Typing With Wet Paws: Where Were We? Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Greatest Hits picture because Amazon and Aunt Anna are having disagreements of the password variety, but yay for new content.We are back in Albany after a side quest in CT, and Aunt Anna said it was high time to get back to blogging. This seldf isolation thing is hard on extroverts, so I have been putting in exstra mews time to get Aunt Anna up and running…er, writing.

Aunt Anna’s big task this weekend is to comb through her Google Docs and put all of her scenes for Drama King into one Scrivener file, along with Aunt Melva’s scenes. Some of those scenes might be stored on a flash drive that is in the storage unit, which is on lockdown (except by appointment) so if Aunt Anna can’t find a couple of specific scenes in the files she can access, she will need to reconstruct the scenes. If you hear her sobbing softly, it is probably that. She has not yet come to the point of obessively looking at her writer email to see if there are any nibbles on A Heart Mosty Errant, but we are realistic over here. That time is coming.

She is also verging on “what the fluff, let’s see what happens” about giving My Outcast Heart a once-over and getting it out there with a new cover and a couple of tweaks. The main things that give her pause is that it was written in first person, and maybe that’s a turnoff for enough romance readers to consider translating to third. Because it is exhausting to see her overthink (and I need both of us well rested because she got me a red dot and I LOVE chasing it) I will ask you guys here. Would you read a historical romance told in first person, or is it third person or nothing?

Aunt Anna is kicking tail and taking names on the Goodreads challenge front, with 45 books read out of her goal of 90. This puts her at halfway there, so I think she is probably going to make it, seeing as this is only April. She is 23 books ahead of schedule, which I can’t even….but good for her. Keep going, Aunt Anna. Blow that goal out of the water.

Aunt Anna is kind of salty about this, so if you’re looking for a new contemporary…

For readers looking for My Outcast Heart or Orphans in the Storm, those are currently between publishers, so keep eyes peeled for news on new editions soon. In the meantime, besides Chasing Prince Charming (click the link above) her historical romance novellas, Queen of the Ocean, and Never Too Late, are both available on Amazon for less than the price of a cup of coffee. QotO has wreckers and pirates, and NTL has a seasoned heroine and second chance at eh one who got away. Both are standalones, so you don’t need to read one to read the other. I’m not saying don’t read them both, but if you have strong opinions on tropes or settings, pick the one you like.

Buried Under Romance is indeed on the way back now that we are done with the CT side quest and Aunt Anna has some ideas historical romance authors, message her. She wants to talk.

In other news, we are moving toward a new normal, with apartment hunts and Aint Anna working on Patreon stuff. She and Aunt Melva are back to their weekly chats about their contemporaries, and will be giving their website a major overhaul :salute.: If you got that reference, you get an extra awesome point.

I have been helping Aunt Anna with ther planning and asrt journal, though she says making off with her pen is not actually helping. She got a new pen that is part thing that pokes her tablet screen and part RED DOT!!!!! I LOVE Red Dot! No shade on Mousie, but Red Dot? Dude is going down. As soon as I can catch him. He’s a slippery one, though, BUT i WILL KEEP TRYING.

Headbonks!

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?

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.

Typing With Wet Nails: Sebastian Transcribes Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with a special edition of Typing With Stuffed Paws. Turns out that the week of little to no energy was the opening act for the week of gross virus, which Writer Chick has been combatting by sleeping one heck of a lot, drinking lots of fluids, and, occasionally, writing longhand. Since this includes blog related stuff, I will take it upon myself as Cat Regent to make an executive decision, and transcribe the most recent pages for her. I am sure she won’t mind.

So, I have the rights back to my first and fourth historical romances. Now what? (reminder to self: change email signature) With the Awe-Struck chapter (pun intended) closed, I now have My Outcast Heart, and Orphans in the Storm back in my hands. I am not entirely sure what I want to do with them. My options, as I see them, are three:

One, I can trunk them both and never look at them again. Two, I can pitch them to one of my two (technically three) current publishers. Three, I can go indie, and publish them myself. All sides have plusses and minuses, so let’s take a look.

Option One: Trunk them. I do not like this option, because I do like these stories. My Outcast Heart, is, technically, a cranky teenager, struggling with identity issues. Orphans in the Storm isn’t quite there yet, but I could see it heading in that direction. Are there things I would like to change about both stories? Unquestioningly, yes. I also hope that I am a better writer than I was when I first wrote those stories, with more of an idea regarding what I am doing, what my historical romance brand should be (as in what do I intend for it to be) and less of a care about what other people will think about what I am doing.

