Typing With Wet Claws: Back to Business Edition

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

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

grgoodseries

 

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

 

GRuntiemyheart

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

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

GRreadingchallenge041417

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

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

 

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Me, from last week.

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

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

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

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

skyebanner01skyebye

 

 

 

 

 

Post-Conference Recap, Part Two

Conference hangover is a thing, and it comes in stages. Today’s stage, after an involuntary two-hour nap, is the second half of the recap, which brings us to Saturday, when things actually happened.  Not breakfast, however, as we were on our own for that meal, usually my favorite of the conference, and Melva and I, despite our best attempts, found nothing around the hotel, so settled for Starbucks. There’s a picture of that, but my computer won’t let me post it, so we will move on to the big stuff, like my first conference workshop as a co-presenter.


I did not manage to get a photo of this workshop’s mastermind, Corrina Lawson, because she is a ninja, but I am sure there was a photo of the three of us taken at some time.  For now, moiself and the fabulous Rhonda Lane. I think this was the most picture-filled conference yet, which I take as a challenge for next year. Speaking of which, I take you now to the room where it happened:

 

Actually, the room where two things happened, because my first and last workshops of the day both took place in the same room. Corrina, Rhonda and I had a decent turnout, alert and attentive women (no dudes in this workshop, at least not this time) who had specific questions about blogging, and made the whole experience fun for presenters and attendees alike. Fingers crossed that the pitch to NJRWA is successful, because I would love to do this again. The fifty-minute hour was over all too soon, and we capped it by giving away an analog blogging starter kit. Here’s what one lucky person took home:

GivawayLoot

If you missed out on the workshop, or are curious about what actually went down in that magical hour, we have a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation, which you can download here: BloggingIsntDeadHandout

The other thing that happened in that room was that Damon Suede presented a compressed version of his workshop on character building. This was a surprise addition, as the presenter who had been scheduled to be in that room for the last workshop, had a flight delay, and Damon graciously stepped in. Despite back pain, I made tracks the second the previous workshop, across the hall finished, because there was no way I was missing this one. No regrets. The room was packed to capacity, and well worth it. If you ever get a chance to hear Damon talk about anything writing related, grab it.  We learned the difference between activity and action, and I love the idea of a defining verb for each lead character, preferably verbs in opposition to each other, because friction is what makes, ah, things, feel good.

In between our workshop and Damon’s , there was a lot of learning -from neurophysics to the art of the novella, to the ins and outs of writing with a partner…which I had to leave early (still salty about that, too) because it was pitch time. The newly-named Chasing Prints Charming had three pitch sessions, one from me, and two from co-author, Melva Michaelian. Swing and a miss from me (hint: when pitching your romance novel, do not choke and make the hero a footnote) but two hits from Melva; both of her pitches resulted in requests to see more.

While I did have the obligatory “what’s wrong with meeeeeeeeee?” whinge, the answer is: nothing. Though this pitch got a pass, the person to whom I’d pitched said they’d totally read it for pleasure (I have heard this before, on another pitch, but that’s another story, both literally and figuratively) and the no was based on that particular person placing that particular book. Discussion of how my pitch session went had to wait until after lunch, as the person who had passed on the pitch ended up sitting directly behing me for that meal. Not every work fits with every editor or agent, but two others nibbled, so Melva and I are still calling it good. Time to get the requested material in shape and send it on its way.

As for that lunch, Zoe York, our luncheon speaker, put the text of her speech on her website, so those who want to relive the magic, or those who weren’t able to attend, can get a small taste. Zoe talked about some of the cold, hard facts of the publishing business, and the importance of writing the books we want to read, and how this is not a business for the faint of heart. Like, you know, people who had their pitches turned down and then sat in front of the person who did the turning down. By now, I’m more amused by this particular turn, and, who knows, Melva and I might put it in a future book. As Chasing Prints Charming was born at a prior incarnation of this conference, we also began our pre-writing on Drama King, our next collaboration.

