Typing With Wet Claws: Post-Fiction Fest Edition

 

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, straight from Camp Grandma. The humans have been talking about Forever Apartment options, so I think camp will be coming to a close sooner rather than later. I think. At any rate, this time, last week, Anty was getting ready to hit the road and come see me. She had to stop at CT Fiction Fest first, of course, and give her workshop with Anty Melva. I am happy to report, though, that she did come through with the laser pointer, but more on that later.

Regular readers, you know the drill. New readers, I have to talk about where to find Anty’s writing on the interwebs (besides here, because you are here already) for the past week. Anty would like to remind readers that the best way to make sure you get every single blog entry, even if it is posted on the wrong day (Anty is only human, and Sebastian is kind of lazy) is to subscribe, here on the blog. That way, the new entries will come right to you. Also, she may or may not be thinking of posting something special when she hits the next milestone for subscribers. (Spoiler: she totally is planning exactly that.)

Okay, here we go. First of all, Anty was, as always, at Buried Under Romance on Saturday morning. This past week, she takes a look at buzzwords. This is not a post about bees, in case you were concerned about that (I was. Bees are scary.) but about words in titles that let us know what things we might find inside those books. Think dukes, scandals, Highlanders, that kind of thing. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURbuzzwords

There are no actual bees in this post.

Even though the only thing Anty read over the weekend of Fiction Fest were her own notes and some handouts, she still has a favorite book of the week, and that is Eliza and Her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia. Anty gives this book a full five stars. Her review has big spoilers, so beware of that if you want to read the review. It is a YA, and it has romance and fandom, and art and writing, and, although Anty got this copy from the library, she is 100& buying it so that she can read it again. Her review is here, and it looks like this:

GRElizandhermonsters

Seriously. Big spoiler.

If you are following Anty’s Goodreads challenge, here are the stats for this week. Anty has now read seventy-four out of ninety books, which puts her at eighty-two percent of the way to her goal, and eleven books ahead of schedule. I am going to call that well done. Keep going, Anty. Story in, story out. That is how it works.

Coming back from ta conference with a lot of new tools is how going to a conference usually works, at least for Anty. she attended a workshop on writing historical fiction/romance, presented by Melanie Meadors. Miss Melanie has some amazing fashion sense, and some very good advice on writing in other times and places, past or future. Anty took a lot of notes, in that workshop and others. I will let her talk more about that later, if she wants to share any of them.

The workshop Anty knows the most about is the one that she presented with Anty Melva, on writing through real life plot twists. Real life cooperated and threw a few plot twists Anty and Anty Melva’s way, but they made it to the hotel, and to their workshop, which, by all accounts (that they know about, at least) went very well. Some humans came up to each of them after the workshop, with follow-up questions, which made them very happy.

Another thing that made Anty and Anty Melva very happy was the professional critique Anty Melva had, on a sample from Chasing Prince Charming. Anty was not at the critique, because this was a one person at a time kind of thing, but the other humans knew that this book really has two authors. They liked the sample a lot, and had some comments on how to make it even better.

Anty and Anty Melva made good use of some pockets of times before things got started at various points through the weekend, to do some work on the next part of Drama King, and also for setting up the third book they will write together. There was even some talk about what they want to write together next, after those books are done, but that can be a topic for later.

Anty loves meeting people at conferences, best of all, and she made some new friends at this one, including another writer of historical romance. Anty has wanted a historical romance writer buddy for a long time. Maybe this is how that kind of thing happens. We will see.

No, on to the most important part of the weekend, and that is Anty’s visit to me. It was a short visit, but it still counts. I will allow that things might have been less confusing for me if there were fewer people in the room (there were three) and it was not dinnertime, but it was still a good visit. Anty spent some time grooming me (I earned my treat, let me tell you that) and then it was time for the laser pointer.

I find the laser pointer very interesting, but A) it was mealtime, and B) there were too many people watching me, so I only looked at it. I will try playing next time, when it is only me and Anty. That should be fun.

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

skyebye2018

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Feeling Myself

CT Fiction Fest 2018 is now a memory. This will be a fairly quick post, as I am (mostly) unpacked, (almost) ready for laundry, and now navigating the murky waters of that space between the return from conference and what the humans call “real life.” The fact that I am writing Monday’s post on Tuesday should be a small taste of that.

Today is grayish, and quiet, with whisper of possible thunderstorms later on. I am highly in favor of all of this. My notes from the conference workshops, both the one I co-presented with Melva and the ones that I didn’t, are in my traveler’s notebook, ready for me to go over them with pastel highlighters and possibly copy to a computer file. I have notes from late night brainstorms with Melva, about the rest of our current manuscript together, setting up the third , which will follow this one, and there were even whispers of what we want to do after this three book cycle is finished.

It’s not a question of do we want to work together again, but of course we do, so we have a sticky note on top of what’s next. Stay in this story world, or start something new-new-new? Not sure yet, a we are focusing on what’s in front of us, but I am sure that, whatever it is, it will come about as organically as the  first three, and this, our first workshop. We’ve already talked some about proposing a workshop on writing together, once the first book is available to readers, and that feels right.

