Free Download: Fox In Hiding

Michaela is frustrated and needs time away from the wolves. The wolves, of course, have a different plan.

I wrote this short several years ago. It's a portion of the "Michaela frustrated with Lara and Elisabeth" theme. The two have since moved past that, having found a sort of peace that works for them. This is from a time before they worked out that peace.

I am making this short available for free download from my site. Click the cover for a Kindle-ready version.

Robin

Searching the High Seas

In final edits. Available soon.

Also coming soon: Omega Born, which is near final edits. This is a Selected novel.

Offering Thanks

I don't always say this, and it may sound like an empty platitude, but this is from my heart.

You guys are fabulous.

I am so amazingly lucky, and I recognize that. I never lose sight of how fabulous it is to have all of you supporting what I do.

I've wanted to be a writer since I was about 7 years old. I have a voice that is distinctly mine, and it's not the sort of voice that an editor is necessarily going to take a risk on. The big publishers never would have given me this opportunity.

But every time you guys read one of my stories, you decide to help me continue to write more. Each of you contributes to my being able to write more stories.

It doesn't stop at that, either. I receive frequent words of encouragement. I don't get tens or hundreds of emails a day, but I get a few a week, and it's enough to help me remain connected with all of you. When life has been sort of shitty, one of you has written an email telling me how I've helped you, or how much you love my stories, or something.

Some of you have written to thank me for giving you something to read while you were sick. One of you made me cry while I read your letter. My heart went out for you while you told me what you'd been facing, but you were writing to thank me.

I don't say something every day, but I don't forget. I don't forget how lucky I am to have all of you.

So I'll say it now, again: thank you to all of you.

Robin

Two Books

Consider this a tease.

Shipping

To Ship: wishing or becoming attached to the idea of two fictional characters engaging in a relationship. The link goes to Wikipedia's article on the subject.

I can be pretty clueless sometimes. I very recently learned about this concept, of fans shipping characters in their favorite stories. I guess I knew of the phenomenon, but I didn't realize it had a formal term or how widespread it was. And I've probably shipped a few partnerships over the years, but I don't think I've ever been very creative about it. I'm more likely to anti-ship than to ship. "Oh, he's a jerk! Why is she interested in him? His sister is a much better choice for her."

So now I'm going to turn a tiny bit (or maybe a lot -- I can't tell) narcissistic. I receive a certain amount of email asking about a potential relationship or suggesting a potential relationship. I've always taken them at face value and responded that way. But today it occurred to me that I can be really quite clueless, and now I have to wonder if some people have been shipping some of my characters.

Some of the suggestions have been rather unlikely. One or two have been really very good guesses regarding my future plans. I've also been asked if characters from one series will eventually interact with characters from another series.

So now I have nothing but questions. I'm going to toss a few out. Feel free to drop me a note with your thoughts.

  • Are you willing to admit to shipping some of my characters?
  • Care to share your favorites?
  • Do you cross-ship across my different story lines?
  • Have you shipped one of my characters with someone not from one of my books? Maybe it's with a character from another author, or a real person, or even yourself? (Is the latter considered shipping?)
  • When I receive an email asking about a possible relationship, do you believe that is a sign the person who wrote me is shipping that partnership?
  • How do you think I as the author should respond if I discover or suspect someone is shipping a partnership, especially if that's coming from more than one of my readers?
  • Is there anything else you'd like to say on the subject?

Robin Roseau

Jaguar

Coming soon.

First Drafts

A few minutes ago, I finished the first draft of a novel called Omega, written from the perspective of Bree Callahan, the woman who Michaela saved when Bree was 14 years old. She's now 29 and shows up at the compound, running from her present. Michaela opens her arms and her home to her old friend.

This now brings the number of my completed first drafts to four. I've been on a roll.

My process is fairly straightforward. I write like crazy to produce a first draft. This can take as little as a week and a half to several years, depending on my level of focus and how much I neglect the rest of my life. One I have a completed first draft, the manic phase is over, and I can relax. Editing isn't all consuming like writing a first draft can be.

Editing involves reading through two or three times on the computer, fixing plot and continuity problems, and whatever typos I find. After that, I start reading on the Kindle app on my iPad, reading it through anywhere from two to five more times. If I had the kind of mind required to really remain focused, I could probably get by with just one reading, but I read and re-read until I get a fairly clean read. Or I just become dead sick of the story. After reading it through that many times in a row, I just want to hit Publish.

So. I have four novels in that stage. What that means to all of you: expect books. Soon. Books you've been waiting for.

Annabelle Delacroix. Rani and Sorri. Our friends in Africa. Bree Callahan. They all have stories to tell you.

Robin Roseau

Status Update

I haven't been posting very regularly, so I think it's time to do a little catching up.

Reader Email

I get email from some of you. I love it. I try to respond in a timely fashion, but I have some weird email habits, so sometimes my replies linger. I'm really sorry about that. But I love getting email, even if it's just, "Thinking of you, Robin". So thank you.

The most common question I get is, "When is your next book coming out?" About two thirds of the time, the question is more specific, asking about the next Fox or Pawn book, or sometimes one of my other series. And I rarely have a good answer. I'll talk about that in a bit.

What I'm Working On

Lately I've had trouble with focus. Basically I've worked on this, then I've worked on that. It makes it hard to actually get books out the door, and this is why my answers to "When" have been poor. But I thought I'd give you some idea of what I'm doing.

I just searched my Writing folder. I have 82 word documents in some stage of progress. That excludes the documents I use for keeping notes or stories I've marked as dead for one reason or another. Now, some of those word documents represented about 3 pages of writing, or even less. They are story ideas I had some evening but I never continued. Others represent far, far more advanced work.

82 stories in progress.

Clearly I'm not actively working on all those. Eight of those have been updated in the last 2 months and 13 in the last 4 months.

So, what are they, and when do I think I might have something out?

  • Michaela's Next Novel: a third written.
  • Jaguar, a new 2- or 3-novel series featuring Annabelle Delacroix. First novel has a first draft. I expect it out this fall. I was going to wait until I'd written the entire series, but the first novel stands alone fairly well, so I think I could publish it.
  • Searching the High Seas. This is the Privateer sequel. The first draft is perhaps 10,000 words from completion. Expect this fall.
  • The next in the Selected series. First draft is done, but I'm not happy. I do not believe this is my best novel. I am going to give it 1 complete read-through and then hand it to one or two beta readers for advice. I could see a few choices. One: they might think it's a fine story, and I should leave it largely intact. Two: they might think it's an okay story that would be far better if I trimmed it by 30 percent. Or three: they might agree with me but tell me to either publish it anyway or maybe offer it for free on my web site.
  • Pawn #3. First draft is a third complete. I had originally planned a three novel series, but I think it's going to be four. I hope to have the third out this autumn sometime, but remember that autumn technically lasts until December 21st.
  • Amazon Trainer. Nori's Story! This is what I'm currently focused on. This fall, if I don't lose focus.
  • Seer #3. First draft is about half done. This fall or winter.
  • My Soul to Play #2. First draft is three quarters written. It's very, very dark. Bad things happen. I expect this to be a 3-novel series when I'm done. I think I'll have it out this autumn or winter.

So, that's what I'm most actively working on, but I have a few other things also in the works that I want to mention, just to whet a few appetites.

  • The Cupid Series. The Greeks got it wrong. Eros (Cupid) is Aphrodite's daughter (not son). She is now living in Key West and operates a bed and breakfast. This is intended to be a light, fluffy series, and what I've written so far includes some of my best writing ever. I am in love with the opening, an interaction between Eros and her mother, Aphrodite. This story is influenced by the Cupid television series from the 90s, so if you ever watched that show, you'll have at least an idea where I'm going with the series.
  • The Teacher. This is set in Broadwater (the suburb where Secret Society was set) and features a teacher at the middle school. But this is a very different story than Secret Society was.

This is what's noteworthy. I was hoping to get a few books published in August, but now it looks like September. But if I can get some focus, I should have a significant number between now and the end of the year. For now, I really want to thank all of you for your continued support. It means a lot to me.

Robin Roseau

Werecorgies



I'm going to let everyone wonder what I thought when I read this.

#werechipmunks #rapidwerechipmunks #elisabethteasesmichaela

May To September



May To September went live on Amazon this afternoon.

On her 18th birthday, with high school graduation rapidly approaching, Cristal's grandmother offers her some interesting advice: "Do something outrageous with your summer. Have experiences."

Cristal holds the advice close to her heart.

This is an edgy novel of 85,000 words. It addresses love, loss, and the choices we make in life. Along the way, it challenges some of the mores of society.

A Little Too Edgy

Update on the Original Post -- I received several emails offering some advice. I have decided to publish the novel, so it should be available by this weekend. To all who responded, thank you so much.

Original Post below

So... I've been busy, although it's been a while since I've gotten anything out the door. But I have this novel, and I'm trying to decide if I should publish it.

The title is May To September, and it's a little edgy, even for me. The main character is Cristal (pronounced Cree-stal). Cristal is 18 and freshly graduated from high school. Graduation night, her grandmother sits down with her to offer a bit of advice, woman to woman.

"Do something outrageous with your summer."

It's said somewhat longer than that, but you get the idea. Cristal decides to take her grandmother's advice. It wouldn't be much of a story if she didn't, after all.

I don't know if it's a good story. There are pockets that are good, but I don't know if overall, it's a good story. I can't decide if I should publish it. I could possibly make it available via the web site instead, so only people who already visit my site would know about it. It would be a gift to my more loyal readers, I suppose.

I'm a little worried it's either too edgy or too weird, and I really don't want to put something out that is going to be severely panned or will generate fresh hate mail.

I wouldn't mind advice. Comments, anyone?

robin.roseau@gmail.com

Fluid

Fluid is what happens when Robin Roseau decides to write a "light, fluffy" romance.

Jasmine and Tamsin are friends with one thing in common: a joy of scrapbooking. But it so many other ways, they couldn't be more different. Jasmine is reserved; Tamsin is outgoing. Jasmine wears skirts and blouses; Tamsin is fond of leather. Tamsin is gay; Jasmine is not.

And yet, in spite of their differences, there is a mutual attraction, and sparks fly from the first night they meet.

Fluid explores intimacy and the fluidity of sexuality.

This is a novel of 70,000 words.

Fluid is in edits. It should be out by the end of the weekend. I originally began this novel some time ago, and then it landed in my "going nowhere" pile. Well, I took it out, dusted it off, and finished it. I decided to keep the names of the main characters as originally written, even though they conflict with the names of a few characters from the Selected series. I hope this doesn't cause confusion.

Robin

The Right Music

I listen to music while writing or editing. It helps me tune out other distractions. And sometimes the music alters my mood, which alters the writing. At least as often, I override whatever iTunes has dished up and pick the music based on my mood.

I'm currently editing Selected Volumn Five, and there's a wedding scene. How fitting to have iTunes offer this song while reading through the scene.

Full disclosure: I'm listening to the song in English. I speak about ten words in French, and eight of them are food. But I couldn't find a good video of this song performed in English, and it's at least as beautiful in French. But I must admit: watching Celine in that outfit...

I run iTunes in "shuffle by album" mode. I think it's too jarring to let it shuffle by individual songs, so iTunes dishes up an album at a time. But I will often override it. One of my go-to albums contains this song:

That's Steve Winwood, and the album is Arc of a Diver. If you aren't familiar, give the album a try. You might like it. This version is from a live performance. Sometimes live performances are amazing, but I admit in this case, I prefer the album version.

And this has become another go-to for me, and I'll play it repeatedly.

I don't listen to a lot of Pink, but this performance and Glitter in the Air performed at the Grammies are both truly stunning. Here's a link.

I have a lengthy iTunes library. Maybe I should listen to Pandora now and then. It wouldn't hurt me to be exposed to some new music now and then. But today I wanted to share what I'm listening to.

Happy New Year.
Robin Roseau

A Few Lines

Here are a few lines from the Selected book I'm working on.
  • My big sister is Skye. She is the most amazing big sister I could possibly have had. No, she neither made me write that nor paid me. It’s absolutely true.
  • Ah, this is the life. Fun, sun, and a cocktail.
  • No, no, no, no, just no.
  • I’m going to get that Loris. One of these days, I’m going to get him.
  • Take me to bed and hold me.
  • Sometimes she’s a butthead.
  • The smile was as fake as Kardashian breasts.
  • I am not going to be gang tickled.
  • I’m living a fairy tale.
  • Please, body. Click the mouse. Click the mouse. Click the fucking mouse.

Kitty Cat

Guess what I'm doing...

Length of Novels

Over lunch today I finished the first draft of a novel called Galatea, the 6th in the Selected series. For those who are counting, yes, that means I haven't mentioned the 5th, which is about 60% written. They'll both be out in January. I think. Hope. The draft I finished is 235,000 words. And I got to thinking: how long is that to a reader?

Well, my very longest novels (such as Amazon Chief) were around 250,000. So thi sis just a tiny bit shorter. Who knows what will happen when I start editing, however? I could add or remove thousands of words.

Let's compare this to a few other novels. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Every November, people are challenged to write a complete first draft of a novel, first word to the last, inside the month. It's kind of a big deal. It's mostly geared for people who think they can't write a novel. At the end of the month, you may have proven yourself wrong. You've "won' NaNoWriMo if you have written 50,000 words and it's a complete story, beginning through the conclusion. No judging for quality. For first time novelists, this can be challenging. It requires you to write -- not edit. Don't agonize over the quality of writing. Just get your fingers moving and don't stop. Once you learn that trick, NaNoWriMo isn't hard at all.

  • So: NaNoWriMo: 50,000 words.
  • I declare my books to be novellas if they are 40,000 words or less, unless they're so short to be short stories.

    How about some other books?

  • The first Harry Potter book was 77,000.
  • The Hobbit is 95,000.
  • Treasure Island: 66,000.
  • The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway: 67,000.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: 109,000.
  • The entire Lord of the Rings: 455,00 over three novels.

Novel length has nothing to do with the quality of the writing. But when you buy a book at the book store, you can pick it up and see how thick it is. You can't do that when buying an ebook. And so I always list my word counts, and you can decide how you feel about that. I might mention something like, "This is a short novel at 77,000 words." That's longer than The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Coor Purple, and about the same length as Jo Rowling's first story about a young boy attending Hogwart's.

I think it's useful to know what you're picking up. If you want a quick read for an airplane flight, a short novel is about perfect. If you want something to last, then longer novels are nice.

And I frequently get email commenting on that. Someone wrote to me and said, "I don't usually like short stories" referring to Outside the Box -- 65,000 words, the length of Brave new World or The Martian Chronicles.

So, in the future, when you see one of my novels listed, and I tell you it's 100,000 words, or 200,000, or whatever it is, you can think about some of thee other books, and at least you'll know if you're getting a quickie or something that is going to last a while.

Robin

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, have a wonderful Hannukkah and a fabulous New Year.

The Boss

Guess what I did tonight...

Pawn Published!

I just hit Publish on Pawn. It should be live later this evening or sometime on Wednesday. In case you haven't seen it, here's the prologue. -Robin

I'm no one's pawn. Not with my skills. I may outwardly kneel in allegiance, but when I do, it is by my choice, and only my choice. In more private settings, well, in the words of my people, "She carries the spear from that hut."

It's never meant as a compliment.

No, I'm no one's pawn.

Not anymore.

Snippet

I started something new. Enjoy a little teaser. -Robin

Even from a distance, the great beast could see the girl was small, almost beneath notice. Indeed, if not for the bright red cloak fluttering in the spring breeze, the beast's attention may never have been drawn.

But drawn it was.

It took little for the beast to turn. Upon seeing such a large creature, one would have expected it to require far more effort for the beast to turn. But really, it was little more than a lifted wing tip here, a drooped tip there, and the beast wheeled in the sky.

It didn't turn straight to the girl. Oh, no. The sun was bright, the sky clear, and if the beast was seen too early in its approach, the girl might have scampered to safety amongst the trees. That would not do. No, that wouldn't do at all. Winter had lasted overlong, and there would soon be a new mouth to feed, a hungry mouth to feed. The beast couldn't afford to miss in today's hunt.

And so the beast remained high, high in the sky. And if the little girl had looked up, she would only have seen a speck moving across the blue heavens. She would most certainly have determined the beast was nothing but a bird. Oh, she might guess the speck was a predator, a bird of prey, and in a way, she would have been right. But she would not have guessed the true nature of the beast.

She would not have realized her own danger.

And so the beast turned, but it didn't move towards the girl, not directly. It moved to a place between the girl and the sun. And so if she had looked up, she could not remotely have seen the beast.

But not quite exactly between the girl and the sun. Oh, no. If the beast did that, then the shadow may have given the game away too soon, as well. And so the beast chose a spot close to in line with the sun, but not quite in line.

The beast judged the girl. The beast judged the sun. The beast tracked its own shadow across the ground.

And then the beast wheeled in the sky before tucking wings close to its body and plummeting.

Maybe the girl heard something, the sound of wind in leathery wings. Maybe the girl saw a flicker of shadow regardless of the care the beast took. Who can guess?

But she began to run. She dropped her basket of posies and began to run through the upland meadow, running pell-mell for the nearest trees.

And maybe if she had heard something sooner, or seen something sooner, she would have had a chance. But she barely had taken three steps before the sings snapped out again. The wings snapped wide, eclipsing the sun, eclipsing the entire sky, and making a snapping noise like sails in a gale, and the beasts plummet towards the earth was arrested, a portion becoming forward motion, the rest becoming its own gale to knock the tiny girl to the ground.

She scrambled to rise, screaming, her heart pounding in her chest already, but the beast didn't wait.

Long, black talons wrapped around the girl, snapping her into the air. Talons long enough to wrap entirely around the girl, even if she had been far, far bigger than she was, held her firmly. And then the massive wings began to beat, lifting beast -- and an inconsequential burden -- back into the sky.

"No!" the girl screamed, the word devolving into a long, shrill scream.

She beat at the talons and struggled to free herself, but then she looked down and realized just how high they had come after just moments, and her attempts to free herself changed entirely. She clutched at the talons.

"Please don't drop me! Please don't drop me!"

And the beast didn't drop the girl. Oh, no. That wouldn't do at all, for the girl was... necessary. No, there would be no dropping of the girl, not at all.

And so, holding the terrified girl carefully, almost tenderly in the long, share talons, the beast turned north and flew deep into the mountains, much deeper into the mountains, into the land where no man dwelt.

Together they flew, one massive beast and one frightened girl. And when it became apparent the beast wouldn't drop her, and the beast wasn't going to immediately eat her, the girl yelled, "What are you going to do with me?"

And if the beast heard, it gave no indication. If the beast understood, it gave no answer.

But the girl began to beat against the mighty talons, and while the girl couldn't do so much as bruise the beast, this the beast felt, and it ducked its head while still flying and looked at the girl.

And that was almost worst than not being noticed, because the beast's head was bigger than the girl, much, much bigger, and the teeth were long longer than the girl's hand, although not as long as her arm. The girl stopped beating on the talon but stared into the beast's eyes.

"Are you going to eat me?" the girl asked.

Perhaps the beast understood the question. Perhaps it did not. It gave no indication but turned to face forward again. And the girl grew still in the talons, not yet resigned to her fate, but resigned to the knowledge she could do nothing while carried so far from the ground.

They flew further, and if the girl had been dressed for a spring day on the ground, she wasn't remotely dressed for a spring day high in the thin air, blasted by the wind of their passage, and she grew cold.

And she began to shiver.

She was a small girl, a very small girl, but she wasn't a stupid girl, and she had lived near the mountains her entire life. She knew the dangers of catching too cold, and being unable to do anything about it.

"I'm cold!" she called out to the beast. "If we're going a great distance, can we turn back and collect my winter clothes?"

If the beast understood these words, it gave no indication. Perhaps the beast thought the idea was ludicrous, or perhaps there was simply not sufficient time to turn back.

The girl began beating on the talons again. "Do you want me to die? Is that it?" The beast felt the beating and turned its head to look again, the long, sinuous neck curved back on itself.

"I said I'm cold!" the girl said. "I'll freeze to death like this. The air is cold and the wind is worse. I'll freeze! Is that what you want? Don't you want your meal warm and fresh, not frozen into ice?"

Maybe it was the words. Maybe it was the look in the girl. Maybe the beast could see -- or feel -- the girl shivering.

So far, the beast had held the girl in the talons of one hand, but, almost tenderly, it gathered the girl in both hands, one high, just under her arms, and the other low, wrapped around her legs. And then it lifted.

Oh, not to its mouth. No, no. But instead the beast drew the girl to itself, cradling the girl against its own warm body, and even sheltered, if not entirely, at least largely from the wind.

The beast was warm, quite warm, actually, and it was only a few minutes before the girls trembled subsided. And she called out again.

"You! Hey. You!"

When her cries were not acknowledged, she again beast her fists on the beast, but this time against the belly of the beast. And so the head turned to her again. Seeing she had the beasts attention, the girl said simply, "Thank you."

The beast looked at the girl for a moment and then turned nose back into the wind.

The girl knew she wasn't safe. Oh, no. She was sure whatever would happen next would be no good to her at all. But for now, she was warm. For now, she was alive, and she was not being dropped to the ground for her body to lie, shattered.

And so, as the world flew past far underneath, she did what one wouldn't have thought possible.

She slept.

* * * *

As all journeys do, this one reached a conclusion. As journeys often do, this one did not end anywhere the girl recognized, and indeed, she didn't realize it was coming to an end until the end was upon them.

Perhaps it was the change in light. Perhaps it was a change in how the wings slowly beat. Perhaps it was the change in the air. Perhaps it was a change in the sounds, echoing from the walls of the great cavern as the beast disturbed the air. But the girl came awake.

And so she saw the last few seconds of the trip.

She saw the beast circle around the great cavern.

And she saw the beast approaching the wall. The girl gave out a scream, sure they were about to crash headlong into the wall, but the beast lifted its head and flared its wings before coming to a perch in an opening, high, high above the cavern floor.

The beast settled, and all grew still. And then, a moment later, the beast withdrew the girl from the embrace, holding her with outstretched arms before dropping her a very short distance to the ground.

And the girl stumbled, falling onto her backside before scrambling away from the great beast, scrambling away until her back came up against a smooth object.

At first the girl thought it was the wall of this cave, and she stopped, then felt backwards with her hands.

The wall was smooth.

The wall was warm.

The wall was curved.

The wall was moving.

The girl spun around to discover she'd backed not into a wall. Oh no, a wall wouldn't have been at all as frightening a thing at ones back.

No. She had backed into an egg, a very large egg, nearly as tall as the girl herself, and much, much wider, an egg so large it would have taken three of the girl to link hands and wrap arms around the entire egg.

And the egg held a crack, more than a crack. And as she stared, another crack formed, right at the height of her eyes. A beak poked its way from the shell, just the tip of a beak.

And then, over the course of just seconds, more cracks formed, and widened, and then all at once the shell best apart.

The head wobbled. The wings spread wide, fluttering as if the new beast, the baby beast was struggling to balance. And then the eyes opened and looked at the girl.

And the girl knew the dragonet was hungry, very, very hungry.

Maps

This post could be hashtagged a variety of ways. #FirstWorldTroubles. #WhinyWriter. #MindOfAWriter. Take your pick.

I have a couple of problems I want to share today related to maps of my worlds.

When I write stories set in the modern world, that world is already pre-defined. If I set a story in Madison or San Diego, I can go to Google maps and look up anything I need to know.

That isn't at all true when writing fantasy and science fiction novels, all of which (at least so far) are set in fictional worlds. And so, I am able to make up all the details I want. Of course, I have a responsibility to make the world as believable as I can, and so they tend to be Earth-like, although certainly not Earth.

In Amazon Companion, I decided that Gallen's Cove was on the west coast of Morehama, with everything else to the east. The Amazons live far to the east and the demons even farther east. The forest runs north-south, as does the mountain range. So far, so good, right?

Except in my head when writing, I have it turned around. I do this quite consistently. I am so accustomed to thinking of the ocean to the east, not the west. I couldn't explain why. I've spent roughly an equal amount of time on each coast (not that much on either), and I live a long, long way from any oceans. But for some reason, in my head, the ocean is to the east, not the west.

Why does this matter?

Well, think about Queen's Town. Thinks about how you might envision it so you could talk about it. I don't know about you, but I think of a map in my head, like I'm sitting near the top of a tree looking in. In my head, that tree is on the south side not far from Malora's hut. In my head, the stable is to the right, and Gallen's Cove is a week's ride past it -- far to the right. Malora's hut is below me and slightly left. Nori's hut is across a small clearing (remember, they are two curved rows of huts), on the same side as the stable. The kitchen and dining hall is further to the left, and the place they go to the river is even further left. To get to the training grounds from my perch in the tree, I would fly over Nori's hut, cutting the corner slightly to my left, travel through the trees a moment or so, then set down in the big field.

Now, that's a textual description, and I probably lost you. So I'll just review.

  • I'm in a tree on the south side of the village.
  • The stable is to the right -- with Gallen's Cove a long way to the right.
  • The demons are to the left.

But remember that Gallen's Cove is west and the demons are east. If you look above, you'll realize in my head, I see it backwards.

You can ask why I didn't just change the story to fit how I see it in my head? Well, I wanted Gallen's Cove to have west coast weather, not east coast weather. That's it.

The solution is simple: I should just draw a map. Then if I reference the map, I should get all my directions right, yes? That's great, and then I can scan the map with a scanner and include it in the books besides, so everyone can have one.

I used to think those maps in books were there for the reader. I think I was wrong. I think they're for the author to keep details right.

So now we come to problem #2. I have a way with words. But if you looked at the map of Privateer, which I spent hours on, you'll see that I don't have a way with drawing. I am particularly poor at it, actually. And I don't really want to publish books with maps in them of the quality I can draw.

So, two problems. I need maps to straighten the details in my head. But my maps are ugly and I don't want to publish them.

If anyone knows of any software that would help me draw maps that aren't ugly, I'd love to hear it. I've looked around, but I haven't found anything. I run on Mac. No Windows in this house.

-Robin

Story Idea

So I'm working on The Boss but took a moment to daydream, and I had this little mini scene appear in my head, completely unrelated to my current novel.

Imagine someone sitting at home and the phone rings. She picks it up, and the person on the other line says, "This is Barack Obama."

Average people don't expect phone calls that begin with such a declaration. The expected response is, "Yeah, right? Which of my friends put you up to a joke?"

Does our heroine stay on the line or hang up? What does the president do to convince her he's not lying?

I have no idea where the story goes after that. I don't know why the president needs to talk to her. But just that scene sounds like fun to write.

Snippet

A very brief snippet.


"Chicago gets cold," Theo said.

"Amateur," I replied with a grin.

On Writing

I received email from a reader requesting I post here more often. She was absolutely right, so I'm going to try to be a little more steady. Today I'm going to write about how the writing process works for me.

There are different styles of writers. There are the outliners and the seats of the pantsers. If that's a word. I'm the latter. Writing outlines sounds like work, after all, something I avoid as much as I can.

When I began Fox Run, I'd recently read the first three of Radclyffe's werewolf books, and I'd read the Patricia Briggs Iron Crossed series years ago. Fox Run was heavily influenced by those. And at the same time, I had an image of a larger woman physically dominating a much smaller woman. I don't know where that image came from, but it was there.

I went to lunch, pulled out my laptop, and started writing. That's all I had. I didn't have a plot. I didn't have names. I didn't even know that Michaela was a werefox before I started typing.

I do keep notes when I write. I have to. I have two Word documents open, one named something like "Fox_Notes" and the other "FoxRun" or whatever it is. In the Notes document go things like the names of the characters, physical traits, and the like. I didn't used to do this, which is how Emanuel's name changed from Fox Run to Fox Play. And I have a few lists of names I reference when creating a new character, or all my characters would be named from the same list of about a dozen names.

Sometimes when I sit down, I have more than a glimmer of an idea. My Soul to Play was a glimmer of an idea one morning, then I hopped into the shower, and I had most of the story figured out by the time I was dry. The thing is, when I write this way, my writing isn't usually as good. If I know the ending, I tend to be in a rush to get there, and I don't savor the story, if that makes sense.

The other thing I do is I write in sprints. Jove Belle and a few other authors do that, too. Jove has a daily sprint over lunch where she and some other authors post, "Starting now" on their Facebook pages and then, "1700 words" an hour or two later when they have to leave their writing for the day. In a sprint, you sit down and just start writing. You can edit later. You write what you can in the time you have. The difference for me is that my "sprints" can last 14 hours.

That's how I could write the first draft of Fox Mate in 6 days. 1000 words an hour is only 16 words a minute, and even a hunt-and-peck typist can type faster than that.

All that isn't to say I can't go back and add foreshadowing and fix plot holes after the fact. But more likely if something looks like foreshadowing, what really happened is that for some reason I wrote the earlier event just as it appeared an then it worked out properly for wherever the plot wanted to go later.

So there you have it, my writing style in a nutshell. Maybe next time I'll talk about disobedient characters.

Robin

Pawn

Here's a snippet from a little something I'm working on. -Robin

I'm no one's pawn. Not with my skills. I may outwardly kneel in allegiance, but when I do, it is by my choice, and only my choice. In more private settings, well, in the words of my people, "She carries the spear from that hut."

It's never meant as a compliment.

No, I'm no one's pawn.

Not anymore.

Candidate

Getting closer...


You Wake Up....

Given what I'm working on, I thought this was deeply appropriate.

Mine: Oh, shit.

-Robin

My Soul to Play

I just wrote the blurb below. I expect this book out later in the next few weeks.

Detective Teigan St. Claire, formerly of the Crimes Against Children unit, receives a phone call from an old friend. "My cousin is missing, and the cops aren't doing a thing about it. Can you look into it?"

When she does, the leads go firmly down the rabbit hole, landing in the office of the alluring and exceedingly dangerous Evaline Marsh. Ms. Marsh is far more than she appears, and she has a proposition for Detective St. Claire.

"If you want answers, you will play my game."

This is a novel of 80,000 words.

-- About Games People Play --

This was actually the first of the Games People Play series that I wrote but it has become the second to be published.

My writing frequently shares some common elements. Amongst those elements are the games. The wolves like their games. The idea that grew into Fitting In began with a softball game and the attendant trash talking (but then became something very different). And from time to time, someone writes me and says she enjoys reading the games.

The Games People Play series centers around a simple question.

Do you want to play a game?

Of course, a story about a game might not be interesting in itself, and so the games are an important theme, but they aren't the story itself. This story is about far more than that. It's about morality and casting judgment. It's about coming to conclusions about who people are based on labels. It's about black and white and shades of grey.

I hope you enjoy.

Three Pieces Published

Two novellas and a short. They should be live later today (Dec 26).

Enjoy. Robin.

Two New Novellas

I've written two new novellas!

I'm doing edits now, and hopefully both will be available later this week.

Taken is Out

(Click the link to go to Amazon.)

Bronze, the alluring alien warrior.

Sapphire, her prisoner, deep, deep in space.

Secrets, some shared, some shared, some hidden.

Bronze hopes for love, a willing mate. Sapphire hopes for happiness. Both fear the secrets.

Secret Society

Blythe Suzanna Montgomery Todd has spent her entire life helping her stern and distant Grandmother Cadence support her "events" and "projects". But when Grandmother Cadence dies, she leaves Blythe her prestigious West Hollow, housing elegant antiques, a gargoyle, and a number of secrets.

And the women of West Hollow have their own secrets, and Blythe is about to learn of them.

This is a novel of 110,000 words. It is at times serious, playful, sexy, and powerful. And, perhaps, a little juvenile, but growing up is overrated.

Collected

I just hit Publish. It should be available Saturday morning in the US.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Enough said? Expect it on Amazon late tonight or something on Thursday. Enjoy.

Making Myself Angry

I'm so angry right now. And it's the silliest thing. I'm angry at characters in a book -- a book I wrote. To get emotional over a book isn't that uncommon for me. I suspect it's not for any of you, either.

About two weeks ago, I started the first draft of a story I've been sitting on for a while. I finished the first draft 2 nights ago. 184,000 words in two weeks. I broke it into two pieces, and I'm working on edits. The books are (tentatively) called Collected and Taken. They came about because a year ago I read a really, really, really disgusting bit of hetero science fiction. In my mind, long before I finished the book, I was rewriting it so that it didn't suck quite as much. But I've wanted to spoof the entire genre twice. This new story is my second attempt. I'm not sure it's a good spoof. It's turned into a decent story instead.

But I kept most of the tropes from that really bad genre. Well, except I gender-bended it. Well, the original genre has a group of space aliens deeply violating someone's constitutional rights. In the original book, the woman in question just sits there and takes it. You can imagine how long my version keeps that particular behavior pattern.

So I just reverted some edits where the woman in my story is spewing more vitriol upon the aliens in question. I decided even writing it was causing me to blow a gasket.

That's right. Characters from my own book were really pissing me off. On the bright side, I'm in edits for a pair of novels. They'll be out soon.

Snippet

This is from a work in progress. -Robin


I'm no one's pawn. Not with my skills. I may outwardly kneel in allegiance, but when I do, it is by my choice, and only my choice. In more private settings, well, in the words of my people, "She carries the spear from that hut."

It's never meant as a compliment.

No, I'm no one's pawn.

Not anymore.

I Suddenly Love This Woman

A Foxy Valentine

I'll let this image speak for itself:


Cookies

Okay, I found this article while doing a little research. All I needed was one or two words, but I found the article absolutely fascinating.

It's sort of long, but it's worth reading. Wow.

http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/12/the-food-lab-the-best-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

You need to watch this

This is a TED talk. You need to watch this.

http://youtu.be/AOtsNMCRYG0

Note: this is a new link. The last one went to the wrong video.

Robin

Wrote Myself Into a Corner

From time to time, I receive email encouraging me to produce this book or that one. The Privateer sequel is the most common. More Fox books are a steady request.

And Nori's story from Amazon Companion comes up often.

I started writing a Nori story, but I set it aside and have been focused in other directions. I have a bit of a conundrum, and I wouldn't mind feedback.

Early in Amazon Companion, Nori tells Maya, "We do not consider a girl a woman until her 16th birthday." This is actually older than humanity has historically considered the age of consent and marriageable age for a young woman.

http://discover-the-truth.com/2013/09/09/age-of-consent-in-european-american-history/

That link is interesting. For perspective, Juliet was 13.

It is only in about the last 50 years or so that we have had a dramatic increase in the age of consent to 18, coupled with the societal values that drive that.

At the time I wrote what Nori said, I didn't have to worry about it. This book was about Maya and Malora, both clearly adults, and I was clearly on the safe side. Then when I began Beria's story, I realized I had a problem. I squirmed my way around it, although I never felt comfortable with it.

In Amazon Companion, Nori also told Maya that her 16th birthday was a long-awaited experience, and she wore out her warrior that night. I didn't worry about that because I never expected to actually write it.

So... I'm not sure what to do. I can keep the sex as fade to black. But it's starting to get well into the creepy side.

As I said -- it is only in recent history that we have developed the concept that people should be more mature, with 18 being the norm in the US (and most of us thinking 18-year-olds shouldn't have sex, either). In spite of what I write, I'm not any less a prude than the average America, I think. But marriage age within fantasy novels can often be lower.

But I've written myself into a corner. I don't know how I can write Nori's story and not start at the beginning, and that's what everyone wants, anyway.

Comments, anyone?

I Just Hit Publish

I just hit Publish on a new novella, Submission. It should be available through Amazon late today (Sunday) or certainly by Monday morning.

Here is the blurb:

Cassidy Ellis knows what she wants but has a horrible history trying to find it. What she wants is a woman who ties a good knot but treats her well in the process.

Then she meets Miranda Gogburn. The two share a torrid, passionate, spectacular weekend. Then they must each go back to their regular lives. For Cassidy, this means her job as a deeply introverted computer nerd.

But then fate brings the two women together again.

Fate is not always a kind lady.

This is a long novella of 43,000 words.

A Free Short: Sweet Kisses

I wrote a short story and submitted it to MCStories.com. You can find my story here: http://www.mcstories.com/SweetSubmission/index.html

It's a little different than my other stories. I'll be interested in hearing what you think.

Expect more Arlette and Tabitha stories in the future.

Pulled in Multiple Directions

I've been letting myself get pulled in multiple directions lately. But here are the drafts I've completed recently:

  • Snow Fox, a short
  • Sweet Kisses, a short
  • Submission, a novella

Snow Fox is part of a new series of shorts called Ski Bindings. Of course, it's about Michaela and Lara, but other stories in the series may be completely different. I've only read it through once, so it has some editing yet.

I'm actually going to publish Sweet Kisses for free reading over at mcstories.com. I'll let you all know when it's there.

Submission is a novella of, of course, dominance and submission. It carries elements of The Interrogation and even starts out in a very similar fashion, but it becomes a very different story after that. I'm actively working on the editing.

In addition to these, I've been working on:

  • The Privateer sequel
  • A sequel to Fitting In
  • A Fox novel
  • A gender-bender series about a modern day Cupid living in Key West
  • A story I'm calling White, which was originally designed to be a spoof of the alien abduction genre, but I've decided it's a little too sweet to be a spoof
  • A sequel to The Emergency Claus, told by Petunia.

I've been bouncing around between all of these, which is why nothing has gone out the door for a while. I'm excited about all of these, but I haven't been able to stay focused on just one. So they will all (or at least most of them) make it out the door eventually.

More soon. I'm taking Snow Fox and Submission to bed with me, so hopefully I'll have one or both out by the end of the week.