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, May 31, 2010

New Laptop

Yes, I took my well-paid (begging & pleading) hardware and software consultants to a computer store yesterday (ok, they took me), and got this new Acer Aspire 5732Z. Of the machines we looked at in my price range, this was the best. It also has the best keyboard feel.

So I am almost ready to go. Word doesn't want to load on this because I've reached my limit of installs (what with the damn crashes I'm not surprised), so I have to call up and speak with a real person, which can definitely wait for tomorrow.

Spoke to a writer I hadn't heard from for a long time last night...and we spoke about opening with a Single Character On Stage (I'll save that discussion for tomorrow).

And that's about all the excitement of writing in my life. Guess I'll continue to work on customizing the laptop. I eschewed Vista and got 7. Loaded my "new" Corel Wordperfect Pro X4 on it and it seems to be working.

Most of my work files were transferred last night via the newish external hard drive.

This machine is NOT getting City of Heroes installed on it, but will be a godsend when hot weather hits...I'll be down in the dining room, or even manage a desk in the basement.

May you enjoy the holiday and be pleased with yourself today.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Writing on Holidays

I remember writing on holidays when I had a day job. I remember carving out time to spend with friends and family around the writing. Or carving out writing time from Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, etc., with family and friends, too. Right now, of course, I am behind deadline, so it's a real job, not a holiday. But there's comfort in continuity.

And this weekend I am going to bite the bullet and dip into savings for a new (or new-to-me) laptop. So I will have wincing fun.

And let the summer season begin!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Starting New Projects


I've been fiddling around with Character Interviews, and The Writers Journey plots, etc. for the next Luna book, and little is happening. As of now, I haven't decided to force anything, but if nothing shapes up during the holiday weekend, I'll be doing that.

Today I've decided just to Start Writing. Amber and Jason (was Jordan but I like Jason better), are waiting, so off I go...

May your work come easy and fulfill you today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fretting About Titles

I KNOW I am the only one who can really keep the "Heart" series titles straight (and even I have trouble). But I have the next two in mind, Laev's story that I'm working on now, and one after that with a hero who is a private eye. But it's been bugging me that the issues in each book didn't match the titles I'd chosen, and, in fact should be switched.

So I emailed my editor and asked to change/switch the titles and she agreed.

Now, just to confuse you all, the next book after Heart Journey will be Heart Search, and the one after that (hopefully to be sold) is Heart Secret...maybe. Ed. didn't like that title as much.

May you get what you want today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Enchanted No More

Well, Enchanted No More went in yesterday at 9:38 my time, emailed. It turned out to be less because I'd repeated a couple of scenes, so it's running at 98-99K depending upon the wp program you use.

Once again the formatting from word perfect to word had me turning the air blue. It's the section thing, changing the header for every section. I'd picked a font for the title Absalom, that I'm not sure many people have/use so I changed that so the page numbers to show up, just in case. The Chapter headings can just go hang.

So that's done and in and I am pleased with the book.

May you enjoy what you do today.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Larger Enchanted No More Cover

As you can tell, I've been fussing around in my new graphics package, Photoelements 7. It's ok and I find I've been able to do covers etc. in about the same amount of time (after 2 days) that I could have done with my old software (which I lost when BOTH the computers crashed and I couldn't find the disks).

I hope to be able to do more. ;)

But right now, here is a larger cover of Enchanted No More.


May you enjoy any enchantments today.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


In my opinion, you use a pseudonym when you're a minister's wife writing erotica, you want to keep your privacy, you are writing in several different genres and you don't want your readers to cross over.

Those are all good reasons. If your publisher asks you to do so, that is a good reason. There are more.

I am a Scorpio (you didn't guess?) I never intended to write under my own name. I had what I thought was a perfectly good name picked out -- and my family laughed at it.

And the publishing of HeartMate proceeded at a "huge" rush for me. I didn't have weeks or months to really think about alternate names, or you'd see me as Lily Darnell or something.

I DO have a pseudonym, an alter identity, ready to go now...but she's become a beloved person, so I'm not sure I could use the name and toss it away as an experiment...and, no, I'm not going to share.

But I like Rexxa Red, too. ;)

I hope you've found the posts amusing this week.

Again, may you find much amusing this day.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Finishing a Book -- Huge Rush of Joy

Finishing a book -- the rush of joy. I think I've said this before, but I'm going to repeat. About the first five manuscripts, I DID feel a huge surge of joy and accomplishment. Giddiness so strong I could barely speak (I recall this). This carried over from my unpublished work to my books.

I miss this bitterly. Now when I finish a book, it's "eh, it's done." No sexy rush. No euphoria at the end of a massive effort (and, like, it is STILL a massive effort but I don't get the durn RUSH? So not fair).

You see my rush, sliding away from my house in a stream of sparkly rainbow colors, you send it Right Back Home To Me!

