Fri. July 28, 2017: Progress, Prep, and Difficult Weekend Ahead

Friday, July 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Didn’t get a chance to post yesterday; apologies.

Some good work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’m reshaping the opening a bit — I want it more atmospheric, and I’m getting rid of some lazy language. That’s delayed sending the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES back to my editor and copy editor, since they have to edit and copy edit my back matter, and the first chapters of both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and SAVASANA AT SEA are included. I’m also working on a back matter piece about theatre ghosts, which I think readers will enjoy.

I have plenty to say about the health care issue, but it’s going into an article, not on the blog. Last night’s vote was a relief; I’m spending far too much time trying to sort things out for my mother’s upcoming surgery, and correct errors by both providers and the insurance company. (hint: double-dipping by some providers involved).

Sent off the contracted article Wednesday morning. Also wrote, polished, and sent off an essay for a new-to-me site with whom I’d had a discussion last week. The email kept bouncing back. When I went back to look at the site, turns out they’d gone out of business over the weekend. So why did they say they wanted to hire me? Frustrating.

Fortunately, I can re-slant the piece slightly for another, higher-paying market. That will go out early next week. I have another essay that also needs to go out next week, to another new-to-me market.

We’re reworked and simplified the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Much better now.

The cover reveal for PLAYING THE ANGLES will be August 1.

I finished the media kit for PLAYING THE ANGLES, and I’ve created a Facebook page for the Coventina Circle series. I hope you’ll hop over there and “like” it. I’m going to invite people to the page on the day of the cover reveal, and I’m going try to post interesting tidbits on theatre and healing circles between now and the release date.
I’m going to sit down and figure out the posts and schedule ahead of time, so as things get busy, it doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Had a good meeting in Harwich yesterday; should hear by early next week. It’s a situation that requires close proximity, so the client has to choose the person with whom she feels the most affinity and alignment with what she wants.

Got some good work done on the latest book sent for review. I will finish it today, and the review will be ready to go out on Monday.

This time of year is always a challenge. Tomorrow (the 29th) is the anniversary of my father’s death. Yes, it was a long time ago, but still reverberates. The 30th is the anniversary of my own serious surgery — again, a long time ago, but it’s amazing how the body captures sense memory. Then, we upswing to the 1st of August — a big, positive day on my own personal calendar.

Watching a documentary about some of the great houses in Scotland sparked an idea last night, so I took some notes. This morning, I’m also working on the flash fiction of the butcher and his vegetarian customer. I like these characters; they have a good sense of humor, along with common sense, even though they approach the world from very different places.

I’m going to try to get some rest this weekend. I overworked last weekend, and it set me back during the week, because I was mentally exhausted. I need to rest the mind as well as the body.

Have a great weekend!

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Published in: on July 28, 2017 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 28, 2017: Progress, Prep, and Difficult Weekend Ahead  
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Wed. July 26, 2017: Articles and Stories and Edits

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It smells like autumn this morning. The days are also noticeably shorter.

Yesterday’s post didn’t go live for some reason; apologies, it’s below this one.

Yesterday proved that if I don’t get going early in the morning, I lose the day. I overslept and never caught up.

I had a wonderful time with my friend, though. I love it when she’s back in town.

I tried to work at Mashpee Library, but people were too noisy, and the computer area was so open, I couldn’t really concentrate. Also, the computer didn’t have all the programs I needed.

Finished another proofread of PLAYING THE ANGLES. I have one more piece of back matter to draft and a couple of links to check, and then it goes off for a final edit/proofread pass.

Finishing the article that needs to go out today, and the press release for the PLAYING THE ANGLES media kit. I want to upload the media kit to the website by next week. We’re also going to do the cover release next week.

I have two more articles to finish this week, plus my next review assignment. After trying for two weeks to get another assignment, they finally gave me one.

Disgusted by the Senate Deathcare vote yesterday. John McCain has ruined a once-noble legacy. I expected the other corrupt Republican senators to dance on all our graves, but I thought McCain would at least retain a shred of decency, especially since his survival is thanks to my tax dollars paying for his health care.

Tomorrow is a project meeting in Harwich; hopefully we’ll like each other and can start working together soon.

Back to the page!

Published in: on July 26, 2017 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 26, 2017: Articles and Stories and Edits  
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Wed. June 28, 2017: Trying to Line Up Ducks Before the Holiday Weekend

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Monday was busy. I re-slanted and re-sent two pitches; sent out two new pitches; caught up on correspondence. Somehow, the day flew by.

I did research on several new-to-me markets. Some, I need to do some more in-depth digging; a couple, I think I can craft pitches and send them.

My mom has to have surgery in July, on her foot. Results of the biopsy done a couple of weeks ago. I want to know why her first doctor — the one that dropped her because she wasn’t making enough money off my mom — didn’t diagnose this wound properly a year and a half ago, when my mom showed it to her?

And, of course, I have to come up with the co-payment. Another expense I wasn’t counting on. Not to mention that my mom is 94 and any surgery is worrisome.

There’s a possible new-to-me micro-fiction market. They pay, but I have to figure out the details and ratio of word count/payment/frequency of assignment to see if it’s something I want to or can take on. They seem to be more legitimate and a better payer than the other company I talked to last week. We’ll see. There’s a humor market that could become a regular gig, but I’m not feeling particularly witty or funny right now.

Read Barbara Ross’s ICED UNDER, another Maine Clambake book. I really like this series.

Quite a contrast to another book I tried to read (by a different author). It was a mystery. The protagonist was a narrow-minded, unlikable little twit. The story was dumbed down, the characters were ciphers instead of people. The author was anti-artist and anti-anyone who chose more than being a traditional housewife. I made it to page 35, closed the book, and have put the author on my Will Not Read list. She insulted my intelligence AND my profession. Next!

I really want to take this upcoming holiday weekend as a writing/reading/yoga retreat. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

Did a little bit of work on the Scottish mystery with the older protagonists on Tuesday, after running errands early enough in the morning so I didn’t get caught up in tourist traffic. That threw off my writing schedule, though.

Finished DRINKING THE RAIN by Alix Kates Shulman. Liked it a lot. And loving Helen Bevington’s THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING.

Worked on the June wrap-up, July’s To Do list, and, soon, I’ll have to do the mid-year assessment. We’ll see how far I’ve strayed.

Worked on the media kit. It’s always such journeyman work, but it’s important, and I always discover something I didn’t realize about my own work, because I have to look at it as though I’m handling someone else’s.

I came up with a series title for Playing the Angles and The Spirit Repository — but that makes me wonder if I should change the name under which the books appear. At the same time, I’m not completely sure I’ve hit exactly what I want with the series title. I’m feeling creatively drained.

The project in Orleans isn’t going to work out — they’re going with someone younger. That’s not what they said (which would be illegal), but that’s what they’re doing. Heaven forbid they hire someone with experience who expects a professional rate! Well, they’ll get what they paid for. I was having second thoughts myself — the money, the refusal to commit beyond the summer, and a few other elements. My ego’s bruised, but, deep down in my gut, I know it’s for the best.

Fretting because I’m waiting for two checks that are late. Not happy, because there are bills that need to be paid before the end of the month, and then I have to focus both on next month’s bills and on the co-payment for my mother’s surgery.

Got about half of “The Ramsey Chase” proofread. I’m creating the tracking sheets and character bible for the series as I go, which also slows me down.

Worked my way through a stack of research books that I hoped would be helpful as background for a project. Unfortunately, they were mostly self-indulgent navel-gazing masquerading as “self help.” There’s quite a stack to go back to the library.

I’m gathering questions for the Q&A section of the Devon Ellington media kit. Colin Galbraith had two interesting ones that I’m going to use. I’m hoping other people will post questions on Facebook, Twitter, and/or in the comments here on Ink.

I did quite a bit of work on the media kit yesterday afternoon. I’m through most of the fiction/series/shorts section. I’ve got some more Digital Delights to add in, make the links live.

Still fretting about the series title. That series title means it makes more sense to have the books appear under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name rather than the Annabel Aidan or Devon Ellington name. Also, the more I think about it, the more that series title fits a different series — one I’ve yet to write. So I’m on the hunt for another series title. Some of the books are set in New York, or at least start in New York and move outward. So the title needs to have a bit of an urban edge, but also fulfill the books when they move beyond the city limits. I came up with another series title, but it might also be a bit too soft. I’ll pull out the Thesaurus (the print one, not look online) and browse.

During this morning’s meditation, a new set of characters and situations dropped into my head. I still don’t have the plot, although I have a premise. I think it will be set on the outskirts of Portland, Maine.

Finished a science fiction short story this morning. Will revise it later today and tomorrow, and it can go out the door tomorrow. Now, have to turn my attention back to the more complicated, contemporary one and finish that to get it out the door.

I’m going to take the holiday weekend as a writing/yoga/meditation retreat. I need the mental and the physical break. If I can get my ducks in a row, and my deadlines met by Friday (gulp), that’s what I’ll do. Be offline from Friday afternoon until sometime on Wednesday.

