Wed. Feb. 7, 2018: So Lucky with My Editor

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Waning moon
Stormy and cold

Challenging week. Even when I try to rest, I’m having trouble recharging.

So, Super Bowl Sunday — congratulations to the Eagles. It was a well-deserved win. I prefer close games, because they are more interesting. I’m not a football fan, so the Super Bowl is usually the only game I pay much attention to all year.

I know people have many reasons for disliking Tom Brady, but I was disappointed and perturbed by the viciousness with which he was attacked. He’s good at his job and has been for years. He’s skilled. He has five rings to prove it. I’m not a particular fan of his, but I respect his skills.

Didn’t like the halftime show. I’m not a particular fan of Justin Timberlake any
way — again, I respect what he’s achieved, but I don’t go out of my way to listen to or buy his music. I disagreed with the choice to have the projection of Prince included. Prince was vocal about not agreeing with that choice while he was still alive. His halftime show in 2007 (I think that was the year) was one of the best performances I’ve seen anywhere. Pouring rain, he came out and did his thing, no muss, no fuss, and he was brilliant. No other halftime show, in my opinion, has ever come close.

Got some decent work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’m taking my editor’s concerns about the outline into account and finding places to simplify, combine elements to drive the narrative better, and to cut things completely. It’s great to be back with Gwen and Justin again.

Figured out why I’m struggling with SPIRIT REPOSITORY. It’s not just that I have the deadline looming. It’s that I made a major mistake in the logic. I have to go back and untangle the mistake in order to move forward. It’s not something where I can put in a placeholder to fix “later” because of the way it affects everything that happens later.

Talked to my editor and got a 10-day extension on the deadline. Now, I feel like I can meet it with something worthwhile. That pushes the start of RELICS  & REQUIEM back ten days — I’m not sure how I’m going to make that up, since the schedule for that is already tight. But I have a solid outline for it, which will help. And scenes with Amanda and Phineas are spinning in my head, and some of the scenes between Bonnie and Amanda in SPIRIT REPOSITORY will plant seeds for R & R, even while driving the plot of REPOSITORY.

Saw yet another agent on Manuscript Wish List asking for diverse manuscripts. I pointed out my own experience and that of other writers I know who submit such manuscripts — the notes that come back are all about whitening it up so “mainstream readers” can relate. Characters described in Starbucks coffee colors, acting like white people, names that aren’t “too ethnic” and the like. Complaints that heroines are “too independent.” Notes that don’t add to the structure or story, but strip out the diverse elements that make a book unique. The elements that these agents and writers claim to want.

When actual diverse books are published, promoted, and hit the best seller lists, instead of “thrillers” about white male assassins who sometimes sleep with a beautiful ethnic villainess who is then killed off, I’ll believe that’s what the agents and editors really want.

Ilona Andrews and I had a conversation about this several months ago — always be wary when they make a point of asking for diversity. It’s usually hollow.

Monday was a long day with clients – wound up being a twelve hour day. Tuesday was long, too, including website rebuilding. Today will be long, too. The weather is bad, so I may go straight home after I work with my client – I’ll have to see how it goes.

But I feel optimistic again about THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and even figured out a way for Phineas to make a cameo in it, ahead of taking his place as one of the central protagonists of RELICS AND REQUIEM.


Published in: on February 7, 2018 at 3:20 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 7, 2018: So Lucky with My Editor  
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Tues. Feb.6, 2018: Same Location, Distinct Voices

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Waning Moon

I’m in a juggling act right now. I’m working on books in different series, but I’m working on them at the same time.

One of the challenges, is, of course, keeping the voices distinct. Especially since two of the books take place in contemporary New York City, and their circles of influence somewhat intersect.

The Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels take place in contemporary New York City. Well, sort of contemporary — based on my last visit there after the move away. Things change all the time, so it’s a recognizable New York City, while still serving the fictional needs of my plots and stories.

The Gwen Finnegan mysteries have a longer reach, because Gwen and Justin’s adventures take them all over the world. After all, TRACKING MEDUSA had sections set in New York, London, Lindisfarne, Ayrshire, Greece, and Marseilles.

THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second Coventina Circle book, is set in New York again. Most of it is in Greenwich Village, a place I’ve known and loved for years. Some of it takes place on the Upper West Side, where Bonnie, the central protagonist of this book, has sublet the apartment from Morag (the central protagonist of PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first book in the series). And part of it is set up in Inwood, near the Cloisters, where one of the secondary characters lives. The third book in the series, RELICS & REQUIEM, with Amanda as the central protagonist, will focus mostly on the Upper West Side and on Midtown East, where the Phineas Regan lives.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, which lands between TRACKING MEDUSA and its locations, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which is mostly set in the Bahamas, but with some sections in New York and in the UK, is completely set in New York. Okay, Justin makes a foray to Princeton in New Jersey. But the focus is in New York.

Both deal with paranormal. Central characters in both are witches.

So it becomes an interesting challenge to keep the books from intersecting. The voices must be different. The issues the members of the Coventina Circle face in their lives and loves are quite different from the issues faced by Gwen and her archaeological clan. Yet the frequent some of the same places — libraries, museums, restaurants, and the like.

When I lived in Manhattan, I was involved in a variety of different circles, although my primary one was theatrical (since if you work in the theatre, you spend 90 hours or more a week in the theatre). I also moved in publishing/literary circles, in the wellness/spiritual circles, in academic circles, in art and music circles. It was always interesting to see where they intersected and where they did not.

Applying that in a believable way while keeping both these series’ voices distinct is an interesting challenge. If the deadline pressure wasn’t so severe, I’d probably enjoy it more.

Some of it means writing fast and then breaking down sentence and paragraph structures as I rewrite, to fit the cadences already set up in the first book of the series. That’s easier to do in the Gwen Finnegan mysteries, because Gwen is central to each book. It’s more of a challenge with the Coventina Circle books, because each book has a different set of central protagonists, each with their own distinctions.

I’m also taking a risk, putting in a site and a small group of characters into both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and into MYTH & INTERPRETATION that make a bit of a crossover, although Bonnie, Rufus, Gwen, and Justin won’t meet and/or interact.

It’s similar to some of the in-jokes and crossover Jenn McKinlay’s done between her Hat Shop Mysteries, her Cupcake Bakery, and her series set in Maine.

Hopefully, I can pull it off!

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle mystery is available digitally here for $3.99.

Witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States — or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP?

THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, will release in May 2018.

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, is available digitally here for $3.99.

Archaeologist Dr. Gwen Finnegan is on the hunt for her lover’s killer. Historical researcher Justin Yates bumps into her, literally, on the steps of the New York Public Library, and comes to her aid when she’s attacked, sparking an attraction between them in spite of their age difference. After avoiding a cadre of pursuers at the Met Museum, Gwen impulsively invites Justin to hop a plane with her to the UK. The shy historian, frustrated with his failing relationship, jumps at the chance to join her on a real adventure. That adventure takes them through Europe, pursued by factions including Gwen’s ex-lover and nemesis, Karl, as they try to unspool fact from fiction in a multi-generational obsession with a statue of the goddess Medusa.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, a “between the books” novella, will be available digitally in July 2018.


Published in: on February 6, 2018 at 6:28 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb.6, 2018: Same Location, Distinct Voices  
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Mon. Feb. 5, 2018: Helping Others #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, February 5, 2018
Waning Moon

Today’s topic for #UpbeatAuthors is Helping Others.

On the surface, it seems easy. See something that needs doing. Do it. They’re happy. You’re happy.

On the other hand, it’s not that easy.

I find it disturbing that we are urged to help others because it makes US feel better. Not everything is about us. I believe we should help others because everyone is in a position to need help sometimes, and those who can offer help should, because the cycle will turn and then they can receive it.

Some people, however, find it difficult to receive help. They like to give it, for the reason that it makes THEM feel good. It also keeps them in control. But they can’t receive it. Or they try to make decisions for other people, to put conditions on the help. In some cases, that type of tough love is necessary, to help break patterns. In other situations, again, it’s about control.

Some people never give help, because they disdain anyone who needs it. It’s that entitlement thing: “I WORKED for what I have; why should I help YOU?” And then they’re shocked when no one helps them when they need it.

Some people ONLY take and never give. They structure their lives to live in a constant state of crisis. Whenever someone gives them a helping hand, they take the hand and then want the arm, the shoulder, and all the rest. You get the idea. They refuse to break the patterns that create the need.

“Helping others” seems like it’s simple, but it’s complex. You want to give without strings attached, what you can without putting yourself in jeopardy, of a thing and in a way that is of genuine assistance to the receiver. That’s different in every situation. “Help” is something transient that shores up someone in difficulty, and helps them find the stability so they can proceed with independence.

Politicians too often portray those who in need (especially when they’re put there by political and corporate greed) as those who refuse to be independent, who want to remain dependent. But if we have economic and social structures that help people in crisis not only through the crisis but into INdependence, it would no longer be an issue.

And yet there are times when “help” is as simple as offering a smile or opening a door for someone carrying an armload of packages. You can brighten someone else’s day with a simple gesture. And down the line, someone will brighten yours.

Start with the small things, and let them reverberate into larger ones.

Published in: on February 5, 2018 at 1:21 am  Comments Off on Mon. Feb. 5, 2018: Helping Others #UpbeatAuthors  

Fri. Feb. 2,2018: Getting Back on Track Writing (I hope)

Friday, February 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Snowy and cold

Posting late again today. This morning’s snow slowed me down.

Yesterday, I did some work on contest entries, not enough writing, figuring out stuff for the website, and had a conversation with a potential client.

I actually did most of my Imbolc celebration yesterday, although I’m doing some today. That including planting snapdragons. I’m planting sweet peas today. Inside, of course.

Today will be mostly caught up with admin and website building, along with working on both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’m writing my way into the latter a bit, and then focusing on my editor’s notes and how to best apply them. The deadline pressure means I have to compress my process instead of letting it be entirely organic. But that’s the way it goes.

Read Deanna Rayburn’s third Veronica Speedwell mystery, A TREACHEROUS CURSE, and enjoyed it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on February 2, 2018 at 1:20 pm  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 2,2018: Getting Back on Track Writing (I hope)  

Thurs. Feb. 1, 2018: New Month, Fresh Start, Full Moon

Thursday, February 01, 2018
Last Day of Full Moon
Sunny and cold

I’ve got the February To Do List up over on the GDR site.

I signed with A2 Webhosting yesterday, and I’m making the final email arrangements to make sure I can sign into everything I need to sign in. I have a few questions for A2, and then I start rebuilding the Devon Ellington Work site.

When that moves hosts, the site and the email addresses associated with it will go dark for the days it takes to move.

So will the sites for The Coventina Circle Mysteries, the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, The Gwen Finnegan Mysteries, and the Jain Lazarus Adventures.

Initially, there will be a “Series Page” on the main Devon Ellington site that will list the different series. I may leave it there, even when I rebuild the subdomains.

Hopefully, I will have a better experience with A2 than I had with Green Geeks. And continues to be a nightmare. I have to cough up another quarter’s cash to them, but the sooner I am gone, the happier I will be.

We had some running around this morning, including picking up some lovely African violets and primroses for tonight’s ritual. There’s a storm expected tonight; fingers crossed it won’t keep me from doing what I need to do tomorrow.

I’m behind where I want to be on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so I have to dig in this weekend. I also have to start MYTH AND INTERPRETATION. My editor agreed that I should write my way in about four chapters or so, and then we’re going to revisit the outline and streamline the plot a bit. I have some research to do on the types of myths I want to interpret in the story.

Plus, I’m doing additional research for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. PLUS, I’m playing with the section where I’m stuck on the FIX-IT GIRL revision.

The day after I turn in SPIRIT REPOSITORY to my editor, mid-month this month, I start the third book in the series, RELICS & REQUIEM, which focuses on Amanda and Phineas. I’ve got it outlined, and notes on many of their scenes. I’m looking forward to it.

For some reason, the re-release of PLAYING THE ANGLES and TRACKING MEDUSA on the Amazon platform has been delayed. I’m trying to get that sorted, too.

Never a dull moment.

But I could use some rest!


Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 10:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 1, 2018: New Month, Fresh Start, Full Moon