Fri. Jan. 8, 2016: Revising the Writing Schedule and Goals

Friday, January 8, 2016
Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Meeting in Hyannis yesterday morning. It was fine; at least I didn’t want to jab my eye with a fork, like I do at some of these meetings.

Back to work, tried to catch up. Computer isn’t working properly, so that makes it more difficult.

I got some sad news: Amber Quill, with whom I have half a dozen titles, is shutting its doors on March 30. LAKE JUSTICE, SEVERANCE, ELUSIVE PRAYERS, and TRACKING MEDUSA will cease to be available from them at that time. I wish I’d found out directly from THEM instead of through a second party, but, other than that, I’ve always been treated well by them. I loved my editor; they paid on time; they gave me good covers. They believed in their authors. I will miss being a part of the company.

So what does that mean for my writing?

Several different things.

I’m meeting with my advisors to decide what to do. There are still two months until the doors close, two months until rights revert back. Once rights revert back, unless I’m going the indie route, it doesn’t make sense to just shoot the titles straight out again. While it makes me nervous to have anything go out of print, at the same time, I need time to launch a re-release properly, wherever and however I decide to do it. I expect they will be out of print until at least September. If I go independent, I’m going to have to marshal massive marketing resources to make it worthwhile. Right now, that much marketing emphasis isn’t going to fit my schedule. I’m not convinced the independent route is the right choice for me. I prefer to work in a more traditional model right now.

I do realize that, when I’m ready to launch the series that started life as THE POWER OF WORDS (which now has multiple titles as it breaks down into multiple books), it is most likely I have to use the independent model, because it would be exceedingly difficult for a traditional publisher to put it out in the usual channels. It’s a strange monster – one I love, but one that would require the type of Gentleman (or Bluestocking) Publisher to take it on, a type of publisher who no longer exists.

I was in the throes of planning a big marketing campaign for everything over the next few months, which now will not include the titles that won’t be available, for obvious reasons.

I also had three books scheduled to go to Amber Quill this year, all Gwen Finnegan books: BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, SANDOVAL SECRET, and SHAKESPEARE’S BACON. It was a pressurized schedule, but I wanted to make sure I finished the Gwen Finnegan cycle quickly for them, with an eye to moving in some new directions, as inspired by last August’s conference, where Claire Cook gave me the push I needed to give what’s now TIE-CUTTER a shot, and Carole Bugge encouraged me to continue work on SONGBOUND SISTERS.

With those three books off the schedule, at least for the moment (which means I’ll work on them in and around other projects, without the pressure) it moves up SONGBIRD SISTERS and the aviation mystery set in the late 1940s that I’ve been playing with for a few years.

I do love Gwen and Justin, and I want to see their stories to completion, but a break may not be a bad thing. As I kept saying last year, struggling with BALTHAZAAR, I can do it fast or I can do it well. Both aren’t happening in tandem right now.

HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the Jain Lazarus books, are still with Solstice, and I’m not sure what’s next with them; we’re in a bit of a holding pattern.

I have several play scripts and radio scripts on the slate for the year, and some film and television scripts on which I worked last year, which go out on submission this year.

The focus will be more on writing, polishing, and submitting this year, building on the previous writing, but taking me in new directions that I’ve been interested in for the past few months. That’s a positive. It moves up the timeline for me, but it’s a positive. It takes a lot of the “write as fast as possible” pressure off me – something that’s bogged me down over the past couple of years and actually interfered with my productivity, instead of increasing it.

As saddened as I am by the news, I think it’s the push I need right now. My gut tells me this is a positive in the long run.

I’ll have a long day at work today, but, since I’m feeling run down, I pulled out of my commitments for this weekend. I have some work to do for Monday’s NMLC Board meeting, and I’m going to write. I want to finish the first draft of the short radio play that goes out at the end of the month, and I’ve been approached to adapt the historical play into a radio play. I’ll take a look at that to see if it makes sense. I use a good deal of sound in the play anyway, and I think if I make some changes to make it more aural than visual, it will work. I also need to get LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES into US radio format from BBC format, because I have a US market interested.

Plus, I want to stay on schedule with TIE-CUTTER and DEATH OF A CHOLERIC.

So I’ll have a solid writing weekend ahead of me.

This certainly didn’t happen the way I wanted it to, but I have a feeling that, in the long run, these changes will be positive.

I remain hugely grateful to Amber Quill for their support, belief in me, and everything they’ve done for me and for my writing over the years I spent with them. I wish all the partners well in their new ventures, and I hope we can all stay in touch and support each other’s work. Thank you, Amber Quill!

Have a great weekend, people.

Devon

Thurs. July 10, 2014: Are we sure Mercury’s Direct?

Thursday, July 10, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Yesterday morning, I wound up getting a nice chunk of work done on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which meant I felt better about life, the universe, and everything. I’m starting to reconnect with the characters and the story again.

The last round of edits for “Elusive Prayers” went back to my editor, so I’m sure it will be galley time soon, and then another drop. I have to finish up the press kits and the website material.

Library was busy. Lots to do. I got volumes of Vital Records donated from another library, and Poetry and Drama criticism, which will be great for our collection.

Had a good program committee meeting, and got the go-ahead on a few projects about which I’m excited.

Last night, I started another pass on THE CHARISMA KILLINGS, which will go out again soon. I like it better than I remembered. It’s very different than a lot of what’s out there, which I think is a strength. I still believe in the book.

Busy day expected at the library again today, but I hope it will be fun. I love working with books and getting people excited about books.

Devon

Mon. June 30, 2014: Go Direct Already, Mercury!

Monday, June 30, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny, warm, humid

Busy weekend.

Friday just sucked every possible way. I don’t even want to get into details, but I was furious by the time I left work, and had to reassess some of my goals and how best to get there. Hate it when Mercury and Saturn are retrograde at the same time.

Came home, and Tessa was like, “Mom, calm down. Play with the turquoise mouse. It’ll all be fine.”

Read a bit, wrote a bit, worked on the last three script episodes, finalized my PR materials for Saturday.

Friday night, we had coyotes in the yard. Woke us up at 2 AM, right up at the house. It’s a strongly bonded mated pair, and I think they’ve got little ones close by. They’re absolutely gorgeous animals — but they’re coyotes, and very close to the house. Tessa wasn’t phased at all, but the twins hid under the blankets. They were establishing territory — we heard them circle their two-mile patch for several hours. I don’t want them hurt, but I also don’t want them to hurt any person or animal in the neighborhood. If anything, I’m most worried that a neighbor will do something stupid and then officials will come in and hurt the animals. I’m hoping we can peacefully co-exist, but let’s face it — humans are stupid and arrogant, and it’s almost always the habitat that suffers.

Exhausted on Saturday, from lack of sleep. Sent off the last script episodes (will be happy when the final check arrives). Sent off some emails, took care of some business.

Headed home for lunch and to pack up the materials in the car, then over to Osterville Library’s tent for the AuthorPalooza event. There were 27 of us there, hosted by Books by the Sea. The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA didn’t arrive in time, but I had HEX BREAKER, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT in print copies, and the sell sheet for the three digital releases, and the sell sheet for the Topic Workbooks. We were a fun, lively group. I got to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and meet some interesting new ones, AND talk to some of authors about the possibility of doing a program at the library. My boss came from the library after work, my friend from NMLC came, and it was, all in all, a fun afternoon. We were on the grass, so every time I got tired, I could slide out of my shoes and put my bare feet on the grass and re-energize.

Stopped at the liquor store on the way home and found an affordable bottle of blue raspberry vodka. Toss in a squirt of lemon juice, and I have my blue lemonade. Yummy!

Watched AMERICAN HUSTLE on Saturday night, on DVD. I’d seen it in the theatres when it came out, and now wanted to see it again. Enjoyed it thoroughly. It reinforced my sense that Jeremy Renner’s work wasn’t given the praise it deserved (although he didn’t maintain the Jersey accent consistently, which I hadn’t noticed the first time I watched it, but noticed here). What an amazing cast. In the interviews, the director talks about inconsistencies in characters and how that interests them, but my sense was that they were true to their cores, and then layered the inconsistencies onto that core to get what they wanted and needed.

Yesterday, I was going to do many things, but decided to stay true to my commitment to Disconnected Sundays. I did, however, turn around my edits for “Elusive Prayers”, which I will send off to my editor.

I also read Lauren Owen’s debut novel, THE QUICK. It’s getting a lot of hype, and the initial printing was 100,000 copies, so her publisher is very confident. I read the whole thing yesterday. Yes, it’s a great, big, fat book, but it held my attention. I absolutely loved the first 100 pages — especially her phrasing. I liked and admired almost all of the rest, and was frustrated by the last chapter, although I saw what was supposed to be the final twist coming about 150 pages before it did. It’s a literary horror novel, and there are vampires involved. Anything more would give away too much. It’s very well done, much better than most, but I’m rather vampired out at the moment. It’s definitely a novel I would go back and re-read in a couple of years (especially if I manage to avoid most vampire novels in the interim, which I doubt I can do). It’s definitely up there, for me, with DRACULA (the original Bram Stoker one) and Elizabeth Kostova’s THE HISTORIAN (which I loved).

Read a cozy mystery where the protagonist’s best friends were so unlikeable I kept hoping one or both would be the murderer’s next victim. No such luck. Also, there was only one body drop, and the protagonist was never in any actual peril. Boooring. That author’s off my list. Not reading more of her books for myself, nor am I ordering any for the library, nor will I recommend them for the Cozy Mystery Book Group that we hope to start in the autumn.

Re-reading Elizabeth Elo’s NORTH OF BOSTON, because she’s coming to talk at the library in July. It’s kind of a modern Boston Noir (very different from other types of noir).

The coyotes did a howl-by last night as they raced through the yard, but that was it.

I’ve got to mow today, send off some materials, and then run errands. Monday is errand day, after all.

Champagne Publishing and I have parted ways, as of today. The last few copies of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT are the last copies (it’s officially out of print), and it’s no longer available online. You can get the print copies that remain through Books by the Sea in Osterville (as of later this week — I have to drop them off when the copies of TRACKING MEDUSA arrive). Cotuit Library also has a copy in circulation. The rights have reverted back to me. I wait thirty days, then I’m commissioning a new cover, changing the title, changing a few things in the text back to my original vision, and it will be re-released, both in digital and paperback formats. I will keep you up-to-date as things happen.

I will be so happy when Mercury goes direct tomorrow.

Have a great week!

Devon

Tues. June 24, 2014: Offline to ReFuel

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’ve been offline for a few days, for a much-needed creative restoration.

Friday was busy — I had a full, but good day at the library, put in some book orders, etc. Came home and got some work done, but was tired.

Saturday, I was up early, wrote, and ran an errand on my way to the library — got some candles for the Solstice ceremony, and the woman who checked me out at RiteAid is a Reiki professional. Never know who you’re gonna meet, right?

Good day at the library — busy, but a nice, steady pace. I also sent off the final new episode on the Big Script Project, which means I’m buried in revisions all this week.

Came home, rested up a bit, prepared for the Solstice Ceremony. It was wonderful –first time I used oil lamps instead of quarter candles, and they worked very well. It was beautiful and powerful and wonderful.

Also re-read Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM — I’d love to do a live reading at the library next year for the Solstice, although I wonder if it would turn out to be a Magilla to organize.

Sunday, I stayed true to my Disconnect Policy — no internet, phone, etc. The only music was the music outside. I binge-read Ilona Andrews books, some of both the Kate Daniels novels and the Edge novels. FATE’S EDGE was my favorite. I outlined several pieces where the characters are gnawing at me. Hopefully, figuring stuff out will quiet them down until it’s their turn.

Monday, I really needed to be disconnected, too, so that’s what I did. As far as I knew, I had no commitments to meet that day, so I remained disconnected and worked. It’s hard to explain the work, because so much of it was internal. It was the quiet time, the figuring out time for writing. Some notes, but not actual scenes. It was internal, not external work, but so necessary in order to create. I went deep, deep down into the worlds of several projects and let the characters talk. If I had had any interruptions during that time, I would have lost the work — permanently.

I also got part of the meadow mowed and some plants repotted. Good to work the mind and the hands together.

When I resurfaced, in the evening, I found that a Mermaid Ball meeting had been scheduled. That was the first I’d heard about it — after the last one, which happened while I was so sick, no one ever let me know when the next one was. Even a year ago, I would have felt horribly guilty. I don’t. I needed to protect the work and work. If they needed me at the meeting, they should have let me know, right after the last one, when the next one was scheduled. If they want me there, it’s up to THEM to tell ME the schedule, not me to run around begging for information. If only the people at any given meeting are given the information, then that’s their choice, and it takes the pressure off of me. I’m already working three jobs under very tight deadlines. We sorted it out this morning, so no harm, no foul. Glad I didn’t waste my time in guilt!

The writing comes first. ALWAYS. Right now, I’m not only under tight deadlines for contracted work, with releases coming up and all the work that goes with that, but, after a period of creative fallowness, the creativity it kicking up again. And I will protect it and honor it at all costs. Because that is what writers do. It’s not about doing the work when it’s convenient — it’s about doing the work when it needs to get done.

And if those with whom I VOLUNTEER get annoyed that “my cute lil hobby” (because so few of them respect writing as WORK) inconveniences them, tough shit. This is my career, my work, my passion, and everything else works around the writing, not the other way around.

Speaking of the work — in addition to the outlining and working stuff out on upcoming work, the galleys for “Severance” are done, and I’m getting started on “Elusive Prayer” edits. I’ve got three revised episodes to send off this morning on the Big Script Project, will have two tomorrow, and have to have five by Thursday morning, then, with only the last five on Friday and Saturday. It’s a lot of work, but it needs to be done, and it will be good to get it done.

I’ve got a lot of other writing to get done in the coming weeks.

I checked out a Kindle from the library, and I’m getting familiar with it. I’m kind of liking it. I still love holding a book in my hands, and my eyes tire on the screen, but there are definite uses for Kindles. A place for all kinds of books and stories, right?

I’m still not 100% from the stomach virus, which is all kinds of annoying. At least I’ve confirmed it’s NOT a new allergy to crabmeat — had some over the weekend, and was fine. So I don’t know what triggered it, just wish I’d get back to 100% sooner rather than later. I’m in the third week of it now.

Hope everyone has a great week. I’ve got a busy one coming up, but let’s hope it’s another busy in the right way.

Oh, and I read a terrific book last night: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS by Ian Doescher. If you like Shakespeare or STAR WARS, you’ll enjoy it; if you like both, you’ll LOVE it.

Stepped out on the deck this morning, and it smells like autumn. Considering that we just passed Midsummer, that concerns me.

Devon

Wed. June 18, 2014: Ron MacLean, Josh Radnor, Writing, Reading

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Busy day yesterday. Wrote in the morning. Went to the library to check email, send email, send out my episode due, and go down the list of things that needed to get done online.

Came back. Baked banana mini-muffins and orange-cranberry mini-muffins. Wrote. Put together the dishes, the books, and all the rest I need for this morning’s program.

Sorted through some research books. Pulled what I need; will take the rest back.

Cooked dinner — slowly, slowly, I’m getting back on solid food again. I still feel awful most of the time, but at least I’m eating.

The NMLC press conference started to pay off — THE CAPE COD TIMES ran a nice article on the Marine Life Center, in both the print and online editions. Hopefully, that will get us some attention and some public support. With pictures of adorable Belmont, Barclay, and Rose, how could it not? They’re just precious. The three remaining Kemp’s Ridley turtles are also well enough to be released in Maryland this weekend.

I got my cover for ELUSIVE PRAYERS. It’s good, but it’s very different than I imagined, so I have to get used to it. Will do a cover reveal soon. I’m putting together a sell sheet for the event on the 28th, and in general.

Today, author Ron MacLean will be at the library, talking about his book HEADLONG. I loved the book — it’s a spectacular contemporary social justice thriller. If you get a chance to read it, do so.

In the meantime, I still need to write for at least an hour before I eat and haul my bags and bags of stuff to the library.

I have some ideas to market TRACKING MEDUSA — I need to get those sorted out, along with marketing for the digital shorts. The press release on the summer releases is here.

I have to get the galleys for “Severance” turned around tonight, and the first round of edits for “Elusive Prayers” is also on my desk.

I finished reading a terrific science fiction novel last night, too: FORTUNE’S PAWN, by Rachel Bach. Absolutely loved it. Original, fast-paced, terrific characters. I can’t wait to read the rest of her work, and what she writes under Rachel Aaron.

I watched happythankyoumoreplease, another film by Josh Radnor, last night and really liked it. He’s such a confident filmmaker, and I admire that.

Lots to do, but it’s good, happy stuff. Still haven’t finished mowing my lawn — maybe I can get a few rows done on the meadow when I come home tonight. Although, knowing me, all I’ll want to do is relax with a nice glass of wine!

Have a great day, people!

Devon

Fri. June 13, 2014: Full Moon on Friday the Thirteenth during Mercury Retrograde

Friday, June 13, 2014
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

A Full Moon on Mercury Retrograde on Friday the 13th. What could be better?

Actually, I usually love Friday the 13th. It’s a good luck day for me. The whole retrograde thing on a full moon just makes me cringe, though.

Busy day at work yesterday. Good busy, but busy. Managed to get a lot done, especially in the late afternoon, and prepped some more book orders. I’m also going to West Falmouth next Tuesday to take a look at a special collection that might get donated to our library. I’m very excited.

I’m also putting together a press conference that the NMLC is calling on Monday. We now have a third baby seal, named Rose (what a little sweetheart she is). With the facility closing in Maine, we are the only place taking in baby seals, and there are a lot of them stranding, especially in New Hampshire. The public needs to know what to do when they encounter a seal, and they need to know that we are here, and we need the public’s support to keep doing what we do. It’s going to be a lot of work to pull it off over the weekend, but well worth it. The information needs to get out to the public, and a press conference is the best way so to do.

Still feel awful and having trouble eating. I try eating something — mostly because I know I have to in order to function — and it either stays down or it doesn’t. Very discouraging.

I’m very excited that author Ron MacLean (he wrote HEADLONG, which I loved), is coming to speak at the library next Wednesday. Hopefully, we’ll get a decent turnout for him. I’ve been promoting it.

I’m cleaning up the Macbook in preparation for the new computer I’ll need to get once Mercury turns direct. I’ve got to get a new flashdrive to get the most updated versions of the novels, scripts, media kits, etc., loaded. Cape Mac is going to help me choose what I need and transfer everything over for me, but I still want to make sure everything’s backed up.

I actually have to run to the grocery store before I go to work today — there are a few things I need to stock up on. I seem to do well when I eat eggs, so I need more eggs, and I need more ginger tea. Really getting tired of this crap.

It will be a busy weekend, between prepping for the press conference, writing one set of script episode, catching up on edits for another, mowing the lawn, going to the dump, and working on BALTHAZAAR.

How much do you wanna bet the edits for “Elusive Prayers” arrive, too?

Have a great one.

Devon

Tues. June 10, 2014: Slow Recovery

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

So, even though I’ve done exactly what I said I would, and we have a so-called “mediator”, Comcast fucked me again. They can go to hell. It’s about time that the people who are supposed to be consumer advocates and who are supposed to keep these corporations in line with the law and regulations actually do their jobs, instead of being in Comcast’s pocket and sitting around with their thumbs up their asses.

Yesterday, I was really sick. I was up a good part of the night with a nasty stomach virus. I was so weak for the rest of the day that, most of the time, I couldn’t even sit up. I cancelled just about everything I could. There was one contract I had to go over to Osterville to sign. My mom had to drive me, because I was too sick to drive. I couldn’t eat at all — although I managed to hydrate. I had to cut short a Skype rehearsal with the actor overseas. Most of the time, I was lying down, either on the floor or in bed. I hope I don’t feel anywhere near that bad again anytime soon.

I’m a little better today — I can sit up. I ate a little. I’m catching up on the work I couldn’t do yesterday. I can’t be online much because Comcast fucked me, but that’s life.

I’m doing the polish for the scripts, and then I’ll head to the library to hook up to the internet and do what I need to do. I hope the rain ends soon, so that I can take the garbage to the dump. The bins are full, the recycling needs to go, and I have a lot of yard waste to add to the pile that becomes loam.

The “Elusive Prayers” edits landed on my desk yesterday, so I’ll have to get going on those, too.

This will be a busy week, but I just have to cut back wherever I can until I’m well enough to be 100%.

Devon

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Mon. June 9, 2014: Belmont, Tony Awards, and Stomach Virus

Monday, June 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Foggy and muggy

Busy weekend. Busy but good day at the library on Friday. We had a power failure twenty minutes before closing time. Brief, but enough to totally freak the computers out. Came home, cooked, tried to relax a bit, did some work. Agreed to participate in a big local author signing event, which should be fun.

Worked at the library on Saturday. Good day, again busy. Came home and watched Belmont Stakes day. I was disappointed that California Chrome lost, but not particularly surprised. I felt bad for the poor horse. Not only did he come out of it bleeding (he hurt his foot early on), he didn’t understand why his people were upset. He was calm before and during the race, but got anxious when his people were unhappy. He was like, “I ran around really fast in a circle, just like you asked. Why are you mad at me?”

I was disappointed in the owner’s outburst. I understand the anger and disappointment in the heat of the moment, but the Triple Crown is not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be won by the freak horses like Secretariat. Yes, three races in five weeks is hard. Yes, the fact that the people who make the rules allow fresh, rested horses in the race makes it an unfair playing field, to some extent. But then be mad at those who make the rules, not at the horse who wins. To call Tomalist and his people “cowards”? No. Strategists, maybe. Cowards, no. And this guy’s behavior allows the snobs to sniff and say that’s why they don’t like it when “regular” guys think they can enter the race. The owner positioned himself, during the PR madness surrounding the races, to represent more than himself. HE took on and accepted that mantle. That man did not represent me. Of course he’s angry and disappointed, but grace under pressure would have been a better choice.

Sunday, I worked in the yard — mowing (still not done), and got some plants at the garden stores — flowers, veggies, etc. Started putting in them in.

The Tony Awards were last night. Hugh Jackman demonstrated, once again, why he is the most beloved man on Broadway. He was a fantastic host. Great mix of humor, skill, intelligence. It was a fun show, and I was delighted for the winners.

Came down with a nasty stomach virus in the night. I am miserable. I had to cut short the international Skype rehearsal early, early this morning, because I was too sick to function. JUST what you want to happen when you start a new working partnership. But my actor was very sweet and wanted to know if there was someone he could call to come and take care of me.

I have so much that HAS to get done TODAY. Can’t be put off because I’m sick. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’ll have to figure it out. A couple of things I can move, but there’s a list that can’t be moved.

The edits for ELUSIVE PRAYERS also landed on my desk this morning. I have another round of edits to get going on.

Yesterday, I stayed true to my “one day a week unplugged” (except for watching the Tony Awards). I desperately needed it, but it means getting sick today puts me far behind.

I’m going to try to go to bed for a few hours, and then see if I can get back on track.

Bad timing. 😦

Devon

Thurs. June 5, 2014: Happy Tired and Workshops

Thursday, June 5, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Felt like I’d put in a full day before I even got to the library yesterday. Had a lot of stuff to haul in for the workshop — it was quite comical.

Busy day pre-workshop — got in a lot of books, and it was all the admin that has to happen to get a book out of the box and onto the shelf — setting up the record, putting on barcodes, stamping, spine labels, etc. I’m very excited by some of our new arrivals.

The workshop itself was fun — staff, volunteers, and some people from other libraries, and the one who administers the grant. Lots of info, lively discussion. The great thing about this group is that they were genuinely interested in the CRAFT that goes behind the books on the shelves. So often, especially now, when you speak to a group that’s primarily writers instead of readers, they wriggle impatiently through the craft part and the only questions they’re interested in is how they get an agent and get published without having to bother to learn the actual craft and Write WELL. The dynamic in this discussion was terrific. I might get to do it at other libraries, too.

Came home, exhausted. Tried to work on the script, but I didn’t like what I was doing. Did a rough draft of the monologue.

Booked a fun workshop for the library in August, in which I will be a co-participant. Costume Imp will be here and we’re doing it together. Details to follow!

This morning, I have to finish and send out the script episode and deal with some admin work before heading back to the library. It will be a busy morning — I have some press releases to get out — and then I’m in Chatham for a librarian workshop this afternoon, head back to the library for an hour or so, and then head off to the College to participate in an Environmental Summit. I couldn’t go to the full Cape Coastal Conference this year, because it fell on workdays, but the summit is in the evening, specifically geared to nonprofits working together, so I’m excited. I’m going on behalf of the Marine Life Center.

Pretty soon, the galleys from “Severance” will land on my desk, and my editor’s already working on the edits for “Elusive Prayers.”

