Tabled

Yesterday, Real Life Romance Hero came home from his morning walk with a table. A big, round, heavy, black wooden dining room table. He did this while I was in the shower. He did not intend to obtain furniture, but, when I shut off the shower, there was the key in the lock sound, followed by the something big is coming through the door sound, and, by the time I had my robe on, and head out the door, there was the love of my life and a huge black dot.

imagine seeing this first thing in the morning

RLRH identified the dot as our new dining room table. I pointed to our existing dining room table, and asked where this new piece of furniture came into his possession. In our building, there is an area where people who no longer need large items, can put them up for adoption. Such was RLRH’s encounter of said table. He knew we didn’t need it right now, but we will want a bigger table when we move (in a few months; we are not planning to move right now-now) so he brought it home.

The first question that came to mind was, “where are we going to put this?” In our future apartment is the obvious answer, but we are in our current apartment, which already has a table, which we already love, and the only place we can possibly put it is what I will call our great room, because it is dining room, living room, my office, my studio, Housemate’s workspace, and Housemate’s bedroom. It is a very small space. We also all had places to be, so we tabled the issue (pun intended) and headed off to take on the day. Then we came home, and were faced with the reality of the big black thing that would not allow both Housemate and er parcels through the door at the same time.

Cue much rearranging of furniture. The old dining room table is now my work table, on the opposite side of the great room, directly under our window, with Tudor Rose Hart-Bowling, our as yet unnamed pepper plant (currently, I am liking “Queen Boudica,” and she is quite liking the sunlight. Lancaster has been relocated to the bedroom, where he can get his own sunlight, without his brother, and presumably, new sister, trying to choke him to death.} This also allows me to have my planners and related paraphernalia in one, permanent place, where I can see them all, all the time, as well as have plenty of room to spread out and not bump over salt shakers, bump into anybody else’s work, etc. My kneeling chair scoots from computer to work table, to dining table with ease, and it all very much does contribute to the “room of one’s own” feeling. I have not had that since we left the old apartment. Before, that, really, so this feels all that much lovelier, to have my own corner of the world.

new table, reporting for duty

Still early days yet, so i will still have to see what effect this has for my productivity, but I am optimistic. At the very least, it has worked well for today, and I think that’s a pretty good start. With the weather we’ve had here in NY for the last couple of days, it feels as though summer has plopped itself down , which makes the whole new season thing feel very, very natural.

Next up on my list is website wrangling, as in actual whole website, with hosting and all that other good stuff, for Melva’s and my work, both separately and together. There will be posts on that later, because that’s a whole new adventure. Typing With Wet Nails (and/or Stuffed Paws) will remain the same, and Melva and I are working on some fun stuff to bring our readers, and hopefully convince her readers and my readers to become our readers, the whole Melva and Anna experience.  Chasing Prince Charming creeps ever closer to release, as the final galley template is in the works, and we should learn more in about two weeks.

The best way to fill the time between now and then, is by writing. Melva and I are both looking forward to a productive season, with new and current projects, and, if the place I do that from has a view of lush greenery and a cool breeze, then so much the better.

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The Mondayest Monday That Ever There Mondayed (Okay, not really)

Welp, it’s Monday. An extremely Monday-ish Monday, as a matter of fact. Allow me to explain. When I started off this day, I had a plan. I had a schedule. I like both of these things. By nine AM, both of them were moot. It is a full house here at Stately Bowling Manor. Both other adults are home for the day, with no plans, theoretically able to fend for themselves. THere may or may not be a pharmacy run in the afternoon, and, technically, this could be a good time to drag the bottles to recycling, which may not, at the first glance, have all that much to do with writing, ut I am determined to find a way to make that happen. A lot of us writers can’t turn that stuff off, so we have learned to live with it and steer into the skid, so to speak.

This is where being a planner person can come in handy, because the moment a domestic tornado chain blows through the combination living room/dining room/my office/Housemate’s bedroom (let us call it the Great Hall, shall we? That feels very much in keeping with all things historical romance-y, so it’s going to stay.) the instinctive response is not “aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!” but “let me move a few things around.” Writing has to take precedence, so blog entry happens first, then I need to knock off a rough scene, because I know me, and I know that, if I don’t, I am going to be kicking myself through whatever else it is that the day might bring. This is the sort of day when the writer shoves leftovers in the general direction of all present family members, and plops themselves in front of the computer, to make the most of the time one does have.

