Typing With Wet Claws: Not at Nationals Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. The weather has been much better for Anty this week. I am not that pleased with all the rain we got, which means I spent more time than I would have liked, hunkered down in a safe place. I am also not that pleased with Anty moving things around in the apartment. She calls it decluttering. I call it unnecessary. I knew where everything was, and now she is moving things. I suppose there is an upside, in that there are now more places for me to hunker. If this is the way the weather is going to go, I think I will need them.

As always, I am not allowed to talk about anything else, until I talk about where to find Anty’s writing on the interweb, other than here. This may not come as a surprise, but Anty is always at Buried Under Romance every Saturday. This week, she talks about fan clubs amongst romance readers. Do you talk books with anyone? Would you like to talk books with Anty? (Seriously, Anty will talk romance novels with pretty much anybody, so your chances are good, just saying. ) That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURfanclub

Anty has some umbrage with her Goodreads reading challenge this week. She has been doing rather a lot of reading, but not all of it is actual published books, so, while her reading tracker is filling with a lot of colored squares (she will show you in her video) that does not always carry over into the Goodreads count. It is the weekend, though, and one of the books Anty is currently reading is a novella, so maybe this will be the weekend she gets back on track. We can hope. I say less decluttering and more reading.

One actual published book that Anty finished reading this week fits into her plans for world domination. Okay, historical romance domination. By that, I mean her plan (she will tell you more in her video) to find out what sorts of linked romance novels work best for her. Because she had a serious Poldark hangover, she wanted something set in the eighteenth century, with the same historical flavor. She asked friends on one of her Facebook groups, of people who also love historical romance, and someone suggested Gather the Stars, by Kimberly Cates.  Anty read that book when it first came out, and remembered liking it a lot. She likes everything she has read of Miss Kimberly’s (who is also Ella March Chase, but Anty has not read any of the books written as Miss Ella. Yet.)  Anty’s review of Gather the Stars is here, and it looks like this:

GRgatherthestars

Anty plans to read more of Miss Kimberly’s books soon (and re-read, in several cases.) That plan gave her an idea. Since Anty wanted to make sure she got all the books Miss Kimberley wrote that belong together, she wanted to write that in a special book, so she would not lose the list. Then she added more books that belong together, by other authors. Now she has a special notebook dedicated only to that. She will probably make another book for only books that are not connected to anything else, but she is working on this one for now.

Writing-wise, this has been a good week for Anty. She will tell you more in her video, but I can tell you that, on Monday night, she meant to finish early, but then she hit her stride and did not want to stop. So, she did not stop. Then she noticed that it was three in the morning. and she had to meet Miss N for their critique meeting shortly after seven. She regrets nothing, especially since Miss N gave some very good feedback. Anty took a nice long nap after she got back, and I helped. by napping near her. Cat naps are always better with actual cats napping. Especially when I am the cat. I am very good at napping. I would sleep on the bed with Anty and Uncle (because Uncle is my favorite) if I could jump or climb, but that is okay. I sleep under their bed sometimes. That is good enough.

Anty is a little grumpy that she is not at RWA Nationals this year, but she can still get a few tastes of the experience through social media. She is glad, though, that she did not have to leave me for a whole week. She hates leaving me when she travels, which is not all that often, but I would hate going along even more. I did not see anything about a track for cats at Nationals, which is kind of an oversight, because a lot of writers have cats. The only thing would be getting the cats to the actual conference. We generally like to stay home. Not so for Anty. If she does not get out, among other humans, she gets a little antsy. Okay, more than a little antsy. Anty is an extrovert, which means that she spends her energy when she is alone, and needs to be around other humans to get more energy. Being in a hotel full of humans who love to read and write romance novels, like Anty does, is pretty much extroverted writer Christmas. Anty is not worried, though. Her local RWA chapter meeting is only a couple of weeks away, and she can talk to chapter members who did go, including Kari W. Cole, who won a very special award, the Golden Heart. Congratulations, Miss Kari.

Now it is time for Anty’s video.

That is about it for this week, so, until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

Not At Nationals (Again)

Some days, a writer needs a cat on her desktop. Since my actual cat, Skye, is a floor girl, I will have to make do with having her as my desktop image. It’s that time of year again, meaning that it is time for Romance Writers of America’s annual national conference, and, once again, I am not there. Conferences are like Christmas for the extroverted writer, and the RWA national conference is the great grandmamma of them all for us romancey types, so yes, part of me is going to grumble when I see pictures of friends at the conference, dropping tidbits about workshops and networking and parties and mountains of giveaway swag.  This doesn’t even take into account the issue of conference outfits and/or shoes, or the magic that happens when one winds up at a dinner table with a bunch of complete strangers, not knowing that they are in the presence of soon to be lifelong friends. Last Call Girls, I am looking at you.