The big event, for me, besides our workshop, and Damon Suede’s workshop, was being in the same room with Joanna Bourne. Not only being in the same room, but hearing her keynote dinner speech, which would cap off the whole experience. Though there were still some breakout sessions after dinner, Melva and I had miles to go before we slept, so this was our grand finale. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, Joanna Bourne writes amazing historical romance, set in the French Revolution, with all the deep emotion and dark places of the heart, and all that other stuff I absolutely love to find in a historical romance. Did she talk about writing outside of the drawing room? Finding the emotional center? How she encapsulated the entire French Revolution, from both sides, with two people surveying a trashed greenhouse? Nope. Squashed hamster, a vet’s waiting room full of falcons (no worries, hamster was fine) and the difference between greatest adventure and “being well traveled in Concord.” For those, like me, who still wanted to hunt down some words on writing from one of the grand mistresses, there is this tidbit, found on her website’s blog.

After dinner, it was pictures and hugs and cheek kisses and promises to email, gathering tote bags and turning in neck wallets, and stepping back into the ordinary world. As much as conference hangover is a real thing, so is the inspiration that travels home with us and spurs us on as we sit back at our desks, open a notebook and boot the computer. This week, it’s back to work on Charming Prints Charming, back to work on Her Last First Kiss, back to whittling down my Goodreads challenge debt, and all the rest that comes with the time in between conferences. I had a great weekend with my tribe; now time to do the work once again.

Typing With Wet Claws: Conference 2017 Edition

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

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

BURconferenceweek

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

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

HandHRichonne7

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

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

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

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

BloggingIsntDeadHandout

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

skyebanner01

skyebye

 

 

If Not Now, When?

In two more days, I will be at the Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference.  Between now and then is laundry, packing, about elebenty bajillion emails, and some furious keyboard pounding, as the Beach Ball reaches endgame. This year, I’m pitching again, after a couple years’ break, and I am co-presenting for the first time ever. There’s no time to be nervous. There’s only time for doing what has to be done, and figuring out the time in which I can do it. This entry is getting pounded out in one go, because I have pages to fill, and there is the aforementioned laundry to be done, with the help of Housemate, because I have, according to Housemate and Real Life Romance Hero alike, sustained the most Anna-y injury ever. I hiccupped too hard, and now my back thinks it’s digging-Housemate’s-car-out-of-the-snowbank all over again. Good thing my work involves sitting in a comfy chair.

Every three months, a new issue of Art Journaling magazine comes out, and I pounce on it as soon as I possibly can. Every time, I scan it quickly, then take a longer look later, with beverage of choice, possibly a nibble or two, and drink in all the inspiration. I wish I could make pages like that. I wish I could layer colors and make backgrounds and figure out where to put stamps, and knew the best kind of white pen to write on paint or magazine images, and not look like a third grader on the first day of art class (even though pretty much every artist ever has been a third grader on the first day of art class, at some point in their creative journey.) I look through, and I want to make those pages, and I make some pages, and some of them are kind of okay, but nothing more than that.  At some point, I throw my hands in the air and wander off, leaving scraps of waxed paper and blobs of gesso in my wake.

This past weekend, while doing my regular grocery shopping, I made my ritual pass through the notebook aisle and found something I’d never seen before. Cahier style notebooks, with multicolored bright pages, plain black cardstock covers, but -BAM- color explosion inside. I am pretty sure that the package of three notebooks jumped into my cart of its own accord. This is not a bad thing. I hate blank white pages. Hate them. They’re…blank. They’re…white.  They’re…:gestures vaguely: there. Daunting. Where the heck does a person start on a plain, blank page? This is exactly why my morning pages have to be done in a pretty book, or one I make pretty with my own embellishments. I knew as soon as I saw these, I had to take a crack at using them to make those pages.

