Mon. July 23, 2018: Dealing with Failure #UpbeatAuthors

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Image courtesy of Cleverpics via pixabay.com

Monday, July 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

As usual, this will focus on how failure affects us as authors, in our work and life. Some aspects can be applied to other parts of life, but the focus is on our art.

The first way to deal with it is to define it.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “failure” as:

Definition of failure

1a omission of occurrence or performance; specifically failing to perform a duty or expected action 

  • failure to pay the rent on time
(1) a state of inability to perform a normal function 

  • kidney failure

 — compare heart failure 

(2) an abrupt cessation of normal functioning 

  • a power failure
c a fracturing or giving way under stress 

  • structural failure
2a lack of success
b a failing in business bankruptcy 

  • He was trying to rescue the company from failure.
3a a falling short deficiency 

  • a crop failure
4one that has failed 

  • He felt like a failure when he wasn’t accepted into law school.

 

But do you?

I sometimes feel I fail if I let someone else down. If it’s because I was thoughtless or disorganized, then it’s on me and I damn well better find a way to make it right. But sometimes it’s because the other person put an unfair expectation on me and I wasn’t strong enough to say no right off.

Sometimes I feel that I failed if I don’t get an acceptance from a market or a publisher or a grant to which I applied. Yes, I failed to get that particular slot. Most of the time, though, another opportunity comes up that I wouldn’t have been able to accept if I had landed the previous one. Also, because I’ve worked on the publisher side of the table, I know that acceptance is more than just a well-written book: it’s about fitting the tone of a particular publisher, and fitting into the needs of a particular list. Most traditional publishers and some of the smaller publishers have to balance their list so it appeals to a spectrum of readers. If they have too many of one kind of book and none of another in any particular season, they will lose readers that season, and might never regain them. It’s about where your piece fits into the bigger picture, not just your piece.

Many organizations that give out grants expect you to apply (and fail to get an acceptance) over a period of years before they take the application seriously. This always angered me, even when I worked for such non-profits. But many organizations want to see that an artist can sustain work over a period of years before giving that individual money. They don’t want someone who will use a day job or another excuse not to work, or to accept the grant and not meet the requirements of the work that needs to be produced.

None of that knowledge takes the sting out of those refusals, or alleviates the sense of failure.

How do you deal with it?

Acknowledge that you feel angry, sad, whatever. Don’t get on social media and rant and rave against the publisher, agent, or organization. It’s fine to admit disappointment, but don’t attack. Save the venting to do in person, privately, with people you trust. Because there IS a need to vent; there’s just no need to do so publicly. Your feelings are your feelings; they are valid. How you choose to handle them has consequences.

If there’s any feedback, step away for a few days, and then re-visit it with a more objective sensibility. What can you learn from this? How can you apply it positively moving forward?

There are certain publishers and/or organizations that are not a right fit. Just “getting published” isn’t enough. It has to be a place where you have a positive working relationship and both the writer’s and the publisher’s needs and goals are met. Sometimes what starts out as a promising relationship deteriorates. It’s not that one side is “better” or “right” — it’s simply that the needs of both parties aren’t being met, and it’s time to part ways (hopefully amicably), so you can both move on to a better situation. That’s true in any job situation.

I think it’s often harder for artists to deal with failure because what we do is so personal, so much a part of ourselves. It’s difficult not to feel that it’s a rejection of us as human beings.

If something we wrote doesn’t sell well or sell at all, we feel we failed. After a period of time, we can look back. Could it have been structured better? Used stronger language? Have you learned something in the interim that makes it work now? If it’s a sales number, what can you learn from that book’s campaign that you can apply to future promotions? We are pushed to think in terms of immediate large sales numbers, instead of a steadily growing readership. There are plenty of books I’ve read with huge opening sales numbers — and I’ve never read anything by that author again either because I didn’t like the book or because the author never managed to get anything else done, feeling the pressure.

But there are a lot of competing needs and agendas out there, and we’re not all compatible.

When it comes to finding the right agent or publisher, I often compare it to dating — it’s unlikely you’ll find your soul mate the first time out. You need to meet a lot of people and date around. Finding the soul mate for your work is similar.