Option Two: Offer to one of my current publishers; Uncial Press, The Wild Rose Press, or Z Publishing. I want to talk to other writers, including but not limited to, my RWA chapter sisters and brothers, who have been in the same situation, of having their grown story kids come back home after a long time away. I am not sure about the etiquette in this sort of situation. Right now, this is probably the option that makes the most sense, but then there is still the third option.

Option Three: going the indie route. Once again, I want to talk to other writers who have done the same thing, to learn about their experiences, get some pro tips, and very likely discover options I did not know existed. The organizing, um, exhibiting leadership qualities part of myself likes this option very much. I can design covers and formatting that ties all of my unrelated stories together under one cohesive brand. Once in place, I can happily keep the stuff coming. I very much like the idea of having a place where I can put historical romances that take a couple of risks along the way. The CFO of AnnaCorp (term for my brain I have only now formed, may regret that later) looks at me over the rims of her spectacles and says a flat “no.” That stuff is expensive. Getting to call all of the shots also means getting to pay all of the bills.

Thankfully, I don’t need to decide right the heck now. Right now, there is a lot of good stuff happening. Melva and I are on book baby watch, as we come ever closer to knowing the release date for Chasing Prince Charming. We are coming up on a big scene for Drama King (which may or  may not have resulted in me building our hero’s apartment in the Sims 4. I should also be finding out the release date for the new Z Publishing anthology, that unleashes Cornelis and Lydia on the world, and slipping back into Bern and Ruby’s world, in Her Last First Kiss, is a truly lovely way to spend my time. In the end, I figure I will approach the issue of what to do with my boomerang story kids the same way I approach a discovery. Run down the metaphorical dock, splash around and then see what direction I appear to be naturally swimming in, and head in that direction.

That’s where Writer Chick left off, so I assume that’s where she meant for the entry to end. Time for me to join her for some beauty sleep, so we’ll both be ready for tomorrow’s regular blog. As regular as a blog written by a handsome orange stuffed boy can be, that is. Whatever.

Peace Out,


Chasing Prince Charming Cover Reveal, and Other Stories

Big news in Anna-land this time, Liebchens. Actually more like big newses (I know, I know, not a word) so let’s get to them.

First of all, unless we hear otherwise from our amazing editor, Melva and I are, as of yesterday, no longer galley slaves. We have turned in our final-final pass of the manuscript for Chasing Prince Charming, so, now, once again, we wait. Release date is still TBA, and you will hear it here as soon as we know.

This segues nicely into the second bit of news, which is…wait for it…drumroll, please…are you sitting down, because I highly recommend that…Chasing Prince Charming cover art is here! Thanks to the team at The Wild Rose Press, and the insanely talented Rae Monet, take a gander at the cover of Melva’s and my first jointly written contemporary romance novel:

Our babies, property of The Wild Rose Press

Aren’t they pretty? I literally gasped as soon as I saw the draft of this cover, because that’s Meg and Dominic for sure. Melva and I would know them anywhere, and the hotel bar where, well, you’ll see. Soon, my Liebchens, soon. Now that Meg and Dominic are standing on their own, ready to head out into the world, there’s a grumpy fallen star and an optimistic literary agent who need some attention, so back to work on that.

Still going to ground for the short story submission thing. More on that later, because this is writing time, but, in the meantime, I do have an update for readers who have had difficulty in locating two of my historical romances, My Outcast Heart, and Orphans in the Storm.

cover art by Tim Harrison, Jr.

Awe-Struck E-Books was the first house to send The Email, an offer to purchase my first historical romance, My Outcast Heart. Thinking of how long ago it was that Tabetha and Dalby became a permanent part of my life, astounds me. I clearly remember the moment their story was conceived (in a mobile home, no less) when Tabetha took herself off into a wintry forest in 1720 New York, and I followed her, with literally no idea where we were going to end up at the end of the trail.

cover art by Kathleen Underwood

Neither did I know, when I plunked myself down at a kitchen table not my own, on a dogsitting gig, to begin Jonnet and Simon’s story, where that journey was going to lead. This is the book I have no memory of selling. Triple caregiving duties will do that to a gal, I have found, and only caught on when my editor needed the final ms…and I did not have one, because it had slipped into the void. Cue calling in hardcopies from my critique group, which did include one Melva Michaelian, as well as M.P. Barker, and frantically putting it all together on my office floor.

