Typing With Wet Paws: Dog, I Mean, Cat Days of Summer Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Pretty quiet week this week, but not a boring one. On Monday, Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva hashed out the basics of the outline for Queen of Hearts, and they are also shooting some questions back and forth. Co-written book number three is officially ON. Secondary characters are getting names (or telling them to the aunts, as it often works) and while there may not be a cat in this book (though the one from Drama King might make a cameo; no promises) ther is probably going to be a d-o-g. I don’t know how I feel about dogs. I haven’t met any that I remember, unless it was when I was really little. My first mom said I came from a house with “a lot of cats,” but she didn’t say anything about dogs.

greatest hits picture of me, because quiet week and all that.

Anyway, there’s prep for July historical writing, and that includes moving the office area in the bedroom from where it is right now to the other side of the bedroom (the bedroom is pretty big) so that Aunt Anna can get near the window, and have more desk room, since Uncle Rheuben claimed the new desk they got recently. I am all for this, because if there is a desk near that window, then I can use athat desk to get into that window. I love sitting in windows.

Wait. I may have misspoken about the dog thing. We have a neighbor who has a puppy who is almost a grownup, but still has a lot of wiggle in her. We haven’t met in person, but I know her when I see/smell her from through the window screen. Her humans walk her in front of our building a lot. She seems okay, but I’ve got my eye on her. The other dogs around, I only have my ears on, because I have only heard them. Also smelled. There are two other units inour building, and the people who live there come on the weekends mostly. When they come, they bring their dogs. I have not met them, but it’s more than one dog in each apartment, I think. They bark a lot when my humans go into the hall and stairway. We’ve been here almost a year now, and still it’s a big surprise every time. Go figure.

So. Aunt Anna. She’s not sure what she’s doing for the Historical Romance Readathon, exactly, but she knows she wants to do something with it. Here’s the bingo card:

The thing that Aunt Anna has about this is that iit does look fun, but she’d already decided that she wants to A) finish the half-read books she’d had languishing on her Kindle forever, and B) devour some of the old school stuff on Kindle Unlimited that she’s always wanted to read. First up is the entire Marsha Canham canon. Maybe she can make that work for the readathon anyway. If you want more information on the readathon, check the link above, and also on Laceybooklovers and RemarkablyLisa. Aunt Anna will probably talk more about this on Anna Log later, but for now, the plans are nebulous. Still counts as a plan, though, which makes her happy.

I, of course, will be closely supervising, as always.

Headbonks!

Talking ‘Bout My Genre-ration

Happy Wednesday, feral and domesticated cryptids. On Monday night, Melva and I hashed out a rough outline for our third co-written (or to be co-written) contemporary romance, Queen of Hearts. I don’t think I would have added contemporary romance to my repetorie on my own, but with Melva, it makes sense. It also has a tie to historical romance, because I need that. Heather, the heroine, is named for Heather, the heroine of The Flame and the Flower, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, the first modern historical romance as we know it. The Heather in Queen of Hearts is an editor of historical romance, a genre she adores.

I am extremely thankful to Ms. Woodiwiss for writing the story of her heart and putting it out there in the world. I am extremely thankful to Nancy Coffey, the editor who wanted to take only one submission home with her over the weekend, and picked the biggest manuscript from the slush pile. Boom. Kicked the bedroom door (and other things) off the hinges, and things have never been the same. How many of the original Avon Ladies (having nothing to do with cosmetics, and everything to do with historical romance. One of them wasn’t even a lady. His name was Tom.)

Now that Drama King has been put on the schoolbus, as it were, and Queen of Hearts is a darling baby who sleeps through the night and wakes to the playtime that is discovery drafting, it’s time to turn attention back to my troubled teens, aka historical romances that have been on hold for far too long.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Heart Most Errant is soooo close to being done with the first round of edits. I started John and Aline’s story a long time ago. Not long enough that it was a contemporary when I sat down to write it, but I lived in a different state then, in a time that feels like another life. I won’t say that it doesn’t feel odd to be getting back in touch with characters that, if they were people born when I first put them to page, would be old enough to…well, let’s say cross the street by themselves. Among other things.

