Why Did It Have to Be Selkies?

When I was but a wee princess, my parents, or some well meaning family friend, gave me a book of folk tales of the British Isles. I. Loved. That. Book. I still have it, though it’s in storage right now, so I can’t refer to it, but, when I needed to pick a project to work on for July’s Camp NaNo, I landed on selkies.

Not literally. They probably wouldn’t like that very much, but, once the idea was there, it put down roots, so okay. At first, it was mermaids. There I was, on retreat with Skye, and I had my Jane Davenport Whimsical Girls book out, turned to a page with two female figures. I surveyed my color choices. The faces looked similar, so maybe two versions of the same woman? Realistic and fantasy, maybe? Human and mermaid? Ooh. What if they were half sisters?

I whipped out the appropriate medium, and let my brain do its own thing while I swooped color across the page. By itself, the story formed. It’s a historical romance, first and foremost, (not between the sisters) with some familial conflict, and it doesn’t feel so much “paranormal” as one side of the family happens to be selkies. I was thinking mermaids at first, but there is the mermaid problem, Namely, how to put this gracefully, have intimate mermaid/human relations. This would be essential, so a quick bit of searching on aforementioned folklore of the British Isles was in order.

Which brings me to the selkie problem. Not the same as the mermaid problem, because selkies seem to have it easier in the human relations department. Shed seal skin, have human form. Sorted. Selkies, in many stories, become involved with humans, reproduce, and sometimes go back to the sea. Whether or not they can take their special friend with them varies, and I’m good with that. Works out rather well for what my story people want to do, and gave me a moment of clarity on why sting named one of his albums Soul Cages.

What, exactly, you might ask, is the selkie problem? For this gal, it’s names. Naming a character is an important part of the process, and, frequently, for me, it’s more a matter of them telling me what their names are. They won’t answer to anything else. I still have an outline draft with a hero who didn’t even know his own name until the very last chapter. (I am definitely going back to that one, someday,.) What the heck does one name a selkie? What do selkies, or, in a more broader scope, mythical/legendary creatures call themselves?

Thankfully, I neglected to officially sign up for July’s Camp NaNo, so I am doing it unofficially, with my goal to figure out this whole story, and what the heck I am doing even thinking about it, because I am not a paranormal writer, and the last time I ventured into that realm, my life fell apart, and I ended up ugly crying during a critique group (that had only positive comments, by the way) in the middle of a coffee house. The ugly crying incident had nothing to do with  me moving to a different state, but it does give me a sense of security that I never have to face that barista again.

This is the part of the process where I start writing down what I know about the story, telling it to myself. Kind of folktale-y, definitely historical romance, flying into the mist sort of thing. At the same time, Melva and I are thisclose to getting Chasing Prince Charming back to the editor who invited us to revise and resubmit, then will turn our attention back to Drama King. On my own, N is not letting me squiggle out of getting back in the saddle for Her Last First Kiss  so there is no lack of things to do. So, why toss another project into the mix? \

Good question. The best answer I have at this moment is “because I can.” Consider it the writing equivalent of physical/occupational therapy. I’m glad I did my May Camp Nano the way I did, and it is still simmering, goal met, so I can figure out exactly how my couple solves their problem. What is it that makes my heroine know what she has to do? I don’t know that yet, but it will come, and likely when I am slipping into a sealskin and taking it out for a spin.

In the meantime, hit me with selkie names. I’ll take anything.

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Typing With Wet Claws: The Heat Is On Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, coming to you from Camp Grandma, for another Feline Friday. Life is still getting back to normal at the For-Now apartment, after Anty returned from retreat. The fact that there are two blogs tis week from me, and none from her may give you an idea of how things are going. Do not worry, though. Anty is busy doing writing things. She and Anty Melva are two scenes and Anty’s okay of the revised final draft of Chasing Prince Charming away from sending it back to the editor human, for another look. Anty plans to return to regular blogging this coming week, heat wave permitting.

Anty does not do very well when it Is very hot, so she will spend as much of that heat wave time as possible, indoors. Good thing for her that indoors is the perfect place to do a lot of writing, especially since Camp NaNo is starting in July, which begins on Sunday. This morning, Anty remembered that she had not signed up for Camp NaNo yet, and is still debating whether she will, but she is setting herself a goal for July, of outlining the whole story idea that he got while on her retreat with me. The whole thing. In July. No wandering off and forgetting about anything. I will keep you all posted.

