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?

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.

Feeling Myself

The Monday after a marathon weekend is always a strange animal. Marathon weekends mean that both Saturday and Sunday are full. In this case, volunteering three times, once on Saturday and twice on Sunday. Saturday included my local RWA chapter meeting, always a highlight of my month, while Sunday meant playing host not once, but twice, konce for church worship experience, and the second time, for a community group, with a slight time overlap, which would be no problem if I were able to be in two places at once. (Spoiler: I am not.) After the second volunteer stint, Housemate and I had a few errands to run. Said errands involved me getting a higher end lip color at a very low price (and yep, it’s genuine) so, all in all, the weekend was good, but it also means coming into the work/writing week more tired than I went into it.

This is probably the point where I should mention there is also a new coffeemaker in the house, and, this morning, after a much-needed shower (I estimate that my hair is about twenty-five percent dry shampoo at the time of this writing) made my first voluntarily consumed travel mug full of coffee, because it was my one shot at being vertical. So far, so good. I am still a tea person, but if the beans will get me through at least this blog post (writing Monday’s post on Tuesday brings forth what Real Life Romance Hero calls the mini rage) and some planning, and I will consider the day productive enough.

Also in the plus column for the weekend past, is that I finished reading By Love Unveiled, by Sabrina Jeffries, first published in the early 90s, under her Deborah Martin name. I have the companion novel (there were only two in her Restoration Duo) marked to hunt down, because I may be a little in love with the hero’s friend, who is the hero of the next book, whose heroine is an actress. Helpful hint: I will always look at a Restoration period historical romance, on the period alone. Always. Add in either lead in the theatre, and that sale is a done deal. I am not even kidding. This is why I wrote my own English Civil War/Restoration historical romance, Orphans in the Storm. Neither Simon nor Jonnet is a thespian, but Simon’s BFF, Eben, a dancing master, last anyone asked, would fit very well into the theatre. Hmmm.

That, however, is for another day. Today is a Monday, which means it is blog day, and planning day, the day to look at everything I have under my weekly tasks and assign them to days. Melva and I have a target date to get the second round of edits done on Chasing Prince Charming, as well as writing new scenes for Drama King, which edges ever closer to the 50% mark. IT’s also time to get chapter eight of Her Last First Kiss ready for Melva’s perusal. There is something about having a critique partnership that is old enough to marry, own property, or join the military without parental consent, that gives a certain sense of security and trepidation when handing over a chapter. Long-term critique partners know things. That’s the best way I can put it, and are an extremely useful tool, especially in this business of getting back on the horse.

There are degrees of getting back on the horse, or maybe even different horses. At no time is this ever clearer than on a Monday. What do I need to do, and when is the most effective time to do it? Putting actual words on screen or paper are essential, of course, but, equally essential are things that fill the creative well, so that I can put the movies in my head into actual English words. Books that remind me what sorts of stories I love the very, very best, are important, as are movies or TV shows with favorite actors, following up on recommendations from friends, who know me well, and can pick out things I might like, or even love, but would never have found on my own. I have come to know the importance of what I call white space, aka doing nothing, seasonally comfortable (cozy blanket and hot beverage in winter, open window and cool beverage in spring) so that all the jumbled pieces in my head can sort themselves out.

That’s good for a Monday, too. Delegating. Pausing. Taking a step back, to survey the big picture and come up with a plan of attack, so I can charge in, guns blazing, sabres flashing, a mighty army of imaginary friends at my back, as we conquer the blank page I kind of like that image, so I am going to close with that, get this posted, and move on to the next task, before the coffee wears off. When it does, it’s reading time.

What does your Monday look like?

Typing With Wet Claws: Almost October Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. We had a very hot week here in New York’s Capitol Region, which is not what anybody wanted at this time of year. Everybody was grouchy and grumpy, except for Tuna Roll. He is a tropical fish, so he probably liked it fine. We don’t talk about things like that, so I do not know for sure, but one can assume. Even so, Anty got more done this week than she thinks she did. Since there is a bunch of it, I had better get right down to business.

