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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Sunday, May 31, 2009

More Loglines

What is the price you are willing to pay to fit in? A contemporary earth woman who is Summoned to be the Joan of Arc of another world must decide whether to pay the price to become a respected, powerful leader.

A woman who hungers for knowledge is used as a weapon of vengeance and learns the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

A woman who seeks love must find self-love before she can truly believe in the love others have for her. Love and validation must come from inside to be strong and unshakable.
So those are previous ones.
May you enjoy thinking of the past today.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009


I use this word in two ways.

First, at the top of the book to determine the date/setting:

Denver, Colorado, Present Day
1945 Burma
Celta, 407 years after colonization, late summer

OR, as a very short pitch of a book:

Guilt-ridden by a mistake that cost her family their lives, half-Lightfolk, half-human Jenni Evers turns her back on her magical heritage...until her remaining brother who hates her is trapped and she's the only one who can travel the time river to save him.

Usually loglines like the one immediately above for Time Shifter consist of a character, a goal, and the conflict that will keep the character from reaching the goal. (Thank you to Pam McCutcheon for Writing the Fiction Synopsis which is a MUST HAVE book).

Half-magical, half-human Jenni Evers.

The goal here for Jenni is unstated, but it is to forget the past or ignore her magical side and continue with her life and the status quo.

Again, pretty much unstated, except that she feels guilt and will have to save a brother who hates her and use the magic she's ignored to do it.

Wow, that made sense!
Now off to in person critique.

May you have moments of clarity today.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Brenda Novak's Auction for Diabetes

I do this every year because Brenda and I were pretty much in the same "graduating to published" class.

This year I have several things up:

Critique of a proposal by me (3 chapters and a synopsis)
Heart Dance autographed
ARC of Heart Change (which is going for big bucks)

The very reasonable "name a geographical point on the world of Celta" is about $30.00
Folks, this will be FOR ALL TIME on my maps. How do you think I got the "Plano Strait?"

So, go forth check out the wonderful offerings.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Synopses 1 -- HeartMate by Robin D. Owens

Since I'm thrashing around in the synopsis for Time Shifter, I thought I'd share a few synopses with you. I have them for every book except Heart Quest, which was purchased as a "blind book," and for which I never turned in chapters or a proposal.

The following is the first few pages of the EXTENDED synopsis of HeartMate. I sent this one on the request of my editor for information for the rest of the company and the art department for the cover art.

For Fantasy works I like to break the synopses down into several portions: Characters, World, Rules (various rules like HeartMate rules or time shifting rules that will affect the book), then get on with The Story.

Celta, 400 Years after Colonization, Summer

Rand T'Ash: Long black hair to shoulders, bright blue eyes, olive complexion, white scars on chest, back, and limbs. Wears clothes rather like a pirate's, full sleeves, breeches, boots -- black or ash brown. Shirt cuffs show the name of the noble in embroidery -- green ash leaves. He is the sole survivor of the destruction of his Family and Residence, grew up in the slums area of Downwind. Now he lives in a mansion of curves and angles of smooth white concrete. He freed the berserker within himself to avenge his Family. Now, to contain his feral side, he suppresses his past, controls his present, and focuses on the future. His primary goal is to re-build his line.

Danith Mallow, small, curvy, brown hair and hazel eyes, hair to shoulders. Of the working class, she wears straight-legged trousers with a knee length tunic over it in blue. She is an orphan, deeply desires to live a "normal" life and belong to a large, loving Family. She once believed she had a unique Flair (psi power) but when she Tested, no Flair was found, and this old wound still hurts. She has a great need to be recognized as special for her own inherent qualities.

Zanth, large cat to T'Ash's knee, black and white, FLAT, TATTERED EARS (I have pics). Cohort, sage, trickster, Zanth is T'Ash's Familiar and a cat with an attitude. Huge, rough and battered, he insists on taking advantage of the good life.

The Setting: Planet Celta: Blue sun so consequently further away from the sun than Earth, sky is a deeper blue with tinges of violet/purple. 2 Moons, always in the same phase. Very wooded, with parks and groves and glades. Celta was discovered and colonized four centuries ago by Earth settlers who based their lives on ancient Celtic beliefs and who had psi gifts, now called Flair. Their class structure is a semi-feudal system of NobleHouses, Merchant/Artisan/Middle Class, Working Class. The three above classes each have Councils, but the society is dominated by the original families who funded the trip (by 3 spaceships) and who have developed the most powerful psi powers.

