Tues. March 12, 2013: Wyatt, Exhaustion, & Trespassers

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I have an in-depth piece on Biblio Paradise about Wyatt as the heart of OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. It talks about the emotional throughline I’m building underneath the plot — I hope you stop by and drop a comment.

Yesterday definitely had its challenges. Getting another year older is always something to face, especially for women. The other pressures bearing down on me in this cycle made it difficult, too. But I had many warm wishes, from old friends and cyber-friends, and kept it fairly low-key. And I got my chocolate cake, so that’s all good! 😉

Worked with students, worked on the book (but not as much as I liked), did some pitches. I’m trying to sort down the missing monies from clients, some of which are a month late now. Some of these clients have NEVER stumbled on payment, so when they say it was sent, I know it was , but tracking it down takes time I don’t have right now, because I need that money in the bank. I want to know where the money is when it’s removed from one account, yet it’s not yet at the other one. I know it’s earning money for someone somewhere, and I suspect that banks intentionally delay postings of incoming monies while hurrying outgoing monies in order to charge more fees.

Working through the stack of books I’m judging for the contest. Interesting stuff.

Through Fearless Ink, I’m now offering Author Services including help with cover/query letters and putting out media kits and press releases. Check it out here.

I had very little in the tank yesterday, and have to get back on track with the new book. I finished some research materials, which gave me some good ideas, and showed me where I have to fix a few things, but now I have to implement them.

Having problems with the trespassing neighbor. I confronted him yesterday and got yet more attitude. My only option at this point is to get the police involved. This has been going on for months. He has no right to be on this property — EVER — and his convenience doesn’t take precedence over my right to not have trespassers.

Rehearsal tonight — I need to gear up for that, along with taking care of some unpleasant business today.

I really need a break.

Devon

Mon. March 11, 2013: New Moon Birthday!

Monday, March 11, 2013
New Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

I have now outlived my father. He never made it to the age I turn today.

Yup, it’s my birthday. I’m keeping it low-key and quiet — I need some rest. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still work to do — the next chapter on the new book, working with students, preparing for tomorrow night’s rehearsal. But I’m trying to keep it mellow and pleasant.

Weekend was busy. I’m reading the books for one of the contests I’m judging — wide range of topics and quality, which makes it interesting. I’m back in the groove on the new book, and pretty happy with it, and got an important research book for it that the Sandwich Library tracked down for me. I’ve been devouring that book, too, and already seeing where I need to make adjustments in past chapters.

I agreed to teach a two-part workshop the final two weeks of March on adapting a short story to the stage, and a short play into a short story. One can choose to take one or both sections, but there is an application process — no lurkers are allowed, and anyone who does not complete the daily assignment for ANY reason will be dropped without a refund. The application process closes on March 13 — this Wednesday — and the class runs from the 18-31 (with no class on either Palm Sunday or Easter), so get in your applications! Instructions for the application are here.

Don’t forget the Query Clinic on Sat. March 23, where you can bring in query letters for line-by-line critique and strengthening, and also learn how to make the process of writing future queries easier. Information here.

Yesterday’s rehearsal was good, although filled with Mercury Retrograde-type mishaps. I’m very happy with the cast, though. It may have been a rocky road to find them, but they are each and every one of them worth it!

I need to contact some more client prospects today, but I’m hoping for a light day online — and that some of these late checks that are supposedly “in the mail” — and have been for nearly a month now — actually show up. Wouldn’t that be a nice treat for my birthday?

Back to the page.

Devon

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus Adventure is now available. Excerpt and Buy Link here.

Fri. March 8, 2013: Life Lessons, Buy Links, Biblio ICU, Snow, & Migraines

Friday, March 8, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing — again

Yup, the snow is coming down quite heavily.

I’m in the third day of very severe neck pain and migraine. Nothing is helping — not heating pads, not ice, not pain killers, not valerian, not Tiger’s Balm. Nothing.

I’ve got an interview up on Vikki Thompson’s blog to celebrate OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, talk about process, and the state of publishing. I make some general comments about how the bulk of promotion is on the author now in the business– which it is — and that writers deserve to be paid for our work — which we do. Hopefully, my publisher won’t feel like it’s a slap at them, because it isn’t — it’s a comment on the current state of the business. These are issues that are discussed frequently, there are a lot of “how the business is changing” and what all types of publishers are trying to do to both survive and thrive. Publishers make an investment in writers; writers have to deliver. And, there’s a constant stream of writers who have struggled to get into print in the first place, and they keep accepting less and less to do more and more. This is across the board; it’s part of the way the business is transitioning. I worked for a NY publisher for several years — I know it from the other side of the desk, too. The staff is overworked and underpaid. Far too many writers don’t step up and meet deadlines and other commitments. Publishers need to make a profit to survive. But it IS Mercury retrograde, and this is a bad one, communications are a mess, so it is possible that my comments will be misconstrued and taken as personal instead of general. This is probably one of the worst times to have to be out and about and chatty, because there’s so much room for misunderstanding, both in the speaking and in the reception.

Note to self — in the future, make sure releases are scheduled well away from Mercury Retrogrades!

Everything’s been sorted, and the buy link for the book is here.

I hope you buy it. I hope you love it.

On the upside, in spite of both the Mercury Retrograde and Saturn Retrograde, all of that is making me re-assess what I really want from my writing career. This is my career, my business, not my hobby. I tend to jump in with both feet when something sounds good and interesting, roll up my sleeves and do my best to make a a go at it. I’m good about avoiding content mills and bidding sites, but what do I really want from my career in fiction? I’ve been blessed with good editors on the last few books, and made concessions to fit into business models as best I can, because that’s the gig. But what do I really WANT?

I want to continue to earn a living doing what I love, and to grow in that living, both creatively and financially. I need to pay my bills, and have skills that deserve a living wage. “Exposure” doesn’t cut it — I’m not a flasher, I don’t need exposure, and when the utility companies accept exposure in lieu of the monthly payment, then I can do the same thing. I don’t want fame, although I’d like to be respected as someone who does good work. I want someone to know that when they pick up one of my books, they’ll get a good read, and that my books are worth their time and money. When someone hires me to write a speech or an article or something else, they get high quality work.

I’m not perfect; I make mistakes. I want to do learn from those mistakes and do better next time.

I want each book to be better than the previous one, and I want to keep stretching creatively, not doing the same thing over and over.

But there are still aspects about which I’m unclear, and until I figure those out, I’m not going to be able to craft the career I want. Right now, I’m a hamster on a wheel, just trying to survive, and I need more than that. There are things I’m doing that aren’t serving me well, and I need to drop back, reassess everything and make some solid decisions, instead of just trying to “keep up” with older decisions.

I actually love almost all aspects of my life (even the difficult stuff) — except for my bank account!

Saturn Retrograde, Mercury Retrograde, a birthday coming up — a chaotic, difficult and painful time. Hopefully, once I’m through it, I will be in a stronger place of knowing what I want and need and how to get it.

I went outside yesterday afternoon, to find a cardboard box dumped by UPS in front of the garage — not at the front door. A box of books, that had three inches of water INSIDE it. Now, I’ve been expecting this box. Someone has been at the house all the time for the past couple of days, the lights have been on — it’s obvious that people are home. Yet, the box was dumped — not at the front door, but in front of the garage. A cardboard box left outside in the rain with a piece of plastic UNDER it, open on top, allowing the water to pool in and around the box. A cardboard box filled with books.

We pay UPS extra so that they take extra care with the packages. And this is the “care” they show. I’ve joked about the times they don’t even stop, just slow down and toss the box out of the truck (which I’ve seen them do) — but this is unacceptable.

We unpacked the box, took photographs, wiped down each of the 35 individual books, got out the hair dryers and got to work. Several of the books are in really bad shape — some of the pages were practically dissolving. A couple of volumes had to be dried one page at a time. We set up Biblio ICU.

One of the hair dryers sparked, and the plug popped off. This also tripped the breaker for part of the kitchen, so I had to go downstairs and flip the switch. The fridge was on that breaker, so I’m glad I figured it out before it was too late (because the rest of the lights in the room stayed on).

The whole experience does make me want to take a bookbinding class, though.

I would just really like to stay in bed until Mercury goes direct, but that’s not an option. So, back on the horse, and let’s hope I can stay out of trouble!

Devon

Sign up for the Query Clinic on March 23 — get line-by-line advice on strengthening your query letters, and learn how to make the process smoother. Information here.

Thurs. March 7, 2013: Working at Top Speed

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Nor’easter

Yesterday was flat out work. Sold an article I wrote and submitted last week — will let you know when it goes up. It’s with someone whose work I respect a lot, and with whom I’ve wanted to place something for awhile, so I was very excited.

Finished my new brochure. I’m happy with it. I’m going to put a PDF of it up on my Fearless Ink website.

Got some of the ebooks for one contest; the others from the other contest have been delayed. The print books were supposed to arrive yesterday, but haven’t yet. We’ll see how late they are and how it will affect the deadline.

Worked with students.

Had my meeting with the Director of Creative Economy for the state — it was a lot of fun. The packet of information given out was terrific. She loved the brochure, had some good ideas about the portfolio, and gave me some people to contact — suggesting I use her name, which I will do today. I also met some other people connected with economic growth in the area, and had some excellent conversations with them.

Today is about follow-up.

When I got home, the rest of the materials I need to do my part to speed up the delayed release were here, so I sat down and turned them around.

After that, I just had time to bolt down dinner before the actors showed up for rehearsal. We had a really good rehearsal, in spite of the power flickers, and a few 30-second-or-so outages (we had candles going and flashlights at the ready).

Then, I unwound a bit, and read some material for confidential job #1, and collapsed into bed. My neck was killing me from holding at a stupid angle while I worked on the stuff for the book.

Missed yoga this morning,although the weather’s so bad, I’m glad not to be out in it. Must get back to the piece I’m doing for my agent, and do the follow-up from yesterday’s meeting. I hope it lands me some interesting new clients!

Devon

Hate writing query letters? Join the Query Clinic online on March 23, and get line-by-line support on your queries, along with tips and techniques on how to make future query writing less painful! Information here.

Wed. March 6, 2013: This Mercury Retrograde Sucks!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was just thing after thing after thing after thing with Mercury Retrograde, complicated by the Saturn Retrograde.

On the positive side, I worked with students and spent time putting together a portfolio for a big, important meeting set to happen this afternoon. I revised per editor suggestion and sent out an article as requested.

On the not-so-positive side, I’m trying to adjust the marketing for the delayed release. Some sites are cool with it; several, especially those that are high profile, book months in advance, and are adamant that the book be available when the appearance goes live, are not, and I will not get those slots back. Whether the chances of landing a spot in the future are ruined or not remain to be seen.

I’d managed to work rehearsals around a meeting scheduled for tonight, and, although I was working until the last minute to get there, I was really proud of myself for doing it. Only to find out that the meeting was actually two hours before — I’d written it down and memorized it wrong. That was entirely my screw-up, and inexcusable. I’m usually pretty good about stuff like that, and I messed up.

I sat down at the meeting site and emailed an apology to my colleagues. I don’t want them to feel that I don’t respect their time.

Then, I was halfway home before I realized I left something at the meeting site and had to turn around, go back, and fetch it. I was in tears all the way home, just overwhelmed and exhausted.

The coordinator was very understanding, and I appreciate it.

This morning, I hope to get some writing and meeting prep done. If I don’t screw up this afternoon’s meeting, it could open some terrific doors. But I’m discouraged, blue, overwhelmed, and don’t feel on my game at all. I will have to do an attitude readjustment before I leave.

I’ve checked the time and place at least a half a dozen times to make sure I am in the right place at the right time!

Devon

Published in: on March 6, 2013 at 7:37 am  Comments (2)  
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Tuesday, March 5:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

The book didn’t release. Details are in dispute.

The rest of the day was taken up with a funeral and its aftermath. The deceased is the mother of one friend, and the grandmother of another one. The service itself was here, at a local Catholic church. I hadn’t set foot in a Catholic ceremony since a seventh-grade classmate was killed by a drunk driver and the priest said that he must have done something to “deserve” that kind of death, and it was a good thing the kid died because it filled the church. This ceremony was very different, with lovely readings and eulogy from the family, but the priest went off on some (to me) inappropriate tangents. And anyone who says the Catholic service is “the same” as Episcopal (where I used to be an acolyte) — um, no. The prayers and liturgy are quite different. Then, we drove to the cemetery in Bourne for a short service, and then went to Brookside for the reception. It was nice to be able to chat with people and really celebrate the woman’s life and legacy. The funeral began at 11 in the morning, and I got home at 4 in the afternoon. A different chapter in life starts for all of them, and this was an important transition day.

Not a lot got done, but I’m prepping for tonight’s meeting, and getting ready for tomorrow afternoon’s meeting, along with having to rewrite an article, and working on the material for my agent.

So, I better get to it!

Devon

Published in: on March 5, 2013 at 7:28 am  Comments (1)  
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Monday, March 4, 2013: Release Day for the Second Jain Lazarus Adventure!

Old-FashionedDetectiveWork_HiRes

Monday, March 4, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Lots to discuss today!

First and foremost, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK releases today! Woo-hoo! I’m still waiting for the Buy Link from Solstice, but there’s a great interview with me on Cynthia Woolf’s blog, and there’s an excerpt and more information on Billy Root’s blog. Stop by one or both and say hey!

“Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series” workshop runs this week and should be lots of fun. I’m very excited about it.

AND, I’m teaching a one-day QUERY CLINIC on March 23, where you can bring in query letters from your various projects and we shape them, line-by-line, along with learning how to assemble the parts of a strong letter. More info here.

Busy weekend. On Friday, just before 5 PM, I got some great news from my agent! She’s very excited about a project I pitched her a few weeks ago, made some suggestions, and wants to go forward asap. That puts pressure on me I wasn’t expecting until the fall, at least as far adding an extra project to the mix, and means I have to reshuffle back some of the projects I was working on. My GDRS for March have to be re-worked. But I’m very excited!

Friday night was the staged reading of my new play, SEVEN OF SWORDS, which is not a comedy! I was on the bill with three other short plays, so we were a solid evening — what fun to share the bill with them. I liked my director a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed the work of all the actors, including the ones in my piece. I got some interesting feedback to shape the piece in the next draft. It was a good night, but I was exhausted.

I was up early-early on Saturday morning. I worked on some revisions for MUDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, then I rewrote the first three chapters of the piece per my agent’s suggestions and wrote Chapter Four, which came in just over 3K. I worked with students, and did the final polish on the lectures for the workshop.

Busy day, but fulfilling.

Sunday, I was up early, putting in and printing out the revisions in the script. Then, I packed the car and headed off to the Marine Life Center for rehearsal — we blocked Acts II & III, then went over to the venue to look at the space and a drink and chat. It was fun.

Today is release day for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so I have to do the work associated with that. I have to write Chapter 5 of the other project, attend a funeral, and give the actors the cuts I made last night in the script when I got home.

Oh, and do some work that pays the bills! 😉

Busy, busy!

Devon

Fri. March 1, 2013: Stress and Prep

Friday, March 1, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Not feeling well. Managed to get some work done yesterday and go to my meeting, but feeling pretty bad. A lot of it is stress-induced.

Managed to write another article. I wanted to let it sit overnight, before editing and sending it out.

I’m supposed to be on Nadia Kim’s blog today — I checked this morning and don’t see it up yet, so I will check back later on and post the link.

Tonight, my play SEVEN OF SWORDS will be read as part of the Play With Your Food series at Tilden Arts Center. I’m looking forward to it, and to the other plays with whom I’m on the bill!

I’ve got a minor rewrite to do on MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL and a lot of writing to do today and tomorrow, along with prepping for Sunday’s rehearsal and doing a final polish on Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series. Registration closes today at 5 PM, and it’s the only time the course will be offered this year, so don’t miss it! March 4-8. Full information here.

Colin — you’re right — it’s wonderful to see actors bring the words to life, and the characters evolve.

Lots to do today, and not much time, so I better get going!

Devon