Mon. March 18, 2018: Kindness is not Weakness #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, March 18, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

 

In light of the New Zealand terrorist attack, I thought it was important to talk about how kindness is not weakness.

Often, when someone is kind, it is misinterpreted as weak. Part of the premise of my not-quite-cozy Nautical Namaste mystery series (under the Ava Dunne name) hinges on the fact that my protagonist, Sophie, is mistaken for weak when in reality she is kind. She walks her talk. She does her best to live the yogic path she teaches. Part of that path is meeting the world with kindness.

That does not mean she doesn’t fight back when someone tries to hurt her or hurt someone about whom she cares. Quite the contrary. She’s strong. She can be tough without being hard.

But she is also kind. She does her best to make everyone in class feel good about where they are at that moment. It’s one of the tenets practiced at Kripalu that I admire most, and I wanted to fold that in as part of the series.

You are fine where you are. From where you are, you work for positive change to change what you know needs to change.

Offering a helping hand instead of a striking blow is not weakness.

It is something we must start practicing as individuals. If the current poison of hatred can spread the way it has, it can and must be countered with an antidote of kindness in strength.

Take a look at the Strength card in your favorite tarot deck. (If you don’t have a favorite tarot deck yet, I recommend the Robin Wood Deck or the Everyday Witch Tarot or the Steampunk Tarot). Look at the image on the Strength card. There is strength, integrity, purpose. And kindness.

We can’t change the greater world until we change our own part of it. By practicing kindness in strength, we can create a ripple effect that counters the wave of hatred that’s been the long game since the Reagan years, which is now coming into full flower.

We can stop this. We can change this. But only if we don’t turn away, pretend it doesn’t exist, and pretend that our daily interactions either enable it or counter it.

Be strong. Be kind. Make the world a better place.

 

Published in: on March 18, 2019 at 5:18 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 18, 2018: Kindness is not Weakness #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release

Plot Bunnies Cover 1

Friday, June 03, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a long day, but fine.

Once work was done, we settled on the cover for “Plot Bunnies”, gave it a final going-over – which meant a couple of last-minute revisions. Much easier in this format than in most manuscript galleys, where I wouldn’t have been able to change anything. But this was important, because I may well do more stories with these characters. I reworked the end scene, and fixed something early on that sets up a good deal of the when and why. I also came up with a series title: Twinkle Tavern Mysteries.

This morning, “Plot Bunnies”, under the Ava Dunne name, released via Smashwords. You can purchase a copy for only 99 cents here.

This has to do with the platform building I’m doing for the Ava Dunne name, so that if and when my agent sells the series she’s got, I’ve already got a foundation.

Now, I have to go into edits for “Personal Revolution”, because that has to go to galleys and be ready to go by the end of the month.

This morning, I managed to start getting the rewrite for CHARISMA on paper – new opening sequence. I like it, although I have to massage it a bit. It’s still first drafty. But it feels good to be actually putting words on paper again, after a week of percolating. I know where I’m headed and am looking forward to both the journey and the destination. I’m hoping for a solid writing weekend, even though it’s my Saturday “on” tomorrow.

We’re down two people at work, so I have no doubt it will be very busy. It already has been.

But I hope you enjoy “Plot Bunnies”. I’m very fond of the piece and its characters.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on June 3, 2016 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release  
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Thurs. June 2, 2016: The Nitpicky Part of Revisions

Thursday, June 02, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Long day yesterday. One of those days when everything takes longer to accomplish than you wish.

Home, and too wiped out to be much good. Re-configuring and re-configuring the opening of what used to be CHARISMA KILLINGS. I think I’ve hit on how I want to structure the first few chapters now; I just have to figure where I can drop the first body. I’d like to do it at the end of Chapter One, but it might be at the end of Chapter Two.

Photo shoot for the cover of “Plot Bunnies.” I’m not sure what we got works; I have to see the photos full size. We might have to go back tonight and try again. I want to do one more proof of the text, and then – off we go. It’s good to build the Ava Dunne platform a bit pre-CHARISMA KILLINGS. I’ll probably build a Facebook page for that name, too. Start establishing the presence a bit more.

Today will be a long day, too, not in hours, but in terms of what I have to get done. I’m hoping to get in a writing session tonight, but my eyes are bothering me, and so is my arm. So we’ll see where we are – I might have to get up extra early tomorrow.

I’m working on re-shifting some deadlines, and I’ll have to do some follow up on pieces that have been out without hearing anything; there are a few other pieces where it feels like they’ve been out forever, but, according to my log, it’s within the expected time frame.

I wrote a few words for the company of the radio play that broadcasts next week, thanking them and wishing them well. I hope they’re having fun with the play!