Cryptic, I know, but my goal here is to blorch out the magic seven hundred words, move on to a scene for Drama King, and then the world of practical concerns can have some of my attention. Some of it. Only two days ago, I sat in a darkened library conference room, listening to a Damon Suede, workshop on backstory (recorded, not in person, alas. If you ever get a chance to see Damon Suede teach on anything writing related, take it. That is all.) that left me with pages full of notes, and the confidence that yes, I really am ready to start gathering questions and assorted stuff for exploring and expounding on Cornelis and Lydia’s story, whom readers can meet in “The Fox and the Lily,” in the upcoming anthology from Z Publishing. I’m still liking Plunder for the title of the full length novel, and knowing exactly what goes down with Cornelis and Lydia will lay the foundation for their daughter’s (and, ultimately grandchild’s) story.  

That’s not for today, though. Today, though my plans have been changed, there is still stuff I can do (Melva and I touch on exactly this kind of thing in our Save the Author, Save the Book workshop) so I don’t feel entirely shoved out of the way, writing-wise. Lists definitely help. I want all my tasks out where I can see them, and the week as well, so I can move things around when I need to do that. Domestic tornadoes do not mean that the things cannot get done, only that they will not get done at the time or in the way I had originally thought. This is also one of the reasons I like to have more than one project going at the same time, at different stages.

Polishing a scene into traditionally readable form may not be possible on a day like today, but can I hole up on the couch (or lock myself in the bathroom, because that, too, is a thing) and rough a scene out in longhand? I most certainly can. Sometimes, the best stuff gets born that way. Not always. It’s not a guarantee, but definitely more of a plus than a minus. When the active brain is required elsewhere, I can “look up X online” and convey information to the person who requested it, which will leave me feeling marginally accomplished enough to move on to the next task. The fact that my imaginary friends do tend to tag along on mundane errands also works in my favor. Sometimes they are helpful and sometimes they are not, but I am glad to have them, in either event.

Time to wrap this blabbery post and move on along. The sky outside is beautifully cloudy and gray, but I’m still burning daylight. TLDR takeaway from this post: if my goal is having written, then writing is the only thing that will get me there. By blabbing here, I don’t have to look at the note in my planner that oh no, I didn’t blog again on Monday, I suck, what am I even doing here, etc. Nope. Blog does not have to be perfect. Blog has to be written, and that it is, so I will count that as a success. At least that’s what I am telling myself.

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Week of Little to No Energy Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all of the stuff from the week that was. It’s a rainy Friday here in New York’s Capitol Region. We’re starting a new month here (fine, everybody is; that’s how calendar months work) and wrapping up what Writer Chick probably won’t object to me calling the Week Of No Energy, because that is pretty accurate. Note the lack of battery power on the Kindle in this week’s picture. Writer Chick did not intend for that to tie in with anything, but here we are.

Even so, there’s stuff to bring you (otherwise, I would nap through this post, because this is perfect napping weather. As usual, Saturday found Writer Chick at Buried Under Romance, asking for input on the best points of entry for some popular historical romance writers that Writer Chick hasn’t gotten around to reading yet, for some reason. Follow the link to read for yourself. It’s never too late to weigh in on important questions like this.

Since this was a week of little to no energy, there was not as much writing or reading going on over here, but Writer Chick still pressed forward. Z Publishing will be including “The Fox and The Lily,” an amuse bouche of historical fiction with strong romantic elements. It’s also nudged her into fleshing out the whole of Cornelis and Lydia’s story to novel length, with two companion stories. Writer Chick does like her generational sagas, At least that takes care of the question what Writer Chick is doing next when it comes to historical romance. Probably. She has been sketching out some stuff in longhand, and of course this will give her a reason to set up a new notebook, to capture all the idea soup for this venture.

Speaking of which, the new month occurs at a convenient time, as Writer Chick finished her last morning pages book, and started in on a new one. This new one is by Punch Studio, which she loves for the pretty page factor, her pens are all ready to go. Writer Chick is big on pretty paper things, so that’s one point for things to look forward to in the mornings, I guess. I mean, besides caffeine and the company of a handsome stuffed orange boy.

Morning pages and accompanying pens

Speaking of orangeness, we now move on to her newly cobbled together blogging notebook. Writer Chick originally got this orange notebook as her daily planner, which was really fun, but took a lot of time, and then she  moved, so that kind of fell by the wayside, but she still wanted to use the book, and she can’t countenance getting a new Exceed notebook before she has used the old Exceed notebook. Since she likes writing longhand first in pretty much everything, this book is now her blogging notebook, where she can put down ideas as they come throughout the week, and hopefully cut down on the number of times she stares at the computer screen, makes that “ummmmm” sound, and then babbles until she’s hit 700 words.

