Tues. June 12, 2018: A Happy Weekend

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

That was quite a weekend!

I mowed the center front yard Friday morning, with the reel push mower. This time, it worked better, and the yard looks darned good, if I say so! Saturday, I did the side and No Man’s Land. It needs some weed whacking, but it looks much better.

The newsletter went out on Friday, with the cover reveal for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’ll do the public cover reveal later this week here, on the Gwen Finnegan website, on Facebook, on Twitter.

I started working on the media kit for MYTH and the one that will encompass the whole series. The latter will be updated each time a book is released.

I’m getting into the groove for RELICS & REQUIEM. Answered some of the “why” questions for myself, which will help me move the plot along smoothly. I need to do some tweaks in the outline, and then settle in for the ride. But I’ve got a good steady pace on it, about 1800-2000 words a day. Under what I’d like it to be, but decent.

I dug into the revisions for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. Made a few more connections, expanded some themes, cut some distractions. I’m happy with the way it’s going.

We started watching THE CROWN, which is interesting. Matt Smith does a wonderful job. I didn’t know about the fatal, coal-induced fog in the mid 1950s that triggered Britian’s Clear Air Act. It triggered the idea for a mystery.

It also infuriated me that Scott Pruitt wants to bring the United States back to worse than this, all as he continues to grift from the taxpayers.

Read Meg Wolitzer’s THE FEMALE PERSUASION. Absolutely loved it. I fall between the ages of Faith and Greer, so my experiences overlapped with some of each, and I could relate to both of them. The book is so well done. Hits on specifics, while making it feel universal, as all the best books do.

Did some work on THE POWER OF WORDS. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ve hit on a series title that might actually work, along with titles for the first two books. I’m drafting what will be book four, although I’ve written part of book five already.

Realized that I can’t move forward on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS until I add in that chapter I need earlier. It ties in too much to what’s going on now. I’m touching on some of the human trafficking themes in this book, but if there’s a second Cuanoir Port novel, I think that human trafficking will be its central focus. This needs to be about the intervention of foreign powers and fighting it (sound familiar)? If I try to put everything into the book, it will get unfocused.

Not enough work on the anti-gun violence play. Not happy with how I’ve handled the opening.

Saturday, I finished my daily writing quota early enough to feel good about participating in Worldwide Knit in Public Day. My mom and I were invited to join the group at Salt Yarn Studios in Dennis. They’d put aside some yarn I liked, so I was there to pick it up as well as participate.

My mom already finished the back of the top I designed from the yarn with which I’d fallen in love the last time we were there. She started on the front. I started on a crochet project — because I prefer crocheting to knitting, and I’m better at it.

I also fell in love with some other yarn and bought it, because, well, YARN.

One of the women who works in the store loves reading on her Kindle. She was excited to meet an author. I gave her information on the books, and she’s going to read through the sites and the blurbs and find what interests her. So that was fun.

We were outside, in the garden, overlooking Rt. 6A, in our chairs, with our yarn, working and chatting. It was a nice group of people, and passers-by stopped to find out what we were doing, ask questions, be included.

What a different vibe than the knitting group in a neighboring town that we participated in a few years ago, where they ignored newcomers and only said snide, gossipy, judgmental things about everyone else. This was much more of what I want from a group knitting experience. Not to mention the mango Bellinis and watermelon!

On the way home, I planned to stop and pick up a prepared meal because I didn’t feel like cooking. I stopped at a local market and the shelves were practically bare! Guess plenty of other people didn’t feel like cooking, either. We wound up picking up a pizza.

Absolutely thrilled that Justify won the Belmont. Thrilled for the horse. Thrilled for Mike Smith, who I think is one of the best people on the planet. If it wasn’t for him, I would have never gotten the use back in my shoulder after it was dislocated. Not to mention the many other acts of kindness and friendship over the years. I also love that he won the 13th Triple Crown.

I love how Justify wired the race, how his stride remained smooth throughout. It was a thing of beauty. He went from unraced to Triple Crown winner in 112 days. Pretty darn spectacular.

I was filled with gratitude that Saturday was such a happy day. Those are too rare lately.

And Sunday was the Tony Awards! I was so proud of the Broadway/theatre communities and how they are working for positive change.

Client work yesterday, today, and tomorrow onsite. More flexiiblity later in the week. I can’t believe it’s nearly mid-June. That means I’ll have to post the mid-month check in for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site by the end of the week.

There’s a big announcement regarding the Jain Lazarus Adventures coming out soon. Stay tuned!

 

Mon. June 11, 2018: Don’t Dwell #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, June 11, 2018
Day before Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

This is an important topic. We know the need for positivity. That doesn’t mean ignoring the problems in the world, ignoring them, refusing to be a part of the solution.

It means finding new and better ways to solve them.

That’s difficult to do when our own negative loops run in our head.

I caught myself doing this the other day. Something slipped my mind; I had to turn around and drive back to fix it. The entire drive back from the moment I realized for hours later was the internal monologue berating myself for making a mistake. Calling myself stupid, a failure, ridiculous.

For something small that didn’t hurt anyone. It was simply a minor inconvenience.

The current political situation, where those in power reward those for being their worst selves and for attacking everyone who disagrees with them is part of the problem. But the rest of the problem is that part of us agrees that we deserve to be treated this way.

We don’t.

There’s a saying that no one has the power to make us feel bad unless we allow it. I disagree with that. Many like the sensation of power they get from causing pain.

The comment or treatment will still cause pain. It’s how we RESPOND to it that increases or diminishes their power over us.

One way is “don’t dwell.”

We are human. We get tired, we get careless. We make mistakes.

As long as we acknowledge them, take responsibility for them, take steps to fix them, and then take steps not to repeat them, we are fulfilling our piece of the contract we must have with each other as part of a so-called civilized society.

There’s a saying that goes “it’s easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.”

I disagree. Someone who boasts about living by this, in my opinion, is someone who believes they are so charming and talented and special that they can get away with disrespect. No.

I am more likely to give permission than forgive when I know someone has acted deliberately in bad faith.

But again, don’t dwell.

Recognize that person for what they are and move on.

Recognize that not everyone will stay in your life forever. And that is often a good thing.

Example: For years, I regretted the “one that got away.” A man I’d been deeply in love with. Our lives took us in different directions. We parted as friends and lost touch. But, in my mind, no one ever quite lived up to him. Every time a relationship ended, I wished I was back with him.

Well, a few months ago, we got back in touch.

And I realized NOT being together was the right choice. I could not be with someone who has made the choices he made. I still like and respect him; but I no longer have the fantasy of the road not taken – just the relief it wasn’t.

I no longer have to dwell.

Acknowledge your feelings, find the root cause, and take steps toward something more positive. Everything you experience, good and bad, contributes to the person you are. Don’t ignore it, but don’t dwell. Use it as a building block, a learning experience, and move on.

Build something better, stronger, more positive.

Even on the good things – don’t dwell. Enjoy, appreciate, and build something better.

And remember – as writers, EVERYTHING is material!

 

Published in: on June 11, 2018 at 10:51 am  Comments Off on Mon. June 11, 2018: Don’t Dwell #UpbeatAuthors  
Tags: , , , , ,

Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period

Thursday, June 7, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I have my notes back on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. That’s the great thing about a novella — turnarounds are quicker.

My editor is pleased with the energy and the character development. But she feels I streamlined a bit too much, kept things a bit too lean. She has some suggestions about developing a few points more deeply and supporting the theme a bit more. An exchange here, a paragraph there. I came in a little under projected word count, so we have a bit of room to maneuver. I can write and then we can cut back some more.

The cover designer has an idea for a tweak on the cover, so we’ll look at that today. We looked at some early ideas for RELICS & REQUIEM, and I think we’ve found what we want. So we’re ahead of the game on that, and she will start work on the cover for DAVY JONES DHARMA soon.

Back matter won’t be difficult to put together for MYTH — I have most of it, I just have to assemble the bits. I’m working on the revisions this weekend, so I can get them out next week. I need to work on the newsletter, and get started on the media kit for MYTH & the overall kit for the Gwen Finnegan series.

A bit of work on RELICS & REQUIEM; I need to get into the groove of that, which will take awhile. I have to figure out a way to move from Gwen & Justin’s world to Amanda & Phineas’s world, since they are both contemporary NYC around the same time.

Did a bit of work on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS, but having trouble settling. I feel like I need to type up what I have in longhand and take a look. I also have to add a chapter, or the new structure I’ve been playing with is off.

Have some material to work on to go with THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Re-reading parts of POWER OF WORDS. Playing with a new series title; seeing how I can break it up into books/sections that are a comfortable reading length, still complete certain arcs, and yet keep the reader wanting more. We want to put out the books that cover the audition process, rehearsals, filming the mini-series, and the first season in quick succession. I’d like to have the hiatus, the second season, that hiatus, and the third season ready to go, too, but I’m not sure if that puts us so far down the road it doesn’t even make any sense to commit. That will need its new subdomain, and lots of different, interesting material about the business and behind-the-scenes to keep it fresh and interesting. There will also need to be a specific look for the covers, so they can each be eye-catching, yet also tie together to the actual stories.

The titles and subtitles we’ve played with that make it clear what the books are about are so long and convoluted that they’re annoying. I see that far too often: complex titles and subtitles that serve as log lines and wear me out before I even see the blurb. I want to avoid that. I need something ear-catching (yes, that’s deliberate) and quick that pulls a potential reader in.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS will also need its own subdomain. That’s a lot of web work.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s all moot if the books aren’t written, then edited properly.

If you didn’t get a chance to read “My Rolodex isn’t Free” yesterday, over on Ink-Dipped Advice, hop on over.

I’m trying to work ahead on a few blogs today, to take off some pressure in the coming weeks. I want to focus on MYTH, RELICS, and see what I can do with THREE ROADS and WORDS.

Hopefully, I can get to yoga. If the weather is nice this afternoon — more yard work.

Back to the page!

 

Published in: on June 7, 2018 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wed. June 6, 2018: One Project Out, Another Moves Up

Wednesday, June 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read why “My Rolodex Isn’t Free.”

MYTH & INTERPRETATION went out to my editor yesterday morning. I look forward to her comments. It’s a fast-paced novella that seeds conflicts that will grow in BALTHAZAAR.

On Monday afternoon, we looked at the four cover choices. They were all wildly different and quite beautiful. Each evoked something different. After much discussion, we decided on what will be the cover — both eye-catching and supports the novella.

So now, the primary focus goes back to RELICS & REQUIEM, and I’m excited. I love Amanda. I think she and Phineas will make an odd, if good team. GRAVE REACH (Coventina Circle #4) is already spinning, and I’m making notes in and around RELICS, because things from SPIRIT REPOSITORY and RELICS cause incidents in GRAVE REACH.

I have most of RELICS outlined; I’m going to write a few more chapters, then finish the outline and send it to my editor for comments as I draft; I hope we’ll have some of the same process to streamline as we did for MYTH.

I’d like both RELICS and GRAVE REACH to be close to 80K. And I’d like to keep Sylvie’s book lean, too. When we hit Diana’s book, it will sprawl a bit — I have a lot to weave in there. So the vision for Coventina Circle is pretty clear, with room for inspiration.

I want to get a lot of RELICS under my belt, because pretty soon, it’s time to turn attention to DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Never a dull moment.

Exhausting day with the client, doing IT work above my pay grade. I look forward to yoga tomorrow.

 

Published in: on June 6, 2018 at 2:32 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 6, 2018: One Project Out, Another Moves Up  
Tags: , , , , ,

Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I’m leaving the essay on the “In Death” series up as the lead article on A Biblio Paradise for another week. If you haven’t yet read it, hop on over.

Got yard work done, mostly on Saturday. The front yard and the side front are now under control, although by the end of the week, I’ll have to mow again. I trimmed the beds in the terraced back area.

As soon as the weather clears, I’ll have to mow the terraced back area, no man’s land, and the meadow. But I feel like I’m getting a handle on things, between the push mower and the weed whacker.

I apologize for not posting on Friday. Comcast was down in my area, and couldn’t be bothered to give us an estimated repair window. Because, as they tell us often, “we’re you’re only option, so we get it done when we get it done.” I hate them.

The weekend focused on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It will be ready to go to the editor in a couple of days, and cover art will be ready in a couple of days. I’m happy with the work. It feels good to be back in the groove with Gwen and Justin. It gives me the opportunity to seed the stresses that later explode in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and yet it stands fine on its own.

It made a huge difference to show an outline early in the process to my editor, back when we talked about breaking off the section that grew into MYTH off BALTHAZAAR, because it gummed up BALTHAZAAR’S works.

I wrote a Writer’s Rough Outline for MYTH. I showed it to my editor. She came back with suggestions to streamline and focus. As I wrote, I could streamline and focus even more. I kept a nice, lean word count that works for a novella, it has a good story on its own, and it drives forward the series arcs of both Gwen and Justin.

Knowing the four books and the novella in the series have a contractual commitment, being able to work with my editor before I finished a first draft, made a huge difference in the process. It made the writing smoother, more focused, and will save me a few drafts full of tangents.

I could get used to these multi-book contracts.

I also spent a little time on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS and re-reading POWER OF WORDS. I didn’t get any work done on the play, because I’m pushing hard to get the novella out to my editor this week.

I miss POWER OF WORDS. A lot. I don’t know when I can get back to it, though.

I’m still waiting for a check from a gig that was contractually obligated to be here on the 31st. This is the same gig whose ethics (or lack thereof) make me uncomfortable. Once I get this check, I will withdraw, as gracefully as possible. I hate to lose the money, but a two month lag time and the rewrites to turn it into something different than it claims to be make it an unworkable gig for me. I need to let it go and make room for something better.

Hopefully that check and the check from the radio play will arrive shortly.

Yesterday was a chaotic day onsite with a client, and I expect today will be the same. But I got off some paperwork to another client; I have one more batch, and then I’m caught up on that job until next January.

But I had a great writing morning with MYTH, and another one today, so I’m feeling good about that portion of my working life, at least.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on June 5, 2018 at 1:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mon. June 4, 2018: Tips on Handling Hard Times #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, June 4, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

 

We all go through tough times, times that make us wonder if we can survive. Heck, the entire country is going through one of those times right now.

But our personal crises are often tougher because they’re, well, personal.

Here are some tips that have helped me:

–Take a breath; take a step back. How much has to be dealt with right now? How much time do you have to consider options?

–Look at your schedule. Which commitments can be moved or dropped WITHOUT HURTING ANYONE ELSE? What do you have to see through before you deal with the situation? Plan. Rearrange. Step up to whatever can’t be changed and finish it quickly, so you have the physical and emotional room to deal with the situation.

–Communicate. Even if you don’t want people up in your business, even if you can’t bear any advice, let people know you need to take some time. Don’t just drop off the face of the earth – unless, of course, for your own safety, you need to disappear (i.e., an abusive or dangerous situation).

–Ask for help. That’s the hardest. So often, when we hit a rough patch, we’re ashamed. We feel it’s our fault. Even if the situation is a result of our decisions, the great thing about life is that we grow and we change. We MADE a bad decision. We LEARN from the result. We make BETTER decisions moving forward.

–Build quiet time into your day, so you can think, deal, and heal. If writing helps you figure things out, write; if it’s music or yoga or art – do it. The process of creating will help create a solution WHILE making you feel better.

–Don’t hide from the pain. Acknowledge it. “Embrace it” goes a bit further than I’m comfortable with, but name it, own it, and work on it. The longer you hide, the longer it will hurt. Once you locate the source, you can find a way to heal it. But if you hide from it, you can’t find the source.

–Some things can’t be fixed the way you want them fixed. Know when to let go.

–Balance your needs with the needs of those who rely on you. If they offer a kind of help you can accept, let them help. This ties in to the above – don’t just ASK for help; ACCEPT help.

–Don’t make decisions in the heat of the moment unless it’s about immediate survival. Give yourself time to research, reflect, resolve.

–The online community is great, but sometimes, even well-meant comments can hit the raw nerve. Step back if you need to. State you’re taking some time, and then do it.

–Research your situation and possible solutions. Libraries have great resources. So do law libraries. When appropriate, contact your elected officials. They are in public service, and, despite the current situation, there are plenty of them, especially on a local level, who give a damn.

–Ask questions. LISTEN to the answers, even if they’re not what you want or expected. Don’t reflexively react. Take the time to really think.

The common thread through most of the above is to slow down. If it’s a dangerous situation, move quickly to get out of danger. But then, slow down and make the best informed choices you can.

And remember, tomorrow is a new day, a new opportunity, to make a different suggestion.

Even when you feel alone, there’s a lot of love and support, often from the most unexpected places.

Be well. Be kind whenever possible. Take time.

Best wishes.

Published in: on June 4, 2018 at 2:44 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: