Summer, Is That You?

Saturday afternoon, I took my first summer nap of the year. That means snoozing through the heat of the day, then being up and doing stuff in the afternoon and evening. This week, Housemate and I will brave the wilds of storage to retrieve what summer clothing remains and did not get worn to death last summer during our vagabond time. Temperatures should be in the mid 80s by the middle of this week :whimper: and friends have been posting baby waterfowl pictures, so odds that the young ones will be present in the lake in the park near our house are high.. That sounds like a morning thing.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Not this morning, as what’s left of it is dedicated to the blog, and then it’s time for domestic warrior queen side quests. I’d hoped to get more work done on the two Drama King scenes I have to revise, but I had also planned to do my weekly planning on Sunday. That did not happen because it turned into a do nothing day. I hate do nothing days. I want the day to have some purpose. Preferably with other people around. I ended up playing Sims, due to an empty tank, and then tackled the planning this morning.

Well, first wave of planning. I am totally over the vertical lined layout in my classic planner, and I am itchy to dive into my bright, shiny new July start classic planner, with its sophisticated florals and vertical layout sans lines, but we still have June to get through first. In between, for a writer who loves to plan, is madness. I’m not too concerned, though, because figuring stuff out is kind of my thing, and I will probably find something nifty to tide me through and carry over, even.

When I was a kid, summer seemed like three months of freedom (except for day camp, which probably saved my mother’s sanity, even if it was a mixed bag for me. Stay at home parents of gifted kids, we salute you.) and the one summer we lived in Pound Ridge, I discovered the joys of walking in from the scorching heat of the day into the air conditioned family room, which I liked so much that I did, upon occasion, repeat that action several times in a row merely for the delight of the difference. Delight on the air conditioned side, that is, because I am hard no on hot weather.

One of the perils of naming a heroine in a book that gets back burner-ed for an extended period of time after a season is that every time that season rolls around, her name rolls around, and that results in some serious shifty eyes between writer and manuscript.

Oddly enough, the name of said heroine is Summer, though she has nothing to do with the Zooey Deschanel movie (which I still need to see) I originally conceived of her story as a time travel, but I don’t know if it is anymore. Quite possibly, what I tried to do and then couldn’t do, was shove a ten pound cat into a two pound bag. Maybe a whole litter of cats. I have said before that I will have to write her story, because if I don’t, she will come after me and drag me back into it. She’d do it, too, so it’s on the list, though absolutely no idea what it will ultimately be. Her and her hero, that’s the core. Anything else is extra.

Insert your own ice cream topping analogy here. That seems summery enough. What’s on the docket for your week?

Monday Stream of Consciousness

Jumping into this post with no actual plan, because A) blog is under the “low hanging fruit” category of stuff I need to do today, and B) if I don’t do it now, it will nag me throughout doing anything else.

Usually, Sundays are my planning afternoons. Yesterday, though, had a few different influences. A) I am still getting used to new medication, so surprise slumber parties for one are a thing; B) yesterday was also a full house, with all family member hone in a smallish space, and C) I am not at all sure that my plan to coast along from April through June on mini planners and no classic planners is going to work as well as I thought.

That last one is the easiest to fix: hop on over to a craft store that carries my planner of choice, grab a currently dated one from the clearance section, hand over a pittance and jump right in, back to the usual method. That leaves mostly just today to be free floating in no classic planner land. I could technically re-date older pages, but that is far too labor intensive when what I want to do is jump in and lay out for my plan of attack.

I like seeing things laid out, where I can tell at a glance what jobs I need to do, to get to where I am. Making it aesthetically pleasing is a plus, and, with the new YouTube channel, I have a lot more ideas of what I want to not only talk about, but write about as well. I don’t normally do TBRs but I see those are frequent on BookTube, and look like they may indeed work toward my goal of reading more historical romance. They also look fun. I could use some more fun, and, after a very long time without it, fun is something I can do these days.