Not only a blogging notebook, but a blogging folio

The week of little to no energy was also a perfect opportunity to cut some fat from the notebook habit. I know, I was shocked, too. For a lot of the last year, Writer Chick also did some brain dumping at night, aka evening pages at the end of the day as well as the morning pages at the start of it. That setup all went into a big folio, with its own pens, and, this week, she got to a point of “nah.”  Evening brain dumps can still happen when needed, but they don’t get their own book anymore, and now the folio is all about blog stuff, which makes Writer Chick more excited than tired. This will also come in handy, as Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick get all their metaphorical ducks in a row and set up their own website for their co-written work. Of course there is going to be some sort of blog going on there, so having one central place to put all of that stuff makes a lot of sense. Expect her to blather more about that later, possibly when she has this one full and it’s time to set up a new one.

Since this was the week of little to no energy, Writer Chick did not take things lying down. Well, she did spend some time lying down, but that was still kind of para-writing, as she did some longhand stuff, and listened to a lot of Book Tube videos. Note that I said “listened to” and not “watched.” Sometimes, she watched, but most of the time, it was listening, which did give her some ideas that she will probably blabber about in the future, but she will probably want to write them out in longhand in her orange book first. She had expected to spend some of that low-energy time reading, but most of that was what Dude calls “lying next to a good book.” That still kind of counts, especially if one  considers staring wistfully at the cover partial credit. Writer Chick plans to get some more of that reading done over the weekend, and there may or may not (I can’t read the orange book when Writer Chick is writing in it) some blathering on that very subject at Buried Under Romance for tomorrow’s post.

Until then, Writer Chick is taking advantage of this lovely grey day to break out paper and pen, make some tea, and keep a couple of books within arm’s reach. If she does decide to grab a nap, well, I will be ready.

Peace Out,

What Do Planner Pages and Fiction Genres Have in Common?

Still not the actual planner post, but getting closer, and, seeing as how we are over the midway point of the month, I may let this suffice and move on along because the start of yet another new month will be here before I know it.

The fact that Wednesday’s post is the first of the week should tell you all how Monday went. Nuff said about that. Let’s move on to better stuff, and by that, I mean planners and how they relate to the writing life. Last night was a big one at Stately Bowling Manor, because I learned two very important things that have me chittering like a cat at a bird sanctuary. Thing One is that the printer is now up and running, and Thing Two is that I finally figured out the exact difference between A6 and half-letter size. For the non-planner-obsessed, this sounds like Charlie Brown Adult speech. For those more planner-obsessed than myself, this may elicit a heartfelt “duh.”

If standard letter size paper is one sheet of the stuff one puts into the printer, then it follows that half-letter is half of that (folded short end to short end, specifically) and fits quite nicely into the mini binders sold at many chain office supply and/or megastores. A5 paper is the kind commonly sold for ring bound planners. Half letter paper is generally, in my experience, sold three-hole-punched, while A5 comes most commonly punched with six holes (I have seen some punched with four holes, but very seldom, and have not actually used any of those…yet.) The two are pretty darned close in size, which leads to the impression that they are interchangeable. The embarrassingly large amount of paper in my scrap file will attest. That paper will get repurposed, because I don’t like waste, but let’s move on with this bit o’ blabber.

In a reveal that surprises no-one, I love all things planner-related, and am not (yet) independently wealthy. Also, I have what we will call strong preferences. This would intimate that making my own inserts and fillers might be a good way to both save money and expand creativity. This also is where that scrap paper comes into play, or should i say existence. After longer than I would be proud to admit, of assuming that A) A5 and half letter are totally the same size, and B) the firm conviction that I have so been punching the paper according to the manufacturer’s instructions, I also took into account C) depth perception is part of my visual impairment. Maybe I might want to actually check out the dimensions the way it makes sense to me? What could it hurt?

So, going on the pro tip on how to tell black from navy blue (hold the color in question next to something that you 100$ know is black) I took a manufactured A5 page and a manufactured half letter page, each obviously different colors, put the one I suspected was smaller (spoiler: it’s A5) in front, and tapped them on a level surface (kitchen table.) Lo and behold, there it was, a bright white strip of paper above the colored A5 sheet. Mark the difference, remove the excess, punch holes, and…wait for it…boom, they line up with the manufactured A5 paper holes. This then segued into a frenzy of paper cutting and punching, culminating in me sitting back, contented as a cat in cream, looking at my handiwork.