Passage is a change of life event for Flaired individuals. It occurs when an upsurge of Flair overwhelms the mind. There are 3 passages: first after testing to confirm the depth of the Flair and what sort of talent/Flair it is -- at age 7. Next, to help master the Flair, when hormones are high, 17; final to control the Flair at 27.

Celtans use a mixture of magic and technology. The planet ecology has stimulated Flair and increased life spans, but Family size has declined. Life is still a struggle because the population is small, and much of the planet remains uncolonized. There is no connection with Earth or other planets.

Plant and animal life: some Earth lines have disappeared, some thrived. There are hybrids of Earth and Celtan plants and animals, Earth native plants and animals, Celtan native plants and animals. Roses and tea grow well. Cats are rare, dogs rarer, and horses rarer still.

Discovery Day is a holiday before summer solstice, a time of thanksgiving, jubilation, celebration, fireworks, time of new beginnings, traditional to propose marriage, start new ventures.

HeartGifts/Jewelry: 1. A necklace, made by T'Ash at the beginning of his career so the metal links are not uniformly beautiful, studded with precious gems, ending in a large "roseamber" pendant, which is crystal orange-red-gold-amber HEART. WITH A FLAW OF GOLD IN THE CENTER THAT LOOKS LIKE DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE, BUT IS ACTUALLY LOVERS EMBRACING.

2. Intricate celtic knot earrings of red-gold (red bronze).
3. Amulet holder, unfaceted stones, beads, crystals.
4. Cat collar for Zanth, 3 inch-wide choker of square-cut emeralds.
5. A charm of a spaceship (I don't have a design in mind).
6. 8 Bloodstone rune-dice, one broken, 12-SIDED blue-green stones incised with symbols in deep red. The broken one would have a symbol of a woman surrounded by swords (or laser light -- think light sabers).
7. T'Ash wears a child's ring hung on a chain around his neck, it is a circlet of ash leaves.

Weapons: T'Ash wears a broadsword on his right hip with a belt. On his left hip he wears a "blaser", sf gun of some sort (some have short-barrels). T'Ash makes a main gauche, a long dagger about the size of a short sword, but narrower (I have bad pics from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a reference book).

The Story: T'Ash is jubilant when his Divination Dice foretell: Today you will meet your HeartMate. Now he can refound his Family and make a home -- a Family slain and a Residence burned when he was a child. His mate will soon belong to him. He'll provide her with everything she will ever want or require. They will be a HeartMate couple, complete in themselves.

To lure his HeartMate, and only she, he retrieves a necklace, his HeartGift, that he fashioned during his last Passage when his great power was freed. He deduces who his HeartMate is, a customer he'd tempted with his superb creations.

The inconceivable happens; Danith Mallow, his HeartMate, rejects it and him! Bound by a debt of blood and honor that comes due from an old friend, he can't pursue her, nor can he hunt the thief who steals his HeartGift. T'Ash's carefully constructed life crumbles into an abrupt, disturbing chaos.......................

So there it is.

I'll be talking more, or showing more in the following days.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Contracts -- Electonic

I got my first electronic contract yesterday. I haven't opened it up, because I know I'll have to spend time comparing it to my last contract. I think my agent has seen this one, but I'm not sure, so I have an email out to her.

Then I print out the 3 copies (thus I have the mailing cost, but at least it's instantaneous to me and won't get lost in the mail on the way to me which has happened to friends) and sign them and send them to my agent and publisher.

I DO have my previous contract, and I can tell when the general boilerplate of the contracts change because some author at the top has held out for rights that filter down to all of us.

Read your contracts yourself.

May your business day be easy today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Reminder -- Tools

When was the last time you defragged your computer?

Consider doing it now.

May you enjoy the day, holiday or not.


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Agendas, Preaching & Polemics

Please don't.

Yes, your story should have a theme or themes, and moral codes, but don't rant at the reader.

If you offend your reader because h/she does not happen to agree with you, you will limit your readership.

Furthermore, I think it displays an unprofessionalism and a lack of good writing. Your story should speak for itself.

I was rereading a book that I'd recalled I'd liked (contemporary thriller with a romantic subplot), early in the series that I've kept up with, when I ran into a rant that offended me several ways

1) the author's political beliefs were different than my own and I'd previously liked the character who was ranting, so I lost respect for that character.

2) the author had the character give "examples" of why her view was right and "my" view was wrong that the author made up, which is, you know, cheating.

3) the author had set up that this person spoke in very short sentences, three at the max, that revealed nothing to the love interest. The love interest was determined to open the character up. Within a page or two the character goes into a long half-page political rant to the love interest (in a very public place) and the love interest does not react to how much the character has spoken or revealed.

Sloppy...which is what happens when you feel a burning need to rant about something in the book. Save the rants (and is this one?) if you must, for your blogs.

