Tues. Jan. 28, 2020: Feeling Scattered

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Waxing Moon

Over onA Biblio Paradise, I talk about bibliographies.

The weekend was frustrating. I got the books for review read and reviewed, which was good, and worked on contest entries.

We were it would be stormy all weekend, so those were my preparations.

Saturday, I got laundry done and worked on the baking. I thought I’d timed it so it wouldn’t take long, and then I could write. Boy, was I wrong!

The Portuguese sweet bread was easy to put together and set out to rise. But then, I tried a new-to-me recipe for chocolate cherry bread. The recipe was poorly written. There were a few times, as I prepped it, where I thought, “That can’t be right. The science of it doesn’t make sense.” But I’d never made it before, and the first time I do a new recipe, I usually follow it as written, and then adjust from there.

I should have trusted my instincts. Absolute disaster.

I manage to salvage some of it, make adjustments by instinct, and there’s a decent, if somewhat bland loaf of dark bread. But my good, deep mixing bowl was nearly ruined and had to be heated over a pot of boiling water in order for me to scrape off the mess.

I was going to make a bacon corn chowder from the same cookbook, but now I’m not sure. I feel like I should try one more recipe; if that doesn’t work, I’ll donate the cookbook to the library book store and cross that author off my list.

It was a relief to go back to Martha Stewart’s banana-walnut-chocolate chip cookies. I definitely have my issues with the Martha Stewart brand, but her recipes work.

By then, it was mid-afternoon, and I was too tired to do the writing work I’d planned. So I read instead.

Friday and Saturday nights we binged on Season 1 of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t like so-called “reality” shows, and I loathe competition shows, especially food-oriented ones. It’s one of the reasons I stopped watching the FOOD NETWORK. Every time I turned it on, it was a competition.

It was nearly 2 AM by the time I got into bed on Saturday night. Some of the stuff was too fussy — I have no interest in a 20-layer grilled torte. But the episode where they made éclairs was interesting. I adore éclairs, and it made me want to learn how to make choux pastry and perfect my custards/creams, etc. I’ve always been bad at custard making.

I admire their decorating skills, too. I don’t have the patience, at this point in the game, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be under time pressure.

But I found it interesting, and I learned a lot from why something didn’t work, and I liked most of the people involved. No faux drama and they weren’t mean to each other, for the most part. They were encouraged to do good work, not to be their worst selves for the camera.

Sunday, I didn’t feel like doing anything. I read a bit, worked on the reviews. Worked on contest entries. Worked ahead on some blog posts, and the next Medium article, a couple of pitches, and the short story.

Monday morning, all three cats were very agitated in the morning. We couldn’t figure out why. Charlotte suffers from anxiety, but all three were in a tizzy. We checked the house and the yard, and nothing was wrong. A work colleague noticed the same with her cat around the same time.

Monday, I sent off the reviews, the pitches, got out some more LOIs. Got an invoice out. Got paid (love that). Worked on the short story. Worked on the BALTHAZAAR revisions. Worked with a client. Got out a submission of one of the radio plays to a market I’d like to crack. Started adapting another radio play to the US Numbered Version, so I can send it off.

Answered a few questions from my director in Florida, and “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” was performed/broadcast last night. Very excited. I wish I could have gone down to be there in person.

This morning, a decent first writing session, some remote work with a client, then onsite with another client, then some work at the library.

One word after another, and eventually, there are enough words for a piece.

 

Published in: on January 28, 2020 at 7:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Tues. Jan. 14, 2020: The Skeezy & The Stormy

Tuesday, January 14, 2019
Waning Moon
No Retrogrades

Can you believe it? We have a short window with no retrogrades. It’s going to feel strange.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I have an interview up with historical author Jean Roberts.

I was so, so angry on Friday. I’d gotten a quick response from an LOI, asking me for more information and sending me a link to pre-interview questions on a Google doc.

The “questions” were a demand for me to write a proposal, complete with sources. Unpaid, of course. Another question was about how I’d go about contacting a Big Name this company wants to land for a project.

First of all, I don’t do unpaid work, especially not this kind. The company expects “interviewees” to write full proposals WITH SOURCE MATERIAL. Unpaid. Then, the company will tell each one who did it that they didn’t make the cut. Then, the company has a year’s worth of proposals written without paying for a single one. Can you say scam?

Second, I HAVE the contact information for this particular Big Name. I don’t give it out, certainly without permission. And I sure as HELL wouldn’t give it to a sleazy organization like this one.

Third, none of this has anything to do with the parameters of the job about which I sent an LOI — scriptwriting. They said they wanted scriptwriters to write spots FOR THEIR CLIENTS. Not proposal writers to land new clients, or mine people’s contact lists. Yet that’s what these “pre-interview” questions demand.

Boo, shove those questions right up your ass.

It was a decent writing weekend. I have some ideas on what I want to build the Susanna Centlivre play around. I may use both of them, or I may choose one and make it a shorter, more focused play. I need to do some more research.

