Being on Somone Else’s YouTube is Unreal

Yesterday. Melva and I had our Zoomer Times interview, which is now live on their YouTube channel. I would like to state that I am indeed more than a giant head in extreme closeup, and blame my visual impairment for not noticing how giant-head-y I was, but let’s ignore that and focus on the content.

Not going to lie, I was nervous, but, at the same time, this is legit an item from my childhood bucket list, “be interviewed on TV” because YouTube counts, and it’s on a channel other than my own. Which will hopefully be giant-head-free. It’s a learning curve to be sure, and one I’m glad Melva and I took.

Host Anita Finley was an utter delight, and I could not have asked for a more enthusiastic or friendlier person. They say you always remember your first time, and I absolutely will. When we first tried this whole interview thing in March, I got to be the silent partner, because my Kindle Fire wasn’t playing nicely with Zoom in general, and my contributions were relegated to broad facial expressions and gestures. Guess that mime class I very reluctantly took in high school paid off after all, because they were willing to give us a do-over once we solved the equipment problem.

The whole experinence, once we got rolling, was as much fun as I’d hoped. What writer doesn’t want to jabber about their book baby to a captife audience? Especially a willing captive. Even after what seems like “all this time,” I still get a thrill when I see Meg and Dominic on the cover of Chasing Prince Charming. I am sure that will repeat on every subsequent book with each new couple, but this was the first one.

Not only my first contemporary, my first book with Melva, but the first book that sold after a very long time of…not. Melva and I thought that Drama King would come along a lot faster, but then life hit both of us hard, and now that we have our combined wind back (or close enough) we are putting those hopes on Queen of Hearts, Dominic’s sister, Heather’s story, instead. Nobody can gaurantee that life won’t throw any more curveballs, but with each book, together or independently, we learn a little more, adapt, grow, evolve. This time, for instance, every chapter gets a number, which will make sure we have fewere “where does this bit go?” moments. Hellbent for leather, as Aunt S would have said, through the discovery draft, and then we can make everything pretty later.

I’m not sure when physical book tours will be a thing again, or if being everywhere at once, from the comfort of our own homes is the new norm, and how things are going to be from now onward. Melva is an excellent motel roommate, and traveling companion, and we do get a lot of our ideas while she drove and I wrote stuff down. I’m still the one with notebook and pen at the ready, always. That feels right.

This is all a fancy way of saying “we did a thing” and talked about stuff, so have a look if you’re so inclined, leave a like or comment if you like, and have a magnificent day.

Lap (Desk) Dancing

At some point in this week, I am going to ask myself why I thought having two books, in two different subgenres, in the editing/revising stage at the same time. A Heart Most Errant is my first stab at medieval romance, (and post-apocalyptic medieval romance, at that) and my first foray into the world of indie publishing. Drama King is my and Melva Michaelian’s second collaborative contemporary romance, this time where the Polyanna of Publishing falls for a grumpy British actor. This is also the week where Melva and I are swapping character profiles, because it’s time to lay the foundation for Queen of Hearts, book number three in our Love By The Book series.

But Anna, I hear some of you asking – what about the title of this post? Ah, that one. Taking another step back into re-Anna-fication, I now have a lap desk once again. My prior one did not survive our vagabond year, and I can’t get rid of it, because Storm has upcycled it to a cat bed. This means that, along with my Alphasmart and carefully curated notebooks, I am now mobile again. With the current weather, that means within our apartment. Comfy chairs are not yet installed, but I can use the office chair in Housemate’s room when Housemate is at work, unless Storm gets to it first. Storm loves that chair. Bed is good, too, or a blanket pile on the floor, with my back against the wall. I got a taste for that a while back, and it still works.

This is a vertical weekly discbound planner. The discs are lavender metal, and the only semi decorative stickers say "write," "edit" or "revise."
Catchall planner for this week

Normally, my Sundays have a special time set aside for setting up my planner spreads for the week ahead. This time, oh boy did I need it. Normally, I do a degree of decorative planning, but this week, it’s mostly functional, with what I’m writing, editing, or revising that day. Blank spaces are where I needed to check with family members about their schedules before I could assign my own time, but they will fill soon.

