Typing With Wet Claws: Grumbling at Printers Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. The heat wave seems to have broken this week, but Aunt Linda is still recovering from it, so I am on nurse duty. Papa and Mama Anna seem to be doing better. Well, except for Mama Anna and the printer. I know I said printers in the title, but she’s only mad at the one. Writers do tend to need their printers to work, for the most part, and for the most part, hers hasn’t been, lately. She was going to have Aunt Linda help her, because Aunt Linda is usually good at fixing things, but Aunt Linda isn’t feeling all that great so Mama Anna gave it a whack herself yesterday.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Obviously, that is not Mama Anna’s real printer, but it’s close enough. The only difference is that a printed document is coming out of that printer. Mama Anna had got it working yesterday, but then she tried to use it again today, and it has no idea what she is talking about. The screen on the printer has an exclamation point on it, which means it needs her to do something, but it won’t tell her what. She is grumbling a lot. She needs to print stuff. I’d help, but, well, I’m a cat.

With the heat wave over, Mama Anna is doing a lot better and is spending a lot of time with her journal to figure out how she can best get back on track. So far, she is doing pretty well. Except for the printer. Oh, and she tried to play a new scenario in Sims 4 last night, and failed at it, because the Sim she had to keep alive froze to death while dumpster diving. So that’s a thing. She did think about printing out some screenshots for her Sims journal, but again, the printer thing. She has been muttering about taking a jump drive to the library. That may be a wise option. Also, how cute am I in Sims?

A screenshot from the Sims 4 video game. A calico cat woalks on the counter, and eyes a platter of grilled cheese sandwiches.
A screenshot from The Sims 4 video game: a calico cat eyes a platter of grilled cheese.

Stinking cute, am I right? The splootches (that’s what we call patches of colors on pets’ coats) are off, but I say it’s the purr-sonality that counts. Here, have another one.

A screenshot from The Sims 4 video game. A calico cat stares out the window.
A screenshot from the video game, The Sims 4. A calico cat stares out a window.

This is a very good approixmation of what I do every time Mama Anna leaves the house. She says she is planning to take trash out tonight. Trust me, I will be watching while she does.

Screenshot from the video game The Sims 4. A calico cat stands atop a metal framed bed, covered in blue flowered bedding.
Screenshot from the video game The Sims 4. A calico cat stands atop a metal framed bed, covered in blue flowered bedding.

Yeah, this one is extremely accurate. I love getting on the bed. It’s actually about my favorite place. Especially when Papa or Mama Anna are on it. Best of all, when they are both on it, and I am between them, and they are both rubbing me. That’s the good stuff. I like snuggling with Mama Anna while she reads or writes longhand. Sometimes that’s in her journal, but a lot of the time, it is fiction. Exactly as she expected, starting a new reading journal and tracking her reading helps her read a lot more.

I should probably mention that, despite all her talking about not doing One Book July for her planning, she has decided that she has been too overwhelmed with multiple planners lately, and only did one planner this week, and may continue that through August. She also got a lot of stickers for days and dates, so my best guess is that she will be redating any stuff she doesn’t end up using, which I think is a pretty smart move. I have shown my approval by sitting on the sticker book. I like to be helpful that way.

Hm what else? Mama Anna has been talking about adding a TBV section (To Be Viewed) for streaming shows and movies she wants to watch. Not sure where that kind of tracker will go, but I do know that if she’s going to be watching stuff, that is prime cuddle time, so I foresee many belly rubs. Doubly so if she is going to be writing about the stuff she watches, which she probably will. I better start training.


Headbonks!

A calico cat sleeps in the middle of a grey cat bed

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: Cat Days of Summer Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. It’s fully summer over here in NY’s capitol region, which means that windows are open, and box fans are on. It’s actually super comfortable, though the humans have talked some about air conditioning. That’s pretty cool (hah! See what I did there?) and I remember it being pretty nice, from when we were travelling, but honestly, hard to beat what we have here. Also, did I mention that I have TWO water bowls? Yeah. Big flex in the cat world, trust me on that. The other awesome thing about this time of year is the thing that makes Mama Anna super happy, and that is back to school sales.

If you know Mama Anna at all, you know she is kind of gaga for all things stationery. That means she gets really excited for this time of year because it means that there is new stationery stuff everywhere, and it means that the autumn is coming, when her super powers return. Also when we can celebrate my adoptiversary, as well as Mama Anna’s birthday. Lots of things to celebrate. Mama Anna usually likes to celebrate with stationery. For me, that means lots of new things to inspect and put my stink on, because it’s not really ours until it smells like me.

Three leather/leather look notebook covers, in shades of brown and black. The black one had a metal tag reading "Not all who wander are lost" by C.S. Lewis. The light brown on has a mermaid tail charm, and the largest has tooled leather in a design that coordinates with the celtic knotwork metal button.

these three notebooks are all Storm-approved. The black cover has Mama Anna’s mini Happy Planner. Christine is the one with the mermaid tail, though Mama Anna moved that charm to a different book and Christine now has a camera charm. She’ll get a picture of that later. The bottom cover has a dot grid Exceed notebook inside, which Mama Anna is using to figure out how to best use dot grid paper, because she is gearing up to pull the trigger on an Archer and Olive book. She’s not normally into white paper or dot grid, but there are also black, kraft and Neapolitan (that means white, black and kraft in the same book. I say they could call it calico) options, so she’s thinking. Besides, she’s seen a lot of videos using this brand as a reading journal, and she wants to try that. For me, I am all about the box. Their notebooks come in boxes. I’m sold.

Mama Anna is super interested in a reading journal (which she might combine with a media journal, about the things she watches on streaming services) because the more she journals, the more she does the things she journals about. She’s also wanting a place to put notes about the books she is reading, and things that inspire her to maybe use in her own books someday. The way I see it, more notebooks means more boxes, which means I win.

What do you think?

Headbonks!

Storm

Typing With Wet Paws: Back on Track Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. If you’re wondering where I have been, I’ve been right here, but on nursing duty, as first Pap was sick and then Mama Anna. They are both okay now, so I am back to blogging. As you can see from this week’s picture, I am heavily involved with Mama Anna’s getting back to business, which does of course include supervising the use of stationery. In this case, we are talking about making her new traveler’s notebook, Christine, all chonky. It’s a tiring job, which is why I need to nap during it.

a black, white, an orange calico cat sleeps atop a manila folder, various papers scattered around her, and a coupon on top of her.

Journaling is super important for Mama Anna, because she has a LOT of thoughts in her head, and putting them on paper, especially paper that loos nice, is a big help in getting it all sorted out correctly. Of course this means that i must be intimately involved in all such proceedings, investigate all tools, and make sure they smell correctly…aka like me. Mama Anna figures that doing some pre-writing for blogs as well as fiction should help her be as productive as she would like, and that includes keeping a special section for stuff about me.

Eight Clickart markers, in summery bright colors, rest on top of a Celtic-tooled leather journal cover.

This book pictured above is probably going to be where Mama Anna works out how she wants to set up a reading journal. The pens were a “feel better” gift from Aunt Linda. I am happy to say that they worked.

One of the topics she put in the section for my blogging is three human foods I like but am apparently not allowed to have, because they are “bad for kitties.” Hmph.

  1. Sausage. The humans are rather fond of sausage, including as a pizza topping. One day, there was a very interesting smell coming from the pizza Papa had ordered, and he was busy on his computer, so I saw my chance, and I took it. Meaning that I nabbed a piece of sausage right off his pizza, and that got his attention away from the computer. Not saying if he got it out of my mouth or not, but suffice it to say, we now don’t leave pizza where I can get at it no matter what the interwebs is offering.
  2. Bleu cheese dressing: Once again, this is from one of Papa’s dinners. Mama Anna immediately looked up online and found out that this is a food that is Very Bad for kitties, but Papa is super smart about foods, and told her that what I had slurped was basically buttermilk with slight flavoring, but once again, now all condiments are capped if not being actually used.
  3. Salami: Mama Anna was sick when this happened, so she doesn’t know anything about it, apart that she saw something round in front of my gushy food dish (it was not gushy food) Interestingly enough, the salami slice was exactly the same shape as my dish, and close in color, so maybe I was playing a matching game? Papa claims no knowledge, but please refer to the above incidents. Suffice it to say that there is now a rule about unattended cold cuts.

So, that’s about it that’s happening around here. We should both be more active on here in teh days to come, so thanks for sticking around. What are you guys up to this week?

Storm

Camp NaNo, One Book July, and Other Stories

Still room for one more sticker in that lower corner

:clears throat:

:blinks:

Wow.

July.

:fidgets:

Well.

