Typing With Wet Claws: Heat Wave Has Broken Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

skyebye2018

 

 

 

If it’s (Almost) March, These Must Be Llamas

Spring and I have a complicated relationship. We don’t like each other much, but I live with two spring-lovers, Real Life Romance Hero (for him, spring is tied with fall for his favorite) and Housemate. I’m happy for them, that their favorite season is almost here, but for me, it means my lovely, cozy autumn and winter are done, and the season of avoiding the burny orange thing in the sky Is right around  the corner. On the other hand, spring is also baby ducks season, I have my upcoming online workshop starting March 5th, and, though it looks like I won’t be able to make NECRWA’s conference this year, plans are in place for some out of state writing besties to converge upon my domicile (and possibly the Schuyler Mansion) later in the season.

Said writing besties are the same critique/accountability group I had been in for coughty-cough years, the same one where I was the only person who never came to the table without some sort of pages, the same one where I would feel like I was flying on the car ride home, full of, well, pure, top grade love of writing. Plus, they’re all pretty darned nifty in their own rights, and write in genres as diverse as historical YA fiction, cozy romantic suspense, and picture books. I can promise there will not be a dull moment, there will be hugs, and at least one of us is going to cry when it’s time for them to go home at the end of the day.

The other bright spot that comes from staring a new season in the face is that I get to start a new planner.

WAIT A MINUTE! YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT NOTEBOOKS AGAIN! WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THIS SO-CALLED “WRITING BLOG?”

Oh hey, there, Hypercritical Gremlins. It’s been a while. What’s up?

NOT YOUR WORD COUNT, THAT’S FOR SURE. ALSO, NOTEBOOK TALK, AGAIN?

My blog, my topics. It’s writing related, I promise.

WE’VE HEARD THAT BEFORE.

As I was saying, I finished my last February pages in my current planner, last night, which means time to start a new one, at the start of March. As a true Leuhtrumm convert, I planned to get another notebook by the same maker, but there was one small problem; I did not get anywhere near the one store, locally, that sells them (to my knowledge.) Quelle horror. That’s when my eyes drifted to my unused notebook shelf, and spotted the orange Exceed book I didn’t end up using last fall. Love the pages, sturdy book, but it’s orange.

NOTEBOOK POST. CALLED IT.

Ahem.  Anyway, I’d been vacillating on the theme for March pages. I’d originally wanted gray, but then remembered there’s St. Patrick’s Day. I’d feel weird having an orange planner in a month when Irish heritage and culture is at the forefront, and, besides, orange and green, together, remind me of peas and carrots, specifically the canned variety, and, um, nothankyouplease. I will cut through the craft shop trawling for washi tape for another, unrelated project (my O’Malley saga reread; have to prepare for something of that magnitude) and go straight to the moment I saw these puppies on an endcap, at one third the usual going rate:

01llamatape

Cue heart-skip. Yes. This. Black, white, gray, and red, smidgen of green, a few sparklies. Also, llamas. Llamas make me think of my friend, H, whose favorite animal is the llama, and who is always great for some tough writing love. Other tapes include elephants and hippos, both gray, some flowers, some geometric shapes, some glitter. Boom. Perfect. Layouts unfolded in my head, and I couldn’t wait to get home and put those plans into action. One of the tapes even says “wild and free,” over and over, in different fonts.

:COUGH; NOTEBOOK POST :COUGH:

Did I ask for your input?

NO.

What did you say?

NO, MA’AM?

Better. This morning, I had the same heart-skip while scrolling through Facebook. A post from Susan Elizabeth Phillips showed on my feed, asking for recommendations of genre romance novels, happy ending and all, with elements that broke away from some of the conventions of the genre. My mind raced. Simple Jess, by Pamela Morsi, with a mentally slow hero, Morning Glory, by LaVyrle Spencer, with an ex-con hero, and, shall we say working class heroine, who is already pregnant with baby number three when they meet, in the years around WWII. Laura Kinsale’s heroes who survive strokes and PTSD and the heroines who see the whole person, not only one aspect. Yes. This.

This kind of thing gets my motor running. Granted, exactly what the “norm” is, will differ from person to person, depending on whom one asks, but that kind of thing gets me excited. Do my characters and my stories fit under that umbrella? Right now, Drama King has a grumpy actor-turned-line-cook intent on emotional self-flagellation, and the optimistic literary agent who is sure she can turn almost any mess into something beautiful. Her Last First Kiss has a heroine who is already another character’s mistress when the story begins, and a “portrait painter” hero (the air quotes are important) with family issues, plus the mutual friend caught in the middle. Chasing Prince Charming, which Melva and I are preparing to resubmit, has a hero who is a passionate advocate of the romance genre, and a heroine who may need some convincing. A Heart Most Errant has a jaded knight-errant, and the extroverted (and possibly delusional) baker whom he has to escort to a destination that may or may not exist. It also has a monastery that is not as abandoned as they thought it was. (Oopsie.) Did I mention this is after the Black Plague knocked out half the population of the British Isles in around twenty years?

