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.

Typing With Wet Paws: I Thought This Was Spring Edition

Tails up ,Storm Troopers. I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. We are in spring, right? The calendar says April. Maybe I don’t h ave a lot to compare this to, as the oldest I can possibly be is three, but snow in April? Is that a thing? Aunt Anna was in fleece yesterday, and we snuggled under a blanket while she read and wrote longhand, and Uncle Rheuben made some delicious smelling people food (that I can sniff but not eat, because people food is for people and I a a kitty.) I want to sit in ithe open window and chitter at birds. I hope that willl happen soon.

Now is still pretty cool, though. This week, Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva had their first interview on Zoomer Times, which was pretty exciting. I do not make an appearance in this one, but maybe next time as there will be a part two next month. What will they ask abou next time? Your guess is as good as mine, but the chance of it being fun is pretty high.

Aunt Anna also got a bunch of issues of the Zoomer Times magazine, and they are all copies of the issue in which Chasing Prince Charming gets a really good review. They are both super happy about that. Look for pictures on the MelvaandAnna website soon. Plus some other fun stuff.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Writing-wise, the clock is ticking on the final revisions for this draft of Drama King, and then off it goes to The Wild Rose Press, because they get first dibs. This book does have a cat in it, of which I highly approve. More feline-friendly romance novels, please. It’s what the world needs.

Speaking of ticking clocks, same goes for Aunt Anna checking the edits on A Heart Most Errant. Once that goes to its editor, the next steps include things like formatting and cover art. You know, real book stuff. This will be an ebook for now, since it is short, about the third of a regular novel, but Aunt Anna plans two companion stories, and then putting them in a box set. At least that’s the plan.

Me in my box (it’s big)
picture by Aunt Anna

Speaking of boxes, I have The Best news. I get to keep the footlocker box! As in forever, or until I destroy it. Either way, I’m happy. I can play in it, sit in it, sleep in it, chase phantom prey in it, scratch it, try to bust through the back and see if I can find Narnia, etc. All of that good stuff. As long as we are talking about cardboard, I am also getting a different cardboard thing, my scratchy thing, which is the crinkly part of cardboard especially made for me to claw to pieces. One guess what I did with the last one. Yeah. Pretty proud of that.

Moving on to Aunt Anna’s Goodreads Challenge, she is kicking b*tt and taking names this week, with 49 44 books read out of her goal of 90. That puts her at 49% of the way through, and a whopping 17 books ahead of schedule That’s seven. Teen. Go, Aunt Anna, go. Aunt Anna credits audiobooks, the library, Kindle Unlimited, and her new handy dandy TBR notebook which she will show on a future Anna Log vlog. It’s still a work in progress, but I have sat on it, and it’s very comfortable, so I expect it will help her as well.

picture by Uncle Rheuben

Speaking of help, this is me helping Aunt Anna and Uncle Rheuben put away laundry. I am 100% fine with Aunt Anna putting stuff un me. Probably only her, though. Nobody else has tried yet, but she is my favorite so I can assume. Also, it was very considerate of the humans to give me the chance to make sure everything smells right and has black, white, and orange hair on it. That’s one of the perks of being a three color kitty: you can shed on everything and be sure at least one of your colors will show.

That’s a pretty good piece of wisdom to end this entry, so I will head back to my box and let Aunt Anna have the computer for a while. How are you spending your weekend?

Headbonks!

Storm

Lap (Desk) Dancing

At some point in this week, I am going to ask myself why I thought having two books, in two different subgenres, in the editing/revising stage at the same time. A Heart Most Errant is my first stab at medieval romance, (and post-apocalyptic medieval romance, at that) and my first foray into the world of indie publishing. Drama King is my and Melva Michaelian’s second collaborative contemporary romance, this time where the Polyanna of Publishing falls for a grumpy British actor. This is also the week where Melva and I are swapping character profiles, because it’s time to lay the foundation for Queen of Hearts, book number three in our Love By The Book series.

But Anna, I hear some of you asking – what about the title of this post? Ah, that one. Taking another step back into re-Anna-fication, I now have a lap desk once again. My prior one did not survive our vagabond year, and I can’t get rid of it, because Storm has upcycled it to a cat bed. This means that, along with my Alphasmart and carefully curated notebooks, I am now mobile again. With the current weather, that means within our apartment. Comfy chairs are not yet installed, but I can use the office chair in Housemate’s room when Housemate is at work, unless Storm gets to it first. Storm loves that chair. Bed is good, too, or a blanket pile on the floor, with my back against the wall. I got a taste for that a while back, and it still works.

This is a vertical weekly discbound planner. The discs are lavender metal, and the only semi decorative stickers say "write," "edit" or "revise."
Catchall planner for this week

Normally, my Sundays have a special time set aside for setting up my planner spreads for the week ahead. This time, oh boy did I need it. Normally, I do a degree of decorative planning, but this week, it’s mostly functional, with what I’m writing, editing, or revising that day. Blank spaces are where I needed to check with family members about their schedules before I could assign my own time, but they will fill soon.

I’m actually excited about this. Getting to this point in two books at once, about to dive into another, coming back to a beloved genre (and a new to me time frame) and a new avenue of publishing is a place where I wanted to be for a very long time, and now that I’m here, it feels like I should sew a new patch onto my sash. If I were still in Girl Scouts, that is. Maybe there are Romance Writer Scouts? Does RWA count for that? Maybe take myself to the Panera that is basically down the street from us (with or without lap desk) and celebrate with a hot drink and freshly toasted bagel.

Anxiety levels are surprisingly low regarding all of this. Call it the Bird By Bird effect. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and while “fix all the books”: is scary, but “edit/revise X pages per day” and the like makes it a lot more manageable. There will, in time, probably be a more dedicated writing planner or tracker that naturally emerges from all of this, but for right now, I know what I am doing on each given day, and when that is done, time to do something that is fun and fills the creative well, aka read, play Sims, etc.

Some of this seems like very normal stuff that goes without saying, but getting to actually put this into practice is an absolute delight. Remind me of that when I am banging my head on the monitor because one of the fixes I need to take care of is trickier than I expected. There’s no planning for those. They are all part of the process.

It feels good to be at this stage, and the ability to flit among different methods and locations — computer, Aplhasmart, notebook, desk, bed, floor, etc– goes a long way toward taking individual elephant bites one at a time. In short, cover me; I’m going in.

Typing With Wet Paws: End of January Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. It’s zero degrees here in New York, and zero is exactly the number of us who want to go outside today. Aunt Linda and Uncle Rheuben both have to go outside to go to their jobs, but Aunt Anna and I get to work from home, so that is pretty cool, that we can stay warm. See what I did there? I got a million of them.

Speaking of warm, I have become very interested in Aunt Anna’s weighted blanket. Of course I love sleeping on it (Aunt Anna prefers under it, but eh, you do you, Auntie) but also I am super super super interested in what’s inside the blanket. Aunt Anna says that it’s glass beads and I should not be digging at it, even though it is fun fun fun (and a little frustrating.) The humans have been talking about getting a cover for the blanket, so I can’t make a hole in it and let the glass beads out. Aunt Anna says they would get everywhere. I will probably like the cover, too, and it may even distract me from the blanket itself, but I must lodge my protest anyway. The blanket does help Aunt Anna sleep, and that gives me a lot more cuddle time, so that’s good.

Aunt tested, kitty approved

For those who wanted to know what blanket she got, it is the Tranquility blanket from Wal-Mart, the twelve pound version. She thinks it is the twin size, even though her and Uncle Rheuben’s bed is either double or queen (they aren’t sure.) Uncle Rheuben doesn’t need the weighted blanket, so it goes on Aunt Anna’s (and my) side only.

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com
aka not Aunt Anna

Now we come to the reading part of our blog Aunt Anna has reluctantly noped out of even a deferred version of last week’s historical romance readathon, because it was one of those weeks. She is pumped to get some more historical romance standalones under her belt, either rereads or finally reads, and has a bunch of historical romance audiobooks lined up, along with some contemporary YA, tending toward the darker ones. As usual, the “hm, how would this work in a historical romance?” thing happens a lot. She likes audiobooks right before bed, which coincides with kitty cuddle time, so I am all for that.

As far as the Goodreads challenge is concerned, Aunt Anna is currently one book ahead of sche3dule, with eight books read out of ninety. That puts her at nine percent of the way to her goal, which is not bad at all. She did manage to read two historical romances:

No Rest For the Wicked, by Lauren Smith (Pirates of Brittania connected world)

and

Duke of Desire, by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane #12)

On the writing front, things are moving right along, or should I say, write along? Heh. She and Aunt Melva are fifty pages into the first edits of Drama King’s first draft. It’s going pretty well, although we had something that may be called the Empanada Incident, because a whole scene scarpered off from the working copy of the full manuscript, and Aunt Anna only found it because it was the only scene in the book that contained the word, “empanada.” Phew. They also did some plotting on Queen of Hearts, which was super fun.

Next weekend, they will be teaching their workshop on how to write through the tough times, for Charter Oak Readers and Writers. While Aunt Anna and I are in New York, and Aunt Melva is in Massachusetts, there is still no travel involved, even though CORW is in Connecticut. As with many things these days, they will be conducting the workshop virtually. They will be sure to give all the highlights on their own website, MelvaAndAnna.com, which is newly updated, with more stuff to come.

As for the historical romance side of things, that’s progressing as well. Aunt Anna is now eyeing the calendar for when her A Heart Most Errant manuscript comes home to roost, and then she can take the next step in the indie process. To get in the medieval mood, she’s planning to dive not some old favorite medievals, and some from the brave new wave of modern medieval writers. Do you have a favorite medieval? Let her know in the comments.

Okay, that’s all I have on the agenda (well, the part i haven’t shredded yet) so I am going to go take another crack at that weighted blanket. Maybe it’s filled with kibble!

Headbonks!

Typing With Wet Paws: I Feel a Draft Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. The draft I am talking about here is not coming through any doors or windows (our building is very well insulated, which is very much appreciated) but drafts coming from Aunt Anna. By this I mean of the booik variety, of course.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com
(not Aunt Anna)

Drama King

As you may have read in Aunt Anna’s blog, Drama King is now officially a draft. Aunt Anna is a little dazed over that because, well, 2020 was horrible. Now it’s time for the editing phase, which Aunt Anna actually likes. Strange, I know. It also means time for a new notebook setup for laying the groundwork for Queen of Hearts. Oh what hardship. (I am being sarcastic here.) There will probably be new pens and highlighters, too, or, more likely, appropriating some that Aunt Anna already has. One of the really fun things Aunt Anna is looking forward to is getting together things that remind her of the character she will be writing for Queen of Hearts, which, this time, will be the heroine. She really loves the heroes Aunt Melva writes, so this is going to be fun.

It also serves as a nice balance to the much more technical work of the editing process, filing in holes, smoothing out transitions, making sure that the best character (a cat!) has enough scenes and all that kind of stuff.

A Heart Most Errant is now in the hands of an actual editor, and in about two weeks, it will be back in Aunt Aunna’s hands. That means she will have some more tinkering to do, but there will also be formatting and cover art, which sounds an awful lot like…a real book. The kind that can be sold directly to readers, if you’re into that sort of thing.

This means that she needs to start thinking, now, about connected books, which is not normally a thing she does, but the market is what the market is. Trying new stuff is fun, and the idea of writing more books in that setting means that A) she has a really good excuse to read more medieval romances, and B) get back on track with The Walking Dead, because the whole concept of this story world is “post-apocalyptic medieval.” It takes place after the Bubonic Plague whomped out basically half of Europe. This is either incredibly good timing for this sort of story or incredibly bad timing. Aunt Anna figures it will all work out in the end, and she’s happy to be writing historical romance, period, so on with the show.

Reading

First, the good stuff. (well, Aunt Anna says all reading is the good stuff) Aunt Anna is currently one book ahead of her Goodreads Reading Challenge, with six books read out of her goal of ninety. That puts her at seven percent of the way home.

The thing that gives her pause (as opposed to paws; I provide the paws around here) is that all six of those books are YA (or NA) – two romances and four scary books. With all of them, she has, at one point or another, or multiple points throughout, wondered how that sort of thing would work in a historical romance. Maybe this counts as some sort of research? This can be mildly concerning when one remembers this was also the week of…

Historical Romance Readathon

Yeeeeaaaah. Aunt Anna did not do great here. Not going to hold it against her, though, because A) this has been a rough week with raging insomnia, and B) that kind of led into feeling pressure-y about hewing to her readathon plan, so she is going to call this a deferred readathon and still do it this week, although albeit unofficially. That’s how she rolls.

All is not lost, though, because Aunt Anna acquired a super neat thing this week: a weighted blanket. That means that it’s a blanket, filled with lots and lots and lots of tiny glass beads. The weight is often very good for people who have anxiety (which Aunt Anna does) and make it easier for them to sleep. This one, I am happy to report, works. I even tried it myself.

Hooman tested, kitty approved

Also, Aunt Anna has another anthology ready for weekend reading, Regency in Color (vol 1!) which has a story from Jessica Cale, who is one of Aunt Anna’s favorite historical romance authors. This bodes extremely well. She can confirm that reading historical romance under a weighted blanket, with a hot cup of cinnamon tea, and a beautiful, purring calico girl makes for a super duper cozy time. Aunt Anna is very much into this sort of thing. Possibly with extra pillows and a scented candle set well away from any place aforementioned calico girl can get to it. I am never ever ever left unsupervised around candles.

Okay, I think that’s about it. That weighted blanket is super snuggly, and I have a lot of napping to do, if I am going to be any sort of purr-sonal assitant. What’s on tap for your weekend?

Headbonks!

A Tale of Two Manuscripts

First draft of Drama King is done. Complete. Finished. Melva and I agreed during our video chat on Monday, and then I promptly crashed. Monday was also the day that A Heart Most Errant is now safely in the hands of an independent editor. Over the next two weeks, there will be editing, formatting, cover design, and then my baby will come back to me and it will be time to think about the next steps.

Storm says nap time is now required.

For Drama King, that will mean going over the whole thing in fifty page chunks, filling in some places that need plumping, tying up loose ends, working on a lot of transitions, but we did it. We. Did. It. Once we send that to our editor at The Wild Rose Press, who holds right of first refusal (or acceptance!) and we see how that goes. We are also laying the groundwork for the third Love By The Book book, Queen of Hearts. After that, we do know what comes next, and we are feeling pretty good about that. Add to that the fact that we are reviving our website, including some upcoming workshops. Super fun.

With A Heart Most Errant, having book one off in the hands of an editor, that means that it’s time to think about book two…which I never thought about before. I normally think in terms of standalones for historicals, but the market at present is heavily geared toward series, so now I get to do a new thing. That’s both exciting and scary, and also gives me a really good reason to reread some favorite medieval romances (and discover new ones) and honestly say that I’m doing market research.

Speaking of standalones, Her Last First Kiss is going to require some surgery, because when things flat out won’t move past a certain point, that means somebody is trying to drive the story in the wrong direction. (Me. That person would be me.) It’s not a big thing, but if it’s derailed a story I love for this long, them maybe it probably is. Le sigh. But one story at a time, which is why this is not titled A Tale of Three Manuscripts. That, I am sure, will come soon enough. Which is okay. It feels good to be moving.

Today also sees me in the middle of the Historical Romance Readathon week, with my nose in two anthologies, and, hopefully, I will be able to finish them both. Not that I don’t like either of them, because I like both, but because it’s been an annoyingly insomniac week. I have a new weighted blanket that should help a lot. It’s also super cozy for reading, with a bunch of pillows and a cup of cinnamon tea.

Feels pretty good, after this past year, to report favorably on two projects in the same post. Maybe a deep dive into reading some historical romance will help with the whole coming up with new medieval stories thingamabobble, and see how other authors of historical romance decide on how to pick the next connected project.

Comments, concerns, tips, all happily accepted in the comments below. Comments int he comments…yeah, definitely reading time.

Typing With Wet Paws: Social Distancing Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Nobody is sick over here, but we are doing the weekend in New England thing again (well, end of weekend and start of week) thing, which is de facto social isolation, or, as I call it, being an indoor cat. Which is what I do every day. Being an indoor cat, that is. Another good thing about being at Chez Grandmere for a few days is that there is no interwebs, so Aunt Anna has more time to pay attention to me. She thinks she’s still going to be writing even offline, but we will see how that turns out. I suspect the chances for feline paralysis is high. The feline, of course, being me. Ah, the belly rubs.

The writing news here is that Aunt Anna sent out her first historical romance submission of 2020, A Heart Most Errant. She is not sure whether the fact that it is set in the wake of the plague in medieval England has anything to do with current events, but she needed to get something out on submission, and she’s been doing her research, and it was time to pull the trigger, so to speak. She will probably make another placeholder image that better fits the mood of John and Aline’s story, but this will do for now. If you like medieval romance, road stories, and books where the history directly impacts the romance, stay tuned for news on this one.

Here is a fun fact. When Aunt Anna was first writing this book, her writer friend from way back, Miss V, said she imagined the hero, John DeWarre, as The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson. Aunt Anna did not agree. (She does think he’s a talented performer, though, and seems like a nice human) She told Miss V that if Miss V put The Rock forward One More Time, as a physical manifestation of John, Aunt Anna, who normally does not “cast” her books, was going to base the hero’s looks after Colin Firth. Miss V learned not to try Aunt Anna on this kind of thing. Aunt Anna wants me to remind you all that she means more like from the Fever Pitch era, not his current age. He’s grumpy and crusty and stuck with an extroverted optimist, out on the open road, because he needs the work.

Aunt Anna also doesn’t normally think in linked books, but she does think that Guy, John’s friend, a fake monk and plague survivor, has potential. What medieval romance tropes do you like? Aunt Anna wants to know. Inspiration is always a good thing.

Also a good thing is reading, which Aunt Anna continues to kick tush in doing. For her Goodreads challenge, she currently has thirty six out of ninety books read, halfway through month number four. She is already forty percent of the way to her goal, which is making pretty good time. Only takes one hand to belly rub me, if I and pressed up against her, so that’s one more hand to hold a book or tablet. If she listens to an audiobook or text to speech, then she can cuddle me with both hands and not need any for holding books. Plus I can listen, too.

Still working on the picture situation on Buried Under Romance, but there are reviews coming, and also interviews, If you are a historical romance author who would like to drop by, let me or Aunt Anna know, and she will make it happen. This also coincides with the Historical Romance Readathon, which is pretty good timing, because social distancing does not mean social media distancing, and Aunt Anna is well supplied with books. This runs March 16-22, there is a bingo board (click the link to get yours) There is also a group read that Aunt Anna plans to join if she can, with Johanna Lindsey’s Hearts Aflame, the second book in her Hadraad Viking trilogy.

It’s this one, and yes, she will also read the first and third because she is a completist.

If this works out well, Aunt Anna is considering her own challenge, so stay tuned in case you like reading challenges. She will post her TBR list as she figures that out. Well, both of them. She likes lists, so more lists are better.

In most important news, I have redeemed myself from last week’s hiding in the recliner brouhaha. This time, when it was time to leave Chez Grandmere, the humans couldn’t find me again, but this time it was because I had already put myself in the adventure cave. I was even taking a nap when they found me. How’s that for making it easy on the hoomans? I didn’t even wake up until Aunt Anna picked up my adventure cave and carried it to the door. I was a Very Good Girl for the whole trip back to NY.

I think that’s it, though Aunt Anna is going to try and get a “walking away” picture for my signoff, since you readers liked Skye’s so much, and you need a good look at the way my tail comes out of a big spot on my butt. Also, I have done some growing up since that first picture.

Headbonks!

Yeah, pictures being wonky, so enjoy this greatest hits pictre.

We Have a Release Date!

No, that is not my computer exploding in today’s image. It is celebratory fireworks, because Melva Michaelian and I finally have a release date for our very first contemporary romance together, Chasing Prince Charming. August twelfth is the day, which is a Monday, so if you are looking for something to start that particular week right, may I suggest a fun new book? Specifically ours, but you do you.

August 12th. Save the date.

Write that down, get a sticky note, put it on your calendar, type it into electronic device of choice, or keep following this blog, because I will be 100% sure to keep reminding everybody/ not shutting up about this, because it really does mean that the long (long!) dry spell of no new releases really is over.

found it here

I was tempted to put “actual footage of me reading The Email” in the caption, but (I hope) we all know I’m not a green frog Muppet. I’m not. See, new author picture is here:

Actual me, aka not a frog.

Melva is also not a frog, but we are still waiting on okay for her author photo, so take my word for it. We are both wildly excited, and working hard on our new author(s) website, your (soon to be) one stop shop for all things Melva and Anna. There will be bookshelves; hers, mine, and ours, bits of tid on workshops we present, and more.

For now, we are in the exciting world of pre-release author things, because the focus now goes to promo. There is the pricing of swag. The whimpering when reading those results, the perils of letting the pen aficionado suss out options, the calm voice of reason that this all does not have to get done in one day. It does have to get done, though. Like writing the book, this is eat the elephant one bite at a time territory. Focus on the thing in front of you, do it until it’s done, and then do the next thing.

In between all of that, there is writing the next books. Plural. Melva and I are on track with what we hope will be book two of the Love By The Book series, Drama King, with Queen of Hearts after that. Melva has her own projects, which are hers to tell, and I have less than two weeks before July is upon us, bringing Camp NaNo, aka my experiment in outlining Plunder in a mere thirty days. Thirty-one. Whatever. There’s A Heart Most Errant making the rounds, and Her Last First Kiss to get to the end of draft two, so that it can do the same. Lazy days of summer? I don’t think so.

I am okay with that. I am more than okay with that. I will take that over the writing slumps any time. This is the time when shiny new ideas pop up, because they always come when a writer’s plate is fullest, and the time when I am glad to have learned the trick of writing down the bones of the idea in a special notebook, and filing it away for some future day when I may need it.

That day is not today. Today is for getting cracking on the pre release stuff, checking information, looking at promo, the occasional virtual high five and staring at our pretty, pretty cover, courtesy of the immensely talented Rae Monet. Today marks a fork in the road, where things get more definite. There is a release date. ARCs (advance reading copies) will be coming into play. There are words like mobi and PDF and things to do regarding SEO (search engine optimization. I think.) and a million other things that need to be done before the book can actually get into the hands of readers, and y’know what? I am totally up for that. I like this kind of stuff. This kind of stuff is irrefutable proof that I am a working writer. Note to younger me (and younger Melva, for that matter) : we did it. We’re here. It’s happening. We would love for you to join us.

People I Know Are Reading My Books (and it’s weird)

“My mother says she’s going to buy your book when it comes out.” Housemate told me this, last night, during our weekly grocery run. My cart stopped in mid-aisle. Housemate’s mom (we shall call her Hmom) does not, as a rule, read, and she has never, to my knowledge, read romance. Best as I know, when Hmom does read, it’s old Hollywood biographies, and Chasing Prince Charming is…not.

“Your mom knows this is a romance novel, right?” I asked Housemate, trying to sound casual. Housemate assures me Hmom does. She wants to see what I write. Um, she does know there is adult content in this book, right? She does. This led into a discussion of how I am usually the first one to say that I find it funny when people get squidgy about women of a certain age reading mature content, because, well, they are mature. Since Housemate is older than me, she is literally living proof that Hmom knows what sex is, and was having it before I was born. She was married for multiple decades, and so there is very little chance that Melva and I are going to shock her.

Neither, for that matter, is there a lot of sex in this book. Neither is sex the entire point. That would be erotica. I write love stories. Contemporary or historical, alone or in collaboration, I write love stories. Romance. Sometimes there is sex on the page, sometimes there is not. It all depends on the story, and on the line and/or publisher where the particular book appears. I know, very well, that Hmom knows what love is, so I should be fine, but, still, this is the first time I have ever been squidged about knowing somebody I know in real life is going to read one of my books.

This has not come up with Hmom before, because history is not her thing, and has not come up with others, because I have not had a lot of romance readers among my IRL people. For those about to comment, “hey, I know you, and I read your books,” A) thank you, and B) I mean people whose reading of my books would squidge me. Housemate? Total non-squidge. Real Life Romance Hero does not read my fiction, and, anyway, I prefer to leave his reading of my anything on the high note of the time he came out of the bathroom, with a copy of a newsletter that I then wrote for, asking if I had read this amazing article (I think it was about Star Trek: The Next Generation) and if I knew who wrote it. I told him I did. It was me. We will leave his reactions at that, because let’s face it, hard to top that one.

Pastor squidge is not even a thing. My pastor knows what I write, and, while I don’t think he’s going to read any of my books, his wife or mom might. His daughter, well, check back in seventeen years. His mom’s only admonishment was that she wishes I would write a Victorian romance, because that’s her favorite era. Miss Lana, if I ever write a Victorian, that book will be for you. I do have one Edwardian, Never Too Late, which is as close as I have come so far, but who knows what the future holds?

Right now, I am watching the email for both the release letter from The Wild Rose Press, and word on my submission of A Heart Most Errant to another house. We will see how that goes, but it feels good having stuff in the works, and it reminds me that I really do want to add a submission/release tracker to either my traveler’s notebook or my writing planner. I had originally planned for this post to be about refining my visual aesthetic, which ties into author branding, aka what kind or write I am, both on my own and with others.

That’s going to be a different post, because a) Hmom reading my book (Housemate assures me that yes, Hmom plans to actually read the book, not just buy it and have it, and b) I want to take my planners down to the bones and build them back from the ground up, closer to the way I want and actually use them. insert profound comment about how starting the second half of the year being a good time for a new start here. Speaking of which, it is now time for the actual fiction writing part of the day, so I that’s it for this post. At least one reader is waiting.