Being on Somone Else’s YouTube is Unreal

Yesterday. Melva and I had our Zoomer Times interview, which is now live on their YouTube channel. I would like to state that I am indeed more than a giant head in extreme closeup, and blame my visual impairment for not noticing how giant-head-y I was, but let’s ignore that and focus on the content.

Not going to lie, I was nervous, but, at the same time, this is legit an item from my childhood bucket list, “be interviewed on TV” because YouTube counts, and it’s on a channel other than my own. Which will hopefully be giant-head-free. It’s a learning curve to be sure, and one I’m glad Melva and I took.

Host Anita Finley was an utter delight, and I could not have asked for a more enthusiastic or friendlier person. They say you always remember your first time, and I absolutely will. When we first tried this whole interview thing in March, I got to be the silent partner, because my Kindle Fire wasn’t playing nicely with Zoom in general, and my contributions were relegated to broad facial expressions and gestures. Guess that mime class I very reluctantly took in high school paid off after all, because they were willing to give us a do-over once we solved the equipment problem.

The whole experinence, once we got rolling, was as much fun as I’d hoped. What writer doesn’t want to jabber about their book baby to a captife audience? Especially a willing captive. Even after what seems like “all this time,” I still get a thrill when I see Meg and Dominic on the cover of Chasing Prince Charming. I am sure that will repeat on every subsequent book with each new couple, but this was the first one.

Not only my first contemporary, my first book with Melva, but the first book that sold after a very long time of…not. Melva and I thought that Drama King would come along a lot faster, but then life hit both of us hard, and now that we have our combined wind back (or close enough) we are putting those hopes on Queen of Hearts, Dominic’s sister, Heather’s story, instead. Nobody can gaurantee that life won’t throw any more curveballs, but with each book, together or independently, we learn a little more, adapt, grow, evolve. This time, for instance, every chapter gets a number, which will make sure we have fewere “where does this bit go?” moments. Hellbent for leather, as Aunt S would have said, through the discovery draft, and then we can make everything pretty later.

I’m not sure when physical book tours will be a thing again, or if being everywhere at once, from the comfort of our own homes is the new norm, and how things are going to be from now onward. Melva is an excellent motel roommate, and traveling companion, and we do get a lot of our ideas while she drove and I wrote stuff down. I’m still the one with notebook and pen at the ready, always. That feels right.

This is all a fancy way of saying “we did a thing” and talked about stuff, so have a look if you’re so inclined, leave a like or comment if you like, and have a magnificent day.

Sea Legs, Inside Out

Happy Wednesday, Liebchens. This post is not about pirates (well, there may be pirates, tangentally) or the Pixar movie (haven’t seen it.) Wednesday is kind of my Monday this week, and I am okay with that. We had a full house at home for the first two days of the week, so those became family days. A trip to the storage unit yielded the box that is now in the kitchen, holding my AlphaSmart. I have missed that baby, muchly, in the year plus we were apart. Having it back now feels right, and that it came at the right time. I have t he first round of edits on A Heart Most Errant on my desk, Melva and I are currently second-drafting Drama King, and laying the groundwork for Queen of Hearts. For this week, my part is to write the character profile of our heroine, Heather (Chasing Prince Charming readers already met her in that book.) I am not using any kind of template, but may or may not be developing one as I go. We’ll see. I am circling Her Last First Kiss and figuring out the best way to get back on the horse, and taking a more planned approach to my blogging, not only here but on Buried Under Romance, and MelvandAnna.com.

the once and future setup

Phew. That feels like a lot, but it’s a good lot. I could use some normal about now. Finding a big box of normal in storage felt super duper good. I honestly do feel like I am getting my sea legs back after too long on land, writing wise, . There’s even the outline of a pirate trilogy in the works (see? Pirates.) and learning the best way to have what I want to do and the best way to do that work together in the most amicable fashion. The whole sleep cycle thing remains a work in progress. The weighted blanket is amazing, thought the whole sleep schedule thing, and valiantly pushing through fatigue to Get Stuff Done is usually not the most effective way to reach the goals I want to reach.

Like today, for example. Not only is Wednesday my Monday this week, but 1PM became my 9AM, as sleep sometimes happens in two or more shifts. Before, I would have thought of that as some sort of failure, and lugged the failure weight along with me as I stabbed things with a stick (metaphorically.) I’m over that. If my Sunday afternoon planning session ends up happening on Wednesday evening instead, that’s not a failure, it’s an adjustment. Still feeling all of this stuff out, and making note, while I do, on what works. If you know me, you know me and notes. Good thing.

For today, even with the “late” start, which is an on time start, because it began when I woke from a decent amount of sleep, the plan is: blog, plan, and work on character profile. I like doing all of those things. While I would like for the profile work to happen at the same time I am watching a movie, or streaming some sort of TV show, but I am not there yet. There, in this case, means watching streaming stuff. I want to be there, and it will come in time, but for now, my background noise is usually YouTube. Maybe an audiobook. Maybe I will listen to somebody I don’t know play computer games. I do that sometimes.

I am also looking forward to a super fun workshop that starts of February 22nd, Revive Your Resilience, with abundance coach Eryka Peskin. This post is not sponsored, (though I am totally open to such endeavors) but Eryka did mention that she would not be heartbroken if I shared the word. I have taken several of Eryka’s workshops, and even wrote a thing or two for prior events, and I highly, highly recommend checking out her stuff, which you can do with the link above. Five days, five exercises to help you figure out How To Bounce Back, and a super supportive community, including me, because I will be there. It’s also totally free, and there will be giveaways.

In short, it makes a lot of sense to have all of this going on at the cusp of the change from winter to spring. We live even closer to the park now than we did in our first Albany apartment, and soon there will be baby ducks. I will take pictures of them and visit them on a regular basis. Maybe I will bring the AlphaSmart.

Typing With Wet Paws: Jailbreak II: Hallway Boogaloo Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. We’ll start with the mot important stuff. Aunt Anna says that means that she had a good writing week, but I have to disagree. Ther important stuff is about me, obviously.

First and arguably the most important thing is that the humans are reasonably sure that I am not pregnant because I am now in heat. That mostly means me slinking around the room, doing my very seductive (to boy cats, at least I hope) trilling calls, and being super lovey. It also involves me wanting to go find boy cats.

Yesterday, as we moved into a new room after a night of camping (during which there were zero opportunities to make a break for it) I did not throw away my shot (Hamilton reference for the win. Hm. Lin-Manuel Miranda, here’s a suggestion. Hear me out: Catmilton. Like Hamilton, but with cats. Eliza should totally be a calico girl. Think about it.) and while the aunts were concerned with getting their things inside, I went zoom through the barely open door.

That was when Aunt Anna told me to get back there, and I did not listen, but the other humans very much did. Uncle Rheuben shut the hallway door (never do that unless it is an emergency, and a kitty on the loose is an emergency) and Aunt Linda hurried after Aunt Anna in case Aunt Anna needed backup. As for me, I trotted down the hallway, with my happy tail high, making my super seductive boy cat call, but there were no boy cats.

There were no other cats, period. Actually, there was nobody except the aunts following me, a lot of closed doors, and carpet, carpet everywhere. I did see a set of stairs, but I don’t really know how stairs work, because I’ve never used them before, so I ignored them and kept going. Aunt Anna kept up with me and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. I kept going.

That’s when she pointed Very Sternly in the opposite direction, toward our new room, and she told me I had to go that way. I knew Aunt Anna meant business, so I turned right around and went that way. Aunt Linda laughed, and Uncle Rheuben made sure I got back in the room, and then I got food. Now the humans put a suitcase in front of the door, so I am less likely to slip through. It’s tough to be a kitty.

