On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014


Celta Thursday: Heart Fire, FIRST MEET

The priestess was late. Annoyingly unprofessional.

Antenn Blackthorn-Moss wanted to pace the flagstoned sidewalk in front of his business, a nicely elegant building with tall rectangular windows set in rough-cut red sandstone that he’d recently redesigned and rehabbed. But he couldn’t show his impatience or tension because his client, a Chief Minister of the Intersection of Hope, a stocky man but with an innate elegance, remained serene.

Antenn couldn’t even look at his wrist timer, though his preliminary engineering crew awaited them at the building site, a dusty piece of land at the edge of the Varga Plateau, the geographic area Druida City was built on. His forewoman knew what to do, so hopefully they had started without them.

Finally a glider stopped near them and the door rose. A woman gathered a formal robe and stepped out before Antenn could take the couple of paces to offer his arm. When she turned to them, her face seemed flushed with irritation, which immediately annoyed him. THEY were the ones waiting on her . . . but his frustration simply dropped away as he got a good look at her. She’d made an attempt to tame curly brown-black hair by putting it in a bun that might have once been smoothly elegant, but tendrils wisped in fine strands around her oval face.

As she’d exited the vehicle, the fabric of her gown had tightened here and there and he’d seen she was slender but with nice, and nicely proportioned, breasts and hips. Her fine-boned features eased into a standard priestess pleasant expression.

Elegant, dainty. Out of his league. And exasperatingly late.

Chief Minister Custos moved toward her, stopped, and bowed four times. “We of the Intersection of Hope had requested you be our liaison but had not hoped you’d agree. The High Priest and High Priestess stated it was your decision.”

The priestess’s emerald eyes flickered and Antenn guessed that the Powers-That-Were in the Temple hierarchy had put pressure on her. Yet her manner held the strength and serenity of most priests and priestesses he’d met, along with steely determination.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chihuly at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Spent the am at the Chihuly Exhibit in the Denver Botanic Gardens with Mom. Wonderful! And really glad because now it's clouding over.

Ghost Seer Page Proofs

Well, I'm fretting a little. The fabulous Rose Beetem worked on my page proofs (galleys) for me for Ghost Killer despite her crazy schedule for Mile Hi Con this weekend, I worked a little on it, then sent it off last night. THEN remembered I had to check on a scientific fact (which they got WRONG on Forever last night). So as soon as I remembered I went through the pages, caught another comment I didn't see by Rose, and now I'm just hoping the fact is fixed.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gwydion Ash's story

**head desk** I am BEHIND on Heart Legacy. And what comes to my mind this morning? The opening to Gwydion Ash's book, that I've been thinking about a little (and it's at least #2 down the line, after Vinni's book):

*You don't speak Fam properly,* the young fox whisked it's tail at Cordata as she sat, nearly defeated, on the park bench just inside of the south gate of Druida City. She'd just had enough energy and money – gilt – to get this far. How she was going to obtain any more was a question.

Her spine straightened so she sat properly as her G'Auntie had taught her as a child. Her chin lifted as she stared the gray fox in its light yellow eyes. Unlike the rest of her Family, except that G'Auntie, she'd wanted to drift away from the grift and the con and better herself. Who knew it took so much more work to be honest? More gilt, too. She was broke.

But she had prospects.

*Are you going to speak to me and take me as your Fam or not?* The thing hopped onto her bench walked across her knees insolently waving her tail in Cordata's face – yes, she noticed the femaleness of it – tickling Coradata's nose and making her sneeze at the scent of fox and road dust.

*Greet you, fox-ling,* Yeah – yes – her mind accent was broken, but she wasn't accustomed to talking to anyone telepathically. One of her prospects – a strong, wild Flair she'd need to tame.

Note: I spend a lot of time on Facebook, but I know you all might not be there, so I will be posting more of what I do there, here. I THINK this blog feeds into my amazon page, where you might be able to read it, and to my goodreads page.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Celta Thursday! Heart Fire excerpt, the Turquoise House! Coming November 4!

Celta Thursday: Heart Fire (coming 11/4!) excerpt:

The Turquoise House hummed to himself, happy with his existence as much as he’d ever been since his HeartStones had wisped into awareness twenty-two years ago.

The tune wafting through his walls was one of the latest that Trif Winterberry had composed for him. He was beloved of the FirstFamilies and had had many wonderful guests.

But he was impatient and it was time to gather in his Family.

He was no longer an adolescent, but a mature adult. He was wealthy from his leases and the belongings his previous Family had gathered over two and a half centuries, but most of all, he was beautiful, with a gorgeous, shiny light turquoise exterior.

No one, not even the person he’d been luring and who had not come back, could resist him now.

And TQ was brilliant. He’d set his plans. Soon he would have his Family, and everything would be perfect.

Yes, for the first time ever I have a different Point of View than the hero or heroine in a Celta HeartMate book! The intelligent house, the Turquoise House. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Celta Thursday: Heart Fire, intro of heroine

Celta Thursday. You might have seen the intro of Tiana in Heart Fire before, but here's a bit again: “I know you desire 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.

“Most FirstLevel Priestesses would be honored to have your position,” she said. 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.

“And despite the rumors, I am not ready to retire within the next few years.” The older woman, GrandLady Ulmaria D’Sandalwood, paused in their trek and smiled with good humor plumping her round cheeks, kindness showing in her sparkling dark-brown eyes. “I may never be ready to retire. Nonetheless, it is time to evaluate you for your next step up this career ladder you wish to pursue, yes?”

Sunday, October 05, 2014

5 book bundle for 99 cents!

Today I'm doing some promo for my friends, in the order the request was received:
First: Get FIVE BOOKS for .99 cents. This includes the wonderful fantasy world of my critique buddy Cate Rowan. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1uoNN6H
BN: http://bit.ly/DarklyD-BN
iTunes: http://bit.ly/DarklyD-iT
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/DarklyD-SW

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Heart Thief cut: Sick Puppy

Again my apologies for this being late due to Jury Duty.

This was from Chapter 10 of Heart Thief:

