Wed. Nov. 28, 2012: “Just Jump in and Fly” — a fun twist on Yuletide Myths!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Here’s the cover for “Just Jump in a Fly” a romantic comedy/fantasy re-working of the Yuletide Myths that went up yesterday under the Ava Dunne name.

Samantha Wright has a problem. The attractive Kris Teague crash- landed his sleigh and eight not-so-tiny reindeer in her driveway. His uncle Nick happens to be THAT Nick – as in Claus – and they need Samantha Wright’s help to turn back the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at one of the Universal Gates not only to save Christmas, but keep Earth turning. A fresh, romantic comedy turn on Yuletide myths and traditions!

For an excerpt and Buy Link, go to the Ava Dunne page. It’s only 99 cents!

I love this story — I had such a great time playing with the myths of the season. I’m planning to do more with these characters for each turn of the wheel. Which means the next piece has to be released by February1!

I figured out how to do better covers in Pages. I realized, for the PDFs, I don’t have to work in .doc. I also learned how to save into PDF and transform that into a JPG. Unfortunately, the back cover fill doesn’t convert from Pages to PDF, so, while the stand-alone cover I’m using to promote the book has the background color I want, the download is in simple black and white.

I tweaked the cover for “Tumble”. I think it looks much better. Again, I can’t replace the cover in the PDF, but it’s close, and this looks better for promotion. It’s much easier to work with photographs than anything else, so I need to go find some mistletoe and re-do the other cover. The Nina stories are too much fun to suffer from poor covers!

And yes, I’m hiring a cover ARTIST for the Nina Bell book release on April Fool’s Day! 😉

My bio’s up on the Indie Book Award site, and I look forward to being one of their judges this winter/spring. Exciting!

Had a good writing session in the morning, both yesterday and a little tougher one today. Ran errands — had to find a new tree topper — it’s hard! Finally found one that I think will be pretty.

Got some raking done in the back — the terraced back area and one side of the house. That’s all we could get done before the sleet started. Took seven bags of leaves to the dump. Most of the day was about getting “Just Jump in and Fly” done.

Good meeting in the evening. I’m going to change the way we handle the mailing list, and set up a gmail account for the organization, which will make more sense and give us more flexibility. I’m also going to set up a WordPress site for them. We need to have an internet presence, and be able to link to other sites in the town, etc.

Started packing for the NY trip this weekend. Worked with tarot students. Set up a Tarot Lounge on the workshop board so that we can continue the conversation once class ends, and set up a Yahoo loop called “Myth-Drunk Writers” so we can continue the conversation once the Greek/Roman Mythology class is over.

I’ve got an article to write today, and I’ve got to prep “That Man in Tights” to upload, and get the lights on the darned tree — I finally found them. Tessa spends a lot of time playing with the tree — it makes her feel like outdoor kitty! Also have to go to the local library and Sandwich, and find mistletoe to photograph!

Busy times. But happy ones.


Don’t forget to sign up for Flash 7 — Write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days! Info and registration here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and warm

Yesterday was mostly about design. I did some promo work, but the bulk of the day was spent applying what I learned in the iPhoto and iPages workshops this week. I did a lot of work on the new Fearless Ink brochure. I need to hone the text, but it’s designed and the graphics are there. I managed to pull the old graphics I used in Windows, scan them, have the Canon printer send them to my email as a jpg and download them into iPhoto, so I can use them in design. I’m going to see if I can somehow do that with the moonlight-over-water graphic I use for my main business card (which is in a very old PrintMaster Gold program) and do the same thing. I COULD get BootCamp and run Windows simultaneously, but I really want to get away from Windows, except for using Word For Mac when I have to. The Mac system integrates much better and is more useful for my needs.

I also worked on the Jain Lazarus brochure — again, I need to hone text. I know I wrote text for all these — I bet it’s still on the old PC.

