Tues. Oct. 25, 2016: Writing, Traveling, Interviewing, Nano Musings

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

I haven’t meant to abandon the blog the past few days. A lot is going on, and only some of it can be discussed. As someone who loathes it when people tease, on social media or on websites, “I have news, but can’t tell you”, I haven’t wanted to post anything until it was a sure thing.

Week before last, things were in huge turmoil; some of it was sorted out by the beginning of last week, but then I had to play catch-up on a variety of life chores. That got done early in the week.

Midweek, I had to take the obligatory workshop at the Career Center — I chose one on how to use one’s age to one’s advantage. I was pleasantly surprised to find a talented group of people in the room, including one person who, once we started talking, it felt as though we’d known each other for years.

Immediately after the workshop, I headed to the Berkshires. I attended a networking function in Springfield on the way, which was interesting. We booked into the Black Swan Inn again, in Lee. This time, my phone worked perfectly — good thing I switched carriers — but the Kindle wouldn’t connect to the inn’s internet. So that was frustrating.

But we had a lovely dinner in Mint, the Indian restaurant in the hotel, and then watched the final debate. I don’t see how anyone could be “undecided” at this point. You’re either voting for someone who is rational, even if you don’t like her or always agree with her; or someone who is an insane narcissist.

The lower profile races are very interesting. And we’ve got some pretty important questions on our ballot as well. The great thing about being an Independent voter is that I feel no guilt about voting for the individual I believe will do the best job, no matter what the party. This is especially true in the local races, where I’ve taken the time to know the candidates. I switched my choice on one race, because the incumbent, while not perfect, is doing his best under almost impossible circumstances and making progress, while the challenger whines, in a high-pitched voice. Sorry, no whiners for me.

Thursday morning, I got to visit the Book Loft in Great Barrington. It’s been mentioned as a “best bookshop” online and in a book of essays about writers’ favorite bookshops. I can see why. Great space, wonderful selection, nice staff. Yes, I bought a few things there — how could I not?

I like Great Barrington a lot. I like the vibe there.

I had some meetings in the late morning and early afternoon, which went well, and then we drove to Sturbridge, and booked into one of my favorite places to stay in the entire U.S.

It’s called the Publick House and Historic Inn. The main building is an old, historic inn and tavern. And then they have the funky 1950’s style lodge in the back, which is where we stayed. The last time I stayed there everything was decorated in red toile — wallpaper, curtains, bed spreads. Considering how much I loathe toile, I had to laugh when I walked in. They’d redecorated — walls are now a warm beige, and the only toile is the curtains! But the rooms are large, comfortable, and reasonably priced. And the food is terrific. We had chicken potpies that were the best I’ve ever tasted.

Terrible fog the next morning delayed the return, but, finally, it was get on the road or be stuck in Friday traffic, so we got on the road. Once we broke past the traffic, it wasn’t a bad ride back to the Cape.

The cats were very happy to see us!

Unfortunately, the writing suffered, and I lost the rhythm on the two projects that had been going so well. I need to get back into the groove on them.

Over the weekend, I mainly focused on the revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. They are going very well, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. This revision is nearly done; I’ll let it marinate for a bit while I work on submission materials, do another pass, and I hope to have it out sometime in November or December.

I had an important meeting yesterday morning, and got everything dealing with that sorted out, but it wore me out. I managed to get some work done in the garden in the afternoon.

Most of the front is decorated for Samhain, but I have to put up the orange lights and carve the pumpkins.

Last night, my poor neighbors! All of a sudden, we see a slew of fire trucks outside their house. I went over to see if they were okay, if they needed to bring their dogs over out of the commotion, or all needed a place to stay. The bricks in their chimney were staying hot, even after the embers burned down, so the fire department was going to have to remove bricks from the chimney to find what caused the hotspot. Will need some massive repair work, but it’s better than having fire between the walls. We are so lucky in our fire department here.

I have to get the car re-registered today, get a LOT of writing done, and check some links on the back matter for the free download of “The Possession of Nattie Fillmore.” Yes, it will be available for download from Oct. 28 – Oct. 31. I’m thinking of adding in a coupon for “Just Jump in and Fly” to be available for the first couple of days in November. That has to get all sorted out.

I got a lovely email from someone who just read ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, loved it, and wanted more copies. Unfortunately, I’ve sold through on everything I had left when it went out of print, but I’m in the process of tweaking it for re-release as PLAYING THE ANGLES. But I’m thrilled that it still holds up and people love it. It’s one of my favorite books, and I was disappointed when it went out of print. The title didn’t help, I’m sure! I’m about a fifth of the way through the revisions on that, and I have a list of potential places for re-release, if I don’t release it myself.

I’m behind on the plays, and I’m behind on the two projects that I have to get drafted by the end of the year. I think I will skip Nano this year, although I’ll probably “write along with” Nano, even if I don’t do it.

It always feels weird doing it, but not doing it also feels weird. However, if I DO it, I feel I should DO it, which means starting a new project on the first of November and writing 50K, not working on something I already started. But I’ve got several projects I HAVE to juggle right now, that I don’t think starting something new would be useful. It would muddy the waters. Yet the book I started during Nano last year, DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, has now gone through multiple drafts and is almost ready for submission, so last year it served a purpose.

I was also put off by the forums last year. I found many of the moderators rude, and the posters spent too much time either whining or talking about how they were so great no one understood them and that’s why they self-published. In previous years, I found the forums a fun, energizing break. Last year, they were draining and annoying.

I think most writers should try Nano at least once in their lives — and finish it, writing 50K in 30 days. It’s not that hard — 6 pages a day. What it does is get one into the daily writing/quota rhythm. It does focus on quantity over quality, but, especially early on, as you search for your voice and your rhythm, you won’t find it unless you get into a daily writing rhythm, and Nano is a good catalyst for that.

Right now, though, I don’t feel it serves me. I have to focus on pieces that already have established their own rhythms, and meet pre-existing deadlines that are separate from Nano. I also need to put together some good marketing for my books for the holidays. It would probably be a good idea to put out a newsletter again one of these days.

So there it is — a nice long catch-up before I get going on a busy day and what is sure to be a busy week!

I’ve got an Artists HobNob Event tonight, which should be tons of fun. Can’t wait to see everyone again.
Have a great week! I’ll remind everyone on Friday about the free download, and it will also be on Facebook and Twitter.

Devon

Published in: on October 25, 2016 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 25, 2016: Writing, Traveling, Interviewing, Nano Musings  
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Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a busy day. Lots to do, and I had a migraine by the end of it.

On the upside: “Severance”, the sci-fi/horror/western short, has re-released through Smashwords. You can buy it for 99 cents here. It’s been accepted as a “Premium” listing, which means it ships out to other retailers like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, et al.

I also got back the galleys for “Plot Bunnies”, which is the next to release (although we’re still working on the cover), and the cover for “Personal Revolution”, which will release just before the Fourth of July weekend, since that’s when it’s set.

“Broken Links” is in rehearsal in Virginia. I’m looking forward to hearing it when it broadcasts in June.

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT will be renamed PLAYING THE ANGLES. I need to do another pass on that, and then it goes out on submission again – there have been a few indications of interest, and I look forward to the possibility of its re-release.

I’m also in talks about reviving Nina Bell – in other words, rewriting TAPESTRY, although keeping it set in the 1990s, and having the series progress through the turn into the 21st century. Most likely, those books would go out via Smashwords. It breaks too many genre rules for it to make good business sense for a traditional publisher.

I’m looking forward to digging back in to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC this weekend. I’m hoping I can finish this round of revisions within a week. Then I can get going on the submission materials while it marinates – the logline, the one paragraph blurb, the query letter template, the beginning of the outline and synopsis. Those will change, and, obviously, I can’t finalize those materials or my first 3 chapter, first 10 pages, et al files until I have a submission-ready draft.

I admit, it’s hard not to get caught up in starting to query while I’m prepping what I consider is the “submission-ready draft”, but the Universe just likes to bite you in the butt when you try that. If you are sending out queries, the manuscript has to be ready to submit. When you get a “yes, I’d like to see it”, you send it within 48 hours. You don’t tell an agent or an editor that you need X more months to finish. Until you’re established and on contract cycles, you need a polished draft ready before you start querying.

“Just a Drop” also needs serious attention. And I have to find my notes for SONGBOUND SISTERS to get back on track for that. HEART SNATCHER and INITIATE will just have to sneak in when there’s room.

I’m going to have to mow the lawn when I get home. I stopped at Auberchon’s for some more starter fluid from the mower, and they tried to sell me fluid for a grill. I told them no, it’s for the mower. They argued. I pointed out that grill fluid on the lawn mower would make it blow up, and just because I’m female doesn’t mean I’m an idiot when it comes to machines. Geez, Louise.

Looking forward to getting some mowing done so I can settle on the deck with a glass of wine and a manuscript. Looking forward to a writing weekend.

