Planuary

Right now, we are getting snow here in NY’s Capitol Region. I have a hot cup of gingerbread tea in my pink gingham mug. If I could summon any snack in the world to appear it would be swirly butter cookies with a kiss of raspberry jelly in the middle. I had a toasted English muffin with butter and grape spread. Kind of close but not the same. Maybe time to find a lower sugar recipe I can make on my own? Anyway, I have new fairy lights along the bookcase over my desk. These are multicolored, and steady, and I like the feel they give me. I will probably grab more from end of season sales, because the lights are very me.

Photo by Sena on Pexels.com

I am very much into the whole hygge thing. Last time Housemate and I made our weekly craft store run, I got a box of candle wicks so that I can melt down the remains of past jar candles into new candles. I love that whole idea, and the thought of the process and might even try making my own labels for the “new” candles. Part and parcel of January, it would seem. Last night, I finished listening to Bronson Pinchot read Jennifer Roberson’s Shapechangers. I will probably read or listen to the others in time. I am more of a Tiger and Del gal when it comes to Roberson, but it’s all good.

January this year is turning out to be a lot like November was, in that I want to experience it for itself, not as December’s hangover. We haven’t had much snow this month so far, and I am usually okay with the rain, but the promise of snow, that’s something special. My contemporary co-author, Melva Michaelian and I, have finished edits on our two most recent contemporary manuscripts. One will go to The Wild Rose Press for consideration, as they have right of first refusal, and the other may be ina revise and resubmit situation, or it will begin on a journey to find its home elsewhere. We’d like all of the Love By The Book books to be together, so that’s our hope.

This brings me to a place where I haven’t been for a while. My main focus for this quarter is solo historical romance. Pause for a short moment of running in circles, screaming, when Facebook wanted to know if I would like to remember that I had started Her Last First Kiss seven years ago. Seven. Years. I hate stops and starts like this, but I still love the story, and big changes to the second half do make that part of the book pretty much like a new work. I don’t know how this is going to shake out right now, and that’s okay. What I do know is that it’s time. I. Am. Doing. This. I’m not going to tell myself it’s too late, I’m too old, the market is too different, etc, etc, etc. None of that. I’m not doing that anymore.

Photo by Happiness Maker on Pexels.com

What I am doing is, well, writing. Doesn’t matter what at present, just as long as ink is coming out of the pen and onto the page. Journals, letters (remember letters? I love those.) and getting back into reading the stuff I love the very very best. Those seven years between the start of Her Last First Kiss and now have been big ones. I am proud of getting through them. I have co-written three contemporary romances. One of them is out in the world now, and then the other two are on their way to joining it at the right time. Tehre’s a balance somewhere between things I have always wanted to write and things that might be fun to try now. Getting back to regular blogging is a part of that.

One of the fun things about being in this kind of phase is discovering new things and steering into the natural rhythm. I am thinking of trying Archer and Olive journals, though my preference is for lined over dotted pages and ivory over white. There are kraft and blackout options, so I might try one of those. I like most notebook sizes, mainly A5, B6, and pocket. I love the idea of the heavyweight paper and would love to fit one into a leather cover, either folio or traveler’s notebook. Recommendations glagly accepted.

Anna

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Forest for the Christmas Trees

Tails Up, storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re Awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. This is coming to you in the prevening rather than morning because it’s a recovery day around here. Aunt N (upgraded from Neighbor N) has been around a lot, which is super cool. The more the merrier, I always say, which definitely applies to Christmas trees around here. Well, it kind of does. Let me explain.

Okay, so, irst of all, we have some math:

Number of Christmas trees we actually own: Four.
Number of Christmas trees the humans can locate: Three.
Number of Christmas trees technically in place: Two
Number of Christmas trees that Mama Anna has not yet located: One.
Number of Christmas trees the humans still need to put up and decorate: One.
Number of Christmas trees they actually intended to put up this year: One.
Number of Christmas trees I have knocked over so far this year: Zero.

