Nobody Stop Me, or In The Groove

Have I ever mentioned that I have since single digit ages had a very soft spot for alternate titles. Completely unrelated to the Monkees song, “Alternate Title,” though does have some surprisingly boppy social commentary, and The Monkees are on the top of the list of music to play when I write Heather’s scenes in Queen of Hearts. I have my second scene from that written out in the notebook I have specifically for that, and all it needs is transcription and then it’s off to Melva.

Right now, I am borrowing Housemate’s office chair, with laptop on a folding desk, in front of a fan, and I am almost done with my third bottle of water for the day. The morning passed in a delicious virtual chat with my friend, Mary, whom I can’t believe I have known for almost twenty years. Doesn’t seem that long, and hasn’t she always been there/ Must be right, though, because the adorable little boy she had with her at our first meetup is now a firefighter, and, come October, will become a husband. Time does move.

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

Yesterday, Housemate and I made a library run, to a different branch than our usual haunt, and hit the motherlode of well stocked romance section. Well, well-ish stocked. I’ll take it. I am writing a script for a library haul video after I post this blog, and will flim either tonight or tomorrow. I’m also figuring out how I want to present my current planner/notebooks situation, as I am making some changes, and they are working much better than I had expected. There’s also the reading order to suss for abovementioned library haul, and how I want to figure in ebooks as well as physical books. I have missed paper books far more than I knew, and I know my eyeballs will be thankful for the respite. from all screens all the time. This will also require major surgery on my TBR notebook, but I knew that was coming. I am not a plain paper sort of girl. Never have been.

One thing I definitely need to make time for is writer (and reader) blabber, because after three hours of happily babbling over multiple topics, including historical romance (okay, a lot of talk about historical romance) I didn’t even want to break for lunch (but I did) and instead wanted to make plans for more socializing. Not going to lie, lockdown has not been easy on us extroverts. I love my family but I need to see faces taht do not use my bathroon on a regular basis. I’m thinking about making a regular time to open the discord server or a MSM room, for a regular supply of book blather, of both writing and reading varieties. I am positively starved for historical romacne writing talk. If I had decided to officialy do Camp NaNo this month (unofficially camping this time. Maybe November.) I had decided that I wanted to find a cabin that was historical romance only. Maybe I’m early for November?

No matter. This feels like that’s what was in msy brainpan for right now, so off I go to roll around nekkid in my library haul. Kidding, kidding. I will be wearing clothing, and there may be nappage. There will definitely be many cat headbonks, and calico cuddles.

What are you reading lately?

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.

Typing With Wet Paws: The Heat Is Broken Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Not much to report this week, because it was a hot one for two and four legs alike, but Uncle Rheuben got his fan network up and going, so we were able to stay cool. Aunt Anna doesn’t summer well, so that of course required me to be on round the clock nurse duty. Luckily that meant I got the fans on my fur a lot, and the humans always make sure my water is full and fresh. There is one big thing Aunt Anna said I have to tell you, and it is a thing that happened yesterday.

That big thing is…wait for it…Drama King, book two in the Love By The Book series, has been officially submitted to The Wild Rose Press, who published Chasing Prince Charming. Not yet an acceptance, but TWRP has first dibs on the next umm…some contemporary romances Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva writer together. That does also mean that they might be the first ones to say no thanks, but the aunts prefer to remain optimistic. Can’t say as I blame them. Did I mention there is a cat in this one? He looks kind of like this:

Photo by Aleksandr Nadyojin on Pexels.com

Kind of. Ish. I don’t know. I haven’t seen him. He lives in a book. Also, he is a grownup and I think that one in the picgture is a kitten. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any kittens, so maybe my memory of what they look like is fuzzy. Heck, I am fuzzy. Anyway, he’s orange, his names is Clawed, spelled exactly that way, and when you meet him, you’ll know why. Definitely my favorite fictional cat so far. Okay, he’s the only fictional cat I know, and I am only three. Clawed is the hero’s cat (actually, Clawed would say Jack is his human, and I stand by him on that one) and he has very strong opinions on sharing. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t like to do it.

So that is the big Aunt Anna thing. The medium Aunt Anna thing is that there is new furniture in the hosue I think she said something about that earlier, but never fear, it all smells like us now. I made sure of that. It’s not where it’s meant to be, because it has been too hot to move furniture around, but the humans will fix that soon. Aunt Anna will try moving her computer area closer to the windows and her nightstand will get a lamp that will let her read paper vooks or write in paper notebooks in bed, while she cuddles me. I was not able to get in any of the dresser drawers (still salty about that) but the humans assure me that my bix cardboard box is staying, no matter what, because I love it. Also, Uncle Rheuben put a paper bag inside my box. Let me tell you, that first time being inside a bag inside a box, I wish every kitty coud have that feeling. It was pretty great.

Another probably medium Aunt Anna thing is that she is getting ready for probably doing the Camp NaNo thing next month. Part of it is admittedly so that she can play with notebooks and Scrivener, and preferably coordinate the two at least aestheticswise, but we’ll see where the road goes.

One more Aunt Anna thing. Since it was soooo hot all week, Aunt Anna gets a little loopy, and now she can’t remember where she put her newer tablet, but it is definitely in the apartment. Our apartment is not that big, so give her a couple of cooler days and she’ll figure it out. She is perturbed, though, because there is a book that she was reading on there, but she can get it on a different device. It’s also the one she uses to take pictures of me. That might bump it up in priority , now that I think of it. Hm. Maybe I can help her look. The world needs more Storm pictures. I’m adorable. Look at me!

and that’s just my HAND

Even though Aunt Anna is grumbly about searching for that one tablet, she is very happily back to reading historical romance. We’ll wait on the Goodreads challenge tally, but here’s the book she is reading now, but the fabulous Marsha Canham. Aunt Anna loves her some Marsha Canham, and she’s thinking of using the summer to read all the Canhams she hasn’t yet read, and most of those are standalones. The one that isn’t, is third in a series where she read the first two already, and would not mind rereading.

One me picture for tax before I race from the room for no apparent reason. There are two boxes in this picture. One is my big box, which I get to keep. The smaller box ,I don’t care about, so it got recycled. Aunt Anna put the rest of the stuff away. She likes a tidy home. As long as it smells right and has my big box, I’m good either way.

a girl and her box, a love story

Headbonks!

Typing With Wet Paws: Now Where Were We Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. If you are wondering where I was for the last couple of weeks, here is a clue:

photo: Anna Carrasco Bowling

Seriously, look at this cat bed. So soft. So comfy. Like me. It’s in the perfect spot to not only get the sunbeams from the window, but also the breeze, and now the fan. If the humans open the other window, I get he crossbreeze. Then there is the placement, at the foot of the people bed. I’m close enough to Aunt Anna or Uncle Rheuben if they need me, and I kan keep track of both of them at their desks. I can also see the kitchen from here, which means that if Aunt Linda comes out of her room, and heads in this direction, she has dry food for me (or is going to clean my box, which is also good) so it really is the best seat in the house.

Big news around here is that the libraries here in New York’s Capitol Region are open again. Well, for humans, that is. They still aren’t admitting cats, which is totally bogus. Cats and books go together, amirite? Of course I am. Click on the link above if you want to see what she brought home, and where she totally could have used a feline research assistant to remind her to check series order before checking out books.

As fun as Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva found the first Zoomer Times interview, what could they get up to in the second round? Apparently this. Also, there was another whole interview that went great, then went missing, so this is a do-over.

Right now, Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva are going over the final final final version of the Drama King manuscript, before they send it to the editor at The Wild Rose Press. If those people want it, there will be more edits, and then it’s on its way to becoming a book. Did I mention this one has a cat in it? Next one, they say is going to have a dog, but that’s still four-legs rep, so I am down with it.

Beyond that, Aunt Anna will be getting back in the historical groove, which, honestly, I think she has needed for a while now. She said I can assume there will be cats in historicals because they are state of the art pest control. Sounds legit.

She is also thinking that if she wants to take part in Camp NaNo in July, it is only the beginning of June, so she has a lot of time to prepare a project that sounds like fun. I think part of it is an excuse to play with her planner stuff, but I happen to like helping her with her planner stuff (by lying on it) so this could all work out to my favor.

There is probably other stuff I should be putting here as well, but it’s nap time and I have my priorities.

Headbonks!

Storm

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?

So, I Have a YouTube Channel

Happy Wednesday, my liebchens. In keeping with the spirit of trying new things this year/spring, I finally made good on my threat to start a YouTube channel -different from my short-lived vlogging channel-AnnaLog is finally a thing.

AnnaLog

Over the last year, I watched a lot of YouTube. I mean a LOT of YouTube, often BookTube, and out of that, I found a lot of creators I like and follow, but I didn’t see a lot of talk about the more vintage side of historical romance. Aha. Heeeere’s Anna.

Check out my answers to the historical romance book tag

I am very obviously learning here, from angle of the laptop screen to topics and tagging and such, so pleae pardon my dust, and get comfy, because this will be a place for me to blabber about all the things I love -and some that I don’t- about historical romance novels, as a writer and a reader.

The first thing I wanted to cover, apart from a chapter header, was the historical romance reader book tag, created by Jess from PeaceLoveBooks on You Tube. Basically, if you ever wanted to pick my mind about historical romance, this is your opportunity. Only the tip of the iceberg, naturally, but tons of fun to make, and, I hope, to watch as well. Like, subscribe, share, all that good stuff, and yes, I am available for hire on my Patreon, to make a video on the historical romance topic of your choice. This is already lots of fun, so strap in, it’s going to be quite the ride.

Camp NaNononoooo

My workload made the decision for me for this round of Camp Nano, starting tomorrow. Eep. As much as I was looking forward to writing something newnewnew for camp this year, my editor’s notes for A Heart Most Errant cleared its throat and tapped its foot, so my April will be, historical romance-wise, has to be that. Contemporary-wise, it’s edits on Drama King, so my plate is full.

I am okay with that. I like direction. I have some ground to cover before I am, productivity-wise, where I want to be. One day at a time, one page at a time, and the video channel to remind me why I love historical romance as much I as I do. Getting back to one’s roots is always a good thing when one is so inclined, and I am so inclined, indeed.

Going to leave it at that for today, as adulting awaits, and after that, dun, dun, dun, the formation of a writing plan for April that will get me where I want to be. Yes, this involves planners and color coding and all of that good stuff, and yes, I will be sharing that here. Until then, behave yourselves, but I will not say how, so use your own discretion.

Spring Thaw?

This past weekend, I had a raging case of insomnia, felt-like-subzero temperatures, two clogged sinks, one smoke alarm that is lasagna-sensitive, one pair of glasses gone walkabout (and then brought back home) an opportunity to improve family communication, two power outages in the same day, and a general feeling of swamp-edness. In short, pretty much what one would expect for the end of February.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

All of this did tospyy-turv-i-fy my plans to kick butt and take names in the realm of double edits, and, after a talk with the magnificent Melva, sticking a toe into new writing for Queen of Hearts. :Ulp: This week also brought a-in retrospect, hilarious- DM conversation with a person inviting me to present a virtual workshop for Organization A, when I thought they were asking for Organization B, Oopsie. Thankfully, both parties were able to laugh about it, and there are now not one but two workshops in my reasonably near future, one in April, and one in one of the autumn months. More details on those as they are confirmed. Having a workshop to give in April makes up, to some degree, not being able to attend a regional RWA conference in person, like I did in the Before Times. Hopefully soon, we will be in the After Times, and I will once again be picking our conference shoes and packing an extra bag to bring home all the free swag and signed books.

Right now, I am looking at doing my start of week planning (writing related) in the middle of the week, which feels…weird. Chalk it up to the change of seasons. Before Times Me would be inclined to say “eh, this far into the week, write it off (no pun intended) and slack until Monday, then come out of the gate swinging.” Not going to lie, that option is still appealing. Especially so, since Real Life Romance Hero has the windows open, for some gorgeous fresh air, which we definitely couldn’t do back when the temperatures were in the single degrees. Welcome to March in New York.

March in New York means that leaving the house requires a few special considerations. Bring along your parka, bikini, umbrella, sunblock, hair ties (if your hair is long, because wind is brutal) plus sunglasses, a sweater or three, rain boots, and a travel mug that can handle hot and cold beverages, because there will be times during the day when you will want both. Possibly both at the same time, but we can’t have everything. Before I know it, there will be baby ducks i n the lake in the park that is a few minutes’ walk down the street. No Tulip Festival this year, because Covid, but I am expecting the flowers to be there anyway. Things are coming back, and I am happy to see them come as they will.

One thing that came back, unexpectedly, was watching TV. I binged the third season of Disenchantment. The end of that season came far too soon, so I am now in the position of finding another show to do the same thing, but this is why I set up my catchall journal/commonplace book with lists of shows and movies I want to see on the streaming services we have. Actually, there are a couple of titles I need to add. Maybe reading historical romance will be next. I did, however, finish Maya Rodale’s Dangerous Books For Girls , which is nonfiction about the stigma against romance novels, and where it came from, as well as how to handle it. Working on a review of that, but I do want to look through my reference books in storage and find some of my older books about the romance genre. Some things are wildly different than they were in the 80s and 90s, and some things never change. I have thoughts about all of it.

Spring is also time to check out all of the new pastel and floral stationery things that are coming out, beause pretty stationery makes me want to use all of it, which works out well when I am writing and editing a lot of things. Which is what I am doing, come to think of it. April is Camp NaNo, after all, and I think I want to participate this year. We’ll see how it goes. Sometimes preparing a project notebook is like getting a garden ready for planting season. At least that’s what I remember from what my mom used to do in the spring.

Spring is not my favorite season, but I do like the aspect of coming back to life, which is very much in line with a lot of my, well, life, these days. I don’t hate that. Also, I have hot pink kitty ear headphone with lights, so those alone are a fun reason to gt back to the keyboard. Pictures forthcoming.

Anna

NaNo or NaNot, 2020 Edition

That time of year again, when the eternal question for many of us writer types is “do I participate in National Novel Writing Month?” I’ve thought about it a lot this year, probably more than most. I came down on the side of…kind of, maybe.

While some may say NaNo or NaNot, there is no “kind of,” that’s where i landed, and rather organically at that. I love the idea of going all in and, as a favorite aunt would say, going hell bent for leather toward a distinct goal. What to write, though, well, that’s where things get murkier. I love the idea of those who can dive in with no other idea than “I’m going to write something” and make it all the way to the end. That’s not me, and comparing the way I do things to the way anybody else does things is not ever going to work. Part of my day is set aside for putting on a podcast and getting on the bed with a bunch of sticky notes and/or index cards and setting out all the things I want to write in the next while.

For some things, it’s pretty clear cut. Come hell or high water, Melva Michaelian and I are going to get Drama King, our second jointly written contemporary, done and dusted, ASAP. Part of it is that we are eager to get to the third Love By the Book story, Queen of Hearts, but how flat out fun it is to combine snarky grumpmaster Jack and ray of sunshine Kelly (cue “Tomorrow” from Annie, which might be a reasonable choice for Kelly’s incidental music) and goodness knows we could all use any fun we can get this year.

There’s also kicking myself back into historical romance gear. I am taking my first step into indie publication, and exploring a new format -novella- and time period -medieval- and taking a wide angle view of the place where what I love to do best and what the market fancies converge. That kind of excites me, to be honest, and it also gives me a reason to play with stationery, which is my second instrument after writing. There’s also the desire to not write less about writing, but to write actual fiction and see the pages accumulate (hence the attempt to set up the new printer at long last after I write this blog entry) along with writing about writing. Maybe talking about it, too, because YouTube very definitely is partly responsible for me still being here (gestures in the general sense) after very definitively the worst year of my life.

Phew. Let’s take a break. First home decor photo I can share is below. Bit by bit, we are putting down roots and making this look like home. One of these throw pillows is not like the others.

purr-fect contentment, yes?

The new normal is still taking form, and I don’t want to rush it. I actually tend to get a lot more done, and the ideas flowing much more freely, when I set aside some time to play with pens or noodle around with Sims, some You Tube or podcast or TV show in the background, consciously working toward drinking x glasses of water a day, focusing more on getting story from brain to page, one day at a time, right now. I will probably give one of both Camp NaNos a go. That’s a tale for another time.

For now, this is Monday’s blog post, t he first one for November. I do have plans for less rambly, more focused sorts of posts, if you’re into that sort of thing. Types of stories I’m looking at writing, my renewed and boundless love for black paper notebooks and pens that write on them, planner lineups for the new year, and my reading plans for same.

The fun thing about NaNo, besides getting to cheer on all those who are officially participating this year or any other, is that the principles can be put into place at any time, and modified to fit the individual’s needs. Camp NaNo is one example, and writing, in general, is another. Writer friends are available at all times of year, and I am always thankful for mine.

Happy reading, and happy writing,

Anna

Typing With Wet Paws: Let’s Get Moving Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. This past week was better for Aunt Anna, anxiety-wise, but there has been a lot of adulting, a very warm hotel room that would be quite cozy in winter, but it’s not winter (don’t worry, the owner/manager is on the case, and it will be back to normal soon; he is only making sure the place will be warm in winter.) and the newest thing: we may be able to get into New Apartment *sooner* than we had expected. Not official yet, but a strong possibility.

Coming back from bad anxiety can take a while, and it’s more a bunch of baby steps in the right direction until, oh hey there, she’s writing again. A lot of it was playing Sims while listening to You Tube videos. For this past week, a lot of it was from the channel Heart Breathings, which is where author Sarra Cannon shares how she does what she does. One of the things Ms. Sarra said was that having beautiful stationery makes her want to look at the pages more, which is exactly how Aunt Anna feels.

so we’re doing this now…

I should mention that the pages you see here are not from Heart Breathings, but from Aunt Anna’s Writing Helps Pinterest board. She did print out a bunch of stuff from M. Sarra’s board, though, and will talk about that more later. Big life changes affect writing a lot more than a human might like, so trying new things may be a good way to get back into a routine that works best for the writer a person is, now.

I should also mention that, at this time last year, besides not knowing me yet (we call that the Dark Ages) Aunt Anna thought the Happy Planner line was silly and ew, plastic discs. Then she got two for her birthday, and now she loves it, especially the notebooks,. and has found a use for every size they offer, from big to micro. She likes metal discs better than plastic, which is fine by me, because I think the plastic ones will be perfect for playing with in the new apartment. We all know that’s going to happen.

Anyway, there is a questionnaire she printed about how to reconnect with a story after time away, and boy does she ever need that one. Some of those questions are hard, but also look like they can pinpoint what went wrong and how to fix it. For Aunt Anna, a lot of the time, the big stumbling block is “I don’t know.” We are working on that and while it’s kind of scary, nothing can be as scary as the year just past, so she’s up for the challenge. NaNoWriMo is not a go but it’s not off the table, especially in an unofficial capacity. Right now, she’s counting progress in “units” which she will explain later, and seems to work pretty well so far, and, most importantly, does not need to be perfect. She is also kind of salty that she thinks she might like to try a writing group again, but NY is still taking precautions, so maybe online groups might be a good idea.

As you can imagine, this is one of those drive-by posts but Aunt Anna wanted to show signs of life, and it is Feline Friday, after all. More details to come as she has them, including a review of how these new tools work for her and the way she writes now.

Headbonks!