The book wasn't as well written as I recalled, either, with conversations between characters that seemed like info dumps (backstory information dumps) instead of real dialogue.

Yes, you can craft incredibly heartfelt and touching stories that illustrates the evils of whatever, but the key words are story and illustration. A good writer doesn't need to rant.

Like I said, I'd purchased the book because I remembered liking the characters and series set-up and recalled a very interesting plot twist. But I am unsure, now, whether I will ever re-read this book or keep it around. I'll keep it for about 6 months and if I don't feel like reading it again, it will go to the UBS or in my sacks to the charity who comes and picks up stuff.

Again, don't offend your readers.

May you enjoy the books you read today.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009


All right, I'm dull today so I'll post a quote:

Love is eternal -- the aspect may change, but not the essence. There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light too, and that is its real function. And love makes one calmer about many things, and that way, one is more fit for one's work. - Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

May you love many things today.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Organization -- PDAs? IPhone? ITouch?

I was organized at the day job, am terribly disorganized here...and since my pda crashed I've been lost.

So I am going to visit the mac store and see about an iphone or itouch. I bought a mobipocket and was just disgusted with it (it is in my giveaway bag to Lupus this am). The calendar system was terrible...having to put in a weeks worth of catsitting on every single day.

I also want one that will read ebooks, hopefully .lit. So those are my 2 big requirements which don't seem so bad.

I had itunes on my desktop and it wrecked the computer. It took a lot of space, wanted to connect all the time and in a priority manner, would look for updates all the time. I hate when that happens. I don't want my computer updating or connecting without me being aware of it (except the virus stuff). If there's a way to turn that off, I do it.

Anyway, as you can tell, I'm a little grumpy. I'm at the end of week 2 of housesitting and the 2 hour chunk out of my day to check on this is really getting to me. I'd never work as a professional housesitter.

That's all, except you DO need to be organized to keep deadlines straight...like the Luna proposal due June 1, Heart Journey due December 1, Luna proposal due April 1, 2010, Time Shifter due April 30 (why did I DO that?)...see what happens?

May you keep all your deadlines straight today.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Contracts -- Walking Away

Sometimes when you are negotiating contracts you have to be willing to walk away from the whole deal.

And you should know whether you are willing to walk away BEFORE negotiations go on because this is a big decision that shouldn't be made in the course of a few minutes or hours. This affects your career.

You have to know your limits and what you are willing to do and not do and be COMFORTABLE (or at least reconciled) to walking away. Otherwise regret and bitterness could follow.

I wasn't ready to walk away from the Summoning series mid-series. I was willing to take short deadlines and combine 3 books into 2 to finish that series, and I made that decision within a half hour, but I have had to live with the consequences and will for the rest of my life. I would do it again, but I would ask more questions. The whole thing blindsided me at the time.

Most of the power in this business is with the publisher unless you are a multi-million dollar author, so you get a yes/no decision, do the deal or not.

Be prepared for that.

May you be sharp today.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time Paradox -- Worldbuilding

I played with time on Celta in Heart Dance and liked it very much. I don't think that I actually confronted the paradox thing because Dufleur Thyme never went back in time.

That is not the case with Djindesfarne Everstep (Jenni Evers). Well, she may not go back in time, but showing WHY she can't go back and prevent an event is very, very important.

In Heart Dance, time was a wind, the timewind. It would make more sense for it to be a wind in Time Shifter since Jenni is .25 Djinn (fire element) and .25 Elf (air element for the purposes of this world) and .50 human, but I've used time wind.

So time is a river, a wide, rushing, torrent of a river, the timeriver....

I thought so much this am to work on this that my brain hurt, but Jenni stepped into the river...though I am still not sure whether all of her or only her mind went, that take s MORE thinking.

Anyway, that is a little of my process. May you exercise your creative muscles today.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Yes you should know how to spell. Yes you should check your spelling. Yes you should have your best friend who knows how to spell everything backward and forward check your manuscript.

And like typos, spelling errors can slip through. I just went back and forth with bannister and banister in Heart Change.

Spelling is not my greatest talent. I recall very unpleasant spelling drills. But that was then and this is now.

To my mortification, while I was editing Time Shifter this am (I think I have enough words for 4-5 chapters, but will only submit 3), I realized I didn't know how to spell espresso. Ok, not a coffee drinker, but, like there are signs EVERYWHERE. I still thought it was expresso.

And idiosyncrasy had me looking around all over the web. Thank heavens someone did "idiosyncracy" an alternate spelling of idiosyncrasy. If there is an alternate spelling to be had, I will do it. I stuck with champaigne far too long.

Spelling is important, don't slough (sluff) it off.

May you know all the words you need to today.

Monday, May 18, 2009

9 Years Work, 1 flash drive


This is both interesting and scary. I will never fill this small flash drive up. I bought it to live in my purse, so we'll see how long it stays there before I need it and it's handy. ;)

The Heart books, in final form, are in the Celta folder, along with some info files I need on the world. All my working "Heart" files are separate from that folder. The Lladrana books are in in Exotic Summoning and my novella Road of Adventure is on here, too.

Of course not all the rough chapters and scenes and bits and research and images and maps are here, but still, to see how much drive I still have left after 10 years of actually writing is mind boggling.

May you enjoy the uniqueness of you today.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Selecting Books -- Signings

I've seen it as an author -- you look at the cover first, then turn it over to read the back cover copy. Then (if I'm sitting there, like at the signing today at Boulder), you'll smile and put it down, not interested. Maybe, I guess if I am looking too crushed, you'll shrug and explain "that you don't read that kind of stuff."


Say that hard times have hit and take my wallet calendar and that you'll check out the excerpts on my READS page.

I might even believe you, in any event I am left with a little hope that my writing will snag you as a reader and you might actually go to a library and ask for my books, at least (and the last time I saw a library book, it was in the hands of friends and was an extremely tattered Protector of the Flight, hopefully they have reordered).

I REALLY dislike this at the RMFW booksigning in September. It happens often. The people are interested in mysteries or contemporary romance or historical fiction and not my work. Ok, you're an aspiring writer, come talk to me, figure out if you might like my work that way. Don't pick up my books and read the back cover and put them down, then move on. We can talk about writing, I'm ok with that.

I know some people who can hand sell their work, I like talking about my work and if you don't like the premises of the Heart or the Lladrana series, then don't buy them, but at least we have connected, you might read the blog, at least, and tell a friend who DOES like my kind of books about me and them....

You see? Authors sitting behind a table of their work like a little kindness. At least, I do.

So...I will be doing a signing today with the usual group:

Elaine Levine (western romance), Melissa Mayhue (time travel romance), Tara Janzen, (romantic suspense), and Lynda Hilburn (paranormal).

There will be a Romance panel at Boulder Borders:
1750 29th Street
Boulder, CO 80301

4pm - 6pm.

May you enjoy kindness today.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009


Bride of the Wolf by Jennifer St. Giles (Shadowmen Series Book 4)
Release Date 4/28/09

When the heroic werewolf Navarre is trapped in the twilight realm, his Shadowmen comrades are unable to rescue him. Only a passionate woman with a spirit as wild as his own can set him free….

Oil heiress Marissa Vasquez fled the jungles of Belize to avoid becoming a pawn in her vicious uncle’s wicked schemes. Though she has found temporary sanctuary in little Twilight, Tennessee, only in her dreams does she taste freedom. At night, her spirit intertwines with a magnificent black wolf, and they run together under the glow of a forest moon. When a wounded stranger is brought to the camp where she is hiding, she glimpses in his eyes the mysterious being who has been the partner of her visions. But before she can explore her strange reaction to this man, they are kidnapped and imprisoned once again.

Navarre is a shapeshifting Shadowman, captured by the evil Vladarian vampire who hopes to control Marissa. Injured and blind, he struggles to regain his warrior’s strength as they fight for their freedom — and their lives. Together, their spirits form a powerful link matched only by the passion they discover in each other’s arms. But can a mortal woman attain true love with a man who is half wolf? And will their enemies give them time to find an answer?


Friday, May 15, 2009

Writer -- Life set points

I'm tired and will be posting this in about a half hour for the new day...another late night...so the title might not be what you think.

Everyone has set points in their life that they refer back to. During the word wars yesterday morning my friend Sharon asked if she knew what year Wilbur (Mom's cat) and Cara (Sharon's cat) were born.

I thought about where I was and where I posted this picture...on the "closet" in my cubicle. I said, "I think 2000 because it was before I was published." What I really meant was it was before I got The Call -- that I'd sold my first book.

Every writer remembers The Call, I've spoken about that before...but The Call will also define a point in your life -- before and after. Like before and after HeartMate was published and on the shelves.

It's a GOOD set point and I remain ever grateful for it.

May you have a memory that makes you smile today.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Front Pages of Book

This is what editors call (for authors) such things as Dedications, Maps and Cast of Characters, etc.

I was in the middle of doing my circle of housesitting for Mom and friend yesterday when it occurred to me that I hadn't done my Cast of Characters for Heart Change to turn in with my copy edits that went in on Monday. I called my editor's assistant and told her they were coming.

