Wed. June 29, 2016: Non-Negotiable – Back Off When I’m on Deadline!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Very tired and extremely crabby.

The trip to the Newport Flower Show on Saturday was gorgeous. The weather was perfect, they know how to organize – you’d think they were New Yorkers! 😉 Actually, a lot of them probably are. It was perfect – beautiful, well-run, everyone was nice. It was beautiful.

Thank goodness for the break, because the rest of the weekend was intense.

The writing deadlines are bearing down on me. I want to make it clear that I have NOT been procrastinating – I’m working as much as I can as fast as I can. But they are all around the same time, and I’m juggling flaming chainsaws.

I can do it, but only if people RESPECT the fact that I am on deadline, this is NOT a hobby, this is my career, and when I say I’m not available for whatever the latest demand is, it is NOT negotiable.

Back the fuck off.

All you do by making continuous, nagging demands is anger me. Every time you nag me, you go to the bottom of the list. I don’t care how important it is to you. I warned you all for weeks that this was crunch time for me; I met my obligations to you up to this point. This is MY time, for my work.

Understand this: the writing ALWAYS comes FIRST. ALWAYS.

I will deal with you when I have met my deadlines, and I will deal with those first who have nagged me least.

If you continue to nag, chances are that I will end my association with you completely.

Because if you get in the way of the writing, you are excommunicated from my universe. This is non-negotiable.

Writing-wise, it was a productive weekend, but that doesn’t make the deadline pressure any less intense. The radio plays are going well. INITIATE is on fire. I’ve written over 200 pages of it over the past two weeks, and it soars. I decided that I still hated every version of the new opening chapters of CHARISMA KILLINGS, tore them apart, and have started over. Since the whole damn book is due on the 8th of July, that makes things intense. I can do it, but only if those around me respect the boundaries. And those around me who do not respect those boundaries will get their heads ripped off if they interfere.

The writing is going well, but there is only so much I can sustain without cooking my brain. The breaks are short, and they are just that – breaks to refill the creative well and dig back down again. Not breaks to accommodate something YOU want me to do.

The book is due July 8th and that following weekend will need me to clean up the radio plays and the stage play and keep going on INITIATE. I expect to be coherent to people who aren’t characters in my book by about the 13th of July.

I will post progress reports here between now and then, and be on social media a little bit, but not as often as usual. Other than that – radio silence.

That is non-negotiable.

Published in: on June 29, 2016 at 9:47 am  Comments (1)  

Fri. June 24, 2016: Bouncing Back

Friday, June 24, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was awfully down in the dumps early in the day yesterday, really blue. But then, things turned around. I got the basic information sorted out so I can write the proposal for our participation in fall’s ArtWeek Boston event. I also scored an outstanding speaker for later in the summer – we have to finalize dates, but it’s terrific. I took a risk and it paid off.

Exhausted when I got home. Ate dinner on the deck. Spent far too much time texting back and forth with an actor/musician friend whose band is currently touring Eastern Europe. We hadn’t caught up in a few months, and we needed to dissect life, the universe, and everything. He’s trying to talk me into trying my hand at song lyrics. Not for awhile – too many deadlines looming! 😉

Today will be a long day with a great deal that needs to be accomplished. This event, we have a fundraiser, so I lose four or five hours of much-needed writing time.

Tomorrow, I’m off on an adventure – will share next week.

Then, it’s digging in to the writing for three days, flat out. I plan to be ruthless about not allowing interruptions, although I’ll do yard work in between writing sessions.

I had a good writing session first thing this morning, so it started the day off on a positive note.

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on June 24, 2016 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 24, 2016: Bouncing Back  
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Thurs. June 23, 2016: Battling Frustration

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a long and discouraging day. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.

It was a frustrating writing day as well – very little writing done in the morning, and less than a page done during lunch. I just deleted a paragraph of frustration that is inappropriate to vent publicly.

Home, exhausted. It was beautiful out. Had a martini on the deck, and we even ate dinner out there. Got a little bit of work done in the evening, but not enough, and fell into bed, exhausted.

Woke up exhausted.

Got some notes done on an upcoming writing section, but that’s it.

Today will be another long day. I have to get a lot done this evening. Tomorrow will be even longer, because of the fundraiser after regular hours.

