Thursday, May 31: Multi-Level Creativity

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy and muggy and full of pollen

Sorry this is up late. I had to get the weed whacker fixed.

Hop on over to Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions to see the May Wrap-Up. I didn’t post a To-Do list for May, because I had those extra projects come up, and any list would have been tossed out the window. But I’m happy with what got done.

Yesterday’s work with the client was tiring. I came home and read on the deck for a bit. I was also disappointed, at that particular site, about several ignorant comments from people who should know better.

I was going to skip going to Green Drinks, but I have to make an effort to get out and participate more. I put on make-up, I made an effort, and hauled myself out the door. I’m glad I did.

The space was beautiful, and focused on the Love Live Local businesses in Hyannis. Little Beach Gallery, Shift Eco Boutique, and DeVinto Designs. I really like what they do, what they create themselves, and the artwork featured. I met a host of interesting people, including a cadre of New Yorkers who also live and work here. Almost everyone I met is involved in textile or fiber arts, which was also interesting. As an ex-wardrobe person, I’m still fascinated by anything to do with textiles or fiber. I also met the new owner of Salt Yarn Studio, in Dennis. What used to be Yarn Hound, and, before that, Ladybug. I planned to go there tomorrow anyway to check it out; we had a great talk and I’m more eager than ever to go over there.

I’m glad I forced myself out of my introvert hut. The individuals I met were all interesting, all had good stories and unique passions. I’m not a fan of “people” in the general sense, but I find that, when you take the time to talk to an individual, they’re usually pretty interesting.

Little Beach Gallery had some great organic soaps, so I bought a bunch of them.

I feel good about the work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’m deeply grateful that I could send the outline for the novella to my editor before I’d written much (back when we decided that the section that’s grown into MYTH didn’t fit in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE). We decided to break that section out into its own novella, because it was a tangent from BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, but the readers needed to know how the relationship between Gwen and Justin evolved between TRACKING MEDUSA and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

So, I wrote an outline and sent it to my editor. She read it through and sent it back with comments, and ideas on how to keep it from sprawling into too much. She had suggestions on how to pare down the ideas to get to the essence of the piece, which keeps the focus of the series, and also shows how Gwen and Justin navigate their new status as a couple, while trying to juggle their lives. Each of them had a life before the other; their relationship changed their lives, but didn’t negate them. Gwen is older than Justin both emotionally and chronologically — he’s starting to come into his own and grow up.

The short conclusion to all this is that listening to my editor worked. Even from the outline, I’m paring a few things down, rearranging them, streamlining them, and the piece works better in pace and content. I’m going to do a big push on it this weekend.

I’m a little behind where I want to be on RELICS & REQUIEM, so I’m also going to do a push on that this weekend. And I’m nearly at the point where I can put the opening of the anti-gun violence play down on paper.

My reward for this is, once I finish my quota each day, working on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I picked up the oversized sketchbook yesterday, so I can work on the maps I need for the project. I’m using the smaller sketchbook for floor plans and buildings, and the large one for sections of the city and the city itself. Eventually, I’ll be able to scan in the large maps and I hope to put them into a program to animate them when I’m ready to do the website to go with this project. That’s months down the road, maybe a year or two, but I’m looking into software that’s similar to gaming software for it.

Auditing the class on International Tribunals in the Hague is fascinating. I’m glad I’m auditing and not taking it for credit, because it’s in French. While I can understand enough to get a lot out of the class (as long as I don’t try to translate every word as I hear it), my French isn’t strong enough to write the papers or take the exams. But I get a lot out of auditing.

Hopefully, there will be some good weather this weekend, so I can get yard work done.

If you haven’t read “My Deal with the Muse” over on Ink-Dipped Advice, go on over.

Today is the final day that PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle book (set backstage on a Broadway show) is 99 cents. You can buy it here. Tomorrow, it goes back up to its normal price of $3.99.

