Tues. Aug. 8, 2017: Small Victories Pave the Way

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Got out a short story and a couple of pitches yesterday. The medium-sized late payment (not the big one that’s nearly two months late) arrived, so yesterday afternoon and today is a flurry of catching up on bills. Also had a small victory with one of the insurance companies.  One down, three to go!

My web host is placating me for the moment — I now have the ability to build more subdomains, and I can still pay quarterly. I’m going to see how it goes for the next three months (since I’m paying this week). I’m still interviewing other hosts, But it also means I can build the subdomains for the Coventina Circle Paranormal Romantic Suspense books and for the Nautical Namaste books.

I came up with some fun stuff for the websites, and a couple of good things for the tour giveaway.

I worked on the final piece of back matter for PLAYING THE ANGLES, so I can get that darned thing out the door, but it needs some more work. I’m hoping if I dig in today, I can get the manuscript out to the publisher by tomorrow or Thursday, and then, once I clear it with them, book the release tour.

The paperwork arrived for my mother’s upcoming surgery. There’s a lot of it, unfortunately. Not too happy about that. The surgery itself will take five to six hours. Not happy about that, either. But it is what it is.

This morning is all about errands and starting the new series websites. This afternoon is about finishing the back matter for PLAYING THE ANGLES and doing yet another proofread so it can go out; if I can, I need to do more work on an essay, work on a pitch package that needs to go out by mail, and do work on both THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and THE FIX-IT GIRL. AND “Labor Intensive”. However, I have the feeling some of that will wind up bumped over to tomorrow.

I think I’ve figured out how to get “Labor Intensive” back on track. I’m lightening the plot a bit, and getting the tone right, but not losing some of the social prejudices I had in the darker version.

The cover is a problem, though. Fireworks seem more like July 4th, but there are fireworks in the story. I don’t have much time to come up with the cover — or finish and edit the story. It needs to drop at the end of the month. But I’ll figure it out. Somehow, I always do.

I also have to get the big fall cleaning started — yes, even though it’s only August. I’m trying to do it in little bits every day, once I finish my writing quota, rather than putting aside days to do big bits. We’ll see how that works.

It’s raining, so no yard work today. I can practically watch the grass growing. As soon as the weather clears up, there will be yet more mowing in my future.

Second day of a migraine, but at least I can fit into my favorite pair of jeans again. I’ve lost weight, which is a good thing. I’m not completely down to what I consider my ideal weight — I may never reach it again, but I look and feel better. And my clothes fit again.

Which is why I think those “organizers” who tell you to purge everything the minute you need a different size are full of crap. I’m convinced that most “professional” organizers are in league with stores to try to get their clients to spend as much money as possible, instead of making use of what they have.

Anyway, there’s a lot on the agenda today, so I better get moving! Trader Joe’s grocery run starts the day, along with putting some gas in the tank.

Fri. July 21, 2017: Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Balancing Act

Friday, July 21, 2017
Day before Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Back to our regularly scheduled balancing act.

Lori Widmer kindly referred to me in one of her posts on Words on the Page as an example of busting a freelance writing myth. I’m honored to be included. I’m in a rough patch now, and that mention makes me realize that I’m further along than I often feel.

I’m having trouble with the mower again, which is hurting my ability to get the meadow finished. That was one of the worst purchases I’ve ever made, certainly the worst house-related purchase. Poulan Pro not only has substandard equipment, they don’t honor the warranty. I spent far too much on this piece of garbage, and it’s never worked properly. Very frustrating. At least I won’t make the mistake of doing business with Poulan Pro again.

Worked on the article on deadline. I’m waiting for one more quote, will integrate it when it arrives, and then off it goes (probably on Monday).

I have to figure out where to pitch next. I’m feeling a little burned out, pitch-wise, and I need to get back on track with a couple of short stories that need to go out.

Pitched for a project out of San Francisco that sounds like great fun; I’d love to be part of that team, if they’re willing to work with someone remotely.

Working on the PLAYING THE ANGLES galleys. Still trying to figure out how I can get the right Facebook page up. The one for Delectable Digital Delights and Jain Lazarus work well; the Gwen Finnegan doesn’t. But I can’t find in the settings what page I chose when I set it up. All very frustrating.

Working on the adjusted outlines for the “between-the-books” novella MYTH & INTERPRETATION and then, BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Prepping for my project meeting next week. I hope we like each other and it works out. The company interests me.

I’ve been reading about web design, trying to figure out if I can create GOOD ftp files for subdomains and uphold them to my current website. I’m intimidated. What I need to do is take a course in all this. I need a structured environment to learn how to do it. It’s a different language; rather than just saying, ” I don’t get it”, I want to find a way to learn it.

