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, November 29, 2010

Writers' Hopes

Just before the next book is released, a writer has huge hopes that EVERYONE will love it, call it AWESOME. These hopes, of course, are unrealistic.

Expectations are even higher when it's a first book of a new series.

So, like, if you don't care for Enchanted No More, can you be kind in your reviews? I should toughen up in a couple of months....


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Writing Rituals

Celta is a pagan society set 400 years after colonization by psychic Earth people. I've written bits of rituals for the books -- a wedding ritual, a Healing Circle, Yule holiday in Heart Fate.... The Healing Circle is probably the most detailed, but I haven't (and don't anticipate) doing a full step-by-step ritual.

And what's most important to me in a ritual is that it reveals characters. For instance, I'm working on Halloween/Samhain (which is New Year) for Genista's story Heart & Soul. I've read several online Samhain rituals, and pulled out about five research books.

In this Samhain ritual (as in many), a slip of paper is tossed into the fire with what the individual wants to remove from his/her life. Such as impatience, or being judgmental.

For Genista, as all who've followed her story should guess, it will be grief and guilt. For Cardus, the hero, it's unrequited love and loneliness.

And, like all Samhain rituals, both Genista and Cardus will be expected to work on these issues. It's not "throw it into the fire and poof, it's gone."

So I've written much of the non-ritual stuff and now need to put in the framework, and add a bit of philosophy, and (hopefully), deep thinking/feeling on my characters' parts.

Of course there is also a FamDog. So far in the anthology, I have two dogs, a cat, a housefluff and a fox, though the fox is out of town and I'm not sure when he'll show up....

May you enjoy your imagination today.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Blessings


I'm thankful for all of you who read my tweets, facebook, blogs and, most especially, books!

May you have a loving and safe and cheerful holiday.
Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


When the star (FR star) glows bright and moves through the constellation Caen?, when mist enshrouds the stone circle of XXX; when the face of the moon is hidden – then the walls? between worlds are thin and you may summon saviours from the Exotic Land. Send the call. Choose well.

"The time is upon us. Tonight," Lord Reynardus’ harsh voice ehconed through the cold stone (STRUCK OUT council chamber).

"All is ready. IF we decide to do it," Lord Belligues siad, his thin squeaky tones barely audible above the rising wind.

"We MUST do it," Lady Henrietta met each Lord and Lady’s gaze, hoping her shivers of apprehension were hidden by her


Lladrana, Early Spring

When the Star Etalla glows bright and moves through the constellation Caen; when mists envelope the stone circle high atop Archer's Mound; when the face of the Moon is hidden — then the walls between worlds are thin, and you may Summon saviors — or demons — from the Exotique Land. Send the Call. Choose well.

The rush of rain hit the stone pavement with hissing, tinny pings. Sword Marshall Thealia hurried through the castle's cloister walk, ignoring the silver fall outside the open pointed arches.


"Tonight is the time." His rough voice echoed through the stone room, sounding as sharp as his footsteps.

"All is ready." Her gesture encompassed the freshly incised pentacle, the altar with the rainbow of glowing gemstone crystal chimes, the tools, the fruit and wine, the enormous silver gong. She hoped her quilted overdress concealed the shiver of apprehension that flowed along her spine like the touch of cold steel.

May you be amused by your own creation today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bibliomancy -- Research Book

I'm not sure if every writer does this, but occasionally, if I want to get a different idea outside of my own head, I open a research book at a random page. This really paid off for me yesterday when I hit page 660 of the above book: England's Thousand Best Houses (Barrington Court).

There was a tiny bit about Gertrude Jekyll that was fascinating. Apparently soil samples were sent to her from Barrington and though she was nearly blind, she could tell by the FEEL of the soil what might grow in it. NO BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR THIS STORY, but it's a good story, and I could sure do something with it in the Mystic Circle series or the Heart books.

May you get whatever creative spark you need today.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Guardian of Honor Original

Huge cleaning going on (thus no posts). The living room and dining room look like something out of a magazine shot, if I say so myself, the dining room appearing as if is actually used for dining...instead of eating and working.

Anyway, in the office clean, and it is HIDEOUS now, I found this sheet of what I realized was the very first handwritten draft of the first scene of Guardian of Honor. I think it's handwritten because I was in Britain and my plug for my Dell Laptop failed. I'd just heard that Luna was beginning.

I found it interesting and hope you do the same. May you enjoy past remembrances today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My desk lamp, a light that uses a full spectrum bulb, has gone out. I have been writing more at night, but now, with the overhead ceiling light, this is just odd.

As I say in my Survive To Write Seminars (How to hang in there until you're published), environment is a big deal, especially in triggering your brain to know that it's Writing Time.

Not, of course, that I didn't use this, at least last night, as rationalization not to write. I had finished my daily minimum but didn't make the next goal.

Today I hope to spend less time frittering (and handling essential family matters, but that might not happen) and write more during the day. I'm recovering from a cold, so I'm pacing myself.

The bulb is on the way, and gray and snowy or not, I will use whatever light I have to write.

May all the light you experience today please you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Question For You

I have Laev dreaming of a specific past memory. When I took this to critique, I realized that this may be a technique that I've read elsewhere but is not necessarily true. So do you dream of certain past events? Are they usually good or bad?

May you know yourself today.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Never Ending Last Chapter

I've been working hard on Heart Search, and since the set up was so tough and I wanted to get some words on the page I've been writing the climax and last chapter...and the last "chapter" is now approximately 8K. Which is more like the last three chapters. And I don't know that I need all these words, but they are good words and I need wordcount. There isn't even sex in it. But this happens, you get to what you be the penulitmate chapter and it's not. It's the second to the last, or the third from the last, taking you longer to wrap-up than you expect.

So I will probably end up cutting a bunch, when I whip the story/plot into shape, which is depressing.

But the sun has just risen, and the ocean is blue, and though it is too cold now to work outside, it won't be this afternoon.

May you enjoy your surroundings today.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Writing Retreat

A glitch came up with the writing retreat, but I managed to make it anyway.

Here I am.

NaNoWriMo is screwing with my wordcount. I did 1728 today and it thinks I only did 1K. So I'm confuss-ed.

May you enjoy your work.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Disposing of Villains

There comes a time in planning (or executing, ha, ha) a book where the fate of the villains must be decided. Do I stick them in prison (or, in Celta, fit them with a depress-magic bracelet and banish them to an island to die slowly), or banish them, or (very rarely) redeem them.

I have several in Heart Search, and I am feeling lethal. ;) So far one has died and a couple will be killed by their own actions bringing fate down upon themselves. I'm hoping these will fates will be emotionally satisfying to the reader. I tended to kill all my villains in the first books until a reader complained they wanted to see the justice system work. Not sure that I ever did that, but did start experimenting with other endings for my bad guys.

May you be blessed today.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Leaving Hooks

I like to leave hooks for myself at the end of the day. A line or set up or piece of dialogue that will jumpstart me into writing the next day. Again, not alone in this.

May all your work go easily today.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Writer Confidence (Critique)

So I was sitting there, in my brownie costume (furry ears, borrowed ones, purple, no choice) at critique group last Sat., reading my pages. I knew it wasn't going well. The person to my left was tapping her pen on the desk as I read. The person to my right was petting the kitten and muttering. The Plot Queen and Ace Critiquer opposite me was making marks on my pages. At least she hadn't stopped and was writing a long note.

They hated the pages. Were they lost again in the dream-past-present passage? Did I screw that up AGAIN?

The pacing must be slow, too much set up or backstory. I'd brought twelve full pages, what could I cut? How bad was this going to be?

I continued to press on, confidence sagging.

They liked it. It was fine. I'd misread the cues. Yes, I needed to clean up the dream passage again, but part of the confusion was that it had been a month since they'd seen the story. There are some minor things to fix, but overall it was clean.

Writers' confidence is usually not great, especially in critique.

So may you all have a wonderful, confident, day.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Do You Have Your Author Card?

Last month my mentor and I drove around one of the most oldest and most exclusive areas of Denver, looking at houses to place in Mystic Circle, my magical cul de sac in my new Luna series. I have finally determined that there will be nine houses in the cul de sac with one at the "top" of the circle being a mysterious castle.

Architecturally, Denver is a mixture of many styles, so it isn't in the realm of fantasy that a Spanish hacienda type house might be on the same block (or circle) as an English Manor House, or the "castle" above.

Since we drove around several times, slowly, gesturing animatedly, we got a few looks. So I turned to her and said, "Do You Have Your Author Card?" This is something writers do, find settings and take pictures, watch people at cafes or restaurants or on the streets, like Denver's 16th Street Mall. We weren't stopped, but if we were, it would be nice to have such a card, though most folk believe you (and I have books in my back seat).

May you enjoy your week.

Monday, November 01, 2010


National Novel Writing Month has started. I was at the kick-off write in from about 9:45 pm to 1:40 am.

In the spirit of things, I did work on something new(ish), the third Luna book, currently titled by Luna as Enchanted Ever After. I wrote 1680 mediocre words including general ideas for the plot. I REALLY wanted to write those words from 5:30-8:00 pm, but staved off, and thus forgot some phrasing I wanted to use. Now it seems blah-blah-blah, but it's done.

That's the good news. The bad news is all those words are not under the 3 projects with pressing deadlines. So most of the rest of the words I post will be on Heart Search, Hearts & Swords -- the story collection, or Enchanted Ever.

I think I can finish Genista's story in the next couple of days.

As always, I learned I don't write (or even type) as fast as many people. By 12:45 some had finished their wordcount and the bookstore was beginning to empty out. I did 1133 in an hour and made the 1667 (1680) by 1:25 a.m. and lots of folks were gone. I comfort myself with the fact that it was because today is a work day for most.

A couple of errands and I'll hit the sack.
May you meet your goals today.

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