Image by Sandra Schwab

They are not that much older than Bern and Ruby (image by the fabulous Sandra Schwab) the hero and heroine of my Georgian romance, Her Last First Kiss, which I have missed like a deep sea diver misses air. Been a while on that one, too, but I am beyond eager to get back to it, and probably use as my focus for Camp NaNo this year. It’s one of those things where I got the whole thing outlined, then the writing-writing got to a certain point and then…stopped. I chalk it up to life being in-bloody-sane for the last few years. We’re back, now, though, and that’s what matters.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Whiiiiich brings me to the whole genre thing. I’ve been watching a lot of You Tube videos about historical romance. Like, a lot. I love watching these mostly young women getting excited about my favorite genre, and doubly excited to see them discovering classic historical writers like Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, and Johanna Lindsey. Not yet a lot of non-J-named writers, but that will come, I am sure.

It’s this development that makes me think that maybe historical romacne does have a divide that I don’t yet know how to name. Many of these videos mention prefering historical romance that is light and funny and rom-com-y, historical accuracy either not a priority or even a detriment. Can’t say I can get my head around that but if those are the books that get a reader’s motor running, read on.

The historical romances that have a permanent home in my heart are of a different ilk. Darker rather than lighter, historical versimilitude a must, big thick bug squasher books that have heft and weight. Plots where the history is a major player, as in plucking this couple from medieval France and dumping them in modern times, the old west of the US, or ancient Rome, would not work at all, because they are people of their time.

A lot of the shining stars I see in these You Tube recommendations are great at weaving the nineteenth century backdrops with keen observations on the fads and foibles of modern life. The covers of these books have what are commonly referred to as “prom dresses” on the heroines, often with titles modeled after references to popular modern works, and in very modern-looking fonts. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s its own genre, and a pretty darned popular one, so rock on and keep going. Is it my taste, though? Weeeeel….I’m okay with that.

I’m also more than okay with accepting that my personal preference is for those big thick bug squashers, whose covers have historical garb on their humans. Often standalones, and often with authors who not only didn’t stick with one family or friend group, but spread it out over several different centuries and continents. An author could come on the scen with a Victorian historical, but the next book is sixteenth century pirates, then a western, then ancient Rome, then colonial Maine, then the early days of Australian penal colonies, back up to Gilded Age New York, then the English Civil War, and….:happy sigh: I love that. I miss that. I want to do that.

Love can happen any time, any place, as an online historical romance friend often says, and I abundantly agree with that. New school or old, traditionally published or indie, series or standalone. What absolutely must, must, must be there is the love story that is intrinsically intertwined with the time in which it occurs, and bonus points to the couple coming So Close to losing it all that I forget that the HEA is a gaurantee and then, at the last second, BOOM, they make it work. They get to the top of that metaphorical mountain, not without some bumps and bruises along the way, some bittersweet losses likely, and I pump my fist in victory.

At least that’s the plan, and that’s why I am working on my Anna Log You Tube channel, to talk about some of the stuff that I love that may not be the newest kid on the block, but my word, the staying power. Which reminds me, time to get to work on that.

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.

Typing With Wet Paws: Post-Book-Launch Edition

Hi, everybody, and happy November! I’m Storm, and I am not a big expert on Novembers, because this is probably only my second one, but that should make it very easy for me to have the best November yet, right? I know some cats have writers who are doing NaNoWriMo this month. It sounds very exciting. All of thst lap time, and all those warm keyboards has to be an incredible experience. I will be having some of that, as Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva are committed to getting Drama King to the end of draft one this month, and Aunt Anna wants to get a few other things under control at the same time. Maybe that’s what all those planners are for? I, of course, will be on Mews duty, to make sure she gets it all done, including taking copious breaks to pet and play with me.

mews on deck

Buried Under Romance

Aunt Anna would like to apologize for the absence of posts at Buried Under Romance this past week, but exciting new things are coming, very soon. For a while now, she has half-joked about what she would like to do if anyone ever dropped a romance magazine in her lap, and that is very close to what is going on there. There is a platform, there are some very talented reviewers and other people to make it all work, and what better time to truly kick into gear than the holiday season?

Readvember

I don’t know if Readvember is really a thing, but maybe it is, now. Aunt Anna flatly refuses to look at how far behind she is in her Goodreads challenge until she finishes reading at least one book. She would rather look at the books she is supposed to be reading instead, and maybe find a way to track reading progress that will keep her motivated. Do you know of any reading challenges that are fun? Leave as link in the comments, and Aunt Anna will give them a look.

Life After Launch

Please note that is “launch,” not “lunch.” Lunch has not happened yet as I write this, and I am more of a breakfast and dinner girl, anyway. Aunt Melva is sending Aunt Anna some more pictures from the book launch, to share with everybody The pictures look like everybody had a really fun time, and Aunt Anna says they did. Now, all of the reception leftovers are gone, except for the memories, and it is back to business on all things reading, writing, and blogging related, not necessarily in that order.

So far, Aunt Anna is planning to show what planners she is using to keep her writing stuff in line, at least for the time being, at the start of next week. I suspect she will move a lot of things around before then, but as long as she settles on something that makes sense, that is all that matters.

There has also been talk of getting a real cat bed for me, to keep next to the glowy box. Anything is a “real” cat bed, as long as there is a real cat sleeping on it, but I have heard that the motel will want their towel back when we move into our real apartment, and so it’s probably best to get something in place now, so I can know it is mine when we do pick up sticks and set down roots in a different place.

That’s about it for this week’s post. Not that much to report, it’s true, but it’s a brand new month, beginning today, and Thanksgiving month, at that. For those who are curious, yes, I will get a special dinner on Thanksgiving day, but it will be chicken, not turkey, because my mom told Aunt Anna that turkey and my tummy are Not Friends. We won’t go into how my mom found out that bit of information.

Wait. There is one other development this week, which I think needs to be included. I have a new Thing that I do. Sometimes, the humans don’t immediately stop what they are doing (including sleeping) when I ask them to play, so now, to show them I am Really Serious, I bring them my Mousie toy. I also have crinkly foil balls, which are fun, but I only ever bring them Mousie. When a cat brings you a slimy stuffed mouse, trailing a long string, it is an expression of love. There is a lot of love around here.

Okay, that’s really it. Headbonks!

short-haired calico cat, eating out of a pink bowl. Handwriting font reada "love, Storm"

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!

Checking In On A Bunch of Things

My life is weird. That is not a complaint, but a statement of fact. Comes with the territory when writing, working from home, or any number of other things. Today, my work area is dark, because clouds are heavy outside. I am hoping we get a thunderstorm. If we don’t, I will probably fake one with ambient sound videos on You Tube, because that makes sense for me. I am waiting for pest control people to come and check the bait box in the kitchen. Please note that this is not for the flea issue; this is for totally different pests. We have come up clean on the rodent side of things so far, but, if there is a hit on the bait box that would explain where the fleas are coming from. Might be worth a mention, when pest control gets here.

Anyway, this is not a post about vermin. For anyone who is disappointed in that, my heartfelt apologies. What this post is, is checking in on a few of the ongoing things around here, mostly as related to writing and publishing, but we will start with planning.

One Book July

For the most part, I would say that, halfway through the month, this is mostly successful. Alert readers will spot that there are two books in the deskscape for today, both Big and Li’l Pink, but those are my everyday carry, and they seem to be working out pretty darned well. I have my pen pouch down to the bare minimum of what I need, which will probably be a post of its own, and certainly the art stuff would not be needed by someone who isn’t into that kind of thing, but I very much like the discipline of keeping to a color scheme/aesthetic, and keeping my daily use stuff all in one place.

This does not preclude the fact that my new love for the B6 size continues to grow, and I am stealthily assembling items in that size, for their own purpose, probably more art-related than writing. I trust that things will sort themselves out as I browse the back to school bonanza that is cropping up everywhere, and that, too, will fall into place.

Camp NaNoWriMo

So far, so good on this one, as I am currently thirty-eight pages into my goal of fifty, but A) I wanted to be done=done with all fifty by now, and B) there are days when I can’t get to that particular project, which irks me, but C) I keep moving forward, which is the most important part. I also would prefer to be more active on the message board in my cabin, but , as I told N at our breakfast this week, if I’m awake, I’m writing or killing bugs.