Still hearing good things in response to LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, the radio play that was broadcast last week. HEX BREAKER also got some good compliments. I’m glad people enjoy the work.

Back to the page.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

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? Buy it for only 99 cents here (through May 31).

 

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Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I need another week of weekend.

Busy times. Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest post.

I have to find someone who can help me re-thread the spool for the weed whacker, so I can keep working on the yard.

I made a stupid mistake on Friday because I was over-tired and careless. I can’t fix it; therefore I’ve lost a good opportunity. That’s my own damn fault. I need to let it go and move on.

Saturday was all about the yard. I worked in the front, I worked in the back. I set down the organic fertilizer that also fights ants and ticks. I planted the tomatoes I’ve grown from seed, re-planted some mints and other plants from the garden store, planted some more seeds, tracked down and destroyed the wasp nest and the wasps that have been tormenting us. Part of me felt guilty for the latter; however, they have an entire yard that remains organic; they don’t have to harass us on the deck. If they won’t respect boundaries, they are gone.

We set up the deck, and it’s lovely. I hope we can spend many wonderful hours out there this season.

I planned Sunday and Monday as writing days, and they were. However, they weren’t on the projects where I’m under the most pressure. I should have been working on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

Instead, I worked on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I wrote about fifty pages (mostly on Sunday, less on Monday). The shape is a little different than I expected, but I like it. The characters are surprising me in good ways. I’m having fun with the maps and building a dirigible that’s different from the other dirigibles I’ve designed for other stories. I have to adjust the structure — and that means going back and adding a chapter I skipped. I thought I had to rotate points of view and each chapter had to be from a different POV; however, I’m finding certain chapters where two in a row need to be from my primary protagonist. I’m also naming the chapters — something I rarely do. I’m naming them once they’re written, so the title reflects the content. I find if I try to name the chapter first, I then try to bend the chapter to fit the title, and it takes me off the track of the piece.

Thank goodness for my tracking sheets, or I’d never be able to stay consistent.

I heard that my radio play was well-received. I’m glad, and I look forward to hearing it when the link goes up. I also heard from some readers who bought and read my books over the holiday weekend, and enjoyed them. Always glad when something I write makes someone happy.

Worked on the anti-gun violence play. I have the characters, I think. I removed some, because they were pulling the focus of the piece. I have a smaller cast and a narrower focus, but I think it will work for what it is. I have what drives each of them; I have a basic idea of plot. I’m still working on structure, but I’m close. I find that, for a play, I need to work out a lot more in my head before I start writing. For prose, I need to make more notes and outline.

Yesterday, it was difficult to move out of the world of THREE ROADS and back into the contemporary New York of MYTH & INTERPRETAITON and RELICS & REQUIEM. Not to mention my actual reality of Cape Cod and having to work with a client on-site. I’m really tired of the attitude on Cape Cod of “if you’re not sitting in front of me doing the work, you can’t be working.” I’m much more productive working off-site, in my preferred surroundings. Both the quantity and the quality of my work are better when I work remotely.

Back on track with MYTH. Getting there with RELICS. My reward for getting each day’s quota on each is doing some work on THREE ROADS. Working steadily on the play — should be able to start putting something on paper this week.

Some LOIs out yesterday and more will go out today. I’m on-site with a client again, and have plenty of other stuff to get done while I’m gone.

And yard work, whenever I can, because the whole summer will be about yard work.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 30, 2018 at 2:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards  
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Tues. May 29, 2018: Interlude

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I’m taking the day off from blogging here today. Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see the piece on Why “In Death” is a Lively Series.

Hint about the weekend: I invested in a week wacker.

Back tomorrow. Hope you had a great holiday weekend!

 

Published in: on May 29, 2018 at 3:02 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 29, 2018: Interlude  

Mon. May 28, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors Pleasurable Indulgences

Monday, May 28, 2018
Day Before Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Memorial Day

It’s fitting that today’s post for #UpbeatAuthors should be about pleasurable indulgences.