The books on Hearst Castle came back, so hopefully, I can dig into them and get that section done on FIX IT GIRL in the next couple of weeks. I’m behind where I want to be on that.

I hope, this weekend, to do a big chunk of work on “Labor Intensive” as well.

Hopefully, the humidity will lessen; I don’t do well in this weather and neither does the computer. I’d like to be clear-headed and productive.

On author Trish Milburn’s recommendation, I’m reading THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin. I’m thinking about doing an essay on it for Biblio Paradise next week. There are things I really respond to in the book, and things I don’t. But then, the book is about HER happiness, not mine.

The day before the dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month, so I’m dragging today. It’s an effort to dig down and focus. Layer on the life stress, and today is a challenge.

Back to juggling burning chainsaws.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. July 13, 2017: Writing Despite Building Stress

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

Got a lot done yesterday. Worked on the YA story for the sick teen, spent a lot of time working on the article — thanks to all the sources who got back to me so fast!

Worked on three chapters of revisions of something I hadn’t planned on working on quite yet, but it pulled at me, so I did. I think I might collapse the second and third chapters together to get the first body drop in at the end of Chapter Two. But Chapter One is still one of my favorite chapters I’ve ever written. It’s important to setting up the character and situation, and it hurt the book when it was cut. There’s plenty of other unnecessary stuff that I think I can cut, but that chapter’s too important to who Sophie is and why. But right now the body drop is at the end of Chapter Three, and I’m worried that it’s too far in.

We’ve also gotten the cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES done! I’m happy with it. It doesn’t bow to genre tropes in that, although it’s paranormal romantic suspense, it’s bright colors instead of dark. But it clearly states that it’s a Coventina Circle Romantic Suspense, and the texture in the photo supports the story better than the more conventional cover images did. That’s a relief; now I can get back on track with the galleys. I’ve signed the digital contract, and we’re still in negotiating the print details.

I’m trying something new to me here; I’m doing the digital version with one company, and a traditional print run with another. Neither has a problem with it. It’s a risk, and there will be a lag between digital and print release, but, I think in terms of long-range vision, it will work better.

Today will mostly focus on article work, but I want to work on the YA story, the PLAYING THE ANGLES galleys, and maybe even get back to FIX IT GIRL.

I’m beginning to despair the late payments ever showing up, which puts me in deep trouble for July’s bills.

I’m scrambling to make it up with other freelance work, but even when I land something, the payment contract schedule doesn’t solve this immediate problem.

I’m also irritated that the doctor hasn’t bothered to call to schedule my mother’s surgery. Does he expect we can just show up the morning after the call? I am so sick of the lack of “care” in the healthcare system.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 13, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 13, 2017: Writing Despite Building Stress  
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Fri. July 7, 2017: Writing For Someone Specific (and Special)

Friday, July 7, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Ran errands, caught up on stuff, sent out a few pitches.

Decided against some assignments: one guy wanted a ghostwriter to write 60K category romances, for-hire (no rights or royalties) — for $2500/pop. Um, no, add a few more zeros in there. If I’m going to write category romances, I can retain my rights/royalties and sell them directly to Harlequin. I’m not ghostwriting for such a pittance. Another wanted a novel edited — 100K (about 400 pages) for $100. Um, no. $100 gets you the first 20 pages.

My time and talent are worth more than that. If it’s going under someone else’s name, and that someone is profiting, they’re going to pay me WELL and UPFRONT. I have no issue with for-hire — it’s simply at a high rate.

Most of yesterday, however, was spent writing a story for a sick young girl. Somehow, my friend Joelle Charbonneau knows her or about her; she posted on both Facebook and Twitter. This young girl was in a serious car accident and has a slow, painful recovery ahead of her. She loves to read (daughter of a librarian), and loves fantasy.

So I’m writing a fantasy/mystery especially for her, with the protagonist named in her honor. It was supposed to be a quick 500 word piece with room for more — but I’m already 10 pages in. I think it’s going to be between 20-30 pages. I’m determined to finish it in the next day or so and get it in the mail to her. If she wants more, I’ll write them. At least it will take her mind off things for a bit. It’s set in a spooky castle on the Northumbrian coast.

That doesn’t mean I can drop the ball on anything else — “Ramsey Chase” goes to the publisher today for Monday’s release, and I’m digging in to FIX IT GIRL.

Still waiting for those damn late payments. Hopefully, some of the stuff I’ve sent off in the last few weeks will hit properly, and additional checks will be on their way soon. But that still means I have more pitching –and more writing — to do.

Have a great weekend. We’re supposed to get some bad storms today. Guess there’s no mowing for me. Will have to catch up on the weekend.

July To Do list up on the GDR site — it’s busy!

