Fri. Sept. 19, 2014: The Longing to Write

Friday, September 19, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I was discouraged about a variety of things when I got back home on Wednesday afternoon, along with just being damn tired. Did some work on INITIATE, read VIRTU. Went to bed early.

Up early yesterday, wrote a bit on INITIATE. Headed to work. Busy day. Got 40 books processed; the woman who covers them was in, so we got them either onto the shelves or out to fulfill holds. I still have a stack of DVDs to process. Wrote a proposal for the small library conference at the end of October. Did some promotion for our upcoming programs, including the Rights Roundtable on Monday night that kicks off Banned Books Week.

Yup, Banned Books week is next week, and this year’s focus is graphic novels. So grab a banned graphic novel and dig in! ;)

Updated the library website, contacted some people about programs. Busy day.

My editor wants another book as soon as I can write it. I still have some research for BALTHAZAAR before I can get back into it, and, of course, am consumed by INITIATE. But I have to give them something soon.

I also found out that I have a 5-cup Review of TRACKING MEDUSA over on Coffee Time Romance, and a 5-star review of the same book on Amazon. I loved and believed in the book for a long time before I found the right publisher, so I’m glad others are enjoying it, too. “Lake Justice” got a 3.5 out of 5, which is good, with the main criticism being it was too short – which is helpful! ;) Maybe the next Bronwyn adventure will be longer. Maybe I should cough up a Bronwyn adventure soon while I’m working on the other books for my editor!

Home, very tired, glass of wine on the deck, then grocery and cat food shopping. Dinner, some work on INITIATE, then finished VIRTU. I’ve ordered the two remaining books in the quartet and should have them by next week. Can’t wait to dive into them. I just love this series. It’s very unique, lots of gorgeous writing. At times, I wonder why one choice or another was made, but then it all ties together. The world-building is spectacular. Not only am I enjoying them, I am learning from them.

Up early today. Worked on INITIATE. Tomorrow will be my first full day off in quite awhile, and I’m going to focus on INITIATE and on the garden. I’m supposed to read to kids at the Town Picnic on Sunday, but all I know is the time. I have no idea where I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to read. I’m half tempted to make something the hell up.

I have a proposal and a couple of reports to write today, along with everything else. Better get going. I’ll check in next week – there should be lots to tell from Banned Books Week!

And, of course, the Equinox is on Monday, so I’m in preparations for that.

A student who booked an editing intensive sent the materials in some weird format (I only accept .doc) and not in Standard Manuscript Format, and then wanted me to explain what that is. No. Don’t call yourself a writer if you don’t know SMF. Go look it the fuck up. I was very, VERY clear when we discussed the possibility of taking her on this semester that I ONLY accept SMF in .doc file format and anything else would remain unread. This has been an ongoing problem with this particular individual. I will not work on something that is not correctly formatted. Period. And if you’ve been in ANY of my classes, there is NO excuse not to know what SMF is, or to show the initiative to go look it up your damn self.

Devon

Published in: on September 19, 2014 at 9:05 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Mon. Aug. 11, 2014: Excited by The Wonderful Conference!

Monday, August 11, 2014
Last Day of Full Moon
Sunny and cool

Wow. The last few days have been intense.

Thursday, I worked at the library until 2 PM. It was busy — I wanted to make sure I got everything done (since I’m not back “in the office” until this Wed.) and not leave anyone holding the bag or cleaning up a mess I left. So I worked ahead on anything that I could think of being needed, such as the report for tonight’s Board meeting. I also processed a big stack of books that arrived from Ingram. Another box from Ingram arrived as soon as I was done, but I pretended it wasn’t there — and it might not have been mine, anyway. I also processed some videos that arrived from Amazon. I wanted to make sure as much as possible could get on the shelves while I was gone.

I left at 2 PM and headed for the Conference center. I checked in and found out that a fellow board member had a family emergency, so I agreed to cover the things he was supposed to take care of. I unloaded the car, got the library exhibit table set up, then got my own books checked in to the bookshop, then helped out at the cocktail reception.

As usual, we started at a table with two people and kept expanding. My rule of thumb is, “pull up a chair, join us; there’s always room for one more.” That way, no one feels left out, excluded, and people who are there for the first time and don’t know anyone get to meet people, and people who know other people get to meet new people. So that was fun.

My boss from the library joined us for the introduction ceremony upstairs. I announced the writing contest winners (one of them was even there, which was great), and all the instructors were introduced. We ran into someone with whom we’re going to put together a great panel for the library, and a group of us headed downstairs to the bar to catch up. It was fun and noisy, and we got out of there late.

Up early on Friday. Wrote a bit of 1000 words on INITIATE. Cooked for the incoming guests. Finished cleaning up. Ran to the store for the last few things.

Did a roundtable with my friend, Kevin Symmons, at the conference on inspiration –we had a good time with it, and the participants seemed to enjoy it, too. Then came the class I was taking, a screenwriting class. Since it covered the basics, I was worried that I might not be pushed hard enough. But the teacher was good (Chantalle Aimee Osman — if you ever get a chance to study with her, jump at it) and I found points where, because I move from format to format, I’ve gotten sloppy. There are certain areas where I need to sharpen what I do when I’m in screenplay format, in order to take it to the next level.

I’m also going to have to bite the bullet and invest in either Final Draft or Movie Magic, once I have the new Macbook. I’m very anti-formatting software, because I think it makes people rely on the software instead of learning the craft, but it is now the industry standard, and if I want to work in the industry, I need to suck up and deal.

Ran home after class to deal with a few things and get my company settled. Part of the company is a very old yellow lab that my Mom has taken care of since he was a puppy. He’s sweet, but not very bright.

The cats are horrified.

Raced back to the conference. Had rehearsal with the executive director for a skit I stepped into. Had a drink in the bar with some fellow panelists and the terrific novelist Gary Braver. I was on a panel moderated by Arlene Kay, along with Kevin Symmons and David Litwack. What a pleasure! We were talking about our journeys and how we keep writing on tough days, and things like that. It was a lot of fun. We then kicked off the reading sessions.

I knew about two paragraphs in that I picked the wrong scene — you can feel the energy in the room. But I was stuck by then, so I pushed through. Live and learn, right? Should have stuck to the scenes in the media kit! The readings were good — quite varied, and a better quality, overall, than some of the other years.

Went back down to the bar, had a drink with friends and colleagues, got in a bit after midnight. Chatted with the company. Fell into bed, trying to learn lines. Got a text from an actor for whom I just wrote a monologue — he’s on set for a new film and was in between set-ups.

Actor: What are you doing?
Me: Learning lines for Gutenberg.
Actor: Who’s Gutenberg?
Me: Use Google.
Few minutes silence, then another text.
Actor: How are you going to play a guy from the 1400s?
Me: I have no fucking idea.

Up early on Saturday. Wrote about 1100 words on INITIATE. Tessa is still furious with me because there’s a DOG in the house. Got the company safely off to the Nantucket ferry — although the dog stays with us. Tessa puffed up so big that she couldn’t dive under the bed, and had to deflate before she could fit. The cats were just starting to calm down, and then my neighbor decided to cut down a tree next door. Of course, that was my fault, too, as far as the cats were concerned. A DOG and all that NOISE. I’m unhappy, because I don’t think perfectly healthy trees should be cut down, but it’s not on my property, so I have no say in the matter.

Called the joke shop, talked to Chris –sounded like they had what I needed. Drove in to Hyannis, Chris got me all set up with the beard.

Back to the conference. Picked up my costume. Another excellent screenwriting session. Home. Tried on the costume, complete with beard. Cats took one look and dived under the bed. Ran lines a few times. Got out of costume. Took a nap.

Woke up, showered, dressed in a killer blue silk sheath dress, fishnets, and heels, pinning up my hair. If I’m going to play I bearded guy from the fifteenth century in an academic robe, I am going to look HOT for the banquet!

Got caught in Craigville beach traffic on the way back to the conference. Had my window down, had the music on. This shirtless surfer dude leans into the open window, sees the fishnets and says, “So, what’re you doin’ tonight?”

Me: Playing Gutenberg.
Dude: Huh?
Me: What, you don’t get into a little role playing sometime?

He had no idea how to respond to that!

The keynote was a roundtable with author Rishi Reddi and Alicia Anstead, who’s the editor of THE WRITER magazine. We all read Rishi’s story “Karma” and it was a discussion, led by Alicia. It was interesting, and a lot of fun. At times, I worried that over-analyzing it might take away some of the power and emotional beauty of the story, but Alicia is very good at what she does and knew how to keep it from getting pretentious or ponderous. Rishi’s writing is just gorgeous. The piece was the “One Story” that was read last year by the entire city of Boston as part of the Boston Book Festival.

Then, we paraded into dinner. I was lucky enough to be at the table with Rishi, Alicia, Michelle Hoover, and Karen Day (two more wonderful authors), along with others. We had a lively, fun discussion that ran the gamut of topics. I can’t wait for the new novels by Rishi, Michelle, and Karen.

Between the main course and dessert, I disappeared, and, with the help of Matthew, one of our scholarship students (whose work I really liked, and who already knew, from the previous days, that I am completely out of my mind), got into costume. Nancy and I did the skit. I couldn’t let my dislike of performance inhibit me. Nancy wrote an arrogant, self-assured character, and I had to go with it and over it — so I went for it, over the top, high camp. The audience loved it. I still wish Jim had been able to do it — he’s such a good actor, he would have brought a lot to the role. But I managed to get away with it. However, it was a prime example of why I spent my life BACKstage, instead of ONstage.

Scrambled out of costume, let my hair down (literally this time, not just figuratively), and had dessert. Stopped at the beach on the way home because it was such a beautiful night, hung out with some people playing music and dancing. Got home about one.

From silk sheath to panda pajamas in a matter of minutes.

Up early on Sunday, wrote about 1100 words on INITIATE. At the conference a little before 10 AM to help at the desk. At noon, I broke down the library exhibit table, loaded the car. As classes ended, I loaded the easels into the car, since we will use them for Mermaid Ball. Got the unsold books back from the bookstore — I sold some, and people kept asking me to sign copies, which was nice. Had a rash from the fake beard around my nose and my upper lip, though.

Took my final screenwriting session. We wrote tag lines and log lines. I created a tagline and used the logline from STALEMATE DEATH. Fortunately, the teacher liked both, although she thought I should put back a line I’d cut from the logline, so I did. If I hadn’t been able to walk my talk, in the experiences I’d shared in class, it would have been bad!

Bolted down a tuna melt in the bar, and came back to help break down the rest of the conference and load it into the truck. They had enough people to unload, so I got to go straight home. Drinks on the deck, dinner. Repacked the books that will go to Books by the Sea today, read a bit, but was too tired to concentrate, so I went to bed early.

Up early this morning. Wrote 1000 words on INITIATE. Tessa is getting braver, and even coming downstairs to be with me when I write, but she is still not happy there’s a dog in the house. Violet just stares at the dog, and he stares back, totally intimidated. Iris sidles by him. It’s funny.

Long day today — have to go in to the library to settle some dates; have to drop stuff off at Cotuit Library. Have to get my books to Books By the Sea. Have an appointment in Hyannis with a new student (we’re meeting at Uncommon Ground). Have a Mermaid Ball meeting tonight. Need to do follow-up on the conference (already had to do some business this morning). Need to finish two book reviews, and prep the cozy mystery group and do more research for BALTHAZAAR.

Busy day much?

All I want to do is sleep! No chance for that, not until tonight.

It was a great week. I’m glad I stuck to my guns and wrote every day, or I’d be feeling lousy today.

I hope the momentum carries the students into new work. Too often, the members are all excited during the conference, and by the time the Writers Night Out sessions start again, most of them sit around the table making excuses about why they’re not writing.

Which just drives me nuts. Which, I realize, is often a very short drive.

Back to the book reviews, and then I’m on the road for pretty much the rest of the day. I’ve already drunk a whole pot of coffee. It’s not helping.

But it was a great conference. In spite of the exhaustion, I want to use the energy and the momentum positively into the coming months, on a writing level, on a Board-Member-of-the-Center level, and on a programming level for the library.

After today, however, full focus MUST shift to the Mermaid Ball, which is at the end of next week.

Devon

Thurs. July 31, 2014: Thank You, NMLC and Joseph Finder!

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a busy, but terrific day. To work in the morning, cleared a few things off my desk. National Marine Life Center did a presentation here, their Marine Medical Mystery, at 11 AM. It was awesome! It was a tween-focused program, and the kids were eager and enthusiastic — very participatory. Tons of fun. The program itself is exceptionally well done, and to have such enthusiasm takes it to the next level.

Once that was done, we struck (still using theatre terms, that’ll never change, will it?) and set up for the Joseph Finder event. Tables, chairs, food, drink, putting together the gift, etc. Finder was a keynote speaker at the Writers Conference a couple of years ago, and I knew he was a terrific speaker, so we were thrilled to get him here.

Books by the Sea was there with his books, and there was a solid turnout. He was, of course, a terrific speaker — intelligent, funny, insightful, precise, with great stories. Fortunately, he also had some strong boundaries, because one of our audience patrons made the inappropriate request that he read three of her screenplays. She is someone who only sees other people as a way to advance herself (rather than putting in the work that would advance her). I was furious, but he handled it with grace and charm, still holding firm to his boundaries.

Afterwards, we cleaned up and a couple of us sat around noshing and talking about structuring other programs. It was a good night, although we were all pretty tired by the time we wandered home at 9:30 at night.

I overslept a bit this morning, but managed to get in 1000 words on INITIATE, finishing chapter one, before I had to head back to the library.

Busy day today, and then I have to run around and do things like pick up cat food and cat litter (or I will have angry kitties). I want to get some more research done for BALTHAZAAR tonight. I don’t really like moving between several books, but right now, with this schedule, I have to. So I will adjust the creative process to fit.

The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA ordered in June finally arrived — so I’ll have copies for the Conference. Hopefully, copies will also arrive soon for Books By the Sea.

Onward.

Devon

Fri. July 25, 2014: Trundling Along With Work and Writing

Friday, July 25, 2014
Dark Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day at the library yesterday. Patrons came in waves — sometimes there were a lot of them, sometimes it quieted down. The internet system crashed — gotta love how the anti-net neutrality rulings affects libraries. Thank you, FCC, for selling us out and not doing your job.

We worked a lot on promotions for upcoming programs, and I did a solid bit of work developing the Cozy Mystery group that will start in September. I’ve named it “Muffins, Mittens, and Murder”. I’ll announce the first book early in August, and get that all sorted out. I’ve read several books in preparation, taken extensive notes, and planned the first meeting. I have to work on handouts, once I get a better idea of how many are coming.

I also created web pages for the Book Clubs, so people can keep track of when meetings are and what’s being read when. I hope that will also get more people interested in the clubs and attending the various gatherings. I got a bit of work done on the page for the Nancy Reardon Theatre Collection, and updated my Adult Services page (that sounds fairly naughty, but it’s really not). What I did was congratulate the winners of Thrillerfest.

There was a glass-blowing program for Young Adults, where they got to etch glass — really cool. I pulled some books in connection with that. Set up for Tango, stuff like that.

I’m happy to see that the books from the last order that came in this week went out to readers as soon as they were processed. Makes me feel good, knowing that people are eager to read the books I pick.

Came home, worked on research most of the evening after supper. Coyotes woke me up again, so I overslept, and didn’t get the writing done this morning that I wanted to.

I have A LOT to get done today at the library. I’m borrowing my boss’s computer to work — I might get mine back in about ten days or so.

My registration is through for the conference, and I’ve even been invited to speak at a panel on the conference’s Friday night.

Some characters are swirling around in my brain, but nothing concrete. I wish they’d take a number — I have enough to worry about, without new characters.

Someone’s interested in re-releasing one of the books on my backlist that recently went out of print. I want to make some changes in the manuscript, but I may well submit it early in the fall. Would save me quite a bit of work from commissioning a new cover and researching printers and formatting and all of that. I want to do some more research on how much they promote their authors, however. If they don’t give any promotional support and it’s all on me (again), then I might as well do it all myself and be responsible for all the incoming and outgoing finances, instead of involving a third party. Lots to weigh.

Still trying to figure out if I want to accept a freelance gig. It would have to meet certain criteria, and I have a feeling it won’t.

I need to get a LOT of writing done this weekend, no matter how tired I am or how much lawn needs mowing. I have to just buckle down and do it.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Thurs. July 24, 2014: Trying to Get it All Done

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Day before dark moon
Uranus Retrograde
Humid and warm

Busy day at the library yesterday, but got a lot done. Still have no working computer in my office, so I’m moving from computer to computer, depending on which program I need. But an order came in from Amazon, an order came in from Ingram, I got them into the system and spine labels made up, and they’re on track to be covered and get on the shelves. We have a huge donation of terrific CDs, but 90% of them are not in the system at all. With it taking 20 minutes or more to create each new record — and that’s only if I don’t get interrupted, because if I get interrupted in the middle of cataloging, the system goes down and it’s a mess — it will take a good deal of time to put in about 500 CDs. And that needs to be done on MY computer, not someone else’s, and in and around all the other work that it takes to keep people in books, videos, audio books, ebooks, and programs.

Dealt with a bunch of email and program material, helped out at the circulation desk when needed, put together the information for a display to congratulate the recent winners at Thrillerfest.

I have to get going today on the information for the August newsletter, the city-wide events calendar, work on the web page for the theatre collection, and add web pages for the Book Clubs. I’m hoping I’ll get the information I need from our audio vendor and the large print vendor, so I can get in some orders for that, too. I’d like to get a head start on the report for the Board, too, although I won’t be able to get the circulation figures until the first full week of August.

I still need to update my own webpages and finish the media kits for both “Severance” and “Elusive Prayers” and do some work for the Mermaid Ball.
I’m getting things sorted out for the books that will sell at the writers’ conference, which starts in two weeks.

On the writing front, I had a good evening writing session on THE POWER OF WORDS — nearly 20 pages. On the research front, a bunch of books came in for several projects, so I have to sort and then use them.

I need the upcoming weekend to be a really solid writing-and-research time.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on July 24, 2014 at 7:48 am  Comments Off  
Tags: , ,

Wed. July 23, 2014: This N That N Writing N Painting

Unpainted Chair
Unpainted chair

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Direct
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Monday was a busy day, full of errands, but at least I got the chair painted. Thought you’d enjoy some before and after pictures. Got some research done, not much writing done, and prepped for the Mermaid Ball Meeting.

Painted chair

Painted chair

Only took an hour and ten minutes to get to Buzzards Bay (which is 21 miles from me, so it shouldn’t take that long, but . . .summer people). Good meeting. Came back, watched R.I.P.D. The film had a clever premise, but the places where it stalled felt like it did so because too many people were giving notes.

Realized an insert scene I’d written for POWER OF WORDS is between the wrong characters — have to rewrite it with Scott instead of Terrell.

Yesterday, I was up early for a Skype rehearsal with the actor I’ve been working with. He’s shooting . . .somewhere, I don’t know where, but needed a break from the angsty character he’s playing, so we worked for a couple of hours. The monologue’s in good shape, and I hope it serves him well to land the kinds of roles he wants. I went back to bed and overslept.

Mowed the side yard and did some work on the front — pruning hydrangeas and forsythia, trimming a few things. Wanted to do it in the morning, before it got too hot.

Got some reading done, but spent most of the day doing research for BALTHAZAAR. I might move the location of the book from the Bahamas to Jamaica. I set CHARISMA KILLINGS in the Bahamas, DARK ANNIE’S SECRET will be in Bermuda, so why not put BALTHAZAAR off the coast of Jamaica?

I’m keeping two sets of notes — one set consists of research notes, the actual facts I need as background for the salvage/treasure hunt. The other set of notes consist of the storyline and character ideas the research spurs. I’ll have to pick and choose from those as I write the Writers Rough and then the book, because I can’t use all of it. I’m hoping that some of the plot points I cut from this book can be massaged to work in DARK ANNIE’S SECRET.

Cooked a nice dinner last night, and then watched THE WHISTLEBLOWER, a movie about sex trafficking after the war in Bosnia, where UN employees were complicit with the American contractors. Rachel Weisz played the lead, and she was (as always) wonderful. This whole thing about foreign contractors having immunity needs to stop. If they break international laws and are complicit in something like human trafficking or murder, then they need to be prosecuted.

The coffee pot exploded this morning and made a giant mess. I bought it when we moved in, so it’s not THAT long ago — it better not be on its last perk. I’m tired of everything being built to break, so you’re constantly forced to buy again.

Nice morning’s work on POWER OF WORDS (yes, I’m playing with better titles for it). But that allows me to start the day in a much better frame of mind.

Today will be a long day at the library again. Wonder if my old computer will show up, fixed, or if the new one’s arrived yet?

Probably won’t get to mow the meadow until Saturday — by then, the front and the terraced back area probably will need it, too.

But it was nice to take all my research materials out on the deck yesterday and work.

I made my decision on the course I want to take at the conference. I’m only taking one–as a Board member, I’ll need to run around in that capacity, so one course makes sense.

I got an interesting freelance offer, and I’m debating on whether or not to accept. My gut tells me the timing is wrong; at the same time, I don’t want to blow the opportunity. I think I’ll need more information.

Have a great week.

Devon

Mon. July 21, 2014: Chaotic Start to the Week

Monday, July 21, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool
 

Friday was busy at the library, complicated by the fact that I don’t have a working computer at the moment, and different computers have different programs, so I migrated between six different computers over the course of the day, trying to get things done.

I also had to keep my phone on all day, because Iris was quite sick in the morning, and I was worried I’d have to rush her to the vet at a moment’s notice. But, she got better as the day wore on. I suspect it’s a bad reaction to the flea/tick medicine.

After work, my boss and I headed to Centerville Library, to support the dedication of the new addition. I hadn’t seen the whole thing yet — it’s gorgeous. The Community Room is huge, great for events, would be great for yoga. The bookstore is also magnificent. The renovation’s beautiful, and worth every penny. There was champagne, and there were h’ors d’oervres. Everything was lovely. Got to see some of the staff I’ve known since I moved to Centerville, and introduce my boss around. The director from Hyannis was also there, and I got to meet her, along with some other locals. It was good that we were there, supporting a fellow library. I was surprised and a bit dismayed that more library personnel from other libraries weren’t there.

We came back to the house for martinis on the deck, and then headed back to the Mills, where a sports auction was going on in Liberty Hall, the door take to benefit the library. I wound up bidding on (and getting) a wicker chair for my mom and some minor league hockey pins for myself.

Home, tired, unwound a bit. Saturday was my “on” day at the library, so I was up early and over there. Still no working computer for me, so I floated around to other computers, trying to complete paperwork and place some orders.

When I got back from the library, I cleaned, repaired, and sanded down the wicker chair. The caned seat needed to be fixed, and some of the wicker was coming unspun, so I fixed all of that. The frame is a good, sturdy wood. It’s been painted quite a few things, under the white — red, hot pink, and green.

Did some research for upcoming projects, got some reading in. Thoroughly enjoyed Ilona Andrews CLEAN SWEEP. Lori Roy’s UNTIL SHE COMES HOME is both claustrophobic and disturbing, but in a good way. Elizabeth Adler’s SAILING TO CAPRI was fun.

Watched COMPANY MEN — excellent movie. Didn’t get enough attention when it came out. What a terrific cast — Ben Affleck, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Kevin Costner, and great supporting actors as well. Really well done, but John Wells only does excellent work.

Slept in on Sunday. It was raining off and on, so I couldn’t mow. But I did head to Home Depot. Don’t like shopping there, but I hoped to replace a lamp globe I broke and pick up paint for the chair. The staff was disgustingly unhelpful with the lamp globe. Not only did they not know how to help, they didn’t care. I found the paint though — called “Spa Blue”. Painted the bottom of the chair. Took most of the day to dry.

Had to fix my bed frame and do stuff around the house. Also cooked some Sichuan Noodles and steamed vegetables in a ginger soy sauce for tonight’s meeting.

Planned to go to a climate change lecture, but something happened and the lecturer was delayed indefinitely, and I couldn’t wait around.

Got some research and other work done, then watched PEACE, LOVE, AND MISUNDERSTANDING, which was a lot of fun.

Up early this morning. Couldn’t find the flash drive with all my work on it. Drove to the library and found it in one of the public computers I’d been using on Saturday. This is what happens when I’m constantly interrupted. Came back, started to paint the front of the chair, ran out of paint, went back to Home Depot (only because it was the only place open that early), got more paint, finished painting the chair. It’s drying.

The writing plan for this morning is on POWER OF WORDS and BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I have to nip out to one of the libraries to get a few things done, and then pick up a cushion at Christmas Tree Shops for the chair. I need to finish a review for my editor, work on some media kits, and then head to Buzzards Bay for a Mermaid Ball Meeting tonight.

Did about 1500 words on POWER OF WORDS. Have to nail down the writer’s rough on BALTHAZAAR. I’m going in circles every time I sit down to write. Book 3 is almost fully formed, but book 2 is not. It’s frustrating, because somewhere I HAVE a detailed writer’s rough, but I can’t find it in any of the files or the drives. So I have to start over.

Have a great week!

Devon

Wed. July 16, 2014: Trying to Prioritize

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and humid

The last few days have been so humid. I keep wanting to cut sections of air out, wring them dry, and put them back in. Might work in a fantasy novel, but not here!

Yesterday, I did some running around, and got the galleys back to my editor for “Elusive Prayers”, caught up on email, got some reading/research done. A little writing, not much. I want to tweak what I did on POWER OF WORDS, and I need to do a writer’s rough outline of both BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DARK ANNIE’S SECRET before I can go much further on them. I’d done a ton of research for BT, but I need to refresh myself on it, and research Bermuda for DARK ANNIE.

Early dinner, and then to the library. They’d already done most of the set up for the Elisabeth Elo event; by the time I got there, it was mostly about the food, etc.

Her presentation was WONDERFUL, and it was nice that Tuesday book group was there and had read the book, so she was talking to an audience mostly familiar with the material. I liked so much of what she had to say, especially about the process of it and how the book came together. She and her husband are both lovely people, in addition to the quality of her writing being so high.

She signed a copy of the book for me — I still love that.

Helped with the clean up, came home, unwound a bit. Big thunderstorm in the night, which has helped cool down and make the air more breathable. Long day at the library today — lots came in on my days away.

I’m trying to sit down with the writing projects and prioritize. I need to figure out what to do when, and then also make sure there’s enough time built in for whichever one pulls the hardest, no matter where it is in the schedule. That way, I know what to work on as my first 1K of the day, and what to do in the evening writing sessions I’m going to have to build in to my day. I hate writing at night, but it’s the only way to get everything done.

I need to decide, this week, what I’m taking at the Conference, and whether or not I want to attend the banquet.

I’ve got some other changes looming on the horizon, some which won’t be easy to make, but necessary. There’s too much trying to interfere with the writing right now, and some of it has to be cut back, especially when it doesn’t support the writing.

Devon

Published in: on July 16, 2014 at 7:38 am  Comments Off  
Tags: , , ,

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

Tues. June 24, 2014: Offline to ReFuel

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’ve been offline for a few days, for a much-needed creative restoration.

Friday was busy — I had a full, but good day at the library, put in some book orders, etc. Came home and got some work done, but was tired.

Saturday, I was up early, wrote, and ran an errand on my way to the library — got some candles for the Solstice ceremony, and the woman who checked me out at RiteAid is a Reiki professional. Never know who you’re gonna meet, right?

Good day at the library — busy, but a nice, steady pace. I also sent off the final new episode on the Big Script Project, which means I’m buried in revisions all this week.

Came home, rested up a bit, prepared for the Solstice Ceremony. It was wonderful –first time I used oil lamps instead of quarter candles, and they worked very well. It was beautiful and powerful and wonderful.

Also re-read Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM — I’d love to do a live reading at the library next year for the Solstice, although I wonder if it would turn out to be a Magilla to organize.

Sunday, I stayed true to my Disconnect Policy — no internet, phone, etc. The only music was the music outside. I binge-read Ilona Andrews books, some of both the Kate Daniels novels and the Edge novels. FATE’S EDGE was my favorite. I outlined several pieces where the characters are gnawing at me. Hopefully, figuring stuff out will quiet them down until it’s their turn.

Monday, I really needed to be disconnected, too, so that’s what I did. As far as I knew, I had no commitments to meet that day, so I remained disconnected and worked. It’s hard to explain the work, because so much of it was internal. It was the quiet time, the figuring out time for writing. Some notes, but not actual scenes. It was internal, not external work, but so necessary in order to create. I went deep, deep down into the worlds of several projects and let the characters talk. If I had had any interruptions during that time, I would have lost the work — permanently.

I also got part of the meadow mowed and some plants repotted. Good to work the mind and the hands together.

When I resurfaced, in the evening, I found that a Mermaid Ball meeting had been scheduled. That was the first I’d heard about it — after the last one, which happened while I was so sick, no one ever let me know when the next one was. Even a year ago, I would have felt horribly guilty. I don’t. I needed to protect the work and work. If they needed me at the meeting, they should have let me know, right after the last one, when the next one was scheduled. If they want me there, it’s up to THEM to tell ME the schedule, not me to run around begging for information. If only the people at any given meeting are given the information, then that’s their choice, and it takes the pressure off of me. I’m already working three jobs under very tight deadlines. We sorted it out this morning, so no harm, no foul. Glad I didn’t waste my time in guilt!

The writing comes first. ALWAYS. Right now, I’m not only under tight deadlines for contracted work, with releases coming up and all the work that goes with that, but, after a period of creative fallowness, the creativity it kicking up again. And I will protect it and honor it at all costs. Because that is what writers do. It’s not about doing the work when it’s convenient — it’s about doing the work when it needs to get done.

And if those with whom I VOLUNTEER get annoyed that “my cute lil hobby” (because so few of them respect writing as WORK) inconveniences them, tough shit. This is my career, my work, my passion, and everything else works around the writing, not the other way around.

Speaking of the work — in addition to the outlining and working stuff out on upcoming work, the galleys for “Severance” are done, and I’m getting started on “Elusive Prayer” edits. I’ve got three revised episodes to send off this morning on the Big Script Project, will have two tomorrow, and have to have five by Thursday morning, then, with only the last five on Friday and Saturday. It’s a lot of work, but it needs to be done, and it will be good to get it done.

I’ve got a lot of other writing to get done in the coming weeks.

I checked out a Kindle from the library, and I’m getting familiar with it. I’m kind of liking it. I still love holding a book in my hands, and my eyes tire on the screen, but there are definite uses for Kindles. A place for all kinds of books and stories, right?

I’m still not 100% from the stomach virus, which is all kinds of annoying. At least I’ve confirmed it’s NOT a new allergy to crabmeat — had some over the weekend, and was fine. So I don’t know what triggered it, just wish I’d get back to 100% sooner rather than later. I’m in the third week of it now.

Hope everyone has a great week. I’ve got a busy one coming up, but let’s hope it’s another busy in the right way.

Oh, and I read a terrific book last night: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS by Ian Doescher. If you like Shakespeare or STAR WARS, you’ll enjoy it; if you like both, you’ll LOVE it.

Stepped out on the deck this morning, and it smells like autumn. Considering that we just passed Midsummer, that concerns me.

Devon

Wed. June 18, 2014: Ron MacLean, Josh Radnor, Writing, Reading

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Busy day yesterday. Wrote in the morning. Went to the library to check email, send email, send out my episode due, and go down the list of things that needed to get done online.

Came back. Baked banana mini-muffins and orange-cranberry mini-muffins. Wrote. Put together the dishes, the books, and all the rest I need for this morning’s program.

Sorted through some research books. Pulled what I need; will take the rest back.

Cooked dinner — slowly, slowly, I’m getting back on solid food again. I still feel awful most of the time, but at least I’m eating.

The NMLC press conference started to pay off — THE CAPE COD TIMES ran a nice article on the Marine Life Center, in both the print and online editions. Hopefully, that will get us some attention and some public support. With pictures of adorable Belmont, Barclay, and Rose, how could it not? They’re just precious. The three remaining Kemp’s Ridley turtles are also well enough to be released in Maryland this weekend.

I got my cover for ELUSIVE PRAYERS. It’s good, but it’s very different than I imagined, so I have to get used to it. Will do a cover reveal soon. I’m putting together a sell sheet for the event on the 28th, and in general.

Today, author Ron MacLean will be at the library, talking about his book HEADLONG. I loved the book — it’s a spectacular contemporary social justice thriller. If you get a chance to read it, do so.

In the meantime, I still need to write for at least an hour before I eat and haul my bags and bags of stuff to the library.

I have some ideas to market TRACKING MEDUSA — I need to get those sorted out, along with marketing for the digital shorts. The press release on the summer releases is here.

I have to get the galleys for “Severance” turned around tonight, and the first round of edits for “Elusive Prayers” is also on my desk.

I finished reading a terrific science fiction novel last night, too: FORTUNE’S PAWN, by Rachel Bach. Absolutely loved it. Original, fast-paced, terrific characters. I can’t wait to read the rest of her work, and what she writes under Rachel Aaron.

I watched happythankyoumoreplease, another film by Josh Radnor, last night and really liked it. He’s such a confident filmmaker, and I admire that.

Lots to do, but it’s good, happy stuff. Still haven’t finished mowing my lawn — maybe I can get a few rows done on the meadow when I come home tonight. Although, knowing me, all I’ll want to do is relax with a nice glass of wine!

Have a great day, people!

Devon

Tues. June 17, 2014: Writing and Raining

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool, about to rain

Worked at home yesterday morning. Headed to Centerville Library to do what I needed to do online, check email, send out my reviews, invoice, etc. Headed back home for some soup and anti-nausea medication, then drove over to the Marine Life Center to prep for the press conference.

One of the interns helped me put together packets. One of the newspapers made arrangements to come early, with a photographer and a reporter, and got the tour and the information. I rehearsed the two speakers, and set up the podium. The Board members who’d committed to come were there on time, and dressed appropriately (I’d sent out information on what would and would not read well on camera). We didn’t have a huge turnout, but each type of media — print, radio, television, and online — was represented. The conference ran smoothly, the hospital tour went well, one of the television stations did some extra interviews with personnel. All in all, I hope we got some mileage out of it. Fingers crossed.

I did some follow-up afterwards, and thank yous.

Came home, had a glass of wine on the deck, cooked dinner, and then did some organizational/research work. I’ve had a lot of books out of the libraries in the area over the past weeks, and I need to either finish using them, or return them and request them again. So that’s what I’m doing.

I just finished a really wonderful book by Rebecca Mead called MY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH. Read about it on A Biblio Paradise here.

Did some work on the scripts, but not enough; that’s on the agenda for this morning, since I have to deliver one today and one on Thursday. Next week, I have to deliver the final episode and the revisions.

I’m prepping for the Solstice Ceremony on Saturday, which should be fun. It’s my Saturday “on” at the library, but I’ll be done mid-afternoon, and the ceremony’s at night, so it’s all good.

Looking forward to a good writing day today. Trying to decide if I want to head to the Sandwich Library to do some work later this morning — it’s been a couple of months since I’ve been there. They’re the one Cape library that’s on a separate network than the rest of us. They’ve got a great collection, though. Episode #113 is ready to go out, and I’m excited about episodes 114 & 115.

I also have to mow the meadow, and bake for tomorrow’s program at my library.

I’ve got some ideas about marketing TRACKING MEDUSA that I have to get going on, too. The print edition will be out later this month, and I’d like to get it into some unusual places, especially places that are connected with the locations in the book.

Lots to do, and limited hours in the day, so I better get moving!

Devon

Wed. June 4, 2014: Collaboration Via Skype

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Worked flat out yesterday and this morning. Got Episode #105 revised and back out; got the new Episode #109 polished and out, and then got some work done on Episode #110.

Made some notes for POWER OF WORDS series, whose title will shortly change, and got some work done on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Turned around the edits for “Severance.”

Worked on a resource list for today’s workshop, and also on the Tip Sheet — which runs 8 pages!

Baked lemon bars, tollhouse cookies, and banana-chocolate chip — oatmeal–walnut cookies for the workshop, along with making black bean hummus.

Did some work on the Contest I’m helping with.

In one of those weird synchronicity things, an actor I’ve never met (except via social media), but whose work I know and like and who likes my work introduced an actor HE knows — whose movie I just happened to see the other night — to my work, and THAT actor contacted me to ask me to help him create an audition monologue that combines his musical abilities and fight combat skills. He’s got a terrific, highly unusual look, and he’s been a part of some big pieces, but is still at the point where he has to audition for serious work (although he gets called for plenty of B and below-type scripts). He needs something to merge the looks with intelligence and depth of character in a well-crafted character that plays to his strengths both as an actor and that particular character, so people will look beyond the pretty. The challenge intrigues me. The first actor (who found my work via an actor I’d actually worked with several years ago) had also contacted me and asked me to hear this other guy out “even though he’s a model; trust me, he’s got talent, too”, knowing how little patience I have with models. So we had a couple of exchanges, and the project intrigues me. This morning, we did some brainstorming/improv via Skype (since the actor is in the UK and I’m in the US). I like and respect this guy a lot more than I thought I would — he knows how to turn it on for the camera, but he’s also smart, kind of goofy, and has absolutely no filters. Since I don’t suffer fools gladly, we can be blunt with each other without being cruel, and actually, even in a short Skype session, started to forge a working language. So it’s interesting, and I’ll try it.

I’m about twice this guy’s age, so there are times in conversation where I think, “God, he’s so YOUNG”, but he’s aware he doesn’t know everything, is hungry to learn anything he can, and once we’re actually into the creative work of creating character and backstory and merging words and action, age doesn’t factor into it at all. In spite of us being thousands of miles apart and working through video, it was quite similar to being in the rehearsal room together because we could interact in real time. I liked working with him because there was no bullshit. With some actors, they’re so into themselves and their “moment” that it’s like talking to wallpaper. With this guy, I can start to say something, he’ll get it immediately, take it further, toss it back and I’ll build on it, and so forth and so on. We’re developing a good creative language together, which is so important for the process to work and the piece to resonate with writer, actor, and, eventually, audience.

I’m surprisingly enjoying the experience, and I think we’ll both get a good little piece of work out of it.

So, yeah, I was up at 4 AM so we could Skype a rehearsal at 5 (about 11 AM his time), but it was worth it.

Today, I’m at the library all day, which includes teaching a mystery workshop from 2-4 PM. Then I have to come home and polish Episode #110, so it can go out tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be a long day — at the library, at a library workshop in Chatham, and then at an Environmental Summit back here.

Onward!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,055 other followers