Tues. Nov. 29, 2016: Figuring the Juggling

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
New Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was busy. I wrote in the morning, and finished proofing TRACKING MEDUSA, getting it ready for re-release. It goes out today. Fingers crossed it lands with a good publisher soon.

I figured out where I went wrong on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, so once MEDUSA is all set, I can get back to work on that. I cut the first 203 pages, because I figued out the story really starts on page 204. I need to work in flashback with Alec’s introduction, since he provides plenty of conflict with Justin, but, other than that, the story really starts much farther into it than I originally thought.

The afternoon was spent helping set up the Marine Life Center’s tree in Hyannis for Spectacle of Trees. I’m picking up a few things for it today, but we got a lot done on it.

I’m sorting through the last of the research, so I can finish this last scene on the play, then work on another pass and get it out the door by the end of the week. I still have to find a better title. The working title just doesn’t . . .work. I HAD a title, earlier this year, but I can’t remember it.

Better get going — I want to get some writing done this afternoon, and tonight is HobNob!

Devon

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Published in: on November 29, 2016 at 10:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 29, 2016: Figuring the Juggling  
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Sat. Aug. 1, 2015: Lammas & Creative Energy

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Day After Full/Blue Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Lammas
Sunny and warm

Blessed Lammas to all!

Yesterday was busy at work, but good, which is always nice.

I can’t believe the Cape Cod Writers’ Conference is THIS WEEK! And the Mermaid Ball is NEXT WEEK!!! And Casino Night is on Aug. 28!!!!!!

And then August will be over. And I’ll be ready for a straitjacket! 😉

Overslept this morning and then ran errands before work – it’s my Saturday “on.”

Finished Tanya Huff’s SMOKE AND SHADOWS – set behind the scenes on a Vancouver television set. Very well done and lots of fun. Started SMOKE AND MIRRORS – equally well done, although if the wardrobe crew had behaved the way their wardrobe assistant does, she would have been fired in a heartbeat! 😉 Even on some of the more dysfunctional sets, one couldn’t get away with her behavior, and wardrobe, in general, is much more the heartbeat of the set than on this particular production. Maybe it’s different on the West Coast and/or in Vancouver than out here in the East! 😉

I’m also chomping at the bit to finish the contemporary play and get back to work on both BALTHAZAAR and the fantasy novel on which I wrote so much earlier in the week. I will have to change the title of the latter – I LOVE the title, it’s one of the better ones I came up with – but, as the book develops, it’s no longer relevant. And the title needs to be relevant.

Have a great weekend – I’m sure I will have stories, next week, from the Writers’ Conference!

Devon

Published in: on August 1, 2015 at 9:30 am  Comments Off on Sat. Aug. 1, 2015: Lammas & Creative Energy  
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Wed. June 24, 2015: Blasting Through the Solstice

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy few days. By Friday afternoon, I was cooked. We moved books over to Liberty Hall for the book sale. We were short handed, so in between, I had to handle the desk myself in the afternoon. By the time I locked up on Friday afternoon, I was wiped out.

Tried to relax on the deck, but it was hard. Got some reading done — I’ve read a few books of a fairly well done cozy series, except the female protagonist of the pair makes really stupid mistakes. It’s one thing for an intelligent character to make a mistake based on mis-information or mis-interpretation of information. It’s quite different to make a mistake when you know better — and keep making that type of mistake, more than once per book and in multiple books. It shows a character who doesn’t learn, and that’s not someone with whom I choose to spend time. Even though a lot of the writing is lively, that is such a huge character flaw and shows a lack of growth that I can’t accept in characters I spend time with.

Next!

Cats loved having house guests. They got even more spoiled than before.

Prepped for the wedding Friday night and some of Saturday morning. Also got some research done on Saturday morning, and spent time with houseguests.

The day was gorgeous and the wedding was wonderful. It was at a church in Cotuit –the place was packed. The wedding was full of joy and laughter and beauty — the best of what one of those public rituals should be.

The party was fun, although I only stayed a couple of hours. I was worn out.

Tried to sleep in a bit on Sunday, fed the guests, got them on their way. The weather was dreadful — storms, thunder, lightening, pelting rain. Caught rainwater to use for plants. Spent most of the day doing research.

I’ve got two plays to work on, and I don’t want to lose momentum for BALTHAZAAR. There’s another idea percolating — I’m working with characters and situations, but I don’t quite have it yet. It would be contemporary.

And there’s another idea that’s taking shape, form, character, that would start in 1938. If it works, it has the potential to go all the way to present day. The backdrop is, of course, theatre, and it combines some of the other ideas and research I’ve done over several years, trying to find the right format.

