Typing With Wet Paws: Jailbreak II: Hallway Boogaloo Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. We’ll start with the mot important stuff. Aunt Anna says that means that she had a good writing week, but I have to disagree. Ther important stuff is about me, obviously.

First and arguably the most important thing is that the humans are reasonably sure that I am not pregnant because I am now in heat. That mostly means me slinking around the room, doing my very seductive (to boy cats, at least I hope) trilling calls, and being super lovey. It also involves me wanting to go find boy cats.

Yesterday, as we moved into a new room after a night of camping (during which there were zero opportunities to make a break for it) I did not throw away my shot (Hamilton reference for the win. Hm. Lin-Manuel Miranda, here’s a suggestion. Hear me out: Catmilton. Like Hamilton, but with cats. Eliza should totally be a calico girl. Think about it.) and while the aunts were concerned with getting their things inside, I went zoom through the barely open door.

That was when Aunt Anna told me to get back there, and I did not listen, but the other humans very much did. Uncle Rheuben shut the hallway door (never do that unless it is an emergency, and a kitty on the loose is an emergency) and Aunt Linda hurried after Aunt Anna in case Aunt Anna needed backup. As for me, I trotted down the hallway, with my happy tail high, making my super seductive boy cat call, but there were no boy cats.

There were no other cats, period. Actually, there was nobody except the aunts following me, a lot of closed doors, and carpet, carpet everywhere. I did see a set of stairs, but I don’t really know how stairs work, because I’ve never used them before, so I ignored them and kept going. Aunt Anna kept up with me and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. I kept going.

That’s when she pointed Very Sternly in the opposite direction, toward our new room, and she told me I had to go that way. I knew Aunt Anna meant business, so I turned right around and went that way. Aunt Linda laughed, and Uncle Rheuben made sure I got back in the room, and then I got food. Now the humans put a suitcase in front of the door, so I am less likely to slip through. It’s tough to be a kitty.

Plague Doctor freebie sticker from Jen.erating

For those who like to see where Aunt Anna does her writing and blogging stuff, this is what it looks like for this current stay. As Aunt Anna said while lugging the CPU and monitor up the stairs, it is time to either get one of the old laptops brought up to scratch, or get a new one. She’ll put that on the list of stuff to do while we are settled. She is happy to do the lugging, though, because that helps her move forward with the whole writing thing, which, this week, has included:

  • looking into hiring an editor/formatter/cover artist for one of her unreleased titles
  • made a short list of places to query her two out of print titles
  • started setting the framework for the follow-up to the book at the top of this list
  • given some long overdue attention to an Aunt Melva scene from Drama King and started making notes on her own scene to follow
  • attended a cyber-meeting of her local RWA chapter, which had a great workshop on how to get unstuck, and putting some of those methods into practice

All in all, pretty good. It appears my mews services have been effective. I will continue in that vein. Aunt Anna is also back reading, and is very happy to be participating in the Historical Romance Readathon, Weekend Edition. Same idea as the regular flavor, but downsized for today’s fast paced lifestyle. Aunt Anna is starting off her TBR list with two titles:

She’s keeping the list small for now, but if she finishes both during the weekend, she’ll add another. I don’t remember how long it was since she read anything, but that’s the way it goes. Reading slumps/droughts hit, and then they end, as abruptly. Aunt Anna is okay with that. She is still looking for a YA contemporary to tickle her fancy, and there is a fantasy collection, The Grand Tour, by E. Catherine Tobler, that she expects she will devour.

That return to reading will be the topic of Aunt Anna’s next blog entry at Buried Under Romance, which she expects to get up by tomorrow morning. One of the things she is working on right now is a social media planner, so she can keep better track of what she means to post, and when. Part of that also includes making sure her Instagram has the proper number of pictures of me, so I fully support that effort. Apparently she’s going to shoot for one-third pictures of me. Eh, it’s a start.

Finally, Aunt Anna would like to unveil my brand new signoff picture, which she might try making into a sticker. That, I want to see. Guess that’s about it for right now, so until then,

Headbonks!

Real Live Girl

Monday’s post on Wednesday again, as it is that kind of week. I wish I could say the delay is due to Canada Day having fallen on Monday, and that I was in a poutine coma, but that was not the case. Housemate and I monopolized the industrial washers at the laundromat, (hopefully) enacting Fleamageddon on the bitey critters in our household linens and such. I am not calling victory until more time has passed, but I am hopeful.

I am also, as of this week, a real live girl, aka official Goodreads Author. That’s my profile, right there.

Many metric tons of thanks to the fabulous E. Catherine Tobler, who is also a Goodreads Author for talking me through the process. Seeing my name and my face on the site, with the official designation, shook me a little. I am still not sure why. N was certainly impressed when I showed her the author page , at our weekly breakfast this morning (another thing that has been different this week. We usually meet on Tuesday, but it was Wednesday this week) and even Mr. N was impressed. We spent most of the morning with me history-geeking out over the English Civil War, and Bretheren of the Coast, and I did give N a quick walk-through of my Camp NaNo notebook.

This is not a post on my Camp NaNo notebook. Nor is it a post on Camp NaNo. Those will be later. It is also not a post on One Book July, which I am deferring from the first post of the month, not because I don’t have anything to say on the matter, because I do. I am liking this experiment a lot more than I thought I would, and limiting the supplies I have for my everyday carry actually give me a lot more freedom in how I use them. There is something in that there, and probably something that relates to writing in some manner, but I am still formulating my thoughts on that.

What, exactly, does being a Goodreads Author mean to me? I get the sense that I want to take a moment before answering this, and reach deep inside to find my scholarship pageant voice (fun fact; I had the opportunity to enter a scholarship pageant in high school, but declined.) and think of puppies, world peace, and hopefully a sparkly crown on my head, if I answer correctly. I would like all three of these things, but, right now, I am still taking it in, and turning my attention to the page.

That page would be my daily page in my planner, because that helps a lot to keep me on track. Get author tasks done for The Wild Rose Press, so they can help spread the word about Chasing Prince Charming. Stick to my Camp NaNo goal, and use the month before me as discovery time for my first planned trilogy of historical romance. Carry on with Drama King with Melva, our beach ball now in the professional arena instead of the backyard sandbox. Nudge Her Last First Kiss further along the way to the end of draft two, and keep an eye on the in-box for news on my queries for A Heart Most Errant (and think of series potential, because marketing, and I can do this, stretching myself is good) and definitely ensuring that Fleamageddon sticks.

For the practical answer, being a Goodreads Author means that A) you can follow me there, B) you can ask me questions. That one is kind of exciting. Okay, they both are, and I really hope those who want to do one or the other (or both) will do so. That’s one of the fun parts of being a writer, interacting with readers, so I am looking forward to that, but for now, my planner says I am writing.

Five Quick Questions With E. Catherine Tobler

I said I wasn’t done with E. Catherine Tobler‘s Watermark, and the madness continues as E. joins us for a quick chat about her latest release and more…
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1) How did Watermark come to be?

I wanted to set a story somewhat local to me and loved the idea of the Rocky Mountains. What could I do in a small mountain town, I wondered. I began to look at my favorite mountain towns, and then came across mountain lakes, of which Colorado has many. They’re all so beautiful on the surface, but what might lurk beneath? This turned my mind to Loch Ness, and thus to water monsters. This led me to kelpies, and that’s when Pip was discovered. But why would a kelpie be in a Colorado mountain lake? This was the mystery to solve.

2) Pip and Finn’s story will leave readers hungry for more…and flat out hungry. What role does food play in this story?

Food plays an important role in Watermark. There is a long-standing legend that bread is protection against fairies, but I twisted that a little in this book, saying that bread is actually what helps anchor fairies in the human world. Naturally, this meant that one of our fae needed to be a baker! Food also plays a part in rituals for our fairies, as they can entice their own kind with it. There is also the notion that if a human eats fairy food, they’ll be trapped in the fairy world, losing their interest in anything but that world. Food is both attractive and repellent over the course of the book, as fairies themselves are.


3) How would you describe urban fantasy to those who have yet to dip their toes in the water of this genre?

Urban fantasy is often defined by the “urban” part, in that it takes place in a city, and that city becomes as much a character as the walking and talking characters are. I wanted my cities to be worlds, the human world and the fairy world, both at odds with each other, but each containing something the other needed. My actual city is fictional; Peak, Colorado was, however, absolutely based on Estes Park, Colorado, that beautiful small mountain town that exists quite well outside tourist seasons, and probably has an entirely secret life no one knows about.

4) Appearances aren’t everything, and in this story, there’s a lot beneath most every surface. What one tip would you give writers interested in going deeper with their characters?

To definitely remember that surface largely doesn’t matter. Certainly our first impressions of characters will be tied to what we see, but that doesn’t have to be physical appearance. “She was beautiful” are the three words I am most tired of seeing when a writer launches into a description of their female characters. You can show that beauty in another way; what is beautiful about her beyond her looks, too. “Her fingers were as a tangle of yarn over the markings when she studied star charts.” That’s beauty without saying it’s beauty.

5) What’s next?

All the things! This fall, I am starting a new book, because apparently that’s what I do in the fall (just about the time of Nanowrimo, hmm). I have new stories out, too: readers can find “Pithing Needle” in the October issue of Clarkesworld, and “Honey in the Lion” in Betwix #5 . And I’m still dreaming all the Egypt dreams, too.

Watermark-Cover

Want a chance at winning a copy of your very own? There’s still time.

Excerpt from Watermark by E. Catherine Tobler

I’m a historical romance gal, always have been, always will be, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to sniff out a great romance nestled in a story of another genre. In this case, urban fantasy. E. Catherine Tobler has a history of beckoning me out of my comfort zone, and her latest, Watermark, the story of Pip, a kelpie sent to the world of humans, is no exception. Pip, in human form, finds there’s more to both human and fae than she first suspects, and there’s the small matter of Finn, a delicious, tattooed baker who is, like much in this entrancing novel, much more than he appears on the surface.
Watermark-Cover

Intrigued? Try this tasty sample..

Who was he to me? The question rested on my tongue. I did not ask it.

We traced our way through the woods as we had come, Finn holding my hand all the while. Fingers were not so curious to me as toes, but now I understood why. Our hooves left twin trails of prints through the long grasses, prints that were slowly erased in our wake. Wouldn’t a horse be captivated by toes? Wouldn’t a…

“Púca,” he said.

“Can you read my mind then?” The idea wasn’t nearly as unsettling as I expected it to be.

“I’ve a gift for that,” Finn said with care, “but you… You were always different for me, aye?”

He said “aye” the way the king had, slanted with an accent I didn’t recognize—yet it made me ache with familiarity. That was a sound from home. And the idea that I had always been different for him made me stop in my tracks.

“It’s like looking at a lake,” he said. “Most people, I see only what they wish me to, or my own reflection. Some let me below the surface.”

“And me?”

Finn gathered my hands into his. “Earth cups water, prevents it from spilling every which way. Water soaks into earth, letting life grow.”

My nose wrinkled again. This, like Berengaria and Conaire, was nearly too private. It was like looking at something I should not see, even if it involved me.

“Water freezes and earth quakes. Water can flood, smothering ground. Likewise ground can suck entire lakes away.”

Finn’s head tipped in a nod, mane shivering. “Aye, they do. Balance, as Conaire spoke of.”

“You said I was always different, Finn.” I stumbled over his name, knowing the way I knew my own pulse that it was not his true name. The queen and king had not even used that name for him, as if they also knew.

“Faeries do not dream,” he said, “but I think I am. I have a memory of a girl who was not a girl. She watched me through the woods. And I was me, but not me. I was a magical thing she wanted to catch.”

I clasped my hands together, but did not remove them from Finn’s hold. Unlike my own story of the lake and the young girl, I could see none of what he spoke of, but sensed something. A memory?

“She looked for a long while, but I could not tell you how long. She came to the woods every day, hopeful. In the beginning her hands were empty. Eventually, she came with treats. Sugar, cheese, apples.”

He fell silent, and I watched him. Could he see it all so clear within his mind? And then—
“I could show you.”

I only nodded once.

Finn’s hands closed hard around mine, and the wood around us vanished. I drew in a breath even while I had no lungs, no form. I was a small ball held together by Finn’s hands. Around us emerged another wood, not the wood of my lake; these woods were his, I understood. The trees were the color of melancholy, and he was the color of sunlight on snow.

He moved through the trees as a creature I could not name. Not a horse, something beyond a horse, something that glowed and beckoned and there. A girl, with hair as of night, and an apple, green like Yule boughs, and only when she learned to sit did he come.

“Did she catch you?” I whispered.

I watched as the unearthly beast bowed his head, lips claiming the apple, brushing the woman’s palm. My own palm knew that touch, wet velvet.

“Oh yes,” Finn said. “She did.”

~*~

Hungry for more? An interview with E. Catherine Tobler is on the way. In the meantime, explore some Fairy Places and find out how you can get a chance to win a copy of Watermark for your very own.

Writing Process Blog Hop – I’ve been tagged.

At my most recent CRRWA meeting, the lovely and talented Jeanette Grey asked if I’d like to participate in a blog hop. My first answer was “yes,” followed by “what did I agree to here?” Thankfully, she answered that it was a few questions about writing process, to which I replied something like “sure, that sounds like fun,” but soon afterwards, reality sank in. Tender subject there, and as recently as a couple of months back, my honest answer would likely have been something along the lines of “:unintelligible whimper: I have no idea. I can tell you  how I do laundry, though. That’s easier.”

Let’s start with a bit about Jeanette:

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Jeanette Grey started out with degrees in physics and painting, which she dutifully applied to stunted careers in teaching, technical support, and advertising. When none of that panned out, she started writing. In her spare time, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog.

 

 

 

Her novella, Take What You Want is a 2014 RITA finalist. Her next releases is a male/male new adult contemporary romance called Get What You Need, and it releases July 15, 2014from Samhain.

 

Read more about Jeannette’s process here  and visit her website, Twitter, Facebook or blog.

:Deep breath: Now it’s my turn:

What am I working on? 

Currently, a historical romance set in Georgian England, where a blacksmith’s daughter with theatrical aspirations and a jaded soldier with familial obligations find adventure, angst and the love of a lifetime.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love big, sprawling stories, where the history and romance are intricately intertwined. My characters may take the rocky road to their HEA, but they always get there, promise, vow and pinky swear. For me, the HEA is all the sweeter if my people have to work hard for it, even if it is happily-ever-after-at-a-cost.

Why do I write what I do?

Because I can’t not, and believe me, I’ve tried. Bad things happen to good people, sometimes a lot of bad things, but love always outlasts whatever life can throw at it. I’ve always loved big, meaty stories that span years and even continents, all centered around two people who are by no means perfect, but, in the end, are perfect for each other. I write historical because I find history a fascinating backdrop that provides specific challenges toward reaching universal goals.

How does my writing process work?

I’ve defined myself at various times as a plotter, a puzzler and a pantiliner (plotter/pantser hybrid) and what I’ve found is that process can change as the writer changes, so this may not be where I’ve permanently landed, but it is where I am now.

I do my best new work in longhand, which is good because that means I can work anywhere, and I can usually be found with more than one notebook on my person at any given time.

Character comes to me first, usually the heroine, with the hero close behind (though sometimes it’s the other way around) and I follow them around my head for a while, furiously scribbling down stream of consciousness notes and accumulating images, soundtracks, scents, etc. Basically, anything that fits the world of the story. At some point, I’ll need to stop and figure out, drawing from what I know for certain about my characters and their journey, in what historical setting their story takes place. If I’m not paying attention to the right details, I may take a couple of tries.

That’s usually a short pause for research, and then it’s time to lay out the plot. I know where my hero and heroine started, and where they need to end up, so it’s a matter of finding out how to get from point A to point B. This often takes the form of a bullet point outline, which can be extremely detailed, and as it progresses, will start to include description, dialogue and chunks of text. From there, I smooth it out into a first draft, More fine tuning  happens in subsequent passes through, and with comments from trusted critters, but at some point, the book tells me it’s done,

These days, I find I do a lot of my initial work while doing laundry (see, it’s pertinent) and I’ve learned to carve out at least two hours a day where I take my laptop to a nearby coffee house so I can concentrate on the work at hand. That’s often transcribing and/or editing, rather than composing on the keyboard. At any stage of the game, I find that talking can generally get me unstuck and ready to head in the right direction once more.

Ask me again next month, and there may be a different answer. For now, I’m tagging E. Catherine Tobler, Virginia Frost and Elaine Violette.