See the source image

Over the last couple of nights, I binged Picnic at Hanging Rock on Amazon Prime. Loved it. Australian Gothic is a thing, and I want more of it. Which reminded me that I very much do want to rereach On The Jelllicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I refuse to use the shortened American title, because that’s not its name. Yes, I will die on that hill. I also want to see On the Jelicoe Road made into a movie (I don’t usually) with an all-Australian cast, on location, with 80s film effect on the 80s timeline. Failing that, I would like to hear it on audio, with two Australian narrators.

Thankfully, I can carry that over into historical romances set in Australia, by Australian authors, like Cadace Proctor and Alison Stuart. Ms. Stuart also writes Engilsh Civil War historical romance, which is one of my all time favorite settings.

In the meantime, I get to do mundane adulting things, such as putting away laundry and straightening my work area, both things that are super good for letting my creative brain do stuff on the back burner where I am not looking.

I am a little disappointed that I won’t be doing Camp Nano this round, but July is not that long away, and it’s also when I can bust out my brand new eighteen month planner, so I take that as a sign. What do you think?

Re-Me-Ification in 2021, pt 1

Hello, Liebchens, and welcome to 2021. We made it. 2020 is in the rearview mirror, its planners packed away/recycled/burned in a bonfire/other means of nonexistence, and we are looking toward the future. For those of us in the planner community, that means showing off the new babies, aka planners, and not only getting all of our ducks in a row (or squirrels at a rave, as it may be; as long as my squirrels are all at the same rave, I will count it as a win.) I had originally intended to have today be a writing and a blogging day, but insomnia and resulting morning crash said today is blogging, because there is no benefit to piling on the pressure, when the work can still get done with some rearranging.

Happy Planner mini, vertical layout

My purse planner (do I lose planner community points for not liking/using the phrase, “on the go?”) for 2021 is a gift from HappyChappy on Instagram. I’ve never used the mini vertical layout before, so was a little apprehensive, and I’ve never redated a whole planner (this was originally a 2020 planner, but S0 Pretty, I don’t care) I was madly in love with last year’s planner, which had a lovely, classy floral/naturey/cozy theme, and a dashboard layout, but I was also madly in love with the first min planner I had, which had a horizont5al layout and really no theme, but rather colors. The lesson here? I will adapt. Also, as soon as I put in my Rong Rong page finder, this planner felt like home.

we are going to call the gauzy effect intentional

Chances that I will eventually pick a different dashboard (blue plastic thing that holds my sticky notes) are high, because bright blue is not my thing. I have two aesthetics when it comes to planning: dark/gothy/classy and pastel. There are not many points in between.

Really into winter pastels at the moment

Still working on that. I am also getting more into DIY-ing my planner stuff for 2021, which makes a lot of sense, because it’s all part of getting my collective squirrels to the same rave. It’s especially true when it comes to writing, which is why I am trying two new things for the writign squirrels.

I do not have a photo of my writing planner, as that is still a work in progress, but this is the first year I am trying a social media planner. Part of that is researching what the fluff a social media planner actually entails, and as I go into my first full week of actually using said planner, I have to second guess myself because I love my social media planner (antoher redated 2020 mini vertical) but want to add a notes section and this puppy is already full, with just the pages that came with it, and stickers and such (I love decorative planning) is only going to make it fuller.

first partial week of the year

I have already filmed a partial flipthrough of the general setup :salute: of this planner, which will go up as soon as I finish editing. Getting back to video blogging is another goal for this year, and makign my topics more far-reaching that only what I, personally, am doing, delightful as I am. If the notes section gets too big, I may either move half the months into storage and go nuts with the notes, or use a second notebook for notes alone. We will see how that goes. I will keep you updated.

Originally, I had wanted to show you all the regular notebook page where I had scribbled down my goals for writing and blogging for the coming year, but A) technical difficulties say the photo I took is no bueno, which is fine because it was super fuzzy and kind of personal(ish) and B ) you know what they say about laws and sausages. Maybe it’s the same with planner pages. Says she who has been binge watching planner videos for the past umm, while. Yeah. That happens. A lot. So does watching romance oriented Book Tube videos, because, well, romance.