Published in: on July 7, 2017 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 7, 2017: Writing For Someone Specific (and Special)  
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Thurs. July 6, 2017: Trying to Get It Together

Thursday, July 6, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I am having trouble getting it together today. I woke up around 3:30 and had trouble getting back to sleep. When I finally got back to sleep, I overslept and staggered around this morning.

I had a lot of email and admin to catch up on yesterday. I got the front mowed; I have to get more gas for the mower, and then I can continue. Not that I’m looking forward to it.

The afternoon was spent on researching new freelance markets, working on the schedule to add the Gwen Finnegan mysteries back into the mix, and putting together a potential list of book bloggers to pitch PLAYING THE ANGLES. “Ramsey Chase” PR also went out.

I wanted a day to clear my head from “Ramsey Chase” proof — I have to look at it again today.

A writer friend contacted me about a very sick little girl, daughter of a librarian, who could use cards and letters to cheer her up. I’m going to send her a card and write a flash fiction piece just for her.

Grocery shopping this morning. Now, I’m off to send some pitches, post information about “Ramsey” on the website, then to get gas for the mower and mow the side yard. I want to write the flash fiction piece this afternoon, proofread “Ramsey” one final time, and do some work on FIX IT GIRL. All I want to do is go back to bed, but that’s not an option.

I’m still frustrated by the continued late payments from two places that are adding unnecessary stress to this month. I may well cut ties with both places once I’m paid.

Frustrated by a few other things, but it won’t help to publicly vent. One thing that I realized is really bothering me — it shocks me that New York City is more supportive of introverts than Cape Cod. I am sick and tired of people trying to force me to be an extrovert here — that I HAVE to do this or that with people I don’t know and don’t care to know. No, I do NOT have to interact with them. I am not here to make YOUR life more convenient; I am here to live my own. Fuck off.

On that happy, note (yes, that’s sarcasm), I am off to get going on my day. Late, but I still need to get a lot done.

I’m looking forward in getting back to the page. I hate it when I have to do errands early to avoid the stupid tourists, and then it throws my writing schedule off. Makes me think I should have just gotten up at 3:30 AM and written then.

I’m happy about “Ramsey Chase”, though. It’s a fun piece and says what I wanted it to say.

Fingers crossed some of these pitches hit today.

Published in: on July 6, 2017 at 10:04 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 6, 2017: Trying to Get It Together  
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Wed. July 5, 2017: “Ramsey Chase” Cover Reveal & Gwen Finnegan Mysteries News!

Ransey Chase Cover 2 Small

“The Ramsey Chase” — The First Remarkable Adventure of Cornelia True and Roman Gray. Miss Cornelia True lives in Bodwin’s Ferry, a small seacoast town, with her sisters Arabella and Viola. Her life changes forever when Roman Gray, a “fixer” from the future and across the seas from the metropolis of Newest Yorkke, lands, naked, amongst Cornelia’s petunias due to a glitch in his Device. Together, they embark on a series of remarkable adventures. In “The Ramsey Chase”, Roman arrives hunting a time-travelling serial killer who preys on young women for their blood.

Yes, that’s the cover, and the story will release next Monday, July 10.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I took time off, not that it helped much when yesterday was stressful. I didn’t do most of what I’d planned.

I read a lot — the Helen Bevington books. Worked my way through a bunch of research books. I have about twenty books to return to the library today.

I also re-read the many, many pages on INITIATE, which will eventually become the series encompassing SCHOLAR, WRAIG NAIF, WRAIG MATURE, INITATE, and KNIGHTWITCH. There’s a lot of good stuff in there. I even found my notes and wrote more pages. Not a lot, but a few thousand words here and there.

I also re-read what I have of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, the second Gwen Finnegan mystery. My friend Arlene Kay loved TRACKING MEDUSA, and has encouraged me to get Gwen back on the schedule. I’d stopped working on BALTHAZAAR when Amber Quill went under; there didn’t seem any point since TRACKING MEDUSA went out of print. I was also frustrated, because the first section of the book is important to the growth of Gwen and Justin’s relationship, but doesn’t really drive BALTHAZAAR.

I realized I could cut the part before they actually go on the treasure hunt and expand it, turning it into a novella that will run about 200 pages or so. It will cover the time between MEDUSA and BALTHAZAAR, introduce a character who is vital to the next two Gwen mysteries, and show that important growth arc in their relationship, without derailing BALTHAZAAR the way it did. Then, BALTHAZAAR can open IN THE STORY and not lose momentum. Better structural choice.

The title of the novella is MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and will be focused in and around New York City.

If I can work out the details for MEDUSA along the same lines as I’m doing for PLAYING THE ANGLES — digital release first, then a small traditional print run (not POD), it makes sense to get MEDUSA back on track for an early 2018 release, with the novella mid-year, and BALTHAZAAR a few months after that. At the same time, I don’t want to drop the ball on PLAYING THE ANGLES or the books that come after it. I have to see if it’s physically and mentally possible for me to juggle both those series while I’m also writing books that are more suited to traditional publishers and working on that angle of my career as well. I want and need to be working along several fronts.

I am sick and tired of publishers (and now, many agents), only committing to one book at a time, instead of making a worthwhile, longterm investment in a writer’s career. That model doesn’t work for me. So I need to reshape my career in the way that does. That is why having a good entertainment lawyer is so vital.

The proofing of “The Ramsey Chase” is done (although I’ll probably do one more proofread before I send it in. The cover’s at the top of the post — ta da! Cover reveal! I kind of love it. Blurbs, excerpts, et al, will release this week, and it drops next Monday, via Smashwords. It’s a short, and will be only 99 cents.

I do love the stories and characters; I’m just sick of the piece right now, with all the re-reading I had to do to prep it for release!

The file also contains the opening of the second Remarkable Adventure, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which will release in November.

The media kit is almost done. Press goes out today (release was finished this morning).

Hopefully, plenty of you enjoyed “Personal Revolution” over the weekend.

The fireworks were ridiculous. Fireworks are an art form, and they are beautiful. Go watch the professionals. Do NOT put your entire neighborhood in danger because you are a dumbass. And yes, I trained in pyrotechnics when I worked rock and roll, so I know what I’m talking about. The majority of people who buy illegal fireworks and set them off are too stupid to properly work them, which is why THEY ARE ILLEGAL. And don’t for a second think I’ll contribute to your Go Fund Me Campaign when you lose a limb or an eye. Not to mention the fact that it terrifies pets and triggers PTSD in many veterans.

Every night, when it quieted down, I gathered up the frightened animals who took refuge under the deck or in our bushes, soothed them, fed them. They overnighted with us, and I got them back to their humans the next day.

I didn’t celebrate yesterday. It was impossible to celebrate “independence” when we have a sociopathic moron and his evil henchmen in charge, turning this place into an authoritarian, white supremacist, misogynistic theocracy.

I don’t have the To Do List up yet for July. I’m still trying to figure out my schedule. There’s a lot of pressure on me the next few weeks, especially with my mother’s surgery coming up. Once the late payments catch up, I can hit an even keel, but until everything’s caught up and I have enough work booked for the month, I’m going to be stressed.

I ate red meat last night — something I rarely do any more, and was miserable. It was good while I ate it, and I paid for hours after.

However, there was some good news: an actor for whom I’d written a monologue, and with whom I worked via Skype, landed a role in a series of the type that we’d always dreamed about him doing “someday”. He’s going to be fabulous. It’s wonderful to see that the talented kid has grown into such a terrific man. I feel like a proud momma! He pointed out that I’d been a friend during some tough times, when many people forgot about him. I’m thrilled for him. (And yes, completely content to stay in the background — I’m not going to run around trying to ride on his coattails).

Woke up feeling much more cheerful this morning, after a bad night thanks to the red meat. I have so much to do today that I will be overwhelmed if I don’t just deal with each piece at a time, and then move on to the next piece.

And I HAVE to get back to FIX-IT GIRL this week. I can’t keep the research books any longer. I also feel, since I started “Miss Winston”, I should keep going on it, although it’s not releasing until November. “Labor Intensive” has a closer deadline, and therefore should get attention first.

But first, mowing. The front yard looks raggedy. I wish I could learn to like it. The mowing, I mean, not the raggedy lawn!

Published in: on July 5, 2017 at 9:33 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 5, 2017: “Ramsey Chase” Cover Reveal & Gwen Finnegan Mysteries News!  
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Fri. June 30, 2017: When the Road Not Taken is Best Left Untrod

Friday, June 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Two essays and a short story went out the door yesterday. I don’t write many essays — they make me feel too exposed.

Finished the reading for an assignment and got to work on it. Will polish it this morning and send it off.

As of about mid-day, I’ll be offline until Wednesday. I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to a party tonight in Dennis at a friend’s place; the rest of the weekend is about reading, writing, meditation, yoga. Recharging the batteries.

I got an idea for a new short story that I hope to draft; I want to finish another short story that needs to go out; and I want to dig in and finish the draft of FIX IT GIRL. Plus, I have to finish the proofs on “Ramsey Chase”. Cover reveal for the latter will be next week.

I realized, in this morning’s meditation as my mind wandered over roads not taken, that not taking them was the right choice. That lifts quite a load off the worries.

Had to dash out way too early this morning to do errands, grocery shop, pick up my mom’s medication, etc. Even though everything was done before 9 AM, the traffic was still unbearable. The 20 minute drive to Dennis tonight will probably take an hour.

Hop on over to the GDR site and see the June wrap-up. The July to Do list won’t be up until next week, and I’m working on the Mid-Year Assessment.

Have a wonderful long weekend!

Published in: on June 30, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 30, 2017: When the Road Not Taken is Best Left Untrod  
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Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was busy, but, ultimately productive. I skipped the mowing (I’m going to pay for skipping so much mowing soon).

But I got a stack of books back to the library, and returned with another stack.

I submitted a short story and got out a couple of pitches. I got some necessary research done, and caught up on the correspondence that had come in yesterday.

I sorted out the information when I got home, so it’s where I need it when I need it, and I don’t have to go hunting it down.

I got some weeding done in the terraced bed, and then some writing, before the morons with power tools destroyed my afternoon.

I managed to get to work on an essay that needs to go out today. I finished another essay and a short story, which also have to go out today. On one essay, I had to cut over 300 words (I’d mis-remembered the word count limit as 800 when it was 600; my draft had 927 words, so there was some seriously red pen action). On the other essay, I had to come up with an additional 100+ words to meet the lower end of the limit. Two different topics, so I couldn’t take the cut words from one and rework them into the other.

The short story (actually flash fiction) is a fun, weird little piece. I hope it hits. The first line of it came to me while I was doing something else. It was so weird, I jotted it down and then off we went.

I should have completed the copy edits on “Ramsey Chase”, but my eyes were too tired. I’ll have to get back to it today. I also have to complete an assignment for the editor and get it out the door tomorrow, so he can tell me what he hates over the weekend.

I’ll be offline from about mid-day tomorrow until Wednesday morning. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the break. I’ll be writing of course — that’s part of the reason I’m disconnecting. I want to finish the FIX IT GIRL edits. I’d like to write another essay and finish the short story that’s giving me trouble, too, but that might be too ambitious.

Plus, I need to finish “Ramsey Chase” edits and get the back matter into the manuscript.

Plus, there’s a big fat book I really want to read as a reward for all this hard work.

And the yoga. And the meditation. And the garden.

So I’d better get to work and get it all done, hadn’t I?

Published in: on June 29, 2017 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend  
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Fri. June 23, 2017: Spinning The Freelance Plates and the Threads of Inspiration

Friday, June 23, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy

Got a section of meadow mowed yesterday morning. It’s starting to look like actual progress. It looks like it will rain any minute this morning. I should use that as a reason to rush out there and mow, like my neighbors are; instead, I’m dragging my feet, hoping it will rain and I can’t.

I was in a lousy mood for a good part of yesterday. I tried to tease myself out of it with the “CrankyPants Song”, but it didn’t work. That’s a song I made up when I worked backstage. When a colleague or I was overtired and grumpy, I’d sing it to make fun of the grumpster (or myself), and we’d all laugh and get over ourselves. But it didn’t work yesterday.

Turned in the latest set of revisions to the new-to-me editor. Let’s hope he’s happy with this set. Also called him out on the contradictions. I hate working in their automated system that won’t let me do what supposedly needs to be done. At this point, it’s a toss-up about whether I’ll be fired or whether I’ll walk. I wonder if this is the norm, and that’s how they get out of paying writers?

Working on a pitch for a publication I hope to finish and send out tomorrow. I’ve written for them several times; it would be great to do so again. I’ve gotten decent pay and some solid clips from them in the past.

Pitched for another gig that sounded like fun; we’ll see if my samples are what they’re looking for. Again, money might be an issue. They pay “per word”, but haven’t said how much per word, or talked about volume and turn-around time. Heard back from them this morning — as I suspected, the per word rate is so low, I couldn’t even fill the gas tank with an assignment. For something that requires A LOT of technical craft, is for-hire with no royalties, um, no. I will send them a refusal today.

Press releases went out for “Personal Revolution”. I finally wrestled the website so that I could add the “Personal Revolution” information into the Delectable Digital Delights, the Media Room, and the Bazaar pages of the Devon Ellington site. No thanks to the webhost, but in spite of them. That webhost is useless. Not only are they unreliable, their customer service is non-existent. I’m starting to think most hosts are. But, by poking around and swearing a lot, I managed to figure out workarounds that got up the information I needed to add. I really need to take some classes in website coding and design. But it’s the usual dilemma — when the time exists, the money doesn’t. When the money’s there, it’s there because there’s a heavy workload in, and the time doesn’t exist. And anything web-related has to be something I can handle, update, tweak, and rearrange myself, not hire in a webmaster. The amount of attention my different sites need would mean I need someone weekly, and the cost (because the webmaster DESERVES to be paid for all this, and deserves a good rate) is out of my range right now.

