“The Possession of Nattie Filmore” Free Download Oct. 28-31

Friday, October 28, 2016
Waning Moon

“The Possession of Nattie Filmore” is available for a free download here, from today (October 28) through Samhain on October 31.

This is a short story, part of my Jain Lazarus Adventures. For those of you familiar with the series, this story may not be new to you (although it’s been cleaned up and tweaked a little). For new readers, it gives you a taste of Jain and Wyatt.

In the chronology of the Adventures, it comes after HEX BREAKER, but before OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

The story is available in PDF format. It will take two clicks to get it: one to the page on my website, and one click on that page to actually download it.

Also included at the end of the story are excerpts from some of my other work, with relevant links, and a coupon for a free download of the Yuletide comedy/mystery/fantasy “Just Jump in and Fly” under the Ava Dunne name. “Just Jump in and Fly” is only available with the coupon for free download until November 2.

Excerpt from “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”:

The man crawled forward on his hands and knees through the fallen leaves. The dry twigs scratched through the wool pant legs. He felt blood trickle and the sharp sensation of dirt and rock scraped against open skin. The sound of the cracked, dry foliage reminded him of malicious laughter. He couldn’t understand the pain. It seared through his body, making it impossible for him to do anything other than crawl. He was cold, far too cold for a sunny autumn day. It felt like icy liquid injected into his veins, freezing him from the inside out. He’d swerved the car when the boy stepped into the road. He was sure he didn’t hit the boy. He hadn’t hit a tree. The car simply rolled to a stop. And the pain began.

He needed help. He lost his cell phone somewhere in the bracken. There was a house only a few hundred feet in front of him. He could get help. Surely someone would see the car and find him, before . . .

He looked up, in spite of the pain. The boy was in front of him, the boy who’d stepped into the road. He was small and slight for his age, which was maybe eight, and wore jeans and a faded yellow and gray plaid shirt. His feet were bare. But it was his eyes that astonished anyone who looked into them. They were dark, too large for his face, and without iris. The man looked into those eyes, reached out a hand and everything went black.


Click here to get the download page.

You’re always welcome to visit this blog. I talk about how life and writing affect each other. You can follow the process of writing a piece (be it novel, story, or script) from concept through publishing or production, and then read the finished product.

Thank you for visiting, and enjoy!


Published in: on October 28, 2016 at 1:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016: Lucifer, Choleric, and Cooking

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

I’ve been binge-watching the first season of LUCIFER. Spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, skip down a few paragraphs.

For the most part, I really liked it. I think the cast is great, and there’s a lot of wit in the writing. The cast has chemistry together, and that’s always fun to watch. They add detail, so the work isn’t just in broad strokes. The raise of an eyebrow, a particular inflection, a gesture — it’s those little things that make it unique. Every once in awhile, there was a clunker of a line or a twist in it, and it was obvious it was a network note. I got ahead of where it was going a few times, but it surprised me more than not, which is good.

However, in the set-up for season two with “mum” escaping — I will be seriously irritated if “mum” turns out to be Lilith. I’m tired of that depiction, and they will have to be very clever to win me back if that’s what it is. That’s one of the places where the Shadowhunters books irritated me, too — with the depiction of Lilith. As if women aren’t “demonized” enough anyway, on multiple levels.

At the same time, every creative person has the right and obligation to be true to his or her vision. I can always stop watching/reading if it bothers me that much. I don’t expect anyone to modify their vision just because I don’t like it, any more than I will modify my vision because someone else doesn’t like it.

So we’ll see what Season Two is like.

But, as I said, I like the acting and most of the writing. I like the production design, although Lucifer as a nightclub owner — I’d rather have seen him do something more unexpected. But the character behaves unexpectedly, so I like that. I know it’s based on a graphic novel series, and I’m purposely staying away from reading those in order not to skew my perspective.

Spoilers done.

I was so excited yesterday afternoon when I finished the third draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Then, I was totally bummed, because in spite of cutting nearly two dozen characters and plot lines, it’s still too damn long. In fact, with all the cutting, I came up with nearly the same word count. I’m four chapters shorter, but there’s still work to do.

Part of it is defining what the book is — my protagonist’s personal journey to returning to her life after a period of mourning, set against a mystery. It’s more literary than mystery, and more about the community she’s trying to participate in than about keeping the pace and leanness of a thriller. But that still doesn’t justify the length. I need to make some more serious cuts.