To be fair, the number of Christmas trees I have ever knocked over is probably also zero. I was with Mama D for my first Christmas, because I did not know Mama Anna yet. I was really young then, though, so I don’t remember what went on with Mama D’s Christmas tree, though I want to say we did have one. I don’t remember if it was a big tree or a smaller one, but of the Christmas trees I can remember, They have all been tabletop or smaller. Mama Anna says that we will get a big tree when we are in a bigger apartment. I am okay with that.

Out of the trees we have, Mama Anna knows exactly where three of them are. It’s the tiny pink brush tree that she’s only sure of where it generally is, but she will probably track it down tomorrow, and then it can go on the windowsill where it belongs. Out of the trees technically in place, there is the miniature ceramic Christmas tree that has its own lights. That one is on top of Mama Anna’s desk hutch. It’s about half the size of the green ceramic one that her mama had when Mama Anna was a people kitten. It’s also pink. The newest one came tomorrow, because we are helping Aunt N move. This one is another tabletop tree. It’s cone shaped and made out of green tinsel. It doesn’t have any lights on it, but Mama Anna might put some on, later.

The Christmas tree that isn’t up yet is the rose gold tinsel one that was going to be the only tree, until the other trees happen. Now, Mama Anna is well on her way to the Christmas tree forest of her dreams. When Mama Anna was a people kitten, she spent some awesome Christmases with her Aunt S and Uncle G, who had three trees: one big one in the living room a small one in a different room, and then another one outside. The living room one was the one with the presents. Aunt S and Uncle G had cats, but Mama Anna doesn’t remember any of them climbing the tree. Eh, I can look it up on You Tube. “How to Climb Christmas Trees for Beginners” should be a good search term, right? I want to be ready when we get one of these bad boys:

Photo by Valeria Vinnik on Pexels.com

One thing Mama Anna has already decorated is her everyday carry traveler’s notebook (EDC):

Mama Anna is really, really, really into the whole traveler’s notebook thing, and decorating her notebooks and planners for the holidays. She plans to be done with the journal she keeps in this book by Christmas (pocket size or A6 hardcover; lined paper, ivory preferred.) She doesn’t really know what she’s doing with the blank insert she has in here, but it does take watercolor well, and her usual thing is to carry around an insert blank for a while and then she’ll know what to do with it when the time is right. I have learned to stay out of the way for this kind of thing, apart from sitting on open packs of paper. That never gets old.

I should probably say something here about Mama Anna’s writing. She and Aunt Melva are on track with their editing goals for Drama King and Queen of Hearts. When they are done with those, they will swap edits, probably say “looks good to me” on both counts, and then to the editor things go. That will put them both where they need to be for next year, where the first quarter is set aside for their solo writing. Aunt Melva will work on a humorous memoir, and Mama Anna will return to the world of historical romance with Her Last First Kiss. She is trying a new thing this year with a special writing planner/tracker, which I think is pretty cool. I’ve sat on it. It’s comfortable.

Anyway, about time for me to go stare at Mama Anna and wait for her to do the right thing and set up that last Christmas tree. It’s going on a table, which has chairs I can totally get onto, and once I am on the chair, that tree will be mine. Bwahahaha.\

Headbonks!

Storm

Typing With Wet Paws: Now It’s November Edition

a black, white, and orange calico cat relaxes in a sunbeam.

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Mama Anna found her picture taking thingy, so get ready for new pictures of me. other things as well, but mostly me. I mean, look at this, Calico cat. Sunbeam. Does it get any better? No, it does not.

Things are going pretty well around here. Mama Anna is getting into a super good planning and journaling groove, which does really good things about the whole writing area. Right now, she is doing a lot of it. She did not sign up for NaNo, but she is tracking writing her own way. I will let her talk about that in her own post.

