Köld Front

Whenever Monday’s blog shows up on Wednesday, we know there is a story behind it. Saturday, I felt fine. Had a great time at Capitol Region Romance Writers. Fabulous presentation by Jeanette Grey, a pen swap, some planner chatter (no, this is not a post about planners) with like-minded souls, fun ride there and back, with N and Mr. N, lovely tea at home with Housemate, and quality time with Real Life Romance Hero.

Then I woke, around 1AM on Sunday, both nostrils doing their best Niagara Falls impressions. Not what I would have chosen, especially since I had two volunteer commitments, back to back, for Sunday. For anybody who had to deal with the spacey chick, my deepest apologies. Monday, I spent mostly sleeping, or staring at the ceiling, making a sound vaguely like a foghorn, subsisting on a diet of cherry cough drops and ginger ale. I made myself three cups of tea on Monday, and, each time, I fell asleep before I could drink said tea, waking up when it was disgustingly, un-drinkably cold.

Part of my brain urged me to seize the day. Sick in bed? Yes! The time has come! Netflix all day! Read all the books! Make art! I did none of those things. I lay there in a nest of blankets and tissues, alternating between fever and chills. Thankfully, Nurse Real Life Romance Hero was on the job, and he was a rock star. Even Sebastian pulled extra pillow duty. I made an attempt, yesterday, to rally, which can best be exemplified by mentioning that there is a small notebook of black paper, with gilded edges, around here somewhere, and I have no idea where. We live in a one bedroom apartment. There are not that many places it could be. but misplacing specialty paper is a pretty good sign it’s time to go back to bed. I slept next to a new pack of markers for two days, then did not sleep at all for two nights in a row.

Which brings us to today. I’m still not one hundred percent (that will come) but my brain circles back to Saturday’s CR-RWA meeting. The topic was goal setting for the disappointed writer, which is extremely relative to my interests. Also, I hated having to put off this week’s session with N (we had live writing scheduled!) so I was for sure not wanting to miss my Skype talk with Melva, which means I need to get my behind in gear, and cram a week’s worth of work into one day. Okay, maybe a few days’ worth and move a couple of other things into next week.

What I’ve got right now is this blog, because darned if I am going to miss a second blog this week, then I need to send the latest version of chapter four of Her Last First Kiss to Melva, then look over her latest Drama King scene, and make comments. I also have a scene for Drama King, that I had a ton of fun first-drafting, that needs some smoothing out/second drafting, and I cannot wait to get to any of the above. There is, however, the not so small matter of a cold that has taken on a life of its own. Well, his own.

We call him Köld. The umlat is important. He sounds Swedish, and looks like he plays in a death metal band. He’s a gregarious sort, making the rounds from Patient Zero (aka Real Life Romance Hero) to Housemate, and, then, when I thought I would escape this Köld front, but, alas, no. Köld will, in time, wander off to meet new friends, instead of plopping himself in my computer chair to play MMOs for entire weekends at a time. I would assume he’s playing something like Skyrim. He seems the type. When he does wander off, I will reclaim my throne, and get back to the business of romance writing.

I may even miss him when he’s gone. Not going to lie, having a handsome private nurse/personal chef, at my beck and call, is pretty awesome. He says he has to work tomorrow, so I will be in charge of my own meals. I would grumble (his roast beef melt is amazing) but I’m looking forward to Skyping with Melva, getting up to date on all things with The Wild Rose Press, and Chasing Prince Charming. There will be laundry to do, as Köld uses a lot of towels (also t-shirts and pajamas) but that means reading time, which means I get to make up for some of what I lost by sleeping next to a box of markers.

Who else has experienced a Köld front this winter? What’s your favorite sick day indulgence? Let me know in the comments: I am taking suggestions.


Typing With Stuffed Paws: Marathon Weekend Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling coming at you with all the stuff on the week that was. 2019 is in full swing, and Writer Chick is meeting it head-on, because all of her mucking about with various notebooks seems to be paying off, but more on that later. For now, it’s time to dive into the compulsories and getting those out of the way.

May the reading odds be ever in your favor…

First, as always, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance, on this past Saturday. This time, she’s all about the reading games many people play at this time of year. The link in the caption above will take you there, or, if you’re lazy like me, this works, too.

Currently reading

The library wanted their copy of Heartless, by Mary Balogh, back, so Writer Chick is now re-reading that book on her Kindle (which, by the way, she needs to charge, so, Writer Chick, do the right thing.) She is now on Fruits Basket collectors’ edition number five, and needs to send volumes three through five, back to H, so H can send her the next batch. Writer Chick is also planning to put an extra book in her package to H, that being a book that she thinks H will like. Right now, she is thinking maybe Wideacre, by Phillipa Gregory.

Writer Chick is charging into 2019 with her Goodreads challenge, going into the second week with four books read, out of ninety-five, which puts her two books ahead of schedule. The Fruits Basket collections are big, but they read quickly, so this is plumping her reading tracker in the page count department, as well. This brings her to four percent of the annual goal. Going into the new year, already two books ahead, is probably a smart move, because the marathon weekend is upon us, and reading for marathon weekends gets iffy.

Tomorrow is Writer Chick’s Capitol Region Romance Writers meeting. On Sunday, she is volunteering twice, Since Writer Chick is an extrovert, this triple infusion of PEOPLEis a very, very good thing, and she will be full of energy to tackle the writing week ahead. She will also have some free space in her stationery storage, because she is doing a small cull of pens, notebooks, etc, that would be happier in new homes. I can’t promise she won’t come home with new stuff, if anybody else has the same idea.

It’s focus time

Another part of the reason Writer Chick is focusing well these days is that she has started a writing-only planner, with no other sutff allowed. More on that in the first Monday in February. There is also a bigger writing notebook, that is broken into sections, so Writer Chick can do a brain dump of what she’s going to write, before she writes it. After that, it’s a matter of following the map, plus she got to play with paper and pen, so that’s a plus. She also now keeps a written record of what she has blogged about, and when, which includes posts by yours truly.

No word count trackers as of yet, but, so far, setting task goals is turning out to work super well. The first round of edits on Chasing Prince Charming are on their way back to Editor Chick, and reading Other Writer Chick’s comments on the second chapter of Her Last First Kiss, is Writer Chick’s reward for helping me with this post. Though, let’s be real, quality time wiht me is reward enough, amirite?

Suffice it to say that the historical romance vibe is back, due to a few factors:

  1. Chasing Princ Charing.  Even though this is contemporary romance, it’s set in the world of historical romance, with a hero who is madly in love with the genre. Writer Chick also gets to write with Other Writer Chick, so this is double fun.
  2. Her Last First Kiss. This book is once again in motion. Talking about it builds momentum, which means Writer Chick wants to spend more time with it, so getting through draft two is actually fun.
  3. Proper reading and viewing diet. See the currently reading section above. Even though Fruits Basket is not historical, H assures Writer Chick that it is, at its heart, romance, and there are plenty of romances in it, so Writer Chick is well fed, there. Ditto on the romantic elements in Time and Agin, H assures her, and the old New York setting does not hurt one bit, either. Then there’s Heartless, which is most assuredly historical romance, in the Georgian era, and by Mary Balogh, who always delivers the emotional goods.
  4. Art. Since Writer Chick received some super fun art gifts for Christmas, she is making it a point to do more art herself, and show that art to other people. This will mostly be taking place on Instagram, so follow her there, if you want to see that kind of thing. Also tell her you want to see more pictures of a handsome orange badbutt fella.

That’s about it for this week. Writer Chick wants to get to those HLFK comments, so time for me to find a sunbeam. See you next week.

Peacce out.

Ingredients For Idea Soup

The Christmas tree is not down yet, but it’s on the list. I have lost track of the amount of tea I have drunk today, and I am probably (definitely) not done with that, yet. I have my Irish fisherman blanket over my lap, and there is a fresh jar candle burning on the dining room table. Wassail Wishes, bout at deep discount, as the first candles of spring have arrived, to push my beloved winter scents into the clearance section. I am not ready for that, but, on the other hand, discounted candles. Life is full of tradeoffs.

Outside my window, the world looks like this:

waiting on promised precipitation…

I met with N this morning, our first time since before the holidays. Mr. N and I teased her with our love of the cold, gloomy weather (N is not a fan) while she declared her preference for sun. This is a familiar dance, and a lovely one. N and I brought each other up to date, on matters domestic, and writing-related, over bagel and tea for me, breakfast sandwich and coffee for her.

I showed her my new planner, the one that is writing-only, and new stuffings for both Big and Li’l Pink, mostly untouched, as I am waiting to see what I want to put in each of them. She showed me her multiple pages of computer printouts, described her desk-bound planner that lives at home, and we both took notes.

Then we talked shop. N asked how my stories are going, and I have to admit I like hearing her use that plural. It’s been a good writing/editing week. The connection to Her Last First Kiss is back in full force, which delights me, and makes time spent in Bern and Ruby’s world reshape itself, where a quick pop into a chapter to tweak this or that turns into a couple of hours, that pass in the span of what seems like minutes.

As always, N asked if I know what’s next, for historicals. As usual, I told her I don’t know yet. Right now, I am second drafting HLFK, and Melva and I are on the first round of edits for Chasing Prince Charming, at the same time we bring Drama King ever closer to the fifty percent mark. I’m not thinking about next historicals right now, at least until this current historical is at the end of draft number two.

Right now, as I told N, I am reading. I am gathering ingredients for idea soup. Ever since H gifted me the first two volumes of the Fruits Basket collectors’ editions, I have been tearing through those doorstopper sized collections at a dizzying rate. No spoilers, other than to say that this is not a tale for gentle readers, as the angst level is high, with curses and family loyalty, and secrets, and unlikely friendship, and forbidden love, and a lot of the things that I love to find in historical romance. That comes to mind frequently while I’m reading this, that “this would be amazing in a historical romance” flag that goes up, often when I least expect it.

That’s fitting, as I did not expect to be this invested in a manga. Maybe there are others I would like, also. Comments section is open for suggestions. H assured me that Our Herione gets her HEA, with one of two potential love interests (she refuses to tell me which one, and I have declined to speculate.) Other pairings, well, there are still lots of books ahead of me, so jury is still out on most of them, but I have cried, I have sighed, I have felt as though I’ve been punched in the gut, and I’ve gritted my teeth and hung on to slender, shimmering strands of hope. I do have a list, in progress, of historical romances that this series brings to mind, and will share that here, later.

I am also devouring YouTube videos at a surprising rate, and, last night, when the sandman confirmed that he would, indeed, not be visiting me at all, I crept from the bedroom and rescued my would-have-been-bujo that took an unexpected bath, and has now been promoted to art journal. With that and a fineliner, I crept back to bed, and diligently copied down the art supplies listed in these two videos by YouTuber/artist, Jordan Clark. I am in love with her aesthetic, magical and calm and a rather strong contrast to the heavy hitting of Fruits Basket, but, at the same time, it ticks a very similar reaction in my storybrain. No, I cannot explain it, but I am steering into the skid.

My Kindle currently holds Heartless, by Mary Balogh, the first in her Georgian duo, which I had read when it first came out, years ago. From my very first Mary Balogh (I don’t remember which Balogh was my first, but I wish that I did) I knew that I could count on her to hit me right in the feels, and this book is no exception. I don’t know what historical romance I will read next, when I am done with this one, but I know that it will be there when I need it.

That’s what I’m doing, while not writing or editing. Taking in inspiration, old friends, new friends, old friends, come again, all milling about, combining, no doubt, to make something new when they think I”m not looking. I am also grouping pink things together, as with my basket of sticky notes in today’s deskscape. Blush pink is best, but any shade is welcome. I am taking pictures, and making plans, and it all goes to fuel the whole writing of books thing, so I think I’ll stick with it.

What about you, dear readers? What are you into this month? Let me know in the comments section, especially if you have links to fascinating things.

Storytime: Growing Pains (not the tv show)

Storytime. We have some growing pains going on around here, and I do not mean the TV show. On Friday night, Housemate and I went to Chain Craft Store for our weekly jaunt. I had a list in tow, because I am me, and the big item on that list was a personal size six-ring binder. Housemate, at the clearance section, asked me if the binder in her hand was something I could use. I took a look. It was this one:

Webster’s Pages, personal size ring binder

Not only the binder, but the entire kit, minus a few items, which probably explained why there was a Webster’s Pages binder, hanging out in clearance. No price on it, so I was leaning toward leaving it where it was, but Housemate wanted to take it up to the register and find out. Information never hurts, right? Okay, fine. We get to the register, and the cashier summons a manager. Manager gives binder a cursory look, and says she’ll let it go for one dollar. One. Dollar. That is obviously a sign. I do not have a name for this binder yet, but I did carry it around the house for a couple of days, to get to know it, and am now setting it up as my writing tracker, no household tasks allowed.

The as-yet unnamed binder joins Big and Li’l Pink, both traveler’s notebooks, from Webster’s Pages, and their jobs break down pretty much like this:

Big Pink: thinking on paper
Li’l Pink: lists and information
White Planner: writing/reading related only

:deep breath: Okay. All of that said, planner talk will now be confined to the first Monday of the month. It’s going in the schedule. Additional planner/bujo blog is in the planning stages. Until then, I will put my pen and paper pictures and ramblings thereabout, on my Instagram. I want to keep this blog focused on writing. I’m still deciding whether I want to have specific topics for Mondays and Wednesdays, but , as with the writing planner, I’m going to carry that question around for a while, and the answer will come when I need it.

As much as I love pens and paper, and I do really, really love them, this is my place to talk about writing, and, using the analogy of interests/passions being children, the baby really does need their own room, instead of bunking with the elder sibling. Siblings, really, as I am also working on the website for the books Melva and I write together. This is both a lot of work and a lot of fun. The more writing I do, these days, the more writing I want to do, and it’s the same with engaging on social media. I partly blame my YouTube binging for getting my bloggy idea hamsters all excited and running on their wheels, sometimes faster than I can write down things I want to do with them.

2018 was, in a lot of ways, a dumpster fire. 2019 looks to be better. Early days yet, but I”ll take it. This is the year of “yes, and,” after all. It’s easy to say “stop stressing.” even to myself, but anxiety and depression, and well, stress, often have other ideas about that. Sometimes, those can get in the way of the love of writing, or the ability to do it. That’s why I am making self care more of a priority in 2019, including making sure that I spend time doing the things I love. At the top of that list is romance. I have been wildly in love with the romance genre since I was eleven years old and stole my first historical romance from my mother’s nightstand. Coughty-cough years after that incident, the girl who loved reading books grew up into the woman who writes them. Reads them still, because story in, story out, is easy math.

This is all to say that there will be a few changes to this blog, and site, in the near future, all, I hope, for the best. I am talking with the fabulous Kathleen Underwood, who created the cover for my Orphans in the Storm, to help with graphics, and I could not be more excited. Kathleen perfectly captured the exact image I’d had in my mind, and brings me back, every time I see it, to that exact moment in Jonnet’s story. It reminds me of the power of fiction, and how much I love creating it. Planning is part of that, but the raw beauty of creating the story deserves a focus of its own.

What growing pains are you working through, this year?

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Planner Chaos, Writing Peace Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff for the start of 2019. Well, where Writer Chick is concerned, that is. I can tell you, right off the bat, that part of that is going to involve a trip to the office supply store, because Writer Chick started off today’s session with placing the document holder thing that she uses to hold papers to transcribe, next to the desktop, instead of on top of it. Occupational hazard, around here, but, as a cat, I am proud of her. Knocking things off a flat surface…. ::dabs eyes: I’m getting a little misty here.

But enough about that. Writer Chick has been pretty hyped about starting the new year off on the right foot. Part of that was all about getting the right planning system in place. That is a story for her to tell, because it did not turn out the way she expected that it ight, but it did, in the end, get her to the right place. More on that after we take care of this week’s compulsories.

As usual, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance, this past Saturday, and surprises nobody when she talked about making a reading plan for the coming year. Well, that’s not actually true. She did surprise herself. If you’d like to read more about that, hop on over here and find out what went down. The caption under the above picture works, too.

Starting the year off, right

Writer Chick is stepping up her reading game for 2019, and her new Goodreads challenge goal is set at ninety-five, which is five more than last year. She’s already one book down, which, seeing as how we are only four days into the new year, is not a bad start. Her friend, H, is already mailing her the third volume of Fruits Basket -only to borrow; H made that very clear- so Writer Chick will be pouncing on that the second it arrives at Stately Bowling Manor. Time and Again, which fits into the historical fiction with romantic elements (and also paranormal/fantasy, as there is time travel) is also on loan from H, who has a pretty good bead on the kinds of stories Writer Chick might not find for herself, but would love. This has inspired Writer Chick to look for books she can press upon H, in return. I will keep you abreast on how that goes.

Okay, now we get to the planner chaos and writing peace part of our post, today. There is a traditional Dutch proverb Writer Chick has long liked, that says “Man plans, God laughs.” That is kind of what happened here. Yesterday, Writer Chick took her newly moved-into Dylusions traveler’s notebook into the wide world, and…she did not like it. Well, she di, but as an art journal, not an everyday carry, so back to Big Pink, albeit with new inserts, it is. Li’l Pink as well, for easy toting. Then there is the writing tracker she threw together out of stuff she had hanging around.

Writer Chick loves that thing. Loves it. The only problem there, is that the binder, which she also loves, is literally falling apart. She tried holding it together with washi tape, which worked about as well as you can imagine, so that is another reason to go to the office supply store. It is also part of her assignment from Graphics Chick, and the whole making sure everything looks like it comes from the same person deal.

Because the binder Writer Chick is using for the writing tracker is falling apart in her hands, we can safely say that basically none of her plans about planning panned out as she intended. The writing, however? Well, that’s a different story. Pun intended. Writer Chick met all of her writing goals for the first week of 2019. She is back at work on Her Last First Kiss. Other Writer Chick said Writer Chick needs to stop making her cry (chapter one is heavy stuff.) This delighted Writer Chick, who said she cannot make that promise. Other Writer Chick hasn’t even met the hero yet.

The first third of edits on Chasing Prince Charming‘s first edit round have gone smoothly, and Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick expect to have everything turned in on time, if not before. Then the wait comes for round two. While they’re doing that, Drama King sails into its second quarter of draft one. Keeping track of who’s doing what, and when it needs to be done, so far, is working smoothly, and being accountable for specific tasks on solo works also seems to be in the plus column. Not a bad start, all things considered. Now, if Writer Chick can only get the printer to talk to the desktop, that would be incredibly useful.

Tomorrow, Writer Chick will meet with Graphics Chick, to toss around some ideas. She may also give connecting the printer another whack, or she may just whack the printer. There is a reason Writer Chick gravitates toward pen and paper, and, really, that’s best for all involved. Trust me on that one.

Peace out,

Becoming Persephone

Happy New Year, everybody. 2018 is finally in the dust, and 2019 is ready to show us what it’s got. Hopefully good things. Though we are past the first of January, and the ornament harvest (family term for putting the Christmas décor to bed for the year) is slated for Twelfth Night (okay, the morning after Twelfth Night, so Thirteenth Morning? Is that a thing? I think it should be a thing, and have something like pancakes to soften the blow) my count of Christmas romances read, and Christmas movies watched remains the same as it was before December 25th. Zero. Oh well. I’ll get them next year.

My friend, H, gave me the first two volumes of Fruits Basket, collector’s editions. This was my first time reading manga, but a lot of the dynamics of my favorite historical romances lie within those pages, so I am well and truly into this story for the long haul. The rest of my Christmas/tucked away week reading went to The Summer Wives, by Beatriz Williams, and my feelings on this book, as with most by this author, can best be summed up with guh. Emotionally evisceration via fiction is a real thing, and, here, it is very, very, much welcome. So, that’s been my holiday 2018 reading.

As for 2018 holiday viewing, it was YouTube. All day, every day, or so it seemed. Most of my viewing fell into one of two camps; Book Tube, or stattionery/bullet journaling. In short, branding was huge on my mind, this season, especially as 2019 brings new adventures ahead. Melva and I are in the process of building our brand for our collaborative work, which of course makes me give what I’ve been doing with my own brand, a second look.

Both of these interests brought me to the same question: what sort of thing do I keep coming back to, again and again? I don’t recall where I read it first, probably on Facebook, but the text of the graphic was “Why choose between a girly and a dark aesthetic? If Persephone can be the goddess of springtime and queen of the underworld at the same time, so can you.” Yes. That. What that person said.

There were two things I noticed as I watched seemingly endless videos on the two subjects, looking for places I could twine them together. The first was that there are, to my knowledge, zero Book Tube channels about epic historical romance. Searching for historical romance on You Tube brings up a lot of fun vlogs about the current world of historiccal romance, which warms my historical romance loving heart. Deep inside that fire, though, there’ is a cranky flame (we might call it spotting a niche to be filled) that crackles with a desire to talk about some of the greats that came before, some of whom are still delivering the goods. So, there’s that.

The second thing I noticed was that I kept searching for stationery/bujo vloggers who had a certain aesthetic. No surprise, colors in the dusty rose/rose gold/ballet pink/blush family, combined with neutrals figure highly in this aesthetic. Once again, There Were Questions. What kinds of stories do I love the very, very most? Not merely what I like, but what leaves me wrung out like a wet washcloth, and happy about it? What sweeps me into its world and has me chomping at the bit to make some of that, myself?

In both cases, my next thought wasn’t “ugh, that looks hard” or “I don’t know if I can do that,” but “eh, give me a couple of pens and some paper, and I will figure it out.” That, I think, is part of taking myself seriously as a writer, and a creative being. That’s a journey that takes place one step at a time. Do I have an exact map to how this will mean gauranteed success every single time? Pffft, no. What I do know, though, is that, since i started my YouTube binge, I have been more focused on planning the actual work of writing, and have been consistentlyhitting my goals.

It’s an ongoing process. Yesterday, I opened the file for Her Last First Kiss, gave the first chapter a light spiff, and sent it in Melva’s general direction. Doing that had a similar feeling as setting up my new bujo system. Little different, but good different, still with the same feeling, even “me-er,” and …yeah. Let’s see where this takes us.

What new paths are you following in 2019?

Happy Almost New Year

Welp, it’s December 31st. New Year’s Eve. Crunch time for planner aficionados, like myself. The tucked-away week between Christmas and New Year’s has not felt particularly tucked away this year, as real life has butted its nose into pretty much every aspect of it, but I do not expect any less for 2018, but 2018 is almost over. 2019, we have expectations for you. Don’t be 2018, and we should be fine.

Granted, the year has not brought only bad things, as I have edits for a contracted book on my desk, one invitation already, to speak at an RWA chapter, and, this morning, I finished reading The Summer Wives, by Beatriz Williams, which reminded me not only why I love reading historical romance (though I would shelve this one as historical fiction with romantic elements) but why I love writing it, as well, and that’s appropriate for the year when I am making a concerted effort to not only flourish in my new venture of co-writing contemporary romance, with Melva Michaelian, but returning to my historical romance roots, and pumping up the volume in that department.

Since this is technically part of the tucked away week, and thus, technically a holiday, I do want to spend some of it in relax and refill mode, which does include reading, there’s also the knowledge that tomorrow begins the new year (though technically a holiday itself, but we will see how that shakes out in reality) and all the new calendars, trackers, and other related thingamaboodles. I will admit that, this year, I am overplanning.

Not, mind you, in the sense of micromanaging my own writing (though, let’s be honest, I probably will do some of that at some point) but in the sense of having a planner identity crisis. I have my calendars and some trackers set up in the traveler’s notebook I planned to use for the winter months, and I have my writing tracker binder all set up, but, this morning, when I took my 2018 inserts out of Big Pink, I didn’t want to put her away. In the spirit of “yes, and,” that’s fine. Let me find some inserts for her, and she will find a purpose along with what I’ve already planned.

Does this mean I’m going to be all over the place this year, spending more time planning than actually writing? I don’t think so. I’ll use what I end up using, and I will set aside what doesn’t work (at least at the time; it may work very well, for another purpose, later.) This is, not so oddly enough, in line with how I intend to pick my next historical romance project. Toss everything that looks appealing into the mix, stir, brainstorm, babble, see what rises to the surface, what I keep coming back to. Odds are, that will be the one.

2019 is the year of Yes, And, and it’s the year of coming back to myself, on multiple levels. It’s time to rediscover old loves, and discover new ones. It’s the year to try, fail, try, fail, and, in time, try, succeed. Maybe the tucked-away week will find itself tucked somewhere else this year, probably where I would least suspect.

What does 2019 hold for you?

Typing With Stuffed Paws: End of Year Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff about the week that was. This was a different sort of week, thanks to the Christmas holiday. Writer Chick spent some of her time volunteering, and there was some kerfluffle in getting particular gifts to the right people, but, in the end, it turned into a pretty good holiday, and now, Writer Chick can turn her attention to the close of this year, and the start of the next year to come.

Observant readers will notice that I am not alone in this week’s picture. Still getting to know the new kid. He’s not much of a conversationalist at the moment, but I like the cut of his jib. Other Writer Chick asked if Dude got him as a friend for me. I prefer the term, “minion.” He has not yet told me his name, but I think he’s trainable. I will keep you updated.

Speaking of updates, let’s get to it. This past week, as always, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance. This time, she talked about the true gift of romance reading, and how a ghost of Christmas past dovetailed with a gift she received this year. Check that out here.

Now that Writer Chick has completed her 2018 reading challenge, she is turning her attention to what she wants to do for 2019. Should she stick with the tried and true goal of ninety books, or step it up to ninety-five, with an eye toward one hundred when 2020 rolls around? She is still figuring that one out, but if you are interested in how her reading year has gone, pop on over here. New Goodreads friends are always welcome.

Writer Chick also has some Christmas historical romances queued up on her Kindle and Kindle app, but those are hard to photograph, especially this close to naptime. I’ll let her fill you in on those, later.

This is the part where I bring you up to date on actual writing stuff, and, knowing Writer Chick, there will probably be some sort of banner or something to go here, next week. She is starting a whole section in her writing planner about blogging, and that’s probably covered in there, somewhere. I am afraid to look.

Anyway, Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick got a special present from the person we will refer to as Editor Chick, and that was their first round of line edits. Writer Chick is absurdly happy about this, because she loves this part of the process. This week, she and Other Writer Chick are going over the first twenty-five percent of the suggested edits, and accepting, correcting, or questioning each one. Like I said, Writer Chick is into this, so we’ll go with it. This brings Chasing Prince Charming one step closer to readers, so that counts as a step in the right direction.

Another step in the right direction is that Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick are working on rolling out their joint website. That apparently involves more than putting their individual websites alone in a candlelit room, with Al Green music and a box of chocolates. To my knowledge, they have not yet tried that approach, so we cannot rule it out.

This brings us to the most important part of the goal setting for the year ahead (no, Writer Chick, not picking out stationery) – the writing. She’ll talk more about exactly how the writing breaks down, later, but the focus for this coming year looks something like what we have here:

* Take care of pre-release stuff for Chasing Prince Charming
* Complete second draft of Her Last First Kiss
* Get Drama King (her second ms with Other Writer Chick) to the end of the first draft
* Pick next historical romance project and get started on that

That’s about it for this week. There is a suspicious squirrel outside, and I need to train the new kid, so that’s going to be it for me right now.

Peace out,

This Post Is About Planning (Writing)

As if the title weren’t enough to give it away, in the interests of full disclosure, this post is indeed about planning. It’s specifically about planning writing, which I hope is the way things are going to go this year, but there is always room for surprises.

Yesterday was Christmas. Normally, I like to do this holiday BIG, but this was a quiet Christmas, which was fine with me. That was one of the first surprises. What was not a surprise was that the rest of my family wanted a very very very quiet day, which left me, for a large part of it, to my own devices. Those devices, as they are wont to do, led me toward planning and writing, and planning writing.

My gift to Housemate, this year, was a bullet journal starter kit (Housemate does not write, but she knits amazing sweaters/blankets/scarves, etc) which put me in the mood to work on my own bujo stuff for the year ahead. I’ve been talking about it for some time now (apologies to those who are only here for the writing talk; the balance will soon shift) and it led me to a surprising place. Let me backtrack.

Ever since I got my planner case, I’d been trying to shove my blush pink notebook into it, with a black/white/blush/grey aesthetic, into it, and It Was Not Working. Well, boo. If only I hadn’t wasted my berry covered gridded notebook on the TV tracker that went on for precisely seven pages, before it, too, Did Not Work. :pause: Wait a minute. Did seven pages have to mean the whole thing was down for the count? A little washi tape, some markers, and let’s see what we’ve got.

One ink color for the entire year felt too restrictive, but one color for each month? That, I liked. One family of colors per season? That sounded like fun.

Umm, Anna, this is all pretty and stuff, but what about the actual, you know, writing? We have come to that part. I am the type of writer who likes to know where she’s going, so I like the whole year at a glance thing. On Christmas Eve, Melva and I got a target date for the first round of edits on Chasing Prince Charming, so that needs to go straight into my future log. That also lets us break up the work into manageable bites, so it’s less running around in a circle, screaming, and more “Okay, this is today’s bit.”

Anna. Writing. That is a picture. You have an Instagram for that kind of thing. Focus.

That is also a picture, and there is some obscuring of personal information, but what this all came down to is, this is what I want to write in the year 2019. Chasing Prince Charming is on its way to being a real, live book. Drama King is past the 25% mark. Her Last First Kiss needs to make it to the end of its second draft, and I need to pick a historical romance to follow that one. Taken as a whole, it does seem all a bit much, but broken down into small manageable bites? Okay, that, I can do.

The trick is to figure out what parts go where. Since most weekday mornings see me with the apartment to myself, that is prime writing time. Evenings when there are three bodies in a small space, not so much. I’m still not sure how I want to track my writing this year, as I did not use the tracker I made for writing, last year. What’s probably going to happen is that I’ll write down what I wrote at the end of the day, and then figure out what I’m doing from there. Patterns will emerge, and then I can set goals, to stretch and do more.

Part of that stretching will mean a few changes for the look of this blog, and keeping a better balance between the writing and planning talk, though the two do often intertwine. Is intuitive planning a thing? Maybe 2019 is the year I find out. How are you planning your writing or otherwise creative year?

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Writer Chick Smells Like Real Cat Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling coming at you, from under the as-yet undecorated Christmas tree. This week, I have news. N and Writer Chick moved their meeting, this week, not only to Friday, but to N’s house, instead of Panera. How does this affect me, you may be asking? Writer Chick came home, smelling of Real Cat. Specifically, this one:

This cat was not, as one might think, my relief. My tenure as Cat regent needs must continue for the foreseeable future. The pictured cat is one of three cats who live with N and Mr. N, but she was the only one who marked Writer Chick as her own, by means of headbutts, ankle weaves, and attempting to disappear into the black of Writer Chick’s coat. It did not work. At least there are no young pretenders for my spot under the Christmas tree. That will probably help me endure my ongoing duties. Probably.

Time for the compulsories for the week. As always, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. This time, she reached out to her faithful readers to end her Christmas romance drought, and they did come through. What was the recommendation and was it enough to spark Writer Chick’s interset? Find out here.

As much as the Goodreads updates have meant to me, over the last few months, those are now over. Writer Chick has not only completed the challenge, but exceeded it, with ninety-one books read to date, out of ninety. That is four books ahead of schedule, and more than a week to spare before the end of the year. Not too shabby, Writer Chick. Bring it on for 2019. If you need a reading pillow, I make a good one. If you’re intersted in getting a closer look at teh whole shebang, here it is.

Writer Chick is seriously considering upping the goal for next yaar, to ninety-five, with an eye on one hundred in the next year or two after that. We will see what happens, but she’s feeling\\ng challengey, so watch this space for future details. Her most recent review of the year is actually for a historical romance, Trapped at the Altar, by Jane Feather, which had a lot of elements that make Writer Chick do a happy reading dancce. I am not allowed to show that footage here, but I can share a link. Her most recent read is a 20th century historical YA, Lies We Tell Ourselves. She doesn’t have a review up for that one yet, but have a look at that cover.

This morning, Writer Chick, and N, and probably N’s cat (I don’t know; she looks clever, and I wasn’t there, because nobody invited me. Stuffed guys like a little change of scenery too, you know.) had people food and people beverages and had to each lay out plans for what they mean to do in the coming year. What their goals are, and how they intend to achieve them. What it all boiled down to was “pick the thing you are most excited about, do that until it’s done, and then do the next thing.”

This should hold them over through the holidays, because they will meet, next, in January. At which time Writer Chick plans to show off the writing progress tracker she designed, and made a version of, on dot grid index cards. Writer Chick is hardcore like that. She is also, as I have gathered, pretty hardcore about Christmas in general, though that has not been much in evidence until last night.

Last night, Writer Chick unboxed the Christmas tree. I, of course, immediately claimed it as my own. She says she’s going to put some ornaments on it, once Dude is available. Normally, Writer Chick likes to spread out her Christmas preparation across the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but, this time, she seems to be cramming it all into the next few days. Call it turbo-Christmas. I am not sure what turbo-Christmas entails, I am pretty sure it’s going to involve twinkly lights, and some garland. She already found where Netflix keeps the Christmas movies. Something tells me there here is no stopping her now.

Peace Out