Monday, May 14, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors The Next Step on the Ladder

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Photo courtesy Khimish Sharma, via Pexels.com

Monday, May 14, 2018
Dark of the Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

 

My first response to that is, “Which ladder?” I have various limbs on various ladders. I write in different genres, under different names, in a variety of formats: prose, theatre, television, film, radio. Journalism. Essays. Marketing writing. Reviewing.

I do very little editing for private clients now, because the time/money ratio doesn’t work for me, too many would-be writers default on payments (when they’re not trying to lowball me down to a fraction of my rate), and I need the primary focus to be on my own work. When I edit, I am generally hired by the publishing house to work for something under contract that has passed particular gate-keeping standards.

I am with more than one publisher. One of them, who has signed several projects, is small, just starting out. We are taking a risk on each other. Among the reasons I was excited to work with them was that they pay small advances, don’t demand their writers acquiesce to a boiler-plate contract AND, instead of POD, they do small print runs. The print runs are after a certain digital threshhold is reached, but the POD model was not working for me, so I wanted to try this. I am still with another publisher who is doing the POD model, and I have submissions out to several other publishers, who work on a mix of models, so we’ll see what happens. I also liked them because the editor with whom I’m working constantly pushes me to be better. And that is my goal — that every book I write is better, in both craft and art, than the previous books.

About a year ago, I sat down with a lawyer, an agent, an editor, and a marketing advisor, and we came up with a plan. I was unhappy and frustrated with the way things were going in my career. I knew I wasn’t writing what the Big Five wanted; I wanted to explore some things that they are currently giving lip service to, but not following through on, and I wanted to do it in my way. We were not a good fit at the time. I knew I was going to part from an agent I’d been working with for several months, because we were not a good fit. When we got together, she was excited by my work and my voice; but the more we worked together, the more she wanted to dilute it and take out what made it unique. She kept telling me my themes and issues were “too hard for the typical reader.” In other words, she wanted me to dumb things down, and I didn’t want to do that. Also, she only wanted to commit to a book at a time, and I need an agent who is interested in long-term career planning. She has since signed a friend of mine, and they’re doing great together. I’m happy for both of them; they are the right fit. We were not.

As far as the marketing writing went, I wanted to have the confidence to say “No” to the lowballers locally and reach farther afield. The interesting thing is that as soon as I did that, I landed two clients locally with whom I work well, WHILE also reaching beyond the bridge for clients who pay better.

We took four or five days together, and I took about twenty pages of notes. We crafted a plan. Some of that we followed; some of that has fallen by the wayside for various reasons.

I re-stated my commitment not to “niche” — to me, that’s a death toll for a creative life. Far too many people who “advise” freelancers sneer and call what I do a “generalist.” I prefer to call it being a “Renaissance Writer” and I’ve written on this topic for both WOW-Women on Writing and Write Naked!

I wanted to get back into article writing, which fell by the wayside for a bit. I started pitching again, and I did pretty well, but that seems to be one of the things that falls away first. Since I enjoy articles — every part from the pitch through the research through the writing and the polish, especially working with a good editor — I need to get back on track with that.

One of the big changes I made was in the way I do pitch letters. Instead of trying to frame what I do to sound like what they want, I’m more specific in the elements I think will appeal and more specific in where our paths diverge. I’m more myself in the cover letter — while still structuring it the way I find works — hook, one paragraph summary, technical info, bio, why this market. And the results are good.

This year and next, I’m on a brutal contract schedule. I’d spent a couple of years working on different types of material, on working on craft. Now, with a commitment to more than one series, I am sitting down and writing the books.

Last year, PLAYING THE ANGLES was re-released, as the first of the Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels (in its original incarnation, it was a stand-alone). The second book in the series, THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, just released, and the third, RELICS & REQUIEM, will come out in October of this year, with the fourth, GRAVE REACH, coming out in May of 2019. So that’s a tight schedule.

Last year, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA (as Ava Dunne) released. It’s a not-quite-cozy mystery series, whose protagonist is a yoga instructor on a cruise ship. Only one of those books comes out a year! But the next one, DAVY JONES DHARMA, is due in early December this year.