Digging in and going on.

Devon

Published in: on June 2, 2016 at 8:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 2, 2016: The Nitpicky Part of Revisions  
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Thurs. Dec. 20: I Impersonate the Cookie Elf and Other Tales

IMG_0734
Advent Table

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was about packing and delivering more cookie platters. Yup, that was pretty much the entire day. Several libraries, the business center, the vet, the fire department, the dump, Country Gardens, The Writers Center, Long Pasture, etc. — all the places I spend a lot of time and where they’re always good to me. Everyone seemed really pleased.

Yes, the platters take time and energy, but it’s also a way of letting these people I deal with all year know that they matter.

Check out this article by Frank Mulligan on the National Marine Life Center — not only is it a good piece to get more attention to the Center, but it’s exceptionally well-written!

I spoke with my friend over at Long Pasture about partnering with the Marine Life Center on a few things in the coming year — he’s open to it. I think it would be tons of fun, and that way, all of us could utilize our membership lists and expand coverage.

Still haven’t finished the holiday cards!

The plan was to get the cards done today and take the last platters Over the Bridge tomorrow — however, the weather today is great, and tomorrow is supposed to be disgusting, so I got up early, baked the last batch of red velvet cupcakes, and will do it this afternoon. I did get some more of the decorating done yesterday, and am starting to clear away the boxes.

Yoga was great this morning. And I stopped at the beach on the way home.

Tomorrow’s Yule — the Winter Solstice. I’m excited — I’m looking forward to the ceremony.

Devon

Enjoy some Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays — two Nina Bell comic mysteries, and an Ava Dunne-penned romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide Myths. All under $2!

“When Words Align” — get your WIP or revision back on track in this week-long intensive, Jan. 2-9, 2013. Information and registration here.

“Sensory Perceptions” — take your writing to the next level, layering in sensory description, creating six flash fiction and one longer story from Jan. 2-Feb. 3, 2013. Information and Registration here.

Tuesday, Dec. 18: Baking Exhaustion & Sugar Overload

IMG_0726
All three can finally share the same chair

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Yup, I thought yesterday was December 15 -hence the mistake in the Blog Post title. I truly thought it was the 15th, not the 17th, which meant I missed a live video chat last night I wanted to attend. Fortunately, I wasn’t the presenter!

Yesterday I buckled down to holiday cards. My disorganization from last year bit me in the butt, because I spent more time hunting down changes of address than I spent on cards, and only made it through the J’s. That’s for domestic — all the overseas went out last week, thank goodness.

I also baked the molasses spice cookies I’d prepped on Sunday — three batches of them. They came out very well. I baked one batch of the lemon sugar cookies. They taste great, but the batch doesn’t make as many as I hoped, and I discovered it takes two lemons to create 1/3 of a cup of zest. So I’ll be buying more lemons today. The cookies are good, but they are a pain to prep, so this will probably be the only year I do them. Instead of two more batches of those, I have to do three.

This morning, I baked two batches of red velvet cupcakes. I’ll have to do at least one batch more. I also designed and printed the tags for the cookie platters. I don’t know what happened to the gift tags I’ve made in other years — disappeared into the Gift Tag Vortex, I guess. I combined what’s on the platter onto the tag, so I don’t have to prep the sheets of photographs.

The batter for red velvet cupcakes looks like blood — they’d be good for a Halloween party!

My hip flexors are giving me a lot of problems. I took valerian last night, to relax it enough to get some sleep, but I’m groggy this morning — which I shouldn’t be, from valerian. Too much raw cookie dough, probably — sugar crash.

Lousy first morning writing session, but I’ve got to get all this other stuff done, and I want to start moving the cookie platters out either later today or tomorrow. Anything with red velvet in it can’t sit around. I realized I need to yank some of the subplots from this book and save them for one further in the series. I can plant the seeds for those arcs now, but otherwise, too much gets too sprawly too fast.

I started planning the food for the Twelfth Night party — that’s not too far away, and I have to start thinking about invites, etc. But first, I need to get the cards and cookies out!

I’d love an extended nap, but that’s not on the agenda right now!

Pat, to answer your question about swapping out a revised piece for a contest entry — no, that’s not usually allowed. I’m trading on the relationship I have with this particular production company IF this draft is strong enough to land me a slot. What you send is what you’re judged on — if you get in, then, there is often a revision process. Before something is published, it’s going to get an edit (one hopes). But once it’s in the pipeline, you don’t get to swap it out. That’s where careful copy editing and proof-reading is so important. If a mistake hits someone in the pipeline on a bad day and that individual finds it particularly grating, you’re out. My revision for this play — should I land the slot — is more than just typos. I want to do a structural change, and hope that the seven pages it takes me to accomplish that will be allowed. I won’t know until mid-January, but I want to have the next draft in good shape, and then, if this draft gets me in, I’ll request the swap. If the draft doesn’t get me in, if I blew it, that’s on me, but at least I tried. I’ll still have a rewritten draft to submit elsewhere.

