Mon. June 30, 2014: Go Direct Already, Mercury!

Monday, June 30, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny, warm, humid

Busy weekend.

Friday just sucked every possible way. I don’t even want to get into details, but I was furious by the time I left work, and had to reassess some of my goals and how best to get there. Hate it when Mercury and Saturn are retrograde at the same time.

Came home, and Tessa was like, “Mom, calm down. Play with the turquoise mouse. It’ll all be fine.”

Read a bit, wrote a bit, worked on the last three script episodes, finalized my PR materials for Saturday.

Friday night, we had coyotes in the yard. Woke us up at 2 AM, right up at the house. It’s a strongly bonded mated pair, and I think they’ve got little ones close by. They’re absolutely gorgeous animals — but they’re coyotes, and very close to the house. Tessa wasn’t phased at all, but the twins hid under the blankets. They were establishing territory — we heard them circle their two-mile patch for several hours. I don’t want them hurt, but I also don’t want them to hurt any person or animal in the neighborhood. If anything, I’m most worried that a neighbor will do something stupid and then officials will come in and hurt the animals. I’m hoping we can peacefully co-exist, but let’s face it — humans are stupid and arrogant, and it’s almost always the habitat that suffers.

Exhausted on Saturday, from lack of sleep. Sent off the last script episodes (will be happy when the final check arrives). Sent off some emails, took care of some business.

Headed home for lunch and to pack up the materials in the car, then over to Osterville Library’s tent for the AuthorPalooza event. There were 27 of us there, hosted by Books by the Sea. The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA didn’t arrive in time, but I had HEX BREAKER, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT in print copies, and the sell sheet for the three digital releases, and the sell sheet for the Topic Workbooks. We were a fun, lively group. I got to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and meet some interesting new ones, AND talk to some of authors about the possibility of doing a program at the library. My boss came from the library after work, my friend from NMLC came, and it was, all in all, a fun afternoon. We were on the grass, so every time I got tired, I could slide out of my shoes and put my bare feet on the grass and re-energize.

Stopped at the liquor store on the way home and found an affordable bottle of blue raspberry vodka. Toss in a squirt of lemon juice, and I have my blue lemonade. Yummy!

Watched AMERICAN HUSTLE on Saturday night, on DVD. I’d seen it in the theatres when it came out, and now wanted to see it again. Enjoyed it thoroughly. It reinforced my sense that Jeremy Renner’s work wasn’t given the praise it deserved (although he didn’t maintain the Jersey accent consistently, which I hadn’t noticed the first time I watched it, but noticed here). What an amazing cast. In the interviews, the director talks about inconsistencies in characters and how that interests them, but my sense was that they were true to their cores, and then layered the inconsistencies onto that core to get what they wanted and needed.

Yesterday, I was going to do many things, but decided to stay true to my commitment to Disconnected Sundays. I did, however, turn around my edits for “Elusive Prayers”, which I will send off to my editor.

I also read Lauren Owen’s debut novel, THE QUICK. It’s getting a lot of hype, and the initial printing was 100,000 copies, so her publisher is very confident. I read the whole thing yesterday. Yes, it’s a great, big, fat book, but it held my attention. I absolutely loved the first 100 pages — especially her phrasing. I liked and admired almost all of the rest, and was frustrated by the last chapter, although I saw what was supposed to be the final twist coming about 150 pages before it did. It’s a literary horror novel, and there are vampires involved. Anything more would give away too much. It’s very well done, much better than most, but I’m rather vampired out at the moment. It’s definitely a novel I would go back and re-read in a couple of years (especially if I manage to avoid most vampire novels in the interim, which I doubt I can do). It’s definitely up there, for me, with DRACULA (the original Bram Stoker one) and Elizabeth Kostova’s THE HISTORIAN (which I loved).

Read a cozy mystery where the protagonist’s best friends were so unlikeable I kept hoping one or both would be the murderer’s next victim. No such luck. Also, there was only one body drop, and the protagonist was never in any actual peril. Boooring. That author’s off my list. Not reading more of her books for myself, nor am I ordering any for the library, nor will I recommend them for the Cozy Mystery Book Group that we hope to start in the autumn.

Re-reading Elizabeth Elo’s NORTH OF BOSTON, because she’s coming to talk at the library in July. It’s kind of a modern Boston Noir (very different from other types of noir).

The coyotes did a howl-by last night as they raced through the yard, but that was it.

I’ve got to mow today, send off some materials, and then run errands. Monday is errand day, after all.

Champagne Publishing and I have parted ways, as of today. The last few copies of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT are the last copies (it’s officially out of print), and it’s no longer available online. You can get the print copies that remain through Books by the Sea in Osterville (as of later this week — I have to drop them off when the copies of TRACKING MEDUSA arrive). Cotuit Library also has a copy in circulation. The rights have reverted back to me. I wait thirty days, then I’m commissioning a new cover, changing the title, changing a few things in the text back to my original vision, and it will be re-released, both in digital and paperback formats. I will keep you up-to-date as things happen.

I will be so happy when Mercury goes direct tomorrow.

Have a great week!

Devon

Mon. Jan. 13, 2014: Writing, Clients, Research, Award Shows

Monday, January 13, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy weekend. Still annoyed with two clients. One is now three weeks late in paying me — and this is our first project together. It may well be our last. Being “on vacation” and “out of town on business” is not an excuse. The payment date was not a surprise. It was in our written agreement. Make arrangements for the check to be mailed while you’re gone, or pay me electronically. I fulfilled my part of the contract — now you fulfill yours. The other client, the perpetual random payer — is now over a week late. I’m not delivering the final two articles on the contract until I’m paid, and, once I’m paid for those — I’m done. There’s a reason both these clients have a high writer turnover — they’re unreliable. You want to keep good people? Show them respect, and part of that is paying on time per the contract.

On a happier note, I finished the airship steampunk, revised it, and sent it out. I had enough material for a novel and had to strip/throw out a lot of ideas. I kept notes, in case I ever want to expand it. Hopefully the story doesn’t read as compressed. I’m worried that there’s not enough conflict in the climax, although I invented some interesting gear used in it.

Totally cooked by Friday night — I wrote synopses for three different scripts. And another teleplay comes up in the editing/revision queue today. Gotta get that packet ready for February!

Had a meeting with a fellow writer and friend –we’re going to encourage each other along writing our novels. She’s outlined what she wants to work on — I have to decide which of three possibilities I want to work on with her.

I also have to get back to work on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which I hope my new publisher will like. I have to find the full writer’s rough I did a few years ago.

I have some admin work to do today, and I also have a client meeting about an hour off-Cape. My materials are all together for that; I just have to give myself enough time to find the place and feel settled before the meeting starts.

Read a supposed thriller over the weekend which did not thrill me. Started another novel, whose premise excited me, but the author was one of those pretentious ones who uses dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue AND writes in present tense. I lasted for ten pages and had to put it down. The structure did not support the novel. Since I wasn’t being paid to read it, I didn’t have to fight my way through it.

Found the letters from George Eliot to Harriet Beecher Stowe that I looked for in reference to the Charlotte Bronte conversation in a collection of Eliot’s letters. Copied out the relevant passages. Now, I want to read Harriet’s letters to see her side of it. So that project is developing.

Worked with students — I’m lucky to have a dedicated, committed batch this semester. They want it, and they’re willing to work for it, rather than making excuses.

Watched the Golden Globes last night, both for fun, and as background for a couple of projects that use award show scenes. Glad AMERICAN HUSTLE did well, but I feel that Jeremy Renner’s work is being unfairly overlooked. He went in a completely new direction for him, and I don’t feel the work is being properly appreciated.

Really pleased by the positive response to my short story “Catch Your Breath”. It encourages me to play more with contemporary literary fiction.

Off to get some writing done and then to the meeting.

Devon