I know where I can do it. I lose some atmosphere there, but it will be necessary. I have to get the same feeling across, but with few and better words.

I wanted to put it aside and then re-attack it in a few weeks, but if I’m going to get it out before holiday madness descends on the industry, I need to get right back into it.

So disappointed in myself.

But that’s the way it goes. I’m lucky this wasn’t part of a contract schedule, or I’d really be screwed.

It’s also interesting to see how far the novel has evolved since I started writing it last November. It’s a much better novel now. Originally, I thought it would be a cozy. It got darker and darker, and I thought it would be a more traditional mystery with an amateur sleuth. Now it’s more literary fiction against a mystery backdrop.

Trying to get back into the rhythm of the two projects that started out with such energy a few weeks ago. I got some decent work done on one of them, but my frustration with CHOLERIC is now shadowing everything else, unfortunately. I need to let go of the frustration and the fact that I’m behind, and just write.

The weather is supposed to turn nasty. I’m going to do a turkey meatloaf for tonight (my special recipe). For my mother’s 92nd birthday, on Saturday, she’s requested lasagna, so I’ve got the ingredients for that and will make that on Saturday. I think I’ll use the recipe from THE NEW BASICS cookbook, one of my favorites. And, of course, she has cheesecake.

Don’t forget to come back here tomorrow for the link to the free download of “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”.

Have a great weekend!


Wed. Oct. 26, 2016: Nattie Filmore Upcoming Free Release, HobNob, and More!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy, and, a little frustrating. The RMV renewal office at AAA told me I needed a “sticker” from my insurance company, but couldn’t explain how it worked — electronically or otherwise. I contacted my insurance company, and they sent me something they assured me would work, so I have to hike back out to Dennis this morning and try again.

I critiqued my friend’s short script for NMLC’s participation in Mass Audubon’s “Enchanted Forest” on Friday night — it’s hilarious and adorable. It’s about the dangers of plastic debris to marine life (specifically, in this case, sea turtles). It’s terrific!

I worked on revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m about five chapters from the end. Then I will let it sit for two weeks and marinate, while I work on the plays, the tweaks on what is now PLAYING THE ANGLES, and the submission materials I need for CHOLERIC. I’d like to get it out the door in November, before the holiday insanity.

Last night was another HobNob night. It was such fun! Someone I had recommended join us showed up and had a good time, and it was nice to reconnect with familiar faces. David Kuehn, from Cotuit Center for the Arts, was our speaker, and it was nice to see him again.

I’d made business-card sized promotions for “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” and gave them out at the event. Most of my fellow HobNobbers haven’t read any of my work yet.

Off to RMV again, and then it’s back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’d like to get this draft finished either today or tomorrow.

My mother’s 92nd birthday is coming up this weekend! She gets her favorite: cheesecake.

Don’t forget: “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, a short Jain Lazarus adventure, will be available for free download starting on Friday, October 28, through Monday, October 31. It will contain excerpts from several other pieces. It will also contain a coupon for one of the Ava Dunne shorts, will be good until Nov. 2.

Come back on Friday and get the link!


Tues. Oct. 25, 2016: Writing, Traveling, Interviewing, Nano Musings

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

I haven’t meant to abandon the blog the past few days. A lot is going on, and only some of it can be discussed. As someone who loathes it when people tease, on social media or on websites, “I have news, but can’t tell you”, I haven’t wanted to post anything until it was a sure thing.

Week before last, things were in huge turmoil; some of it was sorted out by the beginning of last week, but then I had to play catch-up on a variety of life chores. That got done early in the week.

Midweek, I had to take the obligatory workshop at the Career Center — I chose one on how to use one’s age to one’s advantage. I was pleasantly surprised to find a talented group of people in the room, including one person who, once we started talking, it felt as though we’d known each other for years.

Immediately after the workshop, I headed to the Berkshires. I attended a networking function in Springfield on the way, which was interesting. We booked into the Black Swan Inn again, in Lee. This time, my phone worked perfectly — good thing I switched carriers — but the Kindle wouldn’t connect to the inn’s internet. So that was frustrating.

But we had a lovely dinner in Mint, the Indian restaurant in the hotel, and then watched the final debate. I don’t see how anyone could be “undecided” at this point. You’re either voting for someone who is rational, even if you don’t like her or always agree with her; or someone who is an insane narcissist.

The lower profile races are very interesting. And we’ve got some pretty important questions on our ballot as well. The great thing about being an Independent voter is that I feel no guilt about voting for the individual I believe will do the best job, no matter what the party. This is especially true in the local races, where I’ve taken the time to know the candidates. I switched my choice on one race, because the incumbent, while not perfect, is doing his best under almost impossible circumstances and making progress, while the challenger whines, in a high-pitched voice. Sorry, no whiners for me.

Thursday morning, I got to visit the Book Loft in Great Barrington. It’s been mentioned as a “best bookshop” online and in a book of essays about writers’ favorite bookshops. I can see why. Great space, wonderful selection, nice staff. Yes, I bought a few things there — how could I not?

I like Great Barrington a lot. I like the vibe there.

I had some meetings in the late morning and early afternoon, which went well, and then we drove to Sturbridge, and booked into one of my favorite places to stay in the entire U.S.

It’s called the Publick House and Historic Inn. The main building is an old, historic inn and tavern. And then they have the funky 1950’s style lodge in the back, which is where we stayed. The last time I stayed there everything was decorated in red toile — wallpaper, curtains, bed spreads. Considering how much I loathe toile, I had to laugh when I walked in. They’d redecorated — walls are now a warm beige, and the only toile is the curtains! But the rooms are large, comfortable, and reasonably priced. And the food is terrific. We had chicken potpies that were the best I’ve ever tasted.

Terrible fog the next morning delayed the return, but, finally, it was get on the road or be stuck in Friday traffic, so we got on the road. Once we broke past the traffic, it wasn’t a bad ride back to the Cape.

The cats were very happy to see us!

Unfortunately, the writing suffered, and I lost the rhythm on the two projects that had been going so well. I need to get back into the groove on them.

Over the weekend, I mainly focused on the revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. They are going very well, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. This revision is nearly done; I’ll let it marinate for a bit while I work on submission materials, do another pass, and I hope to have it out sometime in November or December.

I had an important meeting yesterday morning, and got everything dealing with that sorted out, but it wore me out. I managed to get some work done in the garden in the afternoon.

Most of the front is decorated for Samhain, but I have to put up the orange lights and carve the pumpkins.

Last night, my poor neighbors! All of a sudden, we see a slew of fire trucks outside their house. I went over to see if they were okay, if they needed to bring their dogs over out of the commotion, or all needed a place to stay. The bricks in their chimney were staying hot, even after the embers burned down, so the fire department was going to have to remove bricks from the chimney to find what caused the hotspot. Will need some massive repair work, but it’s better than having fire between the walls. We are so lucky in our fire department here.

I have to get the car re-registered today, get a LOT of writing done, and check some links on the back matter for the free download of “The Possession of Nattie Fillmore.” Yes, it will be available for download from Oct. 28 – Oct. 31. I’m thinking of adding in a coupon for “Just Jump in and Fly” to be available for the first couple of days in November. That has to get all sorted out.

I got a lovely email from someone who just read ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, loved it, and wanted more copies. Unfortunately, I’ve sold through on everything I had left when it went out of print, but I’m in the process of tweaking it for re-release as PLAYING THE ANGLES. But I’m thrilled that it still holds up and people love it. It’s one of my favorite books, and I was disappointed when it went out of print. The title didn’t help, I’m sure! I’m about a fifth of the way through the revisions on that, and I have a list of potential places for re-release, if I don’t release it myself.

I’m behind on the plays, and I’m behind on the two projects that I have to get drafted by the end of the year. I think I will skip Nano this year, although I’ll probably “write along with” Nano, even if I don’t do it.

It always feels weird doing it, but not doing it also feels weird. However, if I DO it, I feel I should DO it, which means starting a new project on the first of November and writing 50K, not working on something I already started. But I’ve got several projects I HAVE to juggle right now, that I don’t think starting something new would be useful. It would muddy the waters. Yet the book I started during Nano last year, DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, has now gone through multiple drafts and is almost ready for submission, so last year it served a purpose.

I was also put off by the forums last year. I found many of the moderators rude, and the posters spent too much time either whining or talking about how they were so great no one understood them and that’s why they self-published. In previous years, I found the forums a fun, energizing break. Last year, they were draining and annoying.

I think most writers should try Nano at least once in their lives — and finish it, writing 50K in 30 days. It’s not that hard — 6 pages a day. What it does is get one into the daily writing/quota rhythm. It does focus on quantity over quality, but, especially early on, as you search for your voice and your rhythm, you won’t find it unless you get into a daily writing rhythm, and Nano is a good catalyst for that.

Right now, though, I don’t feel it serves me. I have to focus on pieces that already have established their own rhythms, and meet pre-existing deadlines that are separate from Nano. I also need to put together some good marketing for my books for the holidays. It would probably be a good idea to put out a newsletter again one of these days.

So there it is — a nice long catch-up before I get going on a busy day and what is sure to be a busy week!

I’ve got an Artists HobNob Event tonight, which should be tons of fun. Can’t wait to see everyone again.
Have a great week! I’ll remind everyone on Friday about the free download, and it will also be on Facebook and Twitter.


Tues. Oct. 11, 2106: The Satisfaction of A Solid Writing Weekend

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

Busy weekend, even though it was a holiday weekend. The traffic was insane.

I managed to get a lot of writing done, on the two projects on which I’m switching off. Since I started them last Thursday (this is Day 6), I’ve written just over 10K on one of them, and I’ll pass 10K today on the other. My goal is to write a minimum of 1K on each of them every day. So far, I’ve managed to go beyond that on both, although yesterday, it wasn’t much beyond both, because I wasn’t in the mood to write.

But I showed up at the page, and did it anyway, because that is what writers do. Once I got started, it was okay, although it didn’t flow as well as it had the previous days. Today, I felt like I was back in the groove.

I also worked on the revisions of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I have to put some changes into chapters, and rewrite the next batch of chapters. I also managed to come up with the logline and paragraph description, although I will have to make some tweaks. But I want it to be ready to go out after one more pass.

I’ve also been tweaking PLAYING THE ANGLES, which is the new title of what was once ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. I’m also thinking about putting it out under the Devon Ellington name instead of the Annabel Aidan name. When I’m done with this revision, I’ll have to see which voice resonates, and then I’ll know which name to use as the byline.

I should be doing promotion for “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, but with all this political chaos, I feel it’s shallow to go around hawking my writing. Yet that’s how I pay the bills and keep a roof over my head. So it’s a dilemma — how to do it in a way where I don’t go against what I feel is right and important. If I don’t walk my talk, I’m just as bad as the politicians.

Did some work on the Victorian mystery as well. The first draft is slow, because I’m researching as I write. I’m wondering if I should just blurt out the first draft, focusing on plot and character, and then go back and add in the period detail. Yet, so far, I’ve found the detail affects both plot and character a good deal, which is why I’m researching and writing simultaneously.

I’m behind on the plays, of course, which is worrisome, since I’m running out of time on those. Somehow, I’ll have to get them in.

I need more hours in the day, more hours where I can focus. There’s a certain point where my brain just gets tired, and I’m written out.

I’m also under pressure from this other annoying situation. Nothing like people actively working to sabotage you because they are both incompetent and nasty. It will get resolved; it’s just a shame that it has to be such an unpleasant process. But I am not going to back down and give up what I earned.

I’m also under pressure because a family friend is trying to manipulate me into taking on a job for someone who already stiffed me once, and with whom I said I wouldn’t work again. I told this family friend I would not put myself in that position again, yet he told the person I was waiting to hear from them. Then I get an incoherent email full of demands, but no actual proposal or payment offer. That would be a no, on many levels. I’m angry at this so-called “friend” for putting me in this position when I was very clear I wouldn’t do it.

So the writing is going well, but there are other pressures. Aren’t there always?

I have a lot of work ahead of me to put the garden to bed, and I’m tackling it a bit at a time.

Have a great week!


Fri. Oct. 7, 2016: Going with the Writing Flow

Friday, October 7, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Here’s hoping Hurricane Matthew isn’t hitting the SE United States as badly as predicted.

Got a good bit of research done yesterday afternoon, and I’m ready, later today, to do some more work on the Victorian mystery.