Friday afternoon, I worked on the books for review. Saturday morning, into the afternoon, I wrote, getting ahead on blog posts. Spent most of the afternoon doing laundry and starting contest entries. I’m still working on the laundry to finish and put away from the holidays.

Worked with the cats. Tessa and Willa are making progress. Tessa and Charlotte are still having trouble.

Re-read MY STAGGERFORD JOURNAL, Jon Hessler’s account of writing his first novel. I enjoyed it, but was much more aware of white male privilege this time around.

Made rumbledethumps on Saturday night, from the Moosewood recipe. That’s always good.

It was warm and sunny out on Saturday. I should have done yard work, but I was busy doing other work.

It was stormy Saturday into Sunday. Terrible winds. Warm with rain, but the damp made it feel cold. I didn’t dare work on the computer until the afternoon, for fear the power would go out and hurt the machine. It’s old and limping along as it is. I want to be good to it.

Worked on contest entries. Worked on “Trust.” The end still isn’t where I want it.
Worked on the Kate Warne curtain-raiser, which still doesn’t have a title, but is plugging along decently. I got an excellent ten pages on it, which means it will be longer than I expected — a tad more than a curtain raiser.

Worked on contest entries. This year’s entries are strong, with terrific premises. Always exciting.

Monday client work was fine, and I was happy to get to meditation.

Today, I’m with a client most of the day, and then other meetings.

Looking forward to some solid writing time.

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019: Idea Cookies

Tuesday, January 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

I’m delighted to have Scott Dawson as my guest on A Biblio Paradise today, talking about his book, The Art of Working Remotely. Scott hosts the Remote Chat every Wednesday, which is one of the highlights of my week.

Friday afternoon’s get-together for my work colleagues went well, although I was tired by the end of it. Too much food, which is always better than not enough, and it didn’t go to waste, so all good. The rum cake even turned out well.

Saturday, up early. Wrote a bit on the Winter Solstice romance. Most of the day was spent taking down the holiday decorations. We got everything down in my writing room, the backroom, the upstairs. Packed away the Santas, the deer, the nutcrackers, the carolers. Switched out most of the fabric. Eight hours, and it still wasn’t done. Managed to get four loads of laundry in, though.

Weird dreams into both Saturday and Sunday, so I guess October and November will be. . .unusual. Which is kind of what I expected.

Saturday night, watched the movie THREE LITTLE WORDS, with Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, and Red Skeleton. It gave me an idea for a mystery set against Vaudeville. I’ve been playing with ideas like that, set against Vaudeville or Burlesque, on and off for awhile now. But I made some notes, just in case. Ordered some research material. Had a glimmer of an idea for a fantasy YA piece.

Had trouble getting going on Sunday, and really didn’t feel like dealing with the decorations. However, they weren’t going to pack themselves. Wrote a bit on the Winter Solstice romance (which is taking some turns). Made a quick grocery run, and got to work. Got the outside decorations in and up on mats to dry before I could pack them. Packed the ornaments from the tree (I’d set up tables with all the specialized boxes, which made it easier). Got the lights down in the living room and off the tree. Took apart the tree and wrestled it back into the back. Got almost everything packed into the Christmas Closet. Even though we have 7 more boxes then we had last year, it fits better, because I packed better and the boxes are more complementary to each other.

7 hours later, and I treated myself for a large Sidecar. I earned it!

Tessa hated all the upheaval, but Willa and Charlotte handled it pretty well. As long as they are around us when things change, they are fine.

Annoyed with the landlord. He had yet a third furnace guy over for a quote yesterday — but didn’t let me know until Sunday afternoon. Has he forgotten that I work for a living? I can’t just take off at the last minute. He said he has to get three quotes for the loan for which he’s applying. Why didn’t he tell me that in the first place? Plus, he doesn’t NEED the loan. I researched the furnaces. Our rent more than pays for the replacement.

The YA fantasy idea spun a bit, and I took notes.

Made ham pot pie for dinner, with extra cheese mixed into the crust. It was good.

Watched the documentary Soundies on Sunday night. Excellent. I wish I had watched it earlier — I would have pitched to write about fan dancer Faith Bacon for 365 Women. And write about the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Maybe next year. I made some notes and ordered some research material.

Did NOT want to get up and go to my client’s on Monday morning, but I did. Put in a batch of ham, navy bean, and kale soup into the Crockpot to cook while I was gone. I was grumpy, though, on several fronts. I didn’t get as much as I wanted to done over the break, mostly because of exhaustion. That means I have to push harder this week.

Client work was okay, but I was glad to get out of there, even though it was into the snow.

Meditation was good. I needed it.

Ideas come in batches. My writer pal Paula said, “Like cookies.” From now on, I’m going to call them Idea Cookies!

With a client today and then some other appointments. Decent first writing session. One word after another, that’s all I can do.

 

Published in: on January 7, 2020 at 7:24 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019: Idea Cookies  
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Tues. Nov. 19, 2019: Weekend of Work

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge on a family-oriented novel.

And a happy, happy birthday to my Twitter pal Jake! Have a beautiful day!

