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 29, 2010

Heart Fate Mass Market Paperback News

I got the cover for Heart Fate. It is slightly different ("Tinne" isn't looking through the lettering of my name). If I ever get the HP multi-purpose printer re=installed and running, I'll scan it for you.

The big news is that it is coming DECEMBER.

May you have joyful smiles today.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Scene Goal

A scene goal is what your point of view character wants to accomplish in the scene. Anything from picking up his son at school to facing off with the villain in the final battle. All scenes should have a character scene goal.

And when your crit group says, "there's no scene goal," or, even worse, asks "what is her scene goal?" And you can't answer (like on Sat.) you (I) feel really stupid. There was, like, a very hidden scene goal that could, perhaps, be inferred...but...

Most times it's good to state the scene goal up front in the first few paragraphs. "Genista wanted to make a new life and she was on her way to her first job to do that." (I didn't actually write that). Sometimes you can be more subtle "Time to become a different person – or at least continue to become the person she wanted to be, leaving the past behind. Someday she’d be able to integrate her past persona and her new life, but it wouldn’t be today. With the autumn came memories."

So, may YOU make all your goals today.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Someday I'd like Berkley to give me more than 15 hours to come up with cover art.... Seriously, I am always scrambling for the Heart books -- unless I have already thought of covers. Which, in the case of Heart Search, I hadn't. I mean, I am on chapter 6. So I hurried over to City of Heroes and did Camellia and Laev -- as good as I can get, but there are definite limitations to COH, esp. with regard to clothing. In any event, I worked about 8 hours on the images.

May you be able to take your time in all your activities.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Writing is Hard...(er) Work...(Than You Think)

Usually when things aren't going fabulously well, either my friend to whom I am whining (venting) or who is venting to me says "Writing is Hard."

Now I listened to a speaker at a conference last year who said, "Don't complain that writing is hard work. Ask a cop if writing is a hard job."

He has a point. And since I've been MOVING (i.e. wrapping, packing, hauling, loading) with friends for the last week, I've decided that I'd rather write. I am YEARNING to get back to my own work/job. Critique is this Saturday and I need to make the pages for Heart & Soul my novella featuring Genista Furze.

So I modified the "Writing is Hard Work" to "Writing is Harder than You Think." I can go into that later...the problems when writing, and the challenges of writing for publication.

Tomorrow I'll wake up and won't get ready to drive into the country and load up trailers...and I am bruised from head to foot -- which I always consider as part of the moving experience.

May you enjoy any work you have to do today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Word Count

Ah, the old topic wordcount. Naturally I've figured out how much to do per day to get Heart Search done by mid-October and 3 Heart novellas done by the end of the year.

And it doesn't seem too much. However. This is a DAILY count, which means EVERY DAY. It doesn't take into account anything happening other than writing during the day such as copy edits or page proofs or working on other proposals or anything else.

So far (this week) all is going smoothly. I am happy to be back in the Heart universe (though Heart Search is Laev's story and 15 years later than Genista's). So I'm hoping the trend will continue.

May you enjoy your work and your play today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Heart Journey Synopses (partial)

This is the synopsis set up that I prefer:

Raz Cherry is supremely satisfied with his career as an actor. At twenty-eight his long years of work are finally paying off and he envisions himself as a solid star in the Celtan capital of Druida for many years to come. Such is the life that his divinations have foretold for the past year...until the latest which indicates he will meet his HeartMate soon.

Raz is a second child and his older sister, who has the Cherry Flair for business, always garnered the most attention. He considers his Family's Flair (transporting goods from Druida to Gael City in the south) "dull and boring". His whole Family, too.

Helena D'Elcampane (Del) is an explorer and cartographer. Her creative Flair is making "landscape globes." (Think snow globes with bits and pieces of different items). If you keep these globes long enough, the image inside will form into your dream home.

Del broke with her society-loving parents when she was seventeen, yearning to explore Celta. She has been (mapped) many places and is comfortable in her own company, though she has a fox Fam called Shunuk. She loves nature and is an outdoors type, doesn't care for big cities or crowds. She's very impatient with the games people play.

Del has known of her HeartMate for a while, but sensed her HeartMate's final Passage (fugues that free psi power called Flair), several months previously, enough for her to find him, now that her current expedition was done. Del is eight years older than Raz.

Outer Plot:
Raz has an object someone else wants. His ancestress was a colonist on the starship Lugh's Spear, which made a hard landing, some people (crew and cryonics) died, the rest were helped by the folks of Nuada's Sword to relocate from where they landed to Druida. The site and ship were lost and are now legendary treasures. They landed on a rock formation that crumbled under the weight and the ship is now buried.

The Story:

Raz is annoyed when his divination cards indicate a HeartMate is coming into his life. He has his life – career and sex life – arranged just the way he likes it, and is ready to become a star of the theater, which he's worked years for. Love and marriage and HeartMates could disturb all of that. He decides not to look for his HeartMate, to ignore the cards. He is busy in a current production, garnering fame and money. Pleased with his life and himself

As for Del, she tends to see things in black and white. She has a HeartMate, she'll swing by Druida and pick him up and he'll be a companion on her travels. She doesn't imagine that her life would change much.

Del gets word that her cousin has died and left a child, now a toddler. Reluctantly she considers changing her life enough to accommodate a child, not ready to settle down with a family. She arrives and opens up her estate, concerned about several things. First, finding her HeartMate, though she feels him strongly in the city, and from the night she arrives they connect in sexual dreams. Next, whether the Blackthorns, who want to adopt her cousin's child, will be a good Family and inheritance ramifications.


A couple of notes: I deleted some sentences that surprised me since they weren't actually part of the book as it was finished...

Today I took my Mom and her fiance out and visited a friend recently home from the hospital (and cleaned), thus the late posting...

May you enjoy your evening,

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pandora Radio

I have a subscription to Pandora One (without ads) on the desktop and a different station that was accessed on the laptop. This was the first song up today for the writing session. I liked it (and check out the last line).

Tomorrow I'll have a bit more teasers for Heart Journey when I talk about the synopsis format I use.

May you enjoy your own music today.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Work A Year Ago...


A year ago today I was at a weekend mountain retreat...and working on Heart Journey chapters 11 and 12. Now Heart Journey is done and Enchanted No More is done, and the the short Heart Story is done and the proposal for Heart Search and Enchanted Ever are done and I'm ready to slam into Heart Search. Whew. Sounds like I've been busy...but not as much as I will be...


She tasted of tears and springreen wine, and opened her mouth to him. When he tangled his tongue with hers, she gave a soft growl and her breath mingled with his and made him dizzy.

May you enjoy your time today.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Answer re: Selling on Proposals

After I sold HeartMate I concentrated on getting Heart Thief and Heart Duel done since they were both about half done. (I entered them in contests). I believe Heart Thief was done before purchased 15 months after I sold HeartMate.

Then the paranormal genre took off. I got my 3rd agent and she sold Heart Duel. I know it wasn't finished at the time. Since then I've sold on proposal.

HOWEVER, the first Luna books proposal took me, literally, four months to put together -- three chapters of book one, one of book two, and one of book three, along with synopses of those books. OTOH, my agent said that it was the best proposal she'd ever seen at the time. ;)

The synopses are the hardest for me.

I still have many tools/crutches for plotting, along with lighting candles and prayer. ;)

Book contracts will let you know when a proposal is due. This includes when the contract ends, because I have option clauses in my contracts.

For Berkley, my option clause is "the next full ms. set on Celta," so it's very narrow. For Luna, I think it's something like "the next ms. appropriate for Luna," which is pretty wide, but I can essentially avoid that by making the male POV stronger than the female, or, probably, by making it a romance.

Ebook numbers. Yes, I think they are reported on my royalties pages. To be honest, trying to decipher the royalty pages is tough for me, so I have pretty much given up more than a glance.

May you enjoy your weekend.

Friday, June 11, 2010

And the Proposal for Ever Enchanted is DONE!

Well, the rough draft is. The first three chapters came in at 8300 words and the synopsis itself was about 3200. I must admit plotting strained my brain again.

In any event it's done, it's off to mentor for comments, then I'll do revisions and it should hit my editor's desk today.

