On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

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

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Location: Denver, United States

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

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Heart Thief Cover Story: Belated Celta Thursday



Celta Thursday: Heart Thief Cover: Yes, belated. I was in England when my (new) agent saw the cover of Heart Thief. She was very pleased because it was a "single element" cover, in this case a green emerald heart against a silver background (and the background in the first editions was metallic).

I asked her what it was like, but I don't think she had the cover in front of her, because she couldn't tell (I was at an internet cafe at an odd hour, in Winchester, I think).

This is the hardest cover to show up okay on computer screens, the toned down one works best.
smile emoticon

But the story about Heart Thief is that I had no emerald heart in the book. I had an emerald necklace, but no heart. I had a gyroscope that became the emerald heart. I rewrote the book to include the heart.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Celta Thursday, T'Ash Interview 2, HeartMate Cover Reissue

Celta Thursday, HeartMate Cover Reissue

Early in my career I had very little input into covers, so I didn't see the reissue cover until I actually got my author copies. I like the colors but it was a surprise...and I got that awful "but I didn't mention a tattoo in the book" feeling (as you can tell, I am over that). So I thought about it and when a "vengeance stalk" tattoo might occur. When looked at the text, I saw that Danith would have been the one to see the tatt since it was in T'Ash's point of view. As one of the first things I did for my original website was to interview T'Ash (which I've posted here more than once). I decided to interview T'Ash again, and here it is:

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 vengence 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 vengence 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 (llicking 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.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Celta Thursday, Original Cover of HeartMate

Belated Celta Thursday. :)

Yesterday I spent with a seminar (only half through) of Scrivener with Mac and setting up the new-to-me machine. I am confuddled with the Mac file system, and have found it to be less able to personalize than a windows machine, oddly enough (will talk of that later, I mean menu bars, window colors, icons for folders).

That said, I thought for the next while on Celta Thursday I would talk about the covers of the books. Let me know if this is not of interest to you.

First, of course, HeartMate and it's original cover. As soon as I sold that book in late January 2001, I got an email from my new editor. "Please send pictures of cat." Though the cover is very dated now, it looked fine for the time. For promo, since Danith drank tea, I had teabag covers made. HeartMate was part of the "Magical Love" series of Jove (which had just been acquired by Berkley Publishing Group and the offices had moved...thus one of the reasons I hadn't heard I'd sold for 6-8 months...).

As part of the Magical Love line, HeartMate had to have the magical element in the center of the cover, that's the HeartGift T'Ash is wearing. I didn't have another Fam on the cover until the recent Heart Fortune, but with the novellas I'm doing, from Script of the Heart on, I hope to have a couple and a Fam.

Here's the original cover, with Zanth and his emerald collar. I did describe his head as perfectly round and his ears flat. The reason for this I have learned was because he was a feral, unneutered male (until I let him -- Maddox -- inside). The ears were flat due to either fights or ear infections as a feral cat.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Celta Thursday: Pics of T'Blackthorn Residence

Celta Thursday: Pics of T'Blackthorn Residence (Cliveden). 1) Front, Heart Choice 2) Clock Tower, and still room and herb buildings (used in the secret garden, BalmHeal estate), Heart Fate 3) Draeg's Room above the roof of the wing, Heart Legacy, and Antenn's former rooms on the bottom, Heart Fire

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Celta Thursday: Map

I am not at home with cats and catsitter, and quite tired, so I am posting a black and white map of the northern continent of Celta.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays! Favorite Yule Scene!



This is my favorite Yule scene from Heart Fate:

Celta Thursday, Fav Yule scene: Lahsin opened the door and Tinne Holly saw her FamDog, Strother, trot 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 the emeralds Tinne's FamCat, Ilexa, had demanded.

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

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.

Lahsin opened package. "You want just one or all of them?"

Strother appeared torn. "Some now. Most for later."

"Excellent," Lahsin said, and fed him about a third.

Strother crunched and slurped. **Human gifts,** he said.

After washing her hands in a bowl of water on the altar, Lahsin reached under the cloth and brought out a small potted plant. "I didn't know if you'd really come," she said to Tinne. But I made you a gift anyway." She handed him the pot.

It was a delicate evergreen tree he'd never seen before. He touched one soft, flexible branch. "Nice. What is it?"

"A Norfolk Pine. They only grow here and in the great greensward of Nuada's Sword, the Residence told me. When I found it, I did some research. Norfolk was a place on old Earth."

He met her eyes. "I'll cherish it."

She handed him a note. "The tending instructions."

Tinne slipped the page in his bag, turned the pot around to admire the small tree from all sides until Strother nudged him. Tinne turned to his bag and lifted out his presents.

He brought her two gifts. One was pale green training robes trimmed in dark green.

Her eyes lit up. "Real robes!"

"Yes. The trim shows you're a second level beginner."

She clutched the robes to her breasts. "Really? Am I?"

He smiled. "You have a few holes in your training, and need to learn the first basic pattern, but you could probably win any match with my beginning students."

She did a little hopping dance at that, put the tunic on. Only then did Tinne realize she was wearing old clothes, though the aura of the Goddess had cloaked her during the ritual.

Strother was nosing Tinne's bag. **Something else, here, something that smells of slowbeast.**

"I have another gift, one made with my creative Flair."