Plague Doctor freebie sticker from Jen.erating

For those who like to see where Aunt Anna does her writing and blogging stuff, this is what it looks like for this current stay. As Aunt Anna said while lugging the CPU and monitor up the stairs, it is time to either get one of the old laptops brought up to scratch, or get a new one. She’ll put that on the list of stuff to do while we are settled. She is happy to do the lugging, though, because that helps her move forward with the whole writing thing, which, this week, has included:

  • looking into hiring an editor/formatter/cover artist for one of her unreleased titles
  • made a short list of places to query her two out of print titles
  • started setting the framework for the follow-up to the book at the top of this list
  • given some long overdue attention to an Aunt Melva scene from Drama King and started making notes on her own scene to follow
  • attended a cyber-meeting of her local RWA chapter, which had a great workshop on how to get unstuck, and putting some of those methods into practice

All in all, pretty good. It appears my mews services have been effective. I will continue in that vein. Aunt Anna is also back reading, and is very happy to be participating in the Historical Romance Readathon, Weekend Edition. Same idea as the regular flavor, but downsized for today’s fast paced lifestyle. Aunt Anna is starting off her TBR list with two titles:

She’s keeping the list small for now, but if she finishes both during the weekend, she’ll add another. I don’t remember how long it was since she read anything, but that’s the way it goes. Reading slumps/droughts hit, and then they end, as abruptly. Aunt Anna is okay with that. She is still looking for a YA contemporary to tickle her fancy, and there is a fantasy collection, The Grand Tour, by E. Catherine Tobler, that she expects she will devour.

That return to reading will be the topic of Aunt Anna’s next blog entry at Buried Under Romance, which she expects to get up by tomorrow morning. One of the things she is working on right now is a social media planner, so she can keep better track of what she means to post, and when. Part of that also includes making sure her Instagram has the proper number of pictures of me, so I fully support that effort. Apparently she’s going to shoot for one-third pictures of me. Eh, it’s a start.

Finally, Aunt Anna would like to unveil my brand new signoff picture, which she might try making into a sticker. That, I want to see. Guess that’s about it for right now, so until then,

Headbonks!

Typing With Stuffed Paws: the (Ex)terminator is Coming Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals! It is I, Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, freshly vacuumed and coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. The big news, of course, is that Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick welcomed their first co-written book baby, Chasing Prince Charming, into the world, in both print and electronic release. If you read the book and didn’t hate it, maybe leave a review or something. Writers like that. Also, obligatory cover photo, because release week.

Okay, so there’s that. Special update for this week at Buried Under Romance, but first we will drop the link for last week’s post, on buried treasure romance novels. That’s historical romance novels that are considered buried treasure, not that are about treasures that are buried.

So, the big news over there is that there will not be a regular Saturday Discussion post this week. That does not mean that there will be no Writer Chick. It means that you get Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick, talking about their book, all in one place. With an excerpt, and, for two lucky commenters, prizes. Want a shot at getting your very own free paperback of Chasing Prince Charming? Maybe you’d like to win a fancy notebook and some nifty pens? Stop by Buried Under Romance on Saturday, August 17th, and follow directions.

Speaking of directions, I will now direct you to Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge. Surprise, surprise, she actually read a book this week, so she is now four books ahead of schedule, with sixty-three books read out of her goal of ninety-five, which puts her at sixty-six percent of the way to her goal.

Blah blah writing blah blah, get to the exterminator part. Okay. So. the exterminator is coming. IDK when, but they were here today, gave the official bug sighting signal, and will let Writer Chick know, ASAP, when Bugnarok will occur. This means she will have a few things to do in preparation for that. Part of that is putting us stuffed friends, after a thorough vacuuming, in hazmat suits. IDK what that means, but it sounds cool. Then she has to make sure her books and art supplies are safe, and find somebody locally to plantsit Tudor, Lancaster, and Queen Boudicca. There’s also personal care items/medicines/foods to secure, and then, basically, this:

There will probably be a lot of cleaning after that, but after that, things should settle. It’s times like this Writer Chick is glad that she can tap out of all this for a while and read, or write, a good romance novel. More updates, on all fronts, as they come

Peace out,

Chasing Prince Charming Update and Plunder Progress

Today is hot and gross and sticky. I did not sleep. Real Life Romance Hero slept some, and he, Housemate, and I are collectively choreographing an intricate errand ballet that involves the big washers at the laundromat (again, sigh) flea bombs numbers four and five, the grocery store, possible library run, and other fun doings that come from a household with three adults and one car. It will all work out, most everything will be air conditioned, and since I write my first drafts in longhand, I can write anywhere. When I hit a wall, I have a Kindle Fire and am trying out Kindle Unlimited, because of reasons, so bring it on.

Chasing Prince Charming update

Chasing Prince Charming update first, as we are now only one month and two days away from unleashing Meg and Dominic upon the world. Thanks to everyone who has preordered so far, and,. for those who have been asking whether there will be a print edition available, it looks like the answer is yes. Melva and I are super-duper-pooper-scooper excited over this, and we will be sure to share when the print edition is available for preorder. I am watching Amazon like a hawk. If the physical copy looks half as good as Ginny Frost‘s The Bar Scene, I will be absolutely thrilled. Also probably carrying a physical copy with me so I can show it to random strangers…er, readers. I meant readers.

Plunder Progress

This story, and this year’s Camp NaNo, continue to surprise me. According to my progress on the site, I am either near or just over the seventy=five percent mark of my goal, and it’s really more like grabbing some popcorn and watching the movie in my head instead of “writing” the story, which is not at all a complaint. I show up, the characters do, too, and, so far, it is working out. I would not call this “pantsing” (who wants to wear pants in July in New York?) but more along the lines of “flying into the mist,” in the spirit of the late, great Jo Beverley.

Never mind that, so far, I have important secondary characters named “Confidante,” and “Nun,” who have not yet shown their faces or told me a single thing about themselves, other than what role they play in Cornelis and Lydia’s story. Right now, I don’t need to know anything more than that. I am very much aware that using a pirate haven as a large part of my book’s setting, means that I have an extremely good opportunity to have a diverse supporting cast. Those pirates picked up people everywhere, and dropped them off everywhere, as well. Some of those people got together and created more people, when the original two people would never have met otherwise, because they would have lived out their lives on separate continents, and, boy howdy, if that’s not catnip for a romance writer, I do not know what more I can tell you on that topic.

The way I figure it, these people who inhabit my fictional world, from nuns to pirates (so far, I have both) will tell me who they are, when and how they are ready, and I do not need to worry about that kind of thing. (Part of me wants to protest that these imaginary friends do not know how anxiety works, but I think, probably, that some of them do.) All I need to do is keep showing up, keep following Cornelis and Lydia around, keep making notes on the left hand (my left) page and then remembering to follow through on those notes, because they are probably going to affect the direction the next phase of the story takes.

So far, I do not have a Spotify playlist, or a private Pinterest board, for Plunder, and I am surprised that I do not miss either one. Maybe those, too, will present themselves in tine, but, at the moment, they are not needed. My people have faces of their own when they come to me, for the most part, even if they, like Nun and Confidante, hide them for a while, until they trust me enough to let me see. I am, okay with that. Is this the way every new book is going to work? Probably not. Maybe not even every book in this trilogy, and I am okay with that, too. Bit by bit, as I focus on book one, bits and pieces I did not have of book two, arrange themselves in place, and even the foundations of book three are taking shape.