Yet I’m sure there will be mowing in my future. I’ve been bad and haven’t done any this week, although the weather’s been good for it.

Errands, admin, and correspondence to do, and then, it’s back to the page.

Wed. June 21, 2017: Work & Solstice

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
Summer Solstice

Managed to get a few things done yesterday; several pitches out, including a script pitch for something that would be really fun. But I don’t know if they’re willing to work with someone clear across the country. Did some article work and some research.

Read Barbara Ross’s second Clambake Mystery, BOILED OVER, which was also really good. Also read a book about a woman who took a 100 day Zen retreat in a cabin, as background for an idea with which I’m playing.

Trying to figure out the shape of the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story, so I can write the opening and put it in to “The Ramsey Chase”. Then, of course, I have to write the rest of it!

Still having trouble finding the right images for the cover of Playing the Angles. I need to find my photos of the Belasco — I think I have some interesting ones that have the unlit marquee and the fire escape in them, and that might set the right tone. Nothing that’s already out there is quite working; unfortunately, at this point, I can’t hire a fine artist to paint something from the photographs.

I know there’s a whole industry in “pre-made covers”, but most of the ones I’ve seen are awful, and don’t speak to the content of the book. I want to find a series of strong images that reflect the book and give them to the cover designer.

I’m REALLY happy with “The Ramsey Chase” cover. I’d do a cover reveal, but I don’t want to interfere with the PR for “Personal Revolution”.

Mowing this morning, and then the library, errands, more pitches, more writing. I have to put together some additional paperwork for a grant. This afternoon, I get to drive to the elbow of the Cape, to Orleans, for a project meeting. I’m looking forward to it.

I need to get back to the assignment from the editor-I’m-currently-frustrated-with. I’m dragging my heels, but I need to get over myself and get it done. This will be the “midpoint” assignment in my imaginary trial period. I will see how much frustration this one generates, do one more, than make my decision to stay or go. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t put effort into the remaining assignments. It still might work out. I think I’m being highly optimistic, but I decided to give it a chance, and I will.

Tonight is the Solstice ceremony, which should be fun.

I’m struggling with the fiction, because I don’t feel particularly creative right now. Since my income depends on my ability to be creative, that’s an issue.

That’s when one has to rely on craft, and why it’s so important to build craft. Work on the craft so that, on the tough days, when inspiration is minimal, the craft sees you through.

Off to mow.

Published in: on June 21, 2017 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 21, 2017: Work & Solstice  
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Mon. May 15, 2017: Creative Juggling & The Need to Weigh Decisions

Monday, May 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The lilacs are magnificent this year. I could just sit all day and breathe in the scent.

Busy writing weekend. On Friday, I managed to revised six chapters of THE FIX-IT GIRL and get the changes put into the manuscript. I also did 20 pages of revision on WINNER TAKE ALL.

I put changes into three more chapters of FIX IT GIRL, but didn’t get them into the manuscript.

Saturday, another 21 pages of revision on WINNER TAKE ALL. Two and a half pages of new material on the literary novel, five pages on a paranormal Victorian romance. Research.

I worked on the proposal packet for the new play, including sample pages. I wish I could submit ENEMY for development, but that’s not inherently in Boston, and the producer wants something where Boston is a character.

I also found a new-to-me market and came up with ideas for four short pieces for them. I roughed out all four, and now it’s a case of drafting them. They’re short — one is 800 words, one is 1000 words, and the other two can run between 3K and 7K. I figured out where to re-slant and re-send a pitch that I’d sent to a publication and they liked it, but had run something similar in the issue that was about to land. I’m hoping they’ll accept a different idea. I’d like to get all these pieces done and out the door this week, along with finding some markets for some other ideas.

I’m still waiting to receive my first assignment on this new gig I was supposedly hired on.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and pouring rain. I cut some lilacs (this is a wonderful year for lilacs on Cape), and made scrambled eggs with Canadian bacon for my mom.

I also wrote the first draft of the 800 word piece and did another 23 pages of revisions on the screenplay. I’m just beyond the half way point on it. This morning, I revised the 800-word piece, and it’s ready to send out.

Re-slanted a pitch, typed up a filler, and created another pitch and article outline.

I re-read Meg Wolitzer’s THE INTERESTINGS, which was interesting (I like her writing). I’m in the midst of reading another novel (by a different author) I found among my pile and hadn’t yet read — I’m on the fence about it. Parts of it I really like, and other parts feel a bit pretentious. Tried watching a new-to-me series, but it was juggling too many subplots with no explanations, taking spare dialogue too far, and I got exasperated. I don’t need everything explained (in fact, I prefer it not to), but this was beyond Mamet-ian. And British. Which didn’t quite work for me.

