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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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Zanth and the Treasure

Zanth and the Treasure is up as a free short, short, short story today:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What a crash! And cleanup...

Celta Thursday, Complete Scene Uncut from Heart Journey

Celta Thursday: Here's the COMPLETE scene of after-party glider break-in from Heart Journey. As you can see I had an idea of a subplot for a lover for Johns, but figured it would be too much:

It had turned out to be one of the best parties of Raz's life. True, Del had left after a few dances and a couple of coversations, but when she was with him his blood pumped faster. He hadn't managed to seduce a kiss from her, her eyes were too knowing. She had left without any promises to meet, though he was sure that she felt the same sweet zings of passion that he did.
A very unusual woman, she had made no overatures, had not flirted. Had left him aching with arousal after she'd gone...and had challenged the hunter in him to pursue.
He wasn't the only one she'd danced with. She'd walzed with Johns and they had looked good together, like a study in athletic grace. Damn Johns. He'd nipped Del away from Raz just because they were competitors, but two minutes later was laughing with her. Yes, the hunt was on.
Before the dullness of her absence from the party could set in, he'd received a couple of compliments on his work from people he'd admired, then an agent had hinted to him about a part in a new play by Amberose. Raz hadn't been quite able to show simple casual interest, he'd pressed the man, who had smiled enigmatically, changed the subject, then slid away. Raz had seen him talking to Johns who had gone as impassive as a rock face – a sign he was suppressing excitement. Another thing to compete for.
Raz didn't know which he wanted more, the woman or the part. That was due to the springreen wine. He'd had another glass or two. Almost enough to affect his timing so that he remained too long. He liked to exit an event at the right time – leaving people behind charmed and wanting more of his company.
But now he breathed the soft summer night air as he stood near the steps from the terrace to a side grassyard where gliders were parked. He inhaled the scent of full-blown roses trained over the terrace wall and the heavy air made him yearn for one more whiff of Del's scent. He glanced to the rows of gliders, grinned. He had his own, just like the wealthiest nobles, a gift from his Family. It was parked at the far end of a row, a few feet before a tangle of forest.
With three tuneful notes, he summoned it, saw the blurs of black movement tumble from it as it moved. "Hey!" Raz shouted.
"I told you these damn shields would take to long to breach. Should have just smashed and searched and run." A low voice said, began to swear. The man should have known better than to talk in that pitch.
"We had to disable the stun!" the smaller one said. He muttered something and the vehicle stopped, stand's clicked down.
Raz suppressed his own shout as he jumped over the low terrace wall, grunted as he hit the ground three meters below. The thieves weren't running away. Noise of shattering glass game but Raz didn't waste breath. His glider was shrieking: "My virtue is threatened!" The old-time melodramatic phrase had seemed funny at the time he'd programmed the alarm, but now it fed his anger.
The world of black and white was hazed with the red of his anger. Not this time. His home had been violated, his work area defiled, his property smashed. Putting some Flair into his leaps he bounded toward his glider. The smaller person was inside his glider, rifling it. He heard rips.
This time he yelled as he hopped up on a large, old, Family glider, jumped toward the large man with a flying kick to his head. The man got an arm up, threw Raz off balance. He landed, rolled, came up swinging. His knuckles connected with the man's jaw and he grinned in satisfaction, hardly noticing the sting. The big guy swung back, Raz slid aside, but caught a fist on his left shoulder that numbed his arm. He led with his right and got the guy again, as the man stumbled back, Raz hooked a foot around his ankle and brought him down.
More slashing behind him, he whirled. "Open!" he yelled, realized the doorframe was bent too much to rise. Reaching in, he grabbed at the other thief, caught fabric and did some ripping of his own.
He was yanked back and spun around, jerked his head aside as the big man's hand skimmed his temple. Someone else hit him in the stomach.
There were three!
"My virtue is threatened!" screamed Raz's glider.
"Hey!" someone yelled from the house. The shout was mixed with other car alarms. "Back away, I have stun," from the Family glider Raz had hopped on. His glider had stun, too, why hadn't it?
Grinning he kicked out at the third man, connected. Pounded short jabs on the first man's chest.
"Gotta go!" squeaked the man in the glider. He kicked Raz through the broken window, right into the big man's fist. Pain shot from his cheek through him.
"No!" the first man said. "Get him and hold him." He yelled to the third. "Play-actor too damn much trouble. Who'da thought?"
"Have a problem with actors?" Johns asked, grabbing the third man from the back and throwing him aside.
"I'm gone," that one yelled.
"Won't get your gilt," the big man snapped, panting. He slugged Raz on the left shoulder again. Raz punched with his right to the guy's jaw.
Yelling, the smaller man flung himself on them. All of them went down, Raz, the big guy, Johns. Raz's head cracked against metal, he landed badly on Johns, whose breath went out in a painful whoosh.
"Gotcha!" The smaller man yanked at the larger, dragged him free, and they teleported away.
"Uhhhn." Raz sat up slowly, put a hand to his head. His lip was cut and bleeding and he thought his cheek was fractured.
Johns lay flat and spit out words in short pants. "Sorry. Too late." He groaned and it seemed to take all his breath.
"You did fine." Raz wiggled his jaw, it hurt, too. A dull throbbing came from his temple. "Many thanks, I'm grateful."
Sudden quiet descended except for Raz's glider. "My virtue has been violated," it said mournfully.
"Want to quiet that one down?" rumbled Cratag as he strode over, hand on his blazer hilt as he scanned the trees.
"Alarm stop, Cherry," Raz said, then turned to Cratag. "The thieves got away."
There was a quiet woman's sob – not from his glider. "Oh, my poor baby, I didn't shield you and look what happened, your jeweled timer, stolen!"
"This is a bad thing." T'Spindle, a short, rotund man, said. People cleared the way for him. "Healer needed here!" he shouted, making both Raz and Johns wince.
"Getting my bag!" answered a voice from the direction of the Residence. Obviously the Spindles had a Healer on staff.
"This is a very bad thing," Grandlord Spindle said. His eyes were hard and reminded Raz that the man was of the FirstFamilies and used to playing dangerous politics. Raz's anger eased at the thought that the thieves would truly regret this night. Spindle was easygoing, but he was stubborn and no doubt would make sure the guards on this case were equally stubborn about solving it. Of course Spindle would look at his enemies first.
A large hand curved under Raz's elbow. "Let me help you up," Cratag said quietly, lifted Raz to his feet with ease. The warrior narrowed his eyes. "Looks to me like you need more than stage fighting instruction."
That stung as much as Raz's wounds. He opened his mouth to say something and his lip split. He swore under his breath. "Maybe you're right." He nodded to Cratag as the man stepped away. "I'll think about it."
A lovely young woman rushed close, a Healer's bag in her hands. Johns groaned. She went to him, her hands swept over his chest. She frowned. "I don't sense anything wrong with your lungs."
Johns sat up, smiled crookedly at her. "Just bruises." He tilted his head toward Raz. "You should see to Raz. The three of them got the worse of him."
"Three!" she exclaimed. Her hands continued to stroke Johns, easing his bruises, as he rose to his feet.
"Thanks, Johns," Raz muttered, wincing as his mouth stung again.
"Anything I can do." Johns bowed as the Healer looked on admiringly. Then he glanced at Raz's glider, Cherry, grimaced and shook his head. "That was a real pretty glider, Raz."
The Healer had finally reached Raz. "Broken cheekbone, bad bruise on the temple..." she pressed on his ribs and he yelped. "I think you should come inside where I can treat you." Her voice held the faintest hint of glee, as if her job with the Spindles was pretty boring.
"I'll help him along." Johns was there, crowding a raised-eyebrow Cratag aside and wrapping his equally brawny arm around Raz's shoulders. They hurt, too. Everything hurt.
"That's so kind of you." The Healer beamed approval.
"Let's get you going, friend." Johns tightened his grip.
Raz hissed out a breath, but followed along, fairly steady on his feet, though he felt a little light-headed. He limped. He might have broken some toes. His hands weren't feeling good, either.
Johns actually shortened his stride and slowed his steps. "Thanks, Johns," Raz said. This time he meant it.
"'Welcome. Sorry about you and your glider."
Raz knew that was true. Johns had been open in his envy at Cherry.
"Tell you what," Raz said as they took the steps slowly. "Why don't I ask my Father to get another sportcoupe at cost, sell it to you for the same price."
Johns eyes gleamed. "In blue?"
"The same color as your eyes," Raz agreed as they angled through a door to a sitting room that was furnished in a masculine fashion where blood and grime wouldn't show – much.
"Done," Johns said.
But Raz had a nasty feeling that things had just begun....
The Healer bustled in, ordering others to provide hot water, softleaves...She was small and voluptuous with bright red hair and a smattering of freckles. Johns watched her every move. Raz closed his eyes and wished Del was here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Thief

Celta Thursday: Cut from Heart Thief:
It was better they had no contact. Ailim was glad Ruis stayed far from Druida City and the law that would claim his life if he ventured inside. But no matter how fleeting the time she'd spent with Ruis Elder, the Null, it was time enough that it left a hole inside her.
He was a thief. She was a judge.
There was no way they could become friends. Her position with the FirstFamilies Council was precarious enough without endangering her career by harboring an outcast. Ailim grimaced at the very thought. That was all they'd need to jerk the estate away from the Family. Associating with Ruis couldn't be called a minor transgression. Not for a Supreme Judge. There'd be no way to claim ignorance, not of the law or the circumstances.
Duty had forced her to attend a noble party the night before. The guests had hummed with gossip regarding Ruis Elder, though it had been three days since his banishment.
And behind the gossip, Ailim had sensed the shadows of noble maneuvering. Bucus Elder, the Captain of the NobleCouncil, was not well respected or liked. Apparently he'd had a sheen of smooth affability combined with common sense as well as the all-important heritage and background to win the vote for Captain's Chair two years before.
It was generally known that the FirstFamilies Council, even the entire NobleCouncil, would prefer T'Holly as Captain. But he was banned from that position for fighting with T'Hawthorn in the CouncilHall and breaking the Great Pentacle many years before. And T'Hawthorn was too strong a man himself to alienate by electing his enemy Captain. The long and intermittent feud between the two Houses was always a concern in the back of the nobles' minds.
So T'Elder had won the Captain's Chair, and now his surface persona seemed to be eroding, showing the true man. Rigid, unpleasant, and quick-tempered were just a few of the better phrases Ailim heard applied to him.
But he was still in power, and still able to squash the hopes of D'SilverFir GrandHouse with one fat finger.
Ailim visualized a map in her head and shifted in her seat. She wished D'SilverFir estate didn't border with T'Elder.
And that thought brought her full circle. The map vanished before her mental eye to be replaced by the attractive image of Ruis, the disowned Elder. The image was linked with the feelings he'd engendered in her from the first moment she'd met him in the GuildHall. The flash of respect when she'd seen how uncaring he was of the council's opinion still lingered. All her life she'd considered the opinions of others, following the Family rules for an Heir, in the first years as a judge, and even more so now, watching her every step so she could keep the Family together.
Ruis Elder could teach her to be free. If she let him. With dizzying speed her mind blazed images of the self she could be if she learned to be free, so self-confident that she would never think again of people's opinions more than her own needs. Being able to completely express her emotions.
She knew if she spent time with him, she'd learn how to relax her guards. With him she would need no guards, would have none -- that was a trifle scary, but when she recalled how her senses expanded under the influence of his Nullness she thought she'd dare to be with him anyway.
Her memory played back every press of his fingers, the sensation of his hands massaging her, and the low heat deep inside. A sexual heat that she'd finally admitted to feeling.
Sex was not something she'd often enjoyed. Not since she realized that if she lost herself in passion, her Flair spiraled wide. Then she knew exactly what the man she was being intimate with thought and felt.
She shuddered as memory spun out her first sexual experience. She'd thought her first lover was making love with her.
But in uncontrolled passion, she'd found out differently. He'd believed he was just taking the edge off a physical hunger.
With a jerk of her head she banished the past. No need to think of that man -- who had thought her strange and not nearly as beautiful as the woman he really wanted. At least the old emotions of shock and shame were mostly gone from those memories.
But Ruis would be different. Though she couldn't read him, she sensed that he was an honorable man, obeyed his own rules. That those rules might not march with the standard laws of Celta bothered her, but she couldn't fault him for acting outside them since they had not protected him.
Ailim lifted her head from her arms and gave up waiting for the man. Gathering her papyrus together she pondered Ruis' life. Surely it would have been bad under Bucus. The lines of dissipation on T'Elder's face, the way his meek wife shrank into herself when she was near him spoke of a petty tyrant. The thoughts she'd sensed during the council meeting -- lavish punishments for Ruis, greed for D'SilverFir land, made Ailim wary of the Captain of the Council. She frowned in concentration, trying to remember the "feel" of his thoughts. She sniffed and the clean scent of autumn brought the memory back -- by contrast. His thoughts had held a sly oilyness, like the sticky residue of a slug's passage. It was not the resonance of a moral man, let alone the strong inflection of a nobleman with integrity.
Despite growing up under T'Elder's rule, Ruis seemed open to affection. He had managed to survive and develop his own moral code. She needed facts and information if she was going to be able to overturn Ruis' banishment. She paused. Was she really thinking that? Oh, yes.
Ruis had given her a measure of peace and contentment. He had been kind. Now it was time to give something back to him.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Celta Thursday, Residences, T'Blackthorn's, Cliveden

Celta Thursday, The first Residence I visualized well (I had it in mind and had to find a Family for it, T'Blackthorn), which is Cliveden. I liked the looks of it and used it in an unpublished Regency Historical romance as a house called Lilrennin. Eventually Mom and I visited it as I was writing Heart Choice.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Cut from Heart Fortune

The beginning of Heart Fortune changed significantly...several times. Cut from one version of the scene with Glyssa at T'Hawthorn Residence with her friends, Tiana Mugwort, the newly wed Camellia Darjeeling D'Hawthorn and her husband

"It was five years ago that I had my weekend fling with an out of town stranger."
"Five years!" Laev looked appalled. He jacknifed from his casual sitting pose.
Glyssa gave him a weak smile, rushed into words. "I didn't know he was my HeartMate then. And if I had, if I'd followed him, abandoned my studies and my career, my Family – who are my employers and FirstLevel Librarians – would have been unforgiving." She bit her lips, she'd had nightmares about that. "I don't know whether they'd ever have let me return, and I love them. I love librarianship." Despite herself, tears welled in her throat and she swallowed them down. "And I'd have abandoned my friends, Camellia and Tiana, to follow an...an adventurer."
But Laev's brows were down, empathizing with the man, no doubt. "Hmmm."
"It wasn't as if he knew either. As if he returned for me. At least I have figured out who, what, he was and is." Glyssa lifted her chin belligerently. "I don't think he still has a clue." Then she winced inside. All those emphasized words. True, she could be passionate about matters, but the whole little speech sounded like rationalizations she'd repeated to herself. They were, but they were also true statements. Her family would not have understood. They would not have approved, and would have taken years to forgive her.
She continued, "And by the time I understood he was my HeartMate, he was gone from Druida City." She spread her hands. "I didn't know where he went to, where he was."
Laev frowned. "You could have followed your bond."
"Our teeny, tiny bond?" She stared at the man who took his responsibilities more seriously than any she'd ever known. Laev had been born into a FirstFamily and trained with every breath to do his duty.
"Ignore my Family and obligations?"
That was a point that struck home with him.
"Chase after a man who might have someone else?" Camellia said in a high voice, her gaze fixed on the dark window that only reflected the room and themselves.
Dammit! This explanation was hurting Camellia, bringing back to Camellia the awful circumstances of her and Laev's past.
Glyssa and Laev both turned to her, and Glyssa opted to distract her friend by playing on her sympathies. She pressed her lips together, then choked out – passionately, "And I have my pride. I didn't want to go running after a man who thought our time together was a holiday fling."
Laev stood and plucked Camellia from her chair, sat down with her on his lap, offered her a flatsweet with cocoa chunks. She bit into it, then he took a bite, looked over to Glyssa. "I agree with your reasoning," he said mildly......

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