Thurs. April 12, 2018: Evolving Process

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Garden update on Gratitude and Growth goes up tomorrow, because I’m performing the tasks I’ll write about later today!

If you didn’t stop by Fearless Ink yesterday to read my post on “Morning-After Networking,” please do, and leave me some comment love!

This week, I pushed hard to create and hone a presentation for one of my clients. She got a great opportunity to pitch her product to some decision makers with access to a 2-million person client base next week. So we dug in and did it. I did the design AND the text, we used a mix of photos, and it can be used as PowerPoint/Keynote, a handout, or a PDF. She’s thrilled, and I’m pleased by the whole thing. I have samples for my sample book, and it’s all good. It was a lot of concentrated work, but the result was worth it.

There’s a marketing piece I worked on for another client, and he stubbornly insists on using language that makes him sound down-market in a completely different field. I’m debating whether I should even use samples of that in my portfolio.

I have one more big project for another client, and then we’re done until autumn. I have to finish up a couple of small things for another client, and then I want to cordially move on. That client uses some business practices that make me uncomfortable, even though they are technically legal.

I have a bunch of LOIs out, I’m waiting to go to contract with a company for whom I used to do a lot of work, and I have some meetings coming up.

I cannot emphasize what a big, positive difference having the redesigned websites on the new web host have made. I’m shocked and horrified by how much business the old host cost me, because they kept making sure the sites didn’t work properly. Learn from my mistakes, my friends.

I’m doing the last pass on this draft of SPIRIT REPOSITORY today, and adding in the back matter, which includes polishing the first chapter of RELICS & REQUIEM, adding a short article on the concept of “genius locii” and putting in the information for the other books. Tomorrow morning, it will go off to my editor, so we can go into galleys.

The major attention then turns to the drafts of MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELLICS & REQUIEM, both of which have to be juggled in tandem. NOT BY THE BOOK is sneaking in there, too, and finishing up the rough outline for the serial, so I can distill it down into a pitch-worthy synopsis.

A note on evolving process: as much as I hate working on index cards to sort scenes, for this serial, I find I need to. I have plenty of background notes and other stuff as well, but I need to work the beats of each chapter/episode on cards, and then shuffle and re-shuffle. Some of that will further change as I actually write the chapters, since each chapter is in a different character’s POV. I think I need to write one more round in each POV, and I’m wondering if I should add another character’s POV. It would open up the world, but it then feels out of balance. As it is, the title has a “Three”in it, and I’m writing in four points of view. To expand it to five — not so sure it will work.

I’m eager to get some admin stuff out of the way and get back to the page.

Not so eager to finish my taxes this afternoon! This year, especially, I resent it. I do not want to give a single penny to this corrupt administration of grifters.

Onward.

 

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Wed. April 11, 2018: Visions and Re-visions

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to the Fearless Ink site for the latest post on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Busy couple of days. I’m prepping a presentation for a client. The opportunity came in on Monday, and the presentation is next week; today is my last day with the client before the presentation. And so it goes. But it’s an interesting project, and I enjoy the process as much as the result — which is why I do this in the first place.

The work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY is going very well. I did six chapters on Monday morning before my client meeting and four more that night. That left me only six more chapters to do. I got up at 5 yesterday, to get at it. Two seriously rewritten chapters in the morning, another at night.  I have to add an entire section to the last chapter to plug a hole and had to rewrite one of the earlier chapters in a different character’s POV. But I think I can send it to my editor either tomorrow or Friday, so we can get into galleys.

The glitch with Amazon for both PLAYING THE ANGLES and TRACKING MEDUSA has been solved, and they are both available for Kindle. Big relief. I’m pleased that all three books are selling steadily on Kobo and B&N, too. I’m amazed and delighted by the positive difference the new websites on the better host make. Learn from me, my writer friends — the website matters! Do your research, invest the money. It’s worth it.

Need to polish up the first chapter of RELICS & REQUIEM to include in the back of SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Need to polish the book-exclusive article on genius locii. Need to finalize both the Acknowledgements and the Dedication. Then, put it all together, and off we go. This phase of the book is always exciting and terrifying.

