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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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Heart Search Cut First Scene, continued

All right, there's a reader's birthday on Facebook, so I posted the next bit in the cut scene I've been running from Heart Search on Celta Thursdays. So here it is, too:

Heart Search Cut First Scene continued,
Laev T'Hawthorn studied Primross. The detective had already exceeded Laev's expectations in recovering some of the family treasures. Laev’s pride had been too touchy to speak to another FirstFamily lord to track them. Discreet inquiries had led Laev to Primross.

It didn't matter that Primross disliked the noble class and barely treated Laev with civility. It didn't matter that Laev's pride took a beating as he revealed his secrets to the man. What mattered was getting the items back, and in that, Primross had been successful.

Another concern was the amount of time that had passed. Nivea had been dead for nearly two years. She’d been selling Hawthorn items for five years before that – objects that Laev’s FatherSire wouldn’t have considered valuable but Laev did.

Laev’s FatherSire – his father’s father – had hidden the problem from him. But that T’Hawthorn had passed on three months ago. The shock that Nivea had been a thief and his FatherSire had tolerated that, made no attempt to retrieve Family heirlooms had stunned Laev.

Laev said, "Send me a contract for a monthly retainer, for an initial period of three months."

Surprise flashed in Primross's eyes then he jerked a nod. "The courier with your bracelets is on the way. I'll have the contract in your cache box within the septhour." Primross named an amount that seemed lower than it should have been. Laev narrowed his eyes to study the impassive man. Was the investigator hiding something himself?

Before he could question the man, the scry screen went dark.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Celta Thursday Cut Scene: Continuation of cut Chapter 1, Heart Search

Celta Thursday Cut Scene: Continuation of cut Chapter 1, Heart Search
"We’ll talk, Primross, about what else I want, but not now and not over a scry," Laev said to the private investigator.

The Residence sent the echo of a banging door and an exuberant breeze seemed to rush toward Laev. His journeywoman student, like the younger sister he'd always wanted, had arrived for her morning lesson in finance and estate building. It took real effort to slam the door in the Residence, but Jasmine Ash always managed.

She'd stop at the kitchens for a treat and to stroke Black Pierre, the old FamCat who'd survived Laev's FatherSire's death.

Laev leaned back in his comfort chair. "I don't have any more time for this matter now. Please obtain the bracelets and have them delivered as soon as possible."

With an insincere dip of the head, Garrett Primross said, "As you wish, GreatLord." He hesitated a beat, then asked, "Do you wish to continue to retain my firm?"

Primross Investigations was only the man himself and an apprentice, but Laev appreciated pride a lot more now than he had as a youngster. Sometimes appearances and pride were all that had kept him going.

"Yes." He calculated how long it would take for Primross to find his HeartGift. That gift, made during the second fugue which freed his psi power, his Flair, could only be truly sensed by himself and his HeartMate. Too bad he'd thought Nivea was his HeartMate when he was a gullible seventeen and given it to her.

HeartMate is up on AUDIBLE!

So thrilled! Here it is: http://www.audible.com/search?searchAuthor=Robin+D.+Owens

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Celta Thursday: Cut opening from Heart Search

Celta Thursday, Heart Search cut opening:
Druida City, Celta, 422 Years After Colonization, Late Spring

"We've located your heirloom amethyst and diamond cuff bracelets," the private investigator said. His craggy face was expressionless on the scry screen hanging on the dark paneled wall near Laev Hawthorn's desk.

Laev Hawthorn, GreatLord T'Hawthorn, kept his own face as impassive as ever but let optimistic hope trickle through him. As far as he knew, those were the last of the Family treasures his late wife Nivea had sold before his HeartGift. "Thank you. How much will it cost to recover them?"

The investigator named a figure and Laev winced. It wasn't at the amount, like most FirstFamilies he had generational wealth that wasn't easily dissipated – though Nivea had done her best. But it was an expense he wouldn't have had if he hadn't made a a poor choice in choosing his wife.

"Residence?" he addressed the intelligent castle that he lived in.

"Here, T'Hawthorn," the Residence answered at it's haughtiest. It didn't approve of the investigator, hadn't approved of Nivea, and Laev was unsure of it's feelings for himself.

"Transfer funds to cover the retrieval of the jewels and Prime Investigation's bill," Laev said.

"Thank you," the investigator said. His eyes narrowed and he continued softly, "Now, GreatLord, why don't you tell me what you really want me to find?"
Heat edged Laev's cheeks. The man was more observant than Laev had expected. He was a master of his craft and several years older than Laev's thirty-two, and though a commoner, there was something about the man that disquieted Laev. Probably the aura that whatever mistakes the guy had made, he'd fixed them immediately...and they weren't as disastrous as marrying the wrong woman in a culture that condemned divorce.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Celta Thursday: Hearts & Swords (story collection), Heart Story

Celta Thursday: Hearts & Swords (story collection), Heart Story: I did about five openings for Heart Story before settling on the one in the book. This is one of them:

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.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Ghost Seer Out Today! And win a free copy!

Ghost Seer is out today, in electronic and MASS MARKET PAPERBACK form!
I had the chance for a friend of mine, Arwen, to read my heroine's, Clare Cermak's cards, and am giving away 3 free copies, here: http://tarotbyarwen.com/blog/?p=17710.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ghost Seer Coming April 1! Cover and Excerpt!

Plainsview City, Cottonwood County, South Central Montana, August 20th, morning

The minute he walked through that door, Zach Slade's career, the one he loved, was over.