We also talked about our solo projects. On our own, we write very different things. Melva writes cozy romantic suspense, and nonfiction humor, while I write historical romance, and whatever these blogs are. We each floated out some tentative feelers for our future solo projects, during a late night plotting group. We went straight from the dessert buffet, to a ballroom with a circle of chairs, inhabited by people we didn’t know, but also knew they were our people, aka romance writers. There were no introductions, no small talk, just “do you have anything?” and yes, yes, we each did.

AnnaCTFF18

I think she’s plotting something…

I trotted out the bare bones of my Hogmanay story, with the not-so-dead husband, and very much alive fiancé. Nobody pointed and laughed. Nobody bodily dragged me to the door, because I was obviously Not A Real Writer. There was only the question, “who do you want her to end up with?” to which I answered, without hesitation, that it would be the husband. There was a mention that this reminded some of the gathered writers of the opening of Poldark, which A) I love, and B) had not been thinking of when I first encountered Davey, Lennox, and Gavin. Neutral intonation. No pointing. No laughing, and everybody agreed that Poldark is awesome, now back to this story. These strangers, who were also sisters (and brother) in arms asked questions, offered possibilities, and, above all, too my word as law on all things regarding this story. If I say no, then it was no. If I said yes, everybody won. In the end, someone tossed out a “what if” that made my ears perk. I’ll have to change some bits of my original concept, but this is as it ought to be. The second draft will come out better, stronger, and have the legs to carry itself all the way to The End. Which will also be a starting point to the next story.

Though I do meet, individually, with writer friends, this brainstorming session reminded me of how long it’s been since I’ve been in a group, and how much I liked it. I’ve tried a couple, since arriving in Albany (the first time, not coming home after the conference) and though I liked all the people in those groups, the fit wasn’t right. My ideal would be all romance writers, specifically historical romance, but we will see what will happen. Conferences are great for networking, and this one was no exception.

One of the things on my post-conference to-do list is to order new business cards, because A) I gave a lot of cards out during the last few days, and B) an exploding can of Diet Coke took out most of those that remained. I love the whole trading business cards part of conferences. It involves meeting people, talking about books, and stationery. What’s not to love? There’s a certain thrill that comes from handing a business card to the person one has been chatting with for the last few minutes, and their neighbor, who was not part of the conversation, asks if they can have one, too.  There are also the sticky notes I carry, for those who have run out of cards, or don’t ha them yet. I need to restock those, too, and I am happy about that.

That, however, is a job for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a good day to stick a toe back into everyday life. Tomorrow is time to resume my weekly breakfasts with N, where we can fill each other in on the separate events we attended over the weekend, and compare notes. tomorrow is a good time to go over the notes for Melva’s and my workshop, and see where I could do better on taking our own advice. Tomorrow is time to sit at the kitchen table, with pen and paper and tea, and make the empty page not be so empty anymore. I am looking forward to that.

As for today, there is this blog entry, and there is, of course, tea. There is a stack of library books to read, and there is Netflix or Hulu, if I am so inclined. There is an Irish fisherman knit afghan and dregs of a tea-scented candle, and the day-off sounds of Real Life Romance Hero puttering about in random fashion. Today is for filling the well. Tomorrow, I draw from it again.

Typing With Wet Claws: CT Fiction Fest Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another very special Typing With Wet Claws, coming to you direct from Camp Grandma. Today is a very exciting day. because today is the first day of Connecticut Fiction Fest, where Anty and Anty Melva will be presenting their workshop. Their workshop will be at ten AM on Sunday, but today is the day Anty packs her things, and hits the road. First, she and Mama will drive to where Anty Melva Lives. Then Mama will come to Camp Grandma, to spend the weekend with me, and Anty will go, with Anty Melva, to Fiction Fest. If you are going to be there, make sure to say hi. Anty loves this whole networking thing.

The other reason today is exciting is because it is the day I will get my laser pointer. I am a little worried, because this particular laser pointer is also a pen, so Anty will naturally be drawn to it (pun unintended, but it can stay) but if I have fun with it, and Anty can see that, she will probably let me have it. Probably. I like playing with people more than I like playing with toys, and this is a toy Grandma should be able to handle. Anty wants to make sure I get enough exercise, and playing is the way indoor kitties like me do that.

Because the rule here is that I cannot talk about anything else (which is usually Anty’s writing anyway) let’s get to that. First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday. This week, she talked about the worst thing about great books. Can you guess what it is? That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURworstpartgoodbook

the struggle is real

Next, we come to Anty’s Goodreads challenge. Sebastian has spent most of the week in a sunbeam (to be honest, I probably would have done the same thing myself, so somebody still has to add a few dates and reviews, but, at current writing, Anty is now eighty percent of the way to her goal of reading ninety books this year. That means she has read seventy-two books, so far, and is eleven books ahead of schedule. Anty is a reading machine. Keep going, Anty. You’ve got this.

The favorite book that Anty read this week is A Map For Wrecked Girls. by Jessica Taylor. Anty loves desert island stories, shipwreck stories, and stories about friendship loss (and maybe healing) and this story has all of those things. Anty’s review of this book is here, and it looks like this:

GRmapforwreckedgirls

Anty knows very well that she will probably come home with a, um, boatload of books from the conference. Probably. She has never been to this conference before, so maybe they do things differently on that front. I know Anty, though. Anyway, even though Anty is headed to what is basically Writer Disneyland, where A) she will be busy talking to other writers most of the time, and B) there may very well be books that people just give her, she is still bringing her Kindle, and probably a library book as well. I know my Anty. She is not going anywhere without reading material.

Anty is also not going anywhere without her planners. That is right, I used the plural. Besides Big Pink (who has a new cover; Anty will show you that later) she is bringing Li’l Pink, who has new inserts. Those inserts do not include the insert Anty made from scratch, because there is a very good reason why making traveler’s notebook inserts by candlelight is not a thing. That reason is because candlelight, while pretty, does not allow for a clear view of the colors a human is using. That is why Anty picked paper that she thought was pink, was actually neon orange. Faded neon orange, but still orange. Orange is not the new pink.

TWWCneoninsert

Good first try, Anty. As Miss H said, when Anty mentioned wanting to try a new creative thing, “go for it. First you’ll suck, then you’ll get better.” Miss H is pretty smart. She also recommended that Anty watch a movie called Black Panther, when Anty comes home from the conference. With a title like that, I am going to assume that this movie is about cats. I could say a lot about the need for feline representation in Hollywood, but that is for another post. Maybe if they need a sequel, Brown Tabby would be a catchy title. I cannot say it rolls off my tongue, because my tongue has bristles, because I am a kitty, but I think it’s a title that would appeal to a wide audience.

Now it is time for Anty to get packing, so that is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebye2018

 

Five Days, And Counting

Right now, I am ensconced in the latest iteration of my writing corner. With the addition of an improvised floor pillow, created from Housemate’s old comforter, the current setup is pretty darned close to a video game chair, which is not only useful for writing, but for computer gaming, as well. With yet another heat wave, with high humidity, forecast for this week, staying inside and writing is pretty much my entire week. This is a good thing.

Anything physical gets done in morning or evening. Days are for writing, which suits me fine. On Friday, I hit the road, to Connecticut Fiction Fest, riding shotgun for Melva Michaelian, aka my contemporary cohort. Things happen when we’re left alone together, unsupervised. Those things tend to be book-related, so it’s a pretty good deal. We will be taking not only our act on the road, but our dinner as well, (we have both agreed that the grilled cheese with hot peppers incident has to go in a book, someday. There is a lollipop bouquet incident, in Chasing Prince Charming, that actually did happen, aka That Year Anna Won Everything, Whether She Wanted It Or Not, and I have every reason to expect that this latest adventure is going to spawn an incident or two of its own.

With the way scheduling and transportation worked out, we will be arriving at the hotel around 7pm on Friday night, so we’ll be raring to go on Saturday, to pump us up for Sunday. Melva, a long-time educator, is a pro at public speaking, and I will talk to anybody, at any time. (I have vivid memories of my mother telling three year old me that there are restaurants that allow dancing and restaurants that do not allow dancing, and she would tell me which ones were which, but plopping myself down at stranger’s tables and introducing myself was not a very good idea. Yep, I was a unique kiddo.) With this in mind, public-speaking nerves are not really a thing (speaking for myself here) but there’s still a degree of nervousness.

As in, there will be an approximately fifty-minute span of time, where the entire population of a room will be looking, specifically, at me.  Okay, fine, Melva and me, plus the PowerPoint, plus their own feet, their notebooks or laptops, the weird stain on the carpet, possibly insides of their eyelids, whatever name the barista wrote on their coffee cup, etc. It’s not all about me, which is a good thing, but it is a topic that Melva and I both know a lot about. I find it only fitting that the conference will come after a heat wave, which means I had best take my own advice this week.

The plain truth is, that, sometimes, writing can’t happen. Hot, muggy days, when everything seems to crawl at a snail’s pace, sometimes fit into that category. Fingers crossed that this is summer’s last gasp, and not only because I am all about the pretty leaves, crisp air, and pumpkin everything. Summer is my least favorite season, and I don’t see that changing, but there is still some good to be found in those long, humid days, where there is so much moisture in the air, we start cracking jokes about having air fish.

I like taking care of the house, especially since Housemate and I liberated some items from the storage unit, this past weekend, and I can now make a few things a bit neater, a bit prettier, a bit easier to use. One of those things is my writing corner. I still miss my beloved desk, and I will admit that I did pet the drawers, when we saw them in storage, but I like this pile of cushions, and Ikea coffee table, too. It’s kind of decadent, really, being this comfortable, which can be, at times, extremely conducive to getting my imaginary friends out of my head (though, are they ever, really?) and onto the page. Sometimes, I even think that giving myself permission not to write on a hot day like today, actually makes it easier to do exactly that.