The weather is supposed to be beautiful this weekend, which is good, because I have an adventure planned on Saturday, and then I’m digging in for three days of intensive writing.

Because, especially right now, if it interferes with the writing, it is put aside. No negotiation.



Published in: on June 23, 2016 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 23, 2016: Battling Frustration  

Wed. June 22, 2016: The Writing Fugue

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I will be so glad when this Mars retrograde is done. It has kicked my ass.

Saturday’s house & garden tour went well – people seemed to enjoy it. Things were busy. I stayed after the library closed and got some work done, and then went over to the play. It was cute, although I wasn’t really sure while all these Cape Codders were speaking in a southern accent.

Home, writing. Wrote all day Sunday, all day Monday, all day Tuesday. 100 pages in longhand, finishing a major section of INITIATE. Worked on the radio plays – trying to figure out as much in advance so that I can get what I need to in the ten minute limit. Developed a logline and quick pitch for the potential new series that the actor pal wants to send to his producer pal. These projects can take years to develop – so I stepped up, did my part, delivered what and when I said I would, and we’ll see what happens from there.

Was asked to return to an organization I left about a year ago; not going to do so. It would simply be yet another drain on my time, and people expecting me to put their demands before my own writing, which I am not willing to do. I tried working with them, and they were detrimental to my writing, not supportive of it; therefore, no.

This will be another long week, with long days at the library, and then, on Friday night, our Casino night fundraiser. On Saturday, I’m headed out to the flower show.

I hit up the wholesale nursery on Sunday and got some great plants, and then hit Country Gardens to get potting soil and a few other things. I mowed a lot, and put down more fertilizer, but there’s still a lot to do.

I’m behind where I want to be on CHARISMA KILLINGS, so that is where the bulk of my focus needs to be for the next few weeks. Somehow, everything will get done!


Fri. June 17, 2016: Happy for My Friends’ Successes

Friday, June 17, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was busy. The Red Sox program was a hit (no pun intended), and the peanuts and Cracker Jack snacks popular. Then there was work to be done on tomorrow’s Tour de Force, along with all the regular library stuff.

When we closed, I headed off to Falmouth, to the awards dinner. I had three sets of directions – all of which were wrong. What should have taken 29 minutes took an hour and a half. I finally pulled into a fire station and the fireman on duty helped me. Because, you know, when you need help, you can always count on firemen! 😉

Seriously, he gave me clear, simple directions, and I had no problem finding the place.

The dinner itself was lovely. It turned out that I knew four of the honorees! The food was good, the drink was good, the ceremony was good. All around, a lovely evening.

Another friend was featured on CHRONICLE last night for her book on the Lizzie Borden case. I’m so pleased for her!

Working on the short radio plays – I hope to have a solid draft done this weekend. Also did some work on INITIATE. I have some serious work to do on CHARISMA this weekend, too.

However, tomorrow I’m working extra hours – we have an event partnered with the historical society. I’ve been invited to what sounds like a really cool event tonight, but I’m not sure I have the energy. Still, it might be fun . . .

I have to see how I feel later in the day.

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on June 17, 2016 at 8:21 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 17, 2016: Happy for My Friends’ Successes  
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Thurs. June 16, 2016: Opportunity Knocked. I Said Yes

Thursday, June 16, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Long, difficult day yesterday. There are decisions being made beyond the control of those who should be making them that affect us negatively.

But we survived.

Two pieces of disappointing news yesterday, which discouraged me. One could easily be shrugged off; the other, not so much. The second had to do with nepotism and favoritism, not talent, but there are also consequences, especially since my motto this cycle is “reciprocity.” Once I reminded myself of that, I cheered up.

I have my tickets for next weekend, for the flower show in Newport. That should be fun.

I’m also judging another Indie book contest, invited by one of my former book review editors. Just got my first manuscript, and will turn it around over the weekend.

A terrific opportunity landed on my desk yesterday, for a pair of short radio plays. The genre is WAAY out of my comfort zone – horror. I write dark sometimes, but I don’t write horror. I don’t get the cathartic jolt out of horror that so many do, and I often avoid it – in reading, on screen. I mean, we’re living our own horror show with Donald Trump right now, what could be worse than that? No, I’m not kidding. I don’t have anything I can use – it would have to be new. At first, I thought I was out of my mind to even contemplate adding anything else to the roster, considering the deadline pressure I’m under with CHARISMA KILLINGS, “Just a Drop”, and INITIATE. But this opportunity is delicious.

At first, I thought, “no, can’t add any more in.” Then, an actor acquaintance I met over social media starting encouraging me. I’d think he was being selfish, but he’s far more well known than I am and certainly doesn’t need to be in one of my pieces (although I’d love it if he was).

Suddenly, I got an idea for a pair of companion pieces, each short, each so far out there it made me queasy even to outline them. But then, thinking about how I could make them work technically – well, let’s just say that I’ve gotten both of them roughed out in my head, and it shouldn’t take too long to put them on paper.

I would be a fool to blow this chance.  When a genuine opportunity comes along in one’s field, you don’t make excuses not to do it.  You step up and deliver.

Tired last night, and went to bed far, far too early. Nearly overslept. But I managed to pay some bills and do a run to Trader Joe’s.

We have a program this morning, a meeting this afternoon, and I’m attending an awards dinner for a friend.

Meanwhile, the plays live and grow in my head. . .The actors are going to have a ball with them.


Published in: on June 16, 2016 at 8:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 16, 2016: Opportunity Knocked. I Said Yes  
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Wed. June 15, 2016: Running on Fumes

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Saturday seems like a long time ago. I spent most of the days between Saturday and today writing. Some of it was outlining, because what happens a couple of books down affects how situations and characters are set up in what I’m writing now. I was happy to be deep in the work, but it’s exhausting.

Monday morning, I had a Board meeting in Buzzards Bay, then found a couple of dresses for upcoming events. I’d reached the dress shop early, so I sat in the car and wrote until it was open.

Yesterday, I wrote a complex chapter – it’s a long chapter, it took all day. It wrung out my characters both physically and emotionally, but it sets the stage, especially for one character, for the rest of his life. I was wiped out by the end of the day, too. I think readers will love it – I hope so, anyway.

It was quite the weekend, apart from writing: Creator won the Belmont Stakes, the Pittsburgh Penguins won Lord Stanley’s Cup, and the Tony Awards were on. I got so emotional during the Tonys – this year, in particular, they showed how art can change the world for the better. Especially in wake of the horrific mass shooting in Orlando.

The only reason to purchase the type of weapon currently called “assault” is to kill a human being. You can’t hunt food with it. It is NOT for protection. It is a choice to commit pre-meditated murder, even if the target has not yet been chosen. There is no place for them in a civilized society. But any society that takes Donald Trump seriously isn’t civilized.

A situation I believed was resolved reared its ugly head again. Not only was the wound re-opened (metaphorically), I discovered it festered. It will need to be drained and cauterized. I thought I was at peace with the whole thing, but I’m not.

Not a good start to the week, which will be extremely busy, but I hope I can find blocks of time to descend into the writing and make progress. I’m exhausted, on many levels, and feel like I’m out of resources.


Published in: on June 15, 2016 at 9:16 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 15, 2016: Running on Fumes  
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Sat. June 11, 2016: The Delightfully Clever Film PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES

Saturday, June 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was busy – lots of processing/receiving/scheduling, et al.

Wrote on my lunch break, which was good, because it lessened the tension of the scenes that built up over the morning.

Home exhausted. Got a bit of writing done after dinner, but not much; had to do the baking for today’s program.

Watched PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES. I did not expect to like it at all, and I liked it A LOT. It was clever, it was funny, it was deeply rooted in the source material. I’d wanted to see it because Matt Smith and Lena Headey were in it, and I always like their work. But everyone was great – the details were so sharp and so fluid, and it was so well done! Lily James and Sam Riley were exceptional. Riley found a way to inhabit Darcy that was neither an imitation of Colin Firth’s interpretation nor a fight against it – he found his own way, he was rooted in what he was doing, and he WAS. The argument/fight scene between Lizzie and Darcy was both funny and brilliant—choreography, writing, execution. What a wonderful surprise!