Finally! Now to toddle back into the Heart universe...
May you finish a project today.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Research Site

I have brownies in the Mystic Circle books and I envision them as unfurry wet cats, huge triangular ears (that can roll down to their skull). Also cat pupils. LOLcats has been a boon (I Can Has Cheeseburger), but I lost my "wet cat" pics file when the desktop crashed.

However, the above link is pretty much the best that I found when scanning about why cat vision is different than human.

May you rejoice in animals today.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Celtic Album

I was listening to Pandora when the song: "May the Circle Be Open" which has the chorus of the standard greeting "Merry Meet and Merry Part and Merry Meet Again" that I use in the Heart books.

This is by the artist: Sarva-Antah on the album: Celtic Mantras.

Naturally it is now in my Celta soundtracks file.

May you enjoy music today,

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Sorry I have been quiet. I've been ill.


Saturday, June 05, 2010

Didn't I Just Do That? Argh! Part 3 of 3...

So I decided that book 2 of the Mystic Circle series (currently titled Enchanted Ever, but that will probably change) shouldn't have a crippled person (friend) like book 1 Jenni's brother Rothly in Enchanted No More.

With a little more thought on various curses I could inflict on the hero's (now RAFE) poor best friend, I came up with this one (a few paragraphs of the book only, and not critiqued so they may change):

"...the Court hereby awards custody of the minor child, Geoffrey, to his mother."
Rafe’s best friend trembled with shock next to him.

"They’re taking my son away from me," Ben said. His eyes followed every move as the baby was swept away by his ex-wife and her family. "I’ll never see him again."

"That’s unlikely. And we aren’t finished–" Ben’s attorney said.

Ben’s laugh was ugly. "You don’t believe me. Neither does the judge." His nostrils widened and suppressed violence laced his tones. "My son will be out of the country and disappear in the next twenty-four hours."

"I hardly think–" the lawyer started.

Ben cut him off with a gesture. "You did your best." He turned his back on the man, stumbled a bit and Rafe knew he wasn’t seeing straight. Rafe gripped his upper arm, pointed him in the right direction and nudged him. Ben walked carefully through the chamber and out the door.

It wasn’t a high-profile case, so the halls of the courthouse weren’t packed with people.

"I’ve got an investigator following them," Rafe murmured. It didn’t seem enough.

"I really loved her," Ben said.

"I know." Rafe’s gut churned with tension. He hated emotional stuff like this, was better with action, but what more could he do?

"And I love my son."


"Marta and Geoff are going to disappear."

So that's a process of keeping on trying to find something that doesn't echo a previous book, especially if the previous book is the one before, like Enchanted No More.

May you live joyfully today,

Friday, June 04, 2010

Didn't I Just Do That? Argh! Part 2 of 3...

So, I decided that since book 1 of the Mystic Circle series, Enchanted No More, had a heroine tormented by loved ones' deaths, I didn't want to do that again in book 2 (current title Enchanted Ever, but that will probably change). So I wrote this in April:
Jordan's best friend Conrad stared at the stump of his hand. His jaw flexed. "I'll be fitted with a prosthetic today."

Not a whole lot Jordan could say to that but, "I'm sorry."

Conrad turned his head to stare out the hospital window. "That we went climbing? That we fell? Luck." His lip curled. "Bad luck."

Hands jammed in his pockets, Jordan wanted to pace but didn't. Pacing in the cast was difficult. The climb had been his idea. A really stupid idea now that he thought about it. But they'd both been reckless two weeks ago. Now Conrad was an amputee and Jordan had a shattered tibia. They wouldn't be climbing again.

"Cursed luck," Conrad murmured in a voice that sent chills down Jordan's spine.

"I thought we agreed we didn't believe in curses," Jordan said. One of the strange things that had brought them together in college, the fact that they'd both come from "cursed" families. Weird in the modern world.

Conrad turned his thin, hollow-cheeked face with haunted eyes back to Jordan and licked dried lips. "I didn't believe in the curse that I'd lose a limb then." His laughter was raw. "Even though my own dad was run over by a tractor and he bled out from losing his leg. Even though my grandfather lost a foot in the war. And on, and on." He gestured with his stump. Contemplated his wrist. "Guess I should be glad my whole arm isn't gone."

Then his dark brown gaze met Jordan's, a hidous smile stretched his mouth. "I made a promise, bro, and I'll keep it. I'll dance at your wake."


AND, when I looked at this a sinking feeling occurred. Wasn't one of Jenni's big problems in Enchanted No More the fact that her remaining brother had a crippled arm and crippled magic? Just like Jordan's friend Conrad?.

Do I want to do that two books in a row?


So I came up with the final (for now) opening (coming tomorrow).

Robin the Teaser again

May you like the blogs you read, today.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Didn't I Just Do That? Argh! Part 1 of 3...

Hammer strikes lightbulb over head. I'm not sure that I should do this, since it's putting work out for everyone, but here goes.

When I first started the book, Cursebreaker in 2008, it wasn't necessarily a Luna. So it began this way:

His wife was dying. Jordan sat in the molded plastic of the hospital chair, propped his arms on his knees, put his head in his hands. But nothing could block out the smell of the waiting room outside the surgical unit. Tinny sounds slid into his ears to rattle his brain, his nerve, his hope.

"It's the curse," his best friend, Ben, said. "Yours caught up with you first." Ben sucked in a breath as if he was still smoking, coughed it out. "Sorry, bro."

Jordan didn't lift his head, didn't want to think that what Ben said had even an iota of truth.

The opening of a door. Squeech, squeech, squeech. Rubber on linoleum footsteps. A quiet voice. "Mr. Wells."

He didn't look up, didn't want to see any emotions in others' eyes, was having enough trouble keeping himself together.

"I'm sorry," the doctor said.

His heart clenched, fell away into nothingness. He thought he'd follow. Not out of love, but out of guilt.

"Crap." Ben sat next to him. "I'm sorry, man."

More sucking of air, was that him wheezing or Ben?

"Could have been worse," Ben said. Or did he? Was that strained voice really Ben's? The words struck him. He lifted his head, stared at Ben, pale and glassy eyed. "Guess it's true. Curses work."

It had been so laughable back in their college days. Two students with such a weirdness in common, family curses.

Ben's words zinged around in Jordan's mind. "What. Did. You. Say? Could have been worse?"

A smile twitched Ben's lips. "Could have been worse. You could have loved her."

Jordan rocketed out of his chair, yanked Ben from his own, ploughed his fist into Ben's face.


But I can't do that in a Luna, which is a woman's story, so it needs to start with the heroine. And this story is now the SECOND of the Mystic Circle series.

AND, when I looked at this a sinking feeling occurred. Wasn't one of Jenni's big problems in Enchanted No More the fact that she lost her family? They DIED? Just like Jordan's wife.

Do I want to do that two books in a row?


So I came up with the next opening (coming tomorrow).

Robin the tease

May stories please you today.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Starting With A Single Character Onstage

This came up as a big "no-no" on the RMFW loop, and since I've heard the advice in critique groups for a while, I wondered who the "authority" was. So I asked as I asked before.

There are "authorities" I will listen to: Debra Dixon, Dwight Swain, Stephen King, James Frey, Julia Cameron....but this wasn't in those. And, darn it, if I want to start with a single character onstage (even literally like in Echoes In The Dark), I think I should be able to do it without scolding.

It IS good to avoid opening with introspective characters thinking about things -- especially with 50 pages of backstory to follow (yes, I have seen this and my long-term crit buddy will never live it down even though it is far in the past).

But opening with two characters and an info dump conversation, "Oh, Billy, we've been friends since we were kids and you know that my evil stepmother who locked me out of the house when it was 20 below and now I have a dreadful disease is flying home for my dad's funereal"...An opening like this can be hard to read/sell, too.

Two characters onstage can be an easy way to add conflict, that I agree with.

Three or more can add confusion -- who's talking? moving? the protagonist?

I think I've opened with a single character on-stage in about 4 of my books, including HeartMate.

Like most "rules" Don't Start With A Single Character Onstage is one that should be considered, but not followed blindly.

May you enjoy all the books you read today.

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