Talking ‘Bout My Genre-ration

Happy Wednesday, feral and domesticated cryptids. On Monday night, Melva and I hashed out a rough outline for our third co-written (or to be co-written) contemporary romance, Queen of Hearts. I don’t think I would have added contemporary romance to my repetorie on my own, but with Melva, it makes sense. It also has a tie to historical romance, because I need that. Heather, the heroine, is named for Heather, the heroine of The Flame and the Flower, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, the first modern historical romance as we know it. The Heather in Queen of Hearts is an editor of historical romance, a genre she adores.

I am extremely thankful to Ms. Woodiwiss for writing the story of her heart and putting it out there in the world. I am extremely thankful to Nancy Coffey, the editor who wanted to take only one submission home with her over the weekend, and picked the biggest manuscript from the slush pile. Boom. Kicked the bedroom door (and other things) off the hinges, and things have never been the same. How many of the original Avon Ladies (having nothing to do with cosmetics, and everything to do with historical romance. One of them wasn’t even a lady. His name was Tom.)

Now that Drama King has been put on the schoolbus, as it were, and Queen of Hearts is a darling baby who sleeps through the night and wakes to the playtime that is discovery drafting, it’s time to turn attention back to my troubled teens, aka historical romances that have been on hold for far too long.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Heart Most Errant is soooo close to being done with the first round of edits. I started John and Aline’s story a long time ago. Not long enough that it was a contemporary when I sat down to write it, but I lived in a different state then, in a time that feels like another life. I won’t say that it doesn’t feel odd to be getting back in touch with characters that, if they were people born when I first put them to page, would be old enough to…well, let’s say cross the street by themselves. Among other things.

Image by Sandra Schwab

They are not that much older than Bern and Ruby (image by the fabulous Sandra Schwab) the hero and heroine of my Georgian romance, Her Last First Kiss, which I have missed like a deep sea diver misses air. Been a while on that one, too, but I am beyond eager to get back to it, and probably use as my focus for Camp NaNo this year. It’s one of those things where I got the whole thing outlined, then the writing-writing got to a certain point and then…stopped. I chalk it up to life being in-bloody-sane for the last few years. We’re back, now, though, and that’s what matters.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Whiiiiich brings me to the whole genre thing. I’ve been watching a lot of You Tube videos about historical romance. Like, a lot. I love watching these mostly young women getting excited about my favorite genre, and doubly excited to see them discovering classic historical writers like Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, and Johanna Lindsey. Not yet a lot of non-J-named writers, but that will come, I am sure.

It’s this development that makes me think that maybe historical romacne does have a divide that I don’t yet know how to name. Many of these videos mention prefering historical romance that is light and funny and rom-com-y, historical accuracy either not a priority or even a detriment. Can’t say I can get my head around that but if those are the books that get a reader’s motor running, read on.

The historical romances that have a permanent home in my heart are of a different ilk. Darker rather than lighter, historical versimilitude a must, big thick bug squasher books that have heft and weight. Plots where the history is a major player, as in plucking this couple from medieval France and dumping them in modern times, the old west of the US, or ancient Rome, would not work at all, because they are people of their time.

A lot of the shining stars I see in these You Tube recommendations are great at weaving the nineteenth century backdrops with keen observations on the fads and foibles of modern life. The covers of these books have what are commonly referred to as “prom dresses” on the heroines, often with titles modeled after references to popular modern works, and in very modern-looking fonts. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s its own genre, and a pretty darned popular one, so rock on and keep going. Is it my taste, though? Weeeeel….I’m okay with that.

I’m also more than okay with accepting that my personal preference is for those big thick bug squashers, whose covers have historical garb on their humans. Often standalones, and often with authors who not only didn’t stick with one family or friend group, but spread it out over several different centuries and continents. An author could come on the scen with a Victorian historical, but the next book is sixteenth century pirates, then a western, then ancient Rome, then colonial Maine, then the early days of Australian penal colonies, back up to Gilded Age New York, then the English Civil War, and….:happy sigh: I love that. I miss that. I want to do that.

Love can happen any time, any place, as an online historical romance friend often says, and I abundantly agree with that. New school or old, traditionally published or indie, series or standalone. What absolutely must, must, must be there is the love story that is intrinsically intertwined with the time in which it occurs, and bonus points to the couple coming So Close to losing it all that I forget that the HEA is a gaurantee and then, at the last second, BOOM, they make it work. They get to the top of that metaphorical mountain, not without some bumps and bruises along the way, some bittersweet losses likely, and I pump my fist in victory.

