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, June 30, 2006

Writing Blessing

Today I received a wonderful writing blessing. I woke up before my alarm, thought about Heart Match and what I should write next (since I’m pretty much at the point where I need to cobble the first of the book together and hit a big Turning Point, and DID work on chapters 1-3 last night). Thought some more about the 3 book proposal due Luna ASAP (plotting stuff for books 4-6). Then got up, fed the cats, opened the house and put the fan on, and sat down to write.

I’d decided to write about Dufleur’s reaction to the Heart Gift, something that’s reccuring through Heart Match and which I set up in the book coming out in September, Heart Quest…so I wrote three one-sentence paragraphs, and an Idea hit.

The scene did not trickle, it didn’t exactly POUR (which is rare for me), but was definitely a steady stream.

For me, lately, that’s a blessing. I’m used to trickles.

And it seems that one of the themes/subplots of this book will be about the living entities, Residences (houses), their death and birth. Huh. Fancy that.

You probably all have realized that I do a blessing at the end of the blog every day.
So may your writing flow as quickly or better than mine today…and may mine flow equally well tonight.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Heart Quest up at Amazon!

It's always a good feeling to see that your next book is listed at amazon.com, and that is usually about 6 months before it comes out. They have Heart Quest being issued September 5 and that sounds very cool.
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I waited until now, because only recently have they added the cover. I usually try (and fail) to do that, but sometimes got it up under "customer images." But I don't think they let you do customer images before the book is out any more.

Sometime soon, of course, I will have to add content to the page...editorial reviews, etc.

At Amazon
May your writing be blissful today.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What Price?

What price being true to your story? I heard that Rowling might consider killing Harry Potter off in book 7 so that after she’s gone, he can’t be resurrected by another writer. Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Holmes, then had to resurrect him.

I KNOW a friend who writes romance who killed off her heroine and used her hero in a later book. I, too, have altered two stories for “outer” reasons.

So, the question is, how true do you stay to your belief in your story?

J.K. Rowling knows how the story ORIGINALLY ended. I completely agree that she should be able to write it any way she wants – and if it changes because the story has changed, or if it changes because of “outer” publishing concerns, that is HER choice to make.

But how true should an author be to the vision of the story?

My friend who wrote the romance and was true to her characters and story, destroyed her career under that name. I find THAT a terrible shame, and personally think that even if she knew the story ended with a heroine’s death (off stage) and a new heroine marrying the hero, she shouldn’t have written it. I’ve heard other romance writers who “know” what happens to their characters later, say that the marriage ended in divorce, or a hero died shortly after the book ended. I, as a reader, don’t want to hear that.

OTOH, I REALLY wanted to make Ruis Elder, my thief, an angrier, more bitter man, and give him greater growth in his character arc. When I first started Heart
Thief, nobody liked Ruis. I didn’t have the talent, then (and probably don’t now) to make him a synpathetic hero (especially of a romance) and as angry as I thought he should be. So I rewrote to give readers a man they could like and sell the book.

Is betraying your vision of a story because of publishing concerns unethical to your muse, your craft, yourself? Or am I being too righteously overblown here and should be tooting the “writing is a business” horn? Somewhere in between, probably.

In Heart Duel, for business reasons (I wanted to sell more Heart books), I ended the outer subplot on a bad note and left a thread dangling that has served me very well for the next three books. Doing that IMPROVED the story and the series, and I wouldn’t have done it otherwise, so I actually ACHIEVED a better story and series by listening to business concerns (which, since I STILL want to sell more Heart books, means I might think of a new thread to leave dangling in Heart Fate. You are warned.).

So, to me, this is a matter to think about and whichever side I come down on one day may not be the decision I make the next. But if the bottom line is staying true to my story or ruining my career, the story damn well changes.

Then, of course we get into shadings, what will please me as an author or the reader better, and how do I decide that? Again I waffle. Listen to advice. Listen to my readers.
And decide.

Ponder the question, and let me know. Or not.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Not the genre. The MYSTERIES. Life, Death, God, State of Being, Love.

They aren’t easy to wrap the mind around. Sometimes they coalesce out of a fog and into diamond hardness, then you can glimpse a shining facet and you blink and they vanish.

I went to a memorial service of an aquaintance-friend last night, and was glad I’d met and spoken with her a couple of times lately. I knew Janet had fourth stage breast cancer, but I’d expected her to live much longer, as did everyone else. As did Janet herself: Janet's Walk

Janet lived LARGE, with zest, embracing every day. Embracing everyone. I don’t think I’ve met anyone else so exuberant, always. Which leaves me with incredible memories.

And the notion that living in the moment counts.

Of course I wondered. The crowd that showed up was about 250, I think. I don’t believe I’d have that many. I wouldn’t have The Sunny Side Of The Street played at my memorial, probably something haunting (I’ve been into haunting, lately. Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, Barber’s Agnus Dei, and when I drove home, Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices was playing and that was perfect, too).

We deal with the Mysteries in our books, that’s part of our job, to shine a light on a facet that has meaning for ourselves and might mean something to others.

May your writing touch on the Mysteries today.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Life and Goals

I had an idea for the blog this morning, then turned myself to feeding the cats, opening the house to keep it cool and writing (and it's a good thing that I can flex my schedule because there's no way to shower and dress and make the bus)...and I've lost the notion. I knew I'd talk about the Joy of Writing, and Refilling the Well, maybe promotion, and distractions this week, as well as doing a little promotion myself, but I, again, have lost that idea.

So I'm winging it. I didn't do my word count yesterday. Some computer problems on the laptop, and I wanted to see my friend who's out of the hospital and I got stuck in the Gay Pride Parade traffic (LOVED the cowboys and horses), but those are excuses or rationalizations.

I know I should have days off, to rest, relax, refill the well of creativity, but the pressure is awesome with this short deadline for Heart Match. I'm pretty sure I made my daily wordcount goal too small. On the other hand, I usually do it, sometimes even in an hour, so I DO keep going instead of blowing it off and feeling guilty every day and getting bogged down...

So I think I'll let you consider a few matters -- like rationalizations, goal setting, and refilling your creative well. The latter two are important. Don't make your goals too much so you fail more often than succeed. Do take time out to consider your plot and characters, or just play.

May your writing go very well today.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Professional Conferences

Well, it's coming up on a month before Romance Writer's of America's Conference (don't know how much I spoke about this last year) and I'm getting my ducks lined up -- i.e. appointments with my editors and my agent. One of my Luna editors isn't coming this year -- bummer. And that's the reason for going to Professional Conferences. To meet your editor and agents, and other editors you'd like to sell to, and NETWORK. In writing, networking is a Big Deal.

Anyway, the conference is in Atlanta. Next year and last year it was in Texas. In July. I don't know why we can't go to the Pacific Northwest in July. I've never been to the Pacific Northwest and would love to go. **Sigh**

This year is a big deal because my agent, Deidre Knight, lives in Atlanta (or just out of it) and there will be a BIG party at her place and a tour of the agency and everything.

Mom can't come (eye surgery August 1 and she's feeling the pinch of the economy) so I'll be rooming with Janet Lane and Kay Bergstrom (Cassie Miles). We'll have a great time.

The Published Author Network seminars look interesting, as do many others, but I've missed most of the seminars since I've been going. Think I really want to go to the one on taxes, though.

That's it for today, now need to write and see my friend who's out of the hospital and prepare for the Day Job tomorrow.

May any excitement you feel pour into your work today.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lost idea? Just Do It! Trust yourself.

I had an idea for my next scene. It escaped. Now, in the olden days before I was published, I might have frowned and journaled, trying to find it again. Since I've thought of the scene off and on for a couple of days and the idea still remains elusive, I'm sitting down and will let the scene play out as it should. It's a very important scene between Dufleur and her mother, defining the relationship, I think – but I've decided that the best thing that can happen now – without inspiration – is Just Write It and see what twists and turns they might have in the mother-daughter bond.

And I trust myself. I truly believe that once I start writing, the characters will lead the way, develop along different, surprising, and fascinating ways that I haven't thought of yet.

May your writing take a wonderful twist today.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I think I wrote once that one of the advantages of series is that you have characters in place to draw upon if you need to use them in the present story -- a guardsman, Ilex Winterberry; a Healer, Lark Apple; a jeweler/blacksmith, T'Ash; and, of course, the essential purveyor of Familiars (telepathic animal companions), Danith D'Ash, my first heroine.

