Typing With Stuffed Paws: Midsummer Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff for the week that was. If you read Writer Chick’s posts, and not only mine, then you may have learned that the answer to the burning question, “Will Chasing Prince Charming come out in print?” is “yes.” Preorder for the print edition is not yet up, but Amazon US is showing the “show other editions” or whatever tag, so that may be coming soon. Watch this space for updates.

Since we are in high summer over here, and still fighting the battle of the bugs (Writer Chick sometimes mumbles something about putting the bugs on the lease, giving them the keys, and heading out to start a new life. She would of course bring me, so I am fine either way.)

Bit of a technical difficulty here, with the site crashing and eating a bunch of this post, but that is not my problem, so I’ll pick up where I was going to pick up anyway. As usual, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance this past Saturday, and this time, she talked about the particular subgenre of Americana romance. I have no idea what that is, but she probably covers it in the post.

Moving on to Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge for this year, we see that she is a freaking reading machine, now eight books ahead of schedule. That is fifty-eight books read already, out of her goal of ninety-five. That is sixty-one percent of the way to the finish line, and we are only fifty percent of the way through the year. She is looking to beef up her historical romance numbers, so if you know of any Writer Chick-flavored historical romance audiobooks, drop recommendations in the comments. Audiobooks are a huge part of the surge in Writer Chick’s reading stats, because she can experience a whole story while doing other things, which she considers pretty cool.

Camp NaNo ho!


Writer Chick is clipping right along (ship joke, for those who caught it) with Plunder, with about thirty-five pages written out of a goal of fifty. This is not the whole story, of course, but it’s a good start on the discovery phase, and she will most definitely keep going after Camp NaNo is over. She is kind of antsy (bug humor unintended, but we’ll keep it) about not being able to update every day, which is one of her big concerns about the regular NaNo, as well as having to count words instead of pages. This way, she does get antsy, but it’s not anxiety-provoking, so she’s going to still call that good. The characters are talking to her and letting her follow them around, and that’s what matters most., so Writer Chick is happy about that.

Besides all of the above, work continues on Drama King, and Her Last First Kiss, so, all in all, fleas aside, Writer Chick is going to call this week a good one. As for me, I got plenty of sunbeam, so I’m good, and isn’t that what’s really important here?

Peace out,

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One Book July Prep

Monday’s post on Wednesday again, which, this week, I blame on the summerness of this summer. We are now less than one week from the start of July that means, among other things, Canada Day, the Fourth of July/Independence Day, Camp NaNoWriMo, One Book July, and, this year, the last month before the release of Chasing Prince Charming, my first book with Melva Michaelian. and, for the first time in a while, I am actually excited about July.

August 12th: save the date

Right now, Melva and I are working on some exciting promo stuff, forging solidly into the second half of Drama King, as well as working on our own individual projects. For me, that means dipping my toes back into historical romance waters as I give Camp NaNo a go, which is the first time in a very long time that I thought about a historical romance being a series starter, right from the outset.

a-camping I will go…

That is not, of course a real cover, but stock photos and Pixlr Express get it close enough for me to have something to stick in front of my eyeballs for the month of July, as I fly (or sail?) into the midst and figure out what the deal is with Cornelis and Lydia, and how they got to be the parents who stole the show during my first attempt to write their daughter’s story. This may involve Dutch history, the English Civil War, younger versions of a lot of familiar faces from that story I originally started, and very possibly taking a look at the seventeenth century world as a whole, because pirates and their hangers-on come from literally everywhere.

I’m also researching a few small publishers that look like they might be a good fit for my brand of historical romance, and this research is both time consuming and fun. I am querying A Heart Most Errant, after a while away, and thinking of what the next step might be in that parade. All of this might put an idea in the head of a notebook-minded person, such as myself, that more planners are required, to keep track of all the various pursuits, but it also comes at the time of One Book July, which has no formal rules, but is basically about getting through the month with a single planner that does it all.

one book to rule them all?

I am cheating on this somewhat, as I have one planner (Webster’s Pages traveler’s notebook, standard size inserts) and one sidekick (also Webster’s Pages, pocket size, pocket size and passport size inserts) but no rules, can’t cheat, right? I do have separate books for the actual writing, but for the planning, it’s all in here. The standard size book feels slim, and the pocket size is a chonkster, and I am surprised at how much I like, and how much I use, both.

These planners came together through intuition. My favorite colors: black, white, blush pink, deep wine, rose gold when metallic are called for, trying my hand at things like acetate and vellum, and using printables purchased from online designers, then carrying around said inserts, blank, until the natural use for them presents itself. Is this kind of thing going to improve my writing? Streamline the process? Get me to produce more in shorter amounts of time? I have no idea, but I hope so, and, worst case scenario, it’s pretty, and I am looking forward to July, rather than dreading the month of humidity.

I am glad that one book July refers to the number of planners in play, rather than the amount of books I could read (or listen to) or even write, market, or plan, because that kind of thing, no sir, no ma’am, not going to happen. I know myself enough for that.

Rage Quit Your Nightmare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of which, the pages are calling.

Confessions of a Galley Slave (the writing kind)

Melva and I are, as of yesterday, officially galley slaves. The galleys for Chasing Prince Charming have landed in our in-boxes, which means the journey from “beach ball” (our code name for the initial stage of this venture) to “actual book” is nearing the home stretch.

This is both exciting and scary. This morning, I opened the file, to have my first look and there they were, our names, our title, our copyrights. This is real. This is happening. There’s the credit for the cover art. We have not yet seen the cover art, but it appears we got our first choice of The Wild Rose Press’ cover artists (and was that ever a hard choice to make) and there are ISBN numbers and everything. There’s the pressure of knowing this is our last, last, last chance to make any changes, spot any errors, because, after this, it is all set in stone. That’s the scary part. What if we miss something big? What if the whole editorial team misses something big? (Not thinking that’s very possible, honestly) What if it actually stinks, and everybody hates us?

Yeah, not thinking that last one is very possible, either. That’s where the exciting part comes into play. On the one hand, we have to go through the whole thing, checking for extra spaces, wandering commas, changing eye colors (I think I found one of those, actually) and other such occupational hazards of the writing life, but on the other hand, we get to read Our Book as an actual book. This is what it’s going to look like when readers who don’t know us in real life, who pick the book up because they want to read Meg and Dominic’s story, are going to see it.

The thought of people out there in the world, willingly exchanging actual monies for what began as two hungry writers waiting for breakfast (truly though, I am sure that applies to many jointly written novels) is enough to make one (or two, in this case) giddy. Nevertheless, we had a special Skype session, to plan out how we’re going to tackle the work, so that we can get it in quickly and accurately. This is actually one of my favorite parts of the process, because it does mean that we are almost at the finish line. I told Melva that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we go through this more quickly than we expect, and she agreed that we probably will.

Though we called the meeting to talk about galley edits, that was pretty straightforward, and so conversation soon turned to Drama King, and Queen of Hearts, which will come after that. We spoke, even, of an as yet untitled other project, with as yet unnamed characters, but somebody (probably the heroine) is going to be a professional organizer (which of course begs that her counterpart be if not a professional mess, close to it.) We batted around a few ideas, including a flash of a scene I’d had. Melva told me she thought she knew how it was going to go, but wanted me to say it anyway. That, of course, was exactly what she had thought, and we can’t wait to get started on that book, as well.

Melva did chide me for being two books ahead, but I reminded her that I’m waiting on delivery of a special binder that will hold only papers pertaining to our jointly written novels. There will be a Chasing Prince Charming section, a section for Drama King, one for Queen of Hearts, and then one for future projects. (Update: binder has arrived, and she is gorgeous, and I will post “baby” pictures once I have her set up with papers and such.) It doesn’t seem at all unusual or scary to think of writing future books with Melva. On the contrary, it feels very natural, and gives me an excuse to natter on Skype with a longtime friend, make up stories that never would have occurred to me, alone, in a million years, and honestly say that I am working. I consider that a pretty sweet deal.

Sp. where does this leave me on the historical romance front? Honestly? More in love with it than ever. I consider that a side effect of the year of “yes, and…” Back when I was a baby reader (and baby writer) I often felt that a historical writer also writing contemporary was a betrayal of sorts. Now, I don’t think that way. If a writer no longer wants to write historical, for any of number of reasons, and contemporary gives them joy, I say go for it. Follow the bliss. For me, that bliss takes me to a place where I want to write all of the books. Know what? I might, at that.

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Anything That Doesn’t Look Like An Umbrella Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling coming at you, with some of the stuff of the week that was, with special guest, Writer Chick. Why is Writer Chick here on Friday? Easy. She went to what Skye’s notes refer to as the people vet, and there was apparently medicine involved and she forgot what day was what day, and here we are. Anyway, what that means is that she did most of my work for me, so I will drop her link to last week’s Buried Under Romance here, and hand it on over.

Read it here.

Writer Chick also read this book, and will be reading these:

Current library TBR

I will pause (or paws) here for some fur-sonal maintenance, while Writer Chick has her say. Here’s the picture she had as her header:

The header that would have been….

Interior, coffee shop, day.

Two women, A and N, sit in a booth, with hot beverages and various art materials. Both hold pencils in hand, blank pages in front of them. A traces around the base of a plastic to-go lid, then sections the circle into pie-like sections.

N: (peers at A’s page) Is that your umbrella?

A: Hopefully.

N: Do you know how to draw an umbrella?

A: (deadpan) Yes. Erase everything that doesn’t look like an umbrella. :flips the lid, to add small arches to the inner edges of the circle, then erases parts of outer circle that do not look like an umbrella:

Annnd scene. :curtsies:

This scene, as you may have guessed, comes, as the best dramas do, from real life. Real life, in this case, meaning my real life, and my weekly breakfast with N. This week, it was an artist’s date (artists’ date, as there were two of us?) N brought the wrong paper, so ended up doing her sketch on regular notebook paper (spoiler: it looked fabulous anyway, and I want real versions of the dresses she sketched, please and thank you.

I, as promised, brought my new water=soluble crayons and watercolor paper, along with a pack of baby wipes (for the smushing around of colors) and mechanical pencil (for the drawing of things,) metal ruler (for the drawing of straight things) and fancy eraser (for erasing of drawn things that are in the wrong place.) The umbrella thing was a passing mention. IT’s for the cover image of my April monthly planner section, so, really, all I needed to do was sketch, and N wanted to see how the water-soluble crayons worked, and the background kind of happened on its own. The black blob in the corner was supposed to be another umbrella, but that didn’t work out so well, so now it’s…a shadow? Ominous cloud? Artistic license? Yeah, I’ll go with that.

We both drew, as we talked about writing, and both put some color on the pages. N had woodless colored pencils. These are new to me, and I am guessing they are colored pencil guts without the usual casing. I paid attention to the way she held the pencils (she is an artist of some years’ standing) and how she lay down the color, while I scribbled and glopped crayon onto my paper, then attacked it with baby wipes, turning aimless scribbles into soft washes that built on each other. We talked about stories we’d both like to write, vague terms for me, more specific ones for her, and the domestic tornadoes whirring through both our families, thankfully at lower levels.

When Mr. N came to retrieve us, he asked, as he always does, if we had a good meeting. N, as she always does, said that we did. She waxed (pun intended) rhapsodic about the crayons, and the store at which they might be purchased. Mr. N is, himself, an artist, so this is relevant to his interests as well. In time, they dropped me home. I touched base with Real Life Romance Hero, then dug out marker paper, to try the same design on another surface. Yep. Still works.

N did suggest that I could tilt the umbrella, to show it from an angle instead of straight on, and I may try that, later, but, for today, I am content to say that yes, I do know how to draw an umbrella. At least this umbrella, and that’s all I really need to know. Okay, except for the size of the monthly divider, but I can tackle that one another day.

TL:DR: Yes, I can draw an umbrella. Yes, this applies to writing. Yes, I am being purposely vague because I have to be out the door in five minutes. I have a picture of an umbrella, though, even with color, and a mood, from a certain perspective, and I am confident that I can draw it again. I can also write books. This is very useful, because I am a writer. Tell the story and don’t worry about all the fiddly other stuff.

Yeah, so that’s about it. I will direct Writer Chick back to one of her multiple calendars, and, hopefully, things will be back on track next week.


Peace Out,

February Planner Post: Part One

Normally, I would say that Monday’s post on Tuesday was the result of some domestic tornado, but, this time, it was a planner. (Note: this is not a sponsored post. I babble because I love, that’s all.) Sunday night’s weekly Michaels stroll led to the discovery of possibly the most Anna-est personal size planner I have seen to date, on serious clearance. Meet Magnolia Jane, from Heidi Swapp (I think the planner is discontinued, but look at those gorgeous other things in the line) I tried to reason myself out of it, as I already have my Webster’s Pages planner, which was also on serious serious clearance, but I have come to recognize this as The Sign. Planners find me. I don’t fight it anymore.

Needless to say, a bunch of Monday was spent putting this beauty together, moving into her (yes, my planners have genders) and us getting to know each other. Mostly. I still have no idea what I want to do with this page, that starts off every month:

Suggestions always welcome…



The black washi tape is my addition, but, from top, left, we have a blank section, a dot grid section, and bottom left, gridded section, then the stripey section. Right now, I got nothing, but Housemate, who was actually the one to find this beauty, said it looked like my historical romances, and I have to say she is not wrong. So, home it came, and it is now my writing planner. The white Webster’s Pages is now for household use.

Bare bones, again

The washi tape is my addition (also another serous bargain; it’s from the three rolls for a dollar bin at Michaels) and I do want to find some prettier way of marking off the days than bare X marks. Possibly a good place to track progress on various projects, once I figure out a decent legend for that. I’ve found these things work best when I let them happen organically. Carry it around naked (the page, not me; it is winter in NY. I will be wearing many, many clothes) for a while and then, bloop, I’ll know what belongs where.

weekly planning spread

This section, I have mostly figured out. I clicked with this sort of weekly layout in my Dylusions agenda (repurposing as an art journal, now) but wanted some better use for the extra space, as I tend to write vertically. These are better suited to how I work, with half blank, and half gridded sections on each day.

This planner is only for writing tasks/habits, so the weekend, which is not a workweek (not to say that I won’t write on a weekend, and my CRRWA meetings are always on Saturdays) gets blocked off. I’m still figuring out what I want to use to record the daily tasks for the rest of the week. Right now, scrap paper “stickers” are fitting the bill, and the circular sticky notes are for writing related dates/appointments. Both the white circles and pink flags came with the planner kit.

UniBall Signo pens, Recollections pouch 

For this planner, I will be using the Uni Ball Signo pens in blackened colors. Very, very dark versions of red, brown, violet, blue, and green, make my heart happy. The outside pocket of the pen pouch has white, gold, and rose-gold pens, for writing on dark backgrounds, so I am set to go on that part. I have not yet figured out the highlighter situation, but probably will use Zebra Mildliners. in curated colors.

This does not by any means imply that I have the whole thing figured out, or that having certain planners or pens or ephemera will magically make me a better writer (cool if that would happen, but that’s not how it works.) For some, a plain ballpoint pen and blank white paper would work much better, and, for them, I say an enthusiastic “go for it!”

What does make me a better writer (yes, of course, writing; I’m getting to that) is that, since I’ve become involved in the planning community as a whole, I want to write more. Playing with the pretty paper and pen toys combines beautifully with wanting to play with my imaginary friends, and, if I am going to be spending hours a day staring at a page or screen, they may as well be pretty pages and screens. This may have something to do with why I like writing heroes and heroines who are creative in some way; write what you know and all that. After all, I’ve already had one hero spring to life (Bern, from Her Last First Kiss) thanks to my fountain pen obsession, and his heroine, Ruby, would be all over the whole bullet journal thing. Maybe she was actually there first, because, hey, she’s in the eighteenth century. Who knows who else may be lurking in my stationery stash?

Watch this space for part two, and a closer look on how I actually use these pretties.

Typing With Stuffed Paws: About Last Week Edition

Greetings, Foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. Week and a half in this case, because sick days and snow days can do a number on the ol’ blogging schedule. Thankfully, Writer Chick is mostly recovered, and the snow is pretty much just sitting there, so things are on their way back to normal, or as normal as things get around here.

Speaking of which, let’s dive right in. As per usual, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance this past weekend, with a timely topic. What exactly does she mean when she says these books are sick? Click the link in the caption, or right here, if you want to find out.

These Books Are Sick

Hopping over to Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge, which is off to a fine start. As of today, Writer Chick has read eleven out of ninety-five books for the year, which puts her at twelve percent of her way to her goal, and we are not even out of January yet. This puts Writer Chick already five books ahead of schedule. Has she started off the year the way she means to go on? Stick around and find out.

This brings us to the writing portion of this blog, and Writer Chick has been doing pretty well for herself, sick days and snow days notwithstanding. Yesterday was a rain day, which is second only to snow, and a Skype session with Other Writer Chick. This is where they crunched some numbers, and found out that they are now 33% of the way through their first draft of Drama King. This, again, means it is time to crank up the stakes, which, for these two, involves a lot of evil cackling, and, for Writer Chick, making a lot of freeform notes while they brainstorm. Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick are now waiting for the second round of edits to land on their desks. They plan to tackle that as soon as it does, and do that right. Writer Chick actually loves this part of the process, and Other Writer Chick is very glad that Writer Chick does.

Yesterday, Writer Chick sent off the fifth chapter of Her Last First Kiss to Other Writer Chick, whose comments make Writer Chick eager to keep going forward. Writer Chick is rather appalled at the sheer number of missing, extraneous, or misplaced commas, but good catch on Other Writer Chick finding them. This is one of the perils and pitfalls of having a critique partner who has a PhD in English. It is kind of like having a human grammar check, which is not a bad thing to have around, at all. Other Writer Chick has also said some super encouraging things about voice and detail, and those things make Writer Chick very, very happy.

Currently, Writer Chick is reading yet another installment of Fruits Basket. At this point, I am concerned about what’s going to happen once she is done with this series, because there are about twelve collectors’ editions, and she is now on volume number nine. This means she is in the home stretch, where things are getting super emotional. That is exactly how Writer Chick likes things, so that’s a check in the plus column. The question is, what is she going to read when she is done with these books? Please, for my sake, if you have highly angsty romance, with HEA ending, leave it in the comments. Writer Chick squeezes really hard when she is in the throes of a book hangover. That’s the downside of reading a series Writer Chick likes that much, but the upside, and the interesting side, is that, even though these books are set in pretty much modern day (maybe a decade or two back) Japan, and people do tend to turn into animals now and again (yes, there is someone who turns into a handsome orange boy, and he is one of the main guys, so that is a very big plus, if you ask me) but, as Writer Chick said, at length, to H, in one of their chats, these books have a lot of the flavor of Writer Chick’s favoritest historical romances. Writer Chick may explain that later.

This Kindle is full of Elizabeth Hoyt

What i can tell you is that she dove directly into a lot of Elizabeth Hoyt historicals, all set in the Georgian era, which may be part of what is fueling the fire for working on Her Last First Kiss. Right now, Writer Chick is on the hunt for Ms. Hoyt’s newest, Not the Duke’s Darling, which is the start of a new series, reading the last book in the Maiden Lane series, and has the first book in yet another series, in audio, for listening while she is doing other things. Is that a lot of books? Yes. Is that a sufficient amount of books? No.

It is, however, a sufficient amount of blogging for today. The sunbeam is moving, and I must follow. See you next time.

Peace out,


Ingredients For Idea Soup

The Christmas tree is not down yet, but it’s on the list. I have lost track of the amount of tea I have drunk today, and I am probably (definitely) not done with that, yet. I have my Irish fisherman blanket over my lap, and there is a fresh jar candle burning on the dining room table. Wassail Wishes, bout at deep discount, as the first candles of spring have arrived, to push my beloved winter scents into the clearance section. I am not ready for that, but, on the other hand, discounted candles. Life is full of tradeoffs.

Outside my window, the world looks like this:

waiting on promised precipitation…


I met with N this morning, our first time since before the holidays. Mr. N and I teased her with our love of the cold, gloomy weather (N is not a fan) while she declared her preference for sun. This is a familiar dance, and a lovely one. N and I brought each other up to date, on matters domestic, and writing-related, over bagel and tea for me, breakfast sandwich and coffee for her.

I showed her my new planner, the one that is writing-only, and new stuffings for both Big and Li’l Pink, mostly untouched, as I am waiting to see what I want to put in each of them. She showed me her multiple pages of computer printouts, described her desk-bound planner that lives at home, and we both took notes.

Then we talked shop. N asked how my stories are going, and I have to admit I like hearing her use that plural. It’s been a good writing/editing week. The connection to Her Last First Kiss is back in full force, which delights me, and makes time spent in Bern and Ruby’s world reshape itself, where a quick pop into a chapter to tweak this or that turns into a couple of hours, that pass in the span of what seems like minutes.

As always, N asked if I know what’s next, for historicals. As usual, I told her I don’t know yet. Right now, I am second drafting HLFK, and Melva and I are on the first round of edits for Chasing Prince Charming, at the same time we bring Drama King ever closer to the fifty percent mark. I’m not thinking about next historicals right now, at least until this current historical is at the end of draft number two.

Right now, as I told N, I am reading. I am gathering ingredients for idea soup. Ever since H gifted me the first two volumes of the Fruits Basket collectors’ editions, I have been tearing through those doorstopper sized collections at a dizzying rate. No spoilers, other than to say that this is not a tale for gentle readers, as the angst level is high, with curses and family loyalty, and secrets, and unlikely friendship, and forbidden love, and a lot of the things that I love to find in historical romance. That comes to mind frequently while I’m reading this, that “this would be amazing in a historical romance” flag that goes up, often when I least expect it.

That’s fitting, as I did not expect to be this invested in a manga. Maybe there are others I would like, also. Comments section is open for suggestions. H assured me that Our Herione gets her HEA, with one of two potential love interests (she refuses to tell me which one, and I have declined to speculate.) Other pairings, well, there are still lots of books ahead of me, so jury is still out on most of them, but I have cried, I have sighed, I have felt as though I’ve been punched in the gut, and I’ve gritted my teeth and hung on to slender, shimmering strands of hope. I do have a list, in progress, of historical romances that this series brings to mind, and will share that here, later.

I am also devouring YouTube videos at a surprising rate, and, last night, when the sandman confirmed that he would, indeed, not be visiting me at all, I crept from the bedroom and rescued my would-have-been-bujo that took an unexpected bath, and has now been promoted to art journal. With that and a fineliner, I crept back to bed, and diligently copied down the art supplies listed in these two videos by YouTuber/artist, Jordan Clark. I am in love with her aesthetic, magical and calm and a rather strong contrast to the heavy hitting of Fruits Basket, but, at the same time, it ticks a very similar reaction in my storybrain. No, I cannot explain it, but I am steering into the skid.

My Kindle currently holds Heartless, by Mary Balogh, the first in her Georgian duo, which I had read when it first came out, years ago. From my very first Mary Balogh (I don’t remember which Balogh was my first, but I wish that I did) I knew that I could count on her to hit me right in the feels, and this book is no exception. I don’t know what historical romance I will read next, when I am done with this one, but I know that it will be there when I need it.

That’s what I’m doing, while not writing or editing. Taking in inspiration, old friends, new friends, old friends, come again, all milling about, combining, no doubt, to make something new when they think I”m not looking. I am also grouping pink things together, as with my basket of sticky notes in today’s deskscape. Blush pink is best, but any shade is welcome. I am taking pictures, and making plans, and it all goes to fuel the whole writing of books thing, so I think I’ll stick with it.

What about you, dear readers? What are you into this month? Let me know in the comments section, especially if you have links to fascinating things.

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Planner Chaos, Writing Peace Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff for the start of 2019. Well, where Writer Chick is concerned, that is. I can tell you, right off the bat, that part of that is going to involve a trip to the office supply store, because Writer Chick started off today’s session with placing the document holder thing that she uses to hold papers to transcribe, next to the desktop, instead of on top of it. Occupational hazard, around here, but, as a cat, I am proud of her. Knocking things off a flat surface…. ::dabs eyes: I’m getting a little misty here.

But enough about that. Writer Chick has been pretty hyped about starting the new year off on the right foot. Part of that was all about getting the right planning system in place. That is a story for her to tell, because it did not turn out the way she expected that it ight, but it did, in the end, get her to the right place. More on that after we take care of this week’s compulsories.

As usual, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance, this past Saturday, and surprises nobody when she talked about making a reading plan for the coming year. Well, that’s not actually true. She did surprise herself. If you’d like to read more about that, hop on over here and find out what went down. The caption under the above picture works, too.

Starting the year off, right

Writer Chick is stepping up her reading game for 2019, and her new Goodreads challenge goal is set at ninety-five, which is five more than last year. She’s already one book down, which, seeing as how we are only four days into the new year, is not a bad start. Her friend, H, is already mailing her the third volume of Fruits Basket -only to borrow; H made that very clear- so Writer Chick will be pouncing on that the second it arrives at Stately Bowling Manor. Time and Again, which fits into the historical fiction with romantic elements (and also paranormal/fantasy, as there is time travel) is also on loan from H, who has a pretty good bead on the kinds of stories Writer Chick might not find for herself, but would love. This has inspired Writer Chick to look for books she can press upon H, in return. I will keep you abreast on how that goes.

Okay, now we get to the planner chaos and writing peace part of our post, today. There is a traditional Dutch proverb Writer Chick has long liked, that says “Man plans, God laughs.” That is kind of what happened here. Yesterday, Writer Chick took her newly moved-into Dylusions traveler’s notebook into the wide world, and…she did not like it. Well, she di, but as an art journal, not an everyday carry, so back to Big Pink, albeit with new inserts, it is. Li’l Pink as well, for easy toting. Then there is the writing tracker she threw together out of stuff she had hanging around.

Writer Chick loves that thing. Loves it. The only problem there, is that the binder, which she also loves, is literally falling apart. She tried holding it together with washi tape, which worked about as well as you can imagine, so that is another reason to go to the office supply store. It is also part of her assignment from Graphics Chick, and the whole making sure everything looks like it comes from the same person deal.

Because the binder Writer Chick is using for the writing tracker is falling apart in her hands, we can safely say that basically none of her plans about planning panned out as she intended. The writing, however? Well, that’s a different story. Pun intended. Writer Chick met all of her writing goals for the first week of 2019. She is back at work on Her Last First Kiss. Other Writer Chick said Writer Chick needs to stop making her cry (chapter one is heavy stuff.) This delighted Writer Chick, who said she cannot make that promise. Other Writer Chick hasn’t even met the hero yet.

The first third of edits on Chasing Prince Charming‘s first edit round have gone smoothly, and Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick expect to have everything turned in on time, if not before. Then the wait comes for round two. While they’re doing that, Drama King sails into its second quarter of draft one. Keeping track of who’s doing what, and when it needs to be done, so far, is working smoothly, and being accountable for specific tasks on solo works also seems to be in the plus column. Not a bad start, all things considered. Now, if Writer Chick can only get the printer to talk to the desktop, that would be incredibly useful.

Tomorrow, Writer Chick will meet with Graphics Chick, to toss around some ideas. She may also give connecting the printer another whack, or she may just whack the printer. There is a reason Writer Chick gravitates toward pen and paper, and, really, that’s best for all involved. Trust me on that one.

Peace out,

Becoming Persephone

Happy New Year, everybody. 2018 is finally in the dust, and 2019 is ready to show us what it’s got. Hopefully good things. Though we are past the first of January, and the ornament harvest (family term for putting the Christmas décor to bed for the year) is slated for Twelfth Night (okay, the morning after Twelfth Night, so Thirteenth Morning? Is that a thing? I think it should be a thing, and have something like pancakes to soften the blow) my count of Christmas romances read, and Christmas movies watched remains the same as it was before December 25th. Zero. Oh well. I’ll get them next year.

My friend, H, gave me the first two volumes of Fruits Basket, collector’s editions. This was my first time reading manga, but a lot of the dynamics of my favorite historical romances lie within those pages, so I am well and truly into this story for the long haul. The rest of my Christmas/tucked away week reading went to The Summer Wives, by Beatriz Williams, and my feelings on this book, as with most by this author, can best be summed up with guh. Emotionally evisceration via fiction is a real thing, and, here, it is very, very, much welcome. So, that’s been my holiday 2018 reading.

As for 2018 holiday viewing, it was YouTube. All day, every day, or so it seemed. Most of my viewing fell into one of two camps; Book Tube, or stattionery/bullet journaling. In short, branding was huge on my mind, this season, especially as 2019 brings new adventures ahead. Melva and I are in the process of building our brand for our collaborative work, which of course makes me give what I’ve been doing with my own brand, a second look.

Both of these interests brought me to the same question: what sort of thing do I keep coming back to, again and again? I don’t recall where I read it first, probably on Facebook, but the text of the graphic was “Why choose between a girly and a dark aesthetic? If Persephone can be the goddess of springtime and queen of the underworld at the same time, so can you.” Yes. That. What that person said.

There were two things I noticed as I watched seemingly endless videos on the two subjects, looking for places I could twine them together. The first was that there are, to my knowledge, zero Book Tube channels about epic historical romance. Searching for historical romance on You Tube brings up a lot of fun vlogs about the current world of historiccal romance, which warms my historical romance loving heart. Deep inside that fire, though, there’ is a cranky flame (we might call it spotting a niche to be filled) that crackles with a desire to talk about some of the greats that came before, some of whom are still delivering the goods. So, there’s that.

The second thing I noticed was that I kept searching for stationery/bujo vloggers who had a certain aesthetic. No surprise, colors in the dusty rose/rose gold/ballet pink/blush family, combined with neutrals figure highly in this aesthetic. Once again, There Were Questions. What kinds of stories do I love the very, very most? Not merely what I like, but what leaves me wrung out like a wet washcloth, and happy about it? What sweeps me into its world and has me chomping at the bit to make some of that, myself?

In both cases, my next thought wasn’t “ugh, that looks hard” or “I don’t know if I can do that,” but “eh, give me a couple of pens and some paper, and I will figure it out.” That, I think, is part of taking myself seriously as a writer, and a creative being. That’s a journey that takes place one step at a time. Do I have an exact map to how this will mean gauranteed success every single time? Pffft, no. What I do know, though, is that, since i started my YouTube binge, I have been more focused on planning the actual work of writing, and have been consistentlyhitting my goals.

It’s an ongoing process. Yesterday, I opened the file for Her Last First Kiss, gave the first chapter a light spiff, and sent it in Melva’s general direction. Doing that had a similar feeling as setting up my new bujo system. Little different, but good different, still with the same feeling, even “me-er,” and …yeah. Let’s see where this takes us.


What new paths are you following in 2019?