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, November 28, 2013

Heart Fortune Cut -- Jace at a Social Club

I think I started the scene in Heart Fortune where Jace went to a noble social club, if not, let me know and I'll post the opening: "If possible, I'd like the bar." Even the entry area was too quiet for his tastes. He didn't like eating in tomblike quiet.

"Of course."

So she took him to a room that was slightly more active than the front, with a group of men in the corner.

Instead of seating him at the bar, she showed him to a booth opposite the long wooden counter.

"Your server will be right with you," she said and walked away.

Jace looked at the menu. He wasn't hungry, but, again, how often would he be in a place like this? No prices showed on the thick papyrus, naturally, and if you had to ask, you couldn't afford it. He wondered if he had enough gilt in his bank account to pay for a drink here.

The onion soup sounded good, as he told the friendly waiter when he came by. Jace ordered a short whiskey and a cup of onion soup and studied his very, very rich surroundings. Antique, dark paneling on the walls, the ceiling wood beams and copper patterned inserts, the booth seats of the finest leather. Definitely out of his class, and maybe he was fine with that. Inheriting or managing wealth like this must focus a lot of expectations on a man.

He didn't know whether D'Licorice or T'Licorice could walk into this club or not – and the fact that they might be able to rubbed at him, had rubbed at him before he'd arrived in Druida City.
He'd known himself and known his class before Glyssa had turned up at the camp and insinuated herself into his life – all right, before he'd accepted her into his life, he could admit that bit, at least. But now he had some sort of relationship with a woman that had led him to sitting here, in a club he'd never think of entering. Because through Glyssa, Jace had met Laev T'Hawthorn. Without Glyssa that wouldn't have happened.

Jace wasn't sure he knew himself any longer. It felt like he was on one of those rickety hanging rope and wooden bridges across a deep and rocky canyon. Heel-and-toeing soft-footedly across, aware one misstep would have him plunging below, screaming all the way down, lost.

He didn't know who he was becoming, and especially didn't know whether he wanted to change into that guy.

There were perks. The soft cushion under the fine-grained leather his ass sat on was one of them. The smell of that leather and the rest of furnishings and the topnotch alcohol. Everything around him radiated skilled craftmanship and wealth. Jace studied the handcarved design of the bar, masculine and elegant and something he could use on his next leather project. The bar had to be a few centuries old and he hadn't seen that design before. He could tweak it and make it his own – gold on midnight blue would look prime. Those weren't Laev T'Hawthorn's colors and Jace supposed he owed the man a piece of his work. He wondered what noble's colors were midnight blue and gold, or was there more than one. He could find out such things, Lady and Lord he knew how to research that since he'd worked with Glyssa. Might aim projects at certain Lords and Ladies, make some good gilt. TO BE CONTINUED

Friday, November 22, 2013

Captain's Logs cut from Heart Thief

I'd planned on doing little snippets from the Captain of Nuada's Sword during the trip, (that turned into Heart and Sword), before each chapter. But then I'd change the chapter and have to change the log. I was, at the time, beyond my technical skill (book 2, or manuscript 5, however you look at it). I've posted some, but not this one:

I am still alone, still untrusted by most of the crew, still working hard to establish my authority. I have no friends, dare not make any and still remain the inviolable Captain and manage a reasonable chain of command. I must have no obvious weaknesses or the whole shaky system will unravel and chaos will result.
I have consulted with the Captains of Lugh's Spear and Arianrhod's Wheel. The Captain of the Spear is a descendant of Philip Masur, calling himself T'Alder. The new naming system we initiated has been accepted by the generational crew. Juliet McLeod, now Juliet D'SilverFir is master of the Wheel. She was Awakened many years ago and is very old. The situations on the other ships are not as bad as the Sword, but the Captains made it clear they look to me for answers. My decisions will be followed by them.
I have taken steps to improve shiplife, hoping to stop revolutionaries from having a solid base. The blandness of the food was incredible. I instructed the computer to provide a larger variety, including desserts, that were dropped from the menu some time past due to the depletion of sweets. More sugar and honey will be raised in the Greensward. I have ordered the dead flower and greenery boxes along the corridors to be re-soiled and replanted.
I have also issued a statement that since our original destination may be out of reach, another planet ripe for colonization will be found.
Will my skills, my so-vaunted "charisma" be enough to save the ships? I have rarely had doubts in my life, never about going on this long trip and helping to found a new society. But that was when I was with others of my own mind, and Miriam. Just the sight of her sleeping and safe comforts me.

forgot Celta Thursday, coming soon!

In the midst of my copy edits for Ghost Seer (on a rushed deadline, absolutely NOT my fault) I forgot Celta Thursday as I've been working 10-15 hour days. Coming up soon!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cut scene from Heart Journey, Celta Thursday

Celta Thursday: An alternative scene where Del gives Raz his kitten Familiar.

Could Raz become a travelling player? Del had heard of such troups but didn't think it was in his plan. Could she convince him to have it in his plan? She had enjoyed a few stories by the actors when she'd hit a town the same time they had.

That afternoon, she and the driver pulled up at Raz's apartment door. Beside her on the seat was a box with a big bow, the walls of the container were permeable to let the contents breathe. Cats grew up quickly, she reminded herself. This one would be hardy in six months, ready for road adventures.

Del was pretty sure she couldn't last in the city for more than another month.

Raz was on time, as usual, and stepped from the door looking mouth-watering. She wondered why she'd decided on a picnic in a park along with the rest of the holidayers instead of staying in and exploring each other.

He raised the door and slid in. Del pretended not to see how the fabric tightened over his long, lean thighs, but she didn't think she did a very good acting job since the smile hovering around Raz's lips was smugly satisfied.

She swallowed and handed him the gift. The kitten was under a simple sleep spell until the lid of the box was lifted.

Raz's eyes lit. "A present!" Then he cast a mock serious look on her. "You aren't expecting anything for this gift, are you?"

The kitten wasn't her HeartGift that she'd give him and expect to claim him, expect everything from him. She let her eyelids lower as they wanted to, feeling him near, the buzz of his energy rubbing up against hers. "Nothing more than the usual."

He laughed. "I'm expecting a whole lot more than the usual."

She laughed, too. "That would be good."

"It will be close to perfect."

He opened the lid, looked sincerely surprised. "A kitten!"

"A kitten Fam. I saw you with your sister's."

"Yes." He stared down at the curled kitten, which yawned and stretched and opened amber eyes, one of which was in a patch of black, the other set in orange fur. "A calico kitten Fam." He stroked the small head with his elegant forefinger. The kitten yawned and showed tiny pointed teeth and a pink tongue. It hopped from the box, kneaded Raz's thighs and said, Greetyou, FamMan It opened wide eyes to stare. You are a beautiful person, you will fit with Me.
Raz laughed again, picked up the kitten and cradled it in his hands. "You're going to be a big hit at the theater, but you'll have to stay in my room, FamKitten."

My name is **.

"He's a male calico. They are rare," Del said. She waved a hand. "You can look up the genetics factors or not."

I am special. The little cat grinned.

"You certainly are." Raz cocked an eyebrow at Del. "How much does he sleep?"

"Slightly more than other cats." She handed him a papyrus pamphlet and a recordsphere. "Instructions from D'Ash on how to care for your new FamKitten in two different formats."

"Looks like quite a lot of information."

D'Ash knows everything, the kitten said.

"It looks like it," Raz said. "I won't be memorizing this, however." Again he turned the kitten to meet its eyes. "You and I will make up our own rules, too. Like never going outside my dressing room."

The kitten glanced aside.

The glider stopped. Raz glanced out his window and his eyebrows climbed. "Landing Park? On a holiday? Looks like all of Druida is here."

"Those that aren't in the other parks," Del muttered. "Good for the kitten, D'Ash said. To be socialized."

Raz snorted. "As if it wasn't socialized by being in D'Ash's menagerie or will be in the theater."
Del shrugged. "Maybe I wanted to show you I could be socialized, too."

Raz tied a ribbon-leash around the kitten and let it gambol on the seat and the floor. He put his hand on Del's. "I like you just the way you are. Honest and straightforward."

She wanted him to love her, but straightened her shoulders and met his eyes. He should know.
He should always know. "I'm being straightforward as I can be under the circumstances."

He frowned.

Del picked up the kitten who was trying to bite her toes and handed the little cat to Raz. "Now take your gift and see it play in the grass. Wonder how many other Fams are here."

Raz opened the door and stepped out with the little Fam. "It's a wonderful gift, Del." He looped the end of the ribbon around his wrist, offered hand to ease Del from the glider. "A lifetime gift."

That wasn't the only lifetime gift she would be giving to him. She could only hope he'd accept her HeartGift with as much joy in his eyes as the kitten.
Note: The person who won the Brenda Novak auction that year chose to name the Fam in Heart Journey Rosemary (for remembrance of a lost friend), and Rosemary became female.

And, now that I think of it, I have a tiny thread with the other actor/secondary character and how he discovered his love...maybe an enovella.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Celta Thursday, Heart Fate Cut Scene

This is the full scene of the guards looking for Lahsin.