Oh, and I got an idea overnight for a short story, and got going on that this morning.  I was asked to submit to an anthology — but it has to be this coming week.  I’m having fun playing with these characters in this situation, but I need to research sailboats.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on May 21, 2016 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.  
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Nano Prep: Oct. 24: Music

I used to write to music.

However, when I write, it needs to be instrumental, or the lyrics distract me.

One of my favorite procrastination techniques is to create Character CDs – a CD for each of my main characters, filled with the music to which I think that character would listen.

I’ll play it before I write about the character; or, if it’s instrumental, while I write about the character.

Writing the romantic suspense novel Assumption of Right(as Annabel Aidan), I told the tale in chapters from alternating points of view. Each day’s chapter was from one or the other’s point of view. So I’d pop in that character’s CD, listen to it for a few minutes, and I’d be in the right mindset to write.

That was when I lived in New York, and it was noisy and full of interruptions. Once I moved to Cape Cod, for the most part, I stopped writing to music. Weather-permitting, I have the windows open and listen to the birds and the wind and sometimes, even the rain.

If someone’s running a leaf blower or some other power tool, and I’m ready to strangle them with their own cord, I’ll put on the iPod and crank up the tunes.

But, still, it has to be instrumental.

I never, EVER use a soundtrack from a play or movie. That music was created and assembled to support someone else’s creative vision. It bleeds into your writing. When students turn in work that was written to soundtracks, I can tell exactly which ones, because it shows up in the writing.

Published in: on October 24, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano Prep: Oct. 24: Music  
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Tues. Aug. 12, 2014: Meetings and Programs and Balls, oh My!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Five meetings yesterday. It was a lot. Plus trying to reschedule some Writers Center stuff.

Stopped in at the library to discuss stuff that happened at the conference in relation to booking our programs. Went over to Books By the Sea — they are carrying copies of TRACKING MEDUSA, HEX BREAKER, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT.

Home, grabbed some food, headed to Hyannis to Common Ground to meet with a student I’ll be working with in fall. I’ve accepted one in person and one on line — my private student slots for fall are FULL. Had a good meeting, we came up with a lesson plan.

Returned materials from the conference to Cotuit Library. Headed over the bridge to the Mermaid Ball meeting. The ball is next week — can’t believe it’s coming up so fast.

Home, worked on a review I have to write, fell into bed early.

Up early this morning, I have about 6 loads of laundry to get done. Wrote my first 1K of the day, and I’ll have to get some more done later on, along with pulling stuff for next week’s actor/dresser workshop and pulling materials for Mermaid Ball.

Back to the library this evening — Michael Blanding talks about his book, THE MAP THIEF!

Sad about Robin Williams. It’s always sad when a talent like that makes such a choice.

Devon

Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 8:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 12, 2014: Meetings and Programs and Balls, oh My!  
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014: In the Writing Cave

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I’m getting good about hunkering into the writing cave on Mondays, but that means I usually skip blogging. Sorry about that.

Friday was a busy day at the library. Good busy, but busy. And I’ll have the chance to get some advice from the Morgan Library when I’m in New York in September. Very excited and tremendously grateful that the individual I contacted is willing to take time with me.

Friday night was tiring. Saturday, I did some running around, and had to pop in at the library quickly. Managed to also work my way through a stack of research books, that I can now return. I wanted to work on the website, but the host was down. Tried to get some work done on the press kits for “Severance” and “Elusive Prayers”, but didn’t get very far.

Sunday was my disconnect day. Mostly reading, including SILKWORM on the Kindle. I like the Kindle much more than I expected.

Yesterday, I descended back into the writing cave, writing 32 pages on THE POWER OF WORDS. I’m back on that, while still juggling BALTHAZAAR, and wondering if I can write BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DARK ANNIE’S SECRET simultaneously, since both of them deal with sunken treasure ships, albeit in very different situations, or if they’ll bleed into each other.

Finished the final galleys on “Elusive Prayers” and they’re about to go back out. Trying to decide if I should write Brother Joseph’s novella set in Iowa Territory or the Doc/Melody story next in that world. It also makes me long to go back to THE WIDOW’S CHAMBER and rewrite that as a novel in first person, adapting it from third person serial. And the next Bronwyn Rowan novella is percolating in my head.

Decided on the new title for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (will reveal that when I do the cover reveal in autumn). Will add back in something that was cut, so that it serves as a better introduction for Bonnie in THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and then figure out how to get that book back on track. If the re-figured A of R is released under new title and cover in fall, I’d like REPOSITORY to release in the spring.

Can’t figure out which course to take at the conference in August.

Trying to find out where the copies of TRACKING MEDUSA, which were supposed to be here for the signing in late June, are. They still haven’t arrived. I need copies for the bookstore and for the bookstore at the conference.

I have some grocery shopping and bill paying to do today, and then — it’s back to writing, until I go to the Elisabeth Elo event tonight at the library.

Watched THE KING’S SPEECH again last night. Terrific film.

Have a great week!

Devon

Wed. July 9, 2014: Back To It

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Humid and ready to rain

I’ve been offline for a few days, for a much-needed break. I’m creatively exhausted right now, and need a chance to reinvigorate. The past few months have been at a ridiculous pace, and took their toll.

Thursday was a busy day at the library — people stocking up for the holiday weekend. That’s always fun — people who are excited about taking out books for the weekend, or for any other time. It’s one of my favorite things about the work — helping people find reading material that they enjoy and that engages in them. Also managed to get my desk cleared off for the first time since I was hired.

Exhausted Thursday night, and grateful that Friday was a holiday.

However, I was up at 5:30 on Friday morning. Since Hurricane Arthur was set to hit, we had to bring in all the plants from the deck and all the outdoor furniture and all the statuary, etc. We set down old sheets on the floor in the living room and the back bedroom and hauled everything in. We had to lock Iris in the downstairs bedroom and Violet and Tessa in my room, or we would have lost them, since we had to have doors to both outside and the garage propped open.

But we got everything in and then . . .waited. Most of the day was spent in humid suspended animation, waiting for the damn storm. I wrote a bit, read a lot, and battled the pre-storm headache. The storm didn’t hit until evening, and then I was glad I’d brought everything in.

Watched the Joss Whedon version of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, which was very clever.

Saturday, I took out some of the plants before I left for work. Since there were so many power outages, I was afraid the library’d been hit, and didn’t want my colleague there in a dark building on her own. So I went in early, the Exec Director went in early, our colleague was there, and the power was on. So it was all good. But it was busy, and there was no book delivery, which meant we couldn’t give people the books they’d ordered, and it was more chaotic than I’d hoped.

Came home, exhausted, and got the rest of the plants, furniture, statuary, etc., back out onto the deck. Read.

Sunday, I was out early and got us a Dunkin Donuts treat. Wrote a bit, then ran errands — had to do things like get the re-up cards for the phone. Looked at Kindles, and a few other things. We even went to the mall (oh, horrors) to get the phone cards and to pick up some things at Crabtree & Evelyn, where we had one of the nicest salespeople I’ve ever encountered. So nice, I’m letting the office know. Got a case for my phone, too.

Back home to read and write a bit. Juliet Blackwell’s newest, A VISION IN VELVET, arrived on Saturday, and I read it. I enjoy the Lily Ivory series.

Worked on the final round of edits for “Elusive Prayers”, which will go out to my editor today. Wrote the press release and the PSA for the Mermaid Ball.

Monday, up early and off to run errands in Falmouth. Stuck in traffic all day. Gave up after awhile, realizing it was going to take as long as it would take, and that was simply that. Getting upset wasn’t going to change anything.

Wrote a bit, came home long enough to make a black bean ful, and then headed to the Marine Life Center for the Mermaid Ball meeting. It took me an hour and a half. The meeting was the meeting, and, fortunately, coming home was quicker than getting there.

Watched FROST/NIXON — excellent. Fascinating interpretation of a period in history though which I lived.

Up early yesterday. Writing, but feeling burnt out. The weather didn’t help much, either. Went to Just Picked, where I found some good deals, but mostly was an uncreative lump, reading, and trying to replenish. I’m so tired that everything is a ridiculous amount of effort right now.

Up early this morning. Usual routine (which I’ve managed to keep up every morning, in spite of the exhaustion) of yoga, meditation, etc. Had a bad night — I had trouble sleeping and was fretful, for some reason. The last thing I need to do right now is borrow trouble. Getting some work done before I head to the library. I’m sure it will be a busy day — it always is when I come back from a few days away — and then we have a program meeting in the afternoon.

Onwards. I need to get back in the groove of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and it hasn’t quite clicked yet.

The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA that were supposed to be here for the signing, and then the bookstore haven’t arrived, but the copy that the library ordered is there. Go figure.

I settled on the new title for the re-release of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, and have to book the new cover artist. I’m getting print quotes. I hope to re-release it under the new imprint, title, and cover in October. Stay tuned.

That also means I have to get THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY back on track, because I won’t be releasing it through Champagne, I’ll do it through the new imprint.
I’ve got to get BALTHAZAAR back on track, get back to the ferry girl novel, do another pass on CHARISMA KILLINGS and submit that to an interested party ASAP, and do the next Bronwyn Rowan piece.

Yet I’m feeling about as creative as wilted lettuce.

I’m also tracking my activity/commitment with an organization with which I’m working to decide whether I will remain past my commitment (which ends next year) or not. If the financial ratio and the ratio of emotional give/receive do not balance better than they have in the past two years, I will withdraw when my commitment is complete. I would like to withdraw now, but it is unfair not to fulfill my commitment to the best of my ability, and not to spend a reasonable amount of time gathering actual data to review, rather than making a decision based solely on emotion.

Onward.

Devon

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

Wed. June 25, 2014: Deadline Pressure & Focus

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Day Before Dark Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day yesterday. Worked flat out, focusing on the revisions for the Big Script Project, and the galleys of “Severance”. Nipped over to Wheldon Library in the late morning to come up for air for a few minutes, connect to the internet, sort out a few things, and send off the finished products.

Then, it was back home and more writing. Also wrote about 750 words in longhand on something I hope is a novella, but I suspect may be longer. AND I figured out how I can tie one of the new ideas I outlined over the weekend to the world in which “Severance” is set.

Also discovered three new possible publishers for the Sophie Batchelder mystery series. I think I’ll re-read the first book and the proposal over the weekend, see if it needs any more tweaks, and then send it out next week, when Mercury goes direct.

I am so ready for Mercury to go direct!

Reading Rachel Aaron’s Eli Monpress series, which I thoroughly enjoy. The first book reminded me, in tone, of Robert Asparin’s first few M.Y.T.H. books, which I loved, and the second book went deeper in a good way. Looking forward to the third.

Working on the materials I’m taking to the Author Palooza event this weekend. I’ve got the copies of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, HEX BREAKER, and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. Fingers crossed the print copies of TRACKING MEDUSA are arrive on time, but hey, it’s Mercury Retrograde, so I’m not counting on anything.

Busy day today at the library — training session, getting as much work as I can, and then meetings at 4 PM, 5 PM, 6 PM. I’m supposed to read at Cotuit Center of the Art’s Salon of Shorts tonight, too, but I wonder if I’ll have enough in the tank after three back-to-back meetings to do it. Then home, starting the food I’m bringing to tomorrow night’s party, and more revisions. And this, being the day before the Dark Moon, is my lowest energy day of the month. Tomorrow morning, when I get up, I have to finish prepping the devilled eggs while working on more revisions.

And here, I thought my schedule would slow down. Silly me!

But it’s all good busy, and I’m grateful.

Have a great day!

Devon

Mon. Dec. 31, 2012: New Year’s Eve & Pens are Hopping!

IMG_0784
Iris investigates the centerpiece, a gift from Lori! Thanks!

Monday, December 31, 2012
Waning Moon
New Year’s Eve

I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s!

Better hurry and download the free Jain Lazarus tale, “First Feet” — it’s only available until January 2!

Busy weekend. Worked a lot on Friday, wrote a lot on Friday. Worked up the rough of my wacky proposal for the agent. I love it. I let it rest over the weekend, and will tweak it over the next few days to send to her later this week. Ran errands on Saturday, and did a little raking, since the storm was coming. Worked on getting out party invites all weekend.

We got about 4 inches of snow on Saturday night — not bad, considering. Did some party planning, did some cleaning up and re-arranging. Was highly irritated at the snow plow guy. As usual, he shoved snow INTO everyone’s driveways. To a point, that’s understandable, but he left a boulder-sized snowball in the elderly neighbor’s driveway. There’s no reason he couldn’t have pushed it another foot out of the way, except this guy was either inexperienced, incompetent, a dickhead, or a combination. I went over to help the neighbor.

Got my own driveway and walkway shovelled — it wasn’t too bad, except for the stuff shoved into the driveway by the plow. AND the fact that the plow destroyed the whole bottom of the front yard — again, it’s marked, there’s no reason he couldn’t have paid attention and stayed in the road. If the boulders hadn’t been there protecting the rest of the yard, he would have torn it up halfway to the house. Unacceptable. Yes, I took photos, and yes, I will be making noise to the town!

It looks really pretty, though, except for the damaged area.

Found Rosemary Edghill’s SPEAK DAGGERS TO HER, the first Bast mystery, and re-read it. Now I have the whole set to lend to Costume Imp when he comes up in spring. I have the materials prepped for tonight’s ritual, for tomorrow morning’s ritual, have to pick up a few things for the NYDay breakfast. I’m doing laundry (because I have this thing about going into the New Year with clean clothes), and will vaccuum and mop this afternoon. Changed all the beds this morning.

We lit a fire in the fireplace last night, the first successful attempt since we moved it. It was wonderful! So much fun, worked so well. We’ll be doing that a lot more all winter.

I’m still having fun with the Twelfth Night stories, although I’m a bit behind. The story on the Five Gold Rings was more complicated than I expected. Not longer – just more complicated.

I realized the idea I’ve been playing with for a few days is actually an Ivy de le Livre piece (she’s my horse-playng tarot reader character) that is BEFORE the pieces I’ve been working on. That opens all kinds of exciting possibilities.

Bill Moyers interviewed a fascinating writer named Junot Diaz — now I’m eager to read his books. What a thoughtful, articulate, intelligent man.

The president of the Writers’ Center shot me a few ideas, and I shot back a response this morning. This year will be exciting!

I’m very excited that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is circulating in the CLAMS library network! So, if you’re on Cape Cod — you can check it out of the library. What fun!

Lots to do to prep for the New Year. Have a safe and joyful holiday!

Stop by Biblio Paradise tomorrow — we’re starting the year with Shirley Wells’s latest! AND, stop by Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions tomorrow, where we start working on our New Year’s goals!

Devon

Fri. Dec. 28, 2012: New Ideas & Proposals

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I know I posted this picture of Tessa, the computer, and the Dragons bumper sticker, but it cracks me up, so I’m using it again!

Friday, December 28, 2012
Full Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re supposed to get snow tonight. I’d like a little white, but not too much!

I’m also really, really, REALLY excited because ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, by Annabel Aidan, is in circulation in the CLAMS network library system!

I was FINALLY able to reset my Facebook password and get back into my Devon Ellington page. The address for the page is here.

With in that Devon Ellington faction, I set up a Jain Lazarus Adventures page. Check it out here.

I still have all kinds of issues with Facebook, but it’s a promotional tool I need to learn how to utilize properly.

So, come on, sign up for those two workshops in January, “When Words Align” and “Sensory Perceptions”. Get your manuscript back on track. Learn how to layer in sensory detail. Come play with us!

So, last night’s dreams are for March. It’s the third night, AKA third month, although today is the fourth DAY. I had two sets of dreams. One, I was reading a post-apocalyptic novel (which is better than being IN one, I guess), and the other dream fled as soon as Violet woke me up by hurling a fur ball.

Smallest cat, biggest furballs.

Yesterday, we picked up some ornaments on sale — mostly cardinals, which we wanted for the tree, and put them on. Also bought another Christmas cactus and a Cyclamen plant.

I wrote my three French hens story, and this morning, I started on the four calling birds one. I’m having a blast with these tales. I’m pretty sure they’re in the Ava Dunne voice.

I’m juggling three very different projects right now, with three distinct protagonists — all in first person. I tried third person for all of them, and it didn’t work for any of them, so, first person it is.

I’ve got to get out the party invites and the thank you notes today, and start uploading class materials. I’m still tweaking stuff for the When Words Align class, and I’ll be tweaking exercises all the way along, as it’s so much about individual projects. I also have to finish prepping stuff for the private students starting.

I sent out two LOIs and resumes yesterday to two very different organizations, both of which I’m panting to work with. I’m trying to create my own position within each — I’ve found a way to meet their current needs AND my wish to remain a freelancer, so let’s hope one or both of them take a chance on me.

Also working on the wacky proposal for my agent.

Lots to do and limited time, so I better get moving!

Devon

Two Nina Bell holiday shorts and a romantic/comedy/fantasy twist in Yuletide myths. Don’t miss them!

And get your FREE copy of the Jain Lazarus tie-in, “First Feet”, only available until January 2!

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 28, 2012: New Ideas & Proposals  
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Thurs. Oct. 4: Exciting Times and Time to Go Home!

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Worked with my students yesterday, got some good work done on a few other projects. Got an apology from the slow-paying client with a promise to “pay next week”. We’ll see if that happens. Watched several of my Sustainability video lectures, and several of the World History lectures, and took the quizzes. This week’s lectures are useful in terms of my flood/drought project. I also did an email interview promoting both the Jain Lazarus books and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT that will go up in late November.

Tessa is sulky and upset. She got out of the house and was difficult to catch yesterday, poor little thing. Hopefully, she will be glad to see me when I get home, and not act like Violet. Violet always does “talk to the tail” for three days before she forgives me.