Since this post is the secon in one week, and it is actually covering two weeks, it will be a little different than the usual post. Please pardon our dust. The fur tumbleweeds are my sheds. They are an occupational hazard of having a Maine Coon around. Shedding: it’s what we do. What anty does (did you like my smooth segue?) is write, and here are the places on the interwebs (besides here) that you can find Anty’s writing  this week:

As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance for the past two Saturdays. You get one guess where she will be on this coming Saturday. Did you guess Buried Under Romance? If so, you are very smart. The last two weeks were here, and here, Since Anty accidentally deleted the images for those posts, instead, I will give you the image for her upcoming post. What do you think she will be talking about this coming week? Visit BuriedUnderRomance.Com on Saturday morning, after seven, to find out.

 

burvariations

Whatever could this mean?

This is the part of the post where I tell you how Anty is doing on her Goodreads challenge. If you would like to follow her on that, click the link above, or come back here each week for continuing updates. Because things have been crazy over here, Anty has not always been able to record everything as soon as she would like to, so that means, sometimes, that things fall through the cracks. Keeping current with her Goodreads challenge is one of those things. That means we are still crunching some numbers here, and we are burning daylight on the time we have for this blog post, so I will hit you with the stats so far (that is a figure of speech. I will not really hit you. That would be mean, especially because I have claws.) and feature two of Anty’s favorite reads from the past two weeks.

As of right now, Anty has read fifty-two out of ninety books. That puts her at fifty-eight percent of the way to her goal, and eight books ahead of schedule. Very good job, Anty. Keep at it. Maybe add some more historical romances to the mix. Maybe some older titles or indie releases. There is a lot out there.

Two of Anty’s favorites for the past two weeks have been:

GRartofinhertingsecrets

The Art of Inheriting Secrets           Barbara O’Neal

 

Even though neither of these two books is a genre romance novel, both have love stories in them, that end happily/optimistically, and one even has a secondary love story that looks tragic, but, by the end, maybe it is not. Miss Barbara’s book has some strong historical elements in its modern day story, which is not surprising, because Miss Barbara also writes historical romance. Anty would be very, very happy if Miss Barbara wrote historical romances connected to this book. That is a hint, Miss Barbara, thankyouplease.

In the meantime, Anty has plenty to read, especially now that Mama taught her how to use Overdrive. I think Mama may have created a monster. I do not mind, though, because that means Anty will have plenty to read, the next time she comes to visit me. Umcle says fall looks good for Forever Apartment time, and we are working towards that. I do not know what all Anty and Uncle and Mama are going to bring to Forever Apartment, when we get it, but I know that it will not be the bed that Mama put together for Anty and Uncle before Anty’s retreat. I am told it looked very nice, and was safe for Anty and Uncle the very first night, but, when Anty came home from retreat, this is what she found:

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No kitties were harmed In any of this, but Uncle was in the bed, by himself, when it stopped being a bed. Uncle says that was not fun. He had some bruises but was otherwise okay. Guess the humans are getting the old bed out of storage, after all, but not during the heat wave.

Heat wave time is for sticking close to fans or air conditioning, and writing stuff. Some people have encouraged Anty to go ahead with the pen and paper related blog, and she is thinking hard about that, but writing books has to come first.

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

SkyeByeTemp

 

 

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Post-Retreat Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for a very special Maine Coon Monday. If you are wondering where I was for Feline Friday this past week, (besides Camp Grandma, of course) I was in time out. I have never been in time out before, so that was a new experience, but more about that later.

Anty and I have had an eventful retreat, and I am here to give the cat’s eye view of what went down. Besides Anty, that is. She pretty much slept the whole first day, which was really the first afternoon, because Mama and Grandma did not leave until after lunch. I did not mind. In fact, I took advantage of Anty’s nap, to sneak in a ninja cuddle. That is when there is a human asleep on the floor (it does not happen very often, because humans generally sleep on furniture, but Anty was really tired)  and I sneak over and lie down so close that we are touching. If they wake, then I get startled and run away, then come back. This time, I did not run away, but Anty only  kind of halfway woke, and gave me head scritches, so I I would say that worked out pretty well. I snuck in a few more ninja cuddles, because I am smart like that.

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Anty’s Plan

This picture shows Anty’s plan for the week. Since Camp Grandma does not have interwebs, Anty could not be distracted by things like Facebook and Netflix and games. As it turned out, that plan worked pretty well. Anty read three whole books over the four days of retreat (not the one pictured, but I will give a full rundown of all books read, on my regular Friday post) and wrote a total of twenty eight regular notebook sized pages. That is to say, not the mini legal pads she had intended to use (but she will use those soon enough; Anty loves mini legal pads. Also the big ones, but they have to be pretty.) She also did not use those particular pens, but she did use all of the ink that had been in four of her previous travel ballpoints, so she really did need new pens. Add in morning pages (always three) and evening pages (not every night, but most of them) and what do you think happened?

