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.

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Visit Recap Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday, direct from Camp Grandma The humans are still working on Forever Apartment, but having Anty and Mama visit made it a lot easier for all of us. Well, maybe not for Uncle, who had to go to the people vet right when Anty and Mama had to get on the road Anty was nervous about that, but he was in a big building full of people vets, with good medicines, and he is okay now. He had Anty record him giving me a special message, which I greatly appreciated. Watching the Uncle movie was my favorite part of the whole visit. That does not surprise anybody, because Uncle is my favorite, and I love him the most.

Before I talk about anything else, though I have to talk first about Anty’s writing. Writing has been interesting, to say the least, especially with a remote mews (Sebastian does his best) but, in keeping with Anty’s topic for her workshop (I am getting to that) all these real life plot twists only make her want it more. That is why Anty sat up late into the night in the motel, writing her Buried Under Romance post for the week. Word of caution: she was super stressed and had not slept a lot, so if she seems more loopy than usual, that is why. That post is here, and it looks like this:

2bgwm3

Anty never got under the covers in that particular motel, so that picture is not exactly accurate (she is not a pug, either, but you probably knew that) but that is very close to how she felt.

As far as Anty’s reading goes, there was not a lot of time for reading this past week, but she intends to make up for it in this coming week, because she has eight books out of the library at one time. Eight. I have faith in you, Anty. Sebastian, you may need to get in her lap and settle, to make sure she reads them all. This week’s book was The Marriage Spell, by Mary Jo Putney Anty helped Mama figure out which of Miss Mary Jo’s books Mama had not yet read, so now Anty is reading some of them, too. That very much counts toward Anty’s Goodreads challenge, and it is also historical romance. That review is here, and it looks like this:

GRmarriagesopellputney

Now, it is time to talk about Anty’s workshop at Charter Oak Romance Writers. Anty Melva tried very hard to be able to make the meeting, because they both created the workshop together, but it was not possible for Anty Melva to be in two places at once, so Anty went by herself. Because “Save the Writer, Save the Book,” talks about writing while life is maybe not so fun, it is actually appropriate that there were a lot of complications along the way to presenting it for the very first time.

Anty had been worried she did not have enough time to prepare handouts ahead of time and she did not know how many to make, but that turned out okay, which also fits with the theme of the workshop. Anty worked very hard to get her and Anty Melva’s notes compiled, and wanted to write out topics on index cards, because that is helpful for her, but, after getting Uncle settled at the people vet, getting on the road late, realizing, only when she was actually in the motel, that she had not, in fact, packed pajamas (what she had packed was dirty laundry) and still needing to get the Buried Under Romance post up, she did not have the time or energy for that, and figured she would wing it, with the notes on her phone as backup. Anty is pretty good at winging things like this, and romance writers are generally a forgiving lot.

That worked out in Anty’s favor, because, when she got there, it was an intimate group, and Anty already knew everybody there. They all thought that all the real life plot twists did prove Anty and Anty Melva’s points, and the fact that Anty could write two books in the middle of so many challenges was pretty badass. Then the group took Anty out to lunch, where there was much talk of books (I am told phones came out and library books got reserved right there at the table, in front of the lasagna and everything) and also of cats, which I think is a perfectly fine topic of conversation.

This brings me to the most important part of today’s post: the visit recap. I knew right away that something was special about this weekend, and not only because Grandma told me. By the time Anty and Mama got to the door of my room, I was right at that door, waiting for them. I was So Happy, you would not believe it. My humans! Anty got right down on the floor with me, and we made squeezy eyes at each other (I started it.) Then I asked Anty to give me a treat, and she did. That is not the best part, though. The best part is when Anty took out her phone (no, not to play my mousie game. Camp Grandma does no have wifi) and showed me a movie, starring Uncle! He told me he loved me and slow blinked and me and slow blinked. I looked toward the door, but nope, he was only in the glowy box. Oh well. We will all be together every day, soon.