First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about historical romance, contemporary romance, and everything in between. That post is here and it looks like this:

BUReverythinginbetween

Anty had a big week at Heroes and Heartbreakers, so you may want to get comfy. First, this was an odd-numbered week for Outlander, so that made it Anty’s turn to recap the episode, and what an episode. Anty loves angst, and this episode was packed full of it. That recap is here, and it looks like this:

HandHOutlander3x3recap

Right after that, because Monday is right after Sunday, Anty recapped the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory, where big things happened for not one, but two of the show’s couples. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHTBBT11x1recap

Because it is the end of the month, that means it is time for Heroes and Heartbreakers bloggers, including, but not limited to Anty, get to share their favorite reads of the month that has gone before. For Anty, this meant venturing into one of her favorite settings, and one of her new favorite authors. For everybody else, well, you will have to read the post. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHbestofseptember

This is the part of the post where I tell you how Anty is doing on her Goodreads challenge. It was close this week, but Anty is now back on track, having read sixty-six books out of her goal of ninety. That is more than two thirds of the way to finished. I knew she could do it.  Go, Anty, go.

GRreadingchallenge290917

Here are the books Anty finished reading this week:

GRCanhamFarHorizon

The Far Horizon, by Marsha Canham

GRColeBeNotAfraid

Be Not Afraid, by Alyssa Cole

In case you cannot tell by the covers, or, in one case, lack of cover (The Far Horizon really does have a cover, but it did not show on Goodreads. It was a picture of a ship, with an overlay image of a couple. It is the first book cover on Miss Marsha’s site, which is here.) all three of the books Anty read this week were historical romance. I am especially proud of Anty for that. It has also, along with a few other developments, made her very thinky about historical romance (that is a good thing, I think) this week, and she will probably be blogging about that herself next week. She may or may not have already started down that road. I cannot tell you the whole thing (partly because Anty is still working on it) but I can give you a hint.

While Anty was looking through one of her special bookshelves, she found a couple of things from a long time ago. Like previous cat era, but it did not have anything to do with kitties. One thing was a bookmark, which one might expect to find in books, and the other was a sticky note from one of Anty’s own books. That was this note:

OitSnote

I am not sure if a cleaned up version of this note actually made it into Orphans in the Storm, but it was enough to get Anty thinking about a few things. Any is very fond of sticky notes, and, sometimes, they get stuck places she would not expect for them to be. If she spent any time looking for this note while she was actually writing the book, she was looking in the wrong place, because she only found it a couple of days ago. A little late if she wanted that bit to be in the book (if it did not get in there) but right on time for her brain to work it into another blog post.

Right now, Anty is working on three other books, at three different stages of progress, so finding a note that takes her back to a previous book was not what she had expected. Writers are like that. Show them the oddest things, and off they go, into some story world that non-writers cannot get to, even if their bowls are empty. Ahem.

Anty gets thinky like this every once in a while. It is probably part of the process of telling stories, this pausing to take a look at how things work, where she’s going and where she’s been. I do not know exactly what form that thinkiness will take, but, when it does, I will ost a link to it here. Unless it is here, in which case, it would be here already.

ComingSoonBanner

This coming March, Anty will be presenting her workshop, Play in Your Own Sandbox, Keep All The Toys, online, with Charter Oak Romance Writers. Further details TBA, but mark your calendars; March is coming, so save the date.

Now it is time for Tuna Roll’s Thought of the Day. Take it away, Tuna Roll.

0825TunaRoll

I have never found a problem that could not be solved by a good, long swim   . -Tuna Roll

Thank you, Tuna Roll. I am not sure that will work for everybody, but it is still good to know this sort of thing.

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

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Save the Dates Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. I tried to convince Anty to wait to take my picture until Uncle was awake, so I would be perkier, but she said something about a schedule and took my picture anyway. It is hard being a mews sometimes. I have been hard at work this week, so we had better get down to business.

Before I can talk about anything else (which is usually Anty’s writing anyway,) I have to tell you where on the interwebs, besides here, that you can find Anty’s writing this week.  As usual, she was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. Her theme for September is Back to Romance School, because it is always a good idea to brush up on the basics. (As long as that brush is not on me, I am fine with that. I am a sensitive girl, and brushing makes me licky.) What two elements does every single romance novel ever published have to have? Anty’s post covers it all. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURbacktoschool

Now that the new TV season has begun, Anty will have many more chances to write about kissy stuff on TV shows, and it all kicks off with her recap of the season three premiere of Outlander, “The Battle Joined,” at Heroes and Heartbreakers. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHOutlanders3e1

but what about Frank?

Next, we move on to the reading portion of the post. Anty is now one book behind in her Goodreads goal, but I am willing to cut her some slack, because it has been a very full week, and she is almost done with the latest Marsha Canham book. Anty can read Ms. Marsha’s books pretty fast, because Ms. Marsha is one of Anty’s favorite writers. The weekend is here, Anty’s Kindle is full, and I expect good things ahead. Anty is not a total slacker, as she wrote a review of the one book she did finish reading this week. That book was this one:

 

 

 

This week was a good one for Anty, because she got to add a few things to her schedule, and Anty loves putting new things on her schedule. That is why she made a new banner, so that I can add a Coming Soon section.

