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…

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Some Weeks Are Like That Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. It is cool and rainy today, so I am hunkered down for the duration. Rain will not find me here in my hallway, outside Anty and Uncle’s room. The weather is also gray, like me, which may be why Anty finds this kind of weather very beautiful. Technically, the vet says I am a brown tabby, but all cats are gray in the dark. Anty says the old-timey people in her stories knew that phrase, but it was not talking about actual cats. She says the old-timey meaning was only for grownups, and not very nice ones, at that. Anyway, since I am a kitty, I see very well in the dark, so I win.

Where Anty wins (aside from winning Uncle) is that I have to talk about where to find her writing on the interwebs (apart from here, that is) before I can talk about anything else (which is mostly about her writing, most of the time, anyway, so I do not see what the big problem is, but whatever. Anty is the human, and if she understands, that is good enough for me. ) As always, she was at Buried Under Romance, like she is every week. This week, she talked about what makes a summer read. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURSummerisComing

 

For Anty’s Goodreads challenge, she is now two books behind again, and she is not very happy about that, but I am willing to cut her some slack. Uncle did not feel well for a large part of this  week, and there were two days when Anty did not feel that great, herself. Also there were domestic tornadoes. Anty is making progress on her reading, however, and all of her current reads are historical romance, so I am going to call that good, considering extenuating circumstances. Keep on keeping on, Anty. You can still turn this around. Finish reading two books this weekend, and you are back on track.
I will use the same graphic as last week, since she has only read the same books.

GRreadingchallenge060917

only one more book, and it’s forty!

 

Even though Anty did not write a lot on the interwebs this week, she has been busy writing. This week, she finished chapter ten of her second draft of Her Last First Kiss. Both Critique Partner Vicki and Miss N had some very nice things to say about this version of the chapter, which gets Anty all excited to head into the next one.

Anty also had a Skype conference (I still think they should spell that Skye Pee, but whatever) with Anty Melva, her co-writer on Chasing Prints Charming, and they are ready to embark on editing their completed first draft. Anty Melva has written with another writer before, but Anty has only had solo books published so far. There may be some adventures ahead, as they learn what method of editing works best for them. So far, they are going to take the beginning-beginning, each edit it, with special attention on the parts written by the other person. They have one week to get this done, so we will see how that goes.

Now that Anty’s current projects are moving along, it is also time for her to make some noise about the books she has already written. So far, she has made two teasers. One is for one of her books, Queen of the Ocean. It looks like this:

QueenOfTheOceanTeaser

Note the lack of cats, but there is a bright spot. There is a ship in the story (actually more than one) and old-timey ships always had cats on board, to keep the rodent population under control. They are the true heroes of the sea. You’re welcome.

The other teaser is for Orphans in the Storm, her English Civil War historical romance. That one looks like this:

OrphansInTheStormTeaser

There would be cats on that ship, too.

Anty is still working on teasers for her other books, Never Too Late, and My Outcast Heart. After that, well, she’d better write some more books, or her bookshelf page (that is coming soon) will be very short. She has plans to make teasers for Her Last First Kiss, and Chasing Prints Charming, as well as her postapocalyptic medieval romance, Ravenwood (at least the title has birds in it; that is promising. I like birds. They are delicious.) which may get a different name, but we will see.

Making teasers is fun for Anty, because she is a visual thinker anyway.  Thinking is something Anty has been doing rather a lot of lately, most of it about writing and publishing. Also about putting more cats in her books. I am happy to announce that Drama King, the next contemporary she will write with Anty Melva, does have a cat in it.  He is an orange tabby, and he’s seen some things. I have high hopes for him.

For now, though, it is a rainy day, and Anty has laundry to do, which means a solid hour of reading time, while the clothes get clean and dry. She also promised Mama to read her some of chapter ten, because Mama is looking forward to chapter ten. Mama has not read the whole book yet, but she knows the general idea, and wants a little taste. Maybe Anty will consider giving her other readers a little taste in a while, too.  She is looking forward to making a proper introduction of Hero and Heroine to her readers, so readers will be used to Hero and Heroine’s scents when Her Last First Kiss becomes a real book.

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

skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

Typing With Wet Claws: Controlled Chaos Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday.  As you may have noticed from my picture above, Anty’s image editing program is giving her guff, but she does not have time to deal with that guff today, so she will deal with it later. Good thing she has me to take care of the blogging for her on days like this.

