Ramblings of a Fictional Magpie

First off, in case you missed it, my Frank Randall Deserved a Happy Ending post went live on Heroes and Heartbreakers yesterday. Don’t tell Skye I blabbed it before she could share the link. When I first read Outlander, I actually didn’t. I read Cross Stitch, the British version (and original title) because A) it supposedly had more historical content, and B) Claire was “nicer” to Frank. I didn’t know anything about Frank when I went into this, apart from the fact that he was Claire’s original husband, and, really, had no good options when Claire came back from the past, in love with, married to, and pregnant by another man. I’m still not sure how the legalities of a pre-existing marriage would hold when a woman finds herself two centuries in the past, as Husband #1 wouldn’t have been born yet, thus could not have married her, because he didn’t exist, but he did exist, because Claire remembers him, and is wearing his ring at the time.

All of that is largely to get me over the hump of the blank page, because I’ve been staring at it for a while now, and this entry needs to be written, so going with the “throw something at the page and see where we go from there” stage. I think the first love triangle that I was aware of was King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and Lancelot. Guinevere and Lancelot have some chemistry, and, if it weren’t for one of them being married, I could probably get behind them, but she was married, and to Arthur, and even at, hm, I want to say six, or so, I knew that something about this equation could not turn out well. Camelot came crashing down, both in folklore and the musical, which I watched on TV at the home of family friends. I didn’t entirely understand what was going on (again, six) but I was enthralled. This is probably more proof that I came out of the box, hardwired for historical romance.

I was the kid who, when given Jane and Johnny West figures for Christmas (maybe that same year? That feels about right.) did not fall in love with the mystique and adventure of the American West. Instead, I made them act out the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. My dad was big on the classics, if nobody guessed that by now. Still, I think that wasn’t entirely what he had in mind. To this day, I’m not sure if Jane and Johnny were meant to be siblings or lovers. No, scratch that. I checked. They’re married. They also apparently had four kids. My parents probably kept that information from me, to forestall requests for the kiddo figures. I also did not know about the homestead, dogs, or friend and enemy figures, to say nothing of articulated horses and a bison. A bison. Seeing as how we have a stuffed bison (cuddly toy variety, not taxidermy variety) on top of our dresser, six year old me cannot complain of a bison-less existence.

This is the part where I stare at the screen, notice I have about two hundred more words to go before I can sign off on this entry, and have no earthly idea how to tie this into anything that will make sense to anybody but me. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe every entry doesn’t have to mean something,  and I can put what’s in my head out there, for readers to take what they will. After this, I have a critique partner’s chapter to look over, and then get something together for my weekly meeting with N. What I would most like to do is snuggle into my comfy chair, with a blanket, some hot beverage (tea or cocoa, not sure which one I would want in this hypothetical circumstance) and finish reading Holding Up the Universeby Jennifer Niven, because I am still emotionally raw from blazing through her first YA novel, All The Bright Places.     What is left of my heart still wants to hang out there, hang onto that voice, and, as I did with my Best of the West figures, pick what I want from the source, and figure out how those elements would work in the world of historical romance.

I think I was hard-wired for that sort of thing, too. Meat Loaf (the singer, not the food) once said that people need to keep one thing in mind when listening to any song composed by his songwriter, Jim Steinman: that everything Steinman writes is from the same story world, and it all fits together. I think Meat called it Wonderland (not the Alice sort, IIRC) but I may be wrong on that one. Still, it stuck with me.

Maybe that’s why I go through periods when I know, without a doubt, I am in full magpie mode. I’m hungry for a certain kind of story, or setting, or character type. When magpie season hits, I have to inhale everything I can about the current fixation, process it, and trust that it’s going to come out again in my own work, in some fashion. At six, I probably did not register Romeo and Juliet’s ultimate fate, and, at more-than-six, I am not going to tell the Bard how to write, but, in a romance novel, the lovers would be alive, together, and happy about it. That’s hardwired, too, and I am fine with that.

