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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Monday, June 30, 2008

Cut or Keep? Please let me know.

My mentor has the draft and we'll be getting together later in the am. A big part of Sorceress of Faith was Marian learning the magic.

I have quite a few scenes like that, Jikata at Singer's Abbey, learning spellknots and magic. My mentor likes the scenes, so she's fine with leaving them in, but says they can be cut. We've already decided to cut one (not sure how long it is), but others may be up.

Soooo, do you like those parts of the book, or are they not necessary to you?

Thanks, and may your day go well.

Saturday, June 28, 2008



Whew. Yesterday morning at this time, I could have sworn I wouldn't be able to finish the book. Now some parts are rougher than I like, but it's done.

664 pages -- well, The End is on page 664, so that really doesn't count. So my first job is just to go through the thing and tighten, then I'll see if I can smooth.

146,696 words.

For wordcount, the first three chapters shouldn't be counted for this year. But I have a whole slew of stuff in my cuts file, and in my webscenes file that SHOULD be counted.


May you enjoy your day. I may go back to bed...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Inspiration and Perspiration

Sometimes the muse sits on your shoulder and words come tumbling onto the page in a glorious rush of inspiration.

Sometimes you sit on your chair until your butt goes numb, letting words dribble out as if you've opened a vein.

The thing is, when readers see your work, they usually can't tell the difference.

That's technique.

May you have all you need today.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What You Need To Know and What Your Readers Need To Know Are Two Different Things

I haven't totalled my wordcount for yesterday. I did some new pages near the third %$#%@^%$ turning point, my sometime nemesis, and think that's going to be the last part I write because it needs more THINKING about.

Yes, the book is probably going to be around 700 pages, and most of that is already done. I think the set up is too slow, and that I can cut some from the beginning, particularly scenes of Jikata learning from the Singer. I added a few for balance so I could go back and forth between Jikata and Raine, but maybe a large chunk of only Raine is ok. Or will have to be ok since the book needs to be cut.

Much of Raine's stuff is "how magical ships are built and powered" so some of that might be able to be cut, too. Much has interaction with Faucon, so that needs to stay for their relationship to develop.

Most of the time your readers don't need to know exactly how all things work, but YOU need to know. This applies to authors of everything. You have to write about it with conviction. Especially if it's worldbuilding. You need to understand all the pieces, even if you show only a small amount.

That's it for today, I have to go back to the battle and kill more people. Sorry.

May you enjoy your life today.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Progress; Whimpering; Goodbye Fair Scene

PhotobucketMonday progress: 12 hour day, 3918 words, 4 chapters sewn together.

I spent about 3 hours on one chapter that I'd made several revisions on and screwed up when saving, incorporating.

Whimpering. Please don't make me look at chapter 37 again. But I think it's still messy, so I'll have to.

I reached a point where I was ready to include a very loving, touching scene, and since I think this book is already WAY long, and it came to me that I could "tell" the scene in a couple of paragraphs instead of "showing" it in several pages, I didn't include it. I didn't read it in case I'd be tempted to use it.


So there.

And since I'm so tired I actually had to look down at my keyboard and search for the CAPS key, I guess I'll say farewell.

May you anticipate delights today.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Setting – Out of Sequence Writing

In many of the changes I did while putting the book together I had to change the setting because I thought the characters would be at one place when they ended up at another. I have saved these "original" scenes to put up on the website when Echoes In The Dark comes out.

For instance there was a scene between Jikata and Luthan that I really liked set in the Marshalls' Dining room in the Marshalls' Castle. Jikata never made it to the Castle.

Then there was one where I thought it would take place in a tavern (originally the Nom de Nom in Castleton), then it went to the village tavern near Faucon's northern manor, Creusse Landing. As revised, it takes place on a beach.

One scene made no less than three changes – the Circlets apartment in the Marshalls' Castle, to the lounge aboard the invasion Ship, to the common room on the third floor of Creusse Landing.

Some of the language in the first scene was so good, I may use it again. Loved some of the emotional resonance matching the senses and choreography that I put in there...but...so it goes.

Then there's the choreography. First Jikata is sitting at a table, then she's at a couch, finally a loveseat, Luthan walks in and he sits, no, he stands....but on the whole I am happy with the scenes and the book.

I wish I'd had a bit longer to work on it though.

May you have all the time you need.

Progress Report - Sunday


Saturday was tying together 4 chapters in 807 words, Sunday was tying together 3 chapters and a new scene later in the book at 3709 words.

I have a feeling this is going to be a 700 page ms.

I also think I'll be able to cut stuff from the front.


May you have no urhghs in your life today.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I have been working steadily on Echoes In The Dark, and now think of the book as that and will no longer consider it Singer For A World. Something about referring to it, naming the files EITD, getting the cover flats. I still like the colors, I still hate the figure of Jikata. I think that this artist is not the same one whose done my other covers, but I don't know. When I get the book, I'll look at that. I asked but was not answered.

Yesterday I sewed 4 chapters together with about 300 words (and probably about an equal amount cut or changed). I'd have done more but I'm VP of Rocky Mtn Fiction Writers and had to be at the picnic -- and that was fun -- to announce our Writer of the Year, more about that later.

I am almost totally concentrating on the book (though I'll go to brunch today, past the Gay Pride parade that's always interesting to watch), I'm making notes of bits to include here and there that will tie up threads of the past 4. My mentor says it's very complex when I tell her about it, and that scares me a little.

Anyway, with luck, I'll turn it in on time (or at least at the last date they gave me, I really should not have signed that contract last year without making note that they'd moved my deadline up, but I was so concerned with Keepers of the Flame that I didn't read it. Shame on me and that's the LAST time that will happen, and the last time I don't ask my agent about it, either).

So that's that. I may be scarce for the next couple of weeks. The shipbuilding has finally occurred chronologically and all my Exotiques are also finally meeting -- a scene I hadn't already written and am working on now.

May you have a simple, lovely day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day off

Didn't sleep well and yada yada, blah, blah, blah, other rationalizations, so I didn't work today. Found a problem in my chapters yesterday so that's what I have to do first...sigh. Tomorrow, for sure!

May you have a lovely night and dawn...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Write Down Your Ideas!

I woke up this am and thought a little about the book, but also reviewed the proposals I mean to get out once they are done. Heart Change, Heart Journey. Work on the 3 book dark urban fantasy, and a duo that could be urban fantasy or paranormal romance.

There was a third that I was pretty excited about, but I can't recall it AT ALL and that scares me. I searched this laptop for any wordperfect files (and the 2 flash drives I have plugged in) and didn't see it.

The thing is, it was new. Since it was new, I hadn't gone over and over it in my mind enough for the concept to stick. I think I referenced it in very general terms here, so I'll search the blog later, after I work on the book. At least I'll get a general idea of the time frame I was thinking of it.

I recall talking to my mentor about it, but I talk to her about many, many ideas, and she will not remember.

I thought I wrote it down somewhere, a little blurb, but Big Blue (desktop) is acting up (bad enough so I'll have to take it in) and I can't search it. Might possibly be on baby, but I don't know.

HOWEVER, I know that if this particular idea never comes back, I'll have another that I'll be equally excited about.

BTW, woke up during a dream and it was about Da Vinci and painting, so I'm feeling pretty good. Mentor did call and do the rah-rah, did get about 10 pages done yesterday, did take a look at my next chron scene and figure where I was going.

So, write your ideas down, don't expect to remember them. And if you do forget, most likely another will come.

May you enjoy your work today.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Deadline Countdown

First, the bad anxiety dreams have started. Last night I ran into a show home with my car, then totalled an old house and my car, got stuck in the rain in a strange city with my cell on the fritz, all before an audience (you folk?). This wasn't the first one, started about a week and a half ago, but it was the worst. I was so glad to wake up.

I've worked hard this am, and am keeping track of wordcount, but now it's all about scenes and the book. The set up seemed long, long, long, so I may see what I can ruthlessly cut to make the book and pacing more even. I'll rely on my beta reader(s) for that.

My brain seems to be fuzzy, so I think I'll go. I think I'll start doing the catsitting thing in the evening after rush hour, or in the dark when I probably have stopped working.

Take care and may all your dreams be good.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Straight of Doom


Morning session is done and I couldn't quite settle on one scene so I did one and bits of two more. One is sailing up to the Straight of Doom.

When I looked at the map of Amee I'd done before and considered the length of the trip and that I wanted to sail to the Dark's Nest, I figured that I'd better not make them sail around another whole continent, or somehow port a massive ship over a couple of large pieces of land. ABOVE

So I modified the map, and in doing so, I decided to make a narrow straight between the continents.

I had actually considered having Amee, the sentient planet, do an earthquake at the beginning of Echoes in the Dark, then decided that was Too Much. I don't think I ever mentioned the particular piece of land in detail, so I don't have to say..."Oh, the maps are wrong, or the Dark must have evilly influenced the cartographers."

So, instead I used some previous history. There were Marshall Guardians who originally put up the fenceposts to keep out the invading monsters. At this time, seeing her Lladranan warriors begin to fight the Dark, Amee caused an earthquake so there would be access to the Dark. Of course in planetary history terms, it's been an eyeblink since then, but, really, even a few seconds of Dark gnawing on you as a leech is Too Much.

So morning session is done. I've pretty much decided that all I will do the next couple of weeks is work on the book, eat and sleep, and tend the catsitting I must do. PM session will be catsitting, probably looking over printed pages. But if I keep my energy up with naps, then I might be able to work around the clock...not a great schedule, but one that may make me feel like I'm progressing.

May your schedules be smooth and easy today.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Color Change for Creativity

A few days ago, I got to the point where I was thinking "I can't face that cream colored screen on the laptop." Which means, of course, that I was avoiding writing. So I changed the theme again. (Now the sounds are all wrong, but at least I'm sitting down with butt in chair and working).

So, from pinkish to bluish.

Like this:


Oh, and you can see the reveal codes in this one, too.

May you please yourself today.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Soundtrack of Opposites

Well, Raine got her heavy metal yesterday, I did a little research and downloaded some music from emusic, stuck it in the Raine-Jikata Soundtrack folder -- the group Ministry.

And since Jikata is a singer and just came from Singer's Abbey, I downloaded some Anonymous 4 singing Hildegard Von Bingen. Light, soaring, pure unaccompanied voices.

Then I set them on random....and put on the earphones.


Strangeness and strangeness. Good thing Raine made a couple of snarky comments to Koz and kept me in line. She did very well in her first battle. Now it's Jikata's turn...

May you enjoy any work you do today.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Baby Asus Computer

I really need to get a camera phone or a digital camera so I can add more personal pics to this blog.

Anyway, I took Baby, my little ASUS computer out for a spin yesterday to my local coffee shop and did about half a page. Some was getting used to the keyboard, I'll have to work on it for a while before I become fast. I recall that the laptop was awkward for a while. The keys need MORE pressure than usual, and I kept hitting the Up Arrow key for Shift which inserted text in the previous sentence.

And I got frustrated with the lack of the Reveal Codes feature. I use it more often in Wordperfect than I knew. It's always on when I'm writing and something went wonky in the document with the paragraphing and I couldn't figure out what it was, inserted tabs, spaces or strange paragraph formatting so I made a brand new document.

Note the reveal codes feature in the screenshot below, it is at the bottom of the page, in blue. It lets you know every space, tab, dash, comma, everything. I use it often, too, when I'm typing in Times New Roman and need to check on single/double spacing.


That's all for today. The am wordcount is done and I'm coming to the end of my break and will have to get back to the book. This am I wrote a love scene, when I go back it will be a battle. Not THE battle....

May you enjoy any battles you have today.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


That's pretty much what my life is lately with this push to work hard on the book. Different Day Same Stuff. So I don't have much to say tonight. Dealing with the cats, doing errands, thinking a lot about what I should be writing. Writing. Keeping up with the emails.

So that's it.

May you have a lovely day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Moon Struck


MOONSTRUCK by Susan Grant
HQN Books, June 1, 2008

And Coalition starship admiral Brit Bandar is one tough woman. A mere intergalactic treaty could never get her to trust the Drakken Horde. There was too much bad blood between the Coalition and the Horde and, for intensely personal reasons, Brit wasn’t sure that she was through spilling it! But now a peaceful accord has made Finn Rorkken, a notorious Drakken rogue, second-in command on her starship – and through some grand cosmic irony – front and center in her thoughts…and her heart.

Either title sat easily on Finn’s battle-hardened shoulders. Though second-in-command to “Stone-Heart” Bandar? That would take some getting used to. Peace required as much sacrifice as war, so he’d comply even if his reaction to the gorgeous admiral fell decidedly outside protocol. But would he end up kissing or killing her if the galaxy’s tentative truce turned into all out war?

RITA award winner and NY Times best-selling author Susan Grant loves writing about what she knows: flying, adventure, and the often unpredictable interaction between the sexes! When she’s not writing romances set in far-flung locales, Susan pilots 747 jumbo jets to China, Australia, Europe, and many other exotic overseas destinations where she finds plenty of material for her novels.

4.5 stars! The quick pace and compelling characterization make this space adventure riveting! --reviewed by Jill Smith, RT Magazine
[A gripping storyline, fascinating characters and great writing. Susan Grant has an immense talent for writing this special brand of romance. --Tanzey Cutter, Fresh Fiction."[A] can’t-put-down read that draws you in from the first page and doesn’t let go until the tension-filled final chapters!" -- Linnea Sinclair, RITA award winning author of THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES
This tale packs a punch! Fans of the Honor Harrington series (by David
Weber) will thoroughly enjoy Brit and Finn's story. I could not help but give a spontaneous high-five when I finished this gem. -- Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews,

This book kicked serious butt. Susan Grant can write more like this and I'll be ready to devour them at a moment's notice! -- Kathy Boswell, The Best Reviews

Website: http://www.susangrant.com


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Brainstorming, Blahs, Contest Entries, Deadlines

That's life today. Mostly the Blahs and the beginning of deep panic at the deadline. I still have my work to do today and it's nearly 7. After dinner. And I've been writing in sequence so that might have led to the blahs as well as summer definitely being here, finally (have I said that before?)

Tommy cat was off his game today, don't know why, so I attributed it to being out of his specific crunchy chow and just came back from Pets Mart with it. He eats it reluctantly anyway.

Anyway, since I have to write fast to get work done today I'm letting myself write out of sequence. I'll read the set-up scene, tinker with it a bit then (hopefully) zoom on from there.

Am I crazy to think writing a 600 pg book in 5 months is fast? Urgh. I don't know. It seems if I'd kept a steady schedule that would work, but that's always been easier said than done.

Contest Entries: I got entries in an unpubbed contest I'm judging today, opened it up and said "Hook me, baby," got confused in the second paragraph and stopped. So I'll have to comment like ?????? What is he referring to?

My mentor called to brainstorm. I didn't help much, but just talking through her trilogy, sparked an idea that will solve her problems, so being a wall to bounce ideas off of can WORK.

Guess that's my advice for the day: never be afraid to brainstorm with someone else, if they don't help you, then it might spark something in your own head. CAVEAT, there is an unwritten and understood rule between my mentor and me. We will not try to change each other's story. When you brainstorm with someone, you do it within the confines of THEIR story.

May you enjoy all your stories today.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Why Wordcount?

I've been thinking about the question I had about wordcount and figured it's like this: if I know my Luna books run about 150,000 words, then I hope that if I throw enough words at a page every day most of them will stick and by the end of a certain period of time (hopefully BEFORE deadline), the book will be done.

So, that's it.


May you enjoy all the words you read today.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Daily Life

Denver weather has been going back and forth from gorgeous to rainy, dripping outside today and I'm going to have to deal with some house problems. So that's a little depressing too.

Didn't work yesterday (didn't work 2 days last week and beat myself up over it). Not sure why, but I feel like I'm plodding along, which probably means that my villain is not doing enough. Or maybe that I need to up the love story, which, since I finally got Jikata and Luthan together I should.

Or it might be that I asked a question of my critique group and was disappointed in the answers. Which is Not Their Fault. They've seen maybe only one chapter of the book so when they suggest sweeping changes, or their advice doesn't work, it shouldn't irritate me.

So. I guess the last few days have been one irritant after another and I've been letting them get to me. Back to schedule this am. Doing this instead of my writing this am, so I'd better get back to it.

Take care, and may you have a lovely day in all senses of the word.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Writing from the scary, cold basement. So laptop is online, not a great thing, but the file sharing will be good, also if I'm writing and need a research fact, that too will be good.

I will shortly be setting up a Wordperfect macro. "SaveToS" which is "Save to S Drive," which will be EITD in the Shared Documents file. So, one punch of a toolbar button and the document will save to laptop, desktop and baby. I'll also be able to hit a different button and mail a backup to my gmail account. And work on the porch or the patio.


Working down here will be a real boon in the summertime, I have a table that I can set up and when I put in the new furnace a few years ago, it needed a pump and so I have a real light switch and extra outlet...

I had a geek friend who was out of work do this for me.

I'm happy.

Love to all,

June Website Up!

No new "Reads," but the new covers for Heart Fate and Echoes in the Dark are up, the Worlds Page under Heart Dance has a pronunciation key for Heart Dance (since someone asked...). I actually don't care how you pronounce the names and I'll never correct you in person (that happened to me once as a reader when I was speaking to an author, mortifying). The worlds page was quick and easy.

The contest is for a small rosewood box with amber resin, with, as usual, an excerpt from Heart Dance (since this is right after a dream-sex sequence I thought I did well in not telegraphing that...).

Free Your Artist, exercise is about leaves and trees...

Hope you enjoy,

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hook me, baby!

I sometimes say that as I open a new book. And mostly it works. However I was reading a book in my genre by a fairly well-known writer, and she failed to do this.

The best hook is the first line, the first paragraph, the first page. The opening scene was boring.

It reminds me that I must always be aware of opening hooks, too. I know this author figured her fans would read through the first scene, and they will, or skip it, but what about new people?

So, my advice today is that until you make your first million on your writing, you need to hook your readers asap.

May you enjoy the pleasures of reading today.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Two Heroines

I pretty much have two heroines in Echoes in the Dark, and I hadn't anticipated giving Raine so many scenes...but... I've tried to include Jikata in chapters that are focusing on Raine, but ended up writing a full chapter with Raine today (or putting it together). I think that Jikata may be getting some all by herself, too.

They are not together in the same place, nor do they know one another, so I can't do scenes with them both as yet. Hopefully next week.

I wrote more on the end. Since I haven't looked at the end lately, I don't know whether this will work or not. I DO know that currently the end is somewhat messy as I did a little POV in all my previous heroines, and I've decided that isn't right. Mainly because I've kept the POV to 4 -- Raine and Faucon and Jikata and Luthan and I want to be consistent. I can have Jikata observe the others at the end...and to go on would be spoilers.

Well, I'm very tired. Went over to the housesit place and the freezer part of the fridge finally opened so I took out a lot of ice and put it in the sink and cleaned up, etc. They should be back tomorrow, didn't make the time they'd thought so it won't be tonight.

Also got am and pm wordcount done and worked more on the June website update. It's a little after 11 but I don't need to stay up anymore so this will post on Weds.

May you have a good day.
smooches, robin

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Well, morning/day wordcount has been done and I'm hoping I can get in more in the afternoon. My schedule's been rocky the last couple of weeks and that hasn't happened.

Also, since I added carbonite (the backup program), the desktop continues to take about 20 minutes to load with different programs fighting to be first. I am most particularly irritated with Hewlitt Packard which seems to think that "order reminder" MUST load first. I've tried, and the computer guys tried, to get rid of that but it remains. If I just hadn't purchased the color printer/copier (which I noted was better than newer models), I'd get something else, and NOT an HP since it's screwing up my software...

The computer repair person also scolded me for keeping the massive thing on the floor (and too close to the corner of the desk, too, I think), so I had to rearrange the left part of my desk (it's a u with mostly storage on the right), I'm thinking of drilling some holes so my cables don't snake across my desk but go tidily under the top to hook into the back of Big Blue (desktop).

And I need to set up the expensive wi-fi.

But writing comes first. So I am feeling pretty good today. Jikata is about to make a break from the Singer's Abbey, Luthan has been notified, the trials for who will be part of the invasion force to fight the Dark are winding down at the Castle and Raine is at the shipyards (not really, but to tell would be a spoiler), with the last of her designs for the ship.

This afternoon, hopefully, Jikata will make it out of the Abbey, Luthan will meet her, and Raine will meet the local fisherfolk.

May you have a busy and successful day,

Monday, June 02, 2008


No I didn't work on the book today. Summer has hit and I miss my ceiling fan the lightning took out last August and I haven't gotten fixed yet (bro says he will). Spent last night at Mom's after I looked around the housesit place (closer to there then here), got home about 9am.

So that's that. I do have a goal "get invasion force on ship" by the end of the week.

Now I have do go check the housesit place one more time...supposed to be home tomorrow. Thank goodness.
May you have a productive evening.

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