Believe it or not, Agnes DeMille’s biography of Martha Graham provided the missing piece of inspiration to pull those years of playing with ideas together, and I did ten pages of notes for the overview and, specifically, for the first story.

Something else that is interesting about DeMille’s biography of Graham is that it is as much about DeMille as Graham! It shouldn’t be titled MARTHA GRAHAM, it should be MARTHA GRAHAM FROM AGNES DEMILLE’S PERSPECTIVE.

Read SPINSTER: MAKING A LIFE OF ONE’S OWN by Kate Bolick. The writing is good, and while there is a lot I like about it, I disagree that she’s “making a life of one’s own.” Yes, she remains unmarried. But she’s a serial dater, always involved in a relationship, always dating frenetically, as though she has to prove that, although she remains unmarried, she is still attractive and desired. She has no idea what it means to be alone — especially since she’s always running to her therapist. She’s unmarried, yes, but solitude is something she avoids. Being home alone one night to read a book and enjoying it is not “being alone”. It’s having a night off.

Read MUSE by Jonathan Galassi. Liked a lot of it, loved a lot of the writing and phrasing. However, stylistically, it was too narrative for my taste. It was like reading a book-long profile in THE NEW YORKER. I don’t want to hear ABOUT all these interesting people — I want to learn about them through active scenes. So, while I enjoyed the book and the writing a lot, I didn’t love it.

Lovely Summer Solstice celebration that will hopefully ground me well for the next cycle. I can’t believe the days are starting to get shorter! In a week or so, we’ll really notice.

Monday was an excellent writing day: 16 pages (just over one chapter ) of the mystery set on Cape Cod in 1938. The reading I’d done over the weekend fed the story and characters. While this mystery follows formula in some ways, it unfolds a little differently and a little more slowly than the current fashion. The title tells you the type of character who will meet a bad end, but, for the first couple of chapters, there are several possibilities. Also, setting the book in this time period, while Europe is in turmoil and America tried to stay out of it, sets up interesting conflicts between the more insular world the characters inhabit and how world events affect it — and how they try to fight it. It’s also a good way to explore various prejudices. I’d originally planned to start the book in the Midwest (my protagonist is from a small town outside Chicago) and have her receive a letter that is the catalyst to moving to New York. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to start building the relationships during a summer stock season on Cape Cod to set the stage (so to speak) for her break with her hometown and childhood sweetheart in active scenes. In other words, this first book will be here, on Cape Cod, before she makes the move to New York. She’ll move to New York in Book Two. I’m also taking some time to develop the first murder victim. I want the reader to know the individual and feel genuine sorrow at the death. It fits more the formula of some of the books written in the actual era, instead of starting in the midst of everything or giving us background we don’t need. Every scene has relevance to the plot, even the ones that won’t seem to until the murderer is revealed.

When I’d written myself out, I got gas for the car and the mower (prices have gone up AGAIN — I’m tired of the way gas prices are manipulated). I mowed the side yard and part of the front, although a big new crop of dandelions sprang up almost immediately.

The cats missed the house guests.

Read Barbara Delinsky’s LAKE NEWS last night. I enjoy her writing.

Up early Tuesday. I have more mowing and repotting to do today, hopefully before the next storm hits, but I also want to get some work done on both BALTHAZAAR and the 1938 mystery.

I’ve also been doing background reading for the one hour pilot. The research reinforces the more jaded view that people basically suck.

However, it was an excellent writing day on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, a total of 22 pages, finishing up one chapter and writing another completely. I was exhausted by the end of it, but it was worth it. I have the research books spread out all around me, and I keep referring back and forth. The constant fact-checking slowed me down, and I still have some more to do when I do the next draft, but I was able to at least make this first one work.

Bad storms came through, with both tornado watches and warnings. The cats were upset and all sat in my lap. We were lucky here, though: thunder, lightening, heavy rain (which we needed). But no tornadoes.

Tried to read a mystery on the Kindle with an interesting premise, but the author or copyeditor didn’t know the difference between a regular plural and a possessive plural, so, after four pages’ worth of mistakes, I gave up. That’s third grade level English, and there’s no excuse for those types of errors in a published book. Read another book on Kindle that was pleasant, but no great shakes. Needed brain candy, but, ultimately, that one left me unsatisfied, too.

Upped the yoga practice to more intensity. I want to try adding another yoga session at night. I used to do that, when I first moved here, and yoga twice a day was great — in the morning, it focuses me and gets me ready for the day; at night, it unwinds me.

Today will be a very long day at the library. We’re short-handed today, and there’s something that needs my full attention that HAS to get done (I started it, but the rest of the information won’t have arrived until today). That means I’ll be putting in extra hours, after the building is closed. I’m working tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday, and then I have Sunday and Monday for intense writing. Tuesday, next week, I have appointments.