There’s no need to dramatize or villainize if something doesn’t work out (although, in the first flush of hurt and disappointment, we will). Happy yippy platitudes too soon to the hurt are counterproductive. But then, take a step back, look at the positives, and apply what you learn moving forward.

As a teacher, that’s the most infuriating aspect. When a student REFUSES to apply a correction moving forward. We all start somewhere. We all have things we need to learn. When something is explained (such as the difference between a possessive and a plural) — learn it. APPLY IT MOVING FORWARD. Don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again and expect someone else to fix it.

The only true failure is REFUSING to learn from something that didn’t work and refusing to apply it moving forward.

Most other situations are disappointments or setbacks that can be overcome.

–Acknowledge

–Create objectivity

–Learn

–Apply

And then go on to create something wonderful!

Published in: on July 23, 2018 at 4:50 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 23, 2018: Dealing with Failure #UpbeatAuthors  
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Monday, May 14, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors The Next Step on the Ladder

black-and-white-construction-ladder-54335

Photo courtesy Khimish Sharma, via Pexels.com

Monday, May 14, 2018
Dark of the Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

 

My first response to that is, “Which ladder?” I have various limbs on various ladders. I write in different genres, under different names, in a variety of formats: prose, theatre, television, film, radio. Journalism. Essays. Marketing writing. Reviewing.

I do very little editing for private clients now, because the time/money ratio doesn’t work for me, too many would-be writers default on payments (when they’re not trying to lowball me down to a fraction of my rate), and I need the primary focus to be on my own work. When I edit, I am generally hired by the publishing house to work for something under contract that has passed particular gate-keeping standards.

I am with more than one publisher. One of them, who has signed several projects, is small, just starting out. We are taking a risk on each other. Among the reasons I was excited to work with them was that they pay small advances, don’t demand their writers acquiesce to a boiler-plate contract AND, instead of POD, they do small print runs. The print runs are after a certain digital threshhold is reached, but the POD model was not working for me, so I wanted to try this. I am still with another publisher who is doing the POD model, and I have submissions out to several other publishers, who work on a mix of models, so we’ll see what happens. I also liked them because the editor with whom I’m working constantly pushes me to be better. And that is my goal — that every book I write is better, in both craft and art, than the previous books.

About a year ago, I sat down with a lawyer, an agent, an editor, and a marketing advisor, and we came up with a plan. I was unhappy and frustrated with the way things were going in my career. I knew I wasn’t writing what the Big Five wanted; I wanted to explore some things that they are currently giving lip service to, but not following through on, and I wanted to do it in my way. We were not a good fit at the time. I knew I was going to part from an agent I’d been working with for several months, because we were not a good fit. When we got together, she was excited by my work and my voice; but the more we worked together, the more she wanted to dilute it and take out what made it unique. She kept telling me my themes and issues were “too hard for the typical reader.” In other words, she wanted me to dumb things down, and I didn’t want to do that. Also, she only wanted to commit to a book at a time, and I need an agent who is interested in long-term career planning. She has since signed a friend of mine, and they’re doing great together. I’m happy for both of them; they are the right fit. We were not.

As far as the marketing writing went, I wanted to have the confidence to say “No” to the lowballers locally and reach farther afield. The interesting thing is that as soon as I did that, I landed two clients locally with whom I work well, WHILE also reaching beyond the bridge for clients who pay better.

We took four or five days together, and I took about twenty pages of notes. We crafted a plan. Some of that we followed; some of that has fallen by the wayside for various reasons.

I re-stated my commitment not to “niche” — to me, that’s a death toll for a creative life. Far too many people who “advise” freelancers sneer and call what I do a “generalist.” I prefer to call it being a “Renaissance Writer” and I’ve written on this topic for both WOW-Women on Writing and Write Naked!

I wanted to get back into article writing, which fell by the wayside for a bit. I started pitching again, and I did pretty well, but that seems to be one of the things that falls away first. Since I enjoy articles — every part from the pitch through the research through the writing and the polish, especially working with a good editor — I need to get back on track with that.

One of the big changes I made was in the way I do pitch letters. Instead of trying to frame what I do to sound like what they want, I’m more specific in the elements I think will appeal and more specific in where our paths diverge. I’m more myself in the cover letter — while still structuring it the way I find works — hook, one paragraph summary, technical info, bio, why this market. And the results are good.

This year and next, I’m on a brutal contract schedule. I’d spent a couple of years working on different types of material, on working on craft. Now, with a commitment to more than one series, I am sitting down and writing the books.

Last year, PLAYING THE ANGLES was re-released, as the first of the Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels (in its original incarnation, it was a stand-alone). The second book in the series, THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, just released, and the third, RELICS & REQUIEM, will come out in October of this year, with the fourth, GRAVE REACH, coming out in May of 2019. So that’s a tight schedule.

Last year, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA (as Ava Dunne) released. It’s a not-quite-cozy mystery series, whose protagonist is a yoga instructor on a cruise ship. Only one of those books comes out a year! But the next one, DAVY JONES DHARMA, is due in early December this year.

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, re-released this past January. As I worked on the second book, THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, I realized that there was a chunk of it that slowed down the plot. Yet the information was necessary to where my characters were in their emotional lives and how they’d built their day-to-day relationships. Flashbacks and info-dump conversations wouldn’t work; so my editor and I decided to pull out those chapters, flesh them out into a “between-the-books” novella, now called MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and put that out this summer. BALTHAZAAR is still scheduled to come out in January of 2019, and that is now back on track, the pace and content correct.

In the meantime, I had three terrific opportunities. One was to pitch a serial. Those of you who’ve known me for several years know that I used to write four serials in four genres under two names for 18 months a few years back. A total of 8000 words a month. I love writing serials, and I miss it. I had the chance to pitch to a company that specializes in serials.

I pitched a fantasy/adventure novel. I’d written the first four chapters a couple of years ago and put it aside for scheduling reasons. But, when I had this opportunity, I wrote a few more chapters, and outlined what would be the book-length arc of this serial. I fell in love with it all over again. If it’s picked up, it goes back in the schedule; if not, it will be back-burnered again.

I also had two other ideas, stand-alones, that I played with, on and off for a couple of years, writing my way in the first few chapters, then making notes for my Writers’ Rough. On impulse, I polished pitches and tossed them into a Twitter pitch day for a specific company. Editors liked both; so I’m working on some additional chapters, polishing them, and sending them out by deadline this month. Again, if the editors want the full manuscript, they go back into the schedule sooner rather than later; if not, they are back-burnered until next year, when my contract schedule isn’t quite as demanding.

As I said above, I have a couple of other pieces out on submission; if they are contracted, they will be worked in. I also have a serial novel — which is different than a novel broken down as a serial. This is a set of novels that are all of a piece. It follows the filming of a television series over several seasons. Not a series, in the sense that each stands alone and progresses. These novels all fit together like puzzle pieces. One of my publishers has expressed interest in looking at it when the first five or so puzzle pieces are ready. When will that be? I don’t know.

I also made a commitment to do more script work again. I’m taking this year off from stage plays (I wrote four in three years for 365 Women). But one of my radio plays will be produced later this month, and I want to submit some screenplays I’ve polished.

Along with all this, I will pitch to higher-paying clients and higher-paying article markets. Gotta keep a roof over my head, and if I don’t keep up the writing pace I can’t. This is my profession, not my hobby. I am paid to write. That IS my day job. While my book sales have jumped considerably since I moved webhosts and redesigned my websites, I still need the marketing writing and article writing for income. Plus, I enjoy it.

So, my “next step” is building on the foundation of the series on which I currently write; continuing to expand the publication contracts with other publishers at higher-paying tiers, and book higher-paid marketing and article gigs.

I’ve found a process that works for me as far as the new ideas — because, as we all know, new ideas come in batches. I write my way in for a few chapters, then sit down and do a Writer’s Rough Outline. That way, whenever I can actually sit down and WRITE the book, I can drop into its world. The Writer’s Rough outline captures the initial energy of the idea, and then, as I work, I can develop the structure and the craft.

