Summer Daze and Caterpillar B*tt

Brand new week, and we have a heat warning where I am, so I am parked in front of a nice big fan, staying hydrated and fully stocked with my favorite writing thingamabobbles. Laptop, traveler’s notebook, pen pouch, lapdesk and cag ear headphones. The old ones broke, and the ears on this new set do not light up, but the ear covers do have glitter in them, so close enough. I had too much sun yesterday, so my Sunday afternoon week planning will happen this evening. Next week, we start July, with Canada Day and Fourth of July in the same week, annnnd I get to dive whole hog into my new eighteen month planner, plus six month writing planner extension, It’s also Historical Romance Readathon, and I have a vague TBR list, focused mostly on getting through the numerous half-finished historical romances I have on my Kindle.

Photo by Adrienne Andersen on Pexels.com

All of those are stalled at around the halfway point, and for the most part, it’s not them, it’s me. Some of them, I started during oru vagabonding time, and going back to those books, no matter how much I like the author, characters, or story, will bring back a lot of bad memories, so on the shelf they go to wait for a better time. Please pause now to imagine me petting a physical bookcase and whispering, :soon, my darlings.” There is also a vintage standalone historical medieval in the mix, stil in the back seat of Housemate’s car, which I will probably need to start from the beginning and pretend it’s the first time. Before I do, though, I may need to dive (back) into the author of the book I read (aka devoured) before that one, as I’d read some of her in the before before before times, and I am still thinking about how much I loved them, so time to hunt them all down once again.

When I was but a week princess, the local library (historical romance cred: said library started life as the school where First Chief Justice John Jay’s kids attended) hosted a summer reading contest for the kiddos. Naturally, this was my element. One of the prizes was a handmade yarn caterpillar with a fabric, cotton-stuffed head. Caterpillar has long since crawled off to a new adcventure, but I loved that thing. Going to the library with my mom was like going to a candy store, where everything was priced at zero. There was a cap on how many books I could take out, and I wasn’t allowed to go outside of the children’s room (until I got kicked out of it in third grade and pointed to the adult section. YA as we knew it wasn’t really a thing yet, and I think Librarian hit tilt on how many times checked out a certain book. I visited the library a few years back, and went straight to that shelf. It was still there. Hello, old friend.)

I’m feeling those same summer reading viges this year, and I am all for it. Anybody who wants to give me a braided yarn caterpillar (pastel variegated yarn, please, and peach cotton for the head) is more than welcome to do so. I am fully preared to lead a yarn caterpillar army if need be. What I may do is re-create the progress chart. We all started out with a head, and every book read got us a segment of caterpillar. If we got all the way to caterpillar butt, we got a caterpillar. I’m thinking there may be a re-creation of this chart, though I don’t recall how many segments were between caterpillar head and caterpillar butt. I’ll set my own goal, or maybe just see how many circles fit in a two page spread and call that good. The important thing, like with that long ago contest, is to have fun. The fact that I can do so in front of a fan is a cherry on top of the sundae. Mmmmm, sundae.

Talking ‘Bout My Genre-ration

Happy Wednesday, feral and domesticated cryptids. On Monday night, Melva and I hashed out a rough outline for our third co-written (or to be co-written) contemporary romance, Queen of Hearts. I don’t think I would have added contemporary romance to my repetorie on my own, but with Melva, it makes sense. It also has a tie to historical romance, because I need that. Heather, the heroine, is named for Heather, the heroine of The Flame and the Flower, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, the first modern historical romance as we know it. The Heather in Queen of Hearts is an editor of historical romance, a genre she adores.

I am extremely thankful to Ms. Woodiwiss for writing the story of her heart and putting it out there in the world. I am extremely thankful to Nancy Coffey, the editor who wanted to take only one submission home with her over the weekend, and picked the biggest manuscript from the slush pile. Boom. Kicked the bedroom door (and other things) off the hinges, and things have never been the same. How many of the original Avon Ladies (having nothing to do with cosmetics, and everything to do with historical romance. One of them wasn’t even a lady. His name was Tom.)

Now that Drama King has been put on the schoolbus, as it were, and Queen of Hearts is a darling baby who sleeps through the night and wakes to the playtime that is discovery drafting, it’s time to turn attention back to my troubled teens, aka historical romances that have been on hold for far too long.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Heart Most Errant is soooo close to being done with the first round of edits. I started John and Aline’s story a long time ago. Not long enough that it was a contemporary when I sat down to write it, but I lived in a different state then, in a time that feels like another life. I won’t say that it doesn’t feel odd to be getting back in touch with characters that, if they were people born when I first put them to page, would be old enough to…well, let’s say cross the street by themselves. Among other things.