Friday afternoon, once I got back from errands and the library, it was about yard work. I hacked back the overgrown roses on the side of the house, took out the invasive oak and bindweed. It took a good portion of the afternoon, and I came away scratched and bleeding. I prefer the Sleeping Beauty look, and it discourages cutting through the property. But my landlord complained, and, knowing these damn men who will put in the new furnace, I guarantee they will insist on going down that side of the house, with the narrow path, rather than the side of the house with the driveway and the flat area to get to the bulkhead to load in the furnace. Because it’s “shorter.”

Only in your dreams, buddy.

But it’s done.

I didn’t write enough on Friday, and it threw off the rhythm of my day. The editing session was good, though.

I started reading my friend’s book, which is fun. I finally feel I’ve done enough work to earn that treat.

I moved Tessa up to my room to take some of the pressure off her with Willa and Charlotte. We got them to be company for her, but their issues are causing problems. I’m giving Tessa a break of a week, and then we’ll start re-integration under supervision again.

What’s funny is that Willa, who bothered Tessa the most, ran around the house looking for her and howling once I brought Tess upstairs, and now spends a good portion of the day sitting outside my bedroom door. Maybe they’ll make friends through the door.

Charlotte ran and hid when I picked up Tessa to take her upstairs; she thought she would be next, and she would be moved again.

I’ve had weird dreams the last couple of weeks. Positive, for the most part, but still weird.

Saturday, got up a little after 6 (late for me). Adjusted the morning routine so Tessa still got fed on time. Charlotte thought she could now eat in the kitchen in Tessa’s spot — no, honey, Tessa will be back there soon. You still eat in your spot.

Yoga, meditation, the first load of laundry in before 7.

Then, to writing. I finished editing a draft of a book late in the morning. I started doing the final proof, so I can send it to my editor for final galleys.

In the afternoon, tried to rake, but it was too windy. Scrubbed the railings and the deck. The landlord said it had mold — no, it was dirt. No mold. Some of the paint is coming off, because the last time it was painted was when we moved in in 2010.

Monday was supposed to be pouring with rain, so I don’t see how they’ll muck about and figure out what needs to be done. But that’s up to them, not me.

My back was killing me.

Spent some time with Tessa and studying runes. Read. Finished reading a memoir where the writer tries to present herself as the heroine, when in reality, she’s a manipulator who was caught out. Worked my last nerve.

Sunday, worked on a new recipe for muffins. They came out pretty well, although I’m going to add vanilla next time around.

Wrote all the posts for December for #UpbeatAuthors. Feel a sense of relief and completion.

Pulled the last bits in from the deck, and worked in the basement on Sunday.

Also made orange marmalade oatmeal bread. It was a lot of work, and I don’t like the result. It’s too dense and heavy. If I do it again, I will try it with just oats, not cooked oatmeal. I was very disappointed.

Scrubbed the basement floor.

Read some more in my friend’s book. Kept getting interrupted.

Did a good chunk of proofreading.

Overslept on Monday morning. I didn’t want to get up when the alarm went off (I’m usually up a half hour to an hour before it goes off). The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted, or at least it seemed so when I woke up.

Morning routine, and then to editing. Went in to my client’s a little early, because I had to leave early because the landlord had the builder coming to look at the deck and the back of the house.

I’m scheduling this to post, so I don’t know what the workday/builder, etc. actually brought yet. I know I plan to be up early on Tuesday, finish the proofs, and get them to my editor.

I haven’t written any new material in a few days, and it’s throwing me off my game. But I need to get these edits done.

I did, yesterday, indulge myself in a few pages of THE BARD’S LAMENT. That helped.

Onward.

 

Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I read for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy, intense weekend.

Worked on contest entries and books for review on Friday.

Saturday, I wrote 20 pages on GAMBIT. I planned to keep going, or to switch to one of the other novels, but then I got an email.

The radio theatre company in Florida, where I pitched “Horace House Hauntings” a couple of weeks ago wants to perform/produce it. On March 25th.

Now that’s quick!

So, on March 25, “Horace House Hauntings” will be performed in Florida. The first two weekends in April, “Confidence Confidant” will be performed in Boston. On May 10, “Light Behind the Eyes” will be performed in Minnesota.

That’s a pretty good run of productions.

The company in Florida wants more with Frieda and Lazarus, my protagonists from “Horace House Hauntings.”

So, on Saturday afternoon, I wrote the half of the first draft of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” which puts them on an ocean liner headed for England.

Page total for Saturday: 35.

I was wiped out.

Watched some of Season 3 of THE WEST WING. Worked on the books for review.

Fell into bed, exhausted.

Sunday, I sort of slept in. I was back at my desk by 8 AM (late for me). I wrote 21 pages on GAMBIT. I wrote a couple of blog posts. I wrote a 7-page letter to an old friend. I finessed two monologues: “Smile” and “Quicksand” from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST and rehearsed them for Wednesday night.

I’m still not happy with the last beat on “Smile.” It’s not there, and I have to have something better by tomorrow night. I tossed it to Women Write Change, and hope they can help.

“Quicksand” takes a nice turn and ends on a gut punch.