Back to the page! With relish today, instead of dread. I prefer it this way, and, more often than not, that’s what I feel. I am a writer who loves WRITING, not just HAVING WRITTEN. Big difference.

 

Tues. March 20, 2018: Spring Equinox Without the Spring

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Spring Equinox

It’s the Equinox, but we have another storm coming in. I have severe storm fatigue.

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to read PJ Friel’s blog about her process for her upcoming release A TWIST OF WYRD.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the Mid-March Wrap-Up.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk for a post about the Spring Equinox.

I worked onsite with one of my clients on Friday, since we’d lost two days due to the storm. Then, I had some work to do on the Fearless Ink website. Although Ink-Dipped Advice is working, I’m still having trouble getting the contact form and the social media links to work.

The garage door stopped working in this last storm. I’m going to wait through the next one to get it fixed. Don’t want to get it fixed, only to have it go out again.

I’m frustrated with AT&T. Instead of doing right by the customers affected when cell service went down during the storm, they publicly pretend to “care” (as in the Twitter Account AT&T Cares), while privately making excuses and putting their customers in an endless loop of b.s. without fixing the problem or crediting the customers. I have limited service, minimal bars, and it’s going in and out. That’s not what I pay for. So fix the problem, and credit me for lost days, the way any ETHICAL business would. But ethics? In this day and age, when they see what Washington DC gets away with? No one’s even pretending to have any.

I had a few errands on Saturday, but I did them early, because there was no way I would drive around here on St. Patrick’s Day, when most people are drunk by 8 AM. Worse than it was in NYC. I can’t even imagine what it was like in Boston.

The rest of Saturday was about finishing this draft of SPIRIT REPOSITORY and getting it to my editor. I’m so relieved to have this book off my desk, even though I know we’ll be doing more work on it, and the work will have to be completed quickly, since this book kicked my ass so badly so far. But I’m happy with the climactic sequence, and that’s what I worried about the most. The word count works within the genre, although we have room to cut it back a bit. But I don’t have to look at it or think about it until my editor turns it around, and then we have to move, fast, to get it out on time. If this was going into print first, we’d really be screwed, because the delay on my end would have put the publisher back several months on their end. Fortunately, since the print edition is further down the line and the digital releases first, I haven’t hurt 50 other people’s schedules.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, the Gwen Finnegan between-the-books novella, becomes the primary focus now, although I have to juggle it with RELICS & REQUIEM, the third Coventina Circle novel. And NOT BY THE BOOK comes back into play. I had a great session on Monday for MYTH, and hope today’s goes just as well.

The next shipment of books for the contest arrived. I’ve logged them and sorted them. I hadn’t quite finished the first shipment, but I was close, so I’m not worried. Many of these books look good, and I’m excited to dig in to them.

Even though I’m still tweaking the websites and haven’t started the serious promotions yet, the new sites are paying off. Sales on everything — Topic Workbooks, Digital Delights, and the series — have all picked up. Which is good news for when I start the serious promotions.

I prepped some in-depth pitch packets for a few places that interest me, and from whom I hope to land a contract. I needed to get them out sooner rather than later, because Mercury goes retrograde on Thursday, and there’s that whole not-signing-contracts-while-in-Retrograde thing. I ignored it a few retrogrades ago and signed a contract anyway and it was a disaster. Although, truthfully, I realize how much better off I am without that particular gig.

But these three gigs intrigue me. They’d all be long-term, remote, with room for growth. Two in fiction, one in non-fiction. So I put together packages and we’ll see. Either I’m what they’re looking for or I’m not. 50-50.

Also stockpiled some blog posts for various sites. Took longer than I expected, as everything does.

On site yesterday with a client, and then had to take my mom to a medical appointment. She has more tests coming up; stressful for everyone, especially her. On site with a client today, and then I have some stuff I need to do before the next storm hits.

Equinox ceremony this morning — always makes me feel more optimistic about what’s to come.

Either I’ll be online here Wednesday or not — who knows?