Well I think that it's come to the point where I need a Cast of Characters for each Heart book. I kept it to Signet, the Hawthorns (4 including Cratag), The Vines (3), The Hazels (4) and Others (4), and one and a bit page.

Dedications have reached the point where I don't know what to say so I thanked my readers again.

When I finished Heart Change the last thing I wanted to do was a Cast of Characters, it seemed an overwhelming task. But it wasn't that bad, though I did forget a couple and so had to revise AFTER I sent it off. Sigh.

Anyway, I like maps and Casts of Characters, so I put one in. I didn't get to a new "Family Tree" for the Hawthorns like I did for the Hollys, too much thinking, and not as many entries, so that will go from the front pages.

May you enjoy all the little extras of life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reading My Own Work

I hardly ever read my own work, mostly because I've worked so hard on it. If I have no other books in the car and am at catsitting or oil change somewhere, I'll reread something older that I haven't looked at for a while.

There is one that I tend to read more, and I'm not sure why that is -- I was reading it last night and, of course, found a typo and started re-editing -- but the one I re-read (bits, hardly EVER read any full book of mine), is Protector of the Flight. The scenes I like best are those when Calli and Marrec return to Earth, then go back to Lladrana. Actually, I picked up that book last night and opened it to the scene between Marrec and Jetyar and read from there.

I like this book, and naturally I like all of my stories or I wouldn't write them. I do know and accept that the work and the world won't speak to everyone even though my inner child believes they should... ;)

So, be proud of your own work today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hatching New Worlds

First, in case you didn't read the comments. The definition I ran into was for a GLIDE (which I, of course, use as walking or as driving since in the Heart books my vehicles are gliders).

Today's topic:
So, I was looking at the calendar yesterday and realized I had less than 3 weeks to do the proposal for the new series at Luna that I sold. I have 9 pages and a paragraph that I submitted at the request of my agent.

I HAD done some research as you will recall, and some thinking about the books, but I ran up against a major plot point immediately...one that amateur sleuth books must deal with all the time, namely why this quest (and it will be a quest) is PERSONAL to my heroine.

Naturally I call my mentor and she wants me to lay out the whole world first...in moments like these I pretty much freewheel and throw out stuff when she asked. (I got in real trouble with that in the Urban Fantasy, which put me behind), but this one I had a little bit more of an idea. And for me, it's like sculpting, you have this block of marble that is your new world, and you start carving away what doesn't feel "right" and shaping what does.

In any event, when I got to the major plot point, Kay (Cassie Miles) came up with something I would never write in a million years, and that contradicts my first 9 pages, but not so much that I couldn't fix it. And since I wouldn't come up with this in a million years because it would torture my heroine too much, I decided to go with it.

So all last night I don't sleep well. I think my subconscious is lining things up for me, roiling around, so that I carve that marble right. Very restless night, and that may continue.

But I've got my marble started, my LightFolk/Fae worldbuilding begun.

May you enjoy whatever you do today,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Learn Something New Every Day -- Guess

I thought I'd spoken about this earlier but did a search of the blog and saw nothing, so you'll hear/see it again.

My grandfather on my mother's side and my grandmother on my father's side would ask me what I'd learned new that day if they saw me on a daily basis. It's an idea that has stuck...occasionally. I don't go to bed thinking "what have I learned new today?" But if something strikes me in my research, it's "I've learned something new today!"

So here's something knew that I learned while perusing my wp thesaurus for another word.

Can you guess the word that this "alternate" meaning is for?
a vowel-like sound that serves as a consonant

Tell you tomorrow. May you learn something new today.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Electronic Editing and Contracts

Yes, I loathe and despise electronic editing, especially since it's in Word...which I won't be doing anything in except these nasty things. I can't tell why some paragraphs when I close them WON'T indent, so I just delete them and live with the letter of last sentence, period, letter of next sentence. Let those who are expert with word sort it out. As far as I can tell, it's very, very messy.

I had 3 documents open at all times. The copy edits where text was deleted in little swatches that showed up in the margins that I could neither read nor undelete nor copy and paste back into the documents. A file that showed me exactly what was deleted by strikeout, and an original file with the stuff not deleted at all so I could cut and paste what I wanted back in. I tended to paste the original scene in and then cut from there.

But electronic editing is here to stay and I won't be a Luddite. This is a tide that can't be turned and that I can't stand against.

I am concerned about some things. First, it is easier for me to judge stuff on the page, what could be cut and how it will look.

Mostly I'm worried about my author's rights. This is contractual. I can do a certain amount of cutting and inserting and changing at the copy edit stage. I was also allowed to do some in the page proof/galleys stage. My contracts stated 6%, which, in a 500 page ms. is 6 pages worth, and if I wanted to change a word at this stage, I would do so, or a sentence, or a paragraph or three.

I've been warned now that only correcting typographical mistakes will be allowed in the final stage, and I think that is because of the formatting. This electronic document will be what is printed.

So now am I not only NOT seeing any of this on actual paper unless I print it out so I can't visualize it in a way I'm accustomed to, but the formatting of the document itself is limiting my creativity, my wish to make the best book possible.

Limiting my contractual rights. I now really have only one shot at making the book good, so I'd better hope nothing is terribly distracting in real life at the copy edit stage or else.

This is something I may have to talk to my agent about -- and double check my contracts for. This is something other writers need to consider.

May you learn more about your work every day.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


I like both of my editors, I think they know their jobs when it comes to my manuscripts. Therefore when my editor told me that she'd made cuts to Heart Change, I accepted most...there was one that was a payoff that I had to write about 3 lines "telling" instead of showing, and there was one where in cutting the page(s), she also cut some choreography that she didn't remember needed to be in there, but I did. There was some a dry setting scene that I trimmed but put back in because it needed to be there for climactic moments. There were a couple of scenes with Fams that I liked, but she thought weren't necessary, so they were cut. They will probably go up on my website under WORLDS with other cuts.

There was a scene that I mentioned here when I was writing it that sets up book 3 that I thought I might cut, but when it came to it, I decided that keeping the 3 pages in was easier than messing around with the 20 pages surrounding it...and it is in the now dreaded chapter 22 that I will have to look at tomorrow.

I even let the copy editor cut a good page or so. These are fresh, trained eyes so they CAN see what sounds clunky or doesn't really need to be in the pages.

BUT there was some motivation that was cut and I put that back. That's really important stuff. I've been writing too long with critique groups to accept someone else's final word as god...or I've learned to fight my battles. Let them cut the Fam scenes if I can put motivation back in....

That's how it goes and my little spiel about editors this am.

May you enjoy working with others today.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Juggling Writing Projects -- The Published Writer's Life

I heard Sherrilyn Kenyon speak on this and others' at the CRW conference, and you've seen me entitle blogs "Fire Drills."

The regular life is not just breezing through your WIP (work in progress), it is also promotion, seminars and conferences, etc. But let's just talk about writing projects. I was going really well on Heart Journey when I received the copy edits of Heart Change. So I switch from Del and Raz back to Signet and Cratag, and they ARE different characters they would react differently to different stimulus and different events. At least it's the same world.

Now, of course, I'll refresh my ideas of Heart Journey, today for the wars, but will also want to go back to check a few things on Heart Change before I turn it in on Monday...I really need to print out Chapter 22 and another one needed a little more umph (don't recall the chapter, do recall the point in the story).

Then back to Heart Journey for a couple of weeks...I've heard the Luna contracts have come to my agent, and I need to start really thinking about that proposal. It's due in June sometime...the first or second week. So when I break from Heart Journey, I'll have to fling my mind into a completely different world, write and develop that...then back to finish and polish Heart Journey.

I know there are other writers who can move from world to world, but I don't do that...not within a space of a day. Maybe if I wrote faster and the "breaks" between worlds was sufficient to re-tune or whatever.

So decide what kind of writer you are if you're writing fantasy in different worlds, or, Heaven luv ya, different genres. Make sure you can move between these easily.

May you enjoy everwhere your imagination takes you today.
Robin (who is thinking about going to the chocolate festival tonight).

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Eeeeeelectronic Copy Edits

It's the first time I've done electronic copy edits...for Heart Change...and in Word, which I once disliked and now absolutely loathe. But, you know, this is NOT going to go away, and those who don't work well electronically will be seen to be Problem Writers and I don't want that. So I'll just #@$#%$&*%*%^#@$ fuss. And whine. And moan....

I worked about 10 hours on them yesterday and got 135 pages done. Tuesday I got 178 pages done and worked about 15 hours. Today I intend to end them, then email on Monday when they are due.

Anyway, here's what it looks like. I admit I took one of the more difficult pages, but there are worse ones. Really. Chapter 22 is a real mess with cutting and pasting and moving around. Note, I am NOT the blue. I am not the green. I am the red.

May you be happy today.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Bad Agent....advice about literary agents

I searched my blog for "agent" and I didn't find the piece of advice which all writers should know. I might not have searched far enough, but it's worth repeating every year. Worth repeating every quarter.

A bad agent is worse than no agent at all.

