Typing With Wet Claws: Unauthorized Entry Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday.  First of all, I would like to point out that Anty is really, really, really good at killing earbuds. Actually, before that, I would like to mention that it was awesome having Uncle home extra this week, because he is my favorite, and that meant that he could spend extra time with me. That means that Anty had more time to work in her office, and also to find more writing time at Panera, after her meeting with Miss N.  That was not my favorite day, even if Uncle was home at the time. I will explain about that later.

First, before I can talk about anything else, I have to talk about what Anty wrote this week, and where you can find her writing on the interwebs, other than here. Like every week, Anty was at Buried Under Romance, and, this week, she invited readers to talk about the many first times every romance reader will experience. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BUR1stTime

If you are following Anty’s reading challenge on Goodreads, it is here, and she is doing better this week.  She is now only eight books behind, and has a plan on how she will take care of the rest of the deficit. That will involve setting aside time for reading every day, and making sure she does not read too much of the same thing, too close together. She may even toss in some rereads, because those can go a lot faster. The books she read this week are:  Up All Night, by Laura Geringer, et al, (that is a fancy human phrase that means “and others”;) Mischief and Mistletoe, by Mary Jo Putney, et al; and Unfriended, by Rachel Vail.  Click on the links to read the reviews, which, all together, look like this:

 

I am working on my graphic design skills, which is not always easy because I have paws, not hands, and special paws, at that, but I do what I can. Anty has also been doing what she could this week, which involves helping Anty Melva get their two requests for partial manuscripts off to the publishing humans who asked for them. They got the first one off, and now it is time to get the second, larger, one ready to go. That takes some time, and so does getting ready for the next book, especially when she also needs to keep focused on Her Last First Kiss. Anty says she has exactly the same number of hours in a day as people who are very successful in her field (and others) and, as far as she knows, none of them have cats writing one third of their personal (or purr-sonal, I would say, but I do not purr; I never have, as far as any humans know. Do not be concerned, I am a very happy kitty, but I am quiet about it. Only about that, though, because I talk a lot.) blogs. If they can get all of their stuff done, so can she.

Part of that is finding the hidden pockets of time where she can both write and do the things that fill her creative well so that she can write. This past week, that meant that she stayed extra time at Panera, while the new stove was delivered. If you did not read her entry on Wednesday (it is here) the stove looks like this:

STOVE

 

Our landlord, Mr. D, likes to take very good care of us, and he bought us a new stove, which makes all the humans happy. It got delivered on Tuesday, which did not make me happy, because that meant that strange humans had to come into the house, take the old stove away, and then bring in the new one, and make sure it did not kill us all (it is gas.) Uncle stayed home that day, so that he could oversee the whole stove thing, and so that Anty could have some extra writing time after her meeting with Miss N. He put me in Mama’s room, where my things are, so that I would stay safe. He let Anty know when all the strange humans had left, so she could come home and be with us. She asked how I was doing (because she knows what is important) and Uncle said I was super scared, but okay because I stayed in Mama’s room.

I will be put in Mama’s room again in the next week or two, when the strange humans do the whole thing all over again, with the refrigerator. Do not worry, my cat food does not go in the refrigerator, so it will not be affected. I still do not like all the strange humans and bangy sounds and taking appliances that have been here ever since we moved in away, and replacing them with new things (if you do not know many cats, we do not like change very much) but I will be okay. Maybe Anty or Uncle can ask some of the strange humans to take away Anty’s office carpet (but not replace it with anything; I want it to be regular wood floor) so that I can sit reallyreallyreally close to Anty and give her extra inspiration and encouragement. I think that could only help. It is my duty as a mews.

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

skyebanner01skyebye

Typing With Wet Claws: Back to Business Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. It is now one week after the start of NECRWA 2017, conference hangover mostly worn off,  but inspiration still in full force. That is how it works with Anty and conferences. Her back is feeling better, which means that she can bend more easily, to feed and pet me, and also sit in her office chair without pain. These are all good things, because going to conferences and being with other people who love to do what she loves to do gives Anty a big burst of wanting to do writing stuff. It has not yet inspired her to get rid of the office carpet, but I think that a workshop on how to make a writer’s office pet-friendly would be an interesting topic for next year’s conference. In the meantime, I have found a way to curl up on the small sliver of hardwood so that only my fuzzy parts are on the (ugh) carpet, and my feet are on the hardwood. That is an okay way to be in Anty’s office with her, but I still want the carpet gone. We will work on that one.

Before I am allowed to talk about anything else, I need to talk about where you can read Anty’s writing on the interwebs this week, apart from here. First, as always, she was at Buried Under Romance this past Saturday, and will be there again tomorrow. Her most recent post asks readers to share what they think makes for a good series. That post can be found here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

grgoodseries

 

This week, Anty actually finished reading a book. That is progress. Her review of Untie My Heart, by Judith Ivory is here, and it looks like this:

 

GRuntiemyheart

There are sheep and horses in this book, but no cats.