This weekend, Mama Anna will be writing the final scene for Queen of Hearts. After Aunt Melva gets a look at that and adds anything needed, then that book draft is DONE, and they move on to the editing phase. That will actually be two books they are editing at the same time, because Mama Anna will look over the draft of Queen of Hearts, while Aunt Melva will look over Drama King. After that, they will enter the submission phase. After that, they will take some time to focus on their solo projects. Aunt Melva has a nonfiction project, while Mama Anna will be working through the current draft of Her Last First Kiss.

Speaking of which. Mama Anna has stated a special notebook for that, breaking down the changes to the second half of the book into specific scenes. That seems to be working really well, so she will probably stick with that for the time being. She says it’s fun to get back into that mode. Sinc eit involves stationery, she looks forward to get into the book and immerse herself there. I, personally, am all for this because it means I get to sit on a lot more paper, and that is always a good thing.

Headbonks!

Storm

Typing With Wet Paws: Bye-Bye, July Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Sorry for no blog last week, but I was on very important fur nurse duties. The humans were all pretty flat due to the heat, but stayed hydrated and we even got a new fan. I was perfectly fine, because I can find the super comfy places that are too tight for humans to fit. Plus, I have my windowsill. Lots of bird action, I can tell you that. Net week looks to be another hot one, but next week is also August, which means that halfway through, we get Papa’s birthday, and then at the end of it, we will have September. That means fall, which means Mama Anna’s superpowers come back.

A black, white, and orange calico cat sits on the seat of a pink leather desk chair, her attention fixted on the lower right hand corner of the image.
always on the lookout

Mama Anna and Aunt Melva are clipping right along on Queen of Hearts. They haven’t written any big holidays in the first two books they have written together, but in this one? So far, three are scheduled. I guess it works like that sometimes.

When it comes to the historical stuff, Mama Anna still hopes to do better, and maybe that will happen in the fall, once this draft of QoH is done. She’ll probably talk about that later, but one thing she’s thinking about is paying more attention to the realm of medieval romance in the current market. There will definitely be some medieval romance in her reading over the next few months. Well, actually right now, as she is reading a medieval or medieval adjacent romance right now.

Two books lie side by side. One is an A5 size cloth covered notebook in sage green, with the word "ideas" stamped in gold tone foil. Next to it is a paperback romance from the 1980s, entitled Ride the Savage Sea, depicting a blonde woman and darkk haired man in a romantic embrace.
new reading journal incoming

This weekend, Mama Anna is setting up the first month in her new reading journal, and one of the oboks on her TBR list. Well, TBRR, actually, meaning To Be Re-Read, because she read this book a long time ago. Aunt Mary lent Mama Anna this copy, after Mama Ann recommended this author. Fun fact, Ballenrose, also by Mallory Burgess, was Mama Anna’s favorite historical romance read of our vagabond year. Her favorite YA read of that year was Deposing Nathan, by Zack Smedley. She would very much like it if both of these authors had new books out in the near future.

Since we are at the end of July, that means the stores (where I am not allowed to go, for some reason, but whatever, I have two water bowls and a new big fan) are now selling new stationery things. That makes Mama Anna very very happy. Pens, paper, notebooks, page flags, pastel highlighters (not the bright ones) and that kind of stuff come into our home and I have the very important job of scenting it all. Our stuff has to smell like us. That’s a fact, and I intend to carry out that duty to the best of my ability. Also, I get boxes to sit in, bags to crinkle, and all in all, it’s pretty decent.

How’s it going for you?

Headbonks!

Storm

T-Rex Arms and Dinosaur Noises

So, I’m back in an A5 dot grid notebook for use as a reading tracker. I do love Goodreads, but I also know me, and I need to touch paper. while Melva and I are moving right along on the contemporary front(this fall, we hope to have two contemporaries to shop around) I am keenly feeling the lack of historical romance. Which is a problem.

I am woefully behind on reading and writing historical romance. By my GR challenge above, i can tell that I am, by my schedule, a whopping fourteen books behind on my 2022 reading goal, which is not okay. This has never happened before, and it is not going any farther. As I told my friend, M, during our weekly chat, when it comes to historical romance, both writing and reading right now, I feel like I am flailing with T-Rex arms and making dinosaur noises. Which very much describes my attempts at reading journal-ing lately. I have a Kindle full of historical romance, shelves full of delicious-looking books, and yet I….haven’t. Which definitely takes a toll on the writing.

I know one way to handle is it “maybe historical romance is over (for me.)” Which I know that it’s not. It’s calling me, both writing and reading wise, so I need to do some stuff about that. Especially about my own favorite flavor of historical romance; big, sweeping sagas with adventure and swash and buckle and stories that play out over years before a triumphant HEA. :happy sigh:

cover page for the month of August. A framed label reading "August 2022" sits atop a botanical printed shee tof scrapbook paper.
cover page, August 2022

Considering that i am highly stationery motivated, and/or visually oriented, going back to a reading tracker is the obvious step. I’m not sure if writing tracker will be in this same book or another. I am letting the whole planner and notebook situation work itself out organically, which is probably how the historical writing thing is going to work, including blabbering about it here. That may sound for a while like dinosaur noises that don’t make a lot of sense, but by looking at the books I’m reading and figuring out what sticks out about them for me, both positive and otherwise, ideas are bound to conceive..

two page spread with reading tracker on one side and bookshelf  image on the other
that’s a bookcase on the top of the second page.

I didn’t want to make the first month too ambitious, but I did have to make a chart to track how many pages I read per day. Going by tens this time. On the facing page, that will be a bookshelf image, where I will color in each individual book as I read it. I will probably go month by month on that, and then later move everything to a bookshelf for the whole year. At some point, I intend ot be making sense. Until then, ten pages a day is a lot better than zero

How’s your reading/writing going?

Anna

Typing With Wet Paws: …And We’re Back Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this, at long last, is Typing With Wet Paws. Mama Anna and I have both been doing a bunch of thins since last I blogged, but I won’t try to cover it all. I probably should mention that there was an Incident last week with the gushy food bowl.

Normally, my area has my water bowl, which is always full (full disclosure, I have two water bowls. One is in Aunt Linda’s room, near my cat tree) and my dry food bowl, which is for crunchies. I tell my humans when I want crunchies, and then they give me some. When the humans eat, I ask for crunchies because families eat at the same time. Mama Anna said that I was going to be the cat who ate on a strict schedule. The humans had to feed Big Sister Skye little bits through the whole day. Well, I do eat on a schedule – mine. Some would argue that this is more in keeping with what is called the “raw cat.”

closeup of sleepy black, white and orange calico cat waking from nap
me, in raw cat mode

Anyway, last week was a holiday for a lot of humans (actually a lot of different holidays for different types of humans. For our family, it was Easter.) I get treats on holidays. This week, it was one of my favorites, to share people tuna with Papa. He puts some in my gushy food dish and I eat it while he eats his, which is sometimes in a sandwich or something. These are treats only; I don’t get them every day, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make suggestions.

Mama Anna talked to the people vet recently, and the people vet helped her figure out how to sleep better. It seems to be working. Still, I found out that me pushing my gushy food bowl around the hardwood floor in the middle of the night can kick through all of that. I figured it was worth a shot, because it works when I ask her to refill my water bowl. It does not work with tuna. Hmph.

I should probably say something about what Mama Anna is doing, since this is technically her blog. She would like to be doing more reading. Writing is going well, though. She has some research to do into things for Her Last First Kiss, and is still giving the side eye to A Heart Most Errant. She has no idea who the heroine of the second book should be, but she is laying groundwork for the first of the pirate books, so maybe that is next. Personally, I think the pirate book should have an awesome ship’s cat in it. I am at the ready in case she needs a model. What do you think of this pose?

black white and orange calico cat looks up from her nap and stretches her feet.
please appreciate my assorted flavor toe beans

Headbonks!

Storm

4/21/22

No catchy title this time, because there is literally nobody but me stopping me from playing Sims 4 24/7. This is one of those places where just because you can doesn’t mean that you should (and I hate using “you” like that, but “one” feels too formal, so will deal with it for the moment.) Moderation is the key here, because my first grade teacher really was onto something and as I did far, far better when I brought Barbie dolls for free play period, having a Sims save open, into which I can dip occasionally to let my brain cook the actual fiction when I’m not looking, actually does work.

Another thing that helps is having voices on in the background while I work. Lately, I have been listening to true crime on YouTube when not actually composing new pages, but it’s good for the admin/social media stuff. Am I retaining much of it? Nope. Am I paying attention? Ehhhh….occasionally? Lately, I have been picking by the voice of the narrator. Seems to be working. It’s the sound of the voice, not the words it is saying, similar to channels I listen to when going to sleep. Thought I hated when my mom used to tell me that once I got started doing a thing, I’d want to keep doing it, I now know she was right. Smart woman. She had it pegged super early on; guess first grade was a landmark.

Anyway, what I originally wanted to say was that writing fiction is a funny thing. One minute, I’m talking how romance novels were when I first discovered he genre, which leads to figuring out that my current historical hero had ADHD, though of course nobody knew that in 1784, which leads to blabbering a verbal sludge about the WIP, which then leads to The Thing that was holding the whole MS captive, and then I’m researching Catherine the Great (of Russia) and making a chart so that I can have a ready reference of how far and fast one can travel by coach.

I have also had words with Storm about blogging with regularity. We’d both like to do better with that. I am not entirely sure why I stopped taking pictures (and sharing them) and maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe what matters is picking the picture taking device and starting again.

A black, white, and orange calico cat lays on a red and black buffalo plaid blanket, looking directly at the camera with a guilt-inducing expression
“Pictures, Mama Anna. Now. Preferably of me.”

Cats are always appropriate. Please ignore her disgruntled expression. She’s usually much more chipper than that, and extremely invested in my writing. The more of it I finish, the more I can sell, and the more I sell, the more catnip I can buy. Isn’t that what’s most important? It’s all about the catnip. Oh, and butting on the big girl panties and doing scary things like making time for journaling and buddy-watching This is Us with friends who are similarly not okay with the Kate and Toby split. Like most things, it feels easier if I can talk about it. You have been warned.

An attractive young adult female Sim blows a kiss at the viewer.
This also applies to Sims

How’s it going where you are?

Anna

Typing With Wet Paws: Dresser Climbing 101 Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. It’s been a big week around here, and for a few reasons. First of all, I have been having the BEST time with Aunt Linda’s new mattress. It is something called Memory Foam, and it’s super fun to play on. It is a bit of a challenge because Aunt Linda is on vacation this week, and she picked the best place in the world to go: here, as in our home. It’s pretty great. The mattress also came with a big, long box, which I have thoroughly investigated. It is so long, as a matter of fact, that the humans have to store it upright until it goes to recycling, but rest assured, I have been all the way down to the end of it and back out and it was awesome. 10/10, would explore again.

Chilling on my cat tree

You’re probably wondering about the dresser climbing. I am getting to that. In doing so, I will have to talk about Mama Anna’s writing. She will probably like that. Cool. So, anyway, my house, aka big cardboard box, is next to Mama Anna’s desk, and in front of Mama Anna and Papa’s dresser. They keep people clothes in it (and catnip in the third drawer.) Well. For a while now I have been letting Mama Anna know that I would like some catnip, please, by scratching at the drawer where she keeps that catnip. She is usually pretty quick on the uptake.