Anyway, before I get into any of that, I need to talk about where you can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, besides here. As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this week, and this week, she talked about what the humans call wedding season. I have never been to a wedding, because I am a kitty, but I gather that they are a big deal for some humans, both in books and in the really real world.  Anty’s post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURweddingseason

Now it is time to check in on Anty’s Goodreads reading challenge.  Anty is still on track, for the second week in a row. Good job, Anty. Normally, I would encourage her to do better, because A) she only reviewed one book this week, and B) it is not a historical romance, but there are extenuating circumstances. One of the books Anty is currently reading is Shanna, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and that book is very, very big.  Anty first read it when she was an almost-grownup, so it is a little bit like reading it for the first time, but with remembering some parts of it.

GRreadingchallenge060917

Anty has read thirty-nine books out of the ninety she has set for herself this year, which is pretty good, and keeps her on schedule. She is also reading The Wild One, by Danelle Harmon, which is also set in the eighteenth century, so she gets points for staying with her additional goal of reading more historical romances set in the era in which she is currently writing.  That book, she has on her Kindle, so it can go with her everywhere, as opposed to Shanna, which, at over six hundred pages, and being hardcover, is not as portable. That is the big downside to re-reading some of the classics in this genre.

The book Anty did review this week is Hello, I Lied, by M. E. Kerr.  It is a YA novel, about a very interesting summer in the life of one almost-grownup human. It also has a reclusive rock star character in it. Anty loves that kind of thing – humans who were once great at what they did, but stopped doing it and now do not want to see anybody- so she was curious to see how that would play out in this book. She kind of wants to reread Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby now. Her review is here, and it looks like this:

GRHelloILied

If you know about any other books with reclusive once-great humans in them, especially with historical settings, please let Anty know about them right away, or tell me in the comments, and I will pass the recommendations on to her.

Anty says she is not messing with the banner until she can make the editing thingy stop giving her guff, or until she finds another editing thingy, so I will jump right into the topic at paw. This week, Anty and Anty Melva got some bad news that is really not that bad. One of the humans who wanted to look at Chasing Prints Charming had some very nice things to say about what they read, but ultimately said no thank you to looking at more. That is disappointing, but Anty prefers to look at the very nice things. There are many other humans who look at books that are not yet published, so this is not the end of the road. Anty is very happy to be working with Anty Melva,  and they will talk on Skype later this week. I am still salty that Skype is not short for Skye Pee. I think they have a missed opportunity there.

Most of the time, I work as Anty’s mews, but I am also a nurse when it is needed. Uncle is not feeling that great today, and Anty and Mama may be taking him to the people vet. He will feel better after he goes, but I can only imagine what Anty and Mama have to do to get him to go into the carrier. It takes both of them to get me into my carrier, and Uncle is a lot bigger than I am, plus he has opposable thumbs. No tail, though, so those things might cancel each other out. Maybe if Anty puts a treat inside the carrier, he will go inside to get it, and then she and Mama can close the door.  They usually put the carrier on its end and stuff me in, when it is my turn, but the people carrier is really big, and its doors are on the sides, so I do not think that would work this time.

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

skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

Typing With Wet Claws: Hello Summer Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. It is not technically summer yet, because the calendar says the official start date is a little while from now, but Anty says that it is close enough, because it is now June, we are past Memorial Day, and, well, it feels like summer. Hopefully without the heat sickness this year, because Anty has Stuff To Do this summer. There is petting me, feeding me, paying attention to me, and also that writing thing. Purr-sonally (even though I do not actually purr) I think she would have a much better time of that writing thing if she got rid of her office carpet so that her mews could be closer at all times. When I say writing times, I mean snack time, feeding time, petting time, okay, and story time, too.

Since the deal is that I can talk about whatever I want after I tell readers where they can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs (besides here) this week, I had better get to that. First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this week. This time, she talked about the different ways book lovers can organize their treasure troves (by which I mean books.) That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURdoityourshelfie

Anty also had a post on Heroes and Heartbreakers this week, and this time, it was about tracking the relationship of New Girl‘s Nick and Jess, one of her favorite sitcom couples. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HHNickAndJess

She also participated in the H&H Bloggers’  best reads of May.  If you would like to know what Anty’s favorite read of the month was (and have not already guessed from reading her blog, or Goodreads) or are curious about what the other H&H bloggers liked best, you can read about that here.

Now, speaking of reading, and because it is the first Friday of the month, we get to check in on not one, but two reading challenges Anty is doing. First, let’s look at the regular Goodreads challenge. Right now, Anty’s challenge looks like this:

GR2ndJune

Anty remains on track this week, which makes me very proud of her. Keep it up, Anty. I believe in you.  Now we will check in on the historical romance reading challenge.

hr-challenge-2016-badge

Anty read one historical romance novel this week, A Lady’s Code of Misconduct, by Meredith Duran. Her review of that book is here. If that seems a little light for her goal of reading more historical romances, we need to look at the big picture. Since the beginning of the year, Anty has read thirty-seven books. Nineteen of those are historical romances, which puts her over the fifty percent mark, so I am going to give her a passing grade on this, but she can still make more of an effort to read more historicals. Keep going, Anty. You are getting there.

