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, September 30, 2016

Excerpt from $2.99 Ghost Maker Coming Oct 18!

Continuing with my Ghost Seer Series Calendar, this is September 30th and the 3rd day of action in Ghost Maker (not published yet).

Zach went to the striking contemporary iron and ceramic fountains while Clare concentrated on reading the information set on stands. Enzo sat close to her feet, canceling out most of the heat of the sunshine.

The phantoms are curious and a little afraid. It’s been a long time since someone who could help them transition has come. He sniffed. Most are old and locked into old paths of status and clothes and who died of what. That seems to matter to them.


I will go talk to them. He grinned, yapped, and ran toward the shades, who saw him coming and clumped together. That just made him happier as he ran around them as if herding them. There is only maybe one person who could use your help at this time, Clare, Enzo projected.

No, Zach sent back to the ghost Lab.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Celta Thursday, Cut Scene from Heart Secret


Artemisia awoke early the next morning, at the sound of dawn songbirds singing outside her window.

She wanted to sleep more, lounge in bed after the intense few days...and, all right, pull the covers over her head and forget the deep wound inside her.

But more than lost hope weighed on her emotions. There was murder, and the discovery of the murder weapon, and how her Family was being implicated again.

She had to take the knife to the guards.

Scritch, scritch, scritch. Whoosh. Flop.

Jerking to sit, she followed the sound...and her mouth opened in surprise as she watched a Fam opening swish back and forth in the bedroom door. Randa waddled toward her, and she let out a sigh. She had a Fam, another blessing.

Randa hooked her claws on the long comforter that draped over the elevated bedsponge and climbed up. **Greetyou, Famwoman.** The raccoon's muzzle lifted and her mouth stretched in a smile, showing little pointy teeth. She hurried over to Artemisia, stopped to sit and clasp her paws together as she stared at Artemisia's body under the covers.

Artemisia patted her lap. "Come on."

Randa ran up the angle of her body and snuffled under Artemisia's chin, leaving a slight wet smear. **Love you, FamWoman!"**

"I love you, too."

"Today we make my room and my place and my toys and all my stuff?"

"Residence, have we ever had a raccoon Fam?" Artemisia asked, not quite sure what Randa would need, but petting her Fam was nice, though when she moved her feet, Randa got distracted and attacked her toes. Laughing, she played with the young raccoon. It didn't matter that claws were shredding her old comforter, though she slyly spellshielded her pillows...

A horrible, long crreeeaaakk interrupted them and Randa ran up into Artemisia's arms and they both watched paper stretch, then crack as an old door in the far bedroom wall opened. A door to a room that Artemisia didn't even know was there. But she was the only one inhabiting the third floor and only used three rooms.

And they both sneezed as a cascade of dust rushed into the room. Artemisia hopped from the bed, snapping, "Third level housekeeping spell."

Suction pulled at her hair and her nightshirt, rattled and spun her knick-knacks. Randa cheeped and buried her long nose against Artemisia's neck.

When all the dust vanished and everything gleamed, Artemisia walked across the thick but faded Chinju rug to the dim open hole.

**Smells good. I think it will feel good on my pads!** Randa said, scrabbling and ripping Artemisia's thin cotton shirt. She'd have to get sturdier sleepwear. She put Randa on her paws and the raccoon shot into the dark room and chittered at her.

**It is nice and dark even when your room is light and makes me sleepy, and it has a little window just for me and a wonderful tree branch outside the window and my own tree!**

"Wow," Artemisia said, examining the tall and narrow tree dubiously.

"We have never had a raccoon Fam," the Residence finally said. But I have housed cats and I have data from the starship Nuada's Sword about raccoons on ancient Earth. I have also accessed and added to my ResidenceLibrary all information recarding the animals that the Public Library contains.

"Wonderful," Artemisia murmured, stepping into the small room. I was more like a narrow closet than anything.

"Our new Fam will need toys–"


"And indoor climbing trees like cat Fams prefer–"

**Yes, yes!**

"And we can move a no-time food storage unit and Fam dispenser into this room, along with a mattress and bedding."

**I will mostly sleep with my person,** Randa said, then added, **though it will be good to have my own bedsponge.**

"Raccoons can also use litter boxes."

**I will go outside.**

"Even when winter comes?"

**Yes.** The young Fam stopped and sat on her haunches, looked over at Artemisia. **This room is perfect!**

"Thank you, Residence," Artemisia said.

**Thank you, Residence!** Randa repeated.

The window opened and Randa sniffed hard. **My tree smells good and my room smells good and my FamWoman smells good. I am a lucky coon.** She scuttled along the footboards, then as Artemisia watched, she climbed up the door molding, over the door and back down, stopped under the window and stretched her front paws. But the window was high in the wall and the wooden pannelling appeared antique and beautiful. Artemisia swooped down on Randa.

She screamed a little and nipped Artemisia's fingers. With a gasp, Artemisia let go and caged her in a floating anti-grav spell. "Ouch!"

**You surprised me. You moved too fast. You pounced.**

After a deep breath and the Healing of the small tooth punctured on her fingers, Artemisia said, "All right. I won't do that again."

**You must warn me before you pick me up.**

"I'll do that. And I'll say 'no,' when I want you to stop doing something. And you will listen to me."**

Randa huffed, but said, **All right.**

"The pannelling is beautiful and I don't want you to scratch it or ruin it."

**I need to get to my window!**

"I'll put a carpeted cat post here for you."


"There is a Fam storage area with cat posts and Fam beds and toys in the attic," said BalmHeal Residence. "I am pleased that you are happy with your room, Randa."

**Yes! I am! And I will be a good Fam. I will no longer be a feral coon. I will stay on the estate. There is no reason to go outside the walls. I am home.**

Artemisia smiled, and slowly dissolved the spell so she could hold her Fam again, looking into the small eyes, she said, "Yes, you are."

Friday, September 23, 2016

Belated Celta Thursday, cut snippet from Heart and Soul (in Hearts and Swords: Genista and Cardus)

He held her tightly against his body, whispered in her hair. "I was afraid you'd never let me close, loathe the fact that I'd been hired to keep watch over you – as you figured from the first moment."

She sighed and it only made the fit of her to him better. "Thank the Lady and Lord you were." She spaced her words steadily. "On the whole, the Hollys are a good family." A huge admission that she'd released some of the bitterness to her ex-husband's parents who'd brought the curse down that caused her to miscarry.
Cardus' hand stroking her hair and back stopped and she understood he knew everything about her – yet still didn't judge.

His chest expanded under her own as he took a deep breath. "You know that your ex-husband found his HeartMate," Cardus said very, very carefully.

"I had heard." She looked up at Cardus' less chiseled, more ruggedly commoner features. How dear they were, this man who loved her for herself. Not her beauty, not her rank, not her treasures. Respected and loved the woman he'd discovered in the small house in Gael City.

Again his face was frozen in that impassivity that she knew covered deep emotions, but a wildness in his green eyes betrayed him.

"He's a good man. We knew we weren't HeartMates, but my father had something he wanted. Love grew between us once, then died. I am glad for him...but he is not you." She stroked his hard and still watchful face with her fingertips, feeling the slight coarsness where his beard grew. A strong man. A real man. Finally a man for her? "I want you."

"You have me. Forever."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sept 20 - Ghost Talker Excerpt (re: Clare's Gift from the Universe for Ghost Killer)

Amazon: Sept 20 - Ghost Talker Excerpt (re: Clare's Gift from the Universe for Ghost Killer): Scowling at the bag in Zach’s hand, Rickman said, “Why are you bringing that here to the office?”

“Clare didn’t want it at her place. She’s still going through the boxes delivered to her from her great-aunt’s house in Chicago.” A lie in the way he’d put the two sentences together, but this time Rickman didn’t pick up on that. His frown stayed fixed on the canvas grocery bag.

Rickman grunted, then said, “I don’t want it in my office safe either.” With a jerk of his head, he turned on his heel. “There’s a general building safe down here.”

Rickman led the way to the main corridor and went left, wended through another couple of hallways. Finally he stopped at a nondescript door and blocked Zach’s view of the numeric keypad he used to open the door. The action irritated Zach a little. *He* was the ex-cop here. He could be trusted. He’d bet his substantial disability pension that Rickman and his special-ops guys had broken through more than one vault.

So he stopped just within arm’s reach of the man and offered him the bag by its handles, smiling. “Go ahead and stow it. I’ll let you know when we need it back.”

Obviously Rickman didn’t like the idea that he’d have to retrieve the thing. They stood a solid minute staring at each other. “You’re new to my company and still in your probationary period.”


“Geeze.” Running a hand through his hair, Rickman took the bag and slid silently into the vault. The hallway immediately felt better to Zach. Still had a faint smell of machines and a trace of gym, but felt fine.

When Rickman came back, Zach noted the slight sheen of sweat on his forehead. Interesting that the portrait had physically affected Rickman. Before the door slid shut, Zach began walking to the gym.
Rickman caught up with him easily, of course.

They were back at the elevator bay before Zach said, “Psychometry, the ability to learn facts about an object, or the people who owned the item, by sensing vibrations or whatever from the object. You could be useful.”

“That’s what the government thought, though my commanding officers never referred to any little skill I might have.” Teeth clenched and jaw angled up, Rickman stared straight ahead and not at Zach.

He took a couple of paces toward the door to the parking garage.
A while back Zach had realized his old tribe of police officers only welcomed him as one who’d lost the good fight, but that he could make a new place for himself in Rickman’s small tribe of operatives.

An honored place, since he had more investigative skills and training than all of the others put together. He hesitated, but if he wanted that tribe, he had to act, and now.

Buy at amazon:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ghost Talker Days -- Sept 19 -- EXCERPT

A chuckle escaped Zach. He shook his head and grinned. “Seems like Mrs. Flinton convinced Welliam yesterday to hire us on to officially find the poltergeist haunting Buffalo Bill’s grave.”

Clare’s lips pinched. “We were doing that as a pro bono, a service to the community.” She sounded offended at having Rickman orchestrate things. Her brows came down as she stared at him. “I thought you were all about serving and protecting the public.”

That caught him on the raw, but he knew she didn’t mean any offense. He unclenched his teeth, then said patiently, “Clare, this is not a case that the Denver Police Department wants to handle—that ANY public law enforcement officer would like to handle.”


“And it’s not a case they could handle. We can. Me, you, Enzo, and the ghost of Texas Jack.”

She nodded.

Zach appealed to her baser self. “And I’d prefer to be paid for taking care of the mess. How about you?”

“That’s true.”

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Celta Thursday, A couple of Naming Notes

Celta Thursday, A couple of Naming Notes: HEATHER, Ur

Plant Names: Calluna (Lark's mother) VULGaris (Lark's male cousin), Bella (Lark's nickname by Holm), ericaceae (used to make brooms), cinerea (Lark's cousin, the mental healer), PHYLLodoce (Lark's Fam) breweri, hyemalis, phyllodoce empetriformis, cassiope mertensiana, glanuliforea, brewer's mountain, French, pink mountain, scottish, white, white winter, yellow mountain, LINGA (mentioned in Heart Duel)



Plant Names: Crataegus, CRATAG, monogyna, LAEVigata, raphiolepis indica, aponogetonacae, aponogeton, distachyos, kratos, crusgalli, laciniata, lavallei, tanacetifolia, oxyacantha, haw, may, MAYBLOSSOM, mayflower, rosaceae, maybush, maytree, quickset, thornapple, whitethorn

Friday, September 09, 2016

Belated Celta Thursday: Snippet from Heart FATE

Belated Celta Thursday: Snippet from Heart FATE:

When Tinne returned to T'Holly Residence and took over the tower as his living space, they consulted with Mitchella D'Blackthorn on the decoration.


She had advised restructuring rooms just outside his tower on two floors to connect with it, making it into a suite for his HeartMate.

She'd even tinted the walls, added murals and holos, furnished the bedroom, sitting room and the small sunroom that opened onto an area that could be made into a garden. Apparently TQ and Mitchella had consulted on Lahsin's taste.

The suite was lovely bare, and after it was done, it reminded Tinne so much of Lahsin when he entered it that he never went back.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Fate

Celta Thursday cut scene from Heart Fate. Tinne asked TQ to show him the record of Morning Glory's audition as the voice of TQ: (due to my current work copy edits of Ghost Maker this is raw).

An image coalesced with amazing quickness, showing the outside courtyard and gate. The colors were garish in intensity. Tinne said nothing. Fancy shoes clicked on the flagstone walk before the House. Morning Glory was a blurry shadow.

Again the coughing came and Tinne realized the House had been testing its voice.

The virulent green gate swung open
"Gweetyou, gweetyou, gweetyou!" The House squealed in the unfortunate baby tones of the previous actress.

Morning Glory came into view. Once more Tinne felt the shock of recognition that she looked like his lost wife. She stopped, put a hand on her lush hip, surveyed the House with a curled lip. "Lord help me, it glows. A baby Residence. This has got to be the stupidest thing I've ever done." A feral smile, a caress of her pursenal. "But it pays well and will pay better when I snag the Holly SecondSon."

The tone, the walk, the expression was all Morning Glory and none of Genista. Then Tinne saw her put on a bad mask of his wife and it was even more revolting. She glided up to the House, opened the door and entered, stood in the small atrium. "Greetyou...Residence."

"I am the Turquoise House!" Another squeal.

"You certainly are." Then words under her breath that the Turquoise House still heard and recorded. "Incredibly tacky color on the outside and that glow. Lord help me, I'm glad I don't have to live here with this infantile thing." A quick shudder.

Chapter 22

The actress examined the room, raised her voice. "Lovely decorating, Turquoise House. You were lucky Mitchella Clover D'Blackthorn took an interest in you. She does wonderful work, so...rich. And the brash and eclectic showcases your, ah, personality."

Tinne winced at the snide remark of the actress
In the viz, the House answered, "Yeth?" Uncetainty was in the word. A tapestry rippled on the wall.

Morning Glory went over to finger it. "Excellent thread count, pure llamawoolweave. Yes, D'Blackthorn made her life well. Imagine being able to leave such furnishings in a House that so often stands empty. Turquoise House, I hear that Holly SecondSon is living here at the moment and requested you have a new voice. I'm sure we can come to an agreement on that," she purred, and Tinne understood she meant him and her, not the House and her.

The House said, "Tinne Holly, yeth. Are you going to wead to me?"

"Oh, yes." Morning Glory's lips curved. She cleared her throat, and when she spoke again, it was the closest she'd come to Genista's voice that Tinne had heard from her and he squirmed.

"Why don't I recite some nursery rhymes and a few grovestudy prayers and lessons for you?"

"Didn't you bring thomething to wead?"

"My dear, I am an actress, I don't need to read a part, particularly in this instance. Memorization and recitation can be fine. Or," she went to a gilded mirror and primped, and the slyness was back, marring her face, "I can recite some...love...poetry, or something from my last play. I was the lead in a romantic drama."

"I don't think I need to hear love poetry." The House was turning stubborn.

"Very well." Morning Glory shrugged, adjusted the off-the-shoulder dress, fluffed her hair. "When do you expect Holly – Tinne, back?"

"When he arriveth."

Tinne chuckled. Good response.

"He goes out in the evenings, then?" She frowned, touched the line between her brows as if to banish it, turned away from the mirror and began to wander the House. Tinne hoped sincerely that she hadn't entered his room.

Morning Glory sauntered through the dining room, trailed her finger along the surface of the gleaming table. "A single slab of reddwood. Incredible, expensive. Lovely. My dear House, don't you like this voice? I assure you that Tinne Holly would prefer it."

"It changeth too much. Not conssistent in the tones."

"What! Are you, an childish construct, insulting me!"

"I think I want you to go," the House quavered.

"Dear, dear one. You have so much to learn." Morning Glory recovered quickly, oozed mock sympathy as sweet as the syrup in Tinne's cup had been. "A man – a real human person – prefers to have different tones in the voice. More than one personality for companionship. Most Residences have many ancestral characters for the noble lord or lady to choose from."

"I've heard that," the House muttered.

"I'm sorry that you have only one ego emerging, but we will do the best that we can with this." She sighed deeply. "Listen carefully." She declaimed intricate instructions for celebrating Yule in a close approximation to Genista, if Genista had been pompous and sly and mean. "Therefore the house must be pristine for the enjoyment of the holiday, and adorned in the proper manner..." she ended, studiously scanning the mainspace for Yule decorations that Tinne hadn't bothered with.

"I don't think–"

But Morning Glory segued into her last script, and now her voice changed to her own natural tones. It appeared like she was going to do the whole damn play.

"House, stop," Tinne said.

The image froze. Morning Glory's voice cut off mid-word.

"How long does this go on?"

"Another septhour."
"Ah." Ouch. "Can you, um," Tinne waved. "Make it go faster."


The pace picked up, and after a moment or two, Tinne realized that between various pieces of recitation, Morning Glory was sweetly chiding the House on the lack of maturity, intelligence, sophistcation. Qualities that Tinne would prize and that the actress had but which were woefully lacking in the Turquoise House.

His anger simmered. "Please show the woman's last five minutes inside here."

The mist dissolved, then reconstituted. Morning Glory's last recitation was a Yule prayer, delivered in a pious tone that revealed absolutely no hint of spirituality in the woman who repeated the words. Then she glanced at her wrist timer. "Now, dear one, you must recall that with my help we can make this a loving, special home for Tinne."

"As if you aren't special enough," Tinne said.

"But I must leave," the actress said.

Because she'd been paid for that amount of time and not a second more, Tinne understood. She drew on her rabbit fur cape**, Tinne loathed garments made from real fur, as did Genista. That must have been the first clue he'd instinctively noticed upon meeting the actress.

"We'll be perfect together," Morning Glory said, and again Tinne thought that she meant him – and his gilt – and herself, not a team of Morning Glory and Turquoise House. Without any farewell, she left the house.

"A nasty woman," Tinne said, belly queasy from a surfiet of the female.

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