Heard from an old friend I didn’t think I’d hear from again. We have a lot of catching up to do. Drafted back my response. Found out another old pal is only about an hour and a half away — I’ll have to get in touch.

Did more Lavinia Fontana research. I have a feeling her father, Prospero, will be one of the top supporting characters in the play. He strikes me as quite an ambitious rascal.

This morning, I drafted just over 600 words of one of the 3K stories I’m working on this week. It’s taking on a more vibrant life of its own, which is a good thing, but it’s also not something I can just crank out, the way I’d hoped. But the quality will be better without the cranking, and the quality of the work is the ultimate test.

I need to make some decisions on what I want the trajectory to be for PLAYING THE ANGLES and the subsequent books from that circle of friends, and how I want to re-launch the Gwen Finnegan books. Simply sending them to a small publisher who only does POD doesn’t help me. The companies are too small to do adequate promotion, and the POD knocks me out of too many markets. Yet neither series really fits the current traditional publishing trends. They’re good stories, and people respond positively, but they intentionally break traditional formulas. Do I have the creativity, the stamina, and the resources to mount the carefully-plotted out marketing campaigns they would need? More importantly, am I able to keep up with the additional books in each series in a timely manner? Because feeding the monster is important. And Amazon, the Behemoth, is an important market force, but I have trouble with some of the ways they’re doing business. All of this has to be weighed and measured.

I hope this week will wind up being both creatively fulfilling AND financially rewarding. I need the two to balance. I’ve got my mid-month check-in up on the GDR site here.

Have a great week!

Published in: on May 15, 2017 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 15, 2017: Creative Juggling & The Need to Weigh Decisions  
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Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

It still goes down into the 30s at night. We had to bring the tomato plants in.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise. Jamieson Wolf is a guest, and he talks about his new release LUST & LEMONADE.

Yesterday was kind of all over the place; grocery shopping; trying to get some work done at the library, but it was both noisy and full of the crazies.

I did some research for a handful of projects; figured out that an article I was working on actually needs to be broken down into two articles in order to keep a solid focus; wrote most of an outline for a new piece and the first ten pages of it, so I can figure out what it is and if it will work (so far, so good). I’m working on a proposal packet for a slot with a producer who wants to develop a new play. It’s a different way of working — I’m trying to develop enough of the idea to create an exciting package, while, at the same time, leaving enough room for collaboration. I usually put the proposal together with a finished, polished script, but that’s not what this theatre wants. Good to work differently. Keeps one from getting stale.

It was interesting reading the research book I’ve been reading the past few days. It feeds into three different projects, and I’d read a passage and think, “that will work with X” and a few pages later, “That will work for Y” and a few pages later, “I can use variants of that for X AND for Z.” Then, of course, I had to jot down notes in the various outlines referring to the research notes so I wouldn’t forget!

I’m in article mode now, and I had an idea for another spate of articles. Unfortunately, so far, the research I’ve done into the markets — the publications most geared to the topic — not only refuse to pay, they want their contributors to write numerous articles per month FOR FREE. I’m getting a little tired of the “Gimme Culture” instead of a sustainable Reciprocal Culture. Nope. Next. Bye. If I was starting out and looking to build my portfolio, maybe. But not at this stage in the game. So I have to dig a little deeper into other markets, and see what’s what.

I’ve been asked by two organizations I used to be associated with for marketing advice. I don’t mind throwing them a few ideas, but I’m not working for either one for free anymore. I put in my time. No matter how much I did or how much of my own work suffered, it was never enough; in fact, my thanks from one organization was metaphorical multiple slaps in the face, so, no. You get a short email with some ideas, and then it’s up to you, unless you plan on hiring me as a marketing consultant at my regular rate. In fact, I’m writing an article on just that topic. 😉

I’m working on a couple of other pitches to send out. I’m in negotiations for one particular gig which I think would be fun, and I have a meeting tomorrow about another one.

I’ve been working on FIX IT GIRL rewrites. Unlike some rewrites, I’m not putting all the changes into chapters every day. I find, with this, as I work on the hard copy of the first draft, I need to stop and research this detail and that detail and the other detail; expand, contract, restructure; get rid of sloppy writing. About every three chapters, I pull up the document and put in the new material. On the one hand, it’s slower; on the other hand, it means more goes into this draft, which means fewer drafts, because I’m not doing separate passes for separate elements.

