Tuesday, July 15, 2014: In the Writing Cave

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I’m getting good about hunkering into the writing cave on Mondays, but that means I usually skip blogging. Sorry about that.

Friday was a busy day at the library. Good busy, but busy. And I’ll have the chance to get some advice from the Morgan Library when I’m in New York in September. Very excited and tremendously grateful that the individual I contacted is willing to take time with me.

Friday night was tiring. Saturday, I did some running around, and had to pop in at the library quickly. Managed to also work my way through a stack of research books, that I can now return. I wanted to work on the website, but the host was down. Tried to get some work done on the press kits for “Severance” and “Elusive Prayers”, but didn’t get very far.

Sunday was my disconnect day. Mostly reading, including SILKWORM on the Kindle. I like the Kindle much more than I expected.

Yesterday, I descended back into the writing cave, writing 32 pages on THE POWER OF WORDS. I’m back on that, while still juggling BALTHAZAAR, and wondering if I can write BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DARK ANNIE’S SECRET simultaneously, since both of them deal with sunken treasure ships, albeit in very different situations, or if they’ll bleed into each other.

Finished the final galleys on “Elusive Prayers” and they’re about to go back out. Trying to decide if I should write Brother Joseph’s novella set in Iowa Territory or the Doc/Melody story next in that world. It also makes me long to go back to THE WIDOW’S CHAMBER and rewrite that as a novel in first person, adapting it from third person serial. And the next Bronwyn Rowan novella is percolating in my head.

Decided on the new title for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (will reveal that when I do the cover reveal in autumn). Will add back in something that was cut, so that it serves as a better introduction for Bonnie in THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and then figure out how to get that book back on track. If the re-figured A of R is released under new title and cover in fall, I’d like REPOSITORY to release in the spring.

Can’t figure out which course to take at the conference in August.

Trying to find out where the copies of TRACKING MEDUSA, which were supposed to be here for the signing in late June, are. They still haven’t arrived. I need copies for the bookstore and for the bookstore at the conference.

I have some grocery shopping and bill paying to do today, and then — it’s back to writing, until I go to the Elisabeth Elo event tonight at the library.

Watched THE KING’S SPEECH again last night. Terrific film.

Have a great week!

Devon

Wed. July 9, 2014: Back To It

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Humid and ready to rain

I’ve been offline for a few days, for a much-needed break. I’m creatively exhausted right now, and need a chance to reinvigorate. The past few months have been at a ridiculous pace, and took their toll.

Thursday was a busy day at the library — people stocking up for the holiday weekend. That’s always fun — people who are excited about taking out books for the weekend, or for any other time. It’s one of my favorite things about the work — helping people find reading material that they enjoy and that engages in them. Also managed to get my desk cleared off for the first time since I was hired.

Exhausted Thursday night, and grateful that Friday was a holiday.

However, I was up at 5:30 on Friday morning. Since Hurricane Arthur was set to hit, we had to bring in all the plants from the deck and all the outdoor furniture and all the statuary, etc. We set down old sheets on the floor in the living room and the back bedroom and hauled everything in. We had to lock Iris in the downstairs bedroom and Violet and Tessa in my room, or we would have lost them, since we had to have doors to both outside and the garage propped open.

But we got everything in and then . . .waited. Most of the day was spent in humid suspended animation, waiting for the damn storm. I wrote a bit, read a lot, and battled the pre-storm headache. The storm didn’t hit until evening, and then I was glad I’d brought everything in.

Watched the Joss Whedon version of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, which was very clever.

Saturday, I took out some of the plants before I left for work. Since there were so many power outages, I was afraid the library’d been hit, and didn’t want my colleague there in a dark building on her own. So I went in early, the Exec Director went in early, our colleague was there, and the power was on. So it was all good. But it was busy, and there was no book delivery, which meant we couldn’t give people the books they’d ordered, and it was more chaotic than I’d hoped.

Came home, exhausted, and got the rest of the plants, furniture, statuary, etc., back out onto the deck. Read.

Sunday, I was out early and got us a Dunkin Donuts treat. Wrote a bit, then ran errands — had to do things like get the re-up cards for the phone. Looked at Kindles, and a few other things. We even went to the mall (oh, horrors) to get the phone cards and to pick up some things at Crabtree & Evelyn, where we had one of the nicest salespeople I’ve ever encountered. So nice, I’m letting the office know. Got a case for my phone, too.

Back home to read and write a bit. Juliet Blackwell’s newest, A VISION IN VELVET, arrived on Saturday, and I read it. I enjoy the Lily Ivory series.

Worked on the final round of edits for “Elusive Prayers”, which will go out to my editor today. Wrote the press release and the PSA for the Mermaid Ball.

Monday, up early and off to run errands in Falmouth. Stuck in traffic all day. Gave up after awhile, realizing it was going to take as long as it would take, and that was simply that. Getting upset wasn’t going to change anything.

Wrote a bit, came home long enough to make a black bean ful, and then headed to the Marine Life Center for the Mermaid Ball meeting. It took me an hour and a half. The meeting was the meeting, and, fortunately, coming home was quicker than getting there.

Watched FROST/NIXON — excellent. Fascinating interpretation of a period in history though which I lived.

Up early yesterday. Writing, but feeling burnt out. The weather didn’t help much, either. Went to Just Picked, where I found some good deals, but mostly was an uncreative lump, reading, and trying to replenish. I’m so tired that everything is a ridiculous amount of effort right now.

Up early this morning. Usual routine (which I’ve managed to keep up every morning, in spite of the exhaustion) of yoga, meditation, etc. Had a bad night — I had trouble sleeping and was fretful, for some reason. The last thing I need to do right now is borrow trouble. Getting some work done before I head to the library. I’m sure it will be a busy day — it always is when I come back from a few days away — and then we have a program meeting in the afternoon.

Onwards. I need to get back in the groove of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and it hasn’t quite clicked yet.

The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA that were supposed to be here for the signing, and then the bookstore haven’t arrived, but the copy that the library ordered is there. Go figure.

I settled on the new title for the re-release of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, and have to book the new cover artist. I’m getting print quotes. I hope to re-release it under the new imprint, title, and cover in October. Stay tuned.

That also means I have to get THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY back on track, because I won’t be releasing it through Champagne, I’ll do it through the new imprint.
I’ve got to get BALTHAZAAR back on track, get back to the ferry girl novel, do another pass on CHARISMA KILLINGS and submit that to an interested party ASAP, and do the next Bronwyn Rowan piece.

Yet I’m feeling about as creative as wilted lettuce.

I’m also tracking my activity/commitment with an organization with which I’m working to decide whether I will remain past my commitment (which ends next year) or not. If the financial ratio and the ratio of emotional give/receive do not balance better than they have in the past two years, I will withdraw when my commitment is complete. I would like to withdraw now, but it is unfair not to fulfill my commitment to the best of my ability, and not to spend a reasonable amount of time gathering actual data to review, rather than making a decision based solely on emotion.

Onward.

Devon

Mon. June 30, 2014: Go Direct Already, Mercury!

Monday, June 30, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny, warm, humid

Busy weekend.

Friday just sucked every possible way. I don’t even want to get into details, but I was furious by the time I left work, and had to reassess some of my goals and how best to get there. Hate it when Mercury and Saturn are retrograde at the same time.

Came home, and Tessa was like, “Mom, calm down. Play with the turquoise mouse. It’ll all be fine.”

Read a bit, wrote a bit, worked on the last three script episodes, finalized my PR materials for Saturday.

Friday night, we had coyotes in the yard. Woke us up at 2 AM, right up at the house. It’s a strongly bonded mated pair, and I think they’ve got little ones close by. They’re absolutely gorgeous animals — but they’re coyotes, and very close to the house. Tessa wasn’t phased at all, but the twins hid under the blankets. They were establishing territory — we heard them circle their two-mile patch for several hours. I don’t want them hurt, but I also don’t want them to hurt any person or animal in the neighborhood. If anything, I’m most worried that a neighbor will do something stupid and then officials will come in and hurt the animals. I’m hoping we can peacefully co-exist, but let’s face it — humans are stupid and arrogant, and it’s almost always the habitat that suffers.

Exhausted on Saturday, from lack of sleep. Sent off the last script episodes (will be happy when the final check arrives). Sent off some emails, took care of some business.

Headed home for lunch and to pack up the materials in the car, then over to Osterville Library’s tent for the AuthorPalooza event. There were 27 of us there, hosted by Books by the Sea. The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA didn’t arrive in time, but I had HEX BREAKER, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT in print copies, and the sell sheet for the three digital releases, and the sell sheet for the Topic Workbooks. We were a fun, lively group. I got to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and meet some interesting new ones, AND talk to some of authors about the possibility of doing a program at the library. My boss came from the library after work, my friend from NMLC came, and it was, all in all, a fun afternoon. We were on the grass, so every time I got tired, I could slide out of my shoes and put my bare feet on the grass and re-energize.

Stopped at the liquor store on the way home and found an affordable bottle of blue raspberry vodka. Toss in a squirt of lemon juice, and I have my blue lemonade. Yummy!

Watched AMERICAN HUSTLE on Saturday night, on DVD. I’d seen it in the theatres when it came out, and now wanted to see it again. Enjoyed it thoroughly. It reinforced my sense that Jeremy Renner’s work wasn’t given the praise it deserved (although he didn’t maintain the Jersey accent consistently, which I hadn’t noticed the first time I watched it, but noticed here). What an amazing cast. In the interviews, the director talks about inconsistencies in characters and how that interests them, but my sense was that they were true to their cores, and then layered the inconsistencies onto that core to get what they wanted and needed.

Yesterday, I was going to do many things, but decided to stay true to my commitment to Disconnected Sundays. I did, however, turn around my edits for “Elusive Prayers”, which I will send off to my editor.

I also read Lauren Owen’s debut novel, THE QUICK. It’s getting a lot of hype, and the initial printing was 100,000 copies, so her publisher is very confident. I read the whole thing yesterday. Yes, it’s a great, big, fat book, but it held my attention. I absolutely loved the first 100 pages — especially her phrasing. I liked and admired almost all of the rest, and was frustrated by the last chapter, although I saw what was supposed to be the final twist coming about 150 pages before it did. It’s a literary horror novel, and there are vampires involved. Anything more would give away too much. It’s very well done, much better than most, but I’m rather vampired out at the moment. It’s definitely a novel I would go back and re-read in a couple of years (especially if I manage to avoid most vampire novels in the interim, which I doubt I can do). It’s definitely up there, for me, with DRACULA (the original Bram Stoker one) and Elizabeth Kostova’s THE HISTORIAN (which I loved).

Read a cozy mystery where the protagonist’s best friends were so unlikeable I kept hoping one or both would be the murderer’s next victim. No such luck. Also, there was only one body drop, and the protagonist was never in any actual peril. Boooring. That author’s off my list. Not reading more of her books for myself, nor am I ordering any for the library, nor will I recommend them for the Cozy Mystery Book Group that we hope to start in the autumn.

Re-reading Elizabeth Elo’s NORTH OF BOSTON, because she’s coming to talk at the library in July. It’s kind of a modern Boston Noir (very different from other types of noir).

The coyotes did a howl-by last night as they raced through the yard, but that was it.

I’ve got to mow today, send off some materials, and then run errands. Monday is errand day, after all.

Champagne Publishing and I have parted ways, as of today. The last few copies of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT are the last copies (it’s officially out of print), and it’s no longer available online. You can get the print copies that remain through Books by the Sea in Osterville (as of later this week — I have to drop them off when the copies of TRACKING MEDUSA arrive). Cotuit Library also has a copy in circulation. The rights have reverted back to me. I wait thirty days, then I’m commissioning a new cover, changing the title, changing a few things in the text back to my original vision, and it will be re-released, both in digital and paperback formats. I will keep you up-to-date as things happen.

I will be so happy when Mercury goes direct tomorrow.

Have a great week!

Devon

Wed. June 25, 2014: Deadline Pressure & Focus

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Day Before Dark Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day yesterday. Worked flat out, focusing on the revisions for the Big Script Project, and the galleys of “Severance”. Nipped over to Wheldon Library in the late morning to come up for air for a few minutes, connect to the internet, sort out a few things, and send off the finished products.

Then, it was back home and more writing. Also wrote about 750 words in longhand on something I hope is a novella, but I suspect may be longer. AND I figured out how I can tie one of the new ideas I outlined over the weekend to the world in which “Severance” is set.

Also discovered three new possible publishers for the Sophie Batchelder mystery series. I think I’ll re-read the first book and the proposal over the weekend, see if it needs any more tweaks, and then send it out next week, when Mercury goes direct.

I am so ready for Mercury to go direct!

Reading Rachel Aaron’s Eli Monpress series, which I thoroughly enjoy. The first book reminded me, in tone, of Robert Asparin’s first few M.Y.T.H. books, which I loved, and the second book went deeper in a good way. Looking forward to the third.

Working on the materials I’m taking to the Author Palooza event this weekend. I’ve got the copies of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, HEX BREAKER, and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. Fingers crossed the print copies of TRACKING MEDUSA are arrive on time, but hey, it’s Mercury Retrograde, so I’m not counting on anything.

Busy day today at the library — training session, getting as much work as I can, and then meetings at 4 PM, 5 PM, 6 PM. I’m supposed to read at Cotuit Center of the Art’s Salon of Shorts tonight, too, but I wonder if I’ll have enough in the tank after three back-to-back meetings to do it. Then home, starting the food I’m bringing to tomorrow night’s party, and more revisions. And this, being the day before the Dark Moon, is my lowest energy day of the month. Tomorrow morning, when I get up, I have to finish prepping the devilled eggs while working on more revisions.

And here, I thought my schedule would slow down. Silly me!

But it’s all good busy, and I’m grateful.

Have a great day!

Devon

Mon. Dec. 31, 2012: New Year’s Eve & Pens are Hopping!

IMG_0784
Iris investigates the centerpiece, a gift from Lori! Thanks!

Monday, December 31, 2012
Waning Moon
New Year’s Eve

I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s!

Better hurry and download the free Jain Lazarus tale, “First Feet” — it’s only available until January 2!

Busy weekend. Worked a lot on Friday, wrote a lot on Friday. Worked up the rough of my wacky proposal for the agent. I love it. I let it rest over the weekend, and will tweak it over the next few days to send to her later this week. Ran errands on Saturday, and did a little raking, since the storm was coming. Worked on getting out party invites all weekend.

We got about 4 inches of snow on Saturday night — not bad, considering. Did some party planning, did some cleaning up and re-arranging. Was highly irritated at the snow plow guy. As usual, he shoved snow INTO everyone’s driveways. To a point, that’s understandable, but he left a boulder-sized snowball in the elderly neighbor’s driveway. There’s no reason he couldn’t have pushed it another foot out of the way, except this guy was either inexperienced, incompetent, a dickhead, or a combination. I went over to help the neighbor.

Got my own driveway and walkway shovelled — it wasn’t too bad, except for the stuff shoved into the driveway by the plow. AND the fact that the plow destroyed the whole bottom of the front yard — again, it’s marked, there’s no reason he couldn’t have paid attention and stayed in the road. If the boulders hadn’t been there protecting the rest of the yard, he would have torn it up halfway to the house. Unacceptable. Yes, I took photos, and yes, I will be making noise to the town!

It looks really pretty, though, except for the damaged area.

Found Rosemary Edghill’s SPEAK DAGGERS TO HER, the first Bast mystery, and re-read it. Now I have the whole set to lend to Costume Imp when he comes up in spring. I have the materials prepped for tonight’s ritual, for tomorrow morning’s ritual, have to pick up a few things for the NYDay breakfast. I’m doing laundry (because I have this thing about going into the New Year with clean clothes), and will vaccuum and mop this afternoon. Changed all the beds this morning.

We lit a fire in the fireplace last night, the first successful attempt since we moved it. It was wonderful! So much fun, worked so well. We’ll be doing that a lot more all winter.

I’m still having fun with the Twelfth Night stories, although I’m a bit behind. The story on the Five Gold Rings was more complicated than I expected. Not longer – just more complicated.

I realized the idea I’ve been playing with for a few days is actually an Ivy de le Livre piece (she’s my horse-playng tarot reader character) that is BEFORE the pieces I’ve been working on. That opens all kinds of exciting possibilities.

Bill Moyers interviewed a fascinating writer named Junot Diaz — now I’m eager to read his books. What a thoughtful, articulate, intelligent man.

The president of the Writers’ Center shot me a few ideas, and I shot back a response this morning. This year will be exciting!

I’m very excited that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is circulating in the CLAMS library network! So, if you’re on Cape Cod — you can check it out of the library. What fun!

Lots to do to prep for the New Year. Have a safe and joyful holiday!

Stop by Biblio Paradise tomorrow — we’re starting the year with Shirley Wells’s latest! AND, stop by Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions tomorrow, where we start working on our New Year’s goals!

Devon

Fri. Dec. 28, 2012: New Ideas & Proposals

IMG_0715
I know I posted this picture of Tessa, the computer, and the Dragons bumper sticker, but it cracks me up, so I’m using it again!

Friday, December 28, 2012
Full Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re supposed to get snow tonight. I’d like a little white, but not too much!

I’m also really, really, REALLY excited because ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, by Annabel Aidan, is in circulation in the CLAMS network library system!

I was FINALLY able to reset my Facebook password and get back into my Devon Ellington page. The address for the page is here.

With in that Devon Ellington faction, I set up a Jain Lazarus Adventures page. Check it out here.

I still have all kinds of issues with Facebook, but it’s a promotional tool I need to learn how to utilize properly.

So, come on, sign up for those two workshops in January, “When Words Align” and “Sensory Perceptions”. Get your manuscript back on track. Learn how to layer in sensory detail. Come play with us!

So, last night’s dreams are for March. It’s the third night, AKA third month, although today is the fourth DAY. I had two sets of dreams. One, I was reading a post-apocalyptic novel (which is better than being IN one, I guess), and the other dream fled as soon as Violet woke me up by hurling a fur ball.

Smallest cat, biggest furballs.

Yesterday, we picked up some ornaments on sale — mostly cardinals, which we wanted for the tree, and put them on. Also bought another Christmas cactus and a Cyclamen plant.

I wrote my three French hens story, and this morning, I started on the four calling birds one. I’m having a blast with these tales. I’m pretty sure they’re in the Ava Dunne voice.

I’m juggling three very different projects right now, with three distinct protagonists — all in first person. I tried third person for all of them, and it didn’t work for any of them, so, first person it is.

I’ve got to get out the party invites and the thank you notes today, and start uploading class materials. I’m still tweaking stuff for the When Words Align class, and I’ll be tweaking exercises all the way along, as it’s so much about individual projects. I also have to finish prepping stuff for the private students starting.

I sent out two LOIs and resumes yesterday to two very different organizations, both of which I’m panting to work with. I’m trying to create my own position within each — I’ve found a way to meet their current needs AND my wish to remain a freelancer, so let’s hope one or both of them take a chance on me.

Also working on the wacky proposal for my agent.

Lots to do and limited time, so I better get moving!

Devon

Two Nina Bell holiday shorts and a romantic/comedy/fantasy twist in Yuletide myths. Don’t miss them!

And get your FREE copy of the Jain Lazarus tie-in, “First Feet”, only available until January 2!

Thurs. Oct. 4: Exciting Times and Time to Go Home!

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Worked with my students yesterday, got some good work done on a few other projects. Got an apology from the slow-paying client with a promise to “pay next week”. We’ll see if that happens. Watched several of my Sustainability video lectures, and several of the World History lectures, and took the quizzes. This week’s lectures are useful in terms of my flood/drought project. I also did an email interview promoting both the Jain Lazarus books and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT that will go up in late November.

Tessa is sulky and upset. She got out of the house and was difficult to catch yesterday, poor little thing. Hopefully, she will be glad to see me when I get home, and not act like Violet. Violet always does “talk to the tail” for three days before she forgives me.

I’m over at the Writers Vineyard today in my Annabel Aidan persona, giving thanks for this year’s Writing Harvest.

It’s more stressful here than it needs to be; I will be glad to go home. Although “home” will be chaotic for the next few weeks — the owner decided the outside of the house needs to be painted and a new roof put on.

I had a lovely meeting with an agent last night, and we had a good chat that ranged over many topics. We brainstormed some ideas, and now it’s up to me to see if I can come up with proposals that fulfill what we discussed. Excited about it.

I want to get the revisions on the article done before I head back today, and will try to get as much schoolwork done as possible. Well, I’d LIKE to curl up and read a good book, but that is not going to be an option until about Sunday! And that book will be something I’m reviewing!

Quick reminder — I’m over at the Muse Online Conference next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, teaching my Supporting Characters workshop. Hope to see you there!

Off we go — I hope the drive back won’t be bad this afternoon. I’m tired of driving in bad weather and dense traffic.

Devon

Tues. Sept. 25, 2012: Writing, Dissection, and Process

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy work day yesterday. Some library this-n-that done, I’m almost caught up with the tarot students, I started on this week’s work in the Sustainability Course, the World History Course, and the Greek/Roman Mythology course. The dynamics in each class are fascinating to me — the tone set by the professors, the way students interact, the types of people drawn to each class with their stories — but then, I’m a writer. I’m going to go beyond the surface of the course and get into both the interpersonal dynamics of the material and of the people around me. That’s what I do.

Very dangerous, knowing a writer. Everything is material. But that’s part of why it’s so great to BE a writer! ;)

Speaking of writers, I hope you’ll hop on over to A BIBLIO PARADISE today and drop a comment for my colleague and fellow Cape Cod author, Steven Marini. He’s a guest on the blog.

Got through some more submissions, some of which were much better. I’ve got two more stacks to get through this week. Got out my material for Confidential Job #1. Pitched for a job that I don’t think will be a good fit, not in content, but in time frame, and I don’t think it will work out. Of course, I realized that after I hit send.

I also had an absolutely mortifying egg-on-face few moments — I’m a guest on a bunch of different blogs to promote both ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT and HEX BREAKER (and, then, soon, I’ll be appearing to promote DEATH SPARKLES and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK). I keep track of what’s due when and where, and I wrote several of them in the last few days. Well, I thought I was late on one, scrambled, and hit send — to realize I’d sent it to the wrong person! Mortified. Absolutely mortified. I pulled it back, apologized profusely (I’d sent her everything she needed for my appearance) and then sent it off to the right person (who is very happy with it). Everything worked out, and everyone was cool about it, but I was still upset with myself. There’s a reason I’ve set up systems and organized things, and that’s so I can stay on top of multiple projects. When I make a careless mistake, I’m angry at myself.

My own work suffered yesterday, so today, I have to make up for it. I also have to do a major grocery shop over at Market Basket in Sandwich, which just makes me happy.

The furnace guy was here yesterday, cleaned the furnace and the ductwork, everything is great. Considering that it was 39 degrees this morning, and the heat’s kicked in for the past few weeks, I’m glad.

Watched REVOLUTION last night. (Spoiler alert). They came out with a bang, and now we’re getting into the episodes that both reveal and set up the future complexities. I had some frustrations — I need to watch again the scene after Charlie killed two men and she’s trying to wrap her head around it. I feel like there was a missed opportunity — Miles could have made it clear that you hope you never “get used” to killing (it’s obvious that, although he kills when he has to, he doesn’t enjoy it); he could have dismissed her concerns; he could have pretended to dismiss her concerns as a combination of not really knowing how to deal with her and also as a bit of misplaced “tough love” because he knows she’ll have to do a lot more killing before this is done (besides, she killed someone or several someones in the first episode when she and her friends came to help him in the Big Fight Scene in Episode 1. It’s not her first kill, although it’s the first of this type of kill). Instead, it didn’t really commit to any of the above. The actors had to work too hard in that scene — the problem, I felt, was in the material and in the direction. It wasn’t layered; it was messy. That meant the actors had to work harder to try to pull it off, and the work showed, instead of it being organic. That’s not a failure on the actors’ parts — they did what they could with the material, and the writing needed to be both crisper and more layered, and the direction needed to be more specific in that scene.

Why does this moment bother me? Because it could have been a pivotal point of connection and understanding in the relationship between Charlie and Miles. The actors reached for it, but the material, in this case, didn’t give them the support it should have. You’ve got to hand it to Billy Burke — when he’s in a scene with someone, he’s totally there. A lesser actor would have hung his scene partner out to dry in order to look better, and he did not. Those are the actors you want on your project, the ones who give and receive in a scene, rather than take. Giancarlo Esposito had a lot of wonderful small moments in his scenes, too — a more insecure, self-involved actor would have used some of those moments to chew scenery or wipe the floor with his fellow actors. He doesn’t need to, and he’s far more effective doing what he’s doing. I can’t wait until Esposito and Burke have scenes together. As a writer, while it’s frustrating to see that flawed material in something that’s on network (but not a surprise), it’s also interesting to break it down and figure out what could have made the material stronger, and yet still fit into the constraints of the production (the need for scenes to be truncated for commercial breaks). As someone who worked so closely with actors for so many years, watching performances grow and change night-to-night, show-to-show, sometimes on a daily basis, I feel for the actors, and I’m always fascinated by the development of material.

So, why am I going on and on about beats and scenes in a television series that, truly, has nothing to do with me? That whole dissection experience made me a little resentful that I’m not even included in a rehearsal for my play’s reading on Friday, and that the director hasn’t even spoken to me about the material. If I was in the rehearsal room and heard the actors speak the words, I could make tweaks for it to flow more naturally before the performance, which is going to make everyone look better. I don’t believe every word is gold simply because it drips from my pen. I believe in making the words better. Part of that is being in the rehearsal process. Because I will not be pleased if the director or actors take it on themselves to change lines without discussing it with me first (there’s a reason Dramatists Guild contracts don’t allow that). There’s a difference between riffing and improvising off material and just paraphrasing or changing it. The first two, in the right hands, can take the material to the next level. The third and fourth, almost all the time, takes all the air out of material. That would be a sign of both huge ego and huge disrespect on their parts, none of which are unusual in this business. What will really kill the material if the actors take a lot of self-involved pauses you could drive trucks through. It’s written to a very specific rhythm, the rapid-fire 1940s noir patter. Friday will be interesting. It could be amazing, or it could be a disaster. Either way, I know I’ll be taking a lot of notes, and subjecting myself and the pages to the same type of dissection that I do above.

On a happier note, I was thrilled that Damian Lewis won the Emmy for HOMELAND. In my opinion, he’s one of the top actors out there, again, with a lot of quiet, detailed work, and it’s about time he got recognition.

Alright, enough musing — time to get back to the pages and get my own creative work done. I’ve got a book to finish.

Devon

Interviewed on Long & Short Romance!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

First and foremost, hop on over to LASR to read an interview with me — it was a ton of fun — I just love working with them.

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT will be available at the bookstore in the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference — woo hoo! If HEX BREAKER isn’t in print yet, they told me to go ahead and leave promotional materials in the store. Talk about a much better arrangement than at Write Angles last year, which segregated authors, lied to me about carrying me in the store, and then, the night before the conference dumped the whole problem into my lap. This was easy-peasy — I emailed the guy running the bookstore, he sent me the form, and we’re good to go. No drama, no “you’re not with a big enough publisher and not important enough for our store”, none of that. Which is one reason this conference is one of the most respected in the country.

Yesterday, I worked a lot, but didn’t get enough done. Sound familiar? But I got some ideas to one of my new editors, got some work in for another client, mowed the terraced back area, took all the clippings to the dump, In the afternoon, I managed to write 1857 words (a whole chapter) on HEART BINDER, and I read 70 pages of a manuscript for critique. And baked a cake.

I went to the client meeting at 6:30 last night, and didn’t get home until after 11. It was fun, and nice to do focused work in company, but I was beat by the time I got in. Overslept this morning, and then did some more work for that client before I even got a chance to blog.

Tessa was mad at me — our routine this summer has been that I take her out with me in the morning and put her in her cage on the deck. She watches me water, and then is out with me while I have my first cup of coffee, percolate ideas, and write the first 1K of the day in longhand. Later, at the end of the day, she comes out with me again, while I have a glass of wine on the deck and either read or write some more.

Well, yesterday afternoon, I was behind in the work, and couldn’t take her out before I left. And this morning, it was rainy. She was one sulky girl. I took her out this morning in my arms and she got rained on — which, of course, in her feline mind, is all my fault.

Anyway, I’ve got a LOT on my plate today — better get to it.

I’m so happy with the LASR interview!

Devon

Don’t forget — Taste of Tarot workshop for artists in all media, this Saturday afternoon, June 16, at Three Fish and a Ram Community Art Center in Mashpee. More info here.

Tues. May 22, 2012: Roller Coaster Day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was such and up-and-down day! Managed to revised six chapters of HEART SNATCHER, which was a great note on which to start. Got some other work done, spent time with students.

Had a few hours of alternating fury and misery when I discovered that some individuals on a job in whom I invested hundreds of hours of time and trust just threw it back in my face. Well, what are you going to do? I already knew the situation was not one in which I wanted to stay past the current commitments — but at least I FULFILL my commitments. It’s about fear, power, manipulation, done via passive aggression — you know how well THAT goes over with me! You don’t get your own way all the time, Pickle, especially when you’re wrong and doing something destructive to yourself and others. Imagining how to fictionally kill them off in a story made me realize just how ridiculous it all is, and how it’s not worth my time and energy. New doors are opening for me; I have no reason not to take fresh risks. Especially not out of misplaced loyalty.

The Writers Center wants to put me on their regular roster for Tomorrow’s Writers Today — they thought I did well, the kids responded positively, and they want me back. Good! I can take what I learned from this go-round, switch up a few things, focus it differently, and make it better.

I got some more good news — a piece one of my private students worked on under guidance has been offered a contract! I’m thrilled for her. She worked hard on it, and it was a case of taking a good idea and going deeper, that’s all.

I got my next assignment for Confidential Job #1 — a double this time! Can’t wait to do it. Didn’t manage to finish the article (still waiting for quotes). Managed, however, to do a good deal of press for my upcoming workshops — putting them up in local events calendars, etc. — and got some ads for business services out there. Got a negative response back on a pitch — but the content of the refusal had nothing to do with what I actually pitched, so I think they might have sent me someone else’s letter. In other words, I dodged a bullet!

Very tired, but that’s just the way it is right now. Looking forward to the holiday weekend break. I’ll be writing, but not interacting.

The West Dennis Library is doing a benefit on June 10. They asked me to donate a signed copy of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT for the Book Basket they’re auctioning off. I’m delighted! More information here.

A few things to think about/remember/check out:

On Saturday, May 26, from 10 AM to Midnight EST, please click over to 100carsforgood.com with your Facebook account and vote for the National Marine Life Center — we’re a finalist in the program, and have the chance to win a Highlander in order to transport wildlife to and from the hospital. It would make a huge difference to the center, so please stop by and give us a vote!

Writers Worth Week continues with Kimberly Ben’s article on Flexing Your Confidence Muscle.

Don’t forget to sign up for Setting Up Your Submissions System online seminar on June 2. I’ll walk you through bios, loglines, submission packets, clip files, the types of ways to prepare your files so all you have to do is attach, and more. The resource guide is worth the price. More information and registration here.

If you’re in and around the Cape area in June and July, I’m teaching in person at Three Fish and A Ram Community Art Center in Mashpee. There’s a tarot class for artists in all media, a writer/performer collaborative, and a writing workshop to stretch technique. I’ve got a page with details set up here.

I’m off to mediation now — I need it! Then, it’s back to work.

Devon

Fri. March 23, 2012: A Mercury Retrograde Start to the Day

Friday, March 23, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was busy. Put my head down and worked all day. Confidential Job #1 offered me something fun in addition to my usual roster of assignments; I said yes. I’m thrilled that my editor thought of me for it. Caught up on student work. Discovered that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT got a very good review here. Worked on the pre-release publicity for HEX BREAKER. Did the work I’m paid to do here on site. Worked on the materials for another project that will go live shortly.

I managed a nap, only to be woken by one of my least favorite noises on the planet — a leaf blower.

This morning was a typical Mercury Retrograde morning. Alarm went off early; I contemplated skipping yoga because I wanted more sleep. But I figured I’d feel better after yoga, so I got up and out of the house and headed to yoga. Only to find a note on the door stating it was cancelled. Okaaaaay. Stopped and got coffee and went to the beach I used to walk near the art deco amusement park instead. Sat down on a bench that was still wet from the overnight, but it was still nice out. Got an idea for a piece that I might be able to meld with some other ideas I’ve been tossing around. Maybe even with my horse-playing tarot reader character.

Decided I wanted a muffin on my way home and drove all kinds of places with no luck. You would have thought I was on the quest for Excalibur or something. It’s a muffin, people, not that hard. I could have made a batch in the time it took to track one down. Finally got one at the grocery store, got back to the job site, and ate it outside in the sun.

Spent the morning doing work on a project that doesn’t need my primary attention right now, but is so fascinating, I can’t stop. Am about to check in with students, then do some more writing, then do more student work later in the afternoon.

Word from home is that the maple tree, two holly trees, a hydrangea, Rose of Sharon, and Mountain Laurel arrived this morning — figures they’d arrive when I’m not there to plant them. Not sure what to do with the maple tree — since I’m renting, do I put it in a pot or donate it somewhere? Will have to see when I get home.

Did some work on the Jain Lazarus story that has to be ready to go with the release of HEX BREAKER. Need to do some rearranging on the site. Thought through some of the ongoing Jain Lazarus marketing stuff I need to do, and how I can cross-market along with ASSUMPTION, although they are two different worlds under two different names.

Got a few proposals to get out today, too. Got to just keep on it, right? That’s the only way to get everything where I need to be.

I’m looking forward to Memorial Day weekend, where we all have a few days off!

Devon

Mon. March 19, 2012: Start of a New Work Week

Monday, March 19, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It’s been so busy that I can’t even remember back to Friday! ;) Anyway, I know I spent a lot of time with students both Friday and Saturday, because, by dinnertime Saturday, I was caught up on everything that had been posted to that time, and I could take yesterday off with a clear conscience.

I finished the materials for Confidential Job #1, and this morning I send off the report. The next assignment will probably come while I’m out on assignment this week, so I won’t be able to start it until next week, but that’s okay. I like what I’ve been sent, lately, which makes it more fun.

Got out some proposals, dropped off a press packet on ASSUMPTION, got a few more leads on potential new clients that I need to follow up on. Considered a blogging job, but, really, there were so many red flags in the ad, I decided to pass. When the employer says that a low price is a “high” price paid for top-quality content and then says it’s an “easy” job for the right person — run like hell. I would have liked to write about the topic — I know it well — but not at those prices.

Killion Slade brought up a good point in the comments to Friday’s post — bartering. I’m a huge fan of bartering. When I lived in Seattle, the arts community survived a lot by bartering with each other. Here on the Cape, it happens, too, and it’s a lot of fun as well as being useful. The thing about bartering is — you get an even exchange between two individuals, each with a skill the other needs. So the energy/karmic exchange is balanced. And I also have a couple of pro bono clients on the roster, and will, once or twice a year, contribute to an anthology that gives its proceeds to a charity I care about. That’s all part of the flow of the work. What gets my goat (and all the other animals in the barn) is when someone who claims to be a legitimate employer wants my skills for nothing, giving nothing in return, but “exposure”. Generally, these are the same “employers” who say the work is “easy” (yet, somehow, they can’t do it themselves) or ask for unpaid, project-specific “samples” (which means everyone gets a piece of the project, does it for free, gets told they weren’t hired, the “employer” absconds with all the unpaid elements, changes the company name and has unpaid labor for a finished product). The lines are different for everyone, but this is how I pay the bills. I’m perfectly happy to barter, if the other half of the equation has something that I need. But I’m not just throwing my work out for “exposure.”

We never made it out of the house for the art opening on Friday night — it was raw and rainy. We’ve been catching up (or, for me, re-watching) the first season of TORCHWOOD, which has been a lot of fun, from a structural, writer’s perspective as much as from a viewing perspective.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday. I should have been out doing yard work. Instead, we went over to a friend’s house (an artist who moved up here from New York last year and now just lives a few blocks away), catching up around the fire pit. It was good.

This week is busy — finishing up a few things around here, including the edits for HEX BREAKER, which have to go out in a couple of days, working with students, etc. I have a site job for the last half of the week, and then, when I get back, it’s time to start working on the taxes! My payment came through, along with the “official notification” of the change in payment terms (biting my tongue), and some other issues that I’m just not getting into here. I’ve also got to set up a possible project for mid-April — if that works, I will post about it here shortly. If that goes well, there will be more along that vein. I also have to update my workshop page on the website, and some of my other pages. Lots to do!

I played with some short story ideas over the weekend. They’re still a little vague — almost like dream images, or just snippets of a scene. They need more development before I can figure out what they are. Two submission calls hit my desk to which I’d like to respond, so I hope the stories hurry up and starting forming!

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 7:46 am  Comments (4)  
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Wed. March 7, 2012: Tessa is Fascinated

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Day before Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The garage door is being wonky — can’t close it from the outside with the opener. I can OPEN it, but to close it, I have to do so from inside, then go out the front door. Kind of a pain. Yet ANOTHER repair. And Mercury doesn’t even go retrograde until next week!

Made it to meditation, and glad I went. It was a really good session. I felt I had a better perspective afterwards.

Home, breakfast, some work, then off to Sandwich Library. I was supposed to just make returns, but, of course, I got a stack of books out, including SISTER by Rosamund Lipton. One of my students in a reviewing class suggested it a few months back, and this is the first time I’ve found it. I started it last night — excellent. I’m pretty sure I know who the murderer is, due to the use of language in certain places, but I might be surprised. Just finished FLIRTING WITH PETE by Barbara Delinsky. Her novel last year, ESCAPE, was one of my favorite books of 2011. This was published in 2003, and is very different. Another book I thoroughly enjoyed.

Grocery shopping, laundry, students, a typical day. My mom’s surgery is tomorrow, so I doubt I’ll be online much. I’m going to yoga today instead of my usual Thursday morning class. I’ve got to work on a new Jain Lazarus short story, and a new story with Morag, from ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT.

Tessa sits n the window, staring across the street at the enormous black Maine coon cat, who’s sunning herself outside. Tessa’s just fascinated by her.

Costume Imp is coming up next week, and he’ll come along to the Boston Horticulture Show with us. That will be fun!

Devon

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