Typing With Wet Claws: My First Motel Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for a slightly later than usual Feline Friday. The reason that this blog is late is that we have moved out of the old apartment and are currently in a motel. This is my first time staying in a motel, and I have to say I have some mixed feelings about this.

First, we kitties like things to be The Same. This is not The Same. This is one room, with two beds. It is pretty big. I have spent most of my time under Anty and Uncle’s bed. Anty has been moving my food bowl farther from the bed every time she feeds me.

This brings me to the second thing. Anty and Mama worked very, vety hard yesterday, getting our things out of the old apartment. They still have to get some things out of the basement storage, but that is not important to this part. What is important to this psrt is that going up and down all those stairs, about a million billion times, carrying things that were not always weildly, made them both very, very tired. It made them tired enough to realize that, even though my food-food is downstairs in the car, nobody is willing to go out in the cold and get it, because I have a huge bag of treat right here. That means I get treat for every meal, all today. That is my favorite thing about motel living so far.

The humans thought I would be scared during the move, but I was actually pretty chill, and happy to watch the humans take things to different places. It was only when Anty got down to the last few things that I figured out that the next thing would be me, and it was. Anty put me in the carrier and now we are here. The humans had a talk this afternoon, about what we will all be doing next. I suspect there will be more carrier in my future.

This is normally the part of the post where I would tell you how to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, other than here, but the only computer Anty has out right now is her phone, so I am typing one toe bean at a time. Touchscreens were not made for pwas, let’s leave it at that. Also, the pictures are on the desktop, which is in storage, so I will mention that she only now realized that she dropped the ball on this week’s Buried Under Romance post. She offers her apologies in advance.

Anty’s Goodreads challenge is also on hiatus, because we are moving, but I will say that Anty is blowing theough YA novels at an impressive speed. We will put up proper reviews and pictures later. Right now, Anty is one big ache, but a big ache who emptied a pen, writing her morning pages in Big Pink, because the real morning pages book was, you guessed it, downstairs. Anty will attempt stairs tomorrowm

Anty will also attempt writing tomorrow. Actually, she will probably attempt it tonight, because she did not write anything on her Camp NaNo story, because her arms and legs were basically noodles, and her brain had melted, so she went to bed.

Normally, she would be upset at herself for missing that, but that is part of the reason she wanted to do Camp NaNo during this month. It is not a failure to miss a day, and the story is not over. It is only one day, and she can still “win” even if there is no input for a day or two. Life happensm

I guess that means motels happen, too. Anty was concerned that the motel would have carpet. It does not. The floor is a strange kind of ribby thing that I guess is a kind of linoleum. Anty brought all the things for my, um, stuff, so I will not make a big mess. Anty is good at thinking ahead about that kind of thing.

At some point, I will come out of my carrier, in our new home, and I will start to explore. I am sure some of our familiar things will already be there by the time it is ready for me, and I will find new favorite places. There will probably be windows, so I am looking forward to that.

Maybe that is what it is like for writers, starting a new story, like Anty is doing with her Camp NaNo story. Maybe that will bring Anty some all-treat days in her near future, too.

That is about it for this week, so, until next time, I remain very truly yours,

 

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling

(The kitty, not the book)

( I do not know how to add pictures to the post, on Anty’s phone.)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Typing With Wet Claws: On the Move Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for the very last Feline Friday from our current location. Today, Anty and Mama will start taking  boxes to the storage unit, and finish packing. Tomorrow, Mr. L will come and help Anty and Mama take our furniture to where it is going. Uncle will be at work, and he is working on sorting out where we will be doing our unpacking. It is all rather interesting to watch. The humans thought I would be upset, seeing my world go into boxes and such, but, apparently, that is a thing we (or at least the humans; I am too fuzzy to operate a packing tape dispenser safely. Also, I am short and do not have thumbs). I alternate between following around the humans who are in motion, and parking myself next to the ones who are still.

At some point (I am not sure which point) I will go into the carrier, and then a car ride, and then a new place. I do not know if that new place is our real new place, or a little while new place, but the humans will handle that part. I am certain that, after a while of not wanting to leave the carrier, I will get curious and want to come out and see what is going on in that new place. One of the humans will also put out food, water, and potty stuff for me, and I know what to do with all of those things. There has been talk of bribing me with my mousie game. It has a new expansion (at least Anty has never seen it before) where, instead of a mousie, I would hunt a chipmunk. That sounds exciting. I bet I am great at hunting chipmunks.

I hope the new place does not have carpet. I do not like carpet. I am a hardwood and linoleum/tile kind of gal. That said, if the new place does have carpet, I am sure I will deal. By “deal,” I mean stick to the floors that are hardwood, linoleum or tile, as much as possible. What is important is that I will be with my people, especially Uncle, because he is my favorite, and I love him the most.

Normally, I am not allowed to talk about anything else before I tell you where to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs. besides here, because you are already here. I suppose that, next week, here will technically be a different place, and I can tell you all about unpacking  and things like that, but, for now, I will give you a link to Anty’s post at Buried Under Romance. This time, Anty talks about the heroes of romance fiction. That post is here, and it looks like this:

burholdingoutforahero

Not Uncle. Uncle is much more handsome. Also, he wears shirts.

This week, Anty will probably talk about moving books, because she has had a lot of books to pack. She is also going to the library, because she forgot to leave out a paperback book that she might like to read the night of the move. Of course, she has her Kindle, and the Kindle app on her phone, but sometimes, she wants to hold a book, and not have to keep one eye on battery life. I am sure Anty will find something to read, and then she will give it back when she is done with reading it. That is how libraries work.

Normally, I would use this space to bring you up to date on Anty’s Goodreads challenge, but that is on hiatus right now. By hiatus, I mean taking a break. Anty is still reading books (books are her happy place when life gets crazy) and she actually may be reading more books than normal, but does not have the time to write full reviews. Those will come later, when we are settled.

Later tonight, Anty will need to take the desktop down, because the desk is going to the storage place for a little while. She will have her laptop, and there are many places where she can take that laptop, to connect to the interwebs. Anty will try to keep to the regular blogging schedule, but do not be surprised if I have to do a more in depth weekly summary for a week or two. That is all part and parcel of being a mews, and believe me, there are a lot of parcels in this place right now.

Anty is still writing, even with all the chaos, because books are her hapy place, and that includes writing them. It does not matter that the desktop has to take a rest, because Anty is writing her Camp NaNo story in longhand, and that notebook is already set aside, so it will not get stored. Anty is not sure yet if she wants to count pages she writes about the story, like character backgrounds and what is where in the village she created. My educated guess is that she will, but only the pages with words on them, not squiggly maps and such. Amty is not a cartographer. (That is a fancy word that means humans who make maps.)

All in all, this is a very interesting time. Stuff is moving around and there are a lot of cleaning stuff smells, and I am keeping a close eye on it all. Except when the humans rip packing tape. I do not like that sound, so I run away. I am doing a lot of running these days. Then I come back, to watch more, because that is what I do. I also chirp at Anty, to let her know I want food or treats, and let her know where her attention really belongs: on me.

That is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew

 

 

 

Four Days and Counting

Things I am never allowed to buy more of, ever again, ever:

  • Mini staplers and/or staple removers
  • staples for mini staplers and/or staple removers
  • Pencils
  • Sticky notes (except for the really big ones)
  • Paper clips (except for rose gold ones)

These restrictions come from my current packapalooza. All of the above have popped out at me from unexpected places, even, and maybe especially when I have already packed the office supplies, but wouldn’t you know it, there they are. This is where the plasticware I insisted on keeping comes in handy. Random small stuff busting out of nowhere? Pop that sucker into a container with those of its kind, slap a lid on it, label that lid (silver Sharpies are my friends) and we’re good to go.  Put smaller things in bigger things, find creative ways to lift the edge of packing tape when it falls back onto the roll, and keep on going.

Yesterday, Housemate reserved a storage unit. Today, we find out how soon we can start stuffing things into it. This move is leveling up, and, at the same time, a small village is taking shape. Not in a sit it down and plan it idea (though I do love planning) but more of a looking around and seeing who’s there approach.

I’ve always been character driven, and the stories almost always start with the characters for me. From the start, I knew A Moment Past Midnight would have a heroine, the two men she loved, and the choice she has to make. The first draft is kind of white-room-y, because I am pantsing this story a lot more than I usually do, but I am okay with that. As long as I get to hunker down in my remote village, and put my imaginary friends through their paces, I’m fine.

Today is the day for packing notebooks that I am actually using, and, effectively, putting my office (or this iteration of my office) to bed. In the next couple of days, we will be putting things in storage, and moving things to different destinations. I am firmly of the conviction that we don’t know exactly what material things we have, until we have to move them. At some point, I will be unboxing the vast majority of this stuff, and setting up a new office, then getting back to novel work.

Working on something shorter makes sense right now, and I like getting into the flow of opening a notebook, putting pen to paper, and letting the story take me where it will. I’m aiming for novella length, because the story problem is a relatively small one (my characters may disagree on the size of the problem, because it’s happening to them, and they were fine before I came along and messed with their status quo. Okay, two of them were doing fine. For the other, their current situation is somewhat of an improvement, though to what degree, is debatable.) I know where this story is going, but  how it gets there, that still has a few surprises.

I don’t have a Pinterest board for AMPM, though I do have properly sized page protectors for when/if I do print out any images of people, places, or things, but, right now, the village, and its inhabitants, live only in my head, and on the pink pages I fill every night. I’ve cleared the thirty page mark, which impresses me, because this is one wild ride on the domestic monsoon, but maybe the chaos is part of the process.

There’s a certain amount of free-floating of the story brain while doing uncreative things, like packing (though deciding what goes where, and how things can arrive at their next destination in the same amount in the same number of pieces with which they departed their last one, certainly takes  a special sort of creativity.) I wrap things, secure them, put them where they’re going to go, make labels for inside and outside the box, so we know what goes where, and what to expect when we slide the tape and lift out the items we want.

There will probably be some brain free-floating on that end of the move, as well. Since I’ve been reading more e-books lately, there aren’t as many physical books to deal with as there were for the last move, but there’s still a good number of them to place into the little free libraries within walking distance. Donation bins are waiting for clothing items we can no longer use, and other items will be dispersed other ways. I don’t want to blog only about the move, because I would rather talk about other things, but, on the other hand, it’s kind of hard to ignore.

Right now, time for blogging is done for this session, and time to put on Spotify and stick things in boxes is back. We’ll see which imaginary friends drop by to wander around my brainpan while I pack.

 

 

Six Days and Counting

Six days now, until move-out day, and the pressure is most assuredly upon us. We’ll be turning in our cable box, which also takes care of our internet, on Friday, so internet access may be libraries and coffee shops for a little while. I still plan to keep as closely to the regular blog schedule as possible, but if you’re following the moving saga, and don’t already follow me on Twitter, you can do that right here.

I will admit to strong feelings when it comes to taking apart my desktop and getting it ready to move to short term storage. This means the laptop will be called back to regular duty, which means tipping it back a wee bit, because the screen goes black if I hold it upright (I have no idea why this is; machine works fine, but needs to be at an angle if I want to actually see anything.) The flip side of this will be setting up my desk in its new home, and carving out my writing space once more. Until then, the world is my office.

This is one way that being a longhand-first writer comes in handy. The notebooks I use most (see picture above) will go in a special bag that will travel with me, personally, because I am not in the mood to have these notebooks go walkabout in the moving process. Entertaining as they might be to any random person who stumbles up on them and can read my handwriting, I’d rather keep them close. I can’t speak for all writers having special relationships with their tools, but, for this writer, the answer is most definitely yes.

Case in point: this weekend, I attended a leadership meeting (say what you will about an organization that allows me to lead anything) and we were all encouraged to take notes. I did not need the offered pen or paper, because I had Big Pink, and my pen case, but I did make a troubling discovery. Said discovery being the kind that trikes terror into the heart of a notebook lover. My notes filled the last pages of my Moleskine Volant, with its perforated pages. Normally, I would swap this insert for another, but (you may want to grab onto something heavy, for support) I had already packed my inserts. All. Of. Them.

Going into a move when I do not have perforated pages is not going to work, and running out to purchase another pack of inserts is not on the schedule, but packing mode has sped up the making connections part of my brain. On that same day, I also had filled the last non-perforated page in my cahier. There was an unopened hardcover Moleskine, lined, in my bookcase-made-from-milk-crates in the living room. Move cahier to Volant’s place, put hardcover where cahier used to be, all purposes fulfilled, back to alternating between calculated confidence and running around in circles, flailing arms and screaming.

More calculated competence, when it comes to packing, and, oddly enough, in writing, as I am on track with my Camp NaNo progress. If I keep up at my current rate, I may very well finish before the end of the month, with room to spare. The story problem is a smaller one (or is it?) – get heroine back with the man she loves, and send her would-have-been second husband off into the sunset, eventually to land in a companion story. We’ll see how that goes.

Novel projects are on pause (or are they?) while we’re in transition, but part of packing includes digging up bones. One of these bones comes in a navy blue binder. Said binder is not the kind with space for me to put my own cover image behind a clear film, so I had no idea what I’d find, when I opened it. What I did find yanked me firmly into novel land. In Nothing Short of Heaven, which  initial version was, itself, a NaNo project (though regular or camp version, I cannot say) is, like Her Last First Kiss, set in Georgian England, and I won’t say I forgot about Slate and Melanie (because how could I?) but seeing them again, when I didn’t expect them, well that was something else.

Slate has no sense of self, while Melanie knows exactly who she is. Her theme song is “So What,” by P!nk. Her BS meter is set to zero, which serves her well, because Slate, well, he has some baggage. This book also has probably my favorite villain I’ve written so far, who prefers the title of Master to his actual name. I’m still planning on finishing the second draft of Her Last First Kiss first, but I wouldn’t mind getting reacquainted with Slate and Melanie, at all, when I’m done with this one.

Right now, I’m doing the thing in front of me -which is, apart from my nightly Camp NaNo pages, packing- and, at the same time, keeping an eye on the end goal. New apartment. Finished draft. New release. New notebook. (Hey, small perks can have big effects.) Later today, I’ll be viewing an apartment that is not only basically across the street from our current place, but the next door neighbor would be a takeout calzone restaurant. I will count that as an amenity.

020418deskscape2

Typing With Wet Claws: I Live in Boxville Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, with another Feline Friday. Moving day gets even closer, and there are a lot more boxes right now. This is not high on the cat-pleasing metee, These are not the fun kind of boxes that I have heard other cats like to get into (I do not go into boxes, because I am nt big on climbing or jumping) but the kind of boxes that all of our things go into. I would say I will feel more at ease when I see things come out of those boxes, but that will mean going to a different place. I do not like different.

Yesterday, Anty and Uncle looked at an apartment they liked very much, and the human who is in charge of that gave them a paper they need to fill out to find out if they can live there. Kitties are welcome, which is good. The actual moving stuff is not so much fun, but nobody has asked me to pack anything, so far, so I am not going to complain.

Even though some things are on hiatus while Anty deals with the move, other things are not. I still have to tell readers where they can read Anty’s writing on the interwebs, besides here, because anyone reading this is already here, and Anty is still at Buried Under Romance every Saturday. This past week, she talked about reading when life gets weird. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURlifegetsweird

Even though Anty’s Goodreads challenge is on hold until the dust, figurative and literal, from the move settles, she is working hard on another challenge. That challenge is her story for Camp NaNoWriMo, A Moment Past Midnight. Anty is writing this story by hand, in a special notebook, which I will show you. That notebook I this one:

 

AMPMcoverpage.jpg

cover page and notes

Anty found this leathery paper holder while packing, and it had some paper in it, but not a lot. That meant she had to go out and get more paper if she wanted to actually write something, which is this paper:

AMPMblankpages

These are pages with no writing on them. It is Anty’s job to put writing on them. That is why she has a pen in the pen loop. Every night, she tells herself a new part of the story. That fills at least two pages, sometimes more. Anty plans to write at least fifty pages during this month. She has written, so far, nineteen pages, which is almost one half of the way to her goal. I think that is doing rather well. She has some notes she made about what she wants to write, but, for the most part, she is letting the story tell itself to her. There is not a lot of pressure that way. She does know where she started, and where she wants it to end, but there will be a few surprises along the way.

That is why she needs different kinds of paper, besides the regular writing paper, which is the pink paper. That other paper is part from a planner she had one or two cats ago, and part if that other paper, the other other paper, if you will, is a mini legal pad, by Punch Studio (do not worry, I did not get punched, and neither did Anty) :

AMPMpadredo

The mini legal pad is very pretty, which means Anty will want to look at it more. This is where she writes down things like ideas for supporting characters that would be around her protagonists (protagonists is a fancy word that means  the humans who have the most important roles in the story) or questions she needs to answer, or ideas for scenes and things like that. They are not part of the actual story, but they are important in creating the framework for it.

If you think you see a clear plastic page on the other side of the legal pad, you are right. That is also part of the old planner, as is the plastic bookmark that clips onto the rings. The plastic sheet is so that Anty always has a firm surface on which to write, no matter where she is. That will come in very handy during moving time.

So far, Anty has found that she likes writing by hand very much. She always knew this, but the fact that she does not transcribe anything yet, but goes straight to writing more pages by hand, makes this story feel different from the rest. She will see how she feels about that by the end of the month. Maybe this will be something she can carry over into future projects, and/or picking up the ones that are on hiatus.

That is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew

 

Manhattan Special, and Lessons from Sience (sic)

Not going to lie, today is not my favorite day. We are now ten days from  moving out of this apartment, and we are still not one hundred percent firm on where we will be landing. Today’s packing focus is stuff that is, pardon the pun, extremely close to home. The TBR books go in boxes, naturally, and I actually want a bit of distance from this particular shelf, so that the anticipation can grow again. This is also the day that I pack my notebooks, and the art and writing magazines, and that is the part that’s bugging me the most.

Breaking down the stuff that I love and putting it away, to be replaced by empty space is not fun. I would rather be writing. I’m glad that I’m doing Camp NaNo this year, and I’m glad that I’m measuring my progress in handwritten pages. Coming to pen and paper at the end of the day is a happy place. It’s a place where I don’t feel the pressure of perfectionism weighing on me. All I’m doing is telling a story, and I love that.

Do I want this story to eventually see publication? Of course I do. I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I write. I have a white board in my office, and, right now, it has “do what you know” written on it. If the packing gets overwhelming, what do I know needs to be done? Is all I can do right now, put things that go together, together? Can do. Art magazines go with art magazines. Filled notebooks in one stack, blank ones in another, active notebooks in another, still. Bit by bit, it  all comes together.

That can be difficult to see, when drowning in a sea of cardboard, packing tape that is apparently self-shredding (seriously, if anyone ever invented shred-proof packing tape, they would be a millionaire.) There are times I am convinced our stuff is breeding while we sleep. This may be true of the printer paper, which is now officially serving no purpose, as we packed the printer last night.

Where I wanted to be, short term, right now, was handing in the revised manuscript of Chasing Prince Charming (to be fair, we’re almost there, and my co-writer also needs to hit pause for a couple of weeks) and forging ahead on Drama King, while bringing the second draft of Her Last First Kiss to fruition. That will still happen, only not on my schedule. I am not looking beyond each individual day’s writing for A Moment Past Midnight, though I do have to admit I am falling in love with the guy who does not get the girl, and very much look forward to finding the love of his life in another story.  I don’t normally think in linked stories, but at least one more, maybe two more stories, were part of the plan for AMPM from the outset, so we will see where this goes.

Where I wanted to be, long term, was farther along in my career. Print books. Glossy covers. Matte covers, for that matter. Actual, physical books to sign. Again, that cans still happen, and, with consistent work, it will, but, right now, it’s all cardboard and packing tape and Sharpie fumes, and the occasional emotional time bomb as I rip into the odd couple of boxes that never got unpacked from the last move.

040418oldnotebook

vintage notebook – score!

My handwriting identifies this notebook as dedicated to “sience” (sic.) It was only missing a few pages, and the rest are blank. Considering my grades in science classes over the years, this does not surprise me. Ironically, spelling was always one of my better subjects.  This is probably going in the box of unused notebooks, because I A) want to keep my box of active notebooks light, and B) the pages are regular white, with blue lines, and I don’t normally use that type of paper.

Still, there’s a connection. By the single doodle I found inside, I suspect I was ten when I took “sience.” Our family, then my dad, my mom, two dogs, one hamster, and me, moved that year, as well. I wasn’t too thrilled about that move, either, and remember an impassioned plea to be allowed to live on my best friend’s couch (spoiler alert: it did not work. Even though friend was fine with it, none of the parents were on board) the move still happened.

Today is gray and rainy, which is good writing weather. Is it good packing weather? That depends on how fond one is of the scent of damp cardboard, but I think we’ll manage. When I get into the packing groove, there’s a phase when I hit autopilot, the question of what goes where answers itself, and the people who live in my head (aka characters) get downright chatty. That part, I like. It’s not so much “writing” as it is “story,” and it builds a foundation I can build on when the dust (literal and figurative) settles.

In the meantime, these boxes aren’t going to pack themselves, and I’ve got some NaNo pages to write tonight. Totally pantsing this one, which is an adventure, but that’s for another post.

Like a Tornado Hit a Ghost Town

Imagine that a tornado hit a ghost town. Now, imagine that the ghost town was comprised entirely of books, pens, and paper. That is basically what my office looks like at the moment. Our dining room is now Box Town, inhabited by our dining room table, the DVD cabinet, and a whole bunch of boxes. All of said boxes are, or were (i.e., items slated for donation) mine. Apart from the boxes of stuff to donate, and what I haven’t been through yet, the boxes are neatly stacked, and labeled and sealed. The labels state what’s inside the box, and, in case the label is somehow separated from the box in the process, there is an identical label inside the box, as well. The label also says what room the box came from, which is usually, but not always, also its destination in the new apartment.

We are still in the process of securing said new apartment, so stay tuned for updates as they come. Right now, what we have is packing. A lot of packing. Mostly mine, because A) I am the one who works at home every day, so I am the one physically in the building the most, to be able to put stuff in boxes, and B) I am awesome at organizing. Also, C) I am bossy , um, I mean, I have strong leadership skills.

This is why my involvement in packing Real Life Romance Hero’s and Housemate’s things will consist of pointing them towards boxes, tape, and Sharpies. Default answer to “where does X go?” is “storage.” Regardless of where we’re going, we are blowing this popsicle stand on the fifteenth, and, if we’re going to get there in decent shape, we have to work like a well oiled machine.

 

This whole moving business reminds me of writing,. not that oddly enough. Here are a few things I’ve learned thus far:

  • Putting away favorite things is hard. This one feels obvious, but needs stating anyway. Yesterday, I bit the bullet and boxed my favorite-favorite books. While moving while anxious is a whole new level of stress anyway, knowing that I won’t have my books in their shelves for the next two weeks, when I am going to be stressed the heck out cranks things up a level. Ditto for packing my art supplies. Putting favorite things away sucks, but it’s also a full commitment to closing this chapter and starting another.  One the books are in boxes, there is no going back.

 

  • More, lighter boxes. This goes with the above lesson. Books are heavy. Paper is heavy. Lugging unliftable boxes is not good for anybody’s back. The new protocol is thus: pack box halfway full of books/paper, then fill the space with lighter, softer things, like fuzzy throws/pillows, or stuffed animals, heavy sweaters, etc. Balance the heavy stuff with lighter, warmer stuff. Works in writing as well as in moving.

 

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. There will be a lot of small stuff. The big stuff is more important. Put the small stuff together, pick one time to deal with it as a whole, and pack it or toss it as needed. Small things can fit inside big things, so they don’t get lost.

 

  • Pack your own area. This refers to my point above. Nobody knows how to pack your things like you do. Does it matter to how Housemate is packing her personal items? No, because they are not mine. The method that works for her may not make sense to me, and vice versa. In short, head down, and eyes on my own paper.

 

  • You need more tape. Doesn’t matter how much tape you have, or think you’ll need. You need more. Those box bottoms need to be secure, unless watching collectible, out of print books cascade down one or more staircases like a paginated waterfall is your idea of fun. If so, then feel free to fold flaps under and leave it like that. For the rest of us, we need more tape, or the bottom will fall out and spill everything. Also, packing tape is going to shred. That is a fact of life. Folding over the end of the strip (I like a forty-five degree angle, to make a triangular pull tab) is, however, a valid workaround.

 

  • You’re done when you’re done. As tempting as it may be to leave piles of junk in one’s wake, that’s not going to fly in moving, or in writing. Everything has to go somewhere, even if that “somewhere” is the trash. Keep, sell, donate, trash; it doesn’t have to go home, but it can’t stay here. Okay, when moving, technically, the stuff is going home, but work with me here. In writing, the story question has to be answered. For romance, this means the lovers need to end up together, and happy about it.  If either one of those isn’t in place by the end of the manuscript, that means the job isn’t done.

 

  • The job will, at one point, be done. There’s nothing for a writer like typing those two magic words, the end. With moving, that translates to bringing those boxes to the new place, wherever that may be, and slicking through the tape, opening the cardboard flaps, and putting everything where it belongs, once again. There’s the moment of saying “okay, that’s everything,” flopping down on the nearest piece of soft furniture, and realizing that one is home now. A different home, to be sure, and, maybe, there will be another move in the future, but moved-in is its own special  satisfaction. It’s also a darned good motivator when surrounded by boxes and dust, one eye on the ticking clock. Every step is one step closer to done.

With that in mind, I think I can handle the ghost town phase.

020418deskscape2

Typing With Wet Claws: I Know What Boxes Mean Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This week is a little bit different than other weeks, and here is a reason why.

300318firstbox

I know what this means…

Anty, Uncle, Mama, and I will be moving out of this apartment and into another one. The humans are still working on which one, so I will bring updates when there is news on that front, but, until then, some things are going to be a little bit different until the dust settles. Do not worry; if any of it settles on my fur, I can lick it off. I have a spiky tongue, so it will be pretty easy.

The packing however, according to Anty, is not. Putting books in boxes is probably the easiest, and the hardest, part of packing. On the one paw, books and boxes are very close to the same shape, so they are probably the easiest thing to pack. On the other paw, books are one of Anty’s favorite things, so it is not fun putting them away, and not having them out there. On the other other paw (I am allowed four, because I have four) it is a necessary part of the moving process. The other alternative is to walk away and throw a match over one shoulder. That is called arson, and it is wrong. Do not do arson. On the other other other paw, sorting the books before putting them in boxes is kind of fun, and the ones Anty will not take with her, can go to little free libraries, which are boxes where humans can take or leave books, at no cost. That is nice.

Moving is not nice. Especially not for kitties. We do not like moving. We like to stay in one place, and have things be The Same. I was born wild, then I got hurt and rescued at the same time. Then I moved to the vet (okay, the rescue people moved me) and then to the shelter (rescue people again) and then Mama and Anty found me and I moved to Mama’s old apartment. Then we all moved to this apartment, and all started living together. That is how I fell in love with Uncle. He Is my favorite, and I love him the most.

Anty is okay, too, though. I am sending love beams and supervising while she packs everything from her office, except for the carpet. Anty is not bringing the carpet. That stays here. That means I win.  Anty is starting at the back of the house and moving forward. Uncle and Mama are on their own for their special areas. I was kind of worried about what that means for my areas, because I do not have thumbs, and am too fuzzy to use packing tape safely. It is okay, though. The humans will take care of my area.

In exchange, I have to keep readers apprised of a few things, including where to find Anty’s writing on the intrwebs, except for here, which is where you already are.. First, as always, she was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, with part three of her series on heroines in romance fiction. What happens when heroines band together? Read the post, find out, and leave your own comment. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURwallflowersandwildwomen

Normally, this would be the part of the post where I tell you about Anty’s Goodreads challenge, but, for the next couple of weeks, that is going on hiatus, as is Anty’s Skye-athalon (the books, not the kitty; she is not packing me, although I will have to go in the carrier on the day we move.) She will pick those up again when we are settled and the books are out of their boxes. Until then, she has her Kindle, so she will not lack for books to read. That is a good thing. Once we are settled, she is going to crash for a week, and she can read more then.

Camp NaNo is still a go, surprisingly enough, because Anty does need an outlet in all this craziness, and writing a couple of pages of first draft is something she can do in little bits of time, pretty much anywhere. While she is packing notebooks, she will pick the notebook for her Camp NaNo story. Then, starting on Sunday, she will write in it. Right now, Anty intends to keep up with the blog posts, but if things get erratic for a while, it is because we are moving, and will settle down again, once we are in place.

When that happens, Anty will be ready to get back to the big work of getting her novels already in progress to their next phases. I, of course, will be providing support and encouragement throughout the entire process, and I will get a new sign-off picture once we are in the new place. Walking down the same hall, to my current room, once the new people are in this apartment would probably not go over well, although I am cute and fuzzy, so who knows? I am an indoor kitty, though, so I will stay in our new place, hence the required new picture. I hope it will be taken on a good tail day.

That is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew

 

 

Domestic Monsoon Season

This is a tough post to write. It’s also personal, but this is a blog about the writing life, and domestic tornadoes are part of that life. This time, it’s more of a domestic monsoon, which may disrupt the posting schedule for a few weeks. In  two words, we’re moving. This came upon us quickly, so the next couple of weeks are going to be mostly devoted to throwing things in boxes and scouting out new digs. Still a few bugs to figure out the whole process, but, on the other side, there will be a new normal, and I’m actually looking forward to that.

The details, for this blog, aren’t important, but if posting goes a wee bit wonky for a while, that’s why. For me, writing is my happy place, so, even though we are dealing with more than a few question marks (everybody is fine, and we are all together) there’s a surge of MOAR WRITING within my story brain. This seems counterproductive, when there is a lot of adult-ing to be done, but the surge is loud, and insistent, and it won’t turn off, so I’m going with it.

Camp NaNo is still a go (cabins should be assigned soon, yes?) and, since my goal is set in pages, not words (is this a thing with regular NaNo as well? Because that would be amazing.) I can pop a notebook in my bag, even a slender, cahier style book, and be good to go, literally any time or anywhere.  Transcription can happen when the dust settles, and N, at our weekly breakfast, said she thinks I should have an idea for the second book in this village world thing ready to go, in case I get all the way through a half draft of the first one. I appreciate the vote of confidence.  Maybe the cahiers will be one of these beauties:

02notebookhaul

Packing the office is kind of a love/hate thing for me. I hate to tear apart my Hobbit hole, but it also gives me a chance to examine, reassess, and make decisions. What’s most important to my writing life? What can carry on to the next phase, and what gets passed along to somebody else? What gets tossed? What needs to go into storage for use another day? What, for that matter, could turn a profit, large or small? Interesting questions, all. I like interesting questions.

Interesting questions usually have equally interesting answers, and, when the monsoon has passed, there will be the clam after the storm, and then, new things will bloom. In June, I will be presenting a workshop, topic to be announced, at Charter Oak Romance Writers. Skye or I will add details as they are finalized, but those in the CT/Western MA area are welcome to save the date for June 2nd.

Appropriately enough, one of the potential topics is a workshop I created, with my contemporary co-writer, Melva Michaelian, called Save the Author, Save the Book. This workshop was born when Melva and I arrived early for a conference workshop, that we hadn’t realized was cancelled. We joked about making our own workshop, and, as we were both dealing with domestic monsoons then, as well, we found our topic easily. Consider it self care for writers, or how to write through stressful times.

There’s nothing like a domestic monsoon to put things in perspective. Novel work may be tricky when juggling metaphorical chain saws in daily life, but getting a few pages of rough-rough draft of a novella in longhand? Totally do-able. Hey, it means new notebook, picking out a pen, and the excitement of beginning a new story. The big projects will still be there when the monsoon has abated, and, perhaps, be even better for the time to marinate.

For some writers, domestic monsoon season is a time for writing, in general, to marinate, and I love that more than one writer friend has reminded me that there is that option, but the desire to write, and to write up to The End, has only intensified since the monsoon began. Is that the way things are “supposed to” go? I have no idea. When domestic monsoon season hits, that’s when a special flavor of Get It Done mode kicks in, so maybe it’s not that unusual that it would carry over into writing, in general.

TLDR: (too long, didn’t read) Deskscapes are going to look different for a while, but writing and blogging and stationery geekery endure.

TheWriterIsOut

Writer’s Bug-out Bag

This morning, I hauled a much-needed load of laundry to our regular laundromat, to find the custodian hard at work, mopping the floors, two people happily chatting in the seating area, and both change machines out of quarters. Well. Although a gentleman I do not personally know offered to take my single dollar bills “to the store” to exchange for quarters, I declined the offer, and, instead, took a few blocks’ stroll to the other laundromat.

Plusses of other laundromat: it is pink, it has an attendant, and more machines, so no waiting. Minuses of the other laundromat: it is a few blocks away, and there is always news or talk shows on the TV, but I have headphones, and an ability to tune out unwanted noises when I want to write. Laundry time makes for good writing time, but, while I am happy to haul Big Pink and my fifty-nine pen case basically across the street while simultaneously juggling a basket full of laundry, the same does not hold when I need to cross the street twice, then take a four block stroll, carrying those same items.

Recently, Real Life Romance Hero received a complimentary small, zippered bag, from an organization to which he belongs. Because he is a man of fine taste and high intelligence, he offered the bag to me first. It should be about the size of Big Pink. Did I want it? Um, yes. Smart man.

While Big Pink does indeed fit in this bag, the pen case would not, buuuut, what if I could bring my absolute essentials with me, have them live in one bag, and so all I would have to do when headed on a laundry excursion of any distance (or park, or coffee house, etc) was grab it and go? Intriguing. Combine that with the required weekly trip to Michael’s, and we have:

 

01smallbagcovers

the essentials

The purple cover is for my Kindle (pop over three hundred books in my bag when I leave the house? Don’t mind if I do.) and the red cover is a 5×8 Piccadilly Essential. Moleskine, Leuchtrumm, or other books would also work, but I wanted to finish filling this one. The gold pen case (looked rose gold in the store, which is why I picked it over the pink one, but live and learn and always look in natural light) has an elastic that goes over the book, useful since the Piccadilly’s elastic went the way of the dodo some time back.

 

01smallbaginnards.jpg

Innards

 

The paper is ivory (much, much better for my tired eyes than white) and lined, and the pen case is perfectly sized for six Stabilo fineliners, and one Frixion highlighter.

Because I prefer a visual break between brain dump sessions, or between subjects/scenes/insert own unit of demarcation here, I stuffed a small book of washi tape strips and stickers into the back pocket. The facing page has sticky notes, because a book is not truly mine until it has sticky notes sticking out of it. Slip pen case around book, toss in bag, good to go.

 

01smallbagextras.jpg

extras

The endpapers are my own addition; the book comes with plain ivory, but I couldn’t let that stand. This does not by any means take the place of Big Pink, but, if I am going to be hauling laundry for multiple blocks, or, hopefully seldom, going to the ER, especially in the wee hours, or other spontaneous trips where I want to have writing materials at hand that not only serve the function of something to write on, and something to write with, but feel like me, I’m good with this setup.

Having particular tools at hand isn’t essential, but it doesn’t hurt, either. It’s rather satisfying. If the longhand would transcribe itself, that would be even more convenient, but I am not complaining. The red book is almost full, after several attempts at prior purposes – another format of a commonplace book, my first attempt at making my own planner (it did not go well) and notes for posts for another site. This means that I get to pick out a new book to take its place when I’ve filled the last page…or maybe a not-so-new book.

I like the idea of taking those notebooks that were started, then abandoned, either excising the old, written-on pages, covering them, or merely taping them together in one big block, and giving the book new life. Perhaps it’s all part of the creative process, trying, falling, getting up again. Finding what works. Finding what doesn’t. Right now, this does, so I’m making note.

TheWriterIsOut