Tues. July 9, 2013: Jazz and Writing

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cooler

If you’re in the area today, come up to the Tabernacle for a free jazz concert. Details here.

And, time is running out for the “Start Your Revision Engines” workshop, running July 12-15. Details here.

Worked on the short story, thought through some revisions, worked with students, got out a mailing for a client, finished an edit for another client. Ran some errands.

Some spam idiot posted a comment berating me for only posting videos on my blog instead of something intelligent for people to read. Um, I have NEVER posted a video on any of my blogs. Talk about a quick kick to the spam file! Like I’d come visit your site when you insult me. Moron.

I need to mow today — the grass is getting a little high and raggedy. It was too hot during the heat wave. Even though it looks like it’s going to rain, I hope I can get some done today.

Brandy, to answer your question, the corset for the Mermaid Ball is a navy blue brocade. Really pretty.

For those of you who’ve taken my “Setting as Character” course, I have a book to recommend. It’s called SENSE OF PLACE: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN LITERARY LANDSCAPE, by Frederick Turner, and discusses how American writers found and used a sense of place, from Thoreau to Leslie Marmon Silko. Beautiful book.

Speaking of good books, I got a 5-star review for my Topic Workbook SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM. I’m delighted that this workbook is getting such a positive response.

Lots to do today and this week, and only a limited amount of time to do it, so I better get going.

I’m having such fun with the long short story — it’s a nice mix of mystery and high fantasy, although it’s longer than I envisioned. But I like these characters and this world.

The tiger lilies have started to bloom! I love tiger lilies — they’re so cheerful!


Mon. July 8, 2013: New Moon!

Monday, July 8, 2013
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy weekend. Wow! Do I even remember Fourth of July? I know on Wednesday, I started tackling the revisions on the book. I did 110 pages, but it felt like I didn’t do anything, and I’m not happy.

I also finished a major edit for a client, and accepted another editing job.

The Media Kit Seminar on Wednesday had to be cancelled because of a scheduling problem. All course fees have been refunded.

Instead, I’m doing a revision intensive for the first 10 pages, from July 12-15. We’ll nitpick to get that opening perfect, and then you can apply the same techniques to the rest of the book. Details here.

Cut myself a break on the 4th. Read a lot.

Got some other editing work done over the weekend, and responses from happy clients. Very pleased about that.

The corset arrived for the Mermaid Ball and it’s perfect. I’m so happy with it! Now I can get to work on the rest of the costume. I have to redesign the tail of the costume. It’s out of proportion and unwieldy. If I was going to BE a float, maybe. But as part of an overall costume — I need to wear the tail. The tail cannot wear me. Back to the drawing board. Better to find out now that the day of the Ball!

Read Juliet Blackwell’s TARNISHED AND TORN, and Kevin Hearne’s HUNTED. Enjoyed them both. Did my coursework for Archaeology and Climate Literacy. Did a photo shoot to go with the still room article that was accepted last week. Did laundry.

Started a mystery/fantasy hybrid that whomped me upside of the head. 17 handwritten pages yesterday — love it. I’d hoped it would only be 20 pages total, but it’s more likely 50. I can play with wonderful sensory detail, action, adventure, mystery, and sociological elements wrapped in fantasy. It’s a palate cleanser before going back to the revisions.

Must run some errands today, turn around another editing project, write a review, promote my workshop, work on the short story, and finish two articles. Hop to it, hop to it, right? At least it’s a little cooler today.


Wed. July 3, 2013: Synthesis

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn retrograde
Mercury retrograde
Sunny and warm

We’re moving into a heat wave today, supposedly over 90 for up to 6 days. Ick. Especially without an air conditioner.

Yesterday, I got a big chunk of editing done for a client, did some admin, worked on an article, got the garbage to the dump, switched out some books at the library, etc.

Had a teleconference with my agent and someone she recommended on the new series — interesting notes. Some I agree with, some I don’t, but think I can get the same result in a slightly different way. Also got some notes back on the series from a couple of editor friends. Now, I have to synthesize it all and get back to work.