Lahsin looked up with curiosity in her eyes.

Tinne pulled out a small drum he'd made...not his HeartGift. She grinned and eagerly took it from him, settled back on her pillow and began to thump with enthusiasm but little technique. He laughed, pulled his own drum, equally small, and poured his feelings through his hands in cheerful, rapid beats.

"Now we can follow the ancient ways and drum the night away and to the dawn!" Lahsin raised her voice over the sound.

Strother's muzzle gaped. **You will pound on those all night?**

"Yes!" Lahsin threw back her head and laughed.

Her laugh reached inside Tinne, stirred him near painfully, touching places that had been wounded by another woman.

Strother went to his portion of the food and ate and drank politely, then burped and turned to Lahsin. He cast a yearning eye toward the cat treats, but then lifted his muzzle in pride. **You will put my treats in the no-time?** he asked.

"Yes, the Fam no-time in the kitchen that the BalmHeal Residence has so graciously opened to us now."

Tinne figured it hadn't been gracious at all. She glanced at him. "May I keep the orange juice?"


"By all means. The juice was for the ritual, the decanter is my gift to the Residence."

**I will be able to get my crunchies when I want. Good. Then I will go out and show my new collar to other Fams.**

Perhaps not so very different than Tinne's hunting cat after all.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Celta Thursday, Vote on the Cover of Script of the Heart!

I can't decide.


Please vote on which you like the best. However, I will be the one making the decision. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Full Scene in Chapter 4 of Heart Legacy, before revision

Celta Thursday, Heart Legacy. Quick and dirty because I'm WRITING. I think this is a full scene that was cut from Chapter 4 of Heart Legacy (that's the file name):

Sweet and savory spice smells wafted around them and she relaxed more. Now Baccat sent a detailed mental image of the abandoned warehouse district in the northeast part of Druida.

She frowned down at him and said in a quiet voice, "I thought we agreed to leave by the new and small southwest gate in the city?"

His back rippled. **You should know all of Druida, experience various neighborhoods of the city,** he replied in pompous tones.

Impatiently, she said, "I'm not interested in staying in Druida City. I'm determined to leave it. Living in the country at the Valerian estate will suit me fine. And it is in the south, so going out the north gate or the east gate would cause us to circle the city."

**You don't need to lecture, Me!** he snapped.

She ignored him and continued. "The more time we spend near Druida, the more chance we will have of getting caught. And I don't want to even think of the consequences of getting caught."
Her memory shied away from the hardest punishments in her life – whipping when she was young and, after she'd developed her psi powers, having depress-Flair bracelets manacling her wrists. Both had been awful, the physical and emotional hurt as she wondered why her mother would whip her when Lori hadn't thought she'd been bad.

Then the psi-blocking cuffs shutting off all sense of her magic, being unable to use an integral part herself.

It had been scary that there'd even been depress-Flair things small enough to go around her nine year old arms.

No, she didn't want to discover what her Family would do to her if they caught her. "They might kill you, you know," she murmured to Baccat. He hissed and leapt from her grasp, hunched in energetic anger.

Staring at him, she continued, "I'll try my best to protect you. To translocate you away if we're caught, but Cuspid and Folia, and especially the twins, can be sneaky."

**I agree. They can be sneaky and mean. Your Family is mostly unpleasant and all are sneaky and mean.**

She sighed. "Yeah, they are." And she appeared to have gotten the sneaky gene. Maybe if she were away from her Family, she'd do better.

**We should go to the northwest quadrant that I visualized for you,** her Fam insisted.

"Why?"

**Because the legendary secret sanctuary of Druida City is there.** He sat, stopping their progress to the front of the temple and the street, and looked at her from the corner of his eyes, lifted a forepaw and licked it.

**FirstGrove? The estate that only lets in the desperate?** She replied telepathically. All right, that did intrigue her. Then she shook her head and continued the conversation telepathically. **I am not desperate.** She frowned. **I don't think I could be desperate . . . unless they caught us, and if they did, we would probably never escape the Residence again.**

Her Fam sat solidly, staring up at her. **You brim with hope.**

**I do. I truly am full of hope.** She smiled. **I feel better today than yesterday. Probably the horses.**

She drew in a big breath and again herbal smells swirled into her nostrils, but also the scent of the city, of people, of shops selling wares she'd never find on her land, crafted and Flaired goods. Wonderful things. **I am not going to the warehouse district.**

**Would you like to view the Turquoise House?**

"No, why would I?"

**To educate yourself. You should not believe just what the Yews and Yew Residence teaches you.**

"I don't," she said curtly. "I haven't since I was young and my nurse told me to think for myself, and not to believe people who were mean to me." Since her Valerian nurse had been dismissed within a week of that warning, it had truly stuck with Lori.

Along with the kindness of the old stableman and finding her father's memory spheres and recording spheres, she'd been able to block most of the toxic negativity of her Family and their teachings. Lately she'd considered that her heart and spirit had been saved from tainting by her nurse and the stableman, and her father's spheres.

But Baccat's words that she lacked a wide education flicked her on a raw spot. It hadn't been easy, analyzing the Residence's and her teachers' words and figuring out what might be true or not.

"You've told me of the Turquoise House often enough," Lori said. "Let's go explore!"

That shut the cat up.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

News and Celta Thursday: Backstory of Lost Heart

News: I will be publishing Lost Heart (a novella) myself. It's ALREADY WRITTEN. I'm aiming for March so I can release print on demand at the same time.

Celta Thursday: Backstory I wrote for Lost Heart (not in the novella). Barton had never thought that he'd be the last Clover man of his generation to marry. Clovers usually wed early and got started on their families. But they weren't the man who was responsible for the security of the whole Family. Family with a capital f. The entire, now noble, clan.

And that was a job that Barton would never have imagined he had when he was one of the group of children like those who ran past him in the dusk that draped over the Clover Compound courtyard.

But like everyone in his generation, Barton hadn't known that his brother Walker wasn't his full brother, a secret the elders had kept. So having Walker experience three Passages to free his considerable Flair in a couple of days and raise the whole Family to noble status, had been a surprise.

Barton hadn't given Walker enough credit for weathering those stormy seas at the time, he knew now. Because Barton was womanless– well, wifeless – and scrambled every day to keep on top of his job as Head of Security. Even though he'd had that job for ten years.

And now Barton could also see that Walker would fulfill his potential. His quietly sneaky brother would rise to the very top of Celtan society and become the highest leader of them all.
Barton swallowed more brithe brandy that singed his gullet nicely. Yeah, Walker would eventually become Captain of AllCouncils, Barton had no doubt. And that meant security for his brother and the rest of the Family was vital.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Belated Celta Thursday: Cut Scene from Heart Legacy

Belated Celta Thursday, Cut Scene at the Council after attack on young Holly: "Loridand D'Yew has no power-hungry wish," Draeg stated.

"And we only have your word for it," T'Ivy, a former Captain of the Council said.

Spearing him with a look, Draeg said, "I think a few of you are allied with the Traditionalist Stance party?"

"No," T'Ivy snapped, his mouth pulled down. "They go too far."

"They challenged your leadership of the group?"

"They did not listen to us FirstFamily conservatives."

"Of course not, they want power, and will never be able to match the power we have in Flair, not in this generation, and I do not think their group** will last through the next."

"The lower nobles and the middle class commoners are becoming stronger in Flair," ** said Someone Else.

"But the Traditionalists are correct that if we continue with the current qualifications for noble, we will have many Commoners becoming noble," T'Ivy stated.

"As a people we're all growing in Flair, and in wealth," T'Hawthorn, who wasn't that much older than Draeg, and knew all about wealth, said. "I consider that a good mark of a society."

"We got rid of the old Downwind slums," T'Ash said. "And none too soon. We have homes and jobs for those who cannot support themselves because of weak brains or bodies." He stood and stretched, Draeg heard pops. "Those who do not fit in our society have mostly left the city to carve out a living of their own on their own land. That's good, too." His bright blue gaze swept the room. "We care for our own, an' harm none. That is how it's supposed to be. Every individual should be prized on Celta, 'cuz we could still die out here."

Draeg said, "We still have thieves, in the cities and preying on the merchant caravans."

"Will always be evil people, too," T'Ash said. "As for me, I don't think the mind behind these attacks belong to an eighteen year old. If young D'Yew is involved, she's taking orders from someone else, and Zanth thinks not."

Draeg just stared. "Zanth. What does Zanth know about this."
T'Ash's white teeth gleamed against his olive toned skin as he smiled. "Zanth still prowls the alleys of Druida. He sometimes meets other cats. And other cat Fams." Then the powerful** man set his hands on his hips, scrutinized every person in the room. "What we all need to think about is how we will evolve. Not only the society around us, and how we might be able to shape our culture through rituals for the good of all as we have since our ancestors landed, but how we FirstFamilies as a group should evolve." He grunted. "That's my thought for the evening."
He slanted Draeg a look. "Can't you figure out how to bring young D'Yew to me to Test her?"

"Not great T'Ash," Draeg said. "Maybe a roadside peddler, or low-class shopkeeper."

Now T'Ash's eyes gleamed, he tipped a hand in Draeg's direction. "That might be fun." Then he teleported away. Draeg thought that Zanth might not be the only one who missed a little rough and tumble in the alleys.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Fortune

Celta Thursday, cut from Heart Fortune. Since I'm working on Lost Heart, the novella that fits in the timeline of Heart Fortune, I've been perusing that book. I might have used this before, but here it is: "We can put a satellite up!" Dani Eve Elder beamed. "I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time.

The Ship, Nuada's Sword, said, "I, too. A communications satellite."

"I've been working on one, and receivers for its waves. We'll need to send equipment with you," Dani Eve said. "Something that's easily assembled by amateurs," she grumbled. "We don't know anyone who is there with good and simple mechanical experience, do we?"

"No," Nuada's sword said.

"Having instant communications between people who aren't telepathic with each other over long distances would be a great boon."

Dani Eve frowned. "I'll double check all my work, let you know. You'll need a bigger airship than a bullet plane."

Glyssa was grateful for that, she hadn't been enthusiastic about sitting in a little two-person ship going at extreme speed.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Legacy

Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Legacy. I didn't know when I would start the story, so this became backstory:

**I have decided to accept your offer of a home with you and living in your stables,** said a slightly pompous voice in her head.

