Typing With Wet Claws: Fiction Fest Prep Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another very special Feline Friday, coming to you from Camp Grandma. This time, next week, Anty will be on her way to Connecticut Fiction Fest, where she and Anty Melva get to give their workshop, on writing through real life plot twists. Since Mama will be handing Anty off to Anty Melva, there is a good chance that Anty will get a chance to see me, on this visit. Probably on the way back, but I am not going to complain. Any visit is a good visit (except for vet visits) and, besides, she owes me a laser pointer.


Although Sebastian has not yet updated Anty’s Coming Soon page, there is news. Both anthologies are now available for purchase.

New York’s Emerging Writers: an Anthology of Nonfiction is available here. That is where you can read Anty’s essay, “Greetings From Boxville.”

If it is fiction you are after, you can read “Ravenwood,” the first two scenes from Anty’s novel, A Heart Most Errant, is available here, in New York’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction. If you like this excerpt, and would like to read the whole book, please consider telling that to the publisher humans.

Now, on to where you can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, this week (other than here, because, well, you already know how to get here, if you are already here, so you do not need me to tell you.) As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about when reading is slow, and when it is fast. That post is here, and it looks like this:


Speaking of reading, it is time to look at Anty’s Goodreads Challenge. It is not even September, but Anty would have to do some serious slacking to fall off course now, as she has read seventy-one books, out of her goal of ninety, which puts her at seventy-nine percent of the way to her goal, and twelve books ahead of schedule. Good job, Anty. Keep reading.

The book Anty liked best this week was The Love Slave, by Bertrice Small. Anty said I should mention that it is a very, very grownups-only book, with very mature themes, and younger readers, or gentle readers of any age, may want to read a different book. Anty’s review is here, and it looks like this:


Some of you may have noticed that Anty did not blog on Wednesday. That is because it was too hot in NY, and she was not feeling well. It is cooler now, and she is much better, and she acknowledges that she owes you a blog entry. She is thinking of sneaking in some updates from Fiction Fest, but that will depend on the wifi connection, and whether or not she can fix her new laptop. No big surprise, because Anty has been dubbed the computer killer.

The laptop is not dead, though. It is only doing the three beeps thing, so Anty is watching some YouTube videos of how to fix the problem at home, and then she will ask Mama to borrow a baby screwdriver, and give it a go. Anty already has figured out how she will keep all of the tiny screws straight (they are not all the same size) – she will divide a piece of paper into sections, and put each screw in its proper section, that matches where it is on the actual computer. This is where it comes in handy to be a planning sort of person.

Planning also has a dark side, though. Anty found that out this week. Even when Anty does not feel well in the heat, and does not have a lot of energy, she still has enough energy to look at her notebooks. Last weekend, Anty finally got the blush stripe cover for Big Pink, that she has been drooling over (not literally; that would be gross) for a really long time, but was hesitant to move into it, because it wasn’t exactly perfect.

That, as you might imagine, was what inspired Anty to rip all of the inserts out of the old cover (that was not very old at all; she will now use it to protect trade size paperbacks when she reads away from home) and put them into the new one. Only, she did not put all of them into the new cover. That is because the hardcover Moleskine did not fit the new cover.  That was rather upsetting, because Anty liked having the hardcover Moleskine in there, but she can buy a new cahier insert, to do the same job. She needs to get more inserts anyway, since she had filled one of them.

Anty also figured out why she could not settle on how she wanted to use the inserts she had set up in Li’l Pink. That was because Li’l Pink is, well, pink, and the inserts are in shades of blue . She’d been wanting (and still wants) to move to Li’l Pink for her everyday carry, and, while the blue inserts are very pretty, they might not be the easiest to read important information on; Anty wants pink or ivory pages for that, but she wants to use the blue pages for reading and writing things.

The same company that sells Big and Li’l Pink, also has a teal (teal is a greenish-blue color, that is very pretty) cover, that is on sale at the same store where Anty got the pink covers. Her current plan is to go to the store, get the teal cover, and put the blue inserts in that one. Then, (or maybe before; I have not seen her schedule for the evening) she will either buy new inserts for Li’l Pink (Moleskine makes a pastel assortment, that Anty likes, or Kraft paper covers are good, too) or she will find a pack of three pocket sized inserts that have pink covers, that are packed away in storage.

Thankfully, Anty was pretty hardcore about labeling the boxes that came from her office, so it should not be too hard to find the box of inserts. She might even share some of them with Mama, because she has lured Mama over to the dark side, and now Mama has a notebook cover of her own. I do not have my own planner, so far, but pocket size is also kitty size, so maybe it is in my future.

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



Running Around In Circles, Planning

Connecticut Fiction Fest is now only two weeks away.  Melva tells me our workshop is slated for 10AM on Sunday, which suits me fine. A) I am a morning person. B) This will be after breakfast, so I will be properly caffeinated. C) I may very well be hyped up to the enthusiastic anticipation level of a five-year-old at six-thirty on Christmas morning.

All of this means that it is time to crank planning for this event, into high gear. I love planning. I mean love, love, love planning. If I couldn’t be a writer, professional organizer would be a fabulous job. I have pulled friends over to the dark side, purely for the pleasure of helping them find their planner bliss and finding their own aesthetic. Note the planner case, with pen loops, and the blush pink thing I have going on.

Note, also, the kitchen table, which is new. Not new-new, but new to us, and, this morning, the difference between setting up for my Monday planning at an actual table, in an actual chair, and curled up on an air mattress, balancing stuff in my lap, is remarkable. With the heat for the next couple of days here in NY’s Capitol Region forecast in the high nineties, this means rearranging my schedule is going to be a must, so seeing what can be allocated where, for each task to be accomplished most efficiently, is key.

There’s something about getting up in front of a bunch of people, who have paid cash money to learn how to improve their writing game, who have also looked over all of the options available for that slot of time, and picked your fifty-minute chunk, over other options, ranging from presentations by other writers and/or publishing professionals, to staking out a chair in the lobby to actually write, or saying “stuff this” to the planned program, and nipping off with friends old or new, for a beverage of choice, that makes a person want to at least have the appearance of having their stuff together.

Thankfully, this year, I get to go into the event with new releases that are not old enough to go to kindergarten. My Ravenwood novel excerpt is currently available,  My nonfiction anthology piece, “Greetings from Boxville,” is available for preorder, so it does feel like there is, at last, progress. We like progress. Details are still forthcoming on my next involvement with Charter Oak Romance Writers, but it feels good to be asked back, and, also, for a writer friend I’ve previously worked with, to ask me back for more freelance work. These are all good things. Signs of life, if you will.

All of this brings me to this morning, at the kitchen table, with multiple planners open, nudging all (or at least most) of my ducks into, if not exactly a row, then a loose conglomeration, in the same geographical area. I like to know what’s going to happen, when, and who’s going to do it. That means that, this week, I get to go over my presentation with Melva, and plan out what I want to cover in the segments that are assigned to me. In reality, we’ve both going to interrupt each other a lot, and Melva will probably go unintentionally blue, at least once, at some point, but I like knowing how things are meant to go, in theory, even if practice doesn’t always follow the standard practices.

While a good deal of the planning at this stage of the game, for Fiction Fest, involves the practicalities -which route do I want to take to the venue? What am I wearing? What electronics/pens/paper have to come with?- there is also the planning for the post-conference days. Autumn is, and always has been, the season when my superpowers, usually dormant during the summer, come back, full-fledged, and ready to rumble. In my case, that means writing. If any opportunities come from meetings, planned or chance, at Fiction Fest, Melva and I will need to jump on those, because timing matters.

More than that, there is the fact that I will come back from the conference, energized, with new writer friends, maybe new ideas, and my enthusiasm and confidence cranked up a few levels. This is especially important when I look at getting back to Her Last First Kiss, and historical romance, in general. If you think this is going to mean I’ll be re=formatting the planning of how I approach this part of my writing life, you’re right. Do I have any idea what that is going to look like, in a physical sense? Not at the moment, but not the stuff I put together because that’s how it’s “supposed to” work, or because that’s what “real writers” do. The way it’s meant to be is in the best way possible for me to easily access not only the physical documents or files, but the way that makes it possible for me to connect with that special story place, the one that makes me eager to come to the page every morning, and tell these characters’ stories, the way they want them to be told.

The fact that I get to play with pretty pens and papers and assorted ephemera is only coincidental. Really.

Pre-Fall Writing Prep

Yesterday, I was in pajamas and in bed by 6:30 PM. It was one of those days. Yes, I have been out of bed since, even though bed is also today’s command center. This morning, my Mac Book Pro started with the three beeps thing. This will either mean a trip to the Apple Store (this would be my first) or removing the back of the laptop, to fix the issue myself. I have still not decided, but I need my machine, to get some work done, and, not going to lie, having Sims on my laptop is a definite must, especially when my first ever CT Fiction Fest is now less than a month away :runs around in circles, screaming: and I am not going only as an attendee, but as a co-presenter. This won’t be my first time at the front of the room, and I will have Melva right there with me, and we’ve already gone over who is going to talk about what. We also agree that we are probably going to interrupt and talk over each other a lot ( this is extremely likely.)

Right now, Chasing Prince Charming has three pairs of professional eyes upon it, which is both exciting and scary. I’m not thinking about it too much, as there’s enough other stuff on my mind.

Preparing for Fiction Fest is one thing, of course. Melva and I know what each of us are going to do for our workshop, and I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that I will almost certainly wearing some sort of black dress, and purchasing new shoes is probably the better route than teying to find the box marked “heels” in the storage unit. I will be headed there anyway, as I need to find my traveler’s notebook inserts, which are also in there somewhere.

Either way, it’s going to be some excavation. This feels appropriate, given the recent retreat. One thing that is gauranteed from nearly a week spent with almost exclusively feline  companionship, and no interwebs, is a lot of mental excavation.

Though such time is basically made for some prime planning, one of the biggest things I discovered on retreat week was that the checklists and trackers I put together at the start of the year still work perfectly fine, for the most part, but I didn’t like them anymore. This means taling a look at what I want to do, and how I want to do it. Hence the planned storage unit excavation, in search of boxes marked “Moleskines” and “cahiers.”

The visual style changes for my notebook pages are the easy part. The scary part is the stuff that will go on them. A.k.a. writing fiction. Over the last couple of says, multiple people have brought up Her Last First Kiss. This elicited, in basically all cases, a reaction that can best be described as “eep.” Sound made by me, in case you hadn’t guessed, followed by a guilty, “I knowwwww.” Usually followed by thoughts of the wire cube where I’d stashed the printout of draft one, and the Big Daddy Precious notebook, before the move.

There was the whole moving thing, and the focus on Chasing Peince Charming and the revise/resubmit request, plus the anthology submissions, and workshops both online and on person, plus assorted medical bunny trails, Camp NaNo, two retreats, and now…it’s time, again.

When I think of returning to Ruby and Bern’s world, my mind goes to the very first scene, where a young Ruby’s life passes its first point of no return. My pulse speeds a little when I think about that. It goes next to the titular first kiss, at the worst possible time, when both Bern and Ruby become fully aware of how deep their mutual doo-doo has become, and the damage that would follow taking things any further.

That moment always gives me a satisfied sigh. It’s not a comfortable moment for either of them, by any means, but it’s one of my favorites, because it’s their point of no return, and, therefore, the book’s. In my initial notes, they both get an FML notation. Bad, bad, very bad, but oh so good at the same time. At least for me, which should, theoretically, make me want to skip to the keyboard, cackling with glee. Rubbing of hands optional.

The reality of it? We will see when I open Big Daddy Prdcious, and put pen to paper. The desktop still works perfectly fine, but I’m going to need to pick an option for fixing the Mac, as it’s about to get a lot of use. At least that’s the plan.






It Only Has To Be Written

Old school workspace picture for today, because A) it’s hot and muggy, and B) I am too lazy to get up and retrieve my phone from the bedroom, also C) I have no idea if it will actually take a charge, and I would rather live in blissful ignorance on this matter, for a while longer. Technology, often, is not my friend, which is a funny thing to say when typing this blog entry on a new-to–me Mac, but this blog is a place for honesty, so that’s what you get.

Right off the bat, the fact that Monday’s blog is appearing on Tuesday is probably an indication of how this week is going, but I figure I can deal. The week will end in my second off the grid retreat, including some up close and purr-sonal time with my fuzzy mews, lunch with co-writer, Melva, to talk about the next steps for Drama King, our sophomore effort, and, possibly most importantly, uninterrupted reading and/or writing time.

Yes, I am bringing the Mac. No, he does not have a name yet (yes, my electronics have genders, and yes, I am sure) but he is a boy. I do have a favorite contender for the name, but still keeping it quiet for a while. There will most likely, in the not too distant future, skins, and a case, and at the very least, a pretty keyboard cover. I want to bring this laptop into my family the right way. Still looking at options, so updates and pictures when things are settled.

Settled is a funny word to use right about now, as not a lot in several areas of life is actually settled. We are still crunching numbers about Forever Apartment, and my office, right now, is a leaky air mattress on the living room floor, as the folding chair and tv tray arrangement meant either happy eyeballs and grouchy back, or grouchy eyeballs and happy back. Since writers generally fare better with as few grumpy body parts as possible, a decent laptop, air mattress, and armrest pillow, seem to be the best solution for the time being. I am hoping that the end of this week will not include a casualty report for the miniature rose plants, but not ruling it out. This is my first time with roses, so some casualties are to be expected.

This would normally be a good place to say “it’s like that with writing,” only this isn’t my first time with writing. Not every project is going to pan out. That’s truth. Unpleasant, but truth. Yet, at the same time, the rest of the month will see two anthology submissions published, so there’s that to anticipate, I am going on retreat, which nets me not only time alone with my mews, but an environment free of distraction, and this morning brought a gracious invitation to speak again at the first RWA chapter I ever joined, which felt very much like an affirmation. They asked me back. I’m doing something right.

One month from now, I will be packing to go to Connecticut Fiction Fest, which deposits me in a hotel full of other writers, both romance and otherwise, for three days of full immersion networking, workshops, one of which I am co=presenting, and Chasing Prince Charming will hopefully get some love from the critique appointment Melva made. The manuscript is once again making he rounds of editors and agents, so we will see what transpires with the new and improved version, as we move on to Drama King.

This week, my library haul found a new home, in the top shelf of the rolling cart in the kitchen, and I noticed that, for the first time in a while, my historical romance titles outnumber the YAs. It’s tight, but historical romance is winning, and that, also, is encouraging. One thing I never thought would happen would be that I’d feel resistance to reading my favorite genre, but life is funny like that. Depression is part of it, the losing interest in things one normally likes, and there are times when a book looks so…big…that even the thought of embarking on that many pages makes me tired. Yes, I know, some YAs have more pages than some historical romances, but right now, I’m finding most historicals are part of series, and the mere thought of having to read three, four, five, or more books, before I can get to the new one that’s caught my eye (yes, I do have to read series in order; I’ve tried otherwise, and I don’t like it) is likely to go into the “too much trouble” file, and I’m probably missing out on some really good reads. At least for now. YAs, at least the ones I’ve been reading, are more likely to be standalone, and, at present, a story that’s complete in itself if what works for me.

So, why did the scale tip on this week’s library run? I can’t say There will probably  be another post on this, later, and maybe a book haul video, so I can share my choices with you. Maybe there’s a pattern I’m not seeing. I know that writing goes better when I’m doing certain things, and one of those is reading books that have me sorry to put them down, and eager to open them at the next opportunity.

For now, though, it’s writing time. Outside my window, there is a delicious thunderstorm, and my reward for writing-anything; it doesn’t have to be perfect, or even usable, it only has to be written- is putting my Sims games on the Mac, followed by, quite possibly a cup of tea, and a good book. Thankfully, I am bribable that way.


Typing With Wet Claws: Retreat Prep 2.0 Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, coming to you from Camp Grandma. As you may have guessed from this week’s title, by this time, next week, Anty will be in a carrier, coming to see me. I am very much looking forward to that. There has been talk of a laser pointer. If it is anything like my mousie game, I am all over that.

I am also all over Anty’s writing, which she plans to be doing a lot of, during our retreat. First, and I will probably have to Coe back and edit this later, because the remote connection to Anty’s new glory box is still wonky (also, it is thundering, and I am going to stay here under Grandma’s sewing machine (do not worry, it is off) until the storm is over. I would hide under a bed, but there are no beds in my room (I know, seriously, what’s up with that?) If you have been wanting to read new writing by Any (and also some other people) then this is your lucky day.

Preorders for the nonfiction of New York’s Emerging Writers are now, um, doing their thing. That preorder is here.  Anty’s contribution to this book is her essay, “Greetings From Boxville,” which is about the writing life, in the midst of a move. It is a lot like Anty’s blog entries, but it is not in a blog; it is only in this book, and no place else.

Preorders are also here for the fiction edition of New York’s Emerging Writers. If you would like to preorder that one, then you can do that here. This book comes out on August 7th, which is only days away, so there is still time to sneak in under the wire to preorder. Anty’s contribution to this anthology is “Ravenwood,” which is an excerpt of her novel, A Heart Most Errant. If you like “Ravenwood,” and would like to see A Heart Most Errant as a whole book, maybe leave a nice review and mention that. No promises, but mentioning the story and author by name helps the publisher see who readers would like to read more from, in the future. If you want to see more books by Any (and me get better toys and treats) then do the right thing.

As always, Anty was a Buried Under Romance this past Saturday, with her post that asks if favorite books always remain favorites? Can a reader like the same book more or less than they did before, at different times? If you are interested to find out what Anty thinks about that kind of thing, you can find that out here.

This is normally the part where I give you Anty’s Goodreads challenge updates, but Sebastian is still supposedly working on the exact numbers, so I will show you Anty’s favorite book that she read this week. It is called Leah on the Offbeat, by Becky Albertalli, and Anty’s review of that is here. 

Any has now read sixty out of the ninety books she set as her goal for the year, and that puts her at sixty-seven percent of the way there, eight books ahead of schedule. I would be remiss if I did not point out that Anty has been slacking in the historical romance department, in favor of YA, but I am not worried. These things go in cycles, and she will be blazing through historical romance novels again, very soon. Last night, Anty made a lot of notes about video blogs she would like to make, regarding books that she likes, and she needed two pages for historical romance topic ideas. That is encouraging.

Some of you may have noticed that I have not put a lot of pictures in this entry. I am very sorry. Still learning how the remote connection works on a Mac instead of a PC (that stands for Pretty Cat, right?) Maybe Anty will fill me in when she comes for our retreat. Although my chances of getting peanut butter (I regret nothing) are markedly lower on this retreat, now that Anty is on to me,  I think we will still have a good time. Miss H is telling Anty how to load some computer games (people games, but oh well, I can still watch) onto her laptop, so that Anty will not be game-less, even without inter webs. Grandma is not at all interested in inter webs, so Anty may get a little twitchy until Anty Melva comes to take her for lunch.

The reason Anty Melva and Anty will go to lunch is so that they can go over their presentation for Connecticut Fiction Fest, which is only a month away. Anty is not, as of yet, running around in circles screaming, but that may still happen. Anty Melva made a wonderful PowerPoint presentation, and she and Anty even have a fun game for the humans who come to their workshop to play, so they can break the ice. That is a metaphor. They will not really have ice. Though, they might, in the water pitcher, if there is one. There will probably be one. Anty likes to stay hydrated. So there might be ice. Anyway, if you are going to Fiction Fest, and want to hear about how to keep writing through tough times, then their workshop is one you will want to see.

Anty and Anty Melva will also be talking about their current WIP, Drama King, which actually has a cat in it. He is my favorite character. Can I have a book boyfriend, even though I am fixed? I think I can. I will give Anty my big green eyes look. She can never say no to that.

Anty is making her wrap it up noises, so that is about it for this week. Come back next week, and I should have figured out how to add more pictures. Until then, I remain very truly yours,


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.


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:


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.


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,



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:


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,


In the Absence of Wirkshop X

Right now, I am between two loads of laundry, which means two trips to the laundry room, which means using the first trip to teach me what I want to bring on the second trip. I am still learning the new apartment, the new apartment building, the new apartment complex, the new neighborhood, and a whole bunch of other news. Sleep has been not-great, which means a lot of time, in the dark, thinking about life, both writing and otherwise.

June is a ninja. Spring had only started, and now, wham, look, it’s summer. June 1st is my date with Charter Oak Romance Writers, on a topic I feel both eminently qualified, and wholly unfit to present. Allow me to ‘splain.

Save The Writer, Save The Book (STWSTB,) or Writing Through the Tears (WTTT,) depending on who you ask, came about when Melva Michaelian and I both missed the notices that Workshop X (so called, because I cannot, for the life of me remember what the actual topic was, or the name of the presenter who was unable to make it that year) had been cancelled, and thus sat in an empty conference room for an hour. At first, we figured maybe everybody else was late. They were not, because we were it, because there was no workshop. There may or may not have been discussion of going to the workshop offered in place of Workshop X, or maybe another workshop, but we wanted the one that wasn’t, and we were tired, and things do tend to happen when we are left on our own at conferences. (CT Fiction Fest 2018 attendees, you have been warned) what we landed on was that we should have our own workshop.

STWSTB is a catchy name, and it does borrow from the tag line of the TV show, Heroes, which I have never seen. I don’t know if Melva has; you’d have to ask her. At the time, we were both caregivers to multiple relatives apiece, along with juggling other flaming stress chainsaws of life, and we both had the same question: how the fluff do yoy keep writing, with all this stuff going on?

I know, I know, dangling proposition above, but it’s appropriate. How do you keep writing? I want to know this. How do I? I want to know that, perhaps, even more. No offense; I am sure you are very interesting, and I could probably ask far too may nosy questions, but I am the only one who can write my books. I am half of the team that co-writes Melva’s-and-my books, so focusing on myself is probably a wise decision on my part.

I am not where Beginning Writer Me thought she/I would be, at this point in her/my career. We rather thought we would have a bit more to show for our efforts by now. We thought we would be writing from behind an antique dedk, in an off-site office, by now, walls covered in glossy posters of our book covers, not tapping out blog entries on our phone, from the air mattress in an apartment with blank cream walls, but, today, that’s what we’ve got.

There’s an old proverb, Japanese, I want to say, that says, fall down five times, get up six. That, I can do. Though, as with many adoptees, my genetic makeup is a mystery, I am fairly certain that I am at least thirty-five percent Weeble. Knock me down, and I get back up, because that’s how I’m made. Maybe that’s why I liked the punching clown toy as much as I did, when I was but a wee princess. Smack it down, and up it comes. Every. Time.

Sometimes, writing is easy. Sometimes, writing is hard. Sometimes, the answer to “how do you keep going?” is, that, sonetimes, you don’t. Not in a lie in a ditch and stop existing sense, but in a take a step back, drink root beer floats in a blanket fort and watch Netflix all afternoon sense. Or reading. Reading is good. Also doodling, or lying on your back, eyes closed, listening to music; all of that is good stuff. When I can’t put out, that usually means I need to take in, instead. Feed my senses. Feed my story brain. Talk to other writers, talk to other readers. Talk to four-legged (or finned or feathered) family members, because they are very good listeners and not at all pushy with advice. Talk to myself (I do that one a lot.)  Talk to the voices in my head, which, for most of us writers, are our characters, and, when the time is right, they will talk back. That’s how they’re built, too.




Typing With Wet Claws: Grandma is a Snitch Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, bringing you yet another Feline Friday, straight from Camp Grandma. Grandma and I are getting along okay, but she is no Uncle, and there is the small matter of her calling the v-e-t on me ( do not worry, I am okay) so I will be glad when Forever Apartment becomes available. More on that later.

Even though I am at camp, I still have to talk about Anty’s writing before I can talk about anything else. First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about the surprise shut-down of RT Book Reviews magazine and associated ventures. I have heard that the magazine was very nice to lie on, so I am sure many kitties will miss it. That post is here, and it looks like this:



As you can see, remote blogging has a bit of a learning curve, but a good mews never lets a little thing like distance to get in their way. Next week, Anty will come and visit me when she speaks to Charter Oak Romance Writers. Anty and I are both looking forward to that. Uncle has to work, so he cannot come, but Anty will bring me something that smells like him, which is a good consolation prize. I will probably send her back with some shed fur, and maybe a whisker I am done using. A mews has to do what a mews has to do.

One of those things is to cheer Anty on when she is doing the right thing. Besides submitting two pieces to an anthology that asked her to submit, she has also got some good news: she and Anty Melva will be presenting their workshop, Writing Through The Tears, also known as Save The Writer, Save the Book, at CT Fiction Fest in September. For more information, and maybe to guess the workshops Anty hopes most are not opposite hers, visit the conference site here:


Anty has returned to her regular schedule of meetings with fellow writer humans, which feels very good, after that whole moving interruption. The interwebs connection here is much better, so Anty got to have her whole conversation with Anty Melva without weak signals or anything. That was exciting, even if Anty did have to carry on her end of the conversation from the edge of the bathtub.


That is how Anty has to set up the laptop so that Anty Melva can talk to Anty’s face instead of her, umm, shirt, but writers, like their mewses, do what they must.  Also, Sebastian tells me it is very echoey in the For-Now apartment, so going into a different room is probably the best way to go.

Although I am still working out how to link Anty’s Goodreads challenge in this whole remote business, I can let you know that she is currently 41% of the way to her goal, with 37 out of 90 books read. She may have read more, but I will have Sebastian run the numbers later. Her two most recent reads were both historical romance:

Lady in White , by Denise Domning


The Prince of Midnight, by Laura Kinsale

I will have Sebastian add the links later, as those are tricky to do here at camp. It looks like DomningNation is a go, because, now, Anty is reading Winter’s Heat, also by Miss Denise, and she has all of the four books that come after it already on hrr Kindle, plus some other books by Miss Denise, so Anty is all set on that front.

This weekend, Anty and Mama hope to get Anty’s desktop out of storage, so nobody has to listen to Anty’s whining about….umm, I mean Anty will have an easier time doing her work. That will also let Anty play her games again. A gaming Anty is a happy Anty, and it might help her to miss me less if she could make a Sim version of me to keep her Simself company. We will see how that goes. This coming week is for Anty bringing herself up to date on her current projects, and that is much easier on a desktop computer.

In case you were wondering about the whole Grandma being a snitch thing, I should mention that Grandma and I have had a difference of opinion as to where I should do my, um, stuff. Grandma was worried that I was not making stuff at all (I totally was) so she called the local vet, who was my old vet, before we moved, and told her I had not made any stuff since I started camp. I am eating and drinking fine (Grandma gets a A+ on water bowl replenishment) so the vet told Grandma that I am not sick, just in a strange place, and want to be sure I am safe. Anty or Mama will probably find my stuff spot right away, and let Grandma know where I want my stuff spot to be. Mama also rold Grandma to talk to her before any vets (the vet could not see me, anyway, without Mama’s permission) and that I am fine. Not exactly happy, but fine.

Uncle is doing much better after his own stay at the people vet, and, apart from me being at camp, things are pretty good. The humans are moving things into For-Now apartment on an as needed basis, which Sebastian says makes for some interesting arrangements as they figure out what is a need-need and what would be nice.


Of course, getting me home is the biggest need, but, in the meantime, Sebastian is doing a pretty good job of providing a facsimile of a feline presence. That window is his favorite spot. I remain, even at camp, a floor girl .

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

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling

(The kitty, not the book)
















Packing In Reverse

Yesterday, I submitted two pieces of writing. Though it hasn’t been that long since my last gig, hitting that “submit” button felt a lot like I was doing so for the very first time. It wasn’t, of course. Four books, a whole lot of blog posts for various sites, both my own and otherwise, and, still, the stomach butterfly ballet was in fine form.

First submission in the new apartment, though, which is certainly something. Tonight, I will have my first Skype meeting from the new apartment, to talk with my contemporary co-writer, and co-presenter of our Save the Writer, Save the Book, Melva Michaelian, about how we’re going to handle the presentation to Charter Oak Romance Writers, and, beyond that, how we want to approach the same workshop at Connecticut Fiction Fest, this fall. We’ll probably touch on Chasing Prince Charming and Drama King, as well, because A) we are us, and B) as with the whole submission thing, coming back after a time away is both exciting, and a little scary.

On Wednesday, I will meet with N, and we will look at what it takes to get to The End. Draft two of Her Last First Kiss for me, and a new draft of a paramormal YA for her. Maybe other projects as well, but we have each declared our focus, and will hold each other to that.

When I first started packing the old office, I put all of the paper I needed for HLFK in one box. This past Saturday, I busted it out of storage and brought it home. Right now, my “desk” is a TV tray, my office chair, a folding chair. I can get the whole stripped down aesthetic, and I even appreciate that I have, on the desk/table front, come full circle, back to writing on a TV tray, in a quiet house, when the rest of the family is out.

Now that we are in the home stretch to the end of our first month here, it’s time to recalibrate and find the new normal. That’s easier said than done, and pretty much the writing version of taking the first step into a new apartment on moving-in day. By itself, the statement a blank slate makes is not a strong one, but it can be intimidating. Where to start is an important consideration, but it’s too easy to become overwhelmed by what goes where.

In this apartment, I don’t have a dedicated office, unless I claim the postage stamp sized “storage” room that also holds the water heater. That’s going to require some changing around of longstanding habits. While I will be rescuing my desktop computer (and printer) from storage  hopefully this week, it will still ( probably) be set up on the TV tray, I am currently doing most computing on my phone. New writing works best in longhand, which has not changed one bit, from one home to the next. The transition from one way of doing things, to a new way of doing things isn’t always smooth.

Right now, the books I have in this apartment are either e-books, or belong to the library. No spinning the chair around, to  brush fingers over old favorites. No RT magazine back issues (or RT, period, alas) to pet, or flip through for inspiration. It kind of feels like moving into a college dorm. It’s temporary, as we are looking dor a pet-friendly forever home, but, while we’re here, we need to focus, not on what has always been, or how things are, or how things are going to be in the fututre. Time to, as with the rest of the moving process, do the thing that is in front of me. Write the blog post.  Go over notes for the Skype chat, and put the HLFK materials in the right order. Read through the manuscripts to date, and make notes on what needs more attention.

Falling in love with the stories again, that part is easy, and it’s also hard. It’s hard because it means acknowledging that there has been time away, and the books and I do need to get reacquainted. This means mornings over endless cups of tea, reading through handwritten pages, taking apart the binder I constructed, because I constructed it in the wrong way, the way it “should” go, instead of the way that works for me.

I may be a while before everything is back on an even keel, but that’s to be expected. This is packing, in reverse. Taking the stuff, both literal and figurative, out of where I’ve stashed it, and see where it belongs now