Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas on “The Social Media Conversation.”

I am exhausted, and I have to reconcile myself to being so until at least the end of the month.

Monday was busy — I went in early to work with my client, who was leaving for an international trip later that day. I had company when I came home — a writer with whom I’m acquainted who happened to be in Boston and came down to visit.

We were having a good visit when an email came through — the person who was scheduled to post on one of my sites the next day (which was uploaded and ready to go) wanted to postpone because one of the links wouldn’t be live. ONE of the links. The others were fine.

I was angry. You don’t pull out the day before guesting. Not unless you’re offering other content for the slot. Plus, as a guest, YOU don’t tell ME when to post your piece. You’re a GUEST. You can request a preferred date and I’ll do what I can. But you don’t make the decision when it runs. My house, my rules. Not to mention that I was off the clock for the day, had company, and wasn’t near a computer. There’s a reason I schedule posts ahead of time. I run multiple sites. I have X amount of time. I plan ahead, schedule ahead, and that’s that.

I said no and vented to my guest and to another friend.

On the other hand, I had some empathy. I had a book where I’d spent months lining up release-day promo for its release. Many of the sites were reluctant to include me, because they had trouble with that particular publisher before and considered the publisher unreliable. The caveat was that they would run my posts provided I could guarantee the links would be live on release day. I discussed it with my publisher, and was promised everything would be on time. I even turned in final galleys early to make sure everything on my end was done.

Book release day came. My posts were up on multiple sites. As soon as I woke up, I received a barrage of angry messages from the site masters — the book had not released. I had not been warned by my publisher that there would be a delay. If I had, I could have let the site masters know in time and offered other content. I contacted my publisher, who got back to me hours later with a shrug that “it happens” and “they didn’t have time” to get it up when they said they would. And that “that’s the way it is with digital releases; you better get used to it.”

Meanwhile, my posts had been pulled down by the site masters and they’ll never trust me again. I lost all the publicity I’d set up, I lost future publicity. I never got as much as an apology from my publisher. The book went up nearly a week later, and they refused to give me any marketing support. As far as they were concerned, I should have “known better” than to expect the book to be ready on release day. This is the same publisher who felt I wasn’t spending enough money to promote my books, and didn’t spend a dime.

Yeah, not a publisher I want to keep working with.

I remember how upsetting that was. I’d never told this particular guest that all the links had to be live, just that I needed links.

So, I’m sitting outside the restaurant, on my phone. I managed to get into my site on my phone and reschedule the post. Fortunately, I was still deciding which post would go up on the next requested day. I sure as heck wasn’t going to bump someone else.

THEN I had to take down all the scheduled promotional posts/tweets/et al I’d put up to promote it.

THEN, I had to figure out how to get substitute content for the next day.

But I told my guest I’d moved it, and that I needed the new links by Thursday noon. I’m on a brutal deadline right now. From Thursday noon through next Monday, I’m on a writing retreat/no or limited internet. I’m not blowing my deadline because someone else’s publisher didn’t come through for them.

No response. Not a thank you. Not a sorry. Nothing.

I was angry at myself for not just saying “no” and sticking with it.

I still needed content for the day, even though it would go up late.

I invited my in-person guest to write something.

She was terrified. She’s early in her writing career, no website, no blog, no contract. But she’s a good writer and she does the work. She came up with a post, I made a few suggestions, and yesterday it went up.

She’s already received an invitation to guest on another blog from it, so everything worked out.

And I got an idea for Ink-Dipped Advice on “Guest Post Etiquette.”

Between us all, we made it work. Was it a hassle? Yes. Was I frustrated and angry? Yes. But it worked out. I learned from it and moving on.
So that was Monday into Tuesday. The rest of Tuesday was busy at my client’s site. Even with her out of the office, there’s plenty to do. It’s interesting, but exhausting.

And, I’m working steadily on HEART THEFT, because I need to get out what I have this weekend. I like the work, I’m enjoying it, but I’m pushing. Especially because the characters in the serial won’t shut the heck up, and the other deadlines are looming as well.

Did a grocery run, trying to get home before the storm and forgot half of what I needed. As one does.

The storm wasn’t anywhere near as bad here as it was in New York. Some hail during the day, thunder, lightning, and rain at night. Power flickered, so I couldn’t write on the computer, and we didn’t watch anything.

Today, I’m with the client again, then picking up the missed groceries. Then, it’s back to HEART THEFT. Big push today, tomorrow, and Friday for that. I doubt I will post on Friday here, or if I do, it will be a post saying I’m not posting! 😉

HEART THEFT needs to go out this weekend, and then it’s NOT BY THE BOOK, which needs to go out by the end of next week.

And then, the editors either want them or they don’t. And my focus goes back to juggling MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

And preparing for another career evaluation/assessment over the Memorial Day weekend, where we will meet, talk, discuss, plan, and relax, while plotting out my next moves.

Have a great day!

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway  
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Thurs. May 3, 2018: Warmth & Progress

Thursday, May 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Finally, some warmth!

And, finally, the galleys are done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY. They go out for the final time today. Sending out galleys always makes me slightly ill. I’m always sure we missed something important. That’s especially true with this book, where the galley process has been a nightmare. I swear gremlins enter the manuscript in between turnarounds to add errors.

Working steadily on HEART THEFT, and contest entries. Making notes on the serial. Created gift certificates for a client yesterday. The online templates suck. Pages (Mac) used to have good ones, but they don’t have them in the newer versions. Most of the design software can only be used online now; you can’t download and design offline, which is how I like to do it. And they try to force it into conformist models, which don’t work for the businesses with which I work. So I have to design from scratch.

At least I’m building skills that bring up my rates.

Preparing the house for our weekend company. On the one hand, it’s all overwhelming. On the other hand, it’ll be really fun to see and spend time with friends.

The grass is growing. I’m going to have to mow soon.

Ick.

Back to the page!

Published in: on May 3, 2018 at 8:36 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Sept. 14, 2016: Creative Fuel

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy few days! I’ve been trying to balance work along with having company.

Company arrived Saturday, from NY via Megabus, although they changed the Megabus stop, so at first I was at the wrong place. Typical Mercury Retrograde!

But we found each other and got home. I’ve been cooking a lot for the company – good, homecooked, American food. We’ve gone out a few times—we spent Monday going all along the National Seashore, Eastham, Light houses, all the way down to Provincetown, where we had a wonderful lunch at Patio. The food there just gets better and better, and the service is great, too.

I’ve managed to get some writing done, one on a piece I’m calling UNBOUND, at least for now, and the other on an untitled short story that I have a feeling is going to turn into a novella.

The time in Provincetown on Monday gave me some ideas; I’m trying to decide if I want to write a contemporary suspense novel, or if I want to develop some of these ideas into one of the series on which I’m working. I have a feeling a one-off suspense novel will make more sense. So we’ll see. I’m playing with ideas.

Although time is short, the ideas are churning, which is always a good thing.

I helped some visual artists write grants this week, which is always fulfilling. I hope they get what they seek!

Next week, when the company is gone, I will go back into the next round of edits for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’d like to get it submission-ready this fall, and have it start making the rounds.

Saturday, when we take our friend back to the bus in Providence, we will then drive to Newport, where I will do some research for the Victorian mystery, and also meet some other friends en route from Boston to Philadelphia for lunch.

I’m also developing my essays. Essays take me longer than long fiction!

Busy times, but good ones.

Hope you are all well and happy!

Devon

Published in: on September 14, 2016 at 9:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 14, 2016: Creative Fuel  
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Sat. Sept. 12, 2015: Preparing for Vacation

Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The weight of yesterday was obvious, but it was also helpful to share it. That Budweiser commercial, the one only shown once after the event, gets me every time.

Work was fine. I got a lot done, in preparation for being gone for a week. Everything is set, as far as I can tell, so I’m not leaving anyone holding the bag.

I’m also missing two Board meetings — one would be my last as Secretary of the Writers Center Board, and the other is the Marine Life Center Board. First meeting I missed in my term for both of them, so I refuse to feel guilty. Especially since I prepared notes/did homework/voiced opinions in anticipation of agenda items.

I got frustrated with Amazon yesterday — I’m supposed to be able to use the Coursera app on the Kindle Fire, but it won’t download (it tells me there’s a geographic problem, although the US has designated permissions), and support/customer service was polite, but unhelpful. They’ve just gotten so big, they are no longer interested in solving customer service issues. I’ve got the app on my phone, but it would be easier to work on the Kindle.

“Unethical Decision Making in Organizations” starts next week, out of the University of Lausanne. Looking forward to it.

Dashed home — we had guests up from CT on their way to a wedding. They had to leave just a few minutes after I got back from work. It was lovely to see them again, and the cats had kept everyone busy. Now that Violet is feeling better, she is being demanding! It was funny, though.

After dinner, Part 2 of the 9/11 remembrances, and we could feel some of the grief lifting. We’ll never get over it, but we’re learning to live with it, and perhaps being together really does help.

It will also inform the writing.

I’m watching the second season of SIX FEET UNDER and thoroughly enjoying it. I’d forgotten how much fun that show is.

Packing and prepping for the trip. I’m working until mid-afternoon today, and I want to make sure my desk is CLEAR before I go. I miss Village Day tomorrow, but I worked it last year. Again, I refuse to feel guilty. I’ve earned this time, and I’m using it, free and clear.

In preparation for Kripalu, I upped the yoga practice, doing a full hour now in the morning and at night. I don’t want to be completely out of shape when I get there — although I should probably have started doing this about a month ago! 😉

I’m packing a handful of writing projects, so I can go with whatever moves me the most in the moment — and hope I don’t get too many new inspirations. Or, if I do, that they are for short stories and not novels!

I’ve got a book proposal to send off before I leave, and maybe get out a short story.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be online next week — I’m tempted to blog “from the road”, but I’m also tempted to be completely disconnected.

Have a wonderful weekend, and a wonderful week!

Devon

Published in: on September 12, 2015 at 9:44 am  Comments Off on Sat. Sept. 12, 2015: Preparing for Vacation  
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Thurs. July 5, 2012: Over the Holiday Hump

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy times! Hope you had a great holiday! I was off line earlier than I expected as of Wednesday, with this and that going on, and a houseful of people and all that. Lots of cooking, eating, conversation. Some thunderstorms, too — in Boston, they had to evacuate the Esplanade before the fireworks for awhile. But everyone was safe, and the show continued.

Wound up working mostly on the deck on Tuesday — took my work outside. It was a lovely day, with storms moving in later, but by then I was running around getting ready for company, and Wednesday, when there were quite a few storms, I just stayed offline.

House full of people for a few days — Tessa thinks it’s wonderful. A neighbor invited us over yesterday, but we never managed to get over to the party he was having, which was a shame, but that’s the way it goes. Everyone sort of goes their own way, and then converges for food and conversation, so there’s no pressure, and I’m getting some work done.

Of course, today there’s a ton to do, since I was offline, and I’ll put in some extra hours tonight. Article due, have to get some bookings into the calendar so I don’t blow them, catch up with students, get out the newsletter, get out a mailing for an organization of which I’m the secretary, work on the ghostwriting project. It will all get done, I just have to look at each piece and deal with it, not get overwhelmed by the entire list. Also, HAVE to get cat food in — Tessa’s at the bottom of her bag. Everyone fills the bowl when they walk past and see it empty, so she’s feasting. Fortunately, she’s still growing and allowed for the next few months!

I’m starting to notice weak editing when I read. Read a fantasy novel that didn’t deliver on its promise, but a lot of the problems could have been fixed by an editor with a sharper eye. The grammar, spelling, etc. was all great (always a relief), but there were some logistical elements that I could see the writing missing, but the editor should have caught.

Also re-read Susan Wittig Albert’s wonderful memoir, TOGETHER, ALONE. Beautiful book. And I’m re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s WRITING DOWN THE BONES. THUNDER & LIGHTENING is my favorite of hers, but WDB is good to re-read. I remembered it being much more self-indulgent — it’s really not, and it talks about first draft freedom. Unfortunately, too many of the book’s disciples use it to mean you don’t have to EVER worry about things like grammar, spelling, structure, whereas she’s saying don’t let it trip you up in the first draft. Use the freedom to explore, and then work and massage the material so it makes sense –which is what all good writing teachers say. She advocates showing up at the page every day, writing specifics, showing instead of telling. Too many writers think the first draft is THE draft. It’s THE draft once it’s published — before that, everything’s up for change! 😉

I’m off to yoga, and then a busy day.

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Mon. April 9, 2012: Dialogue and Tulips and Taxes

Monday, April 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Billy Root’s blogging over on his site about auditions and how he wound up on the film that’s the backdrop for HEX BREAKER. Check it out here, and drop a comment so I know you visited!

Things are going well for the Dialogue Dilemmas and Solutions Seminar on Saturday, April 14. At this point, it looks like it’s the only dialogue workshop I’ll be teaching all year online. So if you missed the others, or if you want some new information, make sure to sign up here.

The dates for the next Fast and Fun workshops will be finalized in the next couple of days, and then pages will go up with the registration information. Unfortunately, 1and1, yet again, won’t let me put buttons on my site via Mac, so I’m going to go to the library and use a PC every time I need to put in a button. Definitely time to move hosts, once I get the webmail they’re holding hostage away from them. I was lucky last time, because I was working somewhere where I had access to a PC. The webhost shouldn’t dictate what type of computer I can use. I can’t even put in a “tweet this” button!

My “One Story, Many Voices” class starts today, and I continue as a student in the steampunk class.

I don’t know if I remember all the way back to Friday — I know I didn’t feel well, and that I did a lot around the house in preparation for the weekend’s company — tidying, washing floors, vacuuming, rearranging, that kind of thing. The house looked great, but I still want to do more with the front yard. However, it has to be inexpensive, whatever I do.

Had a good writing sprint with the students — it’s working better, on this book, to write in company.

Saturday was fun — long-time friends from CT came by for a visit and lunch. I hadn’t seen them in years, so it was good to catch up. I actually fell asleep in the late afternoon for awhile, while doing some research for a project.

Sunday, I slept in, then spent most of the day catching up on the computer with what I hadn’t gotten done on Saturday. I like Sunday to be my day offline, but, oh, well. The work has to get done, and I wasn’t up to it on Saturday after company left. I worked with students, did some research for some proposals that will go out this week, got out some interview questions for a piece, and did some promo work. I had a weird dream about an old friend on Saturday night into Sunday, and woke up with an idea for a tweak on a piece I’m getting ready to send out.

I’m glad Mercury went direct, and I’ll be glad when Mars goes direct at the end of the week. However, Pluto goes retrograde tomorrow. THAT always brings some interesting revelations!

Lots to do today, both writing and administrative, so I better get to work. This will be a busy week – but then, lately, every week is busy. Fortunately, it’s “good busy”. But I’ve got to deal with the taxes this week — ick. Not so bad because I do quarterlies, but still, gathering all the paperwork (I was bad about keeping up all year) is a pain in the butt, and I just don’t feel like it. Too bad for me! 😉

Some of my tulips are already blooming — isn’t it a bit early?

Devon

Friday, April 6, 2012: Planting and Premieres

Friday, April 6, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I didn’t get online until 4 PM yesterday. When I pulled out the car to go to yoga, I saw a big package lying on the front steps. Turned out to be 7 more bushes. Once I got back from yoga, it was all about running around getting pots for them, more soil, and planting. So, in 48 hours, I planted 8 trees and 9 bushes. I’m a little sore!

Got some editing work done, and a nice chunk on the second harpy book in the writing sprint. I’m starting to like it again, which is always helpful — liking the book you’re writing! There were a few weeks when it was touch and go — I felt frustrated, like I was spinning my wheels, but not getting anywhere.

Juggled appointments for this, that, and the other. Tried to get over my irritation with a client who’s trying to dump more work on me without paying any more. The client has several of us working — most of the others in the organization put in, maybe, two hours a week. I’m putting in a lot more, getting paid the same, and now the client wants to dump things outside of the realm of my job responsibilities on me without compensation. The answer to that is “no.” I am finishing up the current commitments, and then we will part ways. Irritation is a waste of time and energy — I’ve set my boundaries, I need to stick to them. The time/money/energy is no longer working in this relationship. The client continues to want more for less. I’m tired of being exhausted, frustrated, and miserable, and then having to scramble for additional work because the client’s payments are, shall we say, fluid. Therefore, it’s not going to work. These transitions are always tough, but I’m a business person. This is my business, not my hobby. Pay me what I’m worth (or at least for the work I do) or find someone who’s willing to work under your changing business model.

I need to do some more work on “Town Crier”. I like the basic structure, but I need to raise the stakes on a few things.

Watched the premiere of SCANDAL last night with mixed feelings. (Spoiler alert) There’s an actor on it whose work I adore, so that kept me with the show when I considered turning it off. The writing, the acting, the pacing are all excellent. However, I have a problem with glorifying someone who “fixes” the problems of prominent jerks, repeatedly stating that “it’s not about justice.” That’s one of the reasons we’re in the current mess we’re in — because too many prominent people are getting away with unjustified crap. Yes, she has to face her own betrayal and appears to do an about-face at the end, but it came across like a personal desire for revenge, not about doing the right thing. Suddenly, I’m supposed to believe chickie has a moral compass? I don’t think so. Karma’s rightly kicking her butt, and I want to see it kicked a lot harder for what she’s done. I also had a problem with the other story line, about the war hero whose female “best friend” is murdered and the guy turns out to be gay. It’s supposed to be this heartwarming, “be true to yourself” moment, yet it’s made clear that IT DOESN’T MATTER who murdered the girl. Even the “war hero” shrugs off the murder so he can come out of the closet. Points up another problem in our society — women’s lives are not valued, and they continue to be devalued. The girl’s death was tangental, and that angered me. The lead in this is a woman, the creator is a woman, yet both story lines dismissed and destroyed female characters. I have a problem with that. Do people like this exist? Yes, of course. And I think they should face harsh consequences for helping people get away with what’s wrong. I’ll give it one more episode, and if I don’t see any adjustment in the attitude that women are worthless unless they can pay a fixer, I’m not watching anymore, much of a fan as I am of the work of some of those in the show. Like I said, the writing and acting are strong, but the underlying premise and its justification don’t work for me. Much as I like the actress, I’m not rooting for the protagonist of the piece, because I think what she’s doing is wrong and should have dire consequences for her.

We have company coming tomorrow, and I’m behind on everything. I’ll have to work like crazy today and also clean the house from top to bottom.

I better get going, then, hadn’t I?

Devon

Don’t forget the 1-Day Dialogue Seminar
on April 14!

Tues. Jan. 3: Imp in the House!

Tuesday, January 3, 2011
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

The cold front’s come in, and it’s living up to its name. Brrr!

Got a lot of work done yesterday morning, thank goodness. Left around 1 to drive to Providence to pick up Costume Imp. Lovely day for driving, not much traffic. Unfortunately, both Google Maps AND Mapquest gave me incorrect directions to find the drop-off point, and I drove in circles for awhile (one way streets) and was late. I was always about two blocks away — I just couldn’t get there from here. Argh.

But we found each other, and got back on the highway and back to the Cape quickly.

Dinner was a lot of fun, and so was the evening. Because Tessa is so naturally friendly, the twins, who usually hide the whole time Costume Imp is here, came out and demanded their share of attention. It was pretty funny. Much nicer when everyone’s participating.

Imp brought up the Iron Druid books by Kevin Hearne. I read HOUNDED last night — really well done. Liked it a lot. The humor, the action, and the character development meld really well. Looking forward to the other two, and anything else this guy writes. The books came out within a month of each other this summer — that would be ideal for the Harpy trilogy, I think.

Back to work on the book this morning, spend time with my students (5 in 10 students, so far, seem excited about the class), take my mom to acupuncture, see what Imp wants to do, start tackling my office clean-up, and we have to sit down and create the grocery list for the party.

I’m clipping articles for the first exercise along with my class in 5 in 10 — the “found inspirations”. Yesterday’s was “Dead Blackbirds Fall from ARK Skies — Again.” The possibilities for that one are delicious. I can think of a half a dozen directions for stories right off the bat.

Devon

Published in: on January 3, 2012 at 7:48 am  Comments (2)  
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011: Busy Dreams

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Just a quick check-in, before too much of the day gets away from me. I had more “busy dreams” last night, and woke up, feeling exhausted. This would make the good basis for a story — about a someone killing the witnesses at an execution with the same type of drug. But I’m a little tired of having these vivid, busy dreams — some of them organizing a gala, organizing a conference, preventing a break-in at the old apartment, picking people up at the airport — I wake up feeling like I’ve already put in a full day.

Also woke up with the idea for a Christmas story. Not sure if I can get it out in time, or what I’ll do with it if I do, but we’ll see what happens. I SHOULD have written it in July — but I didn’t have the idea then! 😉

We had company yesterday — glad I got my writing done early. It was a lot of fun, and she was delighted to see the house and see what a good move it was, all the way around. My neighbor (the one who was ill last week) is back up and around, and took our leaves to the dump for us in his pick-up truck, which was very sweet.

Back to the page today — a lot to do, and I’ve been re-prioritizing projects. I’m writing steadily, but I have to up the variety a bit, and catch up on the backlog. Everything that could possibly be out there earning its keep needs to go out, and anything that needs tweaking, needs to be tweaked and THEN go out and earn its keep.

I’ve got a Writers’ Association dinner tonight, which should be fun. But there’s a lot that needs to get done before then.

Finished Jasper Fforde’s ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING, which was very, very funny. And very relevant to the class I’m currently teaching.

Devon

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was just one of those Murphy’s Law days. But it’s over and today is a new day!

After the morning chaos, I had a tough time focusing. Got some business out of the way. Ordered a new camera — went with a Canon. Got a good deal on the camera and a battery charging kit, and it’ll be here on Thursday. Sorting out the details for the book festival I’m doing the first weekend of December in Plymouth.

Cleaned the house, baked a cake, prepared the deviled eggs and the chicken salad for today’s lunch. Will go the proscuitto with figs as soon as this is posted. I’ve been cooking a lot the last days: lasagna; chicken & sausage with penne; pork chops smothered in red wine, mushrooms, and sage; ham and noodle casserole.

Managed to get about 1800 words done on the book, and another 1100 this morning. With what I wrote over the weekend, I’m just over 76K, a good place to be.

Still have to put the garden to bed and do a million other things, but as long as the writing goes well, everything else falls into place. Got the royalty report for ASSUMPTION. Decent, not brilliant. Will have to push some more, and also get SPIRIT REPOSITORY done and off, so there can be two books for people to enjoy in this fictional world.

I have my next assignment for Confidential Job #1, so I have to get going on that one, too. It looks pretty darned good.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1165
Total word count: 76,861

Published in: on November 15, 2011 at 8:13 am  Comments (2)  
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