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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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Celta Thursday, Heart Change, Cratag cut scene chap 13 end, after scry with Laev

Celta Thursday, Heart Change, Cratag cut scene chap 13 end, after scry with Laev

Cratag rubbed his head, feeling more helpless than he had in a long time. He didn't know, exactly, what he was doing here, no solid mission. He didn't understand – in his gut – great Flair or Passage or HeartMates.

The place was beautiful but strange, the woman beautiful and strangely compelling.

"Is everything all right with young HawthornHeir? I knew you were worried about his Passage," the very woman Cratag was thinking about said, standing at the threshold of his sitting room. Had he closed the door? He didn't recall it latching, and gravity, or the Residence, might have swung it open.

"Yes, all is well." He let a breath out slowly. "His Passage is coming along smoothly." Cratag hesitated.

"You'd like him to visit here," Signet said.

"Yes, MidAfternoon Bell."

She nodded. "Avellana's Flair seems relatively stable, and my own catalyst Flair doesn't appear to be affecting her yet." Signet raised her brows at him.

Cratag nodded. "Yes, I think I'm being affected by you – by your Flair." Definitely by her and the attraction that vibrated between them. He went on, "My senses seem to be becoming sharper, and my Flair stronger in general." He shrugged. "I don't think even with all the catalyst nature of your Flair my own will increase to much more."

"Maybe not." She smiled at him and knots in his muscles that he hadn't known he'd had untangled. "I'm going to take Avellana to the craft room now." There was a slight lift in her voice as if asking if he'd join them.

"I need to look around the Residence again." Find a room suitable for sparring.

She spread her hands. "Be at home."

But when she left Cratag admitted that he wasn't quite sure who or where or what "home" was.

As I said this was the original end of chapter 13. I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Celta Thursday, cut from Heart Search, a bit on sentient Residences

Celta Thursday, cut from Heart Search, a bit on sentient Residences:

And a new Residence had developed in the last decade or so. That Residence, TQ, was in an upper middle-class, lower noble area that had also been rejuvinated. Camellia had been unable to talk herself into TQ. The renters had preferred privacy...and Camellia had had the odd notion that the family living there hadn't had access to the HouseHeart.

Then there had been the discovery of an old Residence that had been lost, ruins that had been excavated, and the exciting determination that the HouseHeart was still alive, though dormant.

In the first flush of excitement there had been vizes taken of the HouseHeart itself. It had been rumored that the ruins had been the Residence of the only FirstFamily to die out, the Mistletoes. Then the FirstFamilies had moved in and taken over the site with proper payment to the archeaologists.

Information had been shut down and even the Licorices didn't get enough to satisfy them. Glyssa, the librarian, had bitterly complained to Camellia for days.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cut Scene from Heart Fate

Cut Scene from Heart Fate. One of my Facebook friends requested a cut scene from Heart Fate (Tinne Holly's book). This was the first breakfast scene that became greatly modified:

So he trudged down the stairs to breakfast. The Family – his Mamá, his father T'Holly, Holm and his wife, FirstLevel Healer Lark, were there, already eating.

"Tinne you look terrible," his Mamá said, rising to her feet.

Holm snorted into his caff mug.

"Didn't you sleep well?" his Mamá, Passiflora Holly, asked. Then she flushed. "Of course you wouldn't sleep well." With a gesture, she indicated a fancy placemat and china bowl to Ilexa, and warm shredded furrabeast piled high.

The cat rumbled a thanks.

His Mamá's eyes narrowed at him. "I'll work on a Flaired lullabye for you."

Holm snickered.

"Holm, don't be so discourteous." Their mother rounded on him.

Holm raised his eyebrows. "Someone has to keep his spirits up." He hooked a heavy chair next to him with his ankle, brought it away from the table with more Flair than muscle. "Sit. Eat. You look like you sank into the Great Washington Boghole then were dragged all the way back to Druida."

"Thank you," Tinne said. "You look – radiant." He bared his teeth, but got a little satisfaction as Holm looked aside and Lark smiled.

Tinne sat, stared at his plate. The Healers had told him what he should eat this morning, but he couldn't recall their instructions.

