Friday, June 29, 2018: Adventures!

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

I’m off having adventures today. I’ll be back blogging next week!

Have a great weekend!

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Published in: on June 29, 2018 at 4:11 am  Comments Off on Friday, June 29, 2018: Adventures!  

Thurs. June 28, 2018: Creativity Must Win

Thursday, June 28, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Rainy and humid

I went to the savasana/sukasana/reiki session Tuesday night, and it removed my migraine. First time it’s happened that way. We used the chakras to drain the pain. Interesting technique. Hard to verbalize, because it was so experiential. But it worked, and that’s what matters.

Worried that putting a between-the-books novella in the Gwen Finnegan series between BALTHAZAAR and SANDOVAHL will dilute the power of what’s happened between those two books and take away from the opening of SANDOVAHL. Is it more interesting to have them working on separate teams toward the same goal when they are tight as a couple, or when they are having problems? Each introduces a different dynamic. I don’t know which is more effective. A friend who’s a fan of the series says she would like to see one of each, to see the contrast in how they deal with each other.

This is where discussions with one’s editor are so important. There are always editors who shrug and say, “whatever you think is best” and then there are those who point out how the different dynamics affect the overall series.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION is up for pre-order on several channels. The link is here. It won’t be available on Amazon until several days after its release, because that’s what they do with some distribution. Since Amazon is not the publisher, but the distributor, they can make certain arbitrary decisions on how they will distribute from particular publishers. I don’t really care — the universal buy link gives the reader the choice of channel, and waiting a few days is no big deal. Yes, it affects pre-sales (because Amazon won’t allow them via this publisher), but I would rather be with my publisher and distributed via Amazon than be published by Amazon. I don’t like Amazon’s author contract. I’m fine with this compromise.

Pushing through a tough part of RELICS. Mentally, I’m several chapters ahead, but I have to get there. I also have to make some decisions on timeline. because arbitrary days of the week are not working for this.

Working on calendar articles. It’s slower than I expected, because I’m testing what I write about, to make sure it works. But the testing process is fun. Kind of like recipe development.

On Wednesday, one of my clients treated us all to lunch at the local Beach Club, an old-fashioned establishment on the water, which was nice, and then took us to her house to walk around the garden and show us her unique house, that was a labor of love. It’s a gorgeous place, curated with well-loved objects from a lifetime of travel. It was lovely, and very kind of her to share it with us.

I came home and worked on the front beds. They’d gotten kind of wild, and I had to weed and cut back a lot of invasives. An ongoing process.

I will be offline most of tomorrow (no blog post). I’m having adventures. Saturday are the protests against the government’s human rights violations. Sunday, I’ve got a couple of other things to do (including write and work in the garden).

Needless to say, I’m furious that Justice Kennedy is retiring. Another instance of a Republican putting party over country. In the interim, he is determined to do as much damage as possible. Traitor.

Next week is Independence Day. I’ll be offline that day, taking a break (and, of course, writing). Ink-Dipped Advice will also take a break. I considered scheduling an informational post, but taking breaks is just as important as getting people in the habit of a weekly visit. So it is a celebration post.

The June wrap-up with go live on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions tomorrow, and the July To Do List will go live on the same site on Monday.

Have a great weekend.!

Wed. June 27, 2018: Trying to Balance the Writing

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Day before full moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

The retrogrades are stifling.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for my piece on billing for phone time.

Mowed the front lawn on Monday afternoon. Still don’t love it, but the reel push mower works better for me than the gas mower.

But then, of course, it was cocktail time!

MYTH & INTERPRETATION is going through the publication process. I should have the Universal buy link and pre-order information up soon. It releases on July 17. I’m finishing up the media kit for it, and then I’ll do the series media kit.

I have to up my game with RELICS & REQUIEM. I often say that every novel has its own innate rhythm. This one’s is slower than I need it to be in order to meet my deadlines. I have to up it by at least two pages a day. Not quite sure how I’ll do that yet.

Another Gwen Finnegan between-the-books novella has started churning in my head. This would be between Book #2, BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and Book #3, SANDOVAHL SECRET. It puts them in competition, when they are hired by different teams after the same object. Given where they are at the end of BALTHAZAAR, it might be a fun piece. I may do an outline and give it to my editor, to see what she thinks.

Watched NATIONAL TREASURE for about the fortieth time on Monday night. I have such fun with that movie.

RELICS & REQUIEM, finessing the DAVY JONES DHARMA outline, client work. I got some LOIs out, and one of them already wants additional information, so that’s good.

Lost respect for several people because they don’t care enough to take action against the human rights violations done by our own government, because they don’t believe it affects them. I have no place in my life for cowards or appeasers.

There was a beautifully written editorial in the NY Times by Michelle Goldberg. The content was superb (unusual, because for months the NYT has been the Paper of Appeasement). But the writing, the sentence structure was glorious. I loved it, and tweeted about her.

I shouldn’t have been shocked that those who derided the writing – not the content, but the quality of the writing – were white men.

It’s a gorgeous piece. The use of language is the best of what being a writer can be.

Today, one of my clients is taking her team out to lunch overlooking the water. That should be fun. Depending on my schedule after that, I might to go Green Drinks in Mashpee later. Never a dull moment, and that’s the way it should be!

 

Published in: on June 27, 2018 at 2:37 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 27, 2018: Trying to Balance the Writing  
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Tues. June 26, 2018: Good Writing Things While the Country Burns Down

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

Five retrogrades. That’s a lot of weight.