I am on my 3rd agent, I know this from personal experience.

Another piece of advice: find an agent who loves your work, they can be an advocate for you.

Take care,

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Telegraphing Plot Points

One of the scenes I wrote this morning can't go in :P If I put it in as is, I would telegraph a plot point down the way, and while readers might anticipate it, it would ruin a surprise. So it may end up as a Cut Scene For The Website.

As my friend Sharon Mignerey just said, you want to foreshadow a point, but when you deliver it, you should give the reader a surprise twist. So the scene will become a paragraph.

Sigh. Love the wordcount I'm piling up on the daily "Word Wars." It's working for me. But now I REALLY have to get to the Heart Change copy edits (the first Word electronic stuff that will take me ages).

May you enjoy all processes of your creativity today.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

After Writers' Conference.

I came back home at about 9pm last night, after the longest ever dinner at the Radisson. I think they only had one chef and there were about 20 of us (or more, didn't count). In any event I opened some food for the cats and collapsed.

This morning I'm stiff. I slept fine on my bed, but, again, the Radisson has this new "dial" feature that did nothing for me.

The seminar went fine, though I'm not sure I'll do it again, or not in that format.

The weather has been cold and gray and I didn't get out of the hotel. Had good visits with folks, though, and got inspired. I may just get some of my chronological chapters done before Word Wars tomorrow.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Year Ago

Do you ever wonder where you were a year ago? Occasionally I do, and occasionally I go look. On this computer, I was messing with a .jpg of Heart Duel, why, I don't know. I also wrote the first part of Chapter 16 of Echoes in the Dark (called 16SFAWworking -- Singer For A World). I glanced at Chapter 16 of the actual book and about a third of what's in the first pages was in that working chapter.

So, is that heartening or not? I guess I like to look back to assure myself that my writing life has improved. Since then, the whole Lladranan series has been published and reissued. I've finished book 13, Heart Change, and despite some superstitious misgivings, it actually got done. Heart Journey is coming along. I've committed to three more Luna books (though I still haven't seen the contracts).

I have progressed. I am progressing. I am VERY happy with the Word Wars thing (I think I posted that here).

Right now I am at a writing conference so I was thinking about career, etc. (though it is rarely far from my mind).

And now I guess I'll go collapse in a strange bed.

May you enjoy the knowledge that you are getting better every day.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Zanth And The Landscape Globe -- Copyrighted by Robin D. Owens

All rights reserved; copyright © Robin D. Owens. The text contained within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.


Zanth's whiskers twitched. The smell was incredible. Incredible and wonderful and with the scent of great Flair magic.

He padded warily through the night and the bushes that rose high above his head. He'd never been out of the city of Druida before. Here on his FamMan's southern, overgrown estate there were creatures that might try and make a mouthful of him. But he was a canny and clever cat, the pre-eminent cat of Druida, and therefore, of course, the whole world of Celta.

The bushes loomed and rustled with animals and midnight noises. He placed each paw carefully, flexed his claws. There was treasure up ahead and he meant to have it.

Slithering under the rusted greeniron gate, he wallowed for a few instants in the dirt and dust, spreading his own scent. Notifying all in the area that the mighty Zanth was on the prowl, that this estate, once abandoned, was now his.

He sniffed luxuriously. No celtaroons. He'd cleaned out two nasty nests in the few days they'd been here. There was wolf, far away, but the pack was made of low, unintelligent creatures and no match for Zanth.

He was a FamCat of the highest order, of the greatest nobility. As was his due for finding the boy child in the slum of Downwind and caring for him until they grew enough to walk the Vengeance Stalk. Then they'd killed those men who'd murdered the Ash Family. Zanth had gotten his Residence and his room and his bed and his velvet pillow.

And his chef.

It was a lie that he was soft and fat. He could still take any feral tom in Druida.
The good scent came from beyond the ragged gliderway...it came from the road. Not a big road, but one with lots of odors of stride beasts, llamas, a horse or two. And low predator and prey animals and carrion eaters.

The lake to the south ladened the air with rich smells of fish and small prey and his favorite, sewer rat.

But even wet rat didn't smell as good as this human-Flair-made-thing.

He sauntered out, nose lifted, reveling in all the excellent new smells, the slight breeze sliding against his fur, the beingness in a new place just waiting for him to put his paw prints all over it.

In a few bounds he found the sphere. Glass with interesting-unique-special stuff floating inside. It smelled of woman and strange places beyond any Zanth had experienced. There was a little tang of the Great Platte Ocean that he recognized, and of Gael City where he'd been, and even a icy wind that caused him to shiver and his hair to raise, the far north. More recently was the gaminess of the Hard Rock Mountains. Slightly buried in dirt, he pawed it out, grinning as his claws dug deep in the rich earth of this new place that would know him.