Good times, all, and now, for these two books, the adventure begins again. Awe-Struck E-Books, and parent company, Mundania Press, have closed their doors, and reverted all rights to their titles, to the authors. For those having difficulty locating copies of either book, that’s why. These titles are, unfortunately currently off the market.

Not, however, gone forever, as I am putting these babies back on the market. I want to read through each book before I make any firm decisions, and indie publishing is certainly an option. There are several publishers who know what historical romance readers want, and hopefully, My Outcast Heart and Orphans in the Storm will be among that number. Watch this space for updates.

In the meantime, Queen of the Ocean, and Never Too Late, are still available from Uncial Press, at most major e-retailers.

Back to work. That short story is calling.

Typing With Wet Claws: Scary Stories Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Here I am, practicing my begging face. Are my eyes big enough? I am next to the refrigerator, so that Anty will know I want food. My food is not in the refrigerator; that is where they keep people food. My food is in the pantry, but I figured Anty was smart enough to make the connection. Today is also the day before young humans put on costumes and go begging for treats. I beg for treats every day (and I get them) so I feel sorry they only get to do it once a year.

I was not born yet when this happened, but I have an interesting Halloween story to tell about Anty. This happened back when Olivia was our family’s kitty, and Anty worked in a place called the mall. The store where Anty worked sold accessories, which was very fun for Anty. They also said that workers could wear costumes for Halloween if they wanted. Anty thought that sounded fun, but she was also very busy that year and did not have time to put a costume together.

That is not the end of the story, though. While Anty was at work, people from the mall gave her a prize for wearing an especially imaginative costume. Anty was very confused about this, because she was wearing her regular clothes. Well, regular for Anty, that is. She had on a long patchwork skirt, suede boots with zippers, a pirate shirt and a black vest. She also had a Star Trek: The Next Generation style communicator pin that she wore as regular jewelry. The mall people said that they loved Anty’s costume as a member of a Star Trek landing party in disguise. Anty figures it was very creative of them to come to that conclusion, and maybe she had subconsciously worked in that direction, so she thanked them and accepted the prize.

She also went back to sorting through the pretty toy coins the mall people gave her to hand out to trick or treaters (they could not give out eating things because of rules) because those were not toy coins at all. Anty did not know how the mall people got those coins, because those coins were from a big big party called Mardi Gras in Louisiana, and the mall was in Connecticut. What Anty did know was that some of those coins could make parents of the trick or treaters angry, because some of those coins advertised places and activities that are not okay for young humans. Places where only grownups can go, to get drinks that are only for grownups, and places where grownups can watch other grownups, um, I will say dance. I do not mean ballroom or ballet, if you catch my drift. Anty took those kinds of coins out of the basket and did not give them out.

Those are really the only two Halloween stories I know, but I know a lot about being scared. Anty likes TV shows like The Walking Dead and Sleepy Hollow. Those are only pretend scary. I will tell you what is really scary. Research is really scary, at least according to Anty. Her first book, My Outcast Heart, was set in the town where Anty was a people kitten. Her hero was a hermit and her heroine was a subsistence farmer. That meant that the expected income for that job was food. That sounds like a very good job to me. I like food.

For this book, Her Last First Kiss, Anty is not on such familiar ground. That means she has a lot of research to do. Her previous books have had what some might call outliers as main characters. That does not mean they were very good at not telling the truth. That means that they were not a part of mainstream society. The heroine of Never Too Late started out as part of society, but she left, so she falls into that category, too. Anty says I do not need to know what a mistress is, but she needs to know how one got paid and how much and how much it would cost to keep somebody in a special hospital in 1784, and what her boy story people would have studied at Oxford and how far it is from Point A to Point B..and C and D and E, and how long did it take to get a special license to get married and other things as well. I am pretty sure I heard the exact moment her brain broke yesterday. That was a very scary moment for a kitty, because Anty was the only human at home, and I still needed food. I think she is better today, but she has a big binder out and is muttering something about something about maps. She is irritated with the Romans for putting London all the way at the bottom of the country, because that does not leave her a lot of room for characters to — Anty says I should not be talking about things like that before she has them firm in her mind.

One thing Anty has learned from all the books she has started to write but did not make it all the way is that she needs to have the foundation in place, and research is part of that. When she wants to know what her people could do in that time, she can look at what people actually did in that time. Anty is writing a romance novel, not a textbook, but she also needs to know what her people’s world was like and what they could do. If she does not know what her people could do, then she gets overthinky and that scares even Uncle, so she has to find these things out.

Anty needs the computer back, so that is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling
(the kitty, not the book)

Until next week...

Until next week…