Then there’s writing. Hoo boy, there is writing. The last year was not great for writing, but now, it’s different. We are in a lovely apartment, Real Life Romance Hero and Housemate both have jobs that take them out of said apartment, and that means I have time where the only other living being in my space has four legs and is prone to day napping. I think…I think I can work with this.

There’s always a temptation to dive into “new year, new me” thinking, but I’m more of the type of “new year, more authentic me.” How can I be me-er? Well, I’m a writer. Writing would be great. Telling the love stories that I want to tell, telling them until they are told, and getting them into the hands of readers, who will give me monies for them, because planner supplies and Sims expansions are not free. Planning is one of the tools that helps me get to a place where that is easier to do.

Planning is definitely not the only thing (if only it were that easy, and full of stickers) so there will be some rambly wanders along the way. Company is most assuredly appreciated.

Springing Forward

Spring is not usually my favorite season. It still isn’t, but a new season is a good time for a new start, and, after seven of the craziest, weirdest, hardest months I have ever had, it looks like the light at the end of the tunnel may not be a train. Not that there aren’t still question marks, because there certainly are, but fewer ellipses (… -= those things) so I am going to count that as good. I have every faith that we may soon be nearing the end of our vagabond days, and I am very much ready for it.

On the fifth of March, we have been officially between apartments for seven months. Longer than I had thought or expected, but also, we are, as Skye would have said, badbutts, because we are still standing (cue Elton John) and, as Mr. Rogers’ mother said, looking for the helpers is always good advice. Storm is a travel kitty extraordinaire, and I have become far more adept than I ever thought in breaking down a desktop computer and reassembling it in another location, and knowing for sure and certain that longhand really is the best way for me to compose.

Writing, yes, can be done anywhere (seriously, anywhere) but the part that goes beyond composing, the transcribing, the editing, the polishing and submitting and/or planning out an indie pub (independent publishing, where the author is also the publisher) strategy, those things need a home base. It’s getting there. Before too long, there will be a new location for Stately Bowling Manor, a new office to move into, books to bust out of stuff jail (aka storage) and set into place. Time to know and declare that the new normal is now within reach. Not here yet, but within reach.

Which comes to the often sticky part of writing, finishing. When I first started writing romance, a starry-eyed seventeen-year-old with an electronic typewriter and a dream, of course I could finish a book. A lot of books. Now, I could be the parent of a seventeen-year-old, with some wiggle room. (I am not. Real Life Romance Hero and I decided early on that all of our kids will have four legs and fur.) Life and writing are not always that easy. That girl with the stars in her eyes and correction ribbon on her fingers had read once that Valerie Sherwood wrote twenty pages at a session, so okay, that’s a normal pace. The more seasoned writer now also remembers that Valerie Sherwood also said that any writer who says they write thus and so every day is lying.

There are days when the words, when the story, don’t come, and life has proven that, in heaps. There are also days when they do, and those are the days that I want to nourish. This past weekend, spent at Chez Grandmere, I took an outdated planner I inherited from Housemate, and ripped out the guts but for the monthly dividers (setting aside the unused guts to repurpose as plotting charts) and cutting down plain white office labels to cover the names of the months, and now it’s my general writing :salute: notebook/planner.

Writing each area of focus on each label – historical romance, contemporary romance, blogging, Buried Under Romance, Patreon, even “paper” (one can never have enough filler paper) — felt…good. Right. A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that I had a finger hovering over a stock image on a cover art website, because the couple in it? Could very well portray John and Aline from A Heart Most Errant. My first thought when I figured out what I was thinking was, “Anna, what are you thinking?” because, well, vagabond days. Vagabond months. Independent publishing isn’t cheap. I have never done it before.

Hm, though, but have I? In the intro to my “Play In Your Own Sandbox, Keep All the Toys” workshop, I mention that I spent well over a decade amongst Klingons, Newcomers, Immortals and others, not only writing for fanzines, but also, in time, publishing my own. I didn’t know what I was doing back then, either, when I started on that (huge props to my friend, the awesomely talented E. Catherine Tobler, who did a lot of very patient hand holding and talking me down from ledges of various heights) journey, so, maybe…cannonball? I don’t know.

