Thurs. Feb. 22, 2018: Stresses and Deadlines

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Wacky weather.

Check out the latest post on Gratitude and Growth here. I’m trying to revive that blog, along with everything else.

I’m weary. There’s some stuff I can’t discuss publicly that has to be thought through and decisions made. It’s been a rough week. Especially since the bulk of the unpleasant chaos was unnecessary and caused by someone who is manipulative and a nasty piece of work.

On a happier note, the Devon Ellington Work site is coming along nicely. I’m pleased with the design; no muss, no fuss, easy to read. There are still a few glitches, some more material to add. But the host moved happened, and it’s just about ready to announce — once I figure out why the pages I trashed show up published under the home page!

I’m working my way through the emails, getting all the necessary accounts re-set, too.

The Coventina Circle site is also coming along well. It’s about halfway there, and should be ready for its live announcement in a few days. I’m building all the subdomains live, which is risky, but necessary.

Nautical Namaste, Gwen Finnegan, and Jain Lazarus all have temporary landing pages. I hope to have them finished next week, and then I’ll start on Cerridwen’s Cottage, get that moved, and then, last but not least, do Fearless Ink.

On a writing front, I’m frustrated with myself. I haven’t been pitching enough articles; I haven’t been sending enough LOIs; I am pushing to get THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY done on deadline, but I’m struggling.

Between the web host stress and difficulties on another front, I am worn out, physically and emotionally. But deadlines aren’t suggestions; they’re deadlines. So I’m pushing through. Once I get this book off my desk and to my editor, I’ll feel better.

Of course, then I’ll be focusing on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and starting RELICS & REQUIEM. And finishing FIX-IT GIRL so it can go out on submission and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK. But REPOSITORY must get the bulk of my writing attention now. I’m in the last few chapters. It’s just making them work, and picking up the pace.

We have some more cover discussion for SPIRIT, too, coming up.

Once the websites are live, then we can start putting our marketing ideas into play and get some promotion done on these books.

I found the photos for the special page on the Gwen Finnegan site, where I got inspirations for TRACKING MEDUSA. I’m excited, when I get to the point where I’m building that site, to put those up and share them.

Working steadily on the books submitted for the contest. I finished the first batch of mysteries, and I’m working on the fantasy genre now. I’m glad that the entries are so strong this year.

I’m looking forward to a productive few days, and then, maybe, maybe, just focusing on hearth and home issues this weekend!

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Wed. Feb. 21, 2018: Web Host Stress & Writing

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Waxing Moon

The Tactile Muse finally has a new post up, about removing wax from fabric.

I’m finally back in the rhythm of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and it feels good. This is why I love to work with a good editor. I’ve been lucky with most of my editors. There was the one who hated the word “said” and removed it from the manuscript (without replacing it or suggesting replacements) and was ready to turn it in to the publisher until I pitched a fit. But, other than that, most of my editors, especially when it comes to the books, have been great at spotting problems, helping me figure out solutions, and, overall, making the work better.

We’re galloping into the home stretch with SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which is a relief. I’ll be glad to get the manuscript off my desk and onto my editor’s.

The focus is on that rather than MYTH & INTERPRETATION this week, although I’m working on that book, too. And, as soon as REPOSITORY goes off to the editor, I open a new file, pull up a blank page, and start RELICS & REQUIEM. The life of a series writer.

Saturday, in particular, was a productive day. I wrote 2600 words on REPOSITORY. I did a partial clean out of my closet and did 8 loads of laundry. I removed wax from various cloths (see the latest post on The Tactile Muse for more information on how to do that). I put the watery-looking fabric back up over the fireplace (since I don’t have a mirror that fits, I put fabric that looks like it’s underwater up — good feng shui. Never, EVER put your TV up over the fireplace. Bad feng shui). I baked two loaves of spiced pear bread, a new-to-me recipe from a French cookbook. I read.

I also had a three hour argument with my old webhost, the awful 1&1.com. Take my advice and stay away from them. My new host told me to expect a confirmation email about the DevonEllingtonWork transfer at a particular address. An address I haven’t had for eight years, and that I changed when I moved with my old host. I went into my account — even though I’ve regularly updated my information with them for ICANN, they had old information listed. Now, I’ve updated the information multiple times over the EIGHT YEARS since I moved. And, when the registration renewal document is sent to me, it’s correct on that. But it’s wrong in the information supposedly submitted to ICANN. Which makes no sense at all. So I updated it, and then they told me the domain was “locked” for 60 days and I couldn’t move off the host because I entered a “new registrant.” No, you fucking dumbasses, I’m the same person. I entered the correct information that’s been entered regularly FOR EIGHT YEARS, you incompetent jackassses. Now, 1 & 1 is notorious for not letting people move off the host.

I ripped them a new one, and I filed a complaint with ICANN directly.

Supposedly, the lock is off the site and it can move. We will see.

Of course, it doesn’t work. 1&1 blames A2; A2 blames 1&1.

It seems to FINALLY be resolved. The Devon Ellington Work site is on the new host, but it still needs some work. I will make an announcement when I feel it’s ready for visitors.

As soon as the DE site goes live, I have to go in and customize permalinks and add the links so it can move smoothly between the pages on the site. That will take some time. Then, I rebuild the subdomains for each series, one at a time, and I do so live, which is a risk, but will be quicker than the temp link and then switching it.

One the sites for the Coventina Circle, Nautical Namaste, Gwen Finnnegan Mysteries, and Hex Breaker go live again, I’ll set up a temporary URL for Fearless Ink, reload what I built when I tried to move it last time, switch the link back to the permanent link, and then initiate that transfer. I’ll do the same last, but not least, for Cerridwen’s Cottage. It won’t all be done by the end of this month, unfortunately (I wanted to demand some of the quarterly fee back), but maybe I can get it done by next month. I’m thinking I might move Cerridwen’s Cottage first. I have to see if I can get any of the damn sites moved, if any of these hosts WILL DO THEIR DAMNED JOBS.

I am sure 1&1 will create yet more ridiculous obstacles. I wish I’d had the courage to leave them years ago. Thank goodness I learned how to build and work in WordPress, even if I can’t do the fancy stuff. Once everything is on the new host, I think my life will be much easier, at least as far as my web life goes!

On Sunday, I wrote more, again on SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Another 2600 words.

I also finished taking down the February/winter decorations and putting up some of the spring decorations (switching out fabrics on tables, etc). I have the heart off the front door, and the shamrocks up on it. The Ostara/Easter stuff will go up after St. Patrick’s Day.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around Easter and April Fool’s Day being the same day.

Monday, I was onsite with a client. No President’s Day holiday for me! And spent most of the day fighting with both 1&1 and A2.

Fortunately, I had written 3000 words on SPIRIT REPOSITORY in the morning, before the frustration resumed. That’s one of the worst parts of the webhost problems — not only are both these hosts interfering with my ability to earn a living (in addition to trying to extort additional money from me), they interfere with my creativity. The unnecessary stress they put me under by not doing the jobs for which they are paid make it difficult for me to create. But I have a deadline coming up, and I have to push through.

Yesterday, I was also onsite with a client. After I’d woken up at 5 AM because I was so upset about the webhosting issues I couldn’t sleep.

But at least I got a good chunk of SPIRIT REPOSITORY done on both days. Yesterday was more of a struggle, due to the webhost stress.

But I’m exhausted.

I’m also furious about the refusal of Congress to pass reasonable gun reform because they’re paid not to. I’m disgusted by Congress, and by the idiots on the right who are criticizing kids who saw their friends and classmates die. Kids who have the guts to stand up for more than adults ever have.

I know several people who own guns. Some of them hunt for food. They do not have automatic weapons. In fact, most of the hunters I know are bow hunters. They are responsible and eat what they hunt. They are careful to keep their weapons locked up when not in use. They understand that they have a responsibility to the community around them by owning and using these weapons.

The gun owners I know who go around thumping their chests about their rights to gun ownership aren’t smart enough to own guns, or responsible enough. Listen to any of them talk for five minutes, and you don’t want them owning a gun, because they are not capable of intelligent, responsible decisions. They want the rush of knowing they can end a life. They claim it’s for “protection,” but it’s easy to see through both the lies and the delusion. It’s about having power over someone else’s life. Having a power they do not have the right to have and for which they do not have the intelligence, ethics, or responsibility to act appropriately.

In the meantime, while I’m fighting on those fronts, I have to waste time and energy fighting with webhosts. Which in the scheme of the bigger picture means little, but in my personal universe, is huge.

I can walk into a store or a gun show and walk out with a weapon no civilian should be allowed to own faster than I can most a WEBSITE. It’s ridiculous.

At least the first hurdle, webhost-wise, seems to be handled, and I’m fixing the DE site, and building the subdomains. When that is done, in a week or so, I’ll start working on the Cerridwen’s Cottage and Fearless Ink sites.

Fingers crossed!

 

Tues. Feb.6, 2018: Same Location, Distinct Voices

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Waning Moon

I’m in a juggling act right now. I’m working on books in different series, but I’m working on them at the same time.

One of the challenges, is, of course, keeping the voices distinct. Especially since two of the books take place in contemporary New York City, and their circles of influence somewhat intersect.

The Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels take place in contemporary New York City. Well, sort of contemporary — based on my last visit there after the move away. Things change all the time, so it’s a recognizable New York City, while still serving the fictional needs of my plots and stories.

The Gwen Finnegan mysteries have a longer reach, because Gwen and Justin’s adventures take them all over the world. After all, TRACKING MEDUSA had sections set in New York, London, Lindisfarne, Ayrshire, Greece, and Marseilles.

THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second Coventina Circle book, is set in New York again. Most of it is in Greenwich Village, a place I’ve known and loved for years. Some of it takes place on the Upper West Side, where Bonnie, the central protagonist of this book, has sublet the apartment from Morag (the central protagonist of PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first book in the series). And part of it is set up in Inwood, near the Cloisters, where one of the secondary characters lives. The third book in the series, RELICS & REQUIEM, with Amanda as the central protagonist, will focus mostly on the Upper West Side and on Midtown East, where the Phineas Regan lives.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, which lands between TRACKING MEDUSA and its locations, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which is mostly set in the Bahamas, but with some sections in New York and in the UK, is completely set in New York. Okay, Justin makes a foray to Princeton in New Jersey. But the focus is in New York.

Both deal with paranormal. Central characters in both are witches.

So it becomes an interesting challenge to keep the books from intersecting. The voices must be different. The issues the members of the Coventina Circle face in their lives and loves are quite different from the issues faced by Gwen and her archaeological clan. Yet the frequent some of the same places — libraries, museums, restaurants, and the like.

When I lived in Manhattan, I was involved in a variety of different circles, although my primary one was theatrical (since if you work in the theatre, you spend 90 hours or more a week in the theatre). I also moved in publishing/literary circles, in the wellness/spiritual circles, in academic circles, in art and music circles. It was always interesting to see where they intersected and where they did not.

Applying that in a believable way while keeping both these series’ voices distinct is an interesting challenge. If the deadline pressure wasn’t so severe, I’d probably enjoy it more.

Some of it means writing fast and then breaking down sentence and paragraph structures as I rewrite, to fit the cadences already set up in the first book of the series. That’s easier to do in the Gwen Finnegan mysteries, because Gwen is central to each book. It’s more of a challenge with the Coventina Circle books, because each book has a different set of central protagonists, each with their own distinctions.

I’m also taking a risk, putting in a site and a small group of characters into both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and into MYTH & INTERPRETATION that make a bit of a crossover, although Bonnie, Rufus, Gwen, and Justin won’t meet and/or interact.

It’s similar to some of the in-jokes and crossover Jenn McKinlay’s done between her Hat Shop Mysteries, her Cupcake Bakery, and her series set in Maine.

Hopefully, I can pull it off!

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle mystery is available digitally here for $3.99.

Witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States — or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP?

THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, will release in May 2018.

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, is available digitally here for $3.99.

Archaeologist Dr. Gwen Finnegan is on the hunt for her lover’s killer. Historical researcher Justin Yates bumps into her, literally, on the steps of the New York Public Library, and comes to her aid when she’s attacked, sparking an attraction between them in spite of their age difference. After avoiding a cadre of pursuers at the Met Museum, Gwen impulsively invites Justin to hop a plane with her to the UK. The shy historian, frustrated with his failing relationship, jumps at the chance to join her on a real adventure. That adventure takes them through Europe, pursued by factions including Gwen’s ex-lover and nemesis, Karl, as they try to unspool fact from fiction in a multi-generational obsession with a statue of the goddess Medusa.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, a “between the books” novella, will be available digitally in July 2018.

 

Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions

Monday, July 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Intense weekend. Still dealing with personal issues.

Worked on the article; it should be ready to go out tomorrow. Roughed out two more articles and two flash fiction pieces I hope to get done this week.

Most of the weekend was spent working on the Coventina Circle series. I’ve got the edits done on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I have a bit more backmatter to add in over the next few days, and then it goes to my editor and copy editor.

Worked on the information for what will be the Coventina Circle Series Bible. I have most of the character information in there; now I need to do the place information.

We’ve roughed out the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, too. The central protagonists are Bonnie and Rufus, and it deals with both contemporary times and with New York City’s history as New Amsterdam. The first chapter of SPIRIT REPOSITORY will be included in the back of PLAYING THE ANGLES.

I re-read what I have on the book. I thought I was nearly finished with it, but it’s really only about a third. I have to get cracking, since we now have a May 2018 release date for it. But I got a good sense of it, and have to sit down and work out some plot complications. It will take a few days to finish outlining it and then I can get back to work on it. That book has to go into the regular, daily writing schedule.

I also spent time doing Writers Rough Outlines on other books in the series. I have basic notes on the Lesley/Sam book and the Diana/Greg book. I spent most of my time focusing on Book 3 in the series, which has the tentative title of RELICS & REQUIEM. That book focuses on Amanda and Phineas.

Because the lives of these characters are so entwined, and I’ve set up some strong relationships in ANGLES, I find I need to work on the outlines in tandem. Things that happen further down the line need seeds planted in the earlier books. Each book stands alone, and has a different central pair of protagonists, as paranormal romantic suspense does, but they feed on each other.

It’s an interesting process, and I understand so much more about structure than I did when I first wrote ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. Growth in a writer is a good thing.

Started reading WORDS ON THE AIR, which is the collected letters of poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. It’s gotten me thinking about writing an epistolary novel. Supposedly, that’s out of fashion, but it’s a style I enjoy. Made some notes. I think I want it to cover several decades of history. The characters are talking to me, telling me about their lives and how they want it to work. It will take quite a bit of research, I think.

Getting back into writing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY means re-visiting some of New York City’s earliest history. I ordered some books from the library, then looked up and realized I owned one of them. When I first percolated the novel, I used Washington Irving’s diaries. I also bought a good biography of him, but didn’t read it. It’s sitting on the shelf next to his diaries. Time to read it.

One of the late payments arrived; the smallest one (of course), and only part of it. But better than nothing. The other payment better arrive in the next few days. This is ridiculous. “Processing” means the check will be written and mailed, not that you’re deciding to maybe someday pay or not pay. Use the right language.

The actor John Heard died. I was sorry to hear it. We worked together off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club on an Arthur Miller play quite a few year ago. He had a meticulous process approaching his work. He had the reputation for being difficult, but we got along well.

Watched PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES again this weekend. I liked it better this time around. My favorite scene is still the Bennett girls getting ready for the ball, hiding their weapons in their gowns. My 94 year-old mother, who doesn’t like paranormal movies, loved it. She’s re-reading Jane Austen right now, and we’re watching all the movies, and I wanted to see this one shortly after seeing the definitive PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Colin Firth.

Lots to do today. I’d like to stay in the cocoon of the Coventina Circle books, but I have to deal with the real world in order to keep a roof over our heads. I have a project meeting on Thursday that I’m looking forward to.

I have to do some rearranging of front matter for a play that a producer is interested in; more to do with renumbering the pages than anything else. I gave it a proofread yesterday, and it holds up better than I remember, which is a good thing.

Already did a grocery run this morning (to avoid the tourists), and wrote two drafts on a flash fiction piece I’ve been turning around in my head for a few days. I hope to get it out the door soon. While I drove to the grocery store, I had another flash fiction idea about a butcher and his vegetarian customer who shops for her elderly neighbor. Will work on that when I’m done with the articles.

Because, you know, ideas come in batches.

Published in: on July 24, 2017 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions  
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