The Fam she'd found! He'd called to her mentally for a month, since she'd first begun her excursions into Druida and had found him prowling from one alley to another. She'd given him furrabeast jerky she'd had with her, and they'd actually talked, discussed various topics. He'd helped her firm up a map of the city in her head.

**Thank you!** she enthused back to him telepathically.

**You promise good food and a warm room of my own.**

**Yes!**

**You may come and get me tonight.** A feline sniff.

**I will.**

**I will be in the alley near the beginning of Bountry Boulevard. I will see you later.**

**Yes.** Her very own Fam, a thrill surged through her. Life was good.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Heart Legacy Tomorrow!

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



http://amzn.to/1kmBvv5 At Amazon


BN: http://bit.ly/1KU0Zp4


Many thanks! Now comes the nervous time!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Samhain Ritual, LONG Excerpt from Heart and Soul in Hearts and Swords

Genista blinked as she exited her back door. Cardus had removed a large section of the fencing between their back yards and placed the altars across the property lines. It appeared a little odd, and she noted that the section of fence was propped against his southern boundary. He stood, waiting, his face impassive, watching her – to see if she’d object?
Something about the space, the flow of energy on this special evening, had her remaining on the stoop and closing her eyes...and feeling the last hint of summer warmth in a breeze, then the air stilled and thrummed with the promise of a new year.

A saying goodbye to the last, and a welcome to the new.

Cardus’ energy was vital and masculine and pulled to all the feminine in her. She became aware of the soft, heavy robe she wore, her only garment. She recalled the kiss the night before, his lust that had sent heat through her body. The small and quiet moments they had shared.

Then another bounding energy swept towards her.

**I am here! Whin projected. And I have gifts!**

She laughed and her eyes opened and her cheeks flushed when she saw that Cardus still watched her. The FamDog sat beside him, two bundles of cloth before him tied with a string. Intriguing.
She moved toward them, carrying a basket containing items for the altars, and food to honor the Lady and Lord.

Cardus wore leathers – good furrabeast that might have been harvested at this time years ago – honoring the animals that fed and clothed him.

Walking slowly, she watched the sun set with red and pink and orange at the horizon. Twilight blue gave way to deep black in the sky, and the full twinmoons soared high and bright and silver. Stars twinkled like diamond spangles.

The altar for the dead was small, he’d put a silver wheel there to represent acquaintances lost in the past. The object would serve for both of them. Her steps hesitated as she saw the weathered sculpture of a family of three, and she knew that it was his family. She’d never asked, but now she knew he was the sole survivor of a small family.

Her Family was large for the nobility, and no unexpected or tragic deaths had touched it.

She had only one remembrance marker for the altar and it ripped the scar in her wide open. When she reached the wooden altar, she placed the small white stone image of a curled, sexless baby on the black cloth. Her womb felt empty and cold and her cheeks colder still as tears ran down her face and chilled in the evening.

Standing, head bowed, she wept as she’d wept the last two years when she’d done this, as she anticipated she’d always weep in the future.

Then warmth surrounded her. Cardus was close behind, then his body was touching, then his arms wrapped around her and drew her to him.

"I’m sorry for your loss," he said in a low, rough voice and she knew it wasn’t just a platitude, he meant it. Immediately after she’d lost her baby, there had been more pity than she could bear. Her pride had made her futilely grasp for outward status to set people at a distance.

"I’ve heard that nothing is as devastating as the loss of a child, and I wish you hadn’t had to experience that," he continued, rocking her gently in his arms.

They stayed together until she pulled a softleaf from her sleeve and wiped her eyes, blew her nose. Then he turned her to face him, his expression sympathetic and tender.

He said, "We have lost, yet we go on. The old year is passing, the new year rushing toward us. We bring memory tokens of our loss, food for our Lady and Lord and our dead, a scrip of that inside us we wish burned away." His voice was vibrant as he said the first words of the ceremony.

Reluctantly she drew away from him and stepped toward the altar. From her basket she withdrew her cauldron, her goblet, a statue of the Lady, a rose quartz candlestick. She put a small shell bowl on the altar and poured fragrant herbal water into it. Last, she stacked oat and apple cakes that she’d made a couple of days ago.

Cardus set her candlestick on one side of his Lord candlestick and her Lady figurine on the other side. Though they were of different materials, they all seemed to match and a small smile curved her lips.

He caught her gaze. "They look well together."

"Yes." His Lord candlestick was leafy and green and taller than her voluptuous Lady.

Hesitantly she placed her rolled up papyrus next to the cauldron and next to his. She wanted to vanquish grief and regret.

Whin stood and sniffed at the altar, sneezed. His tongue swiped out and caught a cake and he crunched it, bits falling from his muzzle.
Instead of scolding the dog, Cardus flung back his head and laughed. Genista laughed, too. Cardus caught her fingers and lifted them to his lips, brushed a kiss on her fingertips, nodded to the small cairn of stones marking the north elemental point. "Shall we cast the circle?"

"Yes."

Hand in hand they crossed to the north and continued to each compass point, calling the Elemental energies to guard the circle and contribute to it. As they chanted the circle closed the atmosphere was imbued with power. Inside the circle became a mystical, sacred space where they were linked to the Lady and Lord, where psi Flair could affect their lives. Every moment she was aware of Cardus’ hand holding hers, of the energy they called cycling between them, closely connecting them.