In case you were wondering, finishing that book means that Anty is now only nine books behind in her Goodreads challenge. Still single digits, so go, Anty. If you are interested in following her challenge, it is here, and it currently looks like this:

GRreadingchallenge041417

We will see how she does in the coming week. Since she will spend part of today planning for next week, I hope she will put some reading time in there, so that she does not get to the end of the day and then find that she is too tired. That happens far too often for her liking, but I have my treat by then, so it does not affect me very much.

Thank you to those who asked if there was a Feline Friday last week. There was, but I made a mistake. I meant to schedule the post to go up on its regular Friday time, but it is very difficult to hit the schedule button on WordPress, when one has paws (special paws, at that) instead of hands, and I posted it on Thursday, by accident. If you did not see it, that is probably why, and I am very sorry. That post is here, and my picture on that post looks like this:

 

SkyeOMalleyCat040717

Me, from last week.

Okay, I think that is everything about that.  Time to move on to the meat of the post, which I hope is tuna. I really like tuna. Beef is also good, and I can appreciate turkey in gravy, but I do not get food with gravy very often. I do not think that is the kind of “meat” Anty means, which disappoints me. Did I mention that I really like tuna?

Now that Anty is back from the conference, she has some new perspective on writing and writing related things. First, she and Anty Melva need to get their material together for the two requests to see more of Chasing Prints Charming. When an editor or agent wants to see part (or all) of a manuscript at a pitch session, it is smart for the writer (or writers) to get that out as soon as possible, so that the editor or agent remembers who they are and what they liked about the book, because they will have seen many more writers and many  more books between the time they heard the pitch and the time they get that material. So, Anty and Anty Melva want to get a move on with that.

The other big thing for Anty is reconnecting with Her Last First Kiss. Since she and Anty Melva spent a lot of the conference talking about Chasing Prints Charming, and getting ready for the next book, which they will call Drama King, Anty needs to get her mind back in the eighteenth century so that she can get Hero and Heroine’s story all the way through the second draft. Right now, she is still working out how she is going to manage that balancing act. I do not think it can be easy to be a writer and a half (because Anty Melva is the other half of that partnership) but I am sure that Anty will find a way. Maybe reading more historical romance will help. I think that it might. I will do my duty as a mews and sit very, very close to Anty while she does, for extra inspiration.

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

skyebanner01skyebye

 

 

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Conference 2017 Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This week there is some degree of time travel going on with this blog. Because today is the first day of the conference, and Anty will be leaving the apartment very early so that she can meet Anty Melva in MA and then go to the conference together, and Anty has several writing things that need attention before then (also packing, because she, as of this writing, had not done that yet) this post is actually coming to you from…get ready for this…yesterday. Whoa. I know. I am not sure how Anty managed that, but anybody who can get a cat to blog for her, and manipulate time, has to be pretty smart.

First, as usual, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this week, and not as usual, she invited readers to play a game with her, instead of a regular post. Because there were some issues with the interwebs, not everybody got to see it or have a chance to play, but because Miss Ezrah is a warrior queen webmistress, now you can. It is here, and the link on the main page looks like this:

BURconferenceweek

Since this is conference week, I am going to give Anty some grace and not mention that she is now even behinder in the Goodreads reading challenge.  Okay, not how much behinder, but still. Anty. Read books. Between ouchy back and post-conference exhaustion, I think she may have some time to read when she gets back from the conference. I would give her partial credit for bingeing on the whole season of Thirteen Reasons Why, but that was the TV show, not the book, so it does not count. Anty, I love you, but you need to step up the reading game. Big time.

Sometimes, when Anty is watching TV, she is actually working. That happened this week, when she got to write a timeline of the Rick and Michonne romance in The Walking Dead. I like Rick and Michonne. She likes cat statues, so I think she would like real kitties, too. Rick got her a new cat statue when she did not have her old one anymore. Maybe he would also like real kitties. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHRichonne7

Anty likes writing this kind of timeline post, and that is a good thing, because, when she comes back from the conference, she gets to write another one, about humans on a different show. That is pretty exciting.  She also has the okay to write another post, about the books of an author she likes very, very much, and needs to finish reading one more book, so that she will have read all the books that author wrote under that name. :clears throat: Anty, do the right thing.

Well, writing has to come first, because Anty cannot sell or publish books that she has not written. That is kind of important. She has been up late at the computer the last few nights, and her back has some things to say about that, but the Beach Ball is bouncing its way to the finish line, which makes both Anty and Anty Melva very happy. Hopefully, it will make some lucky editor and/or agent very happy, as well.