"Why don't you have toast and tea and some scrambled eggs?" Lark said gently.
Tinne stared into her violet eyes and knew her MotherSire, T'Heather had spoken to her.

Before he could say anything, his empty plate was replaced with one that had obviously been prepared for him. Moderate amounts of toast and eggs, only slightly seasoned with herbs instead of the rich salsa he preferred. He grunted, realized that was rude and nodded to everyone. "Merry meet Mamá, father, Lark, Holm."

"Merry meet, Tinne," Lark said lightly, curved her hand around his cheek, "If I may."
But she'd already sent him a surge of energy that refreshed him more than the waterfall, and banished the lingering horrors of bad dreams.

"Thank you." He lifted her hand and kissed her fingers. "Thank you all." He swept a gaze around the table. The energy Lark had sent him was not hers alone, but a mixture of the whole Family's, given to him through her link with them.

All with the hope that he and Genista's marriage could be mended and the Family wouldn't be the first of the greatest nobles to have a divorce. The scandal would touch them all.

For generations. He looked at his brother who would have to work as the head of the Family under such a cloud.

Holm inclined his head infintesimally and sent on their brothers-only line, Be well, brother. Do whatever must be done.

Tinne shuddered, Holm had said that same phrase when he was caught in the quicksand of the Great Washington Boghole and couldn't get out. Tinne had managed to save them both. It could have been worse, Tinne could be next T'Holly. As always, he was glad that wasn't his fate.

Yes, he'd make everything harder on his Family for generations, but he didn't know that there was anything he could do today to stop the divorce. **There was no way for him to hide his true feelings from the Healers.

"Eat your eggs, Tinne," both Lark and his Mama* said at the same time. He managed a smile. Lark would be a lovely and strong D'Holly.

He dug into his breakfast and was glad that the taste of the eggs on his tongue revived his appetite a little. He'd be able to eat everything.

His father was staring at Ilexa, eyes sorrowful but mouth slightly curved. "Thank you for returning to the Residence, Ilexa," he said.

The cat, concentrating on her food, flexed a shoulder.

T'Holly nodded, sighed. "A signal, I suppose, that we can return the rest of the hunting cats from the Sallow estate where we boarded them."

Ilexa sat back on her haunches, stroked a paw over her whiskers, sniffed.

"Yes, we all know, Ilexa you beautiful thing, you, that you are Tinne's Fam," Holm said. "Welcome back."

Ilexa nodded at him. She didn't share telepathic thoughts with anyone except Tinne. He saw his brother's frustration and smiled, choked.

"Chew before you swallow, dear," his Mamá said absently. She was writing musical notes on a pad by her plate. His lullabye. Lord and Lady.

"Don't call it Tinne's Lullabye," he said.

"I won't." She looked up and smiled at him and he noted she looked much older than she had a couple of days before.

"Call it SecondSon's lullabye," Holm said, then stuck food in his mouth.

Tinne opened his mouth for an insult for his brother, expecting to see Holm's twinkling eyes. They were dead serious. Despite his light manner, Holm was suffering along with the rest of them, sorry for Tinne's hurt. Tinne had the horrible suspicion that if he gave into his own feelings everyone at the table would weep. Awful.

Tinne glanced at his father, who had also aged and had a slightly gray tinge to his face. This divorce scandal was happening during the middle of the campaigning for Captain of the Councils, his father's greatest dream. T'Holly would not win this year, probably never again. One year only as Captain of the Council. That must sting.

"Drink the juice mixture I made for you, Papa," Lark said.

Grumbling, T'Holly downed it. Then he stared at Tinne and said. "This whole mess is my fault. I apologize. I...I.... You cannot know how deeply I regret my actions." He blinked rapidly, though his taut face held a stony expression. Pushing away from the table, he strode to the door and put his hand on the latch. Then he straightened his shoulders and angled his body back to meet Tinne's startled gaze. "I received word from the Healers that you need a certain amount of meditation time in the HouseHeart." He waved a hand. "It is scheduled for the next two years."

Tinne wanted to wince at the decree that depressed both of them, but just inclined his head. "Thank you." He cleared his throat. "I think I'd like to sleep there tonight, if possible."

"Done," T'Holly said.

His Mamá's head came up abruptly, her writestick stopped. She blinked at Tinne.

"Why didn't I think of that! Your rooms must be redecorated. Immediately. And Gen– and the other suite, we should have done that last year. Perhaps that will help."
Keep them together? He didn't think so. But his Mamá continued. "I'll scry Mitchella D'Blackthorn right away. We can do this today. We'll mine the storerooms and attics." She rose, snatched her papyrus and pushed her writestick behind her ear. Hurrying to T'Holly, she slipped her arm in his. "We have work to do."

"We certainly do," T'Holly sounded a little more cheerful at the thought of moving furniture all day. A distraction both physical and Flaired. "The hunting cat relocation and resumption of training can take place tomorrow." His shoulders straightened. "Good to have plans."

Holm piled more eggs and dashed a liberal amount of salsa on them as he grinned at their parents. "You didn't think of redecorating because not a stick of the furniture was moved for decades until I brought my HeartMate home." He glanced around the cream colored walls and the airy windows of the breakfast room. Not one weapon hung there anymore.

Lark opened her mouth.

Tinne figured he knew what she was going to say. The Healers had recommended pink.

"Nothing pink!" he called to his parents as they left. "Not one pink thing!"

Lark sniffed.

"The glider awaits to take Tinne to T'Heather," the Residence said.

Ilexa ran toward him. Holm looked at Lark. She said, "I'm sorry, Ilexa, it would be distracting to have you with Tinne during the tests. He must suffer through them on his own."

Holm said, "You look a little different, Ilexa. Perhaps it's time for another visit to T'Ash for a new collar." He linked arms with his wife. "Tinne can afford it. The Green Man Fencing and Fighting Salon is doing well."

Ilexa wandered back to them and they walked toward the teleportation pad.

"You should meet our FamCats, too," Lark said.

Relief flooded Tinne, breakfast with his Family was over. Now he only had the ordeal with the Healers. Four tests.


Monday, June 17, 2013


Well, Ghost Seer is submitted. The next 3 deadlines are going to be very hairy: Ghost Layer, Heart Light (working title), and Ghost Slayer, all due within the year.

I'm exhausted, will start on Ghost Layer/Heart Light tomorrow. Gotta work on both to get them done on time.

Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Celta Thursday, Heart Thief

Celta Thursday, Heart Thief. If you're a fan and on Facebook (or here, for that matter), let me know when it's your birthday and I will post an excerpt or cut scene, if I have one, from your favorite work.

Here's a cut scene from Heart Thief. Some of this is in the book near the beginning and end, but this is the original scene of Ruis and FamCat Samba entering Nuada's Sword starship.
"Welcome aboard, Captain."
Captain? Ruis stood, stunned, as a square silver door rose upward with a quiet whoosh. He'd had no notion he could be named Captain, the highest rank, still, in all of Celta. The highest rank ever held by any ancestor. Captain.
Let's go. Samba wriggled in his arms.
He'd only wanted to be of a Command Officer rank so he could access as much of the ship as needed. He'd thought he'd be a Lieutenant, maybe. Captain.
He drew in a deep breath and crossed the threshold.
And was sucked, Fam and all, by a powerful force up a slanting round tube.
Samba screamed. Her shriek rose in volume and intensity until it went beyond Ruis' hearing, but still battered his ear drums.
Lights flickered before his head, darkened beneath his feet. He curved inward on himself, both to protect Samba and because the tube was narrower than the stretch of his shoulders.
They swept around curves, slid through twists, always upward.
His heart pounded so hard he thought it might jump from his chest.
It wasn't really a splat. More like a whoosh-shump. But it felt like a spat.
The landing on a springy pad knocked the breath from him.
Samba jumped from his arms and swore, running up and down a featureless corridor.
She looked twice her size with all her hair sticking out. Her tail was especially impressive.
"Uhn," Ruis said, feeling incredibly stupid.
Samba glared at him, then stared at the gold marking on the gleaming wooden door in front of him, turned her back, and started grooming.
He got the idea she wasn't pleased. No, she didn't even need to talk, let alone communicate telepathically.
He squinted at the golden insignia. "Too dim," he murmured.
The light brightened.
Ruis shivered. He'd just been reminded in the most basic way that the Colonists had come from a yellow-sunned, slightly dimmer world.
He stood and dusted his trous off. The quiet was incredible. No night noise. No wind. No insects. No animals.
No people.
He squared his shoulders. This is what he wanted.
The door was wider than the few others marking the corridor, and of dark red wood. Though it looked polished and beautiful, indications of deep gouges still showed.
The symbol indicated the sign for Captain and Nuada's Sword -- the Captain's Quarters.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Beta Reader and Celta Thursday, Cut First Scene of Heart Search

First, if you want to be a beta reader, check out my post this a.m. No, I haven't chosen any. Next, Celta Thursday: CUT FIRST SCENE OF HEART SEARCH:
Druida City, Celta, 422 Years After Colonization, Late Spring

"We've located your heirloom amethyst and diamond cuff bracelets," the private investigator said. His craggy face was expressionless on the scry screen hanging on the dark paneled wall near Laev Hawthorn's desk.
Laev Hawthorn, GreatLord T'Hawthorn, kept his own face as impassive as ever but let optimistic hope trickle through him. As far as he knew, those were the last of the Family treasures his late wife Nivea had sold before his HeartGift. "Thank you. How much will it cost to recover them?"
The investigator named a figure and Laev winced. It wasn't at the amount, like most FirstFamilies he had generational wealth that wasn't easily dissipated – though Nivea had done her best. But it was an expense he wouldn't have had if he hadn't made a a poor choice in choosing his wife.
"Residence?" he addressed the intelligent castle that he lived in.
"Here, T'Hawthorn," the Residence answered at it's haughtiest. It didn't approve of the investigator, hadn't approved of Nivea, and Laev was unsure of it's feelings for himself.
"Transfer funds to cover the retrieval of the jewels and Prime Investigation's bill," Laev said.
"Thank you," the investigator said. His eyes narrowed and he continued softly, "Now, GreatLord, why don't you tell me what you really want me to find?"
Heat edged Laev's cheeks. The man was more observant than Laev had expected. He was a master of his craft and several years older than Laev's thirty-two, and though a commoner, there was something about the man that disquieted Laev. Probably the aura that whatever mistakes the guy had made, he'd fixed them immediately...and they weren't as disastrous as marrying the wrong woman in a culture that condemned divorce.
A door banged in the castle and a rush of exuberance seemed to breeze toward him. His journeywoman, a girl like the daughter he'd always wanted, had arrived for her morning lesson. It took real effort to slam a door in the Residence, but Dontea Ash always managed. She'd stop at the kitchens for a treat and to stroke Black Pierre, the old FamCat who'd survived Laev's FatherSire's death.
Laev said, "I don't have any more time for this matter this morning. Please have the bracelets delivered as soon as possible." He was still uncomfortable with the investigator's shrewdness.
With a mock-subservient dip of the head, Garrett Primross said, "As you wish, GreatLord." Primross hesitated a beat, then asked, "Do you wish to continue to retain my firm?"
His firm was only himself and an apprentice, but Laev appreciated pride a lot more now than he had as a youngster. Sometimes in the last few years, appearances and pride were all that had kept him going.
"Yes." He calculated how long it would take for the man to find his HeartGift. That gift, made during the second fugue that freed his Flair, could only be truly sensed by himself and his HeartMate.
Too bad that he'd thought Nivea was his HeartMate when he was a gullible seventeen and he'd given it to her.
He stared at Primross. The investigator had already exceeded Laev's expectations. Laev had tried to find the jewels and objects d'arte that Nivea had sold over the years, but had failed. His pride had been too touchy to speak to another FirstFamily lord, Straif T'Blackthorn, to track them, and discreet questions had led him to Primross.
It didn't matter that Primross disliked the noble class and barely treated Laev with civility. It didn't matter that Laev's pride took a beating as he revealed his secrets to the investigator. What mattered was getting the items back, and Primross had been successful in that. Another issue for concern was the amount of time that had passed. Nivea had been dead for the past two years. The time it had taken to retreive most of the Family heirlooms had already taken too long and tried Laev's patience.
"Yes," Laev repeated, made a decision. "You can send me a contract for a monthly retainer, for an initial period of three months."
Surprise flashed in Primross's eyes then he jerked a nod. "The courier with your bracelets is on the way. I'll have the contract in your cache box within the septhour." Primross gave an amount that seemed slightly lower than it should have been that had Laev narrowing his own eyes. Was the investigator hiding something?
Primross signed off without any pleasantries and the viz screen went dark.
Laev fiddled with the thin, silver encased drawstick that he preferred. His many-times female D'Hawthorn's redgold desk set had gone missing years ago and was not one of the items that had been recovered. He wondered who had them, if he had enemies he didn't know about who were collecting Hawthorn Family items. If the desk set had been melted down
He'd talk about the loss of his HeartGift in person with Primross. That was going to be a fun conversation.
Though it was an open secret for a long time that Laev T'Hawthorn had gone against his Family's wishes and wed a girl he'd thought was his HeartMate. A girl who had encouraged him to think that so she could have the wealth and status of being a GreatLady, the highest of the high on the planet Celta. Primross was a smart man and a competent one, he might have guessed what Laev wanted.
Of course Laev had a link to his HeartGift, and once again he closed his eyes, settled into his inner balance and reached for it. The sculpture was wedged somewhere and he couldn't translocate it. Nor could he figure out where it was. Dark. Dry. He thought. In good shape, he hoped.
The door to his den slammed open and Laev flinched from his light trance.
Dontea rushed into the room, small and fineboned and fifteen, and with a scowl on her face. Her short dark brown hair was windblown, her blue gaze sharp. "Brood, brood, brood." She shook a finger at him. "You know I come from a household that has forbidden brooding."

Call for Ghost Seer Beta Readers

Call for Beta Readers for Ghost Seer. Hoping to send out late tomorrow. I will need feedback no later than next Wednesday, so, as usual, short turnaround.

Need GENERAL COMMENTS nothing on punctuation, etc. That will be taken care of by my copy editor.

Here's the blurb again: Series Concept:
An edgy lawman whose leg and life have been shattered... an uptight, rational accountant who's inherited a psychic "gift" along with a fortune...and ghosts of Old West gunmen...

Book One: Ghost Seer:
Contemporary Denver, Queen City of the Plains, modern and thriving...and haunted by restless and reckless ghosts of a dusty past that only a few can sense.

Accountant Clare Cermac doesn't think of her gypsy ancestry very often, that is until she inherits a fortune, and the gift to see ghosts – and to help them move on to the other side. Not just any ghosts, but those of the Old West. Strong and determined, she struggles to save her sanity and her life.

Zach Slade (Jackson Zachary Slade) leaves southern Montana with a disability pension in his pocket and a bitterness in his heart after the recent betrayal of his fellow deputies. He'd thought he was a member of a team, but he'd been considered an outsider. And though he has paranormal "hunches" when he sees crows, he doesn't believe in woo woo. He can't work for the public anymore, and going "private" with his investigative skills is being bought.

Two lives derailed, touched with the supernatural, collide…and the ghosts of the wild, wild West are no more reckless than two people challenging each other mentally, emotionally, physically.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Ghost Seer, 1st in a Series

This is Clare. She is the heroine of Ghost Seer, the uptight accountant who inherits a fortune from her weird great-aunt Sandra, who saw ghosts. Unfortunately, Clare also inherits that gift.

GHOST SEER IS DONE! Okay, it's rough, but not as rough as many I've finished. I am pleased, exhausted, and heading over to Happy Cakes for $2 Tuesday cupcakes. :) I think I want Mexican Chocolate with Vanilla Cream frosting if they have it.

I'll post a little more about the story and series when I put out the call for betas. The ms. is 91,688 words long (about 10 thousand - 20 thousand words shorter than the usual Celta novel).

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