What I do know is a page a day is a book in a year. I know I don’t have to reach every reader (and can’t, and shouldn’t) but only my readers, who are going to respond with, “please, miss, may we have some more?” The answer I want to give is “yes, of course, here you go.” I know I am too fond of italics and need to brush up on my comma use (thankfully, my contemporary cohort, Melva Michealian, has a PhD in English, so odds are I am going to catch on sooner rather than later.) There comes a time, and I think this is it, as my finger hovers over cover stock, and I have sussed out to get myself as bottom of the line webcam, because starting somewhere is better than not starting at all.

Which all feels pretty on-brand for spring. New life. Things blooming. Baby ducks. Baby ducks make everything better, and if we end up somewhere near Washington Park once more, there will be baby duck pictures aplenty. Even if not, there will be stories. That’s what I do. That’s who I am.

see you next time

Plan as We Go January

Hey. Hi. Hello there. Here we are in the second week of January, first full week, and for those of us who are into the whole planning thing, this is the big show. This is where the rubber meets the road, or rubber cement meets the paper. At the very least, where the pen meets the paper. While some aspects of planning tick all the tried and true boxes, this year, there is also some uncharted territory.

Last year, I waffled between ring binders and traveler’s notebooks (rings vs strings, the eternal struggle) and was admittedly snobby about discbound systems, including but not limited to Happy Planner. This year? I am actively designing my own discbound planner. Probably printables at first, because manufacturing these things is far outside my pay grade at the moment, but the fact that I am researching tools and costs and components, that’s a very new thing.

That kind of makes sense, because this year is full of a lot of new things, so doing new things the old way is probably not the wisest approach. I have one notebook for current projects that are active: my contemporary romances with Melva Michaelian, my historical romances on my own, and the uncharted (for me) wilds of starting a Patreon. How much time do I have, how can I best spend it, and what has the chance of being a decent return? Since my chosen field is that of commercial fiction, there is a real chance that the right answer is “ahaha, none of it,” but it could also be “never try, never know,” and that’s the view I naturally take.

2019 was, in many ways, a dumpster fire. That’s in the past. 2020 is only six days in, and the better I plan, and carry out those plans, the better I feel. It’s not so much finding a system that works for me so much as creating it as I go. That means paying attention wo what comes naturally versus giving myself headaches trying to shove myself into some sort of box that I think I’m supposed to do. Beginner’s mind is essential in endeavors like this.

What seems to be working best for me when I start a new notebook or planner, is to carry the thing around, empty, for a few days, and then take note of what I wish it had inside it. Using a system that I have never used before, aka discbound, fits well with that mindset, at least for me. I love that the pages aren’t stuck in place, and if I want to move something to a different section, or a different book, I can do that, no problem.

Yesterday, Housemate came to the conclusion that she is a mini size Happy Planner person, and gave me her classic size planner from last year, mostly unused, and the classic size Happy Notes (same system, notebook paper instead of planner paper.) I sat there, looking at them for a minute, with a little bit of a Christmas Morning feeling (what planner geek doesn’t want this sort of thing dropped in their lap?) before I started to think about possibilities.

What was I going to do with a notebook that has twelve sections? Well, take the old planner pages out, obviously (and set them aside because there is this cool tutorial by Sarra Canon) and then stare at the empty tabs and think about what I want to have in there. At the moment, I’m thinking it could be a catchall for future projects that are still in the idea stage, where I can put notes, pictures, etc, as they come to me, and then they’ll be there when it’s time to actually start the writing.

That’s the thing that’s newest about how I want to approach writing this year. It’s time to Get Stuff Done, push past the Hypercritical Gremlins as best I can and remember what it felt like to throw the movies in my head onto the page, without paying attention to what could go wrong. That’s still kind of scary, but it’s scarier to think of never getting the stories and characters who are as real to me as people I can see and hear and touch, and introducing them to readers.

