It’s Monday. The conference is over. Easter is past. There are buds on the trees, and a good chance that I may witness some sweet sweet waterfowl loving on my walk through the park tomorrow, en route to or returning from my critique session with N. My back no longer hurts, and the weather, at least for today, is not trying to kill me. Sometime this week, or possibly next, Landlord will install our new stove and refrigerator. Melva and I have two requests to see partials of Chasing Prints Charming, and are ready for prewriting on Drama King. Today, after this blog entry (presuming we do not get surprise appliance installation) I go back to work on Her Last First Kiss. There are some Heroes and Heartbreakers posts waiting as patiently as they can in my brain, and, with the scent of soon-coming season finales in the air, there will be more to join them soon. It’s definitely spring, and definitely time to make sure I have a solid plan on how to get all of this done.
The fact that this new week means I am now ten books behind in my Goodreads challenge does not sit well with me, nor does the fact that I realized, well into the weekend, why I’ve had such a hard time making my way through a historical Christmas anthology, which I’d picked up specifically to take a chunk out of that reading debt. I love Christmas anthologies, and, usually, I can suck those down like ice-cold tea on a hot summer day. (Seriously, I can read Christmas stories any time of year, so writing one would be an interesting new experience, but that’s a someday project, not for today.) This time? Not so much. What started out fun turned into a slog, and I didn’t know why.
It wasn’t because the writing was bad, because it wasn’t. I liked what I was reading, found at least one new to me author whose work I would like to explore further, and bounced in my seat several times, because a new book by one of the authors I already follow is only a few months away. After a weekend where I carved out time to reconnect with my art journal stuff (and found, in the process, that some of my most-loved resources had expired of old age while I was away; there’s probably a whole other blog in that, so I’ll save that for later) and a heart to heart with a writer friend, over an entirely unrelated topic, the answer came to me. Nineteenth century overload. My last read, Judith Ivory’s Untie My Heart, was Victorian. The anthology is (I have one story left to read before I can call it read) all Regency. The book I’d read before that? Regency. Before that? Edwardian. Okay, that’s slightly over the line into the twentieth century, but still, I’m seeing a pattern, so, when I move this anthology into the “read” category, I need to read something else.
Maybe I’ll read a YA next, to cleanse my palate, but, after that, I need to follow my heart, preferably to the eighteenth century, as that’s where Hero and Heroine live, and the commute would be short. Right about now, I could use a short commute. The good thing about going to a conference is that I return all pumped full of I Can Do This. The scary thing about coming back from a conference is that I need to turn that I Can Do This into I Am Doing This. That can be a daunting prospect, because this is the part that nobody else can do for me. When Melva and I work on our joint projects, the work divides itself according to who’s better at what; for us, that works. When I’m working on a solo manuscript, then it’s all me.
I am the way Hero and Heroine get out of my head and onto the page. N is my first reader for Her Last First Kiss, the first chance I get to know if I have put the right words in the right order so that other people can watch the movie that’s playing in my head. To make sure I have what I need to do that, I need to make sure my creative well is filled. Which is where things like playing with paint and ink and paper come into play; I can’t write an artist Hero if I’m not making art myself. Which is one of the reasons I’ve been peeping this undated art journal planner, ever since I saw an ad for it in my favorite art magazine. I do have a planner already, and I use it and I love it, but I want to play with this one, so it may yet happen.
In the meantime, there is work and there is well-filling. Last week, I asked Facebook readers/writers who love historical romance to tell me what books made them fall in love with the genre. Some of the titles given were books I have known and read and loved, myself, and some were new adventures yet to be read. All of the answers were filled with what I was looking for when I asked that question. The connection, the spark, the recognition of “yes, that’s mine,” the seed that burrows deep into the soil of the writerbrain (or readerbrain, for that matter,) sprouts and blooms and explodes all over like cherry blossom season on steroids. That stuff goes a long way.