The press releases also have the information for upcoming projects, which means I have to get my ass in gear and meet deadlines.

I have a good idea about the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story. I had to have the title for the press release, and came up with “Miss Winston Apologizes”. And then I figured out who Miss Winston was and why she apologized, and there was the premise for the next piece. It’s still set in Cornelia’s time period. I decided I’m going to set three stories there, then have her go with Roman when he next time travels, and they can have adventures elsewhere (that all tie in to the main arc). Now, I need to write the opening, so I can pop it in with “Ramsey Chase” and get going on the proofread. The July 10 release date will be here before I know it.

I’ve also got the opening of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern mystery, set around Labor Day (which is set to release just before Labor Day weekend, so I better get on with it).

With Playing the Angles hoping to release in October, we really need to find the right cover image. And I really need to do a final proof on it, and settle on the name for the series (even though each book will have a different pair of protagonists).

Think there’s enough to do? Along with keeping up a constant stream of pitches and freelance pieces so I can keep a roof over my head.

A royalty check from the Topic Workbooks and “Plot Bunnies” cheered me up. I certainly can’t retire on it, or even pay next month’s bills, but it helps tide me over a bit, and just getting the royalties makes me feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

The last research book I need for the Lavinia Fontana play arrived, thank goodness, because I have to start writing it at the beginning of July.

Got a rejection on an article pitch for a new-to-me market. I’m going to re-slant it to send elsewhere, and then submit something new to this market. I’m determined to crack it. Some of the content puzzled me; then I got an apology from the editor, saying the email had gone off before he was done, and he hoped I’d pitch again.  I told him no worries, I had every intention of so doing, but I’d let him rest over the weekend!  😉

Heard back from another place I pitched. They loved my samples. They want to know how good my French and/or Spanish are. Um, what? Why wasn’t that in the ad? I read French reasonably well (I read Moliere in French, because it’s funnier than any English translation I’ve yet found), and I can read newspaper and magazine articles and basically figure them out. I can get by in French, and I’ve got a little German. But I’m not fluent. So that might knock me out completely, which would be a shame. I’d love to get my French back up to speed, but I doubt they want me learning on the job.

I’m playing with yet another new idea, this one with a pair of older protagonists. I think it could be interesting. I’m trying to decide if I want to set it in Cornwall or in Ayrshire. I know both, but I know Ayrshire better, and, as I’m working on the outline, it seems to naturally gravitate to Ayrshire. I’ve set several things in Ayrshire, stretching it to add additional towns and do mix-and-match with real places. I’ve even added additional Scottish National Trust properties when Culzean Castle (where I’ve rented an apartment on more than one occasion, and which I know VERY well) didn’t quite fit the plot. In this particular piece, I’m adding a street off the main road to Culzean (halfway between the Castle and Little K’s Kitchen, where I used to get my newspaper and the racing form every morning), and that’s where my protags have rented a house.

I also figured out what I need to shift in another piece I’ve been noodling with, to get the opening different from yet another piece, whose opening I like, but was too similar to this one. The settings are similar — one at an artists’ colony, one at a meditation retreat. But the characters and situations and what I want to explore are very different. Interestingly enough, though, the protagonists for both pieces share some of the same titles on their bookshelves! Such as the Complete Works Of Shakespeare and Louisa May Alcott’s diaries.

Speaking of Louisa, a tweet from the lovely folks at Orchard House got me re-reading her. They were talking about Rose in Bloom, so I ordered that and Eight Cousins (which happens before RiB) from the library and read them this past week. From a critical, feminist perspective, there are plenty of problems. Yet it was still, in some ways, ahead of its time (although highly romanticized). It got me thinking of Fruitlands, which is where I always imagine those two books set, rather than Concord. In fact, I had an exchange with another Orchard House follower about that, when she was puzzled about “rolling hills” she didn’t remember around Concord, and now she’s going to visit Fruitlands!

It got me thinking that I would like to set something in a family compound in that area (Harvard, MA, which is different than where Harvard U. is in Boston). Somehow, I came up with a set of sisters (inspired by the great aunts in Maine), and their patriarch/matriarch based in the compound, but set in the early 1900s, and somehow, from there, I leapt to the opening taking place in San Francisco in 1904, pre-Earthquake, but just at the end of the “Barbary Plague” where so many of the Chinese immigrants died in SF from bubonic plague from 1900-1904, and that led to a stack of research books about that time period, so who knows how the piece will end up? Right now, I see it starting in SF, moving by train eastwards, with a stop in Chicago, but I have to figure out why, beyond simply changing trains.

1904 Newspaper archives, here I come. I think I can read some at local libraries, and probably access some via Boston Public Library’s digital files (I have an e-card from them); when in doubt, I can always contact my stalwart NYPL and Library of Congress.

But it’s amazing how re-reading a childhood book can set off a new train of thought.

I’ve just received Under the Lilacs and An Old-Fashioned Girl from the library to re-read. I remember reading both at my grandmother’s house in Foxboro, under an actual lilac hedge, when I was little.

Who knows what they will inspire?

This weekend, I have to dig in to FIX IT GIRL, because all those books on Hearst Castle have to go back to the library next week. They can’t be extended any more!
Besides, I want to get this draft done and the submission packets ready. I want to start querying after 4th of July, but have to get everything out before mid-August, or I might as well wait until mid-September, because few places actively read by mid-August, and right back from Labor Day, they need a couple of weeks to catch up.

I think I’ve got a handle on how I want the First Big Love Scene to go. Since this isn’t erotica, but historical fiction, the style is gentler, and I have to get it just right. Things were often down and dirty in 1930s Hollywood (as they often are everywhere in every time period), but my protag is neither a goody two-shoes nor a nymphomaniac. Nor is this a category romance where she’s only allowed to be attracted to one man. She’s an intelligent modern woman of her time, and slightly ahead of it, breaking new ground, fighting sexism, but also following her heart (and her passions). I’ve got that balance right in most of her scenes; now I have to get it right in the love scenes, too.

In general, I want this to be a fiction weekend. I’ve spent so much time on articles in order to pay the bills that the fiction has suffered, so it’s time to give it some more attention.

This is a great June for the roses — they’re blooming like crazy. And the petunias in the barrel out front have grown enough so they’re sticking their heads over the rim and peeking out. It’s very cute.

Have a great weekend!

Thurs. June 22, 2017: Primal Scream Therapy Would Be Good About Now

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got out some pitches, did some research. Worked on some articles. Got my errands done in a timely fashion–I was early enough to avoid the worst of the tourist traffic.

Mowed the terraced back area; it looks much better. Today, it’s back to tackling the meadow. If I’m lucky, it’ll be done by fall. 😉

On the drive to Orleans in the afternoon, I wrote a story in my head; will try to get it on paper today. I started this morning. I thought it would be an 800 word, rather upbeat piece under one particular name. The characters are taking it in a different direction, so I may have to re-think my target market, and what name it would go under.

The meeting went well. I liked the person I’d be working with. There are a few things that make me hesitate, and that I think will make them hesitate, and I’m disappointed by the money (or lack thereof). So I’m not sure what will happen. But I’ll know early next week.

Sat on the deck reading when I got back and got bitten to pieces by mosquitoes.

The new-to-me editor sent me another round of contradictory revision requests. This is just not going to work. I doubt I’ll even do all three of the assignments I told myself I’d do in my self-imposed trial period. Not the right fit, and the time/money ratio just doesn’t work.

Today is mowing, pitching, research, writing. I’m behind on a couple of things, especially THE FIX IT GIRL. I need to catch up this weekend.

I’m frustrated and discouraged this morning, and I’ll have to find a way to write myself out of that.

To the page (my mantra, it seems).

Published in: on June 22, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 22, 2017: Primal Scream Therapy Would Be Good About Now  
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Fri. June 9, 2017: Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out

Friday, June 9, 2017
Full Moon
Jupiter Direct
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I pitched five script jobs and an editing job yesterday morning, back-to-back, and was exhausted. Wasn’t able to do much in the afternoon; it felt like I ran out of words, although I got all the background research I needed for my article.

Managed to revise and put in the changes for the next three chapters of FIX IT GIRL. In the upcoming chapter, I have to add The First Big Love Scene of the book, which wasn’t in the original draft, so I’m turning over, in my mind, how to do that in a way that’s appropriate to the context and time period.

This morning, I put some fixes into a few scenes in the first part of PARALLEL-O-GAME, where I’d rushed things near the end. I also started Part II. I’d say I wrote close to ten pages.

Had my meeting. Love the project, the people, the organization. We can’t make the money work. I’m a little heartbroken. But, as is typical in this area, they don’t want to pay for hours worked or work done. So, no matter how much I like them, I’m not doing it.

Came home and cried.

Pulled myself together and got back to work on the article. I need to get it out today, and then figure out some more to pitch. Then, it’s back to FIX IT GIRL, and to the next assignment from my new editor.

I’m feeling about as creative as wilted lettuce right now, and the last thing I’m up for is crafting a romantic love scene, but too bad for me.

I hope you have a good weekend. I will be working.

Published in: on June 9, 2017 at 10:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 9, 2017: Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out  
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Thurs. June 8, 2017: When You Just Want to Slap the Bitch

Thursday, June 8, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Well, yesterday was . . .challenging.

Wrote 13 pages on the teleplay, finishing the first part.

Managed to arrive at the arts center on time for the social hour. The exhibit currently up is terrific; the interpretations are engaging and unique. About forty or fifty people turned out, which, for a Cape event, is great. A friend of mine was in charge of it, one of the most positive people I know, so that was all good.

Ran into someone with whom I’d been involved in an organization for months, and even been to her home on numerous occasions. She had no idea who I was. Or chose to pretend that. Okay, fine.

We went down to the costume shop and met the designer of an upcoming show. Talk about familiar surroundings! The costume shop could have been in NYC or San Francisco or Edinburgh. Too funny.

However, one of the other attendees waxed on and on about how the people who work in the theatre “love what they do so much, just do it for the love of it, work so hard, and then get up and go to work the next morning.”

I wanted to slap that bitch.

Theatre is a viable profession. That ignorant dolt’s attitude reflects the attitude around here, that theatre isn’t a “real job” and something to be done “on the side.” Sorry, it’s not. It’s a profession.

I think they were hoping to get volunteers for the organization from the coffee. Good for them, but I am paid for my work. This is my PROFESSION, not my hobby.

I was pretty upset when I left. That anecdote reflects what’s a big part of my weighing whether or not I should leave this area. I worked too hard all my life, all the way up to Broadway, to have my profession insulted like that. It’s the same as telling a neurosurgeon he’s got a “cute little hobby, cutting open skulls and poking around.”

This misplaced notion in this area that the only “real” work is to take minimum wage jobs and never get ahead and only work on art “on the side” is everything I’ve rejected all my life. As someone who’s made my living in the arts since I was eighteen, it’s frustrating.

Came home, worked on a couple more pages of the teleplay, but I have to work out the opening scene to Part Two in my head a bit more.

Worked on my next article; I need to do some research today to finish it off and fact check some links.

Was told my next assignment on the new, supposedly long-term gig is on its way.

Found a batch of script jobs to which I want to pitch; I will do that today.

Revised the next three chapters of FIX IT GIRL, which was just over 6K, bringing my total revisions so far to just over 44K.

The weather’s better, so I’m going to start mowing the meadow today, then run some errands, then do the necessary research for the article, finish it, pitch to the script gigs, work on a couple of other pitches, and do my quota of pages on both the teleplay and the revisions of FIX IT GIRL. Then, I have to prep for tomorrow morning’s meeting.

I slept in until 7 this morning, so I feel like I’m a bit behind, time-wise. Still, since I’m making my own schedule, I’ll simply work until it’s all done.

I can’t believe we’re in June and it’s still so damn cold.

Published in: on June 8, 2017 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 8, 2017: When You Just Want to Slap the Bitch  
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Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear

Monday, May 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Not the productive weekend I’d hoped for, unfortunately.

The stress of the personal issues I’m dealing with hit like a hammer, and it was difficult for me to get anything else done. I managed a little yard work, but not like the marathon hours that my neighbors did. Their lawns are pristine; my mower still isn’t working. I’m hoping the replacement of a simple part or two will do the trick.

I got a little work done on the play proposal, and some plotting work done on the radio play. I need to gear up and get those out the door this week.

On the upside, I re-read Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons mysteries, and enjoyed them. I drafted up some reviews I’ll leave for them. I also read a couple of her earlier books, one-offs, which were also fun.

STILL waiting for my first assignment from that editor who, weeks ago, said I was hired. I could have done THREE assignments (and been paid) in this time frame. I’m irritated. Perhaps it’s time to move on and take other work instead. IF I’m ever contacted, I’ll see what my schedule is, or I’ll bow out. If you’re “constantly” adding people to the team and promising “steady” work, it doesn’t take three weeks to make the first assignment.

Drafting a short article and an article pitch that need to go out today. Also want to tackle the short story — I’d like to get that out by the end of this week. I need to do some reformatting on the Topic Workbooks for an additional release venue, and get back to work on the next Topic Workbook. I’m going to try to release one every three months.

I re-read TIE CUTTER, which needs to get back into the writing mix in the next few months, and also did some more research for the next section of FIX IT GIRL revisions. The revision process on this novel is different than my usual, but it’s working for the particular novel, so I’m going with it.

Managed to get in a bit of yard work this morning before the rain started, although I was bitten several times. I hate ants. I’m in full out war with the ants. I know, I should appreciate them and all they stand for, but they’re not keeping their part of the bargain.

I have errands to run this morning, some things to do at the library, and then, hopefully, I can get back to the page. This week will be very stressful, on multiple fronts, and I’m trying to prepare myself, both mentally and physically.

Published in: on May 22, 2017 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear  
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