Wed. Sept. 12, 2018: Switching Genres

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Yesterday was a sad day. It was appropriate that it rained for most of it.

The Narcissistic Sociopath was his usual disgusting self.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see my article on how to lose a client.

Getting back into the groove of DAVY JONES DHARMA. These characters are a lot of fun. I enjoy spending time with them. Now that this is the primary writing focus, I can have fun with the piece, and be a little zany.

Having fun playing with a new idea, although I have no idea when I’ll actually get to write it.

Working on website stuff.

Working on the info sheet for my books that I need for Saturday (and beyond). I had a heck of a time fitting everything on it, about the different books and series. I finally distilled down the blurbs to three words per book. THREE WORDS.

Watched a BBC production of Shaw’s THE MILLIONNAIRESS, starring Maggie Smith. Still relevant in many ways. There’s a reason we keep doing Shakespeare and Shaw.

We are teaching Lucy how to play. She’s starting to enjoy herself. She and Tessa are figuring out how to be friends.

While I appreciate the efforts of people to be politically active on social media, for me, I don’t necessarily want to broadcast everything I do. I do a slew of active things every day. I don’t detail it, either on social media or here. I do it because I believe it’s part of the deal when you’re a citizen — you vote, you serve jury duty, you let your elected officials know where you stand on issues and bills so they can properly represent. It’s great to know what other people are doing, but I don’t feel detailing it publicly is the right choice for me. So I don’t. Because I get to make those choices. And those who find it appropriate to discuss their daily details make their choices. That’s why we’re all working for positive change — so we get to make these choices.

The story about a female cop who went into the wrong apartment and killed the man who lived there has a lot of holes in it. I’ve stumbled home after a 22-hour day on set. I always recognized my apartment (or, if I was staying at someone’s place, their apartment). I didn’t try to get into other people’s apartments. And to just shoot the guy? No. It’s beyond poor judgment. Especially for someone who is supposed to protect and serve, and who carries a gun. There’s more to this story. I don’t know whether there’s race involved (it wouldn’t surprise me) or something more personal. But there’s more to this story, and I hope it gets thoroughly investigated.

Hurricane Florence is supposed to hit the Carolinas tomorrow. I hope it loses power along the way.

I’m hauling all the stuff I’ve been working on out on the deck inside, because of the rain and humidity. Guess I’ll be unpacking inside for awhile. I hoped to have a few more months to air things out on the deck.

Rehearsing for Saturday. Public readings are a necessity, and once I do them, I’m fine, but it’s the prep and the pre-show jitters that I hate.

Onward.

 

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Published in: on September 12, 2018 at 2:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. Sept. 6, 2018: The Need for Saturn to Go Direct

Thursday, September 6, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn DIRECT
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

Saturn goes direct today, and that’s a huge relief.

I was not feeling well yesterday, which wasn’t fun. Nauseated, no appetite. I ended up making chicken noodle soup from scratch, and that helped. Still not feeling great, but I can cope.

I’m so close to the end of this draft of RELICS, which is good, since we have to go into galleys soon. So I better get it right and damn fast!

Once it’s off to the editor, it means I can get back on track with DHARMA.

Working on calendar articles, rehearsing for my reading next weekend. Finishing up the newsletter so it can go out tomorrow. Working on articles from Biblio Paradise and the guest blog and Upbeat Authors and Ink-Dipped Advice. Sending out LOIS.

I still don’t have my September To Do list done.

I haven’t cleaned out any more boxes yet, either. But the stuff that’s being dealt with is BEING DEALT WITH, not just looked at and repacked to deal with someday further down the line.

The SCOTUS hearings are an abomination. Thank goodness for Cory Booker & Kamela Harris. Kavanaugh is not fit to be on the court. If he had the integrity he pretends, he would have insisted on the release of all documents, and he would have been cordial to Fred Guttenberg. Not to mention the whole he-shouldn’t-have-lied-under-oath thing. The GOP is so openly corrupt and refuses to provide checks and balances. They ALL need to GO. Not just be voted out, but investigated and prosecuted where appropriate. And those who have grifted and misused our tax dollars need to pay it back.

MAGAts igniting their Nikes on fire just prove, again, how stupid they are. You hurt a company’s bottom line by not buying their products. Destroying something for which you’ve paid does nothing except reveal that you are both stupid and a hypocrite, especially when it’s something that could be donated to help someone else. Nike’s response as “Just Do It –Safely” with tips how to safely burn their products is fucking brilliant.

Tessa and Lucy are working on getting along. It doesn’t always succeed. They want to be friends, but neither one is sure how. We’re teaching Lucy how to play. It’s kind of funny.

I had a meeting this morning, unfortunately with someone who acted mentally unstable, but had decision-making power over me, so it involved a lot of keeping my mouth shut (and, fortunately, nothing that actually impinged on my integrity and wouldn’t so allow me).

Massive grocery shopping. Now, it’s getting work done at the library.

And finish this draft of RELICS.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 6, 2018 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Aug. 22, 2018: Creative Expansion & Annoyance at Forced Terms

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Today would have been my father’s birthday, if he was still alive.

Hop on over for the latest freelancing advice over on the Fearless Ink website, Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve tweaked the look of it a bit, too.

I hurt my back on Monday, and it’s still bothering me. On top of it, yesterday, I had an awful headache.

I’m surprised by how upset I am at Facebook’s new terms, where authors can’t talk about their books on their personal pages. Because talking about them IS promoting them — it’s all integrated. My work is deeply entwined with who I am — even though my work is public and my life is private. My reason for being on social media is to talk about the work (and watch food porn and share pet photos, but that’s secondary). To force authors and all artists to move their work to business pages in order to force all of that to be paid promotion — I’m angry.

I’m also disappointed in Mark Zuckerberg, and his journey from creative entrepreneur to greedy corporate owner. People don’t change (although one hopes they grow), so it was always there. I had hoped it wouldn’t be what he leads with, but now it is. It’s bad enough he sold out his country to foreign entities, fake news, and hate groups. All these changes, which he claims are part of controlling that are crap. All he’s doing is hurting the small businesses and individual artists.

So, yes, I’m putting up a Devon Ellington Author page tied to my other pages. For the moment, I am still on FB. But if I’m kicked off, while I will miss some of my FB-only contacts, I’m going to shrug and move on.

I signed up on Tumblr, and you can find me here. I’m still figuring out how to use it.

I signed up on Ello, and you can find me here. I’m digging the creative energy over there, and I think I’m going to like it.

Once I upgrade my phone, I might join Vero, but the jury’s still out on that.

I’m thinking about reviving my old My Space account, even.

It all has to evolve, doesn’t it?

I use Twitter differently than I use Facebook. Facebook is more for hanging out. Twitter is more hard-edged and focused. Although I’ve gotten some of my highest-paid gigs off Twitter.

I might have to suck it up and try to be active on Goodreads, although I can’t stand the thought of it. But I need to be able to connect with readers and potential readers.

The whole thing is discouraging, depressing, and dispiriting. As usual, it’s about screwing the individual artist.

Negotiations for the gig are ongoing. I’d like to land it, but we have a few things to work out. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll shrug and move on.

Lucy loves to sit in my lap as I type. Lucy loves to sit in my lap no matter what. It makes Tessa grumpy, so I make sure to give Tessa plenty of extra attention.

Needless to say, I really, really needed Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki last night!

Continuing on with RELICS, happy that I see the end in sight for this draft and moving toward it.

DHARMA is heating up; once that moves back into the primary position, I think it will cook along fine.

BALTHAZAAR is also taking shape nicely, and I’m eager to get back to that, and to CRAVE THE HUNT.

We’re working on the relaunch of the Jain Lazarus books. My editor has asked me for a few tweaks, especially when it comes to OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. And I’ll have to do some major work on the website. I’m going to get it more in alignment with the other series sites.

We’re also talking about the series POWER OF WORDS is evolving into. The cover for the first book is stunning. I’m so happy with it. The second still needs some more tweaks, but it communicates what the book is about. We should see some proofs for the upcoming books shortly. We’re still tweaking titles on some of them, and starting to build the website.

Client work today; I’ll be late getting posts up both Thursday and Friday, because of things that have to get done in the morning before I can post. I hope to spend most of the upcoming weekend writing and working on the house and garden. With any luck, it will be cool enough and dry enough so to do.

I’m absolutely delighted that I was chosen to read at the Provincetown Book Festival on September 15. We’ll be in the Marc Jacobs room at the Provincetown Library, from 10-11:30 AM. Can’t wait.

Back to the page!

 

Fri. Aug. 17, 2018: Tucking In to a Weekend of Inspiration & Writing

Friday, August 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Here’s hoping I can hang on until Mercury goes direct!

Yesterday, not enough writing done. But I got some LOIs out, updated the websites. I’m trying out the new Fearless Ink logo, and I changed the background color on the site. As my work evolves, so must the site. The concept for the site wasn’t meshing enough with the practicality.

Did some updates on the Devon Ellington site, too. Tweaked the information; added a couple of necessary things. I really like the slideshow of book covers on the Welcome page; I’d like to add additional slideshows to the top of the Delectable Digital Delights Page and the Anthologies Page. Eventually, the Topic Workbooks will have one, too.

We’re working on a new look for the Topic Workbooks. So far, the consensus is that the old covers work better! So I guess we’ll keep working.

Saw a couple of roughs for the cover of what will be the new book in the first of what used to be the Power of Words series. I really like it. It’s very different from anything I’ve seen out there. It gives information on the cover without over-extending titles and gives an idea of what the series is about. We’re going to start building the website offline, so it can go live when we’re done.

About twenty research books arrived at the library — some I’d ordered quite awhile ago. Most of them already go back today.

Did some good work on something I had to research for RELICS. I think feeling insecure about some of the research is what’s tripping me up and making me second guess. Also, the massive overdose in New Haven, CT is supporting what I’m dealing with in the book.

A new character walked into DAVY JONES DHARMA and is going to give Sophie a hard time — in more than one book, it looks like!

Writing this morning. Then, I have to do a few things at the library, and then it’s off to the Cahoon Museum to see their exhibits.

Tessa and Lucy are doing really well. They’re adjusting to each other. Tessa’s mood has improved enormously since Lucy joined the household. Lucy came from a difficult situation, so she’s cautious, but she’s starting to feel safer and more confident.

I plan to dig in this weekend. It’s all about writing and working on the house.

Back to the page, and then off to get some inspiration!

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on August 17, 2018 at 8:48 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 17, 2018: Tucking In to a Weekend of Inspiration & Writing  
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Thurs. Aug. 16, 2018: Trying to Get My Creative Will Back

Thursday, August 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Tired. Can’t seem to get my energy back.

If you didn’t get a chance to read Ink-Dipped Advice yesterday, about charging for multiple skills, hop on over to it here.

Yesterday was up and down at the client’s. Conflicting agendas and some inflexibility. Deciding something SHOULD be a certain way and not working with what IS does not serve to do anything but add unnecessary stress. Change what you can; make a decision about the rest.

I’m second-guessing myself on RELICS & REQUIEM, and the way I’ve set up the two interconnecting plots. I have to decide how far and how much destruction I want to cause with one of them; for the drama of it, it needs to be intense. I just have to make sure it also makes sense on a logical level.

I’m getting back into the groove with DAVY JONES DHARMA. I love Sophie’s voice, and am having fun with it.

BALTHAZAAR TREASURE is reshaping nicely. It’s nice to have the cover designs for them, too. I think we might have to do one more tweak on DHARMA.

My newsletter subscribers will get a sneak peak at all three covers in the September newsletter. If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up here.

We’re designing new covers for The Topic Workbooks, which will be good. And I’ve been working on a new Fearless Ink logo, which I think I like. I may do some tweaking on the site. As my work evolves, so must the sites that represent me!

Tessa and Lucy are doing very well. They haven’t been together even a week. Instead of sitting across the room and staring at each other until they fall asleep, now they do it about two or three feet from each other. They adjust to each other, are aware of each other, but are not aggressive. It’s pretty cute.

Yoga today, and then writing and working on things around the house. I need to fix a few things, clean a few things, get back to the purge.

I plan to have a strong writing weekend, and also cleaning weekend.

Tomorrow, I hope to get to make a museum trip.

Back to the page.

Published in: on August 16, 2018 at 8:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 16, 2018: Trying to Get My Creative Will Back  
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Tues. Aug. 14, 2018: Getting Back on Track

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Quite a busy few days.

On Friday, we drove across the bridge and picked up the newest member of our family, a six year old tortoiseshell cat named Lucy. Her owner was a nice guy and it broke his heart to give her up; but she was friendly with us from the get-go, so I hope he is reassured she has a good home.

Coming back over the Bourne Bridge was a nightmare, but eventually, we got home. Then came the introduction/integration process.

It’s been working well. They growl at each other occasionally, or hiss. But there’s no other aggression, and, most of the time, they basically ignore each other. They both get a lot of affection, often in sight of each other, at the same time, so that they can associate good things with each other. We’re pretty low key and calm; because we’re not tense and fussing, other than a few growls and hisses, they don’t, either.

It will take a few months before they’re friendly with each other, but I think it will work out. They are both sweet-natured, affectionate cats.

The writing did not go well over the weekend; I’m exhausted. Although I did re-plot the rest of RELICS now that it’s diverged so far from the outline. Yesterday, I got back into the saddle with both RELICS and DHARMA. I’m not quite in the flow where I want to be yet, but we’re getting there.

It rained on and off, so when it was cool enough to do yard work, I couldn’t actually do any.

Saturday, I managed to do tons of laundry, get some cleaning done, and get material to create a new cover for the big chair. It’s the same color configuration as Lucy’s tortoiseshell fur, so sometimes when she sits in it, she’s camouflaged. I think she likes that.

I also experimented with a puff pastry filled with apple pie filling, making little turnovers. Needs some work.

We’re watching lots of travel-the-world through cooking videos, and it’s making me more adventurous and confident about my own recipes.

I finished off the foreword for my friend’s book and sent it off. He was thrilled with it. Hopefully, the publisher likes it, too, and doesn’t want too many other changes. But I’ll do whatever.

It was one of the more challenging pieces I’ve ever had to write. Keeping it simple, not getting too gushy, pointing out where it works and lifts the book above typical genre, why it works so well as an indie title due to the chances it takes and breaks through the narrowing of the genre that so many of the Big Five now do. Using examples, but not spoilers.

I’ve read far too many over-blown forewords that quote so much text and dissect so much of the book, you don’t need to read the book anymore. I didn’t want to write one of those!

It was a good stretch, and I learned a lot.

Sunday was the memorial service for the friend who lost her battle to cancer on Aug. 1. It was at a local theatre, which was great (especially during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in NY, we held a lot of memorials in theatres). Lots of people, photos and videos of productions and performances in which she was involved. Her family is bearing up while devastated, because what else could they be?

What I didn’t like was that there was a cash bar and the drinks were full theatre show night price. Since, in lieu of flowers, the theatre was getting donations anyway, I thought that was inappropriate. That’s something I’ve noticed lately at New England funerals/memorials — cash bars. The last two years, that’s been the case in MA and Maine. I don’t like it. I prefer the established ritual of the community providing the feast for the family of the bereaved — everyone would chip in if asked.

It was good to gather everyone to say a final goodbye, but it drove home that this was it. No more of our friend laughing and making our lives sparkle. It was closure, but I don’t want to close the chapter on her. It’s a closure her family, especially needs, and I guess the rest of us do, but there’s a part of me that rebels at it.

She will live in our hearts, but right now, that’s not enough. Even though it has to be.

Came home, exhausted, to calm kitties also sleeping. The past few days have been stressful for them; it was good they could sleep — especially in the same room.

With a client and some other appointments yesterday and today. Yesterday was a web of missed communications.

My phone is dying AGAIN. I’m tired of forced updates I don’t want and forced apps I can’t take out of my phone to make room for what I want and need in it. I resent being forced to run my life on my phone and everything is an app.

I’m not buying a phone during Mercury retrograde. Last time I did that, it died the day Mercury went direct.

I’ll just be old school for the next couple of weeks, and people don’t get an instant response.

This coming weekend, I will go offline all weekend. I’m looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, I’m booked into three yoga classes this weekend, which I’ll need!

Onward.

Published in: on August 14, 2018 at 1:37 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 14, 2018: Getting Back on Track  
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Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018: The Exhaustive Stage of Grief

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Lucy Burdette’s newest Key West Food Critic Mystery, Death on the Menu.

It’s been a rough few days. I keep expecting Iris to hop up on whatever I’m working on and made one of her feline demands; I keep coming across cool things to do and thinking, “Pam would enjoy this.”

None of that is possible anymore. It’s tough.

Friday was terribly hard. I was exhausted, I was sad. I tried to nap in the afternoon, and couldn’t.

On the positive side, the Heart Chakra box from Goddess Provisions arrived early – just when I needed it. It was a welcome treat.

I managed to pull myself together to attend a dinner party given by my friend and colleague, author Arlene Kay, for our mutual friend and colleague, Carole Buggé, whose sold 50,000 copies of her newest release, Edinburgh Twilight.

It was a lovely evening. I got to see people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and meet some new ones. The house was lovely, the food was spectacular, the conversation lively. It was a delightful evening.

Saturday, some friends from Connecticut stopped by on their way to Nantucket; they’ll be there for three weeks, so I might get the chance to visit with them there again.

But I was worn out and that was all I could do. It’s the stage of grief where everything is exhausting. You’re trying to function as needed, you’re working not to make it all about your grief for everyone else, and it’s exhausting. I feel like I’m plodding. All I want to do is sleep, but when I lie down, I can’t.

I read a lot, I played with Tessa (who is very upset), I tried to stay cool. I’d been in conversations to adopt another cat before Iris’s death, and it looks like we’ll get to pick her up this coming Friday. She’s only a year younger than Tessa, and supposed to be friendly, and a tortie, so I hope they will become good friends in time.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I’m with a client. I’m trying to put one foot in front of the other and get done what I have to. I’ve cancelled out of several things to just give myself time to grieve in peace.

My yoga and meditation practices are a big help.

I haven’t written much on RELICS the past few days, or DHARMA, with the deadlines looming. I managed to write about thirty pages of an idea I’m playing with – I needed something different to work on, without pressure. I’ll get back into the harness with RELICS later this week. It means a deadline extension, but I’m lucky that I’ve earned one.

Onward.

 

Published in: on August 7, 2018 at 1:55 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018: The Exhaustive Stage of Grief  
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Thurs. Aug. 2, 2018: A Test of Coping Skills

Thursday, August 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot and humid

Usually August 1 is a wonderful day. It’s a very important day on my personal calendar. I’m usually able to take it off as a personal day of rest and reflection.

That wasn’t a possibility yesterday. My client has a big event starting this weekend, and we were working on last minute stuff. It was a good type of busy, but still busy.

Then, our beloved Iris, the last of the New York City cats, is fading at age 18. She’s not ill, she’s just old, slowing down, and only has a few more days, if that, with us. It’s very sad. We let her know how much we love her, and help her as much as we can. She’s been a huge part of my life, first in NYC, later with my mom in Rye, and then moving to the Cape.

I’m behind where I want and need to be on both RELICS & REQUIEM, and on DAVY JONES DHARMA. It’s hard to push through and get things done.

RELICS has taken quite a few turns away from the original outline, although the emotional core is still there. I haven’t felt lighthearted enough for DHARMA. But maybe working on the latter would be good for my heart.

We had a series of power outages on Tuesday night going into Wednesday. Very frustrating, especially since it wasn’t all that hot and there were no storms.

I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. I’m making progress on RELICS, it’s just slower than it needs to be for deadline.

And I’m sad.

Published in: on August 2, 2018 at 8:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 2, 2018: A Test of Coping Skills  
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Tues. July 3, 2018: Writing, Marching, Company

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Packed few days.

Friday, I gave myself the day off. Even from writing. We got out of the house early and drove out to Truro, to the Atlantic Spice Company. I was out of a few things, and, since the local natural market closed, I needed to restock. It was a nice drive on a lovely day, and a good trip.

On the way back, we had a quick stop at the National Seashore in Eastham, stopped at Great Cape Herbs in Brewster, and had lunch at  Captain Frosty’s in Dennis. Then, a quick stop at Trader Joe’s. At 1 PM on a Friday, the place looked like it had been stripped by locusts. I couldn’t believe how many shelves were bare.

I also picked up some globe solar lights and put them into the garden. Between the lights and the fireflies, it was beautiful.

We have a mother and baby bunny in the garden, too. I have enough dandelions for them to eat, so they leave our lettuce alone!

I read a lovely book by Catherine Isaac called YOU ME EVERYTHING. Really well done.

I received the most wonderful request from my colleague Ron MacLean to write the foreword for the re-release of his novel HEADLONG. It remains one of my ten favorite novels I’ve read in the past decade or so, and probably on my top 20 books of all time. I’m so honored.

Between that and the almanac articles and the monologue for my friend’s benefit and the material I’m sending for a potential reading slot in fall, I have quite the schedule. But it’s wonderful.

I’m going to re-read HEADLONG before I write the foreword. Fall in love with the book all over again.

My lunch at Frosty’s had been a much anticipated platter of fried seafood, and I spent the rest of the day and night regretting it. But it was wonderful while I ate it.

Saturday morning, I woke up at 4 AM. I felt better, but Iris (aka Princess Hellion) scared me nearly to death. She was lying in the hallway, not moving. I was afraid she was dead. It was only a deep sleep, thank goodness. She was quite annoyed that I woke her up. She was hot, and could get a breeze by lying in the hall.

Early grocery shopping before heading out to the march.

Each march has its own distinct atmosphere. This, #FamiliesBelongTogether was of grim determination. Although Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy III worked hard to make us optimistic in our fight.

I am sick and tired of Republicans denying human beings basic human dignity and calling it “religion” and “safety.” My mother is terrified — she survived a regime like this during WWII.

I did not do well in the heat and had to be treated for heat exhaustion.

On the bus back, and later in the evening, I read Hannu Rajaniemi’s new book SUMMERLAND. Wow. Just wow. The type of book that’s a page turner while you read it and keeps you thinking after you put it down. Really excellent.

Watched STATE OF PLAY (the one with Bill Nighy, the BBC mini-series). Very good. Also started watching the second season of HUSTLE, which is fun.

Sunday was hot, hot, hot. We got the garbage to the dump (not fun). Read and wrote a little during the day. I’m playing with an idea that’s a variation on something I’ve played with on and off for years and never quite made work. Also pondered this, that, and the other on RELICS & worked out ideas on calendar articles.

We went to MSPCA for a senior cat adoption. The new facility was beautiful, but there weren’t many cats (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong). Tessa needs a friend, and I don’t think the right one was there for her in this batch. I feel so guilty every time I walk out of a place without adopting.

When we came home — the power was out in this neighborhood. I was worried we’d lose everything in the fridge, but it came back on after a couple of hours without damage.

Monday, I did client work and had some meetings and did some work at the library.
Worked on a marketing campaign for a client and got part of it out. The rest has to be handled today.

Had an excellent writing day on Monday for RELICS. Finished a Phineas chapter, wrote an entire Amanda chapter.

Have to get going with DHARMA this week, too. I look forward to being back on the cruise ship with Sophie, Sebastian, Roz, and the gang.

Today, more client work, and then Reiki tonight. Company arriving late tonight — they might stay until the end of the week, they might leave after a few days. We’re playing it by ear.

No post tomorrow — Just a holiday greeting. I’ll be back online on Thursday. Have a great weekend. And I hope my Canadian friends had a wonderful Canada Day on Sunday.

 

Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Rainy and muggy

Tuesday night, there was a lovely Savasana/Reiki session at my yoga studio. I’m so glad I went. I felt so much better after.

Tessa wouldn’t eat her food (she only eats one kind of dry food, with another as an occasional treat), so at 6:30 in the morning yesterday, I went to 711 to get her a fresh box of her “treat” food, since the pet food store wasn’t open. She ate that. So her regular food must have gotten stale or something. Then, this morning, she didn’t want that food, and ate her normal food again. She’s bored and acting out. I need to give her more to do. Iris is too old to be a good companion for her.

It was difficult to make much progress on RELICS on Wednesday. My head wasn’t in the game.

Now that the US has pulled out of the UN’s Human Rights Council and believes that gives them the freedom to do anything they want, harm anyone they want, I hope that the world will prosecute this administration for human rights violations and war crimes in the Hague.