NONE OF THAT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH LLAMAS.

:Ah, but it does. There are, as of yet, no llamas in any of my stories, historical or contemporary, solo or co-written, but the spirit of the llamas is there. Bullet journaling has taught me a few things that carry over into the writing of commercial fiction. Mistakes happen. Inspiration will lag. When it does, it may be time to take a long walk through a favorite craft or office supply store. Stop and smell the Post-Its (or maybe just look at them. The vast majority are not scented.) Stroke the creamy ivory pages of notebooks far outside your pay grade. Quickly grab an awesome roll of clearance washi before anybody else gets a chance to know it exists. Be open to new ideas, and, when all else fails, go back to the well. Re-read old favorites. Play with an idea that always seemed like fun. Do what you need to refill the well, so that you can draw from it. If the method of choice involves llamas, well, that’s a bonus.

OKAY, THAT KIND OF FITS TOGETHER>HMPH.

Thank you, it does. Now back in the basement, you go. I have writing to do.

WE LIKE THE CLOSET.

You can’t have the closet anymore; I keep my bullet journal stuff there now. Out the back door, all the way down the stairs, to the room with the dirt floor and the hot water heater.

HEY! THAT’S WHERE YOUR STEPPER NEIGHBORS REHEARSE, WITH ALL THE STOMPING AND THE SHOUTING.

I know. :puts in earbuds, opens document:

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: After The Book Swap Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. The weather here in New York’s Capitol Region is crazy. Today, we have rain. Sometimes. Yesterday, we had snow. The day before that, the temperature was seventy degrees. I am very glad that I am an indoor kitty, and do not have to be outside in all of that madness. Being inside also gives me a front row seat (I guess there will only be a back row when I get a kitty brother, and he sits behind me, so for now it is an only row seat) to what Anty is doing, which is one of the reasons she lets me blog for her, once a week.

Since I am not allowed to talk about anything else (which is usually Anty’s writing anyway) I have to talk about where readers can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, other than here. If you are reading this, then you already know how to find here.

First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. This week, she talks about the difference between a romance novel and a love story. It is a pretty important difference, so if you are not sure, this post may be helpful. It is here, and it looks like this:

BURlovestory

Next, we come to the part of the post where I tell you about Anty’s reading this week. It was a pretty full week on the domestic front, but Anty still did pretty well. The book that she read and reviewed this week, is the book that she hoped would get her back into reading historical romance again, and, guess what, it did. That review is here, and it looks like this:

Since this book is the second in a trilogy (Anty already has, and has read the first one) Anty now has to track down the third one, although it was published a while back, and so is not sold in new bookstores anymore, so she will have some looking to do. She does not mind that kind of looking very much, and it reminds her that there are still four more books by Miss Blythe, beyond that (three are related to each other, one is not related to anything) for her to read in the future. This is very encouraging.

Right now, Anty has read thirteen out of ninety books for the year, which puts her at fourteen percent of the way toward her goal. That means that she is on track, when it comes to the number of books. She still has a way to go in the historical romance department, though, as only three of those books are historical romance. I have faith in Anty, though, because now she has the scent of the genre again, and she has come back from the book swap party that she goes to every year.

Coming back from that party always gives Anty a boost. Not only does she get to see Anty Melva, her co-writer for the contemporary books, but there is a whole room with books for anybody to take,whatever they want. I should mention here that there are many different kinds of books, not only romance. This is a good thing, because the people who go to this party like a wide range of books. It also means that Anty has, if not first pick of the romance novels brought by other people, it is pretty darned close. This year, she only took home a few books, but one of those books, Dragonwyck, by Anya Seton, has Anty excited for a couple of reasons.

I do not know if there are any actual dragons in this book, but probably not. That is good, because dragons are scary. That is, I imagine they would be. I do not know any dragons. Maybe some of them are nice. Anyway, Anty wants to read this book, because it, along with other books by Miss Anya, and similar authors, paved the way for the kinds of historical romances Anty loves the very best. This book was written in 1944, which is, umm, a lot of cats ago. It also takes place in the Hudson Valley, which guess what, is an area we kind of know a few things about, so that should be interesting. I do not know if there are any cats in this book. I guess Anty will find out. If Anty likes this book, she will read other books my Miss Anya. I do not think any of them are related, so that is a plus. Anty is very big on standalone books.

That does not stop her from planning to study some favorite, connected, books, and take notes on that reading process. That is both to learn how to focus on what Anty loves best about historical romance, so she can bring it into her own writing, and to use a super cool notebook with a hipster kitty on it. Anty already shared a picture of this book, but I am sharing it again, because it has a kitty on the front.

1902hipsterkitty

A stripey kitty, so it will probably remind her how much she loves me and that she should give me more treats whenever she opens it. At least that is the plan.

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

skyebye2018

 

The Queen’s Lady, the Hipster Kitty, and Me: A Love Story

Today does not feel like a Monday. My planner says it is, so we’ll go with that and get at least seven hundred words of blabber into this text box, within the next hour, because crossing a task off my to-do list is one of the very best ways to kick off a Monday (or any other day, come to think of it.) Maybe I’m still riding on weekend fumes, because this was a pretty good weekend, especially for my focus on reconnecting with historical romance and growing the blog.

Friday nights are BFF nights, which means Housemate and I grab some sort of dinner, then trawl craft stores for geeking out over art supplies. Watercolor pencils for her (though she has yet to actually use them as watercolors) and anything bujo/art journal related for me. This week, that included picking up a copy of Artful Blogging magazine. Articles on connecting with one’s creative side and particular bloggy “voice,” be that writing or photography, resonated. I actually started petting the magazine while still in the store, so that’s a sign that the issue had to come home. This has a few different levels to it; there’s the drooling over pictures level, the taking in advice I probably already know but have made excuses not to act upon, because acting on such knowledge would be scary level, and the actually applying what I’ve learned to my actual blog level.

Saturday meant sneaking in more craft store trawling in the midst of errands (Housemate has a life goal of owning all the watercolor pencils in the world. I support her in this, because A) I want my friend to be happy, and B) I have permission to use them when she is not using them.) Saturday also meant that I got to take out the magazine and lay it on the table between us at lunch, and natter endlessly over how gorgeous the pictures are, and how I want to get to that level with my own blog, or possibly blogs, as I’ve been thinking of starting a second blog, devoted to all things pen and paper, while this one would be reserved  for writing talk. We will see how things go.

Sunday found me, along with Real Life Romance Hero, and Housemate, at our friend, M.P. Barker‘s annual book swap party. The most important thing about these parties is that the bacon-wrapped figs are mine, mine, mine. Okay, maybe that is not the most important thing, but it is a strong contender for the number two spot. They are stuffed with goat cheese, and are delicious, and I would happily pay whoever makes them, to make me a small batch. A truckload or two would do. For starters. I would say I am digressing here, but these are extremely good bacon wrapped figs. Or maybe they’re dates. I get the two confused sometimes.

Enough of that. The really important thing about this party, every year, is that it gives me a chance to reconnect with my best writing self. M.P., my contemporary co-writer, Melva Michaelian, and I spent many years’ worth of Wednesday nights, gathered around the same dining room table where, yesterday, I scarfed bacon-wrapped figs (or dates) and gabbed with Mona, a reader friend, about our shared love of reading historical romance. What we like, what we don’t, how we had each finished reading (two different) Harlequin Historical romances within the last twenty-four hours, and needed to choose our next reads pretty darned quick. This is where my love of reading and my love of planning come together and make beautiful reading plan babies.

Before the start of the new year, I made a list of books to re-read, and books to finally read, all historical romance. First up from the TFR list is The Queen’s Lady, by Barbara Kyle:

BarbaraKylethequeenslady

 

Tudor era, start of a family saga, plot that unfolds over years instead of months or weeks, and a heroine name to make me sigh with happiness. Honor Larke. Yep, I’m sold. I’m not sure why I haven’t read this before, and I’m intrigued that it was, IIRC, originally published as historical romance, though the spine on this edition classes it as historical fiction. We shall see how this goes.  After that, it’s back to the well, and a small detour from my TBRR list, as I plan to reread the entire O’Malley/Skye’s Legacy series, by Bertrice Small. That’s twelve books, with both series combined, so picking out historical romances to read is not going to be that difficult a task for me in the foreseeable future.

My heart is already going a little pitty-pat at the reading journey ahead of me, and what it’s going to do for my writing, this spring. (Can you believe it’s almost spring already? Has to be, though, as, in the next two weeks, I will be starting both a new morning pages book, and a new daily planner book.) That’s where the Hipster Kitty comes into play:

1902hipsterkitty

See how perfectly he fits with the rest of my “me” stuff? I normally don’t seek out things that are yellow, or books with white pages, but this book has me completely heart-eyes over it. I already know I want to write with black pen, and use yellow highlighter, and, since I want to take notes o n my epic O’Malley re-read, well, this seems like perfect timing. There’s still a chance I might end up using a different book for that, but even if that’s what happens, this is for something special. Maybe it’s for notes on the proposed cyber-revival Melva, M.P. and I talked about, of the weekly critique/nag group meetings that got us all through multiple manuscripts.