I’ve done my prep to dig into the revisions of WINNER TAKE ALL. I’m hoping I can read through it this afternoon and get started. I already know one character/subplot I need to cut, and there are some other cuts, along with a new scene I need to add to have it make sense. As long as I can keep the script 120 pages (I’d like to get it down to 112-115), I’m okay. But 120 pages — where it is now — is the top of the limit. I want some more room in the draft, so I have to see what I can cut. There are a few scenes that could use some trimming. I want to raise the sense of danger for my protagonist in a couple of scenes, too. She sails through it all with a bit too much serenity. Yes, she’s smarter than most of those around her, but, as we all know, stupid people can be dangerous. Look at what’s going on in the country right now.

Speaking of which, Sally Yates was amazing in her testimony. Talk about someone with ethics, intelligence, and integrity. She put Ted Cruz in his place, that slimy piece of corrupt garbage. Then the Narcissistic Sociopath fires the FBI Director — on the advice of the corrupt, racist AG who supposedly had recused himself from the situation because he’s involved. Granted, Comey needed to go. There were two major conflicts/investigations going on with the elections last fall, one with each party. He made a partisan choice that affected the outcome. For that, he should have been sacked by November 10, and then prosecuted. For far too much of his recent testimony recently before Congress, he sounded like a whiny moron, not the head of a legitimate intelligence agency. But to be fired by the people he was investigating AT THIS POINT, is also suspicious. Nor should the people under investigation be allowed to appoint his successor until the investigation is complete. The level of corruption in this administration is astonishing.

It reminds me of the research material I’ve been reading, about the 1920s. Harding’s administration was pretty damn corrupt, too, and that ended in the Crash of 1929.

Re-reading Elizabeth George’s WRITE AWAY!, which is a book I assign to my writing students. The more I write, the more my process evolves away from hers. I don’t do the detailed character profiles she does — if I write down too much ABOUT a character before I write a piece, my subconscious believes I’ve already written the book and moves on. All I do is stare at a blank page. You can ask me anything about a character, any detail, and I know it, but I can’t write it all down. By trying her method, I lost what could have been a good book. Maybe someday, I’ll get it back, but so far, no luck. However, she has good points about knowing one’s setting and putting butt in chair and getting it done. I’ve always been on the fence about her books — some work for me better than others. I always loathed the character of Helen.

A little over a year ago, when I tried to book her as a speaker at the library for which I then worked, the person who handles her bookings quoted me a rate that would have wiped us out for nearly three years, and then was rude about us not booking her, although I politely explained the “why”. The booker berated us for having a small budget, for thinking a “name” author could be bothered with us, and for not being willing to go into debt to pay her anyway. By the way, we had plenty of name authors come in within our budget. Yes, have your “team” play the bad guys, but when they behave that way, don’t be surprised when it touches how people respond to your work. Now, every time I see a new release of hers, I remember how nasty her booker was, and, since I was already on the fence about the book, I pass. I respect what she’s achieved, but she is no longer on my “must read” pile. That could change, with time and distance, but that’s where I am right now. I do, however, respect and admire her work ethic. She gets things done. She does them well, and she makes a living from it. Good for her!

Tried re-reading a memoir of Paris, which is well done, but I wasn’t in the mood for the exploits of a young, drunken, male Aussie. So I went back to re-read Claire Cook’s IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. I met Claire two years ago at the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and we had some great chats. In fact, I’m going to dedicate TIE CUTTER to her. Her novels are a good pick-me-up when things look bleak. I also respect the way she gets things done, like Elizabeth George and Jayne Ann Krentz and just about every other writer making a go of it. She doesn’t whine or waste time in negativity. She writes her books, she respects her readers, she doesn’t bow to the changing winds. She’s comfortable in her own skin, and that’s always something to admire.

Tonight, I’m going to a reading in which my friend’s daughter has a part. I’m looking forward to it. I missed the last production she was in, and I want to support her and her mom.

At least there’s a lot of creativity going on!

Published in: on May 10, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling  
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Wed. April 9, 2014: Head down, Working

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Worked flat out all day on client projects, stuff for the play, the quick-turnaround script, and contest entries. The next batch of books arrived from my editor and look good — I’m excited to dive into them. Finalized the details for tomorrow, which is a big day for me.

Had to stop by another client and withdraw from a job, because I couldn’t juggle everything, and I had to make the choice that was career-oriented. Fortunately, they were understanding and supportive.

Did some research for the articles due on May 1.

This morning, I received the edits on “Lake Justice”, which I’ll have to turn around in the next couple of days. It’s definitely do-able, but a challenge.

That’s all she wrote — I have to just keep my head down and get things done, because everything’s about to change — and all for the better.

Published in: on April 9, 2014 at 7:20 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. Feb. 4, 2014: Crusty Snow and School Work

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

We had snow most of yesterday, the wet, icky kind. It didn’t stop until after dark, which means I got to shovel wet, crusty snow this morning. And that Toro Power Shovel? Piece of crap. I thought Toro products were good and reliable, but both the design on this and its unreliability make it a huge disappointment. Save your money and and buy a product that actually WORKS.

If you haven’t dropped a comment on my blogging article, please do so. I’d love to be asked back for a regular gig.

Finished up a book proposal yesterday, printed it out, and realized that there were font and formatting problems, so I had to go back, fix it, and reprint. It looked good on screen, but I hadn’t checked the details, and it wasn’t right, so . . .had to make it right. That will go into the mail today, when I get to the post office. I fell in love with the book all over again, working on the proposal.

Polished the sci-fi/horror/western novella and submitted it to Amber Quill, who let me know, a few hours later, that they accepted it! That was quick! We’re going to find a new title — which makes perfect sense — but they definitely want it. Nice, quick sale! Now, I need to polish another novella for them and get back to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Did some work on the new play, but it still isn’t where I want it.

Made a quick library run to return some books and get out some novels for the snowstorm. Reading Jake Arnott’s THE HOUSE OF RUMOUR, whose chapters are structured on the Major Arcana of the tarot.

Trying to catch up on computational neuroscience work, but it’s giving me a headache (no pun intended). Catching up on Astrobiology — fascinating class, out of University of Edinburgh, and did the peer evaluations on the Environmental Law papers.

Did some thinking on an untitled novella (which seems to be expanding into a novel) and on the Sparkle and Tarnish project. Caught up on some correspondence.

I need to get a lot of writing done and work with students. I’ve got a new student, a guy whose college papers I proofread, who’s hired me to give him some grammar lessons along the way. So that’s all good.

Got paid for my last two articles on the random-date-paying market — earlier than I expected, which is nice.

I’ve got some wine research to do for Adventures in Vineland, and some other research on a couple of articles I’m interesting in pitching to markets that are a bit of a stretch for me.

I was invited to participate in an eco-festival this spring out in Provincetown. I’d wanted to do it last year, but didn’t find out about it until too late. This year, unfortunately, it conflict with the dates for the new play. Oh, well. It’ll happen when it’s time, I guess.

Back to the page, and to the school work.

Devon

Published in: on February 4, 2014 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 4, 2014: Crusty Snow and School Work  
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Wed. Jan. 15, 2014: Brain Work

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Mid-month check-in over on the GDR site, and an update on the garden site.

Busy day yesterday. Lots of it was admin work and prep work for meetings. Worked with students. Pitched for some jobs.

My computational neuroscience class started. Turns out my neurons fire differently than most people’s. I kind of knew that, but the professor finds it interesting. My fellow students, however, do not. There’s resentment that even though I don’t have the math background, I’m capable of figuring out the equations in my own, off-the-wall way. I don’t believe algebra exists, I don’t do calculus, and, to me, “probability” is how I pick a winning horse. Oh, and my brain responds receptively the same way as a cat’s.

My question to that is: is that BECAUSE I live with cats, or do I live with cats BECAUSE of the way my brain works?

It’s all very interesting.

The Environmental Law & Policy class has also started; I need to get up to speed on that. That should be quite fascinating.

Driving to the meeting last night was a nightmare in the storm. I didn’t think I was going to make it. Hydroplaning all over the place.

Meeting was lively, with some surprises.

Client STILL hasn’t paid me. Client will shortly be ex-client.

I have to finish up the last set of articles for the other slow-paying client today (the one who actually paid, albeit late) and that finishes out our contract.

I have some admin to do and some errands to run. I’m supposed to be in four different places tonight; I’m not going to be in any of them. I need some rest. I’ve got a migraine again, and it’s not going to get any better.

One of the interesting things about these neuroscience classes is that I’m starting to understand the physical components underlying the psychological components of how the brain works, and how that is tied to an individual’s value systems. What we remember and what we forget isn’t just about the amount of information we have — it’s tied to what and who we value and how we assign those values in relation to our own agendas. It’s easy to say “I forgot” or “that was careless”, but there is an underlying reason that works on both mechanical AND psychological levels on what we forget and why. As people around me make decisions that, ultimately, affect me, having this additional layer of information is useful as I make decisions on my responses, and can separate the platitudes spoken to ass-cover from the scientific reality of how the brain works.

Haven’t been in much of a writing groove this week — need to get back into it.

Devon

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 15, 2014: Brain Work  
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Fri. Oct. 25, 2013: Percolating Ideas

Friday, October 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I got some good work done on the palate-cleanser yesterday, and I’ve figured out the ending, which means I have something for which to aim. Two characters wandered in that I wasn’t expecting, but they are demanding their share of page/screen time. Pushing through on the screenplay, even though I know it needs massive revision.

Worked on articles, worked with students, did some pitches, did some grocery shopping, did some yard work, but it feels overwhelming. Kind of feel like I’m going in circles, which I hate.

Developing an essay idea that I hope to flesh out and submit early next week. Actually, I have two ideas, but I’m going to do one, and then the other.

Will spend time on the novella this weekend, and also, hopefully, some time at the Marine Life Center, if I can sort everything out. Must run over to Osterville Library today to pick up some material they’ve gathered for me.

Short post because so much of what’s in my head is figuring out stuff for the WIPS, and if I talk it too much before writing it, everything will dissipate.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 25, 2013 at 6:51 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Sept. 26, 2013: Projects Moving to Phase Two

Thursday, September 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cool

Polished and sent out two articles yesterday. Finally got them right. Worked with students. Sent out a few pitches. One got an almost immediate response, so we’ll see where we go from there. I thought it was a stretch when I pitched, but they liked my materials, and now we’re working on the next step.

I had a two hour meeting with someone in LA on a project for which my agent pitched me. We are also taking the next step on that, and, if it works out for both of us, will go to contract hopefully sooner than later.

Received my next two assignments from Confidential Job #1. Already read the material for one of them, and have to write it up.

Received my first assignment from my new editor. Will get to work on that today.

Re-read the 85 pages I’ve got on Project D so far, and feel good about it.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK got a 5-star reader review on Amazon, which was great, and will be available in print in the next couple of days.

Back to the page,

Devon

Published in: on September 26, 2013 at 6:40 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. Sept. 9, 2013: Writing, Neuro-Ethics, Idea Batches, & Script Coverage

Monday, September 9, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend. Most of the focus was on the new novel. I’ve now written six chapters, the first 107 pages. I’m happy with the bones of it, although it will need revision. The pace is a little more intense than my usual one, but it fits this particular book’s rhythm. My original concept was category genre, but it’s evolved into contemporary fiction, so I’m rolling with it. I trust my characters, and they are not disappointing me.

Did my course work for the Creativity Course and the Paleontology course. I’m a bit disappointed in both. I don’t feel challenged enough. Maybe I was just spoiled in the archaeology course.

Found my neuro-science research and the notes for the project that didn’t work. That one can’t be saved — too derivative. But I wrote eight pages of an outline for another one that I think will work. Even if the neuro-ethics course keeps getting pushed back, I’m going to tap that professor as a resource.

I also jotted down a batch of notes, because ideas come in batches, and, on days when the well runs dry, I can pull out the notes and get to work. These are loglines for projects I’d love to create, a mix of prose and script projects, and I hope I get the chance to explore at least some of them.

I went over my script coverage package samples again, and I’m happy with them. Now, it’s a case of running off copies of the packet, sitting down with the production book, and deciding where I want to pitch. I like the work, and I want more of it.

Have to do some work in regards to the play today, and also knock out a couple of articles. I was paid for the last batch of articles, so now they get the next batch.

The 9/11 Anniversary is coming up, and I’m trying to prepare myself. I will honor those I lost that day, but I also have to function, unfortunately, because I have to attend a grant writing seminar at the Arts Foundation that night. This is a wound time does not heal.

Relaxed by watching movies in and around the writing all weekend. There was a continuity issue in BOURNE LEGACY that bugged me — at the top of the motorcycle chase, suddenly he’s putting on a pair of sunglasses. Where the heck did he get them? Renner’s a smart enough actor to want logic, and a movie that is so detailed that the wallet he later gives her is in the shot when he picks up the car in Chicago is not going to make that kind of continuity mistake. But it bugged me (hey, I used to work in wardrobe — it’s one of the discussions I would have had with actor and other crew in setting up the shot). I hunted down B roll footage on line and saw that, originally, the sunglasses were in the helmet hanging off the handlebars, so when he hands her the helmet, he takes out the sunglasses, delivers a line (giving her time to get the helmet on), puts on the sunglasses, and off they go. THAT made sense. It was cut in the edit, to keep pace. So, from a production point of view, it calmed me down, but that shot is still going to bug me any time I see it (but you know, sometimes things get sacrificed).

Watched MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL. My response was, “meh.” I grew up absolutely crazy about the series (I mean, really, Peter Graves? Be still my heart, especially as a kid not even realizing I was learning about story structure), and just never really connected to the film franchise. What they do, they do well, and there were some character scenes I loved (especially the second-to-last in Seattle that had some great detail work by the actors). Too much character development was sacrificed for action, especially when it came to the villains. The team discussed the whys of the villainy, but I would have rather SEEN it during the scenes where we encountered the villains than HEARD about it in dialogue (I know, don’t faint, I actually want information not given via dialogue). I mean, it was fine, it was fun, but I don’t feel like I missed anything by not seeing it in the theatre.

And, of course, NEWSROOM was on, but because it was part of a two-episode season finale, it felt dragged out to me. I love the show, I’m glad it’s coming back next year, but this episode didn’t pack the emotional punch the last few episodes did.

So, I’m back at the desk this morning, juggling novels, getting other work done, hustling for yet more work. I feel pretty good creatively right now, but there are some other ducks that need to mind the row.

Devon

Published in: on September 9, 2013 at 7:05 am  Comments Off on Mon. Sept. 9, 2013: Writing, Neuro-Ethics, Idea Batches, & Script Coverage  
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Wed. Sept. 4, 2013: Writing Frenzy and Neuro-Ethics

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Day Before Dark Moon
Sunny and cooler

Flat out yesterday. 4707 words (18 pages) on one of the two priority projects I’m juggling. Just over 1200 words this morning, and nowhere near stopping, although this morning’s work was more of a struggle. I was fighting a scene in a different POV, because I don’t like switching POVS within a chapter. But I didn’t want this whole chapter in this second POV. But I needed the scene. I tried to do without, and it didn’t work. So I went back and added it in, and now the chapter is smoothing out a bit.

Also invoiced some articles, wrote, polished, invoiced, and sent off two reviews. Pitched a couple of jobs. Responded to some emails. Worked on the book proposal, but couldn’t finish it. I’ll have to finish it and get it out today.

I had to stop work for a few hours yesterday because of severe storms, and I didn’t want to blow out the computer. Thunder, lightening, torrential rain. Refilled the jugs with rainwater for the plants, though, but it was still a lot.

Sat down and watched THE BOURNE LEGACY all the way through last night. Hey, I pay for On Demand, I might as well use it. I liked it a lot better than I expected. Structurally, it’s astonishing. I mean, the action sequences are spectacular, too, but the way it’s written and edited, the structure is one of the strongest I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll have to watch it a few more times and break it down, really get inside the structure, live in its skin, and I’ll learn a lot. Renner and Weisz were excellent, and I love how, with Weisz’s character, every time she’s pushed beyond her limits and one thinks she’ll totally lose it, she steps up and comes through. Some of the supporting cast were a bit cardboard, but I figure those character developments were sacrificed for pace. I would have liked the assassin in that final chase to have been a threat from earlier on, but that’s just me wanting more development in antagonists in work — heck, I teach a class on antagonists. There were a couple of places where I wanted just a single beat of stillness — both these actors can use stillness to positive effect, and, especially in a movie where pace is so important, there were two or three scenes where I just wanted ONE more beat of stillness, especially between them. I felt the full connection was cut short in those particular edits.

What I found interesting in the plot was that it reminds me of research I did on various Super Soldier programs a few years ago – I wonder if the screenwriters and I read some of the same source material. Somewhere, still packed, I have the book on the program that I tracked down, after finding it at the library and knowing I had to have it as part of my research materials for a project. I remember working with Vietnam Vets years ago, and they were already talking about that kind of program. So it’s interesting to see how these theories and possibilities are creatively explored. And the question asked over and over again: Can you keep your moral compass, your integrity as a human being, and still participate in war? If you don’t participate in war, is the only choice being conquered? Do some have to hang up their moral/human integrity in the name of keeping the many safe? Where do you draw the line? I don’t think we have easy answers to that. I don’t think there have ever been easy answers to that, no matter what we want to think and believe on an individual basis. Warfare has always been about cruelty and dehumanization, and advances in technology and genome science have created new questions, not solved old ones.

That’s why I signed up for the Neuroethics class that keeps getting postponed. These are some of the questions we explore in regard to programs like developing Super Soldiers. I want to take that class, because I want to dig deeper.

Then watched LUTHER on BBC America, which is just so character-oriented that it’s always a terrific ride. I think it’s running four consecutive nights, so that will be good.

Lots of work today,and a blazing headache, so I better get to it.

Devon