In the past two weeks, I met four major deadlines. My pleasurable indulgence is doing exactly what I want this weekend! 😉

What gives me pleasure and makes me feel indulgent?

Writing always gives me pleasure. I prefer the writing to the “having written.” Of course I have difficult days, but they make the good ones even better. But an indulgence is to work on an undeadlined project. I’ll be doing that on two projects this weekend, a novel and a play.

Reading gives me pleasure. I read widely, both for research and for pleasure. I have a stack of books in my TBR pile, including Amanda Quick’s newest, and one from Marshall Ryan Maresca.

Gardening — there’s a case where the “having gardened” gives me more pleasure than the actual gardening. I especially hate to mow. But I will garden and then indulge in the pleasure of a beautiful space.

Cooking — I love to cook.

Yoga and meditation — although those are not indulgences for me, but necessities.

Unstructured time is my favorite indulgence. I need it in order to create. I seek some of it every day.

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

 

Published in: on May 28, 2018 at 5:50 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 28, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors Pleasurable Indulgences  
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Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges

Friday, May 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Sorry this is up late; I had errands to run this morning before the tourons descend on Cape Cod and make our lives hell for the next three months.

The relief I feel at getting out both requested partials to the interested editors ahead of deadline leaves me exhausted. HEART THEFT went out nine days before deadline; NOT BY THE BOOK went out four days before deadline. Neither one were dumped on the editor during a holiday weekend (although I cut it close with NBTB). I lived up to my own expectations for myself AND I’m happy with the quality of work I turned in.

I tried mowing yesterday. The reel mower doesn’t really mow much. It massages, and the grass snaps right back up. I bought a rolling blade. It should damn well cut whatever vegetation over which I roll it. Not happy AT ALL. When it cuts, it does a decent job of it, but there’s too much it’s not cutting.

I’m getting annoyed by the part-time writers who have non-writing day jobs to pay the bills attacking full-time writers who earn our living at it for “writing every day.” This is my profession, not my hobby. If I don’t show up and do the work every day, I can’t pay the bills. Getting paid for my writing doesn’t make me love it any less or make me any less of a writer. Stop attacking people who achieve what you can’t.

And, you know what? Go ahead and DON’T write regularly. Only write “when the muse strikes.” You’ll still be a cubicle slave. I’ll still be earning my living doing what I love — because I show up and do the work.

Spent some time outside, both reading and working on the maps for THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I’m moving forward as though my first choice market passed, and not writing it with an eye to their parameters. I’m back to writing it because I really love the piece and want to create this world. It will have to be done in and around other projects, but not having a deadline means less pressure. I’m getting more and more ideas about the world, and making more and more notes. The chapters I’ve written so far have a strong energy and drive, and I like the sprawl. I like weaving the characters, situations, and storylines together, to see where they converge and where they part.

This morning, I worked out a plot and character arc involving one of my five central protagonists with one of the minor characters who’s more complex than I expected. In my first putterings with this arc, it would have derailed the main drive of the piece. But now, I’ve figured out a way to adjust it so it supports the central plot instead of serving as a tangent. It will drive plot, illuminate character, enrich the world. In other words, serve its purpose.

However, this morning, I’m going back to work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, whose deadline is coming up quickly. I’ll be looking at cover choices next week from my publisher and cover designer — hopefully, there will be a cover reveal soon.

I’d also like to sit down with the market list this weekend and come up with some more article pitches to go out next week.

I finished reading Marshall Ryan Maresca’s AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE. I like this series a lot. A MURDER OF MAGES remains as one of my Top Twelve Books across genre. The choices made as the series develops surprise me. I often think, “I wouldn’t do it that way — but I’m really glad HE did!” I enjoy his world building, and I enjoy the way he breaks genre clichés.

