Writing habits of a romance author

 

21151378_10213695198592440_2925865773603312114_nEver wonder what a writer looks like when they’re writing? I always pictured a slightly manic person, hunched over their keyboard and typing furiously while muttering weird phrases that no one could understand.

I can’t speak for other authors, but I’m about as far from that as you can get. I do have an office, with a desk and a chair and lots of shelves and file cabinets, but that’s not where I write. That’s where I do my accounting-day-job kinds things.

When my muse is co-operating, I can be found sitting on my big overstuffed sofa, feet up on the footstool in front of it. My laptop is open on my lap, and the cat is perched on the back of my neck, purring away. The dog is stretched out beside me and occasionally nudges my arm to reminding me I’m allowed to pet him.

I guess I’m lucky because I live alone, except for my menagerie. Even though I’m sitting right out in the open, in the middle of the house, no one interrupts me by turning on the television or running through the room screaming. I’m not motivated to jump up and answer the phone just because it’s ringing, and I don’t live in town, so wandering salesmen are few and far between as are those nice people who want to save my soul. I can spend hours in decadent comfort while pounding out the day’s word count.

As lazy as that sounds, I console myself with the fact that at least I’m generally not still in my pajamas. That’s less because of good habits and more because I need to take the dog for a long run in the morning or he won’t let me sit still and write. I like to refer to him as my little exercise program. He also likes to take the occasional meander around the yard to do his personal business, so that make me get off my butt and stretch on a semi regular basis.

Occasionally, I go camping (as pictured above) and then I write on a folding camp chair by the river.  It may not be high class, but it’s definitely relaxing and that’s a good thing.

So there you have it, the writing habits of a romance author!

My vacation is in sight!

21151378_10213695198592440_2925865773603312114_nYup. I’m actually going to go somewhere non work related and do things that do not require any type of calculation! I’m going to Illinois!

Okay, it’s not the go-to vacation destination most people have in mind, but I have a sister that I love dearly and hardly ever get to see, and that’s where she is (currently) living so it is the best possible place to go for ten days of fun and relaxation.

My sister and I didn’t always get along so well. When we were growing up, she was the annoying little brat who followed me all over the place and tattle-taled when I did something I wasn’t supposed to (which was most of the time)  She’s three years younger than me and that’s huge when you’re eight and she is five. I was also secretly scared that she was cuter than I was and everyone liked her better. It never occurred to me that she got more attention because she was, well,  younger than I was and more in need of  help. I know, shallow but true.

As adults though, we get along just great. After years of perfunctory letters (before the age of emails and texting) we reconnected when our kids left home and we actually had time for ourselves. I think we were both surprised at how much we had in common after all that time spent living wildly different lives in geographically opposite sides of the planet.

She “gets” me better than anyone else on this ball of dirt we call Earth and is truly the one person who knows all about me and still likes me. She not only knows all about my two identities (author and normal citizen) but she edits my work for me. She is the pay-attention-to-detail one of us. She even knows where and when to use a comma. I just throw them in randomly and hope for the best!  I can relax around her and just be myself. I’m not big on relaxing around people. I’m a bit of a loner, and much more likely to take my furry family and go hide somewhere if I want to relax.

I plan to take my shiny new laptop on holiday with me and write to my heart’s content with no intrusions from the serious side of my world. Cyborgs and shifters and critters of all shapes and sizes are just waiting for me to let them come out and play.

I can’t wait for this long overdue break from reality!

 

My Lawnmower saga

I know, this is supposed to be a blog about my writing and all the things that make up an author’s life. And it is. Sort of. You see, even us authors have to cut the lawn.

I’ve never been a fan of cutting gras1909013s. Over the years, as I’ve battled one badly behaved lawn cutting instrument after another, I’ve learned to hate the fact that grass, well, it GROWS! I’ve tried various ploys to avoid this hated chore. I made the kids do it, but they grew up and left home and seem to feel it is not their job to come back every week (or less) and trim the green stuff back down to a manageable height. 

I’ve tried the environmentally friendly options ie letting the neighbors cows munch on the lush greenery, and then shooing them back into their own field once they complete their task. In my defense, they escaped their pasture themselves. Even a cow can tell when the grass on the other side of the fence is greener. I’ve also tethered the kid’s pony around the yard to graze but alas, the kids got bigger than the pony and she went off to live out her retirement on a farm with a few elderly buddies of the equine variety.

Enter, the lawnmower from hell. In order to avoid a lawsuit from an enraged lawnmower manufacturer I won’t tell you the make and model of this particular medieval torture tool. And, I will admit a fair number of people gush over it’s ability to cut and mulch and mow lawns brilliantly. Mine didn’t do any of those things without an all out battle that I only occasionally won.

Personally, I think my particular lawnmower was possessed by evil spirits. It hiccuped. It balked at cutting the grass. It threw things at me. It damn near yanked my arm out its socket when I tried to start it. It just plain HATED me! And it knew how to drive me insane. This spring, after the first bout of grass cutting torture, I seriously considered getting rid of the darn thing and buying something that actually worked for me.

BUT

Lawnmowers are expensive. I’m a single working gal with a limited income. I just payed for a snowblower last fall so my outdoor equipment budget is kind of shot for a little while. I gave myself a stern talking to. Suck it up, I told myself. You can do this. It’s just a little machine. It’s not capable of hating you or doing things to annoy (or terrify) you. You’re just being silly.

Bolstered by this pep talk I headed out to trim the green stuff Saturday afternoon.  I prepared as best I could. I put high grade gas in the mower. I added fuel stabilizer (per mechanic’s suggestion) I pulled and pulled and finally got the darling little thing started. I cut a few swaths of grass without incident. I started to feel a little sheepish about my whining. I am a grown woman after all. But then…

KABOOM!

The oil cap blew off, sending hot oil spurting all over the place, including on me.  And where it landed on the hot motor, it caught on fire. Thick black smoke billowed up, with the odd flame showing through the dark cloud. Keep in mind, I just filled this thing with gas! I panicked. I pushed it onto the cement parking pad and ran for the house where I watched from relative safety of the house as it burned rather impressively. ,

Mindful of my earlier self lecture, I got in my car and drove as fast as I could to the nearest Home Depot. I now own a nice battery operated lawn mower with no oil, not gas and no chance of exploding on me (I hope)

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Trials and tribulations of a writer’s life. (Or why my manuscript isn’t finished yet)

21151378_10213695198592440_2925865773603312114_nIt seems the PTB (Powers that Be, whatever you might believe them to manifest as) have conspired to make my writing life as difficult as possible. Now, I’m not sure if they are mad at me, or annoyed that my characters all get to live happily ever after, or if they are bored and just like to watch me squirm.

Late last year I came down with the first actual case of Writer’s Block in my life. I had a story about half written, and I just couldn’t seem to get any further on it. I’d open the computer and stare at the page. Write a sentence or two. Erase them. Do it again. And again. And again. You get the picture. (BTW, that one’s on the back burner for now, but at some point in the future, you’re going to hear about a feisty female who decides to seduce a cyborg so she can kidnap him and force him to help her escape.)

I confessed to my editor and my publisher that I wasn’t going to make the publishing deadline and they were very understanding. The publisher suggested I give it a break and write a short story for the ezine she manages. Great idea! Writer’s Block banished! New storyline emerged. The short story reads like the prequel to a whole new cyborg novella. I’m going to post it up on the free reads of my website later so you can go read it if you want.

So, I had a new story and it was going great for over a week until a company I won’t name decided that it was time to update their software. Read that to say update the operating system for my laptop. Not sure why. It worked just fine before the update. Afterward, not so much. I now needed a new laptop. **headdesk**

For those of you who are going to say use a pencil and paper – No. I don’t do that. I get cramps in my hands after the first hour or so and that HURTS! I’m allergic to pain.

I’ve had good luck with Dell laptops so I went online and ordered a fancy new laptop with all the bells and whistles and sat back to wait for it to arrive in 10 days. You’d think that would be the end of it, right? Wrong! Nine days later, I got a call from a very nice man in Toronto who identified himself as a Dell representative. Seems there had been a problem in the production of my laptop. They tried to install two operating systems and that didn’t work so they pulled it from the production floor and canceled the order. (Can you hear the PTB laughing their damn fool head s off??) He offered to give me nice credit if I would reorder the same machine. Of course, it would take a few more weeks since they’d have to start from scratch but hey, it’s what I wanted so I said sure. Go ahead. I can wait.  I gave him all the information again and he put in the order. I got a confirmation email and everything. Now I can rest easy and wait.

Or can I? Yesterday I get the news that this order too has been canceled.  It snowed here on Friday. I think that moisture was actually the physical manifestation of the PTB laughing so hard they cried. And at -20 degrees, it doesn’t rain, it snows.

I didn’t want to keep going in that endless circle so I give up on Dell online orders. I decided what I needed to do was go to a brick and mortar store and purchase a laptop over the counter. Sounded like an amazingly simple plan.

Hah!

My friend and I drove to the closest town with a store that sells computers. My town doesn’t have one, we barely have a supermarket.  My friend and I  browsed. We wandered. We compared prices, and specs and pros and cons. We finally decided on a nice HP laptop with a 17inch screen. We loved the specs, the price, the looks….  We cornered a sales rep and indicated we had cash and were willing to spend it. She was thrilled. (I think they work on commission) She went to get it from the back room since we’d been looking at the floor model.

(At this point, the PTB were giggling like a bunch of teenagers watching a very explicit  chick flick.)

She came back empty handed. Seems the inventory count was off. They didn’t have that model in stock, but she was determined. She called seven (yeah, the PTB are now rolling on the floor laughing their heads off)  of the affiliate stores across the province and managed to locate one for me. It’s being shipped down her store and should be here Tuesday. Only three days! I can hardly wait!

Of course, the route my shiny new laptop needs to traverse in order to be united with me,  is through an area known as Three Valley Gap. I’m not sure how many times that road has been closed for avalanche control, or because of an avalanche this winter alone. I can safely say more than once. Or twice. What do you suppose the chances are of my new laptop being delayed due to a natural disaster are?

Do you think the PTB might just move on to torment someone else one of these days? Like maybe an innocent guy trying to catch a fish? Or a lawyer with a shifty client? Anyone but me!

Come back next week and see if I’ve possted a picture of my new laptop, or if I’ve decided to stock up on aspirin and tylenol and go the pen and paper route. Till , then…

 

Happy Reading!

Anne Kane

www.AnneKane.com