Autumn Is Coming

Calendar tells me it’s almost September, and September means my favorite season begins. The calendar says we don’t technically enter into autumn until the 20th or thereabouts, but, for me, it’s sooner than that. Calendar says September first, I say it’s autumn. While it is still domestic tornado season around here, I’m still ready for cooler temperatures, brighter leaves, and earlier evenings. I’m also ready for the new seasons of favorite broadcast/cable TV shows, especially when that leads to more recaps for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Slightly before this time last year, I bought an academic planner, pictured above, because the images on the cover and pages sang to me. It felt right in my hands. I couldn’t stop flipping through the gorgeous pages, imagining what I’d put on them; critique meetings, RWA meetings, writing goals set and met or migrated, domestic duties, the occasional fun time out with friends, the sometimes boring, sometimes scary necessities of adult life, Even the monthly grids were set out differently from month to month; sometimes horizontal, sometimes vertical, enough variety to keep me interested. Definitely something I wanted to get again for the coming year, plus it replaced my miserable failure at making my own planner out of a blank notebook, and in the middle of the year, too, so extra score on that one.

Then summer rolls around again, the next batch of academic planners hits the stands. Did the same company who made my beloved 2016-17 planner have another version for 2017-18? Why, yes, yes, they did. Fabulous. Pick it from the stand, leaf through the gorgeous pages, allow blood to sing, imagine what I will write on those pages, in what ink, what form of notation I want to use…and then the realization dawns. This planner, too, starts in the summer months. Which are already covered in the planner I am currently using. Cue record player needle scratch. (If this means nothing to you, ask your parents. They will explain.)

Okay. Well, then. We have a pickle here, don’t we? Not an actual pickle. I don’t like pickles. Real Life Romance Hero may have picked me, in part, because, when we are in a situation where my food has a pickle on it, he does not even have to ask. It is his. The same goes for egg rolls. If Real Life Romance Hero is not around, Housemate gets them. If they are both around, then whoever is faster gets the pickle-and/or-egg-roll, though I can’t imagine any dish that comes with both pickle and egg roll, but that’s not the point here. The point here is that, if I got that gorgeous academic planner, I would then have half a year of redundancy. I am not going to juggle redundant planners. I put the gorgeous planner back on the shelf, and resigned myself to waiting for the 2018 planners to come out, and buy something that probably has pages too plain for my liking.

Or…or…I could take this nifty, new, blank dotted grid notebook and make my own, from scratch. I’ve learned a few things about notebooks and bullet journals, and acquired a fair share of watercolor and India ink markers, so, if I go this route, I have a decent chance of my pages looking less like they were designed by drunken preschoolers, using their non-dominant hands. It’s a little daunting, but, hey, it’s domestic tornado season, so slipping one more thing in there might not be that much of a difference.

Melva and I are on our last pass of Chasing Prince Charming‘s final draft, and queries are going out. It’ real. We wrote a book. our “baby” is big enough to go on the school bus, and, hopefully, make friends. That means that, soon, possibly after a short resting period (on the collaborative projects) it will be time to dive into Drama King, and begin the whole adventure over again.

This week, after domestic tornadoes leveled any chance of regular critique meetings for nearly a month, it will be back in the saddle for draft two of Her Last First Kiss, firmly now in the middle-middle, where my job is making the bad things get even worse, lead Ruby and her Hero into the phase of the story, and their lives, where they think all hope is lost, and they’re definitely in love, but with the worst possible person, at the worst possible time, and no good can ever, ever, ever come of it. Not to mention their mutual best friend caught in the middle. I kind of love this book, and part of it is because their lives are horriby, horribly in flux.

Then there’s A Heart Most Errant. This story came about during a time of my life when it felt like the end of the world, so why not revise it during domestic tornado season? I’m looking forward to spending time with John and Aline again. They have the largest age gap I’ve written so far (he’s older) and are very much an odd couple. He’s a grumpy knight with emotional baggage, and she’s a chatty extrovert, who knows her way around a kitchen. There’s an abandoned abbey, friends of the four-legged variety, and, in some ways, it feels like I’ve never left this story. John and Aline have been taking the scenic route the whole time, content with each other’s company (useful in a road story) and now it’s time for me to join the party again. Maybe that’s the “what’s next” for historicals, but does it count if it’s not a new-new project, but one that’s been on hold for a while?

I’m not sure. That’s the slightly scary thing about entering into a new season. I like to know what’s coming. The multiple planners (yes, I cross-reference) might be a clue to that. Even so, there are some parts of a new season, whether calendar, writing, or life in general, that remain uncharted territory. That’s a constant in itself, even if it won’t fit in a neatly bordered box.

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