TheWriterIsOut

 

 

 

 

 

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Of Kings and Teacups

Once upon a time, a young girl stole a book from her mother’s nightstand. She read that book under the big brass bed in the guest bedroom, and knew, within pages, that she had found what she wanted to read and write for the rest of her life. That girl was me, and that book was The Kadin, by Bertrice Small. My mom found me (darned flashlight beam) and took the book back, because I was too young to read that sort of thing. Mind you, I wasn’t even anywhere near the love scenes. What grabbed me, besides the author’s voice, was the cadence of the language, the lavish description, the sense of adventure, and being inside the skin of a heroine the back cover blurb already told me was going to come out on top, no matter what happened to her.

I stole the book back, of course, and the next one, and, by the time the third book by Ms. Small came out, I had my own copy. While I do appreciate my mother’s concern for my young sensibilities (but really, she had no problem with the horror comics I also devoured, but I don’t think she actually knew what was inside them, either) there was one other unarguable truth. This kind of story, this epic love of long ago, this was mine. Maybe I didn’t fully understand what was going on, but I did understand the force of recognition that slammed into me, in those first few pages.

That feeling has become, thankfully, familiar over the years, and yet the thrill of one of those waves as it crashes over me never gets old. This weekend’s episode of Outlander, “Freedom and Whisky,” and the episode that preceded it, “Of Lost Things,” brought a huge wave of the stuff. This also reminds me that Poldark is back in business. Yes, I know, historical fiction, not historical romance, but Ross and Demelza fit the hero and heroine roles admirably, even if Ross dropped several thousand points in our esteem at the end of last season. He may want to start practicing his grovel, because getting on Demelza’s wrong side is never a good idea.

Right about now, I would love to reference an essay/blog post about teacup romances and king-slapping heroines. I want to say it was written by Ilona Andrews, but, as I’m not turning up anything on my search results, perhaps I have remembered wrong. Even so, it’s the essence that matters, not the specifics at this point. The author wrote about what she termed teacup romances, in which characters could move through the story, holding a teacup, and not spill a drop, and contrasted those with another, when a heroine rebuffed the advances of the reigning monarch with a slap. This fascinated another character, who revealed that they’d always wanted to slap a king. Big move there, and definitely not without risk.

Both types definitely have their place, but, for me, it’s going to be king-slapping, every time. I think Janet Leslie (aka Cyra Hafise) from The Kadin would find much in common with Claire and Demelza, and, maybe, if Bertrice Small were to send that manuscript to a publisher today, it might be marketed as historical fiction rather than romance. Still, take out the love story, and the book would crumble. Could any of these stories take place in any other time and place than the ones they do? Hard no, to all three, and I love that. I love the full period immersion. In Outlander, we get three periods: the eighteenth century, 1940s and 1960s, all rendered in loving detail. The past really is a whole other world, and that’s where the stories I write, by myself, take place. Even my co-written contemporary stories have a historical tinge. I’m hardwired for this kind of stuff.

That’s the bedrock. That’s what’s not going to change. That’s the sweep and the surge and the power of historical romance that I love best, and it’s what I want to put into my own work. Taking in what one wants to put out is always a good idea, not only to see what others have already done, but what I would do differently. Watching one of these shows, or reading a book with a similar tone gets my idea hamster running. I take in some of that stuff, I want to make some of that stuff. If a few teacups get broken along the way, well that’s a risk I am willing to take.

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Almost October Edition

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

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

BUReverythinginbetween

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

HandHOutlander3x3recap

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

HandHTBBT11x1recap

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

HandHbestofseptember

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

GRreadingchallenge290917

Here are the books Anty finished reading this week:

GRCanhamFarHorizon

The Far Horizon, by Marsha Canham

GRColeBeNotAfraid

Be Not Afraid, by Alyssa Cole

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

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

OitSnote

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

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

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

ComingSoonBanner

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

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

0825TunaRoll

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

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

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

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

But I Don’t Feel Like Writing

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most of us have been at this point at one time or another. If you’re a writer who has never been there, wait. It’s coming. Consider it an occupational hazard. My desktop is an autumn theme, because I need the reminder of what season we’re really in, even though the weather report says we’ll be hovering around ninety degrees for most of the week. This is not my favorite weather, or my family’s favorite weather. Possible exception for Tuna Roll, since he is a tropical fish, but that’s one for, three against. We are not, however, in charge of the weather.