Now it is time to talk about the writing that Anty is currently doing. Anty took this picture by accident one day, while taking her deskscape image, and kind of liked it, so she made it into a banner, but did not know what to use it for, so I will use it to mark where I talk about her everyday writing. I am not sure if it needs words on it or not, but I think it is a decent banner, anyway.

topofdesk

Cat-ption coming soon…maybe.

This week sees Anty entering the double-digit numbered chapters of her second draft for Her Last First Kiss.  She is still learning new things about this book as she goes, mostly how to get more inside the characters’ heads, because that is where the interesting stuff happens. Some of that interesting stuff has involved old-timey underwear, because that is going to come into play in that chapter.

Not only does this mean that Anty has to look for pictures and descriptions of old-timey underwear, but explain it to both Miss N and Critique Partner Vicki, who are not familiar with the underwear of this era, how said old-timey underwear works. This resulted in some interesting discussions, usually including a reminder that people in 1783 would think the underwear people wear in 2017 is as weird as 2017 people find the underwear of 1783. My underwear is built-in fluff, because I am a Maine Coon, and that means I have a double coat. It is a little different for Anty’s imaginary friends.

The chapter Anty is working on right now is one where Hero and Heroine cross one of the points of no return, where they cannot go back to the way things were before, and that is going to make things awkward, because they still have to live under the same roof. I know what you are thinking because of the underwear mention, and you are wrong. It is not that. It is also the point where Anty said some very interesting words when scenes move themselves around. She can’t keep a scene with Hero and Character X in this chapter, because A) it already happened in a previous chapter and B) Character X left in the previous chapter, so now it’s Hero and Heroine thrust alone together when they would really like to go in opposite directions, but then there would be no story.

Some of Anty’s critique partners have said that Anty likes the rewriting that happens in a second draft more than she likes the initial writing in a first draft, and they may not be wrong on this one. By the second draft, Anty knows the characters better, and, sometimes, they have a few things to tell her, that she did not know the first time. That happened with Anty’s writing on Her Last First Kiss this week, and she kind of likes that. She says it means that the story is real and alive. I think being a live is pretty good, so go, Anty. Keep moving in that direction. Also the direction of my food bowl.

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

skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

Typing With Wet Claws: Need a Bigger Teapot Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Anty did not want to chase me around the apartment this morning, to get my blog picture, so, instead, she edited one of my greatest hits from Instagram this week. Personally, I question her dedication if she switches to Plan B that easily, but I did not make it easy for her, either. She has a bunch of pictures of my blurry turned head, so I kind of see her point, but still…

Anyway, I know the rules around here. That means I need to tell you where you can read Anty’s writing on the interwebs this week, besides here. First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this past Saturday. This week, she talked about when e-books travel in packs, aka box sets. Are they the electronic equivalent of paperback anthologies? Do you read them? Do you like them? Her post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURboxset

Those of you who have been following Anty’s Goodreads challenge will be happy to know that she is now officially back on track. Anty did a very good job on reading this week, and I am proud of her. Now to work on the historical romance side of things, because time for reporting her progress on that is coming soon, on the first week of the month. Tick tock, Anty. This week, Anty read:

Gentlehands, by M. E. Kerr (YA)

Stormswept, by Sabrina Jeffries (historical romance)

Just One Night, by Gayle Forman (YA romance)

 

Together, they all look like this:

 

This is a very interesting mix. There is a character in Gentlehands, who is named Skye.  I appreciated that.  She is not a kitty, though. (Also, a bad thing happens to a doggie, and a human who did very bad things is a big part of the book.)  Gentlehands is not exactly a historical book, and it is not exactly a romance, but it was written in the 1970s, which was a long time ago (especially in kitty years) and things that happened in the 1940s, which was even longer-ago (also especially in kitty years,) are very important to the story, and it has romantic elements.

Both Stormswept and Just One Night have strong Shakespearean connections. The male human in Just One Night is a Shakespearean actor, which is to say he is a modern day actor who performs the plays Shakespeare wrote many centuries ago. The story in Stormswept was inspired by what could have happened in Romeo and Juliet, if some things had gone differently, and it is set in the eighteenth century, which is Anty’s focus right now, so she gets points for that.

