Not At RWA Nationals (Again)

Welp, it’s that time of year again. July. Middle of summer. The lull between heat waves. It’s also the time for Extroverted Romance Writer Christmas, aka RWA Nationals. Several of my fellow romance writer friends post on social media about shopping for clothes and shoes, asking opinions on makeup or hair, what to pack, who can meet up where, and whether friends who are in the city (I’m in NY state: we have one City and one Island) but not going to the conference, or are going to the public parts of the conference, can meet up for extracurricular activities.

All of that stuff sounds wonderful to me, especially since real life stuff has kept me from the last two NECRWA regional conferences (CT Fiction Fest, this past September, almost a year ago now was a lifesaver) and the fact that this year’s conference is held in my home state of NY does give an extra pinch. It moves around from year to year, often in sunny locations, which are not great for me, as I am heat and sun sensitive, and have had full-on heat stroke in the past, so I have to be extra-careful in choosing summer activities. This could also be a plus, because staying in the conference hotel the whole darned weekend is entirely doable and, for me, the norm.

Spending a weekend, in this case a long weekend, locked in a hotel with a few hundred people who love the books that I love, who love writing the books that I love to write, who know what it’s like to have the voices in our heads translate into words on a page, so we can share the adventures of our imaginary friends, that’s pretty much my idea of the best vacation ever. Not that conferences, for the working writer, are a vacation, because it’s most assuredly work, attending workshops (or giving them) and discussions and networking in hallways, elevators, and hotel rooms, hotel bars, hotel lobbies, and the ever-popular, ever-crowded public hotel rest rooms.

This year, especially, it would have been wonderful to go. Melva and I have a new book, our first together, Chasing Prince Charming, coming out, in less than three weeks. Fewer than three weeks? See, there’s another reason I need to socialize with other writers. They help me do English gooder. I have one historical novella out in the querying process, and two full length historical romances that are getting ready to make the rounds again. A conference is a place where there are tons of other writers who have been in the same or similar positions, and talk stuff out with them. For the extroverted writer, talking things out is absolutely crucial. Sometimes, I don’t know what I’m thinking until I can talk about it. That’s part of the process.

So, what am I doing instead? I wish I could say we are not still fighting the battle of the bugs, but we are. Not at the same intensity as it once was. The few bugs that we see are slow moving and far fewer than earlier generations, so we are hopefully moving in the right direction. There are the normal domestic tornadoes, but manageable ones, and keeping an eye on the aforementioned social media posts from friends who are in attendance, is, in its own way, the next best thing to being there.

What can’t be experienced secondhand, though, is the connections that are only made at conferences. Melva’s and my writing partnership was born at a conference, because breakfast was late. While we waited for the doors to open, we commented to each other what a diverse lot of writers were in attendance. a writer of YA fantasy might be chatting with a writer of m/m contemporary romance, who is sitting next to a writer of erotic historicals, who is rooming with a writer who has been writing category inspirationals for literally decades, who is sitting next to a wide-eyed first-time attendee, who is almost done with the first draft of their first book. They think. How do they find a critique partner and what’s a beta reader, and OMG, that’s Big Name Writer over there.

It’s going around the table, asking what everybody’s favorite book is, answering with your own all time number one, only to be met with a shriek of joy from the total stranger across the table, who of course has to sit next to you now that you have the same favorite book, and, years later, is now a friend. It’s having the opportunity of sitting next to someone who whips out their electronic device to prove that they are actually reading one of your books right the heck now, and you try to be cool because it’s your first time seeing your book on someone else’s device.

It’s going home with an extra suitcase full of swag (Hannah Howell’s iconic purple pens are Pentel RSVP, now one of my favorite ballpoints, for those who hoard her swag pens and wish they came in more colors; they do.) and oh so many books. Some of them were free, right there on plate or chair at every meal, given away during a workshop, or as a door prize, some of them purchased at the literary signing, and personally autographed by an author who is, indeed, a lovely person. There may or may not, depending on one’s luck (I think I once posted about The Year Anna Won Everything, but part of it does happen to Meg, in Chasing Prince Charming) be some sort of gift basket (or other receptacle) to wrangle into the car, or onto some other form of transportation. Some people may be mailing things home.

When I lived in the old country, I Had a post-conference routine. I would lug my bags upstairs, then trot on down the street, to buy myself dinner, with an unsweetened iced tea, and write in my notebook about how I felt about the entire experience (of the conference, not dinner.) Coming back from a conference, I am full of energy, and buzzing, and it’s hard to come back to the everyday routine of living. Now that I’m here, a new ritual will emerge, once I get back in the conference swing. Most of all, a conference, and even writing about a conference, makes me want to write. It reminds me not only that I love to write romance, but why, and shows me ways -there are always ways- in which I might do that even better. Thankfully, when it comes to conferences, there are a lot of them, so if I’m not at this one, maybe next year.