What happened was that, when Anty wasn’t even thinking about it, bloop, there was the idea for her next Camp NaNo story. The one from May is still cooking. Anty did a lot of brain dumping, and then, bloop. She’s off and running. Since one of the days of retreat, Anty had lunch with Anty Melva, they got to talk about Chasing Prince Charming, and only have a couple of things to do, before they can send the book back to the editor for another look. They also talked about things they want to do for Drama King, and, when things calm down in their personal lives, about a nonfiction project they think would be fun.

Besides the books with Anty Melva, Anty’s main focus is to get the second draft of Her Last First Kiss ready to roll. I will let Anty tell you about what she plans for the Camp NaNo story, but it is both a nice change of pace, and going back to her roots, so it should be fun. Anty likes to stay busy writing, so writing time is now officially a priority.  Part of that involved setting up the desktop computer when she got back from retreat. Right now, it is not on a desk, but on a TV tray. The CPU is on top of a filing cabinet (Anty is still looking for pretty hanging folders for that cabinet, so if you know where to find some, drop a link in the comment box.) So far, so good. Writing on the desktop is much easier than on the laptop or phone.

The rest of it is really Anty’s to tell, but you are probably wondering why I did not post on Feline Friday (apart from the fact that it was Anty’s travel day.)  Anty says that I am still a very good kitty, and would like to point out that I have never, in my entire life, gone after people food, before I went to camp. During the retreat, I went for people food, twice. The first time, Anty took the sandwich away from me before I could actually put my face on it, but the second time, she left her rice cake with peanut butter on it, where I could get it, and, well, I got it. Anty chased ne away from the dish and reminded me that I am a kitty and am not supposed to eat people food. Grandma’s house, Grandma’s rules, though, right? Anty took the rice cake away, but I kept licking the peanut butter from my mouth. I can see why she likes peanut butter as much as she does.

The other thing that capped my time out was the jailbreak. Anty had slept on the couch, and came to my room to give me breakfast, but – plot twist- I was not in my room. The door was open. I was in the room across the carpeted hall, where I had, um, made some stuff.  Anty put me back in my room, then cleaned up the stuff. Speaking of which, Grandma and I have reached an accord on the stuff place business, which is a relief to everybody. Pun intended.

That is about it for this week, so, until our next, regularly scheduled meeting, I remain very truly yours,

SkyeByeTemp

Sheeeeee’s Baaaaack

Or close enough to it. One week and two days ago, we landed in our new apartment, but there is still another move ahead of us. Though the ad that led us to our current apartment said this was a pet friendly location, that was a mistake, so Skye is staying with Housemate’s mother, while we wait for a place that will fit all four of us. We do not expect that to be long, but there is still the question of what to bring into our current abode, and what we want to leave in storage until we are settled-settled, and the adventure continues.

Right now, my desk is my lap desk, my chair is the floor, with an armrest pillow behind me, and a fluffy throw tossed in for good measure. My computer is my phone, desktop to follow, when A) I can find it in the packed to the gills storage unit, and B) I can also find my desk, or a reasonable substitute, in the same unit. What is not under lock and key, however, is the desire, and the need, to write.

Because my life would not be my life without Unexpected! Drama! I am ensconced in my writing corner, waiting for pest control to return and drop off their item, and, at the same time, keeping one eye, and one ear, on a recovering Real Life Romance Hero, sprung from the hospital the day before yesterday, after a four day stay to treat an unfortunate incident. He is responding well and already wants to get back to work. Same with me.

Yesterday, I had my first breakfast with N, since moving out of the old apartment. Most of that time, I spent staring in deer in the headlights mode, due to stress and exhaustion, interpersed with sucking down possibly the largest iced tea I have seen in real life. There was also a bagel involved, but the real meat of the matter was writing, and where we each wanted our focus to be, in this coming season.

We talked of unfinished manuscripts, what makes them that way, and the experience of looking at things we had written in our respective way-back-whens. Sometimes, it’s “hey, this is pretty good.” Sometimes, it’s, “what was I thinking?” Sometimes, it’s “I can do this better/differently now.” Sometimes, there are no words, and the sentiment can be ezpressed only by pulling a sweatshirt hood over one’s head, and puling the drawstring,so that one’s face is comletely consumed by said hood, with possibly only the nose tip even visual to the casual observer.

We talked of how, sometimes, it isn’t possible to go back to a particular project, because we aren’t that person anymore, or we are no longer that writer. We did not speak of projects we mourn, but I have some, and I am sure she has some. I am even surer we are not alone in that, and that adds some substance to the feeling that we are in this together. (Inclusive we, for those keepng track of this sort of thing.)

There are days left, now, until the deadline for an anthology that asked me to submit to them, and, as I told N, at this point, I have no idea what I am going to send. The word count is low — a little more than flash fiction- and the fact that they found me bodes in my favor, so it’s as good a place as any to climb back on the metaphorical horse.

I have been writing, in the interim. Morning pages first thing (or as near to first as I can manage,) Camp NaNo pages, for the win that I needed that badly, and many, many btain dumps in between. A couple of nights ago, I started a bedside brain dump book; evening pages, if you will, as “bed,” right now, is an air mattress. So far, it mostly has notes on my experience of reading two different Laura Kinsale novels at the same time (no complaints) and what this kind of reading does to me (only good thngs) and how I want writing to go in this new phase of life.

I have a new neighborhood to explore, and, in the not too distant future, another one still. I have not been to the park across the way yet, or the corner bodega, but I know two ways to get to the Rite-Aid, and have already got on the wrong bus once, which led me to the right bus, so maybe it was not wrong after all.

While the desk and desktop and related accoutrements may still be in a holding pattern, the essentials are, at last, in place. Something to write with, something to write on, and smeone to write it, aka me. Feels good to be home.

Typing With Wet Claws: Uncle’s Shirts Smell Like Betrayal Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for a very wet Feline Friday. We are still on the move this week, currently staying with a friend whom I will refer to as Agent X. Uncle is still working out the wholr hunt for a new apartment thing, so this will be another very special blog entry, that does not follow the usual format.

In the time since we left our old apartment, I have become a seasoned traveler. Two motels in the last week, and now Agent X’s lair. I did have to spend more time than I wanted in the carrier yesterday, but Anty fogured out that, if she opened the carrier dooor, but kept the car door closed, there would be enough room to get her hand in there, so she could pet me or feed me spoonfuls of cat food. That part was kind of nice.

Anty is almost at the end of her page goal for Camp NaNo this session, and that is even with all of our travels. I think she is doing all right with that, and that, probably, writing the whole thing on longhand does make it go smoother than using the computer. Her desktop is currently in storage, and she misses it very much. She has Big Pink, though, and her laptop is accessible, so being away from her desktop does not mean she is not writing. She is almost done with her current morning pages book, which is always an achievement. Add that to a very likely Camp NaNo win, and those will be two good things coming out of our adventure.

On the reading front, Anty is tearing through realistic YA books at an impressive pace. This does not go very far in advancing her goal of reading more historical romance novels, but the tide will turn, especially once we are settled in a new apartment and the carrier is put away for a long, long time. Maybe I care more about the carrier patt than Anty does, but here is a fun fact: in a pinch, the top of my carrier makes a decent desk/dinner table. We did not know that before this week.

For those who wonder where the smell of Uncle’s shirts comes into play, it is here. Usually, Anty gets me into the carrier by turning it on its end, so the door is on top. Then she grabs me and stuffs me inside, closes the door, and off we go. Usually after a valiant efgort on my part.

Not this time. This time, Anty learned a new trick. That first method comes from one of Anty’s own antys. This new one, I think she read somewhere, and it is the work of an evil genius.

One might think that Uncle’s shirts (and other personal garments, but I am only going to say shirts, because maybe not everybody wants to read about Uncle’s unmentionables) smell of happiness and love, and they do, but they also snell of betrayal. I haf seen the carrier already, so I knew we were in for something, but I expect3d the old way, not this.

This time, Anty put the carriet on the floor, with the door open. Then, she put the shirt and other garment Uncle slept in, into the carrier. I, of course, investigated, because of the wonderful smell. Then, Anty shoved my backside all the way in, and bam, closed door. I did not see that coming. It worked the next time, too. It will probably work every time, to be honest (I am always honest) because Uncle is my favorite and I love him the most.

This is probably the part of my post where I bring the part about my week around to Anty’s writing. This is also, I think, the weekend of NECRWA’s conference, which is one of Anty’s favorite parts of the year. This year, she is not there, because we have our travels, and it is an adventure. She does miss all of the free books and swag, but she has stayed in two motels, rather than one hotel, so she has that going for her, and the interwebs allows her to talk with her writer friends anyway, and get conference updates wherever she is.

Most importantly, there is writing. Anty can do that anywhere, and if she can do it in the middlebof this, I do not think there is any stopping her.

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

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling

( the kitty, not the book)

Typing With Wet Claws: My First Motel Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for a slightly later than usual Feline Friday. The reason that this blog is late is that we have moved out of the old apartment and are currently in a motel. This is my first time staying in a motel, and I have to say I have some mixed feelings about this.

First, we kitties like things to be The Same. This is not The Same. This is one room, with two beds. It is pretty big. I have spent most of my time under Anty and Uncle’s bed. Anty has been moving my food bowl farther from the bed every time she feeds me.

This brings me to the second thing. Anty and Mama worked very, vety hard yesterday, getting our things out of the old apartment. They still have to get some things out of the basement storage, but that is not important to this part. What is important to this psrt is that going up and down all those stairs, about a million billion times, carrying things that were not always weildly, made them both very, very tired. It made them tired enough to realize that, even though my food-food is downstairs in the car, nobody is willing to go out in the cold and get it, because I have a huge bag of treat right here. That means I get treat for every meal, all today. That is my favorite thing about motel living so far.

The humans thought I would be scared during the move, but I was actually pretty chill, and happy to watch the humans take things to different places. It was only when Anty got down to the last few things that I figured out that the next thing would be me, and it was. Anty put me in the carrier and now we are here. The humans had a talk this afternoon, about what we will all be doing next. I suspect there will be more carrier in my future.

This is normally the part of the post where I would tell you how to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, other than here, but the only computer Anty has out right now is her phone, so I am typing one toe bean at a time. Touchscreens were not made for pwas, let’s leave it at that. Also, the pictures are on the desktop, which is in storage, so I will mention that she only now realized that she dropped the ball on this week’s Buried Under Romance post. She offers her apologies in advance.

Anty’s Goodreads challenge is also on hiatus, because we are moving, but I will say that Anty is blowing theough YA novels at an impressive speed. We will put up proper reviews and pictures later. Right now, Anty is one big ache, but a big ache who emptied a pen, writing her morning pages in Big Pink, because the real morning pages book was, you guessed it, downstairs. Anty will attempt stairs tomorrowm

Anty will also attempt writing tomorrow. Actually, she will probably attempt it tonight, because she did not write anything on her Camp NaNo story, because her arms and legs were basically noodles, and her brain had melted, so she went to bed.

Normally, she would be upset at herself for missing that, but that is part of the reason she wanted to do Camp NaNo during this month. It is not a failure to miss a day, and the story is not over. It is only one day, and she can still “win” even if there is no input for a day or two. Life happensm

I guess that means motels happen, too. Anty was concerned that the motel would have carpet. It does not. The floor is a strange kind of ribby thing that I guess is a kind of linoleum. Anty brought all the things for my, um, stuff, so I will not make a big mess. Anty is good at thinking ahead about that kind of thing.

At some point, I will come out of my carrier, in our new home, and I will start to explore. I am sure some of our familiar things will already be there by the time it is ready for me, and I will find new favorite places. There will probably be windows, so I am looking forward to that.

Maybe that is what it is like for writers, starting a new story, like Anty is doing with her Camp NaNo story. Maybe that will bring Anty some all-treat days in her near future, too.

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

 

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling

(The kitty, not the book)

( I do not know how to add pictures to the post, on Anty’s phone.)

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: On the Move Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for the very last Feline Friday from our current location. Today, Anty and Mama will start taking  boxes to the storage unit, and finish packing. Tomorrow, Mr. L will come and help Anty and Mama take our furniture to where it is going. Uncle will be at work, and he is working on sorting out where we will be doing our unpacking. It is all rather interesting to watch. The humans thought I would be upset, seeing my world go into boxes and such, but, apparently, that is a thing we (or at least the humans; I am too fuzzy to operate a packing tape dispenser safely. Also, I am short and do not have thumbs). I alternate between following around the humans who are in motion, and parking myself next to the ones who are still.

At some point (I am not sure which point) I will go into the carrier, and then a car ride, and then a new place. I do not know if that new place is our real new place, or a little while new place, but the humans will handle that part. I am certain that, after a while of not wanting to leave the carrier, I will get curious and want to come out and see what is going on in that new place. One of the humans will also put out food, water, and potty stuff for me, and I know what to do with all of those things. There has been talk of bribing me with my mousie game. It has a new expansion (at least Anty has never seen it before) where, instead of a mousie, I would hunt a chipmunk. That sounds exciting. I bet I am great at hunting chipmunks.

I hope the new place does not have carpet. I do not like carpet. I am a hardwood and linoleum/tile kind of gal. That said, if the new place does have carpet, I am sure I will deal. By “deal,” I mean stick to the floors that are hardwood, linoleum or tile, as much as possible. What is important is that I will be with my people, especially Uncle, because he is my favorite, and I love him the most.

Normally, I am not allowed to talk about anything else before I tell you where to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs. besides here, because you are already here. I suppose that, next week, here will technically be a different place, and I can tell you all about unpacking  and things like that, but, for now, I will give you a link to Anty’s post at Buried Under Romance. This time, Anty talks about the heroes of romance fiction. That post is here, and it looks like this:

burholdingoutforahero

Not Uncle. Uncle is much more handsome. Also, he wears shirts.

This week, Anty will probably talk about moving books, because she has had a lot of books to pack. She is also going to the library, because she forgot to leave out a paperback book that she might like to read the night of the move. Of course, she has her Kindle, and the Kindle app on her phone, but sometimes, she wants to hold a book, and not have to keep one eye on battery life. I am sure Anty will find something to read, and then she will give it back when she is done with reading it. That is how libraries work.

Normally, I would use this space to bring you up to date on Anty’s Goodreads challenge, but that is on hiatus right now. By hiatus, I mean taking a break. Anty is still reading books (books are her happy place when life gets crazy) and she actually may be reading more books than normal, but does not have the time to write full reviews. Those will come later, when we are settled.

Later tonight, Anty will need to take the desktop down, because the desk is going to the storage place for a little while. She will have her laptop, and there are many places where she can take that laptop, to connect to the interwebs. Anty will try to keep to the regular blogging schedule, but do not be surprised if I have to do a more in depth weekly summary for a week or two. That is all part and parcel of being a mews, and believe me, there are a lot of parcels in this place right now.

Anty is still writing, even with all the chaos, because books are her hapy place, and that includes writing them. It does not matter that the desktop has to take a rest, because Anty is writing her Camp NaNo story in longhand, and that notebook is already set aside, so it will not get stored. Anty is not sure yet if she wants to count pages she writes about the story, like character backgrounds and what is where in the village she created. My educated guess is that she will, but only the pages with words on them, not squiggly maps and such. Amty is not a cartographer. (That is a fancy word that means humans who make maps.)

All in all, this is a very interesting time. Stuff is moving around and there are a lot of cleaning stuff smells, and I am keeping a close eye on it all. Except when the humans rip packing tape. I do not like that sound, so I run away. I am doing a lot of running these days. Then I come back, to watch more, because that is what I do. I also chirp at Anty, to let her know I want food or treats, and let her know where her attention really belongs: on me.

That is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew

 

 

 

Four Days and Counting

Things I am never allowed to buy more of, ever again, ever:

  • Mini staplers and/or staple removers
  • staples for mini staplers and/or staple removers
  • Pencils
  • Sticky notes (except for the really big ones)
  • Paper clips (except for rose gold ones)

These restrictions come from my current packapalooza. All of the above have popped out at me from unexpected places, even, and maybe especially when I have already packed the office supplies, but wouldn’t you know it, there they are. This is where the plasticware I insisted on keeping comes in handy. Random small stuff busting out of nowhere? Pop that sucker into a container with those of its kind, slap a lid on it, label that lid (silver Sharpies are my friends) and we’re good to go.  Put smaller things in bigger things, find creative ways to lift the edge of packing tape when it falls back onto the roll, and keep on going.

Yesterday, Housemate reserved a storage unit. Today, we find out how soon we can start stuffing things into it. This move is leveling up, and, at the same time, a small village is taking shape. Not in a sit it down and plan it idea (though I do love planning) but more of a looking around and seeing who’s there approach.

I’ve always been character driven, and the stories almost always start with the characters for me. From the start, I knew A Moment Past Midnight would have a heroine, the two men she loved, and the choice she has to make. The first draft is kind of white-room-y, because I am pantsing this story a lot more than I usually do, but I am okay with that. As long as I get to hunker down in my remote village, and put my imaginary friends through their paces, I’m fine.

Today is the day for packing notebooks that I am actually using, and, effectively, putting my office (or this iteration of my office) to bed. In the next couple of days, we will be putting things in storage, and moving things to different destinations. I am firmly of the conviction that we don’t know exactly what material things we have, until we have to move them. At some point, I will be unboxing the vast majority of this stuff, and setting up a new office, then getting back to novel work.