Image by Sandra Schwab

They are not that much older than Bern and Ruby (image by the fabulous Sandra Schwab) the hero and heroine of my Georgian romance, Her Last First Kiss, which I have missed like a deep sea diver misses air. Been a while on that one, too, but I am beyond eager to get back to it, and probably use as my focus for Camp NaNo this year. It’s one of those things where I got the whole thing outlined, then the writing-writing got to a certain point and then…stopped. I chalk it up to life being in-bloody-sane for the last few years. We’re back, now, though, and that’s what matters.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Whiiiiich brings me to the whole genre thing. I’ve been watching a lot of You Tube videos about historical romance. Like, a lot. I love watching these mostly young women getting excited about my favorite genre, and doubly excited to see them discovering classic historical writers like Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, and Johanna Lindsey. Not yet a lot of non-J-named writers, but that will come, I am sure.

It’s this development that makes me think that maybe historical romacne does have a divide that I don’t yet know how to name. Many of these videos mention prefering historical romance that is light and funny and rom-com-y, historical accuracy either not a priority or even a detriment. Can’t say I can get my head around that but if those are the books that get a reader’s motor running, read on.

The historical romances that have a permanent home in my heart are of a different ilk. Darker rather than lighter, historical versimilitude a must, big thick bug squasher books that have heft and weight. Plots where the history is a major player, as in plucking this couple from medieval France and dumping them in modern times, the old west of the US, or ancient Rome, would not work at all, because they are people of their time.

A lot of the shining stars I see in these You Tube recommendations are great at weaving the nineteenth century backdrops with keen observations on the fads and foibles of modern life. The covers of these books have what are commonly referred to as “prom dresses” on the heroines, often with titles modeled after references to popular modern works, and in very modern-looking fonts. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s its own genre, and a pretty darned popular one, so rock on and keep going. Is it my taste, though? Weeeeel….I’m okay with that.

I’m also more than okay with accepting that my personal preference is for those big thick bug squashers, whose covers have historical garb on their humans. Often standalones, and often with authors who not only didn’t stick with one family or friend group, but spread it out over several different centuries and continents. An author could come on the scen with a Victorian historical, but the next book is sixteenth century pirates, then a western, then ancient Rome, then colonial Maine, then the early days of Australian penal colonies, back up to Gilded Age New York, then the English Civil War, and….:happy sigh: I love that. I miss that. I want to do that.

Love can happen any time, any place, as an online historical romance friend often says, and I abundantly agree with that. New school or old, traditionally published or indie, series or standalone. What absolutely must, must, must be there is the love story that is intrinsically intertwined with the time in which it occurs, and bonus points to the couple coming So Close to losing it all that I forget that the HEA is a gaurantee and then, at the last second, BOOM, they make it work. They get to the top of that metaphorical mountain, not without some bumps and bruises along the way, some bittersweet losses likely, and I pump my fist in victory.

At least that’s the plan, and that’s why I am working on my Anna Log You Tube channel, to talk about some of the stuff that I love that may not be the newest kid on the block, but my word, the staying power. Which reminds me, time to get to work on that.

Last week was, in a word, disgusting. Mostly for the heat, though there are most assuredly worse ways to spend days where the temperature reaches the nineties than sprawled in front of a box fan, mainlining coconut seltzer. That’s as close to a tropical vacation as I care to get, as I am pale and heat sensitive. Big plans to plow through my mini library haul were for naught, and I made only slow progress on e-reading as well. That’s all okay, though, as Drama King is now in the hands of its potential editor, and I am currently getting ready for tonight’s video chat with Melva where we will get the ball rolling on an outline for Queen of Hearts. This also means I now have brain space to give back to historicals, whihc I have sorely missed.

None of that is news to the regular readers here, but sometimes the best way to get the ol’ brain in working gear is to write stuff one already knows. That’s not a bad thing at all. Firm footing and all that. Another thing that helps here is to get my plans down in a visually appealing manner. Here is the desk planner for the week, mostly before the pen.

This is my first ever time covering the left hand (my left) side with scrapbook paper and totally ignoring everything pre printed on the page. I have heard this is not an uncommon issue but for some reason I always thought I was “supposed to” deal with what was printed on the page, the way it was printed on the page. This is the same me who would be the first person to tell someone else to white it out, cover it, but don’t stare at the page and feel dumb becuase they’re not making it work. Ahem. Yeah.

So. Part of all that was spending a big chunk of Sunday putting together my first Frankenplanned writing notebook to see me through the stretch from July to January. I’ll share pictures and maybe a flip through later. Don’t ask me about specific goals at this point. Still working on those, and I am pretty sure I know how I want to deal with Camp Nano. Pretty sure I’m going to be in the rebel encampment for that one but very much looking forward to the cameraderie and shaking pompoms in the general direction of any potential cabinmates. Would love to end up in a cabin full of historical romance writers. That hasn’t happened yet as far as I know. Well, for me that is.

For now, I have a hot date with a cool drink and a good book before I get ready for my chat with Melva and the requisite color coded highlighters and index cards. Tonight, we lay the foundation.

Beware Nesting Authors

Tomorrow begins a new month, which means that part of my day today is for making sure I have my June planners (plural) are in good working order. My list for the week’s shopping includes things like an audio cable for the external speaker/microphone, and a decent reading lamp for my nightstand, lightbulb that gives off warm light essential. Once I have this post posted, I get to wrestle my dinosaur desktop to transfer some files to my laptop, and take a good long look at Scrivener and decide whether I want to purchase a new copy or look into resurrecting my HP stream laptop that has it already installed. (Resurrecting the ancient MacBook Pro is also an option, which would require buying Scrivener for Mac.) I have various electronic devices charging, including my OG (to me) Kindle-Kindle, Methos Junior (she’s a girl, though) for easy electronic reading without the temptation to constantly check social media and find the perfect background audio.

The bed has clean sheets on it, in preparation for work done in the “soft office.” This is also why I have finally accepted that I will have to A) figure out where to buy a replacement LED unit for the lamp I had by my bed, and B) how to change them, and C) buying a decent lamp with a real bulb will probably be my best course to take here. Props to the home decorating You Tube videos I have been inhaling for reminding me that lightbulbs come in different temperatures of light. The office chair search continues, as I scour FB Marketplace for a likely candidate, or can come up with a solid enough plan to justify renting a bigger vehicle to move actual furniture from storage.

Tonight, I will be racing the remaining hours on a historical romance I have on electronic loan from the library, as the historical romance reading mojo seems to be thinking about returning from its smoke break. I ripped the bandage off my Netflix block a couple nights ago, and watched all of Harlan Coben’s the Woods in one night. (Polish adaptation of an American novel) most of it with Storm sphinx-ing on top of me so that she can watch, too. Follow me for more dark European creepy drama reccommendations. I am going to be a big girl and get to my This Is Us backlog, even though I know what happens in the season finale. I do not intend to write Kate and Toby fanfiction, but I am willing to if they force my hand. Ditto Kevin and Sophie, and when are we going to get to see Rebecca and Miguel’s love story? I know he’s no Jack (who could be?) but he’s a good guy, and I am here for Rebecca having not one but two big loves in her life. Oh, and Uncle Nicky/Sally second chance, please. I think that’s all. :consults list: If they touch Beth/Randall, I riot. Oh, and that better be Malik who is Deja’s flash-forward partner.

Reading devices are loaded with next YA e-book, audiobook, and historical romance reads. Tomorrow, the libraries in our area open. One guess who is going to be there with a big tote bag.

See the source image
grab this gif

For clarity, I mean me, not Hillary Duff. Unless you’re in California. Then more likely her than me, but it’s a big state.

It’s the idea that counts. I have missed the library like I’d miss air if I were locked in a trunk. Tomorrow is a family day, but I have days after that blocked out on my calendar as Writing Days. Capitol W, capitol D. In boldface. Not only is there the draft to look over for Drama King (and my first ever crack at looking for sensitivity readers) but my return to A Heart Most Errant edits, and next up, a return to Her Last First Kiss, where I can make right what once went wrong.

This time, I am not overwhelmed. I am excited. My prep work for Queen of Hearts is underway. As I suspected, it would mosey on in when I was doing other things. That seems to be the way things work around here. My “A Working Day” playlist is playing (follow on Spotify if you want to know what the inside of my head sounds like.) I expect that it will grow, which is always a sign of life.

Appropriate for the start of a new month, at least for me. Regardless of what the calendar or almanac says, Memorial Day starts summer in our family. This year, though, I highly suspect that comfy apartment, shiny new laptop and a realistic writing plan will keep me well occupied for most of the season. After that, fall, and the return of my super powers, fall being my favorite season. It’s not that far away at all.

Draft Pick

In the words of the great Ricky Ricardo, the time has come. In other words, Drama King is a draft. Draft two in the vault, and now all that’s left is for me and Melva Michaelian to go over the whole thing one more time to make sure we are done for this stage, and we send it off to our editor at the Wild Rose Press. If they want it, then we’ll have at least one more go-over to make sure it’s right for this editor and this line. If that goes well, then there are still line edits, copy edits, art sheets to get information for the cover, and a bunch of other things.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

We are already started on the third book in the series, Queen of Hearts, and then we already know what our next contemporary adventure is going to be. We’ve already started laying the groundwork for that, and it looks like fun from here.

Then there’s my other life. Historical life. I have the edits for A Heart Most Errant to finish and send back to my fabulous editor at Safeword Author Services. Next floats in that parade include formatting and cover art, and then bibbity bobbity book, we’ll have a new historical romance.

There’s also getting back to know Her Last First Kiss, my much beloved, long neglected Georgian historical. I think I zigged where I should have zagged there, so time for course correction, while keeping with the marriage laws of the time. Can’t go marrying anybody you want, whenever you want. That way lays chaos. Or so the Georgians would have us believe.

Being in this writing place is a time where I wasn’t sure when or if I would be here again. Taking a couple of days to breathe feels like a good idea. Especially since today is going to be a hot one, and i do not at all summer well. Hence a date with my BFF to hang out in air conditioning. She’ll have some awesome new colored pencils and an adult coloring book. I’m not sure what I’m bringing as of yet, but she’ll be here soon, so I will probably grab one of my pen pouches and a notebook and call it good. There may be a trip to a craft store along the way to pick up anything else I might want to include. There will be brain dumping. There will be decompression. There will be cold drinks.

Wish me well.

Typing With Wet Paws: Bye Bye April Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Super good week this week. Aunt Anna is thinking about doing a bonus post this weekend, or maybe a video, to make up for missing Wednesday. That turned into an impromptu family day. No regrets. She is very much getting back into the groove of things, and that means I have to be at top of my mews game, to make sure we are doing the best that we can.

greatest hits picture of me, as we are still working on the pictures thing

First of all, my big box is still awesome, and this week, we got a new, smaller box that I m still figuring out. One of Aunt Anna’s writer friends sent her a fun package, and I have a couple of days to have fun with this new box before the humans break it down. One of the great things about humans settling into an apartment is that boxes and bags arrive and I get to inspect all packaging. It’s pretty sweet. I don’t like when the humans break the packing material with the really big bubbles, though. That stuff is scary. Humans need to take care of that outside.

Another big thing is that I love my cat bed again. Aunt Anna and Uncle Rheuben put the cat bed on top of the trunk at the foot of their bed, and yesterday, when we were all doing our own things, I hopped into it for a nap. They stopped what they were doing to point out that I was indeed in the bed. No pictures, though. Slackers. I will have to get them on that ASAP. I’m cute.

Photo by Cristian Rojas on Pexels.com

On the Aunt Anna front, I am happy to report a good writing week. Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva are on track to be done with this draft of Drama King on time. Aunt Anna’s heart is going pitty pat on that one, and Her Last First Kiss is back on the agenda. Historical romance writer friends, please be warned; she will be prone to unprompted blathering about the direction of the second half of the book. Tell her she’s pretty, give her tea, and back away slowly. If in doubt, add stationery.

Now that Aunt Anna is back in the historical romance saddle, that does mean she’s probably going to power right through the rest of the edits for A Heart Most Errant. There’s a bunch of other historicals banging on the door of her brain. Pirates, more mediecals, a whole lot of Georgians, and some English Civil War/Restoration people. Good thing I have scratchy thing near the kitchen table, which is where Aunt Anna does most of her glowy box stuff these days.

Speaking of scratchy thing, I love it. I did get a new one, and it came with catnip, and it is the good stuff. I do scratch it, and I like to loaf on it, because I exactly fit, and slow blink at Aunt Anna while she works. I can also keep an eye/ear on whoever is in the bathroom. I don’t know why the humans insist on going in there alone, when feline supervision is clearly a need.