Since I do well with this kind of structure, my plan (hah) is to focus on one slot per month to give a closer look into what I’m doing, planning/notebook-wise. Some of that may end up on Patreon, and we’ll figure out what works, together. One area I’m keeping in focus for this early stage is to record the ideas that I’ve been carrying around for a while, that I would like to see all the way through. Something tells me I may surprise myself along the way.

How about you? What systems do you use for reading or writing? Pull up a chair in the comments, and share.

Two Hundred and Fifty

Welp. Last post of 2019. I will not be sorry to see this year in my rearview mirror. While 2019 did have some standout moments – the publication of Chasing Prince Charming, adding Storm kitty to our family, the support and love of amazing friends when real life plot twists took some crazy turns – the bar for 2020 is not on the dauntingly high side.

IRL challenges aside, there is the whole RWA debacle, about which I have a lot of feelings, and feelings about those feelings. Romance Writers of America has never been a perfect organization, but the new developments that have come fast and furious, over the holiday week, those raise a whole lot of questions. As it stands now, I am waiting for my next CR-RWA meeting so that I can learn more and be around other people who are going through the same thing, before I say much more. The fact that this is all happening at the same time we learned of the passing of one of the OG historical romance superstars, Johanna Lindsey, makes it all that much more surreal.

As the great Beverly Jenkins has said, and Nora Roberts has pointed out that the middle word in “Romance Writers of America” is “Writers,” this is a time to keep going forward. Keep writing. Keep writing romance. That seems like a good note on which to start a new year. While yes, there is still adulting to do, and we are doing that, writing has taken a back seat while dealing with IRL matters, and it’s time now, to pick it back up once again.

I have said on many occasions that I am not a word counter, and I am not. Right now, however, when I went to figure out how to get myself back in Serious Writing Mode, what came to mind was that a page a day is a book in a year. That’s something I can do whether I am at a computer keyboard or working with pen and paper only, and it’s pretty easy to measure. Get to end of page, that’s the minimum required for the day. If anything more is too much, I can kick off for the rest of the day, read, adult, stare off into the distance, whatever is needed. One page is roughly two hundred and fifty words, which is not that daunting. Even counting words, two hundred and fifty of them in one place are not really that much.

Morning pages do not count for this requirement. It has to be fiction. Morning pages are their own thing, though I can use parts of them to prime the pump for the day’s fiction. Naturally, I plan to write more than one book this year, as this is a reality for a career in commercial fiction. Baby steps, though, are always a good place to start, or re-start. Neither does any writing that is not actual fiction writing count. Pump priming, list making, that sort of thing can get me to where I can write actual fiction, but it’s only the fiction that is going to count.

This year, I want to tap back into the writer who didn’t know any better, the one who knew how to shut out everything else and throw that story onto the page with all she’s worth. Maybe even more than that. Strike the “maybe.”

There are a lot of stories ahead in 2020, to be read, to be watched, to be written, risks to take in all of those things. Writing, reading, and watching romance has been a driving force in my life since I was eleven years old and stole my first historical romance from my mother’s nightstand. I have had the wonderful experience of writing about all of that for blogs both personal and commercial, and I look forward to bringing some of that over to my Patreon-to-be, which is in itself a daunting yet exciting prospect. On the one hand, who am I to ask people to pay me to, well, be me, but on the other, this fits right into the idea that I don’t have to put the pressure on myself to appeal to everybody. Maybe doing what I do and focusing on people who like that sort of stuff is s more liberating way to go.

We’ll find out, one page at a time.

Writing Notebook: Discovery Draft

In college, I studied early childhood education. The most important thing I learned in four years was that early childhood education and I were a horrible, horrible match. Hence several years in retail and family caregiving. All the while, I knew what I wanted to do with my life: write.

I had known that I wanted to write historical romance since I was eleven years old. More accurately, that was when I found out what it was called. I am pretty sure I was hardwired for this right out of the gate. I would not at all be surprised were I to find out my biological mother loved historical romance. Maybe we’d even have some of the same favorite books. I wrote my first historical romance, very much a pastiche of the author who first captured my attention in this genre, but that’s how we learn, right? By copying the masters when we first start?

When I was twenty=three, I submitted that first book, and got my first rejection. I was also dealing with some raging, undiagnosed depression and anxiety, so I didn’t notice the important bit about that rejection- the editor asked me if I had anything else. At the time, I did not, so that was the end of that, right? Wrong. Depression got much, much worse, real life sucked, and there were time that I thought I would never be able to write the stories I loved with all of my writerly heart. That’s when I discovered Star Trek: The Next Generation.

With absolutely no idea of what I was doing, I started writing first humor, then fan fiction, for a newsletter and fanzine. I wrote. A lot. I made friends, talented writers all, with whom I am still friends, and still a fan of, today. Even then, I described my fanfics as “historical romance with blinkies,” blinkies being a term for any futuristic equipment that had blinking lights.

I wrote and sold four historical romances after that, and even my first co-written contemporary, Chasing Prince Charming, is set in the world of historical romance, so do we see a trend here? What’s stayed the same all that time? Yeah.

When Melva and I meet, via Skype or Messenger, each week, we set out plans for what the next week should hold. Who’s writing what, if there’s anything we need to set up for the other, etc. We know we are heading to the end of draft one for Drama King, and getting the idea soup stock started for Queen of Hearts. We want to write a summer novella, and a trio of Christmas stories, and that’s probably a good 2020 for the two of us.

I want to get a similar plan in place for my historicals. I have been admiring prolific authors of late, many of whom are self-published/indie, and putting out the kinds of books they love the very, very best. That’s where I want to be. I don’t know, yet, if I want to self publish. Part of me thinks it would be an interesting experience, and part of me does not want to crunch any numbers in the outlay department, but there’s plenty of time to deal with that. What’s most important is that I get historical romance novels written and finished, before I can sell or publish them anywhere.

The how of that? Well, that’s where the whole discovery draft of a writing notebook comes into play. What do I need to get from where I am, to where I want to be? Flying into the mist with that one, and I look forward to sharing that process here. The first step? This is it, putting it out there. Next step? Setting up the actual notebook. Throw ink on paper and see what happens when I do.

See you next time

Planners and Plans for 2020

If anybody had asked me, even a few months ago, if I would ever want to use a disc bound system for planning and organization, I would have said a flat out no. They had disks. Which were plastic. A leading brand even had “Happy” right there in the name, and that is a lot of pressure for someone who uses planning to help deal with depression and anxiety as well as writing and the duties of a domestic warrior queen in transit. Fast forward to now, and we have the heavy lifters for the coming year:

That’s classic Happy Planner in the back, with a mini Happy Planner in front of it. Yellow paper is Happy Planner filler paper in an off-brand notebook, and gorgeous galaxy notebook is Happy Notes. The pages are pink, I’ll give it the happy for that. What happened? I got the planners as birthday presents and figured I would give them a shot.

This doesn’t mean that I am abandoning my travelers’ notebooks or ring bound planners or the hordes of hardcover, softcover, and spiral bound notebooks. It’s another tool in my kit, and I very, very much like being able to move the pages around at will, without snapping and unsnapping rings, or leaving paper debris all over whatever surface serves as my desk at the time. Our family is still vagabonding, so having something that I can tote around, dump everything in one place, and then farm out to the proper specific places/notebooks later makes a lot of sense.

Some of the plastic disks are actually pretty, and not all disks are plastic. I can get metal disks if I want (and I probably will, because I know me) and some of the plastic colors are actually pretty. There are a wide variety of covers available commercially, and some creative stuff on Etsy, plus the option to buy a DIY sleeve to fill with my own choice of images. (Yeah, every much going for that one, ASAP.) After a couple of weeks, and a lot of YouTube tutorials, I got the hang of the system, and picked up my first Happy Notes, the notebook version, no planner, just paper, and rescued an off-brand cousin from a clearance rack, which has become a catchall sort of book, with pages I can readily swap out if they belong somewhere else.

Organization helps me to thrive, and pretty organization is even better. I found a few designs of planners/notebooks/papers/accessories that are more on the sophisticated side than in-your-face bright and want-to-punch-their-face cheerful. I like to have a good idea of what I am going to be doing before I am actually doing it, which very much does affect my writing, especially going into a whole new year.

2019 saw the publication of Chasing Prince Charming, another thing that surprised me. I haven’t stopped writing historical romance just because I have a contemporary out there. One of my goals is to have a historical sale and/or release in 2020. At least one, as well as my contemporary collaborations. I also want to leave room in case something else that sounds fun presents itself, because one never knows.

In the past, my writing notebooks followed a very specific pattern:

  1. pick out color scheme
  2. choose binder, always letter size
  3. create four sections: hero, heroine, villain/antagonist, and history/research
  4. never touch it again
  5. feel guilty forever

in the one sense, it kind of worked, because a) I kept doing it, and b) usually worked out a few things while doing so, but on the other, it didn’t, because, say it with me now, I never touched them again, and felt guilty forever. This doesn’t mean that keeping notebooks doesn’t work for me (um, have you met me?) but that I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do, and what probably worked very well for somebody else, but not for me. For 2020, I plan to take a more organic approach, which is to say ease the heck up on myself and let things happen as they happen in regards to setting up my writing notebooks, and shut off the annoying troll in my head that says everything has to be perfect right out of the pen. Because it doesn’t.

What I have right now is a bunch of different colored filler paper, and a plan to swoop in on any clearance 2019 disc bound planners at the end of the year. Each project will get its own…thing. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to make the divisions. Maybe as broad as historical and contemporary at first, or for 2020 and after that. That’s one of the things I want to figure out as I go along; the right way will make itself known if I keep showing up and doing the work.

Lately, I’ve been admiring the heck out of authors like Kathryn LeVeque and Sandra Sookoo, both extremely prolific authors. I haven’t read much of either author, so far, but I can still fangirl over their business savvy, and owning their voices and diving in one hundred percent. Yes. That. The question is, how do I get from where I am, to where that sort of writer is? One day at a time, it would seem, and laying out a map so that I know, generally, where I am going, and approximately how I plan to get there.

Planners are a big hep in that. I am not big on word counts, which is how many successful and prolific authors measure output. I can see why. It’s handy. For me, pages are a better bet, so I am going to try setting a page goal first. Whether or not I translate that to words remains to be seen, but a page goal, and an aesthetically pleasing way to record it seems like a good place to start. The most important part is to get the stuff in my head down on the page, all the way to the end. After that, the possibilities are endless.

I really do need a new signoff image, but this is fun.

This is a Planning Post About Planning Posts

Can you believe it’s almost November? Not only are we coming up on a new month, but the end of the current year and start of the next, which means the start of a new writing year, which means time to take stock of my planners, see what I have, how I want to use what, and what needs to find a different home. I am mostly talking about planners/planning, but it does apply to writing projects as well. Only so much time in the day, and finished is better than perfect.

i sm not keeping track of word count in Drama King (that’s Melva’s job) but I do know what scenes need writing in order to get to that point, and it’s pretty much the same with Her Last First Kiss. My best educated guess on how I am going to track writing on these projects is by scene, which works perfectly fine for me.

My original first draft of this post, handwritten in a mini composition book, because most of my first drafts are handwritten, was largely about how the midst of a months-long move is both not an advisable time to curate one’s planner repetoire, and turning out surprisingly well. Basicslly, where I hsbe landed on that one is that starting out minimally and then noting whst i wish I had, then filling that need, works decently in both writing and planning.

The planners in today’s deskscape are sll in current use. The Hsppy Plsnners are birthday gifts from Housemate, who has pulled me over to the Happy Plannerverse. She says thst mesns nothing, becsuse I am her planner dam, and thus anything she does in the planner world traces directly back to me. Fair enough. I had been snobbish about HP in the past, largely due to the disk binding, but I like the layouts and the artwork, and whst better way to find out if I do like the system or not than to use it.