In any case, on Wednesday, if the Fearless Ink site is working properly, Ink-Dipped Advice will have a post of interest to both writers and employers about ad phrasing to attract the right writer. Check it out.

 

Published in: on March 20, 2018 at 2:56 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 20, 2018: Spring Equinox Without the Spring  
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Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Waning Moon

I moved the Cerridwen’s Cottage website all by myself. I’m so darned proud. For me, a non-IT person, it was a big deal. It’s a big personal milestone for me.

Yesterday, I started building it live. I’m hoping to move the Fearless Ink site late this week, and then maybe get to build it early next week. And then I’ll be done with 1&1 as far as hosting go. They still hold my registrations for the moment.

I also finally understand why I’m having the problem on the Welcome page of the Devon Ellington Work site. Even better, I understand how to fix it!

Now, I still have to learn how to do a drop-down menu . . .

There’s a storm coming in, so I might not get to post tomorrow, although I hope to do so on Friday. I hope it won’t be as bad as they say; I’m getting a little weary of the storms. As long as the power holds . . .

Working steadily on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Playing with ideas to finish POWER OF WORDS. Got re-ignited for NOT BY THE BOOK — there are good bones there. If I can pull it off, it will be a worthwhile book. Working on FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

It’s a good busy.

A potential client liked my pitch, but wanted me to do a proofreading test before talking any further. I did. It was a timed test, full of the errors that set my teeth on edge. So, we’ll see. The money would be great, but I need to know more about the parameters.

My flash drive is full, so I started a new, 32GB drive. I moved over pertinent files from the old drive and sorted them properly. Let’s hope I can keep this drive organized.

I’m reworking the media kits for TRACKING MEDUSA and the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and looking for some fun, additional material to add to the Jain Lazarus site.

I need to put together some more material for the Coventina Circle site, and put together the pieces for the SAVASANA AT SEA giveaway I want to do in a couple of months. I’m also working on some ads for the different books and stories. I want to see if they make a difference. Friends of mine tend to have good luck with Facebook ads, and they’re usually reasonably priced, so we’ll see.

I’ve had a terrible headache for the past few days. I hope it lets up when the storm moves in.

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 2:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm  
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Tues. Feb. 27, 2018: Writing, Webbing, and Working With Clients

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Waxing Moon

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to check out Marian Lanouette’s latest release!

Busy weekend. But then, they usually aren’t, aren’t they?

The Devon Ellington Work site is live. Take a look around and enjoy. There will still be tweaks, since it’s an organic element of my writing life, and the new host and construction means I can actually do what I want and need to do with the site.

The Coventina Circle site is live. Again, go take a look around and enjoy. I have a few more pieces to upload, but the information about the series and the books is there.

The Nautical Namaste site is live. Go hang out! It’s got some fun background information on the crew and the passengers of the Charisma.

I’m working on the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries site. I hope that will go live in a few days. Because I’m digging up a lot of location photos for the sites, that may take awhile. Plus, I need to rewrite the Media Kit. Simply updating the old one doesn’t work.

I’m also working on the Jain Lazarus Adventures site, which will go up, I hope, by the end of the week. The information needs a lot of updating.

I hope to start building the new Cerridwen’s Cottage site at the end of this week, and then move it sometime next week; the Fearless Ink site build/move will happen shortly after that.

I see a light at the end of the tunnel with the website building/moving!

Unfortunately, this website stress has hurt my writing.

This is the first time I can remember, ever, in my writing career, where I don’t look forward to facing the page every day.

My editor has given me another extension, for this week. I HAVE TO GET IT DONE. What also worries me is that it’s putting me behind on the other books.

Saturday, I pushed hard on the book, while also cleaning out my closet — which meant 8 loads of laundry. The closet is in much better shape, and I found a bunch of stuff I forgot I owned. I also found a bunch of stuff into which I can still fit. So it’s a good thing I don’t listen to “if you haven’t worn it in a year, throw it out.”

I had high hopes for writing on Sunday, but my brain just couldn’t function. The weather was vile, so I gave myself the day off to recharge. I read, instead, which is one way I love to refuel.

