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!

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!

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’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.


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’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.


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.


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

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!


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.


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)  

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

The job listings yesterday were just wrist-slittingly depressing. I couldn’t feed one of the cats for a week on what most of these people are offering, much less pay the bills. Time to dig a little deeper. You get out of the search what you put into it, right?

Cleared off a bunch of admin work. Actually got some submissions out.

A couple of people asked why I talked about the argument yesterday, since I rarely discuss my personal life on Ink. Part of it is because it’s a boundary issue, which seems to be leitmotif in this cycle in both work and life. And one influences the other heavily. And let’s face it – on the surface, we were arguing about movies, but that’s not what the argument was really about. And it’s interesting to see how it fits into the retrogrades, and whether or not I’ve learned anything this time around!

Worked on the synopsis for Hex Breaker. I understand the need for all these materials – the logline, the one paragraph summary, the synopsis, the outline. It’s part of the profession. But I still don’t like doing them. Oh, well. Suck up and deal, right? I want to go over the material one more time this morning.

Worked on the last batch of articles for Problem Client, bitching and moaning the entire time. The cats would just open one eye, then roll over and put a paw over the face, wishing I would shut the heck up. The articles are not due until after I get back from Philly, but I want to get them out before I leave and be free!

Hex Breaker goes out today – scary, sending my “baby” out into the world.

So, did you hear about that guy in Texas? Cops show up, find his girlfriend’s ear boiling in a pot of water on the stove and a slab of human flesh on the kitchen table with a fork stuck in it. And you wonder why I don’t watch slasher films?

I felt SOOO much better after acupuncture. Truly restored. She found where the energy from the argument had taken up residence in the body and got it moving.

That is, I was restored until I returned to an email from Problem Client, who wants me to do something that I believe is unethical. I’m sick and tired of the guidelines changing day to day. They wait until I do the work, then come back and want changes, for which they don’t pay. Not that it’s easy to get the originally agreed-upon payment out of them anyway, and it’s not enough to make the aggravation and the compromises worth it. Hey, if I could turn down a job last year for six figures because I felt what they wanted me to promote with my writing was unethical, I can dump this dinky client.

Yes, the Saturn Retrograde is seriously kicking my ass for agreeing to those extra articles.

Don’t forget to hop over to A Biblio Paradise tomorrow to see the review of My Dearest Friend and return on the 10th to read the interview with the author.

I’ll try to blog at least intermittently while I’m working on the road.


Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 8:58 am  Comments (5)  

Monday, January 7, 2008

Monday, January 7, 2008
Dark of the Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

I have to repack for Philly – it’ll be much warmer than expected, and I have a bag full of cashmere that will turn out to be a bag full of sweaty cashmere if I don’t pack appropriately.

Regarding the dreams/twelve days of Christmas – that’s something that’s been passed down in my family for decades. Most of my family and friends in Continental Europe also grew up with it. I have no idea where it originates.

Also, remember, with dreams, it’s not always literal. You have the symbolic and emotional wrapped up in there, too, even when it seems like a linear, possible dream. You’re dealing with fears, emotions, and familiar objects substituting for something else. So you have to untangle the dream like a bag of discarded yarn to find out what it actually means. You have to find your own, personal, internal “dictionary” for your dreams, because everyone’s is slightly different.

Yesterday morning was all about Hex Breaker. I did another draft, some polishing, and caught a few logic lapses that I probably could have gotten away with, but I feel better for straightening them out. I also spent too much time puttering online (naughty Devon!), visited a friend who’s sick, found out the super in the building quit and is moving his family back to Ireland in two weeks (which means the new owners will put in someone to harass the tenants), took down the Christmas/Yule/holiday decorations, and came up with ideas for some new stories. I think they’re short stories, but I’m not sure.

One has to do with the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which is something that’s always fascinated me. Now, there’s a movie coming out about it either this year or next year called Horsemen and there’s no way I could top Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s magnificent Good Omens, AND a friend and I wrote a piece called “Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse” for Moon Tribe Tales, which was also later published in Wild Child where Peace and her cohorts defeated War, Famine, Pestilence, and whomever is the fourth – Poverty? I have to look it up. I’ve got a mind like a sieve this morning.

Anyway, the topic fascinates me, especially in light of current world politics, where it feels like the Four Horsemen are up and riding, so it’s something I want to play with. We’ll see.

I also got into an argument with one of the men in my life about, of all the stupid things, horror movies. I like a good psychological thriller; I don’t like slasher films. Life is scary enough, I have enough to deal with, and goodness knows, living on the Deuce for 13 years, I saw enough ugly crap to last several lifetimes. I don’t find cruelty entertaining. He does. Fine. Go watch them without me. Only he wants my company to watch them. And I won’t. He’s been doing research, figuring if he picked movies with actors I like, I’d agree to watch them.

Obviously, he doesn’t know me very well.

The specific movies about which we argued are I Know Who Killed Me and The Hitcher. He picked those because Neal McDonough is in both and Sean Bean is in the latter. Now, I’m all for actors working as much as possible in as wide range of roles as possible. I did some research on both films, and I’m not going to watch them. In addition to the gore quotient, I don’t particularly want to watch an actor whose work I enjoy (McDonough) get butchered on film. Twice. Even if there’s good work leading up to it. And I don’t particularly want to watch Sean Bean (who I think is a wonderful actor) butchering people and then getting slaughtered himself in the end. I’m glad they did the work – those films are fun to work on because of all the different elements. But I am not going to watch them. I had to laugh – there’s an interview with the chick from The Hitcher, where she talks about how her character’s not your typical girl-in-distress in a horror film. Right. That’s why they put you in a tank top and short shorts for the whole movie. Give me a break! Wardrobe choice is short-hand. It gives the audience a lot of information about character.

So then, the guy starts arguing that if I was friends with these guys (McDonough and Bean), I’d watch the movies. Again, he doesn’t know me very well. If I was friends with them, or even if we were simply congenial colleagues, I’d be honest with them about why I wouldn’t watch the films. And, if we were actually friends, it would be fine all the way around. AND, if we were friends or colleagues, they’d know that little quirk I have that if their character dies in the movie, I have to know BEFORE I go to see it. I don’t like watching people I know do death scenes, even when they’re wonderfully done. In spite of the years I’ve spent in the business. That’s one of my many eccentricities. And my FRIENDS accept that about me. And honor it. (I had one Well Known Actor who knew this peculiarity of mine and thought it would be funny not to tell me he had an ugly death scene – I didn’t speak to him for six months. We’ve long since made up, but he’s not likely to make THAT mistake again)!

The whole darned thing was a bunch of wasted energy, if you ask me. Energy I really need to point towards other things. I’m sure all of you are reading the writing on the wall here. We’re again getting into boundary and control issues. And with Mars Retrograde right now (and the only fire in my chart is my Aries – Mars – is in Venus) and Saturn Retrograde, the planet of life lessons – it makes sense that this would come up NOW.

This morning, I’m back to work on the Hex Breaker synopsis, the final three articles, and a pitch for an anthology. And I have acupuncture in the afternoon, which will set everything to rights.

Have a great start to the week. I don’t know how often I’ll be on line, with the Philly gigs, but please make sure to stop by A Biblio Paradise on January 9 for a review of Hazel Stratham’s Regency romance, My Dearest Friend, and then again on January 10, for an interview with her.

And thanks so much to Colin’s wife, Gail, for sorting out the SD card problem. Do you know what Canon’s response was? “I don’t know.” That’s unacceptable. That’s two unacceptable responses to customer service questions in a week. I think they’re about to lose someone who’s been a loyal customer for over 20 years.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Working on those articles nearly killed me yesterday. And not because the content, research, fact-checking, or writing is difficult; but because I didn’t want to do it. I wrote a sentence. I got up and wandered around. I wrote a half a sentence. I puttered in the kitchen. I wrote three words. I played with the cats.

No self-discipline at all. Meanwhile, I got more and more frustrated, because I want this monkey off my back. And if I’d just sat down and concentrated, it would have been done a lot faster. Learn from my mistakes, my friends. It was nearly midnight by the time I got them sent out.

Thanks to a friend of Chaz’s, I think I’ve found a way to keep my Canon limping along for a few more months. I went printer shopping yesterday, and my head was spinning. The two top choices so far are the Canon Pixma830 – but I worry that I’m just digging myself into the same hole by sticking with Canon. The other printer that does everything I want and need and with which I fell into printer-lust is the HP Photosmart C7200. I also looked a few small printers that I could just use for manuscript printing. I might go ahead and indulge in one of those now and then try to coax my current Canon along for a few more months until I’m sure what I really want.

For once, I don’t want to make a panic buy. I want to get the best printer for my needs. Unfortunately, because technology isn’t my strong suit, and the people in the stores are out to make a sale, not look out for my best interests, I need to learn as much as I can so I make a smart decision.

I’m also trying to figure out if the SanDisk Multi-Use SD card will work with my camera BEFORE I rip open the packaging. They don’t seem to make the exact same SD flashcard I always used with the camera. This looks almost the same, but it’s marked “multi-use”. The website doesn’t even list my camera so I can check compatibility (and my camera’s not that old), and their Customer Disservice can’t be bothered to answer the email I sent asking them about it over a week ago. If I haven’t heard back by Monday, I’ll rip open the package, test it, and, if it doesn’t work, sell it on eBay. I also emailed Canon to ask them. In spite of the Printer Kerflamma, their customer service is usually good.

And, of course, Hex Breaker called to me all day long, wanting attention. But I needed to distance myself, even for a day.

I went to the bookstore and didn’t buy anything. You know it’s a cranky day when I do that. I had my heart set on one particular book, which they didn’t have. I didn’t want to order it – I wanted to walk out of the store with it in my hand. It’s a new release – there’s no reason it shouldn’t be there, except they haven’t gotten around to unpacking it yet.

And Strand Books sent me a batch of books for a project – they always take such good care of me. I was expecting them to be medium-condition paperbacks, and they’re brand new hard covers. I have to put them in the acknowledgments of almost everything I write. Because they’re very, very good to me.

Lyd, in regard to your comment on the gift card, you’re suggesting I commit fraud, which I believe is a felony. Besides the fact that I am not willing to do that, I believe that making public one’s medical records so an insurance company can enter one into a contest is twisted and wrong. I prefer to file a complaint against them and have the proper authorities kick their greedy, twisted, disgusting little asses. I hope you keep commenting – I do appreciate them, even when I don’t always agree with them! 😉

I wrote a new chapter for the revision of Tracking Medusa this morning. It’s Harry’s funeral, which happened away from the readers’ gaze in the first draft. It introduces Jonathan Alden, Gwen’s ex-husband. Although it doesn’t specify that’s what he is, it’s clear he’s an ex something. I kind of like the reader discovering the husband part later in the book, when Justin discovers it. It also sets up more of the love-hate dynamic between Gwen and Karl, and has Tom Albright doing his detective work. Kitty is also introduced here, instead of waiting until they reach the Earl’s house in Scotland. It helps strengthen what comes later in the book. I’ve stuck the pages between the current Chapters Two and Three – since it had to happen before the chase sequence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I had to get Karl out of there early so he and Justin could have their confrontation at the Library BEFORE Justin went to the Met. It needs work, deepening, detailing, but the character set-ups work, and placing it here strengthens what happens when it all comes together at the end.

I’m on my way to my friend’s place in CT. I’m taking Hex Breaker with me, and that will be my focus today. I’ve got more articles to work on tomorrow, and I need to finish up the work for next week’s blog tour hosting on A Biblio Paradise. But right now, as far as I’m concerned, Hex Breaker is the priority.


Thursday, January 3, 2007

Thursday, January 3, 2007
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy, busy, busy, but that’s what you’ve got to do to get it all done. And I’d rather be busy than not.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read “Baby Got Books” about the stack of books that turned up at my door yesterday. I am a happy camper!

I had to spend more time that I expected polishing my column yesterday before I sent it off. In spite of the cuts I made, I still think it’s too long, but it’s in the hands of my capable (and one of my favorite) editors, so I’m not going to worry about it. She’ll do what needs to be done, or ask me to make more cuts. By the time I sent it off, I was so sick of it, I couldn’t even look at it any more!

Set up my Submission Log for 2008 and my Pitch Tracking Log for 2008. And printed off the copies of 2007 for my files. I need to go back through and figure out what needs follow up and what’s sitting around waiting for its next submission. I’d like to get a bunch of submissions off before I head to Philly.

I’m in the process of cleaning up my blog links. I’ve added some, and I’ll do some rounds next week, taking out those that haven’t updated in months or whatever. Ann, I’m so thrilled that you’re blogging again, but I can’t comment on your blog unless the comments let me sign in with WordPress. Blogger doesn’t recognize either my Blogger or my Google account. But you’re on my Daily Reads and I’m reading you, even when I can’t comment!

My folders are set up for 2008, I paid a bunch of bills and filed everything right away. I still have a bunch of filing for 2007 to complete, not to mention receipts to post. I figure I’ll do a little bit every day, and keep up with the new stuff, and, eventually, it will all get done.

Spent the bulk of the day working on three articles that had to get out by the end of the day, and got them out. I’ve got three more to work on today. Hopefully, I’m getting into the rhythm of it now.

Shuffling through the Philly pre-research, so I can estimate how much time I need to book at each archive.

Problem Client is being a problem again – I cannot wait to finish up the current contract work and ditch this one. Sayonara, baby! Honestly, I don’t think there’s enough aggravation pay to make this gig worthwhile! It’s always the lowest paying clients who are the biggest pains in the ass, you ever noticed? My own darned fault for going against my instincts. The Saturn Retrograde is giving me a good, solid kick in the butt. Okay, I get it. I learned a lesson.

Did some work on Hex Breaker last night and some more work on it this morning. I’m going to stop and have something to eat, then go back to work on it. I have about another chapter or two, and this draft is done. Then I’ll put it away for a day or two and edit and polish over the weekend.

And I’ve got more articles to write and more submissions to get out today. Hopefully, I won’t have to overcome so much resistance and resentment this morning, can clear them off early and get some other work done, too.

I should have worked out last night, but I was sore. So, of course, I’m even more so this morning! I may take a break in mid-afternoon to work out instead of doing it at night.

I’m trying to keep a positive attitude and just get all this work done!


Hex Breaker – 22,728 words out of est. 25,000

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 January 3, 2008 at 9:39 am  Comments (2)