Goodbye, pricey inserts in two different sizes. Hello, making whatever the heck I want, whenever the heck I want it. I’m off-leash at last, no fences, baby, woo. Except for the one teeny, small, infinitesimal complication that I do not have the first idea of how to create my own insert or filler, on the computer, which does throw a bit of a spanner in the works. Not a biggie, as I will figure it out, through a process of trial and error, and picking the hive mind of the interwebs. . There have to be templates out there somewhere, and where there’s templates, there’s historicals…er, tutorials. Total typo there, but I’m going to let it stand, because I am headed in that direction anyway.

But Anna, I hear those of you who live in my head asking, what does all of this have to do with writing commercial fiction? I am glad you asked that, people who live in my head, because that is an excellent question, and one I have been asking myself, until the answer naturally surfaced. Paper size is a lot like genre, in a sense. Sure, A5 and half letter may look the same to the casual viewer, and how big a difference can it be, anyway? As a quick inspection proves, quite a bit. One thing can’t fit in a container made for the other, but when we know what size is what and where all the holes are supposed to be (get your minds out of the gutter) the whole thing goes rather smoothly, and the creative mind can flood with ideas of fun things to do in all those lovely different sizes.

Some spreads that are perfect for A5 would never work in a half letter, or vice versa. Add in personal size, which is a heck of a lot smaller, but still fun and useful, and we’re talking a whole different story. Pun intentional. THat’s only talking ringbound. If we add traveler’s notebooks into the mix (strings rather than rings) we have whole new options, and whole new requirements. Do I love notebooks in general? Yes, with a wild, burning passion. Is there one objectively best format or size? Well, best for what? I’d need to ask some questions here. It’s the same for romance fiction. I would assume every other genre as well, or there wouldn’t be a need for both high and low fantasy (to say nothing of urban) cozy vs hard-boiled mysteries, hard vs soft SFscience fiction (if I’m using a wrong term for  different types of a single a genre, please let me know) and so forth.

A composition size planner is not going to fit in a tiny evening bag, and a bound notebook is not going to allow me to move pages around with ease. Genre is kind of like that. A light, humorous romance is not going to make me weep from angst leading to the HEA, while an epic historical is not going to be the best choice for a quick read that will give a case of the giggles. To paraphrase the late, great Eugenia Price, not all writers are going to please all readers. That’s why there are so many of us. I am more than okay with that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to a chain office supply store to buy printer ink. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.


Typing With Stuffed Paws: The (Stuffed) Cat Came Back Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff for the past, uh, while. Now that Writer Chick is no longer a galley slave, and has met her deadline, that gives her more time for other things, like checking to make sure I’m doing my share around here. Eh. I had a good run, and by run, I mean napping through the last couple of Fridays. Anyway, Dude is home today, he’s warm, and pretty good at napping, hi own self, so I think you know where this is going. Catnaps are always best when taken with actual cats, amirite?

Anyway, to speed us in that direction, let’s get down to business. First, as always, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance this past Saturday, and she wants your recommendations of books that might whet her reading appetite. Click here, or the caption below, if you think you might be able to help, or if you like hearing her ramble or whatever. Click for no reason, if you want. I’m not the boss of you.

As for what Writer Chick is reading, she’s working on getting back into the swing of the whole Goodreads challenge deal. Right now, she’s only three books behind, at twenty-three out of ninety-five books, which puts her at twenty-four percent of the way to her goal. Adequate progress, but y’know, weekend, TBR, all that stuff. Make it happen, Writer Chick.

Writer Chick has made some noise about making a list of library books, to keep in one of her planners, to get around the whole thing of figuring out she has to give back a bunch of books she didn’t get a chance to read, and can’t renew them, because they were renewed already, and Dude may or may not be teasing her about what he calls the “mini rage.” Lists and goals and stuff make her happy anyway. There could possibly be stickers involved. As long as the stickers don’t come in contact with my fur, then I don’t have a problem. If they do, well, let’s say that Writer Chick might get a chance to find out why my middle name is Thunderpaws. That’s all I’m saying.

Maybe new candles are the key to posting more pictures…

There’s also the whole Instagram thing. Seriously slacking on that one, Writer Chick. There may need to be some sort of Instagram progress chart to keep her going on this one. One the one paw, I am an excellent model, because, in addition to being handsome and orange, I am awesome at posing. By posing, I mean sitting still. Unlike poo cats, I do not walk off in the middle of the shoot, and, really, she should be taking advantage of that. There has been some buzz about taking me out on location shoots. Props may be involved. Not sure how I feel about this, but Writer Chick tells me it’s part of the whole Cat Regent thing, so I suppose I can go along until they find a suitable poo cat.