Turned around the galleys for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. The book will be ready for pre-orders soon. I’m happy with it.

RELICS & REQUIEM is steaming along nicely. I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night, so I spent several hours lying in bed refining plot points and making mental adjustments to the Writers Rough outline. I’ve started putting those adjustments into practice. It makes a big adjustment to the romantic part of the romantic suspense arc, and I’m not quite sure it will work, but I’m going to give it a shot.

This week, along with RELICS, I get back into the saddle with DAVY JONES DHARMA, the second Nautical Namaste mystery. I need to re-read the material and take a look at the outline to get back into that headspace and voice.

The anti-gun violence play is going along slowly. But that’s okay. Every piece has its own innate rhythm. I don’t yet have a title for it, which is making it more difficult.

I received the check from the radio play. Always great to get those checks.

PJ Friel, the cover artist, is going to stay on as the cover artist for The Jain Lazarus Adventures, which is a relief. She created a specific look for the series, which I think works. My publisher agreed. I’m very proprietary about Jain, and I’m lucky that my publisher is giving me more leeway than is usual.

I’m also reading PJ’s debut novel, A TWIST OF WYRD, and loving it. It’s a terrific urban fantasy with a strong romance at its core. I’m looking forward to more in the series. PJ was a guest of mine on A Biblio Paradise when the book came out, a few weeks ago.

Friday night, I went out with a friend I haven’t seen in person since last fall, right after PLAYING THE ANGLES released. We went to Embargo, a tapas place in Hyannis. The food was surprisingly good, and we had a great catch-up. She invited me to participate in a fundraiser for a mutual friend of ours, which will happen in August. I’m going to write a new monologue for that, which I’ve started percolating. She is a ceramic artist, and is participating in a show in Falmouth opening in a couple of weeks, so I will go to that. And she’s encouraging me to apply for a reading slot at a local festival this fall. She’s right. All they can do is say no. But they can’t say yes if I don’t let them know I’m interested.

So it was a good, creative shoring up of each other’s work.

Saturday was a rainy day. I like listening to the rain here. I gave myself the day off. I needed it.

Sunday, I was back in the saddle for RELICS & REQUIEM, and got some solid work on it in. I also read over what I’ve got on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, now that I’ve cut out the material used for MYTH. It’s much tighter and more focused. I’ll have to massage a few things for the timeline and then move forward; I’ve lost several chapters of the material that was the foundation for MYTH. But now BALTHAZAAR has its necessary pace and focus, and I can move forward.

Re-read what I’ve got so far on CRAVE THE HUNT, the third Jain Lazarus. It’s a little more than the first quarter of the book, a little less than the first third. I like it. I found most of my outline notes, so I know where I’m going with it. I think I can whip it into shape for its release in March.

IF I stay focused on everything else that’s already contracted.

Yesterday was about client work and continuing to work on the media kit for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I had trouble getting my head back into RELICS, for some reason; but eventually, I got there.

Some idiot yesterday, here on Cape said, “I don’t have anything to worry about with politics. My skin is white.” And THIS is why we now live in a fascist dictatorship. The ignorance and lack of care is appalling.

Today is about more client work. I’m hoping to get to Reiki tonight. Because believe me, I need it!

 

Published in: on June 26, 2018 at 1:44 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 26, 2018: Good Writing Things While the Country Burns Down  
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Mon. June 25, 2018: Fostering Optimism #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, June 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

 

Tomorrow Mars goes retrograde as well. We’ll be dealing with five retrogrades, which is not fun.

Today’s topic is “fostering optimism.” In these dark times, that’s difficult. We have a responsibility as human beings AND as artists to both bear witness to the atrocities AND, through art, help people find positive solutions and see the world in a better light. We have the capacity to write/create a way to a better world.

There’s a difference between an artist who creates positive work while striving to make the world a better place on every level and someone who keeps creating within a narrow space and shouts, “I stay out of politics!” while pretending nothing bad is going on.

Either choice is personal. But I admit there are several authors whose work I can no longer read. I pick up the books, and I feel sick within a few pages, because I’ve lost respect for them as people. I don’t attack them or their work publicly, because they have the right to make the choices they’ve made. And I have the right to disengage, both as a person and as a fellow artist.

In a climate like this, how do you foster optimism?

I’m trying several different ways. The success ebbs and flows depending on the day. It’s a constant struggle. I don’t have “the” solution, but I have some techniques I’m trying, and I hope to learn some more from my fellow Upbeat Authors.

I try to celebrate small victories, both my own and those of my colleagues. Someone else’s success does not mean any sort of loss for me. It is something to celebrate. I’m happy when a fellow author gets published or lands a contract or wins a prize. As far as I’m concerned, when one of us succeeds, it’s good for everyone.

I take joy in my house and in my garden. In my friends and family. Right now, the roses are in bloom here on Cape Cod, and they’re magnificent. I take joy each time I see one. The fact that roses can still bloom makes me believe there is still hope in the world.

I remain committed to a daily yoga and meditation practice. I’ve added an additional meditation session before bedtime to help me get to sleep. I feel anger high up in my chest, in my throat, in my neck, shoulders, and head (frequent migraines). The anger pulls me up from the ground and disconnects me. If I can stay connected, “earthed” and “grounded” — instead of being caught in an endless cycle of rage, I can channel the anger into positive action and use it as a catalyst.

