Typing With Stuffed Paws: the (Ex)terminator is Coming Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals! It is I, Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, freshly vacuumed and coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. The big news, of course, is that Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick welcomed their first co-written book baby, Chasing Prince Charming, into the world, in both print and electronic release. If you read the book and didn’t hate it, maybe leave a review or something. Writers like that. Also, obligatory cover photo, because release week.

Okay, so there’s that. Special update for this week at Buried Under Romance, but first we will drop the link for last week’s post, on buried treasure romance novels. That’s historical romance novels that are considered buried treasure, not that are about treasures that are buried.

So, the big news over there is that there will not be a regular Saturday Discussion post this week. That does not mean that there will be no Writer Chick. It means that you get Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick, talking about their book, all in one place. With an excerpt, and, for two lucky commenters, prizes. Want a shot at getting your very own free paperback of Chasing Prince Charming? Maybe you’d like to win a fancy notebook and some nifty pens? Stop by Buried Under Romance on Saturday, August 17th, and follow directions.

Speaking of directions, I will now direct you to Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge. Surprise, surprise, she actually read a book this week, so she is now four books ahead of schedule, with sixty-three books read out of her goal of ninety-five, which puts her at sixty-six percent of the way to her goal.

Blah blah writing blah blah, get to the exterminator part. Okay. So. the exterminator is coming. IDK when, but they were here today, gave the official bug sighting signal, and will let Writer Chick know, ASAP, when Bugnarok will occur. This means she will have a few things to do in preparation for that. Part of that is putting us stuffed friends, after a thorough vacuuming, in hazmat suits. IDK what that means, but it sounds cool. Then she has to make sure her books and art supplies are safe, and find somebody locally to plantsit Tudor, Lancaster, and Queen Boudicca. There’s also personal care items/medicines/foods to secure, and then, basically, this:

There will probably be a lot of cleaning after that, but after that, things should settle. It’s times like this Writer Chick is glad that she can tap out of all this for a while and read, or write, a good romance novel. More updates, on all fronts, as they come

Peace out,

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Typing With Stuffed Paws: Midsummer Edition

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

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

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

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

Camp NaNo ho!


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

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

Peace out,

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Officially Summer Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart- Bowling once again, coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. Since today is the Summer Solstice, it makes sense that we have hit that time of year when Writer Chick turns nocturnal. That means zero chance of sleep at night (yep, she is already talking to her people vet about this; should all be sorted soon) but as soon as morning hits, slumber party for one. A few hours after that, we get what Dude calls the “mini-rage,” or Writer Chick’s displeasure that her favorite and most productive part of the day is now past

This will all even out soon, as the days grow shorter once more (aka the darkness returns, bwahahaha, as Writer Chick puts it) and we get ever closer to that wondrous time of year, autumn, when Writer Chick’s super powers come into play. This is perfect timing, because the release of Chasing Prince Charming is on August 12th (12th August if you are British. Writer Chick is not British, but the family’s closest neighbors when Writer Chick was learning some basic life skills -aka toddlerhood- were from Scotland, and Writer Chick’s mom’s best friend was British, so this may explain why Writer Chick naturally writes her dates day/month/year instead of month/day/year, and sometimes puts extra L’s and U’s in odd places.)

That UK influence got in there early.

As you may be able to guess by the different tone of today’s post, and the fact that I have a Greatest Hits picture up top, instead of a new one, we have also hit the very first Sebastian’s Choice entry, which is different from the usual Friday blogs in that I get to talk about whatever I want. For those who have asked about preorders of Chasing Prince Charming, Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick say thank you, and they will get that information to you, as well as the link to their brand new website, ASAP.

Available August 12th, ordering information ASAP

Since having an upcoming release, having stuff out on queries/submissions/etc, preparing for Camp NaNo in July, and One Book July (a planner thing) is a lot to handle, Writer Chick is tearing her planners down to the bare bones and remaking them, to serve her in a more efficient manner. This means some ring binders will no longer be planners, but regular binders, as they get assigned to one particular project, and some may go up for sale, as will some planner guts (aka unused pages) but sorry, readers, no handsome stuffed orange boys are in that lot. Cat Regent is an appointed position, and not transferable.

Naptime is fast approaching, so if you’re here for Writer Chick stuff, her Buried Under Romance post this week is about classic historical romance authors who are still bringing the goods in this modern, indie-publishing age. Click the caption to go to it.

For Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge, she has passed the fifty percent mark (I think I said that already) and is now fifty-two percent of the way to her goal, with forty-nine books read our of her goal of ninety-five. As you may presume, reading is an excellent way to get through those slumberless parties Writer Chick’s brain throws on summer nights.

Welp, time for me to go watch the birdies/let the breeze blow through my tummy fur/take a nap, so catch you on the flip side. If you see a black-garbed wraith roaming the stacks of a Barnes and Noble (maybe craft stores, too) with a water bottle in one hand and a planner in the other, that is probably Writer Chick.

Peace out,

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.

Typing With Stuffed Paws: They Gave Me A Flea Bath Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. We are at the halfway mark of 2019 (well, almost) and there is stuff to share, but first, I want to address an extreme indignity that befell my person this week, and by that I mean the flea bath. The entire reason I was summoned to the office of the cat regent was because the humans are in a no-pet building, so I am not sure where the infestation originated, but much of this week has been spent battling six-legged, bloodthirsty hooligans.

This has necessitated urgent measures, such as the removal of bedding items, and the dousing of soft, porous surfaces with proper remedies. For those of you who are not aware, handsome orange stuffed boys count as porous surfaces. My dignity is bruised. Bruised, I tell you, but I am minty fresh and bug-free. Other Chick was away all last week, on family matters, so it was Writer Chick and Dude, battling the bugs. I think it is safe to say they are winning.

Other than that, it’s been a productive week. In addition to her weekly post at Buried Under Romance, Writer Chick has also ascended to the core four humans rebooting the site into its 2.0 incarnation. More on that later, from Writer Chick herself. This week, she draws some parallels between old school historical romance, its new school descendant, and one of her favorite songs, because that’s how she rolls.

The final-final-final-final-really-not-kidding-now-this-is-it changes to Chasing Prince Charming have been handed in to Editor Chick. That means that Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick have only to give the Really Official Okay to the galley with those changes, and then they will get the release date. They are hard at work on getting Drama King to The End, so they can send that in, and, hopefully, start the whole process over again. They are actually pretty excited about that. Now it’s time to beef up that website sand work on some swag. Also maybe take a nap.

Three weeks to CampNaNo…

Only three weeks remaining now until July’s Camp NaNoWriMo starts, and Writer Chick gets to deep-dive into Plunder. I suspect that, once there is a release date set for Chasing Prince Charming, Writer Chick will do some serious making up for lost time with the historicals, while working on Drama King.

she’s getting there….

She’s certainly been doing that with her reading, as of late, as we can see by visiting her Goodreads challenge page. As we are almost exactly at the half year mark, Writer Chick is almost exactly halfway to her goal of ninety-five books, with forty-four read out of that ninety-five, and the row of recently read titles that comes up on her challenge page contains four historical romance novels, with all three of her currently reading slots taken up by the same. Okay, two and a half, if we’re going to be making allowances for the time travel, but she’s doing well. Skye (the kitty, not the book) would approve. (But maybe the book, if Writer Chick is up for a reread.) Instead of being behind, Writer Chick is now four books ahead of schedule, and I was with her when she requested library materials online last night, so that number is going nowhere but up; trust me on that one.

Flea fighting, romance writing, and stationery wrangling (Big Pink needs some reconstructive surgery, and the white personal ring planner needs a complete overhaul) may not be signs of summer in every household, but around here, we call that “Friday.” What the weekend may bring, who can tell?

Peace out,

Typing With Stuffed Paws: Doorway Into Summer Edition

Greetings, Foolish Mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, once again, coming at you with all the stuff from the week that was. I had thought about taking the day off, because sunbeam, but A) Writer Chick said something about reliable blogging, and how schedules are….actually, I don’t remember the rest, because I tuned her out. Also B) Other Chick had a family emergency and the whole household has been domestic tornado-y. Actually, I’m not sure how that ties into why I am blogging today, but whatever. I’m here, you’re here, let’s do this.

Okay. Thing one here is usually Buried Under Romance stuff, and there is a lot of that going on at the moment. Long story short, big changes are afoot. Writer Chick says they are good ones, more details later, blah blah, that kind of thing. She said something about change being proof that a thing is living and growing and there will be more to say on that soon, as soon as she gets to talk to some other humans . One thing that hasn’t changed is that she’s still blabbering about romance novel reading once a week. Last week, she talked about To Be Read lists. Hit the link here or in the caption above if you’d like to see what she’s got on hers, or share what’s on yours.