With all the writing Anty has been doing, and Uncle learning, the hard way, that he was wrong about the expiration date on those sausages (he will be okay, do not worry.) things have been a little crazy around here. Landlord came by a couple of days ago, and replaced lightbulbs in almost all of the overhead fixtures. Guess which bulbs did not get replaced. If you guessed Anty’s office, you were right. Uncle and Mama both claim they did not know Anty needed new lightbulbs, but here is a clue: at nighttime, it is dark. This is okay for me, because I am a kitty, and I have built-in night vision goggles (they are pretty cool) but Anty has a bedside lamp on the desk of her hutch, which is okay for only the computer screen and desk surface, but those are not the only things Anty uses in her office. Landlord or Handyman will take care of that fixture when one of them comes over to put in the new kitchen light. I suspect Anty may want to clean things once those lights get installed. Maybe she will finally see how ugly the carpet is and want to get rid of it. A cat can dream.

Because it is conference week, Anty has something special for everybody who comes to her workshop, or is interested in blogging, but attending a different workshop (like Miss Alyssa’s) or cannot attend the conference. Miss Rhonda has made a PDF of the Power Point presentation they and Miss Corrina will use. Click on the link below, and it can be yours. You can even read it at home in your pajamas, if you are into that kind of thing.

BloggingIsntDeadHandout

That is about it for this week. If you are going to the conference, feel free to say hi to Anty when you see her. If you are reading this blog, then it is no big surprise that Anty loves to talk about writing and romance novels. Also notebooks and pens and tea and gummi bears and TV shows and makeup and um, yeah. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebanner01

skyebye

 

 

Fair Day, and Another Blog Begun

Right now, I have a deep, burning, urgent need to read Fair Day and Another Step Begun, and I Would Go Barefoot All Summer For You, two long-out-of-print YA novels by Katie Letcher Lyle. This is not want. This is need, like these books are a part of my writer self that I did not know were missing, until something, likely falling down a YA rabbit hole on Goodreads, jogged my memory. I’d read Fair Day when I was in junior high, and fell wildly in love with the exquisite use of language, how a story set in then-contemporary 1970s America could have the feel of a time and place long ago and faraway. I did not read Barefoot, and I think I may, at the time, have scoffed at the title, but that only means I was not ready for that book then. I am, now.

Both books have their roots in medieval ballads, Fair Day a direct contemporary (for 1970s) retelling of the centuries-old ballad, Child Waters. I don’t know how these books came back to my attention, but, right now, it hurts that I don’t have them, which is a clear signal that there is something in them that I need. Neither book is in the library system, though two nonfiction books on plants by the same author are. Not quite the same, so the search continues. Ebay or Amazon it is, unless I strike gold at the local UBS, which is probably a longshot, but still going to try.

My memories of Fair Day are hazy, but I remember, while reading that book in the second floor study hall (if I remember physically where I was at the time I read something, it’s a sure sign it has become part of my idea soup) how it felt both modern and ancient at the same time, in a sort of world set apart. I love that kind of thing. Give me a pop singer backed by a symphony orchestra, or modern music played as though it were from centuries before, and I am going to play it until somebody’s ears bleed. This is one reason why my family knows that it is a good idea to keep me well supplied with backup earbuds at all times. There is no such thing as playing a song on repeat too many times if it has something to say to my storybrain.

It’s the same with books. If there is something about a book that gives me that “Yes. That.” feeling, then I have to have it, hold it, touch it, smell it, stare at the covers, flip through the pages, until it becomes a part of me. Once it’s in, it doesn’t come out. Well, it does, as something from it will find its way into a story or character or idea, and it will be reproduced, but the original inspiration stays put, ready for me to draw from it again, as needed, in near or far future.

GRfairday

Why this/these book(s) now? I don’t know, but I have learned not to question it. Sure, the cover does have a vague sort of historical romancey feel, if one looks in the right light. I don’t remember if Ellen and her child’s father end up together, and I don’t want to know until I (re)read, so I don’t know if this a romance. I don’t want to know. The heroine in the foreground, the man on horseback in the distance, the dirt road between them, her long, loose hair, her oversized coat, the bare trees reaching to the cloudy sky, the lyrical title, the memory of how the school library was often my sanctuary when life got rough. I remember the bite of cold air on my skin. I remember falling down and getting  up and going onward, onward, onward, left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.

I did not read Barefoot, but, when I read “Toby Bright is coming,” said Aunt Rose, my storybrain quickened. Yes. That. Shut up and take my money. I need this book. Don’t need to know another thing about it, and, in fact, don’t want to know. Given that the heroine is thirteen, I don’t think this is a romance. I think it’s what those old-timey people in centuries past would call “calf love,” and I am fine with that.

Maybe I’m entering the magpie stage for whatever comes next, acquiring bricks for a house I have yet to design, much less build. As of this week, I am six chapters and change into the second draft of Her Last First Kiss, and there’s a new Melva chapter from the Beach Ball sitting in my in-box, which means I need to send her one back. There needs to be a What Next putting itself together on the back burner, because I am going to come to The End on both of these projects, and I do not want to blink into the abyss.

