Morning Pages, the Heir Presumptive, and the Young Pretender



With one week left in my current, much-beloved morning pages book, the time has come to decide on which book will be its successor, and I’d like to say I’m closer, but a young pretender has entered the fray.  Going by only what I currently possess, the heir presumptive is this lovely bird and flower themed Punch Studio book:


That’s the endpapers in the first picture, internal pages in the second. Same images on all spreads, where I do prefer that they rotate. Banastre Lobster has no opinion on that.

Normally, the issue would be settled, but we have a young pretender to the throne, this spiral-bound Papaya! Art (the exclamation point is part of the name) gorgeousness, which would continue the Paris theme:


Banastre must, of course, investigate.

My heart did a skippity-skip when I first saw this on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, and I don’t remember when the precious actually came home, but I knew I wanted to save it for something special. Since I still have absolutely zero ideas for any Parisian historical romances, morning pages would fit the bill. Inside pages are not lined, but are lovely.

First, we have this inside cover and first page, which presents a challenge when the discipline is one two-page spread for each day:



Name and address on inside cover, obv, but facing page?


After that, we have these:


None of the pages are lined, but those backgrounds…guh. Gorgeous. I want to put things on them. On the one hand, I think Hero would heartily approve of my appreciation of a pre-prepared background, because he used to do that kind of thing, but then again, his experience in Paris (hey, there is a connection!) was not exactly his favorite part of life. He wouldn’t know about the Eiffel Tower, though, as it was a century after his time. The clouds, though, and the design elements, those he knows, and the floral motifs fit nicely for a Georgian gentleman (and his lady.)

The question for me  here is, would the lack of lines be a problem? Also, what sort of pens do I want to use on these pages? They’re thicker than regular paper-paper, but not thick enough that I’d feel comfortable using Sharpies, at least not without an ink test, but I don’t want to sacrifice a page for that. Even so, the rotating designs excite me, and since I plan to increase to seven entries per week instead of six, that’s almost two rotations every week, but not exactly, so monotony would not be an issue. If the pages are visually inspiring, I am going to come to them with a better outlook, and, if stuck for what to put on the page, the images have suggestions right there. If I really need lines, I can draw them on with pencil and ruler. Fountain pens or rollerballs are my best educated guess on the pen issue. I’ve tried another book by this same maker, a different design in this line, with ballpoint, and I was so unhappy with that, that I set the book aside. Will need to resurrect that one, with a better selection of pen.

As I am writing this, I am listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. A writer friend will be traveling from Canada to NYC to see the show live this coming week. Right after the original cast departs, which does bring a pang, but, then again, there will be the energy of of the new cast making their debuts, and there will be the PBS documentary in October, and the original cast has been filmed, (I would totally go see this in theaters, if it were to be distributed that way) so it’s possible to get the best of both worlds there. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack, first as an Independence Day celebration (I know, Banastre, I know. Mama still loves you.) and then as part of my “immerse myself in the zeitgeist” plan of working through this draft.

Her Last First Kiss is set in England, in 1784, and Hero is not a soldier; he’s an artist, and he’s spent the pertinent years on the Continent (see Paris experience, above) so he’s pretty far removed from that business in the Colonies, but he does exchange letters with a cousin, relocated to Canada from New York, because expulsion of British and all that. Heroine is the product of a Russian father and English mother, was raised in England and identifies as British. These two have latched onto me in a way I’d been afraid I wouldn’t experience again after the time travel stalled, and I want to give them the very best story I can, which means I need to let their world seep into my writerblood.

The thing with writing historical romance novels is that the characters don’t know they’re in a historical. They think they’re in a contemporary. For Hero and Heroine, 1784 is their now. They aren’t wearing costumes; those are their clothes. People are people, no matter what century in which they do their people-ing, and that’s what I want to bring to live the most. If Hero were a 21st century person, he’d probably be glued to his phone, but he’s an 18th century person, so he carries around a portable lap desk so he can write letters and sketch/doodle. That was actually the first thing he showed me about himself, that desk. Writers, you understand how that works. Once he saw I was going to treat the desk right, then he came a little bit closer, like a stray cat when their benefactor moves the food dish an inch closer to the porch every day, until both cat and human are astonished that they are cuddling in the porch swing together.

If I were going to let Hero pick the new daily pages book, he’d pick the spiral bound. Which is, obviously, a lot thinner than the heir presumptive. Which may lead me to the same dilemma sooner, rather than later. I am not complaining.


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