Back to baking. I may have to take a nap for an hour or so this afternoon.

Devon

Nibble on the Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays! Two Nina Bell shorts (read excerpts here) and an Ava Dunne romantic comedy/fantasy twist on traditional Yuletide myths (read excerpt here).

When Words Align is a one-week intensive to get you back on track with either your WIP or your revision, January 2-9.

Sensory Perceptions teaches you, story-by-story to focus on each of the senses, while layering them into a longer piece. January 2-February 3.

Wed. Dec. 12, 2012: Magic Day Starts with Frustration

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Dark Moon
Sunny and cool

12-12-12. Once in a lifetime, good day. Since the numbers add up to 9, the number of fulfillment, even better! 😉

But wordpress is working my LAST nerve today — hard to get into.

Yesterday was just a lost day. Total chaos. Not bad at all — I actually was in a pretty good mood for the day. Just couldn’t get much done. Got a little bit done with my students, got out a resume, some work done on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE. Interacted with people who responded to the guest blog post, and did some marketing. Got some more decorating done. Worked on short stories.

When it was clear that I hit the point where I was a waste of food, I stopped. Rather than get frustrated, I figured I’d just roll with it.

I re-read two of Rosemary Edghill’s Bast mysteries, BOOK OF MOONS and THE BOWL OF NIGHT. I have SPEAK DAGGERS TO HER somewhere and have to find it and re-read that one, too. Loved these books now even more than when I originally read them. They speak so much to my life in New York City during those years (the years when the Nina Bell mysteries are set, actually). Yet, because I understand more and have more life experience, I enjoy both the memories and get a lot of the deeper references. I wish there were more books in the series, although I completely respect any writer’s decision to “be done” with a series or characters.

Today, the noise from the roofers is bothering me more than usual — probably because it’s right outside my office. I think I will take today to run errands. I have to get my overseas holiday cards written – they have to go out the door tomorrow. I got my online ordering done yesterday — not bad at all.

I’m going to spend some time with my students, and then get out of the house, while I still have at least one nerve intact! 😉

Devon Ellington

Check out the Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays, featuring Nina Bell and, under the Ava Dunne name, Samantha Wright, in a romantic comedy/fantasy twist on familiar Yuletide myths.

Wed. Nov. 28, 2012: “Just Jump in and Fly” — a fun twist on Yuletide Myths!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Here’s the cover for “Just Jump in a Fly” a romantic comedy/fantasy re-working of the Yuletide Myths that went up yesterday under the Ava Dunne name.

Blurb:
Samantha Wright has a problem. The attractive Kris Teague crash- landed his sleigh and eight not-so-tiny reindeer in her driveway. His uncle Nick happens to be THAT Nick – as in Claus – and they need Samantha Wright’s help to turn back the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at one of the Universal Gates not only to save Christmas, but keep Earth turning. A fresh, romantic comedy turn on Yuletide myths and traditions!

For an excerpt and Buy Link, go to the Ava Dunne page. It’s only 99 cents!

I love this story — I had such a great time playing with the myths of the season. I’m planning to do more with these characters for each turn of the wheel. Which means the next piece has to be released by February1!

I figured out how to do better covers in Pages. I realized, for the PDFs, I don’t have to work in .doc. I also learned how to save into PDF and transform that into a JPG. Unfortunately, the back cover fill doesn’t convert from Pages to PDF, so, while the stand-alone cover I’m using to promote the book has the background color I want, the download is in simple black and white.

I tweaked the cover for “Tumble”. I think it looks much better. Again, I can’t replace the cover in the PDF, but it’s close, and this looks better for promotion. It’s much easier to work with photographs than anything else, so I need to go find some mistletoe and re-do the other cover. The Nina stories are too much fun to suffer from poor covers!

And yes, I’m hiring a cover ARTIST for the Nina Bell book release on April Fool’s Day! 😉

My bio’s up on the Indie Book Award site, and I look forward to being one of their judges this winter/spring. Exciting!

Had a good writing session in the morning, both yesterday and a little tougher one today. Ran errands — had to find a new tree topper — it’s hard! Finally found one that I think will be pretty.

Got some raking done in the back — the terraced back area and one side of the house. That’s all we could get done before the sleet started. Took seven bags of leaves to the dump. Most of the day was about getting “Just Jump in and Fly” done.