Didn’t get much writing done this morning. I’m approaching a difficult sequence in INITIATE, where I’m based in some known mythology, but I’ve spun it out to fit the world I’ve built. It’s so bizarre to hold the whole series in my head, and create each scene knowing not only how it drives the specific volume, but the overall series arc.

I have a long day today – it wouldn’t be my Saturday “on”, but I’m covering, and there are two events, plus more books arrived after I’d done the processing yesterday.

Over the weekend, of course, I have to tackle mowing the meadow. But I’ll also be juggling the CHARISMA rewrites, the next sequence in the play set in 17th Century Italy, and this next sequence in INITIATE.

I’ve got an NMLC Board meeting Monday, and something scheduled for almost every night next week. Somehow, I have to hold back enough energy to stay on track with the writing.

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on June 11, 2016 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Sat. June 11, 2016: The Delightfully Clever Film PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES  
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Fri. June 10, 2016: So I Wrote

Friday, June 10, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy yesterday. It’s especially difficult, because I’m split – I’m doing what I have to do to function, but there’s a solid part of me that’s living in the writing. No matter what I’m saying or doing, there’s the part of me that’s working on plot, character development, scenes. It’s not my preferred way of working – whatever I’m doing, I like to DO, to commit to fully – but the writing consumes me, and must come first.

Wrote on my lunch break, which gave some relief and some focus.

Spectacle of Trees meeting in the afternoon went well. It’s such a wonderful group of people, and working on this event is so life-affirming every year. It makes you believe that there are still good people around.

I didn’t have to go back to work after, so I went home – and wrote. Wasn’t in the mood for television last night. So I wrote.

Didn’t sleep well last night, but up early this morning. And wrote.

Just as I walked out the door to the meeting yesterday, a large shipment of books arrived. So my day today will consist of processing/receiving new books and getting them out on the shelves or ready for Tuesday release.

Tomorrow will be double my normal Saturday “on” because there are two events here, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

In and around that – I will write.

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on June 10, 2016 at 8:08 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 10, 2016: So I Wrote  
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Thurs. June 9, 2016: Split Focus

Thursday, June 09, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a long day, but it was fine. Books, DVDs, serials to process, PR for upcoming events, backing up the front desk, all that good stuff.

I wrote on my lunch break (I don’t usually do that here). Not much, but it settled me.

Exhausted when I got home, had practical things to deal with. Didn’t sleep well – too many scenes running through my head.

Bad writing morning – as in, couldn’t make the scene work. Boring as crap – will have to toss it and start over. It happens sometimes. I hate writing when I have to be aware of the time and being somewhere else at X time.

Some people like to write in short spurts. My best work is done when I have periods of uninterrupted, unstructured time.

Heard from another old friend from college – again, someone so important to my creative development. It was good to hear from him.

Got the details of my July adventure sorted out – looking forward to it.

Reading a book by an author where I’ve read a good deal of her work and find it hit and miss. This newest book, in my opinion, is a miss. Interesting premise, poor execution.

Got everything organized for next Monday’s board meeting at the Marine Life Center.

Looking forward to hearing how the performances of the radio play went. Looking forward even more to hearing it!

Today will be another long day; hard to focus with the book calling me. So I guess I’ll be up pretty late tonight, getting down what’s formulating in my head during the day.


Published in: on June 9, 2016 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 9, 2016: Split Focus  

Wed. June 8, 2016: The Real World Feels Less Real Than My Fictional Worlds

Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy days. I’m disoriented. I’ve been very deep in the writing these past few days. So deep that when I stop, my house and everything around me looks unfamiliar. It’s good – I’m happy with the work and I love being that deep in the work – but it’s difficult to be out of the work at all.

Most of the work has been on INITIATE, although I’m restructuring and rewriting CHARISMA and working on the play at the same time. INITIATE, as usual, swallows me whole whenever I’m in it. I love these characters so much, even when they break my heart.

I got some of the mowing done – the front and side yards look good. The meadow still looks abandoned, but the front and side yards were the most important. Got all the garbage to the dump, got the new recycling sticker. Chop wood, carry water.

I also managed to reconnect with a couple of close college friends. One of them, I’m in semi-regular touch with; the other, I hadn’t spoken to for about twenty years or so, but we picked up right where we left off, which was great. There’s one more I contacted – we’ll see if I hear back. We were all such an integral and intense part of each others’ creative development in our early twenties.

I attended a seminar yesterday afternoon in my capacity as a Board Member. A friend was there, too, and we would up going to Sam Diego’s to catch up. Good practice for me to interact with an actual human being instead of a fictional one before I had to re-enter the world today.

This will be a long workweek for me, and I have to make sure I don’t lose the writing momentum. But, somehow, I will figure it all out. I’m looking forward to Mars going direct at the end of the month and getting some of my energy back.

I have two adventures coming up in the coming weeks, which should be fun. I’ll share them when I can.

The first performance of the radio play “Broken Links” went off last night; tonight is the second. I’m waiting on pins and needles to hear how it went.

Have a great week.


Published in: on June 8, 2016 at 9:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 8, 2016: The Real World Feels Less Real Than My Fictional Worlds  
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Sat. June 4, 2016: Writing and Longing

Saturday, June 04, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a blur. We were two short at work, so it was crazy/busy. But we handled it.

Plus, I had the details of the “Plot Bunnies” release. When I got home last night, I had to update the “Stories” page on this blog, and the various pages on the website. I have to put together a media kit for the piece, too, and get a press release out next week.

Meanwhile, I need to get going on the edits for “Personal Revolution”, and I need to think about getting another Topic Workbook out.

I started digging into the revisions on CHARISMA KILLINGS (new title still to be finalized with my agent). It feels right – I think I’ve got it on track. As long as I don’t get overwhelmed by the way I need to shuffle the pieces, I’ll be fine.

But I’m behind on the play, “Just a Drop”, and on SONGBOUND SISTERS, which I can’t drop, especially since I’m in the running for a grant for it. And INITIATE has been pulling very, very, VERY hard.

Of course, there are other demands on my time, and I’m hitting a point where I need to do another reassessment and get ruthless again. If it interferes with the writing instead of supports it, it has to go.

I’m also missing Scotland an awful lot. I’m missing it so badly it’s manifesting as physical pain. I need to find a way to get there next year or so. I’d just posted about it on Facebook and a writer friend plans to go to Scotland next July. So that’s something to plan toward. Ask and there it is!

Started thinking about an old friend this morning, and am trying to track him down. We lost touch even before I left NY – while I was still working on Broadway.

Once I’m done here, it’s back to the page. I’m eager for it, looking forward to it, craving it. There’s a lot to do, and the byword for the summer is “time management.”

I’m already over the summer people and wish they’d go away. I love the PLACE of the Cape, I feel connected to the land and sea, but it’s gotten too crowded. I need more quiet.

Lots to think about, but I also don’t want to make decisions when I’m feeling so unsettled. Once I get the strands of work sorted out and back in their grooves (so I can properly groove each day as I write), I will then be in a position to make rational decisions.

Have a great weekend.


Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release

Plot Bunnies Cover 1

Friday, June 03, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a long day, but fine.

Once work was done, we settled on the cover for “Plot Bunnies”, gave it a final going-over – which meant a couple of last-minute revisions. Much easier in this format than in most manuscript galleys, where I wouldn’t have been able to change anything. But this was important, because I may well do more stories with these characters. I reworked the end scene, and fixed something early on that sets up a good deal of the when and why. I also came up with a series title: Twinkle Tavern Mysteries.

This morning, “Plot Bunnies”, under the Ava Dunne name, released via Smashwords. You can purchase a copy for only 99 cents here.

This has to do with the platform building I’m doing for the Ava Dunne name, so that if and when my agent sells the series she’s got, I’ve already got a foundation.

Now, I have to go into edits for “Personal Revolution”, because that has to go to galleys and be ready to go by the end of the month.

This morning, I managed to start getting the rewrite for CHARISMA on paper – new opening sequence. I like it, although I have to massage it a bit. It’s still first drafty. But it feels good to be actually putting words on paper again, after a week of percolating. I know where I’m headed and am looking forward to both the journey and the destination. I’m hoping for a solid writing weekend, even though it’s my Saturday “on” tomorrow.

We’re down two people at work, so I have no doubt it will be very busy. It already has been.

But I hope you enjoy “Plot Bunnies”. I’m very fond of the piece and its characters.

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on June 3, 2016 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release  
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