Return of the Video Blog?

The fact that the first blog of the week is up on Wednesday should be some indicator of how the week is going over here. That picture up there? :points to featured image: Also an indicator, because the picture I did take of my workspace for the day (lan desk, on top of the air mattress, Big Pink, blush planner, and Typhoo tea in my A mug) is not showing in Google Photos. I am going to guess that not getting any sleep until six in the morning has something to do with this fact. I also suspect that said sleep only lasting three hours has something else to do with the issues at hand.

Suffice it to say I am more than a bit pushy, which may actually be a good way o go into a writing day. So far, I’ve busted open some scented pens and made some longhand notes on Drama King. Melva and I agreed to take two weeks off (this being the second) before we came back to Drama King, but Jack is a hard hero to shut up, especially when he’s been waiting totally not at all patiently, for attention.

Right now, what I want most is a nap, That will probably happen, at some point, but it’s the start of a new month, the home stretch of summer, time to fill the well and gather speed for the surge of my super powers that return in autumn. It’s off and on raining, though ambient rain sounds on my computer means rain all the time. I like rain. Rain makes me think, and thinking is good when it comes time to do actual writing. Which is big surprise, now. First order of business, blog entry (I’ll make up Monday’s entry, later.) No time to overthink that kind of thing today, so I will go with what’s been on my mind.

For the last couple of nights, I’ve meant to navigate to Netflix or Hulu, but found myself, instead, on YouTube, watching book related videos, mostly reviews or recommendations. I’d first stumbled upon these videos when I was flat out too tired to read, but still wanted to be around historical romance,  and started gobbling them like popcorn. Get me talking about the historical romances I love, and we are going to be there a while. Some of the posts are focused on what the reader doesn’t like, and, for the most part, it’s done without malice, that X didn’t work for that individual, why, and that others’ experience may be different. Also, for the most part, the historical romances touched upon are A) of recent publication, and B) the words, “fluff,” or “fluffy” get tossed around a lot, and I love how much these readers love what they love.

That’s how I feel about a lot of older, or lesser known, or gritty, or angsty, etc, historical romance, and I do miss blabbering about books I love at Heroes and Heartbreakers, so maybe this is a good time to start doing that for myself? Maybe it is. Still thinking about that one, because video blogs take time, and writing new fiction does have to come first. Even though my current pleasure reading has skewed heavily, lately, to realistic YA, my home is still historical romance, and I’m hungry for more time with it.

There are logistics to that. The Hypercritical Gremlins (it’s harder for them to get to the apartment, because we live in a secure building and there’s no way I’m buzzing them up from the entryway) needle that nobody wants to hear me blabber about books, even though I literally did that for monies for several years, so there, Hypercritical Gremlins. You guys can shush. It might, at times, be a distraction, but then again, time spent examining what I love and why I love it, is a great way to stay in touch with the reasons I do this whole fiction writing thing, in the first place.

Yesterday, I sat in a Dunkin Donuts with SueAnn Porter, over beverages and bagels, and had a marvelous discussion about works in progress, and the importance of historical fiction/romance, and…:happy sigh.: Yeah. That. There is nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, like sinking into another time and place, where two people have to be together, but can’t…until they find a way to make it work. I live for that stuff. Fluff is often a hard sell for me (though there is some great fluff out there, for sure) but when a love story  can hit me hard in the gut, make me cry, and then pull through with the happily ever after, after all (happily ever after all?) there really is nothing better. That’s what I want to provide for my readers.

Maybe this is an additional way to do that. Maybe it’s not. What I do know is that blabbering about things I love is fun, so odds are that I am probably going to give it a shot in the not too distant future. My retreat with Skye is coming up in under two weeks, so I will have laptop, cat, and all the time in the world. Might have to give it a go. What kinds of books would you like to hear/see me blabber about? Drop suggestions in the comments, and I may give it a go.

 

Every New Beginning

Several years ago, I came across a website called Heroes and Heartbreakers, filled with posts on romance in books and television, and I instantly fell in love, liked, followed, friended, the whole deal, because I’d been looking for a romance community with which to celebrate my favorite genre. When I saw a tweet that they were looking for bloggers, my heart quickened, and I stuck out some feelers, wrote a sample post, waited for the reply, and then chair danced at the invitation to keep blogging for them.

Over the last few years, I got to recap shippy goings-on for favorite TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, Sleepy Hollow, Bones, The Big Bang Theory, and Outlander. I got to gush about romance novels that resonated with me, get advance peeks at exciting new books before they hit the shelves, and pick the best of the best books in times, tropes, and places I love. I got to read the work of other romance bloggers, engage in dialogue with other fans of the genre, and it even led to my first time co-presenting a workshop on blogging at last year’s NECRWA conference.