Don’t ask me if this means I have anything yo say about writing linked books from the outset, or over-arcing plot…things. As we said, flying into the mist here, and happy to go that way until I get Lydia and Cornelis to their form of HEA for this book. They’ll clear another milestone at the end of their daughter, Tamsen’s, book, but that’s a way off yet. For now, it’s me and lined notebook paper, and dark blue ink, and whatever those two crazy kids give me for the given day. They know where we’re headed, and that’s good enough for me.

Real Live Girl

Monday’s post on Wednesday again, as it is that kind of week. I wish I could say the delay is due to Canada Day having fallen on Monday, and that I was in a poutine coma, but that was not the case. Housemate and I monopolized the industrial washers at the laundromat, (hopefully) enacting Fleamageddon on the bitey critters in our household linens and such. I am not calling victory until more time has passed, but I am hopeful.

I am also, as of this week, a real live girl, aka official Goodreads Author. That’s my profile, right there.

Many metric tons of thanks to the fabulous E. Catherine Tobler, who is also a Goodreads Author for talking me through the process. Seeing my name and my face on the site, with the official designation, shook me a little. I am still not sure why. N was certainly impressed when I showed her the author page , at our weekly breakfast this morning (another thing that has been different this week. We usually meet on Tuesday, but it was Wednesday this week) and even Mr. N was impressed. We spent most of the morning with me history-geeking out over the English Civil War, and Bretheren of the Coast, and I did give N a quick walk-through of my Camp NaNo notebook.

This is not a post on my Camp NaNo notebook. Nor is it a post on Camp NaNo. Those will be later. It is also not a post on One Book July, which I am deferring from the first post of the month, not because I don’t have anything to say on the matter, because I do. I am liking this experiment a lot more than I thought I would, and limiting the supplies I have for my everyday carry actually give me a lot more freedom in how I use them. There is something in that there, and probably something that relates to writing in some manner, but I am still formulating my thoughts on that.

What, exactly, does being a Goodreads Author mean to me? I get the sense that I want to take a moment before answering this, and reach deep inside to find my scholarship pageant voice (fun fact; I had the opportunity to enter a scholarship pageant in high school, but declined.) and think of puppies, world peace, and hopefully a sparkly crown on my head, if I answer correctly. I would like all three of these things, but, right now, I am still taking it in, and turning my attention to the page.

That page would be my daily page in my planner, because that helps a lot to keep me on track. Get author tasks done for The Wild Rose Press, so they can help spread the word about Chasing Prince Charming. Stick to my Camp NaNo goal, and use the month before me as discovery time for my first planned trilogy of historical romance. Carry on with Drama King with Melva, our beach ball now in the professional arena instead of the backyard sandbox. Nudge Her Last First Kiss further along the way to the end of draft two, and keep an eye on the in-box for news on my queries for A Heart Most Errant (and think of series potential, because marketing, and I can do this, stretching myself is good) and definitely ensuring that Fleamageddon sticks.

For the practical answer, being a Goodreads Author means that A) you can follow me there, B) you can ask me questions. That one is kind of exciting. Okay, they both are, and I really hope those who want to do one or the other (or both) will do so. That’s one of the fun parts of being a writer, interacting with readers, so I am looking forward to that, but for now, my planner says I am writing.

We Have a Release Date!

No, that is not my computer exploding in today’s image. It is celebratory fireworks, because Melva Michaelian and I finally have a release date for our very first contemporary romance together, Chasing Prince Charming. August twelfth is the day, which is a Monday, so if you are looking for something to start that particular week right, may I suggest a fun new book? Specifically ours, but you do you.

August 12th. Save the date.

Write that down, get a sticky note, put it on your calendar, type it into electronic device of choice, or keep following this blog, because I will be 100% sure to keep reminding everybody/ not shutting up about this, because it really does mean that the long (long!) dry spell of no new releases really is over.

found it here

I was tempted to put “actual footage of me reading The Email” in the caption, but (I hope) we all know I’m not a green frog Muppet. I’m not. See, new author picture is here:

Actual me, aka not a frog.