Kind of an escape hatch, really. I don’t have to use it every time, but it’s good to know it’s there. Today is hot. Today is muggy. Sleep was meh, and there are a million things to do, to get ready for the conference, not to mention the fact that this is a holiday, so who’s going to be reading blog entries, anyway? The world wouldn’t end if I posted tomorrow, instead of today, which is exactly when my brain propelled me from its spot in front of the box fan, to my cushion pile in front of the coffee table, to blabber in circles for a while.

At the end of this week, I will pack a bunch of black dresses in my rolling suitcase, sling my laptop bag over one shoulder, and pile into first Housemate’s car, and then Melva’s, to tumble out, in the darkening night, at a hotel I’ve never been to before. I have no idea what the badges look like at CTFF, but if there is some sort of presenter ribbon, I am going to be stoked. Some other signifier would be fine, too, and I have two anthology contributions that came out in the last thirty days. Not novels, no, but my stuff, in books, that people buy. Okay, then. Onward we go.

020418deskscape2

Typing With Wet Claws: Fiction Fest Prep Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another very special Feline Friday, coming to you from Camp Grandma. This time, next week, Anty will be on her way to Connecticut Fiction Fest, where she and Anty Melva get to give their workshop, on writing through real life plot twists. Since Mama will be handing Anty off to Anty Melva, there is a good chance that Anty will get a chance to see me, on this visit. Probably on the way back, but I am not going to complain. Any visit is a good visit (except for vet visits) and, besides, she owes me a laser pointer.

SebastianWindow

Although Sebastian has not yet updated Anty’s Coming Soon page, there is news. Both anthologies are now available for purchase.

New York’s Emerging Writers: an Anthology of Nonfiction is available here. That is where you can read Anty’s essay, “Greetings From Boxville.”

If it is fiction you are after, you can read “Ravenwood,” the first two scenes from Anty’s novel, A Heart Most Errant, is available here, in New York’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction. If you like this excerpt, and would like to read the whole book, please consider telling that to the publisher humans.

Now, on to where you can find Anty’s writing on the interwebs, this week (other than here, because, well, you already know how to get here, if you are already here, so you do not need me to tell you.) As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about when reading is slow, and when it is fast. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURslowslowquickquick

Speaking of reading, it is time to look at Anty’s Goodreads Challenge. It is not even September, but Anty would have to do some serious slacking to fall off course now, as she has read seventy-one books, out of her goal of ninety, which puts her at seventy-nine percent of the way to her goal, and twelve books ahead of schedule. Good job, Anty. Keep reading.

The book Anty liked best this week was The Love Slave, by Bertrice Small. Anty said I should mention that it is a very, very grownups-only book, with very mature themes, and younger readers, or gentle readers of any age, may want to read a different book. Anty’s review is here, and it looks like this:

GRsmalltheloveslave

Some of you may have noticed that Anty did not blog on Wednesday. That is because it was too hot in NY, and she was not feeling well. It is cooler now, and she is much better, and she acknowledges that she owes you a blog entry. She is thinking of sneaking in some updates from Fiction Fest, but that will depend on the wifi connection, and whether or not she can fix her new laptop. No big surprise, because Anty has been dubbed the computer killer.

The laptop is not dead, though. It is only doing the three beeps thing, so Anty is watching some YouTube videos of how to fix the problem at home, and then she will ask Mama to borrow a baby screwdriver, and give it a go. Anty already has figured out how she will keep all of the tiny screws straight (they are not all the same size) – she will divide a piece of paper into sections, and put each screw in its proper section, that matches where it is on the actual computer. This is where it comes in handy to be a planning sort of person.

Planning also has a dark side, though. Anty found that out this week. Even when Anty does not feel well in the heat, and does not have a lot of energy, she still has enough energy to look at her notebooks. Last weekend, Anty finally got the blush stripe cover for Big Pink, that she has been drooling over (not literally; that would be gross) for a really long time, but was hesitant to move into it, because it wasn’t exactly perfect.

That, as you might imagine, was what inspired Anty to rip all of the inserts out of the old cover (that was not very old at all; she will now use it to protect trade size paperbacks when she reads away from home) and put them into the new one. Only, she did not put all of them into the new cover. That is because the hardcover Moleskine did not fit the new cover.  That was rather upsetting, because Anty liked having the hardcover Moleskine in there, but she can buy a new cahier insert, to do the same job. She needs to get more inserts anyway, since she had filled one of them.

Anty also figured out why she could not settle on how she wanted to use the inserts she had set up in Li’l Pink. That was because Li’l Pink is, well, pink, and the inserts are in shades of blue . She’d been wanting (and still wants) to move to Li’l Pink for her everyday carry, and, while the blue inserts are very pretty, they might not be the easiest to read important information on; Anty wants pink or ivory pages for that, but she wants to use the blue pages for reading and writing things.

The same company that sells Big and Li’l Pink, also has a teal (teal is a greenish-blue color, that is very pretty) cover, that is on sale at the same store where Anty got the pink covers. Her current plan is to go to the store, get the teal cover, and put the blue inserts in that one. Then, (or maybe before; I have not seen her schedule for the evening) she will either buy new inserts for Li’l Pink (Moleskine makes a pastel assortment, that Anty likes, or Kraft paper covers are good, too) or she will find a pack of three pocket sized inserts that have pink covers, that are packed away in storage.

Thankfully, Anty was pretty hardcore about labeling the boxes that came from her office, so it should not be too hard to find the box of inserts. She might even share some of them with Mama, because she has lured Mama over to the dark side, and now Mama has a notebook cover of her own. I do not have my own planner, so far, but pocket size is also kitty size, so maybe it is in my future.

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

skyebye2018

Running Around In Circles, Planning

Connecticut Fiction Fest is now only two weeks away.  Melva tells me our workshop is slated for 10AM on Sunday, which suits me fine. A) I am a morning person. B) This will be after breakfast, so I will be properly caffeinated. C) I may very well be hyped up to the enthusiastic anticipation level of a five-year-old at six-thirty on Christmas morning.

All of this means that it is time to crank planning for this event, into high gear. I love planning. I mean love, love, love planning. If I couldn’t be a writer, professional organizer would be a fabulous job. I have pulled friends over to the dark side, purely for the pleasure of helping them find their planner bliss and finding their own aesthetic. Note the planner case, with pen loops, and the blush pink thing I have going on.

Note, also, the kitchen table, which is new. Not new-new, but new to us, and, this morning, the difference between setting up for my Monday planning at an actual table, in an actual chair, and curled up on an air mattress, balancing stuff in my lap, is remarkable. With the heat for the next couple of days here in NY’s Capitol Region forecast in the high nineties, this means rearranging my schedule is going to be a must, so seeing what can be allocated where, for each task to be accomplished most efficiently, is key.

There’s something about getting up in front of a bunch of people, who have paid cash money to learn how to improve their writing game, who have also looked over all of the options available for that slot of time, and picked your fifty-minute chunk, over other options, ranging from presentations by other writers and/or publishing professionals, to staking out a chair in the lobby to actually write, or saying “stuff this” to the planned program, and nipping off with friends old or new, for a beverage of choice, that makes a person want to at least have the appearance of having their stuff together.

Thankfully, this year, I get to go into the event with new releases that are not old enough to go to kindergarten. My Ravenwood novel excerpt is currently available,  My nonfiction anthology piece, “Greetings from Boxville,” is available for preorder, so it does feel like there is, at last, progress. We like progress. Details are still forthcoming on my next involvement with Charter Oak Romance Writers, but it feels good to be asked back, and, also, for a writer friend I’ve previously worked with, to ask me back for more freelance work. These are all good things. Signs of life, if you will.

All of this brings me to this morning, at the kitchen table, with multiple planners open, nudging all (or at least most) of my ducks into, if not exactly a row, then a loose conglomeration, in the same geographical area. I like to know what’s going to happen, when, and who’s going to do it. That means that, this week, I get to go over my presentation with Melva, and plan out what I want to cover in the segments that are assigned to me. In reality, we’ve both going to interrupt each other a lot, and Melva will probably go unintentionally blue, at least once, at some point, but I like knowing how things are meant to go, in theory, even if practice doesn’t always follow the standard practices.

While a good deal of the planning at this stage of the game, for Fiction Fest, involves the practicalities -which route do I want to take to the venue? What am I wearing? What electronics/pens/paper have to come with?- there is also the planning for the post-conference days. Autumn is, and always has been, the season when my superpowers, usually dormant during the summer, come back, full-fledged, and ready to rumble. In my case, that means writing. If any opportunities come from meetings, planned or chance, at Fiction Fest, Melva and I will need to jump on those, because timing matters.

More than that, there is the fact that I will come back from the conference, energized, with new writer friends, maybe new ideas, and my enthusiasm and confidence cranked up a few levels. This is especially important when I look at getting back to Her Last First Kiss, and historical romance, in general. If you think this is going to mean I’ll be re=formatting the planning of how I approach this part of my writing life, you’re right. Do I have any idea what that is going to look like, in a physical sense? Not at the moment, but not the stuff I put together because that’s how it’s “supposed to” work, or because that’s what “real writers” do. The way it’s meant to be is in the best way possible for me to easily access not only the physical documents or files, but the way that makes it possible for me to connect with that special story place, the one that makes me eager to come to the page every morning, and tell these characters’ stories, the way they want them to be told.

The fact that I get to play with pretty pens and papers and assorted ephemera is only coincidental. Really.

Pre-Fall Writing Prep

Yesterday, I was in pajamas and in bed by 6:30 PM. It was one of those days. Yes, I have been out of bed since, even though bed is also today’s command center. This morning, my Mac Book Pro started with the three beeps thing. This will either mean a trip to the Apple Store (this would be my first) or removing the back of the laptop, to fix the issue myself. I have still not decided, but I need my machine, to get some work done, and, not going to lie, having Sims on my laptop is a definite must, especially when my first ever CT Fiction Fest is now less than a month away :runs around in circles, screaming: and I am not going only as an attendee, but as a co-presenter. This won’t be my first time at the front of the room, and I will have Melva right there with me, and we’ve already gone over who is going to talk about what. We also agree that we are probably going to interrupt and talk over each other a lot ( this is extremely likely.)

Right now, Chasing Prince Charming has three pairs of professional eyes upon it, which is both exciting and scary. I’m not thinking about it too much, as there’s enough other stuff on my mind.

Preparing for Fiction Fest is one thing, of course. Melva and I know what each of us are going to do for our workshop, and I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that I will almost certainly wearing some sort of black dress, and purchasing new shoes is probably the better route than teying to find the box marked “heels” in the storage unit. I will be headed there anyway, as I need to find my traveler’s notebook inserts, which are also in there somewhere.

Either way, it’s going to be some excavation. This feels appropriate, given the recent retreat. One thing that is gauranteed from nearly a week spent with almost exclusively feline  companionship, and no interwebs, is a lot of mental excavation.

Though such time is basically made for some prime planning, one of the biggest things I discovered on retreat week was that the checklists and trackers I put together at the start of the year still work perfectly fine, for the most part, but I didn’t like them anymore. This means taling a look at what I want to do, and how I want to do it. Hence the planned storage unit excavation, in search of boxes marked “Moleskines” and “cahiers.”

The visual style changes for my notebook pages are the easy part. The scary part is the stuff that will go on them. A.k.a. writing fiction. Over the last couple of says, multiple people have brought up Her Last First Kiss. This elicited, in basically all cases, a reaction that can best be described as “eep.” Sound made by me, in case you hadn’t guessed, followed by a guilty, “I knowwwww.” Usually followed by thoughts of the wire cube where I’d stashed the printout of draft one, and the Big Daddy Precious notebook, before the move.

There was the whole moving thing, and the focus on Chasing Peince Charming and the revise/resubmit request, plus the anthology submissions, and workshops both online and on person, plus assorted medical bunny trails, Camp NaNo, two retreats, and now…it’s time, again.

When I think of returning to Ruby and Bern’s world, my mind goes to the very first scene, where a young Ruby’s life passes its first point of no return. My pulse speeds a little when I think about that. It goes next to the titular first kiss, at the worst possible time, when both Bern and Ruby become fully aware of how deep their mutual doo-doo has become, and the damage that would follow taking things any further.

That moment always gives me a satisfied sigh. It’s not a comfortable moment for either of them, by any means, but it’s one of my favorites, because it’s their point of no return, and, therefore, the book’s. In my initial notes, they both get an FML notation. Bad, bad, very bad, but oh so good at the same time. At least for me, which should, theoretically, make me want to skip to the keyboard, cackling with glee. Rubbing of hands optional.

The reality of it? We will see when I open Big Daddy Prdcious, and put pen to paper. The desktop still works perfectly fine, but I’m going to need to pick an option for fixing the Mac, as it’s about to get a lot of use. At least that’s the plan.

 

 

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Retreat Prep 2.0 Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, coming to you from Camp Grandma. As you may have guessed from this week’s title, by this time, next week, Anty will be in a carrier, coming to see me. I am very much looking forward to that. There has been talk of a laser pointer. If it is anything like my mousie game, I am all over that.

I am also all over Anty’s writing, which she plans to be doing a lot of, during our retreat. First, and I will probably have to Coe back and edit this later, because the remote connection to Anty’s new glory box is still wonky (also, it is thundering, and I am going to stay here under Grandma’s sewing machine (do not worry, it is off) until the storm is over. I would hide under a bed, but there are no beds in my room (I know, seriously, what’s up with that?) If you have been wanting to read new writing by Any (and also some other people) then this is your lucky day.

Preorders for the nonfiction of New York’s Emerging Writers are now, um, doing their thing. That preorder is here.  Anty’s contribution to this book is her essay, “Greetings From Boxville,” which is about the writing life, in the midst of a move. It is a lot like Anty’s blog entries, but it is not in a blog; it is only in this book, and no place else.

Preorders are also here for the fiction edition of New York’s Emerging Writers. If you would like to preorder that one, then you can do that here. This book comes out on August 7th, which is only days away, so there is still time to sneak in under the wire to preorder. Anty’s contribution to this anthology is “Ravenwood,” which is an excerpt of her novel, A Heart Most Errant. If you like “Ravenwood,” and would like to see A Heart Most Errant as a whole book, maybe leave a nice review and mention that. No promises, but mentioning the story and author by name helps the publisher see who readers would like to read more from, in the future. If you want to see more books by Any (and me get better toys and treats) then do the right thing.

As always, Anty was a Buried Under Romance this past Saturday, with her post that asks if favorite books always remain favorites? Can a reader like the same book more or less than they did before, at different times? If you are interested to find out what Anty thinks about that kind of thing, you can find that out here.

This is normally the part where I give you Anty’s Goodreads challenge updates, but Sebastian is still supposedly working on the exact numbers, so I will show you Anty’s favorite book that she read this week. It is called Leah on the Offbeat, by Becky Albertalli, and Anty’s review of that is here. 

Any has now read sixty out of the ninety books she set as her goal for the year, and that puts her at sixty-seven percent of the way there, eight books ahead of schedule. I would be remiss if I did not point out that Anty has been slacking in the historical romance department, in favor of YA, but I am not worried. These things go in cycles, and she will be blazing through historical romance novels again, very soon. Last night, Anty made a lot of notes about video blogs she would like to make, regarding books that she likes, and she needed two pages for historical romance topic ideas. That is encouraging.

Some of you may have noticed that I have not put a lot of pictures in this entry. I am very sorry. Still learning how the remote connection works on a Mac instead of a PC (that stands for Pretty Cat, right?) Maybe Anty will fill me in when she comes for our retreat. Although my chances of getting peanut butter (I regret nothing) are markedly lower on this retreat, now that Anty is on to me,  I think we will still have a good time. Miss H is telling Anty how to load some computer games (people games, but oh well, I can still watch) onto her laptop, so that Anty will not be game-less, even without inter webs. Grandma is not at all interested in inter webs, so Anty may get a little twitchy until Anty Melva comes to take her for lunch.

The reason Anty Melva and Anty will go to lunch is so that they can go over their presentation for Connecticut Fiction Fest, which is only a month away. Anty is not, as of yet, running around in circles screaming, but that may still happen. Anty Melva made a wonderful PowerPoint presentation, and she and Anty even have a fun game for the humans who come to their workshop to play, so they can break the ice. That is a metaphor. They will not really have ice. Though, they might, in the water pitcher, if there is one. There will probably be one. Anty likes to stay hydrated. So there might be ice. Anyway, if you are going to Fiction Fest, and want to hear about how to keep writing through tough times, then their workshop is one you will want to see.

Anty and Anty Melva will also be talking about their current WIP, Drama King, which actually has a cat in it. He is my favorite character. Can I have a book boyfriend, even though I am fixed? I think I can. I will give Anty my big green eyes look. She can never say no to that.

Anty is making her wrap it up noises, so that is about it for this week. Come back next week, and I should have figured out how to add more pictures. Until then, I remain very truly yours,

skyebye2018

Typing With Wet Claws: X Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, coming to you from Camp Grandma. Anty says that most of these updates are probably going to fall into the “special” cat-egory (see what I did there?) until August. That is not too far away, so I suppose I can deal. Camp is fine, and all, and I am learning a few things from Grandma, like the fact that peanut butter is delicious, and jailbreaks can be fun, even if Grandma does have a lot of carpet. I will probably not be going on too many jailbreaks tis weekend, though, because Mama will be visiting camp. Anty has to stay home and write, or she would come along, too. She will come see me, soon.

Anyway, this post is not so special that I can skip the big rule of these posts, and that is that I have to talk about Anty’s writing first, before I am allowed to talk about anything else. That is usually Anty’s writing, anyway, but it Is what it is. As always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about her summer reading bucket list. That means the books that Anty intends to read over the course of the summer. Spoiler alert: she will not stick to that list. That post is here, and it looks like this:

BURbucketlist

This segues nicely into the next part, which is Anty’s Godreads reading challenge. Remote surveillance tells me that Sebastian has found a sunbeam in the living room window, which may account for his slowness in crunching Anty’s numbers for this challenge, but, since Goodreads shows that she is currently ten books ahead of schedule, we will let it slide…for now. Anty’s favorite read of the past week is Leave Me, by Gayle Forman. Miss Gayle usually writes books about almost-grownups, but this book is about actual grownups.  Anty’s review can be found here, and the book looks like this:

BUT leavemeformanAnty has vague ideas of attempting to duplicate the cover design in one of her art notebooks. That looks pretty easy, because it is lines of color, and that’s that.  Anty may find a few surprises when she tries it, though, and that is okay. There are a lot of surprises in the writing life.

Right now, Anty is muttering bad words because of one surprise, and that is that the all day workshop with Gwen Hayes, on Romancing the Beat, will be held on September eighth, which is right in the middle of CT Fiction Fest, which Anty cannot skip, because she is part of it, because she and Anty Melva will be presenting “Writing Through The Tears/Save the Writer, Save the Book.” In a perfect world, Anty would be able to go to both, but this world is far from perfect, so she will have to deal. I strongly suggest she stop by Camp and see me on the way home. That is, unless we are in Forever Apartment by then, in which case she should come straight home and make u for all the missed scritches.

This weekend, Anty will be doing her last-last pass of Chasing Prince Charming, and passing it back to Anty Melva. Then, that is that, and back out it goes. If she has time, she will transcribe the handwritten stuff she has on the selkie story, and do some research on that. Miss N also has gently reminded Anty of how close Anty is to a completed second draft of Her Last First Kiss, and that it is time to start thinking about what project is going to be next.

This is a place that Anty has not been for a while, but that does not mean that it is totally unfamiliar. Anty looks forward to starting new things, like the selkie story, and bringing other things, like Her Last First Kiss and A Moment Past Midnight to their happily ever afters and jumping back on the submission circuit once again. Anty Melva has been handling that for Chasing Prince Charming, but, for the books Anty writes by herself, she will have to handle things like queries and pitches.

Pitches are better than queries for Anty, because Anty is an extrovert, and talking to people face to face is super fun. Synopses and queries, though, are another story. Pun intended. Another part of the writing process that is fun, is brainstorming new ideas, which Anty plans to do with both the selkie story and A Moment Past Midnight. The fact that Anty does not, at present, have a brainstorming group, may prove a challenge, but that is okay. Anty likes this kind of challenge, and she knows a lot of writers, so I am sure that she can find people who would like to do that with her.

To reward herself for doing the last-last work on Chasing Prince Charming, Anty plans to watch some movies, and dive into a couple of historical romance novels that she got out of the library, to re-immerse herself in the genre. She is going to need them, because I am all too familiar with her separation anxiety with a story, once the book is done-done. Maybe this time will be different, because she is writing these books with Anty Melva, and they know what book is next. One never can tell, though, so I will send extra love beams, just in case they are needed.

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

SkyeByeTemp

It’s (Almost) Heeeeere….

“It,” in this case, being the fiction edition of the New York’s Emerging Writers anthology, which includes my novel excerpt, “Ravenwood,” and is now available for preorder. Official release is August seventh, but preorders will be filled about two weeks prior. You do the math. Actual physical paperback, this time, It’s a slim volume, about two hundred pages, a smorgasbord of “young talents.” Plus me. I don’t know about the “young” part, but the book is now (almost) a thing, and that’s pretty cool.

If all goes according to plan, Melva and I will be putting this edit of Chasing Prince Charming to bed, and sending it out again, before we turn our attention to Drama King, and the as-yet-untitled third book of the trilogy. I still have some selkies (and the humans who love them) to name, and I still need to figure out the big why of my heroine’s choice in A Moment Past Midnight. Bern and Ruby, of Her Last First Kiss, are tapping their feet impatiently, and N gave me a much-needed nudge, at our weekly breakfast this morning.

August isn’t that far away, and after August, comes September, which means Connecticut Fiction Fest, which means Melva and I get to sing for our supper (don’t worry, we won’t actually sing) and present our workshop, Writing Through The Tears/Save The Writer, Save The Book. Registration is open, which gives me more than a little bit of a squee. For a long time, I’ve been wishing that this whole writing thing would pick up the pace, and, now, it would appear that it’s doing exactly that. I’m not exactly sure how that works.

In a way, it’s like coming out of the movies, on a day when the sun is strong. Blink. Blink. Is this really the way things look? It is? Oh. Okay. I guess. Well, then. Best get on with things, eh?

:rub hands together:

:awkward pause:

:put on tea kettle, because that is always appropriate:

:clear throat:

So this :gesture to expanse of blue sky, parking lot, circling seagulls in search of surplus French fries: is called “out-side,” is it? Oh. One word. Outside. Outside? Are you sure it’s one word, because that sounds wrong. Out. Side. No, that doesn’t make sense. It really is “outside,” then? Huh. Learn something new every day.

:rub eyes:

Granted, I am normally one who prefers the darkness of a movie theater to summer sun, but go with the metaphor. That’s what I’ve got right now, and the clock is ticking on my (hopefully) laaaaaast Chasing Prince Charming scene. Once that’s done, and Melva-approved, I need to give my final verdict on the ms as-is, make any needed changes, and then…then back into circulation it goes. As in other eyes on our book baby.

A book baby, Melva and I agree is not so much of a baby anymore. By book’s end, Meg and Dominic are clearly on their way to their own real-life happily ever after, and won’t be needing us as much as the other books will. We get to put the big kid on the bus, so we can play with the baby, aka Drama King. If I stick with the raising kids analogy (I do not have kids, but I was a nanny, so that counts) I suppose that would make book number three…umm, both of us story-pregnant? Not going to look too deeply into the mechanics of that one.

This morning, over tea and coffee, bagel and quiche, N and I talked about setting concrete goals for the coming (rest of the) year. Her Last First Kiss has to get on that bus, along with Chasing Prince Charming, and I need to figure out what comes next, historical-romance-wise.

That’s when I have to ask the big question: what would be fun? For a full length novel, I am going to be spending at the bare minimum, a year with the people who live in that story world, so I may as well have a good time while I’m doing it. Not that only one book a year is the ultimate goal, because  today’s market likes production to be speedier than that, but, right now, it’s a good place to start. Well, re-start, really.

There is the matter of those four other titles that seem, at the same time, like they only came out yesterday, and like  a different person wrote them, in another life. I want to say both of those things can be true at the same time, because that’s how it works with these book babies, or at least it is for me. I’ve done this before (but not in hardcopy, and not in an anthology, unless one counts the fanzines from my Star Trek: The Next Generation fanfic days) but I’ve done it, and I suspect there is some form of writerly muscle memory that will kick in sometime between now and the start of August.

It’s like public speaking, in a way. I’ll be nervous, but once I’m in front of the people, and I’m looking at them, and they’re looking at me, and there is that special sort of energy between us -these people want to hear what we are here to blabber about; they picked this over other options, and wow, that is a thrill- and talkative extrovert instinct pushes nerves to the side and copious amounts of caffeine do their thing.

TLDR: Anthology is up for pre-order, will be out in August. Melva and I will be talking at people in September. N is twisting my arm about starting a second blog, devoted to paper and pens.

Good thing fall is coming soon. I’m going to need those super powers.