Who was he kidding? His time as a cop -- a deputy sheriff here in Cottonwood County, Montana -- was already over. Due to a mistake on his part and a crippled foot and ankle. His leg hurt less than the emotional ripping inside him. He thought he could feel the weight of his badge in his jean's pocket, but he couldn't. Only the weight of this last duty.

His gaze slid around the wide marble-floored corridor of the old County Hall that housed the Sheriff's Department. No one around to see his hesitation, how his hand trembled as he put it on the door handle. All the frosted glass and wooden doors were closed.

He shifted his shoulders to release the tension. He was not going to take a desk job, no matter what his boss thought. With a tighter grip on the handle of his cane in his left hand...the same side as his injured leg because he wanted to keep his right hand free for his weapon, he pushed down the cool metal lever and moved from impressive marble to institutional carpet.

"Hey, Zach," the young, brunette, and four month's pregnant dispatcher said.

"Hey, Margo."

"Off the crutches!" she enthused.

"Just today. The boss in?"

She grimaced. "He's been waiting for you. You really leaving?"

Zach'd already packed up the stuff he couldn't live without -- precious little -- and donated the rest to a thrift store. He'd sold his 'Vette as soon as the news came he wouldn't be able to drive her since his ankle and foot wouldn't work the clutch. When he'd been bound to a wheelchair. Another pang twisted his insides and he kept it from showing on his face.

Margo looked at him with pity, as if him lapsing into silence was okay instead of answering her question. And Margo would gossip about everything except official police business, and soon he wouldn't be a cop, so he said, "Maybe."

Her forehead wrinkled. "I hope you stay. I like you, Zach."

He raised his brows. "Kind of you to say, plenty don't."

"They're just plain jealous and resentful 'cuz you did so well with the Billings city cops in Yellowstone County. You're one of us, no matter what else anyone says," she huffed.

Zach would have liked to believe her, but didn't. He pulled folded papers from his pocket and put them on her disk. "My recertification to carry a weapon."

"I'll process that for you right away."

"Thanks."

Her intercom buzzed, and Sheriff Walder said, "Send Zach in, Margo."

"Of course!" She beamed at Zach and he moved, slower than he'd wanted but balancing with a cane was different than crutches, to the thick oak door of the Sheriff's office and entered.

His boss stood and came around the big, scarred desk and offered his hand, scrutinizing Zach from under heavy, thrusting gray brows. "I was hoping I wouldn't be seeing you yet, that you'd give matters more thought."

Zach had already spent too many stretching-infinite months thinking. He shook his boss's hand.

"How's the ankle and foot?"

"As good as they'll ever be," Zach said, suppressing bitterness, lowering himself to the client chair as smoothly as possible. The bullet had struck his tibia just below the knee, shattering the bone and severing the peroneal nerve. Now he had foot drop and couldn't control the flexing of his left ankle. Couldn't control his own foot! His jaw clenched.

Sheriff Walder went back and sat in a chair that creaked under his big body as soft classical music played in the background. Walder liked that stuff. Atop his polished desk he had a line of manila files -- four. "You do good work, Zach, and I want you to stay."

"Sorry, can't do that."

Walder tapped his forefinger on his desk, his thinking mode. The next gaze he leveled at Zach was intense. "I would have made the same mistake as Lauren and you, Zach."

Anger speared, sharp and brutal, setting off a trail of other little explosions of feelings inside, messing with his head, screwing up his breathing. But he met the Sheriff's eyes.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Audible AND Celta Thursday

Tomorrow the narrator will start with HeartMate...for audible. :)

And here's Celta Thursday, a small cut from Heart Quest: "I tracked you here, Trif." The artist, Citrula, showed teeth. She glanced around, looking unimpressed and the old irritation Trif felt for the woman seethed again. No one should be blase about Mitchella's decorating skill.

Citrula slanted a considering look at Greyku kitten. "I had a dream last night. A divinely inspired vision of what I should do for you, so I'm here." She sent a scowl to Trif. "It shouldn't take long, and it's gratis." She swooped down on Greyku, holding the kitten along one arm. Again she glanced around the elegant parlor. "Is there somewhere I can tint the kitten? It's a messy process."

"I remember," Mitchella said coolly. "I have a project room near the end of the hall. I'll show you."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Celta Thursday: Heart Journey, Alternative Kitten Gift

That afternoon, she and the driver pulled up at Raz's apartment door. Beside her on the seat was a box with a big bow, the walls of the container were permeable to let the contents breathe. Cats grew up quickly, she reminded herself. This one would be hardy in six months, ready for road adventures.

Del was pretty sure she couldn't last in the city for more than another month.

Raz was on time, as usual, and stepped from the door looking mouth-watering. She wondered why she'd decided on a pic nic in a park along with the rest of the holidayers** instead of staying in and exploring each other.

He raised the door and slid
in. Del pretended not to see how the fabric tightened over his long, lean thighs, but she didn't think she did a very good acting job since the smile hovering around Raz's lips was smugly satisfied.

She swallowed and handed him the gift. The kitten was under a simple sleep spell until the lid of the box was lifted.

Raz's eyes lit. "A present!" Then he cast a mock serious look on her. "You aren't expecting anything for this gift, are you?"

The kitten wasn't her HeartGift that she'd give him and expect to claim him, expect everything from him. She let her eyelids lower as they wanted to, feeling him near, the buzz of his energy rubbing up against hers. "Nothing more than the usual."

He laughed. "I'm expecting a whole lot more than the usual."

She laughed, too. "That would be good."

"It will be close to perfect."

He opened the lid, looked sincerely surprised. "A kitten!"

"A kitten Fam. I saw you with your sister's."

"Yes." He stared down at the curled kitten, which yawned and stretched and opened amber eyes, one of which was in a patch of black, the other set in orange fur. "A calico kitten Fam." He stroked the small head with his elegant forefinger. The kitten yawned and showed tiny pointed teeth and a pink tongue. It hopped from the box, kneaded Raz's thighs and said, Greetyou, FamMan It opened wide eyes to stare. You are a beautiful person, you will fit with Me.

Raz laughed again, picked up the kitten and cradled it in his hands. "You're going to be a big hit at the theater, but you'll have to stay in my room, FamKitten."

My name is **.

"He's a male calico. They are rare," Del said. She waved a hand. "You can look up the genetics factors or not."

I am special. The little cat grinned.

"You certainly are." Raz cocked an eyebrow at Del. "How much does he sleep?"

"Slightly more than other cats**." She handed him a papyrus pamphlet and a recordsphere. "Instructions from D'Ash on how to care for your new FamKitten in two different formats."
"Looks like quite a lot of information."

D'Ash knows everything, ** said.

"It looks like it," Raz said. "I won't be memorizing this, however." Again he turned the kitten to meet its eyes. "You and I will make up our own rules, too. Like never going outside my dressing room."

The kitten glanced aside.

The glider stopped. Raz glanced out his window and his eyebrows climbed. "Landing Park? On a holiday? Looks like all of Druida is here."

"Those that aren't in the other parks," Del muttered. "Good for the kitten, D'Ash said. To be socialized."

Raz snorted. "As if it wasn't socialized by being in D'Ash's menagerie or will be in the theater."

Del shrugged. "Maybe I wanted to show you I could be socialized, too."

Raz tied a ribbon-leash around the kitten and let it gambol on the seat and the floor. He put his hand on Del's. "I like you just the way you are. Honest and straightforward."

She wanted him to love her, but straightened her shoulders and met his eyes. He should know. He should always know. "I'm being straightforward as I can be under the circumstances."

He frowned.

Del picked up the kitten who was trying to bite her toes and handed the little cat to Raz. "Now take your gift and see it play in the grass. Wonder how many other Fams are here."

Raz opened the door and stepped out with **. "It's a wonderful gift, Del." He looped the end of the ribbon around his wrist, offered hand to ease Del from the glider. "A lifetime gift."

That wasn't the only lifetime gift she would be giving to him. She could only hope he'd accept her HeartGift with as much joy in his eyes as the kitten.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Excerpt 2, Enchanted Again

She looked through the peephole before she opened the door. It was Rafe, with a wicked grin and a cut by his mouth and a black eye.

She opened the door and stood back. "What happened to you?"

The dogs were circling, sniffing lustily. There was a scent of yeasty alcohol wafting from him, as well as some blood. She narrowed her eyes. It seemed his suppressed aura of magic – and the binding glyph, was brighter. More questions. Because he was drunkish? Because of his companions? Or because the slight taint of other darkness he brought with him, as if he'd tangled with death once again.

Keeping her tone light, she asked, "What happened?"

He tilted back his head and laughed. "Bar fight with my Lyceum fencing friends."

She blinked. "There really are such things?" Then she frowned. "I thought you were going to a respectable bar."

He nodded enthusiastically. "A real Irish bar. With real Irish men. Who took exception to Freddie Armathwaite and his foil." Rafe pruned his lips. "Only English-descended sissy-boys use thin swords like foils and not good solid fists." Rafe dropped his arm around her shoulders and she saw that though he wasn't near sober, he was still steady on his feet. He continued, "Did I tell you that Freddie is a brown belt in karate?"

"Oh."

"Not one of us has to pay for the damage," Rafe announced as if that was unique. "The Irish guys have to. Tommy Corbin, the owner, said so."

"That's good. Ah. Why don't you come over here and sit down on the couch," she said. His arm dropped from her shoulders to curl around her waist and give her butt a nice squeeze.

"The couch sounds ex-cell-ent." He nibbled at her earlobe. "You smell great."

"Thanks." She pulled him down to the cushions and when it appeared that he wanted to be more horizontal with her than she was ready for, she slapped him lightly. "Listen up, Rafe." She pushed him back into a sitting position. "You smell like Darkfolk minions. I don't think some of those real Irish men were men at all."

He blinked, scowled. "What?"

She turned on the Tiffany lamp at the end of the couch, winced as she saw the red-scrape-purple-bruise side of his face. A lumpy cut seemed dangerously close to his eye. She touched it.

"Ouch!"

"Sorry, you sure you shouldn't go to an ER?"

"Cho was there, he's a doctor. He said not. I'm okay." Rafe frowned. "I'm pretty much the worse, everyone else fights better."

"Or the minions concentrated on you."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Excerpt 1 from Enchanted Again re: St. Patrick's Day

Tiro had disappeared after a lofty remark about celebrating the holiday with Irish brownies. Why magical folk, some of them no doubt older than St. Patrick himself, would celebrate a Christian saint's day was a mystery to Amber. But maybe brownies just liked to party. She'd noted that the chocolate milk she'd bought earlier in the week had also disappeared from the refrigerator and thought that if that was Tiro's contribution, he would be a hit.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ghost Seer, Coming Apri 1 Receives a Perfect 10!