Good meeting in the evening. I’m going to change the way we handle the mailing list, and set up a gmail account for the organization, which will make more sense and give us more flexibility. I’m also going to set up a WordPress site for them. We need to have an internet presence, and be able to link to other sites in the town, etc.

Started packing for the NY trip this weekend. Worked with tarot students. Set up a Tarot Lounge on the workshop board so that we can continue the conversation once class ends, and set up a Yahoo loop called “Myth-Drunk Writers” so we can continue the conversation once the Greek/Roman Mythology class is over.

I’ve got an article to write today, and I’ve got to prep “That Man in Tights” to upload, and get the lights on the darned tree — I finally found them. Tessa spends a lot of time playing with the tree — it makes her feel like outdoor kitty! Also have to go to the local library and Sandwich, and find mistletoe to photograph!

Busy times. But happy ones.

Devon

Don’t forget to sign up for Flash 7 — Write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days! Info and registration here.

Mon. Dec. 26: Yuletide Ghosts/Jupiter Direct

Monday, December 26, 2011
Waxing Moon
NO Retrogrades!
Rainy and mild

I’ve got a piece on “Yuletide Ghosts” (as Annabel Aidan) over on the Stuff Your Stockings Blogfest on Long & Short Romance. If you leave a comment, you can win a copy of my holiday romantic comedy “Just Jump in and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne name).

Jupiter went direct yesterday — could you feel it pop? We are now retrograde-free for awhile. Feels a little weird, but god.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend. I ran around a bit on Saturday, getting a few last minute things, like real greenery to go inside. Went to a friend’s party for a bit on Saturday night, then came home, cooked the Christmas Eve dinner for the family and we enjoyed it.

A bit different this year — filet mignon instead of the usual pork roast. Very tasty.

We sat around opening gifts, reading, talking — it was well after midnight before we went to bed.

Up early the next day to enjoy the stockings, eat a big breakfast, and get the turkey into the oven. Great turkey meal with all the trimmings, again lots of reading and writing and chatting with family and friends. The cats had a stocking of their own, filled with treats and toys and catnip. They enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

Got a lot of writing done — not on anything I was SUPPOSED to work on, but something I wanted to work on, just because I wanted to. Did a lot of reading, too.

Today I’m mostly taking off — doing some writing, getting thank you notes and party invites out. I’m trying to take it a little easy this week, mostly prepping the lesson plans for the first quarter of next year, get up my new lesson forum for private students (separate from Savvy Authors classes), work on my new business plan, etc. I plan to really buckle down on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, too. I want to get that out the door just after the first of the year, then run my eye over OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK before I send that out, per publisher’s request, just after the first of the year.

It’s busy, but good busy. I have to keep on track and not get overwhelmed, or derailed by students who continue to procrastinate. I hope we don’t lose any more of the year-long students but they MUST finish their first drafts by January 31, or they will be cut from the class. And several of them are still procrastinating. Come on, people, it’s been five months. The only obstacle to your success at this point is you.

A thousand words a day — four pages — is next to nothing. It takes just over an hour. It means you can write a draft a novel in about four months. If you’re gonna do this for a living, you’re gonna have to write a damn bit more than that, regularly, and stay on track. An hour a day does not a career make.

I have to get my office sorted out. It looks like a tornado hit it. Well, it was a kitten, but same result. And it’s not JUST the kitten’s fault – -I’ve been stacking and searching and not being as neat as I should be. I want to go into the new year with a tidy office — not just because of company and the party, but for my own well-being.

I’m excited about 2012.

Devon

New Year’s Eve!

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Full Moon
BLUE MOON
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing!!!
New Year’s Eve

Holy crap, another year, another decade gone. Well, I’m ready for the next one. Oh, and by the way, I don’t have time for the world to end in 2012. I have too much to do, and the Apocalypse will have to make an appointment with me like everyone else! It’s really not going to work out until like 2075 or something, so just chill Horsemen, chill. 😉

I would not want to be in Times Square for anything – can you imagine, no toilets? And they don’t let you out once you’re in? Ick. When I had the apartment a block away and could see the ball drop from my window, it was really cool, but as the years progressed, I couldn’t even give a party, much less get home after my show because the whole Square is in lock-down. I’d have to go OUT — which I hated — until 1 AM. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that any more.

It’s snowing like crasy — looks like someone dumped a truck of powdered sugar all over everything. Lovely, especially since I don’t have to go out in it!

