Cautiously Optimistic

Today is a very Monday-y Tuesday, but that has ceased to phase me. Internet may be spotty this week, but blogging feels normal, so I want to get an entry up on as regular a schedule as possible. The offline times are good for writing longhand, so I am not complaining at all. As much as I love winter, this has been a tough one, and I will not be that sorry to see it go. I am ready for a new season.

The title of today’s post comes from a discussion Real Life Romance Hero and I had earlier this week. We are pretty sure that the light at the end of the tunnel is not, this time, a train, so we are moving in that direction. That also means that the Patreon will indeed be a go, and, for the first time, setting up tiers doesn’t seem as scary as it once did.

This past weekend, I presented Play In Your Own Sandbox, Keep All the Toys, at Capitol Region Romance writers. I learned a couple of things. First, I really do need to use visual aids, for myself as well as the people taking the workshop. A dry erase board usually does the trick, and I probably should learn PowerPoint. I will add that to my list. The second thing I learned is that, when visually impaired, and knowing darned well one needs high contrast, do not attempt to work, in front of a group, from handwritten notes, if the only inks available are pink and turquoise.

Even so, I crazy love this workshop, and the CRRWA chapter, and I came away from the experience remembering how much I really do love writing romance. When I got home, a chapter was waiting for me from my contemporary collaborator, Melva, which has me excited to work on Drama King. I also need kick in the behind to get Her Last First Kiss back in action, because those pirate books are chomping at the bit. That’s part of what I’m taking care of this week.

I know how to do this. I know how to write books. I know how to write good books. This is the thing I wanted to do more than anything else in the world for as long as I can remember. It’s easy, though, to lose sight of that when life gets crazy, and boy howdy, has it ever this past year and change. I am hanging onto the “change” part. I have mad, mad, mad respect for the productivity of authors like Sandra Sookoo and Kathryn LeVeque, the staying power of Cynthia Wright and Kimberly Cates, and yes, there is most certainly a seat at that table for me. It comes by putting butt in chair (or passenger seat) and pen to paper and telling those stores. Dump from brain to page, rough and raw, and make it pretty later.

Right now, I am tired and stressed and hopeful, and very much in love with my chosen genre. I have added an ebook edition of the material for PIYOSKATT (pee-yose-cat? Pie-yose-cat?) as a Patreon perk for a middle tier, because now, it feels like a reachable goal, and actually kind of fun. Small online class offerings may also be in the offing, because I also crazy love teaching workshops, both on my own and with other talented author type people. It’s a good place to be.

see you next time

Typing With Wet Paws: Special Tuesday Edition

Hi, Storm Troopers! Are you surprised to see me on a Tuesday? Wild, huh? I know, but it’s one of those weeks. Aunt Anna and the other humans will be off the grid for a couple of days, as we are off on another trip to Aunt Linda’s family home, so Aunt Anna asked me to fill in today, to cover yesterday and tomorrow’s post. I told her no problem. That’s why I’m here, right? Well, that and to spread magical fibers of love and joy.

Anyway, about what’s going on over here. Aunt Anna is having kind of an existential planner crisis, or, depending on the perspective, (let’s reframe!) a chance to try some new things and get even more creative. She wouldn’t let me take any pictures of her planners in progress, but trust me, there is stuff going on. Some of that will be going on while we are on adventure at Chez Grandmere (the mother of your aunt is your grandmother, right? I think that’s how it works. I am not sure about human family terms.) Aunt Anna is also planning on doing a lot of writing in longhand there, because Chez Grandmere does not, unfortunately, have interwebs. Maybe not so unfortunately if that means more writing time.

Aunt Anna has already started trying out a new to her plotting technique that she learned from a Heart Breathings tutorial. If this works, that will go a long way to solving the problem of what to do with a bunch of outdated Happy Planner pages. She has set up her spread for a story to be determined, and will give that a go during out adventure. Watch this space for the results. Normally, she doesn’t go in for charts and stuff, but when it’s time to get back on the horse (nobody told me there was a horse) trying new things is always a good idea.

This is also a good time to go through some stuff that the aunts and uncle have stored at Chez Grandmere, which may provide some interesting results. I find that rather exciting. I also find the place called “basement” very very very exciting, but I am not allowed to go down there. No idea why. Other cats used to go down there. Maybe they left some food or toys. How can I leave that unexplored? Humans. Hmph.