I also did a fresh pass on “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the Jain Lazarus short that’s set in this season, and added in some excerpts from some of the other Digital Delights. I will post it as a free download toward the end of the month. I have to check some links, to make sure I’ve got them right. Next week, I’ll get the marketing started for that.

This morning, I wrote just over 1900 words on one project and 1599 on a second project — the two projects I can’t yet talk about, but am working steadily on.

I also got the terraced area mowed, which is a big relief.

On my way to do some errands, then it’s back to the page. Lots to do, and deadlines looming.

I could have done either of these two new projects as Nano pieces, but they’re catching fire now. I may write “along with” Nano in November, using the creative energy of so many people working at once to fuel them, but I don’t think I’ll start a new project in less than a month. I have too many pieces competing for my attention that need completion.

Hope to get some work done on the Victorian mystery this afternoon, and a few more chapters of revision on CHOLERIC.

This is a holiday weekend, so I hope I can get some uninterrupted work time both on the page and in the garden.

Have a great one!


Thurs. Oct. 6, 2016: Creativity Flow & Opportunity

Thursday, October 6, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

Busy day yesterday. Lots of research, some admin work.

Had an interesting meeting in the early afternoon that could open some new doors for me, which needs some thought. Is that the direction in which I want to go? Will it build skills that will serve me beyond the projects themselves?

Also had to deal with some frustrating stuff, some obstacles that were created by someone either because that individual is incompetent or that individual is being nasty. The reason could be either of those two, or a combination.

After my meeting, headed up to Sturgis Library. I’d been trying to find particular research books, and I was pretty sure they were in the library system, but they weren’t coming up in the search engine. So I went into the building itself, and there they were. Got the stack out and got a good section of research done in the afternoon and evening, too.

Several characters came to me with demands to tell their stories. I took some notes.

I’m developing a couple of projects that could be good for me. They’re in that delicate stage where if I talk about them too much, they won’t get done. But I got 1798 words done on one this morning, and the energy’s good and lively there, and 1207 words done on another, and that’s got a great vibe, too. So we’ll see. I don’t know how much I can juggle, but I will do my best.

I didn’t get any yard work done yesterday, which wound up being okay, because it rained in the afternoon anyway. But, in spite of a late start today, I hope to make up for it.

Finished a manuscript evaluation for a contest yesterday. Another disappointing one. So far, nothing I’ve evaluated for this contest has been publication ready. And yet, they’re published. The problems have been all the same — supposed to be suspense, but there’s no tension, unresearched situations and locations, pages and pages of info dump narration, undeveloped characters.

Creatively, I’m happy right now, but I need to get a few other things aligned before I can feel secure.


Wed. Oct. 5, 2016: Revising The Way I Run My Writing Career

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

I managed to find my mowing Zen, going into my seventh year in this place. I got the front and side yards mowed in twenty minutes yesterday, without feeling like it nearly killed me. There’s still an enormous amount of yard work to do, but at least I’ve got a decent start. I’m not putting up the outdoor decorations until I’m sure Hurricane Matthew has passed. Right now, it doesn’t look as though we’re going to be badly hit, but it’s a storm, so who knows?

Working on the Victorian mystery, fixing the bits that need adjustment due to research. Also doing some procedural research for the states of Massachusetts and Vermont — jeez, the way things are done so differently from state to state!😉 That’s for two different contemporary projects.

I’m having trouble getting back into the plays. I’m not quite in the right headspace for any of the three of them that need work. That will have to change this weekend. I need to dig in and get working on them, whether or not I feel like it.

I have to take a look at PLAYING THE ANGLES this weekend, too. I want to get that out on submission next week. I have some solid possibilities.

I need to figure out a marketing push for the Digital Delights, and it’s time to give the Jain Lazarus short story set around this time another push. I’ll have to figure out a good day to have it available as a free download and then do a big PR push for it.

I’m reading Alyssa Maxwell’s Gilded Newport mysteries and loving them. I was worried that my Victorian mystery would be too similar, because it’s set in Newport just a few years after her first mystery. But it’s very, very different, thank goodness. Plus, for this particular series, I’m only setting the first book in Newport. The second will be in Saratoga, the third in NYC. If the series continues beyond that, I plan to do one on an ocean liner, one in England, one in Florence, and so on and so forth. If the series takes off, it will be fun. But, as I said yesterday, these books require a very different writing process than I usually use, and can’t be written quickly. In other words, not a good candidate for a Nano!

If I was going to get sucked into doing Nano this year, it would be either the book that follows DEATH OF A CHOLERIC (using my friend Lori’s suggestion to call it MURDER OF A MELACHOLIC), or the next Sophie Batchelder. However, I am probably NOT going to do Nano this year, so the point is moot. I have three plays to get back on track, and I need to get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS. Nano would be a distraction, and it would be my ego wanting it, instead of it actually being useful.

Since a great deal of last year and this year have been about thinking about how I want to proceed in my writing career and changing a good many things about it, I need to concentrate on those decisions, those actions, and that follow-through, rather than getting distracted by new and shiny. I am also tired of other people telling me how I “have to” do things in my writing career, and trying to push me into boxes and formulas that don’t suit me or don’t interest me. I spent many years developing my voice, and I don’t want it diluted by “formula”. Which means I have to look at options that give me more flexibility. I also don’t like the way we are “supposed” to market. Bland or aggressive marketing turns me off as a consumer, and that’s not what I want to put out there to promote my work.

Yet, the siren call of Nano is always tempting.

I have a meeting this afternoon that could also wind up opening some lovely doors for me, and I’ve got a boatload of research to do (some of it is even about boats). So I better get going!


Tues. Oct. 4, 2016: Fictional Actions & Consequences

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

Errands, research, writing yesterday. Didn’t get much done on the revisions. I was working on other stuff. Each of the projects on which I’m currently working requires such a different approach. It’s interesting to stretch my creativity in this way. “Process” has to grow and change along with the work. If everything is done the same way every time, it stunts growth.

Plus, I’m exploring a variety of characters and situations that interest me. Digging into the motivations and the possibilities.

The interesting thing about fiction is that, in order for it to work, characters have to be active. Too many people, in real life, are passive all the time, especially now that all they do is view the world through their electronic devices instead of actually living lives. It’s fun to push characters’ buttons and provoke them into action, and then explore the consequences of those actions.

Cleared out a bunch of research books and took them back to the library yesterday afternoon, and have another stack to take back today. I have a map of Vermont spread out in one spot, dealing with one project, and a map of Newport in another spot.

I have to reconfigure part of Chapter Three in the Victorian mystery, because where I have a catalytic event taking place doesn’t make sense in the actual geography of the place. I had misremembered distances and proportions. I’m glad I was in Newport a few weeks ago to jog my memory, or I would have really been in a mess. But figuring out WHERE to place this event so it can still happen and have the impact it needs to have in order to set in motion the next chain of events, which results in the first body drop, is an interesting challenge.

The Victorian mystery is not something that can be written fast, and I feel as though I’m working on multiple drafts at once. Instead of pushing all the way through the first draft as fast as possible, which I usually do, I write a section of dialogue and action, then figure out what I have to research to make it work, then research, then rewrite it with the proper period detail. It’s almost as though each scene or sequence has to be created as a short story in itself. Very different from the way I usually work, but interesting.

Many people would have done ALL the research first and then just written. I’ve done a good bit of research on the period, and on the particular months in which the piece take place, but I don’t really know what I need in detail until I figure out the plot points and character interactions, and they are growing and changing as the piece changes. My heroine breaks a lot of rules — and there’s a social and economic price to pay for that, which is what interests me in this particular set of stories and characters.

On top of that, the rain has finally stopped, which means I need to get to work putting the yard to bed for the winter.

I reworked one of my comic noir mysteries this morning; I need to send it off in the next few days. I’m very fond of this particular piece, and hope it finds a happy home.

I missed a grant deadline by one day — for some reason, I had it down as the 15th of October, and when I went to send off the materials today, it said the 3rd of October. Yesterday. I hate it when I do something stupid like that.

Oh, well, have to trust that I can find another, better opportunity. But I’m still kicking myself around the block.

Have a great week!


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Mon. Oct. 3, 2016: Preparing for Planning

Monday, October 03, 2016
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and warm

We’ve gotten some much-needed rain in the past few days. Of course, that means I have a lot of yard work ahead of me in order to put the yard to bed for the winter!

I’ve done a lot of writing the past week. The revisions on CHOLERIC are coming along well, although more slowly than I would like. But that’s okay; it’s not on contract, so I can do it well instead of just doing it fast. I like what’s happening with it. By taking it out of the realm of “cozy”, which is where it started, I have a much more interesting, complex, and relevant piece. I figure it will need at least one or two more passes, once I finish this draft, before it’s ready to submit.

I’m behind on the plays, and need to get back on track with those.

I’m also playing with a few ideas, that are inspired by things I’ve read, conversations I’ve had lately, and I want to explore them to see if they’re worth a big project. So far, they all are; I will have to pick and choose and figure out how to work them into the schedule. So I’m giving myself quotas for each thing I need to get done, and spreading out my time.

It’s so interesting, because a couple of these projects were inspired by nostalgic musings, but I’m exploring how things have changed for people in that realm.

Heard from someone with whom I worked at The Other Place, which was a surprise. It’s someone I liked, so I was glad to hear from her, but I thought it was interesting that, all this time later, I hear from someone.

No one I’ve run into from that time has addressed the elephant in the room. Everyone’s acted like nothing ever happened. Eye-rollingly unhealthy.

But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have time to fret. I can acknowledge how ridiculous everything is, but my energy is better spent elsewhere. Like on my work.

All of this is material.

I’m figuring out a series of promotions to launch, for the Jain Lazarus books, for the Digital Delights, and for the Topic Workbooks. I’ll let everyone know when I figure out what it is I’m doing!

Cooking, decorating for Samhain, laundry, writing. A good, busy week. I’ve signed the lease on the house for another year, so the home front is at least stable until next fall.

After the holidays, I will start making the decisions about where I go for my next adventure.


Published in: on October 3, 2016 at 8:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Sept. 27, 2016: Threads of Words

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy times, and difficult to keep up here. Much of my focus right now is on the revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. In the notes I made over the weekend, there are plans to cut quite a few characters and several secondary plot lines. I’m going to weave them into the series later on. I’ve revised about nine chapters over the past few days.

However, in order for certain procedural things to make sense, I also have to add two or three characters and fix a few things. I also want to go darker with this draft. When I started writing the first draft last year, I was thinking in terms of cozy. The more I wrote, the more I realized I don’t want to go in that direction, or be limited by that formula. I want a darker, more political, realistic mystery.

There’s a large ensemble cast because that’s what I like, as both a writer and a reader. Be it agent, editor, or reader, if someone does not like large casts, “can’t keep track” of more than six people — well, we are not a good match!😉 Move along, nothing to read here!

I’ve also been working on the full-length version of CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT. I’m not particularly happy with the work there. Especially in one scene, between Amelia and Nathan while Nathan’s in jail. I’ve written as text what needs to be subtext. I’m glad I wrote it, but now I need to rip it all out, and figure out the words that they CAN say to cover the unsaid. Otherwise, it’s just melodramatic and blatant. I’ve got time constraints on this, so I have to figure it out sooner, rather than later.

I’m having the annual Nano dilemma — do I do it this year, or not? Last year, I did it, because That Place where I worked was hosting write-ins. I felt I should participate, and I was in a writing rut. I did the Tandem Nano — working on a piece already in progress and starting the first draft of CHOLERIC. Last year, that worked. This year, I’m preparing CHOLERIC for submission and have other deadlines and other distractions. I’m worried that my ego will get in the way of both practicality and good work.

I already know I can write 50K in 30 days. I proved it over and over again. I don’t need to prove anything. What I need to do is focus on style and language to go with the stories, to polish and hone and make my work sparkle in my unique voice. At this point in my development, I don’t think Nano helps with it. It’s great to encourage words on paper every day, but I already do that. So should I use Nano to write book 2 in either the Sophie Batchelder series or the Picaroon Island series? It’s tempting, but again, it throws my schedule off even more — and my writing is way off schedule with what happened this summer. While I realize the necessity of flexible scheduling to make the most of unexpected opportunities, I also don’t want to put aside work that’s in a groove to start something on an arbitrary date (unless I’m being paid a sweet amount of money so to do).

I’ve been catching up on the second season of GOTHAM. I’m disappointed. The production design is stunning, but I find the whole thing overwrought.

The debate last night ridiculous. The possibility that the raving, lunatic, oversized toddler could get anywhere near the nuclear codes is terrifying. Yet, people will continue to vote for him. Because you can’t fix stupid, and two generations of the GOP defunding education worked.

Gave me some good ideas for the series in which CHOLERIC is the first book, though. There’s a lot of politics in the mystery — on purpose — and it’s not something I’m willing to dilute.

We’re getting some much needed rain, and I had to put on the heat yesterday. We’re finally into autumn, my favorite season. I have a lot of work to do in order to put the yard to bed for the winter. I have a lot of work to do on many fronts, and I’m tired of dealing with idiots and assholes.

But at least I get to HobNob tonight! I haven’t seen those friends and colleagues all summer, and I’ve missed them.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week.


Published in: on September 27, 2016 at 8:46 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 27, 2016: Threads of Words  
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Wed. Sept. 21, 2016: The Shock of a Loss

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Feeling better, which is a good thing. Got some decent work done, both on the new projects, and on starting the next round of edits on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Still dithering about turning CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT into a full-length – I think I know what I want to do, so hopefully, this weekend, I’ll just sit down and o it.

Started re-reading some of my favorite books – the Bast series by Rosemary Edghill and the Diana Tregarde series by Mercedes Lackey. That got me thinking about how the Craft has changed since our idealistic, hopeful days in the 90’s (although we thought we were terribly cynical. In reality, we were naïve). That gave me the idea for another project, which I’m playing with.

That also got me thinking about some close friends at the time, with whom I’ve lost touch. I started hunting them down on the internet – and found out that one of the closest friends from that time period died of cancer over a year ago. It’s a shock and a loss. I was friendly with her husband, too – I want to send him a condolence card, but will that reopen the wounds? Yet I feel that I need to acknowledge that I just found out and that I hurt for us both. In fact, I planned to dedicate this new project to them, whether or not I’d manage to reconnect.

So I will.

I have to sit with the loss and mourn. But that what this time of year is about.

Decent writing session yesterday, and this morning. Yesterday afternoon, I did some prep for my next road trip. I’ll have to load up the car tonight. Details Friday.

I also have to prepare a proposal packet that will go out on Friday. I thought I had the pieces with me here and now, but I don’t. I was too shaken when I discovered my friend’s death and didn’t take with me what I needed. To say I can’t believe she’s gone is an understatement. She was one of the most vital, vibrant people I ever met.

I need to run some errands and get back to the page. The page is the best way to create a worthy tribute to my friend.

In sorrow,


Published in: on September 21, 2016 at 8:57 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 21, 2016: The Shock of a Loss  
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Mon. Sept. 19, 2016: Getting Back to a Writing Rhythm

Monday, September 19, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and humid

We finally have some much-needed rain!

Saturday, we were up and out very early, headed to Providence. We dropped our friend off, then headed down to Newport. It was a gorgeous day.

The International Boat Show was in Newport. The place was packed! And I happened to walk into a store, and there was my fellow Sister-in-Crime, Alyssa Maxwell, doing a book signing for her Gilded Age mystery series set in Newport! I knew her work, of course, but we’d never met before. It was great to have a chat, meet, and I bought and she signed the book I didn’t have!😉

We met friends for lunch at the Red Parrot (lots of choices, but a bit disappointing). I did some geographical research for the Victorian mystery.

Exhausted by the time we got home, and the cold came back full force. To bed early.

Sunday, I gave myself the day off, mostly reading and doing a few errands.

Today, it’s back to the page, once I’ve done some errands. I need to start opening out CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT (I need to submit the full length within the next few weeks), and work on the other projects I’m juggling. I’m also starting the next round of edits on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, and preparing for another trip later in the week.

Busy, busy, but good busy.

I think I know what’s coming next for the characters in “Lake Justice” – so I’ll have to get that going soon. I want to pair three shorts for the “Lake Justice” characters – one set in a ski resort, and the other set on an island in Maine. That will make a good set of stories to put together with the re-released “Lake Justice.”

I also want to do another Twinkle Tavern series mystery – probably a novella.

Somehow, I have to figure out how to fit them in with the projects I’m juggling, including the plays and CHOLERIC and SONGBOUND.

But it’s a good dilemma to have!

I will be very relieved when Mercury goes direct in a few days – and the Equinox is coming up!