I started redesigning the ebooks. I’m trying two different methods, and whichever one is more efficient will be my first choice moving forward. I can design fun and eye-catching covers, create good-looking page designs, and set up the booklets so that they look better and read better. I’m going to redesign all of them, and then upload them at once.

And then, all of a sudden, it was dinnertime! I was tired, but not frustrated — even though there are some things that worked in the workshops that I couldn’t duplicate. Most of it has to do with transferring material that was in Word, rather than creating it in iPages. Although Word for Mac runs better than Word ran on the PC, it’s still Microsoft, and still doesn’t really want to integrate with anything else and has to be coaxed. I get there eventually, and, once I’m creating everything in Pages, it will be better. I figure it will take about six months to really transition things and feel comfortable moving between the older work in Word and the new material.

I can save into word and convert into PDF without using programs like the nightmare Nitro PDF — which didn’t even let me convert photos and covers.

For me, this system works much better.

Now, my big question for the DIXIE DUST RUMORS postcards is — glossy or matte? What do YOU think? Leave a comment below!

Confidential Job #1 has honored me enormously. The next assignment deals with the work of an iconic figure who was very central during the time I grew up. And they chose ME. Because of the confidentiality agreement, I can’t go into details, but I’m thrilled.

Got a little reading done, but not enough. I’ve got several books stacked up to read over the weekend and into next week, so I can send out interview questions for A BIBLIO PARADISE. And Colin’s book comes out on Sunday — I can’t wait to buy it, read him, and host him on his blog tour!

Lots of admin work to do today, along with some writing and some redesign work. I need to get follow-up done on the March pitches. I’ve got at least one pitch to get out, and start a proposal for a residency I’d like to land.

I’d like to get more writing done over the next few days, but I’ve also got to get out the DIXIE DUST mailing and another round of press materials. All good, just very busy.

Great morning’s work on the Matty book. The serial suffered the past week, and I need to get back to it.

The weekend will be busy — The Belmont Stakes are tomorrow, and I’m going to a Tony Awards party on Sunday.

My picks for Belmont will be up on RACING INK here later this morning.

Back to the page.






This is Elsa, the cat who’s ill. She’s a 14 year old tortoise-shell, and I’ve had her since she was 7 weeks old. I took her to North Shore Animal League’s Clinic yesterday. She likes to ride in the car. The barking dogs in the waiting area made her glad she had the safety of her carrier, but she wasn’t too freaked out. After all, they were out THERE, and she was safely tucked in her cage. One of the waiting dogs was a dachshund, and Elsa wants a dachshund of her very own, so she was happy about that. She was happy to meet the vet and make a new friend – that’s the kind of cat she is – she assumes that everyone is her friend until proven otherwise. If only we were all so open!

The problem is three-pronged. The first, and most important, is to deal with the respiratory infection that brought her there in the first place. She received two antibiotics, one in pill form and one in liquid form. Fortunately, she’s not bad with medication. Frankly, I think the Rescue Remedy with which I’ve been dosing her had a stronger effect, but antibiotics usually take a couple of days to work in people, so maybe it’s the same way in cats. So we’re optimistic, and we’ll see. Her appetite’s never wavered (always a good sign), she’s alert, friendly, sticking to her schedule. She smells different because of the medication, and that upsets Violet, who thinks there’s an imposter in the house, but Iris could care less as long as no one invades the Princess’s personal litter box. Elsa seems better during the day, but the nights are rough, and I’m feeling a little sleep-deprived from spending the last few nights up with her more than asleep.

The second thing they discovered was a mass on her underside. The vet said it could be nothing – it doesn’t bother her, she purred when the vet handled her, and tapped her with a paw to remind her it was petting time when she stopped. But they want to keep an eye on it over the coming months.

The third part is a procedure they want to do that would require her to undergo full anesthesia. Frankly, I don’t think she can survive it. I’ve had one cat and one dog go through this procedure as senior animals. Neither was ever the same after, and neither lived more than six months. Several friends of mine have had the same experience with the same procedure. I’m reluctant to put her through it.

When, at age 18, Felicia was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure, my vet gave me a wide range of options, including dialysis and kidney transplant, both of which I refused. She was an 18 year old cat, and I felt that put unfair stress on her at such an advanced age. We actually got rid of a tumor via Reiki (I brought her in on Friday; they found the tumor and everyone looked grim. I brought her back in on Monday; they asked me if this was the same cat, because the tumor was GONE – we kept looking at the X-rays, the vet called in everyone in the building, and everyone was shocked. They even checked the X=Ray machine to make sure nothing was wonky). And, with a combination of fluid injections (which my vet taught me to do) and alternative therapies, we managed to give her a full year of good quality of life. When she was ready to go, she let us know. It was heart-breaking, but when it was her time, it was quick and painless, and she hadn’t been put through torturous medical procedures.

So, I’m looking into alternatives for the latter procedure, and I might also set up a Reiki session for her. I spoke to the wonderful folks at Whiskers, a pet store specializing in alternative care down in the East Village. They’ve been around for ages, advocating alternative therapies before it was popular, and they know their stuff. Stressed out as I was, I got quite emotional on the phone with them, and they were very helpful.

A few people suggested pet insurance. I looked into it a few years ago. First, it’s expensive. Second, there are so many caveats that basically, they don’t have to pay for anything unless your animal is hit by a car on the fourth Tuesday of the month when there’s a full moon. There are so many restrictions that it hasn’t made sense to get it, even in Felicia’s case.

It was quite a day, and it’s going to be a long haul for the next few months.

North Shore doesn’t work on installments, but is reasonably priced; however, this is still an unexpected expense during a recession. So, while I’m constantly pitching for jobs, etc., I’m also telling people that, if you haven’t gotten around to buying my books, my stories and/or my little e-booklets for writers, this would be a really helpful time so to do. E-book royalties get to writers much more quickly than traditional royalties. ALL royalties help decide whether a publishing house keeps or drops an author, so every time you buy any book by any living writer, you have a direct impact on their income and their future. Thirteen shows closed on Broadway in January, so I don’t have theatre work on which to fall back. And not much is filming, both due to the SAG uncertainty and the economy. The Republicans’ success in cutting out stimulus money to help production companies will keep thousands of people out of work for a longer period of time, instead of putting thousands of people back to work in the spring, which would then stimulate the economy in every location in which filming takes place. Just because someone works in the entertainment industry doesn’t mean the person is a celebrity making a zillion dollars.

For those of you who faithfully purchase my work as soon as it comes out, I am deeply grateful, and I hope to have some new, fun work out in the next few weeks that might catch your attention. And if you know of anyone you think would enjoy my work, I hope you’ll consider recommending it.

I’m sticking to my deadlines, turning around as much work as I can, and hunting down new work – while not falling into the trap of working for the mills that want 20 articles for $5, because let’s face it, all I’ll do is make myself sick and not get paid properly. I’ve sent out some really strong proposals this week to my prospect list, and will follow up with them in the next couple of weeks. But all of that takes time.

It was really discouraging to return from the half-day it took to get to Long Island and back, sit in the waiting room for over an hour, and then go through the examination, get the prescription filled, etc., and find a response from yet another company that turns out to be a mill rather than a legitimate site. I’ve got a much better shot at properly paid work with the proposals, once they work their way through the various layers that need to make a decision on it.

One of the little courtesies North Shore provides is that you get the medication right there, instead of having to go somewhere else to get prescriptions filled AND they cut up the pills for you. It’s a big help. I remember when I lived in the city, had to fill a prescription for Olivia’s valium and had to go to the local Duane Reade, where they treated me like some sort of junkie forger. Considering I rarely take anything stronger than an Advil, it was especially insulting.

I’ve got the next assignment from Confidential Job #1, and I hope to turn it around in the next few days.