So, yes, medieval ballads. Check. Soak in the exquisite marriage of language and emotion until I am drunk on it. Check. Emotional afterglow that is still with me I’m not going to say how many decades later. Yes. This. This is what I want to take in. This is what I want to put out. Titles that feel like music. Lyrical prose. Characters who let me feel each beat of their heart as though it were my own. I want to read that. I want to write that.

For now, I can stare at the covers and pick apart the design elements, maybe mess around with paint and ink on paper of my own, to see what comes about, either to come up with something similar, or figure out how the original artist did it. Note what music feels the rightest while I do, and see what imaginary friends poke through the fog in the process. The journey of a thousand miles, they say, begins with a single step. Maybe this is one of those. Only one way to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Nails: Conference Countdown Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. There is a lot to talk about this week, so we’ll get Anty’s writing stuff out of the way. (Strictly speaking, it is all Anty’s writing stuff, but I mean the places you can read her or about her on the interweb this week.)

First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance last week, talking about cabin and road romances. You can find that post here, and the link on the main page looks like this:

BURcabinroad

Anty’s Goodreads challenge is here, and, this week, it looks like this.:

GR032417

As you can see, Anty has read fifteen out of ninety books, putting her five books behind schedule. Anty does not like being behind schedule, so she is working on that. It is not always easy, when she has things she needs to finish writing by certain times, and there is the conference coming in a little over two weeks. Today is the twenty-fourth of March, next week is the thirty-first, and the week after that, it is conference time. (That high pitched panicked sound you hear is Anty screaming and running in circles. Do not worry, though; she will get better.) Even so, she finished reading The Viscount Needs a Wife, by Jo Beverley. Her review of that is here, and it looks like this:

GRBeverley032417

There is one more thing regarding Anty on Goodreads this week, and that is very exciting. Anty SueAnn read one of Anty’s books, and she liked it very much, enough to give it a five star review. Five star reviews make writers very, very, very happy. That goes for all writers, not only Anty, so please leave reviews when you can, for any writer. Anty may or may not be considering recruiting Anty SueAnn to write blurbs for her in the future.That review is here, and it looks like this:

NTL5starSAP

Okay, I think that is it on where you can read Anty or about Anty this week. She has had some interesting comments, from other writers, including those on Anty’s keeper shelves,  to her Ramblings of a Temporal Vagabond posts, which are here and here. Anty is probably (okay, definitely) not done talking about different eras in historical romance, and why broadening that playing field is a good thing, especially because the conference is coming, and she will have more to say after talking to other writers. She hopes that includes Alyssa Cole, who will be co-presenting the workshop Anty cannot attend because she will be co-presenting “Blogging Isn’t Dead” at exactly the same time, but in a different room. If you go to Anty’s workshop, and she says she needs to use the people litterbox, she is really trying to sneak into Miss Alyssa’s workshop, and you should block the doorway so she cannot leave. Until the workshop is over. After that, it is illegal to restrict her movements, so please do not try once the workshop is concluded. Distracting her with stationery or gummi bears would probably work, too.

Anty, Miss Rhonda,. and Miss Corinna have been talking a lot on email, so that they will be ready to give the best workshop they possibly can. I am very happy to confirm that one of the slides does, in fact, include me. I also saw the word, “pets,” on another slide, so I think they have their priorities straight. That will still not make me happy about Anty and my Mama going away overnight (Uncle will stay home with me, although he has to go out and hunt -humans call it “work”- for part of the evening, but he will come home smelling like cheese, so I can look forward to that) but at least I know that the importance of cats in the blogosphere will be represented.

Anty has several things to do to get ready for the conference. She has to get her pitch together for her pitch appointment, for one thing. For the last couple of years, she has not had a pitch session, but this year, she does. She feels a little rusty, but she is also excited because she loves pitching. It is the writer version of auditioning, which was one of her favorite parts of her theater experiences in college. She will have eight minutes with a publishing human, who is paying attention only to her, and already loves the kinds of books Anty loves to write, and wants to buy new ones. Well. Anty may be able to help her out on that one. We will see.

There are other things Anty needs to do before she can head off to the conference, and they are also important. Since the conference is not providing breakfast, Anty’s favorite meal, she needs to find where she is going to find that, and find out who is going to have it with her. If you are reading this and you are going, you are invited.

Anty also has to figure out what she is going to wear to the conference. Most likely, it will be black, because that is her favorite color, and she has a lot of black things already. I am not too concerned with the color. I am a tabby cat, which means my fur is stripey, and, with my creamy undercoat, I can shed on pretty much anything and have my fur show to best advantage. It is a gift. My humans never have to worry about other humans (or pets) knowing they have me, because my fur will be right there.

Because it is this close to conference time, and Anty has more than one thing that has to be written by a certain time, it is also the time of year when Anty loses track of what day it is in the really real world, despite her calendars (yes, plural.) Earlier this week, she had to ask a friend if she was at a place on the right day, because she had forgotten there would be food there, and there was food there, so maybe it was the wrong day? Her friend has people kittens, so she understands losing track of things like this when one’s brain is taken by other matters. As it turns out, Anty was there on the right day, but things like this are going to happen until things are all the way written and the conference is done.