Enjoy yourself today.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Here it is, on the whole I'm pleased, though I will have to change her hair color.


Let me know what you think.

May you enjoy your own pics today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Editing Mode -- Long Days

I like to read the book in as small as chunks as possible, so during editing -- rough, or copy edits, page proofs/author alterations -- I put in those 12-16 hour days. Everything (every fun bit, every mistake, every umpteenth repetition) stays fresh. The butt goes numb, there is much pacing.

The glamorous life of a writer.

May you enjoy all the glamor today...I can't find mine...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Different Books -- Different Problems

I was distressed at the problem I ran into with Enchanted No More. A new one, but one I don't ever want to face again. Usually I consider my endings very solid. This is because lately I've reached the middle of the book and the idea for the ending scene(s) have leapt out and demanded to be written.

The problem with Enchanted No More was that I wrote about 5 endings (a total of 10 scenes or bits of scenes, 7K) over the period of the book -- that is, I wrote the first climax in November of last year, one in February, a bit here and there. And they clashed. And there was way too much action and not enough logical choreography for all that I'd planned to happen actually happen, especially not in the hour of book time.

I won't ever do that again. That's where my out-of-sequence writing technique really ambushed me. Especially as the book changed...so, for instance, there is a set up for a villain who became a red-herring. There was a set up for a death that didn't happen.

But trying to shoehorn these in and keep all the bits and make them work was agonizing -- especially since I'd thought I was running short ((93K is barely acceptable and I had 82K going into the home stretch).

So, now I am aware of this problem, I will keep an eye on it and myself in check.

For my first three books, I got stuck at the third turning point. I learned how to deal with that, now this crops up...

May you understand your flaws today, and not repeat them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This Week -- Finishing Books "I can't finish this book"

At some point I have the feeling "I can't finish this book." I am sure that I am not alone in this. And since I have now written 14 books for publication, I have experience that though I feel this, I can make it through. That came about two weeks ago and on last Friday, the day I had designated for "the big push."

This is a normal feeling. Ways to get over it: 1. Sit down and write. Set a timer and not allow yourself to do anything but write. 2. Chant "I can do it." 3. Have a friend call (as often as necessary but not more than twice a day) chant "You can do it."

These techniques work for me, as always, they may not work for you...but you can give 'em a try...

May you enjoy your own foibles today.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Post Partum Panic -- What Have I DONE!

Yes, Enchanted No More is done, and creeping fear has set in. This is not a Heart series book, a familiar world with Fams (there are occasional brownies). This is not the Summoning Series where I had an overarching plot and idea where each was going.

This is a brand new light-urban-fantasy with romantic subplot.

And everything is from my heroine's, Jindesfarne's (Jenni) point of view. Not first person, "I" but Jenni's.

What have I done. I've called mentor, who has the only draft copy, and have told her my concerns, so she is aware. She also has the rough, rough draft, something I've never given anyone -- complete with author notes [Didn't you say she never visited his place last chapter and now she says differently, decide and fix!]

I have a feeling that if I had time, I could obsess over the reception of this book for a good year...all the way until it comes out in January, and then about the reviews when it hits...


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finishing a First Book

Finishing a first book is a Very Big Deal. I know people who've belonged to writing organizations, attended conferences, submitted in contests that have never finished a first book. And this applies to EVERY book -- technical, non-fiction, novels.

So if you, or a friend, has done this, please applaud. CONGRATULATIONS!

May you enjoy the flush of achievement today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Today I tried something a little new, and took an exercise to my in-person critique group. I needed some brainstorming for the next Luna book. It looked like this (feel free):

Enchanted Ever Set Up:
Heroine: Amber
Hero: Jordan

Amber is a cursebreaker, as far as she knows the "talent" came from a gypsy ancestress. Actually she has a strain of Lightfolk in her. In any event, she CAN break REAL curses....it only costs her years. For every curse she breaks, she ages. The bigger the curse, the greater she ages.

Jordan is cursed. Every first son in his family has died before he was thirty-five. It’s a concern, and he’s handled it two ways. First, he doesn’t believe it. Secondly, more deeply, he figures if he’s going to go, he may as well be doing something he enjoys...like extreme sports.

And though he doesn’t believe the curse, he doesn’t hide the fact either. In college he became best friends with a guy who was also "cursed." The second child in that family always lost a limb or a sense. But during a climbing fall with the two of them, his friend loses a hand. At thirty-four and nine months, Jordan is a little anxious. He hears about Amber but she refuses to lift his curse.


(we had great fun with it and I got some interesting ideas to thrash around in my head for the proposal).

May you have fun today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

And It's DONE!

Very rough, and the ending rougher than any that I've written lately (in recent memory, which, since all my braincells are fried isn't very long).

I was afraid it would be short, but the final count is 101933. I will cut just cleaning it up, but at least it isn't 93K.