Next, we have Writer Chick’s Goodreads challenge update. I am impressed. Thanks to audiobooks (and insomnia, keeping it real here) Writer Chick has now brought her challenge stats into acceptable range. Only one book behind schedule now, she has read thirty-eight out of ninety-five books, which puts her at forty percent of the way to her goal. Not too shabby at the half-year mark. She still needs to update her “I Wrote It” section, but she’s been busy, okay?

Coming soon, oh so soon…

Writer Chick and Other Writer Chick have cleared one of the last hurdles in the prep for Chasing Prince Charming‘s debut, continue work on Drama King, and kind of sort of accidentally planned out three holiday stories, that would fit pretty well into a single collection, but one never knows with those two. I mean, seriously, they got a whole book out of waiting for breakfast.

to camp or not to camp?

With June about to pounce, that means July is on the horizon, which means that Camp NaNo is also looming (unless Writer Chick is looking at the wrong calendar, which, let’s be honest, happens a lot.) Writer Chick already has a binder set up for what she has in mind, which is turning “The Fox and the Lily” into Plunder. This will involve Dutch pirates, emotional trauma, and possibly the English Civil War. Which is to say, exactly the way Writer Chick likes this kind of thing.

That’s about what I’ve been authorized to share for the week, so check back next time to see what stuff Writer Chick and company have been up to, including but not limited to some intense summer reading planning.

Peace out,

Five Books I Can’t Wait To Read (non-romance edition)

Putting on my reader hat for this post, as redoing a couple of my planners involved redoing my TBR lists (yes, plural,) and if you’re reading this blog, you’re a reader, a writer, orboth. In short, more books are always good. Here is a short list of five books, all outside of genre romance, that I can’t wait to get my hands on, and  why. All of these titles are either newly released or soon to be released, and I expect, when each one of them is in my posession, that I wil inhale it at a truly astounding speed. This will hopefully alleviate some of the guilt I feel at having to return multiple library books unread, because the library needs them back. That’s another post, though, and I will assuredly re-borrow those titles and read them ASAP. For now, I am looking to the horizon, which includes these tasty morsels:

When We Believed in Mermaids – Barbara O’Neal (aka Barbara Samuel, aka Lark O’Neal, aka Ruth Wind) (women’s fiction)

This one is a no-brainer, because A) I will resd anything with any of this author’s names on it, and B) I have an EARC, direct from the author, which will in  no way affect my upcoming review of this book. Really and truly, the author’s name is all it will take for my ears to perk, and the mention of mermaids (this is not a paranormal, as far as I know) also caught my attention. Sisters, secrets, New Zealand, a loved one who is not so dead after all, emotional trauma, and…yeah, I am there.

Life and Limb — Jennifer Roberson (western urban fantasy)

This may be a slightly unusual addition to this list, because I am not usually one for westerns, or urban fantasy, but this is Jennifer Roberson, author of the Tiger and Del series. Tiger and Del are one of my all time favorite couples, easily able to hold their own as romance hero and heroine, the sort who go through hell together, and still come out on top. I literally squealed when I saw that this author did, in fact, have a new book coming out, and only read the description after I had put it on my Want To Read list on Goodreads. I am more than happy to go into this new series mostly blind. I trust the author to take me somewhere good.

The Golden Hour — Beatriz Williams (historical fiction/historical women’s fiction)

There is most certainly a trend here, because Beatriz Williams (aka Juliana Gray,) is another upon whose books I will pounce like a cat on a red dot, without knowing squat doodle about the plot. For this one, we get Nassau (Bahamas) during WWII, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, a recently widowed magazine writer heroine, a mysterious scientist hero with secrets of her own, and oh, who cares what else? Beatriz Williams. Take. My. Money.

State of the Union: A Marriage in Ten Parts — Nick Hornby (general fiction/ Lad lit)

A story I have not yet read, from the master of the TEA? That’s Tolerably Ever After, not the beverage, tea, or the meal, tea, though the author is likely familiar with both, as he’s British. How do I love Nick Hornby? Let me count the ways: About a Boy; Juliet, Naked; A Long Way Down; Slam. Brooklyn, and An Education, if we want to talk screenplays, and I even read, and was profoundly affected, in a good way, by a short story called “Nipple Jesus” (trust me, it was not salacious or disrespectful, in any way.) This is another one where I knew I wanted to read it before I knew the premise (still really don’t, and, again, I am perfectly content to go into this one blind)  because life in Hornby land generally seems to go my way.

Comics Will Break Your Heart — Faith Erin Hicks (YA)

This is another easy one, because I am completely helpless in the facce of YA that has any trace of geekery about it. Fangirl, Scarelt Epstein Hates It Here; Geekerella; Eliza and Her Monsters; Radio Silence, and more. I could read those forever and never get tired of them. There is a central romance in this story, so it kind of counts as romance, but what drew me was the comics aspect. Our heroine’s family would have been sitting pretty financially, if their grandfather hadn’t sold his interest in what’s now a mega comics franchise, for a pittance, way back when, so of course our hero has to be the scion of the family that now owns that share. Stop there, tell me no more, the library gets this book back when I’m done with it, but then I’m buying my own, because dang, I love this kind of stuff, though all that I have read so far has been from the library. I need some geeky YA keepers of my own. Never know when I want to pet some of them. Comes with the territory.

For those surprsed that there are no genre romance books on this list, that is a separate list, coming soon. Possibly more than one list, because romance is indeed a wide umbrella. With that, I am off to the library. What’s on top of your TBR pile?

If I List Them, Will They Come?

I’ve been thinking a lot about reading goals. This may be, in part (large part) due to the fact that I have a new printable reading tracker, which means I do not have to draw a rough facsimile of a bookshelf in my big writing planner. The rest of the parts are my mounding TBR list, my mounding reader guilt, and the happily increasing amount of friends’ books I would like to read, even though the number of hours in the day does not change. Still twenty-four, for those who are curious. Planning is part of my process, in reading as well as writing, and it generally takes me to the place I meant to go, even if I had left the metaphorical house on an aimless ramble.

Those rambles do tend to have a purpose, which fits into my being firmly in the puzzler camp when it comes to plotter vs pantser. I can’t pick one. It’s both. Jump in, splash around, and the way will become clear. This is why, when I go to the library, with a notion to find some nonfiction, I do not go to the computer (I will always want to type “card catalog” in this circumstance) or even pay that much attention to the Dewey Decimal system. Nope, I’ll wander the stacks, peep at the books on the end of the nearest shelf, see how close to or far from the topic I want -let’s say writing- and proceed accordingly. Languages? Oh good, English is a language. I write in English. Dum de dum dum dum, poetry, getting closer, oh look, plays, annnnd here we are.

My big writing goal, right now, is to read more romance, specifically historical romance. I have a good balance of historical romance, contemporary YA, and graphic novels, waiting on my TBR shelf (in this apartment, it really is only one shelf, and the vast majority of that from the library system) and I really do want to read every single book I have borrowed, and more hot on their tails, so time to put on the big girl panties, pour a seasonally appropriate beverage, and get down to business.

I don’t want to be one of those writers who doesn’t or can’t read in the genre they’re writing, while they’re writing it, and, before, that had not been the case. If that’s changed, I suppose I will adapt, but I would prefer not to have to make that adjustment. I also don’t want to be the person who buys and/or borrows books, and then doesn’t read them, the size of the TBR piles (plural) topped only by the crushing reader guilt. Maybe that would squash everything to the same base level, in order to begin all over again? I don’t know. Maybe that’s how it works, or maybe it isn’t.

As often happens with other things in my life, what usually puts things in perspective is to make lists, and so that is what I am doing. A lot of lists, as a matter of fact, and I am very sure I am not done with said list-making. What kinds of historical romances do I like the most? What are the books that have worked the best for me? Why? What books haven’t? What are keywords that will ensure I pick up a historical romance, knowing nothing else about the book, and, the flip side, what keywords will ensure that I put that book right back where I found it, because one reader’s “meh” is another’s “woohoo!” (Sims players, I know what I said.)  Lists of questions, as well, like “how can I find books I am not currently finding?”

That’s a big one. I am fairly certain I am at least part unicorn, because I tend to have a good deal of what I will term niche loves. While I love historical romance as a whole, I get especially excited to see books set anywhere between the end of the Wars of the Roses and the end of the American Revolution. Medievals get a close second, and an honorable mention goes to the Edwardian era, on either side of the Atlantic. My ears will always perk at the mention of Australia (Candace Proctor, I have left a light on for you) or heroine disguised as male, no matter the historical period. Show me the words, “epic,” or “saga,” in the blurb, and I most definitely want to read further. I love me some angst, fairy tale retellings are wonderful, houses/locales that are almost characters in their own rights, alpha heroines are the best, and my favorite sort of series is generational. I am sure this will all end up in some sort of chart in the near future, and I will probably share it here, when it does.