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

skyebanner01

skyebye

 

Rumblings of a Temporal Vagabond, part one

Okay. Deep breath. This is one of those days where I stare down the packed to-do list and charge. This past weekend, I came across a post by Isobel Carr, on Risky Regencies, called “Some Possibly Unpopular Thoughts.” My ears immediately pricked. Might this post be referencing the other post, on Smart Bitches, Trashy books? Oh, yes, it did. Oh, good. After a week stuck in the house with my beloved family, a stomach bug, and back pain, I needed something to latch all my frayed nerves onto, and this has been a bee in my bonnet for some time, so here we go.

I don’t get why, with historical romance, if we’re defining it as “anything before living memory,” which, for the sake of argument, let’s say predates WWII, it can seem a Herculean effort to sell a book set outside of one particular era, in one particular locale: Regency England. Strictly technically speaking, we’re talking 1811-1820, when King George III was unfit to rule, and his son, who would eventually be known as King George IV, ruled in his stead, as Prince Regent. Regency = during the rule of a regent. Easy enough. More broadly, the term, “Regency Era,” can apply to 1795-1837, ending with the ascencion of Queen Victoria, for more of a zeitgeist approach. For the smaller definition, we are talking a span of nine years. For the larger, forty-two years. Bit more breathing room there, even room for a generation or two to pass. All well and good there, but for those of us who write (and read) stories set outside of this era, it can be rough going at times, and yeah, my dander is up on this one right now.

There’s art and there’s commerce. There’s the book of the heart and there’s the book that sells. Right now, Regency is what’s selling. Especially Regency with Dukes. I get the desire for some fantasy in historical romance (not the elves and faeries sort) but there are also the times when my blood carbonates with the need to poke at whether it is that specific historical period and that specific rank of the peerage that seems to have a stranglehold on the market at the moment (and for more than a few preceding moments.) All the why, why, whys mosh around my brainpan, because that’s what I don’t get.

Before my life took a hard turn into caregiving, and a huge shift in the family structure, I had four historical romances published. My Outcast Heart was set in 1720 New York, with a subsistence farmer heroine and a hermit hero. Never Too Late was set in 1900 England and Italy, the heroine fifty years old when she set out to reclaim the love of a lifetime. Queen of the Ocean, set in sixteenth century Cornwall, and had a Spanish hero. Orphans in the Storm was my English Civil War novel, set on the Isle of Man, and the English Court in Exile, in the Netherlands. (Hey, I had royalty in that one. Impoverished, exiled royalty, but royalty. It’s okay. The monarchy got better.) Those were all settings I loved, that came organically with the stories that I wanted to tell, the ones that were real and alive in my head. I still love them all to this day, and those years when writing was all but (and sometimes outright) impossible didn’t change my love for a variety of historical settings . Call me a temporal vagabond.

When the writing came back, and maybe even before, that had not changed. I had to set aside a time travel I dearly loved, and needed to start something new, something smaller in scope, something I knew I could get from point A to point B. Aha. Road story. I could do one of those. Then I read the then-newest issue of the dearly departed RT Book Reviews, which had two articles, one on medieval romances, and one on post-apocalyptic romances, and my writerbrain perked. Aha! Post-apocalyptic medieval! Yes! I can do that! What would seem like an apocalypse for the medieval world? Black Plague? That, I could do, so that’s what I did.

I wrote the story of a disillusioned knight errant and a woman who refused to believe the end of the world was, well, the end of the world, who offered him the one thing he couldn’t refuse (apple seeds; it works in context.) They meet early on, they’re together the whole darned time, and I literally cried when I had to say goodbye to them at the end. Then I tried to sell it. The last agent I pitched to said she loved my voice, quoted some of my own passages back to me, and said she would totally read this story for pleasure, but was not going to ask for the full, because she could not sell a medieval. Cue sad trombone slide.

This agent advised me that my options were to trunk the story for now and hold onto it until the market changes, and medieval come back into fashion, or self/indie publish. She asked what else I had, and I mentioned I was writing a Regency. Great. Send her that when it was finished. Seriously. No question about plot or characters; just send it. I wish I could say that buoyed my spirits, I ran home, finished it, sent it in, and here’s the cover reveal, but that’s not what happened.

What happened was that characters and a story I loved turned into torture, frustration, sobbing to Critique Partner Vicki, who finally smacked me upside the head with a bat’leth of four words: “you hate writing Regency.” But it had to be Regency! That’s what sells! She didn’t budge. I didn’t have Regency in me. Set the story aside, along with the time travel, until the bad juju burns off, set it in another era, and try again.

Her Last First Kiss came complete with its setting, and, when Melva and I needed a historical period for the book within a book for the Beach Ball, I suggested Georgian, because hey, I was there already, and I knew I’d be doing a lot of the historical heavy lifting on this one. Both times, the setting was organic, not even a question. I/we didn’t pick; they picked us.