With my head still spinning from that, I had to go to Buzzards Bay for a Mermaid Ball meeting, which was good, and didn’t take too long. The traffic was hideous — took me an hour and a half to get there, and it’s not that far — only 17 miles. I know it’s a holiday week, but still . . .

Came home, exhausted by everything. Ate, played with the cats, watched TV.

I have a lot to get done today, including finishing up the big edit for my client, getting started on an edit for another client, working with my students, and getting back to work on my own revision. I also have to finish/submit my archaeology paper and another article.

Feeling a little exhausted and overwhelmed.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Media Kit/Media Room workshop next week!

Have a great holiday weekend!


Published in: on July 3, 2013 at 7:00 am  Comments (1)  

Tues. July 2, 2013: Long List, Short Time

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

I’m teaching a one-day seminar online about putting together Media Kits and Media Rooms. It’s only $15 to get walked through the process for both, and you get a PDF of the class after. Information here.

And we’re coming up on a new cycle of private student slots. They are application-based, for writers serious about building a career only (not those who want to do it as a hobby), and writers are chosen on a combination of solid storytelling and demonstration of basic craft knowledge. Information on those slots here.

The articles I wrote this weekend were all submitted and accepted. That’s what we like. Worked with students. Did a huge chunk for a major editing client — hope to finish that today. Got some pitches out. Accepted another editing client on a shorter project. Got a review out to my new editor. Took my mom to the doctor — she’s doing well.

And . . .the carbon monoxide detectors got cranky. They were beeping intermittently, both the low battery and the “get out of the house!” sequences. I changed the batteries and the readings skyrocketed. So, I called the Fire Department.

The guy came over with his highly sensitive detector and confirmed it was fine. I don’t see how it could be otherwise, with the windows open. He took the carbon monoxide detectors out in the fresh air, and said sometimes they need “airing” and they get wonky in the humidity. Everything was all fine and off he went . . .and then the smoke alarms went off.

Mercury Retrograde is a pain in the butt.

Everything was fine. The batteries SHOULD be fine — I changed them on the Equinox. Frustrating, and upsetting for the cats.

It also meant I had to cancel out of my meeting.

Watched TV last night, because I just had to rest my brain. And my back, hunched over the computer all day.

A colleague suggested some new markets interested in novelette and novella-length fiction, and I spun a few ideas. We’ll see if I can slot it in with the other stuff.

I had to mow No Man’s Land — the dandelions were taller than my knees. Even though it was wet, it had to be done.

Tessa nearly caught a bird. It was a fresh one, who’d been teasing her, but still . . .I don’t want her to feel punished because she reacted on instinct, but she jumped from the deck nearly all the way to the neighbor’s yard (in one leap). As impressive as that is, she is not allowed off the deck. So she is back in her enclosure, with the gate closed, instead of having free range on the deck, but I did not scold her for doing what cats do.

I’ve got a couple more articles to draft today, on various topics, and I’m doing some follow-up on submissions that went out awhile ago and should have had a response by now.

I have a lot to do this morning, and then a conference call with my agent, and a Mermaid Ball meeting after that.

Must be productive!


Published in: on July 2, 2013 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 2, 2013: Long List, Short Time  
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Mon. July 1, 2013: Riding the The Writing Train

Monday, July 1, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

I can’t believe it’s July already. Wow.

Don’t remember much from Friday, other than it was a work day, worked through, but didn’t feel like I got enough done (which is pretty usual, I guess). Pitched a couple of pieces and my agent set up a conference call for tomorrow afternoon on a project.

Saturday, I hit the ground running, writing-wise. I drafted three articles and wrote a whole short story. The short story was supposed to be a 1500 word piece of contemporary literary fiction, but wound up being a 3999 word piece of magical realism. Which is fine. I roughed out a couple more short stories in my head, working on characters and situations. It was a good writing day.

I also watched the pilot of CROSSING LINES. Spoiler alert. If you still want to see it, skip this part of the blog! I liked a lot, but a lot of it frustrated me. I love the idea of an ensemble cast/team that works across borders. Yes, it was a marketing decision, in many ways, to pull in the overseas sales, but I still liked it. I like a lot of the production detail, although we really don’t need a shot of the Eiffel Tower every time we cut back to Paris in order to be oriented. Give us some more emotional geography, and we’ll get it. I liked a lot of the scene work between the actors — the moment-to-moment stuff, when the ensemble went from full dynamics to two or three person scenes. I like William Fichtner’s work a lot — I was lucky to work with him off-Broadway years ago. His acting’s excellent, and he’s good to work with. I felt some tropes were imposed on the piece, and I could feel it whenever a mid-level network executive forced a note, because that’s where it rang false and became stolid, formula-style again, instead of using the formula as a foundation and letting it open out. I was angry that they killed off Sienna. It wasn’t a character-driven, plot-driven move, although they’re pretending it was done to reveal more about Tommy. It wasn’t. They killed the blonde because they knew they’d get crap for killing the Asian or (if they had one), the Latino. That’s one of the things we used to talk about backstage, especially on shows like MISS SAIGON (which had a very diverse company). We’d sit there and roll our eyes and go, “oh, this is the season where the Asian eats it first” or “this is the season they kill the Latino first”, because they overused the cliche of killing the black guy first. If you watch action or sci-fi a lot, you’ll see that the ethnicity of the first character killed off changes, depending on the mood of the executives, not what serves the story best. This time, it was the blonde. They’d set up some wonderful arcs to develop, and yes, it was good to care about a character that dies, instead of it being someone we haven’t gotten to know. But I’m REALLY sick of the trope of killing off a member of the team in the first episode of every damn action or ensemble show. Overused, people!!! I continued to have mixed feelings about last night’s episode, although I felt the creators were fighting more for their vision and giving in less just to get it on the air. We’ll see how it develops.

Sunday, I woke up cranky and just got worse. Vile mood, for most of the day. Didn’t help when I went to revise the short story I thought was due and found out that the publication to which it was originally aimed changed their submission guidelines and only will have open submissions in the fall. If I want to submit it on the date I originally used as the deadline — from the guidelines I read a few weeks ago AND a conversation I had with them — they’ll read it. For a fee. Um, no. I don’t pay reading fees. I am paid to write. I do not pay to write.

Did the revision, sent it off to a different market. At least I didn’t have to hustle on the other two short pieces (we’d originally talked about me submitting three to them by the 30th).

Caught up on my archaeology coursework, which I loved. Got a high grade on the quiz. Found I’d missed a deadline for a paper (somehow, that came on the radar while my computer was down, and I missed it), and that I have a paper due later today. No worries, I’ve got something fun planned. Did my Climate Literacy coursework, getting more and more frustrated with that class. Then, as I was taking my timed quiz, all three cats decided it was time to practice Feline Armageddon. Complete chaos going on in my office. I was being timed, taking the quiz online in real time, so I couldn’t get up and solve it. I just yelled at them over my shoulder and hoped, as they flew over the desk, they wouldn’t hit the keys and put in a wrong answer. I was sure I blew it.

I got 100%.

Maybe I should stop studying! :0

Had to send out a mailing for an organization. They provide the flyer, I send it. Only the flyer they provided was five years old and couldn’t be edited. Talk about one’s head up one’s ass. I will not renew my work with them, once this cycle runs out. There’s too much continual frustration involved.

Started reading a mystery that was so bad, I put it down by page 100. I didn’t care enough about any of these people to find out who did it and why. In fact, I kept wishing the murderer would take out the protagonists, because they were so damned stupid and there was no logic to the story.

Finished material for Confidential Job #1 and have to do the write up today. Worked on material for an editing client that’s taking longer than I expected. Have to edit and send out another article. Have to do my archaeology paper. Have to run errands, and do things like take my mom to the doctor.

The yard is suffering from Vacant Lot Syndrome, but I can’t mow when it’s raining. Shucks. Yes, that is sarcasm!

Have a wonderful start to the month!


Published in: on July 1, 2013 at 6:55 am  Comments (4)  
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