There’s such a big difference between turning a trope (I hate that word) inside out and ignoring it. Tropes set up expectations. A talented writer (like Maresca) knows them intimately and knows how to use them beyond the expectations and take the reader somewhere new and exciting. A careless writer would toss it in and not follow through or defy it without providing expansion and payoff.

I admit it, I read Maresca as much for craft as for story and character. I learn a lot about the way he structures his books, about the paths his characters take. There’s always the sense of discovery there, but he’s got such good craft, I’m willing to leap with him wherever he goes, because I know it will be a satisfying, exciting experience. He was also kind enough to point me in the right direction when I had questions about mapping that have been useful.

I heard the radio play went well earlier this week. The cast, crew, and audience had fun with it — that’s music to a playwright’s ears! I’m looking forward to hearing it.

I’m playing with ideas for the new gun violence play that came out of the conversation I had with an actress friend. I’d set out a cast of characters, but they started feeling too much like representations than individuals. So I stripped it back and narrowed the focus. Now, I have something to work with, something to develop. I usually don’t mention the physical characteristics or race of characters in a cast breakdown. With my work, I find that when the actor who connects best with the work is cast, we have an array of physical types, races, ethnicities.

However, in this case, race is part of what the play deals with. Which means I need to specify which characters are black, white, etc. We’re dealing with things people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge, but which have to be acknowledged. This will be a challenging piece to work on, and I’m pulling in advice from all kinds of actors and creatives with whom I’ve worked on Broadway, to make sure it’s not just a banal “I’m presenting a message” piece, but a piece that digs deep in search of the cause of the problem, and also offers more than one solution. The development process will take a looong time. But it will be worth it, if something valuable comes out of it, for those of us in the creation and the experience of the final piece. Flippant responses out of emotion, fear, anger, aren’t necessarily ones that will help. Yet they will also need to be a part of this, as they are a step on the journey to a solution, and sometimes a tangent.

I hope I’m up to the challenge.

In the meantime, I have to tackle the challenge of the Lawn that Refused to Bow to the Mower.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on May 25, 2018 at 9:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges  
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Thurs. May 24, 2018: And It’s In Before Deadline!

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/mild

I did it. I finished the partial and the synopsis of NOT BY THE BOOK, and it’s going out to the requesting editor today!

That means I can enjoy my weekend!

Check out the new books I’ve put up on the Recommended Reading page for the Coventina Circle mysteries. I used them for the research on Klaus Hendrik’s backstory in THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Klaus is the ghost of the young soldier who died shortly after the Battle of Fort Washington during the American Revolution.

Finished two big projects for a client yesterday. Should have mowed and didn’t. I am fighting with wasps on the deck, but haven’t found the nest yet. I will win.

I wrote until nearly 1 AM this morning. I have errands and some other stuff to do, but then I am taking the rest of the day off. Heck, I’m taking the holiday weekend off.

Yeah, of course I’ll be writing, but only what I want to write!

Enjoy!

Published in: on May 24, 2018 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 24, 2018: And It’s In Before Deadline!  
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Wed. May 23, 2018: Juggling Deadlines Again

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

It’s official. I still hate mowing. Yes, I like the new reel mower better than the other one. But it still has issues — it sticks, it doesn’t cut down certain types of grass. Really, I’m not asking for much. I’m asking that the damn wheels turn in the direction I push, and that the damn blade cuts GRASS. Which is, supposedly, what a lawn mower does. Why is that so difficult?

Big project for the client is stressful. It’ll get done, but the client doesn’t understand that it doesn’t happen by magically pushing a button on the computer.

Sent out a couple of LOIs. The media kit for the Coventina Circle series is done and up in that site’s Media Room. There’s a media kit for each book, and then there’s the media kit for the entire series, which will be updated with each release.

I’m behind on getting the judging sheets done, because of the mowing.

