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.

Devon

Published in: on September 27, 2016 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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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,

Devon

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!

Devon

Fri. Sept. 16, 2016: Creative Road Trips

Friday, September 16, 2016
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The days go by so quickly, I can barely remember what’s going on!

Got some good work done on the piece set in the dunes yesterday. I needed some research books about the area – I knew I owned them, but I rearranged things and couldn’t find them. So I had to get them out of the library! That’s the way it goes.

Helped some artists write grants over the week, and helped one of my writing students who stays in touch occasionally.

I plan to dig in and get a lot of writing done today. Our guest takes us out to dinner tonight, and then, we leave early, early in the morning, so he can catch the bus back to New York. After that, we head to Newport, for a combination research trip for the Victorian mystery and meeting other friends for lunch.

Sunday is supposed to be rainy and cool, so I will probably sleep and read a lot. The cold has come back, and I’m fighting a losing battle with it. A few days in bed, resting, is probably a good idea. I can read my research books and write longhand.

Next week, I go back on the road again for work. Not a bad thing at all.

All in all, it’s shaping up to be a lovely, creative September!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Devon

Published in: on September 16, 2016 at 9:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Thurs. Sept. 15, 2016: Another Solid Creative Wave

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy days. Got in some good writing on one of the fantasy projects, and also a contemporary piece that was inspired by the trip to the dunes on Monday. So that was all good.

Lots of cooking, talking, and running around. Plenty to see, which is good.

I have to do some work on the expanded version of the Kate Warne play, CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT, next week. There are two possible venues for it once it’s a full-length, and I want to give a shot at both. I’m also excited to keep working on the projects I’m juggling, and to get back to the revisions of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC.

I’m also spinning some ideas for another Twinkle Tavern mystery, and a couple of other pieces with the characters from “Lake Justice.” The latter will be packaged as a trio of stories with “Lake Justice” for re-release through Smashwords.

I’m putting together a new marketing campaign for the Delectable Digital Delights pieces.

So that’s all good. Lots of creative stuff happening. It’s a relief, after feeling for so long that I was fighting to get any words done per day.

I’m looking forward to Mercury going direct next week, too!

Devon

Wed. Sept. 14, 2016: Creative Fuel

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy few days! I’ve been trying to balance work along with having company.

Company arrived Saturday, from NY via Megabus, although they changed the Megabus stop, so at first I was at the wrong place. Typical Mercury Retrograde!

But we found each other and got home. I’ve been cooking a lot for the company – good, homecooked, American food. We’ve gone out a few times—we spent Monday going all along the National Seashore, Eastham, Light houses, all the way down to Provincetown, where we had a wonderful lunch at Patio. The food there just gets better and better, and the service is great, too.

I’ve managed to get some writing done, one on a piece I’m calling UNBOUND, at least for now, and the other on an untitled short story that I have a feeling is going to turn into a novella.

The time in Provincetown on Monday gave me some ideas; I’m trying to decide if I want to write a contemporary suspense novel, or if I want to develop some of these ideas into one of the series on which I’m working. I have a feeling a one-off suspense novel will make more sense. So we’ll see. I’m playing with ideas.

Although time is short, the ideas are churning, which is always a good thing.

I helped some visual artists write grants this week, which is always fulfilling. I hope they get what they seek!

Next week, when the company is gone, I will go back into the next round of edits for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’d like to get it submission-ready this fall, and have it start making the rounds.

Saturday, when we take our friend back to the bus in Providence, we will then drive to Newport, where I will do some research for the Victorian mystery, and also meet some other friends en route from Boston to Philadelphia for lunch.

I’m also developing my essays. Essays take me longer than long fiction!

Busy times, but good ones.

Hope you are all well and happy!

Devon

Fri. Sept. 9, 2016: The Importance of the Individual Voice

Friday, September 09, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and hot

Still exhausted, getting over the cold. By mid-day Wednesday, I found social media irritating to the point of no return, so I logged out for a few days, and feel much better.

I’m busy doing internal work, so externals, no matter how well meant, don’t work for me right now.

I did vote yesterday, in the primaries. Did my civic duty.😉

I’ve been working on material, re-evaluating how and where I want my writing career to go, and trying to get well. I’m also working on ideas for a couple of essays. I have to develop them and then do a few rough drafts before I see if I have anything worth pitching. Essays are the hardest for me. Fiction is much easier.

I also need to go through the backlog of material. Some of the rights-reversed stuff is ready to go out again, so I have to do my research and get going on that. If it’s submittable, it needs to be out in the world earning its keep!

Been helping some people put together collaborative projects this week, too, which is always fun. I love to see other artists who put in the work succeed! I don’t believe we are in competition with each other. I believe we are in this together, and when we support each other, that’s when the best work happens.

I’m looking at my own roster of projects. I have to adjust my schedule. I got way off-schedule with what my agent needed for what used to be CHARISMA KILLINGS, and I need to get back on schedule for everything else.

Company’s in next week, which will be fun, but means I have to adjust my writing schedule, and I have work to deal with, too. Lots of juggling – makes me wish I’d gone to circus school!😉

One of the things I’m doing a lot of thinking about is “voice.” I worked many years, first to both find my voice and then to hone it through craft. So when someone tries to change that voice into THEIR voice, to water it down to make it sound bland and like a different tone – especially if it’s not a work for hire where that’s the deal – I balk. Making a piece the best it can be is different than diluting the voice. I’m always eager to make a piece better; I am not willing to lose my voice in my original work. Then it’s not mine and not what I want out in the world. If you’re paying me a good deal of money to sound like someone else or an imaginary figure who supposedly wrote the piece, that’s one thing, but when It’s MY work, going out under one of MY names, it needs to sound like me.

Isn’t that what so many women and people of color have fought to do for centuries? Have THEIR voices heard?

It’s one of the reasons I dumped the bulk of my magazine subscriptions. Everything is a sound bite and sounds exactly the same. Every magazine article in every magazine could have been written by the same machine. Sorry. Not interested. I’m interested, both as a writer and a reader, in individual voices.

I was lucky enough to spend some time last night with a good friend who now lives in Europe. She’s happy there – I think she and her husband will stay. It’s been a bit of a shock for her to come here, where mindset gets narrower and narrower. She completely understands my dilemma about whether to stay or go in the next year.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on September 9, 2016 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Sept. 7, 2016: Colds & Writing

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

I was sick and miserable yesterday. Felt like I was coming down with a bad cold. I didn’t want to take anything, though, because during the show schedule, I took iron pills and Alleve every day, and I felt I should let everything work its way out of my system.

Ran errands, dropped off some equipment borrowed by the theatre, got a little bit of writing done, but mostly tried to rest and recover. Did a bunch of research.

Knocked out my first 1K of the day on one of the fantasy novels while the furnace guy was here. At least we’re set for winter!

I have some proposals to get out today, some more writing to do, and a company’s asked for my writing portfolio, so all that goes out today, along with some admin correspondence.

I’m trying to keep my head down as much as possible this Mercury retrograde and stay out of trouble!

Feeling a little better today, although the exhaustion from the past few months has caught up with me.

Had to pull out of a project because there was a conflict of interest with something else on which I’m working. It happens.

And there’s company coming in this weekend — which means I’m doing some serious menu planning!

We didn’t get anywhere near enough rain from Hermine. Still in a drought.

But at least I’m not in a creative drought!😉

Published in: on September 7, 2016 at 10:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Tues. Sept. 6, 2016: On to New Adventures

Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Dealing with Tropical Storm Hermine. Not too bad, considering, at least so far. We desperately need the rain.

The season ended on Saturday night with a nice, big house. Cleaned up, turned in my keys, drove away without looking back. I’ve come down with a cold now, which is a little annoying, but that’s life. It figures, goes along with the release of the stress.

Spent most of Sunday sleeping, with a little reading involved, and a lot of yesterday reading.

As usual, I’m juggling multiple writing projects. I’m bogged down in INITIATE, with the logic of the upcoming sequence, but I hope to break through that in the next few days.

The Victorian mystery is coming along, although I have to enrich it with period detail. Plot and character are humming along, but I have to add the atmosphere. I’m looking forward to an upcoming trip to Newport for research.

I also had an idea for another piece, a fantasy novel with strong political overtones. On Friday, I wrote thirty pages on it, and I’ve been reworking it ever since. The characters, theme, and the start of the plot work, but I need to go deeper into motivations. And I have some other characters yapping at me for attention, so I’ll write myself in a few pages, and then see where I am with it. I need to get the characters down; the plot is loosely based on historical events in Northumberland, but I’m putting it into a fantasy setting.

Of course, I still have two plays to finish and the next round of edits on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC to get done. I hope to sit down and start reading that later this afternoon. And, I need to get back into SONGBOUND SISTERS. I’m behind where I want to be on that.

I’ve run into more people than I imagined from That Other Place. While I’ve been pleasant and polite, I’m still very angry about the whole situation. However, it’s not worth the energy. I landed in another job, in my field, and did it well, even if it was seasonal/temporary. Why people who knew me from Before are surprised that I can thrive in my native environment, a situation that’s far more positive than the one in which I was in for two years, is beyond me. And that fact that none of my former colleagues ever contacted me to see how I was doing . . .says more about them than about me.

My time is better spent on new projects. Those people and that place no longer exist in my universe. I have a life to lead, books to write, plays to create, projects to work on. The decisions I make moving forward are to support my creative work, not to fit anyone else’s convenience or agenda. There are far too many people around here who don’t have the talent or the skill, but have a misplaced sense of entitlement that others should do their work for them, clean up their mess, or a combination. I don’t intend to be that person, the janitor to their messes. I have my own work to do. Not only do I intend to do it, I intend to do it well.

I’m excited by the new projects. My agent has submitted the new mystery series. We’ll see what happens. I don’t expect to hear anything until October or November. By then, I hope to have DEATH OF A CHOLERIC out on submission, and a few other pieces close to ready to go.

I need to do an inventory of short stories to see what needs to go where. I don’t intend anything to sit around gathering dust!

I love September, and I love autumn. I intend to make this a good one!

Devon

Published in: on September 6, 2016 at 9:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mon. Aug. 29, 2016: Adventures, Old & New

Monday, August 29, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury About to turn Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Pretty good few days at the theatre. Pleasant shows, happy audiences.

Tired, though, and my feet hurt, and I tweaked my knee on the balcony stairs. Six more days, eight more shows, and it’s on to the next adventure.

Trying to get back into a regular writing schedule. Having trouble with this section of INITIATE. The Victorian mystery – well, this draft, I’m figuring out the basics – I finally figured out the body drops, the murderer, and the why. I’d known the first body from almost the beginning. A lot of the setting for this series is the changing position of women in Victorian society as it approaches the turn of the century, and how marriage and marriage expectations are changing. So the richness of detail, social context, and setting are as important as the pace and the actual murders.

The reading for all this background is fascinating. I’m setting the first book in Newport, RI; the second in Saratoga during racing season; and the third in NYC. It means a trip to the law library in Barnstable, probably next week, to do some research on Victorian marriage, property, inheritance, and divorce laws at that time in the US.

Next week, when I’m not distracted by the show, I’m also going back into the next round of edits for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC.

I’m developing another mystery series, set within a touring theatre company, and some of the short stories that were tickling as I went into the show schedule are demanding attention. So, creatively, things are getting back on track after the initial shock of job change. Even though there’s more job change coming up, I’m a little calmer about it.

It will be a busy week, with two shows on both Wed. and Thurs., but the season closes out on Saturday, and it’s onward!

Have a great last week of summer.

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow. I’m going to just try to keep my head down for the next three weeks!

Devon

Published in: on August 29, 2016 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Mon. Aug. 29, 2016: Adventures, Old & New  

Thurs. Aug. 25, 2016: Old and New

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy few days at the theatre. I was so exhausted that I slept until nearly 10 AM today. Another week and a half, and I move on to the next adventure.

Haven’t been able to get enough writing in, which is very frustrating and throws me off my game on everything else. I plan to spend a good chunk of hours today writing – when I’m not catching up on laundry!

I only have one day off this week – Sunday – and next week I work straight through, but closing night is the 3rd. I can’t believe September is next week!

Getting in lots of research materials for the Victorian-era mystery set in Newport. I figured out the first three books of the series: Book 1 is in Newport, Book 2 in Saratoga, and Book 3 in New York City over the Christmas holidays.

I’ve also got to get back into the next cycle of edits for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC and get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS, but the latter won’t happen until the show is done, because I need to be able to focus without interruption.

And, of course, I need to get back to the plays.

People from That Other Place keep turning up at the theatre, either as ushers or patrons. I am very cheerful and polite.😉 The fact that none of my former colleagues has bothered to keep in touch just shows that I merely shared space with them for two years. Well, I’m on to other things, and it is all good.

Back to research, writing, and marshalling resources for tonight!

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on August 25, 2016 at 9:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 25, 2016: Old and New  

Tues. Aug. 23, 2016: Juggling

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

We finally have some cooler weather, and yesterday, we even had a bit of rain. What a relief!

Last week was challenging, to say the least, at the theatre, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

I attended a reading of a new play by the guest artistic director, who I’ve gotten to know a bit over the weeks, and it was very good. I hope it goes further, because it hits some important points about humanity (and lack thereof).

I’ve hit a difficult section in INITIATE, where I’m having to write broadly at first to set out all the puzzle pieces, and then rewrite, focusing down. Eventually, it will work, but it’s a different way of working.

I’ve started developing another piece — the characters are very strongly in my mind, and the setting, but I’m still figuring out the plot. It deals with a touring theatre company.

And I’m working on yet a third piece, where the characters would not shut up, so I’ve written the first few chapters to see where I am with it. It’s an historical mystery, this particular one set in Newport (the second one will be set in Saratoga). My female protagonist’s marriage is falling apart, and she has to decide whether to put up with it because society wants her to, or flout convention and follow her own happiness, with the punishment that women faced at that time. I’ll have to research some of the legalities of the time, to make sure my premise is set up properly.

This week will again be challenging, but, hopefully not as much as last week. Dig in and deal, right? What else can one do?

After next week, I have to rework things on the GDR site and get things in motion for next year. My writing schedule has been thrown off.

After some discussion (not all pleasant), the agent has the correct changes in the manuscript and synopsis and it’s going out to the publisher who wanted rewrites on spec, which is something I disagree with. I do not believe there will be a contract offer; if there was genuine interest, the offer would have been on the table without demanding prior rewrites. We’ll see who is correct in this situation. I made it clear that I am not rewriting on spec to every set of notes that comes in.

I didn’t get much writing done last week; I hope to fix that this week. Not writing enough threw me off my form in every other way as well.

Have a good week!

Devon

Published in: on August 23, 2016 at 9:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 23, 2016: Juggling  

Thurs. Aug. 11, 2016: Stability to Support Change

Thursday, August 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

I’ve been lax in blogging, not because I don’t care about you all, but because there’s not much to publicly say. I’m in show schedule, and the next three weeks will be particularly intense.

My agent has one book out on submission, I’m deep into the draft of INITIATE, which will take years to prepare properly for submission, and I need to get back on track with the plays, DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, and SONGBOUND SISTERS.

I will be able to sign another year’s lease in the house in which I currently live, which is great. I love the house.

That will give me the breathing room to decide if I’ll stay on the Cape or leave. There are many things I love about living here, such as the beauty of the place. But there have been a lot of disappointments and frustrations. I am not willing to capitulate in certain ways that I am expected to, or fit other people’s conveniences and boxes.

But it gives me a year to see how things align, and what my next chapter is. I have a LOT to do in this coming year, especially in regard to my writing, and we’ll see what the rest brings.

Right now, I’m trying to mentally and physically prepare myself for the next three weeks, especially since my last week at the theatre, Mercury goes retrograde!

It’s hot and humid, tough going for the next few days. The cats are already growing their winter fur, so they are miserable.

We have company coming in tomorrow, which will be fun. And then – I’ll check in when I can over the next three weeks, but it will be intermittent.

Have a brilliantly wonderful August!

Devon

Published in: on August 11, 2016 at 9:27 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 11, 2016: Stability to Support Change