Not much creative work done in these last few days. I’ve got some business letters to get out and to the post office today, and pay some bills; hopefully, I can also complete the assignment for Confidential Job #1 (it’s very good) and get that out by the end of the day, too.

Maybe Billy will get some more attention this weekend. It’s frustrating not to work on his story, since I’d finally made a breakthrough.



Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 8:52 am  Comments (16)  
Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Well, I have a migraine, so not a great start to the day. Get through, it right? There’s way too much that needs to get done.

Chase Bank bites. Yesterday, I got pulled out of line by an Account Exec who made all these promises about these great changes in my account to reduce fees. Yeah, but they haven’t cleared my payroll check – which, I might add, is from another Chase account and has always cleared from Friday to Saturday – because I deposited several checks together, so they hold them ALL. I swear, they charge you every time you breathe, and every promise they make is a bait-and-switch to more fees they “forgot” to tell you about.

Chase Bank gets the Middle Finger Award for the week.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to move banks right now, because if you’re not throwing a ton of cash at them to open the account, they don’t want you.

The chat went really well last night. Lots of people, a lot of good questions.

Caught up on commenting on everyone’s exercises this morning. I’m way behind on my exercises for other workshops, so I want to get that done, and I have an idea for a couple more ebooks. Now, I just have to figure out when to slot them in!

Most of the conference has been great. Two of the instructors annoy me, because I get the feeling that they “don’t want to give it away for free.” In one, the exercises have been frustrating, but I figured I could learn something, that whole “work past your resistance/try something new”. However, the instructor doesn’t give individual feedback on how to APPLY what we do in the exercises, or why something works or doesn’t work. Just makes it clear she is available for private hire. The other instructor claims she didn’t know she was signed up to give a week long workshop – which is bullpucky, because we were sent emails over a course of many weeks with links to check our information, our virtual room, etc. and instructions on what to do if something was wrong or listed in the wrong spot or whatever. We had WEEKS to make sure it was accurate. There is no way this chick could “not know” unless she didn’t bother to check her information, and that is HER fault, no one else’s. In addition, she says she’s “too busy” to interact (which is a real slap in the face to conference goers, in my opinion), but again, available for private hire.

I tried the old “oh, there are different ways of teaching” philosophy. It doesn’t wash in this case, in my opinion. I’m sorry, but WHY would I spend money on either of those two when I’ve gotten NOTHING from them in their workshops but the hand out? And neither handout gave me any new or intriguing information? I can spend my money better elsewhere, on instructors who actually step up to the plate and to their jobs. Oh, and when you download the handout, you automatically are signed up for their email blasts. Guess who’s going to opt out first thing Monday morning?

And then there are the great workshops, like the short story one and the cozy workshop, and a couple of others where I just wandered in off the virtual street, so to speak, and ended up staying. Where the instructors interact, share information, encourage, point out where things could be stronger, are open to discussion and new ideas, ask interesting questions, and, in general, actually TEACH A WORKSHOP. I’ve developed material for two very different collections of short stories in the short story workshop. I’m developing material for the first book of what could be a series in the cozy workshop. I’ve gotten fresh ideas about website media rooms from another workshop, and gotten into interesting discussions about writing groups in yet another workshop.

And I’m so proud of many of my own students, who show progress over the course of the week. Several of them have ended up with a near-complete short story in the scene building optional exercises, and there have been some fascinating scenes posted in the daily exercises which I hope they take farther.

So there’s a lot of diversity here, which is part of what I think makes it such a good conference, and, in spite of some of the frustrating elements, a great overall experience.

I have so much writing to catch up on today, so I have to push past the headache and get to it. I have a feeling I will sleep in on Monday morning.

I lost hours of potential work time again yesterday due to computer kerflamma. And then, my Firefox decided to dump all my Favorites. Colin told me where to look for them, so, hopefully, I can restore them. Both Dell and Microsoft also receive Middle Finger Awards this week, although I’ve run out of hands and need to borrow someone else’s! 😉


Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.

Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.

Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here: