On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

What Short Story Would You Like to See

I've been given an opportunity to write a short story. This is NOT a novella, so it would be SHORT paranormal romance.

What story would you like to see?


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Heart Journey Cover Change -- Removing Cover Images

All right, I noticed that the tatt on Raz's back was exactly the same as one I'd copied from a trade-marked design on the net. I figured the art dept. would change it. I was wrong.

So the tatt will be removed. My editor says there isn't enough time to do a new tatt, so Raz will be tatt-less. Since I hadn't written it in yet, I don't have to.

I'll also be removing the cover that I've posted from all sites.


Current Research Passion

As you might have recalled, I did quite a bit of research earlier on tectonic plates and Earthquakes (and if you haven't donated to relief for Haiti, please do so).

Currently I am (in Enchanted No More), in the Earth Palace which is near Yellowstone. Yellowstone itself has had about 14 minor quakes over the last week from 1.8 to 3.1 (as of last night, didn't check today). I have a little app on my itouch that checks this for me.

And above is the live webcam of Old Faithful. Right now it is too dark to see anything since dawn has not arrived (coming up here, but we're south).

So until I move to the lost coast of California in the book, I'll be watching the mammouth mud pots and old faithful.

Naturally I checked out going to Yellowstone (it's near to the time of the book), and Northumberland, England (though most of those scenes took place inside), and would love to head to California...someday I'll have enough dough to check out my settings beforehand.

May you enjoy windows into other places/worlds today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Heart Journey Cover Scene


All right I've been giving it some thought. The background in Heart Journey is not Del's estate in Druida City, nor Raz's family's estate. It's not the city itself. It's not Gael City or Raz's family's home there (though I suppose I could put it there).

The background is NOT an alpine-like spot in their journey through the Hard Rock mountains. Mentor pointed out that it could be part of the Great Labyrinth and I think that would work -- but Raz is never IN the Great Labyrinth...so the best I could do, I think, is to add a few paragraphs of Del dreaming, this will be near the end of the book.

So is it important to you that the scene is in the book or not? (And I will have to add the symbol for Lugh's Spear and Raz's tatt -- I thought it would be on his chest).

Gimme opinions here.

May you enjoy the art of the world today.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Research Trip

Went on a fascinating research trip yesterday. If you're local, I'm sorry to say it was the last day.

The exhibit was from The Higgins Armory Museum and featured swords from all over the world. The Higgins link is here: http://www.higgins.org/

This was taking place in The Littleton Historical Museum (link above). They had swords with hilts like I've posted before here, and diagrams, and ceremonial swords with bells and serrated boarding swords for navies. (Ok, I was wrenched from the REM state this am by my alarm and not fully functional yet...which is why I'm writing this instead of working on Enchanted No More).

Bottom line: Research outings are important.

May you enjoy wherever you go today.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Magic MUST Cost

I recently read a book where magic had no cost, no exhaustion from teleporting across continents, no headaches on doing/receiving mind probes, nothing.

The "world building" irritated me no end and I think that this writer is not a big paranormal or fantasy writer, which made me wonder why he/she attempted such a book.

Like every other endeavor magic MUST have a cost. If it doesn't why is it interesting?
Did these people have never-ending physical reserves (they were fighting villains too)?

I still don't get it, much of the book escaped me. If I ran a sprint, it costs me...in energy, in panting breath, maybe a stitch in my side. If I concentrated on revising a document, it costs me, eye strain, dull brain, tension in my shoulders. If I have a conflict with another person, it costs me -- upset stomach, perhaps tears, a lowness of spirit.

That's physical, mental, emotional effort and the costs, why should magic be different?

And yes, a second "rule" I hold dear to my heart was broken, magic took care of the villain.

Read in your genre, know the techniques of your genre.

May you enjoy all you read today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Heart Journey's Cover


I'm doing an ad in Romance Sells and had to submit the cover, so I got it from my editor. Like most of my covers I am ambivalent about it (Loved Heart Duel and Heart Change at first sight, also Sorceress of Faith, Protector of the Flight).

So here it is for your comments. Heart Journey will be out in August.

May you enjoy your own imagination today.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Working Late -- Putting in the Hours

I am actually signed in on Word Wars and there are five of us, which is amazing to me. Naturally Jan 1 had the most, with folks showing up as part of their resolutions or goals, but this is the first time I've worked this late. I signed on about an hour ago and there was only one of us...

But I've finished Chapter 8 of Enchanted No More and that was my goal for the day. I am still working on scenes that I wrote during NaNoWriMo and writing the transitions. Since I now break out the chapters so I can see how long I'm running, I do know that I am writing long, as usual.

I've decided that I will cut more internals from now on.

And now I think that I'm babbling so I'll sign off. It's odd that I wrote for so many years during these hours -- evenings and nights -- and I don't care to do it much anymore.

May you enjoy all that comes to you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I spoke about publishing and writing last night at the Denver Area SF Assn meeting, and left feeling great. Which is good since the last time I spoke to a group I left feeling lousy, I was so OFF. But last night my improv teacher came up and congratulated me on my assurance and holding the audience and I had good questions and got to tell some of my fav stories. On a grade of My Own Scale I think I came in around a 7 out of 10. I told my teacher that it was all due to her and she demurred, but I believe that, and I said I do it often. Not really that often, but enough that I am not petrified anymore if I'm feeling halfway ok.

OTOH, I never sleep well before a day that I speak, and I don't get much done until the thing is OVER. I thought about what I was going to say, wrote stuff down on a memo sheet to start me off, and marked the passage I thought I would read to hell and gone. I practiced. But I didn't read. I think I should have, but even though the guys might have liked the passage I emphasized that Heart Change was a romance so they wouldn't have bought it. My local bookseller was there and sold a couple.

May you enjoy all your engagements today.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Long Distance Climate Research

Enchanted No More takes place Jan-March and I wanted to go to a couple of the venues (ok, I wanted to go to Northumberland in England, too, but that is out of the question). So it looks like that I'll be doing long distance climate/weather research via web cams.

May you find answers to your problems.

Friday, January 15, 2010

P/TT/F/F - Contests

I have a friend who is an avid reader and for the first time she has hooked up with "reader judged" contests. She got an email last week confirming that she was judging a panel of books in P/TT/F/F. She didn't know what that meant so I told her: Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy/Futuristic category.

Which has always been the tough part of my writing. Both unpublished and published. Except for the Futuristic/Fantasy and Paranormal Chapter of RWA, this category isn't broken out. So when I enter my work, my Celta and Summoning books are competing with ghosts and werewolves and vampires and women who find love in early Scotland or Regency England etc.

My Luna books COULD be considered as Single Title with romantic elements (since the romance isn't front and center), but then I also compete with women's fiction and contemporary romantic suspense.

But this is what I understand when I enter...so...in any event I am entering more, now, to make readers aware of my books and my backlist than to win (and if you believe that...but it's mostly true).

So may you know what you want today and get it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Heart Journey Excerpt Up

My website has been updated. Free Your Artist has new motivational quote, exercise, fun links and affirmation.

READS has an excerpt from Heart Journey, not the first pages of chapter 1 because I understand folks read sample chapters, pick things up in a bookstore and read the first pages and think they have the book.

HOME page and BOOKSHELF have a bit of info on the new series.

CONTEST is for my fav Engagement Calendar, The Sacred Journey (I've done this before in Jan.)

No WORLDS page update as I hadn't prepared for it and camera is broken and...excuse & rationalization.

May you enjoy your week.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Writing Time vs. Reading Time

Last week and the week before I worked on Chapter 5 of Enchanted No More. Saturday my critique group met and all this week I've revised -- for the third or fourth time -- Chapter 3 (an Elemental Balancer is quite different from a Timeshifter, and the River of Time was actually easier to describe than my idea of the interdimension). If I did my job right, you will sigh and sympathize in chapter 3 and shudder in Chapter 4. But these chapters are around 15-16 manuscript pages. They should read in a few minutes.

That's my job. (Long and grumpy whine cut here, be grateful).

May you enjoy reading today.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Word Wars


I am continuing to participate in Word Wars. I am usually there 7:30 a.m. MST (will get earlier as the sun rises earlier), though since it's generally run by Catie Murphy in Ireland, people get there before me.

The announcement of the room being open is usually here:

If no one is in the room, I'll post when I'm going in.

We usually run for 30 minute sprints and count words (I have been known to have 6), or revised pages done, or whatever. SUPPORT and PROGRESS are the watchwords. We don't really chat, and the "winner" is usually celebrated during the break, about 10 minutes.

Join us if you like, the more the merrier, trite but true.

May you find inspiration today.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Need Houses Pics -- Research around the 'Hood

I'm writing the first Mystic Circle book for Luna and it's the name of a cul-de-sac. So I went around the hood looking for good houses, and there are plenty, but if you want to send me some, that would be tres kewl. At least two stories, no more than 3, any time period as long as they are interesting architecturally. This book is taking place Jan-March so WINTER photos are preferred.

I am thinking 6 houses for the cul-de-sac. Please let me know if any images are copyrighted so I can either ask permission or not post.

Have fun!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Villain's Measure / Heroines Save Themselves

If you're writing for women and fantasy, romantic sf, or romance, the measure of a villain should be the heroine's ability to barely beat him. She should have the courage and strength she develops in her character arc through the story to win -- to face the evil and triumph. Growing and winning against great odds is the emotional payoff for the reader.

I recently read a story where the heroine was saved by her male hero bodyguard and it left me very dissatisfied. The thing is, the author set up in the story that the heroine had an untapped, repressed great rage. I expected that she'd learn to harness and release this rage, then grow, in the fight with the villain. This didn't happen. If she had anger in the latter half of the book, it was never addressed. So I believe the author, and her editor(s) didn't do right by the story.

May you enjoy all your journeys today.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


The support of other writers is essential to keep the spirits up and determination and inspiration alive. And in person face time. Emails can be good, so can telephone calls, but the best is the simple presence of other writers.

So you can see their faces and body language as they talk about the same passion you share. This is true for EVERYONE, spending time in the company of like-minded people.

Yesterday at critique we spent a long time talking about goals -- talking about writing and marketing and selling.

The best thing to think of is to focus on the PROCESS of writing, not the RESULT of selling, but when you yearn for publication, that's difficult.

Then there was one of our group who has been hurt by our critique, twisting stories to match our vision of the book and the market. That writer is going to do several proposals that are FUN for her to write -- and not show them to us.

That's important, too, to preserve the integrity of a writer's voice and story.

May you be true to yourself today.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Writer Issues

That's today and I have my pages (11) on Enchanted No More, and my gifts. After this the holiday season is officially done for me until my Mom's birthday next month...

This scene is touchy because I added a new villain and I want to know if the misdirection worked and if it's creepy enough.

I saw mentor at a party yesterday and she's bringing a scene, too. She said she'd realized why she'd been having such a hard time writing this issues. It brought up a lot of old emotions that she didn't realize she had about the past.

We discussed that old emotions/issues etc. will stay with you a long time, and, yes, if you're a writer, you will use these issues, or work through them, or explore them, or all three and more.

Protector of the Flight was my book to explore father issues, though the man in that book was much less loving than my father.

And there's still no guarantee by the end of the book that you will have grown as a writer or a person, and it will always be hard to write of such things. But it's an option that we have.

And, of course, some readers will know when you're exposing yourself and some will think its part of the story. Exposing bits of yourself is part of being a part of a writer.

So I will be interested in the pages that my mentor brought, but I'm sure they are fine and will hit the right emotional note. My pages ARE story, so it might be easier. Or maybe not, if the skill that I wanted to display isn't there.

But I'll enjoy seeing my friends and their pages where they might or might not be exposed and the looks on their faces at their holiday gifts (we have several religions among us).

May you have a day with just the right emotional exposure.

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