I read both Frances Brody’s DEATH OF AN AVID READER and Louisa Morgan’s A SECRET HISTORY OF WITCHES. The Brody is my favorite in the Kate Shackleton series so far. SECRET HISTORY was beautifully written, both sad and fulfilling.

Also, the entire author bio reads “Louisa Morgan is a pseudonym.” So I don’t want to hear anything from anyone about “why do you write under different names?” and “what are you hiding?” Granted, I’ve only ever encountered that inability to understand a pseudonym where I live now.

There’s a lot of internal work going on, in preparation for upcoming decisions and changes. Nothing happens as quickly as I’d like, constant obstacles are up. The current political situation doesn’t help. The constant need to fight to keep my government from trying to kill me while they’re grifting and helping their friends grift is exhausting. In my opinion, we are living THE WALKING DEAD, with the Narcissistic Sociopath’s cult as the zombies, determined to kill us all and turn us into the mindless shufflers they are.

This morning, I’m back to the book, determined to make it work. Well, determined to finish it and get it on my editor’s desk, so she can help me make it work!

Yesterday, I had a good day onsite with a client. Lots of social media work. Today, I’m back with that client, creating an ad campaign. The photos we got back from the photo shoot look great, and will inspire the text.

Then, it’ll be back to work on the Gwen Finnegan site.

 

Tues. Jan. 16, 2018: Steady Writing Gets There

 

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
New Moon

Busy few days.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my article over on Write Naked, about being an “Anti-Niche Writer,” you can visit it here. And leave a comment!

TRACKING MEDUSA (above) has re-released digitally. New buy links here and on the Books page of this blog.

There’s also a piece about the re-release over on A BIBLIO PARADISE here.

Because of issues with my old webhost, I can’t upload either the new cover or the new media kit to the website for the Gwen Finnegan mysteries or on the main Devon Ellington Work site (although the buy links will go up); when the webhost move is complete, a newly designed site with all the relevant information will go up. I thank you in advance, for your patience.

PLAYING THE ANGLES has moved distributors, and the new buy links are here. The information is up on the Books page of this blog; I’m updating the links on the Devon Ellington and the Coventina Circle site. Again, because of the webhost issues, the cover and the media kit will not be available until the host move is complete.

SAVASANA AT SEA will complete its distribution move and be available here as of today. Again, I will update the links on the Books page and on the Nautical Namaste website, but the cover and the media kit will not be available for download until the host move is complete at the end of the month.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

I will be boosting posts for all of the above on FB once the website moves are complete, because I want to send readers to the websites, which have all kinds of fun stuff and cool information — which will actually be accessible, once the web host move is complete and the new websites are built and go live.

So, this month is frustrating, but will ultimately be worthwhile.

Re-building the Fearless Ink site is going well, albeit more slowly than I would like. I like the new logo a lot. It’s clean and simple. The site will be much the same. No need for a lot of bells and whistles. The words are what matters.

I was feeling miserable on Friday; well enough to whine, so I obviously wasn’t THAT sick. After working on the website building for a few hours, and posting the details about the TRACKING MEDUSA re-release, I went home. Scratchy throat, achy, headache, tired.

I read; some for my own research/pleasure. The first batch of books arrived for contest judging, so I’ve also started on them.

One of Janet Malcolm’s pieces in FORTY-ONE FALSE STARTS: ESSAYS ON ARTISTS AND WRITERS inspired a new piece, set in the 1990s in the New York City arts culture, with the protagonists a painter and a choreographer. I don’t know when I’ll get time to WRITE the damn thing, but I made notes for the outline.

Friday night, the storm came in. It was unnaturally warm for the season, but the rain pounded and the wind howled. More naturally, the power went out, so we went to bed early.

It was restored pretty quickly, but the weather was still vile on Saturday. I put a pot roast in the crock pot and settled in to work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’m behind where I want to be on it, and wanted to catch up.

Saturday, I was sick and miserable. However, I managed to run some errands, and then wrote two chapters on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. That felt good, being back in the world.