Working on something shorter makes sense right now, and I like getting into the flow of opening a notebook, putting pen to paper, and letting the story take me where it will. I’m aiming for novella length, because the story problem is a relatively small one (my characters may disagree on the size of the problem, because it’s happening to them, and they were fine before I came along and messed with their status quo. Okay, two of them were doing fine. For the other, their current situation is somewhat of an improvement, though to what degree, is debatable.) I know where this story is going, but  how it gets there, that still has a few surprises.

I don’t have a Pinterest board for AMPM, though I do have properly sized page protectors for when/if I do print out any images of people, places, or things, but, right now, the village, and its inhabitants, live only in my head, and on the pink pages I fill every night. I’ve cleared the thirty page mark, which impresses me, because this is one wild ride on the domestic monsoon, but maybe the chaos is part of the process.

There’s a certain amount of free-floating of the story brain while doing uncreative things, like packing (though deciding what goes where, and how things can arrive at their next destination in the same amount in the same number of pieces with which they departed their last one, certainly takes  a special sort of creativity.) I wrap things, secure them, put them where they’re going to go, make labels for inside and outside the box, so we know what goes where, and what to expect when we slide the tape and lift out the items we want.

There will probably be some brain free-floating on that end of the move, as well. Since I’ve been reading more e-books lately, there aren’t as many physical books to deal with as there were for the last move, but there’s still a good number of them to place into the little free libraries within walking distance. Donation bins are waiting for clothing items we can no longer use, and other items will be dispersed other ways. I don’t want to blog only about the move, because I would rather talk about other things, but, on the other hand, it’s kind of hard to ignore.

Right now, time for blogging is done for this session, and time to put on Spotify and stick things in boxes is back. We’ll see which imaginary friends drop by to wander around my brainpan while I pack.

 

 

Six Days and Counting

Six days now, until move-out day, and the pressure is most assuredly upon us. We’ll be turning in our cable box, which also takes care of our internet, on Friday, so internet access may be libraries and coffee shops for a little while. I still plan to keep as closely to the regular blog schedule as possible, but if you’re following the moving saga, and don’t already follow me on Twitter, you can do that right here.

I will admit to strong feelings when it comes to taking apart my desktop and getting it ready to move to short term storage. This means the laptop will be called back to regular duty, which means tipping it back a wee bit, because the screen goes black if I hold it upright (I have no idea why this is; machine works fine, but needs to be at an angle if I want to actually see anything.) The flip side of this will be setting up my desk in its new home, and carving out my writing space once more. Until then, the world is my office.

This is one way that being a longhand-first writer comes in handy. The notebooks I use most (see picture above) will go in a special bag that will travel with me, personally, because I am not in the mood to have these notebooks go walkabout in the moving process. Entertaining as they might be to any random person who stumbles up on them and can read my handwriting, I’d rather keep them close. I can’t speak for all writers having special relationships with their tools, but, for this writer, the answer is most definitely yes.

Case in point: this weekend, I attended a leadership meeting (say what you will about an organization that allows me to lead anything) and we were all encouraged to take notes. I did not need the offered pen or paper, because I had Big Pink, and my pen case, but I did make a troubling discovery. Said discovery being the kind that trikes terror into the heart of a notebook lover. My notes filled the last pages of my Moleskine Volant, with its perforated pages. Normally, I would swap this insert for another, but (you may want to grab onto something heavy, for support) I had already packed my inserts. All. Of. Them.

Going into a move when I do not have perforated pages is not going to work, and running out to purchase another pack of inserts is not on the schedule, but packing mode has sped up the making connections part of my brain. On that same day, I also had filled the last non-perforated page in my cahier. There was an unopened hardcover Moleskine, lined, in my bookcase-made-from-milk-crates in the living room. Move cahier to Volant’s place, put hardcover where cahier used to be, all purposes fulfilled, back to alternating between calculated confidence and running around in circles, flailing arms and screaming.

More calculated competence, when it comes to packing, and, oddly enough, in writing, as I am on track with my Camp NaNo progress. If I keep up at my current rate, I may very well finish before the end of the month, with room to spare. The story problem is a smaller one (or is it?) – get heroine back with the man she loves, and send her would-have-been second husband off into the sunset, eventually to land in a companion story. We’ll see how that goes.

Novel projects are on pause (or are they?) while we’re in transition, but part of packing includes digging up bones. One of these bones comes in a navy blue binder. Said binder is not the kind with space for me to put my own cover image behind a clear film, so I had no idea what I’d find, when I opened it. What I did find yanked me firmly into novel land. In Nothing Short of Heaven, which  initial version was, itself, a NaNo project (though regular or camp version, I cannot say) is, like Her Last First Kiss, set in Georgian England, and I won’t say I forgot about Slate and Melanie (because how could I?) but seeing them again, when I didn’t expect them, well that was something else.

Slate has no sense of self, while Melanie knows exactly who she is. Her theme song is “So What,” by P!nk. Her BS meter is set to zero, which serves her well, because Slate, well, he has some baggage. This book also has probably my favorite villain I’ve written so far, who prefers the title of Master to his actual name. I’m still planning on finishing the second draft of Her Last First Kiss first, but I wouldn’t mind getting reacquainted with Slate and Melanie, at all, when I’m done with this one.

Right now, I’m doing the thing in front of me -which is, apart from my nightly Camp NaNo pages, packing- and, at the same time, keeping an eye on the end goal. New apartment. Finished draft. New release. New notebook. (Hey, small perks can have big effects.) Later today, I’ll be viewing an apartment that is not only basically across the street from our current place, but the next door neighbor would be a takeout calzone restaurant. I will count that as an amenity.

020418deskscape2

Typing With Wet Claws: I Live in Boxville Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, with another Feline Friday. Moving day gets even closer, and there are a lot more boxes right now. This is not high on the cat-pleasing metee, These are not the fun kind of boxes that I have heard other cats like to get into (I do not go into boxes, because I am nt big on climbing or jumping) but the kind of boxes that all of our things go into. I would say I will feel more at ease when I see things come out of those boxes, but that will mean going to a different place. I do not like different.

Yesterday, Anty and Uncle looked at an apartment they liked very much, and the human who is in charge of that gave them a paper they need to fill out to find out if they can live there. Kitties are welcome, which is good. The actual moving stuff is not so much fun, but nobody has asked me to pack anything, so far, so I am not going to complain.

Even though some things are on hiatus while Anty deals with the move, other things are not. I still have to tell readers where they can read Anty’s writing on the interwebs, besides here, because anyone reading this is already here, and Anty is still at Buried Under Romance every Saturday. This past week, she talked about reading when life gets weird. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURlifegetsweird

Even though Anty’s Goodreads challenge is on hold until the dust, figurative and literal, from the move settles, she is working hard on another challenge. That challenge is her story for Camp NaNoWriMo, A Moment Past Midnight. Anty is writing this story by hand, in a special notebook, which I will show you. That notebook I this one:

 

AMPMcoverpage.jpg

cover page and notes

Anty found this leathery paper holder while packing, and it had some paper in it, but not a lot. That meant she had to go out and get more paper if she wanted to actually write something, which is this paper:

AMPMblankpages

These are pages with no writing on them. It is Anty’s job to put writing on them. That is why she has a pen in the pen loop. Every night, she tells herself a new part of the story. That fills at least two pages, sometimes more. Anty plans to write at least fifty pages during this month. She has written, so far, nineteen pages, which is almost one half of the way to her goal. I think that is doing rather well. She has some notes she made about what she wants to write, but, for the most part, she is letting the story tell itself to her. There is not a lot of pressure that way. She does know where she started, and where she wants it to end, but there will be a few surprises along the way.

That is why she needs different kinds of paper, besides the regular writing paper, which is the pink paper. That other paper is part from a planner she had one or two cats ago, and part if that other paper, the other other paper, if you will, is a mini legal pad, by Punch Studio (do not worry, I did not get punched, and neither did Anty) :

AMPMpadredo

The mini legal pad is very pretty, which means Anty will want to look at it more. This is where she writes down things like ideas for supporting characters that would be around her protagonists (protagonists is a fancy word that means  the humans who have the most important roles in the story) or questions she needs to answer, or ideas for scenes and things like that. They are not part of the actual story, but they are important in creating the framework for it.

If you think you see a clear plastic page on the other side of the legal pad, you are right. That is also part of the old planner, as is the plastic bookmark that clips onto the rings. The plastic sheet is so that Anty always has a firm surface on which to write, no matter where she is. That will come in very handy during moving time.

So far, Anty has found that she likes writing by hand very much. She always knew this, but the fact that she does not transcribe anything yet, but goes straight to writing more pages by hand, makes this story feel different from the rest. She will see how she feels about that by the end of the month. Maybe this will be something she can carry over into future projects, and/or picking up the ones that are on hiatus.

That is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew