Monday, March 4, 2013: Release Day for the Second Jain Lazarus Adventure!


Monday, March 4, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Lots to discuss today!

First and foremost, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK releases today! Woo-hoo! I’m still waiting for the Buy Link from Solstice, but there’s a great interview with me on Cynthia Woolf’s blog, and there’s an excerpt and more information on Billy Root’s blog. Stop by one or both and say hey!

“Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series” workshop runs this week and should be lots of fun. I’m very excited about it.

AND, I’m teaching a one-day QUERY CLINIC on March 23, where you can bring in query letters from your various projects and we shape them, line-by-line, along with learning how to assemble the parts of a strong letter. More info here.

Busy weekend. On Friday, just before 5 PM, I got some great news from my agent! She’s very excited about a project I pitched her a few weeks ago, made some suggestions, and wants to go forward asap. That puts pressure on me I wasn’t expecting until the fall, at least as far adding an extra project to the mix, and means I have to reshuffle back some of the projects I was working on. My GDRS for March have to be re-worked. But I’m very excited!

Friday night was the staged reading of my new play, SEVEN OF SWORDS, which is not a comedy! I was on the bill with three other short plays, so we were a solid evening — what fun to share the bill with them. I liked my director a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed the work of all the actors, including the ones in my piece. I got some interesting feedback to shape the piece in the next draft. It was a good night, but I was exhausted.

I was up early-early on Saturday morning. I worked on some revisions for MUDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, then I rewrote the first three chapters of the piece per my agent’s suggestions and wrote Chapter Four, which came in just over 3K. I worked with students, and did the final polish on the lectures for the workshop.

Busy day, but fulfilling.

Sunday, I was up early, putting in and printing out the revisions in the script. Then, I packed the car and headed off to the Marine Life Center for rehearsal — we blocked Acts II & III, then went over to the venue to look at the space and a drink and chat. It was fun.

Today is release day for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so I have to do the work associated with that. I have to write Chapter 5 of the other project, attend a funeral, and give the actors the cuts I made last night in the script when I got home.

Oh, and do some work that pays the bills! 😉

Busy, busy!


Tues. July 10, 2012: Typing My Fingers Off

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The weather has been gorgeous the last few days. May all of summer be this lovely!

Productive day yesterday: invoiced a client, edited three short stories for an anthology, sent off a contract, worked on three articles, worked on the ghostwriting project, worked on two short stories, started teaching the Scene Meat workshop, pitched for an editing job, worked on edits for HEART SNATCHER, finished reading the material for the latest assignment from Confidential Job #1. Ran an errand, swapping a donation a pro bono client is giving to a local auction, picking up the one they’re donating to my client’s auction, and picked up three gallons of water for tonight’s jazz concert.

I ordered some library books on women and aviation in the 40s for further research into the short story with potential for a novel. For the purposes of the piece due at the end of this week, I will take the first scene and turn it into a stand-alone short story, test-driving some of my ideas. I’m working on a writer’s rough outline for the novel. I need a better title for the whole darned thing, but that will come as my themes become clearer.

I’m reading Jeff Vandemeer’s BOOKLIFE — very clear-sighted breakdown of setting goals and separating out the private and public elements of the writing life.

“Town Crier” is no longer available, but don’t fret — a new Jain Lazarus story featuring Billy Root will be going live soon! “Town Crier” will be included in the collection of Jain Lazarus shorts released next year, that will also feature two brand-new novellas especially for the collection.

If you haven’t signed up for the Series Bible seminar on Saturday, you can still do that here. It is the only time the class will be offered this year.

I’ve got the ghostwriting to work on, more short stories to edit for the anthology, the introduction to work on, the classes to teach, and two more short stories to get out by this week, along with a new post up on Writers Vineyard for Thursday.

It’s a good busy, though, and that’s the way I like it!


Mon. June 11, 2012: Busy Start to the Week

Monday, June 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy, busy, busy weekend. Worked hard all day Friday, trying to stay on top of things, get out all the promo stuff, etc., etc. Working in the garden. It took most of the weekend to get the meadow mowed. We’re still having trouble with trespassers. I’ve got to get out there and confront them and tell them that next time, I’m calling the cops. The lack of respect by these particular neighbors is appalling. But what do you expect from people who tie a sex doll dressed in a bikini to a tree and leave it there for months?

Got a stack of books out of Sturgis Library — what a great place. We are so lucky with our libraries around here.

Anyway, the scratch of I’ll Have Another in the Belmont caused all kinds of chaos. Something about that whole situation feels off to me. On top of that, they had the horse lead the post parade for the race, which was so incredibly unfair to the horse — he didn’t understand why he wasn’t being warmed up and sent to the gate, the way he’s used to. Badly handled all the way around, in my opinion. Union Rags finally had a good day, and paid off for his loyal fans, though.

Stanley Cup game at night — NJ Devils vs. LA Kings. NJ staved off elimination. Let’s see what happens next.

Last night was the Tony Award Presentation. Reminds me of why I went into the business in the first place, and, just a little, made me miss it. There’s nothing like working at or attending the Tony Awards. It’s the most fun of any of them, because it’s truly a community, not just a bunch of strangers preening in front of each other. I watched a lot of people I’ve worked with over the years, and texted with friends on the show. Fun. After the Awards, of course, we all did the party circuit, winding up eating breakfast in a 24-hour diner as the sun came up, still in our fancy clothes. Tons of fun.

Wrote a bunch, read a lot this weekend, but most of the weekend was just for ME. I needed that. I’m gearing up for the Tarot Workshop this weekend – hope it goes well. Haven’t done one of those in person in a long time. Tessa was outside with me a lot yesterday, in her crate, enjoying the sun, the fresh air, and the company. Read some disappointing books (those always make you think, “how the hell did they ever find an agent or a publisher?”) and read some good ones, including an interesting book by Nancy Thayer and two unique, charming books by Sarah Addison Allen.

I’ve got a ghost writing quote to get off today, some more PR for a client, and two blog posts to write. Plus, hopefully some of the places to which I’ve pitched will respond positively, and I’ll have to get out some more pitches.

Billy Root’s blog comes up later today, and I’m putting the finishing touches on “Town Crier” for release later this week. Better hop to it!


Taste of the Tarot is for artists in all media interested in the art and archetype of the cards. Learn how to do basic readings and use the cards for inspiration and to push through blocks. Sat. June 16, 2-5 PM, $60, Three Fish and a Ram Community Art Center, Mashpee. More information here.

Mon. April 23, 2012: Energizing Writing Weekend

Monday, April 23, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

A terrific writing weekend — now, if it can only spill over into the week!

First of all, I’ve got an essay up on Cape Cod Women Online, “The Leap Over the Canal” about moving to the Cape. It’s got both book covers in it, and I’m thrilled with the way it turned out. The two book covers look really nice together — I may do that for a mailing.

Second, Billy Root blogs about what it feels like to be an actor — a nice little behind-the-scenes taste. I hope you’ll stop by — and maybe even drop a comment. I’m very happy with the way this piece turned out.

I can’t remember all the way back to Friday, but I know it was busy. I know that I did about 1700 words in the sprint with the students, and I picked up violets and holly cuttings from a friend (we couldn’t dig up the whole tree–the root system’s too deep). It was a gorgeous day, and we drove around for a bit, exploring new-to-us back roads that will make life easier when the tourists clutter the main roads in the summer.

Got the proposal that was due out on time; now the waiting begins. Set up a meeting for tomorrow on the theatre projects.

Worked with my students in the evening.

Saturday, I rewrote a half a dozen short stories (some of them massively) and sent them out. Slowly, but surely, I’m catching up on the backlog. I worked with my students.

Sunday, I decided to leisurely start something I thought was due mid-May (a first chapter and an outline), so I wouldn’t have to rush. I re-read the submission materials request and realized — it’s due TODAY. Mid-May is if you make it past the initial round.

Okaaay. Butt in chair, kick the brain into gear. I’d played with the idea, so I had a good sense of where I wanted to go with it. As I worked it, however, I realized that I’d focused on the wrong character as the primary male protagonist. So I tweaked it, and suddenly the whole book opened out. The chapter worked better than it had initially (I’d worked on it a few weeks ago, before I even got the request). The synopsis, which I’d loosely sorted in my head, came together beautifully. I’ve got a solid piece now, and I’m happy with it. Revised the chapter a few times, tightened the synopsis, and out it went. I feel good about it. Even if this particular place decides not to take it, I’ve got something solid I can work on and sell elsewhere.

Started percolating on some non-fiction proposals I want to get out in the next few weeks. I re-read Michael Larsen’s book on proposals. I kind of do most of that anyway when I put together a proposal package, but re-reading it made me more aware of the steps, and the order.

I skipped the Green Drinks event — the weather was vile, and I was in that fragile state of percolation/creation that can be derailed at the slightest wrong prod. So I stayed home and worked. And seeded the lawn right before the rain.

Read Sonia Singh’s novel GHOST, INTERRUPTED, which was really fun, and started Jane Haddam’s WANTING SHEILA DEAD, which I’m thoroughly enjoying.

Long day ahead of me at the desk. I hope I can use some of that positive momentum I achieved this weekend to propel me through the week. It was heaven to spend the bulk of the day on my own writing.

However, I’ve also got some business and PR stuff to attend to today.

Better hop to it!


Don’t forget the next two one-day seminars! Amazing Antagonists on May 12 and Setting Up Your Submission System on June 2.

Monday, April 2, 2012: Writing, writing, writing . . .

Can you find all the cats in the picture?

Monday, April 2, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Okay, Billy Root fans! You’re in for a treat. As part of the upcoming HEX BREAKER release, Billy Root, everyone’s favorite supporting character in the Jain Lazarus Adventures, has his own blog. He’ll be blogging on Mondays, so spread the word. It’s a ton of fun.

There’s also a press release about my upcoming one-day seminar on April 14 here.

Friday was busy and hectic and frustrating. Saturday got out the media kit for HEX BREAKER to the publisher (re-reading good reviews made me all warm and fuzzy, a good antidote to the last few weeks of frustration). I did a writing sprint online with several of my year-long compatriots, and got some good work done on HEART BINDER; that fed into getting some good work done on another novel that’s on deadline. Also worked on the short stories, and the April newsletter went out. Worked with my students on the Sensory Perceptions workshop, which wraps up today — so proud of the progress they’ve made. It’s been exciting to work with the students in the last two short story workshops, because there’s been a lot of growth. Hopefully, they’ve developed a love of working in both long and short formats, and see how each feeds the other. Versatility is the key to survival at this point.

I managed to hurt my back again — don’t know how that happened, but ow. Hopefully, I can get it sorted out; otherwise, it’s back to the acupuncturist later this week or early next.

Also, annoyed at a neighbor on Saturday, the house behind mine. They own one of the Hounds of the Baskervilles — a mastiff I find adorable. However, one of the humans in the household seems to think it’s quite okay to walk the dog on my property without permission. Love the dog, not the human — especially since he’s not cleaning up after the dog, and it’s a MASTIFF, people, poops like a small cow. Uh, no. Not acceptable. This is the same household that thinks it’s funny to have an inflatable sex doll propped against one of their trees, so should I really be surprised?

Sunday was supposed to be offline, but I hopped on to send the newsletter, and found an email that pretended to be from the FBI, but was actually a scam. So I filed with the Internet Crimes Division, because hey, they should know someone’s running around posing as them trying to get money out of people.

Got out a couple of proposals, too. And had some interesting discussions with people who work for different teaching models. There are some really impressive ones out there. The ones that seem to work best (outside of the academic models) take the best of the academic models and modify them for the internet. They charge A LOT — teachers make in one week what I’m currently paid for six months. And they screen students in a multi-step process. The first few rounds of applications don’t even get to the instructor. There’s a vetting process by the administrative staff. Only the applicants who meet the initial criteria of both skill and imagination are passed on to the instructor. Classes are kept small, the workload is about three times what I give my students, but it’s for a more concentrated period of time. The students pay more, the teacher is paid more, and, if someone quits, the teacher doesn’t take the financial hit (the way I currently do). The teacher is paid the same if there are 3 students or the full contingent of 15 (all classes are capped at 15), and, as I said, teachers are paid for one week what I make in six months. About 350 applications are received for every class; less than 50 are passed to the instructor, and only 15 are allowed in. If the instructor doesn’t feel 15 are qualified, the teacher doesn’t have to accept 15. Definitely something to think about.

Spent most of Sunday doing the prep for the HEART SNATCHER edits. Read the manuscript through the first time, in a single sweep. Took about 22 pages of notes for edits. It needs a lot of work, but it read better than I remembered. Started the next read-through, the multi-colored draft (due Wed.), where we take different colors to highlight passives, adverbs, and qualifiers. My over-use of qualifiers is depressing. But, that’s all part of a first draft, so suck it up, wear the big girl panties, and get down to work, right! 😉

Pitched a couple of articles; need to pitch a couple more. Need to work on two novels and few short stories today, and do some more pre-release work for HEX BREAKER. I’m also honing the lectures for the Dialogue Seminar on April 14. I’m using a lot of comparison/contrast examples, and it’s fun to hunt them down.

Back to the page.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

So, yesterday was great, mostly because it was so quiet on site that I spent NINE HOURS working on the outline for the Billy Root book. I’ve totally surprised myself – and I have to say, Billy’s surprised me. He really took control of his life, didn’t back down from the new opportunities opening to him and he’s in a completely different place at the end of the book than I expected.

It rocks, if I say so myself!

Even though Billy was the “second lead” in HEX BREAKER, he built a solid following, and I think his journey in this book will surprise and delight his fans. If I can do justice to the scenes I sketched out, this will be a damned good read. That’s what great about the series – each book grows, and, while HEX BREAKER continues to hold its own, each book in the series gets richer and deeper.

And what an absolute heaven of luxury to spend an entire day on a single project, instead of switching back and forth.

Managed to get back home before the snow. I’m working at home this morning, spending the afternoon with friends, then spending the evening with a friend watching the Oscars instead of going to a party. I just don’t have the energy to deal with lots of people tonight, even people I enjoy.

Good morning’s session so far on the Billy Root story. I finished chapter eight and began chapter nine.

Back to the page – Billy’s calling, gotta answer – and then onto a day hopefully filled with fun!

I’ve earned it.


Billy Root story – 23,208 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23 / 60
Published in: on February 22, 2009 at 9:17 am  Comments (3)  
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