Worked on BALTHAZAAR again this morning, before I left for the library, but after the intensity of the past few days, it didn’t feel like enough. It was a solid 1500 words, though, so I shouldn’t kick myself about it. There are so many great stories-within-the-story in BALTHAZAAR that I’m tempted to do some chapters set back in pirate days. However, as a reader, I don’t like that convention — having the reader get far ahead of the protagonists — and it doesn’t fit with the way I’ve set up the structure of chapters in the series. Maybe a tie-in novel set there in the future? Or would it be too much like CUTTHROAT CHARLOTTE? I don’t think so, but one never knows. We’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll do a book with Balthazaar, Sybilla, and Charity as the focus, rather than the catalyst, at some point in the future.

The weather, however, is gorgeous, and a wonderful reminder of why I live here.

I have a bad headache which I hope won’t develop into a migraine.

Have a great week!

Devon

Published in: on June 24, 2015 at 10:29 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 24, 2015: Blasting Through the Solstice  
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Fri. June 12, 2015: Planning A Writing, Dancing Weekend

Friday, June 12, 2015
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and humid

The meeting yesterday morning went well. Issues were dealt with and progress made, always a good thing.

Stopped at home to pick up the food for the author event, went in to work. Got very little done, other than setting up for the book launch (and setting up tango, next door).

The book launch went well. It was a pleasant evening.

I was tired by the end of it. Finished Donald Hall’s memoir when I got home.

Had weird dreams in the night about the person who was the inspiration for Justin Yates in the Gwen Finnegan mysteries. Makes sense, since I’m writing BALTHAZAAR.

Contract issues seem to be worked out for the extension for HEX BREAKER — fingers crossed. And Mercury is direct, so off it goes.

Looking forward to a straight eight hours at work, and then home. Hopefully, it will be nice enough to sit on the deck with a glass of wine.

Work tomorrow, then tango in Wellfleet. I hope to get some writing done in the morning. I’ll write most of the day on Sunday, and then go to Wellfleet for another tango session. Monday, my mom has a doctor’s appointment and I have errands, plus I need to do the cooking for the strategic planning session on Tuesday, and finish up my “homework”. Tuesday, I’ll be in strategic planning all afternoon, but I’ll write in the morning.

Next Wednesday, we are honored to have the fabulous Archer Mayor do a program at the library. I can’t wait! I love his series, and I’ve been eager to meet him for a long time.

I can’t believe we’re half way through June already, and that the solstice is next weekend! Too fast.

Need to mow the second part of the meadow this weekend — and soon the front will need attention again! Getting gas for the mower needs to be added to the list of errands.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on June 12, 2015 at 8:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 12, 2015: Planning A Writing, Dancing Weekend  
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Fri. March 6, 2015: Recovering from Yet Another Foot of Snow

Friday, March 6, 2015
Last Day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Went home Wednesday night, tired, but looking forward to more WEST WING and dreading the snow.

Woke up to quite a bit of snow on Thursday morning. The library was closed, thank goodness, and Tango cancelled. It snowed all day long. We got another foot.

On the one hand, we’re all so sick of snow, we could hardly stand it.

On the positive side, it meant I could work on the book. I did 178 pages of serious revisions, and finished the first book of the serial, behind-the-scenes novel. 366 pages total on this draft, with Book 1 now being called INSPIRED INCUBATION (yeah, that title will probably be changed).

Overnight, Wednesday into Thursday, I’d come up with ideas for the revision, and I was grateful to be able to implement them. I hadn’t planned on completing the draft of the whole book, but I was on a roll. I kept saying, “Oh, just one more chapter” and then I was out of chapters.

The arcs are stronger, the anecdotes funnier. There are times when the POV is close, and times when it’s a little farther, where it feels as though the camera is filming the process. I tried to stay away from head-hopping, just, in some scenes, keep the focus tighter, and some broader. Hopefully, it works.

Since the novels in this series don’t really stand alone, I want to finish them and then submit them all at once. I still have to position myself and get a few more credits under my belt so that I can fulfill my vision of these books. Revising them along traditional lines won’t work, nor would letting a lot of time elapse in between books. They need to be read as a piece. Basically, it’s one long novel, broken down into manageable bits. Few publishers would be willing to take the risk. When all the novels are prepped, we’ll see where I am and what my options are.

More WEST WING Season 6 last night.

Up early this morning. Shoveled. The library is opening at noon, which gives everyone a chance to dig out and catch breaths. The snow piles at the end of my driveway are as tall as I am, and the level of the snow tunnels along the driveway are chest high.

I need to update my tracking sheets for the serial novel, to make sure I’m all caught up. I’m going to let this draft rest, and work on both the radio play LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES this weekend and BALTHAZAAR.

I hope to get some work done on the microfilm reels this coming week. I have both Saturday and Sunday off, so I want to write a lot, and then research Monday and run errands, get myself together for the week on Tuesday.

Hope you are all safe and warm.

If I could figure out a way to melt the snow and store it, I wouldn’t have to use the garden hose all summer.

The ebooks I’m judging for the Indie Next Generation Contest are starting to come in. The print copies will arrive when the UPS truck can actually drive up my street, poor things. I’m also supposed to get an Amazon delivery today, but I’d be very surprised if they could get through.

Devon

Published in: on March 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Feb. 11, 2015: Writing on Snow Days

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Direct
Snowy and cold

Snowy bunch of days since I last wrote. We’re all suffering from snow fatigue. I keep reminding myself at least it started in late January and not in October.

Mercury goes direct today, thank goodness.

I’m getting a little sick of the so-called DPW Updates, where they say how hard they’re working. You want to know my experience? They’re sure as hell not working on my street. Yes, the plows drive back and forth. Most of the time, the plow is up, not actually plowing — and it’s not like I’m on a through street. The few times the plow deigns to have the blade DOWN, all they do is scrape the surface and shove it into people’s driveways. No sand trucks have gone through since the first blizzard two weeks ago. The rutted snow in the street melts a bit, freezes over at night, melts a bit, freezes over at night. It gets worse every day and is almost impossible on which to drive. There are two more storms coming in the next week. The main roads have been pristine since two days after the blizzard two weeks ago. Come on, people! Actually CLEAR the side streets. And stop piling it in my damn driveway — which, by the way, I’ve repeatedly cleared all the way down to pavement, far more than the plow trucks have done. Enough already!

I see plenty of the “heavy equipment” they talk about driving on the already cleared roads. I haven’t seen ANY of it actually clearing any of the streets that need it.

Saturday’s Courtship Tea was lovely. I’m glad I brought my china cups. It was lots of fun. It was snowing again by the time I got home.

Sunday was outside a gloomy day. Inside, I read, a couple of Ellen Pall’s Nine Muses Mysteries, which were pretty good, set in New York. I started another mystery, by another author, and put it down by page 7 because it was so poorly done.

Finished watching Season 3 of THE WEST WING and started watching STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. Love both shows.

I’ve been listening to Argentine Tango music since Saturday — have it on almost all the time, trying to get it into my body, and been working on some of the steps. Last week, I concentrated on steps and trying to communicate with m partner, but didn’t actually get to feel the music. I prefer to work from music, so I figure if I immerse myself in the music for the next few weeks, that will help me get the steps and communicate with my partner better.

The music is also helping me with ideas for the radio play.

I have to go another pass at one of the TV pilots and send it off next week — that will be interesting. I have to decide which one to submit. I think the pilot for THE BROWNSTONE might work better for this particular venue than TALENT, which is the pilot for the Sparkle & Tarnish series, but I need to re-read both of them and see.

I did a lot of research for the historical play over the past few days, especially since Monday we were pretty much snowed in again and yesterday I only went out to pick up a new prescription for my mother and get some more ice melt). The play itself will only focus on one case in this individual’s life — it’s got a limit of 60 pages, and I can do one episode well or do an overview poorly. I’d rather focus on one episode and do it well. But I’m gathering a wealth of material, and will either do a novel, or I’ll take some of the most interesting incidents in her life and do an historical novel on each.

I’m about ready to really dive in to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE again, and get serious about it. I did a lot of percolating about it the past few days. I can’t find the original outline I wrote for it, so I’m just going to rethink the whole piece. I know the basic themes I’m going to explore, it’s just plot and story points that need modification. They already needed some because the character of Alec sauntered in.

Anyway, I have a long day at the library today, with meetings and the cozy mystery book group. I have to talk to Tango’s organizer — we’re supposed to get slammed again tomorrow night, and we have to decide when to call it tomorrow or go ahead and meet.

I have press releases to write for the library, for NMLC, and for the Writers Center this week. I’d like to finish a draft of the radio play by the end of next weekend.

I scored some terrific equipment that will help me enormously in my research, but I have to drive two hours upstate to pick it up. Obviously, that’s not going to happen for awhile! We’re supposed to get another storm tomorrow, and then another one on Sunday into Monday. Fortunately, Monday is President’s Day, so most people were planning to stay home or to escape. I have a feeling staying home might be in the mix for a lot of us.

The power went out briefly, but only for a couple of minutes, so it wasn’t a big deal. We’ve been very, very lucky so far through all these storms.

I’m rationing the firewood, because pretty much every vendor is completely out of firewood. If the power goes off, I want to make sure I have enough. If it stays on, I can have fires through spring and summer. So it all works out.