You also have events and concepts and previous worldbuilding to go back to. In improv I was taught "reincorporation," using a concept or scene bit that came earlier in the scene, could be powerful later, and especially ending it...such as ending in the same setting you started, but after your characters have grown and changed.

If you know my work, you'll know that in the scene I posted in the last couple of days, I can harken back to my very first book, HeartMate, and a few lines there about the child T'Ash and the T'Ash Residence HouseHeart.

Going back to info I've already developed. To my first book. Reincorporation and change of ideas (or expanding upon a worldbuilding point I've mentioned a couple of times). Makes me feel warm inside.

May you explore an integral concept of your book today, and may it change.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Relatives and Writing

My mother reads my work.

Before I was published, my Mom never believed that I was seriously writing. She never said so, but I knew. I’d duck out of family events and say that I needed to write. Or that I couldn’t spend time with my nieces and nephew because I was writing. All that changed when I passed my first book contract around the table on her birthday.

Now she loves my work. I usually give it to her to read after the final edits, but before the book comes out. I’m not surprised that she loves my books because we are alike in a lot of ways and most particularly with regard to animals.

None of the mothers in my books have been modeled after my own. And in the books that I’ve published, I haven’t written anything “bad” about my family. When I wrote Sorceress of Faith, Mom wondered at first which brother I’d modeled Andrew after, then later figured (correctly) it wasn’t either of them.

But this morning I wanted to write a scene and I was torn (my Mom doesn’t read my love scenes ‘they’re all the same’). Circumstances in the scene echoed those in my home when I was growing up and how I felt. I’m pretty sure that if I laid it out on the page, my Mom would recognize it. So I self-censored. I didn’t like doing that, and I may go back and let the scene rip and NOT include it. Or I may go back and put it in.

My Mom wouldn’t want me to self-censor, but I’m not sure she’d care to see the past through my eyes. (Now that I mention this, I wonder if she’ll see my Dad in Calli’s Dad in Protector of the Flight – worse, but based on the man, of course she divorced him eventually).

So I have things to consider. And no, my Mom does not read my blog. Her computer is old and she’s just had eye surgery so this should be completely safe.

May you have no doubts about your writing today.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Life -- Day Job etc.

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Second day (today) at the day job and my schedule is already shot. I didn't sleep well last night so I'm not getting my wordcount done this am. I have a feeling that this dept. expects me to take an hour lunch (which I tend not to do) AND to socialize during it, so I guess I'll do that today and see if I can squeeze in a few words, maybe get a page done.

I had agent/publisher obligations to fulfil yesterday evening and it was Hot, so I didn't write. I also drove across town to catsit...all rationalizations, I know.

I have a couple of big things on my mind. My body has not been feeling well, so I started an excercise program. I had a fall last week and really bunged up my knee, but don't want to go to the doctor.

And the REAL BIGGIE, a friend of mine has been diagnosed with brain cancer. I didn't visit him in the hospital, and now he's been released I need to get by. Set aside at least an evening to help his family and see him. He's too young. This should not be happening to him and his family. I don't like it and want it to go away. And all my friends feel like this.

So keep him in your thoughts and prayers, please.

May your writing be unaffected by anything else today.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Carol Berg -- Writer of the Year -- Rocky Mtn. Fiction Writers

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingApplause! Applause!

I'm VERY pleased to announce that Carol Berg has been voted Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Writer of the Year! Carol writes AWESOME fantasy, take a look at her link above.

May your writing bring new heights to your characters today.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pantzer -- Reminding Yourself Where A Scene Goes

You saw this scene yesterday. It is NOT chronologically where I'm at in the story so far. I think it's probably 3-4 chapters away. So I wrote in "clues" to myself where it might fall in the story. When I actually transition the scene in, the clues will probably be cut because they will be repeating a set up of what readers already know.

It was late, but the weather was clear – and bitterly cold. As soon as she stepped into the entryway of D'Winterberry's Residence – the embattled Residence (setting this up at the end of my current chapter) – Dufleur teleported to another. On the far edges of Noble country, the ruins of T'Thyme Residence showed as broken columns and piles of brick and stone in the dark. As broken as her heart at the sight of her lost home.