Peace out,

Rage Quit Your Nightmare

This post is not the planner post, either. Tangentially. Today’s picture is technically an art journal spread, but the insert is in a traveler’s notebook. Big Pink, to be exact, though I am also thinking about what I am going to name my new A6 planner, which is now the main writing notebook, also pink, and bigger than Big Pink. That’s not this post, either. Maybe that will be the planner post for April, and hopefully that will be next week.

Right now, the day is gray, not yet rainy, but hopefully soon. Rain is my second favorite weather, after snow. Even I am done with snow for the season. It can come back in late November. In the meantime, I am very happy to see rain. My goal for today is to power through the writing tasks, so that I can be ready for a 3PM library run (fingers crossed that volume 23 of Fruits Basket will have arrived) and hang out with Housemate. In the best of all possible worlds, I will also be able to get back to my art stuff, because that is where my brain is today.

Yeah, yeah, I can hear some of you saying, get to the Rage Quit Your Nightmare part. This is that. It’s also the tangentially planner related part of this post. Part of the way I learn things is to jump in with both feet, splash around, figure out what I’m doing, while I’m doing it, climb back out, make a plan, and then jump back in. This holds true for planning and art, as well as writing. It also ties into the whole branding thing from this past weekend’s CR-RWA meeting, which is still circling around in the back of my mind.

Okay. So. I want to say that it was last year that I fully embraced the whole planner/bullet journal/art journal sort of thing. I knew that I definitely wanted to do it, but how would I do it? That’s a much more complex question. The most important thing for me, in any putting ink on paper endeavor, is that it look/feel like me. Not that I am passionately dedicated to the art of self-portraiture, which I do not. More that I want what I put out to be authentic. Even, and maybe especially, the stuff that is only for myself, not outside eyes. Which, um, :points to picture above post: is not exactly pertinent here, but I’m going to roll with it.

Focus, Anna. Okay. Part of the jumping in and splashing about was grabbing inserts and such that looked even remotely interesting, while on a budget. This means getting a chance to get creative. Pick up things that could work, with a little tweaking, then put them where I think they might belong, and add stuff until it feels right. Often, when I’m doing this, that’s when the story stuff works itself out on its own, on my brain’s back burner. As with many of us, the clearance sections of stores that sell things I can use in the ink and paper arena, are my friends. Such place is where I found the insert for this picture.

I loved the color of the pages. The price was right. I did not get it, because the outside…ehhhhh, not feeling it. Still thought about the lovely pastel ombre inside pages, though, and, when it showed up in a swap with another paper obsessed friend, I figured this was a sign. I was also trying out a new size of insert, so it was a lot of new stuff all at once. There were also words where I did not necessarily need or want words to be, and the colors of covers, etc, eh, not always my thing. The “don’t quit your daydream” bit was one of those things with words where I didn’t want there to be words. I have issues with the dream/daydream terminology, so it’s not a phrase I would choose to put on something meant to inspire my own creative process.

I also didn’t want to have to slap something over it, in “Hey! I am covering something here!” fashion. Opposite action, steer into the skid. Embrace it. Draw a flowery border. Add more words. The first question that came to mind was, “what’s the opposite of that phrase?” Hence “Rage Quit Your Nightmare.”  That, I like. I like it a lot. What, exactly, does it mean to me? I would say I am still figuring that out, but I think I do have an idea on that one.

My nightmare would be not writing. Being published is great, and I hope to publish, or have published, many, many more books. At the same time, if I knew, today, that I would one hundred percent never ever get anything published, ever again, I’d still write. I would still write historical romance on my own, and I would still want to get together with Melva, to put together our two very different styles, to make something unique and fun. If the nightmare would be not-writing, then rage quitting that would be…? Writing, I imagine. Not sitting down to a duty, but remembering the love of the game.

Speaking of which, the pages are calling.

Going to Ground

No fooling, dearest readers, this is Monday’s blog on Monday, though it is not my monthly planner post. There are a few reasons for this.