Working steadily on NOT BY THE BOOK, but struggling. The partial has to go out tomorrow, and I’m worried. The voice is strong, but I’m having the same struggle I’ve had in these past months trying to get it back on the roster — it’s not flowing.

Plus, both the serial and THE POWER OF WORDS are pulling at me, and I’m under the gun for MYTH & INTERPRETATION.

I want to get NOT BY THE BOOK out the door and then give myself breathing room, resting room for the long holiday weekend. I’m sure I will write, but I won’t pressure myself as to what.

I want to play with the ideas my actress friend and I discussed. I’ve come up with a couple of working titles. I’m still not sure if it will be one piece, or a pair of one acts hooked together on a common theme to make an evening.

But I need breathing room, thinking room, daydreaming room. I’m just so exhausted. Our country is being dismantled by grifters and criminals, and it’s difficult to create. But I must, or I truly will die.

I have to finish a couple of things for a client today. And then, I need to write and polish. It’s hard for me to write at the end of the day; my best working time is in the morning. But, when I’m under deadline pressure, I have to.

I’m so sick and tired of writers who say you don’t have to write every day. “Writing every day” doesn’t mean you never take a day off or a vacation. It means you choose when and how to take time off, and the rest of the time, you show up like a professional. Writing is a “real job.” Writers deserve to be paid well for what they do, and not derided because they love what they do. Professionals in all fields show up at the job and do the work. You have a major agent who can negotiate with a major publisher so you can take as long as you want to write something? Good for you. You make enough at the day job so you can only write if you “feel like it?” Good for you. You have a spouse or partner who takes care of the bills so you can write when the mood strikes? Good for you. But I — and most of my working peers — need to show up every day and do the work, whether we feel like it or not. It doesn’t make us love it any less. Getting paid doesn’t mean our work is “less than” someone who “writes for love.” We love it, too. We also value our work and demand a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Earning a living at it means it’s our profession. So we act like professionals.

On a happier note, I re-read the first four of Kate Parker’s Victorian Bookshop mysteries. I really like that series. I want to read her two series, too.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 23, 2018 at 2:34 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 23, 2018: Juggling Deadlines Again  
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Apologies. This was scheduled to post this morning, and, for some reason, did not.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to learn all about A.M. Griffin’s newest release, THE GOD KILLER.

Last night, my comic noir mystery radio drama LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES was performed by the Radio Theatre Players in St. Petersburg, Florida. I wish I could have been there to cheer them on in person!

Busy, busy, busy! Good busy, but still busy.

I finally bought a new lawn mower late last week, a reel push mower. No more horrible noise. No more fumes. No more gasoline. It was a pain the butt to put together. However, it’s been raining for days, so yesterday, before I left for my client meeting, was the first chance I had to really use it.

I like it much better than the gas mower.

I dug down and finished the requested partial for HEART THEFT. Seven polished chapters, and the synopsis, cut down from the nine page outline to a five page synopsis. It felt weird to send off a partial of an unfinished manuscript. I’m so used to submitting partials of complete manuscripts.

It also felt weird to step out of the rhythm of the book I’d established and switch over to NOT BY THE BOOK, which I’m now digging down on, because that partial has to go out this week. I aim for Thursday.

The deadline on both was actually Monday night (Memorial Day). However, I wanted them out early. I also don’t want to dump a manuscript on anyone as they’re leaving on Friday for the weekend, so I want to get NBTB out on Thursday, and I already have HT out, so I can actually enjoy the long holiday weekend.

I should hear back by July. Either the editors will like it and want more, which means the books go up a few steps in the writing queue, or they won’t, and the books stay where they are, and get submitted elsewhere when they’re submission-ready.

Once NBTB is out, the primary focus goes back to MYTH & INTERPRETATION, with RELICS & REQUIEM as a close second. In a few weeks, I have to get going on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Had a conversation on Twitter with an actress friend about our anger over the lack of action taken by politicians on gun control. That’s translating into notes for a script, which I will send her when it’s done. She runs a theatre company.