In the evening, I had a glass of wine by the fire and read. I’d made pot roast in the crackpot, which was good.

I’ve started reading the books submitted for the contest. They are good. This year will be fierce competition. Which is great. But it also means, when I go back over the books I think are the best, it’s going to be the details that decide which book is chosen.

Sunday, I was truly sick and miserable. I got the laundry done, but the rest of the day, I was huddled in bed, reading. Which is not a bad way to spend the day, but not the way I wanted/needed to spend it.

One of the books was one for review; big disappointment. The entire book was “telling” narration without active scenes. It was impossible, as a reader, to engage or care about the characters. It read like the outline for the novel, not the novel itself.

Yesterday, although it was technically a holiday, I was onsite with a client (even though I felt awful).

Got some more work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, though, early in the morning, so I don’t lose that momentum. I have a draft due on February 15, and I can’t drop the ball.

This will be a busy week, including the weekend, with two big events coming up.

All I really want to do is curl into a ball and sleep!

Not an option. Not right now.

Onward.

Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 1:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 16, 2018: Steady Writing Gets There  
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Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018: Stress For A Cause

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold (but milder than the past few weeks)

The past few days have been stressful.

Signing with a new webhost and getting oriented has been tough. But I believe, in the long run, it will work better.

The Fearless Ink website is the first one undergoing the overhaul and move; I’m hoping, as I learn my way around, each site will get easier. And I’ll get faster at putting things together.

Fearless Ink is also getting a new logo.

Because I’m under a time crunch (everything has to move by the end of the month), I’m worried it won’t be as good as it can be. But I need to get something up and moved, and THEN I can tweak and hone. So it might be awhile before I do a big reveal on any site, although it may go live sooner.

Tomorrow is the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA. As soon as I’ve verified the new buy links, they will go up. I also have to tweak the media kit.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is moving through its new distribution channels, and as soon as I have the buy links, I will make the appropriate changes, on the websites, here on the Book page of the blog, and in the media kits.

SAVASANA AT SEA goes off to the new distributor today, and will follow the same process.

1and1.com’s extortion (telling me the only way I can have book covers and downloadable content on the websites is to pay an extra $140/month on top of my plan) and my refusal to cave in to them has hurt my sales — I lost ALL my holiday sales, and, since I can’t put the new media kits up or the new covers up — I won’t see decent results until the website/webhost moves are complete. Because the Devon Ellington site is the most complicated, with all the subdomains, that will be the hardest. I have a feeling that once the main DE domain moves, the subdomains will all disappear, so I’m trying to get them as streamlined as possible before.

It’s overwhelming if I look at all of it, so I’m looking at it one piece at a time.

Lots of client work this week, and trying to support a colleague who’s going through a challenging time. I feel a little guilty, because the situation has inspired a piece of writing. I don’t know when I’ll actually get to write it, but I’m working on the outline. I’m going to change enough to make it stand apart from the personal information, but it’s also one of the dangers of knowing a writer. Everything is material.

Managed to go out yesterday afternoon and spend time with a friend I hadn’t seen for awhile, and catch up on life, the world, and everything. That was fun. We went to the Dolphin, in Barnstable, which was the perfect place for our chat.

Had to try to explain creative process to someone who didn’t understand why people won’t just “create” in front of him. Because it’s intimate and comes from a private place. Otherwise, you’re just taking down dictation. Too many people around here claim they want a marketing professional when what they really want is a secretary.

I’m supposed to go out tonight, too, but I woke up with a scratchy throat, so I’m going to have to see how the day goes. I’ve been feeling off most of the week, trying not to get sick. I might have to take some time to rest.

The first shipment of books has arrived for judging in the contest. I’m very excited. I’m reading three categories again this year. I also have three books to review in the next three weeks, so I better get to it!

Trying to get back in the groove of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY along with everything else.

If I can get some rest this weekend and not get sick? That would be a good thing.

It’s supposed to be a miserable day tomorrow, so I’m trying to stack all my errands in today, and not have to dash around in the bad weather tomorrow.

Onward!