Huh. This doesn’t seem like a lot of news for a “special” blog, but that’s okay. Can’t all be rock stars, am I right? Except for beautiful calico girls. We are all automatically rock stars. I like to sing the song of my people at special midnight performances, and you should see the choreography that goes along with it. Truly a work of genius. We’ll be back on Friday, Saturday at the latest, and there will be better updates then. Rest assured that I will be in full mews mode, providing inspiration and encouragement.

Okay, wait. I remember. I was supposed to list some of the planner and notebook things that Aunt Anna is going to revamp over the next few weeks. Let’s see if I can find some pictures to go with them.

Granted, these are not all of them, nor does Aunt Anna expect to be able to keep all of them running for unique purposes (or the same one; boy, would that be repetitive) at the same time, and she is beginning to come around to the idea that it’s okay to move the same guts to different covers as the mood strikes. Also that there are plusses and minuses to the different sizes and formats she likes, including but not limited to:

  • discbound (Happy Planner, etc) in micro, mini, classic or big sizes
  • Traveler’s notebooks (strings) in pocket, personal, and standard sizes
  • Six ring binders in personal or A5 size
  • Three ring binders in full or half letter size
  • traditional hard or softcover notebooks, sewn, perfect, or wirebound

So yeah, that’s kind of a lot, and it does relate to writing, because that’s what she likes to do in them, so she is figuring out what format her exploration of these should take. Blogging? Vlogging? If you have a preference, leave a comment and I will make sure she gets it.

Headbonks!

2020 Vision?

Yesterday, I didn’t mean to spend the entire day on Patreon work, but that’s how things worked out. I started out making a spreadsheet for my TBR for the coming year, and things kept going. One list for favorite lush historical romances, another for favorite contemporary YA, and a batch of ideas for more. I love making these sorts of lists, and I love connecting readers with favorite books in favorite historical eras, with particular themes, etc. Current plans are to make requests for such lists available on one of the tiers., If the list is for something that isn’t quite my taste, say wallpaper Regencies, I can still do some educated guessing, as in what’s popular, has received high reviews, or looks interesting in some aspect. I could pick out books all day long, seriously, and be happy to do it.

Today is the first day of my one page a day writing schedule. One page of fiction -doesn’t matter what- bare minimum. More if I can, more if I want to, but that first page, those first two hundred and fifty words, they don’t have to be perfect, don’t have to be even good, but they do have to be. That’s easy enough. I will proably lump those in with Storm’s weekly blogs, along with other progress reports. We will see how it goes, and I am more than likely going to make some sort of paper tracker because that’s how my brain goes.

Speaking of paper planners, I plan (see what I did there?) to share more about what I do with that, as well. There is a beautiful black version of Spinebreaker headed my way, to hold my everyday carry bullet-y journal-y commonplace-y notebook. Spinebreaker’s lovely pink self will hold some different inserts to help me manage the writing projects I have on tap for this year. I will figure it out as I go.

Both yesterday and today, I have been listening to YouTube videos analyzing episodes of Black Mirror. I have seen exactly one episode of that show, “San Junipero,” but I’m still getting a lot out of the commentary. My tenure at Heroes and Heartbreakers gave me the chance4 to ramble on about my favorite TV ships, and the moments that worked, as well as the ones that didn’t. I’d like to bring some of that to the blog, and/or Patreon. This amy involve another attempt at making video blogs. We will see. Some of that will depend on where we land, Stately Bowling Manor-wise, but it’s definitely on the table.

The thing that has to happen before any of this other stuff can occur, though, is the writing. The putting of the bottom in the chair and words on the page, paper or virtual, one page at a time, one after the other, on and on until Once Upon a Time reaches And They Lived Happily Ever After. It’s a new year, and there are stories to tell. There is no section on Amazon or in Barnes and Noble or any other brick and mortar store, for great three chapters or excellent outlines. Only. Full. Books.

That means moving forward, even when there’s no gaurantee that t hings are going to turn out on the page the same way they are in my head (can they ever be?) That means tapping back into the girl who set up a makeshift desk out of TV trays, and typing out stories that couldn’t possibly go anywhere on an electronic typewriter. Only, they did. Maytbe not those exact pages, but the were needed to get me one step further down the path to where I am now, and where I am going next.