I’m actually excited about this. Getting to this point in two books at once, about to dive into another, coming back to a beloved genre (and a new to me time frame) and a new avenue of publishing is a place where I wanted to be for a very long time, and now that I’m here, it feels like I should sew a new patch onto my sash. If I were still in Girl Scouts, that is. Maybe there are Romance Writer Scouts? Does RWA count for that? Maybe take myself to the Panera that is basically down the street from us (with or without lap desk) and celebrate with a hot drink and freshly toasted bagel.

Anxiety levels are surprisingly low regarding all of this. Call it the Bird By Bird effect. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and while “fix all the books”: is scary, but “edit/revise X pages per day” and the like makes it a lot more manageable. There will, in time, probably be a more dedicated writing planner or tracker that naturally emerges from all of this, but for right now, I know what I am doing on each given day, and when that is done, time to do something that is fun and fills the creative well, aka read, play Sims, etc.

Some of this seems like very normal stuff that goes without saying, but getting to actually put this into practice is an absolute delight. Remind me of that when I am banging my head on the monitor because one of the fixes I need to take care of is trickier than I expected. There’s no planning for those. They are all part of the process.

It feels good to be at this stage, and the ability to flit among different methods and locations — computer, Aplhasmart, notebook, desk, bed, floor, etc– goes a long way toward taking individual elephant bites one at a time. In short, cover me; I’m going in.

Typing With Wet Paws: Midnight Yowl Edition

Hi, Storm Troopers! It’s Feline Friday once more, so I am taking over Aunt Anna’s blog. I planned for that when I took over her planner. My version of helping her plan, or write, is often to lie on the paper, steal the pen, or bat it with my paw, while she is trying to write with said pen. It’s lots of fun, and I am sure has a profound effect on her productivity.

She is in hardcore planning mode right now, because this was a different kind of week. Uncle did not feel so great for a big chunk of it. He is better now, so now Aunt Anna is looking to see where she can put in some extra effort and get things back on track. I commend her for this. She is several belly rubs behind, and that cannot stand. More on that later.

First, however, I have to talk about Aunt Anna’s writing, so let’s get to that. This week, she did not get to meet with Aunt Melva, but she did get to go over a bit of a scene Aunt Melva sent her for a new thing they are playing with, outside of the Love By the Book series. Still contemporary romance, and you know Aunt Anna is going to work something historically adjacent in there somewhere. She has also been doing some longhand work on Drama King, and feeling really, really guilty about Her Last First Kiss, which means it’s getting some for-sure time this coming week. I will let her talk about that later.

As usual, Aunt Anna was at Buried Under Romance this past week. This time, she noticed a curious trend in her market research. If the picture above isn’t enough of a clue, maybe this will help. That’s right, this time, Aunt Anna is talking about Australian romance, both stories set in Australia (or New Zealand) and by Australian or NZ authors. Do you have a favorite in either category? Drop on by nd leave a comment.

How many of these can Aunt Anna get through in one weekend?

On the reading challenge front, there is actually something to report, as Aunt Anna formulates a cunning plan (she will talk about that in tomorrow’s post over at Buried Under Romance, so keep an eye open) to get up to date, and maybe even ahead, because now it is personal. As of this post, she is only seven books behind, at seventy-five books read out of ninety-five. This feels doable. It may require cutting back on Sims 4 play, but it will be worth it. Story in, story out, and all that stuff.

Happy Planner mini, horizontal layout

Speaking of plans, Aunt Anna is rather happy with the way her mini planner spread looks for next week, mostly before the pen. I helped with this one (can you tell?) and there was a minute there where we almost had an incident with stickers and my paw fur, but Aunt Anna is super fast. The spread was done without incident. We will see how that goes, when she fills it in with all of her writing stuff for the week to come.

my buddy, Mousie!

Now for the important part of this post, which is why there is a midnight yowl in the title. In case you were wondering, I was the one yowling, loud nd long. Aunt Anna was the only one (I think) who woke up, and got out of bed. She found me in the dark and asked me what was wrong. I won’t say the whole thing of what happened, but the problem was that (I am okay, don'[t worry) I wanted to play Mousie, and there were no humans up to help me with that. Intolerable! Yes, Aunt Anna did play Mousie with me, so I know that trick works, but she was not happy about it. Eh, I’m still cute. It’s all good.

Mousie is my bestest bud (besides the humans) and he was a present from my mom, so I have a little bit of her, which is nice. You can tell how much I love Mousie because I chewed off most of his face, his tail is long gone, and his string is tied around his tummy because I am a fierce hunter and catch him a lot. I mean a lot. You don’t even know how much. I do have a few balls my aunts and uncle gave me, but nobody beats Mousie.

Headbonks!

#calicolovestorm on IG

Book Launch Hangover

Book launch hangovers are most assuredly a thing, and I know, because I have one. This past Saturday,. Melva Michaelian and I had our very first event as co-authors, at the East Longmeadow Public Library. Arranged by dear friends, M.P. Barker and Carol Munro, this was top notch all the way.

look at these babies!

Seeing not one copy of a book with my and Melva’s names on it, but a whole pile, for which people I have not met before (nd some who have) hand over actual cash money and ask for authorial signatures, when I am one of the authors in question, well, that’s a Moment. There were sctual journalists present, and more pictures will be forthcoming. I didn’t get to take a lot of photos myself, sa I was doing other things, but no camera can capture all the love in that room.

Me, book, and friend, Mary, trying to hide behind book.

To say we had the best-best time would be an understatement. Room was packed, which was a delightful surprise. There were romance readers there for sure, and those new to the genre, making for an interesting mix. There were a few questions about the genre itself, about writing partnerships in particular, and, more specifically, Melva’s and mine. We’ll put a truncated version of our partnership’s origin story on melvaandanna.com soon. It’s a fun story, if s little convoluted.

Another great question came from friend and reader, Mary W, who asked Melva and I what our favorite tropes were in the romance genre. For Melva, it’s friends to lovers (which we are doing in our planned third book, Queen of Hearts) and for me, stasr-crossed lovers who make it work. Second chance at love (with sme lover) might be another aspect of it, and we have plans to address that, too.

Speaking of plans, the question about future books came up, and as of right now, Melva snd I plan to have the first draft of Drama King done by the end of November. Not NaNo in the strictest sense, but we are determined to write the End by the end of the month, so NaNoIsh? We will see. After that, there is talk of a couple of shorter pieces before we get back to Queen of Hearts, and we both need to keep space for our solo works.

I’d like to say it’s all cake from here, which is not entirely an excuse to show this gorgeous dessert (yes, the picture was edible) but we get back to the whole real business of writing thing, because the awesome days full of cake and the signing pen running out of ink, and posters of book covers and “I loved your book” and all the other great stuff? That doesn’t come without butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, or pen in hand. Day by day, word by word, flying into the mist or meticulously plotting (your mileage may vary) backspaces and deletes and all that other aggravating stuff.

Those moments aren’t alwys the most fun, but they are needed, because they build the foundation of everything else. After the event, the readers go home and dive into the books, while the authors go home, and, well, in our cases, sleep (for a month would be nice, but not at all practical) and eat and maybe read something or zone out in front of the TV for a while, then, in time, we get up and do it all over again.

too “explosive” a signoff pic?

This Year, I’m Going as a Writer

So, this is happening:

Two days after tomorrow, two days after my birthday, five days before Halloween, I will be hitting the road to western MA, home of many friends,. and many memories, to join Melva Michaelian for a book launch for our first co-written contemporary romance, Chasing Prince Charming. Eep.

Melva and I have certainly talked writing before, and we have certainly talked writing, together, in front of people, before. We’ve even presented a workshop on how to keep writing through the tough patches of life. When we’re talking about writing this particular story, we literally wrote the book. :rimshot: I know for a fact that people I love, and who love us, readers interested n our book, or have already read it, and/or are interested in writing. I get to go to a library. I get to see the glorious fall foliage between NY and MA and back again.

There is still one more article about our writing partnership planned to hit the interwebs prior to our presentation. I’m not counting on any afterwards (unless something goes phenomenally wrong or phenomenally right) but I will be sure to give a full recounting here, and on melvaandanna.com, which I definitely need to update, but that is for another day.

