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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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Motivational Quote -- Tina Turner

“Sometimes you've got to let everything go - purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” -- Tina Turner

May you be free today.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sad News -- Tommy "Du"

I had to put my cat Tommy to sleep today. Ever since I got him about a year and a half ago, he was skinny. We both fought to keep him healthy with an ever experimental special diet, but a few days ago he stopped eating.

Tommy is "Du" in the upcoming Heart Change. Of all the Fams in all my books, I think Du has the smallest part because there are so many characters (including Fams) in Heart Change. The Fam I focused on in Heart Change was Cratag's Beadle, not Signet's Du.

And though his unique personality might not have come through in Heart Change, Tommy was different from all my cats. He was truly a beautiful cat, very vocal with a range I hadn't heard before. He was very loving, and though he was declawed, he enjoyed hunting -- and he had a strong spirit. He was a cuddler and kept my schedule. And he was the best watch cat I ever had...tea kettle singing that I can't hear? Tommy would tell me. Did I forget dinner and it was starting to burn? He let me know. Had the racoons DARED to invade the house? Tommy was vociferous. And he always expected his due. ;)

I only wish that the fate I gave Du had been allowed to Tommy -- that there was nothing physically wrong with him, that as soon as he was rescued and safe emotionally, he began to put on weight....but that wasn't the case.

I miss him already, and am sorry that he wasn't alive to appreciate whatever little fame Heart Change would give him, but am pleased he will live on in my work.

Thank you, and please appreciate YOUR animal companions today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Luna proposal out again -- Worldbuilding -- Backstory

So, I JUST emailed the Luna proposal for Out of Balance again. Since my editor had more problems with the worldbuilding than the pages or the synopsis, I went in detail about that (3353 words), and didn't revise the pages or the storyline and send those. If I must, I will do those, but I have worked really hard on building this world and hope that's enough for her to approve it.

Yesterday I spoke of my mentor and I've been thinking of my talk with her (and other proposals I've had her help on). The thing is, most of this worldbuilding is done up front (and I like to make it up as I go along), so it IS complex and she thinks it is complex...but not all goes into the book, and in the book, I can make readers suspend disbelief. This is all background stuff that shouldn't necessarily show.

But I am hoping to do personal research in Yellowstone and Mendocino next year (in Feburary, which will be dam cold in Wyoming and apparently rainy and cold in CA).

I really wish I could go to Tonga.

Anyway, it's raining and lightning-ing here and the power has already flickered and died once, so I'm off now.

I'm happy that the proposal is out (of course I was the first time, too).

May you enjoy whatever worlds you build or visit today.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Know Your Critiquers

You need to know the preferences of your critiquers. I sent the new proposal notes for Out of Balance to a few and got back very detailed questions from my mentor. My mentor doesn't write fantasy, but she does read my work. I have finally learned that she will want all the incredibly minor details of how this works and where does magic come from and everything.

So. This is good and bad. It makes me think through everything, but thinking through everything takes a lot of time and most of that stuff won't be in the books. On the other hand, I'll have everything covered.

I had one critiquer who had a problem with a heroine kicking her husband under the table. Spousal abuse! That became "nudged." Later in that (unpublished historical), my heroine lost her very controlled temper (her character arc was that she was too buttoned down) and slapped the hero's face. This scene was very difficult for my critiquer. For me, not so much, and of course there was guilt and consequences, but that wasn't enough for my beta reader.

So it goes. You need to know what their limitations are. Obviously, pay attention to their comments, consider them, and write the books the way they should be written.

But it's always easier to know when you're stepping on a hot button BEFOREHAND. ;)

That's my advice for today. May you enjoy the evening.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lesson Learned


I am feeling much better today and I have learned a valuable lesson. Ditch the concept when it won't work.

So Time Shifter is gone. The heroine and her basic story stays the same, but her magical power is different now. I just could NOT make time travelling work with this heroine.

I've gotten used to ditching openings and ends and subplots, but this is the first time I couldn't make a concept/main plotline work.

I spent a week bashing my head against the concept, but just could NOT get it to work without laying down a zillion rules that would govern time travel.

I gave it up and other ideas started coming within the half hour.

Note: Time Shifter will NOT be the first of the series. The heroine is the same, but with the change of her power came a whole new set of titles. IF I get to keep the title, it will be OUT OF BALANCE (to be followed by Out of Luck and Out of Water).

I'll go back and put a note in when I announced the thing.

Meanwhile, I'm excited about the project and though I originally had 5 ideas for this world, it looks like I'll have 6 or more.

May you be excited with your work today.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Yes, I'm in one. It's not writer's block. It's trying to figure out this d**n plot for Time Shifter. So I'm not going to whine and grumble, I'm just going back to staring at the ceiling and thinking...more.