At least that’s the plan, and that’s why I am working on my Anna Log You Tube channel, to talk about some of the stuff that I love that may not be the newest kid on the block, but my word, the staying power. Which reminds me, time to get to work on that.

Last week was, in a word, disgusting. Mostly for the heat, though there are most assuredly worse ways to spend days where the temperature reaches the nineties than sprawled in front of a box fan, mainlining coconut seltzer. That’s as close to a tropical vacation as I care to get, as I am pale and heat sensitive. Big plans to plow through my mini library haul were for naught, and I made only slow progress on e-reading as well. That’s all okay, though, as Drama King is now in the hands of its potential editor, and I am currently getting ready for tonight’s video chat with Melva where we will get the ball rolling on an outline for Queen of Hearts. This also means I now have brain space to give back to historicals, whihc I have sorely missed.

None of that is news to the regular readers here, but sometimes the best way to get the ol’ brain in working gear is to write stuff one already knows. That’s not a bad thing at all. Firm footing and all that. Another thing that helps here is to get my plans down in a visually appealing manner. Here is the desk planner for the week, mostly before the pen.

This is my first ever time covering the left hand (my left) side with scrapbook paper and totally ignoring everything pre printed on the page. I have heard this is not an uncommon issue but for some reason I always thought I was “supposed to” deal with what was printed on the page, the way it was printed on the page. This is the same me who would be the first person to tell someone else to white it out, cover it, but don’t stare at the page and feel dumb becuase they’re not making it work. Ahem. Yeah.

So. Part of all that was spending a big chunk of Sunday putting together my first Frankenplanned writing notebook to see me through the stretch from July to January. I’ll share pictures and maybe a flip through later. Don’t ask me about specific goals at this point. Still working on those, and I am pretty sure I know how I want to deal with Camp Nano. Pretty sure I’m going to be in the rebel encampment for that one but very much looking forward to the cameraderie and shaking pompoms in the general direction of any potential cabinmates. Would love to end up in a cabin full of historical romance writers. That hasn’t happened yet as far as I know. Well, for me that is.

For now, I have a hot date with a cool drink and a good book before I get ready for my chat with Melva and the requisite color coded highlighters and index cards. Tonight, we lay the foundation.

Typing With Wet Paws: The Heat Is Broken Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Not much to report this week, because it was a hot one for two and four legs alike, but Uncle Rheuben got his fan network up and going, so we were able to stay cool. Aunt Anna doesn’t summer well, so that of course required me to be on round the clock nurse duty. Luckily that meant I got the fans on my fur a lot, and the humans always make sure my water is full and fresh. There is one big thing Aunt Anna said I have to tell you, and it is a thing that happened yesterday.

That big thing is…wait for it…Drama King, book two in the Love By The Book series, has been officially submitted to The Wild Rose Press, who published Chasing Prince Charming. Not yet an acceptance, but TWRP has first dibs on the next umm…some contemporary romances Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva writer together. That does also mean that they might be the first ones to say no thanks, but the aunts prefer to remain optimistic. Can’t say as I blame them. Did I mention there is a cat in this one? He looks kind of like this:

Photo by Aleksandr Nadyojin on Pexels.com

Kind of. Ish. I don’t know. I haven’t seen him. He lives in a book. Also, he is a grownup and I think that one in the picgture is a kitten. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any kittens, so maybe my memory of what they look like is fuzzy. Heck, I am fuzzy. Anyway, he’s orange, his names is Clawed, spelled exactly that way, and when you meet him, you’ll know why. Definitely my favorite fictional cat so far. Okay, he’s the only fictional cat I know, and I am only three. Clawed is the hero’s cat (actually, Clawed would say Jack is his human, and I stand by him on that one) and he has very strong opinions on sharing. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t like to do it.

So that is the big Aunt Anna thing. The medium Aunt Anna thing is that there is new furniture in the hosue I think she said something about that earlier, but never fear, it all smells like us now. I made sure of that. It’s not where it’s meant to be, because it has been too hot to move furniture around, but the humans will fix that soon. Aunt Anna will try moving her computer area closer to the windows and her nightstand will get a lamp that will let her read paper vooks or write in paper notebooks in bed, while she cuddles me. I was not able to get in any of the dresser drawers (still salty about that) but the humans assure me that my bix cardboard box is staying, no matter what, because I love it. Also, Uncle Rheuben put a paper bag inside my box. Let me tell you, that first time being inside a bag inside a box, I wish every kitty coud have that feeling. It was pretty great.

Another probably medium Aunt Anna thing is that she is getting ready for probably doing the Camp NaNo thing next month. Part of it is admittedly so that she can play with notebooks and Scrivener, and preferably coordinate the two at least aestheticswise, but we’ll see where the road goes.

One more Aunt Anna thing. Since it was soooo hot all week, Aunt Anna gets a little loopy, and now she can’t remember where she put her newer tablet, but it is definitely in the apartment. Our apartment is not that big, so give her a couple of cooler days and she’ll figure it out. She is perturbed, though, because there is a book that she was reading on there, but she can get it on a different device. It’s also the one she uses to take pictures of me. That might bump it up in priority , now that I think of it. Hm. Maybe I can help her look. The world needs more Storm pictures. I’m adorable. Look at me!

and that’s just my HAND

Even though Aunt Anna is grumbly about searching for that one tablet, she is very happily back to reading historical romance. We’ll wait on the Goodreads challenge tally, but here’s the book she is reading now, but the fabulous Marsha Canham. Aunt Anna loves her some Marsha Canham, and she’s thinking of using the summer to read all the Canhams she hasn’t yet read, and most of those are standalones. The one that isn’t, is third in a series where she read the first two already, and would not mind rereading.

One me picture for tax before I race from the room for no apparent reason. There are two boxes in this picture. One is my big box, which I get to keep. The smaller box ,I don’t care about, so it got recycled. Aunt Anna put the rest of the stuff away. She likes a tidy home. As long as it smells right and has my big box, I’m good either way.

a girl and her box, a love story

Headbonks!

Hot Takes

I don’t summer well. Regular readers know that. If you’re new, now you do, too. This is the third (I think) too hot to function day in a row. Staying cool and hydrated, hanging with my fan club (as in we have box fans) and turning my sleep/wake cycle on its head as days are more somnolent and nights are more active.

This is working out well. Yesterday, Melva and I agreed that the draft of Drama King is indeed ready for submission, and all we have to do today is write a cover letter and then off it goes. Monday means we knuckle down and outline Queen of Hearts. I love outlining, Melva, mmmm, not so much. In that Melva does not love outlining. For me, it means that I have the weekend to pick out a QoH notebook (probably from my on-hand stash) and probably set up a Scrivener theme. We will ignore the fact that this will mean angsting over whether I want to try and get Scfrivener on my cufrent laptop even though my documentation that I really do own it is in storage and not easily accessible, or get my old laptop that already has Scrivener on it fixed so that I can use it. We will see how that all goes.

It’s also time to set up my historical romance notebooks. That second half of Her Last First Kiss is gnawing at me, and I am SO CLOSE to the end of the firs round of edits on A Heart Most Errant, annnnnd there is a pirate trilogy that will not sit down and be quiet while I tend its elder siblings. Phew. Time to get a move on, which includes getting down the bones of other stuff that has been simmering for far too long, and new stuff that won’t quit coming.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Writing query letters and the like are not my favorite sorts of writing. The very first query letter I ever wrote, I scrawled something like “I really don’t write/talk like this” at the bottom. This time, though, I feel delightfully detached from that part of the process, and eh, we wrote a thing, editor said she wants to see it, boom, here it is kthanxbye. Only more professional. There’s fake dating, and a grump/sunshine relationship, independent theater, and an orange former street cat who sets the house rules.

One other thing that is striking me as a newness is that there is a definite shift in my planning/journaling practice. I did not see that coming, but when I completely claimed the kitchen table as my de facto office desk, that involved setting up an improvised bookcase from a wooden crate, and finding covers for my discbound books so I don’t look at rows and rows of discs, annnnd some things moved on their own. Not in objects relocating themselves, but Book X belongs in Y cover, and I now want to write morning pages in book A instead of book B. Also, I came to terms with the fact that I don’t like blank pages and putting some visuals on said pages is actually a big help.

Going to wrap this now so I can get the letter written and to Melva, so we can smush our individual letters together, and then flop back in front of the fan. Just me and Kindle Unlimited and a nice cold watermelon seltzer. Also frequently my feline supervisor still demanding her seat on my torso, weather be hanged.

Typing With Wet Paws: Now Where Were We Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. If you are wondering where I was for the last couple of weeks, here is a clue:

photo: Anna Carrasco Bowling

Seriously, look at this cat bed. So soft. So comfy. Like me. It’s in the perfect spot to not only get the sunbeams from the window, but also the breeze, and now the fan. If the humans open the other window, I get he crossbreeze. Then there is the placement, at the foot of the people bed. I’m close enough to Aunt Anna or Uncle Rheuben if they need me, and I kan keep track of both of them at their desks. I can also see the kitchen from here, which means that if Aunt Linda comes out of her room, and heads in this direction, she has dry food for me (or is going to clean my box, which is also good) so it really is the best seat in the house.

Big news around here is that the libraries here in New York’s Capitol Region are open again. Well, for humans, that is. They still aren’t admitting cats, which is totally bogus. Cats and books go together, amirite? Of course I am. Click on the link above if you want to see what she brought home, and where she totally could have used a feline research assistant to remind her to check series order before checking out books.

As fun as Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva found the first Zoomer Times interview, what could they get up to in the second round? Apparently this. Also, there was another whole interview that went great, then went missing, so this is a do-over.

Right now, Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva are going over the final final final version of the Drama King manuscript, before they send it to the editor at The Wild Rose Press. If those people want it, there will be more edits, and then it’s on its way to becoming a book. Did I mention this one has a cat in it? Next one, they say is going to have a dog, but that’s still four-legs rep, so I am down with it.

Beyond that, Aunt Anna will be getting back in the historical groove, which, honestly, I think she has needed for a while now. She said I can assume there will be cats in historicals because they are state of the art pest control. Sounds legit.

She is also thinking that if she wants to take part in Camp NaNo in July, it is only the beginning of June, so she has a lot of time to prepare a project that sounds like fun. I think part of it is an excuse to play with her planner stuff, but I happen to like helping her with her planner stuff (by lying on it) so this could all work out to my favor.

There is probably other stuff I should be putting here as well, but it’s nap time and I have my priorities.

Headbonks!

Storm

Beware Nesting Authors

Tomorrow begins a new month, which means that part of my day today is for making sure I have my June planners (plural) are in good working order. My list for the week’s shopping includes things like an audio cable for the external speaker/microphone, and a decent reading lamp for my nightstand, lightbulb that gives off warm light essential. Once I have this post posted, I get to wrestle my dinosaur desktop to transfer some files to my laptop, and take a good long look at Scrivener and decide whether I want to purchase a new copy or look into resurrecting my HP stream laptop that has it already installed. (Resurrecting the ancient MacBook Pro is also an option, which would require buying Scrivener for Mac.) I have various electronic devices charging, including my OG (to me) Kindle-Kindle, Methos Junior (she’s a girl, though) for easy electronic reading without the temptation to constantly check social media and find the perfect background audio.

The bed has clean sheets on it, in preparation for work done in the “soft office.” This is also why I have finally accepted that I will have to A) figure out where to buy a replacement LED unit for the lamp I had by my bed, and B) how to change them, and C) buying a decent lamp with a real bulb will probably be my best course to take here. Props to the home decorating You Tube videos I have been inhaling for reminding me that lightbulbs come in different temperatures of light. The office chair search continues, as I scour FB Marketplace for a likely candidate, or can come up with a solid enough plan to justify renting a bigger vehicle to move actual furniture from storage.

Tonight, I will be racing the remaining hours on a historical romance I have on electronic loan from the library, as the historical romance reading mojo seems to be thinking about returning from its smoke break. I ripped the bandage off my Netflix block a couple nights ago, and watched all of Harlan Coben’s the Woods in one night. (Polish adaptation of an American novel) most of it with Storm sphinx-ing on top of me so that she can watch, too. Follow me for more dark European creepy drama reccommendations. I am going to be a big girl and get to my This Is Us backlog, even though I know what happens in the season finale. I do not intend to write Kate and Toby fanfiction, but I am willing to if they force my hand. Ditto Kevin and Sophie, and when are we going to get to see Rebecca and Miguel’s love story? I know he’s no Jack (who could be?) but he’s a good guy, and I am here for Rebecca having not one but two big loves in her life. Oh, and Uncle Nicky/Sally second chance, please. I think that’s all. :consults list: If they touch Beth/Randall, I riot. Oh, and that better be Malik who is Deja’s flash-forward partner.

Reading devices are loaded with next YA e-book, audiobook, and historical romance reads. Tomorrow, the libraries in our area open. One guess who is going to be there with a big tote bag.

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For clarity, I mean me, not Hillary Duff. Unless you’re in California. Then more likely her than me, but it’s a big state.

It’s the idea that counts. I have missed the library like I’d miss air if I were locked in a trunk. Tomorrow is a family day, but I have days after that blocked out on my calendar as Writing Days. Capitol W, capitol D. In boldface. Not only is there the draft to look over for Drama King (and my first ever crack at looking for sensitivity readers) but my return to A Heart Most Errant edits, and next up, a return to Her Last First Kiss, where I can make right what once went wrong.

This time, I am not overwhelmed. I am excited. My prep work for Queen of Hearts is underway. As I suspected, it would mosey on in when I was doing other things. That seems to be the way things work around here. My “A Working Day” playlist is playing (follow on Spotify if you want to know what the inside of my head sounds like.) I expect that it will grow, which is always a sign of life.

Appropriate for the start of a new month, at least for me. Regardless of what the calendar or almanac says, Memorial Day starts summer in our family. This year, though, I highly suspect that comfy apartment, shiny new laptop and a realistic writing plan will keep me well occupied for most of the season. After that, fall, and the return of my super powers, fall being my favorite season. It’s not that far away at all.

Draft Pick

In the words of the great Ricky Ricardo, the time has come. In other words, Drama King is a draft. Draft two in the vault, and now all that’s left is for me and Melva Michaelian to go over the whole thing one more time to make sure we are done for this stage, and we send it off to our editor at the Wild Rose Press. If they want it, then we’ll have at least one more go-over to make sure it’s right for this editor and this line. If that goes well, then there are still line edits, copy edits, art sheets to get information for the cover, and a bunch of other things.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

We are already started on the third book in the series, Queen of Hearts, and then we already know what our next contemporary adventure is going to be. We’ve already started laying the groundwork for that, and it looks like fun from here.

Then there’s my other life. Historical life. I have the edits for A Heart Most Errant to finish and send back to my fabulous editor at Safeword Author Services. Next floats in that parade include formatting and cover art, and then bibbity bobbity book, we’ll have a new historical romance.

There’s also getting back to know Her Last First Kiss, my much beloved, long neglected Georgian historical. I think I zigged where I should have zagged there, so time for course correction, while keeping with the marriage laws of the time. Can’t go marrying anybody you want, whenever you want. That way lays chaos. Or so the Georgians would have us believe.

Being in this writing place is a time where I wasn’t sure when or if I would be here again. Taking a couple of days to breathe feels like a good idea. Especially since today is going to be a hot one, and i do not at all summer well. Hence a date with my BFF to hang out in air conditioning. She’ll have some awesome new colored pencils and an adult coloring book. I’m not sure what I’m bringing as of yet, but she’ll be here soon, so I will probably grab one of my pen pouches and a notebook and call it good. There may be a trip to a craft store along the way to pick up anything else I might want to include. There will be brain dumping. There will be decompression. There will be cold drinks.

Wish me well.

Ripped From The Journal Pages

Yesterday was a good writing day. Like, a really good writing day. The super functional monthly view of planning my writing tasks seems to be working super well, on this second week of doing it. Okay, the edges of the pages are decorated, but every daily box is only black ballpoint bullet lists of writing stuff I want to accomplish. There’s household stuff in there, too, so for June, I will be splitting those into two different calendars. It usually stays on the kitchen table (my temporary desk) next to me, open, for easy reference, especially when new things like deadlines or interviews crop up during the day.

trust me, there is a lot more written in those boxes now

It’s also already allowing me to spot patterns. The day after my weekly chat with Melva is usually best as a lighter day. Since this week, we met on Tuesday, that means that today is a lighter day. It’s also a blog day. I can bypass the “what do I blog about” problem by noting beforehand things I find interesting and want to blabber about for an entry. Yesterday, it was this from my morning pages:

Today is a writing day!!! Not staring at a blank wall and cranking out words (Editing Anna interrupts: if that is your best way to work, this is not a drag on that. You do you. Crank on, you magnificent cryptid.) I would rather deck a sylvan glade with fairy lights and invite my imaginary friends (aka characters) to dance. The band would be Right Said Fred

and classic era Monkees

Coin flip for who headlines and who opens. I’m good either way. The dance floor lights in tune to the music, and there is a bottomless buffet off to the side, with mismatched chairs and settees arranged in conversation groups around an assortment of small tables. Besides their own songs, the bands cover “Dance With Me” as well as “Moondance” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”

The air is not too hot and not too cold. It’s a night that could last forever, and, technically, it can. That’s one of the things I love about writing romance. Happily ever after means forever.

I’ll stop it for there, since I have been called back to the dance floor, as it were. The bands are jamming, the lights are twinkling, and the breeze feels like a kiss on my skin.

One more thing: you, yes you, are most definitely invited.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/historical-40142765check out this historical era poll on my Patreon

Kicking B*utt at Making Names?

This morning, I found an important truth about my writing process. I would rather name a dozen historical characters than one contemporary one. Please remind me of that when it is time to name the heroine from A Heart Most Wanton, which will probably come sooner than I expect, because the way I am scheduling writing times now seems to be working.

Anyway, Melva and I are working on a contemporary collection with three stories. One hers, one mine, one ours. We have the ours one all worked out, and I can’t wait to see what her story will hold, which leaves only mine. Since I have met me, I know this has to have some sort of historical connection, or it is not at all happening. Do I know what that connection is? Ehhh, maybe? Kind of? Possibly? Whyever would I know something like that? Oh look, a kitty.

Make of that distraction what you will. As of this writing, my contemporary character naming process is not all that different from my historical naming process. Since all of my reference books are still in storage :weeps softly: that means I head to the interwebs. Figure out what year the character would have been born, find a list of most popular baby names from that year for their country of origin, and then open a random number generator. Generate a few numbers, write down the names that correspond to the numbers. Re-roll if needed, if you’ve hit a name that is on your automatic “no” list, or if it won’t fit this particular character or story. I personally don’t like to have hero and heroine’s names to start with the same initial, so whichever one of them comes first, that initial is out.

Melva’s and my collaborative process is a lot different. We throw names at each other and see what sticks. Seems to be working all right so far. With Chasing Prince Charming, our base for Meg’s name was that we wanted a one-syllable name. Since we had a heroine with a one-syllable name, we wanted to contrast that with a multi-syllable name for the hero, which is how we found Dominic.

Doing it on my own is…different. The vast majority of my contemporary romance reading is YA instead of adult, so I’m not finding adult names much in the contemporaries I read. For me, naming a character is important; grabbing popular names at random and slapping them down is not going to work for me. As a matter of fact, my list of “no” names for historicals (and probably carry them over to contemporary as well) are very popular in the genre…but they don’t work for me. It is what it is. So, what does work?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

That’s a very good question. The name has to fit the character. That’s essential. Some characters do come with a name already, sit themselves down in a chair across from me, and introduce themselves. I am one hundred percent fine with that. I encourage it. I encourage it even when it involves a character telling me he doesn’t know what his name is, meaning the one given at birth. He has a thing that he’s called, sure, but it’s not his name. There is a difference. Yes, that has happened, and that’s one of the historicals I look forward to writing. Historical characters are pretty good about this sort of thing. I know where they come from, when they were born, which gives me a clear direction as to where to look for their names. Sometimes I will have to read through the entire section of possible/probable names until I find one that hits. Sometimes none of the contemporary to them (remember, historical characters don’t know they’re in a historical; they think they’re in a contemporary) and I go back an era or even more, to find a “traditional” name that may feel out of place for their time, but could well be a family name. the

With contemporary characters, of course I have an even longer span of history to work with, so it should be theoretically easier. Names I hear around me in everyday life. Names of friends, or their offspring, or even, for younger characters, their offspring’s offspring. Even so, I usually end up at “uhhhhh…..” as a starting point. Knowing the name helps me see the character in a visual sense. I don’t usually fantasy cast (and don’t get me started on the whole new barrel of worms that would be naming fantasy characters, so hats off to fantasy authors that do that every day) but I do have an image in my head. Height, frame, complexion, hair, eyes, facial features, manner of dress, etc.

Sometimes the image comes first, and the character makes me figure out their name, a la Rumplestilskin. None of my characters to date have actually been named Rumplestilskin. This is probably a good thing. Beyond the actual name, how do they feel about the name? Is that a name they like to hear? Do they feel that it fits them? Would they rather be called something else? If so, what? It’s not as simple as slapping a “hi, my name is X” (none of my characters to date have actually been named X yet, either.) on their shirt and calling it good enough.

Today is Housemate’s birthday, so it’s going to be a day of cavorting with some of her favorite activities. In the back of my mind, though, I am gestating the heroine for the “mine” story in the upcoming collection. Well, the proposal for it. Something to bring to the table when we confer. Anything can happen from there. What we call it, well, we’ll find that out.

Typing With Wet Paws: Memories of Cat Cr*ck Edition

Tails up ,Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. This has been a pretty good writing week for Aunt Anna. She is only two units away from being done with this round of edits for A Heart Most Errant, and she and Aunt Melva are working at getting Drama King ready to submit at the end of the month. Aunt Anna is also setting up the revisions for the second half of Her Last First Kiss, because she’s figured out what was probably the roadblock, and getting past that will actually be fun.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Let’s get the Aunt Anna stuff out of the way before we can get to the important part, aka me. The super functional planning thing seems to be working well as a base and then she can make things pretty later on; then I can help her by bopping things with my paws. Sometimes, I might try to make off with a pen or roll of washi, but seriously, who wouldn’t? Also, sitting on open notebooks or planners is super fun. Open ones are far better than closed ones, but I will sit on a closed one if that is all there is, especially if Aunt Anna needs it.

Let’s start with Aunt Anna’s Goodreads challenge. As of today, Aunt Anna is holding steady at 45 books read out of her goal of 90, which puts her at 50% of the way there, and fourteen books ahead of schedule. She did get two e-books out of the library for her new Kindle Fire, which runs super fast, so that number will be going up soon.

Aunt Anna is on fire with the Buried Under Romance post this past week, talking about classic historical romances on Kindle Unlimited (not sponsored) which is very useful for planning out her reading agenda for the immediate future. What will she write about this week? Stop by Buried Under Romance tomorrow and find out. My suggestions: books with cats in them. We’re awesome.

greatest hits picture b/c Aunt Anna needs more caffiene rn

Okay, so now we get to the me part. A couple of days ago, I was helping Aunt Anna the way I always do, by hanging out very near her while she writes. Uncle Rheuben was home, and his way of helping her write is to be not-near her so that she can concentrate. She’s super into him, as you can probably guess. Also, he has homework he has to do on his own computer. Sometimes, though, he has to come into the kitchen, where Aunt Anna writes right now, because the kitchen is where they keep the people food.

Aunt Anna has bright pink kitty ear headphones, with lights she can turn on to mean Do Not Interrupt. If the lights are flashing, then Really Do Not Interrupt. This time, the lights were off, so talking to her is okay if it is important. This time, he did his “this is important” thing, so she took off the headphones. That’s when Uncle Rheuben pointed to me and said he didn’t like the way I was looking at the oven.

Okay, first of all, the oven wasn’t on, so I wouldn’t have got scorched paws or anything if I did put my paws on the oven door. Second of all, I have already been on the counter, on the day we moved into this apartment. Aunt Anna had told me, super loud, NOT FOR KITTIES, so I know not to go on the counter. ‘Not for kitties’ is the phrase I know that means I should leave something alone. That was the only time I had ever been on the counter. I know when Aunt Anna means business, and she totally did. No cats on counters.

Anyway, there was a discussion then about whether I had the same look about me as I did back when I was getting used to these guys, and the Cat Crack Incident happened. Back then, we were vagabonding, and were in a motel at the time. The humans were still figuring out what I like to eat, and got cans of gushy food that we will refer to as Cat Crack as the humans don’t remember its actual name. Needless to say, I LOVED the Cat Crack. The humans put it on top of the clothing rack, on a big shelf.

I wanted that Cat Crack. It was all I could think about. Uncle Rheuben, who at the time was known only as Belly Rub Guy, was trying to sleep. I got on the bed with him and looked at him, then looked at the clothes on the coat rack. The coat rack was right below the shelf where the Cat Crack was. If I jumped off Belly Rub Guy’s face, I could land on his sweatshirt, claws out, climb the sweatshirt, haul myself onto the rack, and then the Cat Crack would be mine, all mine.

Unfortunately, I did not carry out that plan , but Uncle Rheuben has never forgotten that look. He has a super good memory. I will neither confirm nor deny any plans for adventures in the kitchen, but theoretically, if I were to get on the counter, I could probably make it to the top of the refrigerator, and then be on top of the world. There is no Cat Crack there, though. Only bread and usually the crock pot. A cat can dream, though. I’ll keep you updated.

Headbonks!