Since we are only a couple of days before The Event, that means my attention needs to go into getting ready for that. I kind of know what I’m wearing (in the black dress family) and will probably need to check local retailers for red shoes, because the ones I had always planned to wear to any Chasing Prince Charming related appearances, are too deep in the storage unit to retrieve easily. We will see how this goes.

Earlier in the week, Melva and I went over how we’d like to address the we-talk-to-a-bunch-of-people portion of the day. It’s probably going to go fine. There will probably be funny stories, definitely a picture of me and Melva together (we do not have one, despite being friends and critique partners for double digit years) and possibly pictures of foliage, because, well, fall.

The process of being a Real Writer ™ isn’t in being in the newspaper (paper or digital kind) or having bookmarks or fancy signs or even glossy paperbacks. I am happy to have all of that, but the real work of writing is done with pen and paper and fingers on keyboard. It looks rather like this:

my typical writing view now

Not a bad setup, I have to admit. The day, and days, after the two hour library even, I will be removing cat from keyboard (repeatedly) and attempting to read my own handwriting (also repeatedly) and lather, rinse, repeating, until I hit The End again. Repeatedly.

I really need a new signoff picture…

Writing With a Velcro Cat (and book launch information)

Cats and writers are a natural combination. In the year and change since Skye went to Rainbow Bridge, I have sorely missed having feline supervision while I write. Now that Storm has joined the family, that need is most assuredly filled, though I am taking some time to learn her particular management style. For one thing, please refer to the photo below:

she has a top to her head, I promise

Yes, Storm does have a top to her head. I took this picture last night, after she herded me to bed, which is a thing she does now. Herds me to bed, and then sits on me. Sits. On. Me. I have to be on my back, she has to be in full cat loaf position, feets tucked under, and we blink at each other for a while, until she moves between me and Real Life Romance Hero, signaling that it is truly sleepy times now. If I do not comply in a timely manner, then there will be chirps and walks across my person until I do, at which point Storm settles on my other side, with loud rumble purrs.

That’s bedtime sorted. Writing time, well, we are still working on that. One of the reasons our family made a good match with Storm is that she has some separation anxiety, and I work at home. Even before we have an actual home, this means that Storm is going to have a hooman with her most of the time. Ideally, I will be within her sight. This means that bathroom doors need to be open at least a crack. For writing, we have a few issues.

Right now, we’re trying a mini-bed on the desk, next to my monitor, toys at the ready when she really really really needs some attention. There may be treats available, possibly for both of us (not the same treats; human treats and kitty treats do not intersect. Except for organic peanut butter.) So far, this seems to be working, as Storm can see my face and my screen, she’s comfy, and I can give her pets and we can both take care of important business. Photos to follow if this works out.

Also to follow are…books. Melva and I are on track to a rough draft of Drama King before the holiday season takes over, and I am planning on getting Her Last First Kiss to the end of the second draft as soon as possible, because this whole having a book out thing is kind of cool, and the only way I can get there is to write more books. I have three historicals to shop around, and Melva and I are working on more contemporaries. Anything beyond that? Sure, when the right ideas presents themselves. Always romance, though, or at least a strong romantic element.

Melva and I are now two weeks out from our first in-person book launch, for Chasing Prince Charming. If you are in the Western MA area, or can get there, you can meet Melva and me, live and in person. Storm will be staying home with Real Life Romance Hero, but Sebastian might tag along, if he doesn’t have more pressing matters on his agenda. The press release is as follows:

We’re celebrating the publication of Chasing Prince Charming
by Melva Michaelian and Anna Bowling, a romance novel on the sophisticated side of sexy!

We’re excited about another success in Anna’s and Melva’s writing careers and the release of this first of three books in the Love by the Book series, published by Wild Rose Press.

Please join us for a reading, book signing, and discussion about their collaborative writing, which was a long-distance effort (Melva is a local writer, and Anna, originally from Enfield, CT, now lives in New York). A small quantity of books will be available for purchase at the event, but we recommend you purchase a copy in advance on Amazon.

Wearing red shoes, sneakers, boots, or other footwear is suggested (but not required).

This event is free and open to the public. No reservations are needed.

Learn more about Anna’s and Melva’s collaborative efforts at www.melvaandanna.com

Sound like fun? I’ll be there. Also, I am technically originally from Hampton, Virginia, then NYC, then Westchester, then CT, then VT, then CA, CT again and back to NY. Yeah, I got around. Roots are down now, or will be as soon as we are moved into the next location of Stately Bowling Manor.

Update: there is a new peril to writing with a Velcro cat. That is when said Velcro cat claims the keyboard as hers by rubbing against it, and inadvertently cranking the speaker volume way up high. I think I can get used to that.

Working on a new sign off picture…

Typing With Stuffed Paws: the (Ex)terminator is Coming Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals! It is I, Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, freshly vacuumed and coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. The big news, of course, is that Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick welcomed their first co-written book baby, Chasing Prince Charming, into the world, in both print and electronic release. If you read the book and didn’t hate it, maybe leave a review or something. Writers like that. Also, obligatory cover photo, because release week.

Okay, so there’s that. Special update for this week at Buried Under Romance, but first we will drop the link for last week’s post, on buried treasure romance novels. That’s historical romance novels that are considered buried treasure, not that are about treasures that are buried.

So, the big news over there is that there will not be a regular Saturday Discussion post this week. That does not mean that there will be no Writer Chick. It means that you get Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick, talking about their book, all in one place. With an excerpt, and, for two lucky commenters, prizes. Want a shot at getting your very own free paperback of Chasing Prince Charming? Maybe you’d like to win a fancy notebook and some nifty pens? Stop by Buried Under Romance on Saturday, August 17th, and follow directions.

Speaking of directions, I will now direct you to Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge. Surprise, surprise, she actually read a book this week, so she is now four books ahead of schedule, with sixty-three books read out of her goal of ninety-five, which puts her at sixty-six percent of the way to her goal.

Blah blah writing blah blah, get to the exterminator part. Okay. So. the exterminator is coming. IDK when, but they were here today, gave the official bug sighting signal, and will let Writer Chick know, ASAP, when Bugnarok will occur. This means she will have a few things to do in preparation for that. Part of that is putting us stuffed friends, after a thorough vacuuming, in hazmat suits. IDK what that means, but it sounds cool. Then she has to make sure her books and art supplies are safe, and find somebody locally to plantsit Tudor, Lancaster, and Queen Boudicca. There’s also personal care items/medicines/foods to secure, and then, basically, this:

There will probably be a lot of cleaning after that, but after that, things should settle. It’s times like this Writer Chick is glad that she can tap out of all this for a while and read, or write, a good romance novel. More updates, on all fronts, as they come

Peace out,

Happy Book Birthday, Chasing Prince Charming!

Today’s the day!

For everybody who has been Chasing Prince Charming, today is the day to catch him. Meg and Dominic have been let loose on the world, and, for the first time, people neither Melva nor I know (and some whom we do) get the chance to read the story of a fallen chick-lit author, determined to revive her career, the history professor turned romance publisher who beckons her out of her comfort zone in more ways than one, and their path through the writing process to their very own happily ever after.

Watch this space and melvaandanna.com (one word, all lowercase) for news on our upcoming author visit to Buried Under Romance. Melva and I will be having our regularly scheduled Skype chat, to celebrate, and work on our assignments for the next phase of Drama King. The best way I can think of to celebrate this achievement, of my first release in mumblecough years, is more writing. There were times, a lot of them, when anxiety and depression, and domestic tornadoes had me looking at what ws behind me, writingwise, to the point where I actually cried when Facebook thought I would like to remember when I had sold my last book.

There have been three anthologies since then, the invitation to the first two of them landing in my inbox the day after we moved out of our old apartment, and now a new chapter has begun. I don’t think I would have written contemporary romance on my own (jury is till out on the time travel, which is still on the back burner, until I figure out what the fluff is at the heart of that one, which may be more than one, thanks to my natural tendency to stuff ten pound cats into two pound bags) but as soon as Melva and I sat in that hallway outside the ballroom for a conference breakfast, and tossed around ideas until we landed on a simultaneous “we should write that,” it’s been a very natural thing to add to my usual bag of tricks, or, more accurately, binder of tricks.

my Love by the Book binder

My other great passion besides romance fiction is the whole world of planners and notebooks, but as I have said here before, all of my previous attempts have been the way I thought a writer’s notebook should be set up: always a three ring binder, always letter size, always with the same amount of sections that the package of dividers I bought had. Which never, ever worked. So, earlier this week, with the knowledge that the first book would be out to-freaking-day, and it says “book one in the Love By the Book series” right there on the cover, that people can actually buy, that is in peoples’ Kindles right the heck now (a huge thank you to those who have confirmed it’s on their devices) then I better make sure I do my part in getting book two to The End. Which meant a binder, which meant my kind of binder. (A5, I am making my own dividers, and applying tabs as needed.)

WIP binders

The binder with the white background is for my contemporaries with Melva, and the solid blush pink is for my historical solo romances. They both feel like home. I have three historical pieces, one novella and two novels, that are in need of (new) homes, and I need a place where I can comfortably settle in and get Her Last First Kiss to The End of draft two.

Her Last First Kiss binder

These notebooks feel like home, and these novels feel like home. This morning, I researched UK to US work visas, because the hero of Drama King has one, and part of Sunday pinning eighteenth century aesthetic images, for use in my Her Last First Kiss binder, to bring Bern and Ruby’s world into visual form. It works. Show up, put pen to paper, tell the story. As hard and as easy as that.

So, that’s my rambling for the day. Chasing Prince Charming is out. Meg and Dominic are ready to meet their readers. It’s a love story, of second chances and new beginnings, and digging down deep to find that, when we have to, we really, really can Do the Thing.

Happy reading!

I Will Call Her “Spinebreaker”

Greatest hits picture for today’s header because we are burning daylight, this is Monday’s and Wednesday’s post, and there are a few things to cover. We are now less than one week away from the release of Chasing Prince Charming, my first contemporary romance, my first book written with longtime friend and critique partner, Melva Michaelian. We can’t say “someday” anymore. We can’t say “next year,” or “hopefuly” or even count the months or weeks, because that baby will be here Monday. Eep.

Houston, we have a website!

melvaandanna.com

In addition to the book baby, we are also proud to announce a website baby. Early days yet at melvaandanna.com, but we now have a website. Hop on by, follow us if you are so inclined, and watch us grow. Let us know what kind of content you’d like to see on an author website. Since the webmistress is me, there may be (aka will be) a learning curve, but this is the place where news about future books we write together, and the workshops we teach, in person or online, as well as other hopefully fun stuff in the very near future.

Melva and I are closing in on the home stretch of Drama King, the second book in the Love By The Book series, and I have, as of Monday, started an official notebook section for the third book, Queen of Hearts, so that will be next up for this partnership. After that? We’ve got a few ideas.

August Planner Post

One Book July is now past, and time is coming soon to start setting up my everyday carry (EDC) planners/notebooks/binders for autumn, which has a completely different vibe than spring and summer. This is where Spinebreaker comes into play.

When I first started this whole planner thing, I was pretty dedicated to the cahier size and pooh-pooh’d everything else, but then I started watching planner videos and joined FB groups and a ;whole new world opened. I did not have to be locked into One True Planner, forever and ever, eternity and beyond. That took some getting used to, the same as thinking I could only write one genre, or one way, yappity yap and all that.

Now? Well, now, I’m all about exploring. I had seen mentions of the B6 size in multiple groups, and in multiple videos, and then there was one, right where I get my groceries, in blush pink, and under eight dollars. Yeah. So, that happened. Meet Spinebreaker:

Hi, Spinebreaker!

Why Spinebreaker? I’m glad you asked. I don’t remember if it was in a Facebook group or a YouTube video where I first encountered this, but what I do remember is that the narrator, an artist, knew, in art school, who was going to do well in the class. On the first day, the professor passed out bound, blank sketchbooks. The nice kind. The narrator recounted how they stared at the perfect untouched purity of the sketchbook and how afraid they were that they were going to ruin it with their imperfect art. Other students immediately picked up the books, broke the spines, opened the book to several different pages, wrote their names in the front, and put marks on pages, be they first, last, or random, while the narrator was still staring at the blank perfection and dreading being the source of its ruin.

This resonated with me, a lot. I am very guilty of staring at pages, paper or electronic, fixed on the blankness and the preciousness of the unblemished page…but, as Pable Picasso said, all creation begins with destruction (of the blank page or canvas.) I am not a Picasso fan, myself, but “Picasso in a Café,” a song by one of my favorite composers, Brian Lowdermilk, is a favorite of mine (gentle readers who prefer not to hear strong language, take my word for it; otherwise, click the link) especially since I followed a series of videos he make, chronicling some big changes in his life and creativity, after a creative disappointment. He and his wife, Anna Levinger, who contributed the portion of the song with the strong language, took a gap year and traveled, exploring the world, as well as creativity, etc.

No gap years here, but learning to create again after a big shift, that I know. I know the feeling of the wandering in the wilderness, and the combination of strangeness and coming home, to come out of it in a different place than one went in; new genres, not instead of, but along with, expanding the sizes and purposes of binders and notebook covers I use. Mushing all of that with the story I wish I had written down so that I could attribute it properly, I like the idea of being a spinebreaker. That’s why, earlier this week, I made myself slip some inexpensive inserts into that pristine new B6 cover, and start swatching watercolors on the first few pages. There. Not blank anymore. Does that make it easier? For me, actually, yes.

Those blank pages are powerful. Sometimes, too much so. That’s why melvaandanna.com (all one word, all lowercase, tell your friends) is up in its tiny, imperfect, baby steps glory. We don’t serve the website. It serves us. That perspective may not be true for everybody, for us, this is just right.

We Have a Release Date!

No, that is not my computer exploding in today’s image. It is celebratory fireworks, because Melva Michaelian and I finally have a release date for our very first contemporary romance together, Chasing Prince Charming. August twelfth is the day, which is a Monday, so if you are looking for something to start that particular week right, may I suggest a fun new book? Specifically ours, but you do you.

August 12th. Save the date.

Write that down, get a sticky note, put it on your calendar, type it into electronic device of choice, or keep following this blog, because I will be 100% sure to keep reminding everybody/ not shutting up about this, because it really does mean that the long (long!) dry spell of no new releases really is over.

found it here

I was tempted to put “actual footage of me reading The Email” in the caption, but (I hope) we all know I’m not a green frog Muppet. I’m not. See, new author picture is here:

Actual me, aka not a frog.

Melva is also not a frog, but we are still waiting on okay for her author photo, so take my word for it. We are both wildly excited, and working hard on our new author(s) website, your (soon to be) one stop shop for all things Melva and Anna. There will be bookshelves; hers, mine, and ours, bits of tid on workshops we present, and more.

For now, we are in the exciting world of pre-release author things, because the focus now goes to promo. There is the pricing of swag. The whimpering when reading those results, the perils of letting the pen aficionado suss out options, the calm voice of reason that this all does not have to get done in one day. It does have to get done, though. Like writing the book, this is eat the elephant one bite at a time territory. Focus on the thing in front of you, do it until it’s done, and then do the next thing.

In between all of that, there is writing the next books. Plural. Melva and I are on track with what we hope will be book two of the Love By The Book series, Drama King, with Queen of Hearts after that. Melva has her own projects, which are hers to tell, and I have less than two weeks before July is upon us, bringing Camp NaNo, aka my experiment in outlining Plunder in a mere thirty days. Thirty-one. Whatever. There’s A Heart Most Errant making the rounds, and Her Last First Kiss to get to the end of draft two, so that it can do the same. Lazy days of summer? I don’t think so.

I am okay with that. I am more than okay with that. I will take that over the writing slumps any time. This is the time when shiny new ideas pop up, because they always come when a writer’s plate is fullest, and the time when I am glad to have learned the trick of writing down the bones of the idea in a special notebook, and filing it away for some future day when I may need it.

That day is not today. Today is for getting cracking on the pre release stuff, checking information, looking at promo, the occasional virtual high five and staring at our pretty, pretty cover, courtesy of the immensely talented Rae Monet. Today marks a fork in the road, where things get more definite. There is a release date. ARCs (advance reading copies) will be coming into play. There are words like mobi and PDF and things to do regarding SEO (search engine optimization. I think.) and a million other things that need to be done before the book can actually get into the hands of readers, and y’know what? I am totally up for that. I like this kind of stuff. This kind of stuff is irrefutable proof that I am a working writer. Note to younger me (and younger Melva, for that matter) : we did it. We’re here. It’s happening. We would love for you to join us.