“Emotional Labor” isn’t quite ready to test. I’ll do it next month. And I’ll have to decide which other piece to write and prepare.

Exhausted Sunday night, and behind where I want to be in the books for review (although I’m well within deadline).

Monday, I was with a client, and then to meditation group. Today I’ll be with a client and, if the weather holds, I’ll have to get started on yard work later in the afternoon.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. And the full moon. And Mercury Retrograde. And a reading.

Overwhelmed much?

I’d say yes!

Published in: on March 19, 2019 at 5:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend  
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Fri. Feb. 15, 2019: Books Make Everything Better

Gwen Finnegan 3B 3D Collage

Friday, February 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for my mid-February check-in. I was discouraged, because I felt as though I hadn’t gotten anything done this month, but the list isn’t too bad.

I got the 3D versions of my book covers from my publisher yesterday, and I’m really happy with them. I got them as individual covers and collages. Now I can use them in the marketing campaigns. I have to upload them on all the sites.

Nautical Namaste 2B 3D Collage

Sent off my review, and already have my next assignment, which is kind of cool. I’ll pick it up today. Also downloaded a book as part of the Tor book club, and bought KILL THE FARM BOY, by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson.

I’m reading WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix for the Reader Expansion Challenge. So far, I’m enjoying it. I’m going to recommend it to some of my musician friends. If I can, I’m also going to read the other book recommended to me from this challenge – THE BUS ON THURSDAY by Shirley Barrett.

I’m also reading SCRATCH: WRITERS, MONEY, AND THE ART OF MAKING A LIVING, edited by Manjula Martin. All creatives, not just writers, can get a lot out of this book.

Almost ready to send off the comic ghost story radio play. It took another unfortunate turn, and I had to yank it back. I hope to get it out tomorrow or Tuesday. As soon as that’s done, I’ll start the straw hat comic mystery radio play.

Hint: If you don’t know what the Straw Hat Circuit was, I suggest you look it up! 😉

I have some grocery shopping to do, and this weekend, I’ll start planting the first of the tomatoes inside. Bills to pay, too, although this week and next week are tight, financially.

Which means I damn well better get those article pitches out, too, right?

The Narcissistic Sociopath is making an autocratic power grab by declaring a national emergency. He must be stopped.

Have a great weekend. I’m taking the Monday Presidents’ Day holiday. The #UpbeatAuthors post will be up, but Tuesday’s post may be late.

Today is Nirvana Day in the Buddhist tradition. In honor of that, I will light some joss sticks and do extra meditation sessions. Tuesday is the full moon!

Peace!
Coventina Circle 3B 3D Collage

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read the review of Sandra Worth’s Lady of the Roses, which is one of the most gorgeous historical novels I’ve read in a long time. Tomorrow, hop back on over to read the interview with her.

Still don’t have a lot to say. I read two more books for the essay yesterday and took lots of notes. I did quite a bit of writing, but I’m not at a stage where I can talk about it. I got all warm and fuzzy from another royalty statement, although the numbers aren’t enormous. But royalty statements are still wonderful things, in my opinion.

It’s very strange to have to much internal work going on and not be able to talk about it. I’m not doing it to be secretive; I’m doing it because it’s still at a delicate stage, where talking ABOUT it instead of WORKING on it is counter-productive. It’s like going on an expedition when you don’t know for what it is you’re searching.

I’m going to try to take a break from reading today and concentrate on writing, especially since I’m breaking in the new Canon! And I’ve got to hunt down that HP driver so I can put that up for sale. I remember thinking I’d put it in a very safe place, which of course means I have no idea where it is.

I need to get back to work on the next MEDUSA draft, because it has to be ready to go this week. And I want to get back into BALTHAZAAR. And EARTH BRIDE is bugging me – those characters gave me a few weeks off to concentrate on MEDUSA, but now they want my attention again.

It’s like I’ve said a million times – unfinished work drains one’s creative energy. So finish, already!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday, February 9, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Come visit A Biblio Paradise to read the interview with Yasmine Galenorn. Her books are fascinating, and so is a glimpse into her process.

Felt pretty fragile and frustrated yesterday. It was hard to focus and get things done. I felt very fractured and worn out from everything that’s going on.

And, I’m trying to get Valentine’s Day sorted, so there are no misunderstandings, etc. Valentine’s Day during Mercury Retrograde. Ack!

I’m working out of town next weekend, and I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to it!

Oh, and I’m being chided by the men in my life for not calling them when the identity theft happened. Honestly, it never occurred to me. I just went ahead and did what I had to do. It’s not like they could file paperwork on my behalf or anything. One of them is actually in a line of work where he might be able to do something, but he’s working out of the country right now. He understood that I just did what needed to be done, but the other two . . .good intentions, but honey, you can’t fix it.

Work was fine last night; caught up with people, everything went well, etc. Getting home at midnight was tiring, but not as tiring as getting in even later would be, or getting up early to head back in, so it’s all fine.

Got some work done on Old-Fashioned Detective Work yesterday, and then spent most of my time on Tracking Medusa. I’m almost done with the third draft, and will put in changes today, tweak the letter, and out it goes.

