Tues. Nov. 29, 2016: Figuring the Juggling

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
New Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was busy. I wrote in the morning, and finished proofing TRACKING MEDUSA, getting it ready for re-release. It goes out today. Fingers crossed it lands with a good publisher soon.

I figured out where I went wrong on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, so once MEDUSA is all set, I can get back to work on that. I cut the first 203 pages, because I figued out the story really starts on page 204. I need to work in flashback with Alec’s introduction, since he provides plenty of conflict with Justin, but, other than that, the story really starts much farther into it than I originally thought.

The afternoon was spent helping set up the Marine Life Center’s tree in Hyannis for Spectacle of Trees. I’m picking up a few things for it today, but we got a lot done on it.

I’m sorting through the last of the research, so I can finish this last scene on the play, then work on another pass and get it out the door by the end of the week. I still have to find a better title. The working title just doesn’t . . .work. I HAD a title, earlier this year, but I can’t remember it.

Better get going — I want to get some writing done this afternoon, and tonight is HobNob!

Devon

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Published in: on November 29, 2016 at 10:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 29, 2016: Figuring the Juggling  
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Mon. Nov. 28, 2016: Writing Progress

Monday, November 28, 2016
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Week.

I concentrated on letting the broken foot heal and on writing. The play about the 14th century pirate is nearly done and will go out at the end of the week. The proof of TRACKING MEDUSA will be done later today, and it will go out on resubmission tomorrow. Plus, I got some work done on a couple of other projects, including MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC.

I need to do a couple of tweaks to the end of CHOLERIC, and then another batch of queries go out on that, too. Although I think that series will be a challenge for any thing that smacks of corporate structure, since the series breaks so many rules. But I wrote the book (and am developing the series) that I want to read, but can’t find anywhere.

I’ve studied structure, and I have craft, although I intend to keep honing the craft my entire career. When I break rules now, it’s by choice. Unless I’m being paid a VERY high for-hire fee, I’m going to write what I want and stand by it. I’m going to run my career the way I want to, not the way others tell me I “should.”

Participated in the Not Bannon postcard avalanche. It may not do any good, but it’s better than doing nothing.

This week is the set-up for Spectacle of Trees in Hyannis. I’m going to help decorate this afternoon, and we’ll see what the next few days holds for that.

Once the current play is out, I go back to JUST A DROP, because that’s due in a few weeks, and still needs a lot of work.

Tomorrow starts a new moon. Wouldn’t it be nice if, during that time, the Electoral College showed some guts and integrity? They won’t, however. They’re cowards, just like everyone else who is supposed to stand up for us.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on November 28, 2016 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 28, 2016: Writing Progress  
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Happy Thanksgiving

May you enjoy good food, good conversation, and great company with people you love — or at least like!  😉

Have a wonderful holiday.

Published in: on November 24, 2016 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving  

Mon. Nov. 21, 2016: Writing Retreat

Monday, November 21, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

They say we’ll have some snow flurries today. So much for yard work! The weather was so damp and windy the past few days I didn’t get much done.

This will probably be the only time I blog this week, except for a holiday greeting on Thursday. This week is about the writing. I want to dive into it, and stay off most media for the bulk of the week. Check in just enough to make sure the Apocalypse hasn’t started early.

On top of everything else, I broke some bones in my foot on Saturday. The poor toe that keeps getting broken got it again; and also a bone lower down on the side of my foot. I didn’t even break it doing anything interesting. I was merely careless. Can’t even get a good story out of it!

Most of the weekend was spent working on the play about the 14th century female pirate. That’s been pulling at me harder than the 17th century poisoning ring in Italy. So I’m focusing on this one first, then going back to JUST A DROP. I hate the working title I have for this play, and have to come up with a better one. But I’m having fun with the characters, and letting them lead me, in the context, into some interesting places.

This will be only the fifth time in 44 years we have not gone to Maine for Thanksgiving: three years when I lived on the west coast, one year when I was working on Broadway and couldn’t get coverage (I usually had Thanksgiving off and worked Christmas), and this year. We’ve been too sick for too long to feel up to the trip, and with a broken right foot, I can’t go anyway.

Relieved that both DEATH OF A CHOLERIC and PLAYING THE ANGLES are out. I’m prepping TRACKING MEDUSA for resubmission.

I also want to get back to work on THE FIX-IT GIRL, finish the draft, then start revisions. I think it might need less work than some of my other pieces, although I have to decide how explicit I want the love scenes to be.

Mark December 17th on your calendar. I’m doing a holiday jingle party on Facebook with Angela Aarons and Tracy Kincaid. My slot is from 1 to 1:30 PM, EST. There will be giveaways and games, and all kinds of fun stuff.

Don’t worry, I’ll remind you!

Have a lovely holiday week, and I’ll check back in next week!

Devon

Published in: on November 21, 2016 at 9:30 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 21, 2016: Writing Retreat  
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Fri. Nov. 18, 2016: Rolling the Writing Ball

Friday, Nov. 18, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cool

I forgot to post yesterday. I apologize. So this post combines both day’s thoughts.

Busy few days. Got some painting done, some yard work done (but I can’t stay ahead of the leaves).

DEATH OF A CHOLERIC was ready to go out on submission yesterday, but I had file compatibility problems, so it has to go out today instead. However, the completed revisions of PLAYING THE ANGLES went out, and will hopefully be picked up and re-issued soon. I’m going over TRACKING MEDUSA in a few days, and then that will go out the door in search of re-issue, too. HEART-SNATCHER is almost through revisions and will be ready to go on submission either before the end of the year, or just after the first of the year.

I love PLAYING THE ANGLES (what used to be ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT). It’s still one of my favorite books that I’ve written.

I think I’m going to do the Nina Bell books myself; they’re too quirky to make business sense for a traditional publisher. I need to do a new cover in the next few weeks for one of the shorts, and then work on the first Nina and the beginning of the second Nina so that I can release the first one in spring. It makes me laugh (uncomfortably) that a range of time I lived through could now be called “period”.

I found an older novel of mine, that needs about 100 more pages to complete, which I loved, but put away. It’s called THE FIX-IT GIRL, and is set in 1930s Hollywood. I read it yesterday. There’s a lot of good stuff there. I made notes on revisions, and I’ve got an idea of what to do with the last 100 pages. I think I can whip it into shape to be ready for submission by late winter or early spring.

I want to make sure I get through the backlog, and that everything out there is earning its keep!

Did some work on MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC, and also on the sci-fi/fantasy/mystery. and the contemporary play. I need to get back to the contemporary intrigue/romance, and the two historical plays.

I have to stop eating red meat for awhile again; that seems to be what’s been making me sick lately. That happened a few years ago — I had to stop eating red meat for about six months. I’ve eaten too much of it since our company came in September (they were big fans of red meat), and now I’m paying the price. So, back to a lighter diet.

I’ve got to finish up some research on Gilded Age Newport in the next few days and get those books back to the library. I think I need to focus on plot and character for this draft, and then layer in historical detail in the next. I’ve got a decent idea of time and place, but the research is interfering with the story at this point. I need to write the story to see what I have, and then see what needs to change for it to make sense within its historical context, and where my character chooses to break the social norms. That’s one of the themes of the series — that she chooses to break convention, and then has to pay the price.

I’m hoping it clears up a bit in the coming hours, so I can get more yard work done. I mowed the front day before yesterday. It looked good for about five minutes until it filled with leaves again. I still need to do no-man’s land, the terrace, and the meadow, and then start raking the front.

However, I need to take the yard waste and recycling in as soon as the weather clears. It rained off and on yesterday. It’s miserable trying to unload the car and get it all the bins and on the yard waste piles in bad weather. But the garage is about to pop.

I think I’m done painting until spring, unless I paint some of the shells I’ve collected, with an eye to the holidays.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on November 18, 2016 at 9:40 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 18, 2016: Rolling the Writing Ball  
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Mon. Nov. 14, 2016: No Holiday Weekend For Me! Writing!

Monday, November 14, 2016
Full Moon
Sunny and cold

I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. It sure wasn’t a holiday for me.

On Thursday, I started the fifth draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I finished it on Saturday. It’s still got a higher word count than I hoped, but under the absolute “no way in hell” count it had before.

But I’m happy with it. I wrote the book I wanted to read and couldn’t find.

I have a few sentences to tweak, but it’s ready for submission. I wrote the blurb, the query template, and the synopsis. I didn’t even mind writing the synopsis this time, and liked the outcome. I must still be feverish. 😉

But doing all that means I didn’t get JUST A DROP done. Actually, the play about the female pirate (due the same day as JUST A DROP) is pulling me fairly hard. So I might do that one first — I think that will be a one act, and JUST A DROP is definitely full length.

However, the opening of a new play — not connected to any of my deadlines — came to me and I hurried to scribble it down. The working title is IDEAS AND IDENTITY. While that reflect the theme of the play, I think I have to come up with a better title! The rest of the play is percolating — I hope I can keep up!

I got some yard work done — although not enough. Never enough, is it? I painted some more planters and two more tables. The problem with painting is that one thing looks great, and everything else looks dingy, so you keep going.

Most of the pots are put away; most of the outdoor furniture is oiled and put away. I have a few more bits and bobs to do this week, and one more shelf to paint, and then, other than mowing and raking, we are set for the winter.

I have every intention of enjoying the last holiday before the Apocalypse!

Today, I start the mowing, do some more painting, work on MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC (it takes place over Christmas, and I always write better about a season when I’m in it), work on the fantasy novel that came in a dream, and the plays. Plus, I have more edits to do on PLAYING THE ANGLES, so that, too can go out this week.

I made cranberry walnut bread first thing this morning. Hopefully, that’s a positive, productive omen for the coming week. And there’s an amazing full moon tonight. I intend to take advantage of it!

I went back to keeping the phone/social media/email, etc. turned off on Sunday, and it was great. I’d cheated the last few weeks. But the quiet time was wonderful. I want to hold a day of silence each week as long as I can. It lets me refill the creative well, and tap into creativity that gets tamped down by the constant noise.

Have a wonderful week.

Devon

Published in: on November 14, 2016 at 9:53 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 14, 2016: No Holiday Weekend For Me! Writing!  
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Thurs. Nov. 10, 2016: Appropriate Venue, Plans, and Projects

Thursday, November 10, 2016
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

I’ve written a piece about my disgust at the election results, and how it could have been prevented. I’ve been predicting this outcome (due to smugness and apathy) for months and been laughed off as a Cassandra. It’s a case where I hate being proven right.

It’s not appropriate for the blog, and it’s one of the best pieces I’ve written in a long time, so it will find a home elsewhere, and I will concentrate here on writing and life. And now that MA has legalized marijuana, I can stay stoned while we die of radiation poisoning in the upcoming nuclear holocaust. Well, those of us who haven’t been slaughtered by the marauding bands of hate mongers who’ve been given permission to do whatever they want, or those of us dying because all the social services created to support us have been destroyed, or those of us left after being poisoned by the corporations who will have no restraints once the EPA is dismantled. Not that we’ll have any food left, because those same corporation will have killed all the bees. We are about to live a dystopian novel, but there will be no happy ending. Oh, but I said I wasn’t going to talk about it here, didn’t I?

On top of all this, I have the stomach flu, not fun, and slowing me down.

I think I’ll have the fourth draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC done today. I have some tweaking to do on the three final chapters. It’s still too damn long. I can either strip it of what makes it unique and interesting to me in order to fit genre, or I can accept the fact it goes beyond genre, target those markets,  and try to figure out the comparisons I need for the query letter, et al. The mystery element will appeal to those who like Philip R. Craig and Steven Axelrod and Ann Cleeves. The other elements — I have to figure out what they’re like. Although this book is different, because I wrote the book I wanted to read and it wasn’t out there.

I have to get back to the revisions on PLAYING THE ANGLES, too, because I want to send that out early next week. I hope to get a first draft of JUST A DROP done this weekend. It’s a long weekend, and if I’m not spending all of it in the yard, I have no excuses.

I’m juggling several other projects, too, right now: a contemporary action/romance, and two fantasy novels, one of which came to me in a dream. Literally, I dreamed the first few chapters, and I’ve rushed to write them down. I was going to have it happen from three different points of view, but one of the POVS bogs it down, so I’m whittling it back to the POVs of the main male and female protagonists.

Somewhere in all this, I have to get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS. And, as soon as JUST A DROP is finished, I have to work on the pirate play. I also have a radio play to send to Ireland and one to Paris. I want to get as much as possible off my desk before the holidays, plus I have other projects and opportunities to explore that will decide on how I spend the coming months and years. And where.

Tomorrow is Veterans’ Day, and I will do my share to honor veterans. I try to do that every day, in various ways.

Enjoy the long weekend. Hopefully, I can shake off the flu in the next few days.

Devon

Published in: on November 10, 2016 at 11:24 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 10, 2016: Appropriate Venue, Plans, and Projects  

Fri. Nov. 4, 2016: Friday Already?

Friday, November 4, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and mild

I was such a waste of food yesterday, it wasn’t even funny. I did not get much done. A little work on revisions, some procedural research, some Newport research, switching out the spiderweb curtains to the winter curtains, making chocolate walnut butter bread. Not much to show for the day, although the bread is very good!

Just felt out of sorts, and not particularly creative. Realized I have to go back a few chapters in CHOLERIC and fix something else. Again, every time I get frustrated, I remind myself better to catch it now than have it go out with those mistakes. I should have caught some of them in earlier drafts, though.

Put together pitches on a couple of projects, so we’ll see where that goes. Unfortunately, several projects in which I’m involved will be affected by who wins the election next week, so I’m in a holding pattern on a few things, and I’m putting together alternate plans, just in case.

Had a lovely online conversation with author Paige Shelton yesterday. I’m looking forward to her story “A Christmas Tartan” that I downloaded a few days ago, but haven’t yet read. I like her work.

I read Eric R. Asher’s DAYS GONE BAD last night, on the Kindle. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised. The writing is lively and fun, I liked the characters, and Asher made good choices about where to play within the formula and where to break it. I’ll definitely read more of his work.

Some errands to run, and hopefully, it’s warm enough to paint those pieces I need to paint before putting them away for the winter. I’m going to try to oil some of the teak furniture, too, so it has time to dry before I put it away.

And get back to the edits. I have two pieces I need to finish editing and get out on submission before the holiday madness starts, so it doesn’t give me much time. But I need to make sure they’re in the best shape possible BEFORE submission, instead of rushing it just to get it out. That tender balance is always tough.

I can’t believe it’s Friday! If the weather is decent, the weekend means lots of yard work for me; otherwise it’s all edits, all the time.

Have a great one!

Devon

Published in: on November 4, 2016 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 4, 2016: Friday Already?  
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Thurs. Nov. 3, 2016: Learning from What Doesn’t Work

Thursday, November 3, 2016
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and mild

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs, winning the World Series! Great job to the team, and kudos to the fans who stuck by them no matter what.

Ran some errands, did some yard work, and worked on the revisions of CHOLERIC. I’m getting weighed down by procedural details that are peripheral to the main action, but if I get them wrong, it throws off the piece. The reader will feel something’s not right, and then distrust the rest of it. Even in fiction, the trust of the reader and the foundation of fact on which to build the fiction is important. I have some questions out to experts to make sure I can smooth things out, but that’s holding up my progress.

Got a few pages done on MELANCHOLIC, too, but I have to get back to the other projects. I’m firmly in “edit head”, though. I couldn’t get this done if I was worried about Nano.

More editing, yard work, painting, etc. on today’s agenda. I got most of the Samhain decorations packed, but I forgot to take down the curtains, so I’ll have to do it today. I have a ton of laundry backed up that needs attention, too.

Read a novel last night that was interesting from a world-building point of view, but the protag’s love interest was such a moron, I kept hoping she would either get killed, or the protag would wise up and dump her. However, they ended up together. He was overly flawed, too, so I guess it’s better that they got and stayed together, rather than either of them being inflicted on anyone else. But it left me dissatisfied. Also, the pace was uneven, and the different points of view were unbalanced. From a structural standpoint, it was a good lesson, but as a reader, I was disappointed.

Last night’s Ceremony for the Dead was for children; tonight’s is for pets; tomorrow is for those who have no one to mourn for them. This week is always challenging from both an emotional and a stamina standpoint.

But the writing goes on.

Devon

Published in: on November 3, 2016 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 3, 2016: Learning from What Doesn’t Work  
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Wed. Nov. 2, 2016: Listening to Your Work

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cool

Ran errands yesterday morning, including discovering the location of Cape Cod Coffee, which was fun. Had an unfortunate lunch at a highly regarded place that was highly mediocre.

Worked on the revisions of CHOLERIC in the afternoon. Then realized, in the middle of the night, that I made a huge logistical error, so I have to go back six chapters and fix it, and carry it through. So much for making progress! But I’d much rather discover it NOW than once the piece is on submission.

People seem to be happily sailing into Nano this year, and I’m glad. I’m also at peace with not doing it myself. For me, it was the right decision this year.

One of the biggest challenges is learning how to respect the innate rhythm each novel naturally has, while still keeping on track schedule-wise. Before contract, it’s not to hard, since one’s deadlines are one’s own, and you can adjust as necessary. Within a contract, it’s more challenging. You have to stay true to the book’s integrity, but also meet the schedule of the dozens of people who are depending on you to get it done within a finite space of time, so they can do their jobs.

That’s where listening becomes so important. Listening to the team with whom you’re working, of course (and getting EVERYTHING in writing). But also, listening to the book. If you start going off the mark, tonally or in pace, you’ll hear it. That comes with experience.

I read a very disappointing true crime book yesterday. It was written by a supposedly award-winning journalist, but I didn’t see much journalism in it. It was a partisan rant with very little factual evidence set out, sloppy writing, and little to no journalism, much less investigative journalism. Although, looking at for whom the writer supposedly was a “journalist” before, I’m not surprised.

Lots to do today, on many different fronts. I got the outside Samhain decorations put away yesterday. Celebrated Day of the Dead last night, and more ceremonies for the dead. The rest of the decor is packed today, although I still have more ceremonies over the next few nights. Also have to wash out the empty pots, scrub down the deck furniture, oil it, and let it dry before putting it away. I’ll have to repaint one of the plant stands, too, and do quite a bit more yard work before the first snow falls. Bits and pieces, doing it all in bits and pieces, gets it done.

The plays are percolating; hopefully, they will be in shape to put down on paper soon.

Devon

Published in: on November 2, 2016 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 2, 2016: Listening to Your Work  
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Tues. Nov. 1, 2016: Revisions, Samhain, No Nano for Me

November 1, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, but a good one. I got some solid work done on the 4th draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m still worried I’m not cutting enough, but I am making cuts, so we’ll see where we end up. Since the focus of the book is the interweb of relationships and it’s set against the backdrop of the mystery, it’s a little different than a typical, formula mystery.

I also found that I had to write my way a bit into the second book, MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC, to satisfy myself on a few things in CHOLERIC.

I hope you enjoyed “The Possession of Nattie Filmore.” The link is down, and it’s no longer available, but you can take your coupon for the Yuletide comedy “Just Jump in and Fly” and use it until tomorrow.

Got plants repotted and stored either in the garage or found a spot in the house for the winter. The bed between the pines has been tilled and raked and cleaned; it has too much shade to be used for vegetables and herbs next year, but maybe I can put in some lovely shade plants. I still have quite a bit of work to do to get the whole yard to bed for the winter, but I’m getting there. And yes, there is still mowing that needs to happen!

Samhain was fun yesterday. The little kids were adorable, and they found the house delightful. The older girls were mostly dressed as superheroes, but will elaborately beaded and feathered masks. Gorgeous! A neighbor and I were the only ones participating in Halloween, which is kind of a shame. But it was fun.

Samhain ritual was good last night, too. It was the first time I’d done a formal ritual with all the bells and whistles, rather than a spontaneous one. I’m glad I did. Lots of work to do for the coming year! Lots of changes coming.

Baked “Day of the Dead” bread this morning — good stuff. Although I’m not a big fan of anise, I liked it here.

I have errands this morning, and then it’s back to the revisions, and, hopefully, doing some more writing, both on the prose and the plays. I am NOT participating in Nano this year –it will derail too much. But I wish everyone who’s doing it success and the joy of the process!

Devon

Published in: on November 1, 2016 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 1, 2016: Revisions, Samhain, No Nano for Me  
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