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, May 28, 2015

Celta Thursday: Heart Story from Hearts and Swords

I often write several first scenes or first chapters, this was one that didn't make it, for obvious reasons like the first line...
Druida City, Planet Celta 406 Years After Earth Colonization, Spring

Her mother was dead. Finally. Good riddance.

Now Arbusca Willow – and the rest of her family – was out from under the woman's tyranny and they all could get on with their lives. Some of the women who'd lived in the Residence had already found lovers or husbands of HeartMates.

Arbusca's son had convinced her that it was her turn. But being married was something she'd forgotten how to do long ago, when she'd married the man her mother had wanted, someone rich whom the woman could dominate. A man who hadn't lasted two years. She was fairly sure her mother hadn't actually killed him, though, just intimidated him to death.

So Arbusca paced the private dining room she'd rented at her social club for the first meeting with her HeartMate.

Before last month, they hadn't connected in twenty-five years. Even then, they'd never met, but linked during hot, sexual dreams when their psi magic had been freed during fugue states. Through their link she'd only known that he'd travelled south...all the way to the southern continent.

The bond between them had been the slimmest, she'd suppressed them – if not the yearning for her HeartMate – so long. But in several hopeful moments over the last year, she'd given the bond gentle tugs.

Last month Dri Paris had contacted her, and now he walked into the room. She hid her fisted hands behind the folds of her heavily emproidered silkeen tunic. Her pacing had brought her to the far corner of the room when he'd entered, not graciously by the table ready to pour cinnamon caff. Typical.

His gaze focused on her. The emotional connection between them seethed with feelings.

He was not the tall, lanky boy whom she'd watched from afar, but a solid man of broad shoulders and craggy face. Suddenly this venue seemed over-civilized as he brought the scent of the wilds into the place. Arbusca stilled to immobility.

But his hard gaze found her and softened and as he strode toward her, little flutters of more than attraction – lust – stirred within her. She wasn't a young woman, but he wasn't a young man.
His lips curved and a quick thought from him impinged on her mind. Both in our prime.

Her shoulders relaxed, her hands unclenched enough that she placed them on the table – though not near her cup of cinnamon caff in case her movements went jerky.

Dri wore clean leather trous that were cut narrowly for a working man and heavy leather boots, both in dark brown. His matching leather tunic also was workmanlike with no frills, encasing him from a round neck to his waist. His shirt underneath was a warm cream color of a soft weave, the material itself showed it wasn't a work shirt, and the sleeves had a faint blouse of fashion.

His smile was full as he stopped by her booth. "Well, if it isn't Blush Willow."

She'd forgotten that childhood name and even as he said it, she felt heat flowing up her neck, into her cheeks. So stupid, so unattractive.

"Now that's a pretty sight," he drawled, more than a hint of a southern continent accent in his voice. "Pretty blush on a pretty woman." He reached out and picked up her hand, bowed over it and kissed the back. Tingles sizzled down her nerves, mixing with the flutters in her core.

He smelled of fire – his psi magical power, Flair – and man. Exciting.

His thumb rubbed over her fingers. "So smooth." Gently, he placed her hand back on the pale pink tablecloth and slid onto the maroon leather bench opposite her. Taking his other hand from behind his back, he revealed a large pink rose in full bloom. "A blush rose. Always reminded me of you."

Her cheeks were pinker than that now. She took the rose that had been stripped of thorns. It was plump and full, almost overblown. Like her. "Thank you." She fiddled with it a little, then caught herself. She moved the vase already on the table sporting a daffodil closer and put the rose in, saying a small stay-fresh spell under her breath.

Dri and she stared at each other.

His hair was still ginger colored with only a few strands of silver. Her own dark brown hair was streaked with gray. She hoped he thought it was due to genetics instead of being worn down by a tyrant's demands.

Weathered skin and a touch of lines were around his amber eyes. She fought time relentlessly and her skin was smoother, but she worked indoors. She'd become plump, too.
A waiter showed up and asked what Dri wanted. Dri glanced at the floral china carafe that held her cinnamon caff, the delicate creamer and sweet holders. His nostrils widened. "Cinnamon caff, nice." He looked up at the waiter. "I'll stick with this, thanks."

