Wed. April 11, 2018: Visions and Re-visions

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to the Fearless Ink site for the latest post on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Busy couple of days. I’m prepping a presentation for a client. The opportunity came in on Monday, and the presentation is next week; today is my last day with the client before the presentation. And so it goes. But it’s an interesting project, and I enjoy the process as much as the result — which is why I do this in the first place.

The work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY is going very well. I did six chapters on Monday morning before my client meeting and four more that night. That left me only six more chapters to do. I got up at 5 yesterday, to get at it. Two seriously rewritten chapters in the morning, another at night.  I have to add an entire section to the last chapter to plug a hole and had to rewrite one of the earlier chapters in a different character’s POV. But I think I can send it to my editor either tomorrow or Friday, so we can get into galleys.

The glitch with Amazon for both PLAYING THE ANGLES and TRACKING MEDUSA has been solved, and they are both available for Kindle. Big relief. I’m pleased that all three books are selling steadily on Kobo and B&N, too. I’m amazed and delighted by the positive difference the new websites on the better host make. Learn from me, my writer friends — the website matters! Do your research, invest the money. It’s worth it.

Need to polish up the first chapter of RELICS & REQUIEM to include in the back of SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Need to polish the book-exclusive article on genius locii. Need to finalize both the Acknowledgements and the Dedication. Then, put it all together, and off we go. This phase of the book is always exciting and terrifying.

Back to the page! With relish today, instead of dread. I prefer it this way, and, more often than not, that’s what I feel. I am a writer who loves WRITING, not just HAVING WRITTEN. Big difference.

 

Published in: on April 11, 2018 at 2:34 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 11, 2018: Visions and Re-visions  
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Tuesday, April 8, 2018: Cover Reveal SPIRIT REPOSITORY

The Spirit Repository Cover Choice 5

The Spirit Repository, The Second Coventina Circle novel. Releases May 2018.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

I can’t wait until Mercury goes direct. The Mercury Retrograde on top of the Jupiter Retrograde is hard to get through.

On the positive side, I got some excellent work done this past weekend on the serial’s outline. AND I got a lot of work done on the edits for SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I like the book again. I was in despair when I finished the last draft, but my editor’s suggestions and the way we’ve chosen where to put more emphasis, and what to get rid of, truly makes the book better and more interesting.

I was irritated that I got a request for a revision on a piece Friday afternoon and they wanted it on Saturday. Um, no. They got it yesterday afternoon. They’re not paying me enough for a rush job on a weekend.

Got out an LOI on Friday, and a positive response back the same day. The publication likes my materials, and hopefully, we’ll get to work together. Sent out some follow-ups to publications and clients, so I can set my schedule for the next few months.

But most of the weekend was about SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I dug in, really dug in, and I’m pleased with the work. I’d done 18 of the 35 chapters of the deep developmental edits by Sunday. I got six more done on Monday morning, before I left to work with my client, and more later that day and today.

And yes, that’s the cover, at the top of the post. I’m pretty damned happy about it. I hope to have it back to my editor in a few days, and then we start copy edits/galleys, unless she finds a big mistake.

Client work early in the week, medical appointments for my mom later, and THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 10, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, April 8, 2018: Cover Reveal SPIRIT REPOSITORY  

Mon. April 9, 2018: Positive Response to Rejection #UpbeatAuthors

Today’s #UpbeatAuthors topic is “how to deal with rejection in a positive way.”

Since the group consists of authors, and many of our supporters are fellow authors and artists, we deal with rejection often.

It doesn’t do any good to hear “it’s not personal.” Our art requires us to reveal our depths, our souls, so yes, it is personal. I have a theory on the whole myth of “it’s not personal, it’s business” is one of the reasons we’re in such a big cultural and political mess — because we’ve allowed that myth to dehumanize us.

But that’s a post for another day.

When we send in a submission and it’s rejected, it hurts. In that moment, we are not able to see that it is a blessing in disguise. It feels awful.

We’re afraid to feel bad. The moment we feel bad or uncomfortable, we hide from it, we swallow something or smoke something or do whatever we can to avoid it.

What we need to do is to face it down.

After we have our pity party, of course. I have timed pity parties, where I’m allowed to wallow. For a manuscript rejection or something like that, I give myself fifteen minutes. That doesn’t mean I won’t have twinges beyond that, but I give myself a good fifteen minute wallow.

There are, of course, bigger life issues that get more time, such as the break-up of a long-term relationship, but a manuscript gets a 15-minute wallow.

Then, I go off and do something I enjoy, something that gives me pleasure. I do not believe in “guilty pleasures.” I do not feel guilt for what gives me pleasure.

The pleasure helps even out the pain of the rejection, and then I move on from there.

When it comes to agents, editors, and publishers, I remind myself and my colleagues that it’s not finding ANY match; it’s finding the RIGHT match. You want a team who is genuinely excited by and supportive of your work. You want a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work — yes, authors and artists DESERVE to earn a living, once they’ve mastered the craft and layered on the art and the energy.

It’s kind of like dating. You don’t expect to find your soul mate the first time out. Some do, and good for them. But usually, you have to date around a bit until you find the right match.

You learn something from every rejection, once you get past that icky feeling and the blow to your self-esteem. Are there specifics? In the case of a manuscript, did you get notes that make sense on the why?

I’ve had manuscripts rejected and received notes that, at first, I, in turn, rejected. But when I got back on an even keel again, and really looked at them, I realized they were correct. I might not have followed them exactly, but they helped me build a better book.

I’ve had manuscripts rejected because I refused to make certain changes. Often, I tried to make the changes, and I knew, deep down, that it hurt the book and took the life out of it. That’s okay. The editor was right to reject it, because it didn’t fit the company’s vision. I was right not to change the book in way that I knew did not serve the work. They will contract work better suited to them; I found a publisher who loved what I was trying to do and made it better.

The important thing to remember in rejection is not to lash out immediately. Be cordial. That’s different from polite. I always warn people that when I turn “cordial” they should back away slowly and then run. Because when I’m “cordial” I am angry.

You feel what you feel. Anger, hurt, confusion. Your feelings are legitimate. It’s how you CHOOSE to ACT on them that makes a difference.

Once you’ve gotten past the first anger and hurt, dissect the rejection. Is it a situation where you can learn something and improve on it? Be it a manuscript or a behavior pattern. Sometimes, people are right to call us out on bad behavior. If we have acted in a way that causes harm to someone else, they have the right to refuse to be harmed. They have the right to reject us.

We have the right to reject someone who causes us harm, too. I often joke about “excommunicating X from my universe” — only it’s not a joke. If someone is toxic, and refuses to respect my needs, my boundaries, they are gone. If someone undermines my writing, they are gone. Doesn’t matter if they’re related to me or not. They are gone.

If I refuse to respect someone else’s boundaries and needs, they have the right to remove me from their universe, too.

If someone has wronged you or you wronged someone else, genuinely listen to what caused the pain. If it’s something you are willing to change, to make right, do so. If you’re at an impasse, be honest, part with as much dignity and kindness as you can, and move on.

For example, if someone feels “wronged” or “pained” by the amount of time I spend on my writing, that is not someone who can stay closely involved in my life. My commitment to my work, the time and passion I spend on it, is not going to change. I make time for people in my life; but I will not give up writing because someone in my life needs proof they are more important than the writing. The people who are more important know it and don’t need the proof. Therefore, they don’t try to sabotage the writing.

One-to-one scorekeeping rarely ends well for anyone, but every relationship has to have a modicum of reciprocity.

Positive response to rejection? Be cordial; be kind if possible; remove yourself from the situation until you can have a clearer, more objective perspective.

It will improve the quality of your life on many levels.

Published in: on April 9, 2018 at 5:50 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 9, 2018: Positive Response to Rejection #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. April 6, 2018: Seriously Sick of Retrogrades

Friday, April 6, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Why yes, we are going to have more snow this weekend. Enough already!

Yesterday was a lot of running around in the morning, juggling errands and priorities. I posted pieces for Upbeat Authors, next week’s Ink-Dipped Advice, worked on a few LOIs, did some promo for the Jain Lazarus Adventures. The ebooks are discounted on Kindle, $1.99 for HEX BREAKER and $2.99 for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, with Kindle Unlimited editions free.

Did some genealogy work. I enjoy it, but it’s specific and detailed, and it takes time. Carving out the time while juggling everything else that needs to be done is difficult. But I want to do it, so I’m finding a way.

The Stupid was very strong out and about, and, especially online yesterday. Just have no patience with it right now.

I have an article to finish today, another pitch to get out. I’m working steadily on the serial outline. I’m wondering if it makes more sense to put scenes on index cards and then arrange them. I HATE working that way, but it might make the most sense for this.

I’ll be digging in to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY over this weekend, with the snowstorm, and finishing up my taxes.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on April 6, 2018 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 6, 2018: Seriously Sick of Retrogrades  
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Thurs. April 4, 2018: Brief Sun Before More Snow

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

They’re predicting another snow storm this weekend. Enough!

Tired, on many levels right now. I’m struggling.

Onsite work with one client was quiet, but busy this week. I’m behind where I want to be on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, but that seems to be a theme for the book. I’m working on the outline for the serial, and need some more time for it. I’d like to get it out at some point next week.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest.

Working on next week’s post for Ink-Dipped Advice, next Monday’s #Upbeat Authors post, and for a guest post over for Writer’s Worth month on Words on the Page.

Need to get back on track with MYTH AND INTERPRETATION, too, although we’ve come up with a potential cover image to start building its cover. We also found some great stuff for the cover of RELICS & REQUIEM, and possibly even GRAVE REACH. SPIRIT REPOSITORY will have its cover reveal tomorrow. My newsletter subscribers got it first!

Working on the updated media kit for TRACKING MEDUSA (since the one I’d worked on dumped last week, and I’ve had to start from scratch). I still have a good deal of work to do on the Jain Lazarus site.

The main focus right now is finishing SPIRIT REPOSITORY so it can release on schedule, and get back in gear with both MYTH and RELICS & REQUIEM. I have to get started on DAVY JONES DHARMA pretty soon, too, to keep that on track.

I read Alice Hoffman’s THE RULES OF MAGIC. It’s about the early life of the aunts in PRACTICAL MAGIC, which is one of my favorite books. I loved a lot of this book, but I got frustrated with the characters sometimes, their refusal to learn more about what they are, the lack of curiosity. It also made me think about the thread throughout many books, of the healers in a community who are shunned by day, but people creep to the door for their help at night. Not just in this book, but in literature in general, across genre. It makes me wonder why characters and authors allow characters this type of hypocrisy without consequence. Yes, it happens in life. But I would also like to see some characters, sometime, somewhere, refuse to condone and enable it. It’s gotten me thinking, in a good way. Which means the book touched on something deep in me, even if every reaction to it wasn’t positive, and the book did its job of getting me to think, to feel, and to ask questions. So my final response is positive.

Today, I have to run some errands and go grocery shopping, do some more research on ANCESTRY, do some yard work (if the weather holds), and, most importantly, WRITE.

I feel like I’m juggling two-ton dictionaries right now.

Back to the page.

Wed. April 4, 2018: Writing and Family History

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some of the answer’s to “Where’s The Work?”

Monday’s snow gave me the grumpies. I have yard work to do and other things to do, and don’t have time for any more bad weather. In the snow, I had to take 14 bags of leaves (420 gallons) to the dump at 7:30 AM, or I wouldn’t have been able to get my car out of the garage. Not exactly how I’d prefer to start my week! But it’s a part of the responsibility of stewardship of a yard, and it’s really not that big a deal. I’m just tired, on all levels right now, so everything is a bigger deal than it should be.

Some douchebag ignoramuses who don’t understand the first thing about citizenship or the Constitution are at it again. They’re not even worth the rant. Zero tolerance for stupidity and chosen ignorance.

Another coffee maker bit the dust. During a Mercury Retrograde. This one last only six months. At least the other one lasted six years.

Client work was fine the past few days; another day on site today and I’m wrapped with this client for the week.

A couple of LOIs went out this week, which is a good thing. I need to sit down and work on some article pitches next week. I also need to follow up with a publication for which I used to write (for a long stretch) — we talked about working together again, and they told me to get back in touch in April or May. I’d rather wait until Mercury goes direct to sign any contract, so I might wait until next week.

Edits on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY are going slowly. I need to stop beating myself up for not seeing certain problems in the heat of the writing (or even the first couple of drafts) and just get it done now. What matters is to get it done.

Working on the outline for the serial (so that I can distill it down into a synopsis). One of the other characters wants to have sections in his point of view now. I’m worried it’s too many points of view, and too hard to switch back and forth. But, if I keep the story moving forward and not backtrack each event through multiple points of view, only have a little overlap, it might open the piece out in a positive way.

I need a day or two where the serial is the only thing I need to focus on or worry about. And it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

I found out some interesting information about one branch of the family tree, and, on Monday, after I wrapped with my client for the day, I went to the library to dig into Ancestry.com and see what I can find. It’s my great-grandmother’s family, my mother’s father’s mother. Turns out she was one of nine children — which my mother never knew (seven survived). I’m tracing each of the kids, and trying to trace back even farther, back into Belgium, where that family originated. My great-great-grandfather was a clockmaker. I wonder if that has anything to do with my fascination with clocks!

I’ve traced back into Belgium to 1782, and will see if I can go beyond that. I also want to trace her siblings and their families to find out if and where the connection that was brought up this weekend fits in.

It’s interesting, and as relevant or irrelevant as I choose to make it.

On top of that, last night, I took apart my favorite clock that wasn’t working and figured out how to fix it. Coincidence? Or channeling the ancestor? You decide!

Hopefully, the weather will hold and I can work on the yard, the ancestors, the outline, and SPIRIT REPOSITORY over the next few days. Oh, and do my taxes.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 3, 2018 at 11:50 pm  Comments Off on Wed. April 4, 2018: Writing and Family History  
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Tues. April 3, 2018: Snow and Second Thoughts

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Snow yesterday. Not a happy camper.

The weekend wasn’t good for writing, but good for home and hearth. I started spring cleaning; I got yard work done.

I found out some interesting information about one branch on the family tree. I need to verify the information; if it’s true, I’ll share it. If not, it was still an interesting possibility.

Yet another coffee maker bit the dust this Mercury retrograde. This one last six months. That makes me grumpy.

Having second thoughts about the serial pitch. Not the worth of the pitch or the project, but I’m hearing people talk about the company, and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not. Not sure the financials would work out, and the more I hear, the more it sounds like the company expects the writer to bring the audience instead of working with the writer to grow the audience. My interest is in GROWING my audience, not handing my readers on a platter to someone else for THEIR profit. So, we’ll see.

Digging into the SPIRIT REPOSITORY edits. There’s a lot of work to be done. Instead of beating myself up about it, I need to buckle down and do it.

The retrogrades are weighing on me.

Published in: on April 3, 2018 at 1:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 3, 2018: Snow and Second Thoughts  
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Mon. April 2, 2018: Relaxation #UpbeatAuthors

Mon. April 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Relaxation is important for us to keep healthy, both mentally and physically, especially during retrogrades. Mercury Retrograde is always a mess, with communication, travel, and electronics going wonky, Jupiter is a heavy planet, and planet of expansion, so when it goes retrograde, everything is harder. Plus, we have a Pluto retrograde coming up.

I find the most important part of relaxation is disconnecting. Turn the damn phone off. This idea that we have to be reachable 24/7 is ridiculous. There is always a way you can be reached in an emergency, even if your phone is off. Cell phones are a fairly recent invention.

I try to have one day a week that’s a “day of disconnect.” No internet, no phone, no social media. I loathe the phone anyway. I find it an intrusive device that destroys my creativity. In the days pre-cell phone, I had an answering machine and screened my calls. There were plenty of time, during my writing times, when I unplugged the phone.

When I am writing, as far as I’m concerned, the only acceptable excuse for interruption is a major emergency such as death or hospitalized illness. Anything other than that, wait until I’m done.

Where I live now, on Cape Cod, is a beautiful place. But, in summer, when so many other people come here to enjoy the beauty, it’s stressful. I’m lucky to have a big backyard (currently in need to post-storm cleanup) and a covered deck with beautiful skylights. Every spring, we build an enchanted garden on the deck, full of our container plants, and we have lilacs and beds of beautiful plants throughout. We eat as many meals as possible out there, and I do a great deal of writing.

If I’m working in my home office, I stop and have a glass of wine before dinner, out on the deck. Or a cocktail, in summer (we’ve reinstated cocktail hour here). I do the same when I get home from working on-site with a client. I even did it last week, after an afternoon of yard work! I poured myself a glass of wine and sat on the steps (since the furniture isn’t out yet; it’s still too cold).

For me, a glass of wine in my garden is one of the most relaxing and restorative things I can do.

I have a daily yoga and meditation practice, and that’s the other way I relax. Savasana is important. When you practice yoga, don’t skip Savasana!

In my yoga/cruise ship mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA, Sophie, my protagonist, doesn’t let her students leave class early to skip the pose! It’s a wonderful way to release and restore.

Relaxation allows you to appreciate the good things in your life, and paves the way for happiness.

So take some time for yourself, and relax!

Published in: on April 2, 2018 at 5:02 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 2, 2018: Relaxation #UpbeatAuthors  
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