Melva is also not a frog, but we are still waiting on okay for her author photo, so take my word for it. We are both wildly excited, and working hard on our new author(s) website, your (soon to be) one stop shop for all things Melva and Anna. There will be bookshelves; hers, mine, and ours, bits of tid on workshops we present, and more.

For now, we are in the exciting world of pre-release author things, because the focus now goes to promo. There is the pricing of swag. The whimpering when reading those results, the perils of letting the pen aficionado suss out options, the calm voice of reason that this all does not have to get done in one day. It does have to get done, though. Like writing the book, this is eat the elephant one bite at a time territory. Focus on the thing in front of you, do it until it’s done, and then do the next thing.

In between all of that, there is writing the next books. Plural. Melva and I are on track with what we hope will be book two of the Love By The Book series, Drama King, with Queen of Hearts after that. Melva has her own projects, which are hers to tell, and I have less than two weeks before July is upon us, bringing Camp NaNo, aka my experiment in outlining Plunder in a mere thirty days. Thirty-one. Whatever. There’s A Heart Most Errant making the rounds, and Her Last First Kiss to get to the end of draft two, so that it can do the same. Lazy days of summer? I don’t think so.

I am okay with that. I am more than okay with that. I will take that over the writing slumps any time. This is the time when shiny new ideas pop up, because they always come when a writer’s plate is fullest, and the time when I am glad to have learned the trick of writing down the bones of the idea in a special notebook, and filing it away for some future day when I may need it.

That day is not today. Today is for getting cracking on the pre release stuff, checking information, looking at promo, the occasional virtual high five and staring at our pretty, pretty cover, courtesy of the immensely talented Rae Monet. Today marks a fork in the road, where things get more definite. There is a release date. ARCs (advance reading copies) will be coming into play. There are words like mobi and PDF and things to do regarding SEO (search engine optimization. I think.) and a million other things that need to be done before the book can actually get into the hands of readers, and y’know what? I am totally up for that. I like this kind of stuff. This kind of stuff is irrefutable proof that I am a working writer. Note to younger me (and younger Melva, for that matter) : we did it. We’re here. It’s happening. We would love for you to join us.

Typing With Stuffed Paws: General Update Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling here, coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. Since this is the second weekend of the month, that means it’s Writer Chick’s marathon weekend, with volunteering three times in two days. She likes all three opportunities, though it does mean time gets crunchy on second Fridays.

With that in mind, I have been instructed to get the compulsories out of the way as soon as felinely possible, and get to the important part. That would be the part where I talk about what I want, but she didn’t define it that way, in so many words. Then again, that never stopped me, so here we go.

As usual, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. If you want to know if there are any benefits to not-reading, the link in the caption will take you there.

Do they even exist?

As far as Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge is concerned, she refuses to even look at Goodreads, period, because she cannot and will not face no reading reports for three solid weeks. Granted, that happens to even the most dedicated reader, but she’s pretty salty about it, and has hopes that a YA anthology comprised entirely of scenes where the protagonists meet their love interests, will quickly put an end to the reading drought.

In case you’re wondering what has been keeping Writer Chick from doing all the reading she wants (apart from physics and law enforcement) allow me to drop a clue, in the form of the following image:

Writer Chick, hanging with some of her besties.



Basically, she’s writing. Since she and Other Writer Chick have a couple of weeks before they become galley slaves, they are seizing the opportunity to buckle down and make up for lost time working on Drama King. I completely support this endeavor, because that is the book where one of the characters is a badbutt orange boy. Not stuffed, but still a step in the right direction. Writer Chick took this picture during a Skype chat with Other Writer Chick. The pens are so she could get Other Writer Chick’s input on a color scheme for their combined brand/website. Other Writer Chick gave two thumbs up, so those are the colors they will be showing to Graphics Chick.