For today, that’s going to mean this blog entry, one page of fiction, and probably planner therapy after. Doesn’t have to be perfect, does have to be written. That’s doable. Let’s see where it goes.

Happy New Year.

Random Blabbery Post

Leftover picture from Monday’s photoshoot is a good indicator that I this is going to be one of those posts where I open the document and start throwing down random brain droppings, because the plans for the original post aren’t going to work. Where are we going with this one? I have no earthly idea.

I am now only six books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge, which gives me a nice boosts. I have a mental sticky note on the books that I am turning to while pushing for my reading goal this year. Right now, I am both absolutely thrilled to be reading Broken Things, the fourth book in Jessica Cale’s Restoration era Southward Saga of historical romances, and itchy that there is only one other historical romance by this author, set a couple of hundred years later. I need moar. There will be a Buried Under Romance post on this sometime in the future.

Though making my reading goal for 2019 has become personal, something I am going to do, goshdarnit, last night, I DNF’d a book. Yeah. A historical romance. No, I will not give the name or author, as it might work better for me at another time. This book was a novella, so it fit my desired length. It was a time and setting I usually like, and I very much liked the premise. So, what wasn’t working for me? Ehhh, I don’t know. I will say that I might have liked more detail, more showing rather than telling, but it could also be that I had not been in the right frame of mind. I’ll try again later.

I’m not sure what the reading goal will be for 2020. Real life is still sorting itself out, and my educated guess is that all of the attendant stress/depression/anxiety/lack of energy has had a big hand in the lack of reading that led to the big reading lag. Being behind does create its own stress, but since the remedy for that is to stick my nose in a book, paper or electronic, I am not going to complain and consider that a self-solving issue.

According to Real Life Romance Hero, the snowstorm we got this weekend is the eighth largest in city history. I take that as an indicator that snuggling in bed with a hot beverage, purring cat and hand knit afghan (thanks, Housemate) diving into a good book. There is also some TV viewing backlog, and I may have figured out how to fix the snafu with my Sims 3 installation and engage in some retro-gaming. There could be an art journal or notebook on hand to keep me occupied during loading times. I’m not sure yet.

The calendar says we’re in December, which is getting ready for Christmas season. The snow should be helping but not feeling it quite yet. Still time, though. Maybe some Christmas novellas will help, possibly helped by a traditional fireplace video on You Tube. I haven’t watched any Christmas videos yet, so that may be another thing to try. I haven’t done much seasonal decorating in my planner, so that might play well with movies or music. We’ll see.

Got any favorite romance novellas? Bonus points if they are on Kindle Unlimited, and/or Christmas themed.

maybe I could read this book…

Reverse Hibernation (aka My Summer Happy Place)

I am not a summer person. Not even close. Not even a little. I am sun and heat-sensitive, so, on weeks like this, when all of the daytime temperatures are in the nineties, a form of summer hibernation makes a whole lot of sense. Reverse hibernation, as I call it, works very well with the nocturnal phase of summer, when I am more active at night, sleepier in the daytime, which actually is a good thing, because summer usually sees me sadder, less energetic, and all-around-itchy.

Yesterday, I found my happy place, at least where writing during the summer is concerned. My worktable, once my dining room table, faces the living room window, open now, with a view of my houseplants, trees outside, and my beloved notebooks, pens, and a big jar of washi (decorative tape) in shades of pink. There will be a cool drink at my left hand, possibly a salty snack at my right, and a cookbook holder (vintage) holds my tablet. The box fan whirs, cool air on my bare legs. The whir of the fan may be the only sound, as I put pen to paper, or I may have my tablet tuned to music, podcast, or ambient sounds. My favorites in that department tend to be nature sounds, or atmospheric, like “coffee house on a rainy day,” with my all time favorite being a combination of rain, fireplace, and purring cat. One day, I hope that will be the actual sounds in my actual environment, but, for now, that reasonable facsimile will do.

Back to yesterday. I had a scene due for Drama King, and my Camp NaNo work to do, blog entry shoved off until today, because fiction has to come first, and I didn’t so much think about this new sort of work environment; it happened, all on its own. I opened my Drama King notebook, no need for headphones, as I had the apartment to myself, and off I went, the scene spilling out onto the page. After that, I didn’t want to go right back to the computer, and my Alphasmart was right there, so, once again, the bloop effect comes into play.

The writing flowed, the transcription flowed, and the touch of a button moved the transcribed pages from Alphasmart to word processing program. From there, it was a quick spellcheck, a change of formatting, and, once again, bloop, over to Melva, for her approval, in more than enough time for our weekly chat.

This is not a magic switch, by any means, but there is something special about having a creative space that is mine, where writing can be not in the same place where I watch You Tube and answer emails. It’s writing, not typing (sorry, Dad) and, for me, that makes a difference. This feels natural. This feels right. I can get to the end of a writing day, feeling satisfied instead of drained, and I look forward to settling in for the next session, pen to paper first

This kind of thing is organic for me. I have to splash around in the shallows until I start swimming, and then, after that, its’ all potatoes. (Family term, meaning “everything will be easier after X.”) I get to the end of my list, and then it’s time to take a break, most likely to watch aforementioned You Tube videos, mostly about traveler’s notebooks and/or bullet journaling. Sometimes I watch Book Tube videos, which makes me think about how fun it is to make video blogs, and that may happen, but, for now, it’s fiction first. After that? A long summer’s nap sounds lovely.

One Week Into One Book July

This is the closest I am going to get, this Monday, to having all of my ducks in a row. This weekend just past was a weekend of three (count them, three) flea bombs, over the course of two days. Judging from the peaceful night’s sleep we all had, presumably free of microscopic vampire bugs, that should mean a peaceful Monday morning, but au contraire, it meant a Monday morning of shaking out bedding, moving things back where they go, rescuing things-that-touch-food from their cabinet bunkers, and hauling trash and recyclables to the refuse room down the hall. (For new readers, we live in an apartment building, and this is a magic place where gallant maintenance workers whisk away our rubbish on a daily basis, not that we have a room full of trash in a private residence. Nobody wants that.)

Okay. Focus, Anna. While work continues on Camp NaNo and Plunder, with notes on researching Catholicism in the Caribbean, in the late seventeenth century (yes, that is important for the romance, Karen. (Metaphorical vernacular “Karen,” not any specific person named Karen, even if she does want to see the manager.) because a certain part of the story will be a whole lot easier for me, if not my characters, if I can plop a fictional convent where I want to plop a fictional convent. So far, the answer should be yes, especially in non-British-held islands, and my hero is Dutch, sooooooo……

:deep breath: What was that I said about focus? Right. Okay. One Book July, as it applies to planning, has no official rules, but the commonly accepted guidelines are to use one planner/bullet journal for everything during the month of July. Some participants add other challenges, like using only one pen. That one, I would normally have a hard time doing, but that pen in the picture below? I get two of them for about seventy cents, and they are comparable to Pilot G2s, so yeah, this is the pen I am using as everyday carry for this month.

Webster’s Pages, pocket size, blush cover

Please note, (pun unintended) that I have fallen in love with that flower-crowned vixen (saving that line for a future hero’s lexicon) and, when I fill the insert she graces, I am taking the cover off and putting it on the next one. I know a good thing when I see it. That particular insert comes from a national chain craft store, in packs of three, for about two dollars (less, if there is a sale) and I am already stockpiling them, because, although I was hesitant about A) passport size, which is even smaller than pocket, and B) white pages, when I strongly prefer ivory, these guys are absolute perfection for my daily pages. Bullet point tasks on the right hand side of the spread (please insert my mother’s voice here, clarifying that it is my right, not the viewer’s right. Thanks, Mom.) and then the left/facing side is for notes.

I didn’t mean to set up my daily insert like that. It happened, on its own, as did finding the perfect balance for Li’l Pink (yes, I name my planners, and yes, they have genders) is three passport size inserts, and then I don’t know how to count the pocket sized inserts, because we have some buddy bands in there, and printables and covers I ripped off and covers I made, and it works, okay, does it really need a label, Karen? Ooh, labels.

My name is Anna, and I am a notebook addict.

Even though it is One Book July, it is also the time when I finally caved in to my curiosity about the B6 size of insert/notebook, above. Same company that makes the fox insert (ooh, do they make a B6 version of the fox? Now I have to go in search of; if I don’t return, I love you all.) makes B6 inserts, same paper -plus lined, plus graph (which I did not get, but will, this weekend) – and they were on sale for a mere dollar apiece, so of course I had to indulge, and, well, I love them.

I do not, however, own a B6 traveler’s notebook, so now I will need to start looking in that direction, but, in the meantime, these inserts are looking happy enough in my spare regular size Webster’s Pages, that I was wondering how I was going to use, so that will work out fine until I can settle the cover issue. I didn’t even have to think about what I’m going to use these inserts for, because they presented themselves. I now do have a notebook-notebook, to keep track of all things stationery (if anyone is taking bets on when that would finally happen, whoever had July 5th, 2019, gets the prize.) There will be another insert for household information, one for sketches/doodles/etc, and one for random brain dumps. I know exactly what pens I want to use with it, and it’s rather satisfying to have a whole endeavor land in my lap like that, a single bloop, and there it is.

Writing is like that, sometimes, and when it is, it is wonderful. More often, it’s like that pocket notebook that is my everyday carry/my one book for July. Trial and error. Will this work? No? Well how about that? Oh no, that’s worse. Rip that out, hide the evidence, try this weird thing because why the heck not? Well, look at that. That actually works. Okay, then. Onward we go.

No deep wisdom on writing today, Karen (or is there?) but I do learn a lot, about myself, about visual arts, about creativity in general, and other things, from my notebook adventures, which is why I do see them as part of the writing process.

Oh wait, there is one practical tip. If you see an oddly placed sticker in my July planner pages, there is probably the evidence of a dead bug under it. This gal does not tear out pages from a sewn binding. I’m not a monster. (usually)

Summer Thoughts

Monday’s post on Tuesday again, and I am okay with that. Yesterday was spent writing on Drama King, then my weekly Skype session with Melva Michaelian. My weekly breakfast with N is on Thursday this week, so the morning was found time to knuckle down and write…until I got a message from Sue Ann Porter, telling me she was five minutes away, and did I want to hang out? Umm, yes. We hadn’t had a chance to be face to face since January, so, around my kitchen table, and seasonally appropriate beverages, we got current.

We talked writing, and books. I cracked open Goodreads to recommend Panic by Lauren Oliver, and my heart swelled when Sue Ann told me how much she loved My Outcast Heart, and would love to see it as a Hallmark-ish movie. That would be fun. Right now, I’m focusing on getting it a new home in book form, which still needs to take a number.

We were joined, after a short while, by Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, Cat Regent and discussed having Sebastian join us for a proposed vlog about our shared appreciation of Poldark. I need to get current, because life last summer was kind of hectic, but, this year, it looks smoother. We discussed how much we like the verisimilitude of the historical atmosphere of the story world, and how we both like our historical romances to have a strong historical influence along with the romance, what makes a good romance novel, and what it takes to get a reader to want to come along for the ride, in any genre of fiction.

There was also a surprise visit by a local candidate, friendly and charismatic, encouraging voters to get to the polls. All too soon, Sue Ann and I both had to go back to life as planed, but I told her this was exactly the kind of summer I want to have. Filled with writing, and reading, and hanging out with good friends, coming away from the visit, not stressed over work time that was missed, but energized to get back to it, refreshed and refueled. I could get used to that kind of thing.

Cusp

Around our apartment, there are various deposits of crumpled black socks. These are mine. I will not take pictures of them (nobody wants to see that) but I do have a habit of toeing my socks off, forgetting that there were socks in the first place, and going about the rest of my day, often with the aid of the herds of flip flops that also seem to roam at will throughout Stately Bowling Manor. I do not know how this first came to be, but I do know that, by this age, that is probably going to be how things are from here on out. Future apologies to whomever gets the pleasure of dealing with me in my golden years.

This is not a post about my footwear. This is a post that I am writing before I get the laundry into the basket, and hauled down to the laundry room. Hence the collection of sock piles, and my eternal gratitude to the day I made the executive decision that my socks would only be black, even in summer. This ensures that they all match. This may be balanced out by Real Life Romance Hero’s predeliction for novelty socks, but he wears them well. This post is actually about writing.

This week, I accidentally acquired a new project, with a great team of smart, creative, like-minded women. This project will be work, yes, and it will also be fun, the fun part being the part that got me to yes. More on that in future posts. This is also the week that Housemate is out of state for over a full week, RLRH is doing some cool stuff, including making awesome quesadillas, and my planning system is getting one heck of a workout. Not that I mind, exactly, because I would much rather have too much to do than too little, and the act of organizing stuff makes me want to do more stuff, so I am calling it all good.

Yesterday was one for the books. Pun intended. A two hour (maybe more?) chat via messenger for new venture dovetailed with a domestic tornado chain, now past, which involved a stress bomb (now diffused) and an anxiety attack for me (fine now) and the whole thing reminds me of when I was but a wee princess, and my mother would bundle me in seasonally appropriate garments on the first day of blue sky, and go out to see what things looked like after the storm. This post is kind of like that.

Several times this week and I am probably not done yet, I have used the phrase, “I am an author, first,” and I am probably not done saying it yet. I can do other things, but writing my own fiction does, and has to, come first. When asked what two words I would say to my younger self, my answer is always the same. Keep writing. Whether the younger self in question is six, twelve, twenty-three, forty-five, or whatever, my answer is always the same. Keep writing. To elaborate, tell the story until it’s told. If I can tell her a couple more things, a recent addition is to do one thing at a time, give it full attention, and then move on to the next. Scheduling is great for this, and it comes with lots of pretty planning toys.

Follow the love, that’s another good one. For me, romance fiction is a big, big love, so aiming my time and talents in that general direction is going to work for the common good. This means writing it, reading it, spreading the love of it. I am totally up for all of that, and managing my time and energy so that the best of me goes to the best of that. Keeping my blogging schedule and focus is a big part of that. Which is why you’re getting this before I head off to play with my imaginary friends. Good stuff is coming, and clean socks, I hope, will be part of that.

Tabled

Yesterday, Real Life Romance Hero came home from his morning walk with a table. A big, round, heavy, black wooden dining room table. He did this while I was in the shower. He did not intend to obtain furniture, but, when I shut off the shower, there was the key in the lock sound, followed by the something big is coming through the door sound, and, by the time I had my robe on, and head out the door, there was the love of my life and a huge black dot.

imagine seeing this first thing in the morning

RLRH identified the dot as our new dining room table. I pointed to our existing dining room table, and asked where this new piece of furniture came into his possession. In our building, there is an area where people who no longer need large items, can put them up for adoption. Such was RLRH’s encounter of said table. He knew we didn’t need it right now, but we will want a bigger table when we move (in a few months; we are not planning to move right now-now) so he brought it home.

The first question that came to mind was, “where are we going to put this?” In our future apartment is the obvious answer, but we are in our current apartment, which already has a table, which we already love, and the only place we can possibly put it is what I will call our great room, because it is dining room, living room, my office, my studio, Housemate’s workspace, and Housemate’s bedroom. It is a very small space. We also all had places to be, so we tabled the issue (pun intended) and headed off to take on the day. Then we came home, and were faced with the reality of the big black thing that would not allow both Housemate and er parcels through the door at the same time.

Cue much rearranging of furniture. The old dining room table is now my work table, on the opposite side of the great room, directly under our window, with Tudor Rose Hart-Bowling, our as yet unnamed pepper plant (currently, I am liking “Queen Boudica,” and she is quite liking the sunlight. Lancaster has been relocated to the bedroom, where he can get his own sunlight, without his brother, and presumably, new sister, trying to choke him to death.} This also allows me to have my planners and related paraphernalia in one, permanent place, where I can see them all, all the time, as well as have plenty of room to spread out and not bump over salt shakers, bump into anybody else’s work, etc. My kneeling chair scoots from computer to work table, to dining table with ease, and it all very much does contribute to the “room of one’s own” feeling. I have not had that since we left the old apartment. Before, that, really, so this feels all that much lovelier, to have my own corner of the world.

new table, reporting for duty

Still early days yet, so i will still have to see what effect this has for my productivity, but I am optimistic. At the very least, it has worked well for today, and I think that’s a pretty good start. With the weather we’ve had here in NY for the last couple of days, it feels as though summer has plopped itself down , which makes the whole new season thing feel very, very natural.

Next up on my list is website wrangling, as in actual whole website, with hosting and all that other good stuff, for Melva’s and my work, both separately and together. There will be posts on that later, because that’s a whole new adventure. Typing With Wet Nails (and/or Stuffed Paws) will remain the same, and Melva and I are working on some fun stuff to bring our readers, and hopefully convince her readers and my readers to become our readers, the whole Melva and Anna experience.  Chasing Prince Charming creeps ever closer to release, as the final galley template is in the works, and we should learn more in about two weeks.

The best way to fill the time between now and then, is by writing. Melva and I are both looking forward to a productive season, with new and current projects, and, if the place I do that from has a view of lush greenery and a cool breeze, then so much the better.

The Mondayest Monday That Ever There Mondayed (Okay, not really)

Welp, it’s Monday. An extremely Monday-ish Monday, as a matter of fact. Allow me to explain. When I started off this day, I had a plan. I had a schedule. I like both of these things. By nine AM, both of them were moot. It is a full house here at Stately Bowling Manor. Both other adults are home for the day, with no plans, theoretically able to fend for themselves. THere may or may not be a pharmacy run in the afternoon, and, technically, this could be a good time to drag the bottles to recycling, which may not, at the first glance, have all that much to do with writing, ut I am determined to find a way to make that happen. A lot of us writers can’t turn that stuff off, so we have learned to live with it and steer into the skid, so to speak.

This is where being a planner person can come in handy, because the moment a domestic tornado chain blows through the combination living room/dining room/my office/Housemate’s bedroom (let us call it the Great Hall, shall we? That feels very much in keeping with all things historical romance-y, so it’s going to stay.) the instinctive response is not “aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!” but “let me move a few things around.” Writing has to take precedence, so blog entry happens first, then I need to knock off a rough scene, because I know me, and I know that, if I don’t, I am going to be kicking myself through whatever else it is that the day might bring. This is the sort of day when the writer shoves leftovers in the general direction of all present family members, and plops themselves in front of the computer, to make the most of the time one does have.

Cryptic, I know, but my goal here is to blorch out the magic seven hundred words, move on to a scene for Drama King, and then the world of practical concerns can have some of my attention. Some of it. Only two days ago, I sat in a darkened library conference room, listening to a Damon Suede, workshop on backstory (recorded, not in person, alas. If you ever get a chance to see Damon Suede teach on anything writing related, take it. That is all.) that left me with pages full of notes, and the confidence that yes, I really am ready to start gathering questions and assorted stuff for exploring and expounding on Cornelis and Lydia’s story, whom readers can meet in “The Fox and the Lily,” in the upcoming anthology from Z Publishing. I’m still liking Plunder for the title of the full length novel, and knowing exactly what goes down with Cornelis and Lydia will lay the foundation for their daughter’s (and, ultimately grandchild’s) story.  

That’s not for today, though. Today, though my plans have been changed, there is still stuff I can do (Melva and I touch on exactly this kind of thing in our Save the Author, Save the Book workshop) so I don’t feel entirely shoved out of the way, writing-wise. Lists definitely help. I want all my tasks out where I can see them, and the week as well, so I can move things around when I need to do that. Domestic tornadoes do not mean that the things cannot get done, only that they will not get done at the time or in the way I had originally thought. This is also one of the reasons I like to have more than one project going at the same time, at different stages.

Polishing a scene into traditionally readable form may not be possible on a day like today, but can I hole up on the couch (or lock myself in the bathroom, because that, too, is a thing) and rough a scene out in longhand? I most certainly can. Sometimes, the best stuff gets born that way. Not always. It’s not a guarantee, but definitely more of a plus than a minus. When the active brain is required elsewhere, I can “look up X online” and convey information to the person who requested it, which will leave me feeling marginally accomplished enough to move on to the next task. The fact that my imaginary friends do tend to tag along on mundane errands also works in my favor. Sometimes they are helpful and sometimes they are not, but I am glad to have them, in either event.

Time to wrap this blabbery post and move on along. The sky outside is beautifully cloudy and gray, but I’m still burning daylight. TLDR takeaway from this post: if my goal is having written, then writing is the only thing that will get me there. By blabbing here, I don’t have to look at the note in my planner that oh no, I didn’t blog again on Monday, I suck, what am I even doing here, etc. Nope. Blog does not have to be perfect. Blog has to be written, and that it is, so I will count that as a success. At least that’s what I am telling myself.