Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Finally! A bit of sun. I can’t believe it. Much-desired.

I’m teaching a free workshop on blogging during International Promo Day tomorrow at 4 PM EST.

My article “Eye Inspires Hand” is in the current issue of Coffee Break for Writers. Check it out if you get a chance.

Decently productive day yesterday. Worked on articles, worked on proofs, worked on a couple of media kits and press releases, got my errands done, had a big Stapes run and used my Rewards check, even got some reading in. Answered some intervie questions for a Twitter colleague who’s doing an article for WRITERS DIGEST. Decent writing session this morning, so far.

As usual, have a ton of stuff to do today. I want to get the articles finished and scheduled to post while I’m gone. I need to get a couple of press releases out today.

I need to keep working on the proofs, and I need to work on both FEMME FATALE and BLOOD SOUP today.

Lyncee, I’ll check the LASR loop today and answer your question.

So, I better get to it.

Devon

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Check me out on LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS!

First, I want to congratulate my friend Michelle Miles on the release of her new novel, TAKE ME, I’M YOURS, published by Cobblestone Press. Way to go, Michelle! Check out her blog and her website for excerpts, purchase links, and more. She will be featured on A BIBLIO PARADISE at some point in the future.

Yesterday was an up-and-down day. I feel a bit overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. On the positive: My computer works beautifully and I can get it all done. On the negative: I’m burning out and have to pace myself better.

On Sunday, I re-read the first twelve chapters of the Helena Francis mystery and made some notes. Yesterday, I ran off Chapters 13-23 (there’s only about two pages of Chapter 23, so it doesn’t really count) and re-read those. The piece has good bones, I made good notes, I want to finish it, think about the overall series, and then go back and do a serious rewrite so I can get the book out the door sometime this summer.

By the end of the day, my publisher had the proofs of DIXIE DUST RUMORS back to me. I will start them today, with a clear head.

I did a big chunk of the media kit for DIXIE DUST RUMORS. I hope to finish it in the next few days and start getting it out there. When reviews for the book come in (if they’re good), I’ll add a reviews page. The media kit will be available on the website, once it’s done. I would have uploaded the excerpt onto the site, but 1and1’s server was down AGAIN. Every day, from 11 AM to 4 PM, EST, I get server errors when I try to access my email. This is not acceptable. I’ve complained for over a year, and they don’t fix the problem. Host moving is a nightmare, plus I’d lose everything I built on their templates, but I’m beginning to think that’s the only option.

I love the package I have with 1and1. I’m hosting three full sites plus numerous subdomains, and I can customize their website builder with my own designs. I have all the email addresses I need. But, at least 50% of the time, there are server problems and I can’t access either my email or my site. Don’t charge me if you’re not going to fulfill the contract. The price is great, what I get is great — but it doesn’t work when I need it to work.

Don’t suggest Go Daddy. Their commercials are enough to make me refuse to do business with them, and they don’t have the capacity for what I need.

Fat Cow Hosting looks really good, and someone called Pinch Hosting contacted me via Twitter when I bitched and moaned, so I’m going to do some looking.

It would need to be a midsummer move, where I could devote an entire week to site move and redesign. I can’t do it when I’m on crazy deadlines, and May/June will be nuts.

I dashed out and got ink for the manuscript printer (the Pixma 1800 is my “manuscript printer” and also some new flashdrives. I booted up the old PC after a week — what a nightmare. 22 minutes for the initial boot and three crashes before I even got the flashdrive in. I spent two hours transferring a lot of material from floppies to just one flashdrive. This is the one with drafts of novels on it. Who knew I’d done so much and so many drafts of some of them? I realized that I’ve got a big slew of projects that aren’t just being archived. Some need to be finished; some need to be retired; some need a simple polish and sent out into the world. I’ve got quite a backlog, and it’s time it went out and earned its keep!

It’s going to take months to back up over 500 floppies. A single exterior hard drive backup won’t work because I need to sort them properly, not just send them all somewhere in a lump. So, this is housecleaning. But, if I do a little bit every day, eventually, it will get done. And I’ve found some quicker ways to do it.

I’ve got a stack of articles to get done in the next couple of days, a media kit to finish, and proofs to do. Busy, busy, busy.

And next week will be just insane. Good insane, but insane.

They closed the swanky private school up the road from me due to swine flu concerns. There’s a part of me that rolls my eyes at all this swine flu stuff, and then there’s a part of me that wonders if the reason the outbreak isn’t worse than it’s been is because of those precautions. Parents are being forced to keep their kids home from school when they’re sick, and that’s a good thing. Far too often, around here, kids are sent to school sick. Part of that is because parents have to go to work, affordable child care is practically non-existent (and, let’s face it, you send a sick kid to day care and every one there gets sick, too), and bosses get mad if you’re constantly taking time off because of a sick kid. Which is understandable — the work still needs to get done. The boss is paying you to work, not to parent, and it’s a delicate balance. However, in this techno age, many jobs can be done from home, and, while the sick kid is sleeping, the parent can catch up on work from the office.

The newest salary survey showed that if stay-at-home moms were paid for what they do, they’d ear nearly $123,000/year. Frankly, they should be paid for their work. It has value, and far too often the partner that works outside of the home uses the paycheck as manipulation. And most stay-at-home moms don’t have a staff AND work 24/7, where as most people who work office jobs outside the house do (or they ARE the staff).
Anyway, I’ve got a lot to do, on DIXIE DUST RUMORS, have some pitches to get out, and i’ve got to get back to the plays. FEMME FATALE and BLOOD SOUP need to go out the door this week.

I got a rejection letter on a project that wasn’t unexpected, so it’s off to the next on the list I was also called “unprofessional” for refusing to give someone an “at least” nine-month exclusive on a different project. I said that writing is how I make my living, how I pay the bills. I can’t afford to tie something up on a “maybe” for nine months. Besides, everything I write eventually finds a home, so I need to keep it out there. The person faltered and said, “Everything?” “Yes, everything. Sometimes it takes awhile, but it all finds a home, and finished projects need to be out there earning their keep, not languishing on someone’s shelf. Thank you for your time and goodbye.” Obviously, this person and I are not a good match. And I don’t work on principles of intimidation and desperation. Next!

Decent writing session this morning. The Matty book needs a slower pace than some of the other stuff. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done, and most of it needed to get done yesterday, so I have to break it down by deadline and priority and just work on it one piece at a time.

Back to the page. And to pulling more stuff of the PC later today.

Oh, did I mention I’m going to Prague in September? Costume Imp convinced me to join him on some international travel!

Devon

Monday, May 4, 2009

storm-rumors-cover

Monday, May 4, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Well, I was just a little cranky pants yesterday. Part of it was post-race let-down. Part of it is that I’m angry that I had to cancel my trip for these three days. But, everything I need to research is outside — seashore, nature, turtles, shipwrecks, etc. — and it can’t be done in the pouring rain. No point driving 300 miles to watch the rain from a hotel window. But it made me cranky.

Got off the post-Derby article — FEMME FAN’S going through a re-design. According to my editor, it will go up anyway this week. I will keep you posted.

Got a note from my publisher asking where the materials for DIXIE DUST RUMORS were. — materials I sent out last Thursday. So that was a little frustrating. I re-sent everything, and asked several times if it went through. Don’t know what to think now. I busted my ass to turn around the material quickly. I don’t want it floating around in the ether somewhere.

And, when I tried to reheat the rest of the ravioli, it fell apart. A mess of boiled water, ricotta and spinach in the pot. Inedible.

It was not a good day.

On a better note, I started printing out the draft of the Helena Francis mystery I started last year, to see what I have. I thought I’d written eight chapters. Turns out I’ve written 23, so I’m farther along than I thought. Which is good, but now I need to get it finished. It definitely needs some shaping, and, since it’s the first of a series, I need to think about the overall arc of the series and feed some of that into the revision while making sure one doesn’t need to read the series in order. If it was a house, I’d say its bones were good. There’s definitely some good stuff there; it definitely needs work.

Scumbag landlords are turning off the water toda — again. It wasn’t supposed to affect me because I wasn’t supposed to be here. Bitter much? Uh, yeah. But, hopefully, I can get a productive writing day in anyway.

I have to re-learn pacing. Because my computer now works properly, I’m pushing myself at a rate where I’m feeling burned out. I need to find a good pace again. Part of the adjustment process.

Sigh.

But in the Great News Category: DIXIE DUST RUMORS could release as early as next week!

Hey? Anyone want to host me on my blog tour? Anyone know anyone who hosts YA authors?

Devon

Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 7:35 am  Comments (7)  
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Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and rainy
Beltane

I spent way too much time pretending to be a designer yesterday. I got the Jenny Storm webpage up, and I’m pretty happy with it. I found an original photo I took that doesn’t have rights issues with the location and am using that at the Jenny Storm icon. I managed to reconfigure it to three different sizes. Turns out there’s something that the iPhoto in Mac can’t do — resize. But the very nice Apple tech guy told me about a super site called shrinkpictures.com and it was fabulous.

Got all the front and back matter to my publisher. So, when the final proofs come back, I go through them, send them off and there we are. I have an inkling DIXIE DUST RUMORS will release before OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK does. So I have to get out of paranormal head and into YA head.

Not happy with the MySpace page. I hate that I can’t make it do what I need it to do as far as setting up the page the way I want, etc. I have to figure out where to find a template I like, design the page the way I want and then upload. Any suggestions?

Even though it took a long time to do all that, it was still much easier on the Mac.

Caught up with a lot of email and various sites. I’m still behind, but I’m better.

For dinner, I made ravioli filled with ricotta, spinach, and prosciutto. It’s really good, but filling them is, shall we say, labor-intensive. The wonton skins work well, but I think the next time I make this, I will make ravioli pasta from scratch. I like a thicker texture for ravioli and the wonton skins are too thin, They work, they’re fine, but I want to try something else.

Trying to catch up with a bunch of materials to review, and to get everything sorted for the Promo Day Workshop I’m teaching next week on May 9. It’s about how to use your blog as a marketing tool for your book, while not annoying the crap out of people by making it sound like one big advertisement.

The GDR wrap-up for April is up on the GDR site. I will have RACING INK, the picks for tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby, up in the early afternoon.

Busy, busy, busy. Thank goodness I have a computer that works well. Today is my one week Mac-aversary.

Had a good morning’s writing session on the Matty book. I need to sit down and outline it now. I’m about four chapters in to it, and have a good idea of the themes, characters, storyline, so now I have to sit down and construct the plot. This is more along the lines of literary fiction than the genre work, and it’s got a very different rhythm.

Finished proofreading ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, and it’s officially on the query-go-round. Let’s hope it finds a home soon.

To answer your question, Brandy, yes, the children’s and YA material will appear under the “Jenny Storm” name.

I have two articles to get done today, and a polish, along with handicapping the race card for tomorrow and getting back to the plays. Busy day.

Have a great weekend, all!

Devon

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a busy day. The DIXIE DUST RUMORS publisher asked for the front and back matter for the book, so she can send me the final proofs. I spent a good part of the day transferring stuff like acknowledgments, book blurb, creating the Jenny Storm bio, etc., so that I can send it to her. I decided that I didn’t like the material I shot for the Jenny Storm icon. There’s another photo I want to use, one I shot, but I have to find out if there’s a rights issue involved. I don’t think there is, but I want to do some checking.

Polished the two articles. One will go out today, another in a couple of days. I’ve got two more to write. Plus, tomorrow, I’ve got to handicap the race card for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Proofed about five chapters of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. I’ve got three more to go and it’s done, complete, ready for submission. I need to get that book out the door. It’s in pretty decent shape. I just hope I’m targeting properly, so it’s contracted sooner rather than later.

I set up the MySpace account for the Jenny Storm work, but I haven’t had a chance to design it yet. The next few days are about getting the cover and excerpt up on the website and the page. I may also redesign the Jain Lazarus My Space page. I have to take a look at everything. After that, it’s about designing postcards and promotional materials. I’m going to focus on DIXIE DUST RUMORS, since that release seems as though it will overtake the release of OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

And then I have to see what else goes out under Jenny Storm. If my publisher likes DDR, I’ve got a hockey-based book to finish for the same age group that I’d like to submit to her when submissions re-open in the fall.

The cats are fascinated by the new computer. They keep trying to mark it, making it “theirs”, and I keep wiping it off. The Mac is MINE! 😉

Got some errands done yesterday; have a few more to do today. Found the wonton wrappers at the Asian market in White Plains — bought two pounds worth for about $3! But most of the time will be spent writing. I have to get back to the plays. I wanted both FEMME FATALE and BLOOD SOUP ready to submit by tomorrow, but that’s just not going to happen. I’m hoping the end of next week will work for that.

Good morning’s writing session. Now, to catch up with practicalities. The April Wrap-Up will go up on The GDR site later today or tomorrow.

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 6:51 am  Comments (2)  
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Dixie Dust Rumors Cover

storm-rumors-cover

Because the cover is a similar color to the background of this page, it’s hard to see the edges. Will upload it to my sites soon.

Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 8:48 am  Comments (1)  
Tags:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde (as of January 21).

So Mercury IS retrograde, which explains just oh, so much.

I felt so badly for the lovely people at my local pharmacy yesterday. I tried calling in a refill for one of my mom’s prescriptions in the morning. Couldn’t get through. Called the main number to let them know, and they were nice enough to take it down on that line. When I went to pick it up, they couldn’t find it, even though the record was noted as “completed.” I told them to take a breath and not worry, a few minutes’ wait while they looked for it was no big deal. They were really scrambling with everything, which is completely unusual, because they’re always organized. And they’re always NICE, which means when they have their designated Rough Day, one cuts them slack. They’ve earned it. They eventually found the order, and it was all good.

Ran around and did all the necessary errands I would have normally spread out over the week, since we’re supposed to get another 3-6 inches of snow tonight into tomorrow. So, if it’s nasty out, I don’t HAVE to go anywhere.

The publisher told me to figure on a late summer release date for DIXIE DUST RUMORS, which sounds PERFECT.

I’m seriously thinking about joining SCBWI. Those of you who are members, would you share the positives and negatives with me?

I pitched for two jobs yesterday that, should I get them, would be tons of fun. If the money sucks, I’ll have to say no, but if the money is decent . . .tons of fun. I heard from one of the jobs this morning – they filled it, and now wished they hadn’t, because they think I’m better qualified; so we’re going to keep in touch and if something opens in the future, we’ll talk again.

So Citigroup got $45 billion in TARP money, none of which has gone to help consumers; instead, they’re spending $50 million on a new luxury corporate jet. I urge everyone to take the 5 minutes it takes to send an email to your senators and representatives to demand action on this. Citigroup should not get ONE PENNY more of bail-out money; not only that, this action should forfeit the money received, and they should be forced to return it. They shouldn’t have ANY corporate jets; let them take mass transit. This notion corporate executives have of their inflated importance, and that they must fly in private jets in case of terrorist attack, is ridiculous. No one wants ANYONE to die in another terrorist attack, but let’s face it, separate from that fact, if these corporate types do, the only ones who will mourn them are their friends and family – just like any other death. All of these companies will continue to run – and some will run better – without these top executives. Getting killed in a terrorist attack is not the way anyone wants to see them removed from their positions, but that fear and inflated sense of importance does not justify a $50 million jet. Citigroup cannot be allowed to get away with this.

These people can take the MegaBus for five bucks, just like everybody else. They’re worth the least of anyone in the company, actually, because they’re the cause of the problem, not the solution.

Finally finished Chapter 4 on the Billy Root story. It needs a lot of work in the rewrite, but at least the first draft is out, the information that needed to be communicated is on the page, and I can move on to more interesting parts of the story. I’ll probably rip it apart in the revision and figure out how to drop in nuggets of this info elsewhere, but for now, I needed it out on the page.

Back to CHANNELLING JIM MORRISON, and whatever else needs to be done today.

Abby, I answered your Mercury Retrograde questions in the comments section under the post. Amy, yes, Merc Ret affects travel – leave yourself lots of extra time for travel, expect screw-ups, be meticulous with your documents, and pack an extra book for waiting times. Diane, according to my calendar, Mercury goes direct on February 1, which is really unusual, because it’s usually about a three week retrograde. Because it’s so short this time, maybe that’s why it’s so intense.

Devon

Billy Root story – 10,083 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10 / 60
(16.7%)