Let’s jump into a Q and A, shall we?

Q: Hey, Anna. Where’ve you been?

A: Uh, yeah, about that. Home, mostly. I did go to CT for a weekend, for a family celebration and a papercraft expo. That was cool. A bunch of craft stores. The garbage/recycling area about a billion times. Anxiety, depression, insomnia. For the last two weeks, shingles (not fun, but better now.) Before that, Real Life Romance Hero was in the hospital for a couple of days. He’s home now, doing fine.

Q: I meant writing. Which includes blogging.

A: That wasn’t a question.

Q: Still answer it, please.

A: Well, you did say please. Writing. I am doing that. Melva and I are clipping right along with Queen of Hearts. Over 40k right now, probably more. We are laying groundwork for what comes next, and we will be off and running when she gets back from her family vacation next week. Blog hiatus was not intentional. It just kind of happened and it’s just kind of over. Probably.

Q: Mmhmm.

A: Still not a question.

Q: Historical?

A: That’s a word. Okay, though. Guilt. So, so much guilt. I love writing historical romance oh so very much. This month, I’m going to try something new; instead of whipping myself for being a slacker, I am going to try…wait for it…actually writing historical romance. I will be drafting friends for accountability partners/readers/permission to kick me in the bumbum if I sleep on it any more than I already have. (Volunteers can drop me contact info in the comments.) My awesome friend, Mary, from CT, sent me home with two huge bags of historical romance classics, which is turning out to be highly motivational, especially when we can gab about them.

Q: Are you doing Camp NaNo this year? Camp NaNo is great for that kind of thing.

A: Ehhhh, no. Yes? Kind of? I didn’t sign up for the official thingamaboo, but I am writing in July. I’m counting that. Also every day journaling is a huge, huge help.

Q: How about One Book July, then, for the planner/journal side of things?

A: Ahahahaha, no. I thought about it, and was even looking forward to it, but then, boom, when I got sick, I watched a ton of stationery videos on You Tube, and now I want to Use All The Things, even things I thought I wouldn’t be interested in before. I’ve been browsing Archer and Olive a lot. I don’t normally go for white paper or dot grid, but 160 gsm and those covers…That’s probably a whole post in itself, so I’ll put it on the list and work on that.

Q: Sounds like you’re right on track for All The Books August.

A: In oh so many ways.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I finished a journaling insert in my traveler’s notebook in one month. Turns out I really like watercolors. I thikn they like me, too.

Anna

Typing With Wet Paws: Papa Smells Like People Vet Edition

Tails up, storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. I know it’s been a while, but stuff has been kind of real-life-y lately. For the first week that I missed, that was because they don’t allow kitties at StampCon, which is a stupid rule, and then after that, well, Papa ended up smelling like People Vet. Apparently the Humans have some kind of law about medical information, so I will say he is back at work now. Also, Mama Anna and Aunt Linda visited Aunt Mary, which meant they got to see my Cousin Aidan, who is a dog. Anyway, I am glad that everybody is home now, because I don’t like it when my humans are not all in one place.

A black, white, and orange calico cat looks directly at the camera, ears alert, her expression curious
relieved and curious me. Photo by Mama Anna

Mama Anna came home with a LOT of books from her trip to Aunt Mary’s, and then got a new notebook on one of her craft store runs with Aunt Linda. Yesterday, she started a system to keep track of her TBR mountain, which I think is a good thing because wow, is she behind on her Goodreads challenge. She’ll rally, though. She always does. She is getting her writing groove back, aided by watching some stuff on streaming TV (I help. I catloaf and watch with her.) and spending time with her stationery. Sometimes she forgets that the stationery serves her; she doesn’t serve the stationery. She’s also super in to tidying the apartment, so I have a lot to supervise. Bags to sniff, things to sit on and all of that good stuff.

an open travexy print cover on one side, and a purple one on the other. Purple cover has a green sticker that reads "end the stigma", next to the image of a prescription bottle.ler's notebook with a gala
Christine guts
(well some of them)

Mama Anna is getting hardcore into her art journaling stuff, and she said she might be willing to share some of that here in days to come. Apparently, art supplies are largely not for kitties. Okay, the paints and markers and stuff likely not, but nobody can stop me from sitting on any notebook left in my range of vision. She has some watercolors now that she even takes on the road when she goes out. There is a brush that has water inside it, which I think is pretty cool. That stuff dries fairly fast, so I’m not tracking it anywhere when I walk across it, so that’s a win.