The weekend just past was wonderful, filled with re-filling, and re-connection, bringing me to the start of a new week, with the challenge of putting all that good stuff into practice. That’s still a little scary, but scary in the good way. I did get an offer of beta-reading from my reader friend, so I have to give her something to read, don’t I? Thought so. time to make another cup of tea, and slip back in time a few centuries.

Valentine’s Day Rambles (of the writing variety)

So, it’s Valentine’s Day, which means built in blog topic for romance writers. Woo hoo.  On hour, seven hundred words, let’s go. Okay. No big plans for the day, as such. I’m writing, which is worthy of celebration, because my brain is returning from the fog of Martian Death Cold, and it’s time to write some of the rust out of the faucet, so to speak. This also means I get to spend some extra time tucked in a comfy chair (probably my office chair, which is plenty comfy and has great back support) and snuggle under a fuzzy blanket, with a cup of tea (pink skull and crossbones mug today) and the day’s soundtrack is a mixture of my Spotify daily mix and Real Life Romance Hero doing dishes on the other side of my office door. Heck yes, romance heroes wash dishes.

Okay, maybe not medieval knights or nineteenth century English noblemen. Probably not pirates, either, but, y’know, everybody does what they have to do on a pirate ship because there are only so many people to do a lot of different jobs, so maybe pirates, after all. Who can tell? Me, next time I write a pirate book? Maybe so. We will see. The point is, romance heroes do a whole lot of things. Heroines, too. That came out wrong, but I’ll let it stand, because I am in that sort of a mood.

Romance gets a lot of jabs this time of year, often from people who aren’t fans of the genre, often because they haven’t tried any recent romance fiction, or classic romance fiction, or fiction with romantic elements (though, let’s be real, that romance stuff is everywhere, and gets into many different genres, to varying degrees, but I digress.) Think pieces of this sort (of which there often does not seem to be a whole lot of thinking going on) have become commonplace enough that I can look at them, and, meh, another one of those? Okay. Whatever. What I’d really like to see is the excited discovery of a new romance reader – hey, look at all these great stories, where the focus is on the relationship and there’s history and suspense and sex and faith and it’s funny and it rips my heart out and puts it back together, and, seriously, anything can happen to these characters, as long as they end up happy and together, and, y’know what? They do. Every single time. How amazing is that?

Pretty darned, is all I’m saying. Yesterday was my weekly meeting with N, and we talked about reconnecting with what we want for our writing careers, about reconnecting with what makes a story, be it read or written, special. For me, this means a concentrated effort in reconnecting with what I love most about historical romance. If I’m going to go back to the source, the moment I fell in love with the genre, it would be when eleven-year-old me snuck a book from my mother’s nightstand, and cracked it open, by flashlight, under the brass bed in the guest bedroom. It also takes me back to countless used bookstores, where I would crawl around on the floor, inspecting the lower shelves for stories set in the sixteenth century, scanning for keywords that would catch my attention. Any mention of larger than life, or epic, or sprawling, or…:satisfied sigh:

Yeah, that. When I think of historical romance, that’s my happy place. I’m sure there’s something to be said about the role of the floor in all of this. The floor of the guest bedroom, under the big brass bed, the floors of countless bookstores, usually ending up in a tucked away corner, books spread out around me, so I could whittle down the selection to fit within the budget for that trip. To a lesser extent, there are the countless spins I made of the spinner racks in the fiction section of the library closest to my dad’s house when I was in high school, checking for fat paperbacks that meant historical romance, and the distinctive, slim spines that meant traditional Regencies, or gothics. As long as there was history, and there was romance, I was happy.

Am happy, because, decades after that first filched paperback, which now has a place of honor on the bookshelf behind me as I write, the same bookcase which once held the picture books of my preschool days, I still get that thrill. Give me two lovers who have to be together, but can’t, and I am there. If I am the one entrusted to making sure the lovers’ stars un-cross, that’s another level of fun. Frustration, sometimes, because story people can be tricky little badgers, making choices of their own, the second they hit the page. That only means they are real and alive in the sense that it becomes a collaboration between the writer and their imaginary friends. In that way, no romance writer is ever truly alone,  no matter what day it is.

Over the magic seven hundred now, and time to wrap this puppy, which can get tricky when I go on this sort of ramble. As N and I discussed, sometimes it takes a while to write the rust out of the faucet, and putting down anything is better than putting down nothing, especially when putting down anything runs smack into a wall of resistance. Even so, keep at it long enough, and the faucet runs out of rust. That’s a happy ending right there.

TheWriterIsOut

Typing With Wet Claws: Tough Fuzzy Love Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Anty is down with what the humans call Martian Death Cold, which is pretty noisy with all the coughing, and smells a lot like cherries. Cherry cough drops and cherry gelatin are big features around here right now, and Anty just finished some cherry blossom body wash. Anty also has a lipstick called Cherry Picking, but she has not been wearing much lipstick this week. That is how we know it is Martian Death Cold. I cannot get Martian Death Cold, because I am a kitty, and it is a people thing, but the one upside that I can see is that Anty gets some extra napping time, usually next to a good book.

Before I am allowed to talk about anything else (which is usually Anty’s writing anyway, let’s be real) I first have to tell you where you can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs. Besides here, that is, because, if you ate reading this, you are already here. As usual, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. This week, she talked about the think pieces humans wo do not read romance often write about romance, this time of year. Writing about books a human does not read does not make sense to me, but then again, I am a kitty. Maybe you should read Anty’s post, instead. It is here, and it looks like this:

BURinlovewithlove

Anty would like to thank Sabrina Jeffries for recommending Anty’s post to her (Miss Sabrina’s) readers, on Facebook. Anty considers this high praise, as Miss Sabrina is a well established romance writer, who knows whereof she speaks.

Now is the part of the post where I bring you up to date on Anty’s Goodreads challenge. As of today, Anty has read ten out of ninety books for the year. This puts her at eleven percent of the way toward her goal, and one book ahead of schedule. Well done, Anty. Keep reading. Sick time is very good for reading time, and it is perfectly okay to nap in between chapters, especially when there is a fuzzy Maine Coon kitty nearby.

The books that Anty read and reviewed this week are:

GRforever

Forever, by Judy Blume

 

GRrecoveryroad

Recovery Road, by Blake Nelson

 

GRthelastforever

The Last Forever, by Deb Caletti

As you can tell, all three of those books are YA, which brings us to the meat of today’s post. (I like meat. Tuna is the best, but beef is also good, as are most kinds of birdie.) One of the most important duties of a mews is to keep their writer human on the right track. Last night, it was time for some tough, fuzzy love. Right now, Anty has one hundred YA novels logged on her current Goodreads account, and ninety-one historical romances. This does not count historical fiction with romantic elements, so the two may not be that far apart when we include the second cat-egory (sorry, I could not resist) but it is enough that I could not let it pass without addressing the issue.

While it is purr-fectly (sorry, again. That is the last one, I promise. For now.) fine for readers’ preferences to change, and that does happen, including switching genres, I did not think that was what was happening here. I have seen the way Anty looks at her TBR shelves, so we had a discussion. That discussion was about historical romance, and the point of the discussion about historical romance was that Anty needs to read more of it.

Part of the discussion was asking Anty why she has been avoiding her favorite genre lately. We kitties, especially those of us with big green kitten eyes (I am really good at big green kitten eyes. By that I mean that the eyes are green, not the kittens. Kittens should never be green. If your kitten is green, please go to the vet, or at least the groomer.) can say a lot with the right look, and we are very good listeners. I can understand Anty’s reasons, but, because it is my duty as a mews to keep Anty moving in the right direction, I could not leave it at that. Those reasons are hers to tell, and I made her write them down in a notebook, so she can refer to that the next time something like this happens.

Earlier this week, Miss N gave Anty the assignment to reconnect with historical romance. Well, Anty’s own, specifically, but reading more historical romance and remembering what it is about that genre that Anty loves enough to write her own, well, that’s important, too.  Anty agreed with me (and with Miss N) but I could still tell she was a little scared and/or confused about where to jump back into the whole pool. That is where having a mews comes in handy. At times like this, the only thing that can be done is to head straight toward the loved and scary thing and jump right into it.

For Anty, this meant taking one of those books off her TBR shelf and actually reading it. For this venture, we picked Captive of the Border Lord, by Blythe Gifford. Anty has read many of Miss Blythe’s books, and liked them a lot, so it is a very good bet that she will like this one, too. It is the second book in the Brunson Clan trilogy, and Anty has already read the first one. We tried to find a standalone book, but those are kind of rare these days, so second out of three is kind of close to that. It is also a Harlequin Historical, which means that it is not a very thick book, and Anty should be able to read it fairly quickly, without feeling intimidated by a big, thick book, with a lot of pages. For bonus points, this book is set in the sixteenth century, which is one of Anty’s very, very favorite eras for historical romance.

This goes along with the philosophy of not saving the good stuff for “someday.” Read the good stuff now. Write the good stuff now. If not now, then when? The practice begets the product. We kitties would not lie about this sort of thin.

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

skyebye2018

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Gamer Kitty Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Today, the weather is warm and rainy, here in New York’s Capitol Region. That is very different rom the deep freeze we have been having lately, but I will stick close to the heater anyway. One never knows.

Because the deal is that I am not allowed to talk about whatever I want to talk about (which is usually Anty’s writing, anyway, go figure) I have to talk about where readers can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs (other than here, because you are already here, if you are reading this, and I do not have to tell you how to get here, where we already are. There would be no point.)