Late last week, I got the news that Heroes and Heartbreakers will be closing its website at the end of the year. The newsletter will remain, and I look forward to reading the new issues. Still, I’m going to miss the website. Thanks to Heroes and Heartbreakers, I’ve done a lot of reading, and watched a lot of romantic television, learned about writing to deadline, brainstorming, and getting straight to the  heart of the matter.

Sharing what I love about reading and writing romance fiction, on any platform, is part of the fun, and I am thankful for that. Any time I get together with romance-reading friends, there is going to be a part of the conversation when we touch on favorite authors, the books we love, the books we’d like to see. I’m planning on incorporating more of that on this blog, because the more I talk about romance fiction, the more of it I want to write.

Romance has been my genre home. long before I pilfered my first historical romance novel from my mother’s night table. I hardcore shipped characters in my favorite cartoons, among Greek, Roman and Norse mythologies, and no fairy tale was ever complete without a happily ever after, no matter how dark things got along the way.

I still remember reading The Kadin under the bed in the guest bedroom, the first time I got my hands on a magazine that was, at the time, called Romantic Times, the first time I walked the romance aisles of a used bookstore, no adult with me, because I was eighteen, and thus, I was the adult. I remember my consternation when I found that there were no traditional Tudors or traditional Edwardians to go along with the traditional Regencies. I remember the college friend who literally chased me across campus, to physically put Lovesong, by Valerie Sherwood, into my hand and announce that she had delivered my newest favorite book. I remember shielding myself from a chill wind at a pay phone (dating myself, but it was a good memory, so I don’t mind) so I could call a local indie bookstore and ask if they had a copy of Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers, because the combination of a compelling love story with a faith based theme was new and exciting, and I wanted to reserve my copy. They did, and I did, and it remains one of my favorites to this day.

Romance has changed a lot since I nabbed that book from my mom’s nightstand, and it hasn’t. I find that fascinating. Cover aesthetics go through cycles. Subgenres fall in and out of favor. Authors reinvent themselves, retire, or manage to deliver the goods again and again, over years and even decades. I love the history of romance fiction as much as I love reading and writing historical romance itself, so talking about that here is a natural outgrowth. I look forward to sharing more about why I love what I love, and how it fits into my own work.

It’s late in the day, and that’s the magic seven hundred, so I’m going to leave this entry here, and go make some tea. I am proud and happy to be a romance writer and reader, and I will always be thankful for Heroes and Heartbreakers enriching my experience as both.

 

 

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Hello, November Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. The weather is gray and looks like rain, which makes Anty happy, and happy Anty means happy me, unless Anty is happy because the writing is going so well that she forgets to get up and give me food exactly when I want it, but don’t worry. I will remind her.  There is a lot to share this week, so I had better get to it.

First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, rounding out her paranormal month with a look at vampire romance. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURlovebites

Anty was at Heroes and Heartbreakers twice this week, which I think is pretty good. First, because it was an odd-numbered episode of Outlander, Anty has her recap. It is here, and it looks like this:

HandHOutlandercremedementhe

Because this is a brand new month, Heroes and Heartbreakers rounded up their bloggers’ reads from the last month. Anty and other bloggers have their answers here. I did not take a picture of that, because of technical difficulties, but Anty always likes to see what other people read during the month that has passed, and she is always happy to share her favorite read as well.

Now is the part of the post where I bring everybody up to date on Anty’s reading challenge at Goodreads. Anty gets an A+++ for this week, because she is four books ahead of schedule, having read seventy-nine out of ninety books. Because this is also the start of a new month, it is also when I take a look at how Anty is doing on her goal of reading more historical romance.

As of today, thirty-six of the seventy-nine are historical romance. On this goal, Anty can do better. That is okay, because she is currently reading three historical romances. Anty’s reading tastes often go in waves, so I am sure this will even out by the end of the year. She will need forty-five historical romances to make her goal of reading at least half historical romance this year. All four of the books she read last week were YA, and her reviews are here:

GReverythingeverything

Everything Everything, by Nicola Yoon

GRmorehappythannot

More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera

GRthesunisalsoastar

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

GRupsideofunrequited

The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli

Anty read all of those books in a couple of days, which is a nice change from taking a long time to read one book. Even though these books were not historical romances, all of them have love stories in them, and three of them count as romance. What Anty likes about these books is the intensity of emotion, and the distinct author voices. These are both things she hopes to bring into her own work, so taking in what she wants to put out sounds like a good approach to me.

Now that we are past Halloween, and into November, the holiday season is in full swing. The humans are discussing plans for Thanksgiving (I will get a small dish of turkey flavored cat food) and Christmas (this may involve additional humans coming into the house; either way, I still get presents, so I will deal.) It is also the time of year when Anty likes to snuggle under a warm blanket, with a hot beverage, while she reads, writes, or has some thinky time. These are the times when I am on mews duty, which I carry out by sitting very, very close, usually in catloaf formation, and sending out slow blinks and love beams. When Anty writes in her office, I lay on the small strip of hardwood floor near the doorway. I can rest my head on the carpet, but not my paws.