He rolled the sphere a little way, watching something sparkle inside it. Tasting it, his tongue absorbed some of the Flair that created it and emanate from it and he purred. It made him feel better. A treasure indeed.

That is *MINE*
. The snarling shout – mental and physical – stopped Zanth in his tracks. He rolled the globe behind his front paws. It felt good against his heart.

A scrawny and scruffy fox slipped onto the road. Not much like those aristocratic foxes in Druida. Zanth was as big as this one and had more muscle and mass.

But the last time he fought a fox his emerald stud had been ripped from his left ear and lost. He'd also teleported home with a broken hind leg.

FamMan T'Ash had sworn and had taken a long time to make the new stud.

FamWoman Danith had cried.

the fox yelled again.

Zanth didn't run from fights. He could win against this dog fox. The fox lifted lip, showing teeth, and Zanth growled back, packing it with power. The fox set his paws and hunkered, ready to fight.

The sphere sent warmth into Zanth's middle. He wanted it. He would have it. No! Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine! Zanth switched his tail. That was that. Six "mines" and that pointy-nosed creature should know it was his. Cats never backed down after six "mines."

The fox snapped out a bark. That landscape globe belongs to my FamWoman. She made it.

Zanth sniffed. Then why doesn't she have it?

She makes them and lost some. I have gotten two.

Zanth saw in the fox's mind that there had been three. This one is Mine.

Again the fox showed a lift of upper lip and muzzle, growled. A toughness of battle reflected in his eyes. Del made it with sweat and blood and Flair. A shifting of balance of the paws and tail. The stringy fox would fight.

With one strong kick of a hind leg and a demonstration of his fabulous Flair, Zanth sent the "landscape globe" soaring back into the estate, between the rails of the green iron gate.

The fox narrowed his eyes, flexed his dark, dirty claws.

Zanth matched glares. I am Zanth, and the bauble is Mine. I will win. He swaggered forward and his very presence made the fox step back.

Zanth. I have heard of Zanth
, the fox said.

Of course. Zanth smiled with all his teeth. I have killed many sewer rats, many celtaroons, sired many litters.

With a long stare, the fox looked Zanth from tooth to tail tip. You are uglier than I thought.

Zanth curled his lip. You are so ugly the twinmoons' hide. They'd gone behind a cloud.

You are FamCat to T'Ash
, the fox said.

It was a rare fox who could match insult with insult and this one obviously wasn't so smart, though annoying all the same. T'Ash is My FamMan.

Even as he rumbled a growl deep in his throat, options zoomed through Zanth's mind. In a fight he might lose his emerald ear studs and his collar. FamMan refused to fix them again or make him more. FamWoman would be sad. Tears might drip down her face and onto Zanth's fur like the last time he came back bloodied. That made him feel almost worse than losing his gems.

But he extended his claws. He let battle anticipation sit on his tongue before saying, I am Zanth and I will win this fight, but...

The fox snapped up Zanth's bait. What?

I could pay you for the landscape globe with rabbit. In Zanth's experience foxes loved rabbit.

His adversary's tongue rolled out and a string of drool hung to the ground. Real Earthan rabbit or the Celtan mocyn? The fox asked.

Snorting, Zanth said, Rabbits. Two. Freshly killed and put in a cold spot where I can get in with my Flair. A neighboring farmer had done the killing, but Zanth didn't care. If it was available to him and no one guarded it from him, it was his.

Done! cried the fox, and he was equally irritating as he kept up with Zanth on the run to the neighbor's cold shed.

Feeling magnanimous, Zanth showed the creature how to manipulate the latch with Flair. The fox took both rabbits while Zanth sat and groomed his paws. The treasure was his and it would last a lot longer than a couple of rabbit meals. Besides, he didn't like rabbit.

Once they were away from the shed and the road, they eyed each other, then the fox nodded and said, I am Shunuk.

I haven't heard of you
, Zanth said.

The fox's tail bristled and flicked, then he was gone in the night, nearly as quiet and stealthy as Zanth himself.

Zanth hurried back to his estate to claim his treasure. He stared at it and for an instant in the twinmoons' light an image solidified inside the sphere – Zanth's Residence and room and his velvet pillow. He lipped up his treasure and grinned around the globe.

He was the strongest and cleverest and best FamCat – FamAnimal – on all of Celta. Naturally.

Life was good.

May you enjoy all the stories you read.
love, Robin (off to Colorado Romance Writer's Conference)

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