Her hands fisted. Despite what the rest of the nobles thought, her father would never have put the Residence or the rest of them in danger if he'd had known his experiments were dangerous**.

Pardon me if I repeat this again, but in some ways my Heart books are English Regency in tone, and one of that ways is that it has a Social Season. This book will show Dufleur dragged (ok, blackmailed) into the Social Season, and I see the scene taking place after a ball.

May you enjoy wherever you end up in your writing today...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Worldbuilding -- Stopping a Scene

Taking time out from my writing to blog what just happened. I sat down to write a hopefully touching scene where my heroine Dufleur Thyme arrives at her former Residence (which was "blown up by her father experimenting with time").

As I wrote, I learned more about the Thymes (worldbuilding) than I knew before -- and all this stuff SERIOUSLY SLOWED the scene and drained the power from it. (I'll post it raw, below). So I'll keep ONLY what I need for this scene and put the rest somewhere else, since I think all the information is important for the book, except one bit which might be an in-joke.

If the information WASN'T going to be paid off in the story (i.e. the bit about the cabin), I would include it in my notes, but not in the book at all.

So here it is, something completely raw from my fingers...again, a reminder that ** means I'm not happy with word choice.

It was late, but the weather was clear – and bitterly cold. As soon as she stepped into the entryway of D'Winterberry's Residence – the embattled Residence – Dufleur teleported to another. On the far edges of Noble country, the ruins of T'Thyme Residence showed as broken columns and piles of brick and stone in the dark. As broken as her heart at the sight of her lost home.

Her hands fisted. Despite what the rest of the nobles thought, her father would never have put the Residence or the rest of them in danger if he'd had known his experiments were dangerous**. Never. He always did his trickiest** work in a cabin in the Hard Rock Mountains – a place they'd had to sell after he died. A place that had now had four owners and was currently vacant, called Time Passes. Dufleur had a suspicion that the time currents around their own cabin which had been used by Thymes for centuries and rebuilt every generation, had warped. No doubt it would take her or her descendants, should she have any gifted in great Time Flair, to put right. No one had asked her, though. (note, 2nd people asked her mother w/out Dufleur's knowledge, but mother never passed on the request). She smiled at the thought that GraceLord Agave had purchased the place and had not been able to mitigate whatever was wrong. Well, Time Flair was only a sideline for that Family after all, and they hadn't been working it for four and a quarter centuries.

She walked up to a ragged column that came to her chin. The last time she'd seen it, it had been a dingy gray, now it was as white as she remembered from her childhood, when the Residence had been pristine. She touched gloved fingertips to it and found the color came from rime, not the scouring of weather which had cleansed it.

Tears froze on her cheeks. A Residence established in the first years of the colonists had long become sentient, a member of the Family. Her father wouldn't have endangered** it. Or her. Or her mother.

So I also learned something about my world -- it takes over a century for a house to become a sentient Residence (I'm thinking between one and two, since the Turquoise House you've seen in Heart Choice and is in Heart Quest, is Becoming). But as you can see, I lost most of the emotional punch of the scene with extraneous information that must be cut.

May your scenes be emotionally fulfilling today.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Demon Hunting Soccer Mom Is Back!

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Have I said before how much I love Julie's work? A lot!

CALIFORNIA DEMON: The Secret Life of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner
(Berkley Trade, June 2006)

What's a mother to do, when there are only so many hours in the day, and the fate of the world is in her hands?

Kate Connor was a retired demon hunter. Now, after fourteen years busting her tail as a suburban housewife, raising two kids, and supporting her husband's political ambitions, she's rejoined the workforce-and except for a few minions of evil, no one has a clue. She tries hard to keep her home and work lives separate-a good idea when your job involves random slaughter.

Between fending off demon attacks, trying to figure out why the mysterious new teacher at the high school seems so strangely familiar, and keeping a watchful eye on her daughter's growing infatuation with a surfer dude, Kate is the busiest-and most dangerous-soccer mom on the block…


May you slay a demon in your writing today.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Story Magic

We all did very well. Talked writing for about 12 hours straight on Wednesday -- including the trip and the plotting session. Day 1 we did 2 hours on each story with a break for lunch (food always on the table). For the two pantzers in the group -- me and Peggy -- we did world building for me because I only had a general idea of how my paranormals worked in my urban fantasy, and heroine for Peggy. Character charts -- both hero and heroine for Kay and Janet.

Day 2 we got Peggy's hero and heroine done, my hero, heroine and villain; most of Janet's plot, and Kay's villain and plot turning points...

Thus, the difference between those of us who have less scattered brains and put more thought in the book as it goes along instead of up front.

Well, my page proofs (galleys) came on Heart Quest and they are due IN NY MONDAY, so I gotta go.

May your ideas come smoothly to you today -- and all plot points.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Plotting Session! Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting No, that's not facetious, though you all know how I feel about plotting, and the "Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Oh, boy!" are actually my mentor's words. Four of us are going away to commit Story Magic (a plotting system developed by Laura Baker, Laura DeVries, and Robin Perrini several years ago) in a couple of hours.

Three of these folks have plotted together before. With Maggie Osborne. With Jasmine Cresswell. Big names in the Colorado writers' community. But I never was asked (well, I usually had a day job and little time).

My buddies (also crit buddies for the last umpty-ump years in one of my 2 groups, the other of which diminished until we combined and I only have one), are now ALL published authors. Janet Lane recently sold her incredible Emerald Silk (medieval historical romance) to Five Star, which will be coming out in November. Janet is, simply, The Plot Queen. She'll make us dig several layers for motivation and we'll craft the proper events around that. She always reads my rough drafts for holes.

The others are Peggy Waide (who wrote Regency historicals and is working on other genre books now), and my mentor, Kay Bergstrom (writing as Cassie Miles and Earning Her Living By Her Pen for a long, long time). Kay is also very good at plot. Peggy and I are strict pantzers. I am hoping that our different personalities will bounce off each other and we will have a fabulous session.

The absolutely BEST thing about plotting with others (this will be a 2 day intensive plotting with 4 stories), is that THEY come up with completely different stuff that would NEVER occur to me. And, well, I'm usually off-the-wall in terms of strange ideas, also pretty good with characters.

So I'm excited. And Kay's excited. Oboy, Oboy, Oboy. We'll hop into Peggy's SUV and head up to Janet's time share in the mountains away from the Denver heat, and you know, though the drive is only about an hour and a half, we'll ALL talk and talk and talk and talk about WRITING!

Nobody's eyes will glaze over after 2 minutes! We don't have to stifle ourselves or be polite and drift away from the all important topic of My Book. With Other People I watch carefully to see when I start boring them...

So, since I won't be back until Thursday night (probably late), I won't be posting tomorrow. Don't know what the facilities include -- oh, except a hot tub. Gotta run and pack my suit!

May your writing day be full of pleasing excitement.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Judging Sheet -- Writing Contest

Here's part of an old contest sheet I helped draft. I think it's excellent for taking a look at your manuscript and seeing if you've hit the necessary points needed to impress an editor and hook your reader.

People who enter the RMFW Contest (deadline was June 1) want feedback (for which this sheet is excellent), or 2) to get their work before an editor or agent.


Title_______________________________________________________ Sub-Genre___________________

Scoring: 7= Of Publishable Standard; 6 & 5= Above Average for a Writing Contest;
4 & 3= Average for a Writing Contest; 2 & 1= Needs Significant Work

The criteria below generally apply to current commercial fiction; judges may select those criteria most applicable to the work and assess each entry based on its own merits. Criteria which aren't applicable to the entry won't influence scoring. Judges may add other criteria; criteria selection and scoring are subjective.

Judges, please circle your scores below and indicate the items which influenced your scoring decision using plus (+) or minus (-) signs. PLEASE COMMENT.

Manuscript: Plot & Story Elements 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Hook/Setup--Interesting line, character, or critical situation that grabs the reader, backstory adequate not excessive.

Setting--Time of day, location, weather, environment/surroundings, research details (if relevant).

Story Question Established--What's at stake? The issue that drives the story.

Manuscript: Story-telling Craft 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Story Movement--Active vs passive language, pacing.

Viewpoint--Conveys story info consistently, clearly, without jarring reader identification.

Choreography--Physical action enhances credibility. Character control. Do characters vanish?