GHOST SEER – Robin D. Owens

Ghost Seer Series
A Perfect 10
Berkley
ISBN: 978-0-425-26890-2
April 2014
Paranormal Romance

Colorado – Present Day

Jackson Zachary Slade is no longer a deputy sheriff, not by choice, but by way of a bullet that tore through his leg and left him with a permanent limp and a bad foot. He’s not the desk job sort of guy, so rather than be humiliated, Zach heads to Denver to start a new life. The sheriff has given him a name of a private investigator there who may have work for him.

Meanwhile, in Denver, former C.P.A. Clare Cermak is trying to get used to her new life. And it’s mighty difficult with the ghost of a long dead Labrador Retriever hanging out with her and telling her he’s her dog now. With the death of her eccentric great-aunt Sandra, who claimed to actually see ghosts, it seems that now Clare is the recipient of this special ability. What’s thoroughly frightening is that she’s seeing ghosts everywhere, as she’s driving, as she’s walking, even in her own little house. Being a logical person, Clare is having a very difficult time aligning her brain with this "gift". Her great-aunt told her that she helped ghosts “transition”, and one ghost has targeted Clare to help with just such a need. Jack Slade, a notorious gunman from the mid eighteen hundreds, wants to join his wife in the afterlife. But without help from Clare, he is doomed to an eternity of…nothing. And the other thing about great-aunt Sandra, she left Clare a millionaire, yet another issue Clare must face.

Enzo, Clare’s new “dog”, informs her that her new life must be to help with the transition of other ghosts. She has no choice; she must either come to grips with this or she will die. When Jack Slade talks her into attending an auction to bid on a box that belonged to his wife, she reluctantly goes and runs into Zach, a man she met at a restaurant with whom she exchanged phone numbers. They are both very much attracted to each other, and soon it becomes clear to Zach that Clare is either in some kind of trouble, or there is something terrible bothering her. Even though he has a lot on his mind dealing with his handicap, he’s also very much attracted to Clare and wants to help her. The team of Clare, Zach, and, yes, Enzo, begins their strange search for a way to get Jack Slade out of the lost world he is in and to transition him to his wife’s side.

Zach’s own ability to feel danger (he sees crows, and according to their numbers, the results can be danger, or worse) has him worried about Clare and her safety. Clare is determined to deal with this new existence one ghost at a time, and she needs to move quickly to get Jack to his wife before Jack loses control. Before Jack can rest, Clare and Zach will face plenty of stumbling blocks, both real and emotional, and danger lurks too.

For several years I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the magical Celta series of books that Robin D. Owens has written and continues to write. Contemporary paranormal is a new and extremely entertaining shift, and this first novel is humorous, poignant, and loads of fun. I can’t help but give GHOST SEER a Perfect 10 for the excellent writing, research, and very realistic characters. The all-too-human Zach and Clare, and the loveable, and yet mysterious Enzo make this character-driven tale difficult to put down. I am looking forward to more adventures in the next book: GHOST LAYER.

Jani Brooks

Romance Reviews Today
Robin D Owens robindowens@gmail.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Celta Thursday, Cut end of Heart Thief.

Celta Thursday - Cut Last bit of Heart Thief,
In Landing Park, outside of the starship, Ailim turned and waved to (heir) and their friends. Soon they would come and visit. Soon others might want to learn the earth technology. Soon young eyes would be focused on the Ship and the stars beyond. But for now the Ship was Ruis and herself and their Family.

When her foot touched the threshold of the airlock, Ailim shivered and hesitated. Ruis stopped and looked down at her with love and concern. "Are you having second thoughts."

She managed to smile up at him. "No. Never." She paused a moment, remembering the journal she’d read and feeling the antiquity of the Ship that made such a long and dangerous journey to give the colonists a new life. She wet her lips and his gaze sharpened with male intent and the half-smile on his lips curved full.
She didn’t want to be distracted by her senses when she struggled to find the words.
"Ruis Elder."
"Yes, that’s me."
"It’s also the name of the thirteenth month." She looked at him, her future, standing in the greatest remnant of the past. "The end in the beginning and the beginning in the end. Cycles."
He shook his head and swept her up. "No deep philosophy now, sweetheart. The end of our old lives is done. Finished."
"And finished well."
"Now let’s concentrate on the future," he said, then bent and kissed her to cheers.
She couldn’t stop tears of joy from backing up behind her eyes. She tightened her arms around his neck. "An incredible future, a future I’d never dreamed could happen."
He stepped through the doors and they slid together. The light inside was more mellow than the (season) day outside, recollecting a yellow sun instead of a blue-white one. Ruis slipped her down his hard body and she shivered again, this time with anticipation of ecstasy. Still keeping her hand, he turned her to the inside of the Ship. "Let’s go start this future together."
Keeping step with him, she walked into her new home.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Cut Bit Celta Thursday

Celta Thursday: This is a CUT musing of the heroine of Heart Duel, Lark Collinson, about her late husband and perhaps soon-to-be-lover, Holm Holly: Ethyn Collinson had been the innately gentlest man she'd ever known. And now she understood that it had been the contrast with her Father's unbending harshness that had drawn her to her husband.
His sweet smile, his intelligence, and the strength of his Healing Flair that so complimented her own, all combined in one man, a common man with none of the inborn and taught arrogance that beset those of her own class, had proved to be impossible for Lark to resist.
And now she was contemplating -- when her tumbled thoughts were not being swayed by her so-weak body -- an actual affair with one of the most confident, powerful men on Celta. A man she wasn't even sure she respected. Oh, he had Flair enough, and cleverness, and honor-- She stopped. Ah, that was the quality that redeemed him in her eyes, his own sense of honor. An honor she believed that he would never betray. A following of all the rules and laws that governed everyone on Celta, including GreatLords and Ladies.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Celta Thursday Cut Scene from Heart Change

After Cratag shoveled in a few mouthfuls of egg and a couple of porcine strips, he asked, "What's Bright Brigid's Day Fair?"