First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. Last week, she talked about the magic of new beginnings. Those do not only happen to characters, but readers, and writers, as well. Anty loves to talk anything related to romance reading, so feel free to drop by and chat with her. That post is here, and it looks like this:

bursoitbegins1

Now that it is a whole new year, it is a whole new reading challenge for Anty at Goodreads. If you want to follow her reading progress this year, you can do that here.

GR2018

This year, Anty wants to keep the same goal as last year, ninety books. So far, she has read two books, and is right on track. Those books are:

GRbeautylikethenight

Beauty Like the Night, by Joanna Bourne

GRheresnegan

Here’s Negan, by Robert Kirkman, et al

That is quite a combination, but it fits Anty. The reading year is off to a good start. Right now, Anty is reading one historical romance, one time travel romance, and one YA novel. I do not know how I want to count time travel when it comes to historicals. I may have to do some research and set a standard.

This morning, Anty and Anty Melva had their first Skype (which still does not have anything to do with Skye Pee, to my eternal displeasure) session of the new year, and they set their goals of writing one scene each during this coming week. Drama King is back on, and Chasing Prince Charming is still making the rounds. Anty and Anty Melva are also considering going indie with their jointly written books, so keep an eye on this page for new developments.

Now for the important part of this post, the part about me. As of this week, I am a gamer kitty. My favorite game so far is called Mouse Hunt, and you can see it on YouTube, here. I like other games, too, where I can chase a laser or some buggies, or a squirrel, but the mice are my favorite, because they are mice. I have done some real mouse hunting, in our old house. There are no real life mice in this house, but that is okay. I like the game.

SkyeOMalleyCatgamerkitty

Anty and Uncle try to play with me, by throwing pieces of crumpled paper at me. That is really super fun, until the crumpled papers stop moving. Then I am no longer interested. Nobody wants to hunt things that are already dead. Especially not me. These games, though, those are a different story. The mice in the game keep moving. Sometimes, they tease me from the corners of the screen, and then they zip across it. That is very exciting. When I see the game mousies, I am riveted to the screen. I bap them with my paws, and try to bite them (the biting part has not worked so far, but I will keep trying.) A couple of times, I have even grabbed Anty or Uncle’s phones (they both play with me like this) and dragged them toward me, so I can get the mousies even better.

That is usually when Anty or Uncle takes the phone away from me and says that it is time for a break. I am not so sure about that, but they are the ones with opposable thumbs. That is also about the time when they give me food, so that I am not too irritated about game time being over. Come to think about it, that generally works on Anty, too, if she has to leave a writing session, especially when it takes her time to get into one. There had better be food (or at least tea) if she has to be interrupted.

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

skyebye2018

 

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Uncle Smells Like Vet Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for the first Feline Friday of 2018. It is very cold here, in New York’s capitol region. Yesterday, we got a lot of snow, so much that Anty and the writer friend she was supposed to meet for lunch had to move that meeting for next week, because the humans had to stay home and stay safe. Tomorrow will be very, very cold, so Anty and Mama plan on staying put (Uncle will probably have to go to work) with blankets and hot drinks, and, hopefully, some books, but that is not the most important thing I want to talk about this week.

Normally, I have to talk about Anty’s writing first, but this week is an exception. This week, Uncle got very sick, and Anty had to call special humans to come and help him get to the Right Now People Vet. Anty put me in Mama’s room, with two bowls of water, before they came, so that I would not get in anybody’s way, or get too scared. I could still hear things, though, and Uncle smelled very sick. It took seven humans and a special chair to get Uncle into the carrier, and then to the Right Now People Vet. They kept Uncle there for two nights, to make sure that he was really okay. They did a good job, because, yesterday, Uncle came home. He did not smell sick anymore, but he did smell like vet.

I do not like the smell of vet, and that includes people vet, but I do like the smell of Uncle. He came home yesterday morning, in the middle of all the snow. I had been curled up in front of Heater, and then I heard a human at the door. Then the door opened, and it was Uncle. I ran to him, at top speed. He is my favorite, and I love him the most. I was not happy while he was gone. Today, I went to Anty and cried, when Uncle stepped outside for a minute. Then he came back and fed me, and I was happy again. I let him know I do not like closed doors, because I need to be sure that he is okay and that he is still here. I even let Anty know that I do not like her and Uncle being at different ends of the apartment, because I want to see both of them at the same time. I will calm down pretty soon, but, right now, I want to keep making sure.

It is kind of like that with Anty and writing. I am going to save the real start of the year post for next week, because Anty’s attentions have been mostly elsewhere this week. She did post at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, taking a look back and a look forward, at the same time. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURhappynewyear

Normally, this is the place where I bring you up to date on Anty’s Goodreads reading challenge, but this has been a special week, so I will stat off the 2018 reports next week. Anty only got a little bit of reading time this week, and she ended up DNF-ing two different books. DNF, in the reading world, means did not finish. Anty does not like to do this to book, but, this week, that was the right thing to do. Anty does not want to say which books they were, but both of them were anthologies. One was historical romance, and the other was YA. Maybe Anty will try them again, later. Right now, she is reading the new version of a favorite classic historical romance, and that will probably be her first review of the new year.

All told, Anty read ninety-nine books in 2017. Because of all the commotion this week, I did not get an exact percentage of historical romances in Anty’s reading this year, but if Anty did not make her goal of fifty percent, she came close. If I count the historical fiction with strong romantic elements, I think she probably did, but it was close. Part of that is because Anty found a lot of new authors in YA fiction this year.

For this coming year, she will still be reading a lot of YA, but she also wants to tighten her focus on historical romance, and, specifically, the kinds of historical romance that remind her why she is in this writing business in the first place. Because Anty’s second love, after writing, is planning and organizing, she came up with the perfect tool:

bujpreadomggpa;s2018

 

The TBRR stands for To Be Re-Read, and that means reading books that she has already read, that made a special impact on Anty, with an eye to taking note of what, exactly, made that impression, and how it did that. The TFR should probably be TBFR, which stands for To Be Finally Read (or To Finally Read, either way.) Those are books Anty has always meant to read, but never got around to reading before now. There are twelve in each list, one for each month in the new year. The plan is that, when Anty hits a lull, or she does not k now what she wants to read, she can pick one book from these lists, and, by the end of the year, have them all completed. Since that would be twenty-four books, that would also make a nice dent in her goal of ninety books (she is keeping the same goal for this coming year) in 2018.

Mrandmrsgothyclaus2017

Happy Holidays, from Mr. and Mrs. Gothy Claus.

Now, back to writing, because that is the bigger focus. When Anty and Mama came home from the people vet, where Uncle had to stay, Anty immediately put on some special gloves and took a trash bag and collected things that the Right Now People Vet Helpers had left behind. There were wrappers from things they had to unwrap, to help Uncle, and some other things that do not make good kitty toys. Getting those things out of the way was part of getting everything back to normal, so that we could all do what we needed. It is kind of the same thing with writing. Once a crisis is past, it is time to pick up the debris, and get back to business. I think that is a good way to start the new year.

That is about it for this week, but there is a whole year of Feline Fridays ahead. Let’s make it a good one. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

Seven

If, for any reason, anybody needs to know how many paramedics can fit into the hallway and one very small room of our apartment, the answer is seven. One guess as to how I know. Thanks to aforementioned first responders and the hospital staff, Real Life Romance Hero will be fine, but that was not the way anybody wanted to start off the new year. Though I am posting this entry on Wednesday, it is technically Monday’s post. I will figure out where the Wednesday post goes, later.

Right now, there is laundry to do, and a long-awaited e-book on my Kindle, to read while said laundry is doing its thing. After that, it is time to check on RLRH at the hospital, and, most likely, convey him home. As Housemate often says, at least we are not bored. She is right: we most certainly are not even remotely close to bored. Tired, yes, but not bored.

This may not, objectively, seem like the best time in the world to participate in a month-long writing challenge, but, almost predictably, that is exactly what I am doing. I highly suspect I may be a unicorn in this particular group, as other participants seem to have a wide array of writing goals that do not involve commercial fiction (or fiction at all) but that’s fine. This isn’t that kind of challenge, at least not at this point. We will see how things go, but, so far, two assignments given out, two completed, so I will consider myself off to a decent start. Begin as one means to go on, and all that stuff.

Usually, for me, the big winter holiday is Christmas, and that’s still my favorite. I have every plan of having a more traditional celebration next year. This year, though, it’s the new year that has me excited. A friend and I stayed up, over Skype, on New Year’s Eve, to watch 2017 die. It’s been that kind of year. With a new year come new possibilities. Foremost among those is reclaiming my writer identity.

It’s easy for the writing self to get lost along the way, especially when domestic tornado chains rip through one’s family and debris takes its time in settling. Don’t ask me what it is about this particular year that makes it different, but this year, there was a firm, quiet, “no,” when it came to that getting lost thing, and that is probably why I clicked the button to join this challenge. Okay, that and the fact that I know the woman who’s running it, personally, and I may or may not have started writing one of my novels in her kitchen, once upon a time. Spoiler alert: I totally did.

Today’s lesson was on morning pages, which I’ve been doing for a couple of years now. If I dug into my archive of completed notebooks, I could tell you the exact day. Since there is rather a lot of laundry that needs immediate attention, I am not going to do that (at least not today) but I am going to take a moment to highly recommend the practice of morning pages, and the related practice of a brain dump, which can be done at any time. I will be bringing my traveler’s notebook/bullet journal/should probably give it its own name so that I don’t have to figure out how to refer to this thing with me, so there probably will be a brain dump at the laundromat as well.

There is also an equal chance I will flick my Kindle on as soon as I have deposited the last quarter in the washing machine, and spend the entire time with my attention fully focused on Pirate In My Arms, by Danelle Harmon.  There are a few reasons for this. I stayed up until midnight on January first, so that I could make sure, as the calendar flipped to January second, the date the e-book version of this historical romance, first published in 1992, would be available. I didn’t know that, only a few hours later, I would be reading it while crammed into a corner of a tiny room in the Emergency Department, while RLRH let the medication do its work. When Housemate came to join us, she looked at my Kindle, and asked, “Pirate In My Arms?” I told her she knew me well, and then went back to eighteenth century Cape Cod, to watch a proper colonial maiden and a fabled English pirate find that their ragged edges fit together into one unbreakable whole.

I did gobble this book when it first came out, in what seems like another lifetime, so it’s both an old favorite and a new adventure at the same time. That’s what writing fiction feels like, as I look at 2018. I’ve been here before, but it’s still new. Not sure exactly what to take from that, but to keep going straight on through it, eyes fixed on the ultimate goal. By the end of 2018, I want to have at least one new book out there, in the hands of readers, or at least on its way. It’s been said the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and there’s truth to that. It’s a thousand single steps, one after the other, aimed toward the ultimate destination.

Typing With Wet Claws: End of the Year Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for the last ever Feline Friday of 2017. Next week, it will be 2018, the start of a brand new year. It is very cold here, in New York’s capitol region, so the humans are staying inside as much as possible, which is fine by me, because then they are available to feed me and give me head scritches. I like to be petted on my head only, nowhere else. Their comfy chairs are in the living room, near the Christmas tree, which has sparkly lights, and is very close to the heater. I love the heater. It is my happy place. The humans tried to put the popcorn tin (my Mama’s mama gives us one every year) there, because it is close to all the chairs, but it is my happy place, so sorry, popcorn tin.

Before I talk about anything else, I have to tell readers where they can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs this week, other than here. If you are reading this, you already know about here. As usual, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. This week’s post was about  surprises in holiday-themed romance reading. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURsurprisekoala

Readingwise, Anty is going for broke this year (that is not a dig at her book spending habits, because she is actually pretty good about that, and libraries are our friends) as she is currently nine books ahead of schedule, with ninety-eight books read out of ninety. Go, Anty, go. The one hundred book mark (as opposed to one hundred bookmarks, though Anty would not object to having one hundred bookmarks. Maybe she already does. I have not counted.) is close, and there are still a few days left in 2017.

The books she read this week were all historical romance, which means she has taken my words to heart (pun unintended) about beefing things up in that area (and I do like beef.) and they all take place in or soon after the eighteenth century, and are all Christmas stories. I think Anty is doing pretty well on that front. Here are the reviews to the books she read this week:

 

 

Anty is a little sad that she cannot post her favorite book of the year on Heroes and Heartbreakers anymore, because their run is now complete. She will miss that site very much, but I will be here, to tell you her favorite read of the year, next week. It will be a difficult choice, so she may need to split that into romance and YA. Tbat is one of the perks of writing on her own (well, our, because, let’s face it, without me, she’d have to write all her own posts) blog. She is also looking at other paid blogging opportunities, so I will hopefully be able to share more posts of Anty’s here in the future.

Since it is the end of the year, the future is greatly on Anty’s mind. Most specifically, the future of writing. Because Anty likes money, she already has a short list of sites she thinks might be a good fit for her, and is working on some ideas for posts for those. That is a different kind of writing than writing commercial fiction, which is still Anty’s great love. The commercial fiction, that is. Well, after Uncle, of course, and me. Also stationery. Anty really, really loves stationery. Yesterday, she filled two fountain pens, and is still deciding what use she has in mind for the notebook and pen a writer friend gave her for Christmas. She is still not sure.

What she is sure of, though, is that I will be earning my treats this year with top-level mews duties. This year, Anty’s plan is to get two books to complete second drafts, and to either place one for publication through an established publisher, or independently. She is okay with either method, as long as she gets a new title out there. Anty says this falls into the category of “high time.” I am not entirely sure what that means, but rest assured, I will be here for her. Right here. In easy range for head scritches and feeding. Those are both important parts of the creative process.

The popcorn may fit in there somewhere, but it is not as important as having a dedicated mews on duty, or having a clear idea of what kind of story Anty wants to tell. Since Anty writes genre fiction, that part is pretty easy; her stories are romance. No matter what else happens, or when the stories are set, by the end of the book, the two humans will be together, and happy about that fact. Other than that, anything goes. Since one of the books Anty is writing (well, co-writing, with Anty Melva) does, in fact, have a cat in it, I suspect this is going to be a very good year.

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

skyebyenew

see you next week