Transitions--Between viewpoints, paragraphs, scenes.

Sentence and paragraph structure, clarity and variety.

Manuscript: Story-telling Style 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Imagery--Uses all senses, blends showing with telling. Enhances, doesn't overwhelm story.
Voice--Unique, captivating or compelling voice, turn of phrase.

Manuscript: Character Development
Central Characters--Distinctive, interesting, alive, sympathetic, purposeful. 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Secondary Characters--Distinctive, interesting, alive, provide relevant functions.

Character Motivation--Believable actions, reactions, conclusions.

Physical Descriptions--Can the characters be visualized?

Psychological Descriptions--Inner and outer conflict/problems, clear character premise.

Dialogue: 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Relevance--Advances story, reveals character traits. Balanced with narrative.

Realistic--Credible, interesting. Tags essentially invisible.

Character voices distinct, consistent. Use of dialect/idiom doesn't overwhelm.

Originality--Fresh, clever, entertaining.

May you not worry today about any contests!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Promo -- Wallet Calendars -- HeartMate Reissue

It's that time of year when I order my promo items -- usually before RWA, so I can use them as cards, and set them out there, then I give them to bookstores, hand them out to people. I made the decision to use HeartMate's Reissue cover instead of Heart Quest because I think the cover is more striking and will sell better. The calendar runs from August 2006 - July 2007 so that other romance writers, like me, can use it to schedule next year's conference as well.

I'll order Protector of the Flight calendars in October for my sf/f conventions. INCLUDING WORLD FANTASY CON (more on that, later). These will be 2007 calendars.

From my first promo item (a tea bag for the original HeartMate), I've used Su Kopil of Earthly Charms. Though I actually had the idea of mini-calendars, Su made them work.

So here's a preview of what I have:

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Writing Rhythm

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI've been taking it easy lately, making my Heart Match wordcount, reading (Harry Potter again) and making meals, thinking, polishing the wooden floors, etc. I rationalize that I'm letting myself rest after the huge stress of finishing a late book (I HATE missing deadlines with a passion, but I just-couldn't-get-it-in-on-time.) I'm not pushing myself. I don't know if that's good or not, but then, I tend to binge write.

I haven't actually gotten a good summer schedule going, and I won't because I'm taking another day job (they say two months and the hours might be able to be flexed) on the 19th. A little closer than the last two jobs (maybe only 10 minutes, but that counts!).

I'm wondering what my natural rhythm would be as a full time writer when I'm not a burnt out paralegal-writer. I don't think I've found it, and I think I DO need a good schedule.

In any event, I have to do a big push to get my urban fantasy proposal in shape, and the next 3 Luna books proposal definitely done by the end of the first week of July. So whatever long, relaxing hours I had are gone again, starting this afternoon....

May you find your writing rhythm today.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Shadow of the Moon

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Another wonderful story!

SHADOW OF THE MOON by Rebecca York
(Berkley, June 6, 2006)

Lance Marshall has a nose for great news stories-not surprising, since he's aided by his werewolf abilities. Now he's prowling outside an ultra-exclusive Washington, D.C. nightclub-"The Castle." But he is not alone. Savannah Carpenter wants to know how her sister ended up in a coma, and she knows that The Castle has something to do with it. But when Lance and Savannah pretend to be lovers to gain entrance, they learn that deception and unbridled lust can be a dangerous combination.


May whatever celestial objects you use in your writing today fuel your inspiration.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Changes and Creativity

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI was thinking about the opening for Protector of the Flight this morning. I originally set it in a mountain cave (and I'll probably put this first scene up on my website at some point), but then I came up with my contemporary paranormal romance that was also set in a cave (hope to resurrect that book after a while has gone by and I can look at it with less partial eyes).

Two cave books. Could possibly come out together (ha, ha, ha, won't worry about that one again).

So I changed Calli's advent into Lladrana by falling into the crystal face of a hillside on her ranch. This ADDED so much more. As soon as I changed this, I came up with the fact that she'd been able to see shadows of Lladrana in the crystal all her life. That she hadn't liked herself or her life for a long time so she didn't want to see *herself* reflected even vaguely.

Making the change added depth to the story. This isn't the first time this has happened to me, nor the most important, but the experience continues to drive home a point for me, and perhaps for you.

Don't begrudge changes you need to make for purposes other than the story. Making such changes can add another layer to your story.

May you go deeper into your story today and may it be fabulous!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Under Contract

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Yes, like a house. This year I ran out of contracts. Sort of. My two book contract (Heart Choice, Heart Quest) ended last year when I turned in Heart Quest. I worked on another proposal for the option book(s), submitted them, and the contractual option period began to run. If Berkley hadn't wanted the additional books, I wouldn't be under contract, which is most desirable.

At the same time (in a wonderful feat of timing by yours truly, remind me not to do that again) I submitted the last book of the Luna contract, this year. Which means I HAD to sell this year to continue to write. The contracts were not staggered, like one running out this year and one next.

Nope, looked like I might be jumping off a cliff. But I sold the Heart books before I actually had to worry, and Luna is pressing me for the option book proposals, and while I'm getting the chapters done, my plotting skills s*ck. Even with an overarching story, if I had to do it now, I'd mumble something about the heroine, the special gift being Healing, and, maybe, plague, but a definite disease and it's because....YOU, the reader, I am not telling. Aside: when you submit to an editor you TELL ALL. So, I'm hoping to whip all this into shape in the next few weeks.

And I told my agency I'm available for work again.

May you always feel wanted.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Life and an Addicted Reader

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThis is late because I was at my Mom's yesterday afternoon/night and this morning. She had cataract surgery. She reacts terribly to anaesthesia, so is usually sick after surgery and it was so last night. I walked my brother's dog (which she usually does), brought over homemade chicken soup (yeah, ME, I used to do a lot of cooking before I started writing, now I live out of boxes, mostly, though I recently bought a crockpot and am giving it a try for summer), and just provided company. She is also pretty deaf, so we conducted our conversations in shouts...

I brought over a book on tape I own, Nora Roberts' Northern Lights (which I think is a Killer book, got serious skill envy when listening to the first chapter), so she could listen to it, but when I went to check on her before I went to bed in the basement, she was READING. With one cloth/metal patch over her eye.

I think we all have various addictions. My family seems addicted to books. I left the tapes, and hope she'll do them today.

That's all, may your writing schedule be smooth and the words flow equally smoothly.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Distractions 2 - Research

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BARDSLEY ISLAND TRUST.

Slow going today, every time I got in a groove, I stopped for distractions so that my work didn't show an incredible amoung of *s – that I put down when I need to figure out something.

Seven pages this morning, WITH the following...

decide on hero's mother's given name.
decide what sort of alcohol the hero might give to a Fam
decide on hero's favorite desert
decide heroine's Fam's favorite ice cream
look up the word I used in HeartMate for ice cream
look up the word I used for vanilla
find the given name of T'Apple
figure out a good name for T'Apple's art gallery
(just put down Delicious, then later worked on this and got distracted by Apple Pie recipies, then the rarest apple in the world, the Bardsley. Explored the Bardsley Island - Ynys Enlli in Welsh - website. The rarest apple in the world is FROM AN ISLAND OFF WALES. My family comes from an island off Wales, how could I go wrong!)

Now to finishing transcribing the copy edit changes to my computer file of Heart Quest, then working on the proposal for the next 3 Luna books. Get mailing stuff ready to go, then MAYBE I'll be able to work on my urban fantasy.

May your day be free of distractions and the ease of your writing as sweet as an apple...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rewarding Yourself & Goals

OF COURSE, I reward myself.

Furthermore, and more importantly (do what I say, not what I do), is DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP IF YOU DON'T MAKE YOUR GOAL. Naturally, the best way this can work is if you set your goal LOWER than you expect. Currently I must write 4 pages a day to meet my deadline for Heart Match. Currently that's a little more than I'm comfortable with because I might get a day job and it would be hard. Currently, I've made this goal, and even "banked" a few pages for a bad day. ONE bad day, so far, and the beginning is usually the easiest part for me.

But back to rewarding myself:

1) LOOOONG talk with my crit buddy and mentor about me and my book, and her and her book, and me and my career, and her and her career, and breaking out and ideas, like the Da Vinci code, that would make a big, sexy, important book. SHE had a killer object (like sliver of the true cross only not), and we batted it around and laughed since she, writing thriller/romantic suspense would use this object to be the purpose of a quest and NOT magical, and I, of course, would make it a magical thing discovered and a part of the story. Laughing. Talking writing for HOURS without someone's eyes glazing over.