Avellana stabbed into her vegetable omlette. "It's a Fair for women. You take offerings to the goddess as Brigid."

"What kind of offerings?" he asked.

"Things you've made with your creative Flair."

"Why?"

She looked at him, brows lowered. "I don't know." Her bottom lip poked out. "Vinni's there today, too. And my mother and sister, though not at the same Fair as Signet, I don't think." The girl tilted her head to the side, "But I think that Vinni is at Signet's fair, wherever that may be."

"Why?"

"It's a tradition." Avellana glared at him.

The Residence said smoothly, "It is a spring holiday celebrating the aspects of the ancient goddess Brigid: creativity, prophecy, smithing."

"T'Ash is there?" asked Cratag.

"No, he isn't," Avellana said.

"Yes, he attends the Women of the Arts Bright Brigid's Day Fair in Meadowsweet temple."

"I didn't know that," Avellana said. "I don't think D'Hazel knows that either, or any of the FirstFamily Ladies." She messed around with her eggs, but didn't eat. "Signet doesn't do arts. She's a cobbler."

"She supports the arts," the Residence said and now it sounded offended. "And she's a fashion designer."

Avellana made another noise but the Residence rolled over her. "We will discuss some of the ancient goddesses today in our lessons," the Residence said. "Their Earthan history and the generation of Druida's Bright Brigid Day Fair and the number of fairs taking place today."

Cratag just knew in his bones that the day was going to go downhill.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pronunciation Question

Am drafting info for my narrator for the Heart books! Okay...I have an Ogham pronunciation guide, but I didn't use it a lot mostly because I found it a little late in my process. Tinne for me is Tin. The reason I'm posting this is Saille (Maidens of Saille House For Orphans, and Saille T'Willow). The guide states it should be Sahl (Saul), and THAT one I said to myself when writing Heart Dance....however before that it was Sail (like Sail a boat), or even, perhaps, Zail. What do you all think?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Give Away by The Reading Cafe

I do this occasionally (when someone asks, then nags).
The Reading Cafe
.

TRC link here:

You do need to be on FB or twitter, to like or tweet. However when I joined/liked The Reading Cafe, they only asked for my website URL, not all my friends or something I felt was extreme.

And...say...if, when I talk to a winner, they want something different than the prize, I tend to do that....

Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again! (It's a very gray day).

Robin

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Celta Thursday

Cut from Heart Change:

Celta Thursday, cut from Heart Change: "I wanted to live in the Turquoise House, the house becoming a Residence, thought it might be fun. But Nivea didn't." He looked with confused eyes on his bride and Cratag ached for the young man and the revelations of his wife's character to come. Laev would never divorce her. The first scandalous GreatHouse divorce had taken place a few months earlier, but that was not an example Laev would follow. Nivea would never allow it either.

"FatherSire offered us the house in Gael City. I can keep better watch on our cinnamon fields there, and she liked that idea." He frowned. "I'd never thought of living out of Druida."

"You'll survive."

Laev's smile flashed as he glanced at Cratag and he saw the young boy he'd known. "I'm sure. But I had really wanted to try the Turquoise House."

"How long has your Family had the house and estate in Gael City? Could you bring it along from a House to a Residence?" Cratag had no notion where that idea had come from. But, like Laev, he'd heard stories of the Turquoise House when training at The Green Knight Fencing and Fighting Salon. "

But I've heard a house-turning-into-a-Residence can be like a child, and maybe you're planning to have children right away." Cratag glanced at Nivea's two sisters. Three children, unusually prolific for a Celtan Family, maybe Laev was luckier than he knew. Now that Cratag wasn't seeing Avellana and Vinni often, he understood that he missed them.

Laev shrugged, didn't meet Cratag's eyes. "Nivea wants to enjoy herself first before she becomes a mother."

Cratag still couldn't believe that the couple hadn't had sex before marriage. Unheard of. How did they know they'd be compatible. There was more to a person than physical beauty and appeal.

So much more to Signet. He ached for her.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Celta Thursday, Cut Scene from Heart Duel


Passiflora Holly looked thin, her prominent cheekbones only adding to her beauty. She held Holm's hand in both her own. "I can't deny your father's will," she whispered, her mouth turning down.

""Of course not. He's your HeartMate. I know what that means, now." The surge of dizzying love he had for his Bellá circled to her through their linked hands. When the loving pulse returned to him, magnified and enhanced by her love for him, his knees trembled.

Nothing was as important as Bellá. If he'd failed as a son, he hadn't as a lover. Would never fail her as a husband or a HeartMate. He vowed never to fail as a father, either.

As this sentiment surged* to Bellá, she squeezed his hand.

His Mamá's eyes widened as she caught a little backwash of his and Bellá's love. The strain around her mouth eased. Her smile dazzled.

She took Bellá's hand and they formed an intimate circle of three -- love flowed unimpeded between them all. Jus when Holm's lust bloomed, Bellá caught* the urge and transformed it into sweet Healing energy that she funneled to his Mamá. Passiflora's skin turned rosey and she dropped Holm's hand with a laugh that held her music.

Relief swept Holm. Again Bellá pressed his fingers, then she pulled her hand away so only she was connected to Passiflora.

"You'll take care of my son," Passiflora said confidently.

"Yes," Bellá answered.

Passiflora held out her free hand to Holm and he took it again. She sandwiched his and Bellás hands between her own. "I give you my blessing. A mother's blessing, a GreatLady's blessing." Golden music-filled mist coalesced around them.

Passiflora dropped her hands and relaxed back on the blue velvet cushions. She met Holm's eyes and raised her eyebrows. "I'll work on your father. It may take years, but you'll be restored your place in this Household. I'll wear him down." She made a face. "He already knows deep inside himself that he's made a mistake."

Holm stared at his mother. It was the first time in his life that Mamá ha ever said his father was less than perfect.

Passiflora sighed and shook her head, then sent a tune rippling through the room -- Holm's Courting Melody. Bellá laughed and even Holm managed a smile.

"Go with the Lady and Lord," Passiflora said, beaming.

Holm kissed her hand, then bowed.

The young cats raced into the sitting room and tumbled to a halt at Passiflora's feet.

She giggled and lifted Meserv -- Holm thought he'd always be fatter than his twin -- and buried her face in his fur. "I'm going to miss this little one." Meserv's purr increased to deep rumbling.

"Zanth always has kittens on the way," Bellá said wryly.

Robin D. Owens's photo.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Deadly Women: Best Romance Heroines Who Can Defend Themselves

I am so pleased! Pleased enough that I might do a few excerpts...

http://northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/784235/deadly-women-best-romance-heroines-who-can-defend-themselves

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Celta Thursday: Timeline of the Heart Books

This is my personal timeline and the one I'm currently working from...complete with personal notes.

Celta Timeline:
On the Ship and the Discovery of Celta:
Heart And Sword IN THE COLLECTION OF HEARTS AND SWORDS:

HeartMate: Druida City, Celta, 400 years after Colonization, Summer, July, Discovery Day
The Turquoise House becomes aware/is born.
Heart Thief: Druida City, Celta, 400 Years after Colonization, Autumn
Heart Duel: Druida City, Celta, 403 years after Colonization, Summer, Month of Holly
Heart Choice: Druida City, Celta, 404 Years After Colonization, Spring

**Nuin Ash is born late 404

Heart Quest: Druida City, Celta, 405 Years After Colonization, Late Autumn BLACK MAGIC CULT deaths

Heart Dance: Druida City, Celta, 405 Years After Colonization, Early Winter (two months after Heart Quest, i.e. January/)

Heart Story IN THE COLLECTION OF HEARTS AND SWORDS: Druida City, Celta 406 Years After Earth Colonization, Spring

Heart Fate: Druida City, Celta, 406 Years After Colonization, Mid Winter (one year after the end of Heart Dance) SAMHAIN = NEW YEAR, SO JUST A MONTH AND A HALF AFTER THE NEW YEAR

Heart & Soul IN THE COLLECTION OF HEARTS AND SWORDS, Gael City, Celta 406 Years After Colonization, Autumn (Elder/October) the last days of 406

Heart Change: Druida City, Celta, 407 Years After Colonization, Spring (March)

Heart Journey: Druida City, Celta, 407 Years After Colonization, Late Summer

Noble Heart IN THE COLLECTION OF HEARTS AND SWORDS, Druida City, Celta, 411 Years After Colonization, Winter

LAST A'SH BABY BORN IN 412?

417 TAB HOLLY DIES, CAL MARIGOLD IS BORN

14 YEARS PASS BETWEEN HEART JOURNEY AND HEART SEARCH

Heart Search (Laev): Druida City, Celta, 421 Years After Colonization, Late Spring
Nuin Ash is 17

Heart Secret (Garrett Primross and Artemisia Mugwort), Druida City, 421 years after Colonization, Late Summer

NOTE BLACKTHORN, BORN 401? YEW.
YEW GIRL BORN IN 407 (HERBS/HEALERS?)
TIME OF YEW STORY IS 424, SHE IS 17, BECOMING AN ADULT
OK IF GUY/BOY IS 21, HE WAS BORN IN 401 SO WOULD BE 3 IN 404 WHEN HEART CHOICE TOOK PLACE AND HIS FOLKS MOVED TO THE SOUTH, ETC.


HEART FORTUNE (Glyssa Licorice and Race Bayrum), Excavation of Lugh's Spear, the lost starship, 421 years after Colonization, End of Summer

RobinDOwens› oh, 421 after colonization, last book was "late summer" and apparently this one is "end of summer"

06:04:55 ‹RobinDOwens› so end of Aug, I guess, and if the thing takes place over a while, I'll have to move into Sept...hmmm, maybe I can bring storms across the bluegrass plains...

HEART FIRE(Antenn Blackthorn-Moss and Tiana Mugwort), Druida City, 422 years after Colonization, Early Spring) half a year since Heart Secret.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

NEWS! THE HEART BOOKS ON AUDIO!

Thanks to the hard work of my wonderful agent (and the fact that years ago I "negotiated" for audio rights), I have signed a contract with Audible for the full Heart novels (NOT INCLUDING THE COLLECTION) through Heart Fortune. If I read the contract right, ALL the books should be out by this time next year...

Many thanks for all your support.
Robin

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.
"You!"
"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.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jace in the Social Club, Heart Fortune cut, Celta Thursday

The crowd of men in the corner by the bar had become rowdier, talking loudly, slapping each other's shoulders, full of easy comradery. Here he sat, alone in a stupid booth.

Glancing over, he simply froze, hesitating to make one movement that would catch their notice, like a mouse sensing Zem.

Laev T'Hawthorn and his generation might be the young and up-and-coming movers and shakers, but these men were those well settled in power, a half-generation ahead of Laev, or as old as his father would have been. In their prime. With one GreatLord the age of Laev's late FatherSire – no mistaking that gilt head and those pewter eyes of T'Holly. Jace thought he could pick out T'Blackthorn, maybe that swarthy guy was T'Ash, and the younger Hollys, of course, Holm and Tinne, though he didn't know which was which. These were the powers of Druida and a cluster of fighters.

The realization burst on Jace that he might be near The Green Knight Fencing and Fighting Salon, and these guys had come in after sparring. He drew in a deep breath. They all smelled suspiciously fresh after a long day, with manly scents of soap, the same soap. Yep, he'd stay still.

But freezing had been the wrong thing to do, because it had caught the eldest Hollys' eye, GreatLord Holly, once the premiere warrior of Celta The man swaggered over and leaned on the upright of the opposite side of the booth. Piercing gray eyes under old, heavy lids examined Jace.

Some of the other men followed.

What was Jace in for?

"You look like a man ready for fun," the lord said.

A bubble of wild surprise expanded through Jace's chest, got trapped there. He knew his eyes widened.

"Name?" T'Holly asked.

"Jace Bayrum."

The lord's thick silver-white brows knotted as the man continued to consider Jace. "Laev T'Hawthorn has spoken about you." He thumped Jace on the shoulder. "And here you are."

"Yes, here I am."

The GreatLord looked around, a couple of the men were behind him, one of his sons, but most of the rest were now talking quietly at the bar. "I bet you know some livelier places, Jace Bayrum," T'Holly said. "Hell, I know some livelier places."

His grip was steel around Jace's biceps as he pulled him from the booth. T'Holly looked down at the table. "Soup. Pitiful, son, just pitiful. Let's go get us some raw furrabeast steak, and some rawer whiskey."

"Sounds good," someone else said, then called back. "Hey, we're heading out to someplace with more action."

Weren't all these guys married?

"Great!" another shouted from the bar.

The next few septhours passed in a cheerful blur. When Jace stumbled back through the gate, staggered along the walkway and up the front steps of D'Licorice Residence and through the door, he found the GrandLady herself waiting for him.

She sniffed, then her nose pinched.

He grinned. He knew her better now. She and her daughter Enata were cool, but they weren't as cool as the hostess at that stupid noble club. The Licorice women were fiery under their red and auburn hair. Fiery and passionate.

D'Licorice frowned and said in icy tones, "You smell of liquor."

Jace shook his head trying to get some sense into it, some good words on his tongue. "T'Holly," he said. "Found me at that nobleman's club." He rubbed his upper arm. "The man has fingers like steel."

Glyssa's mother's cold expression cracked. She chuckled. "T'Holly, eh? Come along with me, then." She helped him up the stairs and to Glyssa's room, kissed his cheek. "Welcome to Druida and the Family, Jace."

She turned and walked down the hall to take the stairs up another story. Jace leaned against the wall next to Glyssa's door. That phrase had nearly scared him sober, concerned him more than anything else that had happened all day – the whole week.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Yule Gift Giving Scene from Heart Fate (excerpt from the book)

Happy Solstice, Yule!


Soon Tinne and Lahsin ended the ritual, and took the food and drink from the altar and put the victuals between them as they leaned back on the pillows.

A scritching came outside the door. **All saying words is done?** asked Strother, the huge dog. **Flair came and went. Feel better. You done?**

Lahsin stood. "Yes, we are, time for a sharing of gifts."

**I do not need any gifts,** he said with anticipation.

Lahsin opened the door and Strother trotted in. For reasons known only to them, a big, red ribbon tied in a bow was around his neck. He looked ridiculous, but Tinne kept his mouth shut.

He also realized that he didn't have a gift for the dog. He reached to the Turquoise House for a bag of cat treats he hid from Ilexa. Since she was still loafing at T'Holly Residence, engorged on Yule feast, she'd never know that he'd given her treats to Strother. He'd replace them before she found out. With effort, he ported them to a spot behind the pillows.

The dog sneezed, blinked watery eyes. **Too much smoke smell in here.**

With a wave and a little regret, Tinne banished the fragrant spirals of incense, another bit of the ritual atmosphere that had blanketed him and Lahsin together, gone.

"I have gifts," Lahsin said, looking at him and Strother.

The dog sat, his tongue lolled out.

"I do, too," Tinne said. "Gifts between Fam and person, then man and animal first."

Strother wagged his tail and gave an approving look to Tinne. My first gift. He sat straight and watched as Lahsin brought out something wrapped in softleaves. She put it in front of Strother and he pawed at it until a string of beads fell out.

**A Fam collar!** Strother sounded thrilled.

Tinne studied it. The necklace was composed of bright dried berries and larger rosehips of orange and red, accented with dark seeds and a nut or two, all strung on thread.

Lahsin untied the bow and fastened the collar around the dog's neck. "It looks good against your gray fur."

Sure wasn't emeralds.

But Lahsin had made it with her own hands and that was more important than emeralds, though

Tinne's Fam hunting cat, Ilexa, might not think so.

"I've spellshielded the string. It will only break if you get caught and can't get free."

The dog's brows lowered.

"I'll make you a new one if that happens," Lahsin said.

Strother grinned. He trotted to the door and brought a large mass of gray-brown something gently held between his jaws. He dropped it at Lahsin's feet and sat with a doggie grin.

"Mushrooms! Prized truffles! Ooh."

Wagging his tail, Strother said, **I have heard that people consider these tasty.**

"We do," Lahsin assured him. "I haven't seen these in the estate, where did you find them?"

Strother's chest puffed out with pride. **Saw little ones near my den in the glasshouse. Sent them Flair and they grew. For you.**

"Thank you!" Lahsin hugged him.

The dog rumbled satisfaction, then turned his head to Tinne. Tinne brought out the packet of treats. Strother's nose twitched. **Good morsels.**

"Treats," Tinne said.

Lahsin raised her eyebrows at the wording on the envelope: "Special bits for your FamCat from D'Ash."

Tinne shoved the packet to Strother, who gave it a strong sniff. **Good.** He decorated the wrapping with drool.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Celta Thursday, Jace in the Social Club continued (Heart Fortune)

Jace continued to eat the good soup and considered what he'd said about Laev. That lord had gotten Jace just where Laev had wanted him, first to Druida City, then to excruciatingly female Ladies' Tearoom, then to T'Hawthorn Residence – and here, too, though thankfully the man wasn't sitting opposite from him – though if he were, he could've paid the shot. Jace didn't think he'd mind working with the guy, he'd just better keep a warier eye on Laev's manipulations.

The GreatLord did have some good ideas for Jace's leatherwork, but as for the storytelling – Jace figured it would really be Camellia who would make all the decisions regarding Hoku's story, whether it would be published, made into a play, a viz, whatever.

That was interesting. Camellia, not born nearly in status as Laev T'Hawthorn, nonetheless could hold her own with the man, and from what Jace had seen of her own enterprises, a formidable woman.
Glyssa was that, too. Formidable. Ambitious. Pushy.

She'd changed his life, and he was pretty damn sure he didn't like it. Was she trying to settle him down? Get him stuck here in Druida City? He didn't like that idea at all.

He shoved the cup of soup aside, not wanting the last spoonfulls. Of course the beautiful china bowl slid smoothly across the glossily polished table, making no sound. Not like the slight rasp o f a thick pottery bowl across a rough tavern table that Jace was used to.

The crowd of men in the corner by the bar had become rowdier, talking loudly, slapping each other's shoulders, full of easy comradery. Here he sat, alone in a stupid booth.

Glancing over, he simply froze, hesitating to make one movement that would catch their notice, like a mouse sensing Zem.
TO BE CONTINUED.

Note I will post a Yule excerpt from an old favorite on Saturday.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Heart Fortune Cut Scene, Jace at Social Club 3

The hostess walked up and gave him a pretty smile. "How is everything? Your food?" she asked.

He glanced up at her. Yes, she was the same general type as Glyssa and her sister and her mother. Noble. Refined. Bone deep knowledge of roots and ancestors and duty and Family.

This one had figured out he knew Laev T'Hawthorn and was worth her time and nice smile – and that destroyed the comparison again. Neither Glyssa nor her Family cared much about catering to nobles, their values were set solidly into helping all patrons of their libraries. Interesting people with intriguing questions or scholarship were who the Licorices prized.

And he was spending a lot of time trying to understand the Licorices – as if he could understand them, it might give him pieces of himself? Better to haul his attention back to the moment.

"My food is fine," he said. "But not as good as at T'Hawthorn's Residence, or Camellia D'Hawthorn's The Ladies' Tearoom." The woman's brows slightly lifted, her eyes warmed further, even holding feminine interest.

Jace despised himself for dropping the names just to make himself more comfortable in this setting.

She lowered her lashes, then swept them up with a smile that advanced to flirty. Interested in him because of his "connections," not himself. He got the distinct impression that she wouldn't mind a quick fling with him – as long as he introduced her to Camellia or Laev in a personal manner. Gah.

"You don't seem like the kind of man who frequents The Ladies' Tearoom," she said.

Feeling even more irritated with himself since he couldn't leave that damn statement alone, he shrugged. "Laev's choice of venue. It was pretty floral." He didn't intend to explain more.

"Oh."

Before he knew it, a truth was wrung from him. "That Laev T'Hawthorn can maneuver you into some interesting places." Jace looked around. "Like here." He was sure he didn't add that the club wasn't his kind of place, she already believed that and overlooked it. Judging from her, too snobbish and definitely not lively enough.

"I don't belong to any clubs here in the city. I'm usually out of town," he said. "Does Raz Elecampane have a membership here?" he asked. Maybe if that man did, Jace wouldn't feel so out of place – and who was he kidding? Raz came from a noble background himself, as did Del, had a huge amount of wealth.

"T'Elecampane comes in now and then when he's in town," she answered. "But, of course, the club he prefers is The Thespian Club."

"Of course." She was right, Jace couldn't see Raz Elecampane hanging around this place much. He thought about how active the Thespian Club might be. That sounded good. He thought about how emotionally dramatic it might be. That, Jace could do without.

The woman smiled and nodded but Jace continued to stare into his heavy crystal glass of whiskey and she left. Good. TO BE CONTINUED

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