Onto the Goodreads challenge. This week, Aunt Anna has hit the 50% mark. She has read 45 books out of her goal of 90, and 16 books ahead of schedule. I am encouraging her to do even more reading or listening to audiobooks, by throwing in a free kitty cuddle with every reading session. I even throw in motor purrs. I think that’s a good incentive.

Another part of that is her book of books, aka TBR notebook, which still needs a picture. If you’d like a word picture, hop on over to Buried Under Romance and read about that. Aunt Anna is a list maker from way back, so I am not surprised that keeping lists of this sort of thing takes a lot of the time she would normally spend thinking about what she’d like to read next out of the picture. I will remind her to take pictures and/or make a video about it, because it is super neat. It’s also very comfortable, because of course I have sat on it. I sit on a lot of stuff. Which reminds me, I better get to that.

Headbonks!

Calico got to go!

Writing Advice From Dream Dishes

This post is not about tableware. I have some funky dreams sometimes, and this last week, I had one of the memorable ones. Combine that with the need to unplug for a couple of days (aka why Monday’s post is here on Tuesday) which gave me the time to write privately about aforentioned dream, about blogging, and about how to get from here to there, and this post is the result.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yes. I sleep exactly like that. Every night. Okay, not literally ,but I like the mood. Anyway, in this dream, I was personally responsible for all duties of a primary caregiver to multiple friends and family members at the same time. This included a childhood friend (whom I haven’t seen in years) who had been complicit in their own kidnapping with a charming significant other (who wasn’t that nice) and it all culminated in a kitchen full of dishes.

By full, I mean full. I don’t mean the sink was full of dirty dishes. I mean that it was overflowing the sink, the dish drainer, the counter space, the stove, the table, the chairs, every flat ?, dish upon dish upon dish upon dish. Every last dish in the house. The parent of the abovementioned friend had followed me into the kitchen, literally wringing their hands over what I was going to do about it all. There was some talking; I don’t remember it, but finally, I grabbed the closest dish at hand, turned on the tap, squirted a drop of dishwashing liquid, then grabbed my rubber duck scrubby brush. “I’m going to wash one dish,” I told them. They asked again, what was I going to do now? Once again, “I’m going to wash one dish.” Which I did.

I woke soon after that, so I don’t know how long it took to take care of everything, but the bit about washing one dish stuck. As my contemporary writing partner, Melva, asked me, what was I trying to tell myself? Not a lot of room for interpretation on that one. Which is fine. Bird By Bird, and all that. Makes sense. Low hanging fruit. Open the file. Thousand mile journeys and single steps and all that. Not exactly news, but it has parked itself at the forefront of my brain, which is not at all a bad thing.

I, personally, am highly motivated by all things stationery – pens, papers, notebooks, etc- and I love to organize. Again, not at all news. True, though, and something I can applly to the whole dish thing. Melva and I set a deadline to be done-done-done-ity-done with draft two of Drama King two weeks from yesterday. There’s also getting myself back in historical romance mode, because I feel like I’ve been circling the metaphorical airport for forever on that one, and I would like to land now, please and thank you.

Today is for this blog entry, the re-do of Melva’s and my ZoomerTimes interview re-do. I may have misnamed it previously as BoomerTimes, which in retrospect doesn’t make as much sense, since the interviews are conducted on Zoom. Prepareation for that is putting on my Actual Author cosplay garb. Hair, makeup, etc. After that, there may be a few domestic matters, possibly involving groceries, and most assuredly followed with cup of tea, a good historical romance, and kitty cuddles. That’s enough for one day.

Photo by Maria Gloss on Pexels.com

/

/

Monday Stream of Consciousness

Jumping into this post with no actual plan, because A) blog is under the “low hanging fruit” category of stuff I need to do today, and B) if I don’t do it now, it will nag me throughout doing anything else.

Usually, Sundays are my planning afternoons. Yesterday, though, had a few different influences. A) I am still getting used to new medication, so surprise slumber parties for one are a thing; B) yesterday was also a full house, with all family member hone in a smallish space, and C) I am not at all sure that my plan to coast along from April through June on mini planners and no classic planners is going to work as well as I thought.

That last one is the easiest to fix: hop on over to a craft store that carries my planner of choice, grab a currently dated one from the clearance section, hand over a pittance and jump right in, back to the usual method. That leaves mostly just today to be free floating in no classic planner land. I could technically re-date older pages, but that is far too labor intensive when what I want to do is jump in and lay out for my plan of attack.

I like seeing things laid out, where I can tell at a glance what jobs I need to do, to get to where I am. Making it aesthetically pleasing is a plus, and, with the new YouTube channel, I have a lot more ideas of what I want to not only talk about, but write about as well. I don’t normally do TBRs but I see those are frequent on BookTube, and look like they may indeed work toward my goal of reading more historical romance. They also look fun. I could use some more fun, and, after a very long time without it, fun is something I can do these days.

See the source image

Over the last couple of nights, I binged Picnic at Hanging Rock on Amazon Prime. Loved it. Australian Gothic is a thing, and I want more of it. Which reminded me that I very much do want to rereach On The Jelllicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I refuse to use the shortened American title, because that’s not its name. Yes, I will die on that hill. I also want to see On the Jelicoe Road made into a movie (I don’t usually) with an all-Australian cast, on location, with 80s film effect on the 80s timeline. Failing that, I would like to hear it on audio, with two Australian narrators.

Thankfully, I can carry that over into historical romances set in Australia, by Australian authors, like Cadace Proctor and Alison Stuart. Ms. Stuart also writes Engilsh Civil War historical romance, which is one of my all time favorite settings.

In the meantime, I get to do mundane adulting things, such as putting away laundry and straightening my work area, both things that are super good for letting my creative brain do stuff on the back burner where I am not looking.

I am a little disappointed that I won’t be doing Camp Nano this round, but July is not that long away, and it’s also when I can bust out my brand new eighteen month planner, so I take that as a sign. What do you think?

Typing With Wet Paws: April Not-Fool’s Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. This week, Aunt Anna wasn’t feeling that great, so she went to the people vet. The people vet gave her some medicine that helps her sleep, but she is still figuring out the right time to take it, because as it is, it makes her sleep at unexpected times. That’s why this post is going up in the evening. By next week, things should be more reliable.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Aunt Anna is way too done with this day to help me figure out why WordPress doesn’t want to use her jpeg files, especially when they are of me, so please accept the public and greatest hits photos until we figure that out.

watch the channel trailer!

In case you haven’t heard yet, Aunt Anna now has a YouTube channel! If you like when she blabbers here about romance novels and notebooks and stuff, then you will probably like the channel. Will I make a guest appearance? It is entirely possible.

Aunt Anna is the only one allowed to cuddle me. The only one.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Aunt Anna is kicking this challenge, with 33 books read out of 90, which puts her at 36% of the way to her goal, and 10 books ahead of schedule. The last 10 books she read were YA contemporary, which is not at all a bad thing, but she would like to get in more historical romances, because that’s the focus of her channel. She’s not quite ready to make a formal TBR list, but she is looking into how she would like to handle that. One of the suggestions is to follow one or more online book clubs. For this month, one of the selections (she’ll talk more about that later) is

Aunt Anna had read this book before, a long time ago, when she was probably too young to um, appreciate it. Now she is a grownup, and an author, and reading it will be a different experiencre. She does remember it as having gotten some fuss because the heroine wasn’t…gasp…likeable. Aunt Anna doesn’t see that as a big problem.

Me

This was a week of some deliveries, which meant that I get all of the boxes and bubble wrap, which has been very entertaining. It’s kind of like a present for me when the humans get their stuff. I could get used to that.

For those who have been wondering if I was ever going to get used to my cat bed now that it and the people bed are not on the bedroom floor anymore, we finally have an answer. It is now under the kitchen table which is also sometimes Aunt Anna’s computer desk, and I will sit there, but only if Aunt Anna already has her feet on it.

One of the things Aunt Anna got last week was a set of daubers, which are art tools she uses to put ink directly on paper. Last night, when she went to put them away, one was missing. Uncle Rheuben found it this morning, right at the entrance to my litterbox (on the floor side.) He also found one of his new ties there. This probably means I am busted. Hmph. That’s okay, because I also have been hunting a bug that got into Aunt Linda’s room. It turns out I am super good at hunting bugs. It is also super interesting. I hear this is much more common in spring.