In the coming weeks, we will sit down again and assess how this last year played out. What worked, what didn’t. Where I lost focus, and what I dropped because it didn’t work. And we will craft a plan for the coming year that will guide me toward the “next step on the ladder.”

I don’t want fame. I worked in theatre and film for too many years and see how it can hurt creativity and general life; that is not what I want. I do want financial stability, and to be paid fairly for my work. There is no reason not to be paid well doing work I love. My profession is writing. I will not let ANYONE decide that it’s a cute lil hobby and I don’t deserve to be paid a living wage. I will dig in and do it, and earn my living. It will be a mix and match of projects and styles and tangents, but writing is my profession. When I decided I wanted to work on Broadway, I didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving that goal. Now that I’m writing full-time, I feel the same way.

My next step is increased earnings and visibility for my work. It is also participating in the community of writers who love what they do and are committed to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work across the board, no matter what the profession. It is refusing to “dumb it down” or change what I write because people I don’t respect threaten not to buy what I write. The great thing about writing is that there are plenty of authors writing in plenty of styles and genres, so there’s something for everyone. It’s fine if someone doesn’t connect with my work — there are wonderful authors out there with whom they WILL connect. But threatening me and demanding I change what I write is not going to work.

Artists have a responsibility. I believe that responsibility is to bear witness to the world, to expand people’s vision of the world, but also to create better worlds and help us find ways to reach those better worlds inclusively and fairly. A better world needs social and economic justice. By respecting our own value, our own worth, we set the tone.

For more inspiration on valuing your work, please visit Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog. It’s great all the time, but May is Writers Worth Month. It’s especially great now.

 

Tues. July 26, 2016: Day Disorientation

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy day yesterday, but when are they not? Errands, Career Center stuff, and then writing. Also got information from my agent on where the manuscript is submitted and who asked for fulls. Fingers crossed.

Somehow, I fell asleep yesterday afternoon, and when I woke up, I thought it was Tuesday morning, not Monday evening! Made the coffee and everything. I was so disoriented! It was a weird feeling, but also kind of funny. Good thing I wasn’t late for a show!

Also found out that I was stabbed in the back by someone I’d helped when that individual was in distress. I’m sure it was months in the making. The ironic thing is that she did to me what someone else did to her. I don’t think that’s what they mean by “pay it forward”.

I was very hurt for a bit, but the reality and the perspective is that the situation and the people involved are not a part of my life any longer and it doesn’t really matter. The situation hurts and is still wrong, but in the bigger picture – yes, it was time that could have been spent more positively. But I learned things I can use moving forward.

I also trust the universe to put things back in balance more creatively than I ever could. I’d rather use my energy to move forward instead of wallowing in the hurt of the past.

Some errands early morning, then lots of writing, then a show. Getting home so late means I’m doing another writing session late at night, but waking up later in the morning.

The writing is going well. The story and characters keep surprising me, for the right reasons. When I’ve got these drafts down, I’m going to figure out good places to break up the story into separate books. I’m not going to have a 1400 page book. I’d rather break it down and let readers breathe at appropriate moments. But I love this story and these characters – their capacity for love astonishes me.

All good.

Devon

Published in: on July 26, 2016 at 8:57 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 26, 2016: Day Disorientation  
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Mon. July 11, 2016: Loving the New Horizons

Monday, July 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Busy times! But good ones.

I sent off the revised book per the agents request on Friday morning. By Sunday morning, she contacted me to tell me she loved it. Whew! When all the paperwork is done, I’ll be able to reveal more. I can share that there’s a new series title, a new book title, and I renamed all of the first six books in the series overview to reflect that.

Once I got the book sent out, I packed up my poor little Macbook and took it to iCape Solutions, where they actually HAD a solution I could afford and live with. MacGeorge is running much better now. Phew! I was so afraid I’d have to run to Staples and buy a cheap PC laptop until I could afford to replace MacGeorge. Love me the folks at iCape Solutions. They actually solve things!

Then, I turned my attention back to the radio plays and to INITIATE. And to a bunch of errands and other things that needed my attention. I’m not satisfied with the radio plays yet. I’m thrilled with the way INITIATE is shaping up. I’m so in love with these characters and the scope of this playground.

I had a meeting on Saturday afternoon that will either turn into something or it won’t. If it does, it will be six weeks of fun and work; if not, I move on to something else.

Sunday, I met a friend for coffee and we caught up. Plans that had been made in misery wound up as a celebration. It was fun.

I treated myself to some books. I bought Juliet Blackwell’s newest A TOXIC TROUSSEAU. I like her Lily Ivory mysteries. I managed to scrounge around and locate the last copy in the store!

Errands and paperwork today, an adventure in Boston tomorrow.

And so it goes!

Devon

Published in: on July 11, 2016 at 10:31 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 11, 2016: Loving the New Horizons  
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Fri. May 27, 2016: Roaring into Revisions

Friday, May 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Foggy and warm

I can’t believe it’s Memorial Day Weekend. WTF???? I’m so not ready for it.

Yesterday was busy, although I feel as though I don’t have a lot to show for it. On the upside, the agent who read my book over the past few days really liked it. She had some suggestions, which resonated positively. As I drove home last night, I figured out how to implement them. I have to rewrite the first third of the book and rearrange the rest like puzzle pieces, but it’s do-able. We’re also going to come up with a new title and a new series title.

So that’s all good.

It means rearranging my writing schedule for the next few months. It also re-emphasizes that DEATH OF A CHOLERIC is NOT a cozy, nor should it be restructured to fit the formula. It’s much darker, and much more along the lines of Philip R. Craig’s mysteries set on Martha’s Vineyard and Jane Langston’s Homer Kelly mysteries set in Concord. CHOLERIC is under a different name than the CHARISMA, so it simply identifies the two names more strongly.

But I have my work cut out for me. I can’t drop the ball on either “Just a Drop” or on SONGBOUND SISTERS. I have to be ferociously protective of my time.

I woke up at 2 AM feeling awful – not sure if it was allergies or if I’m getting a cold. I took a Benedryl and finally got back to sleep, and then overslept.

I have a meeting this morning, and then I have to catalog and process books. I’m almost done with the next book order.

I’m looking forward to getting down to work on the revision!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! Out here on Cape, no more left turns until after Labor Day!

Devon

Published in: on May 27, 2016 at 8:30 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 27, 2016: Roaring into Revisions  
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Tues. June 11, 2013: Slowly Recovering

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

By noon yesterday, I got my proposal and sample chapter polished enough so I could send it to my agent. She was impressed, said it didn’t need any changes, and forwarded it on to the editor who requested it. So we’ll see from there what happens.

I was wiped out by the end of it.

Worked with students, posted materials for the Supporting Characters workshop at RWA.

Read Mercedes Lackey’s STEADFAST. Liked it a lot, although the ending was a bit abrupt, in my opinion.

Prepped for this afternoon’s meeting. Signed up for an environmental conference that will run Thursday and Friday.

Went to bed early and wasn’t up half the night coughing. Didn’t even need to get up in the night to take medicine. Hoping I’ve turned the corner.

Need to get back on track with a few things today, but I’m exhausted. Working up a book proposal and sample chapter to specific guidelines in three days took more out of me than I expected. But it’s a great opportunity for something I’d like to try, so it was worth it.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on June 11, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. June 7, 2013: Coughing Zombie With Lawnmower

IMG_1306
Violet with the “special” dice

Friday, June 7, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I can’t believe I’ve had to put the big winter quilts back on the bed the last two days. It’s downright chilly!

Yesterday, I went to yoga, and then, had I been an art installation, my title would have been “Coughing Zombie with Lawnmower”. I had to mow the front before this weekend’s rains hit (courtesy of Tropical Storm Andrea), but I felt like utter crap. I got it done, but that was about it for me; managed to work with students and deal with some business stuff, but not much. Nothing in the tank.

Had to cancel out of the evening’s meeting — I knew I wasn’t on my game, nor was I feeling well enough to drive over the bridge and back.

Material for Confidential Job #1 is a slog.

Worked with students. Need to implement a new policy — too many people are booking slots and then flaking out, which wastes my time AND costs me money. So, a nonrefundable deposit will now be due upon the booking. If you flake, you don’t get it back, and I’m not totally financially screwed for the time I put aside that you can’t bother to keep your commitment; if you act like a professional and do what you say you’re going to do, the deposit is credited towards the final payment. I’m done with the irresponsible bullshit from wanna-bes.

That’s one of the things my college mentor and I discussed in NY — I asked him how he can keep up his excitement and joy in the teaching. I’m lucky in my current crop of private students, because they step up, but so often, in the bigger classes, the students just suck the life out of the class, because they can’t be bothered to do the work. My mentor can still find it exciting because of the stringent vetting process NYU has before letting people in to programs — they have to PROVE they DESERVE to be there, not that they just think it might be kinda cool to take that type of class. Plus, because it’s so expensive, they have to really WANT to be there in order to shell out the dough.

Speaking of classes, I’m teaching at RWA for the next two weeks, my “Supporting Characters” class, starting Monday. Here’s the link. If you have problems registering, I CAN’T FIX IT. I AM NOT THE ADMINISTRATOR. Contact them directly.

Had a great conversation with my agent yesterday. Something landed on her desk that she thought I would be perfect for. It’s something I would LOVE to do, so I’m putting together a proposal this weekend, and she’s going to look at it Monday, we’ll make what tweaks are needed, and off it goes to the requesting editor.

Today, I’ve got some correspondence to do, an article to finish, another one to send off, the partial to get to that other requesting editor, a review to write, and schoolwork to finish.

I wrote my archaeology paper in my head yesterday and will get it on paper today. I started the material for the Climate Literacy paper due next week. I also have to get to a couple of libraries to pick up materials on hold for me.

Better get going — the storm is supposed to hit this afternoon and be bad all weekend. I hope the Belmont Stakes isn’t a washout tomorrow, and then the Tony Awards are on Sunday!

Devon

Monday, March 4, 2013: Release Day for the Second Jain Lazarus Adventure!

Old-FashionedDetectiveWork_HiRes

Monday, March 4, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Lots to discuss today!

First and foremost, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK releases today! Woo-hoo! I’m still waiting for the Buy Link from Solstice, but there’s a great interview with me on Cynthia Woolf’s blog, and there’s an excerpt and more information on Billy Root’s blog. Stop by one or both and say hey!

“Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series” workshop runs this week and should be lots of fun. I’m very excited about it.

AND, I’m teaching a one-day QUERY CLINIC on March 23, where you can bring in query letters from your various projects and we shape them, line-by-line, along with learning how to assemble the parts of a strong letter. More info here.

Busy weekend. On Friday, just before 5 PM, I got some great news from my agent! She’s very excited about a project I pitched her a few weeks ago, made some suggestions, and wants to go forward asap. That puts pressure on me I wasn’t expecting until the fall, at least as far adding an extra project to the mix, and means I have to reshuffle back some of the projects I was working on. My GDRS for March have to be re-worked. But I’m very excited!

Friday night was the staged reading of my new play, SEVEN OF SWORDS, which is not a comedy! I was on the bill with three other short plays, so we were a solid evening — what fun to share the bill with them. I liked my director a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed the work of all the actors, including the ones in my piece. I got some interesting feedback to shape the piece in the next draft. It was a good night, but I was exhausted.

I was up early-early on Saturday morning. I worked on some revisions for MUDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, then I rewrote the first three chapters of the piece per my agent’s suggestions and wrote Chapter Four, which came in just over 3K. I worked with students, and did the final polish on the lectures for the workshop.

Busy day, but fulfilling.

Sunday, I was up early, putting in and printing out the revisions in the script. Then, I packed the car and headed off to the Marine Life Center for rehearsal — we blocked Acts II & III, then went over to the venue to look at the space and a drink and chat. It was fun.

Today is release day for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so I have to do the work associated with that. I have to write Chapter 5 of the other project, attend a funeral, and give the actors the cuts I made last night in the script when I got home.

Oh, and do some work that pays the bills! 😉

Busy, busy!

Devon

Mon. Oct. 22, 2012: Scary Times with Sick Kitty


Iris lounging on a better day

Monday, October 22, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Quite the weekend! But before we start on that, hop on over to A Bible Paradise for a cool round-table interview with some of the contributors from DEATH SPARKLES.

The big and scary thing for the weekend was that Iris was very sick. Yesterday morning, I couldn’t find her, and, when I did, I thought I had to rush her to the emergency vet. She was in bad shape, and I have no idea why. About 45 minutes later, she was a little better, so the vet & I agreed to keep her quiet and watch her, and, if it got worse, bring her in later.

She hid for a few hours (and we checked on her every 20 minutes), then came down on her own in the early afternoon, ate, and curled up in her usual spot. She was quieter than usual, but definitely not at death’s door. She even had bedtime snacks, although she decided to stay downstairs instead of coming up with the others. This morning, she was moving slowly and quiet, but she ate all her breakfast and most of Violet’s (the usual), so, hopefully, she’s on the mend.

I think she had another seizure, like she had four or five years ago. I’m going to watch her for a few days to see how she does, and maybe take her in for a blood test. Last time, they couldn’t find anything and said either they’d be infrequent, or she’d get more of them and have to be put on anti-seizure medication. This is the first one she’s had in years.

Scary times, and the other two cats worried and stuck close.

I don’t remember much of Friday, except I worked hard, and had a phone conference with an agent about the proposal. A few things I was worried about Thursday were cleared up Friday — as usual, I was fretting when no fretting was necessary. And I got my hair chopped off — it was too long and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’m much happier with it now.

I read my fellow students’ projects for the Sustainability class and commented on them. I wrote my final paper (“Full Circle Humanity”) and submitted it, and commented on the discussion projects submitted for grading. Uploaded my lectures and exercises for my own class.

Saturday morning, I watched the video lectures for my final week in Sustainability and took the quizzes. I think one of the speakers in the TED talk video might be good for a keynote speaker at the Writers’ Conference next year. I’ll suggest it.

I worked with my students all afternoon and well into the evening (their work was awesome and it was a pleasure), and then caught up on the Greek & Roman Mythology lectures and took the quiz (got 100%). I started the lectures for the World History class and took the quizzes for the lectures I’d watched (100% on all of those).

Sunday, I had the worries with Iris, which framed the whole day. In and around that, I did follow-up with my students, watched the rest of my World History Lectures, took the quizzes (100% on all of them), and wrote my papers for both classes. I’d been working on them for the whole week, but it was a case of pulling it all together and on paper.

My Greek & Roman Mythology paper was, from a writer’s perspective, why Homer needed book 24 of the Odyssey, instead of stopping at Book 23. The original paper was nearly 1300 words (and could have been much more), but I had to cut it down to 350. Talk about a challenge! However, it was interesting, and I want to dig deeper and expand it out beyond class.

My World History paper was on how conversation changed the world. The very structures that allowed the moneyed and educated to meet and discuss ideas about liberty and rights — a structure that allowed for servants and/or slaves — made it possible for these “unseen” in the room to learn, too, and start applying those principles to themselves. I tried to integrate the feedback from the last paper — specifics from my research within the text — so I did that, this time. Again, this is something I want to expand on beyond class — a really interesting topic.

And my lovely, diplomatic professor addressed the whiners complaining that there is work for the class and deadlines that have to be met by pointing out that that’s part of the university experience!

I worked on the tweaks for the proposal last night and sent it off to the agent. We’re going to talk more this afternoon, for any final comments and changes, before she takes it out into the world.

I already spoke to the vet this morning, and I’m on my way out the door for meetings. When I come back, I have to clean the house (Costume Imp arrives tomorrow), get the recycling out, and finish the edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

The Sustainability Course is done — I’m just waiting for my final grades, and having separation anxiety! So this week, only Mythology and History — along with all the other stuff that needs to get done!

Onward!

Devon