A warm puppy nose nudged at her cheek and woke Ailim. Primrose panted in distress. *Me not feel good.*
"Scry bowl, voice only, call D'Ash," Ailim commanded.
Swearing came across the link, a holo showing intertwined bodies. "Holo off!" said T'Ash. His voice was followed by a lighter one. "D'Ash here."
"D'SilverFir, my Fam is ill."
"Stones don't have these sorts of emergencies," grumbled T'Ash and almost made Ailim smile through her anxiety.
"Can she still speak to you?" asked D'Ash.
Primrose made a small yip. *D'Ash!*
"Not too terrible, then. I'll teleport to D'SilverFir Residence within the next quarter septhour," D'Ash said and ended the call.
*Aunt Whitey,* Ailim mind-called her housekeeper. *Please arrange for an elegant breakfast in the nook next to the solarium. D'Ash comes. I'd like an assortment of pastries. Please inform anyone who asks for me that this is to be a private, uninterrupted, meeting.*
*Humph!* her Aunt snorted. *We have no budget for elegant pastries.*
Ailim grit her teeth. *The no-time box index I saw yesterday showed enough pastries to host a breakfast for the full NobleCouncil. Indeed, haven't we been feeding our visiting Family from the no-time?*
Whitey's distinctive sniff came through telepathically, but she didn't respond to Ailim's last question. *No-time foods do not taste as well as others. Why some of those dishes were prepared when my Father'sDam was D'SilverFir!*
Ailim ignored her aunt's protest and dressed hurriedly in a soft tunic and trous suit of teal that came to hand. Though it was one of the days she sat in Judgment Grove, a dark purple robe would cover what she wore. With a quick spell, her hair was intricately arranged in braids.
She picked up Primrose. The pup felt hot and her little tongue flopped out of her mouth.
*Me hurt.*
"D'Ash is coming."
*You say pastries? Me like pastries, like from no-time.*
"You'll eat what D'Ash says, and nothing more. And I agree, there's no difference in taste in no-time dishes, unless it's that we could afford a good pastry chef during the era of the generations ago D'SilverFir. Ignoring no-time stocks while preparing fresh is only Whitey's foolishness, a stupid Noble custom to make us more exclusive. Donax was right in indexing the no-time larders, and in recommending we use what we have," she muttered, petting Primrose and hurrying down to the breakfast nook set in the curve of one of the towers.
A glass table was set with the best china and held a three-tiered set of platters heaped with mouth-watering sticky-buns, scones, rolls, cakes and filled croissants.
*Yum,* Primrose said weakly, eyeing the bounty.
"No." Ailim set her Fam down on a cushioned chair and poured herself a cup of caff.
"D'Ash arrives," said the mellow tones of the Residence.
Ailim looked out the arched window that faced the lake and the drawbridge, but couldn't see beyond the trees of the estate to the great greeniron gates.
"D'Ash here," said a breathless, cheerful voice, transmitted by the resonating stone embedded in the wall by the gates. She looked as optimistic as she sounded and relief lightened Ailim's heart.
"Come," Ailim teleported the GreatLady to the nook.
D'Ash examined Primrose. "What we have here is a puppy who has been eating well, but not too wisely. No doubt taking advantage of the banquet yesterday, the Ritual foods, and all your fascinated relatives who'd slip her anything she begged for."
Primrose opened her eyes very wide, tilted her head, flopped her ears and looked pathetic. It didn't soften Ailim's heart. "I'll make sure the family knows that she must strictly adhere to her diet."
Primrose whimpered. *Candies. Wildrunner. Honied CeltaHen. Cat food so goood.*
"Cousin Canadena will have to stop feeding you. You can't visit her kitten if she's going to ignore my orders," Ailim said.
Primrose moaned.
D'Ash stroked the long hair falling over the Fam's eyes. "I can heal her, but using such Flair on a bellyache is a little overmuch. If you'll let me, I'll take her with me, treat her with a bit of herbs and spells, and return her later in the morning."
"I'm in Judgment this morning."
"I've always wanted to take a look at Judgment Grove when something interesting is going on. Now that I make my own schedule, I can." D'Ash unfolded a carrier bed lined with fluffy CottonSorbaroot and carefully placed Primrose in it. The animal healer touched a finger to Primrose's head. "Sleep, and feel no pain."
Primrose's body settled limply into the bed.
"She will be fine in a few hours," D'Ash said, pouring herself some t'caff and reaching for a cocoa-filled croissant. "Oh, these are delicious. For my fee, could I take them all?"
"I owe you more than that."
The GreatLady raised green-hazel eyes, and Ailim saw a wealth of compassion. A flush of embarrassment at her Family's lack of funds heated her neck.
"As T'Ash says, we are GreatLords, what we choose to set as our fee is completely up to us. His Fam, Zanth, has a habit of terrorizing our chef. A terrorized chef doesn't have a very light hand with pastries." Danith sighed. "And we all have a taste for sweets."
"The pastries are yours, then."
Primrose's stomach rumbled.
D'Ash glanced at the puppy. "I'd better be going. I'll be at the Judgment Grove at mid-morning bell. See you later, D'SilverFir." D'Ash expanded a visible sphere of Flair around her, the pastries on the table, and Primrose.
"Call me Ailim, and my most heartfelt thanks. Merry meet."
"And merry part."
"And merry meet again," Ailim said, just before D'Ash winked out.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Celta Thursday to be Delayed

Well, I got on a jury, so I will be a regular 7-6er for the next three days and Celta Thursday will probably go up Friday. Take care!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Quest, Mitchella Gets A Baby (Long)

Mitchella sat straight up in her chair, eyes widening in horror, hand to her throat.

"What is it?" demanded Trif.

"The Turquoise House," pressing fingers to her temples. "Something's wrong. Something's bad. I need to get there now!"

Trif braced herself, wet her lips. "I might be able to teleport us there." She'd helped Mitchella work on the house, restoring it, and watching the place gain in sentience.

Her face white, Mitchella said, "Are you sure?"

Jerking her head in a nod, Trif said. "We are linked and both know the house, so we can visualize it well. You'll lend me Flair and urgency." She set her shoulders, began the breathing sequence that Winterberry taught her. Grappled with her unruly Flair and sent it down straight paths – known 'porting pathways in her mind.

Mitchella stood and joined Trif, squeezing her hand. "Let's do it. Here's how the courtyard looks." An image appeared in her mind, formed by Mitchella. It had glowing yellow gridlines on it. That would make it easier.

Belief is EVERYTHING, Trif heard Ilex's words as if he spoke them calmly beside her. From the corner of her eye she saw the gray light of the day and modified Mitchella's visualization from sunlight to cloudy.

"Good," Mitchella said on an exhaled breath, and Trif realized that Mitchella believed utterly that Trif could 'port them to the house with no trouble.

Of course you can, purred Greyku from her bag. The kitten reinforced the image. The three melded Flair, Mitchella's small but perfectly steady and understood, Greyku's young and bright, Trif's strong and directed.

"On three," Trif said, sinking into the heightened awareness that she needed as she began to feel the place in her mind take on three-dimensions. "One courtyard. Two courtyard. Three."
The air popped as they appeared in the center of the cobbled space. Exultation surged through Trif – she'd done it. No grayness, no flickering. Just complete control.

Then her Flair spiked and the heat of it tingled from the soles of her feet through her to raise the hair on her scalp. She muttered under her breath, stumbled.

Everything looked quiet at the house – the clean cobblestone yard and trimmed bushes, the solid door – seeming peaceful. But as she watched the turquoise colored walls pulsed in a disturbed pattern.
Mitchella ran to the house. It began pulsing gently in a disturbed pattern. She set her hand on the door. "Tell me." Cocking her head, her face strained as she listened. Then she cried out and ran past Trif to the gate, shoving it open, turning to the left.

Trif followed to see Mitchella disappear through the portal of the house next door.

Put me down. I want to run and see, too, Greyku demanded. Grumbling, Trif did.

When they reached the house, the door was already open and Mitchella nowhere to be seen. She screamed.

Hurrying, Trif followed the sound to the mainspace where Mitchella crouched over a young woman who lay crumpled on the floor. Trif's heart clutched and her breath stopped in her throat. She hadn't seen death often, the Clovers were a hearty and long-lived family, but she knew the woman was dead.

Greyku screeched. Dead thing. Won't stay. She retreated outside.

"Oh, Lady and Lord!" Mitchella whispered.

Trif joined her, tentatively reached out a hand and touched the woman's shoulder. Cold. Trif shivered.

Mitchella jumped to her feet. "Her baby!"

Dimly, Trif heard a small, fitful crying. Before she could say anything Mitchella had shot out of the room. Trif stared down at the young woman, slowly stood and glanced around the room. It was furnished with a minimum of old, rough pieces. The walls showed damp and mold and gray patches. Everything about the house spoke of a once affluent Family now impoverished.

A moment later Mitchella appeared, holding a bundle. Tears welled from her eyes to trickle down her cheeks. "Thank the Lady that we arrived in time." She jiggled the blanketed baby. "Cordif doesn't seem to be hurt." She bit her lip. "If...if...the Turquoise House hadn't heard him crying and called me, he might have died here alone." She shuddered.

Trif stared down at the woman. "Who is she? What's happening?"

"She's – she was – Murica, GraceLady Gale, the last of her line, except for Cordif here." Mitchella shrugged. "She had little more Flair than I do, and is – was – a fourth level PerSun." She shook her head. "I don't know what's happening."

With a firm nod, Trif said, "Well, I know that we have a mysterious death on our hands. Black Ilex Winterberry!" she called, sending the mental cry with a touch of fear and alarm. They'd linked during his lessons on teleporting, but how closely, and whether he'd hear her–"

A slight "whoosh" announced his arrival. "Trif, what's wrong?" With one observant glance he took in the room, Mitchella, herself, and the body. He strode over to the dead woman. "Tell me what happened."

Clearing her throat, Trif said. "Mitchella is working with the house next door – midwifing it into being a sentient Residence."

"The Turquoise House called to me," Mitchella said. "I only understood that something was very wrong and I had to get here fast." She looked at the young woman. "Even though Trif 'ported us here, we were too late. The house told me that it heard bad noises from next door." She cuddled the baby.

Ilex had squatted by the body and was running his hands a few inches over it, reading it's aura? Did dead bodies have auras? A chill quivered at the base of Trif's spine. She would never care to find out, how proficient Ilex was!

He glanced at Trif then looked at Mitchella. "Trif 'ported you?" His voice was expressionless.

"Yes, she did." Mitchella smiled. "She's been such a help. I'm so glad she's here. And proud, of course."

"Of course." He rocked back on his heels and studied the body.

"She's dead," Trif said.

His eyes were sad when they met hers. "Yes."

Trif gulped. "Was it...."

"Unnatural?" He shook his head. "I don't believe so." He stood, lifted his hands and sent a swirl of energy throughout the room. The force of it raised motes of dust to catch the light. When everything settled again, he shook his head. "I felt no presence other than GraceLady Gale's and her son's in this room for the last day, but for you two." He moved over to Mitchella and looked down at the baby. "May I?"

Mitchella hunched protectively over the baby, but Ilex just waited patiently. Finally she straightened and held him out. "He was dirty and I used a spell to clean him and the blanket." Her lips trembled, then she pressed them together. "I don't think he's eaten recently. He needs to be cared for."

Ilex held the baby easily, staring down at him. "I sense no knowledge of anyone else here from him, either."

"I'll take him."

Lifting a brow, Ilex said, "In these instances, we of the guard call the Maidens of Saille who run the House for Orphans."

"I'll take care of him," Mitchella said fiercely.

Trif got the idea that Ilex was thinking the same thing that she was. Mitchella would fight for the infant.

"He knows me," Mitchella insisted. "It's better for him to be with someone he's familiar with."

Sweeping a hand around him, Ilex said. "I'll teleport the Lady's body to Noble DeathGrove where a Healer will examine her. But I'll have to report everything regarding the circumstances I found here.

Mitchella sniffed. "Cordif will do well with me. With Straif and me."

"And you have the ear of SupremeJudge Ailim Elder who has already placed a child with you," Ilex said. "I'll go through the house to glean additional information, and probe for any hidden treasure belonging to the boy, though I don't think there's much to inherit except this place, which should probably be sold and the gilt invested for his future."

"How do you know?" Trif asked.

He lifted and dropped a shoulder. "It's my business to know. I'm a guardsman." He scanned the room again. "This is not the first untimely death in this Family. There is much concern about these older Families who are dying out." He looked at the body and sighed. "I'll speak to the Healers and see if this occurrence was expected."

"I'm sure she would have told me if she had health problems." Mitchella's brows dipped.

A corner of Ilex's mouth lifted. "I'm sure she would have." He gazed at her, then Trif. "The Clover women are easy to talk to." Again he shook his head. "I've heard quite a bit about GraceLady Gale, but not that she made provisions for her son if she died so young. Or about the father."

Mitchella clutched the baby to her breasts. Her lip curled. "His name is not on record Murica didn't tell me who he was – we weren't that close. Yet." She swallowed. "But she said he wanted nothing to do with his son." She lifted her chin. "That's unnatural, but I think he was married. Not to his HeartMate, of course." Shifting, she said, "I'd like to get Cordif home and call the Healer T'Heather to examine him."

Ilex made a little bow to her, smiled wryly. "I see GraceLord Cordif Gale will have only the best from your hands."


"Remember he has a name and heritage."

Her lips tightened, chin rose. "I'll see if T'Ash will come and give us an idea whether he might have Flair, what sort and how much."

"An oracle should have done that at his birth," Ilex said.

Looking pointedly around at the shabby room, Mitchella said, "Cordif's only a couple of months old, and Murica didn't have any relatives to be an Oracle, or gilt to pay one at his birth."

"Ahem," Trif cleared her throat. "Mitchella, what of Straif's opinion–"

"–Straif wants more children, too," she replied.

"And Antenn?" prompted Trif gently. "What will he think of a new younger brother?"

Ilex took Trif's arm. "You're being unusually pessimistic."

Trif grimaced and shut up.

The baby wiggled and let out a small cry. "We all must consider Cordif, firts. Guardsman Winterberry, please take care of poor Murica, then can't you teleport us all to T'Blackthorn Residence?" Mitchella asked.

Staring at them in turn, Ilex shrugged. "Very well." With a solemn spell and gestures, he sent the shell of Murica Gale to the DeathGrove. Then he swept a hand before him. "Let us depart from outside. I will seal the house until I, and some other guards, return to examine the house in detail."

They walked to the front grassyard and waited for Ilex to spellshield the entrance. Greyku was waiting for them, grooming a forepaw. She looked up and her ears rotated forward as she stared at Ilex. Greetyou, Ilex.

"Greetyou Greyku."

The kitten smiled. I always like hearing that. She turned her head and fixed her gaze on the swaddled infant in Mitchella's arms, then pranced over to her. I have not seen a human kit. May I?
Mitchella's eyes narrowed, but then she slowly crouched and moved a corner of the blanket aside. Greyku had to stand on her back paws and stretch to see the baby's face. The tip of her tail twitched. Uglier than most humans.

"He's beautiful!" Mitchella protested.

Greyku just rumbled a noncommittal sound, then lowered to run back to Trif, who picked her up, cradled her on one arm. The little cat butted her head against Trif's arm, insisting on being petted, so Trif did. She went over to look at young Cordif.

Mitchella beamed down on the baby boy. Trif glanced at the red-faced, round-headed child whose black hair stuck out in all directions. She shared a glance with Greyku, who smirked. "A wonderful baby," Trif said. It was a safe observation, and true. All Clovers believed every baby was wonderful.

"Yes, he is," Mitchella rocked the boy.

"All set," Ilex said, joining them. "Lady D'Blackthorn, since I am the strongest teleporter here, I think it would be best if I held the baby."

I 'port well, too, Greyku broadcast.

"Yes, you do, and I value your help," Ilex said.

Greyku preened. Trif sighed. "Let's go."

Reluctantly Mitchella handed Cordif to Ilex, then linked her left arm in his right. Trif hung onto his left biceps. He felt infinitely comforting.

"On three," he said. "One Clover. Two Blackthorn. Three."

And they materialized in the parlor from which they'd departed. Trif was close enough to the chair she'd been sitting in to sink back into it.

So much had changed in just a septhour! Mitchella crooned to the baby, who fretted, then instructed the Residence to request T'Heather's professional services.

Ilex bowed. "I'll be going–"

Trif jumped back up and crossed to him. His face was as impassive as usual, but she found gentle kindness in his eyes. She smiled. "Thank you for hearing me, for coming and helping us." She lay her hand on his arm, and he covered it with his own.

"You're welcome," he said. "I'm glad the occasion wasn't too terrible for you. You didn't know GraceLady Gale, did you?"


Some tension eased from his stance. "It's a sad situation." He looked at Mitchella. "But she will ensure the babe isn't neglected."

Trif glanced over to Mitchella, who stood at a sidebar newly covered with baby clothes. "After her infatuation dims, she'll be thanking you, too. And probably Straif as well." Frowning, Trif said. "How much trouble did I cause you, taking you away from your duties as I did?"

"None. Only put me a little behind schedule."

"It sounds as if you might not eat dinner again tonight."
"I have work," he said.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Celta Thursday (belated)

The last weeks of conference and retreat put off my day-sense. Here is Celta Thursday in the raw, i.e. absolutely no edits from a dictated bit of Heart Fortune

Nov 13 2012 Dictation

Thunder rumbled outside his tent and he shivered as memory came. She'd been hurt when he'd withdrawn. He'd seen it in her eyes. She'd opened her mouth to push again, as always, but had stopped. For that he was grateful, but it dug in like a thorn in his skin, that she was pushy and he spiraled down into the worst thing he'd done in his life. He'd been barely seventeen when the fever of Second Passage snatched him. He'd stumbled along through that Passage (where), and she'd been there, in that feverish** dreamstate with him. It had been a long time since his First Passage at seven years old. He didn't hang out with other teens who had enough Flair to experience Passage – not that he felt he had much Flair, either. So he hadn't figured out what was happening to him yet. Nor had his self-centered mother. And his father, well, his father had been a nice man. Not exactly smart, though. So Jace had been stumbling through Passage. SETTING

His mother had been talking in that sweet, persuasive voice that he hated. The voice she used to get whatever she wanted from his father. This time she wanted a bracelet. Some flashy, ugly thing that they couldn't afford unless his father left their village for the bigger city in the north near the Plano Strait and work as a warehouse man for the merchant's guild there for an entire month...including the three weekend days. And, like always, Jace was expected by his parents to up his own work schedule doing all the odd jobs for the small merchants in their village.

Through the red haze of fever Jace stared at his father and saw a worn man. Big as he was, he hadn't looked well for the last month or so, still working hard to pay off his wife's last bauble. Jace hoped his dad would see a Healer while in the city, but probably wouldn't take the time, even though the free AllClass Clinic was a good one.

And in the fever** Jace's mother's sweet voice became a high-pitched whine, then a buzzing screech piercing his mind, going on and on and on in his ears, never ceasing, always demanding. Like a bitemite, a huge, nasty bitemite sucked into his head and eating his brain from the inside. He'd waved, flailed, at the thing, and he'd slapped her. He'd hit his own mother.

His father had hit him twice and twice as hard.

He came from that, from petty greed, from a man loving a woman and killing himself to give her what she wanted. From selfishness. From easy violence, and he never forgot it.

He always kept his relationships light, always surface, never deep so they roused anything he couldn't control.

So he was selfish himself, wouldn't let himself be manipulated by a woman for what she wanted that wasn't good for him, too.

The mutual sex with Glyssa was damn good. His chest loosened at the thought and his relieved sigh escaped. He'd escaped the past again. Just as he'd left soon after that incident, all of them knowing he'd gone through Second Passage and was officially considered an adult.

The misery of Passages without the payoff of greater and defined Flair, when he was seven, seventeen and twenty-seven.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Celta Thursday: Heart Quest

Once again Ilex walked the places where the bodies had been left, starting with a park.

He tested every meter of the perimeter for spells – and discovered muffling spells as well as illusion spells .... the spells were noble crafted, but one carried a sufficiently unique signature that sent hope shooting through his veins and spurred his hunting Flair.

At least now he knew what sort of place the cult preferred, nothing round. Nothing within hearing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ghost Layer is OUT! And it's the days of Ghost Layer, so pics

It's been a week, and thank you for all who have purchased it!

This IS the time of Ghost Layer, so I'll do some pics for Day 1, etc.

Day 1:
At Clare's (new to her) historic house in Denver:

Day 2:
Clare going up to South Park and DL Ranch:

Day 3 and 4: View from the ridge of DL Ranch AND Buckskin Joe/Fairplay Cemetery

Thank you. I appreciate each and every reader.

Monday, September 01, 2014

GHOST LAYER OUT TOMORROW! I'm very excited! But THAT story actually starts on September 7th (a Wednesday).

Clare Cermac’s adjusting to a new man in her life—and a lot of ghosts. The passing of Clare’s aunt gave way to a sizeable inheritance of not only money, but also the ability to communicate with the dead. At the same time, she met Zach Slade, a private detective with a rough past, and just like Clare, he’s not yet ready to accept her gift—or his own.

But Clare has another matter to look into. A multi-millionaire needs her help after relocating an old ghost town to his mountain estate. The bones of a murdered prospector are making nightly appearances in his guests’ beds. When the gold miner’s ghost contacts Clare, she promises to help find the name of his killer—but someone doesn't want the past revealed and might find her first…

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Celta Thursady: Antenn Moss Blackthorn and Tiana Mugwort as I visualize them

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Celta Thursday: Heart Change: After consummation scene:

Celta Thursday: Heart Change: After consummation scene:

A few minutes later her ears stopped ringing enough to hear his ragged breathing. She opened her eyes to see the moonslit room of gray and silver shadows and night and Cratag's sharp eyes were closed, his smile that of a man savoring an experience. Her arms clamped around him tight, she wanted to keep this experience in her memory always, too. He didn't seem to notice the extra pressure, but that was fine. Her arms encompassed all she needed tonight.

"Wonderful," she murmured and liked the low, throaty sound of her voice.

He stiffened. "I'm too heavy."

"No." She paused, was he withdrawing again as he had earlier in the day? She wouldn't ask and spoil the moment. Perhaps she'd been imagining it. He'd been worried about Laev Hawthorn, and the last few days had been packed with change for Cratag, too. "No," she repeated.

"I'm glad you're here, that we're together here." Finally.

"If you're glad, I'm glad," he said gruffly, then added as he began removing himself gently from her with long stretching motions. "I am damn near ecstatic. Was – was ecstatic."

She chuckled, reached out and let her fingers trail down his thigh from hip to knee. "There's a washroom..." but he'd already headed there. Of course he would remember the layout of the house, he'd been through it often enough with his walks. Grinning, she thought she'd given him an excellent alternative for all those walks.

Stretching herself, she couldn't recall feeling quite as good as she did now for a long time. Longer than a long time, years, eons, her whole life. The man was a fabulous lover.

Before she knew it, he was back, and to her disappointment, dressed. His face was in shadows, but he draped her robe around her. "Sorry, for the tear, and I can't mend–"

But she'd already repaired the rips, though had nearly been sentimental and brain-softened-by-sex enough to let them be.

"Done, then," he said, and she didn't know what he meant. Whether she was finished weaving the fabric back together with Flair, or they were done with sex...surely not done with more? She refused to think so,
refused to let him think so. "Done? Oh, no, we aren't."

He smiled slowly then and she returned it. Offering his hand, he said. "Let's go upstairs then, to bed." He hesitated, then said deliberately, "Your bed."

"Oh, yes."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Finished with Ghost Killer! And editor thinks it's Awesome!

So, yeah, I'm chuffed my quick deadlines are over. Writing 5 books in 1.5 years, none of them under 85K (the average Heart book is 105K, and so were Ghost Seer and Ghost Layer despite my wish to make them shorter, but Ghost Killer came in at 85K+ because I didn't add another subplot) was Brutal. And two of those five books I seriously revised.

I may post here more often, I DO post on Facebook quite often, but I understand a lot of people don't care for that.

Anyway, I wanted a new wallet calendar (I usually get them for Heart books before I go to Romance Writers of America), and discovered if I wanted them for the Rocky Mtn Fiction Writers Colorado Gold in Sept, that I had to do them yesterday. So they were done yesterday.

Remember, these books are in mass market paperback.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Celta Thursday, original end to Chapter 13, Heart Change.

Celta Thursday, original end to Chapter 13, Heart Change. Some remains in the book, some is different.

The morning of lessons on architecture was blessedly broken by a scry from Laev. Cratag excused himself to take the call. He'd been interested enough when the Residence had talked and shown holos of the construction and development of itself, D'Marigold Residence. But after that it had begun going through each FirstFamily Residence, the history of the Earthen place the thing was modeled after, and the Families, and Cratag had gotten bored. He knew all he needed to about the FirstFamilies – who were T'Hawthorn's allies, enemies and neutral.

Which Families had any smoldering ill-feelings that might explode into a feud and lead to civil unrest.

He'd have liked to have learned a little more about T'Hawthorn Residence, but at the rate the lecture was going, that would show up a few days from now.

So he slipped away from the downstairs library to his suite and took Laev's scry, with more than one reason for gratitude. The Hawthorn colors of purple and gold, along with a slight tinge of green light, pulsed through the room. Laev's colors.

He strode to the bowl. "Cratag here."

The water droplets above the bowl showed Laev's smiling face, but there was a hint of trials undergone and survived in the backs of his eyes. Another exhalation of relief from Cratag. "You look good, Laev."

Laev stood straighter, his smile brightened, as if Cratag couldn't have said anything more complimentary. Cratag thought he felt – no, did feel – a wave of satisfaction from the seventeen year old. "My first fugue went well." His voice was slightly deeper, more resonant, from emotional storms. "I have more Flair than ever and I think the Hawthorn talent for business will be confirmed." He frowned a little and a distant look came to his eyes. "I think...I think I understand more of the web of the alliances that FatherSire has made."

Then a flashing smile with more warmth than Cratag had ever seen from T'Hawthorn. "And I did a few fighting forms and I believe I'm more flexible, have more strength, even than I did before."

A seventeen year old young man was plenty flexible. Cratag eyed Laev. There did seemed to be some sort of almost colorless waves around the young man. Cratag thought it was his own meager Flair that showed him that. "Could be," he said. "Congratulations on reaching your manhood, Laev HawthornHeir."

Laev beamed. "There will be a huge celebration later." He frowned a little, nodded decisively. "When you're home again. It wouldn't be the same without you."

Cratag's heart squeezed. "Thank you."

Rolling his shoulders, Laev said, "I miss our workouts already. May I have your permission to come there and train with you? FatherSire has given his permission."

Even more emotion choked Cratag. This was a man who would not forget him, who would value him as a part of the Family.

"Of course. Will MidAfternoon Bell work for you? That's when my sessions are scheduled. We run on set schedules here."

Laev raised his brows. "I wouldn't have thought D'Marigold – ah, it's the little one, Avellana."

"Yes." Then Cratag recalled what Signet had said about Laev perhaps triggering Avellana's Passage. He'd consult with Signet, but he wanted to see – to hug the man who had been his younger brother.

While he was considering this, a masculine gleam came to Laev's eye. "And Cratag, I think, I really think that I connected with my HeartMate!"

That admission tangled Cratag's emotions. Pride that the youngster was growing up and at his achievements, his potential. But also a sharp envy for such a love. He forced a smile. "Come this afternoon."

"I will." Laev tilted his head, grinned. "T'Hawthorn Residence has told me that I only have a few more minutes in my morning break, and that I should eat. Since I'm hungry...."

"See you later," Cratag said gruffly and watched the young man nod as he ended the scry.

Cratag rubbed his head, feeling more helpless than he had in a long time. He didn't know, exactly, what he was doing here, no solid mission. He didn't understand – in his gut – great Flair or Passage or HeartMates.

The place was beautiful but strange, the woman beautiful and strangely compelling.
"Is everything all right with young HawthornHeir? I knew you were worried about his Passage," the very woman Cratag was thinking about said, standing at the threshold of his sitting room. Had he closed the door? He didn't recall it latching, and gravity, or the Residence, might have swung it open.

"Yes, all is well." He let a breath out slowly. "His Passage is coming along smoothly." Cratag hesitated.

"You'd like him to visit here," Signet said.

"Yes, MidAfternoon Bell."

She nodded. "Avellana's Flair seems relatively stable, and my own catalyst Flair doesn't appear to be affecting her yet." Signet raised her brows at him.

Cratag nodded. "Yes, I think I'm being affected by you – by your Flair." Definitely by her and the attraction that vibrated between them. He went on, "My senses seem to be becoming sharper, and my Flair stronger in general." He shrugged. "I don't think even with all the catalyst nature of your Flair my own will increase to much more."

"Maybe not." She smiled at him and knots in his muscles that he hadn't known he'd had untangled. "I'm going to take Avellana to the craft room now." There was a slight lift in her voice as if asking if he'd join them.

"I need to look around the Residence again." Find a room suitable for sparring.
She spread her hands. "Be at home."

But when she left Cratag admitted that he wasn't quite sure who or where or what "home" was.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Belated Celta Thursday!

I'm so sorry, folks. I've been housesitting and not with my regular computer. Here's a belated Celta Thursday.

Celta Thursday: Cuts from Heart and Sword in the Hearts and Swords Collection:

"We’re lost," Kelse, the Captain just revived from the cryonics tube said.
"And we’re all dying. The crew doesn’t want to do their prescribed jobs. The ship is only automated to a certain extent," said Chloe, his exec who'd awakened him.
Something floated in Kelse’s memory, something about artificial intelligence and Nuada’s Sword, but it vanished with Chloe’s next words.
"The crew needs purpose," Chloe said.
"Who are our best astronavigators, astronomers?" Kelse asked.
"That’s the problem, we didn’t have many, maybe six. Julianna Ambroz is the best and she’s done everything she can. She’s currently the Captain of Arianrhod’s Wheel. Your wife, Fern, assisted our original astronomer...."
"I’m not having Fern awakened until this is all over." One way or the other. She could die in her sleep.
The thought that she’d die, they’d never have that future they fought for, stabbed him, made him wild inside, panic slid through his nerves and he grabbed is cup with white-knuckled force. He could not let that out. He’d known fear and panic and loss before and withstood it.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bubonicon, Five books done in 1.5 years! And Celta Thursday

First, I will be at Bubonicon this weekend! A couple of panels and a writing seminar and 55 minutes with Robin... so I'll answer anything about writing and publishing that you want. I'll be taking ARCs of Ghost Layer.

Second, as of yesterday...it's in. After a year and a half with 5 books over 85K words due, I've turned the last one in...late, but DONE. (Ghost Killer)

And Celta Thursday: Last Section of Heart Fire Cast of Characters:

Others, in order of appearance:

GreatLord Muin (Vinni) T'Vine: friend of Antenn, the prophet of Celta

GraceLord Hymale Equisetum: enemy of the Mugworts, founder of the Traditionalist Stance movement

Mica: FamCat to GreatLady Camellia D'Hawthorn

Brazos: FamCat to GreatLord Laev T'Hawthorn

Rusby: FamCat to Garrett Primross

GreatLord Rand T'Ash: jeweler/smith (hero of HeartMate), Fam Zanth

GreatLady Danith Mallow D'Ash: animal Healer (heroine of HeartMate)

Arvense Equisetum: farmer, cuz to GraceLord Equisetum

GraceLord Majus T'Daisy: newssheet owner and editor

GrandLord Walker T'Clover: statesman (hero of the novella Noble Heart in the collection Hearts and Swords)

GentleLady Avellana Hazel: daughter of a FirstFamily House, artist, fiancé to Vinni T'Vine.

GreatSir Tinne Holly, owner of The Green Knight Fencing and Fighting Salon (hero of Heart Fate).

GreatSir Nuin Ash: eldest son of T'Ash and D'Ash, fire mage

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Celta Thursday: upcoming Heart Fire Character List

Celta Thursday, Heart Fire Character List continued (coming Nov).
Tiana Mugwort's Best Friends:

Felonerb: her FamCat animal companion

Camellia Darjeeling D'Hawthorn: GreatLady D'Hawthorn, businesswoman/cook, owner of teashops (heroine of Heart Search), FamCat Mica

Glyssa Licorice Bayrum: FirstLevel Librarian (heroine of Heart Fortune), FamFox **

Tiana Mugwort's Family:

Artemisia Mugwort Primross: sister, Healer (heroine of Heart Secret), FamRacoon Randa

Quina Mugwort: mother, devotee of the Intersection of Hope religion, Healer

Sinjin Mugwort: father, former judge, writer of legal articles

Garrett Primross, brother-in-law, private investigator, FamCat Rusby.

The Temple People:

High Priestess GrandLady Ulmaria Meadowsweet** D'Sandalwood of GreatCircle Temple

High Priest GrandLord Alb T'Sandalwood of GreatCircle Temple

Lucida Gerania of GreatCircle Temple, FirstLevel priestess and rival of Tiana Mugwort

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ghost Killer Done!

Whew! 5 books (none under 80K words), in 1.5 years! Whew. Perhaps, someday I will get that awesome RUSH of feeling that I've finished again. I miss it. I'm tired but done.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Celta Thursday, the Turqouise House Floorplan

Celta Thursday, and keeping head down. I'll be focused on work today and tomorrow, but here's Celta Thursday, the sketch I made of the Turquoise House's floorplan that I used for Heart Fire.

And I don't know why it turned around. So it goes. Later, folks!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Celta Thursday, Upcoming Heart Fire cut

Celta Thursday -- UPCOMING HEART FIRE CUT, I'm all about easy until done with Ghost Killer. Hero is Antenn Moss (architect, adopted son of the Blackthorns)...heroine is Tiana Mugwork, priestess. Lord Equisetum is the antagonist in this novel:

He took a waterfall, dried off, and sank into the comfort of his bedsponge, pulling linens over himself. Pinky settled on the far edge of the bed on his pillow, as plump as the cat himself, and dropped into snuffling sleep.

As Antenn's mind whirled with images of the day – and he sure preferred Tiana Mugwort over GraceLord Equisetum – he let himself fall into the near-sleeping. And reached for his unknown HeartMate.

To no avail. Though their link was small, it was strong, and seemed to be thickening by the minute. Yet he didn't find her in sleep...to maybe have some invigorating dream sex. Maybe he should try...but black exhaustion drowned him.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

All Heart Books Up on Audible! And Celta Thursday

Here's the series: http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_hp_tseft?advsearchKeywords=Robin+D.+Owens&filterby=field-keywords&x=0&y=0 This is narrated by Noah Michael Levine, recommended by a good friend. Ghost Seer is narrated by a woman, for contrast. :)

And because it's easy, and the copy edits for Heart Fire lit yesterday, here's the first section of the Cast of Characters for Heart Fire that is open on my machine and I'm working on:

Cast of Characters

Antenn Blackthorn-Moss's Family:

Pinky: Antenn's cat who became a FamCat animal companion

Shade Moss: older brother, murderer, one of a slum triad gang (3 boys linked mentally), deceased

Mitchella Clover D'Blackthorn: adopted mother, interior designer, FirstFamily GrandLady (heroine of Heart Choice)

Straif T'Blackthorn: adopted father, FirstFamily GrandLord, tracker (hero of Heart Choice)

Trif Clover Winterberry: adopted cousin, composer/musician (heroine of Heart Quest)

Ilex Winterberry: cousin by marriage, Chief of all the Druida City guards (police), (hero of Heart Quest)

Draeg Betony Blackthorn: adopted cuz, warrior (upcoming hero of Heart Legacy)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Free short, short story: Zanth and the Treasure with Soundtrack and Sounds

I did this myself, so let me know if you like the music or not. :) Also, you must have Chrome or Firefox to view (or can download an app for Apple products).

Here: http://www.booktrack.com/#!/bookshelf?booktrackId=774f1d5c831548e0b8573384ba916eda Let me know about it

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Celta Thursday: Timeline of stories and books (my working timeline with notes)

Celta Thursday. I had an email requesting the Timeline of ALL the stories, i.e. the stories in the Hearts and Swords Collection interwoven with the books. I've posted this before, but here I'm not stripping out my personal notes: On the Ship and the Discovery of Celta:

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)
Ash twins born

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




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


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.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Zanth and the Treasure (free short-short story)


Celta, 406 Years After Colonization, Summer

Zanth's whiskers twitched. The smell was incredible. Incredible and wonderful and with the scent of great Flair magic.

He padded warily through the night and the bushes that rose high above his head. He'd never been out of the city of Druida before. Here on his FamMan's southern, overgrown estate there were creatures that might try and make a mouthful of him. But he was a canny and clever cat, the pre-eminent cat of Druida, and therefore, of course, the whole world of Celta.

The bushes loomed and rustled with animals and midnight noises. He placed each paw carefully, flexed his claws.

There was treasure up ahead and he meant to have it.

Slithering under the rusted greeniron gate, he wallowed for a few instants in the dirt and dust, spreading his own scent. Notifying all in the area that the mighty Zanth was on the prowl, that this estate, once abandoned, was now his.

He sniffed luxuriously. No celtaroons. He'd cleaned out two nasty nests in the few days they'd been here. There was wolf, far away, but the pack was made of low, unintelligent creatures and no match for Zanth.

He was a FamCat of the highest order, of the greatest nobility. Now he was pampered, Absolutely his due. He'd found the boy child in the slum of Downwind and cared for him, let him love him and be a Fam. Then they grew big enough to walk the Vengeance Stalk. They'd killed those men who'd murdered the Ash Family. Zanth had gotten his Residence and his room and his bed and his velvet pillow.

And his chef.

It was a lie that he was soft and fat. He could still take any feral tom in Druida.

The tantalizing scent came from beyond the ragged gliderway...it came from the road. Not a big road, but one with lots of odors of stride beasts, llamas, a horse or two. And low predator and prey animals and carrion eaters.

The lake to the south ladened the air with rich smells of fish and small prey and his favorite, sewer rat.

But even wet rat didn't smell as good as this human-Flair-made-thing.

He sauntered out, nose lifted, reveling in all the excellent new smells, the slight breeze sliding against his fur, the beingness in a new place just waiting for him to put his paw prints all over it.

In a few bounds he found the sphere. Glass with interesting-unique-special stuff floating inside. It smelled of woman and strange places beyond any Zanth had experienced. There was a little tang of the Great Platte Ocean that he recognized, and of Gael City where he'd been, and even a icy wind that caused him to shiver and his hair to raise, the far north. More recently was the gaminess of the Hard Rock Mountains. Slightly buried in dirt, he pawed it out, grinning as his claws dug deep in the rich earth of this new place that would know him.

He rolled the sphere a little way, watching something sparkle inside it. Tasting it, his tongue absorbed some of the Flair that created it and emanated from it and he purred. It made him feel better. A treasure indeed.

**That is *MINE.** The snarling shout – mental and physical – stopped Zanth in his tracks. He rolled the globe behind his front paws. It felt good against his heart.

A scrawny and scruffy fox slipped onto the road. Not much like those aristocratic foxes in Druida City. Zanth was as big as this one and had more muscle and mass.

But the last time he fought a fox his emerald stud had been ripped from his left ear and lost. He'd also teleported home with a broken hind leg.

FamMan T'Ash had sworn and had taken a long time to make the new stud.

FamWoman Danith had cried.

**Mine!** the fox yelled again.

Zanth didn't run from fights. He could win against this dog fox. The fox lifted his lip, showing teeth, and Zanth growled back, packing it with power. The fox set his paws and hunkered, ready to fight.

**Go away!** Zanth demanded. **This is my place and all here belongs to ME. All prey, all leaves to chase, and essspesssially this THING.**

The fox barked challenge. Zanth hissed and growled until he could only hear himself. Then he grinned because the fox hopped backward. Still there was something in the animal's eyes that told Zath the fox might pounce if he turned his back, or took his gaze off the fox to enjoy his new treasure.

**Leave the sphere,** said the fox.

The sphere sent warmth into Zanth's middle. He wanted it. He would have it. **This Thing is Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine!** Zanth switched his tail. That was that. Six "mines" and that pointy-nosed creature should know it was his. Cats never backed down after six "mines."

The fox snapped out a bark. **That landscape globe belongs to my FamWoman. She made it.**

Zanth sniffed. **Then why doesn't she have it?**

**She makes them and lost some. I have gotten two.**

Zanth saw in the fox's mind that there had been three. He reverted to the slum speech of his kittenhood. **ME HAS THIS ONE!**

Again the fox showed a lift of upper lip and muzzle, growled again. This time the toughness of battle reflected in his eyes. **Del made it with sweat and blood and Flair.** A shifting of balance of the paws and tail. The stringy fox would fight.

With one strong kick of a hind leg and a demonstration of his own fabulous Flair, Zanth sent the "landscape globe" soaring back into the estate, between the rails of the green iron gate.

The fox narrowed his eyes, flexed his dark, dirty claws.

Zanth matched glares. **I am Zanth, and the bauble is Mine. I will win.** He swaggered forward and his very presence made the fox step back.

**Zanth. I have heard of Zanth,** the fox said.

**Of course.** Zanth smiled with all his teeth. **I have killed many sewer rats, many celtaroons, sired many litters.**

With a long stare, the fox looked Zanth from tooth to tail tip. **You are uglier than I thought.**

Zanth curled his lip. **You are so ugly the twinmoons hide.** They'd gone behind a cloud.

**You are FamCat to T'Ash,** the fox said.

It was a rare fox who could match insult with insult and this one obviously wasn't so smart, though annoying all the same. **T'Ash is MY FamMan.**

Then the fox darted in and swung a paw. Zanth hopped aside, then hissed and surged forward, back arched, all his hair out. Yes, he was more muscular, thicker than this stupid, scrawny fox.

It hunched it's back and screeched so Zanth had to flatten his ears.

**I WILL fight you!** Even as he rumbled a growl deep in his throat, Zanth's thoughts sped.

In a fight he might lose his emerald ear studs and his collar. FamMan refused to fix them again or make him more. FamWoman would be sad. Tears might drip down her face and onto Zanth's fur like the last time he came back bloodied. That made him feel almost worse than losing his gems.

But he extended his claws. He let battle anticipation sit on his tongue before saying, **I am Zanth and I will win this battle, as I win ALL My battles.**

He paused. He was so clever. He said, **But...**

The fox snapped up Zanth's bait. **What?**

**I could pay you for the landscape globe with rabbit.** In Zanth's experience foxes loved rabbit.

His adversary's tongue rolled out and a string of drool hung to the ground. **Real Earthan rabbit or the Celtan mocyn?** The fox asked.

Snorting, Zanth said, Rabbits. **Two. Freshly killed and put in a cold spot where I can get in with my Flair.** A neighboring farmer had done the killing, but Zanth didn't care. If it was available to him and no one guarded it from him, it was his.

Done! cried the fox, and he was equally irritating as he kept up with Zanth on the run to the neighbor's cold shed.

Feeling magnanimous, Zanth showed the creature how to manipulate the latch with Flair. The fox took both rabbits while Zanth sat and groomed his paws. The treasure was his and it would last a lot longer than a couple of rabbit meals. Besides, he didn't like rabbit.

Once they were away from the shed and the road, they eyed each other, then the fox nodded and said, **I am Shunuk.**

**I haven't heard of you,** Zanth said.

The fox's tail bristled and flicked, then he was gone in the night, nearly as quiet and stealthy as Zanth himself.

Zanth hurried back to his estate to claim his treasure. He stared at it and for an instant in the twinmoons' light and an image solidified inside the sphere – Zanth's Residence and room and his velvet pillow. He lipped up his treasure and grinned around the globe.

He was the strongest and cleverest and best FamCat – FamAnimal – on all of Celta. Naturally.

Life was good.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Celta Thursday: 2nd Interview with T'Ash

Robin: Hey, T'Ash, I didn't know you had a tattoo.
T'Ash: (smirking) You thought you knew everything about me. Ha!
Robin: (in a small voice) ha ha. (clearing her throat) Tell me about your tattoo.
T'Ash: (raising an eyebrow: You've never heard how the vengeance stalk marks one?
Robin: Uh, no.
T'Ash: It does.
Robin: Do tell.
T'Ash: (staring off into the distance at the starship Nuada's Sword): The tattoo is a matter of Flair, of psi power. I believe it first developed on the generation ships. (He shrugs). You can research that better than I, you are more interested in it than I.
Robin: I 'spose. It was sorta sprung on me.
T'Ash: Now you know what it feels like.
Robin: Tell me more about the tattoo.
T'Ash: When a person formally dedicates themself to the vengeance stalk, the tattoo appears, stinging, on the body. Mine is black and red. It is an aspect of the god Arawn, god of vengence. He holds a heart, which means he holds the heart of the one who has sworn revenge. The heart is not then available to give to a mate until the stalk is done.
Robin: Huh.
T'Ash: Is that all?
Robin: Um, so, uh, you had it on the vengeance stalk.
T'Ash: Didn't I just say so?
Robin: Yes.
T'Ash: (scowling and looking away, mutters) It also showed up when I went berserk, during the fights with the gangs in HeartMate. No one saw it, but it burned on my arm. I think. I did not look. I was fighting.
Robin: Of course.
T'Ash: I have never felt it since. Never gone berserk since. I will not do so again. (glaring at Robin) Right?
Robin (too heartily): Of course you won't. You got a happily ever after ending and will continue to have one.
T'Ash (narrowing his eyes): I think I see that you have something bad in my future. (putting his hand on his blazer sheathed at his hip). You'd better not hurt my Family.
Robin (licking her lips): Uh, well, you wouldn't want things TOO perfect, would you?
T'Ash: Yes:
Robin: Oh. Well, I may have, uh, an idea, but you will all survive. I promise.
After a dirty look, T'Ash stalks away.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

GThost Seer Audio by Audible is UP!

It's LIVE! ($3.47) for audible members. http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Seer-Book/dp/B00K7E161G/ref=tmm_aud_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1403011858&sr=8-1

Not sure if I posted Ghost Layer's cover here or not, but here it is:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Belated Celta Thursday -- Interview with T'Ash

Sorry, I wrenched my ankle badly yesterday afternoon and forgot to post. Since I'm still pretty laid up, I'm going to post something that I have before, but what some of you might not have seen, the FIRST interview I did with T'Ash, of my first book, HeartMate:

Robin: Hey, T'Ash.
T'Ash: Greetyou.
Robin: Tell me a little about yourself. Why don't we start out with the physical?
T'Ash: GLARES. Why?
Robin: I need to know more about you so I can do your story justice.
T'Ash: SNORTS. Huh. I don't care to talk about myself, to be--
Robin: Vulnerable.
Robin: Really, T'Ash.
T'Ash: GRINS. Like that, are you? Sort of like Danith?
Robin: (uncomfortable) Come on, T'Ash, please? CLEARS THROAT. The basics, including physical?
T'Ash: Can't you see?
Robin: WINCES. Puh-lease?
T'Ash: SIGHS HEAVILY. My name is T'Ash. Head of the GreatHouse Ash. It is who and what I am. I am less than 2 meters tall and of a wide build, both inherent in my genes from my family and because I am not only a jeweler, but a smith. My eyes are blue. Light blue, I suppose you would say, and to be precise, the color of a sky-crystal. My hair is fine, thick and shoulder length, I don't pay much attention to it. I am 37. Sometimes I feel old.

Robin: Any distinctive physical marks?
T'Ash: You mean scars. Yes, I have scars. From my Downwind boyhood, from the vengeance stalk. Blaser scars, knife scars. I have hard, working hands with callouses, but am not any sort of beast, my body hair is light.

Robin: Shoes and clothes size?
T'Ash: Shoe size. Large. Clothes sizes, large, need built shirts for my shoulders, but all nobles have their clothes built.

Robin: What are your favorite clothes?
T'Ash: Why should this matter? None. I like the embroidery on my cuffs, showing I'm T'Ash. When I was a child, I never anticipated being T'Ash, it was beyond the realm of possibility. My oldest brother Nuin would be T'Ash.

Robin: CLEARING THROAT AGAIN. Have you been married before?
T'Ash: You jest. I slake my needs in the willing bodies of tavern wenches, pay them well. Noble ladies and their seductive glances make me wary, they do not charge a price up front, so who knows how much they will soak you for?
Never married because I was busy walking the vengeance stalk, re-establishing my GreatHouse, rebuilding my Great House, practicing my Flair with gems and making my reputation as a jeweler and my shop, T'Ash's Phoenix, a success. I have been extremely busy. I -- I must admit I crafted a HeartGift during my last Passage, many years ago, 17. I briefly touched my HeartMate then, so I know one soul is made for mine. Why should I settle for anyone else? So, I wait.

Robin: Good idea. Any children?
T'Ash: I am not a libertine. No.
Robin: How about your father?
T'Ash: What of yours?
Robin: Let's not.
T'Ash: See how YOU like questions? SIGHS. Father was Nuin, as all the first sons of Ash GreatHouse are named Nuin T'Ash. He had the responsibilities of the head of a Thirteen First Family, the head of our own family. His Father, FatherSire Nuin, had retired, being bedridden. Father's Flair was for Storms. Lightning. Thunder. He could predict, cause, deter. That's what he did when called upon by the Noble Council. He taught my brothers and me to fight. He paid more attention to my brother Nuin, of course, teaching him the things he should know to be House Head. I loved Father, he was hard but fair. Father's dead, he perished with Mother and Nuin and Gwidion. I, the youngest, survived.

Robin: And your mother?
T'Ash: MOUTH TWISTS. Mother was Jasmine. And she smelled of jasmine, not the Earth plant, but the hybrid Celtan. What a scent. It haunts me sometimes. She made perfumes, light things, she didn't have a great Flair, but was a daughter of a GraceHouse. But my father loved her. They were HeartMates. She chose to die with him. I think she could have 'ported from the window. I guess the firebombspell, the explosion, smoke and fire was too quick for the others to 'port out. I don't know. Rue, the bastard, said if the fire gained a touch on you, it would eat you. I don't know if that happened. I don't know why they couldn't escape. Father would have checked on my brothers, Nuin and Gwidion, then me, first, before 'porting to the HouseHeart or outside, where I watched. I can't recall, now, how quickly everything happened. Except in dreams. Ah, Mother. Father loved Mother. Nuin loved Mother. Gwidion loved Mother. I loved Mother, too.

Robin: How about your schooling?
T'Ash: You have a stupid list. Why do you wish to know? I was schooled at home by FatherSire, Father, Mother and tutors until I was six. Then. Do you mock me? It is true I grew up Downwind, so I learned to survive and be smart on the streets. I can protect what I own. My Flair had just blossomed before the destruction of my family. I had undergone my first Passage, so I knew a little on how to develop it. And I had the book, the history of the Ash family, I had been reading it when Rue and his scruffs took the Great House. So, I did go to a drunken old woman who was once a GrandHouse lady. I paid her precious pennies to give me a smattering of manners, to help me with my speech, even though I continue to lapse into Downwind shortspeech now and again. You would be wise not to ever hint that my education is lacking.
I have mastered my Flair, and it is powerful. I weathered three Passages. I can smith weapons, I can quarry stones and shape them, I make excellent pieces of jewelry, all with my Flair. I learned most of this on my own, but for two years I apprenticed with a glistensmith on the edges of Downwind. He was a scruff, a scroungy, stingy master, but he knew his trade and I learned it. My reputation is great and will get greater. My work is sought after. I can turn down commissions and craft what I please. Don't forget that.

Robin: Any previous occupations?
T'Ash: When I was a youth Downwind, it was whatever I had to do. Steal. I didn't do much begging, I came into my size in my early 'teens. Nor did I whore. When I was young and nubile, I scuttled around like a frightened mouse. By the time I was older and tougher, I had other means to me than selling my body, even then I had an affinity for stones. I made divination dice, polished and imbued cheap jewelry and amulets with charms. Things of that sort.

Robin: Your skills?
T'Ash: IMPATIENT LOOK Haven't you been paying attention? I am the best with stones, my Flair is great, I rarely lose a fight. I can design and create new patterns for jewelry and weapons and divination dice. I am a tolerable shopkeeper.

Robin: What was the worst thing that happened as a child?.
T'ASH: SCOWLS. You know. I don't need to say it again.

Robin: Then the worst thing that happened as an adult?
T'ASH: CONSIDERING. I would like to say my last Passage, but that was not so fearful to me as the last two fights that I was in on the vengeance stalk. I went berserk. I deeply fear that. I hate the idea of all that uncontrolled violence within me. Let's not talk about it.

Robin: Your best childhood memory?
T'ASH: I've been having trouble with my memories, even the good ones. I will have to think on this. Waking up on one warm and sunny day, my Nameday? Having all of my wishes fulfilled? A picnic in the grassyard and games later. My Mother holding me. My Father placing his hand on my shoulder in pride. He did that once.

Robin: What about your best adult memory?
T'ASH: Hard to say. Triumph when I got my title and my GreatHouse back, when my family's murderers were dead or banished and I was vindicated before the entire Noble Council. That was sweet. I also felt good when my shop was a success and I knew that my Flair for jewelry was prized. Or when I saw the last layer of armourcrete go onto my new Residence. All very good memories.

Robin: What does your best friend think of you?
T'ASH: BLINKS. My best friend, Holm Holly, thinks that I am too staid lately, that I don't take enough chances or risks. That I have ordered my life too much. I like it this way. Adventurous lives are frightening lives. But most of all they are dangerous lives. I cannot have danger in my life because I haven't yet refounded my line.

Robin: What of money?
T'ASH: I don't think about money too much. My annual income is such that I don't need the annual noble gilt allowed to me, don't want it. I prefer to earn my own through my Flair and my pieces. I charge much and receive it. My jewelry is worth it.

Robin: Who was your most recent lover?
T'ASH: LOOKS ASIDE. I don't have a lover. I visit the taverns when the need is upon me. It doesn't matter which woman I have. I'm not celibate. Well, perhaps this last month or so. Sex is overrated, a physical release and nothing else. I know what a HeartMate marriage consists of. I will wait.

Robin: (glad the sex stuff is out of the way) What is your least liked social situation?
T'ASH: Noble society social events, not rituals, particularly if there are a lot of ladies. I am not comfortable around ladies, I know I am not smooth and do not express myself well.

Robin: Do you have a pet peeve?
Robin: (feeling really foolish)
T'ASH: A peeve? Something so trivial? A pet peeve. Ha! Zanth smells. He likes killing sewer rats and prowling Downwind, and when he comes back he reeks of this awful odor. Though he is not really a pet, he is my Fam.

Robin: SPEAKING FASTER. Your favorite food?
T'ASH: I like cocoa. In anything.

Robin: Least favorite food.
T'ASH: Internal organs of any animal. I ate too much of that when I grew up. Any sort of spoilt meat or vegetables or fruit for the same reason.

Robin: You hate people who.......?
T'ASH: I hate people who abuse others. Are bullies, or evil and kill for the sake of killing or for ambition or greed, like Rue and Flametree killed my family.

Robin: You respect people who......?
T'ASH: I respect people who stand up for their rights. Who fight for what they want. Who endure and survive.

Robin: What was your favorite vacation?
T'ASH: What's that? I love my work.

Robin: Tell me about your best friend and how you met.
T'ASH: FLASHING A GRIN. Holm Holly. I met him when he got caught Downwind during his second Passage. I was in a tavern looking at my beer. He started a fight. T'ASH LAUGHS. Zanth took a couple of pieces out of a couple of scruffs. T'ASH SLANTS A LOOK AT ROBIN. You tell THAT story when you tell his story.

Robin: Maybe, come on, let's hear more.
T'ASH: BEGINNING TO FIDDLE WITH SOME JEWELRY WIRE IN HIS HANDS. Holm's emotions were too strong and influenced me to also flash Passage. I helped him, saved his life, during those innumerable death duels of his. He helped me on the vengeance stalk and before the council.

Robin: Do you have a pet?
T'ASH: A pet? Don't let Zanth hear you call him that. He is a Fam. A mature cat of common origin, but very large, some genetic strain there, I think. He is sentient, and my familiar and my family. He is a tom with an attitude. I love him.

Robin: You live in?

Robin: And before that?
T'ASH: I lived in a guest cottage on the Holly compound before my Residence was built, but I spared no expense on the construction and it happened quickly with top-rated Flaired magecrafters. Before that I lived in a shack Downwind. Before that at my master's when I was an apprentice. Before that -- why think of this? Any hole I could find.

Robin: What do you admire most?
T'ASH: SERIOUS. I most admire whole GreatHouse families, with extended family members working together to perpetuate the line.

Robin: What would you never do?
T'ASH: I would never cheat, do something dishonorable, betray a friend. Why do we have to speak of this?

Robin: What do you want most?
T'ASH: I would most like to find my HeartMate and continue my life and my line. I want her to love me.

Robin: When working through a problem, you talk to.......?
T'ASH: Zanth. Even if I don't talk to him, he talks to me.

Robin: What do you procrastinate about?
T'ASH: Dealing with society women. I do not place myself in situations where any lady is expecting me to do anything whatsoever.

Robin: What do you dislike?
T'ASH: Asking for favors or exchanging services with the Thirteen First Families. You have to be careful, or you will lose more than you gain.

Robin: Your overriding need?
T'ASH: My overriding need or want is to win my HeartMate! She is here. I can have her and her love, and she will be the mother of my children and my line, the Ash GreatHouse, will be assured.
This is important because no one has loved me for a long time. Or no human. Cats love in a different, more selfish manner. This is important because I am the last of my line, a line that began on Terra, before the generation ships, continued on the ships and on Celta. It must continue. I cannot let it die, to do so would be to betray my murdered family and all my ancestors.

Robin: What obstacles stand in your way?
T'ASH: I'll not let anything stand in my way. I will change the mind of my HeartMate, make her love her by my HeartGift. I am tired of talking to you. Too much talk and not enough action. Bide well. STALKS OFF.


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