Anyway, that is about it for this week. Aunt Anna plans to spend next week focused on getting the first round edits of A Heart Most Errant back to their editor, and do her part in getting Drama King chapters polished and ready for Aunt Melva to plug into the “full monty” as she calls it, of their second draft. Rest assured that your calico in the know will keep you fully apprised.

Headbonks1

Book Juggling and Other Stories

Back in the before-before-before times, I had a reading system. I read one historical romance and one Star Trek tie-in novel at a time. Well, that was the plan. I have been known to juggle historicals, especially when they were in different eras (ie one Tudor, one Edwardian, etc) and my Trek involvement centered on The Next Generation, as I was active in that fandom then. That was also the time when my book shopping happened much more in person, with an array of options. Waldenbooks was my favorite, with Borders, Chapters, and some other :gestures vaguely: and then the Aladdin’s cave of used bookstores (I miss those with a pain in my heart) and the thrill of combing through the ever changing shelves (crawling around on the floor to check out the stuff under the bottom shelf was the best part.)

Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

On a good day, I could spend hours combing through the historical romance section alone. I’d have my list of books from authors I loved, plus looking for covers by my favorite artist, Elaine Duillo, and keeping an eye out for the historical eras I loved the most. Tudor was at the top of the list, and by Tudor, I mean historical romances about original characters, set in the Tudor era, not fictionalized biographies. The seventeenth century is right up there, too, with the English Civil War, the Lord Protectorate, and the glorious, bawdy, turbulent Restoration era, with women on the stage and gorgeous aesthetics (plus the origin of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) and then we go into the whole Georgian era, but nipping out before the Regency, and then back in for the turn of the 20th century, on either side of the pond.

I loved the variety, the pirates, the revolutionaries, one particularly memorable Basque shepherd, Vikings, Highlanders, knights, highwaymen, and ticket of leave men, – and any of the above could be the heroines, too. I loved the variety, the scope, and the fact that I could easily read one book, get a definitive HEA, and move right along. Not that there weren’t series as well, because there certainly was, and of those, my favorite was the generational saga, where Heroine One might be the mother of Heroine Two, grandmother of Heroine Three, and so on.

I loved seeing heroes and heroines I already loved at different stages of their lives together, as parents, as grandparents, and my particular favorite tropes for the younger generations were when the young ones either think that their parents or grandparents couldn’t possibly understand what it meant to be young and in love with a mad, burning passion, or on the other side of the coin, when the kids grew up seeing the grand passion between their parents, and wondering if there could ever be something like that for them…and then there was. :happy sigh:

:hugs physical book:

Back the, I could always count on Romantic Times magazine to clue me in on the newest upcoming historicals, and give me insights into books in other subgenres that might tickle my interests. Time was, traditional Regencies were their own category (really, they were) and romance writers of a certain age may well remember the big kerfluffle if there were a place under the umbrella for mainstream fiction with strong romantic elements (including but not limited to love stories that do not have a HEA.)

Times have changed. There is no physical romance fiction magazine anymore as far as I know, at least not one available in Barnes and Noble, which is now the only chain bookstore I can get to with any regularity. I also can’t remember the last paperback I bought in a bookstore. Best I can say is it was in the before times. My Trek involvement now is confined to the video essays by a few favorite YouTubers. Contemporary YA has taken the place in my reading habits that Trek tie ins used to have, and I am finding that there are the settings I love out there, but it may take some digging to find them.

It’s not an entirely bad change. I love that I can carry around thousands of books at once, in my Kindle, and the Kindle app on my tablet. I love that I can have a robo-voice turn any e-book into an audiobook. I love that there are new authors on the scene, and that the advent of indie publishing means that everybody has a chance to get the kind of story they love out there for readers who are combing the interwebs for it, if not bottom shelves of used bookstores. Heck, I’m even moving in that direction myself with A Heart Most Errant.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, only that this is what came out of my fingers as I started this entry. Last night, I read a book my library app filed under YA thriller. The story was mm, not for me, though I loved the idea and the visuals, and the stuff that worked for me is probably simmering in idea soup somewhere on the back burner. What I remembered most was that, after the that’s the ending? ending, my first thought was “yep, need a historical romance novel now,”

Which I do. I have one historical I missed the first time around, back in the before-before-before times, plus a new release that I can’t wait to get to., I’m also keeping my eyes peeled for YAs with creepy old houses in remote locations. Getting some definite gothic vibes from those selections. Mmmm, gothics.

Anna