May things come easy to you today.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Solstice

Happy Solstice,

May you enjoy the summer day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Heart Change, with photo, up on Amazon

It's such a wonderful cover that I am glad it's up.

May you smile a lot today.

Friday, June 19, 2009

??? Where Did The Time Go?

I was sure I posted today (all right it's now Friday but Thursday), but I guess not, so my apologies. For a long time a friend of mine, Glenna McReynolds said that one of her books broke her brain it was so complex and hard.

I didn't know what she meant until I started reworking the Luna proposal of Time Shifter. It is HARD figuring out some stuff. Like, of what use would it be to travel in time 20 minutes to 5 hours in the future...

In any event, the real big problems are the time travel stuff and the backstory -- once a battle but now be changing to a sneak attack. My brain does hurt, I swear my eyes is gonna pop outta my haid.

May you take it easy today,

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ups and Downs

Our creative life, and our careers, and life itself has ups and downs...but let's talk about writing first...when the scene flows, when I like what I'm writing, when I'm not struggling with the page, I am happiest. Naturally.

When I sit and can't settle, or the scene feels clunky, I am a little dissatisfied.

Now publishing, when my editor "has concerns" about my work, then I am annoyed and afraid.

Timeshifter. The first Luna books, I literally spent 4 months on the proposals. I think I spent about 2 months on the second six and about three days thinking out the changes to the 5-into-6 since they wanted it in five months (well, they wanted Keepers of the Flame in four, but I finished it in five).

Now for Timeshifter I spent about two weeks on, and I guess it showed, though *I* liked the proposal. Editor and I ripped the guts out of it yesterday. The Timeshifting element wasn't as solid as I'd thought it was (ok, I DID spend lots of time thinking on that, just didn't hit all the points I needed to for the backstory).

So now I start again. No more Heart Journey this week. This week and some of next will be dedicated to getting more done on Time Shifter. BTW, this is now shaping up to be more on the romance side of the fantasy spectrum than the less romance side.

So, that's that. I'll be happy when we get this ironed out ("we" means me doing the work and editor approving).

May you enjoy the changes of the day.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Writing Retreats

All right, I like being in another room with writers, talking about writing and publishing during meals, taking breaks.

This time wasn't as productive as I'd wanted and it was all about me. I couldn't settle well, and I had a hard time sinking into Heart Journey since my Luna editor emailed me about concerns regarding the Timeshifter proposal on Friday and we went back and forth on appointments to talk on Saturday.

In any event, I didn't have a huge goal just 2000 words a day, and I came home with 8100, I think, but that was mostly because I did 3500 words Monday am. Having Raz (hero) in the room with Del's (heroine) old lover, Straif Blackthorn, pumped me up.

My computer didn't get the net. The new, tiny itouch did, but I am still figuring out how to use it...it took me a few hours to understand how I can access my regular email account instead of the two tiny ones I assigned to the baby. So, I kept asking for help online to reconfigure the laptop so it would popup a window while it tried to connect to ask for a password. Which it doesn't on a secure wifi, so I was just out of luck.

I think I would have been better able to settle into retreat if my tools were working properly. I didn't have to be on the net all the time...in fact the sunroom rarely got the net...but knowing I COULD would have been helpful.

So, that's that.

The mountain scenery was gorgeous, we are having a very cool and wet summer, so hills that should usually be brown were green. The temp dropped to 24 and wiped out the manager/cook's garden.

And I think I'm still tired this morning. I have this feeling that Tommy has started his old game of waking me during my last REM dream cycle which just leaves me weary.

But, yes, bottom line, I love retreats, am glad I did, signed up for one in October though I will also be doing the weeklong one in November in South Carolina. A while back I YEARNED for a retreat and couldn't find one like these -- writing and not presenting or listening to presenters. Now I have two, I am blessed.

May you find things that work to inspire you today,

Friday, June 12, 2009

No pics

I can't get my laptop to connect with the hotel, sigh. It needs a password and for some reason I can't get my laptop to give me a window to enter a password. So I will be doing very short posts fromy itouch through Sunday.

At Hand Hotel

First post sent by itouch, easier than moving the laptop from the sunroom. Will post pics after pm writing.

May you enjoy your surroundings today.

At Hand Hotel

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Different Worlds

Many worlds I am comfortable in and familiar with. In fact, I would say most. This does not include Japanese anime. I am watching a series where I am trying to grasp what is going on -- and I may be reading too much into something that's supposed to be entertainment. But I like a mythology underpinning my worlds and when I don't understand it, it can be one big HUH.

In any event, to show you how clueless I can be, I was expecting some explanation all through Howl's Moving Castle as to why the hero is wearing earrings. That didn't happen, and I think I recall being told that they just wanted Howl to do so. Huh.

But it's interesting to stretch my mind and let it flail around grasping for meaning...
good to have different takes on a story, different stories that fall way beyond my mythological comfort zone.

So...enjoy all the worlds you visit today.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless -- Importance of Live Support, Face time

I don't know what to talk about today. I'm working on Chapter 11 of Heart Journey and wanted it done but only have 7 pages, so I'll have to work this evening, too.

My Brenda Novak auction winners have contacted me. We have a new geographical feature on Celta, the Bluegrass Plains which WILL play a part in a subplot that I'm setting up for the next few books. I'll post a map when I get it done.

I am preparing for the quarterly retreat in Fairplay. So far I've only gone once. January was too stormy for me to feel safe driving alone in the Saab, and last October (like upcoming October)is too close to the November retreat in South Carolina.

Ah, there's my topic for the day, and I've changed the title. Yes, I communicate with people via webmail and during the wars, and that's important. I talk with my mentor at least once and usually several times a week. But. Still.

Get together IN PERSON with other writers. Watch as you talk with them about writing and their eyes DON'T glaze over. This IS important. Bodied (as opposed to disembodied) connection.

Writers (and this goes for readers, too) are part of a tribe. Participate in tribal gatherings.

May you enjoy all the company you keep today.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Heart Series -- Heart Journey

Ok, I had a comment I needed to moderate, which was confusing since I think I only locked down old ones...in any case to respond to it about the Heart books: Heart Change is coming in November, Heart Journey will be out in 2011, and I sold a third at the same time, currently entitled Heart Hope (which mentor dislikes).

I anticipate that Heart Hope will skip about 15 years and be about Laev Hawthorn (who I torture in Heart Change).

I've gone back and forth about doing scenes to set up for more of the series that haven't been sold yet (scenes I've written with Antenn Moss/Blackthorn) in Heart Journey and think I will include them instead of putting them on my website...at least that's my decision for now.

I looked at my previous calendar and I don't like it. I think a month should begin with dark twinmoons, go to full twinmoons and back to dark. I can't recall if I've ever explained this cycle. Sigh.

And since dates ARE Lunar, this has screwed up my whole timeline.

Today I was looking back to the Holly-Blackthorn Family Tree (which will NOT be in Heart Change since that is the "other side" of the duel). Most particularly to Straif's and Mitchella's children.

I decided that it would be wrong to give them a child in between books. ;) Comments?

As of Heart Fate they have three (I think).

May you enjoy all the children in your life today.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tools & Toys, Monthly Charges, Dumping Emusic

I finally broke down and got a new PDA, an itouch. For a LONG time I stuck with the Wonderful Cassiopeia E125, and it still has features that the itouch doesn't...like being able to handwrite letters instead of typing, like having sound recording, like handwriting and drawing notes, and the general calendar is good. Want to put in Critique the 4th Saturday of the month, easy. Want to put in cleaning every 4th Monday, that happens, too. Not to mention syncing with the computer is great, esp. since my wifi guy hasn't come out here to add the new kid to the network, so I've been doing work arounds to get my ebooks etc. onto my itouch. But apps are long gone for the E125 and so is the support and the units themselves are disappearing.

Yes, I'm still peeved that Cassio was munched by HP and they both orphaned this wonderful tool which is STILL better in many ways than anything out there.

I didn't want an added monthly expense -- landline and cell phone and cable for internet all sucking up the dough, though I'm about to dump emusic because they are going from 50 downloads to 30 for their "lowest-level" customers. I can listen to Pandora and buy bits and pieces instead of whole albums that I have been doing.

Anyway, the itouch IS extremely sleek and so far the apps have been fun (when I've gone down to the coffee shop to load them). If you have wifi in the home, the itouch will work for you.

I've already sent and received an email from my agent.

So it will be good on the go. I hope, but the calendar and the ebooks was what I really wanted. To have books to read when I went to conference or retreat...a great boon.

May you enjoy your toys and tools today.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Website UP -- Excerpts -- Prize -- Worlds Page

Yes, I buckled down for about 10 hours and updated my website. My webmistress is questioning all this work and the cost effectiveness. But I do like to offer a lot of content for people roaming around my site and my worlds.

In any event there is a SMALL TEASER for Heart Change (note right now it says Cut Scene but it IS in the book. I'll see if I can fix it myself). It comes from chapter 4, I think.

There is also a CUT scene from ECHOES IN THE DARK. Both are under READS.

The WORLDS page has a color topographical map of northern Lladrana to the Dark's Nest.

Free Your Artist brings you a quote from Dr. Seuss this month, and the monthly divination is biorhythms.

The contest is for a postcard that is now discontinued of Nene Thomas's work. It's not up there right now (should be soon), but is above.

May you enjoy your own company today.