Stay safe and warm, all! I’ll have an update on the GDR site either at the end of the week (since the 15th is a Sunday) or next week sometme.

Devon

Wed. Jan. 14, 2015: The Joy of the Process

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. Most of it was spent writing. I wrote nearly three chapters and did a rough outline of a book so the characters would stop yapping at me; now, that book has to find a place in the queue. There are other books which take precedence.

Most of the weekend was spent on the Burns/Woolf tribute. I tore it apart and re-structured it, and I’m finally content with it. There are piles of books with bookmarks and papers in them, marking quotes I wanted to use, and pages of notes scattered around. It was very satisfying. I love to research and find connections and put things together. Finding the connection from Burns to Emerson and then from Emerson to Woolf delighted me.

I had to cut a lot of material — it simply can’t all fit into a single, short presentation. It’s structured like a conversation; hopefully, I’ve now gotten the flow right.

I got cranky on Friday because someone nagged me. I’m writing a piece — for free — for the site. I was booked months ago. I’m working on the piece. It’s due next week. No problem. Getting an email whining that you haven’t heard from me and you need the materials is not going to get them to you faster. Instead, it puts you at the bottom of the list. I have the deadline. You’ll have the material by the deadline. I’d planned to get it in a few days earlier, but guess what? Not happening now, because you treated me like an incompetent flake. I’m a professional and a grown up. (Even though digging in my heels is an adolescent response — yes, I’m aware of the irony). I don’t need babysitting. Don’t call it “follow up” when it’s nagging. If you wanted it before the deadline, you should have given me an earlier deadline. BACK OFF. Especially since I’m not being paid. Last time I’ll be dealing with those people.

It snowed yesterday. The forecast was for flurries. It flurried all day. I had to rush out to Sturgis library to pick up two Virginia Woolf books. I know I’ve got them packed away somewhere, but couldn’t easily put my hands on them. I figured Sturgis was the most likely to have them on the shelf, and they did, exactly where I needed them. In and out in a few minutes. Love that!

In spite of not having those two particular books, I managed to use quite a few books I’ve picked up over the years — the ones that people always say, “Why did you buy those? You’ll never use them!” Well, I used 17 of them. So there! The fact that I didn’t need them for a dozen years is beside the point.

The whole concept of “if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it out” is a bullshit promotion advertisers and “life coaches” use to get people to get rid of things so that they have to buy more. Yes, you should clean out clutter, stuff that’s broken, that you’re SURE you’ll never use again. But when you’re a writer and you accumulate a lot of books — especially non-fiction — almost every nonfiction book I’ve ever bought has served more than one project. It may be years between those projects — and no, you CAN’T find “everything” on the internet or even in libraries. My personal library is worthwhile.

I have to go back and finish the edits on KILLER QUINTET today and tomorrow and get that back to my editor. I have to rewrite a few passages, and I’ve been percolating on them as I do things like dishes and laundry.

Then, I start the radio drama, while I’m researching the historical play and getting back into the groove on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

I’ve started the research on the historical. I read what I could about my main character — not much information. I found out she’s buried in her former employer’s family plot near Chicago, and that the base of operations for the company was in Chicago. The email I sent to the cemetery bounced back, so I’ll have to try again. Maybe I’ll do an old-fashioned letter!

But, I found out that the company’s papers were donated to the Library of Congress. So I dug around on the Library’s website, and found the catalog of what I need. I contacted the reference librarian to see if I could get permission to come down and access the files on site. I can (which means a trip down there in the near future); however, some of what I need can be accessed through Interlibrary Loan and some of the micofiche has copies at Harvard Library. I don’t know if any of the Cape libraries even HAVE microfiche readers any more, but if they do, I can get the materials through ILL and use them here. That will make my time in the actual Library of Congress more efficient.

Additionally, I found some books that might be helpful, and the Circulation Director and I are using them to test out the state’s updated interlibrary loan system. AND I found some books on the subject at my beloved Strand Bookstore, ordered them, and they’ve shipped. I’ m very excited!!!

I’ll detail the experience of discovering and gathering the information and how I’m using it in the play over the next few months. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I’m looking forward to it.

Devon

Thurs. Nov. 13, 2014: Working in All Directions

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy few days. Can I even remember back that far?

Been busy at work, been busy at home. Doing a lot of research; working on RED WIDOW. Also went back to a couple of other projects that are in various stages, went over the material, and I’m re-sorting those priorities. Not getting enough yard work done. Getting paperwork done, especially on the home front, contracts, and the like, and preparing submissions.

Got another small royalty check and the payment for the anthology that’s about to release. I’m excited – my first steampunk story in print! That will drop at the end of next week.

Doing my wreck diving homework for the background on BALTHAZAAR – behind where I’d like to be, but it’s getting done, and a lot of it is creative work, sitting on the floor with a large piece of paper, trying to visualize things. Putting together lots of questions.

A project in DC I thought was dead due to the change in Congress is still on the burner – it may be another six months to a year before it’s up and running, but there’s grant writing and proposal writing to be done in the meantime, interviews to be conducted, etc. If it happens (and there are so many “ifs” involved), it will mean going to DC on some of the days I’m not scheduled to work elsewhere. Not that I mind, especially if someone else is making the arrangements and paying for it! It’s a project I really want to be involved with, although I’m a way out of the box choice – which is exactly why the person heading the project, a former professor of mine, is bound and determined that I remain a part of it.

Got a request for a play of mine – a company in Florida is interested in it. That might be kind of fun, adding it to the resume. I’d just license it, not go down and work on it.

Went to see a facility here on the Cape in connection with another project, earlier this week. I was disappointed. I expected more from the location. I’m still glad I saw it, and it made the creative wheels turn, but I don’t see how we can work out the practicalities in the near future.

Yesterday, Talin Bookbindery did a program at the library. It was magnificent, one of the best programs I’ve attended anywhere. I was even more enchanted with the bookbinding process by the end of it than at the beginning. And the process of making marbled papers! A true art. Wonderful.

Spending lots of time on student work. Hopefully, the students are getting something positive out of it. It was the right route to go for the past few months, only working with private students, and teaching groups in one-shot deals, not long-term classes. I’m under too much deadline pressure right now for anything else.

Even though I was “on” last Saturday here, I switched with a colleague for this weekend, who has a commitment. Not a problem at all. And I have to participate in “Taste of the Mills” this weekend, and write up some proposals for new programs. Monday, I’m in the writing cave; Tuesday, I’m spending the day on Martha’s Vineyard. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate!

The webs in RED WIDOW and the novellas connected to it intrigue me. I’m wondering just how far I can push certain elements in this series. Guess I’ll find out soon, huh?

Devon

Fri. Sept. 19, 2014: The Longing to Write

Friday, September 19, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I was discouraged about a variety of things when I got back home on Wednesday afternoon, along with just being damn tired. Did some work on INITIATE, read VIRTU. Went to bed early.

Up early yesterday, wrote a bit on INITIATE. Headed to work. Busy day. Got 40 books processed; the woman who covers them was in, so we got them either onto the shelves or out to fulfill holds. I still have a stack of DVDs to process. Wrote a proposal for the small library conference at the end of October. Did some promotion for our upcoming programs, including the Rights Roundtable on Monday night that kicks off Banned Books Week.

Yup, Banned Books week is next week, and this year’s focus is graphic novels. So grab a banned graphic novel and dig in! 😉

Updated the library website, contacted some people about programs. Busy day.

My editor wants another book as soon as I can write it. I still have some research for BALTHAZAAR before I can get back into it, and, of course, am consumed by INITIATE. But I have to give them something soon.

I also found out that I have a 5-cup Review of TRACKING MEDUSA over on Coffee Time Romance, and a 5-star review of the same book on Amazon. I loved and believed in the book for a long time before I found the right publisher, so I’m glad others are enjoying it, too. “Lake Justice” got a 3.5 out of 5, which is good, with the main criticism being it was too short – which is helpful! 😉 Maybe the next Bronwyn adventure will be longer. Maybe I should cough up a Bronwyn adventure soon while I’m working on the other books for my editor!

Home, very tired, glass of wine on the deck, then grocery and cat food shopping. Dinner, some work on INITIATE, then finished VIRTU. I’ve ordered the two remaining books in the quartet and should have them by next week. Can’t wait to dive into them. I just love this series. It’s very unique, lots of gorgeous writing. At times, I wonder why one choice or another was made, but then it all ties together. The world-building is spectacular. Not only am I enjoying them, I am learning from them.

Up early today. Worked on INITIATE. Tomorrow will be my first full day off in quite awhile, and I’m going to focus on INITIATE and on the garden. I’m supposed to read to kids at the Town Picnic on Sunday, but all I know is the time. I have no idea where I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to read. I’m half tempted to make something the hell up.

I have a proposal and a couple of reports to write today, along with everything else. Better get going. I’ll check in next week – there should be lots to tell from Banned Books Week!

And, of course, the Equinox is on Monday, so I’m in preparations for that.

A student who booked an editing intensive sent the materials in some weird format (I only accept .doc) and not in Standard Manuscript Format, and then wanted me to explain what that is. No. Don’t call yourself a writer if you don’t know SMF. Go look it the fuck up. I was very, VERY clear when we discussed the possibility of taking her on this semester that I ONLY accept SMF in .doc file format and anything else would remain unread. This has been an ongoing problem with this particular individual. I will not work on something that is not correctly formatted. Period. And if you’ve been in ANY of my classes, there is NO excuse not to know what SMF is, or to show the initiative to go look it up your damn self.

Devon

Published in: on September 19, 2014 at 9:05 am  Comments (3)  
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Thurs. July 31, 2014: Thank You, NMLC and Joseph Finder!

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a busy, but terrific day. To work in the morning, cleared a few things off my desk. National Marine Life Center did a presentation here, their Marine Medical Mystery, at 11 AM. It was awesome! It was a tween-focused program, and the kids were eager and enthusiastic — very participatory. Tons of fun. The program itself is exceptionally well done, and to have such enthusiasm takes it to the next level.

Once that was done, we struck (still using theatre terms, that’ll never change, will it?) and set up for the Joseph Finder event. Tables, chairs, food, drink, putting together the gift, etc. Finder was a keynote speaker at the Writers Conference a couple of years ago, and I knew he was a terrific speaker, so we were thrilled to get him here.

Books by the Sea was there with his books, and there was a solid turnout. He was, of course, a terrific speaker — intelligent, funny, insightful, precise, with great stories. Fortunately, he also had some strong boundaries, because one of our audience patrons made the inappropriate request that he read three of her screenplays. She is someone who only sees other people as a way to advance herself (rather than putting in the work that would advance her). I was furious, but he handled it with grace and charm, still holding firm to his boundaries.

Afterwards, we cleaned up and a couple of us sat around noshing and talking about structuring other programs. It was a good night, although we were all pretty tired by the time we wandered home at 9:30 at night.

I overslept a bit this morning, but managed to get in 1000 words on INITIATE, finishing chapter one, before I had to head back to the library.

Busy day today, and then I have to run around and do things like pick up cat food and cat litter (or I will have angry kitties). I want to get some more research done for BALTHAZAAR tonight. I don’t really like moving between several books, but right now, with this schedule, I have to. So I will adjust the creative process to fit.

The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA ordered in June finally arrived — so I’ll have copies for the Conference. Hopefully, copies will also arrive soon for Books By the Sea.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on July 31, 2014 at 8:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 31, 2014: Thank You, NMLC and Joseph Finder!  
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Wed. July 23, 2014: This N That N Writing N Painting

Unpainted Chair
Unpainted chair

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Direct
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Monday was a busy day, full of errands, but at least I got the chair painted. Thought you’d enjoy some before and after pictures. Got some research done, not much writing done, and prepped for the Mermaid Ball Meeting.

Painted chair

Painted chair

Only took an hour and ten minutes to get to Buzzards Bay (which is 21 miles from me, so it shouldn’t take that long, but . . .summer people). Good meeting. Came back, watched R.I.P.D. The film had a clever premise, but the places where it stalled felt like it did so because too many people were giving notes.

Realized an insert scene I’d written for POWER OF WORDS is between the wrong characters — have to rewrite it with Scott instead of Terrell.

Yesterday, I was up early for a Skype rehearsal with the actor I’ve been working with. He’s shooting . . .somewhere, I don’t know where, but needed a break from the angsty character he’s playing, so we worked for a couple of hours. The monologue’s in good shape, and I hope it serves him well to land the kinds of roles he wants. I went back to bed and overslept.

Mowed the side yard and did some work on the front — pruning hydrangeas and forsythia, trimming a few things. Wanted to do it in the morning, before it got too hot.

Got some reading done, but spent most of the day doing research for BALTHAZAAR. I might move the location of the book from the Bahamas to Jamaica. I set CHARISMA KILLINGS in the Bahamas, DARK ANNIE’S SECRET will be in Bermuda, so why not put BALTHAZAAR off the coast of Jamaica?

I’m keeping two sets of notes — one set consists of research notes, the actual facts I need as background for the salvage/treasure hunt. The other set of notes consist of the storyline and character ideas the research spurs. I’ll have to pick and choose from those as I write the Writers Rough and then the book, because I can’t use all of it. I’m hoping that some of the plot points I cut from this book can be massaged to work in DARK ANNIE’S SECRET.

Cooked a nice dinner last night, and then watched THE WHISTLEBLOWER, a movie about sex trafficking after the war in Bosnia, where UN employees were complicit with the American contractors. Rachel Weisz played the lead, and she was (as always) wonderful. This whole thing about foreign contractors having immunity needs to stop. If they break international laws and are complicit in something like human trafficking or murder, then they need to be prosecuted.

The coffee pot exploded this morning and made a giant mess. I bought it when we moved in, so it’s not THAT long ago — it better not be on its last perk. I’m tired of everything being built to break, so you’re constantly forced to buy again.

Nice morning’s work on POWER OF WORDS (yes, I’m playing with better titles for it). But that allows me to start the day in a much better frame of mind.

Today will be a long day at the library again. Wonder if my old computer will show up, fixed, or if the new one’s arrived yet?

Probably won’t get to mow the meadow until Saturday — by then, the front and the terraced back area probably will need it, too.

But it was nice to take all my research materials out on the deck yesterday and work.

I made my decision on the course I want to take at the conference. I’m only taking one–as a Board member, I’ll need to run around in that capacity, so one course makes sense.

I got an interesting freelance offer, and I’m debating on whether or not to accept. My gut tells me the timing is wrong; at the same time, I don’t want to blow the opportunity. I think I’ll need more information.

Have a great week.

Devon

Mon. July 21, 2014: Chaotic Start to the Week

Monday, July 21, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool
 

Friday was busy at the library, complicated by the fact that I don’t have a working computer at the moment, and different computers have different programs, so I migrated between six different computers over the course of the day, trying to get things done.

I also had to keep my phone on all day, because Iris was quite sick in the morning, and I was worried I’d have to rush her to the vet at a moment’s notice. But, she got better as the day wore on. I suspect it’s a bad reaction to the flea/tick medicine.

After work, my boss and I headed to Centerville Library, to support the dedication of the new addition. I hadn’t seen the whole thing yet — it’s gorgeous. The Community Room is huge, great for events, would be great for yoga. The bookstore is also magnificent. The renovation’s beautiful, and worth every penny. There was champagne, and there were h’ors d’oervres. Everything was lovely. Got to see some of the staff I’ve known since I moved to Centerville, and introduce my boss around. The director from Hyannis was also there, and I got to meet her, along with some other locals. It was good that we were there, supporting a fellow library. I was surprised and a bit dismayed that more library personnel from other libraries weren’t there.

We came back to the house for martinis on the deck, and then headed back to the Mills, where a sports auction was going on in Liberty Hall, the door take to benefit the library. I wound up bidding on (and getting) a wicker chair for my mom and some minor league hockey pins for myself.

Home, tired, unwound a bit. Saturday was my “on” day at the library, so I was up early and over there. Still no working computer for me, so I floated around to other computers, trying to complete paperwork and place some orders.

When I got back from the library, I cleaned, repaired, and sanded down the wicker chair. The caned seat needed to be fixed, and some of the wicker was coming unspun, so I fixed all of that. The frame is a good, sturdy wood. It’s been painted quite a few things, under the white — red, hot pink, and green.

Did some research for upcoming projects, got some reading in. Thoroughly enjoyed Ilona Andrews CLEAN SWEEP. Lori Roy’s UNTIL SHE COMES HOME is both claustrophobic and disturbing, but in a good way. Elizabeth Adler’s SAILING TO CAPRI was fun.

Watched COMPANY MEN — excellent movie. Didn’t get enough attention when it came out. What a terrific cast — Ben Affleck, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Kevin Costner, and great supporting actors as well. Really well done, but John Wells only does excellent work.

Slept in on Sunday. It was raining off and on, so I couldn’t mow. But I did head to Home Depot. Don’t like shopping there, but I hoped to replace a lamp globe I broke and pick up paint for the chair. The staff was disgustingly unhelpful with the lamp globe. Not only did they not know how to help, they didn’t care. I found the paint though — called “Spa Blue”. Painted the bottom of the chair. Took most of the day to dry.

Had to fix my bed frame and do stuff around the house. Also cooked some Sichuan Noodles and steamed vegetables in a ginger soy sauce for tonight’s meeting.

Planned to go to a climate change lecture, but something happened and the lecturer was delayed indefinitely, and I couldn’t wait around.

Got some research and other work done, then watched PEACE, LOVE, AND MISUNDERSTANDING, which was a lot of fun.

Up early this morning. Couldn’t find the flash drive with all my work on it. Drove to the library and found it in one of the public computers I’d been using on Saturday. This is what happens when I’m constantly interrupted. Came back, started to paint the front of the chair, ran out of paint, went back to Home Depot (only because it was the only place open that early), got more paint, finished painting the chair. It’s drying.

The writing plan for this morning is on POWER OF WORDS and BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I have to nip out to one of the libraries to get a few things done, and then pick up a cushion at Christmas Tree Shops for the chair. I need to finish a review for my editor, work on some media kits, and then head to Buzzards Bay for a Mermaid Ball Meeting tonight.

Did about 1500 words on POWER OF WORDS. Have to nail down the writer’s rough on BALTHAZAAR. I’m going in circles every time I sit down to write. Book 3 is almost fully formed, but book 2 is not. It’s frustrating, because somewhere I HAVE a detailed writer’s rough, but I can’t find it in any of the files or the drives. So I have to start over.

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