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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.

This cut portion came from the press conference by GraceLord Equisetum regarding the Traditionalist Stance and the Intersection of Hope Religion. He'd announced he didn't believe their Cathedral would be built. Note, Tiana is the heroine of Heart Fire and a priestess of the main Celtan culture which celebrates the Divine Couple, the Lady and Lord/Lord and Lady.

"I think we should call the Intersection of Hope people, 'Hopefuls.' I know it's a quality that my mother has," Tiana said.

"Hopefuls," someone considered.

"Hopeful for what? Someone else's death?" GraceLord Equisetum said.

Tiana tilted her head. "Our grove study educational system obviously failed you. The Hopefuls believe in taking responsibility for their life journey and helping others along the way. They don't wish ill on anyone. Why would you think so?"

He opened his mouth and she wondered if he'd link the Hopefuls to the Black Magic Cult, as he had years before, but this time he didn't have the panic to excuse himself for any misconception. Still, whenever he'd looked at her, hatred had burned in his eyes. When he'd ruined her Family, he hadn't prospered as much as he'd anticipated. Would he make the same mistake?

His gaze shifted to beyond her. Casually, she angled to follow Equisetum's gaze. There, standing in the doorway was Antenn and another man, taller and older and with a full head of steel gray hair.

Equisetum shut his mouth.

Tiana pushed, she wanted this done for once and all. "Why would you say that the members of the Intersection of Hope faith would want someone else's death?"

The GraceLord stood there, caught. And she realized that he couldn't admit to a mistake. Yet another noble with a flaw engendered by birth and wealth and status.

He couldn't say that he mispoke, couldn't apologize, couldn't retreat, couldn't return to rational thinking. A very dangerous man. The atmosphere seethed with negative energy radiating from him and Tiana knew she'd made a mistake, too.

Posted: March 24, 2017, 12:39 am
Still working on Heart Sight, but I got the cover from my editor yesterday:

Posted: March 16, 2017, 4:47 pm
I'm not sure how many of you know or use Pinterest, but I have extensive pics relating to my books (and works in progress) there: https://www.pinterest.com/robindowens/

Most particularly you can see all the series I did (and stories/novellas/books) I'm contemplating in chronological order. I also use Pinterest for visual information I want to access while writing my stories.

Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.

Posted: March 13, 2017, 4:45 pm
Celta Thursday, rough draft scene bit of Heart Journey, and, no, I did not compare it to the final:

Steep Springs, Celta, 407 Years After Colonization, Late Summer, Afternoon

Helena D'Elecampane, Del, rode into the mountain town, hot and dusty from the frontier. It had taken all day by stridebeast to wind up the rough road from the plains to the town and was now late afternoon. After two months in the wilderness, she was longing for a long soak in a private hot spring, a good meal, and a bedsponge. And her HeartMate.

Not necessarily in that order, though it would be another couple of weeks before she arrived in the capital, Druida City, to meet and claim him.

She'd felt him during his Third Passage a while back, which made him younger than her, by how much she wasn't sure, but it didn't matter. She'd liked his mind touch and would no doubt like his physical touch....

"Hey, turn down that music!" A man shouted from the street, and she reluctantly thumbed off her saddle flexistrip player. From his scowl, the guy didn't appreciate the sophisticated sound. Del loved jazz. It was a music that only a few enjoyed.

**Stup has no taste,** said her fox Fam, Shunuk, raising his nose. He was riding on a pad behind her saddle. **Smells bad, too. Eats mostly vegetables.**

Del snorted. "There are a couple of jazz clubs in Druida. I heard places are admitting Fams. A good reason to visit the big city. We can stock up on new holobooks and vizes."

They'd watched all she had dozens of times. Maybe she could see a play or two. "Druida will be fine."

**Many busy people,** Shunuk said, watching a man hurry down a street.

"Yes, and a lot more there," Del said. "Too many people for us."

**Foxes are doing well in Druida.** Shunuk grinned.
Posted: March 4, 2017, 2:41 am
Celta Thursday, something simple. I've been giving Multiplicity more thought (the new town going up in Heart Sight) -- and know more than will come out in the book -- but this is Dri Paris' and Blush Hawthorn Paris' new house in Multiplicity.
Posted: February 9, 2017, 5:34 pm
Before my family problems occurred, I started a story that I am hoping will be part of an All Fam collection for a minimal price ebook-print book. Zanth Discovers a Treasure, Pinky Becomes a Fam, and this one, Baccat Claims His FamWoman:

Not the time for a civilized, respectable, intelligent cat to be out. A proper cat like himself, Baccat, who embodied great enough attributes to become a Familiar Companion to a human who would treat him right and care for him.

Autumn had faded away with spitting sleet and winter threatened frost, and worse, snow.

His only slightly hardened pads shriveled with cold as he trotted light footed along the cold sidewalks in the overcast night.

Right now he slept in a dirt hollow under thick bushes behind the Turquoise House, another intelligent being, though quite immobile. But before Baccat could ask the House to let him stay inside, last summer when he he had landed newly on the streets of the city, the House had gathered a Family with two cats — one the small Pinky and the other the very nasty Ratkiller.
Posted: February 2, 2017, 10:29 pm
Occasionally I wake up with bits of scenes in my head with regard to stories I'm contemplating. Today was like that, so here's an excertp:

Before Rand Ash called for another drink — an ale this time to save his precious coin, the real entertainment of the evening strode in and ordered the best liquor in the place.

People moved away from this guy, too. More due to his attitude than his height. Unlike Rand, what muscles the man had were sleek, formed over a strong, lean build.

Rand stared, like every other person in the tavern, at the man with gray eyes and white-silver-blond hair, dressed in materials so expensive that the amount he’d paid for his threads would clothe everyone in the place for a decade. Most people saw a noble or two now and then, and knew of noble fashion, and this was the latest.

T’Ash reflected on the books he’d read, the one he’d escaped with when he’d run away from the fiery inferno his home had become to the streets of Downwind, his most prized possession since he was six years old. He thought of the lessons and old noblewoman had given him about the great nobles, the FirstFamilies. He frowned as early gossamer memories wisped through his mind. And he examined the guy, the man’s aquiline features, noble features.

Yeah, he nodded, he could guess who this guy was. Especially since the man looked flushed and nervy and T’Ash sensed fluctuations of great Flair from him. That meant the nobleman suffered through Passage, the dreamquests to free the psi power of Flair. Except the fighting Family of the Hollys didn’t. Didn’t stay home and suffer through Passage. They went out prowling, looking for challenges. Fought deathduels.

Yeah, Rand could guess the man’s name and pedigree. Holm Holly, heir to GreatLord T’Holly himself. Holm HollyHeir as he’d be styled.
Posted: January 28, 2017, 3:43 am
Heart Sight cover copy finalized: Journey back to the planet Celta with award-wining author Robin Owens in this novel about shadowy enemies and unimaginable psi power.

Muin “Vinni” T'Vine has been the prophet of Celta since he was six years old. A unique and lonely child, his strong psi power made most people wary of him. But now that he's older, he's ready to marry and protect the girl who he's known was his HeartMate for years.

Avellana isn't as fragile as Vinni believes . . . nor as compliant. She fights to be considered Vinni's equal and a strong member of her Family and community. Both of them have kept Avellana's main power secret for over a decade.

But rumors of her strange psi talent are spreading, and Vinni is experiencing premonitions of danger--even from the highest people of the land--to Avellana. When the whispers become threats, Vinni and Avellana must discover and defeat their secret enemies before they can finally claim happiness together
Posted: January 23, 2017, 6:56 pm
Here is the link to the newsletter that went out today, it includes a wish for you, notice of an anthology coming next Month (2/14, Valentine's Day) that includes a Celta story, and current works in progress.


Also, if you look at the archives, you can find a couple of stories. 🙂
Posted: January 6, 2017, 12:36 am
Scritch, scritch, scritch. Whoosh. Flop.

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

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

Artemisia patted her lap. "Come on."

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

"I love you, too."

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Smells good. I think it will feel good on my pads!* Randa said, scrabbling and ripping Artemisia's thin cotton shirt. She'd have to get sturdier sleepwear. She put the raccoon on her paws and Randa shot into the dark room and chittered at her. *It is nice and dark even when your room is light and makes me sleepy, and it has a little window just for me and a wonderful tree branch outside the window and my own tree!*

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

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

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

"Our new Fam will need toys–"

*Yes!*

"And indoor climbing trees like cat Fams prefer–"

*Yes, yes!*

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

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

"Raccoons can also use litter boxes."

*I will go outside.*

"Even when winter comes?"

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

"Thank you, Residence," Artemisia said.

*Thank you, Residence!* Randa repeated.

The window opened and Randa sniffed hard. *My tree smells good and my room smells good and my FamWoman smells good. I am a lucky coon.*
Posted: December 8, 2016, 5:53 pm
My newsletter went out yesterday , along with a few paragraphs about real places I use as inspiration, like Dumbarton Oaks, which BalmHeal Residence/Estate is based upon.
Posted: December 2, 2016, 12:26 am
I am working on the geography of Druida City that sits on the Varga Peninsula. First mention of Outside The City: Excerpt from Heart Thief (outside Northgate -- the north guardhouse of the city walls):

Ruis savored the myriad smells of the land outside the city, heavy with verdant growth dying in the autumn. The ground gently sloped down and was cleared of everything but fields fading from a brilliant green to green edged with brown.

With a new appreciation for life, his gaze scanned the undergrowth, bushes, and trees that marched across the land, blocking the sight of the Great Platte Ocean in the distance. Yet the scent of the sea drifted to him along with the fragrance of turning leaves.

He thanked the Lord and Lady that he lived. And he enjoyed every sensation — the green and purple and brown of the landscape before him, the distant sound of birds and other winged creatures, the touch of a freshening breeze drying the sweat from his skin, as well as the hum of the city that vibrated through the stone wall behind him. The wall that still carried the heat of the fall day.

Posted: November 19, 2016, 8:56 pm
I am on retreat this week and I have a netbook with extremely limited space and amount of Celta stuff. Here is a cut bit from "Heart and Sword" in the collection, Hearts and Swords, this takes place on the starship Nuada's Sword on the voyage to Celta. Kelse (hero and Captain) is talking with the Bridge Crew:

"We will be landing the ship?" asked the Lieutenant.

Kelse blinked. "What other option is there? I don’t believe a space elevator can be built."

The young man glanced at his fellows, looked back at Kelse. "We could set the ship into long-term orbit and send people down."

"That would take some time, and fuel, and good piloting skills."

"We have more than one pilot of the dagger ships."

Posted: November 10, 2016, 10:50 pm
Celta Thursday, original cover of Heart Fire that I fussed about (the landscape). I don't think I ever posted it because I didn't want people thinking there were great crevasses in the Varga plain. Most people I showed it to (my critique group) were: What landscape? What cathedral? What crevasses...
Posted: November 3, 2016, 8:48 pm
The story all Celta HeartMate fans have been waiting for! Vinni T’Vine meets his destiny!

Muin (Vinni) T’Vine has been the prophet of Celta since he was six years old. A unique and lonely child, his strong psi power made most people wary of him. Now that he’s grown, he’s ready to marry and protect the girl who he’s known was his HeartMate for years.

But Avellana isn’t as fragile as Vinni believes . . . or as compliant. She fights to be considered Vinni’s full and equal partner, and a strong member of her Family and community.
And both of them have kept Avellana’s main power secret for years.

Whispers of that strange psi talent have spread and Vinni continues to experience premonitions of danger — even from his own Family — to Avellana. Whispers become threats and they must discover and defeat their secret enemies before they can finally claim happiness.
Posted: October 27, 2016, 8:19 pm
Here is an age/people list for Heart Legacy (and Heart Sight, a few months later, my work in progress). Year 424 after Colonization:

Lahsin Holly is 35
Muin (Vinni) T’Vine is 30
Draeg Betony Blackthorn is 24
Avellana Hazel is 24
Dani Eve Elder is 20
Nuin Ash is 20
Loridana D'Yew is 18
Aurea Holly (Tinne and Lahsin’s girl) is 17 (Passage? Death Duels?)
Jasmine Ash and Abutilon GWYDION Ash are 17
Dontea Ash is 13
Elwyn Clover is 12
Cal Marigold is 7
Dalmatia Clover is 7
Marin Holly is 10
Lena Marigold is 4
Watson Clover is 2
Posted: October 20, 2016, 9:43 pm
I had Family Stuff yesterday, so I didn't post on Ghost Maker release day!

Here's the blurb:
Clare Cermak has a gift for speaking to ghosts of the Old West, but in the latest from the author of Ghost Talker, she may soon join their ranks...

With Clare’s health fading, she and her partner—the love of her life—detective Zach Slade, head to Manitou Springs, Colorado, in search of the only healer who can help them: the ghost of Sister Juliana Emmanuel, whose healing skills live on in the afterlife.

Unfortunately for Clare, the nun’s ghost is elusive, and the town is teeming with spirits who all want to speak with Clare—newer ones, street kids who've been killed and want their bodies found and their murders avenged.

Now, with the help of Zach and Sister Juliana, Clare must find the killer before he strikes again. But to do so, she will face an evil that could destroy everything she and Zach hold dear—including their love..

Posted: October 19, 2016, 7:42 pm
My entire notes for Nuin Ash's story (at least 3 down the road):

Nuin's Story
FirstSon and Heir to T'Ash and D'Ash
Doesn't have a good handle on his Flair. It's erratic.
Maybe he isn't a pure Fire mage, everyone assumed he was a Fire Mage but he wasn't tested. DON'T BELIEVE THAT.
Maybe he likes being a fire mage and told his father he didn't need the testing stones. HUH!
What he has to do in his is accept who he is in addition to a fire mage.
Maybe he isn't a flashy fire mage, he is something more quiet
NOPE, LIKE HIM FLASHY...

And maybe I'll play with Black Desert Character Creator so I can visualize him.
Posted: October 15, 2016, 1:23 am
Celta Thursday: My current ideas:

Stories:

Garrett Primross Detective Stories (4)
1 case where he meets Laev T'Hawthorne (working)
His viewpoint of the events at Darjeeling's Teahouse
1 case down south with the boy he gave the blood transfusion to
1 case getting the elder Mugworts out of the sanctuary and into the city

Ash meets Holm (working, in an anthology if I turn it in on time)
MAYBE: Ash and Holm on the Vengeance Stalk

D. House Becomes Intelligent (working, in a different anthology)

3rd Cat POV story for a collection, Baccat Snares His Person

Novellas:
Script of the Heart (working)
Klay St. Johnsworth, actor, and Giniana Chervil, Healer

Claif Clover in the southern continent (Maybe)

Novels, current order:
Heart Sight, due November 30, WORKING

Heart - Gwydion Ash
Heart - Dani Eve Elder
Heart - Betony-Blackthorn

And that's it, folks.
Posted: October 6, 2016, 5:36 pm
I only have a few paragraphs for that day, and no photo that Zach took and hung, but here's one from Manitou Springs anyway that is always good: In the morning, when Clare and Enzo returned from marketing and her Beginning Yoga session, they found Zach hanging a new, framed picture. When he stepped back, she blinked at the beauty of the photograph.


Posted: October 5, 2016, 3:38 pm
I spent a lot of time and have many photos of Navajo Spring and the arcade (and Clare and Zach and Enzo spend time there, too).

Excerpt: The ghost of the nun, Julianna Emmanuel, wasn’t near the wall, or on the opposite side of the area, sitting on the rock, and the cool and shadowy space was empty. No one ate at the red picnic tables, not one child clambered to sit on one of the amusement rides line in rows.

Clare walked over to the ride directly across from the spring, a bull, that Julianna Emmanuel had eyed occasionally as if the girl inside her wanted to perch on it. Clare crossed to the spring trickling in the mosaic wall. Nothing. Not one sway of gathered folds of a nun’s habit, the lighter shade of her wimple. And no other shades of gray apparitions. Sighing, Clare said, “I hope we don’t have to go back to Miramont Castle and Montcalme, where she lived. I know that castle is haunted with at least one or two spirits from my time period.”

**I will look there!** Enzo loped away up the canyon.

But as Clare breathed deeply, appreciating the mountain air and letting her mind calm from squirrelly thoughts of what she should say to the young sister to help them both, she suddenly remembered a previous conversation. “I think I know where she went.”
http://amzn.to/2cFzPZL
Posted: October 4, 2016, 4:13 pm
Ghost Maker Excerpt http://amzn.to/2cFzPZL : I haven't spoken of Zach's gift of foresight, or of the search for missing boys plot...so here's a bit of both: Two crows cawed as they slanted across his windshield.

**Two for luck.**

A spurt of relief trickled through him.

Until the next singleton. **One for sorrow.**

Throughout the rest of the drive, he noticed one crow at a time.

One, and one, and one . . . but not together in multiples. One at a time.

He needed more. More help, more guidance. Just. More.

He tried to relax again. Cops and private investigators often had to clean up messes, so they could be mostly reactive to an initial situation. But they could also be patient, too, and when they had to act, they could and would—swiftly. He would. Right now he was in patient mode.
.........

Zach still wanted that omen he waited for desperately.

Keep the mind clear but the senses sharp.

Then on the fence posts as he turned into the resort where they stayed, sat three solid and black crows . . . and one not so defined. As he blinked, they all faded, and he found his throat tight.
**Four for death,** but one hadn’t been substantial.

Zach decided that meant that more death could be prevented.
Posted: October 3, 2016, 9:32 pm
http://amzn.to/2cFzPZL
Clare left Zach to his work and showered and changed into a medium-weight cashmere sweater and her light leather jacket. Natural clothing seemed to insulate her from ghost-cold better, especially outside. Checking her watch, she saw she could expect the car shortly

In the living room–kitchen she paused to change the wall calendar featuring the Garden of the Gods from September to October. A tiny chill snaked down her spine. The month of ghosts. And at the end of the month sat Halloween, the evening of All Hallows’ Day, All Souls’ Day. Would those days be easier or harder on her? Was it true that the veil between life and death was thinner then? Would the gray dimension be closer? Transitions smoother?

The only way to find out was to live through the days.
Posted: October 1, 2016, 1:37 pm
Continuing with my Ghost Seer Series Calendar, this is September 30th and the 3rd day of action in Ghost Maker (not published yet).

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

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

“Oh-kay.”

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

No, Zach sent back to the ghost Lab.

Posted: September 30, 2016, 7:34 pm