Friday, June 05, 2009

On Tour: Red Kiss

A Gods of Midnight Novel
by Deidre Knight

Signet Eclipse
June 2, 2009

Immortal warrior and Spartan slave River Kassandros has a special gift—the ability to transform into any weapon. But in a recent battle, he was trapped as a dagger, unable to become human again. His one hope of salvation is a mere mortal…
When Emma Lowery beaches her kayak on an uninhabited island off the coast of Savannah, an ancient dagger seems to call out to her. Compelled by dark forces, Emma draws blood with his blade, freeing River. Now he’s stronger, angrier—and exudes more sensuality than Emma can resist.

But a sinister power wants to claim River’s destiny, and his precarious freedom. The pair must join the Spartan warriors to fight Ares himself. But can they face sacrificing their love to protect humankind from the war god’s demonic plan?

Cover Image: http://www.deidreknight.com/images/red_kiss_final_cover_large.jpg

May you love all your kisses today.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Heart Journey Calendar

I was having trouble keeping the time straight in Heart Journey so I made up this calendar. As always, it only includes things *I* feel are useful, so it's a working timeline, for now. I am up to the 20th. ;)

Heart Journey Calendar

May you have no problem keeping track of your life today.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New Look, Hyphens

I wanted something a little different. I've tried this background before. Not sure it will last too long, but seems a little art deco stained-glassish.

And that reminds me of hypens, the punctuation. Like in blue-green or cul-de-saq. Or any other number of words.

Did I say that in Heart Change the copy editor took ALL the hyphens out? Since it still bugs me, I may email my editor or editor's assistant and ask if that's standard practice now. I think she was supposed to get back to me on something anyway, but mind is a sieve this week...maybe it was...ah! one of the e-formats is unavailable for one of my books. But I haven't heard about that, so I guess I need to prompt, because if I don't it won't get done.

May the day please you today.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Switching Back, Books & Website

Time Shifter is done (and I thought of a little change last night, naturally, to the concept of the story), and today I need to shift back to Heart Journey.

And I need to update the website, which has moved to another server. I am no longer with the romance community of Access Romance, mainly because I didn't take much advantage of what they were doing.

So I'm back on my own. I don't think that many people found me through Access Romance, either.

So I've started reading on Heart Journey on chapter 3.

Such is the life of a writer.
May you enjoy the weather today (it's raining in Denver and I need to take the car in because the turn signal broke in my hand yesterday, so using arm signals will be fun).

Monday, June 01, 2009

Time Shifter is SUBMITTED, some info

Yes, I'm late in writing this. I've had a filthy headache all day for unknown reasons (probably stress). But Time Shifter is SUBMITTED.

I WILL give you a LITTLE info about the book, but be aware that it isn't due until April next year and won't be out until 2011...if things go as planned.

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.

The world of the Lightfolk ("good" magical beings) coexists with the human world. Humans still do not know that magical folk are real.

The greatest of the Lightfolk had left centuries before, knowing that their era was coming to an end and their magical power – and every other sort of power – would diminish in the wake of the breeding and spreading technological humans. The mortals would sneer at magic, then persecute, before the time came when their technology was close enough to magic to meld into something new. Millennia. It had happened before in other dimensions.

So they'd called in a gatekeeper and had a gate made to another dimension and vanished through it for more magically throbbing worlds.

But there had been lesser magical folk who knew that with the great ones gone, more magic could be accrued by themselves and they would grow in magical power. That, of course, had happened and they'd prospered.

The Lightfolk are organized into eight groups according to the four elements with major and minor peoples: Air: Elves/Air Sprites; Fire: Djinns/Fire Sprites; Earth: Dwarves/Brownies; Water: Merfolk/Naiads. There is also the Treefolk, Dryads.
There are four couples, one for each element, Kings and Queens of that element, who rule the Lightfolk: Elf, Djinn, Dwarf, Mer. They are called the Four (couples). They are the most powerful people of their kind.

Time Shifter Rules:
Time shifters go into the time river with their astral bodies, not their physical bodies. Their physical bodies are in a trance at the time, usually near the geographical point where they went into the river. A person can stay in the time river for a while without deteriorating as long as something doesn't happen to their physical body.

Time is wide and rushing river, not easily changed. When a stream is diverted by a time shifter, it makes an alternate world and the shifter is whipped between the worlds until h/she is shredded, perhaps even her soul.

The Eversteps learned how much the river could be manipulated before such a split could happen and noted it in the family histories. Thus, the time shifters making an alternative world through their manipulation is rare.

One of the things that will split off another reality is if a time shifter is duplicated in the same 24 mile radius in a 3 day period.

Therefore Jenni was unable to go back and "fix" her mistake.

You get one chance and one chance only to work on a certain past event.

That's all I want to share right now. I submitted four chapters, but chapter 4 may not be where I left the hook. I was having trouble with it, but wanted to get the first part of it in.

May your own imagination take flight.


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