Fri. Sept. 29, 2017: If You Don’t Respect the Value of Your Work, Why Should Anyone Else?

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Friday, September 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny/cool

Yesterday was about sending out pitches and preparing SAVASANA AT SEA to go off to the publisher today.

I can’t believe PLAYING THE ANGLES releases on Monday! Excited and nervous all at once.

So, fixed the problem in the first chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA (that goes in the back of SAVASANA), fixed a few errors, and SAVASANA goes off today.

Also went over the manuscript of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, which is going to an additional distributor — all the Topic Workbooks will, eventually. I want to get them on Amazon and into libraries.

That goes out today, too.

There’s been an editorial change at one of my regular gigs. I wish the editor himself had told me, instead of sending out a merry message about assignment distribution a few days ago, and then we get another message yesterday that he’s gone. He should have told us himself (unless he was unexpectedly fired).

I people’d yesterday, went out for the first time in too long, to a lecture sponsored by the Writers Center at Hyannis Library. It’s been nearly two years since I did anything with this group — can’t believe how the time has flown! Saw only a handful of familiar faces, met plenty of new and interesting people.

However, there were some annoyances, based in the typical attitude around here that what we do (writing) has no value. Three exchanges.

The first was with a board member, who talked to me about stepping in occasionally to interview authors. She said the interviews take place on Friday afternoons “when most people work.”

Um, what I do isn’t work? I beg to differ.

Second was with another writer. We talked about our writing, and he said, “What do you do for a living?”

Me: Write.

Man: I mean, your day job.

Me: Write.

Man: I mean, how do you make money?

Me: Write.

His incredulity was quite insulting.

Third encounter, I was talking to a lovely woman who happened to be friends with the former partner of someone I knew in New York. We had a great conversation about this, that and the other, and talked about writing. She dismissed the writing she does for companies and non-profits as “not real writing.”

Um, no. It IS real writing, it’s a specific skill, and deserves to be valued.

Until we value our own work, no one else has any reason to value it, either.

I was sitting with a lovely man who lives in New York, near where I grew up, and has a house in Falmouth. He’s writing a book about Ireland, during the famine. It sounds quite wonderful. He didn’t know one could rent from the National Trust, so I gave him the information.

Figures I’d connect with a fellow New Yorker. No insults about day jobs or writing not being work from him!

Anyway, the speaker was quite wonderful — an historian. I got some great ideas for better note-taking when I research, and I’m very excited to read his books. His name is John Cumbler, and the book I’m most interested to read is FROM ABOLITION RIGHTS TO RIGHTS FOR ALL: THE MAKING OF A REFORM COMMUNITY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

All in all, it was a good evening, and I’m glad I went. But those encounters with people who don’t value what they do and what we, as a writing community do, are disturbing. This attitude is one of the biggest disappointments about living in this area. I thought I was moving to a progressive community that supported artists — not just by talking about how much they support arts, but by making it possible for artists to live and work with dignity. That is, unfortunately, not the case. If you come in with money and a best seller, they fall all over you. If you actually want to live here and work, you’re looked at as though something must be wrong with you, or you “couldn’t make it” elsewhere. Which is simply not the case. Writers (and many other types of artists) can and should work anywhere that calls to them.

A community that does not support its artists (and that includes financially) is doomed to ignorance and lack of progress. And, eventually, will fail in all other respects as well. Because artists are visionaries. They not only bear witness to the good and bad of current society, they hold the lessons of history, and they envision what the future can be — both good and bad.

Anyway, today is about errands and then pitches, work on some articles, getting both book manuscripts out, working on prepping the SERIES BIBLE manuscript for this other distributor, working on the books I have to review.

I’m having coffee with an artist friend this afternoon, which should be fun. Yes, I’m peopling two days in a row. It may take me days to recover!

I also have to do a big push on the FIX IT GIRL today, do the sections set in San Simeon, since those books have arrived, and start figuring out how I’m going to structure the Lavinia Fontana play.

I know I want to root it in how the nobles’ wives created the opportunities for her to compete for commissions with the male artists, but I have to figure out the details. I also know she will be pregnant in the play, as she was pregnant for much of her working life. I don’t want to have actual children on stage (not practical), but will use sound effects.

I’ve got some research for the novel within the MARRIAGE GARDEN, and I need to use those books and get them back.

Have a great weekend!

Don’t forget — PLAYING THE ANGLES releases on Monday! Woo-hooo!

 

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Published in: on September 29, 2017 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 29, 2017: If You Don’t Respect the Value of Your Work, Why Should Anyone Else?  
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Thurs. Sept. 28, 2017: Manuscript Prep/Release Prep

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Thursday, September 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and humid

We’re getting the very light fringes of Hurricane Maria today. Again, I’m grateful it’s not as bad as it hit elsewhere.

Busy morning sending out short stories and pitches. Fixed a few logistical lapses and smoothed out a conversation in SAVASANA that started, but didn’t really go anywhere.

Reading REAL ARTISTS DON’T STARVE by Jeff Goins. A lot of it is common sense cheerleading, but he also reminded me of some things I’ve let fall by the wayside. He also has two quotes I’d like to use in an upcoming article, so I have to contact him and see if he’ll grant permission.

Sent off additional requested information to one potential client, who responded quickly and positively, so we’ll see where we go from here; heard back from another potential client asking for more info, which will go out today.

I’m frustrated with many of the publications for writers because they only cater to beginners or hobbyists, rather than to steadily working writers. I’d discussed this with one of the publication’s editors several years ago, and we’d talked about working together on that topic, but then she left the publication. So much for that. But I’m considering putting together a survey to ask working writers what they miss in various publications that are supposed to motivate and inspire writers. I’m not sure if I’ll use results in an article or a proposal or what; at this point, I want to see what the frustration level is from working writers.

The tax reform plan put forth by the GOP is another atrocity. Tax cuts for the rich; removing deductions from people who actually work for a living, instead of the parasites who keep their workers in poverty. Under this plan, most people who work for a living will pay twice on their earnings, instead of being able to deduct the state taxes from their federal returns. It is designed to push this country further into a state of feudalism and is the GOP wet dream.

We do need tax reform; I sent a proposal to my representatives. It’s far more balanced across the boards, saves people money AND pays for those savings by more equitable distribution by using actual, relevant math and ratios.

Plenty to do today and limited time to get it done. I better get going then, hadn’t I?

 

Published in: on September 28, 2017 at 8:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 28, 2017: Manuscript Prep/Release Prep  
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Wed. Sept. 27, 2017: Writing, Working Artists, and Social Media Paradox

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and muggy

PLAYING THE ANGLES releases next Monday. The buy links are here. Pre-sales make a huge difference; but, whenever you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it!

Apologies for not posting yesterday. I ran errands early early in the morning, and then I was wiped out for the day. It’s been a stressful time.

I dealt with life stuff, and I finished read John Scalzi’s THE GHOST BRIGADES, which I also loved. Learned a lot from it; I love both his structure and his narrative drive.

Monday, I’d finished the proofread/revision of SAVASANA AT SEA. I have to fix one scene in the last third and add one piece of information at the end. I want to do another pass at the first chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA. Then, I’ll put all the pieces together, and hopefully get it to my editor tomorrow.

I’ve been writing the outline of DAVY JONES DHARMA in my head, and will get it on the page during the next day or two. This morning, I had ideas for the third book in the series, tentatively titled MARINE MUDRA MURDERS, and jotted them down. One of the cats woke me at 3:30 because she wanted attention and then went back to sleep, so my brain had time to percolate.

I have requested material to put together for a potential gig, and work to do on articles, an essay, and a couple of short stories. And I need to work on the books I have for review. Hopefully, after yesterday’s day off, I can attack it with energy today.

I seem to have gone back to having a floating day off, instead of a fixed one. Hey, whatever works. That’s why I freelance.

A part-time artist was tweeting yesterday about how, because he has a day job, he can focus on quality. I found that insulting. The insinuation is that if art is how you make your living, if you actually earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, you must be a hack, create crap, and not care about quality. He then amended it to say he meant “passion” instead of “quality”, which is equally insulting. I don’t take on gigs I don’t find interesting, intriguing, a challenge in a positive way. In fact, I’ve turned down plenty of big money gigs because I found the company’s position on issues revolting.

Even though he didn’t post the words “if you’re paid you must make crap”, that was the subtext. He was trying to make himself and his own work superior to those PROFESSIONALS who are good enough TO EARN A LIVING AT IT.

Think about that for a minute. A part-time hobbyist claims superiority over those who are professionals in the field.

There are plenty of people who have a day job and create good material. Many of them love their day jobs. They love their art. They look at it as holding down two jobs. Some of them are working towards creating full time and leaving the day job. Others are happy with things the way they are. Good for them. But it doesn’t mean that those who earn a living at it aren’t good at what they do. Quite the opposite. Even though “good” is often subjective. Perhaps “skilled” is a better term.

However, this is someone with whom I cross paths on Twitter, for crying out loud. Not someone I spend a lot of time communicating with, or someone who is relevant in my actual life. Did I find his comments insulting? Of course, as any working artist would. It wasn’t an attack on me personally, but it was an attack on the full-time artist and his circle of full-time artist friends to whom the tweet was originally directed — who happens to make more money than I’ve ever seen in my life AT HIS ART AND CRAFT.

This part-timer is not part of my life, so in the bigger scheme of things, who care? I sure as heck am not going to be buying any of his work any time soon. Especially since he’s got a day job, doesn’t need the money, and boasts about it. I’d rather support artists who need the sale to keep a roof over their heads, and I would hope they do the same for me.

I made a couple of comments in response, including the fact that earning a living and creating quality work AND having passion for it aren’t mutually exclusive. And that’s it. He’s not worth my time. It’s like a mosquito. Annoying, you slap it, but it doesn’t define the rest of your life unless it gives you West Nile or something.

It was disappointing to hear that kind of crap from a fellow creator. I’ve grown to expect it from the general public, especially from those who never had the guts to dig in and follow their dreams, and therefore feel the need to punish those with the courage to take the risk.

But I’d rather put my energy into creating my own work and promoting the work of those I like and respect than engaging in a battle with someone who, in the grander scheme of things, does not matter to me. I’ve acknowledged my irritation and anger (rather than suppressing it). I’ve expressed it, without trashing this individual by name publicly, and now it’s time to move on.

Therein lies a paradox of social media. I’ve gotten to know some terrific people. I’ve crossed paths with many others, many of whom leave each other in peaceful co-existence. We can support each other and encourage each other and work to make the world a better place (as the defeat of the latest GOP Deathcare Bill proves). But sometimes, poison arrows strike, and you have to remove them and disinfect the wound.

Things can get out of proportion. You have to ask, “Who is this person in relation to my life?” Sometimes, it’s a person with value, and you figure a way to work things out. Discuss it; perhaps the words were not well-chosen and the intent was not what it seems. People speak without thinking, off the cuff, are unintentionally cruel. Part of being human. When it’s on social media, it’s forever (even with a delete key). Sometimes the cruelty is intentional. So we all have to work to keep perspective. Decide how much room we give each other; decide when to work on forgiveness; decide when to excommunicate someone from our universe.

It’s an example of how social media can be a blessing or a curse, and is usually, on any given day, a mixture.

I still think the slime in the GOP that make pond scum look like leading lights are going to try to pull some last minute crap with their Deathcare Bill Friday night or on Saturday. Fingers crossed they don’t.

I’m also disgusted at the lack of aid sent to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It’s been more than a week. There are machines like planes and high-powered vessels that could be bringing in supplies and making a difference. I know New York and MA have sent help, but two states can’t fix it all.

If it was an island full of rich white people, help would have been there the day after the storm.

This, while cabinet members spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on unnecessary private jets. I refuse to have my tax dollars used for that. I want a refund. They should have to reimburse the taxpayers from out of their own pockets.

Back to the page. Plenty to do. Onward!

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Published in: on September 27, 2017 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 27, 2017: Writing, Working Artists, and Social Media Paradox  
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Mon. Sept. 25, 2017: Writing Weekend

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Monday, September 25, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

After a week, the sun finally peeked out yesterday afternoon. Eight gloomy days — it was nice to have a little light.

Urgent meeting this morning, so I’m late getting on line today. Apologies. In general, I’m still difficult to reach.

Don’t forget — PLAYING THE ANGLES releases NEXT MONDAY! I can’t believe it. I’m excited and nervous. You can find all sorts of buy links here.

Busy weekend, mostly writing. I worked and re-worked the first chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA, the second Nautical Namaste Mystery, until I was happy and excited with it. Worked on front and back matter for the book — almost done. A bit more research, a few more links, and I can add it in.

Doing another proofread of the SAVASANA AT SEA manuscript, and then I’ll put in all the extras, and of it goes to the editor and publisher for its final tweaks. I had hoped to get the entire manuscript re-proofed, along with doing the front matter and the website matter and the series bible information, but it’s slow going when it’s all in tandem. Still, it’s easier and more efficient than doing multiple passes.

I’m also irritated because changes I’ve made multiple times in the manuscript didn’t save properly, and I keep having to go back and put them in again.

Now, while I’m in the throes of DHARMA, I want to outline the whole book, so when it comes back up in the writing queue, I haven’t lost the energy and momentum I’ve built doing the first chapter.

Worked on material for the Nautical Namaste website, too. I still have a couple of pieces for PLAYING THE ANGLES to add over the next couple of weeks on the Coventina Circle website, but I also wanted to get the Nautical Namaste website up to speed.

Also got a bit over 3K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. Pretty soon, I have to stop and type up what I have, or I’ll never catch up. I like working in longhand for this particular book.

Reading Steinbeck’s journal, I got irritated that the person he wrote the journal TO — I don’t remember if it was his agent or editor — Steinbeck expected this individual to provide him with boxes of pencils and the notebooks to write the book! That struck me as typically entitled male — a woman would just go out and buy the supplies her own damn self. It’s not like he couldn’t afford it at the time. It irked me.

Read Claire Tomalin’s biography of Katherine Mansfield. I admire some of her writing, but everything I learn about her makes me glad I never knew her. (Not that I was even alive when she was). Nasty piece of work.

I believe in putting one’s art first, but I don’t believe in being horrible to other people, on the pretext of being an “artist”. Most of the best at their art and craft I’ve known over the years are also decent human beings.

It begs the interesting question of where does one draw the line between protecting oneself to do one’s art and engaging with the world? Because there are always parasites who prey on artists, and it’s important not to let them feed off one. At the same time, when people are kind to one and help one, showing basic human courtesy in return isn’t too much to ask.

So, out of the nasty human beings who created beautiful art/music/literature, whose work would we have been better without?

I don’t have the answers, but when I have a few extra minutes not on deadline and am reading biographies of other artists, I sometimes like to ponder the question.

Sunday was also spent getting the plants we’d sheltered against the house back out, and putting out the tomatoes, etc. that we’d taken inside back out. The geraniums got infested with something nasty, so we’re trying to save them. Have to wash and disinfect a few things.

Some of what we took in will stay in; some we will slowly wash over the next few weeks and put away. The tomatoes still need sun so they can ripen.

I have to oil the teak furniture before it comes in. That always takes a few days, and it’s better to do when it’s drier, not so humid.

Lots to do today, catching up on the time lost in this meeting. Long list. Then, back to the manuscript to finish the proofread. I’ve got some articles and essays to work on this week, and some pitches to get out.

Let’s hope this is a great and productive week for all of us!

Published in: on September 25, 2017 at 10:09 am  Comments Off on Mon. Sept. 25, 2017: Writing Weekend  
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Fri. Sept. 22, 2017: Jose’s Sit-N-Spin, Writing Weekend

Friday, Sept. 22, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hurricane Jose still here
Autumn Equinox

Jose’s doing a sit-and-spin over us. It’s not anywhere near as bad as how other areas have suffered. It will, however, require a good bit of clean-up when it finally moves on. I am grateful for the lack of force and fury, but tired of the steady rain and wind.

I have a few difficult days coming up, and my coping skills are not at their best. But not coping is not an option.

Worked on the back matter for SAVASANA AT SEA; started working on the opening chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will be in the back of this one. I’m having a lot of fun with the chapter. The premise of this book is going to allow for a lot of adventure, mystery, comedy, and romance.

Wrote a little over 1K on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN.

Did some research, took some notes.

Turns out an article I’d submitted at the end of July never arrived; good thing I contacted the editor to follow up. I re-sent it, and it is scheduled to run in about six weeks — longer than I’d like, mostly because of the pay, but at least it’s all sorted out, and neither of us wonders if the other party is unreliable.

Heard back from a script pitch — basically, as part of the interview process I’m supposed to become a customer of the product I pitched to write about. Um, no. Honey, that’s not how it works. You bring in a professional to write about the product for other people. You don’t pretend you’re hiring someone to enlarge your customer numbers. Next!

I have promotion and research to do today, and then a lot of work to get done over the weekend. I have two books to review — I’ve been dragging my feet on one of them, because it’s a draft in desperate need of an editor, not a finished book one can charge money for — and I’m trying to figure out how to review it properly without being that blunt. But I must get on with it, and then move on to the other book. I’d like to get them both done and the reviews submitted by early next week.

I have a couple of short pieces to work on, that should also go out next week, finish up the backmatter for SAVASANA, so that can go off to my editor early next week, and work on FIX IT GIRL. Two of the research books I needed are in, so I can settle in with those chapters, and maybe return the books once and for all by the end of next week.

The book Willow works on in THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is so interesting that now I want to write it, too. Since I have to do the shadow research in order to properly write about the research she does for the book, I’ll have enough material to write the actual book!

Feeling discouraged on several fronts, and overwhelmed. I hope that the Equinox ceremony this afternoon will set me back to rights.

I have a meeting early on Monday, so I will be late posting.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Published in: on September 22, 2017 at 8:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 22, 2017: Jose’s Sit-N-Spin, Writing Weekend  
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Thurs. Sept. 21, 2017: Jose Hangs Out, Draft Gets Finished

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy & blustery from Hurricane Jose

Busy time. Jose scratched us yesterday and is hanging out with winds and some rain, but not as bad as feared. I am grateful.

Most of the past couple of days has been about SAVASANA AT SEA. I found a major logic lapse, and have been working to fix it. That meant going back to my research and expanding on it, and then picking and choosing what best suits the story. It’s starting to feel like it’s meeting my overall vision again.

I worked hard these past two days, and finished the whole draft yesterday, just before 5 PM. This draft feels really good. I’ve gotten the energy and the spirit of the piece back. I chose where to stay within the cozy mystery formula and where I wanted to break it.

I need to write the first chapter of the second book and do the rest of the back matter, then put it all together and off it goes to the editor.

That was all I did yesterday — work on the book. It felt good.

I didn’t go out, because of the storm, although it didn’t hit as badly as they said, and it didn’t even get truly nasty until last night. We’d been told Tuesday into Wednesday would be the worst, but, as usual, they were wrong, and it’s Wednesday into today. Only I can’t put off today what needs to be done away from home. So I have to go out in this mess.

I also managed to get about 1000 words done on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN in the evening. I don’t want to lose that book’s rhythm, either.

Today will be busy, but busy is good. Hopefully, we won’t lose power, etc., but who knows?

Worried about those hit with Hurricane Maria. Worried about those who suffered in Mexico’s earthquake. Worried that the corrupt GOP is determined to take away healthcare and sign the death warrant for millions of people (which would include me and my family). Which is, of course, what they want: cull the herd of those who can’t afford to buy them off. Perform economic genocide.

I’m doing my bit with my elected officials and hoping for the best.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 21, 2017 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 21, 2017: Jose Hangs Out, Draft Gets Finished  
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Tues. Sept. 19, 2017: In Preparation for the Storm

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

We’re getting scratched by Hurricane Jose today and tomorrow. They say it’ll be more like a nor’easter, but without the snow. I don’t know why I’m still nervous.

Morning doing stuff at the library; frustrated with technical stuff. I couldn’t get things to do what I needed them to do. But I got a lot of things on my list accomplished.

For some reason, though, it never feels like enough.

The afternoon was spent preparing for Jose. I wanted to keep the enchanted garden on the deck until early November; however, there was so much to put in and clean, it doesn’t make sense to put it back out after the storm. I have nothing real to complain about, especially in light of the devastation other hurricanes have caused, and am irritated with myself for feeling what I’m feeling.

Did some reading yesterday, but no writing. Which is fine, since I did so much writing over the weekend.

Out to the store early this morning. Will do a few things at the library, and then I’m probably tucked into the house until Thursday. I have plenty of reading and writing to do, and will be flexible, depending on power issues. I was going to a lecture tonight, but it’s been postponed due to weather.

Take care!

Published in: on September 19, 2017 at 8:37 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 19, 2017: In Preparation for the Storm  

Mon. Sept. 18, 2017: A Successful Writing Weekend & Preparing for Jose

Monday, September 18, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

We’re battening down for the outer fringes of Hurricane Jose to hit tomorrow and Wednesday. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad. The lack of specific information, as usual, is infuriating.

Tough weekend of writing. The revisions on THE FIX IT GIRL are stalled. I need to check some research information and the books I need haven’t arrived yet. Just when I felt it was getting back on track.

THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is going well, though, with 1600 words on Friday, 2500 words on Saturday, and 5500 words on Sunday. All in longhand! I’m in the groove of it now. Making it more active, along with the introspective sections.

Outlined an idea that I like a lot, but don’t know when I can get to; started a short story that will be sad. “Tragic” might be pushing it, but it will be sad. It deals with spousal abuse. It must stay short, under 1000 words.

So I met Lissa Matthews’s #10KWeekendWriters Challenge, with a total of 13,500 words. 3500 over goal. Which is funny, because by Saturday night, even though I hit 8K of the 10K, I was pretty sure I’d have to cut myself a break for not meeting the goal.

Re-read Steven Axelrod’s NANTUCKET GRAND, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I wanted to read a well-known author’s new release, but it’s in present tense. As much as I like and respect her writing most of the time, I can’t read this. The present tense pushes me away from the story and the characters. Disappointed, but I’m not going to struggle with it. I’ll just pass. The only time a novel written in present tense works for me is if it’s structured as epistolary (letters) or in diary format. Otherwise, it’s the author screaming at me for attention instead of letting me experience the book.

I’m re-reading John Steinbeck’s JOURNAL OF A NOVEL: THE EAST OF EDEN LETTERS. The way he has to coach himself and the repetitive nature of some of his struggles is interesting.

Did eight loads of laundry on Sunday, in and around the writing. Caught up. Now, when the days are sunnier, I’ll have to catch up on mending. I’ve accumulated quite a pile.

My To Do List for this week is overwhelming. So I just have to attack it one item at a time, and hope for the best.

Mabon/Autumn Equinox this week, along with the new moon. And Rosh Hashanah. Days are getting shorter. Although it’s been hot and humid this week, it smells like fall, especially in the evening and early morning.

We’ll put away some of the lighter things from the deck/yard in preparation for the hurricane. They might not come back out until next spring.

 

Published in: on September 18, 2017 at 8:38 am  Comments Off on Mon. Sept. 18, 2017: A Successful Writing Weekend & Preparing for Jose  
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Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters

Friday, September 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I mis-dated Wednesday. All day Wednesday, I thought it was September 14, and it was only the 13th. I knew it was Wednesday, but I had the date wrong. Apologies.

I didn’t blog yesterday; worked at home and focused on other things.

I’ve been getting back into the FIX-IT GIRL revisions the past few days. These are the difficult chapters that require a great deal of restructuring. Lots of new material written, opening out certain storylines, having it make sense, pick up intensity, moving toward the climactic sequence. Mavis made a decision that could easily ruin her personal reputation, outside of work, but she’s owning it.

I’ve let SAVASANA AT SEA sit for a few days, so I can go back to it with fresh eyes. I don’t want to blur the tones of the two books, since they are both in revisions, by working on them in too close a tandem. I had some ideas on restructuring some of the marketing for the series, too, thanks to a conversation with Ilona Andrews. Ilona reinforced what I know in my gut, but have been advised to take a different route by the “experts”. As my intent is to guide the book and the series back to the original vision that feels right in my gut, it makes sense.

Speaking of “gut feeling” — I had an opportunity yesterday that, on a logical level, seemed good. But my gut told me otherwise. So I decided to go in a different direction. I declined gracefully, and well before the deadline for response. In the short-run, it may cause some difficulty, but in the long run, I believe it’s the right decision. Amazing how much stress was relieved once it was made.

I’ve been working on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. There are books within the book — the books the characters are working on during the course of the novel. I’m finding I have to do nearly as much research for those as I do for the novel itself. It’s a quiet book, which will have to be rewritten in certain sections to be more active, but I like stretching in this non-genre direction. My characters are trying to find their way back to each other, and not always succeeding. I don’t know how it will end. Either they will or they won’t. The events within the book will shape that.

The furnace was cleaned yesterday morning — this company is always prompt and very nice. So we’re set for the winter, which is great. The guy that used to come every year to take care of it — young guy, big, with brilliant tattoos, had said, a year or so ago, he was tired of winter and was thinking of selling up and leaving. Guess that’s what he did. The new guys (a pair of them ) were very nice, though.

Yesterday afternoon, we sorted out the yarn stash — bags and boxes and bits and bobs. It now makes more sense, and several projects have been planned/sketched out for the winter. I have a couple of pieces in progress that need to be finished. So, when I get the craft urge, there’s plenty to work on. Couldn’t believe we spent the entire afternoon on it, but it was well worth it.

I’ve joined Lissa Matthews in the #10KWeekendWriters challenge this weekend. Writing 10K from Thursday through Sunday. Yesterday’s total was 1500 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and 900 new words within the revision of THE FIX-IT GIRL. Total: 2400 words (100 words shy of my goal). Remaining words to goal: 7600.

I’m wondering if I can count the words on the article I’m expanding/polishing/adding to the Coventina Circle website about working on Broadway? 😉 Yes, you can find that article here. Because I intend to post the article before I post this blog.

This needs to be a writing/reading/sorting weekend. Next week is Mabon, and a whole lot of other things. As usual, I’m waiting on a round of freelance payments so I can meet the bills. I also have to research some markets.

I have some pitches to get out this morning, websites to update, and PR to work on for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I haven’t been sleeping well, and have had migraines off and on this weekend, but taking time off today is not an option. I find, though, that when I push hard on the early part of Friday, I tend to take most of Friday afternoon off, and then am more productive on Saturday and Sunday. So, if I can get it all done this morning, that’s what I’ll do. Once I get in my 2500 words for the day (will try to get in 2600 to make up for yesterday’s shortfall).

The yard is fading in stages this year. Usually it hangs on and then everything goes at once and it’s overwhelming. This is much easier to deal with — doing a bit every few days. I wish I could get the mower working again, though. I’d like to do one more big mow. Well, I don’t WANT to do it, it’s not something I enjoy, but I think it’s necessary.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on September 15, 2017 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters  
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Wed. Sept. 14, 2017: Balancing Act

Wednesday, September 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was a long day of admin, filing paperwork, updating links, et al.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is now live on Google Play, ready for pre-order.

My article “Tracking Your Banged Buck” is live on WOW-Women on Writing, and I want to thank K.R. Conway, Jessica Glenn, Goddess Fish Promotions, Arlene Kay, Alyssa Maxwell, and Barbara Ross for their quotes. I made a document for their clip files, and sent that, along with the live link and a thank you, to them. I heard from the editor last night that the article is getting positive feedback, so I’ll pass that along today, too.

Exhausted by the time I got back, and came down with a migraine. However, I didn’t have the luxury of taking an afternoon off, so I kept working.

I did some work on the FIX-IT GIRL revision. It’s going slowly, and I’m frustrated. I’m not quite sure how to solve the frustration, which leaves me more frustrated, and so it goes. The first eighteen chapters of the revision sailed along well, but this is a tricky part, a turning point. I have to get it right, or the book falls apart.

I’ll just keep at it until I do.

Also did some work on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the literary fiction. This first draft will need a lot of revision, a lot of making scenes active that are now too narrative. But I need to set out the narration for myself first, and then pick which scenes to dramatize, and what to leave as narration. Because the book is quiet and introspective, rather than an action-driven piece, it needs a different approach. Too much action, and I lose the tone and the reflective quality that is the reason for the book’s existence. Too much narrative and it’s telling rather than showing and just plain dull.

We need to make some solid decisions about “Labor Intensive”, and I also need to get back to the draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so that can go off to the editor, and she can catch me out on my bad habits again. 😉

As much of a slime pit as social media can sometimes be, through all this political chaos, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people from all over the world, in all walks of life, with whom I might not have otherwise crossed paths. They are intelligent, creative, and committed to making the world a better place. I hope we’ll stay in touch if and when things settle down.

It looks like I didn’t land two gigs I’d really hoped for this week. One of them would have been well within my wheelhouse, but the people making the top decisions have proven, over the past few weeks, to be consistently disorganized. On the other, it would have been a physical challenge in some respects, but the company’s lack of basic business protocol makes me wonder if the listing was scam. One can put up a slick website and still be a con. More research done, and perhaps I should be grateful not to be associated with either organization! Only time and what happens next will tell.

My editor asked for some revisions on a review; I have to get back to work on the next book, which is one of the most sloppily written pieces I’ve read in a long time. I need to work on some article pitches that I’d like to get out before the end of the week, and expand an essay where there’s interest, but it’s too short.

Whenever the days are nice enough to be outside, I’m trying to work at least for a few hours at a time on the deck. Pretty soon, everything has to come back in for the winter.

Speaking of winter, yesterday I worked on a section of THE MARRIAGE GARDEN taking place during a blizzard, while we had lovely, sunny, warm weather. It was an interesting exercise in sense memory for writing.

 

Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/cool

Yesterday was all about updating links into websites. I got the live links for PLAYING THE ANGLES up onto the blog, onto the Devon Ellington website, onto the Coventina Circle website.

I added links to the newsletter and got it out — my first newsletter in a long time. I’ll have to clean up any bounce backs, new subscriptions, unsubscriptions.

It also meant I had to put the Nautical Namaste site live earlier than I planned, and set up the Nautical Namaste Facebook page earlier than planned. But it’s done, at least I have the links.

Had to get some admin paperwork done, and have to go into Hyannis this morning to file it, before picking up a few things at the grocery store.

The writing suffered yesterday, although I managed to get some more work done on the FIX-IT GIRL, and I hope to have that draft done in about two weeks. While juggling finishing the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so I can get it to my editor.

Because of Hurricane Irma, we pushed back the release of “Labor Intensive” yet again, but pretty soon, the timing will be so bad, I’ll have missed the boat. If we could not have any disasters, either caused by the Narcissistic Sociopath or Nature for a bit, that would be great.

Being 9/11, yesterday was tough as it always is. Tears off an on all day. You never “get over” something like that; you have to learn to live with it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused  
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Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES will release on October 2, 2017. It is available on the following:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Monday, September 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Quite the weekend. Of course, most of the focus is on Hurricane Irma and its devastating path in Florida. And on the clean-up in Houston.

I am deeply grateful that the weather here on Cape has been so beautiful the past few days. I realize how lucky I am. It’s difficult not to feel guilty, but it’s better to be grateful and then take what action I can to help those who are struggling.

As part of that gratitude, I went out and did yard work. The mower is still being cranky, but I pruned the forsythia in the back that nearly obscured the path on the west side of the house, and the forsythias on each side of the garage door that were making entering and exiting the garage feel like hacking through a jungle. I yanked out a lot of invasive brambles, vines, and autumn olive, clearing out one of the front beds, tidying up two beds in the back, and some random growth in the meadow. I also cleared out some of the oak that’s acting more like an invasive than anything else. There’s still a lot more to clear — I’ll have to take the saw to some of it.