Sorting out the other deadlines – I have to be very disciplined and VERY productive the rest of this month, with a high daily word count. Instead of spreading a lower word count over several projects, I’m going to try for a high word count on each in turn and see how that works.

Lots to do; not enough hours in the day, so I better get going.

Devon

Old-Fashioned Detective Work
– 17,557 words out of est. 20,000 (87%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on February 9, 2008 at 10:13 am  Comments (3)  

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

First – hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see the review of Yasmine Galenorn’s Darkling. And come back over there tomorrow to read the interview with her.  And drop a comment while you’re there, if you get a chance.

Yesterday’s excursion was good. It was a trek up to the Book Barn in Niantic, with the hope of picking up books I need for the next SmartPop essay. No luck – not a one of them. But I bought a bunch of other books; and one of the cats(the black one, of course) was the escort from building to building, playing and purring and just being a delight.

Great baked scallop lunch at the Yankee Clipper, back home, and I think I’ve located the books I need – I’ll know in a couple of days.

No creative work done at all – too wiped out.

Have to make up for it today, especially since I’m working in the city tonight. I’m starting with Old-Fashioned Detective Work, moving on to the sci-fi horror western, then finishing up Tracking Medusa. And some intriguing new possibilities have appeared on the radar.

Lots to write; few hours left in the day. I better get going.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on February 8, 2008 at 10:02 am  Comments (4)  

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise and read the interview with Colin Galbraith.

Mik tagged me for 7 Random things about me. Um, hard to think of them, but here’s a shot:

1. I hate confrontation, but if you corner me, I turn into a feral cat. And I don’t mean a small one! More like, leopard-sized!

2. I hate the telephone. I have it off almost all the time. I have two half-hour periods a day when I return business calls, and I return other calls when I can, but I just hate the telephone. I pretty much use it only when I’m running late.

3. I love the juvenile mystery fiction from the early twentieth century: Ruth Fielding, Beverly Gray, Vicki Barr, Nancy Drew, Penny Parker, Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, the Dana Girls, Sue Barton, Dorothy Dixon, the list goes on and on. I find the social commentary as interesting (if sometimes frightening in its ignorance) as plot and structure.

4. I prefer animals to people, most of the time.

5. I like my men the same way I like my whisky – straight up.

6. I am technologically challenged. (Gee, you think?)

7. I’m much more of a winter gal than a summer one. I’ll take snow and ice over heat and humidity any day!

Hmm, who should I tag? Brandy, Girl-at-desk, Lori, Julia.

I had company stop by for a lunch visit yesterday, so I made roast pork with all the trimmings. Problem with that is, I was ready to nap all afternoon! But I didn’t. I got some admin work done, and went back to Tracking Medusa.

I also ordered a boatload of ink for the HP. According to the Staples website, one tank for this printer does 150 pages. WTF????? The Canon multi-pass did between 400-700 pages (I could always print more than a ream of paper on a single tank), and the Canon Baby Bubble did around 300. 150 pages is, like, a day in my printing life.

You can be sure I’ll compare the HP all-in-one capacities with Canon’s before I make my final decision. I just may stick with Canon after all! It never occurred to me that there would be such a MASSIVE difference in the ink capacity, especially since the HP tanks are bigger. And, frankly, I think the Canon print quality is better. Unfortunately, according to the reviews, the newer Canon models are ink hogs. So does that mean I should get my old Canon fixed? Spend the $100 and save several hundred a year on ink? This mathematically challenged human needs to sit down with pen, paper, and calculator and figure it out. But, from reading the various consumer reports, the machine I have is a higher quality and a higher print capacity than the newer models. So why fork out money for a new model that chugs ink?

And Iris, AKA Princess Hellion, has GOT to learn to leave the HP printer alone when it’s printing. I don’t know why it fascinates her so much – she always left the multi-pass alone. But she’s chasing the pages and sticking her paw in it and all of that. Elsa ruined an Epsom printer years ago by getting stuck in it when she was a kitten. She was just fine, although a little inky and she yelled a lot. The printer, however, was ruined. You can’t take your eyes off them for a second when there’s machinery going.

There’s something about reading a royalty statement that gets me all warm and fuzzy, even if there’s not an enormous check on its way. That’s all I’m saying.

I did a really nice chunk of work on the Tracking Medusa edit last night. I beefed up the Prologue. I expanded and detailed the first time Gwen and Justin meet, where she’s attacked outside the NY Public Library. I put the Harry’s funeral onstage, and created the dynamic between Gwen, Karl, and Jonathan. And I got to introduce Kitty – since it’s obvious later that she was in NY when Harry was killed, we might as well see her. I’ve given Tom Albright more to do. So it’s all good – the Prologue and the first two chapters, redone. Whew! And I love honing the language, fixing the structure, making it all polished and shiny. In spite of the hand-written notes on the actual manuscript, I find that, as I put in the changes, I’m delving even deeper into plot and story.

Decent morning’s work on Balthazaar. I have to stop and re-read the pirate research I did for Cutthroat Charlotte. It’s kind of cool to be able to use the same research with a completely different viewpoint for this.

Good morning’s work on Wyatt. The plot is taking an interesting twist. Wyatt seems to know what he’s doing, so I’m following along! I have the most basic outline of the story in my head, but no details, so I’m following Wyatt.

I hope that ink arrives soon – I’m halfway down the new ink tank I put in already.

Devon

The Balthazaar Treasure — 5,517words out of est. 90,000 (6.13%)

Wyatt – 4,176 words out of est. 20,000 (20%)

Tracking Medusa Revision – 8,579 words out of est. 90,000 (9.5%)

Published in: on January 18, 2008 at 10:22 am  Comments (9)  

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I’m hosting poet, novelist, playwright, and publisher Colin Galbraith.

Yesterday was a better day. The flash drive was working, whew. I managed to deal with the unpleasant business that needed to be dealt with, but it took all morning. And I got out the proposal for the anthology. Problem client still hasn’t paid – raise your hand if you’re surprised – neither the overdue amount from mid-December, nor the amount promised last week. I’m giving it a few more days, and then hitting back.

Found a publication that claims to seek just the odd sort of work I enjoy writing, but even a bit further out of my comfort zone. So I thought I might do a piece and toss it in their direction, simply because it would be fun. Deadlines are sane, money’s okay.

But then I dug a little deeper. Everyone involved in this venture is male. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but, for some reason, it started warning bells going off. And, looking at their writing, it’s male fantasy/female victim stuff. Their blogs are full of “oh, poor me, women don’t understand me” and their stories are about mutilating women. Um, I’m sure the women UNDERSTAND you boys just fine; they simply don’t LIKE you.

So I don’t think this is the right place for me.

However, the story already started to write itself in my head, so I may just have to see where it goes anyway and then try to find another home for it.

Hint: The male and female characters in MY piece are equally matched, because I find it much more interesting, and there’s definitely an “ewwww” factor in the plot that I don’t usually use.

Also, if I don’t aim it to this particular woman-bashing publication, I don’t have to stick to the weird length given in the guidelines which would make it impossible to market anywhere else.

Learn from me – do your research FIRST! 😉

The only major computer trouble I had last night was wrestling with the graphics for today’s Biblio Paradise. They were sent exactly as they should be – my darned computer just had a hissy fit about them. I finally figured out how to trick it into sending it to a file, where I could send it to another file, where I could then send it to a third file, from which I could open it and upload it. Because if you tried from any of the first two – no way. Even by the third file, it told me that the “target couldn’t handle” it, but there it was and it uploaded, so there!

Found a great big logistic lapse in Medusa, regarding Gus, so I have to plug that up. I know what it’s all about, but it would be kind of nice to let the reader in on it, too, y’know?

Hopefully, in a day or two, I can actually start reworking line edits chapter by chapter. I’m working off notes now, and honing the material, adding, cutting, using the Red Machete, then I’m going to start putting changes in it. I need to work off hard copy – I can’t work off screens, especially not when they only appear in “Read Me” format and I have no damned clue as to what page the notations are on. I need to work off lists and hard copies.

Diane, the Mac Airbook here retails for about $1800 from what I hear, which is significantly less than in the UK. Maybe you should come over for a weekend and buy one? With the exchange rate in your favor and all. Brookstone has great power converters. Of course, then there’s the plane fare, which would make it the same as buying it at home. It’s still out of my budget at this moment, but I’m going to take a look at it. I’m still not sure if I’m going to go to one system or two when I switch over. I’m most likely to get a desktop AND a laptop, which will be a huge expense, because if one goes down (and we know how often I have computer meltdowns), I want to have the other one while I get the first one fixed. One for home use, the long hours spent at the desk writing, and one on the go. Again, it’s a huge expense. But it’s worth it. I don’t want to take money out of the house fund, because if I keep doing it, like I had to for the car, pretty soon it’s gone. So it has to wait until I move. I’m pretty sure I want the Mac Pro desktop — huge, huge expense and more computer than I could use, but I can grow into it, and keep upgrading over the years instead of replacing. Also, when it comes to laptops, I have to play with the keyboard. I have long fingers – I’m often teased for not being a concert pianist – and small keyboards hurt my hands after awhile. And I’m not going to buy an exterior keyboard for a laptop – the point of a laptop is for it to be all in one piece and portable.

By accident, I found another publisher that might be good for the story I originally thought of for the publisher-who-turned-out-to-be-the-wrong-match. I emailed back and forth with this publisher, particularly about deadlines and work habits, and it sounds like a good match. Whether the material will fit their needs, well, I have to write it and they have to read it before we know. But at least they’re genuinely eager to read it and aren’t going to change their deadlines after I’ve put in a boatload of work. However, we seem to work along similar communication and deadline rails. So, now I’m excited about the story again!

Okay morning’s work on Balthazaar. I need to figure out the story of the group they’ve been hired to join, and then I need to figure out the story of the actual Treasure. And this time, I’m going to figure it out first, and THEN write it, instead of trying to make it up as I go and then forgetting what I meant to do. I’m trying to learn from my mistakes; I hope you do, too.

Great morning’s work on Wyatt. He continues to surprise me in the best possible way. And now that Jamey Cartwright’s about to crash into the picture, even more interesting conflicts should arise!

Late getting this up this morning because the phone was ringing with job offers – which is a good thing. But I need to sort everything out, schedule-wise. I really have reached the point where I need a laptop. Much as I like working in longhand, I’m running around enough where I need the whole mobile-office thing – my “office” needs to fit into a bag that I can stash in the trunk of the car or take on a bus or a train with me. It’s all good; it just needs to be figured out. Especially since I don’t like to be reachable all the time.

Devon

The Balthazaar Treasure — 4,145 words out of est. 90,000 (4.6%)

Wyatt – 2,293 words out of est. 20,000 (11.4%)

Published in: on January 17, 2008 at 10:38 am  Comments (3)  

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrogrde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and mild
Philadelphia

I’m finally in Philly, after the trip from hell on the demon bus. There were a few times when I was doubtful I’d ever make it here in one piece.

First, the 8:30 bus out of NY blew its starter. I mean, I knew that was the problem, I’ve had that happen in a car, but they kept trying to make it catch and flooded the motor. It was raining by then, but they let me stay on the dark, cold bus until the 9:30 bus showed up. It was still better than standing in the street in the rain.

The 9:30 bus shows up, there are actually about a half a dozen people for it (I was the only passenger for the 8:30). We get on it. And the door won’t shut. I told them to tie it shut and just GO!

They finally jammed the door shut — and I made sure I was sitting at an emergency exit window, just in case. Then, by Newark airport, the door comes open, and the driver stops IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HIGHWAY to futz with it. We have 18 wheelers thundering by on both sides, the bus is rocking like it’s going to tip over at any minute — not fun. He did that one more time, about half-way through Jersey. The ventilation system stopped working, so by the time we hit Philly, it was about 90 degrees in the bus and we were getting groggy — probably from carbon monoxide. By the time we started driving through the city, the dashboard was flashing and the buzzers were going — I was happy to get off the bus!

Then there was the Danish college student trying to pick up the women on the bus. I wasn’t having him, but he had better luck with a Twinkie a few rows back who giggled a lot and said, “I can’t understand your accent; are you Canadian?” (He spoke perfect English), and who thought Greece was part of Asia.

I have to kill off a character based on her in a story because she was so damned annoying.

After this round trip (because they do not give refunds for ANY reason), I’m sticking to Greyhound!

I walked to the place I’m staying, saw my friends off, got some unpacking done. Then, I walked back to Trader Joe’s, got in some food, and settled in for an afternoon’s work. I’d done some of the research I needed to finish on the bus before the oxygen ran out, so I tried to do some more. Couldn’t get it done. I was too tired, after getting up at 5 AM yesterday and the rigors of the trip. I got some of it done, and cross-checked some information and wrote down some questions, but I’m not anywhere near where I need to be to get started this morning.

I managed to write notes on few ideas last night, but I didn’t get too much creative work done because that part of my brain was dazed. And I have a horrible headache this morning, so I’m pretty sure it’s due to carbon monoxide on the bus. I’m going to walk to everything today instead of take public transportation so I get the air back in my system.

Work last night was fine; I slept well; had a cherry danish from my favorite pastry place down the street. I’m pulling myself together to get going, although all I feel like doing is sleeping. But I need to get moving and get these toxins out. The yoga helped this morning; walking will help, and I’ll work out tonight. Maybe eat something with spinach in it for lunch, to get the balance back.

I’m having a dilemma about what project to work on next: I’m editing TRACKING MEDUSA, I’m going to finish the ever-expanding EARTH BRIDE as soon as I get the cheat sheet done (because I can’t write the wedding sequence without the cheat sheet — too much of what happens there affects the next section of the book). I’ve had an invitaiton from an editor to sumbit something that would be a pretty sure sell. I haven’t written in that genre for a long time; I’m not sure if I want to; but the lure of the credit and the money is surely strong. I’d dust off a pseudonym that hasn’t been out and about in years. I’ve got a lot of other things to do, and I want to keep it all balanced, but the market for this type of work has exploded in the past few years. It’s just not my favorite thing to write. Really, what I want is a contract before I commit, so that’s the direction in which I should negotiate. How badly do they want me?

And that will have to wait until I get back to NY.

In the meantime, I’ve got to pack up and stop on the way to buy pencils.

Oh — a group here in Philly dubbed “The History Boys” are trying to prevent a casino from building over a Revolutionary Fort before they can excavate it. Great, I’m all for it, and we need the British side of the American Revolution story as much as the legends with which we all grew up, but . . .where are the women? Are there any “History Girls” involved in this? And if not, why?

I can ask them in person, because we’ll be in the same facility this week.

Hop on to Biblio Paradise for the interview with Hazel Statham. I must have entered it weirdly, because it posted early, but I’m glad it’s up!

Devon

Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 9:37 am  Comments (5)  

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Still dark – it’s before 6 AM

So yesterday just sucked all the way around. I’m glad it’s over; don’t want to live it again.

In addition to the fact that I had to finish up the gig for Problem Client, I got an auto response message that Hex Breaker’s been rejected/deleted without being read. The publisher decided to close submissions early. That is just a slap in the face to writers. If you publicize a deadline, honor it. We, the professional writers, bust our butts to turn out engaging stories, deal with the proper format, proofing, grammar, spelling, structure, etc., fit our story into the guidelines, create all the ancillary paperwork the publishers now demand, and get in clean copy on time. The least the publisher can do is honor deadlines it set in the first place.

This is the second negative experience I’ve had with this publisher, and they’re off my list. Burned the bridge, told them what I thought. Next.

Because sometimes, wondering if maybe they’ll be useful farther down the line isn’t worth it. And I’m not bowing and scraping to someone who can’t show me basic courtesy.

Bites from two other publishers already who are interested (what can I say? I didn’t waste any time – I had new queries out within fifteen minutes of the auto-response), and a third publisher who likes the premise, but wants at least another 20K in it. Although there are more stories for these characters, I don’t know if this particular story could support another 20K. While pieces like Ris an Abrar and The Merry’s Dalliance are really novels I tried to smash into guideline word counts, Hex Breaker pretty much stands as it is in novella form, at just over 29K. I will discuss with them whether they’d consider several novellas with the same characters as a possibility. If not, at least this place is genuinely interested in my writing, and maybe I can send them something else in the future.

And then a response came back to a different submission. They’d “consider” representing me, provided I did a “substantial” rewrite of this particular novel within the next three weeks – on spec. You’d be proud of me. I wrote a very diplomatic response. I pointed out that, although they praised the characters and the dialogue, they seemed to want an entirely different type of story than what I submitted and were asking me to put my characters into a completely different plot, setting, and circumstance. It seemed to me that an entirely different submission might be more appropriate than taking my characters and putting it into their “suggested” plotline. Or were they offering a work-for-hire deal for a book packaging client, perhaps? I’m open to that, but it’s a different discussion that what they presented. I also pointed out that the contracted, deadlined work comes first, and there’s no way I could fit in such a revision within that time frame if it was on spec. I have too much paying work lined up. Thanks, but no thanks. Put money on the table, we talk. Without that, I’m just moving on to the next one on the list.

On a happier note, I’ve entered the world of flash drives. The flash drive I bought has more memory than my entire desktop. So far, I’ve got Hex Breaker, Tracking Medusa, my general writing/submission files, and some of the freelance files on it. I put Earth Bride on it just for the hell of it. I’ve got lipsticks bigger than this drive. I think it’ll make my life a lot easier this week. Plus, I can edit on the flash drive, which I can’t do on CD.

To answer your question, Diane – a lot of anthologies are putting out calls for submissions on novella-length pieces and many e-publishers also handle novellas. I love the novella format. It used to be huge in the UK – I remember buying novellas for a pound at WH Smith’s at train stations, and have something to read on the train. They’ve since fallen out of favor. There’s starting to be somewhat of a resurgence here – well-know writers tend to sell novellas around the holidays, and more and more books are published that contain one or more novellas. There is a market – you just have to look for it a little harder. And since short stories are getting shorter – the market’s opening for something between short story and novel again.

And then, late in the day, I get an email from the first publisher saying that they ARE accepting the submission of Hex Breaker for consideration, in spite of the first email I received. Bet you dollars to doughnuts I get a quick rejection since I called them on the conflicting information.

That’s okay; I’ll send it to the next interested name on the list.

Diana – thank you so much. It worked and made a big difference.

Typical NYC story: Two guys were busted by an off-duty cop last night for check fraud. They rolled their dead friend down 9th Avenue in an office chair to a check cashing place and tried to convince the clerk he was still alive so they could cash his social security check. A guy they passed on the street noticed the guy in the chair was dead and called 911. And the off-duty cop in the deli next door noticed, too, and busted them. I can just imagine the thoughts running through that cop’s mind. I must have been really overtired by the time it was on the 11 o’clock news, because I couldn’t stop laughing, as macabre as it is. Especially since it’s in Imp’s and my old neighborhood –we would have passed them coming home from the show!

Finished the work for Problem Client, sent it off with the invoice – supposedly, I’m being paid by Friday. I’ll believe it when the check clears. Hopefully, I’m free and clear in general of that entire mess. Buh-bye.

I’m off to Philly – I’m working doubles all week, and it’ll seem like a vacation after this bru-ha-ha! I got a lovely email from the Historical Society, welcoming me for the research, so it’s all good.

Of course, I couldn’t sleep last night – no idea why – so I’m leaving in a state of half-delirium! Maybe I’ll put on my music and doze on the bus.

Devon

PS – My regular SDR weekly rant will go up late in the day, once I get settled in the Philly digs and know what my internet access is like.

And hop on over to Biblio Paradise today and tomorrow for the review of My Dearest Friend and the interview with author Hazel Statham.

Published in: on January 9, 2008 at 6:17 am  Comments (10)