NaNo or NaNot, 2020 Edition

That time of year again, when the eternal question for many of us writer types is “do I participate in National Novel Writing Month?” I’ve thought about it a lot this year, probably more than most. I came down on the side of…kind of, maybe.

While some may say NaNo or NaNot, there is no “kind of,” that’s where i landed, and rather organically at that. I love the idea of going all in and, as a favorite aunt would say, going hell bent for leather toward a distinct goal. What to write, though, well, that’s where things get murkier. I love the idea of those who can dive in with no other idea than “I’m going to write something” and make it all the way to the end. That’s not me, and comparing the way I do things to the way anybody else does things is not ever going to work. Part of my day is set aside for putting on a podcast and getting on the bed with a bunch of sticky notes and/or index cards and setting out all the things I want to write in the next while.

For some things, it’s pretty clear cut. Come hell or high water, Melva Michaelian and I are going to get Drama King, our second jointly written contemporary, done and dusted, ASAP. Part of it is that we are eager to get to the third Love By the Book story, Queen of Hearts, but how flat out fun it is to combine snarky grumpmaster Jack and ray of sunshine Kelly (cue “Tomorrow” from Annie, which might be a reasonable choice for Kelly’s incidental music) and goodness knows we could all use any fun we can get this year.

There’s also kicking myself back into historical romance gear. I am taking my first step into indie publication, and exploring a new format -novella- and time period -medieval- and taking a wide angle view of the place where what I love to do best and what the market fancies converge. That kind of excites me, to be honest, and it also gives me a reason to play with stationery, which is my second instrument after writing. There’s also the desire to not write less about writing, but to write actual fiction and see the pages accumulate (hence the attempt to set up the new printer at long last after I write this blog entry) along with writing about writing. Maybe talking about it, too, because YouTube very definitely is partly responsible for me still being here (gestures in the general sense) after very definitively the worst year of my life.

Phew. Let’s take a break. First home decor photo I can share is below. Bit by bit, we are putting down roots and making this look like home. One of these throw pillows is not like the others.

purr-fect contentment, yes?

The new normal is still taking form, and I don’t want to rush it. I actually tend to get a lot more done, and the ideas flowing much more freely, when I set aside some time to play with pens or noodle around with Sims, some You Tube or podcast or TV show in the background, consciously working toward drinking x glasses of water a day, focusing more on getting story from brain to page, one day at a time, right now. I will probably give one of both Camp NaNos a go. That’s a tale for another time.

For now, this is Monday’s blog post, t he first one for November. I do have plans for less rambly, more focused sorts of posts, if you’re into that sort of thing. Types of stories I’m looking at writing, my renewed and boundless love for black paper notebooks and pens that write on them, planner lineups for the new year, and my reading plans for same.

The fun thing about NaNo, besides getting to cheer on all those who are officially participating this year or any other, is that the principles can be put into place at any time, and modified to fit the individual’s needs. Camp NaNo is one example, and writing, in general, is another. Writer friends are available at all times of year, and I am always thankful for mine.

Happy reading, and happy writing,

Anna

Typing With Wet Paws: Writer Chick Is Still Not at Nationals Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. I’m hanging out today with my buddy, Stripey Guy. I am also stripey, and also a guy, but you know me and names. Anyway, the title of this week’s blog entry should tell you the big thing around here. Writer Chick is still not at RWA Nationals, and she is still kind of salty about it. I am attempting to ramp that down a little by recreating some of the atmosphere. Mainly that I block her way to the bathroom, but she does seem to like it when anonymous entities put books on her chairs.

Do I have to do this at every meal?

At least she hasn’t been wearing her name badge from previous conferences, around the house. Yet. It’s important, that “yet.” The weekend is young.

On the domestic front, Writer Chick reports that the grossest thing she has found in her all out war on fleakind, is finding shed flea skins/exoskeletons. Ew. In. One. Of. Her. Notebooks. One of the fancy ones, with special paper. Yeah. It’s personal now.

Writer Chick’s internal reaction

She will not rest until there is total destruction. Of the fleas, that is, not any property, especially property she does not personally own. Everything and everybody who is not a flea is safe. That should be encouraging to those of you who are not fleas. For those of you who are, you are doomed. Consider this formal notice.

With the flea stuff and a couple of other domestic tornadoes, Writer Chick took a breather from Camp NaNo work this week, but, since she is only less than ten pages away from her goal, she’s not that bothered by it. She can make it to goal, easy. She’ll have the house to herself for a chunk of the weekend, so I would not be at all surprised if she used some of that time to hang with her imaginary pirate friends.

No shocker that Writer Chick was over at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, but there is big scandal in Romancelandia, over certain casting decisions in the upcoming Netflix series based on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series of Regency-era historical romance. There’s kind of two posts in one, this time, because some mysterious person named Lady B (spoiler: it’s Writer Chick) piles on the hyperbole (I’m assuming; I don’t actually read these things; cuts into my naptime.) Hit the link in the caption above if you’d like to read it, and comments are always welcome.

Checking in on the Goodreads challenge, Writer Chick is eight books ahead this week, with sixty-one books read out of ninety-five, and that puts her sixty-four percent of the way to her goal. She has taken advantage of the three month free trial of Kindle Unlimited, and one of the people at Buried Under Romance clued her in on how to turn any e-book into an audiobook. Yeah, that’s a thing, and no, it is not by reading it aloud, herself. Not that she hasn’t tried that, mind you, but it’s a small apartment, and people like to sleep. Note I said people, not Writer Chick. Yeah.

So what is Writer Chick doing? Mostly, she’s writing. That’s a good thing. She is particularly fond of the part of Drama King she and Other Writer Chick are batting around, which lights a fire under her to keep going on the historicals. When not writing, or plotting flea destruction, she is probably doing stuff with her traveler’s notebooks. Spending time with those usually puts her in a good place, so we try to encourage that.

Probably about time for me to slip another book on her chair. Maybe I’ll toss in a pen or some sticky notes. I’m feeling generous.

Peace out,

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?

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Midsummer Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff for the week that was. If you read Writer Chick’s posts, and not only mine, then you may have learned that the answer to the burning question, “Will Chasing Prince Charming come out in print?” is “yes.” Preorder for the print edition is not yet up, but Amazon US is showing the “show other editions” or whatever tag, so that may be coming soon. Watch this space for updates.

Since we are in high summer over here, and still fighting the battle of the bugs (Writer Chick sometimes mumbles something about putting the bugs on the lease, giving them the keys, and heading out to start a new life. She would of course bring me, so I am fine either way.)

Bit of a technical difficulty here, with the site crashing and eating a bunch of this post, but that is not my problem, so I’ll pick up where I was going to pick up anyway. As usual, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance this past Saturday, and this time, she talked about the particular subgenre of Americana romance. I have no idea what that is, but she probably covers it in the post.

Moving on to Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge for this year, we see that she is a freaking reading machine, now eight books ahead of schedule. That is fifty-eight books read already, out of her goal of ninety-five. That is sixty-one percent of the way to the finish line, and we are only fifty percent of the way through the year. She is looking to beef up her historical romance numbers, so if you know of any Writer Chick-flavored historical romance audiobooks, drop recommendations in the comments. Audiobooks are a huge part of the surge in Writer Chick’s reading stats, because she can experience a whole story while doing other things, which she considers pretty cool.

Camp NaNo ho!


Writer Chick is clipping right along (ship joke, for those who caught it) with Plunder, with about thirty-five pages written out of a goal of fifty. This is not the whole story, of course, but it’s a good start on the discovery phase, and she will most definitely keep going after Camp NaNo is over. She is kind of antsy (bug humor unintended, but we’ll keep it) about not being able to update every day, which is one of her big concerns about the regular NaNo, as well as having to count words instead of pages. This way, she does get antsy, but it’s not anxiety-provoking, so she’s going to still call that good. The characters are talking to her and letting her follow them around, and that’s what matters most., so Writer Chick is happy about that.

Besides all of the above, work continues on Drama King, and Her Last First Kiss, so, all in all, fleas aside, Writer Chick is going to call this week a good one. As for me, I got plenty of sunbeam, so I’m good, and isn’t that what’s really important here?

Peace out,

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Fifth of July Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws, once again, coming at you with all the stuff on the week that was. Neither Writer Chick nor Dude got a lot of sleep last night, because we are now in high summer, which means that the same part of the country that was butt-freezing cold in winter, is now butt-melting hot in the summer. Yeah, I haven’t figured that out, either. The battle of the bugs continues, but the humans are fairly certain they are winning. That is mildly encouraging.

Anyway, Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick say a big thank you to everybody who has told them they have pre-ordered Chasing Prince Charming and/or are following Writer Chick on Goodreads. Other Writer Chick should have her author profile verified soon. Keep an eye on this space for that, and for the brand new official website for all things Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick. It will probably have their actual names on it, so maybe wait until they tell you what it is before trying to find it.

Speaking of Goodreads, Writer Chick is kicking tush on the reading challenge. She is now six books ahead of schedule, with fifty-four books read, out of ninety-five. That number is a lot bigger than she had expected it to be, largely thanks to audiobooks and insomnia. There is an upside to everything. she does plan to get back to more regular reviewing ASAP, because the only thing as good as reading a book, is blabbering about it.

Or writing a book. That’s good, too. That is also why she is Writer Chick, and not Reader Chick, although she is obviously that, as well. Case in point, her latest post at Buried Under Romance,

Thanks also to those who are looking forward to Buried Under Romance 2.0. New reviews are coming, and Writer Chick is there every Saturday, to blabber about books, so feel free to join her, and even chime in if the spirit moves.

An English lady. A Dutch pirate.
A love that knew no bounds.

Writer Chick is clipping along on her Camp NaNoWriMo project, Plunder, which is her first time planning a series from the get-go. As of right now, Writer Chick is hovering around the twenty-five percent mark (stuffed cats aren’t great at math; we have people to do that for us) with sixteen pages out of her goal of fifty, already written. She did not add any new pages yesterday, because she was flopped in front of the fan, listening to an audiobook, and hydrating. Also, it was a holiday. She is rather impressed with herself that she feels absolutely no guilt about that, and stuff will happen when it happens.

Speaking of things happening when they happen, I am not entirely convinced that Writer Chick’s plan to familiarize herself with the abovementioned connected historical romance worlds, has nothing at all to do with her new desire to try out the B6 size of traveler’s notebooks, but I will give her this one. If that gives her a convenient place to keep track of a new thing, well, who am I to object? Besides, I am fairly certain that size of notebook is big enough for me to nap on, so I will not be adversely affected, and isn’t that what truly matters? I think so.

Anyway, it’s hot, I’m bored, and the fan beckons.

Peace out.

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.

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Post-Birthday Edition

Hey. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling< Cat Regent, coming at you for another Friday blog. Writer Chick was kind of busy on Wednesday, because it was her birthday, which is basically her second favorite day of the year, which is second only to Christmas. Which is also technically a birthday. She will probably make some extra blog posts, or toss them my way, in the next week or so, maybe more, because the holiday season has technically begun. Writer Chick counts from her own birthday. I get that. I would, too, if I knew what my birthday was. Best guess, it was somebody’s birthday, or Christmas, which we have already established is technically a birthday. So there’s that.

Okay. So. Somewhat looser edition of the weekly roundup stuff, because Writer Chick has to get some work done on Drama King, because schedules and writing and all that kind of stuff. She also needs to make sure this week’s Buried Under Romance post is ready. Last week’s is on feeding the hunger for reading a particular kind of romance novel. If you’re interested in finding out what that is, or just like clicking links, that post is here, and it looks like this:

BURgoingmedieval

Still crunching some numbers about the whole Goodreads Challenge thing, and things may move around a little, because somebody, and I am not going to say who (it was Writer Chick) did some (and by that, I mean a lot) of one-clicking late at night and now has a bunch of new reads lined up on her Kindle. We are not going to talk about the shelf full of library books, but this is the time of year when staying inside and reading (especially with a super cute cuddle buddy, preferably orange and stripey,) to share in the experience, is a very appealing option.

One book Writer Chick really liked recently, was What If It’s Us, by Becky Albertalli, and Adam Silvera. Writer Chick still has to write her review, but it’s got two authors she likes, and it’s like a YA rom com in book form. So far, she has read eighty out of ninety books for her goal for the year, which puts her at eighty-nine percent of the way there. That’s pretty decent progress.  There may or may not be a library and/or bookstore run this weekend, because birthday weekends are kind of a thing around here.

Something else that is kind of a thing this time of year is NaNoWriMo. Writer Chick has a complicated relationship with NaNo. She did think about it this year, but it’s going to be a NaNot for 2018, and she is okay with that. Writer Chick does like the idea of starting something new, but, right now, it’s all about getting the current WIPs to the end of their drafts.

For her work on Drama King, that means a lot of contact with Other Writer. For Her Last First Kiss, that means a few different things. part of it is reconnecting with the characters, their story, their time, and writing on her own, rather than with Other Writer.

That can be kind of scary, but, once she gets started, it gets to be fun. Being between cats (of the peeing type) can be a tough thing for a writer. It requires a lot of cat videos on You Tube, which help part of the issue, but not all of it. Like reading a lot of books helps get back in the historical romance vibe, buuuut the only thing that is really going to get it off and running is the actual writing of historical romance.

Fortunately, Writer Chick already has a plan on this one. N, her Tuesday morning writer breakfast buddy (who, it should be noted, has three cats of the peeing variety, herself) is kind of in the same boat, with her manuscript. The solution? Sit across from each other, in public, with paper and pen, and Write The (Expletive Deleted) Book. Plus, they get to visit, and have bottomless cups of caffeinated beverages. Writers often run on caffeine.

That’s going to be it for this week. Sunbeam is in the window, and the mini roses smell extra delicious today.

SebastianWindowBye

 

A Tale of Three Notebooks

This post is totally about stationery, and it is also totally about writing.  This past weekend, I picked up three notebooks, all dedicated to writing. Here’s the family photo, all three in one place:

ThreeNotebooks.jpg

We’ll start with the unicorn. The morning pages book I started on my friend, EC’s floor, is now full. Three pages, as soon as possible after waking, every day, no exceptions. Whatever is in my head goes onto the page. That’s the rule. Julia Cameron, who first came up with the idea of this discipline might quibble with my version, because my pages are not the exact size specified; for me, it’s all about the pretty paper. If it’s pretty, I’ll want to write on it. That’s how I roll. Seriously, who could resist these inside pages?

rainbowpages

Gorgeous, right? Kind of like a sunrise, if one is so visually inclined. I also love that, unlike my usual choices, this book is wire bound, which means I can fold the cover back and always deal with only one page at a time. I could get used to that.

A more recent addition to my notebook arsenal is the bookend (pun intended) to the morning pages, which I call evening pages. For this one, blame Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose good morning and good night tweets popped up in my head, late one stressy night, when I desperately needed both sleep and reassurance. Evening pages are my pep talks to myself, a quick rundown of the good points of the day, and encouragement for the day to come. I started writing those in a pocket sized hardcover book, that I thought was going to be part of Li’l Pink’s arsenal, but, when I got the new book for morning pages, it felt right to get one for evening pages, as well. Also, the blue book, which I always read as “Trust Your Butt,” was on ridiculously low clearance, so I could not leave it there. No inside pages picture, because these inside pages are plain, lined, white. Nothing to see here. I actually like the idea of very plain pages to close out the day; it feels restful, so I’m going with it.

The newest member of the Pink family does not have a name yet (suggestions welcome, in the comment section) but she is replacing the orange planner, who is taking early retirement. This orange planner and I have been through a lot together. I felt pangs as I put him in his box while packing the old apartment, and was impatient to get him back when we did land in For-Now apartment. Trouble is, dude has, how shall I put this delicately, bad juju. It’s time for a fresh start.

This new, pink, planner has white pages, unusual for me, because I usually require ivory or colored, but, this time, I like the difference. Also different is the fact that the tools I wanted to use for this planner were clear from the first; I’m going minimal. Black pen, one set of pastel highlighters, only a dash of a single color per page. Very much not me, and, yet, very much me, at the same time.

The biggest difference, and by this I mean biggest, biggest, can I really pull this off, difference, is that this planner is focused, not on domestic duties, moving, or other domestic concerns, but writing. Sure, some non-writing appointments will be in there, but mainly as a way to remind me that I have to put the writing time in elsewhere. It’s a new approach for me, and somewhat scary, but exciting, too.

fturelog

Future Log Pages

The first thing I put in the book was a quick calendar for the rest of the year. No spaces to write things down, just numbers in a square, so that I know what day of the week goes with what day of the month. Next is the future log section, a rundown of dates that are already spoken for, on a regular basis: weekly breakfasts with N, blog posts for this blog, and for Buried Under Romance. Plenty of space to add in other things as they arise. Since we’re coasting into the end of July, I don’t have July things on there, like Skype sessions with Melva (but will be including those, going forward) and the upcoming release of the New York’s Emerging Writers fiction anthology, but, putting it out there, Connecticut Fiction Fest is but a handful of heartbeats away. Definitely time to get my ducks in a row, for that particular pond. I have seen Melva’s PouwerPoint, and it is magnificent.

This week, she and I are putting our final-final-final touches on Chasing Prince Charming, and then back out it goes, in search of a good home. When that happens, we are taking a short break for Melva to focus on her super fun humorous nonfiction, and me to focus on Her Last First Kiss. I already hear N’s voice in my head, reminding me to set a target date for the completion of draft two, and potential markets for same. September brings Fiction Fest, and then, whammo- bammo, it’s October, season of my birthday, Halloween, the clocks rolling back to my beloved early sunsets, and then the holiday season will be upon us.

Said holiday season includes November, which has not only Thanksgiving, but regular National Novel Writing Month, and I need to start preparations now, if I want to participate. At this point, I don’t know. Is that the selkie story’s time, or do I want to have A Moment Past Midnight ready for actual Hogmanay? (That would involve me closing a few plot holes, but nothing a couple of good brainstorming sessions wouldn’t handle. Takers, pop your contact info in comments, and I will return the favor. )

It’s not possible to plan for every aspect of the writing life, but, for me, a fresh start, clear expectations, and a calendar are big steps in the right direction. Not sure yet how I am going to track progress, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

020418deskscape2

My Mind Is A Messy Place

Welp, it’s Monday. The heat wave is, thankfully, over, and I have, finally, found out how to zoom the screen so that I can see the words I’m typing without eyestrain. This was a good weekend just past. I spent the better part of Saturday, hanging out with Housemate, our friend, J, and J’s kitties, one of whom wore herself out chasing the red dot from J’s laser pointer. We talked about important things and unimportant things. There was ice cream. I faked out a cat, by not actually turning on the laser pointer, but acting as though I had. The afternoon ended all too soon. Sunday was mostly me napping, once lunch was over. I went to bed early.

I would say that I didn’t think/talk about writing much, but that’s not true. I am always thinking about writing. I should be writing, I should be writing more, I should be writing better, I should be writing something more marketable (that’s a big one) etc. That sort of stuff. There’s also the other side of the coin. I love writing, I wish I were writing, would anybody notice if I whipped out my notebook and started writing right now? What if my characters are doing something without me? What if they’re plotting? (Note: I mean amongst themselves, possibly against me, not actualy helping out with the plotting of the story, because that would be awesome if they did. Some of them do.)  My mind is a messy place.

Now, as I am seated here at the tv tray desk, keyboard on lap desk on my lap, with seasonally appropriate beverage at hand, it’s time to get down to the business of writing, which is mainly comprised, right now, of the work I meant to do last week, before the heat tsunami knocked me flat.

This morning, I set up at the kitchen counter, with my planner, washi tape, and an array of colored pens, to plan out my week. What gets done, and when? Anxiety says “all of it, and right now, but never mind. It is both urgent, and too late, bwahahaha.”  Anxiety is a jerk. That’s where planning comes into play. If I can see the big looming NEED broken down into manageable steps, that makes it not as intimidating. Realistically, I can get through all the Chasing Prince Charming stuff by the end of the week, and be ready for the “resubmit” portion of “revise and resubmit,” which will then allow Melva and I to turn our attention back to Drama King, and our own individual projects.

If we’d had a parrot with us during the moving process, and the in-between-homes phase, the first phrase he would have learned is “do the thing in front of you.”  “Pack the entire house,” for example, is far more overwhelming than “assemble this box.” Sure, “assemble this box” may be repeated elebenty billion times, but focusing on each individual box means that things do, eventually, get done.

It’s like that with writing. My idea hamster is more of a idea horse when it comes to Her Last First Kiss, and is doing the whole pawing at the ground, chomping at the bit thing, because “wow, it’s been a while” bumps right up against “about dang time,” and time and distance can, in the best of cases, provide perspective. I like perspective. I find it useful.

This month, there are no RWA meetings, because the national conference takes place in July. I am not going, but I like knowing it’s there. CT Fiction Fest is almost close enough to measure in weeks, rather than months, and the anthology release is only an eyeblink away. The August meeting of my local RWA chapter will be here before I know it, and I want my shot at winning the goals pool. I’m competitive like that.

Part of me is still salty that I didn’t sign up for Camp NaNo, because I do like the daily page goals (yes, I know I can do it on my own, but refer to competitive comment above.) We’ll see how Actual NaNo looks when we get closer to November.

For now, I have my weiner-dog-printed-shorts-clad bottom in chair, fingers on keyboard, taking care of one thing at a time. First up, look at the last new-new scene for Chasing Prince Charming, then polish my last scene for this draft. If the draft as a whole looks good (which I am sure it will) then back the book goes, for another look. That’s a little scary, and a little exciting. Sometimes, scary and exciting take turns, but, mostly, they hang out at the same time. I can deal with that.

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Typing With Wet Claws: Heat Wave Has Broken Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, straight from Camp Grandma. This past week was a hot one, even for those of us without built-in fur coats. For humans like Anty and Uncle, both who are extra-sensitive to the heat (Anty more than Uncle, but it’s not a contest,) that makes getting things done extra challenging, so this will be another different sort of post. Weather permitting, things should be back to normal (or as normal as they get around here) by next week.

One thing that has not changed is that I have to talk about Anty’s writing first, before I am allowed to talk about anything else. To be fair, that anything else is usually Anty’s writing anyway (that is what a mews does) but it is my job to tell people where they can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, besides here. As usual, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this past Saturday. That post is here, and it looks like this:

Huh. My apologies. We are having some technical difficulties with the remote connection today. I love Grandma, but she is not that great as an IT person, so you will have to click on the link above to see what Anty’s post looks like. Anty is also under a time crunch today, so I am going to charge through the rest of this post. It is summer vacation, after all.

What did not take a vacation is Anty’s Goodreads challenge. Anty has been crushing this challenge. That is partly because she did not have a lot of energy during the heat wave, and reading was, on some days, all she could handle. That is not a bad way to pass a hot day, plopped in front of the fan, with a cold sport drink, and a few good books. Sebastian is still crunching the numbers (he is kind of lazy) but, at current count, Anty has read fifty-five out of ninety books, putting her at sixty-one percent of the way to her goal. That is impressive.

Since Sebastian is still crunching the numbers (or kibble; probably kibble. I know what kibble sounds like) I will put one picture here, of one of the books Anty most especially liked this week:

Normal book review pictures and lists should return next week. Suffice it to say that Anty is doing a lot of reading, and Is very eager to talk about that reading. If you want to follow her on Goodreads, you can do that here.

Now that the heat wave is over (Sebastian tells me that there was a BIG thunderstorm yesterday, which scared the heat away) Anty is also ready to do a whole lot of writing. She is mostly over her angst regarding t he selkie naming issue, and working on the outline. This did not turn out to be a Camp NaNo month after all, but that is okay; there is still a lot of work for Anty to do.  Especially so, since she did not get a lot done during the heat wave. I do not blame her on that one, honestly.

Anyway, Anty is excited to have a few writing balls to juggle, and it is only two more months until CT Fiction Fest. If you are going to be there, so is Anty, so find her and say hello. I can see Anty making “move it along” motions over the interface, so I will type faster. That is not the easiest thing in the world, with special paws, I should mention. I should also mention that I know Anty petted other cats last week, and that she is going to see those other cats again tomorrow. Cats always know. That is okay, though, because, yesterday, the humans had a meeting about when we can expect to move to Forever Apartment, and they think we can probably do that by September. That is when Anty’s super powers come back, so I think that would be perfect timing. Until then, I will take best advantage of Grandma Rules, while here at camp. (#peanutbutterisdelicious)

This week, Anty will be going over the last edits of the revised edition of Chasing Prince Charming, working on the outline of the selkie story, and getting all her Her Last First Kiss ducks in a row. This book does not, as far as I know, contain any actual ducks, but please do not hold that against Anty. Anything can happen in a second draft.

Speaking of which, Anty also did something this week, that she has not done for a while. She okayed a proof for a new release. Anty did not write the whole book for this one; it is an anthology, but she is still excited to be able to share her part. If you have been curious about Anty’s peostapocalyptic medieval, A Heart Most Errant, you will be in luck, because her contribution to this anthology is an excerpt from that. Here is a fun fact: Anty meant to change the name of the town the heroine wants to find, but she (Anty, not the heroine) had not found a better name by the time of the submission deadline, so the town is still Ravenwood, which is also the title of the excerpt. I should probably mention that Anty only now realized that the name of the town does not actually appear in the scenes of the excerpt, but too late to fix that now.

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

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