I get to see a lot from this position. Anty likes to write in longhand best, which eans she accumulates a lot of paper. Sometimes, she will throw me crumpled pieces of paper. Usually, I look at them, and I am interested until they stop moving. Then I am not interested anymore. It is kind of like that with writing. When Anty keeps going at a steady clip, the writing comes easier. When the story stops moving, then it is not as interesting anymore, and she might start doing something else. If those other things include petting or feeding me, then that is okay, but she really does need to get back to the writing after that.

When the story stops for Anty, it is usually a case of not knowing what happens next. Once she figures out what happens, then she can get back down to business. Sometimes, this can be solved with some research, like when she needs to know if her characters could do a thing in the eighteenth century, or how they would do it, or what they were wearing while doing that particular thing. Other times, it is more the feel of the scene, or a character would not do what she wants them to do. In those times, it is much better to go with what the character wants. She will probably end up doing that in the long run, anyway, so she may as well make it easier on herself.

Yesterday, Anty spent some time making sure that all of her papers and files were in the right places. This involved a lot of paper, but only paper she wanted to keep, so there was nothing for her to crumple for me. That is okay. I know it will come, in time, once she starts going through sticky notes. Sticky notes are my very favorite kind of crumpled paper, apart from the pamphlets that come inside new Moleskine notebooks. Those are the very very best, but there are only so many Moleskines even Anty can start at one time.

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

skyebyenew

see you next week

.

 

Typing With Wet Claws: I Did Not Eat My Brother Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. I am sorry to say that I have to open this week’s post with some sad news. Last Friday afternoon, my fish brother, Tuna Roll, was all done being a fish.  I had nothing to do with it. Uncle came home before Anty, and did not see Tuna Roll at first. I followed Uncle into his office, because he is my favorite, and I love him the most. He looked at the bowl, and then looked at me. “Tell me you didn’t,” he said. I told him I did not. I do not jump or climb, because I am a floor girl. Then Uncle saw what really happened. Tuna roll was a good and pretty fish. He was very blue. He was a good swimmer, and he loved his plant. We will miss him. Anty and Uncle say that I may get another fish brother in a couple of weeks. I will not eat him, either.

Aside from that, this was a decent week for Anty’s writing. As usual, she was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, kicking off a month of spooky romance talk with a look at the books that arguably started it all, the classic gothic romances. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURgoinggothic

Because last week’s episode of Outlander was an odd-numbered episode, Anty got to recap it for Heroes and Heartbreakers. This was a very special episode for Anty, because it was all about Christmas, which is Anty’s favorite holiday, and it had two love stories in it. That post is here, and it looks like this:

Outlanders3e5recap.jpg

Now is the part of the post where I bring you up to date on Anty’s Goodreads reading challenge. Right now, she is one book behind, having read sixty-nine out of ninety books, but the weekend is here, so I fully expect her to get back on track by the next time she checks in on this front. If you would like to follow Anty’s challenge, it is here, and, right now, it looks like this:

GR131017

almost on track…

Anty finished reading one book this week, Southwark, by Jessica Cale. This book is relevant to Anty’s interests, because it is set in one of her favorite periods, the English Restoration, and it is very gritty. Anty loves when historical romance is very gritty. Her review is here, and it looks like this:

GRtyburncale

Anty looks forward to reading more books by Miss Jessica, and is always on the lookout for new books set in the Restoration. If you know of any good ones, please put them in the comments, and I will pass them along.

I can also pass along that, this week, Anty wrote her first scene for Drama King, and sent it in to Anty Melva. Now Anty waits to hear back from Anty Melva. Anty’s scene is really the second scene, since Anty Melva wrote the actual first scene that is in the book, but this is the first scene where the hero and heroine actually talk. I am pleased to note that the hero does consider his poor cat, waiting at home for dinner, when choosing his course of action. That alone means that this book is off to a very good start.

Drama King is not the only book Anty is writing, however, and, this week, at her critique meeting with Miss N, Anty heard those words that make her remember saying bad words in Panera is not polite. Those words are, “when do you think you’ll get back to writing (new chapters on Her Last First Kiss)?” and they come from Miss N. Anty did not actually say the bad words, but she knows that, when Miss N asks that question, it is because Anty has probably done about all the planning (or re-planning) she needs to do for this section of the book.

Overhauling half of an entire book is not something a writer goes into lightly, but, sometimes, it has to be done. This sometimes includes things like writing out calendars by hand for all the time in which the story could take place, and using those calendars to figure out how long things would take, from travel times, to how long it takes to make a new  human, and when the existing humans would be aware that the new human was underway. Because Her Last First Kiss is historical, that means Anty also has to figure out things like what foods are available when, how much moonlight there would be on a particular night, how long a party can last, and what things a human might accidentally leave behind when they have to leave a place in a big hurry.