Here are some things Anty will be doing very soon:

Anty will also be recapping the odd-numbered episodes of Outlander all season long, while Elizabeth Poteet will recap the even-numbered episodes. On even weeks, Anty can make popcorn and watch, as a fan. That should be pretty fun, too, and, because she will not have to take notes while watching, she can have her hands free to pet me. I prefer head scritches, thank you, but chest is okay too, if she is very gentle.

Because this has been a very busy week, Anty  has pushed the date of getting A Heart Most Errant to beta readers back to September 21st, so maybe I should put that on the calendar, too. Maybe after my nap. Being a good mews takes a lot of energy. Anty would have preferred to have the book in readers’ hands already, but then she has to remind herself that A) there is no deadline on this one, and B) she would rather take the time and do it right than rush and then wish she had fixed things. I would tell her not to worry, that her beta readers will find things she can fix, but that generally does not come across as a big help.

Now that it is fall, Anty is in her groove, so keep an eye on the coming soon section to see what else she may be up to in the near future. Frankly, I am surprised that her love of planning has not carried over to the site before this, but, then again, she did not consult me on this matter. I could have told her that keeping that section up to date means that she gets to have another sort of calendar. That is my tip for this week: writers, listen to your cats more. Especially when they ask for food or head scritches.

Okay, that looks like everything on my list, so now it is time for Tuna Roll’s Thought of the Day. Take it away, Tuna Roll.

0825TunaRoll

If you find yourself swimming in circles, that will always take you home. -Tuna Roll

Thank you, Tuna Roll. That is very reassuring. That is also about it for this week, so, until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

Unexpected Journeys

Some blog entries begin in funny places. This one began in the laundromat. Rainy laundry days are my favorites, even the ones where the laundry starts about the time I would like it to finish, which means I need to use the dryer cycle time to write a blog post in longhand, even if I have no idea what that post is going to be about, and not use the time for reading, even though my reading tracker says I am behind and need to step up my game in that department. This morning, I woke up later than usual, which meant my feet hit the ground in go, go, go mode right from the start. This wasn’t the schedule I’d planned for the day, but it’s the one I got.

When I grabbed a random ballpoint to get some ideas flowing, one of the first ideas that flowed to the top was my upcoming author visit to Buried Under Romance. I’ve been there as a blogger for long enough that I’d have to think really hard to remember when I wasn’t, but, this week, I was asked if I’d like to make an author visit. I said yes, because it’s a great site, and I will take basically any opportunity to blabber about romance novels, especially my own.  I am now on the calendar for September eighteenth. This has me both excited and apprehensive. Since I have anxiety, this is pretty much my normal state, but this is different.

Right now, my first co-written contemporary romance (along with the fabulous Melva Michaelian) , Chasing Prince Charming,  is now under consideration with Carina Press. This means it is one teeny tiny fish, swimming in the same giant ocean as elebenty billion other teeny tiny fish, and the fishing crew will get to it when they get to it. Melva and I can expect to hear back within one third to one fourth of an entire year. Our joint attention now goes to Drama King, where a misanthrope actor who isn’t acting clashes with an uber-optimistic literary agent. When people tell me they didn’t know I also wrote contemporary, my usual answer is “neither did I.” Would I have written contemporary on my own? Nope. Not wired that way, but when Melva and I both got the same idea at the same time, we went for it, and it worked out so well we’re doing it again.

While Melva works on her own solo projects, I get to return to my historical stomping grounds, which, right now, involves hopping between two different time periods. No, I am not talking about time travel at the moment. Right now, I am reading A Heart Most Errant, my medieval novella, for the umpteenth time, one eye on the calendar, because beta readers are waiting, and hey, it wouldn’t hurt to look at potential cover art options while I am procrastina…uh, I mean at it. Is this book going to shove itself past my overthinking and find some way to publish itself? I can neither confirm nor deny that possibility. Right now, my job is to get it ready for beta. I will deal with the rest, later.

Fast forwarding to Georgian times, I brought so many notes to critique session this week that N had to mark the spot on my giant stack of pink pages, to mark where we can pick up next week. I see scene cards and sticky notes and Scapple in my future, and I am okay with that. That’s what a writer gets when a generic supporting character turns into a specific supporting character with a job to do, and a scribbled note about “some social event” turns into a house party that lasts several days, and it is time to start ripping up floorboards and putting in drywall because this story structure is getting significant renovation, and it is getting it now.

The book I will be promoting on my author visit, Orphans in the Stormis not a brand new release. I wish it were, and I wish it weren’t. I wish it were, because new releases are exciting and fun, and get applause at RWA chapter meetings, and sometimes a special token to take home and cherish, as a visual reminder. I don’t wish it were a new release, because the book I wrote coughty-cough years ago is not the book it would be if I were to have written now.

OrphansInTheStormTeaser

 

The plot would be the same, the characters, and the historical period, but I can think of two scenes, off the top of my head, that I would like to rewrite. One is a love scene and one is not. Neither would be significantly different, but they would be better. I would at least hope I am a better writer now than I was when I first put pen to paper on Jonnet and Simon’s story, able to add a few more layers and finer details than I know how to do back then. That’s how it goes, though, in this writing life. Plot twists happen in life as well as in fiction, and we grow and adapt along with them. Best thing I have found, in my own experience, is to steer into the skid when possible, and enjoy the ride.

 

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Typing With Wet Claws: Some Weeks Are Like That Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. It is cool and rainy today, so I am hunkered down for the duration. Rain will not find me here in my hallway, outside Anty and Uncle’s room. The weather is also gray, like me, which may be why Anty finds this kind of weather very beautiful. Technically, the vet says I am a brown tabby, but all cats are gray in the dark. Anty says the old-timey people in her stories knew that phrase, but it was not talking about actual cats. She says the old-timey meaning was only for grownups, and not very nice ones, at that. Anyway, since I am a kitty, I see very well in the dark, so I win.

Where Anty wins (aside from winning Uncle) is that I have to talk about where to find her writing on the interwebs (apart from here, that is) before I can talk about anything else (which is mostly about her writing, most of the time, anyway, so I do not see what the big problem is, but whatever. Anty is the human, and if she understands, that is good enough for me. ) As always, she was at Buried Under Romance, like she is every week. This week, she talked about what makes a summer read. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURSummerisComing

 

For Anty’s Goodreads challenge, she is now two books behind again, and she is not very happy about that, but I am willing to cut her some slack. Uncle did not feel well for a large part of this  week, and there were two days when Anty did not feel that great, herself. Also there were domestic tornadoes. Anty is making progress on her reading, however, and all of her current reads are historical romance, so I am going to call that good, considering extenuating circumstances. Keep on keeping on, Anty. You can still turn this around. Finish reading two books this weekend, and you are back on track.
I will use the same graphic as last week, since she has only read the same books.

GRreadingchallenge060917

only one more book, and it’s forty!

 

Even though Anty did not write a lot on the interwebs this week, she has been busy writing. This week, she finished chapter ten of her second draft of Her Last First Kiss. Both Critique Partner Vicki and Miss N had some very nice things to say about this version of the chapter, which gets Anty all excited to head into the next one.

Anty also had a Skype conference (I still think they should spell that Skye Pee, but whatever) with Anty Melva, her co-writer on Chasing Prints Charming, and they are ready to embark on editing their completed first draft. Anty Melva has written with another writer before, but Anty has only had solo books published so far. There may be some adventures ahead, as they learn what method of editing works best for them. So far, they are going to take the beginning-beginning, each edit it, with special attention on the parts written by the other person. They have one week to get this done, so we will see how that goes.

Now that Anty’s current projects are moving along, it is also time for her to make some noise about the books she has already written. So far, she has made two teasers. One is for one of her books, Queen of the Ocean. It looks like this:

QueenOfTheOceanTeaser

Note the lack of cats, but there is a bright spot. There is a ship in the story (actually more than one) and old-timey ships always had cats on board, to keep the rodent population under control. They are the true heroes of the sea. You’re welcome.

The other teaser is for Orphans in the Storm, her English Civil War historical romance. That one looks like this:

OrphansInTheStormTeaser

There would be cats on that ship, too.

Anty is still working on teasers for her other books, Never Too Late, and My Outcast Heart. After that, well, she’d better write some more books, or her bookshelf page (that is coming soon) will be very short. She has plans to make teasers for Her Last First Kiss, and Chasing Prints Charming, as well as her postapocalyptic medieval romance, Ravenwood (at least the title has birds in it; that is promising. I like birds. They are delicious.) which may get a different name, but we will see.

Making teasers is fun for Anty, because she is a visual thinker anyway.  Thinking is something Anty has been doing rather a lot of lately, most of it about writing and publishing. Also about putting more cats in her books. I am happy to announce that Drama King, the next contemporary she will write with Anty Melva, does have a cat in it.  He is an orange tabby, and he’s seen some things. I have high hopes for him.

For now, though, it is a rainy day, and Anty has laundry to do, which means a solid hour of reading time, while the clothes get clean and dry. She also promised Mama to read her some of chapter ten, because Mama is looking forward to chapter ten. Mama has not read the whole book yet, but she knows the general idea, and wants a little taste. Maybe Anty will consider giving her other readers a little taste in a while, too.  She is looking forward to making a proper introduction of Hero and Heroine to her readers, so readers will be used to Hero and Heroine’s scents when Her Last First Kiss becomes a real book.

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

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skyebyefancy

Until next week…

What’s in a Name?

Today’s topic comes courtesy of reader Kady Underwood (and, as Kathleen Underwood, cover artist for Orphans in the Storm.) Talented gal, and great question, first posed in my Lion and Thistle Facebook group, where we talk about all things historical romance. We had some interesting discussion on that one, so I thought I’d share the love and expand on my answers here.

The question:

Those of you who write…do you collect names for your characters? Have you ever liked a name and built a character around it? What comes first…the character or the name?

My (expanded) answer:

Great question. I’ll break that down into the individual questions.

1) Those of you who write…do you collect names for your characters?

Big yes on collecting names. I have been collecting name books since I was very young. I want to say eight, maybe. I remember having to beg my mother for my first one, because it physically hurt, I wanted it that much. Thankfully, she got it for me, and thus the beast was born. The collection has grown a bit since then, not counting websites like Nameberry, or Behind the Name, and shows no signs of stopping. For naming characters in historicals, my go-to reference is Names Through the Ages, by Teresa Norman, whose A World of Baby Names is also useful. I am on my second copy, which is showing as much wear as its predecessor. For modern-day characters, have a look at Beyond Jennifer and Jason, Madison and Montana: What to Name Your Baby Now, by Linda Rozencrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran. Besides having the most names ever (probably) on the cover of a book about names, Rozencrantz and Satran take a different approach, grouping the names by image, rather than origin or meaning.

Names can come from anywhere, and I do keep a mental file of names I like or find interesting, besides my collection of name books (my prized book is a book of British Isles names, published in Ireland.) If I like the name, it goes in the vault, to wait for its time.

2) Have you ever liked a name and built a character around it?

Again, yes. Jonnet, the heroine of Orphans in the Storm, actually gets this twice, because she has two names – one she was given at birth, and the other that she grew up with. Her birth name, I had been holding onto since I was in college, and stumbled across it in a historical romance I found on the shelves of the used bookstore in town. I did not get that book, and still regret it, but knew I would use it for a heroine of my own, one day. One day turned into double digit years. Sometimes, it takes a while for the right character to fit the name, but I think it’s worth the wait. I still have a few names waiting for the right character. 


3)  What comes first…the character or the name?

It depends. Sometimes I put the name out there and see who answers (I don’t see it so much as “creating” a character as us finding each other. ) Sometimes, they walk into my head, name and all, and I have very little to do with it. I even had one character tell me I got her name wrong, she wasn’t going to answer to what I wanted to call her, and if I wanted to write her, I had to use her proper name. She was right. What I wanted to call her wasn’t her name at all, and now, I can’t imagine her being called anything else.

I’ve also had a character who couldn’t tell me his given name, because he didn’t know it. We both found out near the end of the first draft, when his heroine and I both tracked down the relative who could give him the missing pieces of that particular puzzle, so it all worked out in the end.

Naming a character is different every time. Sometimes, the name does come first, and sometimes, it comes last. I’ve written chunks of outline with “Hero” and “Heroine” used as placeholders. That isn’t the case with Her Last First Kiss. I knew Hero and Heroine’s names early on, but am keeping those to myself (and critique partners) when talking about the book for now. I suspect they’ll be more forthcoming once the second draft is done.

When Melva and I first conceived the Beach Ball, the only thing we had to go on for names at first was that she wanted a one syllable name for Girl. I shot out the first few that came to mind, before we hit one we both liked. Since Girl had a one syllable name, Guy needed a longer one; his name has three. Same process; shoot out three syllable names until the right one stuck.

With my focus, for the time being, on eighteenth-century romance, getting together a list of male, female and family names appropriate to the period is probably a good idea, and I would need a new notebook for the purpose…hmmm…..

Thanks for the question, Kady, and thanks for the gorgeous cover on Orphans in the Storm.

orphansinthestorm