I could say the same thing about trying contemporary romance, or submitting to e-pubs, both of which have turned out oksy, so i hsve high hopes for the new plsnners. Things will sort themselves out in time, usually when I’m not looking, rather going along, telling stories, playing with pens and paper , etc. There definitely can be more reading, especially as I craft what I am cslling my mission statement for Buried Under Romance, which may end up with a planner of its own.

All of thst is part of planning future blog posts. I do want to talk more about how I use planners as a writer, and still keep the focus on writing. We will see how this goes. Fiction writing comes first, and planning should, in theory, make that go more smoothly. In practice, well, we will see about that.

Typing With Wet Hooves: Pre-Release Weekend Edition

Hi, everybody. Bo Bison here, subbing for my good buddy, Sebastian, once again. As the fight against the fleas continues, Sebastian is due for a thorough vacuuming, so I, who am flea-free, will be filling in until he is cleared to resume his usual duties. Didn’t want anyone to think I was horning in on him, heh, heh.

Only three more days now…

Okay, the big news about all things Anna is that this is the last weekend before Chasing Prince Charming, the first book in the Love By The Book series, written with Melva Michaelian, through The Wild Rose Press, will be released. That’s very exciting news, and there is a lot to do in preparation for that. If you have already subscribed to the new melvaandanna.com site, then you can watch the countdown to the big day.

The big day also includes an author visit to Buried Under Romance, and wouldn’t you know, Anna is the one who gets to be in charge of that one, so she and Melva have some fancy footwork to do. Thankfully, they’re pretty good at that sort of thing, and whatever form it takes, it’s bound to be a good time.

Speaking of Buried Under Romance, click that caption in the picture above, if you want to read about some of Anna’s picks for what iconic historical romance families might be in line to catch the Bridgerton bouquet, if the upcoming Netflix series is a success. There’s a new topic every Saturday, so if you would like to join the discussion, or just listen to Anna ramble, please consider subscribing there as well, and suggestions for topics are always welcome. Who knows, you might see your idea as topic of the week.

Moving on to Goodreads, Anna is holding steady at six books ahead of schedule, with sixty-three books read out of her goal of ninety=five, putting her at sixty-six percent of the way toward her goal. Not too shabby, considering it’s been a domestic tornado-y week. That kind of week is exactly why being a few books ahead of schedule can be a good thing. With Kindle Unlimited, and Overdrive, and that nifty trick Lisa at Buried Under Romance showed Anna, to turn any book into an audio book, if it has text to speech capability, I think Anna will be pulling even further ahead.

What follows One Book July?

On the planning front, now that One Book July, which Anna actually liked a lot more than she thought she would, is over, what comes next? Apparently, there is also an All The Books August, where the goal is to use all of one’s planners/notebooks, which is an idea Anna loves, but seeing as how we’re almost half of the way through August already, Maybe she can make Some of the Books September be a thing. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek at the traveler’s notebook Anna plans to move into for the fall season, at the start of September:

Pen + Gear personal size traveler’s notebook

While Anna is all about the blush pink for spring and summer, autumn requires richer hues, so be prepared for a tour of her autumn lineup, coming to a blog post near you, in the very near future. Anna is also well on her way to moving into a project notebook for Her Last First Kiss, which she will actually use. Normally, her story binder setup goes something like:

  1. acquire three ring binder
  2. make sections for hero, heroine, villain, plot, and misc
  3. invest strongly in an aesthetic that is admittedly cohesive
  4. never touch that binder again

Could it be that story notebook peace can be found in a six ring binder? Keep eyes peeled, to find out. On that note, I am going to head on out, because it’s lunchtime, and I have a hankering for some buffalo wings. Don’t worry, they are not made with real buffalo. Actually, we buffaloes are vegetarians, so I’m mostly there for the carrots and celery.