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Typing With Stuffed Paws: Not at NECRWA Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling here, bringing you all the stuff for the week that was. Writer Chick is a little salty today, for a couple of reasons. First, as this week’s post title will attest, she and Other Writer Chick are not at the New England Romance Writers of America conference. Conferences are Extroverted Writer Christmas, so Writer Chick is not keen on missing one, and certainly not on missing two in a row. It’s the in a row part that makes her extra salty, because this is also the anniversary of Turbo Move 2018, we are still in For-Now Apartment, and Skye is on the other side of Rainbow Bridge.

Missing this fuzzbutt…

I can’t blame her for the saltiness, the above taken into consideration, and the aggravating factors that various humans around here have been feeling less than spiffy (everyone moving in a spiffier direction, so that’s a plus) and because, due to aforementioned less than spiffiness, Writer Chick misplaced the laundry quarters, and has been looking for them for three entire days, while the amount of available clothing dwindled and/or got stinkier. Times like this, I am glad I am stuffed. Also a naturalist, although Writer Chick did, in her search for the quarters, find my badbutt pants/sarong, so that may come back. We’ll see. Anyway, Other Chick took matters into her own hands and got more quarters, so Writer Chick can settle down and do some laundry. Also some reading, because Dude will be at his snazzy new job, and Other Dhick will be visiting Other Chick’s Mom for the whole weekend. Writer Chick plans to clean and read, and there will probably be some writing in there, because Writer Chick is Writer Chick.

Speaking of which, let’s get the compulsories out of the way. Last week, as always, Writer Chcik was at Buried Under Romance, talking about the romance of rereading. If you want to read about that, it’s here. I can’t link the photo from Writer Chick’s file, because she went on a decluttering the hard drive spree, and got a little enthusiastic. Instead, you get her name badge from a previous conference.

That “presenter” ribbon sure is pretty…

Feast your eyes on those, because conference attendees will get to see those badges (or reasonable facsimilies) and the writers wearing them, in person next year. Like these chicks are going to miss a conference when they have a brand new novel out. Pfft. Yeah, They’re talking website stuff and planning on swag, because they want to hit the ground running. At least Writer Chick plans to turn up in red heels, like the ones on the cover. Maybe I can convince Writer Chick to bring me along, since I am an essential part of the team. Try doing that with a poo cat, and you’ll regret it, that’s for darned sure. If the badge wallets are blue again next year, they should set off my orange fur to purr-fection (yeah, I went there.)

In other news, thanks to Other Chick’s work, we now have a pepper plant. I am not sure about him yet. Tudor is getting super tall, no longer exactly climbing the window, but his leaves are looking good, although there are no signs of any more buds as of yet. Lancaster seems to like having his own room (he is in the bedroom now, where he is the only plant, and gets all his sunlight.) He’s still short (may just be a short dude, no shame in that) and no buds to speak of, but it’s early days for this kind of thing.

Subtle product placement, yes?

Notebook-wise, Writer Chick has finally clicked with Li’l Pink, and figured out what she wants to to with the passport sized  Junque Journal, from Yellow Paper House,  that she put in the first string. Yes, that is the cover for Chasing Prince Charming on the back cover of that insert. Writer Chcik is kind of in love with that cover. Now she’s making eyes at the cahier size Junque Journal that she hasn’t broken in yet (except for the cover.) It’s a good thing playing with papers like this gets her idea hamster running (mmmm, hamsters :drools:) She and Other Writer Chick had an especially good Skype session this past week, and are excited about moving forward. The handsome orange poo cat in their book is going to figure prominently in the next couple of chapters. I should warn gentle readers now, there may be graphic descriptions of petting and scritches, and I can’t guarantee that nobody is going to use the Y word. That’s “yowl,” for those who do not speak fluent feline.

Since Writer Chick will not be at NECRWA this weekend, she would like those who are attending to have an extra good time on her behalf, and will be very happy to listen to conference stories, look at pictures, including but not limited to swag pron.If she ends up putting books on her seat at every meal this weekend, well, who can blame her? Some rituals must be observed, even at a distance.

Peace Out,

Typing With Wet Claws: Post-Fiction Fest Edition

 

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, straight from Camp Grandma. The humans have been talking about Forever Apartment options, so I think camp will be coming to a close sooner rather than later. I think. At any rate, this time, last week, Anty was getting ready to hit the road and come see me. She had to stop at CT Fiction Fest first, of course, and give her workshop with Anty Melva. I am happy to report, though, that she did come through with the laser pointer, but more on that later.

Regular readers, you know the drill. New readers, I have to talk about where to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs (besides here, because you are here already) for the past week. Anty would like to remind readers that the best way to make sure you get every single blog entry, even if it is posted on the wrong day (Anty is only human, and Sebastian is kind of lazy) is to subscribe, here on the blog. That way, the new entries will come right to you. Also, she may or may not be thinking of posting something special when she hits the next milestone for subscribers. (Spoiler: she totally is planning exactly that.)

Okay, here we go. First of all, Anty was, as always, at Buried Under Romance on Saturday morning. This past week, she takes a look at buzzwords. This is not a post about bees, in case you were concerned about that (I was. Bees are scary.) but about words in titles that let us know what things we might find inside those books. Think dukes, scandals, Highlanders, that kind of thing. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURbuzzwords

There are no actual bees in this post.

Even though the only thing Anty read over the weekend of Fiction Fest were her own notes and some handouts, she still has a favorite book of the week, and that is Eliza and Her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia. Anty gives this book a full five stars. Her review has big spoilers, so beware of that if you want to read the review. It is a YA, and it has romance and fandom, and art and writing, and, although Anty got this copy from the library, she is 100& buying it so that she can read it again. Her review is here, and it looks like this:

GRElizandhermonsters

Seriously. Big spoiler.

If you are following Anty’s Goodreads challenge, here are the stats for this week. Anty has now read seventy-four out of ninety books, which puts her at eighty-two percent of the way to her goal, and eleven books ahead of schedule. I am going to call that well done. Keep going, Anty. Story in, story out. That is how it works.

Coming back from ta conference with a lot of new tools is how going to a conference usually works, at least for Anty. she attended a workshop on writing historical fiction/romance, presented by Melanie Meadors. Miss Melanie has some amazing fashion sense, and some very good advice on writing in other times and places, past or future. Anty took a lot of notes, in that workshop and others. I will let her talk more about that later, if she wants to share any of them.

The workshop Anty knows the most about is the one that she presented with Anty Melva, on writing through real life plot twists. Real life cooperated and threw a few plot twists Anty and Anty Melva’s way, but they made it to the hotel, and to their workshop, which, by all accounts (that they know about, at least) went very well. Some humans came up to each of them after the workshop, with follow-up questions, which made them very happy.

Another thing that made Anty and Anty Melva very happy was the professional critique Anty Melva had, on a sample from Chasing Prince Charming. Anty was not at the critique, because this was a one person at a time kind of thing, but the other humans knew that this book really has two authors. They liked the sample a lot, and had some comments on how to make it even better.

Anty and Anty Melva made good use of some pockets of times before things got started at various points through the weekend, to do some work on the next part of Drama King, and also for setting up the third book they will write together. There was even some talk about what they want to write together next, after those books are done, but that can be a topic for later.

Anty loves meeting people at conferences, best of all, and she made some new friends at this one, including another writer of historical romance. Anty has wanted a historical romance writer buddy for a long time. Maybe this is how that kind of thing happens. We will see.

No, on to the most important part of the weekend, and that is Anty’s visit to me. It was a short visit, but it still counts. I will allow that things might have been less confusing for me if there were fewer people in the room (there were three) and it was not dinnertime, but it was still a good visit. Anty spent some time grooming me (I earned my treat, let me tell you that) and then it was time for the laser pointer.

I find the laser pointer very interesting, but A) it was mealtime, and B) there were too many people watching me, so I only looked at it. I will try playing next time, when it is only me and Anty. That should be fun.

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

skyebye2018

Typing With Wet Claws: CT Fiction Fest Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another very special Typing With Wet Claws, coming to you direct from Camp Grandma. Today is a very exciting day. because today is the first day of Connecticut Fiction Fest, where Anty and Anty Melva will be presenting their workshop. Their workshop will be at ten AM on Sunday, but today is the day Anty packs her things, and hits the road. First, she and Mama will drive to where Anty Melva Lives. Then Mama will come to Camp Grandma, to spend the weekend with me, and Anty will go, with Anty Melva, to Fiction Fest. If you are going to be there, make sure to say hi. Anty loves this whole networking thing.

The other reason today is exciting is because it is the day I will get my laser pointer. I am a little worried, because this particular laser pointer is also a pen, so Anty will naturally be drawn to it (pun unintended, but it can stay) but if I have fun with it, and Anty can see that, she will probably let me have it. Probably. I like playing with people more than I like playing with toys, and this is a toy Grandma should be able to handle. Anty wants to make sure I get enough exercise, and playing is the way indoor kitties like me do that.

Because the rule here is that I cannot talk about anything else (which is usually Anty’s writing anyway) let’s get to that. First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. This week, she talked about the worst thing about great books. Can you guess what it is? That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURworstpartgoodbook

the struggle is real

Next, we come to Anty’s Goodreads challenge. Sebastian has spent most of the week in a sunbeam (to be honest, I probably would have done the same thing myself, so somebody still has to add a few dates and reviews, but, at current writing, Anty is now eighty percent of the way to her goal of reading ninety books this year. That means she has read seventy-two books, so far, and is eleven books ahead of schedule. Anty is a reading machine. Keep going, Anty. You’ve got this.

The favorite book that Anty read this week is A Map For Wrecked Girls. by Jessica Taylor. Anty loves desert island stories, shipwreck stories, and stories about friendship loss (and maybe healing) and this story has all of those things. Anty’s review of this book is here, and it looks like this:

GRmapforwreckedgirls

Anty knows very well that she will probably come home with a, um, boatload of books from the conference. Probably. She has never been to this conference before, so maybe they do things differently on that front. I know Anty, though. Anyway, even though Anty is headed to what is basically Writer Disneyland, where A) she will be busy talking to other writers most of the time, and B) there may very well be books that people just give her, she is still bringing her Kindle, and probably a library book as well. I know my Anty. She is not going anywhere without reading material.

Anty is also not going anywhere without her planners. That is right, I used the plural. Besides Big Pink (who has a new cover; Anty will show you that later) she is bringing Li’l Pink, who has new inserts. Those inserts do not include the insert Anty made from scratch, because there is a very good reason why making traveler’s notebook inserts by candlelight is not a thing. That reason is because candlelight, while pretty, does not allow for a clear view of the colors a human is using. That is why Anty picked paper that she thought was pink, was actually neon orange. Faded neon orange, but still orange. Orange is not the new pink.

TWWCneoninsert

Good first try, Anty. As Miss H said, when Anty mentioned wanting to try a new creative thing, “go for it. First you’ll suck, then you’ll get better.” Miss H is pretty smart. She also recommended that Anty watch a movie called Black Panther, when Anty comes home from the conference. With a title like that, I am going to assume that this movie is about cats. I could say a lot about the need for feline representation in Hollywood, but that is for another post. Maybe if they need a sequel, Brown Tabby would be a catchy title. I cannot say it rolls off my tongue, because my tongue has bristles, because I am a kitty, but I think it’s a title that would appeal to a wide audience.

Now it is time for Anty to get packing, so that is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebye2018

 

Five Days, And Counting

Right now, I am ensconced in the latest iteration of my writing corner. With the addition of an improvised floor pillow, created from Housemate’s old comforter, the current setup is pretty darned close to a video game chair, which is not only useful for writing, but for computer gaming, as well. With yet another heat wave, with high humidity, forecast for this week, staying inside and writing is pretty much my entire week. This is a good thing.

Anything physical gets done in morning or evening. Days are for writing, which suits me fine. On Friday, I hit the road, to Connecticut Fiction Fest, riding shotgun for Melva Michaelian, aka my contemporary cohort. Things happen when we’re left alone together, unsupervised. Those things tend to be book-related, so it’s a pretty good deal. We will be taking not only our act on the road, but our dinner as well, (we have both agreed that the grilled cheese with hot peppers incident has to go in a book, someday. There is a lollipop bouquet incident, in Chasing Prince Charming, that actually did happen, aka That Year Anna Won Everything, Whether She Wanted It Or Not, and I have every reason to expect that this latest adventure is going to spawn an incident or two of its own.

With the way scheduling and transportation worked out, we will be arriving at the hotel around 7pm on Friday night, so we’ll be raring to go on Saturday, to pump us up for Sunday. Melva, a long-time educator, is a pro at public speaking, and I will talk to anybody, at any time. (I have vivid memories of my mother telling three year old me that there are restaurants that allow dancing and restaurants that do not allow dancing, and she would tell me which ones were which, but plopping myself down at stranger’s tables and introducing myself was not a very good idea. Yep, I was a unique kiddo.) With this in mind, public-speaking nerves are not really a thing (speaking for myself here) but there’s still a degree of nervousness.

As in, there will be an approximately fifty-minute span of time, where the entire population of a room will be looking, specifically, at me.  Okay, fine, Melva and me, plus the PowerPoint, plus their own feet, their notebooks or laptops, the weird stain on the carpet, possibly insides of their eyelids, whatever name the barista wrote on their coffee cup, etc. It’s not all about me, which is a good thing, but it is a topic that Melva and I both know a lot about. I find it only fitting that the conference will come after a heat wave, which means I had best take my own advice this week.

The plain truth is, that, sometimes, writing can’t happen. Hot, muggy days, when everything seems to crawl at a snail’s pace, sometimes fit into that category. Fingers crossed that this is summer’s last gasp, and not only because I am all about the pretty leaves, crisp air, and pumpkin everything. Summer is my least favorite season, and I don’t see that changing, but there is still some good to be found in those long, humid days, where there is so much moisture in the air, we start cracking jokes about having air fish.

I like taking care of the house, especially since Housemate and I liberated some items from the storage unit, this past weekend, and I can now make a few things a bit neater, a bit prettier, a bit easier to use. One of those things is my writing corner. I still miss my beloved desk, and I will admit that I did pet the drawers, when we saw them in storage, but I like this pile of cushions, and Ikea coffee table, too. It’s kind of decadent, really, being this comfortable, which can be, at times, extremely conducive to getting my imaginary friends out of my head (though, are they ever, really?) and onto the page. Sometimes, I even think that giving myself permission not to write on a hot day like today, actually makes it easier to do exactly that.

Kind of an escape hatch, really. I don’t have to use it every time, but it’s good to know it’s there. Today is hot. Today is muggy. Sleep was meh, and there are a million things to do, to get ready for the conference, not to mention the fact that this is a holiday, so who’s going to be reading blog entries, anyway? The world wouldn’t end if I posted tomorrow, instead of today, which is exactly when my brain propelled me from its spot in front of the box fan, to my cushion pile in front of the coffee table, to blabber in circles for a while.

At the end of this week, I will pack a bunch of black dresses in my rolling suitcase, sling my laptop bag over one shoulder, and pile into first Housemate’s car, and then Melva’s, to tumble out, in the darkening night, at a hotel I’ve never been to before. I have no idea what the badges look like at CTFF, but if there is some sort of presenter ribbon, I am going to be stoked. Some other signifier would be fine, too, and I have two anthology contributions that came out in the last thirty days. Not novels, no, but my stuff, in books, that people buy. Okay, then. Onward we go.

020418deskscape2

Typing With Wet Claws: Fiction Fest Prep Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another very special Feline Friday, coming to you from Camp Grandma. This time, next week, Anty will be on her way to Connecticut Fiction Fest, where she and Anty Melva get to give their workshop, on writing through real life plot twists. Since Mama will be handing Anty off to Anty Melva, there is a good chance that Anty will get a chance to see me, on this visit. Probably on the way back, but I am not going to complain. Any visit is a good visit (except for vet visits) and, besides, she owes me a laser pointer.

SebastianWindow

Although Sebastian has not yet updated Anty’s Coming Soon page, there is news. Both anthologies are now available for purchase.

New York’s Emerging Writers: an Anthology of Nonfiction is available here. That is where you can read Anty’s essay, “Greetings From Boxville.”

If it is fiction you are after, you can read “Ravenwood,” the first two scenes from Anty’s novel, A Heart Most Errant, is available here, in New York’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction. If you like this excerpt, and would like to read the whole book, please consider telling that to the publisher humans.

Now, on to where you can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, this week (other than here, because, well, you already know how to get here, if you are already here, so you do not need me to tell you.) As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about when reading is slow, and when it is fast. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURslowslowquickquick

Speaking of reading, it is time to look at Anty’s Goodreads Challenge. It is not even September, but Anty would have to do some serious slacking to fall off course now, as she has read seventy-one books, out of her goal of ninety, which puts her at seventy-nine percent of the way to her goal, and twelve books ahead of schedule. Good job, Anty. Keep reading.

The book Anty liked best this week was The Love Slave, by Bertrice Small. Anty said I should mention that it is a very, very grownups-only book, with very mature themes, and younger readers, or gentle readers of any age, may want to read a different book. Anty’s review is here, and it looks like this:

GRsmalltheloveslave

Some of you may have noticed that Anty did not blog on Wednesday. That is because it was too hot in NY, and she was not feeling well. It is cooler now, and she is much better, and she acknowledges that she owes you a blog entry. She is thinking of sneaking in some updates from Fiction Fest, but that will depend on the wifi connection, and whether or not she can fix her new laptop. No big surprise, because Anty has been dubbed the computer killer.

The laptop is not dead, though. It is only doing the three beeps thing, so Anty is watching some YouTube videos of how to fix the problem at home, and then she will ask Mama to borrow a baby screwdriver, and give it a go. Anty already has figured out how she will keep all of the tiny screws straight (they are not all the same size) – she will divide a piece of paper into sections, and put each screw in its proper section, that matches where it is on the actual computer. This is where it comes in handy to be a planning sort of person.

Planning also has a dark side, though. Anty found that out this week. Even when Anty does not feel well in the heat, and does not have a lot of energy, she still has enough energy to look at her notebooks. Last weekend, Anty finally got the blush stripe cover for Big Pink, that she has been drooling over (not literally; that would be gross) for a really long time, but was hesitant to move into it, because it wasn’t exactly perfect.

That, as you might imagine, was what inspired Anty to rip all of the inserts out of the old cover (that was not very old at all; she will now use it to protect trade size paperbacks when she reads away from home) and put them into the new one. Only, she did not put all of them into the new cover. That is because the hardcover Moleskine did not fit the new cover.  That was rather upsetting, because Anty liked having the hardcover Moleskine in there, but she can buy a new cahier insert, to do the same job. She needs to get more inserts anyway, since she had filled one of them.

Anty also figured out why she could not settle on how she wanted to use the inserts she had set up in Li’l Pink. That was because Li’l Pink is, well, pink, and the inserts are in shades of blue . She’d been wanting (and still wants) to move to Li’l Pink for her everyday carry, and, while the blue inserts are very pretty, they might not be the easiest to read important information on; Anty wants pink or ivory pages for that, but she wants to use the blue pages for reading and writing things.

The same company that sells Big and Li’l Pink, also has a teal (teal is a greenish-blue color, that is very pretty) cover, that is on sale at the same store where Anty got the pink covers. Her current plan is to go to the store, get the teal cover, and put the blue inserts in that one. Then, (or maybe before; I have not seen her schedule for the evening) she will either buy new inserts for Li’l Pink (Moleskine makes a pastel assortment, that Anty likes, or Kraft paper covers are good, too) or she will find a pack of three pocket sized inserts that have pink covers, that are packed away in storage.

Thankfully, Anty was pretty hardcore about labeling the boxes that came from her office, so it should not be too hard to find the box of inserts. She might even share some of them with Mama, because she has lured Mama over to the dark side, and now Mama has a notebook cover of her own. I do not have my own planner, so far, but pocket size is also kitty size, so maybe it is in my future.

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

skyebye2018

Running Around In Circles, Planning

Connecticut Fiction Fest is now only two weeks away.  Melva tells me our workshop is slated for 10AM on Sunday, which suits me fine. A) I am a morning person. B) This will be after breakfast, so I will be properly caffeinated. C) I may very well be hyped up to the enthusiastic anticipation level of a five-year-old at six-thirty on Christmas morning.

All of this means that it is time to crank planning for this event, into high gear. I love planning. I mean love, love, love planning. If I couldn’t be a writer, professional organizer would be a fabulous job. I have pulled friends over to the dark side, purely for the pleasure of helping them find their planner bliss and finding their own aesthetic. Note the planner case, with pen loops, and the blush pink thing I have going on.

Note, also, the kitchen table, which is new. Not new-new, but new to us, and, this morning, the difference between setting up for my Monday planning at an actual table, in an actual chair, and curled up on an air mattress, balancing stuff in my lap, is remarkable. With the heat for the next couple of days here in NY’s Capitol Region forecast in the high nineties, this means rearranging my schedule is going to be a must, so seeing what can be allocated where, for each task to be accomplished most efficiently, is key.

There’s something about getting up in front of a bunch of people, who have paid cash money to learn how to improve their writing game, who have also looked over all of the options available for that slot of time, and picked your fifty-minute chunk, over other options, ranging from presentations by other writers and/or publishing professionals, to staking out a chair in the lobby to actually write, or saying “stuff this” to the planned program, and nipping off with friends old or new, for a beverage of choice, that makes a person want to at least have the appearance of having their stuff together.

Thankfully, this year, I get to go into the event with new releases that are not old enough to go to kindergarten. My Ravenwood novel excerpt is currently available,  My nonfiction anthology piece, “Greetings from Boxville,” is available for preorder, so it does feel like there is, at last, progress. We like progress. Details are still forthcoming on my next involvement with Charter Oak Romance Writers, but it feels good to be asked back, and, also, for a writer friend I’ve previously worked with, to ask me back for more freelance work. These are all good things. Signs of life, if you will.

All of this brings me to this morning, at the kitchen table, with multiple planners open, nudging all (or at least most) of my ducks into, if not exactly a row, then a loose conglomeration, in the same geographical area. I like to know what’s going to happen, when, and who’s going to do it. That means that, this week, I get to go over my presentation with Melva, and plan out what I want to cover in the segments that are assigned to me. In reality, we’ve both going to interrupt each other a lot, and Melva will probably go unintentionally blue, at least once, at some point, but I like knowing how things are meant to go, in theory, even if practice doesn’t always follow the standard practices.

While a good deal of the planning at this stage of the game, for Fiction Fest, involves the practicalities -which route do I want to take to the venue? What am I wearing? What electronics/pens/paper have to come with?- there is also the planning for the post-conference days. Autumn is, and always has been, the season when my superpowers, usually dormant during the summer, come back, full-fledged, and ready to rumble. In my case, that means writing. If any opportunities come from meetings, planned or chance, at Fiction Fest, Melva and I will need to jump on those, because timing matters.

More than that, there is the fact that I will come back from the conference, energized, with new writer friends, maybe new ideas, and my enthusiasm and confidence cranked up a few levels. This is especially important when I look at getting back to Her Last First Kiss, and historical romance, in general. If you think this is going to mean I’ll be re=formatting the planning of how I approach this part of my writing life, you’re right. Do I have any idea what that is going to look like, in a physical sense? Not at the moment, but not the stuff I put together because that’s how it’s “supposed to” work, or because that’s what “real writers” do. The way it’s meant to be is in the best way possible for me to easily access not only the physical documents or files, but the way that makes it possible for me to connect with that special story place, the one that makes me eager to come to the page every morning, and tell these characters’ stories, the way they want them to be told.

The fact that I get to play with pretty pens and papers and assorted ephemera is only coincidental. Really.

Typing With Wet Claws: Anty in the Corner Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, coming to you from Camp Grandma. Very soon, it will be time for Anty and Anty Melva to head for Connecticut Fiction Fest, and talk about how to write even when life seems to have gone a little (okay, a lot) off the rails.  Anty still does not know if she will drive to the hotel with Mama, and then meet Anty Melva there, or if she and Mama will go see Anty Melva first, and hand Anty off, so Anty and Anty Melva will have a long drive together, but their drives often spark some pretty good ideas, so they are not complaining. They have, at times, joked about renting an RV, and driving from the east to west coasts, and by the time they get back, they will have a new book. At least I think they were joking. It is hard to tell, by remote connection. Personally, I like the handing Anty off to Anty Melva option, because that means that Anty can stop by and see me, which, let’s face it, is the highlight of any road trip, in the first place.

This week, Anty has not been doing as much reading of physical books as she would have liked, but there is good reason for that. For one thing, she has figured out how to get audiobooks from the library, which means that she gets a human with an interesting voice, to tell her a story, and she does not have to figure out where to put anything, or pay for it. Anty will be doing a lot more listening, especially because she can experience a story while she is planning or making art, or anything else. I will have to think about allowing her to listen to books when we are both in the same place, but I think that I probably will. I like soothing voices, very much.

Anyway, Anty’s favorite book that she read all the way through, this week, was Geekerella, by Ashley Potson. This is a modern-day retelling of Cinderella, and there is fandom and cosplay, and the hero is an actor, and Anty is totally there for all of that. Her review of that book is here, and it looks like this:

Geekerella

Anty was, as always, at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, where she asks the important question – what’s in your TBR (that means To Be Read) pile? That post is here, and it looks like this:

BUR170818

Anty wjll probably read a lot more books between now and Fiction Fest, especially once she finishes the book she is reading right now. Anty likes to take her time with some of the bigger historical romances, and that is what is going on with her reading, right now.

Speaking of historical romance, Anty has been giving her materials for Her Last First Kiss some serious consideration, lately. Granted, the contemporaries have required a lot of her attention, especially when she and Anty Melva had the revise and resubmit request, not to mention that they are now working on a book with a cat in it. (Trust me, this cat will be the real star of the book. I am on hand as feline consultant, to make sure that the cat character behaves the way an actual cat would, in such situations.)

Anyway, right now, Anty is doing a lot of rearranging of pretty much everything. The air mattress in the living room, that had been her command centre, sprang a leak. Actually more than one leak. Do not blame me. First, I am at camp, and second, I have special paws, so that rules me out as a suspect, right from the start. I cannot rule out Sebastian, but then again, he is stuffed, so it was probably something else. Probably.

As if that were not enough, Anty’s new Mac Book has been making a new noise. That noise is three beeps, then a pause, then three beeps, then a pause, then three beeps, then a pause, ad infinitum (that is a fancy word that means forever.) Anty did some research, and found out that somebody is going to have to poke around the guts of the Mac Book. Maybe it will be her, and maybe it will be someone at the Apple store. Either way, Anty needs this machine operational, because A) conference, B) super powers are coming back any day now, and C) it is time to get back to Her Last First Kiss.

Since the Mac Book is currently not operational, this means Anty is back to the desktop, and finding a c0mfortable way to sit, where both her eyeballs and back are happy, at the same time. As of today. that is on the floor, in a corner, back to the wall, and both monitor and desktop on a coffee table. Since I am a floor girl, I think this is possibly the most perfect setup. Anty does not yet know if she agrees, but  time will tell.

There is one big advantage to writing in the corner, and that is (besides being on my level) and that is that nobody can see what is on Anty’s screen. Anty does not like other humans looking at her screen, while she is writing, or seeing any reference pictures she might have on hand while she writes. Anty is particular about that kind of thing. I cannot say I blame her. We cats are pretty big on privacy (ours, that is.  We will walk right into the bathroom with you, every time, if you do not close the door quickly enough. It Is because we love you. Also because we have to make sure you do not vanish.)

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

skyebye2018

 

 

Pre-Fall Writing Prep

Yesterday, I was in pajamas and in bed by 6:30 PM. It was one of those days. Yes, I have been out of bed since, even though bed is also today’s command center. This morning, my Mac Book Pro started with the three beeps thing. This will either mean a trip to the Apple Store (this would be my first) or removing the back of the laptop, to fix the issue myself. I have still not decided, but I need my machine, to get some work done, and, not going to lie, having Sims on my laptop is a definite must, especially when my first ever CT Fiction Fest is now less than a month away :runs around in circles, screaming: and I am not going only as an attendee, but as a co-presenter. This won’t be my first time at the front of the room, and I will have Melva right there with me, and we’ve already gone over who is going to talk about what. We also agree that we are probably going to interrupt and talk over each other a lot ( this is extremely likely.)

Right now, Chasing Prince Charming has three pairs of professional eyes upon it, which is both exciting and scary. I’m not thinking about it too much, as there’s enough other stuff on my mind.

Preparing for Fiction Fest is one thing, of course. Melva and I know what each of us are going to do for our workshop, and I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that I will almost certainly wearing some sort of black dress, and purchasing new shoes is probably the better route than teying to find the box marked “heels” in the storage unit. I will be headed there anyway, as I need to find my traveler’s notebook inserts, which are also in there somewhere.

Either way, it’s going to be some excavation. This feels appropriate, given the recent retreat. One thing that is gauranteed from nearly a week spent with almost exclusively feline  companionship, and no interwebs, is a lot of mental excavation.

Though such time is basically made for some prime planning, one of the biggest things I discovered on retreat week was that the checklists and trackers I put together at the start of the year still work perfectly fine, for the most part, but I didn’t like them anymore. This means taling a look at what I want to do, and how I want to do it. Hence the planned storage unit excavation, in search of boxes marked “Moleskines” and “cahiers.”

The visual style changes for my notebook pages are the easy part. The scary part is the stuff that will go on them. A.k.a. writing fiction. Over the last couple of says, multiple people have brought up Her Last First Kiss. This elicited, in basically all cases, a reaction that can best be described as “eep.” Sound made by me, in case you hadn’t guessed, followed by a guilty, “I knowwwww.” Usually followed by thoughts of the wire cube where I’d stashed the printout of draft one, and the Big Daddy Precious notebook, before the move.

There was the whole moving thing, and the focus on Chasing Peince Charming and the revise/resubmit request, plus the anthology submissions, and workshops both online and on person, plus assorted medical bunny trails, Camp NaNo, two retreats, and now…it’s time, again.

When I think of returning to Ruby and Bern’s world, my mind goes to the very first scene, where a young Ruby’s life passes its first point of no return. My pulse speeds a little when I think about that. It goes next to the titular first kiss, at the worst possible time, when both Bern and Ruby become fully aware of how deep their mutual doo-doo has become, and the damage that would follow taking things any further.

That moment always gives me a satisfied sigh. It’s not a comfortable moment for either of them, by any means, but it’s one of my favorites, because it’s their point of no return, and, therefore, the book’s. In my initial notes, they both get an FML notation. Bad, bad, very bad, but oh so good at the same time. At least for me, which should, theoretically, make me want to skip to the keyboard, cackling with glee. Rubbing of hands optional.

The reality of it? We will see when I open Big Daddy Prdcious, and put pen to paper. The desktop still works perfectly fine, but I’m going to need to pick an option for fixing the Mac, as it’s about to get a lot of use. At least that’s the plan.

 

 

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Remote Planning Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, straight from Camp Grandma. The humans have been talking more about moving things, so I take this as an encouraging sign. I like Grandma fine, but we cats are creatures of habit, an my people are Anty, Uncle, and Mama. That is how it works. I am a very social girl, and Grandma has things to do, so I am not able to follow her everywhere, as I would like. While that does give me more time for remote-accessing my mews duties, it is still nice to have somebody to talk to me and tell me I am pretty. I mean, Grandma does, but not all day.

Anyway, before I talk about anything else, I first have to talk about where to find Anty’s writings on the interwebs. As always, she was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. That post is full of drama. Exhaustion. A traffic stop. Romance novels. You know you want to read it. Well, you can. It is here, and looks like this:

Um. Well. There is actually no featured picture there. That is unlike Anty. The only possible explanation is that Anty delegated that task to Sebastian, who napped through the whole thing. My utmost apologies. Anty will be more on her game next week. Sebastian may want to step things up before his performance review.

SebastianWindow.jpg

I will give him this much: his window game is unbeatable. As for keeping track of Anty’s Goodreads reading challenge, eh, not so much. Anty is holding steady, though, at ten books ahead of schedule, so that is pretty good. Anty’s favorite book she read this past week is You Know Where to Find Me, by Rachel Cohn. Anty has read books where Miss Rachel collaborated with one of Anty’s all time favorite authors, David Levithan, but she had never read a book by Miss Rachel alone, without Mr. David. This was her week to fix that. How did that turn out? Her review is here, and it looks like this:

GRcohnfindme

Most of Anty’s writing time this past week has been focused on Chasing Prince Charming. Anty Melva loved Anty’s scene, Anty loved Anty Melva’s editing, and they both agreed the book needed one more scene from Anty. Anty has written two drafts in longhand, and will be transcribing that second draft today, so that it can be really done-done, and then Anty Melva can start sending it out again. Then they go back to work on Drama King, which will probably go much faster, because now they know how they write a book together, and do not have to figure it out so much. Also, there is a cat in that book, which automatically makes it better. I will, of course, be on hand to serve as feline consultant.

This week Anty started a new planner for her writing, and, so far, it is going pretty good. She is still working out exactly what will go in it, and how she wants to track progress on specific projects (also, whether or not she wants to NaNo in November) but having things in one place, where she can see them, is a big help.

RestOf2018

Anty will share more pictures as things progress. Right now, she has her Tuesday breakfasts with Miss N already blocked out, and the days that she (and I) blog, so that we do not miss any. Writing blogs in advance takes way from the “aaaaah, time to post, and I have no ideas” factor, by a lot. Anty was also able to block out the right number of days for the Connecticut Fiction Fest conference, which are not two, but three.

This is a good thing, because spending three days in a hotel full of writers is better than two days. With the information in place this far ahead, Anty can plan what she wants to bring with her, and make checklists. Anty loves checklists. The conference humans are very thoughtful, and are letting the writers hunt for their own dinners at this conference, so Anty may want to scope out the hunting grounds ahead of time, or bring food that she and Anty Melva (and any friends who wander by, potentially) can have in their room. I am a big fan of eating in one’s room. I do it, even at camp.  It’s pretty great.

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

SkyeByeTemp