There’s the matter of current events, there’s anxiety, there’s the matter of not wanting to blabber my way through one more topic-less blog post and shake the generic you-can-do=it pompoms, at myself or anyone else, so I’m going with where I am right now, which is wishing Monday came with a snooze button. There’s the doubt over the Outlander recap I sent off last night. Did I forget something important? Did I get someone’s name wrong? Did I miss some essential Easter egg those who have read this far in the books will be buzzing about today, because I am farther in the TV series than the books, and, if I am farther in the TV series than the books, what am I doing writing about it, anyway? Ironically, the next thing on my list is to write another piece about Outlander. Funny how these things work.

I like lists. They give structure. I like to know where I’m going, and lists can serve as a roadmap for the day, especially on days like this one. I will now date myself and reference the Vicki Lawrence sitcom, Mama’s Family.  In one episode, Thelma, the Mama of the title, applies for a part-time job. The interviewer asks her if she knows how to answer the phone. Thelma, in a deadpan voice, says no.  When it rings at home, she runs around in circles, screaming “What’ll I do? What’ll I do?” Of course she knows how to answer the phone, which translates, in this case, to of course I know how to write, because I do. See? I’m doing it right now.

As I am going for that two hour block of the most important tasks first, that’s what has to get done, even when I don’t feel like it. That’s true for any job. Work starts at a certain time, and the worker is there, or the worker does not have a job for much longer. Since my goal is production right now, this means butt in chair, do the thing at the top of the list, cross it off, do the nest thing, cross that off, drink water, take breaks, and remember it doesn’t have to be perfect. It only has to be written.

That’s the hard thing. I want it to be perfect. I want to somehow get everything in my brain onto the page, preferably by willing it there, and have it have happened double-digit years ago. Not the most realistic desires there, especially that last one, but those are where I am today. I’m also here, at the desk, with an idea, and moving forward. A million single steps add up to arriving at one’s destination. The worst thing for me, the very, very worst, is not knowing what I’m doing. Tried pantsing, doesn’t work for me. Nor does strict plotting, though I’ve tried that, too. That leaves puzzling, which can be downright irritating for someone who likes to have a clear roadmap, but my imaginary friends are prone to taking the scenic route when I didn’t tell them they could. Ingrates.

Eventually, we’ll work it out. We always do. We kick and we fuss, sometimes them, sometimes me, sometimes all of us, and then, usually when I get up to do something else, bam, there it is.  This often works with writing my nonfiction posts as well. Not all who wander are lost and all that good stuff. It’s too hot today to make tea, so I am doing this without caffeine. The coffee house down the block has, sadly, closed, so I am now in the market for a new other place to write. This makes me grumpy, because I liked that place, but we will dub it “plot twist” and move along. Check this blog entry off the list, and move on to aforementioned Outlander piece, then transcribing handwritten pages for Her Last First Kiss. 

After that, it may be time for more handwritten pages, time to step away from the screen and the temptation of Facebook, the distraction of current events and checking the weather and checking the word counts and checking this and checking that and checking the checking and slip into the story world for a while. Time to write the story as though I were the one reading it (does that sound weird? It sounds like it should sound weird.) and watch the ink swirl onto the paper as my imaginary friends and I head off on the next adventure.

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Save the Dates Edition

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

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

BURbacktoschool

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

HandHOutlanders3e1

but what about Frank?

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

 

 

 

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

Here are some things Anty will be doing very soon:

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

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

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

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

0825TunaRoll

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

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

skyebyenew

see you next week

 

I Will Go Down With These Ships (Non-Paranormal Edition)

Romance Appreciation/Awareness Month is drawing to a close, (but it’s always romance appreciation month as far as I’m concerned0 and National Matchmaker’s Day is tomorrow, so now it’s time for me to gush on some of my favorite regular-people ships. No ghosts, no vampires, no super powers, only flesh and blood people. Whittling this down to only a few was even harder than the previous version, and I may have to update these posts with an additional post for honorable mention, because, when one is a romance aficionado, that stuff is everywhere, and picking favorites is not as easy as it sounds. So, I am jumping in, in no particular order, with the first couples who come to mind. As before, all links go to my OTPs (One True Pairing) page on Pintrest, where you can see a more comprehensive list.