2) During dinner. I felt like Chinese, so we went to Swing Thai where I had beef in peanut sauce. Yum. Leftovers were yum, too.

3) Catching up on my book buying and reading. Jayne Ann Krentz (as Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle had TWO new books out) I got them both, LISTENED to the audio of Second Sight...all the way through to dawn the next day...hey, my schedule's my own again! Read paperback Ghost Hunter...I'm single, so listening to someone read me a book is infinitely comforting, even if I fall asleep (second go round).

4) Sleeping. Yes, I can take naps and NOT feel guilty for catching up on those other hours I spent in the office.

So, what do your characters do to reward themselves? May you find out today.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Worldbuilding -- A Different Aspect...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I'm working on Heart Match now and am going to be doing some serious thinking about worldbuilding. Yes, Heart Match is the sixth book in the Heart series, and you'd think I'd know all the rules. Not so.

I don't know the nature of time. Of how time works in this universe (or ours, for that matter). Throughout the books, I've had a "no-time food storage" kitchen appliance ;) You put food in and it remains exactly as it was the moment you put it in. Hot is hot, cold is cold, fresh and juicy is fresh and juicy, raw meat is raw meat...

Anyway, I thought that there's a stasis field in the no-times that keeps time from passing. But now I have a heroine whose psi powers deal with time. Is time like a stream where she can dip into? Or is it like an all pervasive atmosphere. Or what? I think I had notes somewhere...

So this book, time. I think the next big worldbuilding for me on Celta will be religion, but in the meantime I'll be designing a garden and maybe even figuring out a map of the city, Druida (I'm pretty sure I put a lot of things in the same place).

May your worldbuilding be as unique as you are today.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Here I was, congratulating myself that the idea of Dufleur's time experiments came out of the blue, when I found these images (I put them together) on my computer. They are, of course, a website design from the late, great Moyra's Web Jewels, which I watched for many, many months. I DID consider buying this page, and another, Art Deco page, and I LOVED the dark...but I wanted excellent contrast, so that's why I went with a dark background on my site (as here) and a lighter "page."

This obviously was where I got the germ of the idea. Visual, once again.
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And I spent WAY too much time revisiting my favs (though I have a lot, now) here:

Museum of Moyra's Web Jewels

Wherever your inspiration springs from today, may it be plentiful.

Friday, June 02, 2006

New Projects -- First Chapters

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingYes, I've started a new project, Heart Match, which I just sold on a proposal. Coming after ruthlessly cutting a ms. from 640 pages to 590, (approx 10,000 words by my computer) just being able to write in a meandering way is blissfull! If I use too many words -- that's what revisions are for.

When in revision mode, especially for rough drafts, I don't have a daily wordcount, usually a daily amount of pages that need to be reworked or transcribed from hand-written corrections to the computer. Now I'm back to word count.

And in new projects, a lot of scenes in the first chapters may be cut much later. Sometimes I have to write a lot of "inner dialogue" to make sure I'm grounded in the world, just learn about my hero and heroine, work on worldbuilding, set up or plot.

May your chapters flow easily today.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

2 New Heart Books!

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I'm pleased to announce that I sold two more books in the "Heart" series -- futuristic fantasies set on the lost Earth Colony of Celta, currently scheduled for August, 2007 and July 2008.

Heart Match is the story of Saille T'Willow, the premier matchmaker of Celta, recently come into the title of the minor secondary character D'Willow (seen in Heart Duel). The heroine of the book is Dufleur Thyme, impoverished cousin of Ilex Winterberry (hero of the September release Heart Quest). Both these characters are introduced in Heart Quest. The first two lines of HEART MATCH are:

Dufleur watched the fresh pinecone wither before her eyes and fall into dust. This experiment with time was not going at all well.

Heart Fate is the long-awaited story of Tinne Holly and is currently a darker, more angst ridden story than I usually write -- the first chapters at least.

Thanks to my readers who have made this sale possible.

May your writing lead you to new insights today.

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