Arbusca took the second cup and poured as gracefully as she'd been taught, clamping her nerves tight so her hands wouldn't shake, mindful of her long, heavy sleeves.

"Beautiful Blush Willow," Dri murmured. He put his hand over hers as she was about to lift his cup. "Who'd've thought that I was HeartMate to GreatMistrys Blush Willow, of the colonist FirstFamilies?"

Now a tremor shivered through her at his touch...a touch she'd only experienced in dreams...intimate dreams...and her fingers shook.

Dri's eyelids lowered, his smile grew satisfied, and his hand curled tighter around hers. Once more they stared at each other and the only thing she heard was her pounding blood.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cut from Noble Heart in Hearts And Swords: D'Ash Fam Adoption Rooms:

”They’re Fams, they’re intelligent,” Walker said.

“Yes.” Danith looked around, lowered her voice. “Not as intelligent as cats or foxes or dogs, but sentient.” She went over to a big box on the counter at the end of the room, cooed. “Here they are. Adorable.”

He peered into the box and found a huddle of small housefluffs piled together and sleeping. Most women would want one. For himself, he was glad he had an adventurous fox on the way.

“My Fam won’t eat it, will he? Since Sedwy will be my liason to all of you scary nobles, explaning FirstFamily customs, I don’t want to irritate her.”

Danith lifted a small brown housefluff with long ears edged in cream, held it close to her body and stared up at Walker. “She’s going to explain customs to you?”

“That’s right.”

“Oh, good. Someone I can ask when I get confused. Even if T’Ash knows stuff, he never explains.”

“Always glad to be of service. Take the housefluff. You know any good Grove names?” Danith asked.

“Not off-hand. You know those FirstFamilies are weird. Never paid much attention.”

“That’s fibbing, Walker. You probably know every secret this household has and a lot about the Blackthorns.” She tilted her head. “Know more about the Hollys than they’d care for, some about the Furzes. All FirstFamilies.”

“And you are all weird.”

“Not me, commoner, like you.”

“Just go on believing that.”

The door opened and T’Ash stepped in. “You’ve been flirting with my woman all morning long, Clover. The All Councils’ Clerk got tired of waiting for you and left. Your cuzes are still entertaining the other noble reps. Get them all out of the Residence. Take the bunny and go away.” T’Ash’s lip curled at the housefluff. “Sweet pet.”

“Fam!” Danith corrected.

“Fam,” T’Ash said automatically.

Thank you, said a tiny voice. The housefluff opened its eyes.

“It’s not my Fam,” Walker said. “I have a fox.”

“I’ve told you T’Ash,” Danith said.

“Yeah, yeah,” T’Ash said. “Take the thing.”

I am a she, the housefluff said.

“She’s a gift.” Walker stretched out a hand and Danith carefully set the animal in it. His hand was bigger than the Fam. He’d never felt anything so soft. “For a lady. I think this lovely housefluff will be perfect.”

“I think so, too.”

“Wait,” T’Ash said. “Danith, you have a waiting list for Fams.” He looked into the box, rolled his eyes. “Even housefluffs, but Walker gets two?”

Walker stroked the small animal and she relaxed in his palm, seemed to hum with pleasure. “I’m special.”

“Walker’s special,” Danith agreed. “And people who are elevated to Noble class usually get gifts. This can be his. Unless you want to choose something else for him?”

“No. But hurry it up. Walker can get those folks out of our home.”

“Just go in and scowl, they’ll leave,” Walker said.

“I want the house back to normal,” T’Ash grumbled.

Danith put her arms around him, hugged. “That’s not possible. Walker is gone. Our son is growing up, he’s finished his First Passage.”

“Hate to lose you, Walker,” T’Ash said.

“You’ve still got me as a friend.” Walker offered his arm for a grip.

“Good.” T’Ash took it, squeezed, not quite painfully. Removing his arms from his wife, he said. “In the Family dining room five minutes. Later, Walker.” He smiled, inclined his torso. “GrandLord Clover.”

“Later, T’Ash.” As soon as the man had left, Walker said, “Danith, you’re sure this little one is right for GreatMistryss** Grove?”