Where she might be lagging a tiny tad is that I also have another agenda: I want to get to the top of the dresser. Mama Anna says that she and Papa keep things that are Not For Kitties up there, but I am not discouraged. A couple of nights ago, Mama Anna was playing Sims, and Papa was playing his game. I saw my chance. By the time she noticed what I was doing, I had all four paws (plus my tail) off the box (of my house)and was headed upward, reaching for the next drawer up.

Mama Anna told me “NO” and she was so loud that Papa and Aunt Linda came to see what I was doing. Pap was kind of proud of me, but he still didn’t want me to be on top of the dresser because of the Not For Kitties things. (they are things like medicine to help Papa stop smoking)

So flash forward a couple of days later, when Mama Anna has her weekly chat with Aunt Mary. One rthing you need to know about Aunt Mary (besides that she has excellent taste in kittycats and gives the best special mouse toy presents) is that she is very smart when it comes to historical research, as in the stuff that really did happen. She and Mama Anna talked for almost double their regular time this week, part of that being Mama Anna blabbering about one of her historical manuscripts to Aunt Mary, and then

Photo by Burak Kebapci on Pexels.com

Mama Anna was telling Aunt Mary that she was debating one of two ways to have a Thing happen in this particular book. Since it is a Thing in a time period Aunt Mary is familiar with, they had a lot to say about this. In the middle of it, Mama Anna stopped because IDEA. If Character left a Thing that was happening Right Then to go make sure Another Character was okay (she wasn’t) then it is obviously a Day Things Can Happen, so Character and Other Character can do a Thing, too. Aha. Then it was a bunch fo names and dates and family trees. I can’t make sense of much of it, but I know Mama Anna was really super happy about it, and she made a LOT of notes afterwards. Now Aunt Mary is her historical research consultant. Aunt Mary gets to name the occasional supporting character as thanks for her work.

It was also during this long chat that Aunt Mary snitched to Mama Anna when she saw my ears and paws come into frame, aka preparation for ascent on Mt. Dresser. So now I have another pair of eyes on me. No matter. They all have to sleep sometime. Where’s your favorite napping spot?

Headbonks!

Storm

NaNot, Mislaid Plan(ners) and Other Stories

Once again, I am not doing National Novel Writing Month, though I am peeking through the cracks in the fence. Maybe next year? Maybe so. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know the last couple years have been quite the trip. Several of them, as a matter of fact, so that staying home now is actually kind of exciting, because I have a home to stay in, which I figured would have some sort of effect on my productivity.

If we are talking about blogging, I am doing okay. If we are talking about journaling, I am absolutely crushing it. We’ll talk more about that later. If we’re talking about writing romance fiction, that’s where it gets a little murkerier, and yes, I did put that distancing phrase in there on purpose. Melva and I completed one contemporary romance novel, which we now need to do some surgery upon before we can give it another shot with our current publisher. That’s not a bad thing. We are currently working on another one, and starting a new contemporary series after that. We are working our way to a new sort of schedule as both of us have had changes in our day to day routines, but we are getting into the swing of it, and it’s good.

only the tip of my big bag of books iceberg

For historical romance, that’s where I feel the most guilty, meaning that I’m not where I thought I was going to be at this point. I mean, it’s in sight, and I am getting my way back there. I am now in a two person critique group with a local writer friend, who is newer to the game. We write different subgenres, but both under the romance or romantic elements umbrella. I do read the genre that she writes in, though she is new to historical romance, and I am very interested to see what I can learn about historical romance from seeing it through fresh eyes. So it’s steps in the right direction. Historical romance is also a very common topic on my weekly three hour chats with my friend, Mary, who gifted me a huge bag of classic historicals on her recent visit. I also owe a letter to another writer friend, which is all moving in the direction of getting back to talking about my work, which, for me, is definitely a thing. #extrovertlife