Done with blog time for today, not done with the topic, so calling this part one. See you Wednesday; let’s chat in the comments. :jaunty wave:

Typing With Wet Claws: Digging Out Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Today, you get a greatest hits picture of me (but with a new frame) because Anty does not feel like getting on the floor to get a good new picture. As some of you know, we live in New York, which got a lot of snow this week. I mean a lot. Like three mes high. Even for someone like Anty, who loves snow, that is more than a bit much. She has an ouchy back from all that shoveling, to clear our sidewalk and help get Mama’s car out of the way when it was on the wrong side of the street. Mama thanked Anty by sharing her stomach bug, which does not look at all fun. Good thing she has me to take care of her.

Before I can talk about anything else, I have to talk about Anty’s writing, and, this week, there are a few things to cover, so let’s get to it. First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, where she talked about spring fancies. I will give you a hint; she does not mean only thing one likes in spring, but things that one likes in any romance novel. That post is here and it looks like this:

BURo4o317

Anty did do some reading this week, and even managed to write a review, of Judith Ivory’s Beast. You can read that review here, and her reading challenge page now looks like this:

 

GR170317

This week, I am also able to share where people have been talking about Anty, which is very exciting. First, Anty SueAnn read one of Anty’s books, Never Too Late, which looks like this:

NeverTooLate

and liked it very much, so she did a very nice thing and wrote a review, which is here. Anty SueAnn is pretty good at this kind of thing, which is no surprise, because she is a writer, too.

The big thing that made Anty very happy this week was from the NECRWA conference, where Anty will be co-presenting “Blogging Isn’t Dead: How To Write Non-Fiction That Can Help Your Career.” It is only a couple of weeks away, now, which means it is very, very close. Imagine Anty’s surprise when she saw an ad for the conference early this week, and it was all about her. That has never happened before. Maybe that is because Anty has never spoken (as in officially; she talks a lot, all the time) at a conference before. That picture is on Facebook here, and it looks like this:

NECRWAAnnaBowling

Okay, I think that is everything about where Anty is on the web this week (besides here, that is.) Now I can talk about other things, like the storm. Even though Anty loves snow, this was too much. The night of the big snow, I wanted to be near Anty, but she has that carpet that I hate, so I sat right outside her door and we had a conversation pretty much all night, that went like this:

Me: :Chirple:

Anty: I love you, baby.

Me: :Chirple:

Anty: I know, you don’t like the wind.

Me: :Chirple:

Anty:  I know, big storms are scary for little kitties.

And so on. Anty says I would be closest to her if I would let her pick me up, but I do not like to be picked up. I was born wild, so I missed that whole cuddling class most kittens who are born pets get, so they know cuddling is a good thing. I prefer to be near. Sometimes, really near. If Anty sits on the stool (or really, any of my humans) in the kitchen, I will sneak up and sit on her feet. Usually she does not notice me, so it is a big surprise for both of us when she moves, and a stripey ball of fuzz (that would be me) races out of the room. Then I come right back, because I like to be near her. That is what a good mews does.

Right now, Anty’s back is happiest when she is lying down, so that means I will be near her recliner or her bed today. I am sure she will feel better very soon, but she does not like this “rest” thing. It feels like wasting time, when she would rather be writing. Maybe she can use some of her time to get current on that reading challenge. I think that would be productive, and she can do it from recliner or bed. Either way, I will be there for her, sending out love beams, and, if she feels like feeding a kitty, I will make that easy for her, because I am one, and I am right there.

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

skyebanner01skyebye

 

 

Perspective

Yesterday, it snowed. A lot. I don’t have any numbers to track the exact measurements, but this is what the view from my stoop looked like around four in the afternoon:

snowydayinalbany

Today, I am stuffing a ten pound cat into a two pound bag, timewise. Sunday afternoons are often used for errands that couldn’t get done when there were other engagements on Saturday, which is the case this week, since I had my CRRWA meeting. No regrets on that one, as I got to see friends, meet new people, and learn how to use social media more effectively (you are forewarned.) I also love snow, and no, I did not at all mind shoveling in front of our house, because that’s the grownup version of playing in the snow. It did, however, also mean that the emergency load of laundry I had planned on doing Sunday turned into the two emergency loads I’m doing today, which collide with the hunker down and whip chapter four into shape session I had originally planned for today. Something is going to feel the bite, because I have not yet figured out how to stop or expand time, and if that ends up being writing work, that, as well as the weather, may affect my plans for tomorrow morning.

That would not make me happy, as I love my Tuesday morning critique sessions, especially since we set a time limit on chitchat so that we can get down to the business of getting these books done. Life happens, however, and there are times when the sane thing to do is go to Plan B. Move the critique session to another morning, so we can have time to give our work some actual brain, instead of keeping one eye on the clock, which is prone to attracting Hypercritical Gremlins (mine have been largely silent lately, so I do not want to show up on their radar.) Postponing could also give me the chance to get some sleep (did not last night) because sleep is also essential for braining. Right now, I don’t know.