Thankfully, Anty has most of that in place, so now it is a matter of making sure she really does have all of her metaphorical ducks in a row, and then getting back to business. Once she has everything straight, she can tell the story, without having to stop and check. That is one of the occupational hazards of being a puzzler, like Anty. Some writers are plotters, who decide how the whole story is going to go, and then follow that plan. Others are pantsers, who create as they go, with no plan. Anty is somewhere in the middle. She love to plan, but sometimes, her story people have other ideas, and she will see scenes that are not always in order. That is okay, because Anty loves to organize, so this means she gets to write everything down on index cards and make sure she has no holes in the storyline. Then she can go right through to the end. She likes that part of the process, too.

This is where Tuna Roll’s Thought of the Day would have gone, but, because Tuna Roll was all done being a fish, we will make it Tuna Roll’s Parting Thought:

0825TunaRoll

RIP, Tuna Roll; you will be missed

 

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

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

 

Of Kings and Teacups

Once upon a time, a young girl stole a book from her mother’s nightstand. She read that book under the big brass bed in the guest bedroom, and knew, within pages, that she had found what she wanted to read and write for the rest of her life. That girl was me, and that book was The Kadin, by Bertrice Small. My mom found me (darned flashlight beam) and took the book back, because I was too young to read that sort of thing. Mind you, I wasn’t even anywhere near the love scenes. What grabbed me, besides the author’s voice, was the cadence of the language, the lavish description, the sense of adventure, and being inside the skin of a heroine the back cover blurb already told me was going to come out on top, no matter what happened to her.

I stole the book back, of course, and the next one, and, by the time the third book by Ms. Small came out, I had my own copy. While I do appreciate my mother’s concern for my young sensibilities (but really, she had no problem with the horror comics I also devoured, but I don’t think she actually knew what was inside them, either) there was one other unarguable truth. This kind of story, this epic love of long ago, this was mine. Maybe I didn’t fully understand what was going on, but I did understand the force of recognition that slammed into me, in those first few pages.

That feeling has become, thankfully, familiar over the years, and yet the thrill of one of those waves as it crashes over me never gets old. This weekend’s episode of Outlander, “Freedom and Whisky,” and the episode that preceded it, “Of Lost Things,” brought a huge wave of the stuff. This also reminds me that Poldark is back in business. Yes, I know, historical fiction, not historical romance, but Ross and Demelza fit the hero and heroine roles admirably, even if Ross dropped several thousand points in our esteem at the end of last season. He may want to start practicing his grovel, because getting on Demelza’s wrong side is never a good idea.

Right about now, I would love to reference an essay/blog post about teacup romances and king-slapping heroines. I want to say it was written by Ilona Andrews, but, as I’m not turning up anything on my search results, perhaps I have remembered wrong. Even so, it’s the essence that matters, not the specifics at this point. The author wrote about what she termed teacup romances, in which characters could move through the story, holding a teacup, and not spill a drop, and contrasted those with another, when a heroine rebuffed the advances of the reigning monarch with a slap. This fascinated another character, who revealed that they’d always wanted to slap a king. Big move there, and definitely not without risk.

Both types definitely have their place, but, for me, it’s going to be king-slapping, every time. I think Janet Leslie (aka Cyra Hafise) from The Kadin would find much in common with Claire and Demelza, and, maybe, if Bertrice Small were to send that manuscript to a publisher today, it might be marketed as historical fiction rather than romance. Still, take out the love story, and the book would crumble. Could any of these stories take place in any other time and place than the ones they do? Hard no, to all three, and I love that. I love the full period immersion. In Outlander, we get three periods: the eighteenth century, 1940s and 1960s, all rendered in loving detail. The past really is a whole other world, and that’s where the stories I write, by myself, take place. Even my co-written contemporary stories have a historical tinge. I’m hardwired for this kind of stuff.

That’s the bedrock. That’s what’s not going to change. That’s the sweep and the surge and the power of historical romance that I love best, and it’s what I want to put into my own work. Taking in what one wants to put out is always a good idea, not only to see what others have already done, but what I would do differently. Watching one of these shows, or reading a book with a similar tone gets my idea hamster running. I take in some of that stuff, I want to make some of that stuff. If a few teacups get broken along the way, well that’s a risk I am willing to take.

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Almost October Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. We had a very hot week here in New York’s Capitol Region, which is not what anybody wanted at this time of year. Everybody was grouchy and grumpy, except for Tuna Roll. He is a tropical fish, so he probably liked it fine. We don’t talk about things like that, so I do not know for sure, but one can assume. Even so, Anty got more done this week than she thinks she did. Since there is a bunch of it, I had better get right down to business.

First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about historical romance, contemporary romance, and everything in between. That post is here and it looks like this:

BUReverythinginbetween

Anty had a big week at Heroes and Heartbreakers, so you may want to get comfy. First, this was an odd-numbered week for Outlander, so that made it Anty’s turn to recap the episode, and what an episode. Anty loves angst, and this episode was packed full of it. That recap is here, and it looks like this:

HandHOutlander3x3recap

Right after that, because Monday is right after Sunday, Anty recapped the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory, where big things happened for not one, but two of the show’s couples. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHTBBT11x1recap

Because it is the end of the month, that means it is time for Heroes and Heartbreakers bloggers, including, but not limited to Anty, get to share their favorite reads of the month that has gone before. For Anty, this meant venturing into one of her favorite settings, and one of her new favorite authors. For everybody else, well, you will have to read the post. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHbestofseptember

This is the part of the post where I tell you how Anty is doing on her Goodreads challenge. It was close this week, but Anty is now back on track, having read sixty-six books out of her goal of ninety. That is more than two thirds of the way to finished. I knew she could do it.  Go, Anty, go.

GRreadingchallenge290917

Here are the books Anty finished reading this week:

GRCanhamFarHorizon

The Far Horizon, by Marsha Canham

GRColeBeNotAfraid

Be Not Afraid, by Alyssa Cole

In case you cannot tell by the covers, or, in one case, lack of cover (The Far Horizon really does have a cover, but it did not show on Goodreads. It was a picture of a ship, with an overlay image of a couple. It is the first book cover on Miss Marsha’s site, which is here.) all three of the books Anty read this week were historical romance. I am especially proud of Anty for that. It has also, along with a few other developments, made her very thinky about historical romance (that is a good thing, I think) this week, and she will probably be blogging about that herself next week. She may or may not have already started down that road. I cannot tell you the whole thing (partly because Anty is still working on it) but I can give you a hint.

While Anty was looking through one of her special bookshelves, she found a couple of things from a long time ago. Like previous cat era, but it did not have anything to do with kitties. One thing was a bookmark, which one might expect to find in books, and the other was a sticky note from one of Anty’s own books. That was this note:

OitSnote

I am not sure if a cleaned up version of this note actually made it into Orphans in the Storm, but it was enough to get Anty thinking about a few things. Any is very fond of sticky notes, and, sometimes, they get stuck places she would not expect for them to be. If she spent any time looking for this note while she was actually writing the book, she was looking in the wrong place, because she only found it a couple of days ago. A little late if she wanted that bit to be in the book (if it did not get in there) but right on time for her brain to work it into another blog post.

Right now, Anty is working on three other books, at three different stages of progress, so finding a note that takes her back to a previous book was not what she had expected. Writers are like that. Show them the oddest things, and off they go, into some story world that non-writers cannot get to, even if their bowls are empty. Ahem.

Anty gets thinky like this every once in a while. It is probably part of the process of telling stories, this pausing to take a look at how things work, where she’s going and where she’s been. I do not know exactly what form that thinkiness will take, but, when it does, I will ost a link to it here. Unless it is here, in which case, it would be here already.

ComingSoonBanner

This coming March, Anty will be presenting her workshop, Play in Your Own Sandbox, Keep All The Toys, online, with Charter Oak Romance Writers. Further details TBA, but mark your calendars; March is coming, so save the date.

Now it is time for Tuna Roll’s Thought of the Day. Take it away, Tuna Roll.

0825TunaRoll

I have never found a problem that could not be solved by a good, long swim   . -Tuna Roll

Thank you, Tuna Roll. I am not sure that will work for everybody, but it is still good to know this sort of thing.

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

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Save the Dates Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. I tried to convince Anty to wait to take my picture until Uncle was awake, so I would be perkier, but she said something about a schedule and took my picture anyway. It is hard being a mews sometimes. I have been hard at work this week, so we had better get down to business.

Before I can talk about anything else (which is usually Anty’s writing anyway,) I have to tell you where on the interwebs, besides here, that you can find Anty’s writing this week.  As usual, she was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. Her theme for September is Back to Romance School, because it is always a good idea to brush up on the basics. (As long as that brush is not on me, I am fine with that. I am a sensitive girl, and brushing makes me licky.) What two elements does every single romance novel ever published have to have? Anty’s post covers it all. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURbacktoschool

Now that the new TV season has begun, Anty will have many more chances to write about kissy stuff on TV shows, and it all kicks off with her recap of the season three premiere of Outlander, “The Battle Joined,” at Heroes and Heartbreakers. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHOutlanders3e1

but what about Frank?

Next, we move on to the reading portion of the post. Anty is now one book behind in her Goodreads goal, but I am willing to cut her some slack, because it has been a very full week, and she is almost done with the latest Marsha Canham book. Anty can read Ms. Marsha’s books pretty fast, because Ms. Marsha is one of Anty’s favorite writers. The weekend is here, Anty’s Kindle is full, and I expect good things ahead. Anty is not a total slacker, as she wrote a review of the one book she did finish reading this week. That book was this one:

 

 

 

This week was a good one for Anty, because she got to add a few things to her schedule, and Anty loves putting new things on her schedule. That is why she made a new banner, so that I can add a Coming Soon section.

Here are some things Anty will be doing very soon:

Anty will also be recapping the odd-numbered episodes of Outlander all season long, while Elizabeth Poteet will recap the even-numbered episodes. On even weeks, Anty can make popcorn and watch, as a fan. That should be pretty fun, too, and, because she will not have to take notes while watching, she can have her hands free to pet me. I prefer head scritches, thank you, but chest is okay too, if she is very gentle.

Because this has been a very busy week, Anty  has pushed the date of getting A Heart Most Errant to beta readers back to September 21st, so maybe I should put that on the calendar, too. Maybe after my nap. Being a good mews takes a lot of energy. Anty would have preferred to have the book in readers’ hands already, but then she has to remind herself that A) there is no deadline on this one, and B) she would rather take the time and do it right than rush and then wish she had fixed things. I would tell her not to worry, that her beta readers will find things she can fix, but that generally does not come across as a big help.

Now that it is fall, Anty is in her groove, so keep an eye on the coming soon section to see what else she may be up to in the near future. Frankly, I am surprised that her love of planning has not carried over to the site before this, but, then again, she did not consult me on this matter. I could have told her that keeping that section up to date means that she gets to have another sort of calendar. That is my tip for this week: writers, listen to your cats more. Especially when they ask for food or head scritches.

Okay, that looks like everything on my list, so now it is time for Tuna Roll’s Thought of the Day. Take it away, Tuna Roll.

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If you find yourself swimming in circles, that will always take you home. -Tuna Roll

Thank you, Tuna Roll. That is very reassuring. That is also about it for this week, so, until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

Typing With Wet Claws: My Brother Has Fins Edition

Hi, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Anty has a lot on her mind this week, so we had better get down to business. She is going hardcore on the whole talk about her writing thing before I get to talk this week. It’s best to go with her on this one.

First off, Anty is at Buried Under Romance every Saturday, so stop by and see her there. This week, she will be talking about the power of romance heroines. Last week, she talked about the power of romance heroes. That post is here, and it looks like this:

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Anty has some exciting things in the works over at Heroes and Heartbreakers. Look for her post on how to tell whether that nineteenth century romance novel you are reading is Regency or Victorian, coming soon. I would put the link here, but it is not up yet. Anty will also be recapping half of the episodes of Outlander this season, alternating with Elizabeth Poteet. Anty considers herself in most excellent company.

On the reading front, Anty is doing pretty well. She has had to add a flap onto her reading tracker in her not-a-bullet-journal, because she already filled all the slots for her August reading tracker, but it is still August, and she still keeps reading books. That is one of Anty’s super powers that comes back in the fall. Stress allows her to read really, really fast.

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Goodreads says Anty is on track with her reading challenge, but she may actually be ahead. One of the books she read this week, Heir to the Sea, by Danelle Harmon, Anty cannot put that on her Goodreads challenge, even though she likes it very, very much (it is actually one of her favorites of Miss Danelle’s, and Anty really, really likes all of Miss Danelle’s books.) because it will not be published for another week or so. Anty read this book as a beta (not betta) reader. She will put up her review once the book is published. In short, she loved it.

Anty also loves me, which is why she lets me talk on her blog every week. Also because I am cute, and pictures of cute kitties always get attention. I am much cuter than my ne brother, Tuna Roll. For those who want to know how I am adapting to not being the only pet anymore, thank you for your interest. I am mostly unphased by this new addition. This may be because Tuna Roll lives in a bowl on Uncle’s desk, and I cannot see him from my vantage point on the floor. I basically have no opinion, as his presence does not affect me all that much. Let me rephrase that. Tuna Roll makes Uncle happy, and since Uncle is my favorite, and I love him the most most most, then I love Tuna Roll by association. We have a deal. I do not try to eat him, and he does not try to eat me. So far, so good.

Back to Anty’s writing for a minute. This week, Anty and Anty Melva are going to have a different topic when they have their Skype session. This time, they are not going to talk about Chasing Prince Charming (spoiler alert; they caught him, or their heroine did) but they will be talking about their second book together, Drama King. There is a cat in this book, and even he gets a happily ever after, so this may be my favorite book of either of theirs, by that alone. It is nice to see my kind represented in romance fiction.

Anty also worked on an important scent in the second draft of Her Last First Kiss. This part of the book is perhaps the biggest deviation from the first draft, but Anty thinks it is a good change, because things get messier. This is the part of the book where the two humans know that they are in love with each other, but they are also convinced that they can never, ever be together, no way, no how. That is what Anty calls angst. Anty loves angst. Characters can never be completely happy until the very end. Anty says not to worry; this is  a romance novel, so that happy ending is guaranteed.

If you hear a clock ticking around here, that is because Anty has not one, but two beta (not betta) readers lined up for A Heart Most Errant, once she is done giving it a once over. The avoid-y part of Anty mumbled something about “a couple of weeks,” but then it got steamrolled by the part of Anty that makes her own planner from scratch. That part said “great, two weeks it is.” The avoid-y part is now hiding under a blanket fort, clutching a stuffed animal and rocking back and forth while making whimpery sounds. The planner-from-scratch part is ignoring the avoid-y part and breaking down the manuscript into chunks, then going over each chunk once, and only once. The planner-from-scratch part would like to get this ball rolling. I like rolling balls. They are fun to watch. Sometimes, I bat them with my paws. Sometimes.

Since today’s schedule is all upside down, we are still on a break from video blogs. Instead, I will introduce a new feature. I call that new feature Tuna Roll’s Thought of the Day.  Take it away, Tuna Roll.

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Eat more chicken. Or beef. Or pork. Or anything that is not fish. Especially not me. Tuna Roll

 

 

 

Thank you, Tuna Roll. That is about it for this week, so, until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

 

 

Autumn Is Coming

Calendar tells me it’s almost September, and September means my favorite season begins. The calendar says we don’t technically enter into autumn until the 20th or thereabouts, but, for me, it’s sooner than that. Calendar says September first, I say it’s autumn. While it is still domestic tornado season around here, I’m still ready for cooler temperatures, brighter leaves, and earlier evenings. I’m also ready for the new seasons of favorite broadcast/cable TV shows, especially when that leads to more recaps for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Slightly before this time last year, I bought an academic planner, pictured above, because the images on the cover and pages sang to me. It felt right in my hands. I couldn’t stop flipping through the gorgeous pages, imagining what I’d put on them; critique meetings, RWA meetings, writing goals set and met or migrated, domestic duties, the occasional fun time out with friends, the sometimes boring, sometimes scary necessities of adult life, Even the monthly grids were set out differently from month to month; sometimes horizontal, sometimes vertical, enough variety to keep me interested. Definitely something I wanted to get again for the coming year, plus it replaced my miserable failure at making my own planner out of a blank notebook, and in the middle of the year, too, so extra score on that one.

Then summer rolls around again, the next batch of academic planners hits the stands. Did the same company who made my beloved 2016-17 planner have another version for 2017-18? Why, yes, yes, they did. Fabulous. Pick it from the stand, leaf through the gorgeous pages, allow blood to sing, imagine what I will write on those pages, in what ink, what form of notation I want to use…and then the realization dawns. This planner, too, starts in the summer months. Which are already covered in the planner I am currently using. Cue record player needle scratch. (If this means nothing to you, ask your parents. They will explain.)

Okay. Well, then. We have a pickle here, don’t we? Not an actual pickle. I don’t like pickles. Real Life Romance Hero may have picked me, in part, because, when we are in a situation where my food has a pickle on it, he does not even have to ask. It is his. The same goes for egg rolls. If Real Life Romance Hero is not around, Housemate gets them. If they are both around, then whoever is faster gets the pickle-and/or-egg-roll, though I can’t imagine any dish that comes with both pickle and egg roll, but that’s not the point here. The point here is that, if I got that gorgeous academic planner, I would then have half a year of redundancy. I am not going to juggle redundant planners. I put the gorgeous planner back on the shelf, and resigned myself to waiting for the 2018 planners to come out, and buy something that probably has pages too plain for my liking.

Or…or…I could take this nifty, new, blank dotted grid notebook and make my own, from scratch. I’ve learned a few things about notebooks and bullet journals, and acquired a fair share of watercolor and India ink markers, so, if I go this route, I have a decent chance of my pages looking less like they were designed by drunken preschoolers, using their non-dominant hands. It’s a little daunting, but, hey, it’s domestic tornado season, so slipping one more thing in there might not be that much of a difference.

Melva and I are on our last pass of Chasing Prince Charming‘s final draft, and queries are going out. It’ real. We wrote a book. our “baby” is big enough to go on the school bus, and, hopefully, make friends. That means that, soon, possibly after a short resting period (on the collaborative projects) it will be time to dive into Drama King, and begin the whole adventure over again.

This week, after domestic tornadoes leveled any chance of regular critique meetings for nearly a month, it will be back in the saddle for draft two of Her Last First Kiss, firmly now in the middle-middle, where my job is making the bad things get even worse, lead Ruby and her Hero into the phase of the story, and their lives, where they think all hope is lost, and they’re definitely in love, but with the worst possible person, at the worst possible time, and no good can ever, ever, ever come of it. Not to mention their mutual best friend caught in the middle. I kind of love this book, and part of it is because their lives are horriby, horribly in flux.

Then there’s A Heart Most Errant. This story came about during a time of my life when it felt like the end of the world, so why not revise it during domestic tornado season? I’m looking forward to spending time with John and Aline again. They have the largest age gap I’ve written so far (he’s older) and are very much an odd couple. He’s a grumpy knight with emotional baggage, and she’s a chatty extrovert, who knows her way around a kitchen. There’s an abandoned abbey, friends of the four-legged variety, and, in some ways, it feels like I’ve never left this story. John and Aline have been taking the scenic route the whole time, content with each other’s company (useful in a road story) and now it’s time for me to join the party again. Maybe that’s the “what’s next” for historicals, but does it count if it’s not a new-new project, but one that’s been on hold for a while?

I’m not sure. That’s the slightly scary thing about entering into a new season. I like to know what’s coming. The multiple planners (yes, I cross-reference) might be a clue to that. Even so, there are some parts of a new season, whether calendar, writing, or life in general, that remain uncharted territory. That’s a constant in itself, even if it won’t fit in a neatly bordered box.

Typing With Wet Claws: Uncle’s Birthday Week Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. I am wearing a sparkly crown today (it is really one of Anty’s bracelets, and it had an accident a little while after this picture was taken (it was not my fault, as Anty and her bracelet were not at home when it happened, but I still count it as payback) because this is a special week. It is Uncle’s birthday week. I do not like having things on my head, but if it is for Uncle, I can do it. I love him and he is my favorite. That is partly because he does not put things on my head, but mostly because he is Uncle.

Even though it is a very special week, Anty is a stickler for the rule that I have to talk about her writing first before I can talk about…well, her writing. This week, as always, she is at Buried Under Romance. This time, she talks about the need for and merits of book therapy. You can find that post here, and it looks like this:

BURstressreading

While I do not think Anty mentioned cats in her post, by the image, it looks like a most delicious read. Drop by and see for yourself.

Now it is time to talk about Anty’s activity on Goodreads. As of today, she is on track for the second week in a row. Her Goodreads challenge, this week, looks like this:

GRchallenge081017

 

Looking good, Anty. Keep at it. You got this. The books Anty read this week were:

and

Anty got The Reason You’re Alive without even seeing anything other than Mr. Matthew’s name on the front. That should tell you how much Anty likes his books. She also likes Miss Anita’s books so much that she got Comanche Rose along with Comanche Moon, which comes before it, without even knowing anything about the stories. Anty likes to take that kind of risk with her favorite authors. She knows they will deliver, and she hopes to do the same in the books she writes, as well.

This week, Anty also has a post at Heroes and Heartbreakers. Big surprise, it is about historical romance novels. In this particular case, romance novels set in the Victorian era. Several of Anty’s friends asked Anty for recommendations on some good romances set in this era, and she thought other people might like to know which ones Anty likes best, too. There are a lot of other good ones, but Anty wanted to focus on titles that are newer. If you would like more recommendations, of older books in this setting, or books in a different setting,  please leave a note in the comments section and Anty will be right on it. That post is here, and it looks like this:

 

HeroesAndHeartbreakersVictorians

Normally, this is where Anty would put her video blog, but it has been a crazy week here, with lots of domestic tornadoes, so she did not get time to make one. That is okay, though. She can make another one later in the week, and it gives me more time to talk to you here. I would say we all win on that account. Anty’s trackers are more interesting to Anty than to anybody else, but they do seem to do a better job of keeping her on track of things than the previous system (which was really not much of one at all) so I guess it is a good thing. Playing with markers and paper makes her happy, and it makes me happy, because I can sit near her and stare at her while she does it.

Most of the time, I like to hang out with Anty while she writes. She usually has music on while she is writing, and I like it when she plays the soft music. I also like 80s tunes, which she plays while working on Chasing Prince Charming. I do not like loud music, though. I will run away if she plays loud music. Even when she does not play any music, I like to listen to the sounds she makes while she makes the keyboard go clickety clack, or when she scratches her pen against paper. When she is working with pen and paper, she will sometimes tear out paper and wad it into a ball and throw it at me. I used to play with those paper balls, but I figured out they are not actually alive. Where is the challenge in that? Not much, if you ask me. I am asking for a toy that moves for Christmas. A toy that moves all the time, I mean, not one that only moves on Christmas. That would not be much more fun than paper balls that do not move at all.

But I digress. This whole no video blog thing is throwing me off. Hopefully, Anty will be more on the ball next week. What I meant to say was that usually, I like to hang out with Anty when she writes, because she is very interesting. That all goes out the window when Uncle comes home or gets up in the morning. He is my favorite, so I will pick him every time. Here is a picture of me, right after I heard Uncle’s wake up cough come from the bedroom one morning:

SkyeOMalleyCatlooksforuncle

He’s coming out annnnny minute now.

 

I have even been known to walk away from Anty or Mama petting me if I hear Uncle is on his way. He is my favorite, so I am very excited to celebrate his birthday this week. Anty and Mama are getting him presents and cake, but I think he will like the floofs I leave for him, too. He is very lucky his birthday comes at the same time as my shed.

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

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skyebyefancy

Until next week…