First up, Max and Kyle from Living Single. Kyle is smooth, fashionable, self-assured, very much in love with himself, and torn between corporate life and his buried musical aspirations. Max is also self-assured, brash, impulsive, a lawyer with a strong sense of ethics (even if those ethics may be particular to her; she still hews to them) and it’s pretty much hate at first sight. These two cannot stand each other, and it is very much a case of when both lady and gentleman doth protest too much, because egads, the chemistry. They fight, they love, they break up, Kyle moves an ocean away, Max totally goes off the deep end, and makes an impulsive decision to become a single mother through IVF (which is not as easy in real life as in sitcomland, but stay with us on this one.) The donor she picks, blind? One guess, romance fans, and when Kyle finds out, oh my my my. The moment when these two finally decide to go for it and admit their true feelings gives me the down-deep shivers. The only thing better than that scene is a brief cameo in another sitcom, a few years later, when we find that Max and Kyle are still happily married, with a mini-them who has the best and worst of them both in one sharply-dressed package. The rare canon HEA, with epilogue.

I could not make this post without one historical couple, and (sorry, Jamie and Claire, you’re in a time travel, so you count as paranormal) Ross and Demelza from Poldark have no competition. From the second we meet Demelza, disguised as a boy, desperate to save her dog from a dogfighting ring, and Ross steps in, the chemistry crackles. Demelza is a scrapper, who gives as good as she gets, and she and Ross do not get off to an easy start, especially as he’s still hung up on his cousin’s wife, Elizabeth. Demelza, however, isn’t going anywhere, and not only because her only alternative is to return to her truly horrible family. Their marriage starts out as convenience, but, somewhere along the way, a true, deep, and abiding love forms between these two strong-willed people, neither of whom wants to give an inch of ground. We see them go through the joy of welcoming their first child, the grief of losing her, and, my favorite scene so far, Ross racing off to drag Demelza back from her, um, freelance fishing job while she is in active labor, only to find that she saved her own self while he was on the way, daft man. They bicker, they clash, they stand by each other when the worst happens again and again and again. Though season two ended on an extremely unheroic note for Ross, these two see each other through the most destructive of storms, so I have faith they’ll get through this one as well. How? No idea, but they’ve always found a way so far.

The couple that caught me most by surprise, in all of ship-dom is Barney and Robin, from How I Met Your Mother. Finale denier for life here; I reject all of it. Barney and Robin are still out there, still together, still living awesomely ever after, until death do them part. Where to start with these two? Even though they’re in a fairly bright and bouncy sitcom, the backstories grabbed my heart and refused to let go. The always nattily dressed corporate shark, Barney, has a secret past as a chaste hippie, hopelessly devoted to the college sweetheart who broke his heart and shattered his soul? (Not to mention the troubled childhood he and his brother endured with their groupie mom and absent dads.) Robin is his best friend’s dream girl (well, off and on, for a while) and grew up with a father who insisted on raising her as the boy he’d always wanted, instead of the girl she really was, and her secret shame is a teenage popstar career that went down in flames, in an extremely public venue? I am there for that, forever and always. Watching two people who didn’t even believe in true love, marriage, or anything of real substance, slowly fumble their way to each other, through breakups, other partners, an infertility diagnosis (hers) to combine a deep, abiding friendship and powerful attraction, well, :happy sigh: That’s the stuff. I’ll take the alternate finale if I must, where it’s strongly implied that things work out at long last, but these two giving up on each other? Nope, not buying that, not even with a coupon.

When I teach my workshop, Play in Your Own Sandbox, Keep All The Toys, one of the first exercises I give is to ask students to list their favorite shows/ships/characters, then ask the question – what do they all have in common? What’s the common thread? What do we find in each one of these cases, be the stories set in the past, present, future, or otherworldly realm? There’s a core story there. While any factors from cancellation, actors’ departure, bad writing, etc, can derail even the most outstanding TV couples, in romance novels, the HEA is a dead solid guarantee. No matter what life or the writer throws at the couple in question, by the last page, they are going to be on their own personal mountaintop, together, and happy to be there, and so are we.

What are some of your favorite ships that deserve the romance novel treatment?

Typing With Wet Claws: Come From Away Edition

 

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday.  I kind of met a puppy this week. His name is Aiden, he is a Golden Retriever, and he is my cousin, because his people parents are my Anty Mary and Uncle Brian. They all live back in the old country, but, this Sunday, they came to visit. I should probably say that I did not actually get an introduction, but I smelled him, which, for us fur people, is pretty much the same thing. I am not opposed to meeting another four-legs, but that did not happen this time. What did happen, however, was a good visit for Anty, Uncle and Mama. Anty Mary and Uncle Brian brought their human son, Andrew, who is a new grownup, and his special friend, Miss Leah. They also brought a big box of books for Anty, but more on that later.

As always, the rule here is that I have to talk about where to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs this week (apart from here, of course) before I can talk about anything else.

First, we have some breaking news. Anty’s post about the Shamy doings on last night’s The Big Bang Theory went live at Heroes and Heartbreakers, while I was writing this post. How is that for timely? That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHTBBTSheldonProposes

 

That is pretty exciting, I think. What is also exciting is that Anty is at Buried Under Romance every Saturday, with a new topic about the romance reading life. This week, she talked about the pros and cons of retellings of classic stories. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURretelling

Speaking of reading, this is the part of the post where I see how Anty did with reading. As of today, Anty is one-third through her Goodreads challenge goal of ninety books this year, and only two books behind schedule. Good job, Anty. Here are the books Anty read this week:

Her reviews for Afterlife With Archie, and Six Earlier Days look like this:

Anty is still thinking about her review for The Whisperer War, but she has reviews for the other two, which I think is pretty good. To read the reviews, please click the links above.  I should mention that bad things happen to two doggies in Afterlife With Archie, so Anty almost did not read that, but she does like to see things that do not normally go together, put together, so she read it anyway. Now she has to hunt down further volumes, because the library does not have them.

While it is true that there are no historical romances finished this week, Anty is currently reading Follow the Heart, by Anita Mills, which is a historical romance set during the French and Indian War. Miss Anita is an author whose work Anty has liked very much in the past, and it is a standalone book, which Anty also likes. Miss Anita had, at one time, planned to write a connected book, where the man the heroine did not marry would find somebody else, and, if Miss Anita ever wants to return to historical romance writing, Anty would like to read that, but, as it stands, this book is by itself.  Anty plans to read many more of Miss Anita’s books. She has already read many, but not all of them. Goodreads gives the publication date of some titles Anty does not remember, as being in the last couple of years, so Anty may have a glimmer of hope.

The box of books Anty Mary brought also brings a similar glimmer of hope. That box is full of mostly older historical romances, the kind with a more epic feel, and use of actual history that Anty likes to put into her own work. Getting through this box will require some study time (that means reading the books that are in that box) but Anty has not taken the books out of the box yet. She wants to concentrate on reading the book she is currently reading, and I think she is doing pretty well on that front. For now, Anty likes to lift the lid on the box, look at the books and pet the spines. Right now, that is enough. Anty likes to delay gratification on things like this, so, for her, waiting is part of the fun.

I am not that great at waiting for things I want, because I am a kitty. Today, I really really really wanted to be near Anty, so, while she was not looking, I walked onto the carpet. I still did not like it, but I like being far away from Anty even less. I let her know I was not happy having my feet on the carpet, so she got up and fed me. I think I may be onto something here. So does Anty. She lay down a few sheets of paper, to make a path from the hardwood floor, across the carpet, to her chair. So far, I have only looked at it. Anty says (Sir) Ginger (she only found out he was a boy, after he learned to answer to Ginger as his name. Oops.) -he was the kitty in our family, before Olivia, who was the kitty before me- liked to walk on paper, so she thought I might like that, too. I might, but I am still figuring out what I think about having paper on the floor. I guess we both have some studying to do. Good thing we can do it together.

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

skyebanner01skyebyefancy

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Conference 2017 Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This week there is some degree of time travel going on with this blog. Because today is the first day of the conference, and Anty will be leaving the apartment very early so that she can meet Anty Melva in MA and then go to the conference together, and Anty has several writing things that need attention before then (also packing, because she, as of this writing, had not done that yet) this post is actually coming to you from…get ready for this…yesterday. Whoa. I know. I am not sure how Anty managed that, but anybody who can get a cat to blog for her, and manipulate time, has to be pretty smart.

First, as usual, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this week, and not as usual, she invited readers to play a game with her, instead of a regular post. Because there were some issues with the interwebs, not everybody got to see it or have a chance to play, but because Miss Ezrah is a warrior queen webmistress, now you can. It is here, and the link on the main page looks like this:

BURconferenceweek

Since this is conference week, I am going to give Anty some grace and not mention that she is now even behinder in the Goodreads reading challenge.  Okay, not how much behinder, but still. Anty. Read books. Between ouchy back and post-conference exhaustion, I think she may have some time to read when she gets back from the conference. I would give her partial credit for bingeing on the whole season of Thirteen Reasons Why, but that was the TV show, not the book, so it does not count. Anty, I love you, but you need to step up the reading game. Big time.

Sometimes, when Anty is watching TV, she is actually working. That happened this week, when she got to write a timeline of the Rick and Michonne romance in The Walking Dead. I like Rick and Michonne. She likes cat statues, so I think she would like real kitties, too. Rick got her a new cat statue when she did not have her old one anymore. Maybe he would also like real kitties. That post is here, and it looks like this:

HandHRichonne7

Anty likes writing this kind of timeline post, and that is a good thing, because, when she comes back from the conference, she gets to write another one, about humans on a different show. That is pretty exciting.  She also has the okay to write another post, about the books of an author she likes very, very much, and needs to finish reading one more book, so that she will have read all the books that author wrote under that name. :clears throat: Anty, do the right thing.

Well, writing has to come first, because Anty cannot sell or publish books that she has not written. That is kind of important. She has been up late at the computer the last few nights, and her back has some things to say about that, but the Beach Ball is bouncing its way to the finish line, which makes both Anty and Anty Melva very happy. Hopefully, it will make some lucky editor and/or agent very happy, as well.

With all the writing Anty has been doing, and Uncle learning, the hard way, that he was wrong about the expiration date on those sausages (he will be okay, do not worry.) things have been a little crazy around here. Landlord came by a couple of days ago, and replaced lightbulbs in almost all of the overhead fixtures. Guess which bulbs did not get replaced. If you guessed Anty’s office, you were right. Uncle and Mama both claim they did not know Anty needed new lightbulbs, but here is a clue: at nighttime, it is dark. This is okay for me, because I am a kitty, and I have built-in night vision goggles (they are pretty cool) but Anty has a bedside lamp on the desk of her hutch, which is okay for only the computer screen and desk surface, but those are not the only things Anty uses in her office. Landlord or Handyman will take care of that fixture when one of them comes over to put in the new kitchen light. I suspect Anty may want to clean things once those lights get installed. Maybe she will finally see how ugly the carpet is and want to get rid of it. A cat can dream.

Because it is conference week, Anty has something special for everybody who comes to her workshop, or is interested in blogging, but attending a different workshop (like Miss Alyssa’s) or cannot attend the conference. Miss Rhonda has made a PDF of the Power Point presentation they and Miss Corrina will use. Click on the link below, and it can be yours. You can even read it at home in your pajamas, if you are into that kind of thing.

BloggingIsntDeadHandout

That is about it for this week. If you are going to the conference, feel free to say hi to Anty when you see her. If you are reading this blog, then it is no big surprise that Anty loves to talk about writing and romance novels. Also notebooks and pens and tea and gummi bears and TV shows and makeup and um, yeah. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebanner01

skyebye

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Juggling Chainsaws Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This week’s picture is from last night, when I got my farthest ever into Anty’s office without touching the hated carpet. Well, my tail did, but I am only counting paws. If Anty moved the kneeling chair and her magazine holder, I could get in even farther. I still want  her to get rid of the carpet completely, so I can sit as close to her chair as possible, but I will take this for now. I am rather proud of myself. I will never abandon my quest. A cat in every office, that’s the dream.

Anty will also never give up her quest for a career writing historical (and historical adjacent) romance. Part of that is writing the actual books. because, let’s face it, nothing can happen without that. Anty can only sell products she has, after all, so she must make them. This week, she has been doing a lot of that. Some days, it came easy, and some days, not so much, but one thing Anty needs to remember is that it will always come, even if it takes a little while. Or a long while, but that is another story. Pun intended.

As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance this week, and, this week, her post on historical romance outside the Regency (yes, she is still salty about missing that workshop at next week’s conference, but she has plans to get handouts, so it is okay. Ish.) got some people talking. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURnonregency.png

 

Anty has also written a post on Heroes and Heartbreakers, about the Bones series finale. Anty liked Booth and Bones and their love story very much, so it was sad to say goodbye to them, but happily ever afters are good things. Anty’s post about that is here, and it looks like this:

HandHBonesFinale

Reading, especially reading other historical romances,  is also important. Anty could do better on that one, as she is now seven books behind in her Goodreads challenge. This does not make Anty happy, but it does make her want to dig in and read some more. Probably when the conference is over and she has come back with a whole armload of books, and is not juggling metaphorical chainsaws. Do not worry, they are only metaphorical chainsaws, not real ones. That would be very dangerous. Anty needs her hands for writing and for feeding and petting me. She has her priorities. She had better make reading one of them, because her Goodreads challenge now looks like this:

GR310317

Time for Anty to step up the whole reading thing.  Readers who have been with us a while may remember her freakout when she thought she was fifteen books behind, with the end of the year approaching. Nobody wants that to happen again. Which means life had better calm down, but I am not in control of that.

This week, Anty had too much going on, on Monday, to be ready for crit session with Miss N, so asked if Miss N could move it to Thursday, which Miss N could not, because she had another appointment, but she could do Friday (which is today.) Then, while Anty was talking with Miss H, Miss H mentioned that there would be a blizzard where Miss H lives. This was news to Anty, because Anty had not looked at the weather in a while. She looked at the weather then, and got a surprise – we would get a winter storm, too.

Miss N, and her husband, Mr. N, picked Anty up, so she would not need to walk in the slushy rain. They have three kitties of their own, so I know Anty can trust them. The critique session went very well, and Miss N suggested that she and Anty skip next Tuesday, because Anty will be too busy during the week, getting ready for the conference, to get her scene ready for critique. The conference goes late into Saturday, then there is the two hour drive to get from where the conference is, to where she will meet Mama, then two more hours to get back home. Miss N kind of has a point. Anty agreed taking that Tuesday off was a good idea. Then Miss N said maybe the next week, too, but Anty did not like that option. Two weeks away is too much, so Miss N said maybe an outline instead of a scene. Anty is still thinking about that one, but she cannot think too much about it, because there is still her Buried Under Romance post to write, and then this weekend is her last chance to get any conference related errands done.

Earlier this week, the conference people asked Anty for a bio, so that they can tell people about her. That is a new thing for Anty. Whenever she has to write a bio, she either feels like she has never met herself, or that she is not sure why other people would find her interesting.  Because having a bio for the conference people is part of Anty’s career goals, she put on her big girl panties and combined parts from two bios she does not entirely hate. The bio she sent in does include me, which I think is a very smart move. Many writer humans find cats extremely interesting, so they will probably like that.

Anty needs the computer back, so that is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebanner01skyebye

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Happy Anniversary To Me Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This is a very special edition, because yesterday was my ninth anniversary of getting adopted and becoming a pet. I was ten months old when Mama and Anty came to the shelter to get me. I had been living there since I was six months old. Before that, I was wild, because I was born that way. I did not stay that way, though, because the rescue people found me when I got hurt by a car, and they took care of me until my humans could find me. I did not know what was happening on my adoption day. The rescue humans put me in a carrier, like when they took me to the pokey place. I did not want to go the pokey place and see a vet, but that is not what happened.

What happened was that Mama and Anty came to the shelter. They did not know I was already in the carrier, so they talked about how much they wanted to meet the kitty they were going to take home. They talked about how Olivia, their other cat, had gone to Rainbow Bridge, and how sad they were because of that. I did not want these nice humans to be sad, because that made me sad, too. I was already sad, so that means I got sadder, but the story is not over there (obviously, because you are reading this.) The rescue humans showed Mama and Anty where I was, and then they got happy, because of me. They asked if I wanted to come live with them and if they could call me Skye. I think my response was something like, “um, okay?” because I still did not know what was going on, but other humans who came to take kitties to that home place were always happy. Happy humans are my favorite kind. One of the rescue humans helped put my carrier in Mama’s car, and Anty called Uncle at his work to let him know I was coming home. She told him other things, too, like what kind of kitty I was (Maine Coon, which I still am) and what color I was (brown tabby) and that I had a ginger spot on my head (it is the only orange fur on my whole entire me) and that I was scared but still a good kitty.

Everybody was very patient with me while I got used to being in my new home. Anty even thought it was funny when I tried to nurse on her toe (Anty says we miss one hundred percent of the shots we don’t take) and now it is one of her favorite Baby Skye stories. She says that adopting me crossed “Christmas kitten” off her bucket list (maybe that is one of the reasons “Skye Bucket” is one of her names for me?) but being adopted by my humans crossed “get a home” off mine. It is a good home.

It does not, however, get me out of talking about Anty’s writing (she let me go first this week because it was my adoptiversary.) As usual, Anty has her post at Buried Under Romance to share with you. This week, she talked about romance novels and related items as holiday gifts (if you have gifts yet to buy for reading friends, books are good ones. Especially Anty’s. Anty gets really happy when people buy her books.) That post is here: http://www.buriedunderromance.com/2016/12/saturday-discussion-the-gift-of-romance.html#comment-9289 and it looks like this:

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Anty also has a new post at Heroes and Heartbreakers, where she talks about six of the shippiest moments on This Is Us. Anty loves writing and she loves This is Us, so this was a fun piece for her to write. Is your favorite couple/moment listed? (My favorite moment was finding out that Clooney, the cat, was okay and even got extra pettings. I hope that was not a spoiler.) That post is here:

http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2016/12/best-this-is-us-moments-of-season-one#comments and it looks like this:

 

handhthisisus

But can we really feel too much? Really?

Another thing Anty wrote about this week was something that helped her pursue three goals at the same time: reading more historical romance, feeling more Christmassy, and writing more about what she reads. That is all because she read My First Noel, by Danelle Harmon, who is a favorite author anyway, (and a very nice human, even if she does have dogs and a horsie. rather than cats.) This book was Miss Danelle’s first time writing in the inspirational genre. Anty was all over that from the concept alone. Her review is posted here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1839106619?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 and it looks like this:

goodreadsharmonnoel

 

 

If you would like to see all of Anty’s reviews she posts on Goodreads, you can find them here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/8485744-anna?shelf=read. If you have read any of Anty’s books so far, and would like to write a review of them, or you are interested in reading them, you can find them on her “I Wrote It” shelf, which is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/8485744-anna?shelf=i-wrote-it. Anty would like to say thank you to all the new Goodreads friends she made this week. She is always up for more Goodreads friends, and has plans to make her “I Wrote It” shelf bigger in the coming year. I will keep you all up to date on that front, as I am very dedicated to my duties as a mews.

That is about it for this week, so I will give the computer back to Anty so she can play with her imaginary friends, and make more books for you to read. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebye

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling
(the kitty, not the book)