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018: Stress For A Cause  
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Wed. May 9, 2012: Rain, Project Shifts, and New Circles


The tulip tree at my great uncle’s in Maine

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Saturday’s the Amazing Antagonists Workshop, a day of creating fascinating, complex characters to be good obstacles for your protagonist. Sign up now — registration closes Friday night, so you can’t suddenly wake up Saturday morning and decide you want in!
Information and registration here.

Worked flat out all day yesterday, trying to get it all done, get the grocery shopping, bill paying, all that other stuff done along with the actual work so I can pay the bills! 😉 It was too wet to mow (aw), but hopefully, it will help both the grass seed and the anti-ant stuff I had to put down (yet again). And I’m doing the laundry rather piece-meal — a few loads here, a few loads there.

Designed and printed a new Fearless Ink business card. I really want to redesign the website, too. It’s a little too simple, and I think I’ll upload the portfolio, so there are samples.

Spent some time with students, sent back a bunch of assignments where I asked for two scenes and they submitted four or five. Two scenes means TWO scenes. And, when I’ve provided a tip sheet on what a scene IS and you ignore it — no, the assignment goes back. When I say you can’t use something from a current WIP, and I recognize the characters and the location from another class — it’s going back. There’s a reason the assignments are structured in a certain way and build in a certain way. I’m trying to get them to look at structure in a way that supports their overall work, so they’re very aware of the weight and balance of each scene and the importance of each scene in relation to the scenes around it, and don’t dilute their stories with needless wandering. Learn how to read and apply guidelines. It’ll help a lot of submissions being deleted unread when you submit!

Didn’t get as much of my own writing done as I would have liked, but I’ll make up for it today.

Drafted a PSA and a press release for my pro bono client; am waiting for the green light to get it out. Contacted an editor to find out when I’ll get the specs for an article they asked me to write — they forgot to send them or thought someone else was sending them or something. In any case, I never got them, and the deadline was last Monday. But they are holding the spot for me, and I’ll do it this week.

Two new assignments from Confidential Job #1, both of which look terrific, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into them.

Made the appointments to get the car serviced (tomorrow) and the cats to the vet next week. Yup. All three at once. Get it over with. Whew! That’ll be a chunk of change!

Attended an open house for the American Business Women’s Association over in Hyannis. I had a good time and met some interesting people. I’ve been to a couple of these type of events elsewhere, and it’s all corporate types gossiping about things that aren’t any of their business (well, that’s what gossip is, isn’t it?) This event was completely different. The participants were lively and interesting, representing a wide array of professions, and they could talk about a vast array of topics. One could have a conversation, not just blah, blah, blah, buy this, blah, blah, blah. I’m glad I went, and I’m interested in spending more time with them to find out what they’re about. I don’t know how much I can do that this summer — which is already booked to the gills between teaching and visitors and the Cape Cod Writers Conference and yoga and my own book deadlines. But it’s nice to know it’s there, and I may get more involved in the fall.

A potential client who talked big of course did not come through. Not at all surprising, and I’m relieved to be out of that one! If you’re trying to present yourself as progressive and ethically responsible, you better be able to back it up, and this one can’t. Doesn’t have the balls.

The positive result is that the project that this individual had blown a lot of hot air about how fabulous it was, how important participating in it was, and then backed out of because the individual can’t walk the talk, is taking a new direction that’s both more economically viable and will get us a broader, international audience. So it all worked out for the best.

A colleague of mine had a great episode central to his character on his TV show last night. He did an awesome job. So happy for him.

I’m going to yoga this morning, since I have to take in the car tomorrow to Plymouth. It always rains when I go to yoga!

Going to try to get a little bit of time on the page before yoga.

Devon

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Dreary and cool

Stop by Diane Parkin’s blog today and read her interview with me (“The Evolution of Dixie and Jenny”), and visit Hywela Lyn’s blog for another stop on the DIXIE DUST tour!

Thanks to both of you for being such lovely and gracious hosts.

There was so much hail in New Jersey yesterday that people were out (in their shorts) with snow shovels!