I keep doing the work. I show up at the page every day. I work. Even on the tough days, I work. I try to learn from the way my characters navigate their challenges, how they respond to both the good and the bad in their worlds. I try to see the world through their eyes, not just my own, and learn from that. The steady, daily work does more for my personal optimism than any other action I take.

Seeing the world through other eyes is also why I read as much as I do. Not agreeing with a character’s choices is different than not understanding why that individual made them. The more you read of as many different authors across genres as you can, the more you expand your understanding of the world. Reading can be BOTH an escape and an expansion.

Through the daily commitment to activism, I have met some amazing people from all walks of life. If the situation wasn’t so dire, I would not have crossed paths with many of them. The intelligence, energy, and commitment gives me hope for the future.

I try to give compliments and encouragement as often as possible. Not to compliment or encourage something I think is vile, but compliment and encourage whenever possible.

There are plenty of ways I fail my own expectations of myself every single day. But I keep trying. Because I believe we have a responsibility to improve the world, both as people and as artists.

 

Published in: on June 25, 2018 at 4:48 am  Comments Off on Mon. June 25, 2018: Fostering Optimism #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. June 22, 2018: Jain Lazarus Announcement (and Other Writing)

HexBreakerAlt

Friday, June 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Jain Lazarus announcement: Bluestockings and Gentlemen Press has picked up the series contract for The Jain Lazarus Adventures. HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK will be re-released along with the third book in the series, CRAVE THE HUNT, in Spring of 2019. The plan is for the first three books to re-release and release a week apart, and then one book a year for the next four books, should they pick up the option.

Wrote a couple of blog posts and scheduled them to post yesterday. I wasn’t in the mood for sitting in front of the computer.

Finished this round of galleys on MYTH and sending them off to my editor & copyeditor today. It wasn’t too bad; there were a few things I missed, and some paragraph indents that didn’t take. I’m hoping I can turn around the next set of proofs fast this weekend and we’ll have caught everything. It was nowhere near as mortifying as the copyedits on SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Not a good day on RELICS, as far as getting words on paper, but figured out a few things. I need to re-arrange some events, so the timeline works out. I want to do a big push on it this weekend, because starting next week, I have to juggle both RELICS and DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Did some preliminary research for the first three pieces I have to write for the 2020 Almanac, and will draft them and test them this weekend. If I do three a week, I have plenty of time to write and revise them before deadline.

And, of course, there’s a new idea tugging at me. As if there weren’t enough projects competing for my attention.

I did some weed whacking yesterday, in the front and the side yards. I have to mow the front later today, while the weather is still good.

Errands this morning — bill paying, stocking up on cat food. They’re working on my street again, so hopefully, I won’t have trouble getting in and out.

Last night was the Summer Solstice ceremony — lovely. As of today, the days start getting shorter.

I’m supposed to meet a friend this evening to catch up on life, the universe, and everything. It will be a nice start to what I hope is a productive, creative weekend.

Have a good one!

Published in: on June 22, 2018 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 22, 2018: Jain Lazarus Announcement (and Other Writing)  
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Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Rainy and muggy

Tuesday night, there was a lovely Savasana/Reiki session at my yoga studio. I’m so glad I went. I felt so much better after.

Tessa wouldn’t eat her food (she only eats one kind of dry food, with another as an occasional treat), so at 6:30 in the morning yesterday, I went to 711 to get her a fresh box of her “treat” food, since the pet food store wasn’t open. She ate that. So her regular food must have gotten stale or something. Then, this morning, she didn’t want that food, and ate her normal food again. She’s bored and acting out. I need to give her more to do. Iris is too old to be a good companion for her.

It was difficult to make much progress on RELICS on Wednesday. My head wasn’t in the game.

Now that the US has pulled out of the UN’s Human Rights Council and believes that gives them the freedom to do anything they want, harm anyone they want, I hope that the world will prosecute this administration for human rights violations and war crimes in the Hague.

If a baker can refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding and say it’s because of his “religion” than any ethical and moral individual can refuse to sell to, serve, or otherwise provide any good or service to any individual who participates in this atrocity. And we all should. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Frontier Air took important steps yesterday to do just that. Prosecute the participants, the way Nazi collaborators were prosecuted after WWII. Cut them out of the community. Refuse them the sacraments. After all, they are tearing rosaries away from immigrants — why should they be allowed the comfort they deny others? Nor should they be absolved in a confessional and allowed to return to committing the same atrocities again.

If these were white children being detained, these gun rights militias would have already stormed the camps and freed them. But, since gun rights militants tend to also be white supremacists (not to mention hypocrites), they haven’t done anything. Or even spoken out.

A large faction of Methodists has spoken out against Jeff Sessions and threatened to expel him from the church. Good. He’s been hiding behind “religion” to justify his atrocities. His religious leaders, if they actually walk their path, should condemn and expel him. Then he should go on trial for human rights violations. All the evangelicals who haven’t spoken out, who aren’t doing anything — again, proves that they aren’t followers of Christ at all, but hypocrites. Like people with critical thinking skills didn’t already know that.

Some Republican Senators are saying this is wrong. Yet they refuse to sign on to Senator Diane Feinstein’s bill that would stop this. Because Republicans don’t really mean it, and aren’t willing to work across the aisle for a solution. It’s beyond not being willing to work with Democrats. It is because Republicans AGREE with the policies. They would rather see an entire generation of children destroyed for not being white and world-wide anti-Americanism on the rise than put country over party. It is racism and the worst kind of nationalism.

We cannot wait until November. They must be stopped NOW.

That EO signed by the Narcissistic Sociopath yesterday does not solve the problem. It was a photo op to stop some of the shouting by those who can’t be bothered to read beyond a headline. It continues to put asylum seekers — something that is LEGAL — into concentration camps. It does not reunite the children already separated from their parents. It is not acceptable.

I am deeply disappointed in some that I thought were decent human beings and have proven themselves otherwise by continuing to support and excuse this corrupt administration. Including some who claimed they voted R on “religious grounds.”

I’ve said it before and I repeat: Good people did not vote for this administration. The minute they pulled that voter lever, they forfeited any “good person” status and let the mask slip, revealing who they really are.

In the book I’m currently reading, Dolores Stewart Riccio’s THE DIVINE CIRCLE OF LADIES MAKING MISCHIEF, on page 108, she has a beautiful sentence: “The heart always has room for one more.”

Unless one supports this administration. Then, the heart has room for no one.

Had hoped to do some yard work today, but don’t know if the weather will let up so I can. I need to work on RELICS, and I also need to finish the proofs for MYTH.

It’s so important to show up and do the work every day, to keep creating, to refuse to be silenced during this dark time. It’s tough, but necessary.

Hopefully, tonight’s ritual will serve to both soothe and to activate.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 21, 2018 at 9:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World  
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Wed. June 20, 2018: Writing and Meetings

Wednesday, July 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read my suggestions for doing the research that helps craft your pitch.

One of the checks I’m waiting for finally arrived on Monday. Yes, it was dated when it was supposed to be; but it was mailed last Friday, three days after I asked about it and was told it had been sent out on time. All they had to do was say, “we found the check; we thought it had gone out; sorry.” Instead, they lied and said they’d sent it on time, and that it would be at least a week before the accountant could write a new one. Why not just admit the mistake and apologize? We all make mistakes.

Still waiting for the other check, but it’s not at the point where I can question yet. Tomorrow will be one month, so next week, I can follow up.

Monday night, I went to Yarmouth to the Cultural Center to a Mass Cultural Council meeting. As a former grant recipient, I felt it was important to show up, especially since I’d been asked to come. Only two working artists were there; the other was a filmmaker from Falmouth. I didn’t think I knew anyone; but I was surprised how many people knew my work — under more than one name, no less. Even the regional representative knew who I was.

I met some very interesting people, including someone who just took a job on Nantucket, moving here from Houston. Since I was on tour in Houston, with a Broadway show, we had a lot to talk about.

Most of the participants were either from local Cultural Councils or town municipalities. I was positively struck by how committed the members of the councils are to the arts — which is, of course, why they are there. I also met the new (well, she’s been there for a couple of years) head of the Arts Foundation — we recognized each other from advocacy with Mass Creative and our state and federal legislators.

We were broken up into groups to discuss obstacles, positives, and potential solutions. Then, each group shared what they’d learned. There were a lot of overlaps, and some terrific ideas. Let’s hope that something happens and there’s action.

I spoke to the rep after about the necessity of having artists at the table for these discussions. She said there will be a separate meeting for artists, and then another putting things together. I’m putting together some thoughts and suggestions.

So, let’s hope these are positive steps. Nothing can happen if people don’t get involved.

I got a response to an LOI I sent out, but the rate offered is so far under my rate that, with travel to and from Maine, it doesn’t make sense. I will gracefully withdraw.

Got feedback on a manuscript. The feedback was interesting. Some of it makes total sense, some of it I disagree with, but I’ll send it to a couple of Trusted Readers to see if I get the same response. If they hit on the same points, I’ll know I’m on the wrong track and will adjust. One of the points the editor didn’t like was something the readers to date loved, so there’s a dilemma.

But at least it doesn’t have to go back into the queue right away.

Tuesday was about client work, RELICS & REQUIEM, galleys for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. At the time I’m scheduling this to post, I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to either of the two events to which I’ve been invited, or if I’m just going to go home and work on galleys.

Today (Wednesday) is about client work, some ghostwriting, RELICS & REQUIEM, MYTH & INTERPRETATION galleys. And I need to write ahead on a couple of blog posts. And get up a couple of articles that tie in to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

 

Published in: on June 20, 2018 at 2:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 20, 2018: Writing and Meetings  
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Tues. June 19, 2018: Stressors

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

Four planets retrograde, with Mars going retrograde next week. Can I please just stay in bed until it’s all direct?

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for “The Lost Art of Reading Aloud.”

Busy weekend. Most of it was focused on turning around the revisions of MYTH & INTERPRETATION back to my editor. We’re in galleys now. Since it’s a novella, not a novel, and just over 40K, I’m hoping the galley process won’t be as drawn out as with SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Back in the saddle with RELICS & REQUIEM. Going at a good clip with that. I love the way the relationship is unfolding between Amanda and Phineas. It gets my full writing focus (as opposed to revision or proofreading focus) this week, because next week, DAVY JONES DHARMA gets back into the mix. I’m looking forward to spending time again with Sophie and the crew of the Charisma.

Did some work on the anti-gun violence play. It’s slow going. Instead of drafting in a rush, I’m working and reworking each scene, building the piece. It’s a different way of working than I usually use, but this play needs it. You change the process to meet the demands of a specific project.

It makes me shake my head when writers — usually un-published or under-published refuse to try something new because “that’s not my process.” Until you have a published track record, you’re still trying to find your process. And, even then, you have to change it when the work calls for it.

For the anti-gun violence play, all that time I’ve spent in DC working with senators and reps on legislation, talking to various members of Congress and their aides about issues has all come in handy. It allows me to give it texture, to layer in sights, sounds, smells, attitudes.

I’m still in touch with many of the people with whom I worked when I lived in New York, and have added the MA delegations to my contacts since I’ve moved here. Usually about once a day, always several times a week. Just because I don’t post about it all the time doesn’t mean I remain silent. Or uninvolved. Especially now, it’s vital to be immersed in our political process. My mother, who survived Russian prison camp in WWII, is horrified at the way the US is going down the road of Nazi Germany.

I am sickened by separating children from their families and putting them in cages. Every single individual who does this must be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL. No hiding behind “job” or “policy.” If your job or policy requires you to do something inhumane, you refuse. You fight. Period. If you commit an inhuman act because your job “requires” you to do it, YOU are inhumane. And must face consequences.

I take note of so many people who claim they are “religious” and “Christian” who agree with this inhumane policy of degrading people and putting children IN CAGES. Look at the AP reports. Look at John Moore’s photos. It’s happening. In our country. These people who protest outside of Planned Parenthood, want to deny women reproductive rights, are anti-abortion, delight when doctors who provide health care for women are SHOT, all in the name of RELIGION — they think putting children in cages and denying them basic human rights and dignity is just fine. Not only are they disgusting individuals with no moral compass or authority — they are hypocrites.

I saw a suggestion from a Catholic bishop to deny those implementing this inhumane treatment the sacrament. I am fully on board with that. Go further — excommunicate any individual who does not repent, not only in words, but in ACTION.

Ex-communicate Paul Ryan. This granny-starving sleazeball, who delights in taking away healthcare and other rights, posted a tone-deaf tweet for Father’s Day, while doing nothing to help the situation.

I’m deeply disappointed in Susan Collins from Maine. I have family in Maine; spent lots of time there. Have met with her, in Maine and in Washington. She seemed like a fairly reasonable, rational human being. How disturbing to find it was all a facade.

We are losing a generation of children. Physically and emotionally. It is inexcusable and must be stopped.

For all those who turn away and say they “aren’t political.” They’re coming for you next, you spineless pieces of crap. You won’t be spared. You’re useful to them now, because of your inaction. But you will be tossed away as soon as they choose.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is dealing with some of these issues, as in, when you fight atrocity, how far into similar behavior can you descend without becoming what you fight? Who gets sacrificed? How can anyone come back from it?

Which is, of course, why the piece is pulling at me. Although, I suspect that, once the anti-gun violence play is drafted and goes out to Trusted Readers, I will write a play about this situation.

And, of course, POWER OF WORDS wants attention. We’ve come up with a new series title that we all like. We’ve even named the first six books, and I THINK those titles will stick. Now the question is, how realistically can I finish the material that will be broken into the rest of Book 4 and make up Books 5 & 6, with everything else going on? Books 1, 2 & 3 have been through multiple drafts. They are almost ready to send to the editor. But, because we want to have all six ready at once, I have to finish the rest. I have most of Book 4 done, and part of Book 5 (I skipped ahead). I have Book 6 outlined. But how to fit it in?

On top of that, the Jain Lazarus Adventures must now be factored back in. I need to finish CRAVE THE HUNT, so it can go into edits and be ready to release when HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK re-release. While still staying on track with the Coventina Circle books, the Nautical Namaste books, and the Gwen Finnegan books.

And, you know, client work.

STILL waiting for two checks, one that is now almost a month late. Where the place lied and said it was “sent” and that the accountant wouldn’t be in until this week, and there was nothing they could do about a replacement. You’re a business. You’re telling me that no one can take 5 minutes to write a check? That’s not business.

Feeling pressured and upset and in despair on multiple fronts. All I can do is put my head down and keep writing.

 

Mon. June 18, 2018: Follow Your Dreams — A Personal Story #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, June 18, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I’ve lived my life by that motto.

I knew I wanted to be a writer by the time I was six years old. I published in school magazines and newspapers. As a teen, I wrote plays, and I did press releases and other articles for local and regional newspapers about the high school music groups with which I was associated.

In college, I got away from the writing (although I wrote plenty of awful poetry) when I committed to theatre. I graduated high school early, tested my way out of freshman year, and entered Florida State University in Tallahassee mid-year. I took a stage lighting class. I was supposed to put in 20 hours of lab work in the theatre during the semester. I put 20 hours in my first week and never left the building until I transferred to NYU’s film and television program a year later. I got terrific experience at FSU, and even picked up a few side rock and roll gigs.

I transferred to NYU and got into the film department. My first day in film school, I met the guy who still, all these decades later, is one of my closest friends. But, because I was practical and a problem-solver, I wound up more on the production management level than the writing level. I had two brilliant professors, who encouraged me, and with whom I’m still in contact. One was my screenwriting professor, and I wish I’d studied more with him. I still use what I learned from him, in screenwriting, playwrighting, radio writing, and novels.

I picked up theatre jobs here and there. In other words, I started earning my living in the arts when I was 18. Any non-arts job I ever had was only temporary, and in between shows, for the cash. I knew I wasn’t suited to an office job or anything the fearful call “a real job.” Honey — working in the arts is about giving EVERYTHING and leaving it out there. It’s far more real than ANY office job. So shut the eff up.

When I graduated from NYU, I moved to the west coast for three years to work in regional theatre. I knew I needed experiences outside of New York. I loved it, but I also knew that if I was going to realize my dream of working on Broadway, I had to be in New York. While I was west, I spent some time in LA and knew it wasn’t for me.

I came back east, initially to help with a family issue, for two months. I immediately landed a stage management job and worked my way up in the off-off-off-off Broadway community. (I had worked as a stage manager and production manager in San Francisco, and as a props person in Seattle). I switched to wardrobe (as a stage manager in small SF companies, I’d often both stage managed and handled quick changes). I worked my way from off-off-off Broadway to off-off Broadway and then to off-Broadway. I did some work in New York as a stage manager and an associate production manager, for the Pearl Theatre and for Manhattan Class Company. I did wardrobe for the Vineyard, and then spent several seasons at Manhattan Theatre Club, which led to open-ended runs rather than repertory.

While I was still working off-off Broadway, I spent three years working during the day for an art book publisher. I learned an enormous amount that has served my writing career well, working both sides of the table. I worked in the development offices of the Neuberger Museum and the Guggenheim Museum. At the latter, I spent my lunch hour walking the museum, immersing myself in the art. I worked part-time for five years for the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, when it was so small the staff consisted of the Executive Director and me, putting on seminars and support groups and roundtables and award shows. I learned so much.

It was at Manhattan Theatre Club where I had the honor of working with Arthur Miller and Athol Fugard within the same six months. I’d started writing again. Even though I was the wardrobe girl, Athol respected that I wrote, that I was starting to define myself as a writer. He invited me to sit in on rehearsals any time I wanted, to ask any questions I wanted. I did, and I learned an amazing amount from him. He directed what he wrote, but he kept his writing self and his directing self separate.

On the first day of rehearsal, in his opening remarks, he said, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the writer is dead in this process. There will be no revisions during rehearsal. The bad news is that I promised him you chaps would speak every line exactly as written.”

I loved it. He demanded respect for the words. No paraphrasing (which American actors tend to do more than any other actors, claiming to be “in the moment” when, in reality, most of them simply haven’t bothered to take the time to memorize).

I worked with Arthur Miller within the same six months (their plays were produced one after the other in the season). I adored him. He was one of the most vibrant, vital, intelligent people I ever met. He used to hang out in the wardrobe room during the show sometimes.

At the time, I was getting back into writing. Monologues for actresses with whom I worked, who couldn’t find good monologues for auditions. Who landed the job every time they used something I wrote for them. I was also working on a short story, for a themed competition.

I wrote the first draft on butcher paper in between cues in the wardrobe room. I typed it up and worked on revisions between cues (there were long periods where I didn’t have any quick changes with my actors). I hid the pages in the room, but Arthur found them one evening when I was on the deck doing quick changes.

I was mortified when I returned to the room and found him reading the pages. He was Arthur Miller! I was, well, me.

He looked up and said, “This is good. What are you doing working backstage?”

“I like it. Plus, you know, I like to do things like eat. I have to pay the rent.”

“You need to write full time. You’ll never be the writer you can be, find your full potential, until you rely on it to pay the bills.”

David Mamet told me something very similar when we worked together.

Arthur gave me some suggestions on the text. He never treated me like “less than” because he was Arthur Miller and I was a wardrobe girl scribbling in a corner. He always treated me like a colleague. We kept in touch until his death, and he always pushed me to do better, be more — and only write.

It was quite a few years before I had the courage to only write — and it was AFTER I’d accomplished my dream of working on Broadway.

The monologues I wrote expanded to plays, the plays that would take me to fringe festivals in both Edinburgh and Australia. I found my work got a much stronger reception in Europe than in the US. It wasn’t angsty enough for the American audiences at the time; there was too much sharp humor.

I landed at the Public Theatre and worked with one of my idols, Hal Prince. Another person at the top of his craft who liked and respected everyone with whom he worked. The assistant designers at the Public were working on Broadway and took me with them when the show at the Public closed.

I found myself learning how to be a swing dresser on Broadway, on the production of MISS SAIGON, and in the union. Each series of cues a dresser performs during the course of the show is called a “track.” If you read my novel PLAYING THE ANGLES, set backstage on a Broadway show, my protagonist Morag is a Broadway dresser.

MISS SAIGON had 13 tracks. I learned them in 26 performances. You follow the dresser once to learn it; the dresser follows you as you do it. Within three months, after swinging every track on the show multiple times, the lead actresses who played Kim requested me when their regular dresser took another job. I stayed with the show for five years, until it closed.

It was an amazing, creative group. We wrote plays, songs, other performances, and all went to each others’ shows. Which took place at midnight, in various venues around the city. We put on our own shows, and hung out with the cast & crew of other shows like SNL at KGB. We did The Easter Bonnet Competition and Gypsy of the Year and Broadway Bares to raise money for AIDs and breast cancer. I worked the Tony Awards once and attended it twice over my years on Broadway.

I think I had four shows I wrote produced during that time, in small venues. Dozens of monologues and short pieces. A few short stories published. MISS SAIGON closed and I worked on other shows at other theatres: RENT, GYPSY (the Bernadette Peters version), FOLLIES, 42ND ST, SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS (with Mark Hamill, who became one of my favorite people ever), URINETOWN, and then as a swing on the first 3 1/2 years of WICKED.

I loved it, but I knew I was aging out. Physically, it was getting tougher and tougher. Mentally, I was struggling to get the writing done and work full time on Broadway. They’re not kidding when they say, “The theatre is a jealous mistress.”

By this point, I was also day-playing on television shows shooting in New York. For the money. I could earn in one day on set when I earned in a week on Broadway. I liked it. I learned so, so much. But I didn’t love it the way I loved Broadway. I’m better suited to theatre production than television production. Which is a shame, from a financial standpoint.

I was also writing about sports for various publications. I covered horse racing and ice hockey. Thirteen years’ worth of Triple Crown races; traveled with a minor league hockey team for eight months as background for a book. Covered America’s Cup races and learned about sailing, although I can’t even swim.

By this point, the first Jain Lazarus Adventures were out, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, DIXIE DUST RUMORS, and a bunch of short stories and anthologies. I was writing for calendars and almanacs. I was doing marketing writing for companies. I was writing and teaching and working on novels and trying to build a writing career as the publishing world changed. I hit a point where I had to make a decision. I had to decide if I would stop writing or if I would give up Broadway.

I knew I couldn’t continue physically on Broadway much longer — heavy costumes, raked stages, blowing out my knees running up and down concrete steps carrying stacks of clothes.

I chose writing.

SPRING AWAKENING was my last show as a swing on Broadway. The last event I worked was a staged reading of ALL ABOUT EVE, which had a plethora of people I loved working with involved, AND I got to bow out by working with Jennifer Tilly, Keri Russell, Peter Gallagher, Annette Bening, Angela Lansbury, Zoe Caldwell, and more. It was a great way to leave the business. I’d heard so many stories about how wonderful Peter Gallagher is, and thought, “No one can be that great” — he IS that great, and even better. I’ve never laughed as much with anyone as I did with Jennifer Tilly, and I loved working with Keri Russell (we had five quick changes in a staged reading, which means walking around holding scripts).

I moved away from New York to write. There are challenges. I live in a place that is a prime example of how trickle-down economy does not work. I live in place that, if you’re a working artist who visits, they fall all over you, but if you chose to LIVE here, you’re considered a failure and should get a “real” job. Honey, this is a real job. Granted, most of the clients who pay me well are remote, but I’m working a real job. I’m writing material that helps businesses grow and spread their message. I’m writing books that I love. I’m writing plays and radio plays that invigorate people.

I have always made the choices to do what I love. To fight for what I want, to refuse to compromise and be forced into work I hate. I have made plenty of personal compromises along the way.

Every single one of them has been worth it.

Just because I love what I do does not mean I don’t deserve to be paid for it. Loving my work does not mean I don’t deserve to earn a living at it. I do. And nothing less is acceptable.

Those who don’t have the courage to follow their dreams often try to punish those of us who do.

They are not worth our time or our energy.

Do what you love. Follow your dreams. Make them your reality.

Fri. June 14, 2018: Cover Reveal & Writing Plans

 

MYTH&INTERPRETATION Cover

Myth & Interpretation

Stuck in NYC when plans for their next expedition fall through, Gwen and Justin accept teaching jobs at different local universities. Adjusting to their day-to-day  relationship, and juggling the academic and emotional demands of their students, they are embroiled in two different, disturbing, paranormal situations that have more than one unusual crossing point. Can they work together to find the answers? Or are new temptations too much to resist? For whom are they willing to put their lives on the line?

Friday, June 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Above is the cover for MYTH & INTERPRETATION, the between-the-books Gwen Finnegan novella, releasing digitally on July 17, from Bluestockings and Gentlemen Press.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the mid-month check-in. I can’t believe we’re already in June. Pretty soon, it will be time for the mid-year assessment!

Feeling a little under the weather today.

Worked on articles yesterday, got out some LOIs, on the revisions of MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’d hoped to get it to my editor today, but it looks like I need the weekend to work out some problems. But that means going into galleys early next week, which will still be fine. I’m finally getting used to the fact that digital releases work on a faster scale than print. When we move to the print releases, we’ll be back at molasses, which is why they are staggered so differently.

I’m a little behind on RELICS & REQUIEM, and don’t want to lose momentum. RELICS will have the main drafting focus up through the end of next week; the following week, I will be in writing mode for both RELICS and DAVY JONES DHARMA.

The publisher is waiting for one more piece of information before making the Jain Lazarus announcement. The wait is to accommodate someone I want to include –who hasn’t gotten back to me yet, and the publisher is getting impatient. Now, this individual might be on vacation – it’s someone trustworthy. But, if we don’t hear back, one way or another, SOON, the publisher will need to move on.

I planned to do yard work today, but it’s not very nice out. Plus, I’m not feeling well. So we’ll see.

An organization I used to work with sent a condescending email on how I could “help” them, acting as if I’d never shared a post or posted a Tweet. It was demeaning, considering how much of my business is in social media. I need to let it go, but I’m angry.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and all is well, at least for the moment. So all was well.

The weekend will focus on MYTH, RELICS, the play, and maybe a little work on either THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS or POWER OF WORDS.

Good times!

Monday’s post for Upbeat Authors is a very personal essay on my journey.

I hope you’ll read it.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on June 15, 2018 at 9:05 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 14, 2018: Cover Reveal & Writing Plans  
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Thurs. June 14, 2018: Exciting Times (in a Good Way)

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Tuesday night, I went to a Social Entrepreneurs Networking Event at the Blue Rock Golf Course in South Yarmouth. Once I found the place, the event was great. There were about 40 people there –a good turnout for the Cape. The two people who convinced me to go, however, didn’t show up! Again, pretty typical of the Cape.

But the people I met were great. Lively, funny, interesting, passionate about what they do, and interested in what everyone else did. I exchanged many cards, and came home with a stack of cards — ALL for people with whom I’ll follow up.

I think I even found a person to fix an IT issue for one of my clients.

Not ONCE did anyone deride the fact that I’m a writer. In fact, it was celebrated. NOT ONCE did anyone try to demean that I publish under multiple names. They thought it was interesting. NOT ONCE, when I said, “I don’t do photos on social media; it’s part of writing under multiple names” was it met with bullying (the way it regularly is at other events, where people try to FORCE me to be in photos on social media). The response was, “I totally get that.”

What a difference, from events that are supposedly all about supporting WRITERS, where I am regularly accused of “hiding” or “What? You’re under the witness protection program? Ha, ha, ha.” Or like the exchange I had, when I went to a talk last year, at a supposedly writer-centric event:

Old White Guy: What do you do for a living?

Me: Write.

Old White Guy: No, I mean, what do you do to make money?”

Me: Write.

Old White Guy: No, I mean how to you earn your living? What’s your job?

Me: Write.

Old White Guy: No one does that.

Me: I do. (walks away).

It disturbs me that these organizations who are supposed to support writers and artists in their careers and help them find their way through the maze of professionalism allow this kind of behavior.

Which is why I stopped attending so many of these events.

And why Tuesday night was so refreshing.

It was also nice to talk to people from all different types of businesses. That’s one of the positives about this area. Because it’s a smaller community, it’s not as insulated. It’s far too easy to only interact with your own circle and then narrow your world. We all need new people and fresh experiences to keep growing. Fresh perspectives.

It was tough to haul myself out of the house (It had been a particularly discouraging day with a client who refuses to accept that the world won’t change to meet the way this client thinks it SHOULD be, and deal with how it is, and find interesting ways to work around it). Plus, the directions weren’t correct. I got frustrated, but I found the place by accident. Now, I’m glad I did.

It was really pretty, and the site suggested I could use it to meet with clients, which is also nice. Gives me a mid-Cape option other than just Cape Space or a bar or a coffee shop. Now that I actually know where the darn place is!

Picked up Chinese food on the way home (because I sure as hell wasn’t going to cook). Decompressed.

Up early on Wednesday to write. Focused primarily on the MYTH AND INTERPRETATION revisions (cover reveal will be in the next couple of days). I have a couple of things to still work out in the middle — a scene or two to add, and I made some cuts, and massaged a timeline that was off. It was fixed with a phrase that referred to the time lapse instead of a scene, so that’s a relief.

Waiting to hear back from someone about another piece of the Jain Lazarus Adventures puzzle before making that big announcement.

Chasing down a late payment from a client from whom I will part shortly. Again, what’s going on is legal. But I question the ethics, and can’t be a part of it. I want my last payment, and then we’re done. Also didn’t like that the person I dealt with about the missing payment lied, I knew she lied, and she knew I knew she lied.

The individual I met at the networking event was able to fit my client in to his schedule yesterday and start solving the IT issues. That made yesterday a bit less stressful.

Came home, made a very dry vodka martini, read a bit. Worked on some more MYTH revisions. Had more discussions about the future of Jain Lazarus. We have a couple of contract things to work out.

We also are discussing a kind of odd promotional item for the books. I’m not sure we’d be allowed to offer it on a large platform — it may have to go directly from the publisher’s website and my websites. We have to check with our distributor. The possibilities intrigue me. It would take some work to pull off, but if it sells more books in the long run, it would be worth it. We had originally talked about it being a print giveaway, but the thought grew to why not make it available digitially as well?

I received my contract from Llewellyn. I will be in the 2020 Spell-A-Day Calendar, under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name. I’m looking forward to it. I wrote for them for 16 years, and then felt I didn’t have anything left to say, so I took a break. And now I have something to say again, and they’re interested. That makes me happy. I’m sending off the signed contract today, and getting to work on the pieces this week. They are due in October.

More yard work today. Steady, solid work on RELICS & REQUIEM, steady work on the revisions for  MYTH, which I think can go out to the editor tomorrow. And the cover reveal for MYTH will also be tomorrow.

The good busy.

 

Published in: on June 14, 2018 at 8:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 14, 2018: Exciting Times (in a Good Way)  
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Wed. June 13, 2018: Creative Changes and Challenges

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Busy times. Revisions are going more slowly than I’d like for MYTH & INTERPRETATION, but I like how the book is taking shape.

RELICS & REQUIEM is moving forward very well. I’m happy with the pace and the way the book is taking shape.

There are negotiations about how the Jain Lazarus Adventures will move forward, and I will make the announcement as soon as that’s finalized. But it had me re-reading what I’ve written on CRAVE THE HUNT. There are definitely things I want to change/improve, but the bones are solid.

Some dumbass drove into the Centerville Library parking lot the wrong way up the one way exit and slammed into the building. I have never lived any place in the world where people are so stupid they regularly drive into buildings. I’m over it.

Weed whacked the back terraced area on Monday. I still have to mow, but it looks better. Slowly but surely, we are getting there.

Bought a plant to cheer up my elderly neighbors.

Client work yesterday and today (today will be challenging). It’s hard to switch away from my fictional worlds at the moment. Necessary, but difficult.

But it keeps my brain flexible and my thoughts fresh.

Published in: on June 13, 2018 at 4:21 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 13, 2018: Creative Changes and Challenges  
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