So yeah, part of me is peeved. Maybe next year. Whole year to plan/save, and who knows, I might have something new to flog in 2018 (how did next year get to be 2018 already? :sobs softly:) and I’m doing what I can to move in that direction, so no use dwelling on what I’m not experiencing. Right now, I’m working on two books that I absolutely love, I am getting my ducks in order to have some fun new posts on Heroes and Heartbreakers in the near future, and I’m finding new ways to plan and organize so that I don’t fall into the trap of chaos and paralysis that comes from not knowing what to do next. I really, really, really do not like not knowing what to do next, hence all the focus on planning lately. I assume that, at some point, I will taper off, but for now, you get things like random pictures of my daily carry.

 

DailyCarry071917

Packed to stay home. Yes, this was taken at the laundromat.

 

If  RWA attendees can post pictures of their week, I can post pictures of mine. Above is my daily carry. From the top, the gray thing is my current favorite bag, because it goes with literally everything. Top hot pink thing is my makeup case. Purple thing is my Kindle. Next row, blush pink still-not-calling-it-a-bullet-journal-because-I-am-stubborn notebook, black pouch full of ballpoints, even though I am pretty much over ballpoints (but they still have ink in them; I cannot waste ink,) black wallet (needs more green things in it, hence motivation to write more) and hot pink bag that actually came with my tablet (not pictured, as it lives in my nightstand) but does not fit my tablet, so it holds my phone when I take said item on the road.

This is an extremely stripped down version of what I used to carry, and I am surprised how much I like it. I once won a “mom purse” contest (it broke out spontaneously on a ferry headed for Long Island, when a bunch of romance writers got antsy) over a mother of five and two grandmothers. I will allow you to imagine the criteria for yourself, but suffice it to say that this is a big change. Will it stick? I hope so, because I like having everything I need, close at hand, easily portable, and not all jumbled together.

Is it an indicator of how the writing life is going? Again, I hope so. The flip side of hating not knowing what I’m doing is…knowing what I’m doing. Organization and planning helps a lot with that, as does talking with writer friends who get me and get the stories I tell, at whatever phase of the journey. Having pretty stuff means I’ll want to look at it more, and, as N and I have discussed at length, there is a connection she and I both get when we turn off the computer and hunker down away from electronics, with pen and paper, and our story people get chatty. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t still feel like I’m fumbling around in the woods, with a bucket on my head and oven mitts on my hands (not feeling the rotten logs on my feet, so I’ve got that going for me) at times, but those times are fewer and farther between. I’m going to call that a good thing.

While I am going to miss the workshops presented at Nationals, it’s the people that would have me most excited. In person time with social media contacts would be fun, and getting to actually meet writers whose work I have admired for, in some cases, decades, would be amazing, but, if I were in attendance this year, I would have one goal that would outrank the others. Since I have never been to Nationals, I have no idea if it is socially acceptable to station oneself in the lobby, holding a large poster board with “Historical Romance BFF/Critique/Brainstorm Partner Wanted: Apply Below,” but I am pretty sure that, with number and variety of people who go to these sorts of things, I would probably get a few takers. Or one. I would take one.  A gal can feel a little unicorn-y from time to time, with this sort of thing, but it’s only a matter of looking, when romance writers congregate in large numbers, before one finds other with the same favorite flavor, no matter what that flavor may be.

So, this year, I’m not there. Too soon to call it on next year, or beyond, but what I can do is keep on eye on social media for vicarious conference hits, and the other eye on my own paper, as I move my current WIPs toward the finish line of their respective drafts. Potential historical romance buddies, you know where to find me; I’ll be here all week.

TheWriterIsOut

Planning for Motivation

Today, I have the brain of an unmotivated squirrel. Outside, the weather is wonderfully cool, after a solid week of humid high eighties and even nineties. I am on my third mug of tea, rather than sitting on an ice pack and alternating water with sports drinks. We have off and on rain, which means I get one of my all time favorite sounds, car tires on wet asphalt, outside my office window. My most natural desires at the moment are: A) take a nap, B) scroll mindlessly through Facebook, C) Netflix all day, and D) probably should do something about getting some pages for tomorrow’s critique session, but :points to A, B, and C.: See the problem here?

We’re verging on midday, when I want to be several pages into the day’s work, but I’m writing this blog entry, which is close enough. Once I get going, I’ll want to keep at it.  It’s the getting started today that’s getting me. Today, I started the first full week of spreads in my new daily pages book, this time a dot grid, soft covered Moleskine. The format works well for me, but the visual part of my brain says it still needs more pretties.

Bujodailytasksmoleskine

Copied from my own Instagram, because I am that unmotivated today.

 

Right now, I have my Go To Work playlist on the earbuds, and my brain answers each song with a resounding “meh.” This is not an auspicious start to the day. I mean, seriously, nothing. Nada, zip, zilch, empty, dry barren plain, which is not at all the plan. I worked on that plan yesterday afternoon, at my desk, with pencil and ruler and markers and fancy seltzer with pink polka dot straw for added snazz. Planning has become an important part of my Sunday afternoon, and it should be part of getting my brain into work gear, because these books are not going to write their own second drafts, especially when said second drafts veer off into uncharted territory.

Aha. Uncharted. See? I knew that, if I kept with this, I would find the source of the meh. Last week, N pointed out areas where I could crank up the volume on the emotional connection for a certain scene, and I know that I’m not going to be able to go further into what happens next, without feeling like I’ve been dropped off a ship in the middle of the ocean, with naught but the Styrofoam donut shaped floaty of my kindergarten days to keep my head above the proverbial  water.  I don’t like that feeling.

What I do like is knowing what I’m doing, so, after I babble my way to the magic seven hundred and get this posted, I will step away from the computer, grab my pages from last week, with N’s notes, and then mark said pages further, note where I can cut, what needs plumping, etc. Then I take notebook and trusty green pen and sketch out what I’d like to see in this scene if somebody else were writing it.  I have no idea if this is going to end up being another marathon day, or if I will pull it off in spurts, but I do have the rain outside my window, so that’s a point in the day’s favor,

I’ve been writing a lot about planning on this blog, because planning is fun for me, and an instant way to raise my interest. Maybe I can add an E) to the things my squirrel brain would like to do today, which would be aimlessly play with notebooks and things that make marks in notebooks, possibly combined with aforementioned Netflix, but, as fun as that would be, and relaxing, and possibly even good for unsticking some of those cranky gears, it’s not going to get pages written.

This means that, if I’m not motivated (and I’m not, at the time of this writing,) I need to get motivated.  Since I want this draft done and the book in the hands of readers, instead of lingering in my hard drive, that means I’m going to have to keep moving forward. Make a list of the things that need to be fixed, and then fix them. Somewhere along the way, inspiration will show up, and my mood will improve.

Right now, I’m edging out of the meh. I have Skye in my doorway. My toes are tapping, because I’ve hit the Right Said Fred part of my playlist. Soon, it will be time for lunch, when I can indulge myself in a short break for Netflix or Sims, or, even better, a chapter of a historical romance novel, to remind myself what it is I love the best about what I’m doing in this whole writing novels thing.  Then it’s a once-over of pages and the notes I made on the last few pages of my old daily tasks book (because what else am I going to do with pages that would otherwise sit there?) that turned out part doodle, part checklist, part what-mark-does-this-mark-making-thing-make. I’ll take that.

TheWriterIsOut

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Refining Focus Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. There is big news this week, and it is about me. I will get right to it, because it is important. I am in shed. That means I am getting rid of my summer coat, so my winter coat can come in. Fair warning for those readers who are new to this blog: I will get super fuzzy in the winter. I am already super fuzzy all the time, because I am a Maine Coon mix, but, in winter, I get even fuzzier.  Anty has to bribe me with food to let her brush me, because I am a very sensitive kitty, so brushing is not always my favorite thing, but I like food more than I dislike brushing. Anty is smart. She says it is so that I will not eat the fur I shed, but she does not have to worry. If she likes the fur I eat so much, it is not a big problem if I do eat it. She will see it again. That is kind of how cats work. It is also how hairballs work. Hm. I do not like the hairball medicine I will get if I have too many hairballs, so maybe brushing is okay.

The way this blog works, if you are new (and even if you are not) is that I have to talk about where to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs (besides here) every week before I am allowed to talk about other things, which are usually about Anty’s writing anyway. This week, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance. This time, she talks about playing a game called Never Have I Ever. I do not think it would be fair for me to play, since I am a kitty, and have not ever read any books, unless being in the same room when Anty listened to an audiobook counts. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURneverhaveiever

Next, we come to Anty’s activity on Goodreads. Right now, her reading challenge looks like this:

GR072117

I may need to check with Anty to see if this is correct. She may not have updated everything with the hot weather this week, but that is okay. Reading is a very forgiving thing, and books will always still be there. Anty did read a novel about almost-grownups (or very new grownups; it is hard to tell with humans, sometimes) and it is called Lovely, Dark and Deep. No cats in it, but it is set in Maine, which is where Maine Coon cats come from (the breed, I mean, not me, specifically. I was born in Massachusetts.) Her review of that book is here, and it looks like this:

GRLovelyDarkAndDeep

Anty thinks the cover is very pretty.

 

Other than me being in shed, another sign of autumn coming (it is almost August, after all. Uncle’s birthday is in August, which makes it a very good month.) is that back to school supplies are everywhere. I do not mean only in Anty’s office, which is true (it is always true; Anty is kind of nuts about notebooks) Autumn means that Anty will get her super powers back, but they did not really go away this year. That is kind of new.

Part of that, I think, is that Anty has been taking a critical look at exactly what she wants to do, and set specific goals. Meeting with Miss N every week, to get feedback on Her Last First Kiss (as well as give Miss N feedback on her book) keeps Anty accountable, as does talking over Skype with Anty Melva about their book. Anty does very well with goals and accountability, so those are going to stay. She is still looking for a critique/brainstorming partner and/or writing friend, whose focus is historical romance, so putting that out there. Payment is you get to talk to Anty and possibly get extra pictures of me.

I will let Anty tell you how she is refining focus in her reading, which can help refine the focus in her writing. I think it is interesting how those two things feed each other.

 

In case you are wondering, her shirt says “Lovers Gonna Love.” I find this very interesting, not only because it is an appropriate shirt for a romance writer, but because “gonna” is probably Anty’s number two pet peeve in general speech. It is not actually a word, but two words, “going to,” mushed together. In case you are wondering, her number one pet peeve in general speech is “just.” It can usually be taken out wit no change to meaning, unless it is used as an adjective, as in “the court’s decision was just.”

Knowing Anty, she is probably going to make a to-be-read list to keep in her planner, and she will probably want to show that list, because she is probably going to make it pretty, or at least interesting, visually. Anty is kind of into this making pretty notebook pages thing, which I guess is for the greater good, if it helps her brain stay more organized and focused. I, personally, like the way the markers smell when she takes the caps off, so I am not going to question her motives. Maybe this desire to make pretty pages will make her want to learn how to draw cats. One cat in particular. I will give you one guess as to which cat that might be. (Hint: it would be me.)

That is about it for this week, so, until next time, I remain very truly yours,
skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

 

 

On the Stepping Up of Game

Summer has definitely settled upon New York’s Capitol Region, and I’m feeling it. Not my favorite time of year, by any means. There are now two fans in my office: the big ceiling fan, and the small fan I repurposed from another room, and that makes a world of difference. In protest, my office chair has added “amusement park ride” to its job description, as I have somehow unlocked the mechanism that keeps the seat at its optimum level, and am now prone to sudden drops in altitude at unexpected moments. For this one, I am calling in reinforcements, aka Housemate and/or Real Life Romance Hero, who are better at figuring out mechanical things than I am.

This week, I am not slumped in front of a box fan, in full slug mode, because I would honestly rather be writing. Monday was not a marathon, and half of the pages I brought to critique session with N were printed on pink paper instead of white, my reminder that these are notes/outline only,  not what is going in the actual chapter. I will admit to some part of my brain making grabby hands at those pages and vowing I could fix them in only a couple more hours. Yeah, I’ve heard that before. Nice try, brain. I filed the pink pages under “good enough” and actually slept.

There are words a writer doesn’t want to hear in a critique session. Pointing and laughing (unless the pages submitted are comedy, then, in that case, pointing and laughing would be the desired outcome) do not count as words. “It’s okay,” however, do count as words. “It’s okay” is obviously better than “this is utter dreck, and you should give up writing,” but they still aren’t the best case scenario. They are, however, a starting place, and the right critique partner can do a lot with them, as in point the writer in the right direction. More over here, this part was the writer talking to themselves, move this thing where the other thing was, and go deeper in to Character X’s reaction to Character Y, instead of giving readers only a taste. Give Character X some sympathy to Character Y, because they are going to want to lock lips with them in a few pages, and right now, they sound like they don’t like the other person much.

Okay, that gives me some direction. Later today, I will plop my overheated self next to the box fan next to my comfy chair, not in slug mode, but with Big Daddy Precious notebook open in my lap, green Marvy Le Pen pen in hand (because it was the favorite pen of the writer who got me into historical romance in the first place) and, quite possibly, some DVR’d TV shows playing, if I don’t have my earbuds in and my playlist for Her Last First Kiss. I will kind of sort of halfway background watch the show, but my actual brain will be back in 1784, and the story will find its way from brain to page. I’ll transcribe later, fit it in with what I already have, or substitute, if this goes in a different direction. Second drafting can get into uncharted territory on occasion, and this is one of those occasions. Which is fine.

At the same time, I have a voracious appetite for planning and organizing. What other habits can I track? How can I use my planner/my office/my time more efficiently? How can I make my planner spreads prettier? How many new art techniques can I cram into my brain, because, right now, my brain is hungry for this kind of stuff. Famished, the same way it’s been sorting my TBR pile in order of how much I want to read certain types of books. Give me more of this, a grace note of that, pile all of that other thing on the plate, as high as it will go, because this hungry brain needs it.

I am taking this as a good sign, this overall desire to step up my personal game, and follow that hunger. The more I take in, the more I want to put out. This probably falls under my mother’s “the more you do, the more you’ll want to do” maxim, and she would probably not tell me she told me so, but she’d think it, and that would be okay. Right now, I’m not looking at the big picture. Not thinking about where this book is going to go when this draft is done, not thinking about marketing or future books or anything other than this scene, this chapter, applying the notes I got on my good-enough pages, after a decent night’s sleep, and, after that, we look at what work needs to be done on the next section.  Summer is still out there, but it’s not my main focus.

Instead, the focus is on my current assignment. Everything else can go grab a popsicle and a paperback and wait its turn, because that turn will come. Right now, I have two people and one moment of vulnerability that requires my full attention, so that’s where it’s going to go.

Typing With Wet Claws: On Top of The Milk Crate Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This has been an interesting week in our home, but then again, I think every week is interesting. Either I really do have an interesting family, or I am very easily impressed. I am not sure which, maybe both. Before I am allowed to talk about anything else, though, I have to talk about where you can read Anty’s writing on the interwebs, besides here, so let’s get to that.

First, as always, she was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. This week, she talked about the importance of friendship in romance fiction. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURfriends

Please pardon the awkward cropping. These things are hard when one has special paws.

 

This brings us to Anty’s Goodreads activity. Anty will tell you more about her reading habits in the video below, but I am happy to report that her reading challenge progress now looks like this:

GR4690

Anty is now 51% of the way through her goal of 90 books read in 2017, and she is now only one book behind schedule. Considering that this is the weekend, I have every faith that she can not only get back on track, but maybe even pull ahead. That would be very exciting. This week, the books she read were these:

 

Click on the links below each picture, to read Anty’s reviews of these books. In case you are counting, that is one historical romance this week, and one contemporary inspirational category romance. I should point out that, even though “category,” has the word, “cat,” in it, there are no cats in this book. I may have to have Anty talk to Miss Jean about that, because they are in the same RWA chapter. Can a book without cats truly be all that inspiring? Maybe there are cats in other books by this author.  I will give Miss Jean the benefit of the doubt. She does have a lot of books, so odds are that there should be a cat in one of them. I suppose we will see.

This week, Anty had a surprise during her Monday marathon session for her work on Her Last First Kiss. The actual second-drafting went pretty well, but Anty learned an important lesson about how to get through hot, muggy days and nights. She found out, the hard way, that it is indeed possible to drink too much water at one time, because it makes humans sick, which does not help with the writing process. I think this may have something to do with her drinking water out of a travel mug and not out of a bowl. I have never had too much water at one time, and I always drink out of a bowl. Just putting it out there.

Needless to say, this has given Anty serious thoughts about how she can best avoid the need for these Monday marathons. The obvious answer is to do more of the work over the course of the week, so she does not have to cram it all into one day. That makes a lot more sense, and it also involves her keeping better track of how she uses her time. Anty believes that we can always find the time to do what matters most, and in her case, that is writing. I suspect this may affect my routine somewhat, but I am willing to take one for the team if it makes for a happier Anty, and as long as it does not affect my treat schedule. Anty and Uncle know that I always know when it is twelve noon and ten at night. I find time for what is most important to me, too.

Today is cool, gray and rainy, (well, rainy off and on. Right now, birds are chirping.) which is Anty’s favorite summer weather, which generally means good things for her writing. That may not always show on the writing tracker, because, well, Anty does not like this particular writing tracker. I will let her tell you about that, and how her writing has gone this week:

Thank you, Anty. That was very interesting. I will not tell the people how many takes it took for you to get that video made, or the backup video you made on your phone, but I will keep it safe, in case of emergencies, like me needing more treats. What I will tell them is that Mama had a very good suggestion, that Anty should prop her laptop on top of a milk crate, instead of the makeup case and all of those books. As it happens, Uncle gave Anty a fancy wire milk crate for Christmas (it did not have milk in it, unfortunately, but it did have other things. Uncle is not a monster.) and, while she is still figuring out what she wants to do with it for real, it works very well as a booster for the laptop. She still has to use the binder to correct the angle for the screen, but this is a lot easier than the other way, so there may be more videos.

I should note that Anty has not been getting out of the house as much as she would like, and so she  may be going a little loopy with the whole needing people thing. Having an extroverted writer does present some challenges for even the most dedicated of mews, but the internet is a big help.

That is about it for now, so, until next week, I remain very truly yours,

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skyebyefancy

Until next week…

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Cheaty Cheaty Cheat Cheat Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. I have mostly recovered from the Festival of Explosives (the humans call it Fourth of July) but I do not know if I can say the same things about the humans. Having a weekend, then a Monday, then a holiday, then Wednesday acting like a Monday, followed by Thursday where Tuesday usually goes, has Anty off balance. Some might argue she is already off balance, but I mean more than usual. I will talk more about that in a minute, but first I have to talk about where you can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs this week, apart from here. I will give you a hint: it is an unusual week when I get right to that stuff in the first paragraph, but more on that kind of thing later.

First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this week, and this time, she talked about how romance novels can be fluffy or gritty or any point in between. This is not, to my disappointment, about the amount of cats found in books. I think she should write about that, one of these days. This is not that. This is about the tone of books. That post can be found here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURwhynothaveboth

Warning: does not contain actual fluff. 

Since this is the start of a whole new month, it is time to check in and see how Anty is doing on the historical romance challenge. Let’s have a look at that, shall we?

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We are burning daylight here, if we want to get this blog up before Anty has to go out of the house again, so I will not search for the historical romance challenge graphic. Cat’s prerogative.  So far, in 2017, Anty has read almost 44 books (she is within 25 pages of finishing her current read, so I will give it to her) and 21 of those have been historical romance. 22 and 1/3, if we add in historical fiction with romantic elements. I am feeling generous today, because Uncle is home today and that makes me happy. So, basically, 50% of Anty’s reading this year has been historical romance, which is the goal, so well done, Anty. Keep at it. She is still three books behind schedule, soon to be two, because, again, fewer than 25 pages to the end of the book counts. This is acceptable. Toss in a couple of novellas or graphic novels, and boom, back on track. Make it happen.

Here are the books Anty read this past week. Click on the link below the pictures if you want to learn more about them.

 

The book Anty will be finished reading in literally minutes after this entry is posted is Ripe For Seduction, by Isobel Carr.  It is a historical romance, set in Georgian England, which is very relevant to Anty’s interests, and it looks like all the heroes are second, or at least younger, sons, which is also relevant to Anty’s interests, because Hero in Her Last First Kiss is himself a second son, in Georgian England. Anty thought this was the second book in the series, when she got it out of the library, and figured she would be fine, because she had already read the first book, but then she went on Goodreads to add it, and found out she was wrong. It is really the third, and now she has to go get the second, because reading out of order bothers her. As Uncle says, that really frosts her cookies.

Anty has been doing a lot of writing on both Her Last First Kiss and Chasing Prince Charming, so she does need to refill her well at the end of the day. This blog entry is coming later than usual, because Anty had a Skype meeting with Anty Melva, to talk about Chasing Prince Charming, and then had lunch with Anty SueAnn, where they talked about writing and blogging, and, thankfully, pets. Funny story, but Anty SueAnn’s doggie, Bailey, and I are on opposite sides of the smooth vs not smooth floor issue. He prefers carpets to tile/wood/linoleum, whereas I am the exact opposite. Must be a dog thing. I will not pretend I understand, but I accept that is the way he feels.

To be able to talk with Anty Melva, Anty had to do a bit of fancy footwork, to raise her laptop to the right level for video chat. Anty’s laptop works fine, but the screen will go black if opened at a 90 degree angle, so here is what Anty had to do:

LaptopTower

Laptop supported by: makeup case, three novels, binder, and reference book under the writing surface.

Anty noticed that this is the same height as her desktop monitor, so she will be looking into getting an external webcam, so she does not have to do that again. That also means that she can get back to making video blogs again, like this one:

If you would like to know when Anty has a new video blog up, you can subscribe to her YouTube channel here. She hopes to get at least one video blog per week, so please stay tuned.  She did make a very short film starring me, this morning, which you can find on her Instagram. If there is anything you would like to ask Anty, that she can answer in a video blog, please let her know in the comments, or send her an email, using the handy form below:

That is about it for this week, so, until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

Monday Off the Map

Today is the first Monday in a while that is not going to be my now-traditional marathon of getting a revised Her Last First Kiss chapter ready for a Tuesday morning meeting with N. Not that I’m not going to be spending time with  Ruby and her Hero, because I definitely am. Those guys are my happy place, and I’ll be logging some time on revisions for Chasing Prince Charming (and remembering it’s Prince now, and not Prints.) as well. Domestic tornadoes swept through for both N and me this week, hence the break from routine. I like my routine.

Blogging three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (okay, Friday is Skye day, but it’s still a post) here, with Monday and Wednesday always a shot of my desk for the day, is a part of that. Usually, that means I’m working on my desktop, but not always. I do sometimes miss the pink laptop photos, though I may want to figure out why I have to keep the screen at a funky angle if I want to actually see what I’m writing. If I open the laptop at the normal ninety degree angle, the screen goes blank. I have to nudge it forward a bit, and do some adjusting with my lap desk. That’s why my laptop’s travels have been curtailed as of late. Good thing writing can happen anywhere.

:brief interlude of scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, then trying to remember what I was talking about here, because Mondays are always marathon days and not having one is weird.:

So. Routine. Let’s get back to that. I like routine. I like planning. I like my morning pages, daily tasks, and having a set concept for my blog post pictures means I have to make a new cup of tea, because the old one is empty. More tea is almost always a good thing. Today, one of my variations from the norm will be to dig through the archives for Chasing Prince Charming, back when Melva and I had tagged the then-unnamed WIP with the name of one of the characters, because that’s how we naturally referred to it. Which was probably the story’s cue to take a couple of turs, but that all worked out.

Right now, I am in second draft mode on two different projects, which is a heck of a lot farther along than I was last year, and I am more than okay with that. At the same time, I want to be on to the next phase already. I want to have these drafts done (and probably one more pass after) and making the rounds, no, scrap that, out in the world. That’s where I want them to be. That’s where I want to be. I want to be out there on social media, splashing the “hey, look at my awesome new books” posts with cover reveals and all that other good stuff, all over social media, and that will happen. It won’t, however, happen today, because I am in the middle of that particular journey, not at the end. I’m impatient that way.

As much as I would like for there to be a fast forward button on the whole writing/editing process, there isn’t one. What it takes is butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, pen on paper, day after day after day after day after day, until, uh, wow, okay, looks like we got us a draft there. A first draft, a second draft, a third one, a hey, look, somebody wants to see the whole thing, and, after that, hey, they liked it. They really liked it. Can they please publish it and give us money? Okay. Or, because we are living in the age of indie publishing, there’s the moment of y’know what, I can do this thing myself. Then the moment where we do, learning about formatting and platforms and covers and blog tours and all that other good stuff.

None of that can happen, though, until there is actually a marketable draft, so it’s left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, day after day. Not glamorous, not exciting, but there is a part of me that actually likes the marathon. I like the dedication, the sweeping clean of everything else besides the work at hand, the staying at the keyboard until the Job Is Done, even if that happens in the wee small hours, and I might possibly be mistaken for a Walking Dead extra on my way to meet with N. That’s not going to happen this week, and part of me misses it. Not sure what that says, but, right now, that’s where that section of my brain is camped.

I do have a plan for the day, and a good portion of the out-of-sorts-ness can be calmed by that. Look at the list. Do the thing. Do the next thing. Repeat until done. Not that different after all. What sorts of writing routines are musts for the rest of you?

Typing With Wet Claws: Do The Work Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Anty is a little loopy this week, because it is summertime, there have been some domestic tornadoes, and she is on the second draft of two different books at the same time, and I have caught her eyeing that postapocalyptic medieval novella again, because she saw a premade cover that reminds her very much of her heroine, and the book is already finished, and sitting there in the hard drive, with the edits halfway done already. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but Anty is happiest when writing/editing, so I guess we will see.

Anyway, before I can talk about anything else, I have to talk about where to find Anty’s writing this week on the interwebs. This week, it is easy, because her weekly post at Buried Under Romance is basically it, unless you count Facebook. This week, her post is about tropes, and she would like to hear all about your favorites. I like stories with cats in them, as long as those cats are still okay at the end of the book. Those are the best.  Her post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

 

BURtrope

Image editing program is still giving Anty guff, so excuse lack of frame.

 

Now comes the part where I have to talk about Anty’s Goodreads challenge. If you would like to follow Anty’s reading progress this year, you can do that here.  This week, Anty is holding steady at two books behind schedule, but she has moved her count up to forty books, as you can see in this week’s image:

BURreadingchallenge062317

Go, Anty, go. Her new addition is a historical romance, The Wild Oneby Danelle Harmon, and her current reads are all historical romances, so I will call that good progress and discipline. Anty does plan to write a review later, as soon as she is current with other things. Those other things being mostly domestic tornado management and writing/editing books.

Some weeks, Anty does not have a lot to say on the interwebs, but that does not mean she is not working. Most writers are usually doing story stuff inside their heads, even when they are not making the clickety-clack sound on the keys, or pen squiggles on some paper.  I am very proud of Anty for getting all those pages done on Monday, and ahead of schedule. That is a good thing, and she certainly plans to do it again.

Earlier today, Anty met on Skype (I was not called upon to provide Skye Pee, but I am always good for that. Did I ever tell you that my previous vet said that he had never seen so much pee come out of one cat at one time, as he did when I hiked my fuzzy butt over the edge of his exam table, and let loose? It was not my fault. He had been feeling around my tummy area, and a kitty’s got to do what a kitty’s got to do. I kind of had a reputation at that vet, but that is all behind me now. Hah. Behind. I see what I did there.) to talk about edits to Chasing Prince Charming. Regular readers will note that they changed the spelling, because they did not want to be thought of as bad spellers, or have to explain that the non-traditional spelling is because the heroine is an author who wants to get back into print. So that happened.

What also happened was that Anty and Anty Melva have to figure out how to edit a whole book that they wrote together, because they have never written together before. Thankfully, it has been a pretty easy process, and most of their notes for this first section have been basically the same. They  have not yet had any major disagreements, which they count as a very good thing. Anty Melva is not too keen on this part of the writing process, but Anty actually loves it.

For Anty, the editing/revision/rewriting process is fun, because the hard work of writing the first draft is already done. The book exists, hurrah. Now it is only a matter of making it better. Sometimes this involves checking things like verb tense, making sure somebody’s outfit does not change in the middle of a scene (this is apparently more likely when there are two writers telling one story) and that kind of thing. I should take a moment to mention that the clothes problem would not be a problem if they wrote about cats. We wear the same fur all the time. Well, apart from shedding, that is. Anty and Uncle and Mama have a theory that all of my fur migrates to my neck before it sheds. Anty thinks that the same thing holds true for fur from other cats. I cannot tell her if that is right or wrong, because it is a cat trade secret.

Hm. It would appear I have digressed. My apologies. The point is, there are a lot of steps involved in getting a book from the writer’s (or writers’) head(s) to the readers, but each one of them is important. Life happens to everybody, even writers (that is why they have things that they can write about, after all) and “write a book” or “resume a career” can seem a very tall order, but “write this scene,” or “edit these pages,” well, that’s doable. Do enough of those, in the right order, on the same story (or stories) and, before you know it, there is a whole book there, where the big fuzzy mess of ideas used to be.

That is about it for now. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

 

Title Goes Here

You must do the thing you cannot do.
          – Eleanor Roosevelt

Rain started to fall as soon as I opened the document to start writing this blog entry. I will take that as a sign. It’s been oppressively humid here in New York’s Capitol Region, which is not that great for the creative brain, especially when that brain is going on roughly two hours of sleep. Nevertheless, it is Monday, which usually means a marathon writing session on Her Last First Kiss. Right now, I am dripping in sweat, and having wild fantasies about throwing the workday to the nonexistent wind and collapsing in front of the box fan with a tall glass of ice water and making some headway in rereading Shanna. I am also rethinking my decision to have hot tea with my breakfast, but my new pink skull and crossbones mug was too perfect not to take out on its maiden voyage this morning. I will always love my dearly departed Union Jack mug, but I think it would want me to find love again, and not mourn it forever, drinking out of mugs that are only okay, but don’t stir my heart. There’s a better look at the new baby on my Instagram, here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BVhS7arBVCj/

Absolutely no way I could leave that baby to languish in the cupboard without at least one cup of tea under its belt. I have no regrets. even if I do have an ice pack at the base of my spine. I was not built for summer. I’m fair skinned and light eyed, sun and heat sensitive. This would be perfectly suited for the British Isles, from which my biological ancestors most likely hailed, but somebody did something, and they got a trip across the Atlantic Ocean, voluntarily or otherwise. A couple of centuries later, here I am, but my imaginary friends, by and large, generally lean toward those British Isles, though Ruby, the heroine (aka Heroine) of Her Last First Kiss, is half Russian. Not that she’s ever actually been to Russia, but that’s where one of her parents was born, and where they went back to, after life took a turn they didn’t like.

I didn’t plan for Ruby to be half Russian, but that showed up all on its own, and, as these things are wont to do, did so in the very first line. Well, okay, then. Those kinds of things tell me that the story is real and alive, and has a mind of its own, which generally tells me we are going to work well together. Same thing when Ruby turned up her nose at the harpsichord I tried to give her in the initial draft, and informed me she liked pistols instead. Same thing with Hero refusing to accept my wishes that he be blond and play the violin. He was a ginger, thankyouverymuch (still is, and now I can’t imagine him any other way) and didn’t even want to look at the violin, but took a very keen interest in my pen collection. I let him (metaphorically) play with them, and he took to those pens like a duck to water. To write letters, yes, but mostly to draw with, because he would very happily spend his entire life drawing with pen and ink, but his painting skills were not up to the same standard, which led to his, ah, secondary career. That all spilled out of him while he doodled on scrap paper. I didn’t want to disturb him, so I let him ramble.

I also took notes. A lot of notes. This is the reason I have a lot of notebooks. Also because “notebook” may be my favorite genre, because I can put literally anything in them, but that’s another story for another day. Why was it that Hero never felt more himself than when he had pen and in in hand, but felt so lost with paint and brush that he lost all faith in himself? Of course that meant that, to get to his Happily Ever After, to be the man Ruby needs, the man worthy of her, he has to face that fear and actually paint a portrait. Actually, two, because painting two portraits is the only thing that terrifies him more than painting one.  Sure, he can probably paint the one, because it’ s a debt of honor, but then to do it again? There’s the real test.

Since Ruby and her Hero live in the eighteenth century, they’d have no idea who Eleanor Roosevelt is, but, by the end of the book, they get the drift of her message. Ruby and her Hero, and their entire story, came to me, almost all of a piece, when I was busy bashing my head against a brick wall, trying to come up with another sort of story entirely. Actually, a few of them, all of which now languish in folders in my old laptop, the one with the external keyboard and fuzzy internet connection. These characters, and this story, they found me. This wasn’t the sort of book I was looking to write, but it’s the right one for the writer I am right now, and there isn’t so much a question of “how do I handle X?” but “well, X works like this in this book.”

All of that makes these marathon days, when they come, not something to dread, but to treat as maybe a marathon of a favorite TV show; get comfy, stay hydrated, keep snacks on hand, and settle in for the long haul. That, I can most definitely do.