Stomping of feet, crunching of branches, ahead of her.

She scuttled, then stopped at the sound of voices, put her hand over her mouth to quiet her ragged breathing. "–That pidyn-suckin' fliggerin' sonofa-blerk Winterberry. I wish that grychomp had eaten his bare ass. Swaggerin' inta our gatehouse an' tellin' us to walk – walk! – to Northgate lookin' for some stup of a lil' girl who got herself lost. I was just ready to sink my teeth into a cinnamon glazed doughround. Ya see how Winterberry looked down that arrogant nose at us?"

"Sloegin, I thought he said 'patrol.' Patrol between here and Northgate."

Lahsin was caught in an awkward crouch. The door in the wall was just two meters from her. She could see it now, a small, square door. If only she was there! Branches had formed a thicket around the door, but byeond were much thinner. She could see the colors of the Eastgate guardsmen's uniforms. If she could see them, they could see her . . . .

"Patrol," Sloegin snorted. "That's walkin' our asses off this whole quarter a' the city! Ya think he went ta Southgate an' Northgate? No. He only came ta us and we're the only ones doin' this search. Fliggerin' Cave of the Dark Goddess, I try'n stay outta his way, an' this happens. I only got 'leven more months afor I can pull a nicely pension and hire on private somewheres for more pay and a cushier life. Fliggerin' Winterberry, grychomp meat."

"I heard that on ancient Earthen, the guards patrolled in gliders," the second man said.

The first smacked the second on the head, snorted, "Gliders? My ass. Gliders are for more important things than findin' a little girl-wife." He smacked his lips. "The old man liked her young 'n tender."

"Those FirstFamilies are weird. Always said so."

They were coming closer and closer. Lahsin used precious Flair to fashion a no-see-me shieldspell around herself, wondered if it worked. She'd only heard of the new no-see-me spells and had practiced crafting this one by herself. It demanded considerable Flair, so she slowly straightened, leaned against the wall.

"Did you hear somethin'?" the second guard asked.


There was silence except for their breathing.

"Getting cold, snow's comin' t'day or t'morra." More boot stamping. "My feet are cold. I never got no celtaroon boots. No more nice paved path, we gotta go in there? Nothin' but big plants 'long there. Pro'bly got big thorns."

Another snort from the first one. "You afraid'a that shadow beast they talking about? Might be a grychomp."

"A grychomp in the city? How could that happen? Couldn't come over the walls, through the gates." A small hesitation. "Too bad, their fur and teeth sell for good gilt." His shoulders straightened. "Aint no shadow beast, some big tomcat, mebbe. Don' believe nothin' 'bout no big beast at all."

"Yeah. This trashy bit runs quite a way 'long the wall and the backs a those buildins."

"Mostly deserted, those buildins. Don' know what might be livin' innor 'round 'em."

Lahsin couldn't keep the spellshield up, she could feel it slipping, but the door was shrouded by tall bushes and set deeply into the wall. She put on a burst of speed and fell into the dark corner where door and brick met.

"That was def'nitely a sound." One said louder. "The beast mebby?"

"Thought you said you did believe in the beast."

"Changin' my mind. Should we 'vestigate?" He sounded nervous but determined.


Fumbling, Lahsin found the door handle, pressed the thumb latch. Nothing happened. Oh, Lady and Lord, oh, please, please, please, she prayed mentally, sensing the strong shields – more like forcefields – set in the walls, fiddling with them. She'd always been good with shields. Lady and Lord, please, I need in--

"Guess we better look down there, 'least til it narrows."

"Them plants are too high, too wild."

I need in now! Tears streaked down her face. She breathed through her mouth. Lady and Lord, in!

The door opened and she plunged into a tangle of bushes.

"What's that?"

"Nothin'. Nothin's here," the second man said loudly.

Lahsin watched with wide eyes as the door swung silently shut. On the back was a plaque that caught the sun and read, "BalmHeal." She slumped in relief.

There came thrashing beyond the door, crackling of bush branches. More swearing.

"You said the guards used to patrol in gliders?"

"On Earthen, yeah."

"I gotta guy at Northgate. Owes me a favor. Might be able to wangle the gate glider."

"Yeah? Yeah? Can't go no further. Sure looks like a place where that shadow beast might lurk. Look, gotta rip in my coat sleeve. Nasty plants."

"Yeah, you're a reg'lar sophisticated city boy."


"Sounds good."

Lahsin wasn't taking any chances. She ran down a twisting path showing patches of stone underneath the overgrown groundcover. Through a couple of tall, maze-like hedgerows, in, in, in.

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