Her breath and Cardus’ whispered out at the same time. She turned back toward the altar and stumbled over Whin.

Cardus steadied her and they both looked down at the FamDog.

Genista cleared her throat as she spoke to their companion. "It’s unusual for Fams to be part of a such a small circle."

Whin looked aside, whined a bit. **Never been with people in circle. Like the feeling. Stay?**

"Of course you can stay," Genista said, just as Cardus said, "Sure."

Standing and wagging his tail, Whin lolled his tongue in a doggie smile. **Thanks.** He did a long stretch, popping joints. **Feels very good.**

Dog following, they walked to the altar. Cardus looked down at her and said softly, "I accept the godhood of the Lord within myself," he rumbled and she grew hotter at the sound of his low voice, with more. He lit his candle, took her hands again and she accepted the jolt of attraction that melded into a bond between them.

His gaze caught hers and heat radiated from their hands throughout her body. "I cherish the Lady within you."

She breathed unsteadily, felt a sifting of feminine power shiver through her, from the earth, the moons, the stars, settling into her blood. "I accept the goddesshood of the Lady within myself." Her voice sounded rich and sultry to her own ears, and a flush tinted Cardus' cheeks. She squeezed his hands. "I cherish the Lord within you." Then she lit her candle and they sang the Blessing Chant, welcoming the power of the deities into their circle.

They took turns with the rest of the general ritual, singing songs that had been passed down through their culture for centuries. Genista felt both herself, and Other, and that Other was so much more than she, wise and knowing that this was a reverence for the dead...but underneath it all, joyous. That Other knew the mysteries of life and death.

And for a brief while, Genista sensed such knowledge and was comforted, her heavy grief was gone. She moved slowly, deliberately, and when she glanced at Cardus there was Another below his skin, occasionally looking out of his eyes, a man of wisdom and wildness. Warrior. Lover.

He grasped her hands once more and they seemed even harder with callouses. His voice was richer, deeper.

"We honor the dead," he said. "Those who have passed to the Wheel of Stars."

"We honor the dead," she repeated, "Those who have passed to the Wheel of Stars." She was so mesmerized by the flicker of candlelight in Cardus’ gaze, the feel of the soft and warm breeze swirling around her, that she didn’t look to her token. True surcease.

"And we celebrate Samhain, the new year," Cardus said, continued,
"As the Twinmoons cycle,
As the seasons change and
Life itself cycles,
We honor the dead and the past
And embrace life and the future."

He reached out to his piece of papyrus and flicked it into the cauldron where it flamed and vanished in smoke. She did the same.

Then they reached for each other’s hands. She knew the next words, the old words, but felt them shiny with newness.

"By the arcs and cycles of the twinmoons
By the dance of the sun through the sky and the seasons
By the circle of life and the circle of stars
I will live, love, die, and live again.
Always loving.
I will live, meet, remember, embrace love and life again."

It felt like a promise to this man.

Whin howled and that enriched the ceremony, enriched the night. Then she looked at Whin and said the words again with Cardus.

They held his large goblet between them. He drank first, then she. She fed him an oak cake and he did the same. They allowed Whin to dip his tongue into the wine, eat another cake.

In a daze, Genista thanked the deities, felt the Other rise away, and opened the circle with Cardus.

Cold air rushed in and the stars themselves seemed to frost.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Heart Legacy Teaser: Corax, the Raven:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“May I ask your name, GentleSir Bird?”

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

“Greetyou, Corax. I am Draeg Hedgenettle.”

**You lie,** the bird stated.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Celta Thursday, Original First Chapter of Heart Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trillia made a moue. "Gael City."

Guy tapped the six of wands. "Success."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Library Journal Starred Review

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

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

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Celta Thursday, Character Interview bit, Laev T'Hawthorn

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


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

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

Friday, October 09, 2015

Blog on NaNoWriMo and Motivation

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

http://therobyn.blogspot.com/2015/10/nanowrimo-2015-prep-motivational.html?zx=1c161292b2984be1

And an interview, yesterday:

http://therobyn.blogspot.com/2015/10/author-thursday-interview-with-robin-d.html



I'm pleased with both!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Celta Thursday, Marriage Ritual

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

Celta Weddings:

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

Informal:
Officiants:
Friends Acting as Priestess and Priest

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

Set up:

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

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

One Loving Cup


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

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

Procedure

Casting and consecration of the circle, all join hands

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

Beginning Blessing Chant

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

Priestess and Priest Statements Concerning Marriage

Meditation

VOWS of the Bride and Groom

Exchange of armbands

Binding wrists tethered with a meter length of ribbon

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

Groom's Family Blessing, Bride's Family Blessing

Blessing of Friends, Priest, Priestess

Sharing of Drink (sometimes passed around)

Thanksgiving to the Elementals/Guardian Spirits

Opening of the circle

Blessing and Singing (HeartMate Song)

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

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

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Celta Thursday, HEART LEGACY teaser:

Celta Thursday, HEART LEGACY teaser:

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

Belated Celta Thursday: Heart Legacy review

I've been in and out today on local research trips (mostly for my contemporary/Old West ghost books, and upcoming Ghost Talker), so not much time to scroll through the decreasing amount of Celta outtakes I have, and doing this late and quick and dirty.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ghost Talker Day 3, Teaser About Buffalo Bills Western Roundup TAKING PLACE SUNDAY THIS YEAR, SEE LINK BELOW

Ghost Talker Day 3, Teaser About Buffalo Bills Western Roundup TAKING PLACE SUNDAY THIS YEAR, SEE LINK

"Another quick deadline?" Clare's lips pressed together.

Mr. Rickman tapped his fingers together. "You did very well last week, terminating that evil ghost before the big tourist weekend–"

"Cruisin' the Canyon," Zach put in sententiously . . . like none of them knew.

"And we also don't want to have any tourists harmed by the poltergeist at another large event."

"Really? We've really run into another important event?" Clare scowled.

Mr. Rickman nodded, glancing down at a sheet of paper centered in his blotter. "As you know, Mr. Welliam donates to the Buffalo Bill Museum. He informed me that there are only three large events in the year."

Clare plopped back against the chair. "And we've run into one of them."

Looking up at her with a steady gaze, Mr. Rickman nodded. "There's Buffalo Bill's birthday–"

"Not next weekend." She'd been dipping into the history of her project.

"No, and a music festival last month. And on Sunday there is "Buffalo Bill's Western Roundup."

"Oh, goody." The words, and the sarcastic tone, shot out before she could stop them. So unprofessional! Sitting up straight, feeling she flushed, she apologized. "I'm sorry. I'm not accustomed to cases coming so rapidly in succession and needing such a quick resolution."

Zach trailed his fingers through her hair, from scalp to shoulder, also very unprofessional, but he didn't seem to care about that. He said, "No one ever dropped nasty accounts on you at tax season?"

"Of course not! None of my clients would be so foolish, and firm I work for – worked for – was very well organized." She tilted her head to look at him. Yes, he appeared amused.

"Cops deal with messy stuff. Always," Zach said. "That's pretty much a given." He looked at Mr. Rickman, who shrugged. "Some of our cases are easy and boring. Some are . . . touchy."

Amazon:

BN: http://bit.ly/1Mwp2Bn

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ghost Talker Teaser, Day 2, the ghost: Texas Jack

Clearing her throat, Clare asked, "Texas Jack, are you here?"

*Yes, I am, Miss Cermak*, echoed in her mind and the tall, broad shouldered, athletic build of the phantom coalesced before her.

Again he wore leather pants with fringe on the seams, a denim shirt, a long buckskin jacket, low-crowned, broad-brimmed hat and moccasins – and he winked at her as he twirled his lasso, making intricate patterns in the air.

She studied the ghost of Texas Jack Omohundro – an affable ghost, not seeming to be despairing, nor frightened, not demanding justice, nor monstrous. Not like other spirits she'd helped transition to whatever came next.

So she got down to the business – and her new vocation *was* a job – of determining the rules of this particular ghost.

"Texas Jack, why are you here? From what I know of you and your life, I wouldn't have thought you were the kind of man whose spirit would remain." A good man, an honorable man who took life easily. One who'd lived and loved well.

The lasso faded from his hands into thin air, replaced by a cigar in long fingers. He didn't meet her eyes with his fog-like ones, but gazed beyond her.

Amazon:

BN: http://bit.ly/1Mwp2Bn


Thursday, September 17, 2015

GHOST TALKER, DAY ONE, EXCERPT FROM UNPUBLISHED MS.

GHOST TALKER, DAY ONE, EXCERPT FROM UNPUBLISHED MS.

Clare, Zach, and the jogger who'd called the police stood in front of the locked gate.

The two graves of William Frederick Cody and his wife lay under white quartz rocks gleaming in the last lingering radiance of the sunset. But there were holes in those mounds where the quartz stones should have set, too.

The rocks that had been ripped from their settings tumbled over the red sandstone paths around and between the graves. Dirt, dust, pine cones and needles, even coins, littered the enclosure.

Gesturing, the man said, "This isn't how the graves should look. They're kept pristine. But the poltergeist comes as wind, a dust devil."

Celta Thursday: Snippet from Heart Search

Celta Thursday: Snippet from Heart Search when Camellia and her friends were at the starship Nuada's Sword: Camellia needed to find out how quickly the Lugh’s Spear expedition was moving. Surely they wouldn’t directly go to the breach in the starship to enter it, would they?

Now the SupremeJudge was studying her, just what Camellia didn’t want...until she was ready. She sighed inwardly. She’d been avoiding it, but she would have to get Glyssa and Tiana together and have them help her present another case. This time a lawyer would have to be involved, she was sure. Dammit.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ghost Killer End: Zach's Point of View...


He strode through the building and out, stopped a minute to let a couple of cars go by and admired the lavender painted hotel a block down and across the street. The right hand door to the balcony opened and Clare came out, carrying her tablet and a keyboard. He figured she'd be writing up her notes and cross-referencing everything six ways from Sunday. He pointed to the restaurant in the bottom of the hotel and she nodded.

He had no clue what she felt for him, and his insides twisted. After he got food for the trip, he opened the door to their room.

She'd tidied it up and the place looked nearly unlived in. Unloved in. As if they hadn't experienced so much as they had when they'd been there.

She sat on the balcony, her gaze toward the gap and the upper canyon. Her hand rested against her side. When he stood at the threshold, her head turned, but she didn't smile and he'd expected one. She gestured at the chair beside her and he came, shoved it closer to her, and sat.

"I'm ready to go." She sighed. "Such a pretty town, and a historic one of my time period that I could actually experience and appreciate, since there aren't any ghosts." She waved. "Like this hotel. I should like it more."

"We can always come back," Zach said. He didn't like this depressed Clare. He was the brooding one of the pair of them and didn't like seeing it on her. He took her free hand. Her fingers were cool but not cold. With a jerk of his head, he indicated the road up the canyon. "All the ghosts from your time period are gone, right? We can come back anytime you want."

"Oh." She blinked. "You're right." A small line set between her brows and her eyes went distant once more. "All the mines up around Bachelor Loop, the site of old Bachelor, too. No one's there."

"So we can come back. We'll always have Creede."

She looked at him askance. "Are you making a joke with regard to the film Casablanca?"

He nodded. "Lame. I know. Creede isn't Paris."

There was the hint of a smile. "No, but it's still beautiful in its own way."

"Uh huh." She hadn't taken her other hand from her side. "Are your ribs bothering you?"

Her gaze met his. One of the things that first attracted him to her were the shadows in her eyes that might match his. Like she'd suffered through darker things in life and he wouldn't have to explain himself too much. Now the hazel had darkened, and there were more than shadows, there was torment. "I think she wounded me. Inside. It feels like I have a hole, or a lack . . . just some aching emptiness . . . " She shook her head. "I can't explain it."
************************************************************************************
YES, IN THE BOOK I CHANGED THE NAME, COLOR, AND SIZE OF THE HOTEL. ;)

IF YOU WANT MORE PICS OF CREEDE, LET ME KNOW


http://amzn.to/1L92Xar Amazon

http://bit.ly/1OLlCYP
Barnes and Noble

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ghost Killer, Day 3 Of Jesse James, Robert Ford, Soapy Smith and Creede, Colorado


Zach stretched out on the double bed and stacked his hands behind his head. It was Wednesday. They needed to keep moving on this case, and fast, wrap it up Saturday morning at the latest before a lot of tourists came to the town and got hurt. Though from the fliers he'd seen, the first event of Cruisin' the Canyon took place Friday afternoon. Having it done by Friday would be better.

And he didn't have enough real facts to know that they could do that. They had the knife, the bloody, bloodthirsty knife. The weapon was ready. The person holding that weapon, Clare, might or might not be. But Clare was determined.

The piece of the puzzle that would be the difficult one was finding the dead sucker's name . . . Zach grunted. Sucker might be a word to keep in mind. Soapy Smith had been a con man, and Robert Ford had run a gang, too. They'd clashed, and later Ford had died. Plenty of leeway for betrayal in those circumstances.

Clare came back in and Zach took the other robe. "String of betrayals," he said, without thinking about it. He could talk to her about cases, bounce ideas off her. A woman he had sex with . . . cared for . . . unique in his relationship history.

Nodding, Clare said, "Robert Ford betrayed Jesse James and killed him. The Ford brothers themselves were betrayed in that they didn't get the bounty amount for killing James that was promised. Later, Ford probably felt betrayed when his older brother committed suicide. Most people think that Soapy Smith set Ford up to be killed."

"I'd considered that. I need to get up to speed on the legends."

Clare glanced out the window. "It looks like another mixed weather day." She gave him an unshadowed smile. "Always easier for me to read and do research on cloudy days. We have a meeting with one of the volunteers of the historical society at the archives this afternoon."

"I remember."

Once more when he returned, he found Clare dressed and sitting on the bed, her great-aunt Sandra's journal open. He wished Clare would listen to her gut more.

"Reading the story of how your Great-Aunt Sandra defeated her evil ghost again?"

Her mouth set stubbornly. "Sometimes you see new things."

"I don't figure one page can reveal new insights."

"You're being difficult."

"Maybe." He took off the robe, wanted to throw it on the floor, or the bed, but hung it on the stand instead. "I don't want you comparing yourself to your great-Aunt Sandra and finding yourself lacking."

"I'm not."

He grunted and began dressing.

"Not much."

"And you're not regretting avoiding her, and not learning from her."

"Not much."

"Really?" His sarcasm was heavy.

"Not. Much. I'm trying to ingrain the information into my head so all the concepts feel familiar when I think of them, not something I will doubt in the heat of the moment."

"Okay."

Clare closed the book and tapped it with her forefinger. "Great-Aunt Sandra's ghost had consumed two others."

Keeping his voice soft, Zach slid into the next question. "You know more about the monster ghost every time you check on it, don't you? You must have gotten an idea of how many ghosts it's taken over. Think, Clare, how many?"

A line twisted between her brows. She tilted her head as if listening. Her lips moved as if counting. "Twenty."

Zach snapped his mouth shut so he couldn't shout the word, sucked in a breath and said, "Twenty."
********************

YES, THOSE WHO KNOW THE BOOK, I TOOK SOME SPOILER INFO OUT IN THIS EXCERPT. ;)

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ghost Killer, Day 2, Sept 13. About That Knife on the Cover...

Clare Cermak, the heroine, is talking to her friend, Desiree Rickman, who has weapons knowledge, on a video app on their phones. Clare is in Creede, Colorado, Desiree is in Denver.

Even in the small app, Clare could see Desiree's eyes widen. "That story about the bone knife is so cool."

Clare undid the last knot of the knife's outer embroidered covering, hesitated. "Look closely and quickly because this is a supernatural knife. It will draw evil."

Desiree's brows climbed. "Wow." Her gaze sharpened.

Quickly pulling on the silk and the hilt of the knife, Clare separated the two, then yanked the blade from the metal sheath and held it in the sun. Now she saw the blade, too, carried a slight gloss that shone along it – from hands that had caressed the blade itself? From blood? From killing evil ghosts?

"Wow. Excellent," Desiree stated in a more professional tone. "Looks sharp, like it would do the job."

Clare jerked her head in a nod. "Yes, it should kill the ghost."

"Clare, it could kill almost anything else. Especially if it's supernatural."

After swallowing, Clare said, "Oh. I understand."

"And you need to soak it in blood?" Desiree confirmed.

Clare nodded...there'd been no hint of a breeze, but now she saw tree leaves dipping. "I must put it back." She grabbed the metal sheath with the mesmerizing blue and gold pattern, the silk tube, and slipped the knife in it, her fingers working to tie a knot. Not a very intricate knot. She'd have to study up.

The hair on the back of her neck, on her arms, ruffled. Yes, the ghost was headed this way but, perhaps . . . the sunshine . . . the lingering hurt from last night . . . a touch of fear slowed it.
And it stopped in a comfortable place, the spar near the information boards at the confluence of the East and West Willow creeks.

Interesting that the entity considered that spot comfortable. Clare didn't think it was coincidence that a murder-suicide had occurred there.

"Clare, honey, are you there?" Desiree said.

Clare jolted away from the sensation of being north of there. "Oh, Desiree. Sorry."

"With regard to the soaking in blood thing. Whose blood?"

"Mine."

Desiree nodded. "I thought so. If you want my opinion–"


"Sure."

"I saw that you removed the blade from a sheath. Have you considered how liquid-proof the inside of the sheath is?"

Clare gasped. "That's brilliant." She tilted her head. "I'd have to find a way to brace the sheath and get a good flow into it . . . and enough light to see into the sheath so I don't let it overflow too much . . . then I'll work on soaking the hilt. Thanks, Desiree!"

"Wait, Clare–"

But Clare flicked her finger against the app and Desiree disappeared. Clare had a deep suspicion that if she even flickered an eyelash that Desiree construed as Clare needing help, the woman would be on the next private plane here. Clare didn't need to watch out for her, too. Regardless of all Desiree's martial arts or street fighting training and experience, Clare was pretty darn sure that Desiree would be helpless in the face of this threat and more a hindrance than an asset.

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ghost Killer Day 1, Enzo the Ghost Dog and the Knife



Enzo, her ghost Labrador dog, awaited her when she got home. He sat in the large entryway next to the stairs with cocked ears, though his cheerfulness seemed slightly subdued. His tail wagged a couple of times, but she heard no swish, just felt the standard chill radiating from her ghostly pet.

**You are really going to do this, Clare?** he asked.

She inhaled a quick breath, let it out choppily. "I am not going to let a boy be eaten by an evil ghost."

Her phantom dog rose and trotted up the stairs. **You will need the big knife, then. I will show it to you.**

"Knife!" For one brief instant, courage blazed inside of her. A weapon, she'd have a weapon! Then her stomach jolted and her throat closed again. She had no clue how to use a big knife.

But her lover, Zach Slade, would. If the knife was, say, a long dagger, it might be used as a sword. Zach used his cane was a weapon, he could teach her cane moves, couldn't he? She was sure he knew how to use a regular knife.

"Is the knife . . . supernatural?" she asked Enzo, following him up the stairs, turning right toward her bedroom. Perhaps if the weapon was supernatural, all she'd have to do was hold it and let it lead her to the evil ghost and dispatch it. Like the fairy tales great-aunt Sandra had told her as a small child. Fairy tales. Fiction.

Of course it wouldn't be that easy. And in fairy tales, the prince or princess had to overcome great obstacles. And if you weren't the right princess, you could die. Clare bit her lip.

**Clare! Focus! You can't daydream! We can do this. The knife will help!** Clare shook herself to find she stood in the tiny office she used for her ghost seer cases. Atop the battered desk lay her old laptop from two years ago. She'd tacked maps on the walls: a huge one of Denver that she'd shaded the worst areas for ghosts of her time period; one of Colorado; and one of the United States. Some smaller maps were reproductions of old ones, Denver in 1887, 1890, 1893, 1903, that last three years later than the last year of what she hoped was her sensitivity to ghosts, the American West . . .

**CLARE! You MUST pay attention.** Enzo had hunkered down near great-aunt Sandra's large carved chest, a gorgeous piece of various woods fanned out on the front around a small half-circle that had always seemed like the sun and rays to Clare.

Enzo pointed his paw at the chest. His eyes appeared to be more liquid . . . and he hadn't been as much of a cheerleader this morning.

He seemed to have recognized the danger and mixed a too-real determination in with his optimism. That was so not a good sign. He'd always been a happy dog, even when she'd been going insane . . . even when she'd been dying due to refusing her gift.

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