Ripped From The Journal Pages

Yesterday was a good writing day. Like, a really good writing day. The super functional monthly view of planning my writing tasks seems to be working super well, on this second week of doing it. Okay, the edges of the pages are decorated, but every daily box is only black ballpoint bullet lists of writing stuff I want to accomplish. There’s household stuff in there, too, so for June, I will be splitting those into two different calendars. It usually stays on the kitchen table (my temporary desk) next to me, open, for easy reference, especially when new things like deadlines or interviews crop up during the day.

trust me, there is a lot more written in those boxes now

It’s also already allowing me to spot patterns. The day after my weekly chat with Melva is usually best as a lighter day. Since this week, we met on Tuesday, that means that today is a lighter day. It’s also a blog day. I can bypass the “what do I blog about” problem by noting beforehand things I find interesting and want to blabber about for an entry. Yesterday, it was this from my morning pages:

Today is a writing day!!! Not staring at a blank wall and cranking out words (Editing Anna interrupts: if that is your best way to work, this is not a drag on that. You do you. Crank on, you magnificent cryptid.) I would rather deck a sylvan glade with fairy lights and invite my imaginary friends (aka characters) to dance. The band would be Right Said Fred

and classic era Monkees

Coin flip for who headlines and who opens. I’m good either way. The dance floor lights in tune to the music, and there is a bottomless buffet off to the side, with mismatched chairs and settees arranged in conversation groups around an assortment of small tables. Besides their own songs, the bands cover “Dance With Me” as well as “Moondance” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”

The air is not too hot and not too cold. It’s a night that could last forever, and, technically, it can. That’s one of the things I love about writing romance. Happily ever after means forever.

I’ll stop it for there, since I have been called back to the dance floor, as it were. The bands are jamming, the lights are twinkling, and the breeze feels like a kiss on my skin.

One more thing: you, yes you, are most definitely invited.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/historical-40142765check out this historical era poll on my Patreon

Kicking B*utt at Making Names?

This morning, I found an important truth about my writing process. I would rather name a dozen historical characters than one contemporary one. Please remind me of that when it is time to name the heroine from A Heart Most Wanton, which will probably come sooner than I expect, because the way I am scheduling writing times now seems to be working.

Anyway, Melva and I are working on a contemporary collection with three stories. One hers, one mine, one ours. We have the ours one all worked out, and I can’t wait to see what her story will hold, which leaves only mine. Since I have met me, I know this has to have some sort of historical connection, or it is not at all happening. Do I know what that connection is? Ehhh, maybe? Kind of? Possibly? Whyever would I know something like that? Oh look, a kitty.

Make of that distraction what you will. As of this writing, my contemporary character naming process is not all that different from my historical naming process. Since all of my reference books are still in storage :weeps softly: that means I head to the interwebs. Figure out what year the character would have been born, find a list of most popular baby names from that year for their country of origin, and then open a random number generator. Generate a few numbers, write down the names that correspond to the numbers. Re-roll if needed, if you’ve hit a name that is on your automatic “no” list, or if it won’t fit this particular character or story. I personally don’t like to have hero and heroine’s names to start with the same initial, so whichever one of them comes first, that initial is out.

Melva’s and my collaborative process is a lot different. We throw names at each other and see what sticks. Seems to be working all right so far. With Chasing Prince Charming, our base for Meg’s name was that we wanted a one-syllable name. Since we had a heroine with a one-syllable name, we wanted to contrast that with a multi-syllable name for the hero, which is how we found Dominic.

Doing it on my own is…different. The vast majority of my contemporary romance reading is YA instead of adult, so I’m not finding adult names much in the contemporaries I read. For me, naming a character is important; grabbing popular names at random and slapping them down is not going to work for me. As a matter of fact, my list of “no” names for historicals (and probably carry them over to contemporary as well) are very popular in the genre…but they don’t work for me. It is what it is. So, what does work?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

That’s a very good question. The name has to fit the character. That’s essential. Some characters do come with a name already, sit themselves down in a chair across from me, and introduce themselves. I am one hundred percent fine with that. I encourage it. I encourage it even when it involves a character telling me he doesn’t know what his name is, meaning the one given at birth. He has a thing that he’s called, sure, but it’s not his name. There is a difference. Yes, that has happened, and that’s one of the historicals I look forward to writing. Historical characters are pretty good about this sort of thing. I know where they come from, when they were born, which gives me a clear direction as to where to look for their names. Sometimes I will have to read through the entire section of possible/probable names until I find one that hits. Sometimes none of the contemporary to them (remember, historical characters don’t know they’re in a historical; they think they’re in a contemporary) and I go back an era or even more, to find a “traditional” name that may feel out of place for their time, but could well be a family name. the

With contemporary characters, of course I have an even longer span of history to work with, so it should be theoretically easier. Names I hear around me in everyday life. Names of friends, or their offspring, or even, for younger characters, their offspring’s offspring. Even so, I usually end up at “uhhhhh…..” as a starting point. Knowing the name helps me see the character in a visual sense. I don’t usually fantasy cast (and don’t get me started on the whole new barrel of worms that would be naming fantasy characters, so hats off to fantasy authors that do that every day) but I do have an image in my head. Height, frame, complexion, hair, eyes, facial features, manner of dress, etc.

Sometimes the image comes first, and the character makes me figure out their name, a la Rumplestilskin. None of my characters to date have actually been named Rumplestilskin. This is probably a good thing. Beyond the actual name, how do they feel about the name? Is that a name they like to hear? Do they feel that it fits them? Would they rather be called something else? If so, what? It’s not as simple as slapping a “hi, my name is X” (none of my characters to date have actually been named X yet, either.) on their shirt and calling it good enough.

Today is Housemate’s birthday, so it’s going to be a day of cavorting with some of her favorite activities. In the back of my mind, though, I am gestating the heroine for the “mine” story in the upcoming collection. Well, the proposal for it. Something to bring to the table when we confer. Anything can happen from there. What we call it, well, we’ll find that out.

Nightmares, Super Functional Planning, and Other Stories

This is partly Monday’s post and it partly isn’t. I’d intended to get a regulalr post up on Monday because A) that’s what Monday posts are for, and B) I like sharing my monthly planner setups (yes, plural) at the start of a new month, especially because things in general are feeling okay for the first time in a long time, and that is definitely something I want to share here. My brain, however, had other ideas. Honestly, sometimes my brain is kind of a jerk. At the very least, she gets weird homework.

All of that is a fancy way of saying that Sunday night, I had the worst nightmare I can remember having, ever, though I thankfully don’t remember much about it, and I’m okay now. Though it was not at alla fun experience, climbing out of it did have some benefits, odd as that may sound.

For a long time, pretty much as long as I have been planning, I haven’t known what all I, personally, want to do with the monthly calendar. What’s the point as long as I’m looking mostly at the weekly views? Post-nightmare doing stuff, however, means going for the low hanging fruit, and for me, that day, it was super functional planning, which meant monthly view, black ballpoint pen, put the things where I want to do them, and have a look at what spaces are avaiable for everything else.

how it started

The flower stickers came later, while I was figuring out what else I needed. Doing arty things is super good for my brain to work stuff out, so that was a good match. I listed the top writing priorities, and then got those things in first. Blank days don’t mean I have nothing planned; they mean I’m figuring out how to best use my time and will be moving tasks there from a master list. This view does include household things and important dates for other family members, so my writing planner will look a little different.

Though I do have flying into the mist as part of my writing and planning processes, on the whole, I like structure and specifics. Not “write today,” but “brainstorm Bob and Jane waiting room scene” or “revise Bob and Jane waiting room scene from rough present tense to polished past tense.” This way, the whole “ugggh, where do I begin?” stuff is out of the way at the time I plop myself in front of my notebook or keyboard, and I already know where I’m going before I set out on my journey. Bird by Bird, eat the elephant one bite at a time, and all that. Wash one dish.

Approaching things like this takes a lot of the pressure off, and reminds me that I really do love writing, particularly romance, and I have been told I am pretty okay at it. I could stand to do it more. The right process is the one that works for me, which is the one that gets me from once upon a time to they lived happily ever after. The fact that I find it a whole lot easier and more appealing if I have pretty visuals as I do it? I call that taking the scenic route.

Writing Advice From Dream Dishes

This post is not about tableware. I have some funky dreams sometimes, and this last week, I had one of the memorable ones. Combine that with the need to unplug for a couple of days (aka why Monday’s post is here on Tuesday) which gave me the time to write privately about aforentioned dream, about blogging, and about how to get from here to there, and this post is the result.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yes. I sleep exactly like that. Every night. Okay, not literally ,but I like the mood. Anyway, in this dream, I was personally responsible for all duties of a primary caregiver to multiple friends and family members at the same time. This included a childhood friend (whom I haven’t seen in years) who had been complicit in their own kidnapping with a charming significant other (who wasn’t that nice) and it all culminated in a kitchen full of dishes.

By full, I mean full. I don’t mean the sink was full of dirty dishes. I mean that it was overflowing the sink, the dish drainer, the counter space, the stove, the table, the chairs, every flat ?, dish upon dish upon dish upon dish. Every last dish in the house. The parent of the abovementioned friend had followed me into the kitchen, literally wringing their hands over what I was going to do about it all. There was some talking; I don’t remember it, but finally, I grabbed the closest dish at hand, turned on the tap, squirted a drop of dishwashing liquid, then grabbed my rubber duck scrubby brush. “I’m going to wash one dish,” I told them. They asked again, what was I going to do now? Once again, “I’m going to wash one dish.” Which I did.

I woke soon after that, so I don’t know how long it took to take care of everything, but the bit about washing one dish stuck. As my contemporary writing partner, Melva, asked me, what was I trying to tell myself? Not a lot of room for interpretation on that one. Which is fine. Bird By Bird, and all that. Makes sense. Low hanging fruit. Open the file. Thousand mile journeys and single steps and all that. Not exactly news, but it has parked itself at the forefront of my brain, which is not at all a bad thing.

I, personally, am highly motivated by all things stationery – pens, papers, notebooks, etc- and I love to organize. Again, not at all news. True, though, and something I can applly to the whole dish thing. Melva and I set a deadline to be done-done-done-ity-done with draft two of Drama King two weeks from yesterday. There’s also getting myself back in historical romance mode, because I feel like I’ve been circling the metaphorical airport for forever on that one, and I would like to land now, please and thank you.

Today is for this blog entry, the re-do of Melva’s and my ZoomerTimes interview re-do. I may have misnamed it previously as BoomerTimes, which in retrospect doesn’t make as much sense, since the interviews are conducted on Zoom. Prepareation for that is putting on my Actual Author cosplay garb. Hair, makeup, etc. After that, there may be a few domestic matters, possibly involving groceries, and most assuredly followed with cup of tea, a good historical romance, and kitty cuddles. That’s enough for one day.

Photo by Maria Gloss on Pexels.com

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Typing With Wet Paws: New Big Box Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re aawesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Exciting news this week, on a couple of fronts. Still working on the picture things, so I will get Aunt Anna to put important pictures of the week on Instagram, because there are some good ones.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

First of all, Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva have a date for a do-over of their video interview with Boomer Times. That will happen on April 20th, now that Aunt Anna has her new glowy box that can use Zoom. I may or may not make a guest appearance, because the human who was in charge of the recording had his kitty with him when everything first started. I have a very good feeling about cat-positive journalism. We will let you know when the video is up, so you can watch whenever you are so inclined.

Aunt Anna is also taking a very fun workshop with Eryka Peskin about figuring out how to reconnect with things she’s always wanted to do. A lot of those have to do with writing and growing her brand. Mostly, that has to do with what kind of writer she is and the kinds of stories she has to tell, along with some planning stuff (that I will sit on.)

still one of my favorite selfies

The biggest news on the feline front is that we now have a big box in the house. Some human furniture came in yesterday, and with it came the best part – a huge box. It is, of course, mine. I’ll explore the furniture that came in it later. I can be inside it, or on top of it, or I can scratch it with my claws. Cardboard is my favorite thing to scratch. I don’t scratch furniture. I am a good girl. I know the box can’t stay forever, but it will be here for a whilel and then there will be more boxes. The human furniture is called a storage trunk, and I am NOT allowed to go inside that, but the humans did put my cat bed on top of it, suggesting that I might be interested in sitting there, as it is near the end of Autn Anna and Uncle Rheuben’s bed. We will see about that.

On the reading front, Aunt Anna is moving through her Goodreads reading challenge, with 39 books read out of her goal of 90. and 12 books ahead of schedule as she hits 41% of the 90. She has figured out Audible Pllus very recently ,aka today, which means that she will get to listen to a lot of books while she does her blogging stuff. Also while playing Sims or surfing the interwebs.

Not while writing, though, because that is when she needs to focus on her own stories, not somebody else’s. This week, she gets to do one of her favorite writing things, and that is taking a bunch of notes and ideas and turning them into a scene that goes in the middle of some other scenes. That’s sometimes easier than completely new things, because she knows where the whole story is going and what job that scene has to do. Sometimes, also how long it has to be.

For those kinds of things, she likes to first get into the soft office, aka the beed (well, on top of it, not in it like sleeping) with a notebook and pens and an appropriate beverage. Also with me, because I am her mews and I need to be on top of everything. Literally.

Tomorrow, we will be doing some of that writing, and brainstorming video ideas. If Aunt Anna doesn’t want to hear people talking when she is writing, she can also listen to weather sounds even if that isn’t the weather that is really happening. I am not sure what to make of that but rain is her favorite, especially rain with cars driving on wet asphalt. There are other sounds, like carriage rides and crackling fires when she needs to be in a historical mindset. I, of course, add to it with very loud mototr purring, which is the most important sound.

That’s about it for right now, and I have a box to explore, so I will catch you next week.

Headbonks!

Free Writing, The Chaos of Organization, and Other Stories

Wednesday’s blog on Thursday should give an iindicator of how acgtual Wednesday went. I had the very odd (for me) experience of oversleeping yesterday, which gave an element of surreality to the entire day. I meant to blog. I meant to edit. I got most of my social media current and then played Sims.

Theoretically ideal wakeup time today, and since I get a feel for the things I need to do the next morning, the night before, the task list wasn’t too hard to make. Unfortunately when it came to “what do I want to blog about today?” the immediate answer was “the fluff if I know.” “Fluff,” in this case, being a family word for a word that rhymes with “duck,” and is not often said around small children.

In practice, butt in chair and fingers on keyboard allows me to move on down the list instead of beating myself up over not knowing what to write. Because I do. I do it every morning in my morning pages, aka free writing. That means whatever is in my head goes on the page. This morning, for example, I filled two entire pages out of arranging the pens in my ballpoint pen cup in rainbow order and writing down my opinions of each one. That’s all. Not earth shattering in importance or creativity, but I did it and came out of it ready to take care of this whole Thursday thing, or at least figure out my priorities.

Right now, they feel like a jumble. My main job ondraft two of Drama King is to look for missing scenes, smooth out rough ones, and get word count up to goal. For A Heart Most Errant, I need to get back to addressing the first round edits and get it back to my editor. I paid for her services. I should use them. I want to use them.

There is also prep work to be done for this upcoming Saturday, where I waill present my workshop, Play in Your Own Sandbox, Keep All the Toys. This is my most popular workshop, and I love giving it. I also need to reacquaint myself, because ehhhh, it’s been a while. I could probably learn from taking my own workshop. Going back to the well, as it were, is usually a good idea.

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Yesterday, I had to run some adult-y errands in the morning, and planned to attack my backlog of work like a valkyrie, but what did I do instead? Completely tear apart my shelves that hold notebooks, pens, paper, etc, and re-making them with the help of some distressed wooden crates, putting, as my mother would have termed it, “like with like.” I hated that term when I was younger, but Mom was on to something. This also means that my inability to find the set of A5 divider pockets I bought on that same outing extremely vexing because it’s not where it’s supposerd to be, even though the binder and papers are all ready for them to join the fray. I can only assume they are hiding because they know what I have in store. I don’t blame them. I also know me, and I know that utter chaos is the black moment that comes before things snapping into place. Aka, don’t sweat it, keep going.

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com
there will be fairy lights

Which is basically where it leaves me right now. I have work to do, soem right the fluff now, and soem that cam be done after. Butt on chair, fingers on keyboard. Stock photos are fine when bookshelves are not ready for their closeups. The important thing is to keep making progress in the right direction.

Plan B and Other Stories

For the last few nights, my brain has been throwing some killer slumber-less parties, with me as the guest of honor. It is not my favorite thing. Being awake at night is different from being awake during the day, and while reading is sometimes possible, especially listening to audiobooks, or letting the robo-voice in my Kindle app turn any book into an audiobook, writing, well, that’s a different story. Pun intended.

Planner fatigue?

We will start with the planner aspect, because I am definitely a planner. Normally, I like to take time on Sunday afternoon to plan out the week ahead. This week, I did plan on Sunday, but the current lined vertical layout, eh, no. Done. Over it. I ended up taking blank pages of a vertical layout from an old planner, glued them to the lined vertical pages that glared at me, and then followed a YouTube tutorial to design the layout. it’s pretty functional rather than decorative, but I am okay with it.

I also took a picture of it, but can I remember what file I saved it to? Nope. I have absolutely zero doubt that I will find it when looking for something else, so I will trust in that outcome and keep going forward.

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

The worst part about a week like this is that I had to postpone my weekly chat with Melva Michaelian. I like to be current on my assignments when we meet, so moving that back a couple of days and spreading the backlog over those in-between days, should make things a lot more manageable. There’s also figuring out which family members will be home when, when we want to handle some adulting things, like housecleaning, recycling, and quality time, because I actually like the people who live with me, so that is a very good thing.

When my brain gets all oogy, as Real Life Romance Hero puts it, making lists helps me a lot. Focus on one thing at a time. Why am I feeling uncomfortable about that? What could I do to make any degree of change in that matter? How would I like it to look, ideally? There are definitely medical and spiritual components, but I’m focusing on the mental parts for right now.

Taking those couple of weeks away from planning in my catchall planner were not a good idea, even though it felt okay in the minute. Planner fatigue is a real thing, but it doesn’t have to be a block in the road. I like a lot of different kinds of planners. Try a different format, et viola. Stop fretting about what isn’t working, turn to something I know does work, and see if that gets me somewhere better.

This time, it kind of did. Housemate has her staycation this week, so we are scheduling how to best manage the days when there are two adults in one apartment, and even the days when there will be three. Real Life Romance Hero has his days off as well, so there are going to be days when I will, most likely, have to put on the hot pink cat ear headphones and put on the flashing ear lights. That’s our family signal for I Am Working On Writer Stuff. Do. Not. Disturb. Or. Else. Do Not Fight Me; You Will Not Win.

Because I love writing. I really, really, really do. Even when I am tired. Even when I am super tired. Planning helps. Pretty stuff helps. Tea helps. Remembering why I do this, remembering that it’s the kind of work I have wanted to do since I was but a wee little princess, and my best shot at being the me-est me that ever there me’d, well, that goes a long, long way.

do I need a new signoff pic? Because I think I need a new signoff pic.

Cat Trees and Kneeling Chairs

Last night, I promoted the kneeling chair I have been using since the 90s from office chair to cat tree. This was a difficult decision. Somewhere deep in the storage unit, I do have a more traditional office chair, a gift from a local writer friend two moves ago. We will be digging it out, but probably not until my back stops twinge-ing, I am not sure exactly what the cause of this back pain is, but the most likely culprit is the kneeling chair.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

I still love the dratted thing. I bought it decades ago, with money I earned from working retail. I probably paid more than I should have for it, but A) it was my money, B) a favorite author/writing inspiration had that same model chair and loved it, and C) it was (and is) pretty darned cool. It is, however, old enough to own property, join the military, get married without parental consent, and drink. It has probably wanted to do exactly that over the years we have been together, and it deserves its retirement as Storm support. (Unless Storm decides she no longer wants the chair now that it is not my office chair anymore. She is a cat, after all.)

Real Life Romance Hero moved one of the kitchen chairs in to take the place of the kneeling chair. I like the straight back, and I am already feeling the change in how using the computer physically feels Back support for the win. While I do believe there is a lot of truth in the proverb that a poor workman blames his tools, I am also fully aware that having good tools does’t hurt.

That’s largely where we are in a lot of things in the Annaverse. (Is that a thing? I say it’s a thing, and I rule the Annaverse, so now it’s law.) We have been in our apartment for six months now, so half as long housed as we were unhoused, and believe me, we are insanely delighted to be able to say that. It’s time to not only put down roots, but to make sure those roots are the right roots for the lives we want to live. For me, that means embracing life as a writer of romance and romance related blabber, and making sure that I have what I need to do that job most effectively.

Thankfully, for me, that means making a lot of lists. I would take a picture of the papers and binder discs that are scattered all over the stripped bed right now (housemate is off doing mega laundry; she is a superhero) but my back says that is not an advisble move with the angles I would have to put myself. Sitting in a straight backed chair is good, though, and lying on my side in a pillow fort is good, too. Fortunately, those are both writing positions of choice. So far, so good.

Research is underway to get a new laptop PC. We have become, over the last couple of years, the laptop graveyard> I am not going to give up on the vintage MacBook Pro, but the others, well, those probably are best suited to recycling. The HP laptop with no H key, and the screen that folds all the way back when it wasn’t designed to fold back at all; the hot pink laptop that I still love but which screen won’t show anything unless I I lie flat on my back and hold the screen at an angle that is best described as three-quarters closed. This is probably a severed wire, and probably an easy fix. We will see. RLRH also has his share of laptops that have gone to that great power strip in the sky. I can’t play Sims on that one, though, and that’s become essential. Hence the research. Writing and Sims. I know my priorities.

We may also be doing some research into office chairs, and/or pick up an interim chair in case the chair in storage won’t fit in the back of Housemate’s car, and will need to wait for when we rent a van and move the “real” furniture home. Furniture comes from a variety of sources. Parents’ homes, secondhand, locally sourced, brand new, and the nebulous area of me finally deciding that the best way to incorporate the hammered copper topped coffee table my grandfather made when my dad was little is to repurpose it, maybe as a dresser topper, or maybe with a new set of legs, to serve as a dining table or desk. We will see. I know I want my secretary desk, that I have been in love with since I was about four, for my longhand pursuits, and then pick everything up and take it to a separate computer desk when it’s time to transcribe.

Storm, as always, supervises it all.

As for the writing, my plans to jump right into it this morning snagged on getting the mega laundry ready to head out, with a pause for my weekly conference with Melva. We talked about the audio complications that kept our interview from going as well as we all wanted, how an offhand joke will make a great scene for our planned Christmas collection. That will probably go into the notebook I am setting up for my collaborations with Melva, most likely in index card format. Getting stuff down in the quickest away possible and filing it away works well for me to get the thought where it belongs and letting me focus on the work I need to be doign now.

I am very much into “now” right now. What can I do now? What works best for me now? What do I need right now? What is no longer serving its purpose and needs to move on along so it doesn’t become a stumbling block? What have I put away that I really need to bring back out because I miss it and want it and it’s part of the bigger picture and always has been? There’s a lot of stuff like that.

For today, getting this blog post up, even if it’s a big blob of blather, was essential. I don’t need the guilt of a missed blog post dogging me into writing time or family life, and consistency is something I want to improve. Hence this, and also trusting myself and my words, hence stopping it here and moving along to the next thing on my list for the day.



How Double Revisions Are Going

Three days into the (first) week of double revisions/edits, and, so far, things are going…okay. I think this will actually work itself out without too much fuss, and I am more than ready for that kind of deal. I am doing some adjusting of what I can most efficiently do when, but, overall, it’s feeling like fun rather than a chore. I think that’s the whole goal, so calling things good for now.

this is a vertical weekly planner, with minimal decoration and editing goals written in pen on each day
this is my command center

Having the amount of pages I intend to edit/revise does break things down into manageable chunks, and writing down where I left off at the end of a session means I don’t have to lose valuable time in figuring out what I did yesterday and where to pick up today. I like organization and keeping records, so this is kind of a no brainer. It’s also fun to see the different forms my record keeping/planning takes, visually appealing, it’s much more likely I am going to want to reference that page. Not going to lie, playing with pretty papers and my pen collection is a reward in itself.

But the actual writing. It’s always interesting to see something I’ve/we’ve written with a newish set of eyes. I remember the feeling I got when, in the very, very, very before times, when I would put physical pages from the printer or even typewriter, into a manila envelope, send them off across the country and wait for them to arrive at the other writer person’s home, for them to rad, comment, and mail back. Email is one heck of a lot faster, and saves on paper and ink, but I still have very fond memories of physically chasing pages along the highway (ish) because those pages held the comments from my most trusted reader, on the first appearance fo a new character, and if those pages were gone, they would be gone forever.

Thankfully, Housemate was with me, and we recovered all the pages. I devoured the comments while we waited for our restaurant meal to arrive, breathless for every comment. There may or may not have been a few happy tears because yes, this person got what I had intended for this character. Since this was for a shared project, I knew they would do wonderful things with this character, too, and all was rigth with the world.

Let’s bring it back to now. I get a lot of that same feeling when I look at Melva’s preliminary edits on Drama King, or when I read my editor’s comments and suggestions for A Heart Most Errant. Somebody else gets what I’m doing, and even though only Drama King is a true collaboration, a good editor (and I have one) can take a good story and make it even better. It’s like going to work, knowing your favorite co-worker is scheduled with you, which is not at all a bad way to think of this sort of thing.

At least that’s how it’s going so far. Will keep you updated on future progress. How’s your week going?

Anna

Lap (Desk) Dancing

At some point in this week, I am going to ask myself why I thought having two books, in two different subgenres, in the editing/revising stage at the same time. A Heart Most Errant is my first stab at medieval romance, (and post-apocalyptic medieval romance, at that) and my first foray into the world of indie publishing. Drama King is my and Melva Michaelian’s second collaborative contemporary romance, this time where the Polyanna of Publishing falls for a grumpy British actor. This is also the week where Melva and I are swapping character profiles, because it’s time to lay the foundation for Queen of Hearts, book number three in our Love By The Book series.

But Anna, I hear some of you asking – what about the title of this post? Ah, that one. Taking another step back into re-Anna-fication, I now have a lap desk once again. My prior one did not survive our vagabond year, and I can’t get rid of it, because Storm has upcycled it to a cat bed. This means that, along with my Alphasmart and carefully curated notebooks, I am now mobile again. With the current weather, that means within our apartment. Comfy chairs are not yet installed, but I can use the office chair in Housemate’s room when Housemate is at work, unless Storm gets to it first. Storm loves that chair. Bed is good, too, or a blanket pile on the floor, with my back against the wall. I got a taste for that a while back, and it still works.

This is a vertical weekly discbound planner. The discs are lavender metal, and the only semi decorative stickers say "write," "edit" or "revise."
Catchall planner for this week

Normally, my Sundays have a special time set aside for setting up my planner spreads for the week ahead. This time, oh boy did I need it. Normally, I do a degree of decorative planning, but this week, it’s mostly functional, with what I’m writing, editing, or revising that day. Blank spaces are where I needed to check with family members about their schedules before I could assign my own time, but they will fill soon.

I’m actually excited about this. Getting to this point in two books at once, about to dive into another, coming back to a beloved genre (and a new to me time frame) and a new avenue of publishing is a place where I wanted to be for a very long time, and now that I’m here, it feels like I should sew a new patch onto my sash. If I were still in Girl Scouts, that is. Maybe there are Romance Writer Scouts? Does RWA count for that? Maybe take myself to the Panera that is basically down the street from us (with or without lap desk) and celebrate with a hot drink and freshly toasted bagel.

Anxiety levels are surprisingly low regarding all of this. Call it the Bird By Bird effect. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and while “fix all the books”: is scary, but “edit/revise X pages per day” and the like makes it a lot more manageable. There will, in time, probably be a more dedicated writing planner or tracker that naturally emerges from all of this, but for right now, I know what I am doing on each given day, and when that is done, time to do something that is fun and fills the creative well, aka read, play Sims, etc.

Some of this seems like very normal stuff that goes without saying, but getting to actually put this into practice is an absolute delight. Remind me of that when I am banging my head on the monitor because one of the fixes I need to take care of is trickier than I expected. There’s no planning for those. They are all part of the process.

It feels good to be at this stage, and the ability to flit among different methods and locations — computer, Aplhasmart, notebook, desk, bed, floor, etc– goes a long way toward taking individual elephant bites one at a time. In short, cover me; I’m going in.