What I do know is that the time between laundromat trips is for getting this blog written and posted, for charging my phone, because I’m going to need it, and for getting all the handwritten notes for various projects in one place, so that they will be there when I get back from Laundromat 2.0. Right now, I feel crowded and overwhelmed, which I have lately learned is a signal that I need to step back,. reassess and then prioritize. Since lack of laundry would mean naked family, and this is winter in northern NY, nakedness is not a highly desirable option. Since lack of writing would mean lack of new book, that is not a highly desirable option, either.

Laundromat waiting time is good for reading (works toward my goal of reading more historical romance novels) and making notes in longhand (works toward progress on writing projects) so it is possible to do something while laundry is doing its thing. This is not the day I had hoped to have, but it is not the end of the world, either. I can do something. Maybe not everything, but something.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody ever spat out a four hundred page piece of popular fiction, that was both critically acclaimed and a fan favorite, plus provided the writer with a living wage, over the course of one morning, with no effort whatsoever, so that is not a realistic expectation. What is realistic is taking stock of what I’ve got on a particular day and doing what I can with it, to the best of my ability. Today, that means get this blog entry up, do laundry load #2, come back, work on as much of chapter four as I can, and, if it’s going to make me miserable and cranky and snappy and anxious, I have the option of giving myself, and my critique partner, more time.

On the one hand, posts like these are not always the kind I intend to write. On the other, sometimes, they happen. This is one of those. When I first moved Typing With Wet Nails to this new platform, it was with the intention of talking through the whole process, good, bad and ugly. Today, I feel rushed and crowded. Saturday, an idea pounced me before I could head off to my CRRWA meeting, so I scribbled down the bare bones. Later that night, I scribbled down a bit of muscle and connective tissue. At some other point, I will put those together in a file and very likely start a future ideas notebook, but, for now, my focus has to remain on what’s currently on my plate; Her Last First Kiss, the Beach Ball, and blog posts, here and elsewhere. Those are the essentials, even on double laundromat days.

Typing With Wet Claws: Cinematic Appreciation Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Yesterday, we had a lot of snow. I mean, a lot. One of Anty’s friends said he had fourteen inches at his house. Another friend said she had eighteen inches where she was, and that, at that time, the snow was not done snowing. It is done snowing for now, but we may get more tonight (or maybe some rain) and then more again on Sunday. I guess it really is winter now. Good thing I am a Maine Coon cat, descended from Norwegian Forest Cats, who were built for this kind of weather. Also, good that I live indoors, in an apartment with walls and a ceiling and heaters in every room, with humans who feed me every day, and care that I am happy. I even have my own blog. How many cats can say that? Only the ones with blogs, I would imagine.

But enough about me (just kidding, there can never be enough about me) before I can talk about anything else, I have to talk about Anty’s writing, because that is the price I pay…um, I mean the privilege I enjoy. Yes. That is what I meant. As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this past week, talking about those times when a reader considers bailing out of an ongoing series. Anty had that thought herself this week, because she read a book where Very Bad Things happen to kitties (she would not tell me what they were, and I am not going to ask) and she almost stopped reading that author because of it. She is not going to say it here, because everybody’s reading experience is different, and she understands why that author put those things in the book, so the post talks about the principle of such reading dilemmas. It is  here, and it looks like this:

burdoserieshaveofframps

Next, Anty read another book after that one, to make her not think about how the Very Bad Things made her feel, and she liked that book very much. That one is Duke of Pleasure, by Elizabeth Hoyt, and she wrote about it on Goodreads. That review is here, and it looks like this:

grdukeofpleasurereview

For those of you who are keeping track of these sorts of things, Anty is on track for her goal of reading 90 books in 2017, and she has another goal, to help her read more historical romances this year. That is the Historical Romance Reading Challenge, at the I Heart Romance & YA blog. That challenge is here, if you are interested in participating, and the badge, which Anty will figure out how to put where it can be seen all the time later, looks like this :

hr-challenge-2016-badge

Anty is going for Queen level, which means she needs to read at least fifty historical romance novels this year, including one from each of the following categories (note: romances with cats is not one of the categories, which I find misleading, because it has “cat” right there in the name, but whatever) : medieval, Regency, Victorian, western, pirate, historical romance with a diverse main character, and time travel. Anty has read nine historical romances so far, and can already cross off Regency, Victorian, western, and historical romance with a diverse main character. Anty is already thinking of making her own challenge next year, with more challenging categories. She would add more historical periods, and maybe some plot elements or character types. I will be updating everyone at least once a month on how Anty is doing on this challenge.