I’m over at the Writers Vineyard today in my Annabel Aidan persona, giving thanks for this year’s Writing Harvest.

It’s more stressful here than it needs to be; I will be glad to go home. Although “home” will be chaotic for the next few weeks — the owner decided the outside of the house needs to be painted and a new roof put on.

I had a lovely meeting with an agent last night, and we had a good chat that ranged over many topics. We brainstormed some ideas, and now it’s up to me to see if I can come up with proposals that fulfill what we discussed. Excited about it.

I want to get the revisions on the article done before I head back today, and will try to get as much schoolwork done as possible. Well, I’d LIKE to curl up and read a good book, but that is not going to be an option until about Sunday! And that book will be something I’m reviewing!

Quick reminder — I’m over at the Muse Online Conference next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, teaching my Supporting Characters workshop. Hope to see you there!

Off we go — I hope the drive back won’t be bad this afternoon. I’m tired of driving in bad weather and dense traffic.

Devon

Tues. Sept. 25, 2012: Writing, Dissection, and Process

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy work day yesterday. Some library this-n-that done, I’m almost caught up with the tarot students, I started on this week’s work in the Sustainability Course, the World History Course, and the Greek/Roman Mythology course. The dynamics in each class are fascinating to me — the tone set by the professors, the way students interact, the types of people drawn to each class with their stories — but then, I’m a writer. I’m going to go beyond the surface of the course and get into both the interpersonal dynamics of the material and of the people around me. That’s what I do.

Very dangerous, knowing a writer. Everything is material. But that’s part of why it’s so great to BE a writer! 😉

Speaking of writers, I hope you’ll hop on over to A BIBLIO PARADISE today and drop a comment for my colleague and fellow Cape Cod author, Steven Marini. He’s a guest on the blog.

Got through some more submissions, some of which were much better. I’ve got two more stacks to get through this week. Got out my material for Confidential Job #1. Pitched for a job that I don’t think will be a good fit, not in content, but in time frame, and I don’t think it will work out. Of course, I realized that after I hit send.

I also had an absolutely mortifying egg-on-face few moments — I’m a guest on a bunch of different blogs to promote both ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT and HEX BREAKER (and, then, soon, I’ll be appearing to promote DEATH SPARKLES and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK). I keep track of what’s due when and where, and I wrote several of them in the last few days. Well, I thought I was late on one, scrambled, and hit send — to realize I’d sent it to the wrong person! Mortified. Absolutely mortified. I pulled it back, apologized profusely (I’d sent her everything she needed for my appearance) and then sent it off to the right person (who is very happy with it). Everything worked out, and everyone was cool about it, but I was still upset with myself. There’s a reason I’ve set up systems and organized things, and that’s so I can stay on top of multiple projects. When I make a careless mistake, I’m angry at myself.

My own work suffered yesterday, so today, I have to make up for it. I also have to do a major grocery shop over at Market Basket in Sandwich, which just makes me happy.

The furnace guy was here yesterday, cleaned the furnace and the ductwork, everything is great. Considering that it was 39 degrees this morning, and the heat’s kicked in for the past few weeks, I’m glad.

Watched REVOLUTION last night. (Spoiler alert). They came out with a bang, and now we’re getting into the episodes that both reveal and set up the future complexities. I had some frustrations — I need to watch again the scene after Charlie killed two men and she’s trying to wrap her head around it. I feel like there was a missed opportunity — Miles could have made it clear that you hope you never “get used” to killing (it’s obvious that, although he kills when he has to, he doesn’t enjoy it); he could have dismissed her concerns; he could have pretended to dismiss her concerns as a combination of not really knowing how to deal with her and also as a bit of misplaced “tough love” because he knows she’ll have to do a lot more killing before this is done (besides, she killed someone or several someones in the first episode when she and her friends came to help him in the Big Fight Scene in Episode 1. It’s not her first kill, although it’s the first of this type of kill). Instead, it didn’t really commit to any of the above. The actors had to work too hard in that scene — the problem, I felt, was in the material and in the direction. It wasn’t layered; it was messy. That meant the actors had to work harder to try to pull it off, and the work showed, instead of it being organic. That’s not a failure on the actors’ parts — they did what they could with the material, and the writing needed to be both crisper and more layered, and the direction needed to be more specific in that scene.

Why does this moment bother me? Because it could have been a pivotal point of connection and understanding in the relationship between Charlie and Miles. The actors reached for it, but the material, in this case, didn’t give them the support it should have. You’ve got to hand it to Billy Burke — when he’s in a scene with someone, he’s totally there. A lesser actor would have hung his scene partner out to dry in order to look better, and he did not. Those are the actors you want on your project, the ones who give and receive in a scene, rather than take. Giancarlo Esposito had a lot of wonderful small moments in his scenes, too — a more insecure, self-involved actor would have used some of those moments to chew scenery or wipe the floor with his fellow actors. He doesn’t need to, and he’s far more effective doing what he’s doing. I can’t wait until Esposito and Burke have scenes together. As a writer, while it’s frustrating to see that flawed material in something that’s on network (but not a surprise), it’s also interesting to break it down and figure out what could have made the material stronger, and yet still fit into the constraints of the production (the need for scenes to be truncated for commercial breaks). As someone who worked so closely with actors for so many years, watching performances grow and change night-to-night, show-to-show, sometimes on a daily basis, I feel for the actors, and I’m always fascinated by the development of material.

So, why am I going on and on about beats and scenes in a television series that, truly, has nothing to do with me? That whole dissection experience made me a little resentful that I’m not even included in a rehearsal for my play’s reading on Friday, and that the director hasn’t even spoken to me about the material. If I was in the rehearsal room and heard the actors speak the words, I could make tweaks for it to flow more naturally before the performance, which is going to make everyone look better. I don’t believe every word is gold simply because it drips from my pen. I believe in making the words better. Part of that is being in the rehearsal process. Because I will not be pleased if the director or actors take it on themselves to change lines without discussing it with me first (there’s a reason Dramatists Guild contracts don’t allow that). There’s a difference between riffing and improvising off material and just paraphrasing or changing it. The first two, in the right hands, can take the material to the next level. The third and fourth, almost all the time, takes all the air out of material. That would be a sign of both huge ego and huge disrespect on their parts, none of which are unusual in this business. What will really kill the material if the actors take a lot of self-involved pauses you could drive trucks through. It’s written to a very specific rhythm, the rapid-fire 1940s noir patter. Friday will be interesting. It could be amazing, or it could be a disaster. Either way, I know I’ll be taking a lot of notes, and subjecting myself and the pages to the same type of dissection that I do above.

On a happier note, I was thrilled that Damian Lewis won the Emmy for HOMELAND. In my opinion, he’s one of the top actors out there, again, with a lot of quiet, detailed work, and it’s about time he got recognition.

Alright, enough musing — time to get back to the pages and get my own creative work done. I’ve got a book to finish.

Devon

Interviewed on Long & Short Romance!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

First and foremost, hop on over to LASR to read an interview with me — it was a ton of fun — I just love working with them.

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT will be available at the bookstore in the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference — woo hoo! If HEX BREAKER isn’t in print yet, they told me to go ahead and leave promotional materials in the store. Talk about a much better arrangement than at Write Angles last year, which segregated authors, lied to me about carrying me in the store, and then, the night before the conference dumped the whole problem into my lap. This was easy-peasy — I emailed the guy running the bookstore, he sent me the form, and we’re good to go. No drama, no “you’re not with a big enough publisher and not important enough for our store”, none of that. Which is one reason this conference is one of the most respected in the country.

Yesterday, I worked a lot, but didn’t get enough done. Sound familiar? But I got some ideas to one of my new editors, got some work in for another client, mowed the terraced back area, took all the clippings to the dump, In the afternoon, I managed to write 1857 words (a whole chapter) on HEART BINDER, and I read 70 pages of a manuscript for critique. And baked a cake.

I went to the client meeting at 6:30 last night, and didn’t get home until after 11. It was fun, and nice to do focused work in company, but I was beat by the time I got in. Overslept this morning, and then did some more work for that client before I even got a chance to blog.

Tessa was mad at me — our routine this summer has been that I take her out with me in the morning and put her in her cage on the deck. She watches me water, and then is out with me while I have my first cup of coffee, percolate ideas, and write the first 1K of the day in longhand. Later, at the end of the day, she comes out with me again, while I have a glass of wine on the deck and either read or write some more.

Well, yesterday afternoon, I was behind in the work, and couldn’t take her out before I left. And this morning, it was rainy. She was one sulky girl. I took her out this morning in my arms and she got rained on — which, of course, in her feline mind, is all my fault.

Anyway, I’ve got a LOT on my plate today — better get to it.

I’m so happy with the LASR interview!

Devon

Don’t forget — Taste of Tarot workshop for artists in all media, this Saturday afternoon, June 16, at Three Fish and a Ram Community Art Center in Mashpee. More info here.