This week’s Skype session was especially productive, because they not only agreed on the color scheme and tagline for their combined site, but plotted an important section of the book, involving the handsome orange badbutt boy character. They also found, through their usual babble, that changing one supporting character, only a little bit, that clarified the overall theme of the book, and set up not only an almost-love-scene (with the hero and heroine, not with one of them and the supporting character) but one of the leads’ peak of their own character arc. That talk went on so long that Writer Chick’s phone battery drained, and she had to finish her thought in email.

Planner setup, Ikea-style

The picture above accounts for the rest of Writer Chick’s time. Taking a look at the calendars, both writing related and home/family, drove home the need for getting this chaos under control. Hence the construction of two planners, visually Very Different, so there is no getting them confused. This also helps Writer Chick prepare for the inevitable branching out into a planner/pen and paper blog, and possibly, as some have requested, maybe designing some planner fillers/inserts of her own, possibly even in exchange for currency.

As if that weren’t enough, Writer Chick is still debating whether she wants to participate in Camp NaNo this coming month, and she has some brainstorming to do for a submission to a historical fiction anthology. There is also that small (aka very big) matter of consistently moving forward with draft two of Her Last First Kiss, and, once Chasing Prince Charming has a release date, get back to editing A Heart Most Errant.

Yeah, I’m tired just typing that out, so it’s naptime for me. Catch you next week. Peace out.

Springing Forward

Quick drive-by post for today, because A) I’m writing, and B) missing two posts in one week bothers me, and getting a post up, no matter how slapdash, will eliminate B, and allow me to focus on A.

Yesterday, N and I had our weekly meeting, talking over our plans for the coming season, frustrations with the same old things that keep us back, and the requisite geeking out over paper and pens. I made her pet the Rhodia dot grid pages I had cut down for use in my new writing planner (they are insanely smooth, and take fountain pen beautifully) and we threw around some ideas for what cardstock to use to make new dividers, while lamenting that there were no non-month-bearing extra dividers included with the planner kit. I would have used the heck out of those.

This morning, Melva and I talked so long over Skype, that my phone’s battery drained. I don’t blame it. We had a lot of excited babble about how we may actually already be at the midpoint for

This morning, Melva and I talked so long on our weekly Skype chat, that my phone’s battery drained. I don’t blame it. According to Melva’s count (she is the Keeper Of Records in this regard) we may already be at the halfway point in the first draft of Drama King, even if we’re not entirely sure how that happened. Okay, we know how that happened: we wrote it. That’s not what I’m talking about. Part of our writing-together process (a big part) is excited babble and saying the same thing at the same time. One of us is known for going unintentionally blue, and then realizing it a beat later, which happens frequently, and one of us did make the other one laugh so hard today, that said other one dropped out of frame for long enough for the first one to now have bragging rights, but there is a sobering thought here.

Working out the next few scenes for Drama King, meant tying a few aspects into the idea soup for the next book, which we are tentatively calling Queen of Hearts, which lead into a discussion on something we hadn’t intentionally given Jack (Drama Kings hero) and Heather (heroine of Queen of Hearts, and sister to Dominic from Chasing Prince Charming) Jack and Heather have not met yet, but they will, and it’s very easy, very natural, to envision all three of our couples from this proposed series, maybe with some supporting characters tagging along, gathered around one big dinner table, no agenda, lots of good food (Jack, our actor-turned line cook-turned actor again would insist upon it) a toddler or two on somebody’s lap, maybe a kids’ table off in the corner. It would be loud and it would be messy, and I like the idea of it, very, very much. I would say something here about a historical equivalent for my historical characters, but, since I write in different eras, that would probably involve time travel, and the less said about em and time travel, the better.

For longtime readers who know what I’m talking about, I do fully intend to write Angus and Summer’s story in full, one day. They’d come after me and take me down, if I didn’t, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s not going to be exactly the way I envisioned it, mumblecough years ago. Which is perfectly okay. The only constant is change, they say, and this very well may prove to be true. Angus and Summer will go down  in my Future Projects section, along with scouting markets for A Heart Most Errant (if all of my historical characters were in one room, I am pretty sure Aline would still be doing most of the talking) and brainstorming ideas for this year’s submission to Z Publishing’s anthology.

Speaking of which, I have some outlining to do. See you next time.

Unwasted Time

Second round edits of Chasing Prince Charmning are in the can. Not the trash can. We’re talking the old timey filmmaking sense here. There is nothing about old timey filmmaking in this book, or in any of my books, but Jack, the hero in Drama King, the second contemporary romance Melva Michaelian and I are writing together, is an actor, so there may be some mention of old timey movies there. Not a promise, though.

Having the second round of edits done-done means that the next step is the third round, and then galley, and then we are a real book. Been a while, but I think it’s like riding a bike. At least I hope that it is. At the same time, it’s a new venture, because new genre, new writing partnership, new publisher, so I am still getting some of those metaphorical new car smell fumes on the whole thing. We will see how I do when it comes to those galleys and cover art forms and all the like. I’m excited and a little apprehensive.

Today was always going to be, from the time I planned this week, last week, the big writing day. With both Real Life Romance Hero and Housemate working, and thus leaving the house early-early this morning, I was looking forward to the whole morning  for writing. I had sufficient caffeine lined up to see me through the morning when I would Do All The Things. Of course, this is when my body says “hey, it’s quiet here, how about that sleep thing we don’t do when it’s dark outside?” Yeah, body, that was not what I had planned. Pretty much the exact opposite.

On the bright side, A) I was rested, B) a hot shower, clean hair, caffeine and buttered cinnamon bread (highly recommend) have a way of kicking things into gear. The first thing I do, after morning pages (also highly recommend) is getting out my planners, so I can fill out my trackers and go over what needs to be done, when. As per usual, having two planners still does not drive it home to my brain that Wednesday is the day before Thursday, which is when Melva and I have our Skype chats. I have come to expect that Wednesdays are my Do All The Things days, and I am okay with that. Today’s task list looks very similar to this:

  • Write blog entry
  • Read (chapter from Melva’s solo project)
  • Send Melva chapter 8 of Her Last First Kiss
  • Finish rough draft of (Drama King scene)

Obviously the first thing I needed to do on that list, was to dig around in my planner supplies, and make this week’s spreads pretty. The results, for my household planner (in which I forgot it was the household planner for one day) are in today’s picture. My initial reaction, when I noticed what I was doing was, “Really, Anna? All that stuff to do, and you’re playing with stickers?”

There was a moment of guilt, but, as I reached for another fineliner, to add a touch of light turquoise to the pink/red color scheme, that feeling vanished. Working on something visual and instinctive allows my writer brain to go on the backburner, and, more often than not, it has sorted itself out by the time I get back. That was, thankfully, the case, this morning. Okay, early afternoon. I dashed off a couple of quick notes (the sticky note flag at the top of the page) about things I wanted to use, but didn’t have, got out the white posterboard, hauled everything to the window, to grab some natural light, snapped the picture, and plopped my bottom in my desk chair. By that time, the list that threatened to swallow my entire day had whittled down to “pfft, that’s only four things,” Far more manageable, in my opinion, especially when I remember that most of that stuff (okay, at least parts of all of it) are actually (are you ready for this?) fun.

Once again, brain and I are not on the same page (pun intentional, as are the plethora of parentheses) regarding theory and practice, but given enough caffeine and pretty paper, coupled with some background music, we do eventually get there. Like today. Here we are, closing in on the magic 700 words (self imposed minimum blog entry length, and what do you know, we’re there, surprise, surprise.) Would I have got here without playing around with stickers and fineliners? Probably, but I had fun, and messing around with such matters generally lets things fall into place, so the actual execution goes more smoothly. I’ll take that, any day.

What “time wasting” things actually help you be more productive?