Yesterday, I needed to get out of the house, so I threw a few long-neglected supplies into a bag, grabbed my new toy and headed for the coffee house I hadn’t seen in over two weeks. No overthinkings, only making marks on the page. I’d started at home, with an ink test on the last page of one of the books, and then…I printed. I doodled. I squiggled. I made notes on things I had bought but never tried, or tried once and wandered off because it didn’t work perfectly the first time. I put in my earbuds, put on some Netflix, and I put stuff on the hot pink page.

artjournalHRCH

Here’s a better look at the supplies I used:

artjournalstuff

I didn’t use the glue stick, because I didn’t bring anything I could glue onto the page, but it’s in the bag, so it’s there when I need it. When it was time to go home, I had a couple other techniques I wanted to try. I slapped some gesso on the next spread of pages (okay, first, I slapped some matte gel medium on the inside cover first, because I didn’t read the label before I opened the jar) and then, when that dried, thought I’d have a go at another thing I’d always wanted to try, and always looks foolproof. It is not foolproof. I am referring to the green blobs in the corners.  Those green blobs were meant to be gentle washes of different shades of green. Maybe next time.

artjournalbackground

Even so, I think I did okay. This is only two layers on one substrate. I still have stamps I’ve been too nervous to try, because they are special stamps, from a favorite creator, and I don’t know, or have forgotten what I did once know, about inking those images and getting them to do what I want. Still, the way I see it, I have two options here. I can leave the special stamps safe in their packaging, or I can rip off the cellophane, slap some ink on those suckers and see what they can do.

In that respect, it’s not all that different from writing. When I sat down with the contents of my travel pouch, and a pristine, hot pink page, with its subtle contrast of lines, I wasn’t going for perfect. Nobody ever had to see this. Nobody would ever judge this (that only applies when one does not slap it on the interwebs, btw) and my only goal was to explore and have fun doing it. I knew I would create imperfect pages, and that took all the pressure away. What did this tool do? What kind of mark does this pen make? Let’s find out. Let the movie play and slap things down on the page and drink tea, censors off.

As the first draft of the Beach Ball bounces its way to the finish line, I’m keeping that in mind, and that’s also the plan for draft two of Her Last First Kiss. Create imperfect pages, on purpose. Let the movie play.

AnnaSelfieComment

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Juggling Chainsaws Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This week’s picture is from last night, when I got my farthest ever into Anty’s office without touching the hated carpet. Well, my tail did, but I am only counting paws. If Anty moved the kneeling chair and her magazine holder, I could get in even farther. I still want  her to get rid of the carpet completely, so I can sit as close to her chair as possible, but I will take this for now. I am rather proud of myself. I will never abandon my quest. A cat in every office, that’s the dream.

Anty will also never give up her quest for a career writing historical (and historical adjacent) romance. Part of that is writing the actual books. because, let’s face it, nothing can happen without that. Anty can only sell products she has, after all, so she must make them. This week, she has been doing a lot of that. Some days, it came easy, and some days, not so much, but one thing Anty needs to remember is that it will always come, even if it takes a little while. Or a long while, but that is another story. Pun intended.

As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this week, and, this week, her post on historical romance outside the Regency (yes, she is still salty about missing that workshop at next week’s conference, but she has plans to get handouts, so it is okay. Ish.) got some people talking. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURnonregency.png

 

Anty has also written a post on Heroes and Heartbreakers, about the Bones series finale. Anty liked Booth and Bones and their love story very much, so it was sad to say goodbye to them, but happily ever afters are good things. Anty’s post about that is here, and it looks like this:

HandHBonesFinale

Reading, especially reading other historical romances,  is also important. Anty could do better on that one, as she is now seven books behind in her Goodreads challenge. This does not make Anty happy, but it does make her want to dig in and read some more. Probably when the conference is over and she has come back with a whole armload of books, and is not juggling metaphorical chainsaws. Do not worry, they are only metaphorical chainsaws, not real ones. That would be very dangerous. Anty needs her hands for writing and for feeding and petting me. She has her priorities. She had better make reading one of them, because her Goodreads challenge now looks like this:

GR310317

Time for Anty to step up the whole reading thing.  Readers who have been with us a while may remember her freakout when she thought she was fifteen books behind, with the end of the year approaching. Nobody wants that to happen again. Which means life had better calm down, but I am not in control of that.

This week, Anty had too much going on, on Monday, to be ready for crit session with Miss N, so asked if Miss N could move it to Thursday, which Miss N could not, because she had another appointment, but she could do Friday (which is today.) Then, while Anty was talking with Miss H, Miss H mentioned that there would be a blizzard where Miss H lives. This was news to Anty, because Anty had not looked at the weather in a while. She looked at the weather then, and got a surprise – we would get a winter storm, too.

Miss N, and her husband, Mr. N, picked Anty up, so she would not need to walk in the slushy rain. They have three kitties of their own, so I know Anty can trust them. The critique session went very well, and Miss N suggested that she and Anty skip next Tuesday, because Anty will be too busy during the week, getting ready for the conference, to get her scene ready for critique. The conference goes late into Saturday, then there is the two hour drive to get from where the conference is, to where she will meet Mama, then two more hours to get back home. Miss N kind of has a point. Anty agreed taking that Tuesday off was a good idea. Then Miss N said maybe the next week, too, but Anty did not like that option. Two weeks away is too much, so Miss N said maybe an outline instead of a scene. Anty is still thinking about that one, but she cannot think too much about it, because there is still her Buried Under Romance post to write, and then this weekend is her last chance to get any conference related errands done.

Earlier this week, the conference people asked Anty for a bio, so that they can tell people about her. That is a new thing for Anty. Whenever she has to write a bio, she either feels like she has never met herself, or that she is not sure why other people would find her interesting.  Because having a bio for the conference people is part of Anty’s career goals, she put on her big girl panties and combined parts from two bios she does not entirely hate. The bio she sent in does include me, which I think is a very smart move. Many writer humans find cats extremely interesting, so they will probably like that.

Anty needs the computer back, so that is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebanner01skyebye

 

Nobody Likes a Naked Panelist

Let me qualify that; there probably are some people who would appreciate nude presenters at a conference, but A) I’m not going to  that kind of conference, and B) most of those who will be attending the workshop I’m co-presenting would prefer said nude presenter to have body parts I do not, if nude presenters were a thing, which, to the best of my knowledge, they are not. Plus there’s the problem of chilly conference rooms, so clothing is indeed in order.

The question, then, is what sort of clothing? This year, for the first time, people will be looking specifically at me for the better part of an hour. Thankfully, I have my lovely and talented co-presenters, each with their unique personal style, to share the vision, as it were, so anybody who shows will not be looking, specifically, only at me. That takes some of the pressure off, but the fact remains that dressing for this particular conference is different from years prior. This year, I am going not only as a writer, not only to network with my peers, not only to sit across a small table from a publishing industry professional and convince them why they might like to give me and my writing partner monies for the adventures of our imaginary friends (and, if the “do you have anything else?” question comes into play, my individual imaginary friends as well) but sitting/standing/walking in front of people who have chosen to learn about blogging, over the other workshops that are being presented at the same time.

So, clothes. In some aspects, men have it easier. In a word, suits. I’m sure there are gentlemen out there (or some dapper ladies) who can school me on the complexities of suit wearing, but, in broadest terms, suit, shirt, tie, shoes, done. Basic equation, which, at eight days before conference time, has me thinking the guys might have things easier in this regard. The clock is ticking, and writing schedule and other obligations mean that shopping is not going to be a much or an option, which means I’m going to have to work out of my closet, which is, to put things bluntly, in flux.

A few years back, I culled most colors out of my closet, because it felt too jumbly, to look in there and have to think of what went with what. I’m visual. I love color theory.  That wasn’t the issue. What bothered me was that those colors didn’t feel like me, so out they went. Immediately, I felt more settled. Calmer. Me-er. What’s left now is mostly black, gray, and white, a little navy, and occasional shots of red or purple. Almost everything goes with almost everything (do not ask me to mix black and navy, because that is not going to happen.) This should make things easier.