Anty also says I have to apologize for the fact that comments were submitted, but not posted. Miss Rhonda, and Miss Angelina, I am very sorry. I honestly thought the contact form was an easier way to leave comments. Apparently, it is actually an easier way to send emails. That is now a new thing that I know. Miss Angelina, I will answer your email, because Anty helped me find it again. Miss Rhonda, Anty does not know how I managed to delete your email entirely, but she said it might help if I reminded you that posting can be tricky when one has paws instead of hands. Also, that I am cute. Being cute goes a really long way around here.

Notebook coordination

 

It has been almost a whole week since Anty got her not-a-bullet-journal notebook cover, and things are going pretty well with that. She still pets the cover, but not as much as she pets me, so I am okay with that. She actually does have a list of lists to make in the gridded notebook that is for lists and tracking, but that does not surprise anybody around here. So far, she is making good use of all the different sections, and has managed to color-coordinate her notebook, notepad, pen, and folder, for Her Last First Kiss critique pages.

This week, Anty had a headache that made it not great for writing in time to meet Miss N on Tuesday, so they moved their meeting to Thursday. Anty told Miss N that this was a hard week to write, because of the headache and domestic tornadoes, but that she was not worried, because Miss N is a very good critique partner, and they would figure out what Anty needed to do, to make the scene work. Thankfully, that is what happened, and Anty spent a lot of time yesterday, writing in one of the notebooks inside the pink cover, to dig deeper into Heroine’s head and turn the emotional thumbscrews. Anty loves turning emotional thumbscrews. On fictional characters, that is. She does not do that in real life, at least not intentionally.

Anyway, about this week’s pages, Miss N pointed out to Anty that Hero and Heroine have basically twenty minutes, tops, to go from being people who both know the same other person, to having a relationship of their own. I was not there, because this happened away from home, but I have been home when Anty has had similar reactions, and she usually makes a very interesting sound, and then requires more tea. This challenge made her think she might need a bigger teapot, because she is going to need a lot of tea.

Even so, she is looking forward to taking a metaphorical scalpel to the pages she has already written, and getting in there, deeper, to work the pulse of this scene. It is not going to be an easy one for Hero or Heroine, because they have to come to a place of trusting each other, and neither of them are very good with trusting other people. I cannot say I blame them. When I was a kitten, and mama brought me home from the shelter, I stayed in my carrier for four whole hours until I finally got hungry and figured it was safe to come out. Mama and Anty say my legs were on backorder, because I stayed super close to the ground for a couple of weeks. Then I figured out they were my humans, and it was probably okay to show them how tall I really was. It is like that for Hero and Heroine, but with feelings.

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

skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

 

Mapping the Wilderness

Technically, I am dressed. Technically, I am wearing makeup. Technically, I have a new daily pages notebook, but I think this one is actually for some other purpose. My brain works like that, so I am not surprised.

Last night, I finished reading Follow the Heart, by Anita Mills, a historical romance set in England, New York, and Canada, during the French and Indian War. Technically, I have my third book hangover in the last few weeks. This is not entirely a bad thing, but it does leave me with the “crap, what do I read now?” part of the book hangover, that makes finding a new book, which I may very well love as much or even more than the book that haunts my storybrain, all that much harder. This is where making a reading list can come in handy, and, knowing me, I really should have one of those. At present, I do not.

This surprises me. I do extremely well with lists, and, since I do have a goal of reading more historical romance, especially eighteenth century historical romance, and specifically the kind of historical romance that does give me a book hangover, from characterization, author voice, etc, having a list would be a huge help, but I don’t have one right now. Part of me still wants to go on instinct/intuition on this one, or maybe I haven’t found the right organizational system yet. I don’t know if I can say that’s anything like falling in love with a gorgeous notebook, deciding it will be the perfect thing to succeed my current morning pages book, getting it home at last, and then my brain won’t quit going back to the two other notebooks I also looked at on that same trip.

The other notebooks had alternating designs on their page spreads, whether two or four variations, and this one (pictured above) has the same pages throughout. Gorgeous, but I’m exactly two weeks away from finishing the notebook I’ve been decorating myself, as it came with plain lined pages. I’ve found I do like the process of customizing the pages, but, if I put decorative tape on the same part of every page, then that adds bulk to that part of the page only, and the middles of the pages sort of cave in. That feels weird when I handle the book, and I don’t need that in my morning pages. Good experiment, glad I did it, but it doesn’t provide the same experience I want in this practice.

What I want in a morning pages book, is a book I can open, see the images already there, and pour out whatever has bubbled to the surface of my brain between waking and caffeine. Such books are out there, even though they may be buried in a sea of books with plain lined pages, and, thankfully, the hunt is part of the fun. It’s sort of like that when I have a focus for my reading, as I do now. That focus for reading is very similar to the focus for writing. Where there is focus, there is organization, and where there is organization, there is, oddly enough, liberty. When I know where the boundaries lie, I can go nuts within those boundaries.