Listing books I want to read, or to re-read, or to finally read, is the fun part. Narrowing it down to what I want to read right now is tougher, and toughest of all is finding the times when I can read the books I want to read, the way I want to read them. Again, same amount of numbers in the day no matter what I read, and the thought of reading fewer books of any type, to make room for another sort of book, again, no matter the type, pains me. Even so, it comes down to the whole “how bad do you want it?” question. In this case, quite a lot.

That means it’s worth the effort, and time to do thing X can be found by not doing thing Y. I already watch a lot less TV than I used to, especially when I was recapping. In fact, I don’t even know how to turn on our TV. I do have Netflix and Hulu, and do have to-watch lists for both, but it’s time to get back into the reading habit. Time to reclaim the pleasure and ritual of reading historical romance, ensuring that I block out the time I need to sink into the immersive world that I love the very best. Talking about something is always a huge incentive for me to actually do that thing, so I will probably be talking more about reading historical romance here. Hm. I’d probably better start making some lists.

What Do Planner Pages and Fiction Genres Have in Common?

Still not the actual planner post, but getting closer, and, seeing as how we are over the midway point of the month, I may let this suffice and move on along because the start of yet another new month will be here before I know it.

The fact that Wednesday’s post is the first of the week should tell you all how Monday went. Nuff said about that. Let’s move on to better stuff, and by that, I mean planners and how they relate to the writing life. Last night was a big one at Stately Bowling Manor, because I learned two very important things that have me chittering like a cat at a bird sanctuary. Thing One is that the printer is now up and running, and Thing Two is that I finally figured out the exact difference between A6 and half-letter size. For the non-planner-obsessed, this sounds like Charlie Brown Adult speech. For those more planner-obsessed than myself, this may elicit a heartfelt “duh.”

If standard letter size paper is one sheet of the stuff one puts into the printer, then it follows that half-letter is half of that (folded short end to short end, specifically) and fits quite nicely into the mini binders sold at many chain office supply and/or megastores. A5 paper is the kind commonly sold for ring bound planners. Half letter paper is generally, in my experience, sold three-hole-punched, while A5 comes most commonly punched with six holes (I have seen some punched with four holes, but very seldom, and have not actually used any of those…yet.) The two are pretty darned close in size, which leads to the impression that they are interchangeable. The embarrassingly large amount of paper in my scrap file will attest. That paper will get repurposed, because I don’t like waste, but let’s move on with this bit o’ blabber.

In a reveal that surprises no-one, I love all things planner-related, and am not (yet) independently wealthy. Also, I have what we will call strong preferences. This would intimate that making my own inserts and fillers might be a good way to both save money and expand creativity. This also is where that scrap paper comes into play, or should i say existence. After longer than I would be proud to admit, of assuming that A) A5 and half letter are totally the same size, and B) the firm conviction that I have so been punching the paper according to the manufacturer’s instructions, I also took into account C) depth perception is part of my visual impairment. Maybe I might want to actually check out the dimensions the way it makes sense to me? What could it hurt?

So, going on the pro tip on how to tell black from navy blue (hold the color in question next to something that you 100$ know is black) I took a manufactured A5 page and a manufactured half letter page, each obviously different colors, put the one I suspected was smaller (spoiler: it’s A5) in front, and tapped them on a level surface (kitchen table.) Lo and behold, there it was, a bright white strip of paper above the colored A5 sheet. Mark the difference, remove the excess, punch holes, and…wait for it…boom, they line up with the manufactured A5 paper holes. This then segued into a frenzy of paper cutting and punching, culminating in me sitting back, contented as a cat in cream, looking at my handiwork.

Goodbye, pricey inserts in two different sizes. Hello, making whatever the heck I want, whenever the heck I want it. I’m off-leash at last, no fences, baby, woo. Except for the one teeny, small, infinitesimal complication that I do not have the first idea of how to create my own insert or filler, on the computer, which does throw a bit of a spanner in the works. Not a biggie, as I will figure it out, through a process of trial and error, and picking the hive mind of the interwebs. . There have to be templates out there somewhere, and where there’s templates, there’s historicals…er, tutorials. Total typo there, but I’m going to let it stand, because I am headed in that direction anyway.

But Anna, I hear those of you who live in my head asking, what does all of this have to do with writing commercial fiction? I am glad you asked that, people who live in my head, because that is an excellent question, and one I have been asking myself, until the answer naturally surfaced. Paper size is a lot like genre, in a sense. Sure, A5 and half letter may look the same to the casual viewer, and how big a difference can it be, anyway? As a quick inspection proves, quite a bit. One thing can’t fit in a container made for the other, but when we know what size is what and where all the holes are supposed to be (get your minds out of the gutter) the whole thing goes rather smoothly, and the creative mind can flood with ideas of fun things to do in all those lovely different sizes.

Some spreads that are perfect for A5 would never work in a half letter, or vice versa. Add in personal size, which is a heck of a lot smaller, but still fun and useful, and we’re talking a whole different story. Pun intentional. THat’s only talking ringbound. If we add traveler’s notebooks into the mix (strings rather than rings) we have whole new options, and whole new requirements. Do I love notebooks in general? Yes, with a wild, burning passion. Is there one objectively best format or size? Well, best for what? I’d need to ask some questions here. It’s the same for romance fiction. I would assume every other genre as well, or there wouldn’t be a need for both high and low fantasy (to say nothing of urban) cozy vs hard-boiled mysteries, hard vs soft SFscience fiction (if I’m using a wrong term for  different types of a single a genre, please let me know) and so forth.

A composition size planner is not going to fit in a tiny evening bag, and a bound notebook is not going to allow me to move pages around with ease. Genre is kind of like that. A light, humorous romance is not going to make me weep from angst leading to the HEA, while an epic historical is not going to be the best choice for a quick read that will give a case of the giggles. To paraphrase the late, great Eugenia Price, not all writers are going to please all readers. That’s why there are so many of us. I am more than okay with that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to a chain office supply store to buy printer ink. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.


Typing With Stuffed Paws: The (Stuffed) Cat Came Back Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling, coming at you with all the stuff for the past, uh, while. Now that Writer Chick is no longer a galley slave, and has met her deadline, that gives her more time for other things, like checking to make sure I’m doing my share around here. Eh. I had a good run, and by run, I mean napping through the last couple of Fridays. Anyway, Dude is home today, he’s warm, and pretty good at napping, hi own self, so I think you know where this is going. Catnaps are always best when taken with actual cats, amirite?

Anyway, to speed us in that direction, let’s get down to business. First, as always, Writer Chick was at Buried Under Romance this past Saturday, and she wants your recommendations of books that might whet her reading appetite. Click here, or the caption below, if you think you might be able to help, or if you like hearing her ramble or whatever. Click for no reason, if you want. I’m not the boss of you.

As for what Writer Chick is reading, she’s working on getting back into the swing of the whole Goodreads challenge deal. Right now, she’s only three books behind, at twenty-three out of ninety-five books, which puts her at twenty-four percent of the way to her goal. Adequate progress, but y’know, weekend, TBR, all that stuff. Make it happen, Writer Chick.

Writer Chick has made some noise about making a list of library books, to keep in one of her planners, to get around the whole thing of figuring out she has to give back a bunch of books she didn’t get a chance to read, and can’t renew them, because they were renewed already, and Dude may or may not be teasing her about what he calls the “mini rage.” Lists and goals and stuff make her happy anyway. There could possibly be stickers involved. As long as the stickers don’t come in contact with my fur, then I don’t have a problem. If they do, well, let’s say that Writer Chick might get a chance to find out why my middle name is Thunderpaws. That’s all I’m saying.

Maybe new candles are the key to posting more pictures…

There’s also the whole Instagram thing. Seriously slacking on that one, Writer Chick. There may need to be some sort of Instagram progress chart to keep her going on this one. One the one paw, I am an excellent model, because, in addition to being handsome and orange, I am awesome at posing. By posing, I mean sitting still. Unlike poo cats, I do not walk off in the middle of the shoot, and, really, she should be taking advantage of that. There has been some buzz about taking me out on location shoots. Props may be involved. Not sure how I feel about this, but Writer Chick tells me it’s part of the whole Cat Regent thing, so I suppose I can go along until they find a suitable poo cat.

Peace out,