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.

My Photo
Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Celta Thursday, Cut Plot Thread from Heart Thief LONG

LONG Celta Thursday, Cut Plot Thread from Heart Thief: I ALWAYS have too many plot threads going. Really. I added this one to Heart Thief, then changed my mind because I could see it would get too complicated.

A corner of Ruis' mouth quirked. It had been easy for him to breach the T'Birch Estate and find the laundry. The dress D'Birch had worn for the summer bazaar was going to be an underdress for a new opera gown. Ruis had inserted the emeralds into a thick hem of the dress sleeve.
Someone bumped into him. He grunted.
Plump, female fingers clutched at his cloak, dark eyes peered up at him. "Finally, it's you! I must speak with you!" she hissed in his ear.
He looked down at the pale face of a young woman, Ella, a distant cousin. He fisted his hand and wondered how he should deal with her.
She grabbed his shoulder with a strong clutch. "I visited that hovel you used to live in and followed you from there. It was hard, I could only see your boots. You must help me!"
Ruis scowled at her. "You will rue the day that you told anyone that you saw me."
She paled and shrank back, then gestured to a large basket covered with a blanket. "If you won't help me, you must help him!" She turned and scooped up a bundle from the basket.
It wriggled. Another Fam? It made an odd little sound, sending a shimmer of grue up Ruis' spine.
She tossed aside the corner of the blanket. "My son," she said bitterly. "Every child is welcome on Celta. Isn't that the old saying? Because our population is so low, still?"
Her laugh scaled high until Ruis clamped a hand over her mouth and glanced around to make sure they were still unnoticed.
He needn't have worried. Everyone's attention was focused upon the glittering and plumed parade mounting the steps. The nobles in all their glory, and commoners flaunting their wealth.
Samba slunk toward them with a questioning mew. What's happening?
While he was distracted, Ella placed the babe in Ruis' arms. The tiny body felt surprisingly comfortable and settled in his hold with a huge smile.
Who? Samba batted a paw against his leg, angling her head to catch the scent of the bundle. She rotated an ear, grumbled a throaty purr. I want to see.
Ruis squatted, carefully keeping an eye on his ever-curious Fam. The cat touched noses with the baby boy and hopped back, grinning. Like you. This Tom-kitten is like you. Are you his sire?
A wave of revulsion swept through Ruis at the thought. Not only at having sex with Ella, but with propagating a child that might be as cursed as he. And then he realized what both Ella and Samba were saying. The boy child was a Null. His grip on the infant tightened but the baby only cooed.
Samba mimicked it. That is a nice sound. She did some variations.
Ruis' mouth twitched, then he met Ella's gaze. Her eyes showed deep bitterness, her pouty lips thinned and turned downward. "I've been disinherited, just as you have. For producing a Null, a defective child." She shuddered. "Bucus' eyes were wild and mean. I think he means me – us – harm. What am I to do?"
Ruis drew in a deep breath. He was totally without any sort of knowledge about children, about familial support. But he knew one thing, he would die to protect this child. He would do anything to make sure the babe grew up strong and confident. He would not let what happened to himself occur to the baby.
"What's his name?" Ruis asked.
"Ellhorn," Ella said.
"A good Elder name. What of his father?" Ruis' didn't remember his own father, who had died a year after his son was born, following Ruis' mother into the cycle of rebirth.
Ella hunched a shoulder. "A passing fancy. I couldn't tell him of this."
Ruis grit his teeth. "No, of course not."
Ella gasped and drew back into the shadows. "The T'Elder glider!"
Ruis slid deeper into the darkness himself. Samba jumped in the basket.
The glider was caught in traffic, a block away, but the ostentatious holo of Bucus T'Elder's arms hung above it in sickly lime green and blood red.
"Get out of town. I can't protect you here," Ruis said.
"You! A banished thief under execution? You can't protect me anywhere."
Ruis slit his eyes. "Then why did you come to me?"
"You're a thief. You can get gilt. I'll need it."
The tang of distaste flooded his mouth. Except in impulsive anger, he'd never stolen anything beyond which would meet his own needs. He ignored her insult.
"You'd best go to Gael City--"
"Gael City is too close." Gael City was three days southeast by glider if the Owen pass was open through the HardRock Mountains.
"I'll give you what I have." Ruis reached into his money belt and brought out the sheaf of golden softleaf giltnotes.
Ella snatched them and started counting. She muttered under her breath as she tallied them in quick, greedy fingers. "Only twelve thousand gilt?" She sounded appalled.
Ruis' gaze flickered over her. What had been a fortune to him was little enough for a once-spoilt T'Elder Daughter. Typical of all the born noblewomen he'd ever known. Except D'SilverFir. He shut off the intrusive thought of her.
"It's all I have." He fished the last EarthSun that had escaped the GuardsMen from a small, secret tuck in his trous and pressed it into her hand. "This, too. It's enough for you to find a small place in Anglesey.
She blinked at the uncut EarthSun and sniffed. "Alfriston maybe, but not Anglesey. I don't know--"
"Or you could leave the babe with me." He heard the words issue from his mouth in complete surprise.
"I know exactly how Ellhorn, a Null boy, will be treated. Who better?"
She drew herself up into a haughty stance. "I can take care of my own son."
"Very well. But do not let him be abused. And keep in touch." He saw the hesitation in her eyes and added. "I might be able to send more gilt later." He'd have to take up thieving again, in earnest, to do so. "How will you support yourself?" Ruis asked.
She blinked at the gilt and gem in her hand.
Ruis snorted. "You'd best budget that well. Do you have any of your own gilt?"
Anger and hurt showed in her eyes before they flooded with tears. She dashed the wetness off her cheeks. "Bucus cut me off without a silver sliver!" Her bottom lip trembled. "I know I get NobleGilt from the Council, but he's always taken it."
She sniffled and her mouth pursed. "But I have a Flair for wine. I'm an excellent judge of wine, my taste is superior. I worked in our vineyards for several years during the season." She sniffed again. Ruis hadn't even known that T'Elder had vineyards.
Her gleaming eyes calculated the gilt as she stuffed it deep in her bodice. "I guess I could open a shop. I can become a merchant!" Her mouth soured again and she cast a disparaging glance at her son. "That it has come to this. Well, I suppose I must take him, though he seems to like you well enough." She sniffed again. "Like calls to like, as they say."
Ruis felt reluctant to let Ellhorn go. Ella plucked the baby from his arms.
"Be sure to care for him, and let me know where you are so I can send more gilt."
She stepped away. "I will. I'm leaving. Your Nullness is so much stronger than his. It's awful."
"As you say." Ruis made an elegant, if mocking, bow.
She didn't seem to sense his sarcasm and nodded regally in return. Ella toed Samba from the basket and replaced the baby.
"Fare thee well." She pivoted on her heel and trod down the steps.
"Thief! Thief!" cried Uncle Bucus.
Ruis pulled his cloak around him and shrank back, then saw Bucus was pointing at Ella.
Her eyes widened, her face paled and she took off at a lurching run.
"Samba!" Ruis said.
Samba darted onto the steps, threading through legs and hobbling people, dashing in front of Bucus. He stopped on the edge of a stair, wove back and forth, then caught his balance, kicking at the Fam.
"Thief!" Bucus shouted again. "After her!"
Ruis gritted his teeth. Bucus obviously had no imagination, everyone against him was a "thief."
Now Bucus jumped up and down. "She's a thief. She has stolen valuables from my estate, from the T'Elders!"
"Is that so?" D'SilverFir asked coolly.
Ruis' thudding heart seemed to miss a beat, his breath lodged in his throat. She was the epitome of graceful breeding, everything a noble lady should be. Everything his cousin Ella was not.
Bucus went motionless. "Judge D'SilverFir."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Celta Thursday, sneak peek Heart Fire

Celta Thursday and late and my computer glasses are MIA (I think cat Action), heaven knows where. So the easiest thing to do is give you the beginning of work in progress, Heart Fire...only a few paragraphs (head is tilted all the way back to see this while I'm typing...):

Druida City, Celta, 422 Years After Colonization, Early Spring

"I know you want my position, dear," the High Priestess of GreatCircle Temple, the main priestess on the planet, said to Tiana Mugwort.

Tiana stumbled over a small rock in the meditation path. Her mentor's comment caught her off guard. She'd been concentrating on keeping her new, expensive and white formal robe from catching on some of the twiggy bushes along the trail instead of watching where she was going.

"I hear you," she muttered. No help for it, she'd have to use psi-power, Flair, to coat her gown. She'd anticipated this career review would take place in an office instead of one of the winding paths near GreatCircle Temple.

With a huge, hopefully discreet breath, she used nearly the last of her Flair to protect her robe for a half-septhour. Surely that would be enough. She'd spent her psi energy recklessly this morning with several teleportations before the meeting.

She'd thought there'd be tea and flatsweets. Instead she needed to catch up, both on the path and with the conversation.

Of course she shouldn't have expected her own ambition to become the High Priestess -- no matter how masked behind a quiet manner -- to have been overlooked by the savvy woman.

Now to go look around the bed where Dingo and Mystery Merlin were chasing each other. I have to find them before tomorrow!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Celta Thursday, Brand New Writing on Heart Fire, the Turquoise House

For the first time I will be doing more than the hero's or the heroine's point of view in a Heart book. I have decided to do snippets from the Turquoise House's point of view and wrote the first one today, so I'm sharing:

Turquoise House hummed to himself – one of the latest tunes that Trif Winterberry and Passiflora Holly, both noble ladies, had composed for him. He was beloved of the FirstFamilies and had had many wonderful guests. But now it was time to gather in his Family.

He was no longer an adolescent, but a mature adult. He was wealthy, but most of all, he was beautiful, with a gorgeous polished light Turquoise exterior.

No one, not even the one he'd been luring and who had not come back, could resist him now.

And he was brilliant. He'd set his plans. Soon he would have his Family, and everything would be perfect.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Heart Thief cut

All right, I've finished Ghost Layer today, it's too long, and after I read it, I will send it out to Betas for a quick read. Anyway, I'm pretty much brain dead so for Celta Thursday, I looked in Heart Thief and found a file named "never used." Here it is:

Her appointment as Supreme Judge of Druida had been 'ported to her personal scry cache at dawn that morning, along with a request that she start immediately in Druida's Judgment Grove. She'd blinked sleepily at the official parchment, then read the cover letter. Her appointment* had been based on her record as a circuit judge and on her Flair testing after her Third Passage, the emotional storm that had freed her psi power completely. At the time she had tested highest in telepathy, empathy and judgment. XX years had passed and she still held the highest scores. And now she had grown and matured, and her Flair, too had increased. She'd rubbed her sleepy eyes and yawned. It was to be expected, after all. She was the Daughter of a GrandHouse, a FirstFamily, that like all FirstFamilies, had bred for Flair for centuries. She'd been named "Ailim" at birth, the heir's name, when the oracle attending her birth had sensed the power of her Flair. So she was confirmed as Supreme Judge, and soon to be publically and officially confirmed as D'SilverFir.
She shifted her shoulders, feeling the unseen burden as if weighed on her back.
Her day ended in the early afternoon.
In the distance, between a small, planned, gap in the trees, loomed Nuada's Sword, the last of the three starships that had brought the colonists to Celta. The grove had been planted in such a way to remind all of the society they had sprung from -- a society that had hated and feared their ancestors for their beliefs and their burgeoning psi powers.
**The ritual ending Judgment Grove.**
Ailim removed her robe in the small building that housed her offices and hung it in her refresher. She stepped from the small two-story, building and admired the flagged terrace and the semi-circle of pillars that arched behind her altar-table. Her glance rested on the matching building at the other end of the pillars. It held a suite of rooms, a small but stately apartment for the Supreme Judge, should he or she wish to reside there.
She went and sat once more in her chair behind her table. Ailim smiled. One of the first things her bailiff had done was to initiate the spell that made the chair conform to Ailim's body, a personal ComfortChair. She ran her hands on the XX (stone & color) surface, smooth and slightly warm from the sun's rays that the weathershield had magnified.
The weathershield and anti-harm forcefield faded as the Grove returned to normal, or as normal as it ever would be. The manifestation of great Flair over generations had given it an atmosphere as strong as any Healing Grove, or outdoor RitualCircle. She looked out to the grove, massive trees of all the FirstFamilies namesakes were planted in a way to draw the eye. Some of the earth trees had not prospered and had either died or been cross-bread with Celtan flora. Still, the prospect was both stately and comforting*.
She breathed deeply of the fall scents of turning leaves and fading flowers. A sense of peace enveloped her as she enjoyed the lovliness of the Grove, and she was glad that her Family was a GrandHouse and had no month named D'SilverFir, like the GreatHouses did. What would she have done if she'd been born a Hazel, a Family with a month in high summer, and loved the autumn like she did? Ailim chuckled at the fancy, an impractical, unlikely thought to be flitting through her brain.
Still, as the air shimmered a little less, the colorful purple, maroon, and red leaves became highlighted by the sun, brilliant in their beauty. A last summer-warmed breeze swirled through the trees. Ailim smiled, but the stress of her first day in such a lofty position, the use of her Flair, and being the scrutiny of all of Druida who came to see the new Supreme Judge D'SilverFir seemed to transmute to weariness in every cell of her body.
She loosened the pins in her hair, just a little, and rested her head on her arms, just for a moment.
And slowly, wonderfully, peace came upon her.
"Sleep." She imagined she heard it, almost as if the Grove itself spoke, deep and quiet and infinitely tender. "You've had a full day, and you haven't recovered from all the time you went without sleep to try and solve your Family problems, have you?" The voice turned a bit tart, with an autumn apple bite. Ailim murmured, she agreed she needed sleep, but to agree that her Family was plaguing her would be disloyal.
"Sleep." She heard again, and the tight braids on her head loosened*, and wonderful, massaging fingers seemed to knead the knots from her neck and travel down to her shoulders and her back. A soft sigh of pleasure escaped her. And a little laugh, something supple and furry tickled her cheek, then her nose. Even as she thought of sneezing, she fell asleep.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Celta Thursday/Friday, Heart Change cut

You know, folks, if I miss Thursday, just email me. Here is the ORIGINAL intro of the girls at Judgement Grove in Heart Change: Then Laev abruptly stopped.
Flair crackled in the air.

Signet followed Laev's gaze first, squeezed Cratag's shoulder. He came up next to Laev and examined the fivesome of girls. Two were older, about seventeen, and three younger, more like thirteen.
One of the older girls and one of the younger ones were obviously sisters, dark haired and green-eyed. The older teen was plumper and prettier, the younger had a fierce gaze and sharp features.

The other two young girls were the Darjeeling child and another who was about thirteen and had brownish red hair and brown eyes and a self-confident look. They all wore last year's fashions, slightly shabby at the cuffs.

Laev's gaze was fixed on the striking beauty with a womanly body – surely newly adult like Laev himself. She had honey golden hair waving nearly to her waist. Her eyes were a deep amber and slightly slanted in her face. Her skin was of a tanned color that made her appear a woman dusted with gold.

Another zing. "What's that?" asked Cratag. He wasn't quite sure of the feelings surrounding him. More than sexual attraction. Dammit!

Signet looked at him with resigned amusement.

Laev went up to the five young woman and offered his most elegant bow, turned at once to the golden girl and offered his arm. The girl sent him a smile that seemed more sly than shy to Cratag and the other four girls dropped back.

Cratag and Signet's party stood still while the others walked...toward the PublicCarrier plinth and Cratag was torn.

Signet slipped her arm in his. "He's an adult now." She sighed. "And I'm afraid you're stuck with us."