We are still in negotiations as to how much I am allowed to share about Anty’s works in progress, so more on that later, but since we have hit the me portion of this entry,. I will go right to that. This week, Anty did something amazing. She found some movies on YouTube, that are made especially for kitties. it is about time. My favorite, so far, is called Koi in Their Winter Tank. It is full of action, which I like, because I am a sight girl. It also has some mystery to it; where does the orange fishie go when he swims off the screen? I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong (do not worry, I was, too) he is not behind the computer. I checked. If the movie is on a tablet or phone on the floor, he is not next to it, either. I checked that, too. Must be some amazing special effects. It is here, and it looks like this (screenshot, because Anty is making wrap-it-up noises and I will learn how to embed video later):

koiintheirwintertank.png

 

This  movie is great. I shift my paws and boop the screen with my face e every time I see it. Anty has shown me other movies, but I like this one the best. She has shown me movies of other animals, like birds and mice (there were real  mice in my old apartment, and they were not pets. I will allow you to fill in the details on that one)   Those movies had sound, though, and I prefer the silent films. When there is sound, I get too confused, looking for the animal that is making the sounds, and do not watch the screen. Maybe if Anty can make the mouse and bird movies silent, then I might watch those, too. Anty says that, later, she will show me movies with kitties in them, and see how I like those. I liked kitty halftime at last year’s Puppy Bowl, so Anty thinks I might like movies of kitties, too. It is always affirming to see people like oneself in movies. Representation is important.

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

skyebye

 

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling
(the kitty, not the book)

 

Declaring My Major

Later start on the blog than I had expected today,  but that’s fine. I wrote two pages of a scene for Girl and Guy, from the Beach Ball, while at the laundromat, did some recon for an upcoming feature at Heroes and Heartbreakers (oh, the odious task of looking for outstanding declarations of love) and took a picture for the original concept of this post, which was going to be about my inability to resist pretty paper. Yes, the paper on which I write does have to be pretty, thankyouverymuch, and I am particular about it. Nothing wrong with having the right tools for the job. That almost works as a transition to the thought that hit me part way through my process of winding down yesterday evening.

We’ll skip the particulars of said winding down, as it happened in a room where the furniture is made of porcelain, but there I was, thinking of something entirely unrelated, and then the thought hit me: I’m focusing on the eighteenth century now. This should not have been a surprise. I wrote about that exact thing the day before yesterday. I jabbered about it at lunch with my BFF. I may or may not have sent thought waves out into the ether, because that seems to be a step in my process (much like my need to circle a scene and smash my head against a brick wall or two until I bust through) but it wasn’t until last night that it sank in that I am declaring a major here.

Back in another life, I majored in early childhood education. The most important thing I learned by studying that discipline is that I am not suited for early childhood education. If I ever master time travel and end up as a seventeen-year-old college freshman again (though, seriously, if I ever master time travel, my own seventeenth year is not where I would be going) I would strongly counsel seventeen-year-old me to go with her gut and major in drama, like I originally wanted to do. Declaring a major means deciding where the majority of  my time and mental energy is going to be allocated. That decides what I study, how much I study it, and what things have to get moved to the side to give my main area of focus some breathing room.

For a writer, that means we are now in the realm of branding. As an advertising executive’s kid, I learned, from an early age, that how a thing is presented has an effect on how that thing is perceived. Writers need to let readers know what kind of story they can expect when they pick up one of our books. What kind of story are we going to tell them? In what kind of world is this story going to take place? For historical romance readers, in what era do these stories happen, and how much is the history going to affect the romance? All important questions, and all part of building a brand.

I am still a temporal nomad at heart (can we call this interdisciplinary studies?)  I love a lot of periods. I have a rough draft of a Golden Age of Piracy romance, which may need to be two books (because I didn’t count on falling in love with my heroine’s parents in that one, and kind of want to play with them for a while) and a post-apocalyptic medieval romance (the Black Plague counts as an apocalypse – fifty percent of Europe taken out in a twenty year span? Totally counts.) and they will get written. I still want to write more seventeenth century, and I will. That dewy-eyed twenty-three-year-old hasn’t given up on the Tudor era, either, and I want to write in the Edwardian era again, but moving forward with a career plan means figuring out what kinds of stories I want to tell for the foreseeable future, and, last night, my brain told me what that was.

This is a good thing. Picking a major means focus. It means that eighteenth century romances get precedence on my TBR shelves. Not that I can’t read books set in other eras (hello, temporal nomad here :waves:) and a good story can be set anywhere, but, right now, seeing how others who have gone before me do what I am doing now becomes extra important. It’s picking a direction in which to travel, especially now that, with two WIPs viable to term, I’m looking at what comes next. I know the time in which these new stories will be set, so that settles that issue, an important one to writers who do love a wide array of settings. Back in another life, it was common for a historical romance author to write one medieval romance, then the next book might be a western, then a pirate story, then Gilded Age New York, then an Elizabethan, then Australian, then American Civil War, then…well, who knows? I would love for that sort of thing to come around again, and I hope that it does, but, for right now, picking a major and going for it is the smart move.