It doesn’t always. Neutrals provide a blank canvas for accessories, which are also in flux at the moment. Most days, I wear at least one piece of jewelry with a skull on it, sometimes more. I don’t know where the skull thing started, but A) I like skulls, and B) we all have one; for me, it’s a symbol of humanity.  I also love heels. Housemate is convinced I walk better in heels, and trip more often when wearing flats. She’s not wrong. I once fell down two fights of stairs when the heel of my flats caught on the edge of a tile. This was back in college, and I landed at the feet of two nursing students, which I thought convenient. (I was fine.) I am going to take a wild guess and suspect that I am not going to want to repeat that experience. So, heels. but which heels will depend upon which actual clothing items come with me, and, as of now, I have no idea.

Writing, domestic duties, and other obligations have meant schedule hopscotch this week, which left no time for going through the closet and making a proper, informed selection. While Housemate is happy to decide what she’s going to pack about five minutes before she has to be out the door, that doesn’t work for me. I’m a planner. I want to know in advance, preferably well in advance, and, preferably, have a backup plan, in case something (like a two-staircase tumble) goes wrong with the original. This makes me itchy. It also lets me know what I need to feel confident, which, as it would turn out, is the most essential thing I can wear to a professional gathering.

At some point, something in my head will click, and I’ll know what’s for Friday day, what’s for Friday night, and what I want to be wearing from very early Saturday to very late Saturday/possibly early Sunday. What I need to keep in mind is that I know this stuff. I have two smart, entertaining, stylish women to share the spotlight, and more people are likely to look at the Power Point presentation than what the presenters are wearing. It’s a workshop, not a fashion show. What’s most important is to be confident and comfortable.

Blogging, I can do. Talking, I can do.  Telling stories, I can do. Talking about stories, I can do. Sitting up half the night in the hotel lobby, talking with other writers about what we’re writing, what we’re reading, and the workshops we’ve attended, or, this year, presented, I can definitely do.  At some point, things will click, and I’ll know what to wear, what to pack, and, in the end, what most people will take away from the presentation is the content, not the appearances of those presenting it. Thinking about it, though? That’s all part of the process.

 

Typing With Wet Nails: Conference Countdown Edition

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

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

BURcabinroad

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

GR032417

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

GRBeverley032417

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

NTL5starSAP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

skyebanner01

skyebye

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Digging Out Edition

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

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

BURo4o317

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

 

GR170317

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

NeverTooLate

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

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

NECRWAAnnaBowling

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

Me: :Chirple:

Anty: I love you, baby.

Me: :Chirple:

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

Me: :Chirple:

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

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

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

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

skyebanner01skyebye

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Conference is Coming Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday.  This week, you get a greatest hits picture of me, because  Anty’s mail server loves the picture she took of me this morning so much that it does not want to send it to her desktop and wants to keep it all to itself. We are now in the second month of 2017, which is probably my birthday month. When Anty and Mama found me at the shelter, the vet said I was about ten months old, which means, since that was December, I must have been born in February. Maybe I am even a Valentine baby. Anty thinks that would be fitting, and, since part of her job as a writer of historical romance, is figuring out what could have happened in the past, we are going to go with that. More on that later, because, first, I have to talk about Anty’s writing and where you can find it.

First, as always, Anty has her Saturday Discussion post on Buried Under Romance. This week, she talked about books that become movies, in reality, or in readers’ minds. That post is here, and it looks like this:

 

BUR01feb17.png

maybe Anty should put the funny pictures at the top of the post?

The next two links are kind of sneaky, because they are not whole posts, but posts where Anty helped at Heroes and Heartbreakers. First, like every month, Anty got to say what her favorite book of the month is, and, this month, it was a book she already wrote about on that site, which she liked very much. That post has recommendations from other H&H bloggers, too, so it is possible, in theory, to get a whole TBR list from one post alone. That post is here, and it looks like this:

hanhbestreads

The other link is really the sneaky one, as Anty did not write the quiz, (Anty loves taking this kind of quiz) one of the potential results comes from a post she wrote, about a hero she liked very, very much. So, though Anty is not in that post, one of her favorite characters is, so she thought I might like to include it in my post anyway. She was right. That post is here, and it looks like this:

 

handhbookboyfriend

 

Now that it is February, that means April is only a little bit away, and that means it is almost time for the NECRWA conference. Anty loves going to that conference every year. Sometimes, people tell her how much they like my blog. My blog. Let us spend a moment on that, if we may. As Anty once said, when a fellow writer asked her how she comes up with new ideas for her blog every week, the key is to get a cat to write one third of the blog posts. I do not know if that will be part of her “Blogging Isn’t Dead” workshop, which she will be co-presenting with Corinna Lawson and Rhonda Lane, but I would not be surprised if the topic came up at some point.

The approach of conference time means that Anty has some work to do, not only to get together with Miss Corinna and Miss Rhonda, to talk about what they are going to say (and who is going to say what, specifically) or connect with people she definitely wants to talk to that weekend (Anty is an extrovert, so basically everybody) or what she is going to wear, but really important stuff. I know what you are thinking, and we can cross the most important item off that list right now. Uncle will feed and play with me while Anty is away. Conference weekend means Uncle and Skye weekend, so it is a holiday for me, too.

The really important thing Anty wants to focus on this year is her own books. Since she has a first draft done of Her Last First Kiss, and she and Anty Melva are working steadily toward the end of the first draft of the Beach Ball, it is time once again for Anty to look at pitch sessions, and what she is going to say to any agents or editors she might meet at any part of the conference. Anty has never gone to a conference with a book and a half in the hopper (book and two halves, if she wants to count her post-apocalyptic medieval, which really only needs half a revision to be ready for indie or traditional publishing. Probably indie, though, because it is post-apocalyptic medieval, and those aren’t exactly thick on the ground these days. Or any days. Anty still loves the story, though.)

It’s been a while since Anty has had a pitch session, and, as much as she loves them (Anty thinks eight minutes of a publishing professional’s undivided attention is right up there with amusement parks, romance-only bookstores, and bottomless cups of Lapsang Souchong tea; let’s be real, if there were an amusement park that had a romance-only bookstore in it and served bottomless cups of Lapsang Souchong tea, we might  never see Anty again.) getting ready for them is the nervous part. Anty has been in sessions where the other person has said “I love your sample, send me the whole thing” right away, and she has been in sessions where the other person has said “I don’t like stories that have Element X in them,” when Anty’s whole story is about Element X. Most sessions fall somewhere in the middle. Anty said I am not allowed to talk about the pitch session she had when she had been awake for three days straight, because that is when she gets into really punchy territory. That can be entertaining at home, not so much in a pitch session.

Since I am running out of room here, I will cut to the chase (please do not chase me; that would be scary) : it is time to hunker down and get stuff as ready as it can be, because one never knows when the other person might want the whole book, right now. It’s a magical time of year. Editors and agents go to these conferences for the specific reason of finding new writers and new books. They want to hear about what writers have to show them (but not in the people litterbox, please) so knowing what a writer wants to say about their books in advance is usually a good idea. This involves planning, and Anty loves planning, so I think she will be okay.

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

skyebye

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting on Wise (Wo)men

Technically, it is still Christmas until January 6th, but it’s the first Monday of the new year, and that seems like the perfect time to jump back into the daily routine, beginning as I mean to go on. New year, new chances, and all of that. I like the idea of a clean slate. It fits into my clean sweep/more layers mindset, and now it’s time to draw from that well that the tucked-away week filled.

This time last year, I did not have a new planner to move into on the first of the year, and I don’t have one to move into this year, either, but for a different reason. This year, I picked up a seventeen-month planner (how have I managed to ignore these things until now?) so I moved into the new planner in the summer, and am starting the year off by using the stuffing out of this one. The pen for this book is actually a Sharpie liquid pencil (another thing I had no idea existed until recently) and, so far, it’s working. I have long since accepted that I am a planner. I want, even need, to know what I’m doing, and when I’m doing it. Then, within those boundaries, I can run wild. Hey, it works.

So, what does the new year hold? For one thing, lots of historical romance. Actually, that would be two things, as I mean both reading and writing my favorite genre. Last year, I set my Goodreads reading goal at fifty  books. I actually read eighty-nine, so this year’s goal is ninety. I have one down so far, and should be finishing at least one more in the next day or two. The way I figure it, if I read two books each week, allowing two weeks for dry spells/rest/deadline crunches, I’m going to be sitting pretty in the reading department.

Writingwise, this is the year. The last ten have been a wild ride, which could be a book in itself, but I don’t write horror. What I do write is historical romance, and, with Melva Michaelian, historical-adjacent romance. Since I work best with regular feedback, it’s my responsibility to make sure I get exactly that. Today, I will work on the next draft of chapter two of Her Last First Kiss, which I need to turn in to N tomorrow morning. She, in turn, will have pages from her WIP to show me, and the plan is to read and comment on the spot. N asked me to bring printed pages rather than sending in email ahead of time. This is out of my comfort zone, as it will require me to A) figure out WTF is jamming my nifty awesome printer that will not print, or B) hie myself to library or office supply store to print on their devices. Probably B) and then A, but the point is that this is stretching, which is what I want.

Thanks to the RWA critique partner matching registry, I have a good lead on a historical romance critique partner. Not only do we share common interests within the genre, but in other things as well, and even prefer similar historical periods. Next step is exchanging sample chapters and seeing if we are indeed the good fit it looks like we may be, and then onward we go. If I’m being held accountable and receiving regular feedback, it’s a lot harder to tell myself nobody cares, or I’m not making a difference. Maybe the benefits of external validation have something to do with being an extrovert, maybe not, but this feels good. It feels right. It feels as though a piece of the puzzle that got knocked loose during the last ten years is fitting back into place. I like that.

While I was writing this entry, I got a notice I had new email, which, of course, I had to check, because A) I am me, and B) email fits into my social media time, and I am darned shooting sure going to stick to what’s on my schedule on the very first day of having said schedule (seriously, this planner works with the way my brain works, but more on that later.) What was said email? Notice that I had won a Fierce Cheerleading session with abundance coach, Eryka Peskin (who is super awesome, and if you have a chance to be in on one of her challenges, I highly encourage you to take it.)

This morning, I had another notice, on Goodreads, that a new group had been formed, dedicated to the love of historical romance and fiction set in one of my favorite eras, the seventeenth century. That’s the setting for my Orphans in the Storm, and one hundred percent a setting I plan to use again, maybe soon. That’s because my next goal, after finishing both Her Last First Kiss and the Beach Ball in 2017, I need to look farther down the road and decide what’s coming next. Sitting down in front of a blank screen doesn’t work for me, so that means I need to put some feelers out there and see what I’m going to be writing next, after these two couples find their happily ever afters. Because writing historical romance? That’s my HEA. Okay, that and Real Life Romance Hero, because he has truly earned the title, but this is the year to be a little (or a lot) less  “Grace Kelly” (though the party in the video does look awfully fun):

and more in the spirit of this ditty below (language may not be for gentle readers or little ones in the room):

This year,  I don’t feel a letdown at the end of the tucked-away week,  like I have in the past. 2017 is the year I get to cross  “present at NECRWA’s annual conference” off my bucket list, and I could  not be in better company than my co-presenters, Corrina Lawson and Rhonda Lane. It is still Christmas until January 6th, what my father called Three Kings’ Day, which others may know as Epiphany, or the celebration of the wise men arriving at one very special manger. This year, my planner has “ornament harvest” where “take down tree” used to go, because, this year, I’m looking at the new season differently. I think I’m going to like the view from here.