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, re-released this past January. As I worked on the second book, THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, I realized that there was a chunk of it that slowed down the plot. Yet the information was necessary to where my characters were in their emotional lives and how they’d built their day-to-day relationships. Flashbacks and info-dump conversations wouldn’t work; so my editor and I decided to pull out those chapters, flesh them out into a “between-the-books” novella, now called MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and put that out this summer. BALTHAZAAR is still scheduled to come out in January of 2019, and that is now back on track, the pace and content correct.

In the meantime, I had three terrific opportunities. One was to pitch a serial. Those of you who’ve known me for several years know that I used to write four serials in four genres under two names for 18 months a few years back. A total of 8000 words a month. I love writing serials, and I miss it. I had the chance to pitch to a company that specializes in serials.

I pitched a fantasy/adventure novel. I’d written the first four chapters a couple of years ago and put it aside for scheduling reasons. But, when I had this opportunity, I wrote a few more chapters, and outlined what would be the book-length arc of this serial. I fell in love with it all over again. If it’s picked up, it goes back in the schedule; if not, it will be back-burnered again.

I also had two other ideas, stand-alones, that I played with, on and off for a couple of years, writing my way in the first few chapters, then making notes for my Writers’ Rough. On impulse, I polished pitches and tossed them into a Twitter pitch day for a specific company. Editors liked both; so I’m working on some additional chapters, polishing them, and sending them out by deadline this month. Again, if the editors want the full manuscript, they go back into the schedule sooner rather than later; if not, they are back-burnered until next year, when my contract schedule isn’t quite as demanding.

As I said above, I have a couple of other pieces out on submission; if they are contracted, they will be worked in. I also have a serial novel — which is different than a novel broken down as a serial. This is a set of novels that are all of a piece. It follows the filming of a television series over several seasons. Not a series, in the sense that each stands alone and progresses. These novels all fit together like puzzle pieces. One of my publishers has expressed interest in looking at it when the first five or so puzzle pieces are ready. When will that be? I don’t know.

I also made a commitment to do more script work again. I’m taking this year off from stage plays (I wrote four in three years for 365 Women). But one of my radio plays will be produced later this month, and I want to submit some screenplays I’ve polished.

Along with all this, I will pitch to higher-paying clients and higher-paying article markets. Gotta keep a roof over my head, and if I don’t keep up the writing pace I can’t. This is my profession, not my hobby. I am paid to write. That IS my day job. While my book sales have jumped considerably since I moved webhosts and redesigned my websites, I still need the marketing writing and article writing for income. Plus, I enjoy it.

So, my “next step” is building on the foundation of the series on which I currently write; continuing to expand the publication contracts with other publishers at higher-paying tiers, and book higher-paid marketing and article gigs.

I’ve found a process that works for me as far as the new ideas — because, as we all know, new ideas come in batches. I write my way in for a few chapters, then sit down and do a Writer’s Rough Outline. That way, whenever I can actually sit down and WRITE the book, I can drop into its world. The Writer’s Rough outline captures the initial energy of the idea, and then, as I work, I can develop the structure and the craft.

In the coming weeks, we will sit down again and assess how this last year played out. What worked, what didn’t. Where I lost focus, and what I dropped because it didn’t work. And we will craft a plan for the coming year that will guide me toward the “next step on the ladder.”

I don’t want fame. I worked in theatre and film for too many years and see how it can hurt creativity and general life; that is not what I want. I do want financial stability, and to be paid fairly for my work. There is no reason not to be paid well doing work I love. My profession is writing. I will not let ANYONE decide that it’s a cute lil hobby and I don’t deserve to be paid a living wage. I will dig in and do it, and earn my living. It will be a mix and match of projects and styles and tangents, but writing is my profession. When I decided I wanted to work on Broadway, I didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving that goal. Now that I’m writing full-time, I feel the same way.

