Wed. June 8, 2016: The Real World Feels Less Real Than My Fictional Worlds

Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy days. I’m disoriented. I’ve been very deep in the writing these past few days. So deep that when I stop, my house and everything around me looks unfamiliar. It’s good – I’m happy with the work and I love being that deep in the work – but it’s difficult to be out of the work at all.

Most of the work has been on INITIATE, although I’m restructuring and rewriting CHARISMA and working on the play at the same time. INITIATE, as usual, swallows me whole whenever I’m in it. I love these characters so much, even when they break my heart.

I got some of the mowing done – the front and side yards look good. The meadow still looks abandoned, but the front and side yards were the most important. Got all the garbage to the dump, got the new recycling sticker. Chop wood, carry water.

I also managed to reconnect with a couple of close college friends. One of them, I’m in semi-regular touch with; the other, I hadn’t spoken to for about twenty years or so, but we picked up right where we left off, which was great. There’s one more I contacted – we’ll see if I hear back. We were all such an integral and intense part of each others’ creative development in our early twenties.

I attended a seminar yesterday afternoon in my capacity as a Board Member. A friend was there, too, and we would up going to Sam Diego’s to catch up. Good practice for me to interact with an actual human being instead of a fictional one before I had to re-enter the world today.

This will be a long workweek for me, and I have to make sure I don’t lose the writing momentum. But, somehow, I will figure it all out. I’m looking forward to Mars going direct at the end of the month and getting some of my energy back.

I have two adventures coming up in the coming weeks, which should be fun. I’ll share them when I can.

The first performance of the radio play “Broken Links” went off last night; tonight is the second. I’m waiting on pins and needles to hear how it went.

Have a great week.

Devon

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Published in: on June 8, 2016 at 9:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 8, 2016: The Real World Feels Less Real Than My Fictional Worlds  
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Thurs. May 26, 2016: Genre Dilemmas

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy few days. I worked on Saturday, and there was a tag sale next door, so it was busy.

Front lawn is mowed; side lawn is mowed. I still have to mow the terraced back area and the meadow. The meadow, in particular, needs help. The grass is getting knee-high!

Sunday, I went to see a show a friend directed and choreographed. Her work was good. Unfortunately, the cast was tired; the tempos were slow, and, vocally, they were all over the place.

Over the past few writing days, I updated the Devon Ellington site, to add “Severance” to it. It’s available in the Premium catalog at Smashwords, which means it is also on Kobo, Nook, and will be on Amazon. There’s press going out for the release next week.

I also have a “Media Room” on the Devon Ellington site. The media kit for “Severance” is up, and so are the kits for the Jain Lazarus Adventures. I’ll work at keeping interview links and review links updated. There’s also some press for the “Severance” re-released going out this week.

The cover for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” is done and I like it a lot. The photo shoot for the cover of “Plot Bunnies” had to be postponed. I hope to get that done in the next few days, and then that will be ready to go. I have the galleys for “Plot Bunnies” — it needs a solid proofing, and then it’ll be ready to release in early June. “Personal Revolution” will release just before the 4th of July weekend, since that’s when it’s set. I’m waiting for the next round of edits/galleys on that.

I’ve done two more rounds of revisions for the short story “Won if By Sea”, and that will go out later this week. The characters are not particularly likeable, but they’re smart. Either it’s what this anthology wants, or it’s not, and then it will go off somewhere else.

I had an agent request a whole manuscript after liking the partial she requested, she read the entire manuscript in a couple of days and liked it; fingers crossed.

“Broken Links” is in rehearsal in Virginia, and will broadcast in early June. I’m looking forward to burning a CD and having a listening party in late June or early July.

On Tuesday, I finished the second draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I enriched the setting, characters, and scenes quite a bit. The elation at finishing was dampened when I realized I’m way over the word count. A mystery like this cannot come in at 111K. It’s not appropriate for the genre. I’m going to have to cut a minimum of 20K, possibly more. There’s at least one subplot I’m going to cut out completely, and I’m going to have to make some other adjustments. I’m going to save that subplot and use it later in the series.

If I cut and shape to fit the traditional cozy mold, in the following books, I will have to force the characters into whitewashing their actions in a way that is untrue to where I see the series headed. That’s besides at least needing to cut 30K instead of 20K. My other choice is to go darker, more along the lines of Philip Craig’s mysteries set on Martha’s Vineyard or Jane Haddam’s mysteries set in Concord. I’d still have to cut quite a bit, but I could go deeper, darker, and keep my characters true to themselves. The books would still have an amateur sleuth, but they wouldn’t be cozy. I like to read those, but the market is narrowing to be either cozy or procedural. It’s a dilemma.

I made a few pages of notes, and I’m making notes where I see the next books going, especially in terms of the relationships between the characters. One of the secondary characters surprised me by pushing himself forward, and he’s important to the growth of my protagonist, so I’m going to go with it. Again, this means the book can’t fit into “cozy”, nor can it fit into “romance”, because my protagonist is not going to have a one-and-only identified in the first book and that’s that. She’s coming out of a hugely traumatic event in her life, and has to reawaken to her life slowly.

It’s a lot to think about; I’m making notes, but I’ve also put the draft away for a couple of weeks, so I can go back to it with more objectivity. Much of what I need to cut will get written up into the Series Bible — the background of various residents and the island. I fought making a map of the island, but I think I need to do so, just for my own use. I can add to it as the series grows.

Tuesday night, thinking about it all, I was horribly blue; but the more I think about the possibilities, the more optimistic I get that I can shape something that tells the story I want to tell without forcing itself into a formula that negates the story. Whether anyone will want to take a chance on it is something else, but at least I’ll have written the book I want to read (and am having trouble finding).

Wednesday, we had a staff development day out in Plymouth. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and lots of fun. I got sunburned, though.

Lots to do today, and we’re short-staffed. Tomorrow will be a long day, too, and then the weekend. I’ve got to finish the mowing, and I also need to dig into the play set in 17th century Italy, and get back on track with SONGBOUND SISTERS.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Devon

Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on May 21, 2016 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.  
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Wed. March 23, 2016: Lots of Good News!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Busy few days! Including a snow storm on the Equinox, although it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as predicted.

Saturday, I had some running around to do, and some writing to do. Baked cupcakes. I’d come home from work on Friday feeling just awful. We think I might be having a bad reaction to the new carpet.

Then, at 2 PM, we hosted Caroline Kepnes at the library. She’s got two wonderfully creepy books out, You and Hidden Bodies. She’s also a smart, funny, terrific person. it was a great presentation. We’re so glad she could fit us in before she went back to LA.

Sunday, I had a few things to pick up at the hardware store to finish prepping my canvas, and then it started to snow. I read and researched, but didn’t do much else. In my mind, I was preparing to write two short radio plays.

I also pulled out of an interview with a theatre company for a project because there are upcoming scheduling conflicts, and we’d all get frustrated. Maybe we’ll work together at a later date. They’re interviewing plenty of candidates for this particular project, so it’s not like I’m the top choice or leaving them in the lurch.

The snow on Sunday night into Monday was more like two inches, instead of ten, which was a relief. I sat down and wrote “Not Such a Bargain”, one of the ten minute plays, finished putting the hardware on the canvas, dropped it off at Cotuit, and then came back and wrote the other short radio play, “Fright Shift.” By then, I was ready for a glass of wine.

I’m happy with both plays, although I think “Not Such a Bargain” is a little stronger. I do love Emily in “Fright Shift”. She’s kind of a bratty teenager, but she gets things done!

Watched CRIMSON PEAK on Monday night. Absolutely gorgeous production design, but Tom Hiddleston’s character was underwritten, and not given enough to show his transformation. He did the best he could with what he had, and I liked that it was the Edith who was the rescuer, not the rescued, but if he’d just been given a handful of lines more in a couple of scenes, it would have worked better for me.

Tuesday, up early and wrote a grant proposal for an individual grant. I had to do a one-page synopsis of where I think SONGBOUND SISTERS is headed, and they also wanted a one-page bibliography of my published work. I could only fit back to 2012 on one page. I might have too many credits for the grant, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Then, I outlined a new project nagging at me — a novel. I see the shape in my head — just have to get it all down, and figure out where to slot it in.

Did some research. Watched CHASING SHADOWS, which is a little odd, but interesting, and THE BIG SHORT — well done, and I still think all of them should be in jail.

Got some excellent news — “Broken Links”, the comic mystery, won first place and will be produced and performed by On the Air Radio Players in June. I’m excited and thrilled! I plan to have a listening party when I get the link. So that was a good note on which to end the day.

Up early this morning to do the revisions on the two short radio plays, and do a final polish on the grant proposal. Today will be a long day at work, with an “Easter Tea” program. I have to do PR, and I have to get posters and PR done for the Shakespeare night and for the ArtsWeek Boston panel, and some other programs.

Onward!