I’m excited for both the Belmont Stakes and the Tony Awards this weekend. I want California Chrome to win — the sport needs another Triple Crown winner, it’s been long enough, and this guy has the talent AND the self-possession to do it. However, Belmont is famous for long-shot upsets. I’ve certainly cashed in on enough of them through the years. So we’ll see. I’m cautiously optimistic. Now that I’ve had a few years’ break from the dozen or so years covering the Triple Crown as a journalist, I can really ENJOY it again. And the Tony Award Show is the most fun of the award shows, with the strongest sense of community.

Off we go, to get it all done!

Devon

Mon. Feb. 24, 2014: A Writing and Researching Weekend

Monday, February 24, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Good news! My western novella, ELUSIVE PRAYERS, has been accepted by Amber Quill Press. This is a tie-in novella to my previous WIDOW’S CHAMBER serial. It had been accepted by the WC publisher, who went out of business on release day. I’ve rewritten it substantially in the interim, and it will now come out in late July. Re-working it, I liked the characters, situation, and depth of research, so I’m excited.

I have four releases coming out between the end of March and the end of July. So I’m pretty excited. It means I’ll be gearing up for some serious PR soon — watch out! 😉

Busy weekend. Friday was frustrating, but I got through it. Saturday, I worked on the novel I’m going to write in tandem with a friend who’s also working on a novel. We’re brainstorming and exchanging chapters, which is fun. I’ve read her outline and the first three chapters; she’s now got my initial fragment, my character notes, and the ideas for some major turning point scenes that I have to flesh out into my Writer’s Rough. In two weeks, I’m going to give her the first chapter. That’s longer than I usually take to write a chapter (I usually have to cough up one or nearly one a day), but this is a different kind of book and is not on a contract schedule.

I also wound up my course work for the Environmental Law and Policy Class. Got 100% on my final quiz, and 100% on my research exercise. I love, love, loved this class, and definitely want to get more involved in this type of work. It also made me understand some of the policies in place at the National Marine Life Center more completely.

I did some reading over the weekend. My next two books for review arrived, and I’m excited to dig into them. I started a couple of novels from the library, was frustrated with them, returned them. I read one novel I really enjoyed, THE TWISTED THREAD, by Charlotte Bacon. I wanted to shoot her an email to let her know how much I enjoyed it, but couldn’t find contact information online, and realized how spoiled we’ve all become at being able to locate anyone we want instantly! Good for her for not playing the always-available game!

Did a lot of research for the Sparkle & Tarnish series on Victorian dining. Since food plays a big part in the books, I want to make sure I get it right. I found THE SECRET GARDEN COOKBOOK filled with lovely historical tidbits, and I’m reading FANNIE’S LAST SUPPER, about a chef researching and recreating a meal from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 cookbook.

The current Garrett POV chapter I’m working on in TRUE HOME is set in Boston in 1886, so I’ve also been doing extensive research on geography, et al, of the time in order to properly write the chapter. Now, I have to cross-check some information, because I’d like to use some food info that is in books about Boston at the time, only I want to use them in NY chapters, but have to find out if similar places were in existence in NY at the time.

I see a trip to the Massachusetts Historical Society in the not-so-distant future for a day’s research.

Saturday night, I stayed up way too late watching NOW YOU SEE ME. The movie got lukewarm reviews, so I wasn’t expecting much, and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it a lot. I figured out the big twist, but then, that’s what I do. I understand structure, and that choice made the most sense within the structure and the clues dropped in. I watched it again on Sunday, to pick up some details I’d missed.

Sunday, I researched, wrote, and scheduled articles for the wine blog all the way into mid-March. Took a break for more research, and then spent the afternoon at the Osterville Library, at a talk by author Paul Kemprecos, who writes a detective series set in this area, and also wrote several books with Clive Cussler. A colleague from the Writers Center was there, and they had a nice spread of wine, cheese, etc. It was a fun, lively afternoon.

Watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics — pretty, but I didn’t have the context for much of the symbolism. Although I appreciated the tribute to writers, the performance didn’t make much sense, and where were the women writers?

This will be a very stressful week for me, not to mention that I have to finish the revisions of the play.

Got an intriguing job offer that I need to investigate more closely. I think it would be fascinating, if we can work out the time/money part of it.

The expected overnight storm missed us, and now they’ve downgraded Wednesday’s storm from a foot of snow to only four inches. Phew!

Back to the page.

Devon