An odd note in her voice had him tearing his gaze away from Laev, still feeling a dread anticipation. Though he'd hidden his own emotions throughout the afternoon, they'd been twinged and plucked as he saw all the circles of circles of alliances interact around him. Making him realize for the first time that whatever his status within his household, the respect he received for most others was because of his rank with T'Hawthorn, not because of Cratag the man. He didn't know when that had not become enough.

When he'd wanted to be considered equal to Signet when he never could be.

Furthermore, all the people in the JudgementGrove had been Druidans, doing a city dance that he didn't quite understand, with shades of nuanced behavior he could not recognize and some he knew he missed.

But now Signet was looking up at him, her gaze searching his face. For reassurance that he cared for her as well as Laev? That this time at D'Marigold Residence wasnt' just a job? Yes, he could answer that question for her. He pressed her arm against his side, twined his fingers with hers. Glanced at the rest of their little group.

Hanes had been keeping a watchful eye on those around them – commoners and minor Nobles, most of the great folk already had teleported home.

Vinni's lips had compressed. He took a couple of strides to Cratag, looked up at him, the boy's face was pale and set and angry. "Too late," he muttered. "I didn't see when this would be and wasn't paying attention and now it is too late."

Cratag banished the sinking feeling in his gut. Maybe the boy prophet wasn't talking about Laev, but Cratag could see by the set of Vinni's shoulders that he wasn't open to questions.

Signet searched Vinni's face, sensing Cratag wanted answers and the young GreatLord wasn't going to talk. "Who are those girls? she asked. She was holding Avellana back, fearing that the heavy Flair might spark Avellana's Passage.

"Ah, um." Vinni shuffled his feet, shot a glance at Cratag, back to being a boy and not a prophet. "The green-eyed girls are, um, the Mugworts."

"There was a terrible scandal about the Mugworts last year," Avellana said in her self-righteous tones.

Signet didn't recall, and it didn't matter much as far as she was concerned. What mattered was that she get Avellana out of the energy spiking around them.

But Cratag had tensed then relaxed. Something there.

Avellana was frowning. "I thought the Mugworts had left Druida." She sniffed.

"Evidently not," Signet said. "Avellana, are you judging again?"

"This would be the place," Cratag said, straight-faced.

Signet sighed. "JudgementGrove, yes. But Avellana doesn't have empathic Flair and hasn't trained to be a judge."

"Who are the other girls?" asked Cratag.

"The other ones just a little older than me are the Darjeeling girl, of course," Avellana said. "And I'm not judging her. Or maybe I am. She was right to claim her own property, even if it did mean making a scene if it was that important to her." Avellana nodded decisively. "And Lady and Lord knows the Darjeelings are very poor."

"An odd name," Hanes murmurred.

"Not a plant name, some sort of Earthan name, I think. But the Family was still founded within the first decade after the starships landed."

Signet got the idea that all the Hazels, maybe all the FirstFamiles, knew the status of all the oldest Families. The Marigolds had been founded within the first fifty years.

"The other young one is Glyssa Licorice," Avellana said. "Of the PublicLibrary Licorices. The Heir, I think."

"And the lovely girl who Laev is walking with?" Cratag asked, concern in his voice as they all watched Laev take the young woman's hand and lead her away from her friends.

"That's Nivea Sunflower," Avellana said.

"How do you know this?" Signet asked.

"My sister knew the older Mugwort and told me she was in grovestudy with Nivea Sunflower who had interesting coloring," Avellana said.

"Stunning," Signet murmured.

Cratag snorted. He'd settled into his balance as if expecting trouble and there was a line between his brows. Vinni fell into the same stance.

As if sensing their concern, Laev lifted his head from gazing at the girl beside him to meet Cratag's eyes. The younger man inclined his head in acknowledgment but didn't leave the girl.

Signet thought she caught the whisper of Laev's thought to Cratag. **I will escort GraceMistrys Sunflower home.** Then a flash of pure joy showed on his face. **I have been connecting with my HeartMate during Passage!**

Nivea Sunflower plucked at his bloused sleeve and he bent attentively to her.

"Uh oh," Vinni said.

Out of the Blogosphere
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >>]