Buried Under Romance 2.0

I am super excited about this one, and, at the same time, tempted to retreat to my blanket fort, because what have I gotten myself into, here? Good things. Always good things. It’s been a summer of rest while we turn things over and map out how we are going to go from here on out, but there are dedicated people involved, and the future looks bright. I can say, with confidence, that there will be an author visit, in August, that readers will not want to miss. Cough cough me cough cough.

Chasing Prince Charming

Less than a month now, to the release in both print and e-book. Less than a month until readers can properly meet Meg and Dominic, and get their first taste of the Love by the Book world, while Melva and I plunge ahead with Kelly and Jack’s story. Kelly, you’ll meet in Chasing Prince Charming. Jack will make his entrance later.

This is not my first novel, not my first published novel, but it is my first contemporary romance, my first published co-written work, and, while I can’t say it’s my first in a planned series, because it isn’t (oh so many times we reminded ourselves “this book first,” but then there was Heather, and then there was Kelly, and linked books are good business, and well, such is life) it’s the first book in an unplanned series (can we call it that?) and that is exciting, too.

Historicals In Limbo

In April, with the closing of Awe-Struck E-books, the rights to my first two full length historical romance novels, My Outcast Heart, and Orphans in the Storm, reverted to me. That’s not news. They are mine again, and I have been sitting on them, thinking about what, if anything I would like to do with them. Are they still going to hold up after all this time? Did they ever, looking at the sales figures? Then again, I know a thing or two more about publicity than I did when I started on this historical romance journey, and I have a platform, so, as a dear family friend once told me, “the worst they can say is no, and then you’re exactly where you were before you asked.” In short, these books are going back out there, to make the rounds, in search of new homes. I am querying again. Dalby and Tabetha, and Simon and Jonnet are not ready for retirement quite yet, so I will keep you updated on that.

Other Stuff

In preparation for the launch of Chasing Prince Charming, Melva and I are making headway on our website, and batting around a few other ideas. Since I am looking at graphics for that site, I am getting the feeling that halfway through the year may be a good time to freshen the graphics here on the blog as well, so please pardon any dust while we get that settled.

For now, that’s the time I have for blogging, so I am going to toss this up there, and get down to business on some Chasing Prince Charming information, the better to help readers find us. How’s your midweek going?

Real Live Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The Eagle is Landing

This morning, the email came. The email. There are, actually, several the emails that happen in a writer’s life in publishing today, but this one very much gets a the status, because this is the last pass for any changes for Chasing Prince Charming. Once Melva and I give our okays at the author portal, we will have pulled the trigger, and put our first “baby” together on the metaphorical school bus, the better to tend to our current infant, Drama King, as well as our individual efforts, in genres as diverse as memoir, historical romance, and cozy romantic suspense. (The middle one is mine. I do have some YA ideas, but I am juggling enough chainsaws at present, but don’t quote me.)

There is also the website I’m wrangling for my co-written books, which is a different level of figuring thigs out from keeping a site that is mostly a blog. There are two author bios to put up there, two backlists, and I’m going to have to work on that whole regained rights issue, for two historical romances that are going to need a certain amount of work, because A) I wrote them a long, long time ago (even though it feels like only yesterday) and B) both I and the market have changed.

What those changes would be…ehhh, I don’t know. That would require looking at the manuscripts first, and that is not a task for me for today. Today is for booting Her Last First Kiss, and getting Bern and Ruby one step closer to The End of draft number two. Then it’s time to bundle them off on the bus, as well. While I like to think that I have learned a thing or two about the raising of historical heroes and heroines since the day I chair-danced and scared the cat (Olivia, our cat at the time, took it in stride, actually) when a publisher actually wanted to buy My Outcast Heart, I also hope that readers who eventually pick up Her Last First Kiss and all the historical romance novels I write and put out there after (of which I plan many) will find the same spark that they found in those earlier works.

