Tues. July 11, 2017: More Freelancing Than Fiction

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where Colin Galbraith talks about his latest release, GATECRASH.

Yesterday was not a good writing day. That was frustrating.

I was reasonably productive, at least in the morning: mowing, errands, final polish on the essay.

Send out questions to two potential project partners (two different projects); followed up on some pitches where I haven’t yet heard back; sent off the essay; sent a thank you & goodbye to a collaborator where our contract is up tomorrow, and I’m not extending it; sent out a query and sample pages for another book project; posted a call for questions in one of the groups in which I participate (and will do the same in another group); promoted “The Ramsey Chase”; sent out some more pitches.

The cover designer and I worked with some of the images that are possible for the new PLAYING THE ANGLES cover, but we don’t like it. I wish I could find the photos I know will work. Also playing with images for another project (which will be revealed shortly). We’re closer there, which is worrisome, since it’s not releasing until after ANGLES.

The editor with whom I’ve had a rocky relationship really likes the last piece I sent in; maybe we’re on the right track. The lag in assignment and pay, however, still bother me. I’ll have to weigh them against each other.

Read a bit; it’s an author’s new book. I have mixed feelings about the author. She’s got a huge following, but a lot of her writing doesn’t work for me. I appreciate that she’s trying something new here, but it doesn’t quite work, in my opinion. However, her fans will love it and she’ll make a packet of money, so good for her.

Still waiting on those two late payments, which I need this week in order to pay the bills. One changed the terms of the agreement (which means he is in breach of the agreement, since I did NOT agree); the other is simply not responding. Very frustrating.

On the positive side, last night, I heard back from a publication for whom I’ve written before, and to whom I pitched a couple of weeks ago. They like my article and want to contract it (sold on query again, not pre-written), AND they’re going to pay me more than the usual rate. I’m pretty happy about that. It will be a month or so before I’m paid (the article will take between one and two weeks), but at least I know that’s on the horizon. Plus, I have good clips and always been paid on time from this publication, so that’s all good.

Unfortunately, the fiction suffered — a LOT — yesterday, and I didn’t work on the media kits, either.

Today, I’ve already done a Trader Joe’s run. I have to get all my article questions out this morning, a few more pitches, and hope I hear back from the places I contacted yesterday, so I know which projects are moving forward.

I hope to have an exciting announcement in a week or two, but I don’t want to count my chickens too early, and all that stuff.

I’m in the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES now, taking my time to make sure I hit all the points and get all the editorial notes handled. If we’re going to adhere to the October release date, I have to be thorough, but also can’t take too long. Then, I’ll have to edit the first chapter of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY so it can also go in. What a relief not to battle this “one-book-in-a-series” lack of commitment that far too many of the smaller publishers are currently doing. I understand that far too many of the writers are unreliable and can’t deliver regularly, but if the publishers were paying them proper advances, there’d be more motivation to get things done on time.

I’m frantic to get the story for the sick teen finished, too, and feeling the time pressure there. Every day that passes where it’s not done means more suffering for her.

Plus, the life pressures this week are at an almost intolerable point. Most of them would be solved if those damn late payments would show up.

Back to the page.

Wed. June 28, 2017: Trying to Line Up Ducks Before the Holiday Weekend

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Monday was busy. I re-slanted and re-sent two pitches; sent out two new pitches; caught up on correspondence. Somehow, the day flew by.

I did research on several new-to-me markets. Some, I need to do some more in-depth digging; a couple, I think I can craft pitches and send them.

My mom has to have surgery in July, on her foot. Results of the biopsy done a couple of weeks ago. I want to know why her first doctor — the one that dropped her because she wasn’t making enough money off my mom — didn’t diagnose this wound properly a year and a half ago, when my mom showed it to her?

And, of course, I have to come up with the co-payment. Another expense I wasn’t counting on. Not to mention that my mom is 94 and any surgery is worrisome.

There’s a possible new-to-me micro-fiction market. They pay, but I have to figure out the details and ratio of word count/payment/frequency of assignment to see if it’s something I want to or can take on. They seem to be more legitimate and a better payer than the other company I talked to last week. We’ll see. There’s a humor market that could become a regular gig, but I’m not feeling particularly witty or funny right now.

Read Barbara Ross’s ICED UNDER, another Maine Clambake book. I really like this series.

Quite a contrast to another book I tried to read (by a different author). It was a mystery. The protagonist was a narrow-minded, unlikable little twit. The story was dumbed down, the characters were ciphers instead of people. The author was anti-artist and anti-anyone who chose more than being a traditional housewife. I made it to page 35, closed the book, and have put the author on my Will Not Read list. She insulted my intelligence AND my profession. Next!

I really want to take this upcoming holiday weekend as a writing/reading/yoga retreat. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

Did a little bit of work on the Scottish mystery with the older protagonists on Tuesday, after running errands early enough in the morning so I didn’t get caught up in tourist traffic. That threw off my writing schedule, though.

Finished DRINKING THE RAIN by Alix Kates Shulman. Liked it a lot. And loving Helen Bevington’s THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING.

Worked on the June wrap-up, July’s To Do list, and, soon, I’ll have to do the mid-year assessment. We’ll see how far I’ve strayed.

Worked on the media kit. It’s always such journeyman work, but it’s important, and I always discover something I didn’t realize about my own work, because I have to look at it as though I’m handling someone else’s.

I came up with a series title for Playing the Angles and The Spirit Repository — but that makes me wonder if I should change the name under which the books appear. At the same time, I’m not completely sure I’ve hit exactly what I want with the series title. I’m feeling creatively drained.

The project in Orleans isn’t going to work out — they’re going with someone younger. That’s not what they said (which would be illegal), but that’s what they’re doing. Heaven forbid they hire someone with experience who expects a professional rate! Well, they’ll get what they paid for. I was having second thoughts myself — the money, the refusal to commit beyond the summer, and a few other elements. My ego’s bruised, but, deep down in my gut, I know it’s for the best.

Fretting because I’m waiting for two checks that are late. Not happy, because there are bills that need to be paid before the end of the month, and then I have to focus both on next month’s bills and on the co-payment for my mother’s surgery.

Got about half of “The Ramsey Chase” proofread. I’m creating the tracking sheets and character bible for the series as I go, which also slows me down.

Worked my way through a stack of research books that I hoped would be helpful as background for a project. Unfortunately, they were mostly self-indulgent navel-gazing masquerading as “self help.” There’s quite a stack to go back to the library.

I’m gathering questions for the Q&A section of the Devon Ellington media kit. Colin Galbraith had two interesting ones that I’m going to use. I’m hoping other people will post questions on Facebook, Twitter, and/or in the comments here on Ink.

I did quite a bit of work on the media kit yesterday afternoon. I’m through most of the fiction/series/shorts section. I’ve got some more Digital Delights to add in, make the links live.

Still fretting about the series title. That series title means it makes more sense to have the books appear under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name rather than the Annabel Aidan or Devon Ellington name. Also, the more I think about it, the more that series title fits a different series — one I’ve yet to write. So I’m on the hunt for another series title. Some of the books are set in New York, or at least start in New York and move outward. So the title needs to have a bit of an urban edge, but also fulfill the books when they move beyond the city limits. I came up with another series title, but it might also be a bit too soft. I’ll pull out the Thesaurus (the print one, not look online) and browse.

During this morning’s meditation, a new set of characters and situations dropped into my head. I still don’t have the plot, although I have a premise. I think it will be set on the outskirts of Portland, Maine.

Finished a science fiction short story this morning. Will revise it later today and tomorrow, and it can go out the door tomorrow. Now, have to turn my attention back to the more complicated, contemporary one and finish that to get it out the door.

I’m going to take the holiday weekend as a writing/yoga/meditation retreat. I need the mental and the physical break. If I can get my ducks in a row, and my deadlines met by Friday (gulp), that’s what I’ll do. Be offline from Friday afternoon until sometime on Wednesday.

Yet I’m sure there will be mowing in my future. I’ve been bad and haven’t done any this week, although the weather’s been good for it.

Errands, admin, and correspondence to do, and then, it’s back to the page.

Mon. March 5, 2012: Weighing Contradictory Information


Heading here later today for some solitary time.

Monday, March 5, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, both good and tiring.

Friday, after getting out the materials requested in the morning, I caught up with one of my classes, caught a few hours’ of sleep, and staggered around the house the rest of the day. The emotional exhaustion was worse than the physical exhaustion. Especially since all that work might not pay off anyway — which is the problem with fiction. You don’t know until it’s done. And, of course, when you’re tired, the Doubt Demons see you as easy prey.

The tarot was not much comfort. I’d already drawn The Crossroads from the Well-Worn Path. The tarot cards drawn Saturday morning — Death and the 5 of Wands. Could ya give me a little support here, cards? 😉 Crossroads — yeah, I figured that one out all by myself; Death — yes, I’ve been talking about new business plans, new directions for the career, re-envisioning what I want and need. So the card of transformation makes sense. 5 of Wands — redefining identity and career — yeah, pretty much where I am.

At least it wasn’t The Tower!

To bed early Friday (since I was pretty incoherent anyway). Up early Saturday and to a conference here on the Cape. It was a day-long conference on epublishing and marketing. It was great to be amongst my fellow writers again, and meet some new ones. We had a lovely group at our table.

The first part of the program was about the steps an ebook has to go through from text to purchasable copy. It was pretty technical. I thought it was interesting, and much easier to follow than I expected. But you could see the room — some people found it interesting, as I did. Some people struggled, unfamiliar with the terms, but were determined to understand. Some just couldn’t be bothered.

Which is of course why the speakers were there — they do formatting and preparation. For a price. It’s still up to the author to distribute, but they handle the coding, etc. You still have to give them edited, proofread copy because they don’t handle that aspect, and that’s where a lot of writers who indie publish drop the ball. They think because they’re indie-publishing and their story is so brilliant, it doesn’t matter if it’s a mess. Wrong. If I buy your indie-published book and there are errors all over it, it indicates to me you don’t respect me as a reader, you piss me off, and, not only will I resent forking out even a small amount of money for it, I won’t buy anything by the author again.

There was some murmurings that the speakers purposely complicated the presentation to drum up business; I disagree. I thought it was very clear, and I’m a techno-phobe. So, if I could understand it, it was clear. I was also very grateful for the coaching Colin Galbraith’s given me in HTML coding — I could apply it here. Yes, Colin, I actually retained it — shows you’re a good teacher.

A group of us had a very lively lunch in Hearth ‘N Kettle — good conversation, good food. What I love about this writers’ organization is that the members are interesting. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, they’re intelligent, observant, have a sense of humor — and they buckle down and write. They’re not there to write maybe-Someday. Either they had a writing career, took time off, and are getting back in the saddle, or they had other careers and now want to add writing in — but they WRITE.

Afternoon presentation was on marketing. The presenter was a little too hard-sell for me. “Buy my book, come to my class and you’ll learn how to market.” Honey, I paid for today’s seminar. I want useful information TODAY or you aren’t going to see me at anything else you do. I’m not here for a teaser — I’m here for information.

Fortunately, she got to that. She talked about business models for writers and the importance of marketing taking 50% of your time. I was not a happy camper to hear this — I was hoping to get away with 30%. I realize she’s being practical. Me not wanting to hear it doesn’t change its value. A lot of what she talked about, I already do. I just have to do more of it. So there was good information.

What was interesting about this day was the completely opposing point of view to the industry and its direction than I had from the conversations this past week from someone deep in the trenches with a long, well-established career in it. On the one hand, it was fascinating to hear both points of view, very passionately presented, so close together.

It was also a little overwhelming. By the time I got home on Saturday night, I was ready to curl up into a fetal position. It takes awhile to sort through contradictory information and weigh the different elements as to what’s best for one’s own life.

Up early Sunday, read the papers, checked in with my students, caught up on some work. I didn’t write. I feel like I’ve used up my week’s quota of words. Fortunately, I had material to read, and could refill the creative well. I’ve got a polish this morning on a piece for Confidential Job #1, and a polish for a deadlined article. I’m also wrapping up 5 in 10 and starting the Sensory Perceptions class. A friend is speaking at a local museum, and I’d like to get there this afternoon, but I’ve got errands, and I’ve got to get the headlight on the car fixed. The week’s busy — new class starting, my mother’s surgery, continuing classes and private students, and some other stuff coming up.

50% of the time marketing. Between 1 and 3 AM, maybe. But I have to figure out how to get a higher ratio done, whether it’s a bit every day, or set aside one day a week primarily for marketing.

At least today’s tarot card was The Wheel of Fortune — upright, so turning in my direction!

And my witch hazel’s bloomed — it’s gorgeous. The morning glories I planted last week are also starting to poke up. Carlos the woodpecker is back, and you can hear the owls crooning their mating calls. Spring is on the way.

Devon

Published in: on March 5, 2012 at 7:26 am  Comments (2)  
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Saturday, October 15, 2011


Tessa

Saturday, October 15, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
The weather better be good!

Check out the launch of Midnight Enchantments over on A BIBLIO PARADISE — sixteen days of magical celebrations leading up to Halloween! Colin Galbraith kicks it off.

If you didn’t get a chance to visit my roast yesterday, stop by now — it was hilarious fun.

I scheduled this to post, because I have to write this morning, and then attend the Burying-The-Time-Capsule Ceremony at the park — well, and help set up and clean up. Ah, the joys of holding office! 😉

Then I’m off to a pottery sale and to Staples and to rip Verizon a new one because they are just dreadful liars, cheats, and thieves when it comes to my cell bill.

Spent time with students, and printed the first 45 packets for the conference. 45 down, 105 to print! Ran out of ink, nearly ran out of paper. Will have to make purchases at Staples tomorrow whose total will make me ill again. Still cheaper than sending it out!

All I want to do is write my book, because I’m in its groove.

And there are tulip bulbs that need planting, weather permitting . . .

Devon

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


One of my last pictures of Violet and Elsa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto DIRECT today
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Pluto goes direct today; not sure how I feel about that. Secrets are revealed when Pluto is direct, and since I don’t really have any, it was secrets revealed TO ME, which is useful in the situation.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read Colin Galbraith’s great essay on how he found a way to keep increasing sales for FRINGE FANTASTIC over the years. Thanks, Colin!

The landlord has started to strike back, at at least one of the other tenants who’s also standing up to him (no thanks to the “leader” of the Tenant Org.). Another tenant is too afraid to make a fuss and just doing whatever they say. This is the tenant who, if I don’t actually do everything and take the consequences of everything FOR her, she won’t do anything. And I’m not a relative, and I don’t have legal authority to act on her behalf. AND I think she needs to take responsibility for her own life. I gave her all the tools — she has to be the one to put her signature on the documents. I’m not going to sign on her behalf and then have her claim I’m the one who broke the law. Can’t wait to see what they come up with for us (yes, that’s sarcasm). And the Buildings Dept. couldn’t be bothered to answer the phone yesterday, because, gee, that might mean someone had to get off a fat lazy ass or interrupt a personal phone conversation to do the job he or she was paid to do. And we can’t let that happen! (yes, more sarcasm).

On the up side, I got out a pitch late night, thanks to a Tweet someone forwarded me, the workshop is going well, and I got my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, which means I can invoice them as soon as I’m done.

The cats are grieving, and every time Violet sneezes, I have a nervous breakdown, because Elsa’s illness first manifested as a respiratory infection.

Not much writing done this morning– I have an appointment early in the morning, and then it’s back to the workshop and prepping for next week’s. And I’ve got some more sorting and purging, and go kick some corporate ass — they are trying to screw my elderly mother — AGAIN.

Things were supposed to get BETTER when Mercury went direct!

Devon

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 6:35 am  Comments (5)  
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Christmas Eve
Sunny and cold

For the curious, yes, I can celebrate both the Solstice and Christmas if I want, and it doesn’t mean I’m being hypocritical to either. The former is my chosen path in my adult life. The latter is a nod towards happy family traditions and memories, since I am one of those freakish individuals who experienced a decent amount of happiness while growing up. And I will celebrate as many traditions as I wish! So there! 😉

There’s a giftie waiting for you under the virtual tree, but you’ll have to wait until the end of the post to retrieve it.

Wow! Natalie Bahm gave me a Kreativ Blogger Award. I am so honored! Thank you so much! Part of this honor is to thank her, and I do.

Part of this honor is to pay it forward to 7 other bloggers and to write post 7 things others might not know about me.

Okay, choosing only 7 is hard, I read more than that on any given day, but here’s an attempt:

Lori Widmer — Words on the Page — she’s an amazing writer and human being, a dear friend, and one of the most spiritually aware and emotionally grounded people I know. She gives back constantly.

Diane Parkin — another amazing writer and good friend. She gets more done in an hour than I can get done in a week.

Michelle MilesYe Olde Inkwell — terrific balance of blogging between writing and life.

Lara Stauffer Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom. A daily must-read from a good friend whose life is very different from my own!

Colin GalbraithFreedom From the Mundane — another good friend and fellow writer, whose blog is a daily must-read.

Brandy Book Mom — because she loves books and cats.

Margaret FinneganFinnegan Begin Again. I just found this blog the other day, and it is amazing.

Okay, now for 7 things:

1. I developed a deadly allergy to shrimp. I used to love shrimp and now I’m horribly, horribly allergic. As in vomiting-for-18-hours-straight-and-going-to-the-hospital allergic.

2. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals, and I trust them even less if the animals don’t like them back. In my experience, the animals are usually right! 😉

3. Three things on my Must-Learn Someday List are: Learning to play the piano; taking a pottery class; learning to paint.

4. Even though I spent over 20 years in theatre, the period where I wanted to be an actor was very short-lived. I don’t like that much attention focused on me. Although many actors look at playing characters as getting to be someone totally different, for me it was always about bringing forward different aspects of my personality, and I like to choose for whom I do that.

5. I loathe tabloids and gossip magazines. Having worked with lots of actors over the years and feeling protective of the ones I like and admire, I am enraged to see such lies printed — and 90% of what goes in those rag sheets are lies. They are lies that hurt people, and for the general public to think it’s “fun” to feed into those lies by purchasing the magazines, reading, and even believing the crap makes me sick. Not only that, they are poorly written. If house guests leave one of the mags behind, I literally remove it from the premises with tongs and scrub the place down.

6. I get twitchy if I walk into someone’s house and there aren’t any books around. I try to get out of there as quickly as possible.

7. I am better at crochet than I am at knitting. I’d love to be a better knitter, but I’m awkward and clumsy at it. For some reason, I find crochet easier and more logical.

On to other things. I realized that I don’t have enough dishes for left overs (I’m taking left overs with me to the site), so I have to dash out today and get some more.

Yesterday was fine. I wrote. All day. Over 6K. Until nearly midnight. Edited, polished, et al, this morning.

So, here’s your giftie:

JUST JUMP IN AND FLY: a holiday tale by Ava Dunne.

When two men have an accident with eight no-so-tiny reindeer on her front lawn, Susanna Wright has to balance thinking they’re delusional with keeping in the spirit of the night and getting them back on the road.

The story pulls from a mix of myths and traditions, sprinkled with a few of my own “what ifs”. Although it’s just over 10K, it’s a fast read, and, I hope, a funny one.

To read an excerpt, visit the Ava Dunne page. The download link is also on the site. It downloads as a PDF.

Enjoy!

Devon

Thursday, September 17, 2009: Guest Blogger Colin Galbraith

Colin’s one of my favorite writers and my favorite people. He kindly agreed to guest today, with some opinions on why literary festivals are so important.

Publishers and Literary Festivals: Why We All Benefit
by Colin Galbraith

Literary Festivals in Britain were once a very sparse commodity. In 1983 when the Edinburgh International Book Festival began, there were only around 30 literary festivals in the whole of the UK. Now there are over 300 and their burgeoning popularity can be attributed to several important elements, not all of them what you might assume.

Despite the mistaken belief that the sale of books is in decline brought on by the worldwide recession, more books are now being sold in the UK then ever before. Some economists commented that the public’s drop in disposable income might lead to a decrease in sales, yet with more people looking for new and cheaper forms of entertainment within their homes, the good old book seems to be benefiting greatly from the credit crunch.

This increase in book sales is often attributed to the popular market for of so-called celebrity biographies. A girl/boy band member or popular sports personality that sells their story before Christmas will usually be guaranteed a best seller with massively hyped royalties. However, scan your eyes down the best seller lists on any given week and it’s clear to see that celebrity tell-alls are not the only thing people are buying in numbers. As I write this article, the UK fiction chart lists such writers as Gregory Philippa, Kathy Reichs, Mark Billingham and Danielle Steele. Score the celebrity entries out with a pen and it becomes clear to the naked eye that something great is happening in this country—mainstream and literary fiction are in huge demand.

The publishing industry has come under much scrutiny for the manner in which it has cashed in on celebrity non-fiction books, and while I can personally think of nothing worse I’d like to read, I think there is a side benefit to having these books on the shelves.

Put simply, the money generated from them allows publishers to bankroll new writers. It gives publishers the confidence to bring in new and fresh talent, and to take risks where otherwise they might not have.

It’s also a way into reading for many readers who may have forgotten the pleasure that can be gained from reading a book. Maybe they’ve begun by reading a personality biography, found they liked the act of reading and so end up walking over to the fiction shelves in their nearest book shop.

And as the interest swells and the money flows, publishers over the last few years have realised the benefit in bringing everyone together under the one roof, and thus the dramatic explosion we have seen in the literary festival.

Literary festivals are a great way of increasing the interest and keeping readers and publishers in touch, and by doing so, the cycle of publication is strengthened allowing more good books to find their way into the market place, and therefore, new writers.

Without readers there can be no publishing industry, and literary festivals take full advantage in exploiting this to everyone’s gain. When the Edinburgh Book Festival first set out it had small dreams but it is now widely regarded as the biggest in the world, laying claim to almost a quarter of a million people attending during the two weeks in August it runs. This year’s festival saw 1.8 million ticket sales and a running capacity of 80%. When one considers these phenomenal statistics, it becomes clear that something great is happening again in book-world, and everyone is benefiting.

At literary festivals, established authors get the chance to talk about themselves and their books, they get the opportunity to meet their fans, receive adulation, and feel gloriously important. They get to show off! Considering they spend most of the year with imaginary people in solitary conditions, who can blame them for wanting to get out and socialise with their industry colleagues?

And for those writers who have not hit the top 5% of writers that don’t have to worry about how the mortgage will be paid, they are able to gain the reassurance that there are other writers out there in the same boat. They get to brush shoulders with agents and publishers, promote themselves, and of course, learn from their contemporaries. Sometimes, as in the case of my own feelings towards the Edinburgh Book Festival, for example, just being around other readers and writers is enough to motivate me.

But it’s not just readers, publishers and writers that benefit from literary festivals, so too does the surrounding area and the economy. With the arrival of all these different literary groupings, hotels, bars, restaurants and book shops fill up rapidly. Everyone’s a winner!

So when you see Katie Price’s next novel on the book shelf and hear yourself moan about the decline of standards in British publishing, think about the roll on effect that her book will have. Writers, readers, agents, publishers, book shop owners, coffee shop managers, hoteliers, bar owners and everyone else who has a vested interest in ensuring that the publishing industry gets stronger and stronger, and everybody gets a fair share.

Reading fiction or poetry may not be seen as fashionable or trendy, but tell that to the millions of people who enjoy it, and the thousands that earn a living from it. You certainly couldn’t tell if you had joined me in Charlotte Square in Edinburgh this August. An underground movement perhaps, but the people are speaking, the people are shouting: “let’s celebrate the book!”

Bio
Colin Galbraith has published two books of fiction and two books of poetry. He writes the occasional article, and is the News of the World’s “man in the east” for music reviews. He can be found at www.colingalbraith.co.uk

Copyright © Colin Galbraith 2009

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 1:49 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

IMG_0340
Maine

Saturday, September 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I’ve got a great interview with the wonderful Colin Galbraith up on A Biblio Paradise, where he talks about his terrifically unique novella STELLA. Hop on by and leave a comment.

There’s also another wonderful essay up, by Christopher Hayes, someone whose work I admire enormously, a meditation on grief in the wake of 9/11, and his own personal loss.

Yesterday, I was what is commonly known as “a waste of food.” The migraine is down to a low throb, but still there, I’m trying to get the last bits of things done before I leave, and I don’t feel like doing any of them.

I managed to pack, although how I can have so many dozens of socks and NONE of them are in any shape for this trip just makes me shake my head. Whether they need darning or are just orphan socks — amazing. So I may just save myself some aggravation and buy yet more new socks.

A publisher sent a rant to all the contracted authors which I felt was inappropriate, not to mention in bad taste. If you have a problem with specific authors, discuss those issues with them privately. Don’t scream at all of us. If you feel we’re all useless, well, that says more about you than about us. Whatever. Gives me information I need to move forward. It was not smart to send it out during Mercury Retrograde (when communication is screwy and people talk past each other anyway), yet I found it interesting that it went out as Pluto turned direct, since Pluto retrogrades reveal what’s hidden. True colors shown and all that. Fascinating. I decided to step back and let the cow patties being thrown hit the ground, rather than taking them in the face.

It was interesting that one of the other authors backed the rant, preening and posing, agreeing but pointing out how that particular author was excluded from the rant, like the author was “all that.” Hon, if you were “all that”, not only would I have heard of you, I’d have reviewed your work for Confidential Job #1 by now. Since neither have happened . . .

2010 will definitely be a year of change for me. And I’m going to be a lot less accommodating than I’ve been in the past year and change.

Check out the musings on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions page.

I’ve got a busy day ahead, mostly errands. I forgot to get my watch fixed — this will be the first time I’ve worn a watch in seven years — so I hope I can get it fixed today. Or else I’m watchless, which I think is what I subconsciously want anyway.

Until tomorrow, friends,

Devon
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Maine. Possibly the setting for the next Jain Lazarus short story.

Published in: on September 12, 2009 at 7:59 am  Comments (3)  
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Severe Thunderstorms

Oh, my gosh, yesterday was just one of those days when I hated everybody and everything got on my nerves. So I kept as low and quiet as possible. There’s no reason I needed to take it out on anybody else.

Oh yeah, and Chase Bank gets yet another Middle Finger Award. Don’t ask. Between Chase Bank and UHaul, I’m up to my earlobes in assholes. Pardon the language, but it’s the best description.

The morning was eaten up by errands all over the place and well into CT. But I got a good deal on my postcard paper. I have to get the HEX BREAKER post cards out to the woman who wants to put them into the goody bags by tomorrow morning.

I struggled with the Belmont wrap article, for no good reasons. I should have just bitten the bullet and finished the whole thing on Saturday night, wiped as I was. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, the story of racing — and oh, so many other things, right?

Everything was much harder and I had to fight through much more resistance than I should have. Sometimes you have those days, and then you can breathe a sigh of relief when they’re over.

I forgot to mention that I went to the local farmers’ market on Sunday morning. I got very fresh sugar snap peas, which were lovely when tossed in some toasted sesame oil with cilantro. Also bought a delightful cherry pie. Elsa, however, managed to sit on a piece of that cherry pie — don’t ask. Do you know how hard it is to get cherry pie off a cat?

I did a lot of client work yesterday afternoon, and also worked on re-designing the ebooks. The new designs look really good, if I say so myself. The postcards are done, and I’ll figure out how to print them properly today (so that the text on the back is aligned correctly with the photos on the front).

Worked on the interview with my friend Kim Smith. I plan to post either a combo review/interview tomorrow, or the review tomorrow and the interview on Thursday. Stay tuned.

Started my friend Colin’s book STELLA last night. I really like it, but by the time I got to it, I had a raging headache and my eyes were overtired, so I couldn’t read as much as I wanted. I may end up printing it out and reading it on the page.

I’m getting spoiled with the Mac — unless I need to be connected to the internet, I can work anywhere. Moving around the space throughout the day keeps my brain fresh.

Good morning’s work on the Matty book. I have to stop and reconfigure the house design — the way I have the house set up in the book isn’t working. Urgh. Time to draw a floorplan.

I keep getting caught up in admin stuff and client projects, and the writing is suffering. I have to devote almost the whole day today to business correspondence and admin, but then I have to reconfigure my time for the rest of the week so the writing gets back in balance.

We’re having terrible thunderstorms and lightening today. I have to keep dashing downstairs to check the brook, and I doubt I’ll be online much. The cats don’t like the noise and the flashing lights. It really does sound like angels bowling above us — only in the APARTMENT above us, not somewhere up in the sky! 😉

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 8:35 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and warm

I don’t know how I’m ever going to get my act together today. I’m overtired and unfocused. But I have to — lots to do.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the praise you’ve showered on me for “The Retriever” in Books for Monsters. And for the suggestions to expand it into a book. I just may do that. If you want to see more of my work there, let the editor know!

Friday was reasonably productive. I cleared a bunch of stuff off my desk, got some writing done, worked on redesigning the ebooks — there are two possible ways to do it, and I’m going to see which one is more efficient and use that method. I finally got to start my friend Kim Smith’s book AVENGING ANGEL, which is a really fun mystery.

There were actually a half a dozen jobs on the boards Friday that I thought were worth pitching. And I’m working on a residency proposal. I don’t think I’m quite “literary” enough a writer for them, so I’m trying to play my other strengths. There’s also a contest I might enter — it seems fun.

Not much sleep Friday night into Saturday morning. A domestic disturbance in another apartment woke me around 1 AM — it settled down quickly; I don’t know if someone called the cops or what. Then, around 4:30, the cats and I were woken up by snarling and growling, but it sure didn’t sound like anything we’d ever heard before. The creature was in the tree outside the window — I couldn’t see what it was, but the cats believed it was a threat. Their eyes were enormous, the fur bristled, backs arched, tails low and waving, and they were growling and hissing right back. I shut the window, because a screen felt way too flimsy between us. It wasn’t a cat, it wasn’t a dog (obviously — it was in a tree), it wasn’t a skunk or a raccoon. I don’t know if possums make noise — we occasionally have them around here. I HOPE it’s not a fisher. If fishers have invaded the neighborhood, we’re all screwed. If I can get a good look at it and it IS a fisher, I’ll have to call some nature authority to come and deal with it, or no cat, small dog, squirrel, chipmunk, skunk, or small child is safe. The ones in Maine are VICIOUS. I didn’t smell the odor I normally associate with fishers, so I hope it’s not one of those.

But then, the cats decided that, since we were up anyway, it must be time for breakfast. Uh, no. But they are extraordinarily persistent, and it was well before six when they won. I’m seriously outnumbered.

I was in NO mood for a big day of racing. I managed to get a polish done on a submission and got it off before I had to turn my attention to the horses. The weather was gorgeous — low seventies with a breeze, unlike last year, when it was in the 90’s and disgustingly humid. It was a hit and miss day for me in my picks. I’m not quite sure how I wound up ahead by a little, but I did. I did not pick Summer Bird, the winner. He ran a great race, but I’m still not getting on his band wagon. What interests me in the whole thing is how this year’s Triple Crown affects the trainers of Mine That Bird and Summer Bird (half-brothers, sired by Birdstone). Both trainers weren’t well-known outside of their home tracks, and I’m interested in following their careers.

I also got a ton of inspiration for DEAD MAN’S STALL.

Sunday, I gave myself most of the day off. Did some catch-up. I have to make a decision about 1 and 1 before the end of the summer. They gave me a credit for the problems, as I asked, but the problem isn’t being solved. I missed a job opportunity yesterday because it was time sensitive, created in the email (because I didn’t have time to do it elsewhere and cut and paste), and the server error not only didn’t send it, but dumped the email without saving it as a draft or anything else. I now have a reliable computer. I need to expand that to a reliable web host. I understand that there are sometimes problems, but every day for the past two months and change? And at least three times a week for the four to five months prior. I love the components in the package and the price point, but if it doesn’t work when I need it to, it’s useless.

I finished some half-read books that needed attention — two that were quite disappointing — but learned from both of them. I finished my friend Kim’s book and sent off the interview questions for her appearance on A BIBLIO PARADISE. I bought my friend Colin’s book STELLA, and spent some time congratulating him on the Eternal Press loop.

Some new client projects came in, which I will start today.

I went to the Tony Award viewing party in the evening and it was great. I thought Neil Patrick Harris did a good job as a host, although they had the announcer on the God mike too often at times where he should have handled duties. I’m thrilled that HAIR won Best Revival, although I expected WEST SIDE STORY to win. The three “Billys” in Billy Elliot shared the award, which was great, and, in general, it was a delightful evening. I thought they showcased some great numbers, although the sound problems and the sound mix drove me nuts. In the course of a live show, everyone deals with each other much more constantly and intimately than in film or television, so everyone who works on a production is much more fully and emotionally invested. I think last night’s production communicated that investment better than many prior years. Tony Award night always makes me remember why I got into the business in the first place, and grateful for the long career I’ve had there. I don’t miss being backstage every night anymore, but I’m very grateful for the years I had back there.

The cats got me up early (big surprise). Nice morning’s work on the Matty book. Need to get back to the serial and to DEAD MAN’S STALL, and to finish, polish, and send the Belmont wrap-up article. Must do some stuff for my mom, design another postcard for a giveaway, do some work for the Prague trip, and the client work.

Busy day — better get to it!

Devon