  1. Melva and I are still galley slaves. We are getting into the home stretch, because our editor is amazing, and there is not a lot of stuff to tweak.
  2. Insomnia Weekend is not only a great name for a garage band, but an accurate description of my actual weekend.
  3. The deadline for my submission to Z Publishing’s anthology is in less than a week. :runs in circles, screaming:
  4. I want to spend my April planner post on the planner I am creating for my and Melva’s collaborations, exclusively. Making that is a reward for completing the tasks listed above. Making a video flip through, when I am done, sounds like it might be fun. We shall see.
  5. I am still getting to know my new tablet. She is red, because pink was not an option, and her name is Robin Daggers. I have not put Facebook on her yet, and I may not, period, because that feels right, for right now. My wallpaper for this new tablet is the cover for Chasing Prince Charming, which I will be able to share, soon.

Job one, though, is to Get The Books Out, so I am going to ground, as a favorite author has often said, until the galleys are done and submission is sent. This is where I’ve wanted to be, so, even though it’s a lot of work, it’s also fun. My imaginary friends are a chatty bunch, which, for a writer, is a very good thing. It’s a good thing, as well, that there are so many of them, because that means I get more stories to tell, and more stories to share with you.

Even while I’m focusing on Chasing Prince Charming and the upcoming short story, there’s still Drama King to get to the end of draft one, and there will be sections in the collaborative notebook for Queen of Hearts, and even books beyond. We didn’t plan to be thinking two books ahead, but there was an idea, which birthed an idea, which birthed an idea, and we get the chance to work in a few things from our own experiences (not in the romantic department, though this will definitely be a romance.) There will also be a section for miscellaneous ideas, where we can dump the tidbits and leave them to put themselves together.

There is also Her Last First Kiss, because historical romance is still my first love, and, of course, books beyond. Camp NaNo snuck up on me, this time, and I am slightly disappointed that I am going to have to give it a pass (see all blabber above) but maybe the next session will be the perfect time to jump on board. I want to be thinking at least one book down the road in the historical department, because knowing what comes next is super duper fun for me.

That’s one of the reasons I had been/am looking forward to maybe doing Camp NaNo this year. This is my year of Yes, And, so it’s a good time to jump into unfamiliar waters and splash around a little. I have been playing with a couple of YA ideas (still romance) and there are a bunch of historical ideas and/or characters who have been cooling their heels in the waiting room of my imagination, for years. Some of them, for double-digit years, as a matter of fact, and they are getting increasingly testy, because I am, hopefully, a better writer now, and theoretically better able to tell their stories.

Some of them, I have begun to suspect, are cooling their heels, because of my long-standing habit of stuffing (or attempting to stuff) ten pound cats into two pound bags, when either getting a ten pound bag, or putting individual two pound kittens into two pound bags, would be the better course of action.  I’d like to play around with some of that and see how I might do some things differently now than then. I am looking forward to that.

For right now, though, I need to focus on the things in front of me. One thing at a time and it all gets done. Okay, that’s the magic seven hundred (a little bit over, actually) so time to toss this up there, and get back down to business.

Technology Is Not My Friend

Last night, the battery in my phone died. This phone has been through harsher things that sitting in the charger. This is the phone where Skye became a gamer kitty, the phone that helped me set a goal of hitting one thousand Instagram posts (yeah, that one’s on hold) and hung out with me during long stretches of insomnia. It’s the phone with all those pictures of Skye on it(but yay Google Photos, for having it all.) This was also the phone I was counting on for some casual scrolling and possibly Kindle app reading before bed, so its ultimate fading to black was not what I had in mind. Time to call in reinforcements.

Those who have known me for a while, also know my history with electronics, which may point in the direction of this piece is going. I first retrieved my old PC laptop, the pink one I still love, and, someday, plan to find if there is a way to make it work without having the screen at an angle that is best described with this symbol: <

she does not display this much screen when open this far, these days

That is the angle at which I have to have the screen, if I want to be able to see it, not complete blackness. I already have the phone for that. The MacBook Pro will probably be fine after I take care of that three beep thing, which should be an easy fix, but not very helpful in the middle of the night, when I want to do some casual scrolling to wind down. Next solution was to boot my elderly tablet, which spent most of its time reminding me that it’s been a while since I turned it on, and that I have changed several passwords in the interim. Also that Google app is not responding. Google app is not responding. Google app is not responding. Etc. At least Spotify worked, so that was a happy ending in the short term.

As soon as I can stop the triple beep, this baby is back in business

The longer term solution will likely be an easy one, as well. Easy fixes for the laptop issue, acquire new phone, and then comes the phase of the process that I actually consider fun. What is the aesthetic of this new device going to be? We’re talking wallpapers, screensavers, possibly themes, if I want to go whole hog on this kind of thing, There’s arranging all my must-haves, like Spotify, my photo apps, Sims FreePlay (why did you have to die in the middle of the chocolatier quest, phone? Do you not understand the depth of my desire for that gingerbread house furniture? Have you learned nothing from the fact that my ice house has no kitchen or bathroom because those items are now locked until the next ice quest comes around again? I have staying power. I can wait, but not if all my Sims die because I can’t get to them.) and Netflix.

Hot pink bag in the bottom left corner holds my tablet. Purple case holds my Kindle, which is fine.

I will qualify this by saying that A) Netflix is still Mehflix (this is totally me, not them) and B) I can access Netflix on other devices, most notably the desktop on which I currently write, but this is the principle of the thing. I cannot take the desktop to the comfy end of the couch, and I definitely can’t tuck it in my planner and take it out into the wide, wild world. Or laundry room, because there’s that, too.

Umm, Anna, I hear a voice saying, isn’t this a good time to table the electronics thing and focus on reading paper books, and/or doing art in the un-phonable time? You don’t even like using the phone as a phone, so, y’know…not seeing the giant problem here. That voice, by the way, is probably me. I have a love/hate relationship with electronics, and I probably always will. I got dragged kicking and screaming to my first ever computer, and now I can’t imagine writing without one, even if I do usually (read: almost always) compose in longhand first. Skype allows me to collaborate with Melva, face to face, when two hundred miles apart, and Skype on the phone means I can go into the only room in our apartment where I can shut the door and not have to work around another human, while Skyping: the bathroom.

Since this is a need, we’ll be taking care of it soon, and, before long, I will be introducing the new electronic device, and/or reintroducing the restored one. This is not a question, but a fact. In the meantime, I have galleys to scour, and there is still the tick tick tick of the clock counting down to the Z Publishing anthology deadline. I am pretty comfortable with that.

TLDR version of this whole thing: Phone died. I wanted to kvetch. I have kvetched. Back to the galleys I go. (Also, if I don’t respond to messages right away, refer to whole phone thing above.)

Galley Speak and Other Stories

Monday morning, not quite noon, and my mind is all cattywampus. That is due, in part, to the fact that Sebastian blew off his Friday blogging duties (which surprises no-one) and in part due to the fact that the life of a galley slave goes to some interesting places. Most recently, it went to me being on time and ready for a Skype session with Melva, to discuss the first batch of galley stuff, only to get an email reminding me, kindly, that our chat was early this evening, not this morning, which resulted in me staring at my screen for a few minutes, my only thought, “well, what do we do now?”

That’s we, first person plural. I know what Melva is doing, as A) this is her usual schedule, and B) she told me. Technically, I know what i am doing, because I am Planner Woman, and I have it all written down, correctly, so I am not sure where I got the morning chat idea. I have also poured a cool, refreshing drink (as we are in that odd time of year where the seasonally appropriate beverage switches from hot to cold and back again, several times during the day) along the side of my face, instead of into my mouth, as intended. If I am getting to the missing my own mouth phase of thigs, it really is a good reason to retreat to the comfy end of the couch, with a blanket, yesterday’s library haul, and a beverage of choice (probably with a straw, as I am not to be trusted with liquids, today.) I have no idea who the rest of “we” might be, but my question was definitely “we,” not “I.” Maybe Sebastian? Who can tell? It’s Monday. Things are allowed to be fuzzy on Mondays.

This cattywampusness turned to making lists, as most of my dilemmas often do, and I spent a few minutes poring over the new binder for The Wild Rose Press stuff (but that is another post) and letting my conscious brain do its own thing on the back burner of my mind, while I sorted through stationery options. Touching paper is usually a good way for me to reboot my thought process. Talking, whether out loud, on paper, or virtual paper, for that matte,r usually helps, as well, so here we are, forging ahead, babbling into the wilderness.

Galley work goes rather well, all things considered. Our editor is amazing, my co-writer has a PhD in English (useful!) and we’ve been over this book so many times that I am farily confident that, at this stage of the game, things are pretty darned good. Our names are at the top of every page, and the action of noting the (very few) changes, only a word or two, her or there, by page and line, what the word is, and what we would like the word to be, actually has a soothing sort of rhythm to it. It’s straightforward, keeping an eye for shifting eye colors, characters who change costume midscene, without authorial permission, and how there are more different ways to spell “Haley” than either Melva or I had expected (though we did pick one and stuck with it, long before the galleys landed.)

