Typing With Wet Claws: Remote Planning Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, straight from Camp Grandma. The humans have been talking more about moving things, so I take this as an encouraging sign. I like Grandma fine, but we cats are creatures of habit, an my people are Anty, Uncle, and Mama. That is how it works. I am a very social girl, and Grandma has things to do, so I am not able to follow her everywhere, as I would like. While that does give me more time for remote-accessing my mews duties, it is still nice to have somebody to talk to me and tell me I am pretty. I mean, Grandma does, but not all day.

Anyway, before I talk about anything else, I first have to talk about where to find Anty’s writings on the interwebs. As always, she was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. That post is full of drama. Exhaustion. A traffic stop. Romance novels. You know you want to read it. Well, you can. It is here, and looks like this:

Um. Well. There is actually no featured picture there. That is unlike Anty. The only possible explanation is that Anty delegated that task to Sebastian, who napped through the whole thing. My utmost apologies. Anty will be more on her game next week. Sebastian may want to step things up before his performance review.

SebastianWindow.jpg

I will give him this much: his window game is unbeatable. As for keeping track of Anty’s Goodreads reading challenge, eh, not so much. Anty is holding steady, though, at ten books ahead of schedule, so that is pretty good. Anty’s favorite book she read this past week is You Know Where to Find Me, by Rachel Cohn. Anty has read books where Miss Rachel collaborated with one of Anty’s all time favorite authors, David Levithan, but she had never read a book by Miss Rachel alone, without Mr. David. This was her week to fix that. How did that turn out? Her review is here, and it looks like this:

GRcohnfindme

Most of Anty’s writing time this past week has been focused on Chasing Prince Charming. Anty Melva loved Anty’s scene, Anty loved Anty Melva’s editing, and they both agreed the book needed one more scene from Anty. Anty has written two drafts in longhand, and will be transcribing that second draft today, so that it can be really done-done, and then Anty Melva can start sending it out again. Then they go back to work on Drama King, which will probably go much faster, because now they know how they write a book together, and do not have to figure it out so much. Also, there is a cat in that book, which automatically makes it better. I will, of course, be on hand to serve as feline consultant.

This week Anty started a new planner for her writing, and, so far, it is going pretty good. She is still working out exactly what will go in it, and how she wants to track progress on specific projects (also, whether or not she wants to NaNo in November) but having things in one place, where she can see them, is a big help.

RestOf2018

Anty will share more pictures as things progress. Right now, she has her Tuesday breakfasts with Miss N already blocked out, and the days that she (and I) blog, so that we do not miss any. Writing blogs in advance takes way from the “aaaaah, time to post, and I have no ideas” factor, by a lot. Anty was also able to block out the right number of days for the Connecticut Fiction Fest conference, which are not two, but three.

This is a good thing, because spending three days in a hotel full of writers is better than two days. With the information in place this far ahead, Anty can plan what she wants to bring with her, and make checklists. Anty loves checklists. The conference humans are very thoughtful, and are letting the writers hunt for their own dinners at this conference, so Anty may want to scope out the hunting grounds ahead of time, or bring food that she and Anty Melva (and any friends who wander by, potentially) can have in their room. I am a big fan of eating in one’s room. I do it, even at camp.  It’s pretty great.

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

SkyeByeTemp

 

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A Tale of Three Notebooks

This post is totally about stationery, and it is also totally about writing.  This past weekend, I picked up three notebooks, all dedicated to writing. Here’s the family photo, all three in one place:

ThreeNotebooks.jpg

We’ll start with the unicorn. The morning pages book I started on my friend, EC’s floor, is now full. Three pages, as soon as possible after waking, every day, no exceptions. Whatever is in my head goes onto the page. That’s the rule. Julia Cameron, who first came up with the idea of this discipline might quibble with my version, because my pages are not the exact size specified; for me, it’s all about the pretty paper. If it’s pretty, I’ll want to write on it. That’s how I roll. Seriously, who could resist these inside pages?

rainbowpages

Gorgeous, right? Kind of like a sunrise, if one is so visually inclined. I also love that, unlike my usual choices, this book is wire bound, which means I can fold the cover back and always deal with only one page at a time. I could get used to that.

A more recent addition to my notebook arsenal is the bookend (pun intended) to the morning pages, which I call evening pages. For this one, blame Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose good morning and good night tweets popped up in my head, late one stressy night, when I desperately needed both sleep and reassurance. Evening pages are my pep talks to myself, a quick rundown of the good points of the day, and encouragement for the day to come. I started writing those in a pocket sized hardcover book, that I thought was going to be part of Li’l Pink’s arsenal, but, when I got the new book for morning pages, it felt right to get one for evening pages, as well. Also, the blue book, which I always read as “Trust Your Butt,” was on ridiculously low clearance, so I could not leave it there. No inside pages picture, because these inside pages are plain, lined, white. Nothing to see here. I actually like the idea of very plain pages to close out the day; it feels restful, so I’m going with it.

The newest member of the Pink family does not have a name yet (suggestions welcome, in the comment section) but she is replacing the orange planner, who is taking early retirement. This orange planner and I have been through a lot together. I felt pangs as I put him in his box while packing the old apartment, and was impatient to get him back when we did land in For-Now apartment. Trouble is, dude has, how shall I put this delicately, bad juju. It’s time for a fresh start.

This new, pink, planner has white pages, unusual for me, because I usually require ivory or colored, but, this time, I like the difference. Also different is the fact that the tools I wanted to use for this planner were clear from the first; I’m going minimal. Black pen, one set of pastel highlighters, only a dash of a single color per page. Very much not me, and, yet, very much me, at the same time.

The biggest difference, and by this I mean biggest, biggest, can I really pull this off, difference, is that this planner is focused, not on domestic duties, moving, or other domestic concerns, but writing. Sure, some non-writing appointments will be in there, but mainly as a way to remind me that I have to put the writing time in elsewhere. It’s a new approach for me, and somewhat scary, but exciting, too.

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Future Log Pages

The first thing I put in the book was a quick calendar for the rest of the year. No spaces to write things down, just numbers in a square, so that I know what day of the week goes with what day of the month. Next is the future log section, a rundown of dates that are already spoken for, on a regular basis: weekly breakfasts with N, blog posts for this blog, and for Buried Under Romance. Plenty of space to add in other things as they arise. Since we’re coasting into the end of July, I don’t have July things on there, like Skype sessions with Melva (but will be including those, going forward) and the upcoming release of the New York’s Emerging Writers fiction anthology, but, putting it out there, Connecticut Fiction Fest is but a handful of heartbeats away. Definitely time to get my ducks in a row, for that particular pond. I have seen Melva’s PouwerPoint, and it is magnificent.

This week, she and I are putting our final-final-final touches on Chasing Prince Charming, and then back out it goes, in search of a good home. When that happens, we are taking a short break for Melva to focus on her super fun humorous nonfiction, and me to focus on Her Last First Kiss. I already hear N’s voice in my head, reminding me to set a target date for the completion of draft two, and potential markets for same. September brings Fiction Fest, and then, whammo- bammo, it’s October, season of my birthday, Halloween, the clocks rolling back to my beloved early sunsets, and then the holiday season will be upon us.

Said holiday season includes November, which has not only Thanksgiving, but regular National Novel Writing Month, and I need to start preparations now, if I want to participate. At this point, I don’t know. Is that the selkie story’s time, or do I want to have A Moment Past Midnight ready for actual Hogmanay? (That would involve me closing a few plot holes, but nothing a couple of good brainstorming sessions wouldn’t handle. Takers, pop your contact info in comments, and I will return the favor. )

It’s not possible to plan for every aspect of the writing life, but, for me, a fresh start, clear expectations, and a calendar are big steps in the right direction. Not sure yet how I am going to track progress, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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Fifty Shades of Blush

Disclaimer I: this post has nothing to do with the E. L. James book, or the movie adaptation. It does have an awful lot to do with stationery.

Disclaimer 2: The fact that my current desktop background is a picture of my old desk , which is still in storage, with a notebook on it, that is also still in storage, probably says something, but I am not probing into that right now.

Blush

Left to right: Li’l Pink, Big Pink, Artist Loft dot grid notebook, powder blue Artist Loft softcover notebook that says “Trust Your Gut,” but I will never not-read as “Trust Your Butt,” brand new traveler’s notebook with four inserts strictly for art, current paperback read, undercover. Pun intended. Front row: skull and crossbones mug, possibly the most me mug I have ever seen, at least so far.

With the lone outlier of the powder blue (but look at it, isn’t it gorgeous?) we can see that my color choices fall into two distinct camps. Black, and blush pink, in that order, will catch my eye every time. If I remove the buffer of the blue notebook, my hope is that the pink and black traveler’s notebooks will have pastel goth babies, because that would be gorgeous.

Since my first (which is also my current) evening pages book is the hardcover pocket sized notebook in Li’l Pink will be succeeded by the Trust Your Butt book (it goes beautifully with the pastel rainbow unicorn book that will succeed my current morning pages book, but that’s another post, because I am on a time crunch, and forgot to take pictures.

I’d originally wanted the pink Artist Loft book to succeed the evening pages book, because soft, powdery blush pink is classy and calm, and smells like baby powder, but it only comes, as far as I can tell, in dot grid

Well, huh. What to do, what to do? Besides get the Trust Your Butt book, that is. The last few months have been a wild ride, and my current planner, which I was excited to have when I started it, now carries a lot of, hmm, how shall we say, bad juju. While I still stood in the store, turning the pink book over in my hands, thinking of how well it fits with Big and Li’l Pink, the flicker of an idea came to me. Why not start a new planner? Clean slate, try a totally different format, dip a toe into uncharted waters.

I didn’t intend for that to tie into the selkie story, but I’ll take it. That’s another tie to something I’ve loved longer than I can remember, and, yet, something I haven’t done yet. I like that sort of balance. What if I started the new planner with the writing stuff right up front, instead of buried in the middle, after the “important” stuff? What if this planner was only for the writing?

In a way, it’s wandering around the woods at night, with buckets on my feet and oven mitts on my hand once again, but I don’t hate that kind of thing. It’s more of a fun thing, picking up the scent and following it where it leads. Where I hope it leads is to that place where instinct kicks in and I don’t have to think about what I’m doing.

Right now, my big task for the day is to get that last scene for Chasing Prince Charming polished, and lob it Melva’s way, hopefully before our Skype chat, where we get all our CPC ducks in a row. I’m at the stage where I’m looking forward to it, looking forward to when we can turn our collective attention back to Drama King, and I have space for Her Last First Kiss once again.

What does all of this have to do with a particular shade of notebook cover, which is not even my favorite-favorite? (Still number two, though; that counts for something.) Darned if I know, but I do remember my very first dance class (to be fair, I was so little that it might even have been a movement class) and the teacher (she was a smart one) color coded the kiddos as soon as we showed up for the first session. Different color leotard for everybody, and pale pink tights for all. My assigned color? Black. Maybe she knew something. Exactly what that might have been, I am not sure, but the black and blush pink seems to have stuck, and I am more than fine with that.

That’s the magic seven hundred (and change) so off I go, to put CPC’s hero through the wringer. :evil laughter trails:

Typing With Wet Claws: X Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, coming to you from Camp Grandma. Anty says that most of these updates are probably going to fall into the “special” cat-egory (see what I did there?) until August. That is not too far away, so I suppose I can deal. Camp is fine, and all, and I am learning a few things from Grandma, like the fact that peanut butter is delicious, and jailbreaks can be fun, even if Grandma does have a lot of carpet. I will probably not be going on too many jailbreaks tis weekend, though, because Mama will be visiting camp. Anty has to stay home and write, or she would come along, too. She will come see me, soon.

Anyway, this post is not so special that I can skip the big rule of these posts, and that is that I have to talk about Anty’s writing first, before I am allowed to talk about anything else. That is usually Anty’s writing, anyway, but it Is what it is. As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about her summer reading bucket list. That means the books that Anty intends to read over the course of the summer. Spoiler alert: she will not stick to that list. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURbucketlist

This segues nicely into the next part, which is Anty’s Godreads reading challenge. Remote surveillance tells me that Sebastian has found a sunbeam in the living room window, which may account for his slowness in crunching Anty’s numbers for this challenge, but, since Goodreads shows that she is currently ten books ahead of schedule, we will let it slide…for now. Anty’s favorite read of the past week is Leave Me, by Gayle Forman. Miss Gayle usually writes books about almost-grownups, but this book is about actual grownups.  Anty’s review can be found here, and the book looks like this:

BUT leavemeformanAnty has vague ideas of attempting to duplicate the cover design in one of her art notebooks. That looks pretty easy, because it is lines of color, and that’s that.  Anty may find a few surprises when she tries it, though, and that is okay. There are a lot of surprises in the writing life.

Right now, Anty is muttering bad words because of one surprise, and that is that the all day workshop with Gwen Hayes, on Romancing the Beat, will be held on September eighth, which is right in the middle of CT Fiction Fest, which Anty cannot skip, because she is part of it, because she and Anty Melva will be presenting “Writing Through The Tears/Save the Writer, Save the Book.” In a perfect world, Anty would be able to go to both, but this world is far from perfect, so she will have to deal. I strongly suggest she stop by Camp and see me on the way home. That is, unless we are in Forever Apartment by then, in which case she should come straight home and make u for all the missed scritches.

This weekend, Anty will be doing her last-last pass of Chasing Prince Charming, and passing it back to Anty Melva. Then, that is that, and back out it goes. If she has time, she will transcribe the handwritten stuff she has on the selkie story, and do some research on that. Miss N also has gently reminded Anty of how close Anty is to a completed second draft of Her Last First Kiss, and that it is time to start thinking about what project is going to be next.

This is a place that Anty has not been for a while, but that does not mean that it is totally unfamiliar. Anty looks forward to starting new things, like the selkie story, and bringing other things, like Her Last First Kiss and A Moment Past Midnight to their happily ever afters and jumping back on the submission circuit once again. Anty Melva has been handling that for Chasing Prince Charming, but, for the books Anty writes by herself, she will have to handle things like queries and pitches.

Pitches are better than queries for Anty, because Anty is an extrovert, and talking to people face to face is super fun. Synopses and queries, though, are another story. Pun intended. Another part of the writing process that is fun, is brainstorming new ideas, which Anty plans to do with both the selkie story and A Moment Past Midnight. The fact that Anty does not, at present, have a brainstorming group, may prove a challenge, but that is okay. Anty likes this kind of challenge, and she knows a lot of writers, so I am sure that she can find people who would like to do that with her.

To reward herself for doing the last-last work on Chasing Prince Charming, Anty plans to watch some movies, and dive into a couple of historical romance novels that she got out of the library, to re-immerse herself in the genre. She is going to need them, because I am all too familiar with her separation anxiety with a story, once the book is done-done. Maybe this time will be different, because she is writing these books with Anty Melva, and they know what book is next. One never can tell, though, so I will send extra love beams, just in case they are needed.

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

SkyeByeTemp

It’s (Almost) Heeeeere….

“It,” in this case, being the fiction edition of the New York’s Emerging Writers anthology, which includes my novel excerpt, “Ravenwood,” and is now available for preorder. Official release is August seventh, but preorders will be filled about two weeks prior. You do the math. Actual physical paperback, this time, It’s a slim volume, about two hundred pages, a smorgasbord of “young talents.” Plus me. I don’t know about the “young” part, but the book is now (almost) a thing, and that’s pretty cool.

If all goes according to plan, Melva and I will be putting this edit of Chasing Prince Charming to bed, and sending it out again, before we turn our attention to Drama King, and the as-yet-untitled third book of the trilogy. I still have some selkies (and the humans who love them) to name, and I still need to figure out the big why of my heroine’s choice in A Moment Past Midnight. Bern and Ruby, of Her Last First Kiss, are tapping their feet impatiently, and N gave me a much-needed nudge, at our weekly breakfast this morning.

August isn’t that far away, and after August, comes September, which means Connecticut Fiction Fest, which means Melva and I get to sing for our supper (don’t worry, we won’t actually sing) and present our workshop, Writing Through The Tears/Save The Writer, Save The Book. Registration is open, which gives me more than a little bit of a squee. For a long time, I’ve been wishing that this whole writing thing would pick up the pace, and, now, it would appear that it’s doing exactly that. I’m not exactly sure how that works.

In a way, it’s like coming out of the movies, on a day when the sun is strong. Blink. Blink. Is this really the way things look? It is? Oh. Okay. I guess. Well, then. Best get on with things, eh?

:rub hands together:

:awkward pause:

:put on tea kettle, because that is always appropriate:

:clear throat:

So this :gesture to expanse of blue sky, parking lot, circling seagulls in search of surplus French fries: is called “out-side,” is it? Oh. One word. Outside. Outside? Are you sure it’s one word, because that sounds wrong. Out. Side. No, that doesn’t make sense. It really is “outside,” then? Huh. Learn something new every day.

:rub eyes:

Granted, I am normally one who prefers the darkness of a movie theater to summer sun, but go with the metaphor. That’s what I’ve got right now, and the clock is ticking on my (hopefully) laaaaaast Chasing Prince Charming scene. Once that’s done, and Melva-approved, I need to give my final verdict on the ms as-is, make any needed changes, and then…then back into circulation it goes. As in other eyes on our book baby.

A book baby, Melva and I agree is not so much of a baby anymore. By book’s end, Meg and Dominic are clearly on their way to their own real-life happily ever after, and won’t be needing us as much as the other books will. We get to put the big kid on the bus, so we can play with the baby, aka Drama King. If I stick with the raising kids analogy (I do not have kids, but I was a nanny, so that counts) I suppose that would make book number three…umm, both of us story-pregnant? Not going to look too deeply into the mechanics of that one.

This morning, over tea and coffee, bagel and quiche, N and I talked about setting concrete goals for the coming (rest of the) year. Her Last First Kiss has to get on that bus, along with Chasing Prince Charming, and I need to figure out what comes next, historical-romance-wise.

That’s when I have to ask the big question: what would be fun? For a full length novel, I am going to be spending at the bare minimum, a year with the people who live in that story world, so I may as well have a good time while I’m doing it. Not that only one book a year is the ultimate goal, because  today’s market likes production to be speedier than that, but, right now, it’s a good place to start. Well, re-start, really.

There is the matter of those four other titles that seem, at the same time, like they only came out yesterday, and like  a different person wrote them, in another life. I want to say both of those things can be true at the same time, because that’s how it works with these book babies, or at least it is for me. I’ve done this before (but not in hardcopy, and not in an anthology, unless one counts the fanzines from my Star Trek: The Next Generation fanfic days) but I’ve done it, and I suspect there is some form of writerly muscle memory that will kick in sometime between now and the start of August.

It’s like public speaking, in a way. I’ll be nervous, but once I’m in front of the people, and I’m looking at them, and they’re looking at me, and there is that special sort of energy between us -these people want to hear what we are here to blabber about; they picked this over other options, and wow, that is a thrill- and talkative extrovert instinct pushes nerves to the side and copious amounts of caffeine do their thing.

TLDR: Anthology is up for pre-order, will be out in August. Melva and I will be talking at people in September. N is twisting my arm about starting a second blog, devoted to paper and pens.

Good thing fall is coming soon. I’m going to need those super powers.

 

 

My Mind Is A Messy Place

Welp, it’s Monday. The heat wave is, thankfully, over, and I have, finally, found out how to zoom the screen so that I can see the words I’m typing without eyestrain. This was a good weekend just past. I spent the better part of Saturday, hanging out with Housemate, our friend, J, and J’s kitties, one of whom wore herself out chasing the red dot from J’s laser pointer. We talked about important things and unimportant things. There was ice cream. I faked out a cat, by not actually turning on the laser pointer, but acting as though I had. The afternoon ended all too soon. Sunday was mostly me napping, once lunch was over. I went to bed early.

I would say that I didn’t think/talk about writing much, but that’s not true. I am always thinking about writing. I should be writing, I should be writing more, I should be writing better, I should be writing something more marketable (that’s a big one) etc. That sort of stuff. There’s also the other side of the coin. I love writing, I wish I were writing, would anybody notice if I whipped out my notebook and started writing right now? What if my characters are doing something without me? What if they’re plotting? (Note: I mean amongst themselves, possibly against me, not actualy helping out with the plotting of the story, because that would be awesome if they did. Some of them do.)  My mind is a messy place.

Now, as I am seated here at the tv tray desk, keyboard on lap desk on my lap, with seasonally appropriate beverage at hand, it’s time to get down to the business of writing, which is mainly comprised, right now, of the work I meant to do last week, before the heat tsunami knocked me flat.

This morning, I set up at the kitchen counter, with my planner, washi tape, and an array of colored pens, to plan out my week. What gets done, and when? Anxiety says “all of it, and right now, but never mind. It is both urgent, and too late, bwahahaha.”  Anxiety is a jerk. That’s where planning comes into play. If I can see the big looming NEED broken down into manageable steps, that makes it not as intimidating. Realistically, I can get through all the Chasing Prince Charming stuff by the end of the week, and be ready for the “resubmit” portion of “revise and resubmit,” which will then allow Melva and I to turn our attention back to Drama King, and our own individual projects.

If we’d had a parrot with us during the moving process, and the in-between-homes phase, the first phrase he would have learned is “do the thing in front of you.”  “Pack the entire house,” for example, is far more overwhelming than “assemble this box.” Sure, “assemble this box” may be repeated elebenty billion times, but focusing on each individual box means that things do, eventually, get done.

It’s like that with writing. My idea hamster is more of a idea horse when it comes to Her Last First Kiss, and is doing the whole pawing at the ground, chomping at the bit thing, because “wow, it’s been a while” bumps right up against “about dang time,” and time and distance can, in the best of cases, provide perspective. I like perspective. I find it useful.

This month, there are no RWA meetings, because the national conference takes place in July. I am not going, but I like knowing it’s there. CT Fiction Fest is almost close enough to measure in weeks, rather than months, and the anthology release is only an eyeblink away. The August meeting of my local RWA chapter will be here before I know it, and I want my shot at winning the goals pool. I’m competitive like that.

Part of me is still salty that I didn’t sign up for Camp NaNo, because I do like the daily page goals (yes, I know I can do it on my own, but refer to competitive comment above.) We’ll see how Actual NaNo looks when we get closer to November.

For now, I have my weiner-dog-printed-shorts-clad bottom in chair, fingers on keyboard, taking care of one thing at a time. First up, look at the last new-new scene for Chasing Prince Charming, then polish my last scene for this draft. If the draft as a whole looks good (which I am sure it will) then back the book goes, for another look. That’s a little scary, and a little exciting. Sometimes, scary and exciting take turns, but, mostly, they hang out at the same time. I can deal with that.

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Typing With Wet Claws: Heat Wave Has Broken Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, straight from Camp Grandma. This past week was a hot one, even for those of us without built-in fur coats. For humans like Anty and Uncle, both who are extra-sensitive to the heat (Anty more than Uncle, but it’s not a contest,) that makes getting things done extra challenging, so this will be another different sort of post. Weather permitting, things should be back to normal (or as normal as they get around here) by next week.

One thing that has not changed is that I have to talk about Anty’s writing first, before I am allowed to talk about anything else. To be fair, that anything else is usually Anty’s writing anyway (that is what a mews does) but it is my job to tell people where they can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, besides here. As usual, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this past Saturday. That post is here, and it looks like this:

Huh. My apologies. We are having some technical difficulties with the remote connection today. I love Grandma, but she is not that great as an IT person, so you will have to click on the link above to see what Anty’s post looks like. Anty is also under a time crunch today, so I am going to charge through the rest of this post. It is summer vacation, after all.

What did not take a vacation is Anty’s Goodreads challenge. Anty has been crushing this challenge. That is partly because she did not have a lot of energy during the heat wave, and reading was, on some days, all she could handle. That is not a bad way to pass a hot day, plopped in front of the fan, with a cold sport drink, and a few good books. Sebastian is still crunching the numbers (he is kind of lazy) but, at current count, Anty has read fifty-five out of ninety books, putting her at sixty-one percent of the way to her goal. That is impressive.

Since Sebastian is still crunching the numbers (or kibble; probably kibble. I know what kibble sounds like) I will put one picture here, of one of the books Anty most especially liked this week:

Normal book review pictures and lists should return next week. Suffice it to say that Anty is doing a lot of reading, and Is very eager to talk about that reading. If you want to follow her on Goodreads, you can do that here.

Now that the heat wave is over (Sebastian tells me that there was a BIG thunderstorm yesterday, which scared the heat away) Anty is also ready to do a whole lot of writing. She is mostly over her angst regarding t he selkie naming issue, and working on the outline. This did not turn out to be a Camp NaNo month after all, but that is okay; there is still a lot of work for Anty to do.  Especially so, since she did not get a lot done during the heat wave. I do not blame her on that one, honestly.

Anyway, Anty is excited to have a few writing balls to juggle, and it is only two more months until CT Fiction Fest. If you are going to be there, so is Anty, so find her and say hello. I can see Anty making “move it along” motions over the interface, so I will type faster. That is not the easiest thing in the world, with special paws, I should mention. I should also mention that I know Anty petted other cats last week, and that she is going to see those other cats again tomorrow. Cats always know. That is okay, though, because, yesterday, the humans had a meeting about when we can expect to move to Forever Apartment, and they think we can probably do that by September. That is when Anty’s super powers come back, so I think that would be perfect timing. Until then, I will take best advantage of Grandma Rules, while here at camp. (#peanutbutterisdelicious)

This week, Anty will be going over the last edits of the revised edition of Chasing Prince Charming, working on the outline of the selkie story, and getting all her Her Last First Kiss ducks in a row. This book does not, as far as I know, contain any actual ducks, but please do not hold that against Anty. Anything can happen in a second draft.

Speaking of which, Anty also did something this week, that she has not done for a while. She okayed a proof for a new release. Anty did not write the whole book for this one; it is an anthology, but she is still excited to be able to share her part. If you have been curious about Anty’s peostapocalyptic medieval, A Heart Most Errant, you will be in luck, because her contribution to this anthology is an excerpt from that. Here is a fun fact: Anty meant to change the name of the town the heroine wants to find, but she (Anty, not the heroine) had not found a better name by the time of the submission deadline, so the town is still Ravenwood, which is also the title of the excerpt. I should probably mention that Anty only now realized that the name of the town does not actually appear in the scenes of the excerpt, but too late to fix that now.

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

skyebye2018

 

 

 

Why Did It Have to Be Selkies?

When I was but a wee princess, my parents, or some well meaning family friend, gave me a book of folk tales of the British Isles. I. Loved. That. Book. I still have it, though it’s in storage right now, so I can’t refer to it, but, when I needed to pick a project to work on for July’s Camp NaNo, I landed on selkies.

Not literally. They probably wouldn’t like that very much, but, once the idea was there, it put down roots, so okay. At first, it was mermaids. There I was, on retreat with Skye, and I had my Jane Davenport Whimsical Girls book out, turned to a page with two female figures. I surveyed my color choices. The faces looked similar, so maybe two versions of the same woman? Realistic and fantasy, maybe? Human and mermaid? Ooh. What if they were half sisters?

I whipped out the appropriate medium, and let my brain do its own thing while I swooped color across the page. By itself, the story formed. It’s a historical romance, first and foremost, (not between the sisters) with some familial conflict, and it doesn’t feel so much “paranormal” as one side of the family happens to be selkies. I was thinking mermaids at first, but there is the mermaid problem, Namely, how to put this gracefully, have intimate mermaid/human relations. This would be essential, so a quick bit of searching on aforementioned folklore of the British Isles was in order.

Which brings me to the selkie problem. Not the same as the mermaid problem, because selkies seem to have it easier in the human relations department. Shed seal skin, have human form. Sorted. Selkies, in many stories, become involved with humans, reproduce, and sometimes go back to the sea. Whether or not they can take their special friend with them varies, and I’m good with that. Works out rather well for what my story people want to do, and gave me a moment of clarity on why sting named one of his albums Soul Cages.

What, exactly, you might ask, is the selkie problem? For this gal, it’s names. Naming a character is an important part of the process, and, frequently, for me, it’s more a matter of them telling me what their names are. They won’t answer to anything else. I still have an outline draft with a hero who didn’t even know his own name until the very last chapter. (I am definitely going back to that one, someday,.) What the heck does one name a selkie? What do selkies, or, in a more broader scope, mythical/legendary creatures call themselves?

Thankfully, I neglected to officially sign up for July’s Camp NaNo, so I am doing it unofficially, with my goal to figure out this whole story, and what the heck I am doing even thinking about it, because I am not a paranormal writer, and the last time I ventured into that realm, my life fell apart, and I ended up ugly crying during a critique group (that had only positive comments, by the way) in the middle of a coffee house. The ugly crying incident had nothing to do with  me moving to a different state, but it does give me a sense of security that I never have to face that barista again.

This is the part of the process where I start writing down what I know about the story, telling it to myself. Kind of folktale-y, definitely historical romance, flying into the mist sort of thing. At the same time, Melva and I are thisclose to getting Chasing Prince Charming back to the editor who invited us to revise and resubmit, then will turn our attention back to Drama King. On my own, N is not letting me squiggle out of getting back in the saddle for Her Last First Kiss  so there is no lack of things to do. So, why toss another project into the mix? \

Good question. The best answer I have at this moment is “because I can.” Consider it the writing equivalent of physical/occupational therapy. I’m glad I did my May Camp Nano the way I did, and it is still simmering, goal met, so I can figure out exactly how my couple solves their problem. What is it that makes my heroine know what she has to do? I don’t know that yet, but it will come, and likely when I am slipping into a sealskin and taking it out for a spin.

In the meantime, hit me with selkie names. I’ll take anything.

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Typing With Wet Claws: The Heat Is On Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, coming to you from Camp Grandma, for another Feline Friday. Life is still getting back to normal at the For-Now apartment, after Anty returned from retreat. The fact that there are two blogs tis week from me, and none from her may give you an idea of how things are going. Do not worry, though. Anty is busy doing writing things. She and Anty Melva are two scenes and Anty’s okay of the revised final draft of Chasing Prince Charming away from sending it back to the editor human, for another look. Anty plans to return to regular blogging this coming week, heat wave permitting.

Anty does not do very well when it Is very hot, so she will spend as much of that heat wave time as possible, indoors. Good thing for her that indoors is the perfect place to do a lot of writing, especially since Camp NaNo is starting in July, which begins on Sunday. This morning, Anty remembered that she had not signed up for Camp NaNo yet, and is still debating whether she will, but she is setting herself a goal for July, of outlining the whole story idea that he got while on her retreat with me. The whole thing. In July. No wandering off and forgetting about anything. I will keep you all posted.

Since this post is the secon in one week, and it is actually covering two weeks, it will be a little different than the usual post. Please pardon our dust. The fur tumbleweeds are my sheds. They are an occupational hazard of having a Maine Coon around. Shedding: it’s what we do. What anty does (did you like my smooth segue?) is write, and here are the places on the interwebs (besides here) that you can find Anty’s writing  this week:

As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance for the past two Saturdays. You get one guess where she will be on this coming Saturday. Did you guess Buried Under Romance? If so, you are very smart. The last two weeks were here, and here, Since Anty accidentally deleted the images for those posts, instead, I will give you the image for her upcoming post. What do you think she will be talking about this coming week? Visit BuriedUnderRomance.Com on Saturday morning, after seven, to find out.

 

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Whatever could this mean?

This is the part of the post where I tell you how Anty is doing on her Goodreads challenge. If you would like to follow her on that, click the link above, or come back here each week for continuing updates. Because things have been crazy over here, Anty has not always been able to record everything as soon as she would like to, so that means, sometimes, that things fall through the cracks. Keeping current with her Goodreads challenge is one of those things. That means we are still crunching some numbers here, and we are burning daylight on the time we have for this blog post, so I will hit you with the stats so far (that is a figure of speech. I will not really hit you. That would be mean, especially because I have claws.) and feature two of Anty’s favorite reads from the past two weeks.

As of right now, Anty has read fifty-two out of ninety books. That puts her at fifty-eight percent of the way to her goal, and eight books ahead of schedule. Very good job, Anty. Keep at it. Maybe add some more historical romances to the mix. Maybe some older titles or indie releases. There is a lot out there.

Two of Anty’s favorites for the past two weeks have been:

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The Art of Inheriting Secrets           Barbara O’Neal

 

Even though neither of these two books is a genre romance novel, both have love stories in them, that end happily/optimistically, and one even has a secondary love story that looks tragic, but, by the end, maybe it is not. Miss Barbara’s book has some strong historical elements in its modern day story, which is not surprising, because Miss Barbara also writes historical romance. Anty would be very, very happy if Miss Barbara wrote historical romances connected to this book. That is a hint, Miss Barbara, thankyouplease.

In the meantime, Anty has plenty to read, especially now that Mama taught her how to use Overdrive. I think Mama may have created a monster. I do not mind, though, because that means Anty will have plenty to read, the next time she comes to visit me. Umcle says fall looks good for Forever Apartment time, and we are working towards that. I do not know what all Anty and Uncle and Mama are going to bring to Forever Apartment, when we get it, but I know that it will not be the bed that Mama put together for Anty and Uncle before Anty’s retreat. I am told it looked very nice, and was safe for Anty and Uncle the very first night, but, when Anty came home from retreat, this is what she found:

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No kitties were harmed In any of this, but Uncle was in the bed, by himself, when it stopped being a bed. Uncle says that was not fun. He had some bruises but was otherwise okay. Guess the humans are getting the old bed out of storage, after all, but not during the heat wave.

Heat wave time is for sticking close to fans or air conditioning, and writing stuff. Some people have encouraged Anty to go ahead with the pen and paper related blog, and she is thinking hard about that, but writing books has to come first.

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

SkyeByeTemp

 

 

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Post-Retreat Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for a very special Maine Coon Monday. If you are wondering where I was for Feline Friday this past week, (besides Camp Grandma, of course) I was in time out. I have never been in time out before, so that was a new experience, but more about that later.

Anty and I have had an eventful retreat, and I am here to give the cat’s eye view of what went down. Besides Anty, that is. She pretty much slept the whole first day, which was really the first afternoon, because Mama and Grandma did not leave until after lunch. I did not mind. In fact, I took advantage of Anty’s nap, to sneak in a ninja cuddle. That is when there is a human asleep on the floor (it does not happen very often, because humans generally sleep on furniture, but Anty was really tired)  and I sneak over and lie down so close that we are touching. If they wake, then I get startled and run away, then come back. This time, I did not run away, but Anty only  kind of halfway woke, and gave me head scritches, so I I would say that worked out pretty well. I snuck in a few more ninja cuddles, because I am smart like that.

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Anty’s Plan

This picture shows Anty’s plan for the week. Since Camp Grandma does not have interwebs, Anty could not be distracted by things like Facebook and Netflix and games. As it turned out, that plan worked pretty well. Anty read three whole books over the four days of retreat (not the one pictured, but I will give a full rundown of all books read, on my regular Friday post) and wrote a total of twenty eight regular notebook sized pages. That is to say, not the mini legal pads she had intended to use (but she will use those soon enough; Anty loves mini legal pads. Also the big ones, but they have to be pretty.) She also did not use those particular pens, but she did use all of the ink that had been in four of her previous travel ballpoints, so she really did need new pens. Add in morning pages (always three) and evening pages (not every night, but most of them) and what do you think happened?

What happened was that, when Anty wasn’t even thinking about it, bloop, there was the idea for her next Camp NaNo story. The one from May is still cooking. Anty did a lot of brain dumping, and then, bloop. She’s off and running. Since one of the days of retreat, Anty had lunch with Anty Melva, they got to talk about Chasing Prince Charming, and only have a couple of things to do, before they can send the book back to the editor for another look. They also talked about things they want to do for Drama King, and, when things calm down in their personal lives, about a nonfiction project they think would be fun.

Besides the books with Anty Melva, Anty’s main focus is to get the second draft of Her Last First Kiss ready to roll. I will let Anty tell you about what she plans for the Camp NaNo story, but it is both a nice change of pace, and going back to her roots, so it should be fun. Anty likes to stay busy writing, so writing time is now officially a priority.  Part of that involved setting up the desktop computer when she got back from retreat. Right now, it is not on a desk, but on a TV tray. The CPU is on top of a filing cabinet (Anty is still looking for pretty hanging folders for that cabinet, so if you know where to find some, drop a link in the comment box.) So far, so good. Writing on the desktop is much easier than on the laptop or phone.

The rest of it is really Anty’s to tell, but you are probably wondering why I did not post on Feline Friday (apart from the fact that it was Anty’s travel day.)  Anty says that I am still a very good kitty, and would like to point out that I have never, in my entire life, gone after people food, before I went to camp. During the retreat, I went for people food, twice. The first time, Anty took the sandwich away from me before I could actually put my face on it, but the second time, she left her rice cake with peanut butter on it, where I could get it, and, well, I got it. Anty chased ne away from the dish and reminded me that I am a kitty and am not supposed to eat people food. Grandma’s house, Grandma’s rules, though, right? Anty took the rice cake away, but I kept licking the peanut butter from my mouth. I can see why she likes peanut butter as much as she does.

The other thing that capped my time out was the jailbreak. Anty had slept on the couch, and came to my room to give me breakfast, but – plot twist- I was not in my room. The door was open. I was in the room across the carpeted hall, where I had, um, made some stuff.  Anty put me back in my room, then cleaned up the stuff. Speaking of which, Grandma and I have reached an accord on the stuff place business, which is a relief to everybody. Pun intended.

That is about it for this week, so, until our next, regularly scheduled meeting, I remain very truly yours,

SkyeByeTemp