Part of this weekend, Mama Anna will be spending in shelving the books she got from Aunt Mary and then working on her plan to get back into the historical romance groove which means both reading and writing. Don’t ask me how, but something special happens when she puts stationery in the mix. For my part, I am thankful that it usually involves paper I can lay on, which is sometimes but not always what she is currently working on at the moment. I’m not the type to purposely hinder my human, but I do require a certain amount of belly rubs, specifially from Mama Anna.

How’s your summer going so far?

Headbonks!

Storm

Typing With Wet Paws: Introducing Christine Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Now that we are at the official unofficial start of the summer season, we hope to see more action from Mama Anna on this page. A good friend of hers once said that when she’s not okay, she goes all quiet. Fair enough, but she is doing okay right now, though she is working on finding the way blogging works best for her now. Mama Anna and summer are not best friends, but she’s got air flow, multiple fans, and lots of liquids. She also has me, and that’s the most important part.

this is Christine. The notebook, I mean. The kitty is me.

As you might expect, there is a lot of journaling involved in working things out, and part of that is trying out new ways of writing for herself, and even new formats of books in which she writes. Originally, Mama Anna had planned to use this Chic Sparrow traveler’s notebook to hold her mini Happy Planner, but the back cover of the planner and the back pocket of the cover do not agree on anything, so now it’s going to be what she calls a fidget book. She hasn’t put much of anything in it as of yet, though there are two lined and two dot grid inserts in there, to give her an idea of what she might like. She has started making her own coloring pages with stencils she already owns. She will probably write about books in the lined pages, and may make or buy some sort of calendar so that one of the inserts can be mostly functional.

I, of course, have been on the job, making sure Christine (the name came embossed on the front cover, so Mama Anna said that must be the notebook’s name; it was very thoughtful of her to tell her name righ tout of the gate) smells right, and has cat hair on it. Can you believe it came with no cat hair at all? I gues that’s because the previous owner did not have cats. Well, I fixed that. It has cat hair now. You’re welcome. Aunt Linda says I am not allowed to make pricky marks on it with my claws, but Mama Anna says that is part of having a cat (she’s right) but will not give me a lot of opportunities to make that happen.

Christine is going to need planner charms, dashboards, a pen loop, some pretty paper clips and probably some other stuff. Mama Anna isn’t sure yet exactly what. She’s going to figure that out as she goes, which is basically what she does with creating the framework of a story, so this is pretty much normal for her. There may be a reading journal in there, but it has to be Mama Anna’s way, because trying it other people’s way doesn’t work that great. Usually what works best is to just blabber, which she can also apply to her blogging here. At least that’s the direction I’m planning to nudge her in; I can do that with headbonks. I am super great at headbonks.

Okay, I forgot one thing. If anyone is wondering, Christine is a B6 size. You can get an idea for that on this page B6 is the green one. Mama Anna will be giving updates on how Christine progresses, so if you are into traveler’s notebooks or stationery in general, drop some recommendations in the comments about what kinds of inserts you like to use. Maybe large capacity pen cases, too. Especially when they have elastic loops to hold the pens in place. Oh, and pen loops that stick on to the notebook. She likes those.

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?

A Good Place To Be

Today is a lovely, chill, and grey Monday in October, which is to say exactly my kind of day. This may also be why it is almost three pm when I sit down to write this post. I spent all of the time prior alternating between setting up my planners and turbo napping. I am not exactly done with the plan-ification because I acquired a new planner this weekend, an early birthday gift from the friend who gave me my first Happy Planner, thus creating the monster that is now me.

The new planner is a “skinny” planner, same length but half the width of the classic version, which is here:

photo: Anna Carrasco Bowling

I haven’t taken any pictures of the new planner yet, (not this design, but this size) because A) I am still deciding how I want to use it, and B) I’m not decorating it until I figure out its purpose. The friend who gave it to me doesn’t use a planner, but uses this sort of planner as a notebook. I do know it’s the same theme as my catchall planner (the one above is my writing planner) and the coordinating sticker book. My friend says she likes that size for toting around in her purse, so I might try that. It also fits perfectly in the zip folio that would be bulky in my purse, but never felt right with anything else. I have also done squat all for months with the dot grid notebook (though it has delicious thick, smooth paper; I think I’m not a dot grid person) I put in there a few um, months ago.

I hate having partially used notebooks lingering in my possession, but they also aren’t exactly salable or re-giftable, so I am still figuring out what to do with that sort of thing. Maybe scrap paper? IDK.

There’s something about birthdays and planners and trackers and calendars and journals and that sort of thing. Combine that with an online workshop on resilience I am taking right now, which is highly relevant to my interests, of coming back into myself. I very much like knowing why somebody else likes something they like, and inviting me to experience it too, well, that’s special. It also still doesn’t bring me any closer to knowing what I want to use this new planner for, but eh, that’s kind of how I operate anyway. Jump in, splash around, and then sort it out in some sort of organic fashion.

That’s a heartening thought as I look at the writing week ahead, especially since it’s Housemate’s staycation. We do have some fun stuff planned, and some time set aside where she is doing her thing and I am doing mine, aka actually writing.

Ever since I started having weekly video chats with one of my besties, I have felt ever so much Anna-er. Ditto with the fledgling critique partnership I have with a local writer friend, also via video. Bonus points for said writer friend also being a big ol’ extrovert. I even have some pen and paper letters in the works, which is something I have always found both a necessity and a delight. It also means I get to dive neck deep into pretty stationery, pens, stickers, ephemera, et al. It’s a good place to be.

How is the start of your week looking?

Asking the Right What Ifs

On Wednesday, it will be September. In our family, that means the unofficial start of autumn, and maybe more importantly, the return of my superpowers. It’s also the time for the seasonal turnover of planners, which took up a lovely portion of my Sunday afternoon. I love that ritual, of curating my planning supplies, moving from summer vibes (as much as I do, which isn’t much, as it’s not my favorite season) and into my natural environment. Bring on cool days, warm afghans, hot tea, big books, and all that good stuff.

In a writing perspective, that includes writing those books as well. Another part of the afternoon was me going over my edits letter from Safeword Author Services, which I cannot recommend highly enough for any author looking to hire an editor. Awesome encouragement, excellent insight, and I actually agree with the changes my editor proposed…so why haven’t I made them since February? That’s kind of a while.

First, let me introduce you to my non-besties, Anxiety and Depression, and the common author challenge of mind numbing terror when it comes to working on some of the tough stuff. But is it really? Sometimes, it’s as easy as asking the right questions. When I set up my writing notebook for historicals, I made sections for A Heart Most Errant, and Her Last First Kiss, with another for general tips and ideas for future project. For AHME, the first thing in there is the editorial letter. I read it through, then highlighted the areas I needed to address, color coded for hero (blue) heroine (pink) and general writing (green.) If I had a villain POV, which this book does not, then that would get a yellow highlight, because yellow is my least favorite color.

When I have Character A flip flopping from X to Not X a couple times throughout the story, making that decision for them wasn’t going to do. Instead, I turned to a fresh page and asked myself, “How does Character A feel about X, really?” Pros. Cons. Why they can hold both beliefs at once. Both hero and heroine in this book are trauma survivors (which is probably true for most of my characters in any story) so that is going to play into how they react to things, even good things. There’s also whether Character B would really focus on Y at a given moment. If they don’t focus on Y, then what would catch their attention instead? What would be more important? How does Not-Y fill a more urgent need than Y?

The only way to find that out, for me, is to do what I did when I wrote the beginning of My Outcast Heart, my first published historical romance (out of print right now; stay tuned for reissue talk) — follow my character as they run off on their own and write down what they do. It’s not entirely pantsing, as I can tell them “okay, here’s what has to happen next,” but usually, they figure out how they are going to that on their own, in their own particular way. It’s also not always in order. When I wrote Orphans in the Storm, my fourth historical (also out of print right now) I wrote both ends against the middle. I knew how it started, I knew how it ended, but connecting those two?

That was a matter of connecting “what happened after that?” with “what happened before that?” Repeat until the two ends meet. (I do not recommend the other notable thing about this manuscript, which was losing the whole file, after I had already sold it, but if you do, be sure to have an awesome critique group with hardcopies.) In this case, it’s translating to “okay, if X didn’t work, what could be Y?” Not what is, necessarily, but what could be? In the words of an online writer friend, “it’s just riffing.” Have fun. Chuck some ink on that paper and see what transpires. For my money (and that which I hope comes from it) it’s well worth the trip.

How are you getting ready for September?