As the feverfew passes, I’ll clear all of that out of the beds, too. I figure if I do a little bit every pleasant day, then it won’t overwhelm me later in the season.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is up for pre-order so far on iApplem Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I’m putting the pre-order links up on the websites as they come in. Publication date is October 2, and it’s a go. I’m pretty excited. The PDF of the ARC is ready to send out for review. The promotional train is headed out.

Meanwhile, I finished a pass on the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA. I also spent time fixing and smoothing out problems and logistical lapses that the previously requested edits and cuts caused. I’ve restructured a good bit of the book, which is fine for the pace, but I have to fix some gaps. The chapters are all loaded into one document now, and I’m going to do a pass for smoothness and logic.

I also have to write the first chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, in the next week or so, and prepare the back matter, as I smooth things out. I’d like to get this draft to my editor in about ten days or so. I’m sure we’ll have several passes to whip it into shape, the way we did with ANGLES.

Did quite a bit of work on the literary fiction, tentatively entitled THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I like the way it’s taking shape. It will need an awful lot of editing once I’ve got the draft done, but I’m getting to say things that I haven’t found a way to speak otherwise, and explore some interesting relationships and quirks about this area.

I am going to have to create a fictional town, though; too much controversy if I portray some of the actual places as I’ve experienced them.

Re-reading Joyce Carol Oates’s published diary from 1973-1982. I always learn something new.

“The artist must find an environment, a pattern of living, that will protect his or her energies; the art must be cultivated, must be given priority.” (p.21). So true.

I’m reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy, and trying to understand him better. I remember reading TESS OF THE D’UBERVILLES in school and hating it; but I wonder if I just didn’t understand it, and if I’d have more appreciation for his work now.

I started reading the next review assignment. It’s one of the worst-written pieces I’ve ever had to plow through, with a lack of editing and copyediting, and no knowledge of the difference between a possessive and a contraction. Very frustrating.

I have such a list of things that need to get done today, looking at it I feel overwhelmed. But all I can do is start at the top and work my way as far down as possible.

September 11 is always a tough day for me — and for so many. I’m doing my remembrance rituals, and keeping candles lit. I’m trying to balance that with the creative work that needs to be done.

 

Published in: on September 11, 2017 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)  
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Fri. Sept. 8, 2017: Finalizing One Book, Moving on to the Next

Friday, September 8, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Got my review out yesterday. Was assigned my next two books, which I pick up today.

Put together some information for my friend, which he found helpful.

Worked on the literary fiction piece. It’s an interesting challenge. Today, I get back to the other work on the roster, but I’m finding a way to keep the momentum for this piece along with the work that has to be done on other pieces. Now I’m second-guessing (maybe it’s fourth-guessing, by this point), and thinking I SHOULD focus on each section in each voice at once to go deep enough, rather than alternating shorter sections. As I reader, I prefer chapters or sections that go long enough to get deeply into the character. I could always rearrange the sections once they’re written, but I’m not sure which way will serve best in the WRITING of it.

We found one small thing that had to be clarified in PLAYING THE ANGLES. I probably could have gotten away with it, but if anyone questioned it and it needed clarification — better to use the clear language from the outset. Hopefully, it’s off for the last time — which always makes me queasy. Even with the editor, the copy editor, and I going over it multiple times, I’m always afraid we missed something, simply because we’ve gone over it so many times.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. October is filled with appointments before her surgery, poor thing.

I did some yard work. I started cutting back in two of the beds in the back, and I hard pruned the forsythia that grew so wild this year it completely blocked one of the paths on the side of the house. I hacked back most of the invasive autumn olive, and a lot of oak that’s acting like an invasive. When it gets colder, I’ll have to saw down some more oak that’s interfering with the roses. Doing a little bit every sunny day, and eventually, it will get done. Don’t know how I’m going to finish the mowing, though, with this damn mower being recalcitrant.

I had weird dreams, mashing three different times/experiences in my past. Probably because I’ve been talking with my college friend. Bizarre.

I want to get anything I need to do out and about done fast this morning, so I can get back into the writing for the rest of the weekend. I keep changing my mind about what to do with a particular section of THE FIX-IT GIRL, but I have to suck it up, make a decision and move on this weekend.

I’m worried about my friends in the path of Hurricane Irma, and I’m not looking forward to the anniversary of 9/11 on Monday. I think next week could be quite emotionally difficult, for a lot of people.

I also have some paperwork to file with the attorneys general of MA and NY on two different scam issues that they need to know about. Some other paperwork to get done, too, some for me, and more with my mom’s insurance.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

Published in: on September 8, 2017 at 8:52 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 8, 2017: Finalizing One Book, Moving on to the Next  
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