My next step is increased earnings and visibility for my work. It is also participating in the community of writers who love what they do and are committed to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work across the board, no matter what the profession. It is refusing to “dumb it down” or change what I write because people I don’t respect threaten not to buy what I write. The great thing about writing is that there are plenty of authors writing in plenty of styles and genres, so there’s something for everyone. It’s fine if someone doesn’t connect with my work — there are wonderful authors out there with whom they WILL connect. But threatening me and demanding I change what I write is not going to work.

Artists have a responsibility. I believe that responsibility is to bear witness to the world, to expand people’s vision of the world, but also to create better worlds and help us find ways to reach those better worlds inclusively and fairly. A better world needs social and economic justice. By respecting our own value, our own worth, we set the tone.

For more inspiration on valuing your work, please visit Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog. It’s great all the time, but May is Writers Worth Month. It’s especially great now.

 

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Tues. May 8, 2018: Release Day for SPIRIT REPOSITORY!

The Spirit Repository.6

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Today is the release day for THE SPIRIT REPOSTIORY!

The book is $3.99 available on digital channels here.

There’s a post about the book and an excerpt over on A Biblio Paradise.

If you’d like to read excerpts and have more information, visit THE SPIRIT REPSOITORY page and the Media Page on the Coventina Circle website. Articles tied to the book will go up soon.

The blurb is also up for RELICS & REQUEIM, the third Coventina Circle novel, which will release in October of this year.

It was a busy weekend. We had guests. Friday night, we had a good dinner and catch up. Saturday was spent on Martha’s Vineyard, with dinner ready in the slow cooker when we got home. Sunday, we slept in, then trundled around the Cape doing fun staff, and had a nice dinner, and then started binge-watching VICTORIA. Yesterday morning, I took them to the airport bus on the way to work. It was nice to spend time together.

I was delighted that Justify won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and that my longshot pick, Good Magic, came in second.

I was also thrilled, on Saturday, to find out that the Radio Theatre Players in St. Petersburg, Florida, will produce my comic noir mystery LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES later this month. I’m very excited.

Yesterday, I was pretty tired. I dug back in to working on HEART THEFT and on the contest entries. They are due next week. There are some terrific books in contention, and all the categories are very competitive.

I know I’m behind on the GDR stuff of the end of April and early May, but I’ll catch up, I promise!

I hope you enjoy SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and I’m digging in for the rest of the things on deadline.

Published in: on May 8, 2018 at 1:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 8, 2018: Release Day for SPIRIT REPOSITORY!  
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Fri. May 4, 2018: Company and Writing

The Spirit Repository.6

The Spirit Repository,  the second Coventina Circle romantic suspense novel, releases on May 8. Blurb here. Universal Buy Link here.

Friday, May 04, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny and pleasant

The house is clean. Beds are changed. Fresh towels out. Cookies are baked. The food and liquor are in. I have a chocolate mousse still to prepare, and then we are ready for our weekend guests!

SPIRIT REPOSITORY is available for pre-order here, and will go to Amazon as soon as it releases on Tuesday.

The major writing focus right on is on HEART FOCUS and then NOT BY THE BOOK, with MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM working around that.

I’m working on contest entries.

I’m making notes for the serial, but not letting it pull too much focus.

I’ll lose some writing time with my guests this weekend, but I’m looking at the break as a way to refill the creative well.

I’m tired, oh so tired, but determined to enjoy the weekend!

And, hey, SPIRIT REPOSITORY comes out on Tuesday!

Published in: on May 4, 2018 at 9:18 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 4, 2018: Company and Writing  
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Tues. Dec. 19, 2017: Holiday Hamster Wheel

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not as productive, writing-wise, as I wanted.

I wasn’t able to get the rest of the cookie platter deliveries done on Friday, due to weather. I knew most people wouldn’t be around over the weekend, so they’ve been bumped to this week.

I was exhausted by the car repairs Friday, even though it went well. I find it stressful. But the car purrs like a tiger, and is happy.

I turned around the proofs for TRACKING MEDUSA, and have the next set to proof. Hopefully, we’ve caught everything. I should have done them this weekend, but I wanted to come back to the text with fresh eyes. Yeah, right. I needed a break and procrastinated!

Continued decorating Friday, Saturday, and it was Sunday by the time the decorations were all up and the boxes put away. Took me a month to decorate the house, but it looks great! It feels good, too, and that’s so important. For all I love to travel, I’m very much hearth and home.

Friday afternoon, I finished the gifts that had to be mailed and got them to the post office. We are so lucky — the people who work at Centerville Post Office are amazing!

Saturday, I sat my butt in the chair and wrote the holiday cards. Once I actually sit down, I enjoy the process. I love to reconnect with people; while I send cards to many of those with whom I interact regularly, there are also those where we only connect that once a year.

I realized I should do a direct mail piece, once the two novels move distributors and the new websites are up, about my books to this targeted list. They know I write, but I haven’t given them enough information.

Because my webhost, 1and1.com, is so slimy — I mean, have you ever heard of a webhost that won’t allow simple jpgs to go up on a site without additional charge? Anyway, it’s put the kybosh on the holiday promotions I’d planned. I lost the holiday market this year, because I couldn’t properly promote. Because of the distribution move, I need to be able to have the information, along with the covers and media kits, ON MY WEBSITES. And my host won’t allow it. The repeal of net neutrality early for their customers, I guess.

I didn’t expect to make a gazillion dollars on holiday sales, but I usually make a reasonable amount that helps push me through January and February. Not this year.

I’m going to demand my money back for this final quarter. They did not deliver the services promised in the contract.

Anyway, once everything is moved, I’m going to do a direct mail promotion to my holiday list, and then I’m also working on some other cool promotions winter going into spring, with a nice big one for the Coventina titles while THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY releases, joining PLAYING THE ANGLES on the shelf.

I ran out of stamps on Saturday — I’d miscalculated. Well, math has never been my best subject. The post office was open an extra hour and I ran down to re-stock. Well, the line was out both doors into the parking lot! I couldn’t believe how many people were mailing stacks and stacks of packages! Most people mailed at least five; many mailed at least ten! Everyone was in a good mood, though, and we were laughing and joking and talking about how great our post office is, and how we love supporting them.

Came back, finished the cards. One mail carrier took the first batch when he dropped off a package; our regular guy arrived just a few minutes after I finished the last card. All good!

Did some work on the aging novel. I’m going to add menopause into that. Too often, it’s depicted as cute and funny when, in reality, it’s miserable and interferes with life.

Sunday, we finished decorating and put things away –which took nearly all damn day.

In and around that, I wrote the first chapter and a half of a piece I’m playing with — it could be a valid novel in its own right, but it also serves a more personal purpose, as in trying to figure a few things out.

Yes, I SHOULD have worked on other things, but I needed the break.

Monday, was back to work on SERENE AND DETERMINED — I’ve figured out at least part of the second act, and where I want to go with it, but I need a good ending. I have to trust that, as I write, I’ll get there. This play has been quite a challenge. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s amazing how every play, every script, every novel, takes on its own life and demands its own process. If I tried to force everything into the same process (which I have tried — and it’s failed), it takes the life out of the work.

I needed an infusion of Janet Malcolm’s writing. I like her work. Over the weekend, I re-read THE JOURNALIST AND THE MURDERER, and am reading THE SILENT WOMAN. Both fascinating, and both bring up issues about journalist and subject that are more relevant today than ever.

I’m about two issues behind on my NEW YORKERS, but I’m hoping to catch up next weekend! (When I’ll be three issues behind).

One client meeting was cancelled yesterday, so I was on site with another client, and then has some other meetings.

I’m working on a proposal for a workshop — they might have their full roster, but just in case, I’m going to pitch to this organization.

This is a busy week, especially with the Solstice on Thursday, and Christmas next weekend into early next week!

 

Tues. Oct. 3, 2017: Releases, Writing, Worrying

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Plenty of links today. First, check out the piece about PLAYING THE ANGLES over on A Biblio Paradise. Don’t forget to order your copy in any of the various digital formats. Links here.