“I think she needs something young and vulnerable to take care of. Something innocent.” Danith glanced at him. “Especially since she’ll be dealing with you.” Danith paused, brows raised. “You don’t want to ask about her?”

Of course he did. He smiled. “I’ll ask her myself.”

Danith poked him in the abs. “I know that smile, Walker Clover. You’ve talked me into more things with that smile....”

“Good to know.”

“Hmmph.” She opened a drawer and pulled out a square pouch with a long strap. “Carrying case.” She handed it to him.

“Couldn’t Sedwy just put her Fam in her sleeve pocket?”

“I saw the gown she was wearing. Long, elegant sleeve pockets aren’t good for carrying fragile Fams. The pouch is softly lined and will be comfortable for our Fam. It will also minimize the smell or stains of any unexpected accidents.”


Danith stepped tiptoe, kissed Walker’s jawline. “Take care.”

“I will. I do.”

“I know.” She gestured him from the room and bent toward the housefluff box and Walker pretended not to see the sheen of her tears as he left.
His own footfalls were heavy as he went through the Fam adoption room, then out into the office suite, down the corridor to the Family’s quarters. “Residence, where are the Groves?” he asked the house.

“In the main sitting room. They have excellent patience.”

“Thank you.”

“I, too, am sad to see you go."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Celta Thursday: Cut from Heart Thief

Celta Thursday, cut from Heart Thief: An alarm pealed. Ruis dropped the plans he was studying onto his desk and shot to his feet, then grabbed the back of the chair to steady himself. "Ship, what's wrong?"
"Transmission from T'Elder GreatHouse requesting help from Ruis Elder, FirstSon and Heir to T'Elder GreatHouse."
"Just tell me what's wrong!" Ruis strode to his bedroom and grabbed Celtan clothes, pulling them on.
"Elder Residence states imminent destruction of the HouseHeart by the current T'Elder."
Ruis jolted and his mouth dried. Even he, never allowed in the sacred T'Elder HouseHeart that he could remember, valued it. Something inherent in his very genes.
Ruis cursed. He should have anticipated this action by Bucus. They all should have thought of this. His uncle was just the mean type to destroy what he couldn't have.
Why hadn't he thought! Because he'd been stunned by his own rapidly changing fortunes, appointed Captain of Nuada's Sword, reinstated as the FirstSon and Heir to the T'Elder Family. He dragged on his boots.
"Connect me with T'Elder Residence," he commanded.
"The line -- ah, scry -- is open." Ship had been diligently amending its language to fit Celtan norms.
"T'Elder Residence, this is FirstSon Ruis!" The first time he'd ever said that aloud. He'd have savored the moment if he hadn't been so worried.
"Greetyou, FirstSon." T'Elder Residence's voice was wispy and strained. "We are conflicted. The present T'Elder approaches the HouseHeart with weapons--"
"Stop! As FirstSon and Heir, I order you to take all action to protect the HouseHeart and yourself, T'Elder Residence!" Ruis shouted.
"Thank you," the Residence sounded relieved.
"I'm on my way," Ruis said. "Detain the present T'Elder by any means possible."
"Noted. Thank you," T'Elder Residence repeated.
"Ship, what transport do we have?" asked Ruis.
"We have 'bots fitting a faster motor onto the xx as we speak. It is being prepared in the southern docking bay."
Ruis started to run. As his feet pounded down the hallways of he smiled. He was Ruis T'Elder, Captain of Nuada's Sword and experienced in command, and he was glad. T'Elder Residence needed him, him, the despised Null. And he could help.
He ran faster and grinned at the thought of getting his hands on his Uncle Bucus.
When he reached the docking bay, the transport was revving and the doors opened to the cold night. Ruis vaulted onto the xx, winced at the clumsy vehicle. "Go, as fast as possible to T'Elder Residence."
"The transport** has the coordinates." Ship said. There was a small pause, but as Ruis zoomed out of Nuada's Sword, he thought he heard it say. "Merry meet."
"Merry part!" He turned back to shout.
"And merry meet again," Ship boomed.
Ruis faced forward again and rubbed his hands, then flexed his fingers in and out of fists.
Note, I completely forgot I'd written this.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Celta Thursday: Map

It's been a while since I posted a map of the main continents of Celta. So here it is:

Out of the Blogosphere
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