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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Friday, October 30, 2015

Heart Legacy Teaser: Corax, the Raven:

Heart Legacy Teaser: Corax, the Raven: So Draeg started another long and traveling training pattern that would take him back to the corral and the horse pen, concentrating on the perfection of each move.

A bird cawed raucously overhead and Draeg glanced up to see it circling. **You are too close to my horses, man, step away,** came clear and astringent to Draeg’s mind. He followed through too hard on a foot sweep and was forced into fancy footwork to keep from falling on his butt.

Yes, his kata had taken him near the horses’ pen. He’d moved it close to the stridebeasts so the animals could get used to each other. The horses knew about stridebeasts but the Yew stridebeasts thought the horses were funny-looking creatures.

Quickly finishing his drill, Draeg withdrew a couple of paces but kept moving in the cool air. As a man of supposedly little Flair, he hesitated to pull a weathershield around himself.

The raven sounded a last caw and settled on Smyrna’s croup, glittering black eyes fixed on Draeg.

**I have been with these horses many twinmoons. They are mine more than yours or the woman’s.** His beak clicked as if in scorn.

Draeg bowed to the bird, though he kept his eyes on this new player in the intimate little game going on.

“May I ask your name, GentleSir Bird?”

Another beak clack. **I am called Corax.**

“Greetyou, Corax. I am Draeg Hedgenettle.”

**You lie,** the bird stated.

With a swift look around the area, Draeg muttered. “You may call me Draeg Hedgenettle. My birth name is Draeg Betony-Blackthorn.”

**You have too many names,** the bird grumbled. He strutted up Smyrna’s back and she blew out a breath. Though her muscles flexed, she made no move to rid herself of the bird, not even when he flew to the top of her head between her ears. Draeg got the impression that the horse had missed the raven. Ragan, whose neck had been stretched over the pen toward the stridebeasts, turned and trotted toward Smyrna and Corax, whickering in welcome.

Corax lifted and circled over both horses, then touched down on Ragan’s back. Smyrna slapped her tail against her butt in irritation, especially when Corax tilted his head and focused on Draeg again. **I think I would like a FamMan who would provide regular and easy meals as you do for the horses. I have missed my suet and my oatmeal and apples and my raw clucker. I think you would do.**

Draeg’s adoptive father and several of his siblings had Fams, but he’d never felt the need for one.

But now . . . he was alone on this quest, with only occasional contact with anyone outside the Yew estate. And his decisions as to how to handle this particular situation, how much and when to interact with the Yews, Family and estate, were his own. His great responsibility. He could use a friend inside the walls.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Another peek at Heart Legacy, COMING TUESDAY (note this is from the rough draft and editor cut two lines...)

Another peek at Heart Legacy, COMING TUESDAY (note this is from the rough draft and editor cut two lines...)

**What do you think of the new stableman?** she asked Baccat, though she wasn't entirely sure of his judgment. He'd shown up at the stables at the beginning of winter, and though they were in concert about their ideas of her various Family members, Baccat had told outrageous stories of other Fams and people he'd known.

A hesitation before a rush of emotion came her way, slyness, laughter, the hint of a secret. But she'd become accustomed to beings having secrets, and, after all, she had her own.

**He is capable and efficient and speaks well.** Another snort. **The horses like him.**

She slowed, pondering. Perhaps the stableman shouldn't be treated like her Family, with cool distance. She knew little about horses, and this new man did. If she wanted to learn from him, or would be working with him, she should be herself . . . the person she liked being, not the D'Yew the Family had molded.

Soon she came within sight of one side of the stables and she smiled. Of all the estate, this place reflected her the most.

Like everything else on the estate, the stables were built on a grand scale, and Lori had used that reason to prod the Family into renovating one block of them, and keep the others from falling down. Lady and Lord knew the Family had plenty of gilt. Lori had kept the training program her father had initiated.

The U shaped stables loomed between the trees. Unlike the flat gray stone of the D'Yew Residence manor house, warm red brick composed the buildings. Her heart leapt a little seeing the corral with her six stridebeasts.

There she'd find love. There she'd give love to the stridebeasts. Though they weren't sentient animals like some other hybrid or Earthan animals, though through her breeding program they'd become more intelligent. She'd have liked to have compared her statistics and lines with others, but was allowed no contact with the outer world – with "lesser" people, or other FirstFamily nobles "who don't have our standards."

Lori believed only her Family followed some sort of hard-edged rules that were far too strict for human beings. She found them stifling.

She did want to be loved and the stridebeasts gave her that. She hoped the horses would, too.

Rounding the last copse and seeing the full stable block revealed, she skidded to a halt. In the gravel courtyard, a man looked to be practicing some sort of fighting pattern. She just stared.

He didn't look like her relatives. At all.

She thought he stood as tall as she, so medium-height for a man, but his muscles were certainly bigger. She didn't think she'd seen a man with developed muscle that went from his shoulders to his neck.

With a run of her hand across that area of the body, she discovered it was one of the trapeziuses, that she knew from stridebeasts. He had a strong back, then.

Yes, she could see it very well since he wore no shirt. A very triangular sort of upper body with ridges of muscles. She swallowed.

She slid her eyes lower than his back and chest. Yes, his legs looked like all muscle, too. His backside tighter than anyone's she'd seen. She patted her own. Solid, but nothing like his and she thought she was the most physical person in the household.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Celta Thursday, Original First Chapter of Heart Journey

Celta Thursday, Original first chapter of Heart Journey, you will note I had a third person whose lines I gave to someone else (though I did reference him one more time in the book). :)

Druida City, Celta, 407 Years After Colonization, Late Summer

Raz, GrandSir Cerasus Cherry, shuffled the divination cards for his breakfast tablemates, a half-smile on his face. Of them all, the cards looked best in his long-fingered hands, good tools for an actor, as was his face and his smile.

He had breakfast at the Thespian Club every morning – late mornings for those who were working, earlier for those who were between jobs and only had classes. The full compliment of the group was six, three men and three women, none of them couples. Two of the women had eaten earlier, been long gone by the time the rest of them had arrived to this table reserved for them.

A daily reserved table at the Thespian Club. His smile bloomed. They were all rising fast in their careers, all talented, all ready to leap into stardom and excellent gilt. Not to mention the fame. Fame brought better, more challenging parts.

"You gonna shuffle all day to look at your hands, pretty boy?"
asked Saint Johnnswort with his patented sneer. If you wanted a rough-hewn pure alpha male hero type, Johns was your man.

Raz considered himself elegant...and with an edge, more versatile.
"Yes, lay out the cards, me first!" Trillia wiggled in her seat, her voice higher than usual, anxious. She'd gotten bored with the secondary lead in her play and resigned the night before, wanted something fresh, and was worried that she'd jumped when she should have stuck

Raz handed her the cards so they'd absorb more of her energy. Praying under her breath to the Lady and Lord she shuffled, cut the deck thrice, and laid out a six card pattern. Her breath whooshed out, then her praying went to muttering as she studied her divination...Crimson Nuts of Knowledge...the six of blazers, the Goddess of the Rising Star, the six of wands.

"Looks good," Guy Balsam, a puckish looking man, encouraged.

He tapped the cards with a manicured nail. He was the best reader. "New opportunities, gilt, success." He pursed his lips, hummed. "But you might have to travel." He lifted his gaze to meet Trillia's. "Better check in with the Guild to see what jobs are available in Gael City."

Trillia made a moue. "Gael City."

Guy tapped the six of wands. "Success."

"Oh, very well. I'll go straight to the guild from here."

"Might want to wipe the egg off your chin first," Raz said.

She rubbed at her face with her napkin, then flung it at him. "Oh, you."

"And I heard The Rep in Gael City was reviving Heart And Sword in a new, updated production," Raz said.

Trillia sat up straight. "Fern Bountry, the Nuada's Sword's Captain's wife! I could play Fern, kidnapped from the cryonic tube by evil mutineers....Wait, wait, she was dark." Trillia grabbed a handful of her hair and brought it in front of her face. It was fading from a blond rinse back to brown, she grinned in relief. "I can do this."

"Of course you can," Balsam said. He gathered up the cards, handed the deck back to Raz.

Johns grunted. "Gonna show us all your fine fortune cards again, Raz?"

Raz smiled his crooked smile. "What, Past, Present, and Future? I was just going to draw an 'energy of the day' card."

"And he hasn't had all good luck," Trillia said. "There was that break-in at his apartment. Have the guardsmen found the thieves?"

"No, and I didn't lose much, just gilt," Raz said. Blew on his hands and the cards to dispel the negative energy from the mention of the theft.

Drawing in a breath to center and bring in more positive energy, he shuffled on the exhale, inhaled and pulled three cards from the deck and laid them out.

"Past." He flicked it over, the same Goddess of the Rising Star that Trillia had pulled. Trillia sighed. Raz liked it when women sighed, especially if they were in the audience. Another flick, the Stonemarker of Fate, deepening success and recognition. Trillia giggled.

Grunting again, Johns said sourly, "Prob'ly gonna be all GreatSuite, all from the Tree Ogham."

"One hopes," Raz grinned. Fully expecting to flip over The Oak King, solid success for years, as he had every time in the last few weeks, he turned it over.

The Summer Queen. The HeartMate card if drawn by a man.
Trillia whooped.

"Personal success and the fullness of creative expression, all right, and more," Balsam said with a laugh. "I see changes coming."

Johns snickered, then chuckled. He stood, drew a card from the deck, The Oak King, tossed it down, then clapped Raz on the shoulder, grinning. "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy."

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Library Journal Starred Review

Sharply depicted characters, a touching, passionate romance, and a plot promising more political turmoil make this a worthy addition to Owens’s magical world that becomes richer with every book. ­VERDICT A cruelly used, animal-loving heroine set on rejecting her heritage and a hero determined to change her mind come together in a captivating story highlighting issues of loyalty, responsibility, and trust. Owens (Ghost Killer) lives in the Denver area.

*Owens, Robin D. Heart Legacy. Berkley Sensation. (Celta, Bk. 14). Nov. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780425263976. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781101604953. FUTURISTIC ROMANCE
For centuries, the FirstFamilies, descendants of the original psychically gifted (Flaired) Earth colonists who settled Celta, have been the most powerful social tier on the planet. Now with strongly Flaired Commoners beginning to make their way into the Nobility, threatening the status quo, there is dissention in the ranks and sly, near-deadly attacks begin against the children of newly raised families. When the evidence points to the conservative, reclusive Yews, adopted FirstFamily Fighter Draeg Betony Blackthorn goes undercover as a stableman to see what he can learn. What he finds is his HeartMate in young Loridana Valerian, the embattled titular head of the Yews. Sharply depicted characters, a touching, passionate romance, and a plot promising more political turmoil make this a worthy addition to Owens’s magical world that becomes richer with every book. ­VERDICT A cruelly used, animal-loving heroine set on rejecting her heritage and a hero determined to change her mind come together in a captivating story highlighting issues of loyalty, responsibility, and trust. Owens (Ghost Killer) lives in the Denver area.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Celta Thursday, Character Interview bit, Laev T'Hawthorn

I do character interview seminars, and when I assign an exercise, I also participate. So here's one from Laev T'Hawthorn before I wrote Heart Search, that I recently found, talking about his relations:

I have no brothers, no siblings at all, but I think of Jasmine Ash as my younger sister. also there are plenty of Hawthorns in the Residence and on the estate and in Druida, and some have children, but this isn't a good planet for humankind -- at least we survive but we are not the numbers that our ancestors were on Earth, nor do we have a huge population.

I also think of my cuz Cratag T'Marigold as a brother. I love him like a brother. Of course I get along with Cratag and Jasmine but they can be irritating. The last thing I want to do is alienate them, too. My other relations...well most of them know of my bad marriage and had to put up with Nivea and were/are not happy with me. Nor has the Residence totally forgiven me.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Blog on NaNoWriMo and Motivation

Here's a blog I did on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing month, every November)and Motivation:


And an interview, yesterday:


I'm pleased with both!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Celta Thursday, Marriage Ritual

I looked at all the Weddings and a couple of rituals I've written in the series and have come up with a complete ritual.

Celta Weddings:

Officiants: FirstFamily Lord and Lady of the Month
OR: High Priest and High Priestess
OR: Regular Priestess and Priest

Friends Acting as Priestess and Priest

Quick and Informal:
Chance Met Strangers
Only Blessings of the Lady and Lord and the VOWS are necessary

Set up:

Altar in the middle
Incense, Two Candles symbolizing the Lady and Lord, Unity Candle

Elemental Energies/Guardians of the Circle designators/gifts/anchors

One Loving Cup

Ritual Circle, Alternating friends and Family of the bride's and groom's

Fams of the Bride and Groom allowed in the middle of the Circle


Casting and consecration of the circle, all join hands

Presentation of the Bride and Groom in the middle of the Circle before the altar, they join hands

Beginning Blessing Chant

Drawing Down the Blessing of Elementals, Lady (Priestess), Lord (Priest)

Priestess and Priest Statements Concerning Marriage


VOWS of the Bride and Groom

Exchange of armbands

Binding wrists tethered with a meter length of ribbon

Passing of light – Joint lighting of a Unity Candle (sometimes passed around)

Groom's Family Blessing, Bride's Family Blessing

Blessing of Friends, Priest, Priestess

Sharing of Drink (sometimes passed around)

Thanksgiving to the Elementals/Guardian Spirits

Opening of the circle

Blessing and Singing (HeartMate Song)

Circle Dance or Circle breaks up for regular dancing or for eating/drinking/talking, other celebration.

Presents at a table in the main area of the round temple if in a small round temple.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Celta Thursday, HEART LEGACY teaser:

Celta Thursday, HEART LEGACY teaser:

Catching a movement from the corner of his eye, Draeg Betony Blackthorn whirled. Saw the young woman lingering in the deep black last-of-cold-winter shadows under a stand of conifers.

The trees blocked the view of D'Yew Residence from the stables. He continued his spin, worked in a kick that had him grunting with effort. Just the notion of having female eyes watching him pushed him into flashier moves.

So this was FirstFamily GrandLady D'Yew, the threat to the fighting Hollys.

Like hell. He went with his previous impressions, with his gut. No threat to the Hollys from this one. Had to be wrong.
But this slim young woman, six years younger than he, decades younger than he in experience would be the outward spearhead of whoever threatened the Hollys. Any results of her relatives' actions would be blamed on her.

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