I like this part. It’s painstaking and needs a lot of concentration, but it’s also a thing that we get to do, because we stuck with the process, from the first spark of idea, through a messy first draft, several revisions, several rejecctions, and then, miracle of miracles, having two acceptances at the same time and the very difficult choice of choosing which offer we would accept. After this, there are more adventures, the thrill of the release, and the promotion of our same, and putting the shoulder back to the wheel (doing that now) and getting Drama King ready to follow in its big sibling’s footsteps.

There’s also the excitement of diving back, more fully, into the world of Her Last First Kiss, and the deadline for my short story submission is subtly clearing its throat, as it creeps ever-nearer. I am still not sure about Camp NaNo for this session, but leaning toward “why the fluff not?” and cannonballing off the end of the metaphorical dock, once again. It’s kind of my thing.

Ten Random Things About Me and My Writing

The original plan for this past weekend was to have the apartment to myself, focus on the work that got pushed to the side by various domestic tornadoes, and greet Monday morning refreshed and current. Pause for hysterical laughter. The good thing is that I am up bright and early (or still up; not splitting hairs here) and ready to tackle Monday’s blog entry on Monday. Since coming up with a thoughtful, original blog idea is not up to my brain function at this level of caffeine, we get the wholly unoriginal Ten Random Things About Me (And My Writing.)

Thing the first: I am a big ol’ morning person. Make that extroverted morning person. This does point toward the ideal time to blog and tackle social media. Unless I only fell asleep in the wee small hours, I am up and ready to socialize at indecently early hours. I live with two non-morning-people, so imagine breakfast scenes at my place as you will.

Thing the second: I am currently watching exactly nothing on TV. I am at least one season behind on The Walking Dead, and will be going on a gigantic This Is Us binge when we get Hulu, but, right now, I don’t even know how to turn on our TV. This is odd. I do watch a bunch of YouTube, and I do a lot of scrolling through Netflix, but actually watching something? Ehh, maybe later. I do plan on watching the last season of A Series of Unfortunate Events at some point. I’m not sure what the cure to this viewing ennui might be. I figure it will show up when and where I expect it least.

Thing the third: I am not so slightly planner/notebook obsessed. Longhand over composing on computer, all day, every day, so this does tie in with writing, and I don’t acquire notebooks, etc, I don’t plan on using, but mention of pens and/or paper is a sure way to get my attention. Sifting through my planner/notebook stuff is also a surefire way to unstick the thought/writing process.If I post a lot about planners or notebooks, that means I am working something out, and there will be much writing of fiction thereafter.

Thing the fourth: My most recent purchase (actually currently pending) is a blush pink A5 Carpe Diem binder, gently used. Yes, I do have plans for it, and yes, they do involve writing.

Thing the fifth: My favorite colors are black, blush pink, and blackened reds. Blush pink and blackened reds can be considered opposite ends of the red spectrum, so black and red, for purists. Extend black into grays/greys, if we’re talking different values of color.

Thing the sixth: Romance has always been my genre, long before I was old enough to understand what it was. I credit Andrew Lang’s “color” series of fairy tale books. Many, many journeys to happily ever after, always in a “way back when” setting. I think I was hardwired for this stuff, right out of the gate.

Thing the seventh: Pretty much the same for history, thus historical romance. Writing contemporary took a little longer, and please direct thankblame to Melva Michaelian.  I would not be doing this without her.

Thing the eighth: The current writing process, when it comes to solo work (aka historical romance) is something akin to racing down the dock, cannonballing into the water, swimming around the whole darned lake, swimming back to the dock, crafting a meticulous map of said lake, and then diving back in, but this time with a sense of direction. For co-written works (at present, contemporaries with Melva) it works pretty much the same, but I tag my co-writer between dips in the lake; then it’s her turn. Insert shoving of metaphorical beach balls (fun fact: “the beach ball” was our code name for what would ultimately become Chasing Prince Charming,before it had a name.)

Thing the ninth: There is a manuscript that I will refer to only as The Time Travel (partly because it had several different titles, and partly because there is a chance that, if it hears its name, it might think I’m calling it) that worked me over rather thoroughly, mumblecough years ago. I still love the hero and heroine, and she, in particular, is probably going to come after me and finish the job if I don’t return to their story, but probably as a straight historical romance, rather than a time travel. Probably. We’ll see. Current projects first.

Thing the tenth: There will always be a part of me who is still that girl who set up TV trays and an electronic typewriter in her father’s living room, soundtrack to Camelot on the record player (yes, that long ago) and danced (ahem, wrote) like nobody was watching. She has an open invitation to drop by my writing sessions, any time.