If a baker can refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding and say it’s because of his “religion” than any ethical and moral individual can refuse to sell to, serve, or otherwise provide any good or service to any individual who participates in this atrocity. And we all should. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Frontier Air took important steps yesterday to do just that. Prosecute the participants, the way Nazi collaborators were prosecuted after WWII. Cut them out of the community. Refuse them the sacraments. After all, they are tearing rosaries away from immigrants — why should they be allowed the comfort they deny others? Nor should they be absolved in a confessional and allowed to return to committing the same atrocities again.

If these were white children being detained, these gun rights militias would have already stormed the camps and freed them. But, since gun rights militants tend to also be white supremacists (not to mention hypocrites), they haven’t done anything. Or even spoken out.

A large faction of Methodists has spoken out against Jeff Sessions and threatened to expel him from the church. Good. He’s been hiding behind “religion” to justify his atrocities. His religious leaders, if they actually walk their path, should condemn and expel him. Then he should go on trial for human rights violations. All the evangelicals who haven’t spoken out, who aren’t doing anything — again, proves that they aren’t followers of Christ at all, but hypocrites. Like people with critical thinking skills didn’t already know that.

Some Republican Senators are saying this is wrong. Yet they refuse to sign on to Senator Diane Feinstein’s bill that would stop this. Because Republicans don’t really mean it, and aren’t willing to work across the aisle for a solution. It’s beyond not being willing to work with Democrats. It is because Republicans AGREE with the policies. They would rather see an entire generation of children destroyed for not being white and world-wide anti-Americanism on the rise than put country over party. It is racism and the worst kind of nationalism.

We cannot wait until November. They must be stopped NOW.

That EO signed by the Narcissistic Sociopath yesterday does not solve the problem. It was a photo op to stop some of the shouting by those who can’t be bothered to read beyond a headline. It continues to put asylum seekers — something that is LEGAL — into concentration camps. It does not reunite the children already separated from their parents. It is not acceptable.

I am deeply disappointed in some that I thought were decent human beings and have proven themselves otherwise by continuing to support and excuse this corrupt administration. Including some who claimed they voted R on “religious grounds.”

I’ve said it before and I repeat: Good people did not vote for this administration. The minute they pulled that voter lever, they forfeited any “good person” status and let the mask slip, revealing who they really are.

In the book I’m currently reading, Dolores Stewart Riccio’s THE DIVINE CIRCLE OF LADIES MAKING MISCHIEF, on page 108, she has a beautiful sentence: “The heart always has room for one more.”

Unless one supports this administration. Then, the heart has room for no one.

Had hoped to do some yard work today, but don’t know if the weather will let up so I can. I need to work on RELICS, and I also need to finish the proofs for MYTH.

It’s so important to show up and do the work every day, to keep creating, to refuse to be silenced during this dark time. It’s tough, but necessary.

Hopefully, tonight’s ritual will serve to both soothe and to activate.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 21, 2018 at 9:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World  
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Mon. July 31, 2017: Author, not “Author”, Women’s Memoir Cliches, and Unfair Expectations

Monday, July 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It definitely smells like autumn. Tomorrow is the first harvest festival, so it makes sense.

The cats and I were up most of the night because a neighborhood dog was crying. We couldn’t figure out where it was, or I would have comforted it. Poor thing!

I gave myself the weekend off, mostly. I needed to recharge; I was mentally exhausted, even more than physically.

I did some yard work. I read a lot, which was hit and miss. I read a mystery that was set “backstage” in a “professional” theatre. Yeah, right. The performers went around quoting the Scottish play without comment or consequence. DOESN’T HAPPEN. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t be an “author”. Be an author or a writer.

I read another mystery, first book in the series, where the characters were okay, but the plot forced to fit into a tight formula that didn’t work for the premise, and the writing weak.

I read Val McDermid’s OUT OF BOUNDS, which was excellent.

At least it was nice enough to read outside most of the time. A little cool, but nice. I prefer cool weather to hot, anyway, which is why I live in a place with seasons.

I’m reading a stack of books and memoirs about the NEW YORKER magazine, as background for a piece. Hit and miss interesting. I’m looking more for the daily-ness of working at the publication set against the historical backdrop, and what made the people tick, not the navel-gazing.

I’m so tired of memoirs by women who spent the whole book “finding” their “independence”, only to get married (or get married again). Basically, they’re just circling back to where they started, but with a different guy. But people buy into all this “I’m now an independent woman” — um, no, you’re still acting like a 1950s college grad with her MRS degree. Leaving one guy, “travelling” mentally and physically, in order to wind up with another guy, doesn’t make you “independent”. It makes you a cliché.

Worked on notes for a couple of projects.

Finished the next book I have to review. I want to get the review out today, and then request the next book. Hopefully, it won’t take them two weeks to assign it this time. To me “steady work” means the next assignment arrives when I turn in the previous one. They still owe me for the last two reviews, too.

I have two essays and two short stories to finish, plus a couple of pitches to get out. I SHOULD have done them this weekend, but the quality would have been crap. I’m still within my deadline, so it was a better choice to give myself a break, and then be able to attack them with fresh eyes this morning.

I already did a pre-tourist grocery run, so I’m doing okay! 😉

Little annoyed with a friend. I didn’t hear from him for about six months; fine, no problem. But I received an email from him late Friday night, and another one early this morning, berating me for not instantly getting back to him. Um, no. This was a “hey, how are you?” email, not an emergency or a question that required immediate response, and taking the weekend off-line is something he KNOWS I do. Not answering until this morning (just over 48 hours later) is not too long, especially since the last contact was at Christmas. I don’t say “how high?” when someone says “Jump”. I’m more likely to tell that person to eff off. 😉

Tomorrow is the cover reveal for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I’m nervous!

July wrap-up is over on the GDR site.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 31, 2017 at 9:40 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 31, 2017: Author, not “Author”, Women’s Memoir Cliches, and Unfair Expectations  
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Mon. Aug. 11, 2014: Excited by The Wonderful Conference!

Monday, August 11, 2014
Last Day of Full Moon
Sunny and cool

Wow. The last few days have been intense.

Thursday, I worked at the library until 2 PM. It was busy — I wanted to make sure I got everything done (since I’m not back “in the office” until this Wed.) and not leave anyone holding the bag or cleaning up a mess I left. So I worked ahead on anything that I could think of being needed, such as the report for tonight’s Board meeting. I also processed a big stack of books that arrived from Ingram. Another box from Ingram arrived as soon as I was done, but I pretended it wasn’t there — and it might not have been mine, anyway. I also processed some videos that arrived from Amazon. I wanted to make sure as much as possible could get on the shelves while I was gone.

I left at 2 PM and headed for the Conference center. I checked in and found out that a fellow board member had a family emergency, so I agreed to cover the things he was supposed to take care of. I unloaded the car, got the library exhibit table set up, then got my own books checked in to the bookshop, then helped out at the cocktail reception.

As usual, we started at a table with two people and kept expanding. My rule of thumb is, “pull up a chair, join us; there’s always room for one more.” That way, no one feels left out, excluded, and people who are there for the first time and don’t know anyone get to meet people, and people who know other people get to meet new people. So that was fun.

My boss from the library joined us for the introduction ceremony upstairs. I announced the writing contest winners (one of them was even there, which was great), and all the instructors were introduced. We ran into someone with whom we’re going to put together a great panel for the library, and a group of us headed downstairs to the bar to catch up. It was fun and noisy, and we got out of there late.

Up early on Friday. Wrote a bit of 1000 words on INITIATE. Cooked for the incoming guests. Finished cleaning up. Ran to the store for the last few things.

Did a roundtable with my friend, Kevin Symmons, at the conference on inspiration –we had a good time with it, and the participants seemed to enjoy it, too. Then came the class I was taking, a screenwriting class. Since it covered the basics, I was worried that I might not be pushed hard enough. But the teacher was good (Chantalle Aimee Osman — if you ever get a chance to study with her, jump at it) and I found points where, because I move from format to format, I’ve gotten sloppy. There are certain areas where I need to sharpen what I do when I’m in screenplay format, in order to take it to the next level.

I’m also going to have to bite the bullet and invest in either Final Draft or Movie Magic, once I have the new Macbook. I’m very anti-formatting software, because I think it makes people rely on the software instead of learning the craft, but it is now the industry standard, and if I want to work in the industry, I need to suck up and deal.

Ran home after class to deal with a few things and get my company settled. Part of the company is a very old yellow lab that my Mom has taken care of since he was a puppy. He’s sweet, but not very bright.

The cats are horrified.

Raced back to the conference. Had rehearsal with the executive director for a skit I stepped into. Had a drink in the bar with some fellow panelists and the terrific novelist Gary Braver. I was on a panel moderated by Arlene Kay, along with Kevin Symmons and David Litwack. What a pleasure! We were talking about our journeys and how we keep writing on tough days, and things like that. It was a lot of fun. We then kicked off the reading sessions.

I knew about two paragraphs in that I picked the wrong scene — you can feel the energy in the room. But I was stuck by then, so I pushed through. Live and learn, right? Should have stuck to the scenes in the media kit! The readings were good — quite varied, and a better quality, overall, than some of the other years.

Went back down to the bar, had a drink with friends and colleagues, got in a bit after midnight. Chatted with the company. Fell into bed, trying to learn lines. Got a text from an actor for whom I just wrote a monologue — he’s on set for a new film and was in between set-ups.

Actor: What are you doing?
Me: Learning lines for Gutenberg.
Actor: Who’s Gutenberg?
Me: Use Google.
Few minutes silence, then another text.
Actor: How are you going to play a guy from the 1400s?
Me: I have no fucking idea.

Up early on Saturday. Wrote about 1100 words on INITIATE. Tessa is still furious with me because there’s a DOG in the house. Got the company safely off to the Nantucket ferry — although the dog stays with us. Tessa puffed up so big that she couldn’t dive under the bed, and had to deflate before she could fit. The cats were just starting to calm down, and then my neighbor decided to cut down a tree next door. Of course, that was my fault, too, as far as the cats were concerned. A DOG and all that NOISE. I’m unhappy, because I don’t think perfectly healthy trees should be cut down, but it’s not on my property, so I have no say in the matter.

Called the joke shop, talked to Chris –sounded like they had what I needed. Drove in to Hyannis, Chris got me all set up with the beard.

Back to the conference. Picked up my costume. Another excellent screenwriting session. Home. Tried on the costume, complete with beard. Cats took one look and dived under the bed. Ran lines a few times. Got out of costume. Took a nap.

Woke up, showered, dressed in a killer blue silk sheath dress, fishnets, and heels, pinning up my hair. If I’m going to play I bearded guy from the fifteenth century in an academic robe, I am going to look HOT for the banquet!

Got caught in Craigville beach traffic on the way back to the conference. Had my window down, had the music on. This shirtless surfer dude leans into the open window, sees the fishnets and says, “So, what’re you doin’ tonight?”

Me: Playing Gutenberg.
Dude: Huh?
Me: What, you don’t get into a little role playing sometime?

He had no idea how to respond to that!

The keynote was a roundtable with author Rishi Reddi and Alicia Anstead, who’s the editor of THE WRITER magazine. We all read Rishi’s story “Karma” and it was a discussion, led by Alicia. It was interesting, and a lot of fun. At times, I worried that over-analyzing it might take away some of the power and emotional beauty of the story, but Alicia is very good at what she does and knew how to keep it from getting pretentious or ponderous. Rishi’s writing is just gorgeous. The piece was the “One Story” that was read last year by the entire city of Boston as part of the Boston Book Festival.

Then, we paraded into dinner. I was lucky enough to be at the table with Rishi, Alicia, Michelle Hoover, and Karen Day (two more wonderful authors), along with others. We had a lively, fun discussion that ran the gamut of topics. I can’t wait for the new novels by Rishi, Michelle, and Karen.

Between the main course and dessert, I disappeared, and, with the help of Matthew, one of our scholarship students (whose work I really liked, and who already knew, from the previous days, that I am completely out of my mind), got into costume. Nancy and I did the skit. I couldn’t let my dislike of performance inhibit me. Nancy wrote an arrogant, self-assured character, and I had to go with it and over it — so I went for it, over the top, high camp. The audience loved it. I still wish Jim had been able to do it — he’s such a good actor, he would have brought a lot to the role. But I managed to get away with it. However, it was a prime example of why I spent my life BACKstage, instead of ONstage.

Scrambled out of costume, let my hair down (literally this time, not just figuratively), and had dessert. Stopped at the beach on the way home because it was such a beautiful night, hung out with some people playing music and dancing. Got home about one.

From silk sheath to panda pajamas in a matter of minutes.

Up early on Sunday, wrote about 1100 words on INITIATE. At the conference a little before 10 AM to help at the desk. At noon, I broke down the library exhibit table, loaded the car. As classes ended, I loaded the easels into the car, since we will use them for Mermaid Ball. Got the unsold books back from the bookstore — I sold some, and people kept asking me to sign copies, which was nice. Had a rash from the fake beard around my nose and my upper lip, though.

Took my final screenwriting session. We wrote tag lines and log lines. I created a tagline and used the logline from STALEMATE DEATH. Fortunately, the teacher liked both, although she thought I should put back a line I’d cut from the logline, so I did. If I hadn’t been able to walk my talk, in the experiences I’d shared in class, it would have been bad!

Bolted down a tuna melt in the bar, and came back to help break down the rest of the conference and load it into the truck. They had enough people to unload, so I got to go straight home. Drinks on the deck, dinner. Repacked the books that will go to Books by the Sea today, read a bit, but was too tired to concentrate, so I went to bed early.

Up early this morning. Wrote 1000 words on INITIATE. Tessa is getting braver, and even coming downstairs to be with me when I write, but she is still not happy there’s a dog in the house. Violet just stares at the dog, and he stares back, totally intimidated. Iris sidles by him. It’s funny.

Long day today — have to go in to the library to settle some dates; have to drop stuff off at Cotuit Library. Have to get my books to Books By the Sea. Have an appointment in Hyannis with a new student (we’re meeting at Uncommon Ground). Have a Mermaid Ball meeting tonight. Need to do follow-up on the conference (already had to do some business this morning). Need to finish two book reviews, and prep the cozy mystery group and do more research for BALTHAZAAR.

Busy day much?

All I want to do is sleep! No chance for that, not until tonight.

It was a great week. I’m glad I stuck to my guns and wrote every day, or I’d be feeling lousy today.

I hope the momentum carries the students into new work. Too often, the members are all excited during the conference, and by the time the Writers Night Out sessions start again, most of them sit around the table making excuses about why they’re not writing.

Which just drives me nuts. Which, I realize, is often a very short drive.

Back to the book reviews, and then I’m on the road for pretty much the rest of the day. I’ve already drunk a whole pot of coffee. It’s not helping.

But it was a great conference. In spite of the exhaustion, I want to use the energy and the momentum positively into the coming months, on a writing level, on a Board-Member-of-the-Center level, and on a programming level for the library.

After today, however, full focus MUST shift to the Mermaid Ball, which is at the end of next 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