't as old and saturated as whatever stored Power in this place.
testing the interior space
roughly rectangular cul de sac

And then a switch in pov and a 3 paragraph lead in to the sex scene, which I'll cobble together today from some bits I've already written.

May self-discipline come easy for you today.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Word Count and Upcoming, Motivational Quote

Well, I finished Sunday's wordcount at 12:04, technically Monday. I puttered around most of the day, having run into a couple of snags in my transitions yesterday -- delete words and scenes or add? Since I'm already running long, I deleted some. It took quite a while to figure out what I wanted to do, how to lead up to a couple of pivotal scenes.

I also got the art layout for Keepers of the Flame -- all reds and corals and pinks and it took my breath away. Can't post it yet, because it isn't done -- I suggested purple streaks in Bri's hair, but whether they will do that, I don't know.

I REALLY wanted a scene with the twins together and archways behind them leading in different directions (I have a mock up that I sent, but it DOES use someone else's work, so I don't know that I will ever post -- the female face I used for the twins, the arches was a photo I took myself in Canterbury). But this different directions was not to be, a short deadline for the artist too, so it looks like the twins are in nearly the same place as Alexa in Guardian. Don't know that I will be able to include the image on the cover in my book, but now that I know what it will look like I'll let my subconsious mull it over.

Upcoming -- Romancing the Writers Conference this Friday and Saturday, I'm giving a short seminar and my good buddy, Linnea Sinclair, is coming in from Florida for it. Need to dig up my notes -- THERE WILL BE A PUBLIC BOOK SIGNING ON FRIDAY NIGHT, THE PLACE IS THE RENAISSANCE INN NEAR OLD STAPLETON. More later.

I also donated a couple of things to Brenda Novak's Diabetes auction -- a proposal critique (now at $77) and something we're working on -- an ARC of Heart Dance and the copy edits of Heart Quest that I just got back from Berkley, so people can see how I write and my lack of punctuation.... Currently that stands at $6.00 and the description needs to be revised.

I also need to finish the update on my website, people have been good lately in emails complementing my work which helps A LOT, and I need to get back to them...

Tired and wanting to go to bed.

Here's a motivational quote that I got off one of those quotes/affirmation calendars that I collect (from a few years ago Sat/Sun July 6-7). We can't stop the waves, but we can learn to surf. -- Jonathan Kabat-Zinn

May you really get a lovely large wave and fun ride today.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I haven't ever had a major revision (**KNOCK ON WOOD** -- something that meant adding more than one minor thread to the story or revising a couple of scenes (though that can be major for the scenes), so I guess I have been lucky.

I did have a revision letter about Protector of the Flight that I agonized about (the editor thought the time on Earth was too long from my synopsis), but I'd written much of the chapters, DID go back and forth with people on Lladrana/Earth, and just couldn't see how I could cut it and not lose necessary plot/character development, so I left it in. Since it was accepted (and I still like that portion of the book very, very much), I figured it worked.

I tend to write a slow first draft and many scenes are pretty clean and don't need much revision unless I have wonky plot or motivation going on. That said, the first draft can be wretched for me. I've always thought that writers put in a lot of time, either up front or later, or both. This is not a quick process, and sometimes it's slow because you're thinking about the story, or slow because you have to let your subconscious think about the story.

May everything go smoothly for you today.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Writing Anywhere

This was written at the creativity weekend.

It's very disconcerting to be writing, facing yourself in a miror that's too big to cover (and attached to the wall to boot). Can't take off my glasses, because then I can't even see the computer and that would also WHAM against unfamiliarity which also slows me down.

I thought once, that I could write in any surroundings. Maybe I've gotten spoiled since the day job ended, or maybe I was always wrong. I can write in surroundings that seem a little familiar. Of course, I've been coming to this con for many years, but I usually am assigned a different room...still, that shouldn't be hard, except for the mirror. Though I did do this blog with the mirror, before I turned on the light.

May you be swept away into the zone and ignore your surroundings today.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Why did/didn't s/he do that? Motivation & Worldbuilding

First, sorry for not posting yesterday. The thing is I thought I had, but apparently saved it in draft and didn't post.

I've been reading a fantasy series that I've asked the question "Why doesn't she do this or that?" And from this experience, I think that the answer should come in the next few pages (because that might be only as long as a reader gives you) or be set up in the beginning.

This set up includes magic rules as well as motivations. There are "airy messengers" sorts of beings that would take messages or check on someone and when the party is divided they...don't. And, though I did read to the end, and will keep the series until my next big clean out (and one book I really, really liked, and have one book to go) I wasn't pleased and didn't believe the motivation for NOT sending these beings.

So, the author didn't set up the limitations of these beings, didn't explain why they weren't called SUFFICIENTLY well for me (lacked motivation), and especially told me why the other party didn't do the same with a GOOD ENOUGH REASON (lacked motivation) and waited to reveal motivation until the end of the book.

So, this irritated me, and it's something I try and keep in mind for my own work (and I think I'll keep a note to address it in the RWA worldbuilding brainstorming session).

Do you know that plastic keyboards squeak? Or maybe it's my floating tray, anyway that's all for now.

May your motivation and worldbuilding be deep and perfect today.

On Tour -- Damsel Under Stress

DAMSEL UNDER STRESS by Shanna Swendson
May 1, 2007

To-do: Stop the bad guys. Rescue the wizard. Find the perfect outfit for New Year’s Eve.

At last, Owen Palmer, the dreamboat wizard at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has conjured up the courage to get Katie Chandler under the mistletoe at the office holiday party. But just when it looks like Katie has found her prince, in pops her inept fairy godmother, Ethelinda, to throw a wand into the works. Ehtelinda’s timing couldn’t be worse. A plot hatched by MSI’s rogue ex-employees, Idris and his evil fairy gal pal Ari, threatens to expose the company’s secrets ­ and the very existence of magic itself. Even worse, it could also mean the end of Katie’s happily-ever-after.

Now Katie and Owen must work side by side (but alas, not cheek to cheek) to thwart the villains’ plans. Braving black-magic-wielding sorceresses, subway-dwelling dragons, lovelorn frog princes, and even the dreaded trip to meet Owen’s parents at Christmas, Katie and her beau are in a battle to beat Idris at his own sinister game. All mischief and matters of the heart will come to a head at a big New Year’s Eve gala, when the crystal ball will drop, champagne will pour, and Katie will find herself truly spellbound.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Just a little list of titles....

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Of my non published work (both manuscripts and proposals) in order of creation.

Foursome (Regency historical romance, never finished, probably hopeless, mostly handwritten)
The Token (contemporary paranormal romance, manuscript CANNOT be saved)
Willful Deceit (contemporary romantic suspense, proposal)
Share the Night (Regency historical romance with a paranormal secondary character, proposal)
Shades of Honor (I call it Sapphires and Emeralds -- Regency historical paranormal romantic suspense, a twin story, manuscript)
Betrothal and Blackmail (Regency historical romantic suspense, manuscript)
Shimmering Enchantment(futuristic romance, proposal)
Heart & Sword (novella proposal, prequel to the Heart series, maybe someday...)
Slow Hand, Sure Touch (contemporary romance, chapters for a proposal)
Charmed Circle Series (Regency historical proposal pitch, will probably never be done)
Ghostlayer/Finder/Cursebreaker series (contemporary paranormal romance proposal, needs work before being sent out again)
Heart Change (next up in the Heart series if we agree)
Mistress of the Sea (fantasy romance, proposal, will not be done)
Phantom Quartz (working title urban fantasy, getting to proposal stage, next up)

Huh, will you look at that, I didn't think I had all those...guess I'm a writer.

May you enjoy your writing today.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Writing Animals -- Cuteness -- And Just Plain Wrong

I have been accused of writing too cute. I've been small all my life, so I know cute, and I try very hard not to be, especially when writing animals. Animal writing can go FAR into cute. I also don't care to have my animals doing not-particularly animal like things. Ok, the FAMS are telepathic, but I figure my Fams are MUTANTS, and continuing to mutate. I try and keep their natures' right.

Zanth will never have a HeartMate, cats don't have HeartMates and giving them some would be Too Cute.

That said, the following billboard is on one of my local corners, and other places in Denver, too, since it was discussed at the Creativity Weekend -- and I see it FOUR TIMES if I'm going/coming to my Mom's. Apparently a new shopping mall is opening and the big event is a "doggie wedding" with "dating" first!

To me, this is just WRONG, against nature and trying too hard to be cute. The marketer/event planner would not last two seconds in my employ.

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May you fall into no easy traps with your writing today.

Out of the Blogosphere
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