Second, my October To Do list is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’ll also post questions to think about between now and the end of the year shortly.

Yesterday, I did promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I also got some new material up on the Nautical Namaste website. I’ll be linking and promoting that site in a few weeks, when SAVASANA AT SEA becomes available for pre-order. Right now, I want to focus on PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Sent out some pitches, did some follow-up on pieces. Sent out two short stories, which had come back from other markets. It’s always a dance, finding the right partner for a piece.

Finished both books I have to review, and the reviews will go out today. My new editor told me I hadn’t acknowledged receipt of the books — but I had, weeks ago, when I received them. I always do. I HATE the “dashboard” system they have us working in.

Started working on the galleys for SAVASANA AT SEA. There are lots of little, fiddly things the copy editor and I have both caught. Also, although some grammatical choices are technically correct according to the style guide we’re using, they look awful on the Kindle. In some cases, the fix is as simple as using Chicago Manual of Style rather than Strunk; in other instances, I’d rather change how I communicate the material. There are a few places where the copy editor and I are working together to see what is correct and still looks and feels right.

I haven’t even had the chance to work on the galleys of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM.

Got a weird idea for what I hope will be a flash fiction piece and wrote about 400 words on it. It’s an odd little piece. It will take time and shaping, but I like the premise. Now I have to add in the craft.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is both heart-breaking and infuriating. It could have been prevented. Again, the GOP doesn’t care how many people die, as long as it’s those who don’t buy them off. The NRA isn’t about responsible gun ownership, it’s about profit. I have never heard the NRA or anyone who boasts about their association with them, talk about RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. There’s just a lot of chest thumping and “Me have right to own guns.” In fact, most of the people I have met who scream about their right to own guns lack the IQ, in my opinion, to be allowed such ownership.

Every member of Congress who votes against responsible, common-sense gun laws should be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL for every murder that results in their legislation. They can’t be allowed to hide behind their jobs or use tax payer dollars for defense or if and when they are convicted. The only way it will change is when it costs them more to vote against pro-gun legislation than for it. Because Congress, especially the members of the GOP, don’t care about individual lives. They care about personal profit. They demonstrate this over and over again, with every vote. So make it cost them.

John Scalzi wrote a beautiful piece on his blog about how difficult it is to work amidst all this chaos. You can find it here. I read it at 3:30 this morning, when I couldn’t sleep, and it helps.

Of course, the current administration is anti-art. They WANT us not to be able to create. Artists are the biggest threat to autocracy that there is, because good art makes people see and understand the world beyond themselves.

Keep making art.

Back to the page.

Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/cool

Yesterday was all about updating links into websites. I got the live links for PLAYING THE ANGLES up onto the blog, onto the Devon Ellington website, onto the Coventina Circle website.

I added links to the newsletter and got it out — my first newsletter in a long time. I’ll have to clean up any bounce backs, new subscriptions, unsubscriptions.

It also meant I had to put the Nautical Namaste site live earlier than I planned, and set up the Nautical Namaste Facebook page earlier than planned. But it’s done, at least I have the links.

Had to get some admin paperwork done, and have to go into Hyannis this morning to file it, before picking up a few things at the grocery store.

The writing suffered yesterday, although I managed to get some more work done on the FIX-IT GIRL, and I hope to have that draft done in about two weeks. While juggling finishing the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so I can get it to my editor.

Because of Hurricane Irma, we pushed back the release of “Labor Intensive” yet again, but pretty soon, the timing will be so bad, I’ll have missed the boat. If we could not have any disasters, either caused by the Narcissistic Sociopath or Nature for a bit, that would be great.

Being 9/11, yesterday was tough as it always is. Tears off an on all day. You never “get over” something like that; you have to learn to live with it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused  
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Mon. Aug. 7, 2017: Working is My Rest

Monday, August 7, 2017
Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I feel better after cutting myself a break for the weekend. I rested a lot on Friday, and read — I’m reading a lot of Maggie Shayne’s work lately, and learning from it. Also reading Christopher Isherwood’s diaries, which are interesting, and doing my 1940s New York research (or, I should say, more research, from a different angle on the same decade).

It was nice enough to do some reading/writing outside on the deck, and I even managed some yard work (although no mowing). The Rose of Sharon is blooming beautifully, as are the geraniums, begonias, and mums — the mums are a bit early, in my opinion. We’ll have a decent tomato harvest, with three different varieties. This morning, we had an entire family of bunnies chomping on the dandelions in the back, and a blue jay taking a bath in the fresh water I put in the birdbath.

Worked on notes for the Coventina Circle series, and for some short pieces. Reworked an essay to slant to another market — I need to do another pass, to go a bit deeper, and out it goes.

Researched some other markets, and dismissed several as not being the type of market to which I want to pitch. I’m not going to pay a membership fee for the “privilege” of pitching — either you’re a professional publication that hires professional writers, or you’re a membership enclave where people pay you to be published. I’m not interested in the latter. Nor am I interested in embedding links to previous articles on your site in order to have an article published. I disagree with the ethics of both those positions. While it’s not up to me to make decisions on someone else’s website, as a “Free Lance”, I get to decide where I do and don’t pitch. Both of the above situations are a no-go for me.

Found another market for which I’d really like to write — a bit more academically-slanted than I usually do, but a good stretch. It will take me a couple of weeks to put together the pitch packet, though.

Have at least one, maybe two short stories that will go out today.

Debating on whether or not to pitch to a company — I like what they do, but don’t particularly like the employees of theirs I’ve dealt with. Not sure that would be the right situation.

Another project is going in a different direction, so we decided not to work together. I was having second thoughts about the whole enterprise, so it’s a relief.

The information in the public statements about the shooting a block away and what I see happening at the house are two different things. I’d like to think they’re merely being thorough in the investigation; however, I doubt they’ll ever tell us what really happened — or catch the shooter.

Got a good bit of work done on the draft of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY — about nine chapters. About half of each chapter is new material, so it was a good bit of writing. I’m deepening the atmosphere and the sensory detail and finding ways to weave together seemingly disparate plot threads. I’m happy with the progress. I want to get back into a daily rhythm with it, so it can release on time in May 2018.

I also have to get back into a daily rhythm with SAVASANA AT SEA this week — since its release date is this November! Most of it is rearranging material, “uncutting” the cuts that took the heart out of it, and doing some restructuring that keeps the fresh voice, but also keeps the plot moving. Pace and energy are important here.

What would have been a good night’s sleep was disrupted by some moron at 3 AM sitting in his car and revving the engine for 15 minutes. Hey, if you have to leave early, go ahead. Put the key in the ignition and drive off. But do NOT sit and rev the engine until the whole neighborhood is awake, and then peel out of your driveway with the tires screeching. Not cool at all.

Found out the insurance company lied to me. No surprise there, but it means more battles this week.

Already did an early morning grocery shop to avoid the damn tourists. Lots to do today, so I better get moving!

Fri. July 28, 2017: Progress, Prep, and Difficult Weekend Ahead

Friday, July 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Didn’t get a chance to post yesterday; apologies.

Some good work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’m reshaping the opening a bit — I want it more atmospheric, and I’m getting rid of some lazy language. That’s delayed sending the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES back to my editor and copy editor, since they have to edit and copy edit my back matter, and the first chapters of both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and SAVASANA AT SEA are included. I’m also working on a back matter piece about theatre ghosts, which I think readers will enjoy.

I have plenty to say about the health care issue, but it’s going into an article, not on the blog. Last night’s vote was a relief; I’m spending far too much time trying to sort things out for my mother’s upcoming surgery, and correct errors by both providers and the insurance company. (hint: double-dipping by some providers involved).

Sent off the contracted article Wednesday morning. Also wrote, polished, and sent off an essay for a new-to-me site with whom I’d had a discussion last week. The email kept bouncing back. When I went back to look at the site, turns out they’d gone out of business over the weekend. So why did they say they wanted to hire me? Frustrating.

Fortunately, I can re-slant the piece slightly for another, higher-paying market. That will go out early next week. I have another essay that also needs to go out next week, to another new-to-me market.

We’re reworked and simplified the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Much better now.

The cover reveal for PLAYING THE ANGLES will be August 1.

I finished the media kit for PLAYING THE ANGLES, and I’ve created a Facebook page for the Coventina Circle series. I hope you’ll hop over there and “like” it. I’m going to invite people to the page on the day of the cover reveal, and I’m going try to post interesting tidbits on theatre and healing circles between now and the release date.
I’m going to sit down and figure out the posts and schedule ahead of time, so as things get busy, it doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Had a good meeting in Harwich yesterday; should hear by early next week. It’s a situation that requires close proximity, so the client has to choose the person with whom she feels the most affinity and alignment with what she wants.

Got some good work done on the latest book sent for review. I will finish it today, and the review will be ready to go out on Monday.

This time of year is always a challenge. Tomorrow (the 29th) is the anniversary of my father’s death. Yes, it was a long time ago, but still reverberates. The 30th is the anniversary of my own serious surgery — again, a long time ago, but it’s amazing how the body captures sense memory. Then, we upswing to the 1st of August — a big, positive day on my own personal calendar.

Watching a documentary about some of the great houses in Scotland sparked an idea last night, so I took some notes. This morning, I’m also working on the flash fiction of the butcher and his vegetarian customer. I like these characters; they have a good sense of humor, along with common sense, even though they approach the world from very different places.

I’m going to try to get some rest this weekend. I overworked last weekend, and it set me back during the week, because I was mentally exhausted. I need to rest the mind as well as the body.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on July 28, 2017 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 28, 2017: Progress, Prep, and Difficult Weekend Ahead  
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Monday, July 17, 2017: Breaking Points and New Covers

Monday, July 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, humid, hot

Sometimes you go through a rough patch, which is what is happening right now.  It will cycle through, but it’s not fun while I’m in it.  This post is a bit on the downside; feel free to skip it.  Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a more upbeat day!  But it does deal with some of the more stressful and unpleasant realities of the freelance life.

Stressful weekend. The life stress has been very, very bad, ramped up to a height where I’m ready to break under it, and, added to that, the last few days were filled with creative stress (the wrong kind) as well.

Some creativity in there, too, but stressful.

Two of the interview subjects (with big name associations) who’d promised to have their information back to me by Friday for one of the articles didn’t. Which meant on Saturday, I had to nag — something I hate. Because let’s face it, it’s not “follow up”, it’s nagging, and if you say you’re going to do something by a certain date, do it. Don’t just not get in touch. One of them suddenly said she was too busy to take the TEN MINUTES to answer the questions. No, honey, you’re not “too busy”. You either don’t want to share your knowledge, or you suck at time management.  Either one is your choice, and I respect it; perhaps you’re trying to be polite with the “too busy”, but I read your subtext.  Moving on!

The other sent the answers, and they’re very good, so they go in to the article.

Three other interview subjects never bothered to get back to me. Two of them were businesses related to the topic of the article with whom I considered doing business in the next few months. I’ve changed my mind. If they can’t answer a few basic questions, they’re not getting any dollars from me.  The third non-response was rather expected; it was a stretch, and I had the feeling that organization wasn’t about to share information. It proved something I suspected.

I thought the cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES was all set, but now I’m having second thoughts. I’m afraid the cover is too bright and peppy for paranormal romantic suspense. The cover has to properly represent and support the story; the image was more appropriate for one of the pieces in development.

The designer and I worked up a new cover this morning, and I like it much better. So that’s a load off – it combines theatre, moonlight, and gives a sense of suspense.

I did some work on the galleys; I’m working on the series bible as I work through the galleys, so that I’ll have it ready when I go back to finish SPIRIT REPOSITORY.  Tracking details is so important.  This past weekend, I saw a post from a writer who asked her readers a consistency question because she couldn’t remember and didn’t feel like looking back through her own work.  I was shocked.  That’s the WRITER’S job — keep a Series Bible, for crying out loud.  I was further surprised because it’s the only series this particular writer works on; I’d understand more if she was juggling multiple series.

Worked on SAVASANA AT SEA. While the pace of the last draft is decent, I had to dumb down a bunch of stuff in the previous draft for the previous team, and I want to figure out a way to put back some of the more interesting items I was forced to cut. The new editor and I are working on that together. The manuscript, as it stood, was only 70K, so there’s room for a few thousand more words, as long as they don’t hurt the pace.

Did more Lavinia Fontana research. I’m getting an idea of the characters I want to include. So much of her life was handled by men; even though she is the central character, there will be a lot of male roles in the piece. I need to find at least one patron or wife of a patron so she’s got a good female character to play off of.

Outlined a new idea and wrote about twenty pages on it, so that the characters would shut up and let me think about other things. There’s potential in the piece, but I’m not sure when or how to fit it in. There are several pieces with potential that have to get back on the schedule and have to get finished, polished, and out.

“The Ramsey Chase” media kit is almost ready to go. PLAYING THE ANGLES media kit is almost finished. I updated the Q & A to reflect what’s changed in the re-release. I finished drafting the fiction section of the overall Devon Ellington media kit. I’m about to start work on the nonfiction section.

I have to figure out how to do subdomains for both the Coventina Circle series and the Nautical Namaste series. I have the right to the subdomains from my host, but I can’t use the website builder for any more projects without being charged extra — and they just raised my hosting fees AND told me that I have to pay every month, instead of quarterly. I’m out of available web pages to add on my main Devon Ellington site — unless I agree, again, to a higher monthly fee. Not that they’re giving me the services supposedly included in my package. But I can’t afford to switch hosts right now. I should be able to create pages and upload them as ftp files, except the host won’t give me the correct code to get into my ftp manager. Because 1and1.com is one of the worst hosts out there. I’ve been talking about moving hosts for years; as soon as I have enough money so to do, I have to do it, because they are costing me so much in lost revenue every single month and they REFUSE to provide customer service when something goes wrong. They are just awful. Unfortunately, right now I’m trapped. I have to stay, because I can’t afford to move, even though staying is costing me lost income. They know it, and they’re screwing me even worse than usual.

Sunday, I worked on the article and its sidebar, and worked on a couple of pitches that have to go out today. Most of Sunday was devoted to the article. The initial draft, with all the information waaaay above my allotted word count. I cut nearly 1000 words, and I was still over, by a good deal. I contacted my editor and asked if there was wiggle room — and got it. While I don’t want to take advantage, and will try to cut some more, I am grateful that she trusts me so much.

I think I found a new market for a rejected short story. I’m irritated that there’s been no response to a follow-up I sent on a couple of pitches, where I’ve worked for the publication before and the editor seemed to like me. I’m even more irritated that now I have one late payment that’s a month late and another going on two months. Not acceptable AT ALL. I have bills to pay; I need to be paid on time, PER CONTRACT, not if and when you happen to get around to it.

Did several loads of laundry on Sunday, too.  Carry wood, chop water.  It keeps things in perspective.  Managed to deadhead some of the tiger lilies, too.

This morning, I mowed, did a grocery store run, finished a review and submitted it, submitted two short stories and a pitch. I have to write some follow up letters that might negate my original pitch, but I can’t wait any longer for an answer. I can’t be in limbo any longer with vague, “yes, you’re hired and we’ll get back to you.” To top it all off, I have a migraine.

I’m supposed to do something for a pro-positivity site I was invited to join, but I’m not finding much that’s positive right now. I’m being run into the ground, without recompense.

I posted a couple of upbeat things on Facebook and Twitter in honor of the day’s theme, but that’s all I can do.

However, the new cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES has cheered me up.

I just have to dig deeper and find a way to make things work.  Maybe I’ll sing the “Cranky Pants” song and it will help me get over myself!

Tomorrow will be better!