The dry spell, as soon as we get the official release date for Chasing Prince Charming, will be officially over. I could say that it officially ended the day Melva and I got the first “the” email from The Wild Rose Press, or the day we had a second publisher also make an offer on the same work, and we had to make a decision. I could say it ended when Z Publishing sent me an email, the day after we moved out of our former apartment, a the email I answered from a motel bed, Skye, our cat at the time, beneath it, asking if I would be interested in submitting to two of their anthologies. I was still coming down from a massive anxiety attack, I’d exerted myself physically so much the day before, that my legs wouldn’t move, and bed was my only option. I can easily call that a low point, and then there was a the email. I said yes. This year, they asked again, and, this time, from a comfortable apartment (with Sebastian, Cat Regent) I said yes again.

That yes put me into new waters, s my binder for working on Plunder‘s outline, expanding “The Fox and the Lily” to not only a full historical romance novel, but my first intentional trilogy, rescuing the second book, which I had thought would be the first and only, from the metaphorical sandbar where it had been stranded for years I refuse to count. Plunder is first, with Cornelis and Lydia, then Abandon, with Alec and Tamsen, annnnd I have no idea what I am going to call the third one, but I want it to have a one word title that fits in with pirates and/or privateers, and either hero or heroine (I don’t know which one yet) will be the grandchild of Cornelis and Lydia, the child of Alec and Tamsen.

I’m not worried. All of that stuff will come. If I have learned one thing over the last few years, it is that creativity is a bottomless resource. There will always be more. There will be more stories, there will be more sales, there will (or can be) more genres. There will be more characters. There will be more stories. There will be more. I want to make a sign of that, perhaps hire someone to cross stitch. There will be more.

Proof of (Writing) Life

Today’s picture is my silverware organizer full of washi tape, because I put my tablet in the charger before I remembered to take a picture for this blog, and the super sticky note on the top of my monitor looks like this, to remind me that I have but two purposes in life this day:

The complete to-do list for the day

Depending on screen resolution, and legibility of handwriting, this note has but two tasks on it: blog, and final galley. My computer desk is literally only inches away from the TV (that I still do not know how to turn on, but with So You Think You Can Dance being on, and Ink Master, my two favorite summer shows, coming on next week, I am going to have to learn) where Real Life Romance Hero is watching an episode of Bar Rescue for at least the second time. Our downstairs neighbor is sharing their music. Our tastes do not completely align, but are close enough that we do not need to object. The apartment smells strongly of flea bomb, and I have already helped RLRH wrestle the bug-corpse-littered underside of our futon into a trash bag.

RLRH is also making me lunch (perks of having a former pro around the house) and he expressed proper admiration over the final-final=final title page of Chasing Prince Charming. It’s been a while since I’ve been at this stage, of looking at a final-final-final galley proof. The work is both divided in half and doubled, writing with a partner, because we both have to/get to go over every single word, then compare notes before we can give a collective, united thumbs up. Better safe than sorry, though, so I am not going to complain.

After we clear this hurdle, once we get our release date, we level up and start the next phase. Promo. We get to pick out swag, obtain the same, (I am strongly in favor of pens, for obvious reasons, namely that my blood type is “ink”) and poke around the interwebs to see where we can find creative new ways to say “hi, we wrote a book. Maybe you want to buy it.”

Once we pull the trigger on this one, our emphasis shifts also to getting Drama King to its HEA point, and laying the foundations for Queen of Hearts. I liken it to putting the kindergartener on the school bus, so attention now shifts to the baby. Babies really, as I also have Her Last First Kiss, but I am only co-parenting one of them, because I’m flying solo for historicals.

Someone asked me recently if writing contemporaries is easier than writing historicals, and my answer was that it’s different. Yes, they are different subgenres, but the main thing for me is that I am co-writing the contemporaries, and writing the historicals on my own, so I don’t know that I could truly make a comparison unless I tried to write a solo contemporary (not feeling that at the moment, but never say never) and Melva has not expressed any interest to write historical (again, never say never, I can’t speak for her, and co-writing historicals with a different partner would be a completely different experience, to which I would not say a categorical no.)

Where was I going with that again? I have no idea, but I will keep going, because, when I have this entry posted, I am halfway done with my work for the day. From the kitchen, I hear rattles of dishes, which may portend lunch from my own personal chef, so I am going to leave this here, have a quick lunch date at home, and then back to the final-final-final proof. Not a bad plan for the day.