Dashed out early to the grocery store, came back, cooked like a mad woman all morning (hush, I can hear the comments all the way over here), packed things up, and delivered where they needed to be delivered, packed in the fridge what’s needed for today and tomorrow, did the errands for my mom, picked up the rest of the ritual stuff, and was home by about 3 PM. Poured a glass of wine and just could NOT face going in to the kitchen to even heat anything up for dinner. I’d had a huge lunch — because I needed the space in the fridge!

I’ve posted my year-end wrap up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. Not happy with my progress, but I feel I learned a lot, and if I apply it moving forward, it will have been worth it.

Forgot to mention I watched the Louisa May Alcott documentary/recreation on PBS the other night. Since Louisa is one of my heroines, and one of the reasons I’m a writer, I had to sit down and watch it. I enjoyed most of it, loved Elizabeth Marvel in it, but felt bad because it was obvious they were on a small budget, and those paper animation thingys just didn’t work for me. I feel bad about not loving the whole thing; after all, I know what it’s like to work on a shoestring production budget.

I ran into one of my best friend at, of all places, the gas station, on my way home from errands. Too funny! We both wanted to top off the tanks to start the new decade with full tanks.

My plans today are to stay home and read and write and do exactly as I please. Ritual tonight (blue moon/full moon, after all). Everything’s ready for that, food just has to be popped into the oven. We’ll toast in the New Year with some champagne, and I have to force down some herring before midnight (not fond of herring, but it’s a family tradition for good luck). Lots of yoga, too. I want it to be a peaceful crossing into the new decade!

If you haven’t downloaded “Just Jump in and Fly”, you only have a few more days. It won’t be available after January 6. If you didn’t get to read “First Feet” last year, it’s still available — a Jain Lazarus Adventure influenced by the first footing custom. It’s below the excerpt from OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so scroll down a bit. Enjoy!

Have a happy and safe New Year!

Devon

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

holiday-wish-list

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Day before the Dark Moon
Christmas Eve
Rainy and mild

Yes, it’s here and it’s ready – my holiday gift to you, a new Congress Corners story called “Holiday Wish List”. It’s a free download on the Ava Dunne page of the Devon Ellington website. It will only be available until Twelfth Night, so enjoy it while you can! There’s an excerpt at the bottom of this page.

I’m warning you, it’s a mushy Christmas tale, so if you’re not into that kind of piece, skip it.

Hey, you can always buy TOO MUCH MISTLETOE, if you haven’t yet, and get something a little more comic and edgy, right? You can get TOO MUCH MISTLETOE here.

I had a pretty good writing day, although massive computer problems meant I didn’t actually finish “Holiday Wish List” until after midnight. Yeah, it was supposed to be 1500 words and it’s about 8500 – so you’re getting a long short story!

I cannot wait to get rid of this crappy computer and get my Mac in February. If I can just coax this one along for a few more months . . .

Couldn’t get my car out, so that’s on the agenda for today. It’s thawed quite a bit and it’s raining, so I ought to be able to manage it.

Hopefully, it won’t now flood! I’ll traipse down every few hours to keep an eye on the brook!

I’ve got to get to the grocery store for just a few more things. I’m serving a pork roast tonight, with red cabbage, baked potatoes, and green beans in hollandaise sauce. And we’re having plum pudding for dessert.

Have a lovely holiday!

Devon

Excerpt from “Holiday Wish List” ©2008 Ava Dunne:

Why, oh why did Cassio have to go and ruin a perfectly wonderful, romantic Christmas with an engagement ring?

But maybe it wasn’t an engagement ring. Maybe it was just . . .a ring.

Believe that and I’ve got a bridge you can get cheap in Brooklyn, she said to herself.

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to interfere, but are you all right?”

Doris blinked away tears and looked up into a pair of kind, very dark blue eyes. “Uh, yes, I’m sorry, I’m being silly.” She took a good look at the man. He was tall, lean, handsome in an untraditional way. His thick, fair hair had a bit of a wave to it, almost touching his collar, and his eyes were a blue so deep they were almost purple. He wore a well-tailored charcoal gray coat with black gloves and a deeper gray scarf. By the lines around his eyes, she figured him to be in his late thirties or maybe early forties. If she was looking, she’d be looking at him, he had such an air of self-possession and intelligence about him.

“The holidays can get stressful. American?” He sat on the bench beside her.

“Originally.” Doris was naturally cautious.

“Me, too, although I like to think of the world as my home.” He gave a rueful smile. “Never could stay in one place for long. Though I admit, sometimes around the holidays, it makes me feel . . .” he paused, searching for the words, “nostalgic.”

“For the type of old-home, picture perfect Christmases that never happened?” Doris couldn’t resist asking.

You can download the full story from the Ava Dunne page here.

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 9:08 am  Comments (7)  
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