I'm mostly satisfied, and I'm very tired. So off to bed so I can hit critique group later.

Next up ASAP, some sort of proposal for Luna book 2. Duh.

Enjoy any time off that you have.

Enchanted No More ARC

Ah, an ARC of Enchanted No More is up at Brenda Novak's auction (and with a big push today I'll finish it -- I've been told that the cover will be available on Tuesday). Here's the back cover copy again:

Award-winning author Robin D. Owens introduces a stunning new world of shifting dimensions, where magic is controlled by the four elements, and one girl’s true power remains unrealized…until those she loves are threatened.

“I’ll do the mission,” she said. “You win.”

As one of the last surviving Mistweavers, Jenni knows what it’s like to be caught between two worlds: the faery and the human. But the time has come to choose. The Lightfolk require her unique talent for balancing the elements to fend off a dangerous enemy—and rescue her missing brother. Only for Rothly will Jenni dare to re-embrace her frightening magic. Only for him will she revisit the darkest corners of her soul. For a reckoning is at hand, and she alone has the power to hold back the forces of dark….

“Owens continues to deliver stories that are heartfelt and intensely riveting.”
—Romantic Times

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Brenda Novak's Auction

Yes, I've signed up for Brenda Novak's auction to benefit juvenile diabetes.

I'm giving away a complete set of the Summoning books for Luna.

A complete set of Heart books (including ARC of Heart Journey).

A critique (currently going for only $60, 3 chapters and a synopsis of no more than 10 pages, here http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=1770254

An Arc of Heart Journey.

I contacted my editor's assistant about a cover if I wanted to offer an arc of Enchanted No More (which WILL be finished by next week, rough, but finished).

No characters or geographical spots because my head isn't quite around that, and I lost my software in the crash and have to upgrade before I load it again. Sigh.

Go forth and browse good stuff.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday work

I like to look at my engagement calendar that starts with Sunday, and see a wordcount there. But it's become harder for me to work on Sunday.

I have brunch with my friends and by the time that's done, I'm lazy. The weekends are tough because I WANT to be more social and interact with people face-to-face.

But I want the wordcount, too.

Decisions, decisions. So I'll probably do a little (and I do believe in writing every day) on Sundays from now on...

And I have a feeling I'm babbling, so just ignore me. I suppose the advice I have is that if you write all day by yourself, make sure you DO interact with people. And if you have a dayjob and write on Sundays, guard your precious writing hours zealously.

May you enjoy your work today.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Colorado Chocolate Festival

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And I'm judging truffles at the chocolate festival today with a few of my peers: Kay Bergstrom (Cassie Miles), Elaine Levine, Melissa Mayhue and Pamela Nowak. Turrrible job, yah. I'm bringing a few books to give away, some of HeartMate, Sorceress of Faith, Heart Fate, maybe Heart Change...


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Writing Commercial Fiction

I belong to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers which supports writers of novel length genre fiction. So. Ever since I began, the bias of all my critique groups and the organization itself was for me to sell, to become a published writer, a novelist. That's my bias too.

That doesn't mean that if you want to write biographies or publish a journal of essays or anything else, I don't understand or support. It just means that when you're on this page, you'll hear about publishing and the focus will be on publishing.

There can always be a tug of war with what you want to write and what an agent will represent and what an editor will buy. That is a decision for every writer to make -- how much you want to change your story so it will be published. Know your limits. Is your hero not as sympathetic as most romance editors want? Will you change him or not? Have you broken rules that might diminish your readership and thus will cause your work to be harder to sell? (All right, I'm thinking killing dogs/pets here).

YOU decide whether that is integral to your story. I think I said that I wanted Ruis Elder in Heart Thief to be less sympathetic, to really be angry enough at society to steal, not just because he wanted to preserve the machines. I wanted that for a long time, but when I realized that he was unsympathetic enough that the book wouldn't sell, I reluctantly changed him. Now I'm very glad I did.

Just be aware of your choices and make them deliberately.

May you know what you want and get it today.

Heart Story Done and Long

Well, the story (I'm calling it "Heart Story," I thought "HeartMate Love" was gaggingly sweet) is done. It's long (WHY am I surprised?) and it ain't polished. So I'm taking a few hours to sleep then do that in the am. Let me know if you want to critique it -- though I must ask for fair but gentle since I seem to be in a fragile state of mind.

Smooches to all, Robin

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Story Kicking My Butt

This story is kicking my butt. I've written and rewritten a lot. Since I write out of sequence, I've also written stuff that I think will work but doesn't, then I spend hours trying to figure out how to MAKE it work and finally give up. I've now trashed the ending and about 3K words. Currently sitting at 9k+. I'm determined to get it done by end-of-day Monday. I WILL need beta readers who can do it in a fast turn-around.

May your hair stay the same color you want it today.

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