This is one of the reasons I’m excited to greet a new week of writing historical romance. All I have to do is set my story before living memory (anybody here born before 1784? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? No? Nobody? Going once, going twice…okay, cool. Before living memory, I’ve got.) and ensure that it has an optimistic and emotionally satisfying ending (aka Happily Ever After, or HEA, which, :consults outline and double checks against first draft: Yep, got that, too.) and I am good. I can do anything. An-y-thing.

Pretty exciting, that, and it definitely applies to Her Last First Kiss. This is one of those books that found me, while I was wandering about the metaphorical woods at night, oven mitts on my hands and buckets on my feet, in search of something that could be quickly written and marketable. Yeah, that’s not how things turned out. I wanted Hero to be somebody else entirely, but, thankfully, he didn’t listen to me, and now I have Hero. Heroine, too, looked at my plans for her, snort-laughed, and marched off in her own direction. The two of them found their own way to meet, and, by this time, I have learned that when the characters start mapping their own way through the wilderness, the most logical thing for me to do is to follow them.

Which leads me to today. The scene I’ll be writing was not in the original outline, and it was not in the original draft, but it roared to the surface during last week’s critique session, and has been poking me all through the weekend, when my brain was required for other things. Silly brain. don’t you know by now that the characters are going to make themselves known when and where they will? Today, instead of mucking my way through my imaginary friends sitting around a table and talking, I get to feel Hero’s throat go dry when Heroine shows up at the worst possible place, at the worst possible time, feel the mad flutter of her pulse, because this isn’t any easier for her than it is for him. At this point, it’s nononononononono, they do not want to be around each other, because if they felt the things they might be feeling, this is going to cause big trouble, not only for them, but for a mutual friend caught in the middle, who has no idea they are in the middle, and…:happy sigh: Yeah, I live for this stuff.

Reading the sort of historical romance that I like to write is helpful, even if not always easy, but story in, story out, is usually a good way to go. At some point, after I have my pages for the day written (or on a break in the middle) I’ll pet the spines of my TBR shelf and the still-boxed books from my friend’s visit, and something will come to the fore. If I show up, the books will, too. That’s my story. Pun intended.

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Come From Away Edition

 

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday.  I kind of met a puppy this week. His name is Aiden, he is a Golden Retriever, and he is my cousin, because his people parents are my Anty Mary and Uncle Brian. They all live back in the old country, but, this Sunday, they came to visit. I should probably say that I did not actually get an introduction, but I smelled him, which, for us fur people, is pretty much the same thing. I am not opposed to meeting another four-legs, but that did not happen this time. What did happen, however, was a good visit for Anty, Uncle and Mama. Anty Mary and Uncle Brian brought their human son, Andrew, who is a new grownup, and his special friend, Miss Leah. They also brought a big box of books for Anty, but more on that later.

As always, the rule here is that I have to talk about where to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs this week (apart from here, of course) before I can talk about anything else.

First, we have some breaking news. Anty’s post about the Shamy doings on last night’s The Big Bang Theory went live at Heroes and Heartbreakers, while I was writing this post. How is that for timely? That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHTBBTSheldonProposes

 

That is pretty exciting, I think. What is also exciting is that Anty is at Buried Under Romance every Saturday, with a new topic about the romance reading life. This week, she talked about the pros and cons of retellings of classic stories. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURretelling

Speaking of reading, this is the part of the post where I see how Anty did with reading. As of today, Anty is one-third through her Goodreads challenge goal of ninety books this year, and only two books behind schedule. Good job, Anty. Here are the books Anty read this week:

Her reviews for Afterlife With Archie, and Six Earlier Days look like this:

Anty is still thinking about her review for The Whisperer War, but she has reviews for the other two, which I think is pretty good. To read the reviews, please click the links above.  I should mention that bad things happen to two doggies in Afterlife With Archie, so Anty almost did not read that, but she does like to see things that do not normally go together, put together, so she read it anyway. Now she has to hunt down further volumes, because the library does not have them.

While it is true that there are no historical romances finished this week, Anty is currently reading Follow the Heart, by Anita Mills, which is a historical romance set during the French and Indian War. Miss Anita is an author whose work Anty has liked very much in the past, and it is a standalone book, which Anty also likes. Miss Anita had, at one time, planned to write a connected book, where the man the heroine did not marry would find somebody else, and, if Miss Anita ever wants to return to historical romance writing, Anty would like to read that, but, as it stands, this book is by itself.  Anty plans to read many more of Miss Anita’s books. She has already read many, but not all of them. Goodreads gives the publication date of some titles Anty does not remember, as being in the last couple of years, so Anty may have a glimmer of hope.

The box of books Anty Mary brought also brings a similar glimmer of hope. That box is full of mostly older historical romances, the kind with a more epic feel, and use of actual history that Anty likes to put into her own work. Getting through this box will require some study time (that means reading the books that are in that box) but Anty has not taken the books out of the box yet. She wants to concentrate on reading the book she is currently reading, and I think she is doing pretty well on that front. For now, Anty likes to lift the lid on the box, look at the books and pet the spines. Right now, that is enough. Anty likes to delay gratification on things like this, so, for her, waiting is part of the fun.

I am not that great at waiting for things I want, because I am a kitty. Today, I really really really wanted to be near Anty, so, while she was not looking, I walked onto the carpet. I still did not like it, but I like being far away from Anty even less. I let her know I was not happy having my feet on the carpet, so she got up and fed me. I think I may be onto something here. So does Anty. She lay down a few sheets of paper, to make a path from the hardwood floor, across the carpet, to her chair. So far, I have only looked at it. Anty says (Sir) Ginger (she only found out he was a boy, after he learned to answer to Ginger as his name. Oops.) -he was the kitty in our family, before Olivia, who was the kitty before me- liked to walk on paper, so she thought I might like that, too. I might, but I am still figuring out what I think about having paper on the floor. I guess we both have some studying to do. Good thing we can do it together.

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

skyebanner01skyebyefancy

 

 

 

Space and Light

This weekend, our landlord brought in a new refrigerator, and replaced the overhead kitchen light fixture that had been out of whack for I’m not going to say how long. The good part about having working overhead lights in both office and kitchen is that now we can see what we’re doing. The bad thing about having working overhead lights in both office and kitchen is that now we can see what we are doing. This means that we can also see what we haven’t been doing, as in stuff we put over here “for now,” or “until we can see what we’re doing.” Well, now we can, annnnd…we need to do stuff. Thanks to some generous applications of joint compound on the mustard-yellow walls we all hate (Real Life Romance Hero doesn’t think they are that bad, but Housemate and I outvote him, plus I can whip out my knowledge of color theory. We have vintage 50s pink laminate countertop and backsplash. I have no idea why the then-owner chose emerald green linoleum, when the walls had been a gorgeous dusty rose. I loved that dusty rose so much that I made vociferous objections when we found the hideous new paint job on the day we arrived with all our worldly goods in tow.

It took four years and change, three different landlords, but the mustard-yellow is going. I vote for white. The joint compound is white already, and it looks all nice and airy and clean, especially right up against the white woodwork (though, if I had my druthers, I would strip the white from every inch of woodwork in the entire apartment and go for a dark wood stain, but I do not own this building, so that is not my call.) We don’t have a date for work to begin on the kitchen painting, but we are fully aware that this will mean a total tear-down of the setup we currently have. I am okay with that. I am also fully prepared to defend the original midcentury cabinets from the taint of a paintbrush. One would expect no less from a historical romance writer, am I right?

This is also a chance to get rid of things that no longer fit with who we are now, as individuals, or as a family. While doing dishes a couple of days ago, Housemate asked me why a trio of mugs are still here. We haven’t touched them in the entire four years we’ve lived in this apartment, and none of us like them. My only answer was “because we packed them when we moved.” Why do we have them though? I know two of them were free, and the other one kind of goes with them, as in it is a solid color that is contained within the color scheme of the other two, but that is not a reason to give them space in our home. That mug tree could, theoretically, bloom with nothing but Union Jack mugs, or black and white mugs. I would be fine with either.

It’s kind of like that with my TBR shelf as well. While I do not recommend scheduling both renovations and a visit from out of state friends-who-are-family on the same weekend, real friends don’t care if there is joint compound on the walls or a laundry basket on the dining room table. If they wanted to see perfectly appointed rooms, they know where the museum is. Real friends are perfectly happy to sit on the floor and eat takeout, because the reason they came is to spend time with their friends.  Everything else is window dressing, or lack of window dressing, as the case may be.

So, back to the TBR shelf. One of the great things about going to writers’ conferences is that they give you lots of free books to take home. One of the not-so-great things about writers’ conferences is that they give you lots of free books to take home. This is especially apparent when one lives in an apartment and has only so much shelf space. There comes a point where something Has To Be Done.  My point was Saturday night.

Aided by the new overhead light in my office, I went through the triple-stacked TBR bookshelf and culled. I was ruthless. Why do I have this book? Am I ever really going to read it? How long has it been on this shelf? Would somebody else appreciate this book more than I could? Book by book, I made my choices. Most books did stay, but I also had a respectable pile to pass along to my friends, which was a good thing. Said friends arrived with a banker’s box full of books tailored to my specific interests. Older historical romances, heavy on the medieval, second copies of some old favorites, so I can make them lending copies. That’s friendship in a box, right there. Looks like this:

booksfromMary

I have no idea how that frame got into the picture

When I took the lid off this box and peered inside, I felt…focused. Yes. This. This is why I write historical romance. This is what’s important. I’m probably going to leave these books in the box for a while, though I do have definite ideas on where most of them are going to go on my bookshelves. For now, I want them as they are. Full of potential. A reminder of why I put my butt in the chair and pen to paper/fingers on keyboard every weekday. I want to look at the spines, pet them, imagine and/or remember (some of the books, I have already read, some, I have not) and remember what it was like to not only first discover the world of historical romance (though, this time, I do not have to hide under the brass bed in the guest bedroom, with a flashlight, because I am big enough to pick out my own reading material.) but also that feeling of “I can totally do this.” That it’s in my blood and success is the only option. It’s a booster shot of confidence, exactly in time for the week N and I have agreed to up our production goals, so we can both reach The End that much faster. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

AnnaSelfieComment

Typing With Wet Claws: Hangover Cure Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This has been an interesting week around here, but more on that later. Anty finds it ironic that her picture of me this week is of me asleep, since Anty did not get a lot of sleep herself, but not to worry. I can more than make up for the sleep she does not get.

Before we get to anything else,  I have to talk about what Anty has done on the interwebs this week. As usual, she was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, though she forgot to send out word that she was there. It was that kind of weekend. Oops. Anyway, this week, she talks about libraries. That post is here and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURlibrarybaby

Even though Anty did not get a lot of sleep this week, she used some of that not-sleeping time to get some reading done (finally.) She read so many books, in fact, that I had to put them all in one picture. Links to Anty’s reviews of the books she read this week are below. Click on the link to read the review, or check on her Goodreads reading challenge progress here. So far, she has read twenty-four out of ninety books, and is only four books behind. Keep going, Anty. I believe in you. These are the books she read:

All together, they look like this:

GR4reviews

Not too shabby there, Anty. If we break that down, that is two YA books, one nonfiction, and one historical romance. After Anty read Fair Day, and Another Step Begun, she wanted to read a medieval romance that was based on medieval legend, and she pretty much did, with Agnes Moor’s Wild Night. A tournament like the one in the story actually happened. Anty was very happy to find that out in the author’s note, even though it is fact instead of legend. Anty says that is close enough. The author is Miss Alyssa, whose workshop Anty did not get to see. Anty is still salty about that, but she does have another of Miss Alyssa’s books on her TBR shelf, so that helps a little bit. She is still looking for some (preferably older) medieval with that ballad/legend feel, so if you know of any (or have written some) let me know in the comments, and I will tell her.

This has been a very interesting week around here. Normally, Anty on a double book hangover would be enough to deal with, but Uncle has another new job. He is very happy about that, which makes Anty happy, even if she still could use another nap or ten. This week, Anty stayed up very late on Monday night so that she could have Her Last First Kiss pages ready for Miss N on Tuesday. This particular time, that meant writing parts of two different scenes.

When Anty started the second scene, she had a feeling things weren’t exactly right, but she wanted to get the right amount of pages written, so she kept on going. By the time she got to a stopping point, she was very sure she had written the wrong scene. She did not mean that the scene did not belong in the story, but that it needed a scene that came before another scene (or between some other scenes) because this one felt like shoving a ten pound cat into a two pound bag.  Miss N agreed, which meant Anty’s next job was to go home and figure out what that scene needed to be.

Not too long ago, this would have made Anty very anxious, and think that maybe she is  a bad writer, because a real writer, or a good one, would not have made that kind of mistake. That is not how she feels now. Now, she knows that is a part of the process, and it is okay to go back and fix things. Second drafts, like first drafts, do not have to be perfect; they only have to be written. As soon as she and Miss N started talking about what could happen in the missing scene, Anty got excited about writing that one. Having that scene will make this current one, in its new form, much easier, because it will have room to breathe. It will also mean Anty has some moving around of things in both Scrivener and Google Docs (she is not sure yet which one is easier to use at this stage of the game, so she often writes in one and then copies to the other) but, that, too, is part of the process. That is how she can keep moving forward.

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

skyebanner01

skyebye

 

(Not the) Sweetest Hangover

So, it’s Monday. I have a book hangover. My tea went from too-hot-to-drink, to so-cold-I-am-personally-affronted in the time it took me to perform the most basic of morning tasks. Weekend plans did not work out as planned, but there are no snooze buttons on Monday, so I’m here. Proper undergarments under sleep shirt and leggings mean that I am technically dressed. Concealer, lip gloss, and clear mascara/brow gel mean that I am technically wearing makeup. Hair is reasonably presentable, and there will be fragrance, because my brain knows that is the last thing I do before I am prepared to adult for the day. Which, in my case, means writing.

The book hangover comes from this bad boy (er, girl; this book is definitely a girl) I Will Go Barefoot All Summer For You:

BarefootAllSummerCover

My heart hurts because of this book.  That’s what the good ones do. They change us. They take us to a place we’ve never been, and they take us back to places in our lives we’ve been through before.  I think I went through first heartbreak again by reading this book.  Oh, Jessie, Jessie, Jessie, Jessie, sweetie, honey, sugar pie, baby girl. You’ll be okay one day. Someday, Toby Bright will be only a boy. You might not even remember his last name, once some time has gone by, and you’ll know, older and wiser, that he wasn’t all that great to begin with, but, right now, we’re both dying a little.

Right now, we’re both wondering if things wouldn’t have been different if you hadn’t put on the (expletive deleted) shoes, because, when you’re that young, and that deep in calf love (old timey word that means infatuation; it has nothing to do with calves. If you were infatuated with an actual calf, that would be an entirely different sort of book, and I would be writing you an entirely different sort of letter -yes, fine, I am writing a letter to a fictional character; let’s go with that- right now) that’s how things work. You wanted to prove the depth of your love, and that would earn the happily ever after, right then and right there. You almost made it through the whole summer, and I’m proud of you for that, even if the reasoning behind it was, well, adolescent, but so are you.

Not now, though. Your book was written in the early 1970s, set in the 1950s, so if you were born in the 1940s, and it’s 2017 now, well, I’m not going to do the math. I hope you’re happy, though. I hope you found someone, farther down the road, and I hope you were able to keep your aunt’s house and raise your family (or cats; cats would be cool, too. Maybe both.) there. I hope you wrote your books there, or anywhere, really, and I hope your cousin, Rose, knows that playing Robin Hood and other games in the woods with you was actually her walking around inside the very earliest drafts of your stories. I’d like to read some of them. I’d like to see how those seeds sown by your barefoot summer and fantasies of Toby Bright (I’m not all that concerned about where or how he is, if you’re wondering. He turned out to be only a boy, after all, for me.) germinated and changed and grew and blossomed in your own work, later on, with some time and some distance.

As I’m writing this, I am doing a little math. You were born in the 1940s, around Virginia. I was born in the 1960s, in Virginia, and you write, (or will write) and I write, so, y’know…well, apart from the whole you being fictional thing. Some books, we don’t read as much as we recognize, and I recognized this one. Yes. This.

If anyone had asked me, before this copy showed up in my mailbox, if I’d read this book already, I would have said no, but then I got to the part about the bus station and the Mars bar, and I had been there before. Yes, I have been in bus stations (and no, I have not eaten any Mars bars, because I have a tree nut allergy and I would stop breathing) but that wasn’t the thing. The thing was how you drew the line of maturity as being able to keep candy without eating it right away, and that Mars bar sat in your purse for a respectably grownup amount of time (well, the second one did, anyway) and that’s when I knew this was the second time I’d met you.

I’d been a teenager the first time, a little younger than you were in this book, I think, and I had not had my heart broken for the first time yet. I have no idea why it was the bus station scene that made itself part of me, but it roared into my consciousness the first time I took a bus from VT to MA, as a college freshman, and stood in front of a row of vending machines. (I did not get anything chocolate, in case you’re wondering. I don’t even like chocolate that much.) Were I to guess, now, what scene would stick with me most, it would maybe be that first kiss with Toby Bright (I am always going to think of him with first and last names. That’s not changing.) and the way riding home felt like flying, because new feelings bore you along and the door to a whole other part of life had been flung wide open and off its hinges, never to go back again.

I don’t know when it was you found your real happily ever after, and if it was with someone worthy of you, or on your own, but re-reading this book was like that for me, that door-off-the-hinges feeling, so maybe I’m going to stay here for a while. Go barefoot all summer for this book, or at least the next couple of days, because, as soon as Fair Day, And Another Step Begun, shows up in my mailbox, I am screeching on the brakes to whatever else I am doing and diving into that. In case all the characters one writer creates, even if the books do not intersect, all live in the same place (probably the writers’ head; that’s how it works with me) say hi to Ellen for me.