The writing planner I had set up for the last six months of this year is sitting in its cover, glaring at me. Not to say that the planner isn’t working. What it means is that that method is not working for me, and I need to find the one that does. Which means trial and error and blabbering about it here, because, metaphorically, I have a microphone and you all have to listen to everything I say. (The Wedding Singer is a work of genius; fight me.) In short, all part of the process. As we near the end of the year, the planner possibilities are endless, and I will find the right one at the right time. For now, it’s going to be more a matter of blundering into the forest with oven mitts on my hands, and recording what actually worked for me. That tends to be how I work. Stumble my way halfway in, survey, and make a plan. I am bound and determined that A Heart Most Errant is not going to have a birthday of sitting in my documents file, edits unaddressed. Nope, nope, nope. February is not that far away, which means I need to get on it.

How does yoeur week look?

Survival Drama Binge Babble

Right now, I am sitting at my laptop with wet hair, because, somehow, in the midst of all the Monday stuff, I am coloring my hair. I don’t remember the last time. I am listening to summaries of horror movies I will never watch, on YouTube, because A) I work better when hearing human voices, ;and B) it’s pretty good at getting my brain in storytelling mode, without the risk that any of it would naturally seep into my own work. Hm. Maybe that’s why I read as my contemporary YA as I do. Hm. I’m going to put a sticky note on that.

Okay, the historicals do get kind of dark. I will admit that. It’s part of my charm. It may also be one of the reasons I have been bingeing on survival dramas on various streaming services. Bonus points if the show is not American. Subtitles are fine, as I would rather listen to the original language and read the English translation than listen to dubbed dialogue. Then again, there are some dubs that are right up there with the original language.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Currently, the show of choice is season two of Into the Night, a Belgian show where a solar event has ended most life on earth, but for a few plucky survivors (seriously, I am 100% there for a small band of plucky survivors in the midst of a disaster) who were on a hijacked airplane when it all went down. The title comes from the fact that our survivors have to fly during the sunlight hours, always away from the sun (aka into the night) so they can touch down in darkness and scramble to get any fuel they need for themselves and their plane. Sometimes they pick up stragglers along the way. Sometimes those stragglers are Not Nice People.

Case in point: touching down in an airport in Scotland to get more fuel. They have more fuel. Yay. They also have three British soldiers, some of whom can do Plane Stuff. Yay. They can come with. This will take some of the workload off Original Pilot (who only has one working hand) and Substitute Co-Pilot, who used to fly helicopters for the French military, but is new to the plane thing. Once in the air, though, one of our Plucky Survivors learns that New British Soldiers are actually war criminals, recalled for a court martial for Very Bad Crimes. Oh noes. What to do, what to do? Also, if we have a standard for them, what does that mean for Turkish Man who has a shady professional past, but is also bonding big tie with Ill Russian Boy, and IRB’s lovely young mum? Thankfully for IRB, there is a nurse on board, a home health worker who lost her own patient early on in the adventure.

When the first season ended, our Plucky Survivors have found an underground military bunker, where they can hunker. Yay. Only, they are not alone. Uh oh. A politician and soldiers are also hunkering there, but they seem friendly. Yay? Then Bad Things happen, including a fire that wipes out most of their food supply. Oh noes. Suffice it to say that I am not bored. The cast is diverse, not only from country of origin, by walk of life. Every episode, we get a glimpse at somebody’s life Before. I love that stuff, because it’s new information and gives new insight to the choices the character makes now in the worst nightmare scenario.

This is all probably going into the idea soup for my second medieval historical romance, which takes place in the wake of the plague. Other ingredients for idea soup will include medieval romances, because romance. Still backburner at this point, but it’s all part of the process.

Where am I taking this all? I write about survivors. Well, obviously, as otherwise they would be zombies, ghosts, or necrophiliacs. That Thing, though, that people hang on to in the midst of the worst, that Thing that keeps them going; I love finding out what that is for a character. For two characters. Discover the way their Things can work together, make something good even when good things are not the thickest things on the ground.

That’s where the start of this week finds me. How are you doing?