Visitor’s weekend was a special one. Anty stayed with me after her meeting on Saturday, while Mama and Grandma went out to do Grandma’s birthday things. I got lots of treats, and lots of scritches, and Anty sang me my special nonsense song, and even tried to get me interested in a couple of toys. I would rather play with humans than with toys, but, when Anty brought out that jingly green ball, I made shifty paws. That means I am excited. When Mama came back, Anty thought I might like it even move if I could see Anty and Mama hit the ball back and forth ,and she was right. It was So Exciting, I could not keep my paws still. I suspect that I might be able to bop the ball with my paws, when I get brave enough. Maybe in Forever Apartment. Anty says it will not be long until then, and, that, once I figure out how to play with the ball, I will want to make up for lost time, and will bat it everywhere, at all hours of the night.

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

SkyeByeTemp

 

Typing With Wet Claws: I Smell Ghost Cats Edition

ello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. Once again, I am coming to you from Camp Grandma, but this is no ordinary day at camp. That is because Anty is coming to visit! Mama is coming, too, and they are bringing boxes of my food, so that Grandma does not have to worry about getting the right kind. We are all very excited. Anty will have special time with only her and me, and maybe a toy that belonged to the ghost cats who live here. Did I tell you there were ghost cats? Well, there are. I smell them.  More about them later. First, I have to talk about Anty’s stuff, and, this week, there is stuff to tell. I had better get right to it.

Of course, the most important thing Anty is doing this week, is coming to see me. She wants to take some new photos. I guess I will not mind that, if I get extra treats. It has been a while. I hope that Anty will want to read or write or nap in the comfy chair, so that I can curl up by her feet and have a really good snooze. Those are the best. Anty might also see if I remember the trick she taught me before I went to camp. She taught me how to take one single treat from her fingers. I learned that one very fast, but got shy when there were other humans around, and would not do it. Maybe when it is just me and Anty, I will give it another try.

Oh. Right. Anty’s writing stuff. First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about the different kinds of romance book covers, and what she thinks about them. I think they could use more cats. That post is here, and it looks like this:

untitled

As luck would have it, Mr. Fabio was on the cover of one of the books Anty read recently. and, I am happy to say, she is doing pretty well in her goal to make up for lost time in reading historical romance novels. Let’s take a look at her Goodreads challenge. Right now, Anty is one book ahead of schedule, having read 38 out of 90 books. That puts her at 42% of the way to her goal a respectable achievement, all things considered. Out of those 38, 11 are historical romance. Still room for improvement there,  but Anty is almost done reading the  first book in Denise Domning’s Graistan Chronicles of historical romance, with the rest of those books queued on her Kindle, so Domning Nation is going to raise those numbers. Also, Anty read To Love a Wicked Lord (do not worry, he was not that wicked) by Edith Layton, and remembered how much she likes Miss Edith’s books, so she will soon be looking for more of them. She has missed a few. Oksy, more than a few. This endeavor may need a catchy name of its own. Lay, Layton, Lay, as an homage to Anty’s favorite Bob Dylan song? I will have to think about that. Anyway, that review is here, and it looks like this:

BURLayonLord

This book got Anty to thinking, a lot, about what makes a good historical romance for her, both as a reader and as a writer. There is some of that in the review, but she will talk about it more in depth on her own, later. Right now, she has a nice big stack of historical romances by some of the greats: Mary Jo Putney, Virginia Henley, and Madeline Hunter, lined up for the coming week, and that is only in paper books. I think she is making some excellent headway. Speaking of heads, I do like head scritches. in case Anty needs a reminder. It has been a while.

It has been a while, too, since Anty has been to Charter Oak Romance Writers, but they were her first ever RWA chapter. She is looking forward to reconnecting with old friends, getting to meet new people, and, hopefully, share a few tricks for writing while real life plot twists threaten to derail her train of thought. Also, there may be lunch after. I am always in favor of lunch. Anty and Anty Melva had hoped to have handouts for the workshop, but life got life-y today, and they will probably make a PDF instead. I think that fits fine with the theme of their workshop.

But. Skye, you say, what about the ghost cats? People generally do not forget ghost cats, and Camp Grandma has two. Their names are Michelangelo and Francesca, and they lived with Grandma from when they were four, until they each crossed the rainbow bridge, after long and happy lives. Some of their toys may still be around here, and Anty knows where they would be, because she was their cat sitter, when Grandma was out of town. Grandma has friends and family in many places. She is very nice. Even though Michelangelo and Francesca were done being kitties in the having bodies sense, that does not mean that they are gone.

First, there is fur. They were both Maine Coons, like me, but Michelangelo was orange all over, and Francesca was black and white. I am brown tabby, so I know that when I see orange or black and white sheds, they are not mine. Francesca’s favorite chair is in my room, and, sometimes, I feel her looking down at me, from her perch on top of that chair. Michelangelo’s loud purrs still echo. I do not purr at all (I did not learn that when I was a baby, so I chirp when I am happy, instead. Maybe I will chirp for Anty today.) so I know that sound is not me. Grandma says I am imagining that, and that she will ask Mama to help her vacuum, but there is not enough Febreze in the world to cover the scent of ghost cats. I know they are here. As long as they do not try anything with my treat, I have no problem with them. Plus, Michelangelo says the feather on a stick toy is super fun. If Anty can find it, I may give it a try.

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

SkyeByeTemp

 

 

 

 

 

In the Absence of Wirkshop X

Right now, I am between two loads of laundry, which means two trips to the laundry room, which means using the first trip to teach me what I want to bring on the second trip. I am still learning the new apartment, the new apartment building, the new apartment complex, the new neighborhood, and a whole bunch of other news. Sleep has been not-great, which means a lot of time, in the dark, thinking about life, both writing and otherwise.

June is a ninja. Spring had only started, and now, wham, look, it’s summer. June 1st is my date with Charter Oak Romance Writers, on a topic I feel both eminently qualified, and wholly unfit to present. Allow me to ‘splain.

Save The Writer, Save The Book (STWSTB,) or Writing Through the Tears (WTTT,) depending on who you ask, came about when Melva Michaelian and I both missed the notices that Workshop X (so called, because I cannot, for the life of me remember what the actual topic was, or the name of the presenter who was unable to make it that year) had been cancelled, and thus sat in an empty conference room for an hour. At first, we figured maybe everybody else was late. They were not, because we were it, because there was no workshop. There may or may not have been discussion of going to the workshop offered in place of Workshop X, or maybe another workshop, but we wanted the one that wasn’t, and we were tired, and things do tend to happen when we are left on our own at conferences. (CT Fiction Fest 2018 attendees, you have been warned) what we landed on was that we should have our own workshop.

STWSTB is a catchy name, and it does borrow from the tag line of the TV show, Heroes, which I have never seen. I don’t know if Melva has; you’d have to ask her. At the time, we were both caregivers to multiple relatives apiece, along with juggling other flaming stress chainsaws of life, and we both had the same question: how the fluff do yoy keep writing, with all this stuff going on?

I know, I know, dangling proposition above, but it’s appropriate. How do you keep writing? I want to know this. How do I? I want to know that, perhaps, even more. No offense; I am sure you are very interesting, and I could probably ask far too may nosy questions, but I am the only one who can write my books. I am half of the team that co-writes Melva’s-and-my books, so focusing on myself is probably a wise decision on my part.

I am not where Beginning Writer Me thought she/I would be, at this point in her/my career. We rather thought we would have a bit more to show for our efforts by now. We thought we would be writing from behind an antique dedk, in an off-site office, by now, walls covered in glossy posters of our book covers, not tapping out blog entries on our phone, from the air mattress in an apartment with blank cream walls, but, today, that’s what we’ve got.

There’s an old proverb, Japanese, I want to say, that says, fall down five times, get up six. That, I can do. Though, as with many adoptees, my genetic makeup is a mystery, I am fairly certain that I am at least thirty-five percent Weeble. Knock me down, and I get back up, because that’s how I’m made. Maybe that’s why I liked the punching clown toy as much as I did, when I was but a wee princess. Smack it down, and up it comes. Every. Time.

Sometimes, writing is easy. Sometimes, writing is hard. Sometimes, the answer to “how do you keep going?” is, that, sonetimes, you don’t. Not in a lie in a ditch and stop existing sense, but in a take a step back, drink root beer floats in a blanket fort and watch Netflix all afternoon sense. Or reading. Reading is good. Also doodling, or lying on your back, eyes closed, listening to music; all of that is good stuff. When I can’t put out, that usually means I need to take in, instead. Feed my senses. Feed my story brain. Talk to other writers, talk to other readers. Talk to four-legged (or finned or feathered) family members, because they are very good listeners and not at all pushy with advice. Talk to myself (I do that one a lot.)  Talk to the voices in my head, which, for most of us writers, are our characters, and, when the time is right, they will talk back. That’s how they’re built, too.

 

 

 

Typing With Wet Claws: Grandma is a Snitch Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, bringing you yet another Feline Friday, straight from Camp Grandma. Grandma and I are getting along okay, but she is no Uncle, and there is the small matter of her calling the v-e-t on me ( do not worry, I am okay) so I will be glad when Forever Apartment becomes available. More on that later.

Even though I am at camp, I still have to talk about Anty’s writing before I can talk about anything else. First, as always, Anty was at Buried Under Romance on Saturday, talking about the surprise shut-down of RT Book Reviews magazine and associated ventures. I have heard that the magazine was very nice to lie on, so I am sure many kitties will miss it. That post is here, and it looks like this:

http://www.buriedunderromance.com/2018/05/saturday-discussion-hail-and-farewell-romantic-times.html

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As you can see, remote blogging has a bit of a learning curve, but a good mews never lets a little thing like distance to get in their way. Next week, Anty will come and visit me when she speaks to Charter Oak Romance Writers. Anty and I are both looking forward to that. Uncle has to work, so he cannot come, but Anty will bring me something that smells like him, which is a good consolation prize. I will probably send her back with some shed fur, and maybe a whisker I am done using. A mews has to do what a mews has to do.

One of those things is to cheer Anty on when she is doing the right thing. Besides submitting two pieces to an anthology that asked her to submit, she has also got some good news: she and Anty Melva will be presenting their workshop, Writing Through The Tears, also known as Save The Writer, Save the Book, at CT Fiction Fest in September. For more information, and maybe to guess the workshops Anty hopes most are not opposite hers, visit the conference site here:

http://www.ctfictionfest.org/workshops.html

Anty has returned to her regular schedule of meetings with fellow writer humans, which feels very good, after that whole moving interruption. The interwebs connection here is much better, so Anty got to have her whole conversation with Anty Melva without weak signals or anything. That was exciting, even if Anty did have to carry on her end of the conversation from the edge of the bathtub.

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That is how Anty has to set up the laptop so that Anty Melva can talk to Anty’s face instead of her, umm, shirt, but writers, like their mewses, do what they must.  Also, Sebastian tells me it is very echoey in the For-Now apartment, so going into a different room is probably the best way to go.

Although I am still working out how to link Anty’s Goodreads challenge in this whole remote business, I can let you know that she is currently 41% of the way to her goal, with 37 out of 90 books read. She may have read more, but I will have Sebastian run the numbers later. Her two most recent reads were both historical romance:

Lady in White , by Denise Domning

And

The Prince of Midnight, by Laura Kinsale

I will have Sebastian add the links later, as those are tricky to do here at camp. It looks like DomningNation is a go, because, now, Anty is reading Winter’s Heat, also by Miss Denise, and she has all of the four books that come after it already on hrr Kindle, plus some other books by Miss Denise, so Anty is all set on that front.

This weekend, Anty and Mama hope to get Anty’s desktop out of storage, so nobody has to listen to Anty’s whining about….umm, I mean Anty will have an easier time doing her work. That will also let Anty play her games again. A gaming Anty is a happy Anty, and it might help her to miss me less if she could make a Sim version of me to keep her Simself company. We will see how that goes. This coming week is for Anty bringing herself up to date on her current projects, and that is much easier on a desktop computer.

In case you were wondering about the whole Grandma being a snitch thing, I should mention that Grandma and I have had a difference of opinion as to where I should do my, um, stuff. Grandma was worried that I was not making stuff at all (I totally was) so she called the local vet, who was my old vet, before we moved, and told her I had not made any stuff since I started camp. I am eating and drinking fine (Grandma gets a A+ on water bowl replenishment) so the vet told Grandma that I am not sick, just in a strange place, and want to be sure I am safe. Anty or Mama will probably find my stuff spot right away, and let Grandma know where I want my stuff spot to be. Mama also rold Grandma to talk to her before any vets (the vet could not see me, anyway, without Mama’s permission) and that I am fine. Not exactly happy, but fine.

Uncle is doing much better after his own stay at the people vet, and, apart from me being at camp, things are pretty good. The humans are moving things into For-Now apartment on an as needed basis, which Sebastian says makes for some interesting arrangements as they figure out what is a need-need and what would be nice.

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Of course, getting me home is the biggest need, but, in the meantime, Sebastian is doing a pretty good job of providing a facsimile of a feline presence. That window is his favorite spot. I remain, even at camp, a floor girl .

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

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling

(The kitty, not the book)

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Packing In Reverse

Yesterday, I submitted two pieces of writing. Though it hasn’t been that long since my last gig, hitting that “submit” button felt a lot like I was doing so for the very first time. It wasn’t, of course. Four books, a whole lot of blog posts for various sites, both my own and otherwise, and, still, the stomach butterfly ballet was in fine form.

First submission in the new apartment, though, which is certainly something. Tonight, I will have my first Skype meeting from the new apartment, to talk with my contemporary co-writer, and co-presenter of our Save the Writer, Save the Book, Melva Michaelian, about how we’re going to handle the presentation to Charter Oak Romance Writers, and, beyond that, how we want to approach the same workshop at Connecticut Fiction Fest, this fall. We’ll probably touch on Chasing Prince Charming and Drama King, as well, because A) we are us, and B) as with the whole submission thing, coming back after a time away is both exciting, and a little scary.

On Wednesday, I will meet with N, and we will look at what it takes to get to The End. Draft two of Her Last First Kiss for me, and a new draft of a paramormal YA for her. Maybe other projects as well, but we have each declared our focus, and will hold each other to that.

When I first started packing the old office, I put all of the paper I needed for HLFK in one box. This past Saturday, I busted it out of storage and brought it home. Right now, my “desk” is a TV tray, my office chair, a folding chair. I can get the whole stripped down aesthetic, and I even appreciate that I have, on the desk/table front, come full circle, back to writing on a TV tray, in a quiet house, when the rest of the family is out.

Now that we are in the home stretch to the end of our first month here, it’s time to recalibrate and find the new normal. That’s easier said than done, and pretty much the writing version of taking the first step into a new apartment on moving-in day. By itself, the statement a blank slate makes is not a strong one, but it can be intimidating. Where to start is an important consideration, but it’s too easy to become overwhelmed by what goes where.

In this apartment, I don’t have a dedicated office, unless I claim the postage stamp sized “storage” room that also holds the water heater. That’s going to require some changing around of longstanding habits. While I will be rescuing my desktop computer (and printer) from storage  hopefully this week, it will still ( probably) be set up on the TV tray, I am currently doing most computing on my phone. New writing works best in longhand, which has not changed one bit, from one home to the next. The transition from one way of doing things, to a new way of doing things isn’t always smooth.

Right now, the books I have in this apartment are either e-books, or belong to the library. No spinning the chair around, to  brush fingers over old favorites. No RT magazine back issues (or RT, period, alas) to pet, or flip through for inspiration. It kind of feels like moving into a college dorm. It’s temporary, as we are looking dor a pet-friendly forever home, but, while we’re here, we need to focus, not on what has always been, or how things are, or how things are going to be in the fututre. Time to, as with the rest of the moving process, do the thing that is in front of me. Write the blog post.  Go over notes for the Skype chat, and put the HLFK materials in the right order. Read through the manuscripts to date, and make notes on what needs more attention.

Falling in love with the stories again, that part is easy, and it’s also hard. It’s hard because it means acknowledging that there has been time away, and the books and I do need to get reacquainted. This means mornings over endless cups of tea, reading through handwritten pages, taking apart the binder I constructed, because I constructed it in the wrong way, the way it “should” go, instead of the way that works for me.

I may be a while before everything is back on an even keel, but that’s to be expected. This is packing, in reverse. Taking the stuff, both literal and figurative, out of where I’ve stashed it, and see where it belongs now

Typing With Wet Claws: Tales From the Air Mattress Edition

Hello, all Skye here, coming to you remotely from Camp Grandma, for another Feline Friday.  Please note that the title of this week’s blog is spelled t-a-l-e-s, because those of us who have actual tails, also have actual claws, and claws and air mattresses are not the best of friends. Also, I am at Camp Grandma right now, and the humans and their air mattresses are in the for-now apartment. I like Grandma okay, especially when she feeds me, but I will be very happy when we get Forever Apartment, and we can all be together, all of the time. Anty misses me a lot, and the feeling is mutual.

Tomorrow would normally be the day that Mama would come and visit me at Camp Grandma, and take pictures of me (Anty makes her; last time, Mama even took a movie of me, which went over extremely well with Anty and Uncle) but I will have to wait one more week, because tomorrow is also the day Anty and Mama get the rest of their things out of Mr. D’s house, and, maybe, get some furniture into the For-Now Apartment. Right now, what they have is a couple of air mattresses, one folding chair (for Uncle, more on that later) and Anty’s armrest pillow, that she shoves in a corner, so she can use her laptop, which she busted out of storage this week. She hopes to get her desktop, and her desk, or a reasonable facsimile, out of storage, as well, because she has some writing to do. This brings us kind of on track, to talk about Anty’s actual writing.

Before I get too much farther, I would like to say hello to all  of our new readers. It is very nice to have you here. The way things work, normally, is that Anty will post on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I post on Fridays. Sometimes, life gets interesting, and things are different, but that is the regular plan Speaking of regular, Anty was indeed at Buried Under Romance, this past Saturday, talking about reading in the calm after the storm. That post is here, and it looks like this;

BURreadubgafter

The image in the picture above is the library Anty goes to most, and where she and Mama had to go, to get interwebs, until they got it installed at the For-Now Apartment. That was an adventure, because the human who lived there before them had done a few things differently, and the interwebs people had to send a human out to set everything right. I am just as glad I was at Camp Grandma for that one. Anty now has interwebs at home, and  can focus on getting back to business as usual.

As usual, I should say, as it gets around here, because, last week, Uncle had to go to the people vet, with an owie paw. He did not have to wear the cone of shame, but he did have to stay at the people vet for a few days, and take a lot of pills. I do not envy Anty, having to give them to him. especially when Anty has work to do. This week, Anty will be updating her Coming Soon section of this site, because she has some news. On June second, she will speak at Charter Oak Romance Writers, with the workshop she and Anty Melva created, “Save The Writer, Save the Book.” That is about writing through the tough times of life. Anty and Anty Melva both know a thing or two about that. There will also be more news about Anty and Anty Melva giving their workshop at another conference, as soon as Anty has specific details. She is pretty excited about that.

Sunday is the deadline for Anty to submit to the anthology that invited her, and she is kind of nervous about fitting that in, but the word count is low, and Miss N gave her a good pep talk. Miss N gives very good pep talks. What this anthology wants is a short piece that gives the flavor of Anty’s writing, and might inspire readers to go look for more things Anty has written. Anty is in favor of getting new readers, so she will have something to send off to them soon. It might get in under the wire, but it will get in; she is determined on that front. Okay, on several fronts, but this is, technically, a writing blog.

It is also, technically, a romance writing blog, because that is what Anty writes, and there have been some big doings in the romance genre over the last couple of weeks. Anty does not have much to say about Cockygate, and she is still thinking about her position on the state of the Golden Heart awards, but she does have a lot to say about the end of RT/Romantic Times, which came as a very big shock. Romantic Times (it will always be Romantic Times to Anty) has been a big part of Anty’s romance reading and romance writing life, and she is somewhat salty that it is now a sure thing she will never get a review in that magazine, but she also wants to bust part of her collection of back issues out of storage, and spend some time studying them. It is complicated, to say the least, but I will leave that for her to tell.

Now that the humans are settled, and Anty has at least her laptop on hand, we should be back to regular updates on Anty’s Goodreads challenge, and a deeper look at what she is reading these days, and why. Some of this, I may delegate to my assistant, Sebastian Catbutt Hart-Bowling, who is on the scene (and usually in the window) to keep an eye on the humans and make sure Anty is doing writing things. An author cannot be without a mews, after all, or at least a reasonable facsimile.

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Okay, I think that is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain Very Truly Yours,

skyebyenew