For some reason, I couldn’t shake off my fatigue and lethargy yesterday. I scanned the job boards. There was some good material, but it was site work, and too far away for me. Still, it was nice to see a better quality of work up there.

Worked on the DIXIE DUST postcard mailing. The first list is almost complete and ready. As soon as I’ve got the second wave compiled, that should go out in a week or so.

Designed the postcard for Fearless Ink. It’s a first wave post-card, going out as part of a mass-mailing, different than the targeted list with the brochure. I also have to design a second card, that’s the follow-up card to the targeted mailing. I need to find scored, colored postcard stock. Any ideas? All the colored stock I’ve found is unscored. Me with a paper cutter and three curious cats? Now that’s an accident waiting to happen. I’d rather used scored cards.

Struggled with the write up for Confidential Job #1. I know what I want to say, but I’m not saying it well.

Worked on client projects, but it was slower going than I expected, and not because of the projects, but because my brain felt unfocused, so eventually I put it aside. My clients deserve SHARP focus.

I’m getting caught up on my filing and excavating my desk. Once the PC is done, I’ll have a desk back so I can work — right now, I use the Macbok on the part of the desk that used to house the PC keyboard, while the old monitor dominates the desk. I think I’ll put the monitor up on Freecycle eventually, with a bunch of other things, remove the hard drive, and then take the tower to the next county electronics recycling day. My old PC in storage also needs to go. Now that I know HOW to remove a hard drive, it’s not such a big deal. Plus, since I won’t need the damned thing once the transfer is complete, I don’t have to stress about screwing something up.

Pulled off a bunch more stuff from the PC, converted short stories from floppies, etc. The PC crashed every 6 or 7 minutes and took approx. 18-22 minutes to reboot. I HATE it. I can’t wait to be done with Dell for good. What a piece of crap. Not to mention that the older Microsoft programs can’t even be read by the newer ones. If I thought about all the lost time and productivity over the past years, because I never bit the bullet and got a Mac before this year, I could just kill myself. It’s amazing I ever managed to get ANYTHING out to a publisher or an editor.

By 3:30, I was feeling pretty lousy, and cancelled out of that evening’s workshop. It’ll come around again in a month or so, so I haven’t lost my opportunity forever. I had a quiet night, eating lots of vegetables, drinking juice, going to bed early. I feel a little better this morning, but still not all that sharp. I figure if I don’t push too hard for the next few days, I should get my feet back under me and be fine. Everything really starts to accelerate next week, so slowing down a bit this week and building up my reserves makes sense.

I have a big grocery shopping trip today (possibly to Trader Joe’s as well as to the usual store. I’m trying some great recipes this week, and I’m very excited.

I plan to clear some client projects off my desk this afternoon, and then spend a few days this week focused primarily on my fiction.

I worry that I’m spending so much time on re-organization and admin and workshops and all that, but, if I do it now, and reconfigure my workspace and my files and everything, it will streamline the rest of the year and help me be more productive.

Oh, and Chase Bank gets yet another Middle Finger Award. Yeah, like that’s a surprise.

Anyway, I better get going. I want to get a lot done early in the day and then rest. in spite of feeling under the weather last night, I pushed through my workout, and, once I was done, I was glad I did. During it, I wasn’t so sure, but it was the right choice.

Before I go to DC next week, I’m going to upload all the photos on the camera so far to the computer, just in case something goes wonky through one of the security areas. i fI lose the photos from the day, I’ll be sad, but I’ll deal. But if I lose everything I’ve put on the card so far, I’ll be very upset. So I’ll back it up first.

I’m going to Target in the next week or so. I need more bins, and, as I finish with the boxes of floppies, I’ll stash them in a bin and take them to storage. More room for the stuff I actually use! There’s going to be a lot of cleaning out of things over the next few months!

The fix Canon sent me for the little printer worked, and I printed out what I have of CRAVE THE HUNT, the Billy Root piece, so I can get back to it this week. I hadn’t realized how much I’d written. This will be the biggest book of the series so far. It’s kind of a turning point for several characters, so it makes sense.

Back to the page.

Devon

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.

Devon