Came across information on Julie d’Abigny, a fascinating woman from history. I considered pitching to write a play about her for 365 Women, but when I checked, someone else already has (and they’re full for this season). So I guess I sticking to not writing a play for them this year! 😉

But I miss script writing.

So, the summer will be a juggling act. How many balls I have in the air will depend on whether the serial is picked up, and how the editors respond to these two partials.

Considering all the non-writing stuff that has to get done this summer as well, it should be, well . . .interesting.

For me, the best part of the royal wedding was how people enjoyed the happiness the marrying couple shared. I didn’t watch it; I did, however, enjoy how happy so many people were on Twitter and FB.

For those who had to deride the happiness? They’re not worth my time. It’s fine not to like what others like. But don’t scorn them for it, because it doesn’t fit what YOU like. As long as they’re not hurting anyone, let them have their happiness. Not everything is about YOU or YOUR opinion.

Happy that Justify won the Preakness. The hope for another Triple Crown is still alive. Good Magic got a lousy ride – the jockey wore him out too early. My poor little Quip had a bad day, and was depressed to come in last. Poor little one. We forget how young they are when they run these races.

Client work yesterday, today, and tomorrow on a big project. Some LOIs out. Yard work.

Getting the final paperwork out for the contest. It was much easier when I just mailed them the judging sheets. But now I have to key it into the computer, zip a file, and send it off. I need the physical sheets for the way I organize Yes, No, and Maybe piles in each category.

Bought a big new sketch pad yesterday, because I need to figure out some physical mapping on the serial. I need to render the main building where a good portion of it takes place, the street, the neighborhood, and then, the entire town.

Good thing I studied stage design. It’s amazing how much that helps me in writing novels.

It’s amazing how many skills I picked up working in theatre help with the writing.

Monday, May 21, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors, Favorite Self-Help Site

antique-author-beverage-958164

image courtesy of rawpixel.com

Monday, May 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

The best self-help site?

If you’re a writer, it’s Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page.

Talented, savvy, supportive, Lori’s built a community where we shore each other up, fight for each other, teach each other, laugh together.

You’re a writer? Lori’s site will give you something to sustain and inspire with every post.

May is especially exciting because it’s Writers Worth Month, to help teach us to value our work.

Published in: on May 21, 2018 at 2:23 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday, May 18, 2018: Writing

bag-book-classic-159618

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

I’m writing today, and all weekend.

And, of course, watching the Preakness tomorrow. Enjoy!

Published in: on May 18, 2018 at 6:17 am  Comments Off on Friday, May 18, 2018: Writing  

Thurs. May 17, 2018: Writing Retreat & Preakness Picks

Thursday, May 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’m tired, but I’m deep in HEART THEFT. I had that moment when the book cracks open and makes perfect sense, and I’m going to ride that wave until I finish what I need to send to the editor. I’m also polishing the synopsis. I hope to have it out this weekend, and then turn my attention to NOT BY THE BOOK, and have that out next week.

As of noon today, I am on a self-imposed writing retreat. With only a quick foray out to buy a new lawnmower. We have Vacant Lot Syndrome going on in the front yard.

Any post I post will be quick tomorrow. Monday’s will be for Upbeat Authors.

Preakness is Saturday.

Justify and Good Magic across the board and boxed exactas again.

I kind of like Quip. If he looks good on Saturday, I’ll throw him into the mix.

I like Diamond King’s personality, and Sporting Chance was sired by my old fave Tiznow. I’ll look at them on the day and then make the decision. But my top choices remain Justify and Good Magic. If anything, I have more confidence in Good Magic here than I did in the Derby. But I can’t help hoping Justify wins again!

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on May 17, 2018 at 9:11 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 17, 2018: Writing Retreat & Preakness Picks  
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Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas on “The Social Media Conversation.”

