Fri. July 1, 2016: Mars Makes His Move & I’m Independent

Personal Revolution CoverFriday, July 1, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Walked in to the library yesterday morning to be told I was fired, the position was “eliminated”. I would have stayed for a few hours to compile contacts info for upcoming programs and finish dangling ends, but I had to turn in my key and leave without even turning on the computer or anything else. Buh-bye.

Had to take my mom on some medical errands, but then I went down to the “Career Center” in Hyannis to fill out the unemployment paperwork and do all the registering and stuff one does in this situation. They were absolutely lovely AND I can go down there and do my job searches on their computers and book time and all kinds of things. In fact, I have to show my face once a week, which is fine, because they’re so helpful. I haven’t had to fill out unemployment paperwork since 1991. It’s kind of different now. But if you have half a brain, it’s not rocket science. They also suggested that I not put so much pressure on myself now (the first three hours after I was fired), and at least give myself the holiday to decompress.

Of course, I’ll be writing for the entire holiday weekend to finish the book that’s due at the end of next week, but that’s another whole ball of wax.

It also shores up how people took advantage of us at the Place That Shall Not Be Named when they demanded we fill out applications for them, instead of going to the center and learning how to do it them-damn-selves.

But that’s no longer my problem, and neither is anything else over there.

I let the people with whom I’d been negotiating projects know I was gone and they’d have to deal with Them directly.

Did the grocery shopping (chop wood, carry water). Did a little bit of work on INITIATE, and finished the proofs of “Personal Revolution”.

Read Lilith St. Crow’s CLOUD WATCHER, which I enjoyed.

I have a massive migraine, but that’s the stress, and once it releases, I’ll be okay.

Didn’t feel up to doing much of anything last night and went to bed early. I promised myself I’d give yesterday over to mourning, and then get on with it. Too many deadlines to indulge in a pity party.

Lots of support from friends all over the place, and suggestions from colleagues in the business who are off-Cape. Also getting a lot of love & support from some actor pals, even though we are all far-flung all over the world on different projects right now. Because when you’re “one of us”, you circle the wagons when the civilians behave like . . .well, civilians.

Up early this morning. Yoga outside, and my first writing session of the day on the deck (on INITIATE).

“Personal Revolution” released this morning. You can find it on Smashwords here. It’s set during an Independence Day event at a New England historical site (a fictional one), so it’s relevant to the weekend, and I was damned if I was going to drop that ball, even though it was rough getting it done. But done it is, and I hope people enjoy it.

Headed back to the page for the CHARISMA revisions. I have a wide stretch of uninterrupted worktime, and I intend to make the most of it and meet my deadlines.

The summer flirt boys are back in town, so that’s always amusing, too. Not that I take any of it seriously, but it’s a fun distraction.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! See you on the other side, when I’ll update where I am on the deadlines.

Happy 4th! Mars is kicking my ass, and “Independence Day” is a relevant meaning this year!  😉 It will all be good, it just sucks right now.

Devon

Published in: on July 1, 2016 at 9:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 1, 2016: Mars Makes His Move & I’m Independent  
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Wed. June 22, 2016: The Writing Fugue

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I will be so glad when this Mars retrograde is done. It has kicked my ass.

Saturday’s house & garden tour went well – people seemed to enjoy it. Things were busy. I stayed after the library closed and got some work done, and then went over to the play. It was cute, although I wasn’t really sure while all these Cape Codders were speaking in a southern accent.

Home, writing. Wrote all day Sunday, all day Monday, all day Tuesday. 100 pages in longhand, finishing a major section of INITIATE. Worked on the radio plays – trying to figure out as much in advance so that I can get what I need to in the ten minute limit. Developed a logline and quick pitch for the potential new series that the actor pal wants to send to his producer pal. These projects can take years to develop – so I stepped up, did my part, delivered what and when I said I would, and we’ll see what happens from there.

Was asked to return to an organization I left about a year ago; not going to do so. It would simply be yet another drain on my time, and people expecting me to put their demands before my own writing, which I am not willing to do. I tried working with them, and they were detrimental to my writing, not supportive of it; therefore, no.

This will be another long week, with long days at the library, and then, on Friday night, our Casino night fundraiser. On Saturday, I’m headed out to the flower show.

I hit up the wholesale nursery on Sunday and got some great plants, and then hit Country Gardens to get potting soil and a few other things. I mowed a lot, and put down more fertilizer, but there’s still a lot to do.

I’m behind where I want to be on CHARISMA KILLINGS, so that is where the bulk of my focus needs to be for the next few weeks. Somehow, everything will get done!

Devon

Sat. June 11, 2016: The Delightfully Clever Film PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES

Saturday, June 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was busy – lots of processing/receiving/scheduling, et al.

Wrote on my lunch break, which was good, because it lessened the tension of the scenes that built up over the morning.

Home exhausted. Got a bit of writing done after dinner, but not much; had to do the baking for today’s program.

Watched PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES. I did not expect to like it at all, and I liked it A LOT. It was clever, it was funny, it was deeply rooted in the source material. I’d wanted to see it because Matt Smith and Lena Headey were in it, and I always like their work. But everyone was great – the details were so sharp and so fluid, and it was so well done! Lily James and Sam Riley were exceptional. Riley found a way to inhabit Darcy that was neither an imitation of Colin Firth’s interpretation nor a fight against it – he found his own way, he was rooted in what he was doing, and he WAS. The argument/fight scene between Lizzie and Darcy was both funny and brilliant—choreography, writing, execution. What a wonderful surprise!

Didn’t get much writing done this morning. I’m approaching a difficult sequence in INITIATE, where I’m based in some known mythology, but I’ve spun it out to fit the world I’ve built. It’s so bizarre to hold the whole series in my head, and create each scene knowing not only how it drives the specific volume, but the overall series arc.

I have a long day today – it wouldn’t be my Saturday “on”, but I’m covering, and there are two events, plus more books arrived after I’d done the processing yesterday.

Over the weekend, of course, I have to tackle mowing the meadow. But I’ll also be juggling the CHARISMA rewrites, the next sequence in the play set in 17th Century Italy, and this next sequence in INITIATE.

I’ve got an NMLC Board meeting Monday, and something scheduled for almost every night next week. Somehow, I have to hold back enough energy to stay on track with the writing.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on June 11, 2016 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Sat. June 11, 2016: The Delightfully Clever Film PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES  
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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

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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Sat. June 4, 2016: Writing and Longing

Saturday, June 04, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a blur. We were two short at work, so it was crazy/busy. But we handled it.

Plus, I had the details of the “Plot Bunnies” release. When I got home last night, I had to update the “Stories” page on this blog, and the various pages on the website. I have to put together a media kit for the piece, too, and get a press release out next week.

Meanwhile, I need to get going on the edits for “Personal Revolution”, and I need to think about getting another Topic Workbook out.

I started digging into the revisions on CHARISMA KILLINGS (new title still to be finalized with my agent). It feels right – I think I’ve got it on track. As long as I don’t get overwhelmed by the way I need to shuffle the pieces, I’ll be fine.

But I’m behind on the play, “Just a Drop”, and on SONGBOUND SISTERS, which I can’t drop, especially since I’m in the running for a grant for it. And INITIATE has been pulling very, very, VERY hard.

Of course, there are other demands on my time, and I’m hitting a point where I need to do another reassessment and get ruthless again. If it interferes with the writing instead of supports it, it has to go.

I’m also missing Scotland an awful lot. I’m missing it so badly it’s manifesting as physical pain. I need to find a way to get there next year or so. I’d just posted about it on Facebook and a writer friend plans to go to Scotland next July. So that’s something to plan toward. Ask and there it is!

Started thinking about an old friend this morning, and am trying to track him down. We lost touch even before I left NY – while I was still working on Broadway.

Once I’m done here, it’s back to the page. I’m eager for it, looking forward to it, craving it. There’s a lot to do, and the byword for the summer is “time management.”

I’m already over the summer people and wish they’d go away. I love the PLACE of the Cape, I feel connected to the land and sea, but it’s gotten too crowded. I need more quiet.

Lots to think about, but I also don’t want to make decisions when I’m feeling so unsettled. Once I get the strands of work sorted out and back in their grooves (so I can properly groove each day as I write), I will then be in a position to make rational decisions.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release

Plot Bunnies Cover 1

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

Yesterday was a long day, but fine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

Devon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digging in and going on.

Devon

Published in: on June 2, 2016 at 8:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 2, 2016: The Nitpicky Part of Revisions  
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Wed. June 1, 2016: Diagramming a Series for Structure

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend, but not with a lot to show for it.

Saturday was my Saturday “off” from the library. I ran around doing errands, and got the terraced back area mowed. It desperately needed it! Sunday, I worked on the meadow, but only got about ¼ of it done.

Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to see the amazing Neil McGarry in MY NAME IS ASHER LEV at Cape Rep in Brewster. It was a beautiful space, and a wonderfully done show. The entire cast was terrific, and the direction was superb. It was easily the best thing I’ve seen since I lived on Cape.

Monday and Tuesday rained, so I couldn’t work outside. I wasn’t feeling well, so I didn’t get as much done inside as I would have liked, either. My lunch date was cancelled yesterday, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since I felt so bad, and I missed both the Mermaid Ball meeting and the Artist HobNob.

I did a lot of mental work on the rewrite of what’s been THE CHARISMA KILLINGS, but will shortly have a new title. I figured out the new opening, and how that affects the rest of the plot and red herrings and incorporates the other suggestions. I didn’t get a lot of words on paper, but I’ve got a good sense of direction for this revision. It didn’t LOOK like a lot of work got done, but it’s the part of the process that, unless you are an artist or writer, you don’t really understand, and it’s difficult to explain. I ran the response ideas past my agent and she liked them, and we’re working on both a new series title and new book titles.

I also worked on ideas for CHOLERIC’s revision. The contrast between the two series is interesting. Although they are both mysteries, the tone is very different for each. I broke down some of Philip Craig’s Martha’s Vineyard mysteries, because they are closer in tone to what I’m going for that something in CHARISMA’S subgenre. I was surprised by several things: the conservative tone of the books, which I hadn’t really noticed when I originally read them in the 90s and which I do not like now; and the number of characters, which I like A LOT.

I dislike books with too few characters. Even in a small community, you run into a lot of people, and keep crossing paths with people. If a writer doesn’t differentiate characters well enough, that’s one thing, or substitutes character quirks for actual character. Neither of those work for me. But if a reader’s too stupid to keep track of more than six characters, well, that’s not the reader for whom I’m writing, period. And I’m a little tired of all these content producers, across different mediums, claiming they want “diverse” characters, when in reality, they want the mention of different skin tones, but they want the characters to act like white people.

The exercise is very illuminating. I’m also doing it with Jane Langton’s Homer Kelly books.

I also took the opportunity of not feeling well and having little left over energy to re-read Sharon Shinn’s entire TWELVE HOUSES series. I’m nearly done with all five books. I love them more each time I re-read them. MYSTIC AND RIDER is still one of the books in my Top Ten list, and I still think it’s one of the best opening chapters I’ve ever read. I still sob at portions of THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE. I liked DARK MOON DEFENDER better this time around, and still love READER AND RAELYNX. I’m about half way through FORTUNE AND FATE.

I have to respect her decision to end the series when she feels she should, but I would love more in this world. I love all these characters a lot.

Back to work today; will be a long day, and then I have to tackle actually getting words on the page. I have a feeling, over the next few months, I’ll be writing both first thing in the morning, and adding another session at night.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Devon

Fri. May 27, 2016: Roaring into Revisions

Friday, May 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Foggy and warm

I can’t believe it’s Memorial Day Weekend. WTF???? I’m so not ready for it.

Yesterday was busy, although I feel as though I don’t have a lot to show for it. On the upside, the agent who read my book over the past few days really liked it. She had some suggestions, which resonated positively. As I drove home last night, I figured out how to implement them. I have to rewrite the first third of the book and rearrange the rest like puzzle pieces, but it’s do-able. We’re also going to come up with a new title and a new series title.

So that’s all good.

It means rearranging my writing schedule for the next few months. It also re-emphasizes that DEATH OF A CHOLERIC is NOT a cozy, nor should it be restructured to fit the formula. It’s much darker, and much more along the lines of Philip R. Craig’s mysteries set on Martha’s Vineyard and Jane Langston’s Homer Kelly mysteries set in Concord. CHOLERIC is under a different name than the CHARISMA, so it simply identifies the two names more strongly.

But I have my work cut out for me. I can’t drop the ball on either “Just a Drop” or on SONGBOUND SISTERS. I have to be ferociously protective of my time.

I woke up at 2 AM feeling awful – not sure if it was allergies or if I’m getting a cold. I took a Benedryl and finally got back to sleep, and then overslept.

I have a meeting this morning, and then I have to catalog and process books. I’m almost done with the next book order.

I’m looking forward to getting down to work on the revision!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! Out here on Cape, no more left turns until after Labor Day!

Devon

Published in: on May 27, 2016 at 8:30 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 27, 2016: Roaring into Revisions  
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