I am exhausted, and I have to reconcile myself to being so until at least the end of the month.

Monday was busy — I went in early to work with my client, who was leaving for an international trip later that day. I had company when I came home — a writer with whom I’m acquainted who happened to be in Boston and came down to visit.

We were having a good visit when an email came through — the person who was scheduled to post on one of my sites the next day (which was uploaded and ready to go) wanted to postpone because one of the links wouldn’t be live. ONE of the links. The others were fine.

I was angry. You don’t pull out the day before guesting. Not unless you’re offering other content for the slot. Plus, as a guest, YOU don’t tell ME when to post your piece. You’re a GUEST. You can request a preferred date and I’ll do what I can. But you don’t make the decision when it runs. My house, my rules. Not to mention that I was off the clock for the day, had company, and wasn’t near a computer. There’s a reason I schedule posts ahead of time. I run multiple sites. I have X amount of time. I plan ahead, schedule ahead, and that’s that.

I said no and vented to my guest and to another friend.

On the other hand, I had some empathy. I had a book where I’d spent months lining up release-day promo for its release. Many of the sites were reluctant to include me, because they had trouble with that particular publisher before and considered the publisher unreliable. The caveat was that they would run my posts provided I could guarantee the links would be live on release day. I discussed it with my publisher, and was promised everything would be on time. I even turned in final galleys early to make sure everything on my end was done.

Book release day came. My posts were up on multiple sites. As soon as I woke up, I received a barrage of angry messages from the site masters — the book had not released. I had not been warned by my publisher that there would be a delay. If I had, I could have let the site masters know in time and offered other content. I contacted my publisher, who got back to me hours later with a shrug that “it happens” and “they didn’t have time” to get it up when they said they would. And that “that’s the way it is with digital releases; you better get used to it.”

Meanwhile, my posts had been pulled down by the site masters and they’ll never trust me again. I lost all the publicity I’d set up, I lost future publicity. I never got as much as an apology from my publisher. The book went up nearly a week later, and they refused to give me any marketing support. As far as they were concerned, I should have “known better” than to expect the book to be ready on release day. This is the same publisher who felt I wasn’t spending enough money to promote my books, and didn’t spend a dime.

Yeah, not a publisher I want to keep working with.

I remember how upsetting that was. I’d never told this particular guest that all the links had to be live, just that I needed links.

So, I’m sitting outside the restaurant, on my phone. I managed to get into my site on my phone and reschedule the post. Fortunately, I was still deciding which post would go up on the next requested day. I sure as heck wasn’t going to bump someone else.

THEN I had to take down all the scheduled promotional posts/tweets/et al I’d put up to promote it.

THEN, I had to figure out how to get substitute content for the next day.

But I told my guest I’d moved it, and that I needed the new links by Thursday noon. I’m on a brutal deadline right now. From Thursday noon through next Monday, I’m on a writing retreat/no or limited internet. I’m not blowing my deadline because someone else’s publisher didn’t come through for them.

No response. Not a thank you. Not a sorry. Nothing.

I was angry at myself for not just saying “no” and sticking with it.

I still needed content for the day, even though it would go up late.

I invited my in-person guest to write something.

She was terrified. She’s early in her writing career, no website, no blog, no contract. But she’s a good writer and she does the work. She came up with a post, I made a few suggestions, and yesterday it went up.

She’s already received an invitation to guest on another blog from it, so everything worked out.

And I got an idea for Ink-Dipped Advice on “Guest Post Etiquette.”

Between us all, we made it work. Was it a hassle? Yes. Was I frustrated and angry? Yes. But it worked out. I learned from it and moving on.
So that was Monday into Tuesday. The rest of Tuesday was busy at my client’s site. Even with her out of the office, there’s plenty to do. It’s interesting, but exhausting.

And, I’m working steadily on HEART THEFT, because I need to get out what I have this weekend. I like the work, I’m enjoying it, but I’m pushing. Especially because the characters in the serial won’t shut the heck up, and the other deadlines are looming as well.

Did a grocery run, trying to get home before the storm and forgot half of what I needed. As one does.

The storm wasn’t anywhere near as bad here as it was in New York. Some hail during the day, thunder, lightning, and rain at night. Power flickered, so I couldn’t write on the computer, and we didn’t watch anything.

Today, I’m with the client again, then picking up the missed groceries. Then, it’s back to HEART THEFT. Big push today, tomorrow, and Friday for that. I doubt I will post on Friday here, or if I do, it will be a post saying I’m not posting! 😉

HEART THEFT needs to go out this weekend, and then it’s NOT BY THE BOOK, which needs to go out by the end of next week.

And then, the editors either want them or they don’t. And my focus goes back to juggling MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

And preparing for another career evaluation/assessment over the Memorial Day weekend, where we will meet, talk, discuss, plan, and relax, while plotting out my next moves.

Have a great day!

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway  
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Tues. May 15, 2018: Creativity Inspires Creativity

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and meet Emily Montgomery, a writer early in her career who jumped in when the post supposed to go live today ran into trouble.

Busy, busy weekend. But a good one. I finished the contest entries late last week, made my final decisions, and sent off the winning choice in each category and the finalists. Now, I have to count up the books so I can invoice, and do the digital entry on the judging sheets. I did everything in hard copy, because it was easier to keep the categories organized.

Got some excellent work done on HEART THEFT. I’m hoping that will be ready to go out the end of this week.

Also did some excellent work on the serial – which I shouldn’t be working on, but it pulled so hard I had to or else.

Early to work yesterday with a client who’s going out of the country for a few weeks. She just designed the next season’s line, and I have to get her design information to the people who make up the samples. It was fascinating, and so different than designing costumes for theatre.

Over the weekend, I watched THE POST and THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. They were both terrific. THE POST made me mourn the way the NEW YORK TIMES has turned into a right-wing propaganda paper for the current administration. The former editors must be spinning in their graves. I looked up to the TIMES so much growing up – trained in their journalism style, admired their work. And, of course, their cafeteria was one of the best in the city! A friend of mine worked there, and I used to visit her and we’d have lunch or dinner there. Even after the whole Jayson Blair problem, they got back on track. Although they were never, in my lifetime, a “liberal” paper. They’ve always been The Gray Lady, slightly right of center. Now, they’re just a propaganda machine for the corrupt and the stupid. I read the WASHINGTON POST far more than the TIMES. I trust them more. And, of course, I remember both the Pentagon Papers and Watergate – when Congress actually pretended to have ethics and wouldn’t just let the White House run roughshod over everything like a banana republic. Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and all the supporting cast – all terrific. If you haven’t seen it yet, do it.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN took my breath away. It’s completely unique. It’s a period film that’s not constrained by period, and goes beyond. Yes, the music is contemporary rather than period, and so it the dance style. But, somehow, it all works. And Hugh Jackman owns it. He lights up the screen, more so than in anything else I’ve seen him in. I even liked Zac Efron’s work – for the first time. The bar scene between Jackman and Efron is going down as one of my favorite film scenes ever. The joy, the cleverness, the precision – stunning. Michelle Williams pulled it off; not a big fan of her work, but she did a decent job here. I think I’m going to buy the DVD – it’s definitely a film I’ll go back to time and time again.

Back to the page now – I have two manuscripts to work on that need to go out by the end of the month AND get back on track with MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

I do love the process of writing, though, and especially after seeing two great movies, I’m fired up about creating again – even though what I’m working on has nothing to do with what I watched. But excellence in creativity inspires. Always.

Allow yourself to be inspired.

Then go for it.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Just a reminder: PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle book, is on sale for a limited time for 99 cents. THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, is available for $3.99.

I hope you read them both and like them!

Back to the page.

The Spirit Repository.6