Monday, July 17, 2017: Breaking Points and New Covers

Monday, July 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, humid, hot

Sometimes you go through a rough patch, which is what is happening right now.  It will cycle through, but it’s not fun while I’m in it.  This post is a bit on the downside; feel free to skip it.  Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a more upbeat day!  But it does deal with some of the more stressful and unpleasant realities of the freelance life.

Stressful weekend. The life stress has been very, very bad, ramped up to a height where I’m ready to break under it, and, added to that, the last few days were filled with creative stress (the wrong kind) as well.

Some creativity in there, too, but stressful.

Two of the interview subjects (with big name associations) who’d promised to have their information back to me by Friday for one of the articles didn’t. Which meant on Saturday, I had to nag — something I hate. Because let’s face it, it’s not “follow up”, it’s nagging, and if you say you’re going to do something by a certain date, do it. Don’t just not get in touch. One of them suddenly said she was too busy to take the TEN MINUTES to answer the questions. No, honey, you’re not “too busy”. You either don’t want to share your knowledge, or you suck at time management.  Either one is your choice, and I respect it; perhaps you’re trying to be polite with the “too busy”, but I read your subtext.  Moving on!

The other sent the answers, and they’re very good, so they go in to the article.

Three other interview subjects never bothered to get back to me. Two of them were businesses related to the topic of the article with whom I considered doing business in the next few months. I’ve changed my mind. If they can’t answer a few basic questions, they’re not getting any dollars from me.  The third non-response was rather expected; it was a stretch, and I had the feeling that organization wasn’t about to share information. It proved something I suspected.

I thought the cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES was all set, but now I’m having second thoughts. I’m afraid the cover is too bright and peppy for paranormal romantic suspense. The cover has to properly represent and support the story; the image was more appropriate for one of the pieces in development.

The designer and I worked up a new cover this morning, and I like it much better. So that’s a load off – it combines theatre, moonlight, and gives a sense of suspense.

I did some work on the galleys; I’m working on the series bible as I work through the galleys, so that I’ll have it ready when I go back to finish SPIRIT REPOSITORY.  Tracking details is so important.  This past weekend, I saw a post from a writer who asked her readers a consistency question because she couldn’t remember and didn’t feel like looking back through her own work.  I was shocked.  That’s the WRITER’S job — keep a Series Bible, for crying out loud.  I was further surprised because it’s the only series this particular writer works on; I’d understand more if she was juggling multiple series.

Worked on SAVASANA AT SEA. While the pace of the last draft is decent, I had to dumb down a bunch of stuff in the previous draft for the previous team, and I want to figure out a way to put back some of the more interesting items I was forced to cut. The new editor and I are working on that together. The manuscript, as it stood, was only 70K, so there’s room for a few thousand more words, as long as they don’t hurt the pace.

Did more Lavinia Fontana research. I’m getting an idea of the characters I want to include. So much of her life was handled by men; even though she is the central character, there will be a lot of male roles in the piece. I need to find at least one patron or wife of a patron so she’s got a good female character to play off of.

Outlined a new idea and wrote about twenty pages on it, so that the characters would shut up and let me think about other things. There’s potential in the piece, but I’m not sure when or how to fit it in. There are several pieces with potential that have to get back on the schedule and have to get finished, polished, and out.

“The Ramsey Chase” media kit is almost ready to go. PLAYING THE ANGLES media kit is almost finished. I updated the Q & A to reflect what’s changed in the re-release. I finished drafting the fiction section of the overall Devon Ellington media kit. I’m about to start work on the nonfiction section.

I have to figure out how to do subdomains for both the Coventina Circle series and the Nautical Namaste series. I have the right to the subdomains from my host, but I can’t use the website builder for any more projects without being charged extra — and they just raised my hosting fees AND told me that I have to pay every month, instead of quarterly. I’m out of available web pages to add on my main Devon Ellington site — unless I agree, again, to a higher monthly fee. Not that they’re giving me the services supposedly included in my package. But I can’t afford to switch hosts right now. I should be able to create pages and upload them as ftp files, except the host won’t give me the correct code to get into my ftp manager. Because 1and1.com is one of the worst hosts out there. I’ve been talking about moving hosts for years; as soon as I have enough money so to do, I have to do it, because they are costing me so much in lost revenue every single month and they REFUSE to provide customer service when something goes wrong. They are just awful. Unfortunately, right now I’m trapped. I have to stay, because I can’t afford to move, even though staying is costing me lost income. They know it, and they’re screwing me even worse than usual.

Sunday, I worked on the article and its sidebar, and worked on a couple of pitches that have to go out today. Most of Sunday was devoted to the article. The initial draft, with all the information waaaay above my allotted word count. I cut nearly 1000 words, and I was still over, by a good deal. I contacted my editor and asked if there was wiggle room — and got it. While I don’t want to take advantage, and will try to cut some more, I am grateful that she trusts me so much.

I think I found a new market for a rejected short story. I’m irritated that there’s been no response to a follow-up I sent on a couple of pitches, where I’ve worked for the publication before and the editor seemed to like me. I’m even more irritated that now I have one late payment that’s a month late and another going on two months. Not acceptable AT ALL. I have bills to pay; I need to be paid on time, PER CONTRACT, not if and when you happen to get around to it.

Did several loads of laundry on Sunday, too.  Carry wood, chop water.  It keeps things in perspective.  Managed to deadhead some of the tiger lilies, too.

This morning, I mowed, did a grocery store run, finished a review and submitted it, submitted two short stories and a pitch. I have to write some follow up letters that might negate my original pitch, but I can’t wait any longer for an answer. I can’t be in limbo any longer with vague, “yes, you’re hired and we’ll get back to you.” To top it all off, I have a migraine.

I’m supposed to do something for a pro-positivity site I was invited to join, but I’m not finding much that’s positive right now. I’m being run into the ground, without recompense.

I posted a couple of upbeat things on Facebook and Twitter in honor of the day’s theme, but that’s all I can do.

However, the new cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES has cheered me up.

I just have to dig deeper and find a way to make things work.  Maybe I’ll sing the “Cranky Pants” song and it will help me get over myself!

Tomorrow will be better!

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Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a busy day. Lots to do, and I had a migraine by the end of it.

On the upside: “Severance”, the sci-fi/horror/western short, has re-released through Smashwords. You can buy it for 99 cents here. It’s been accepted as a “Premium” listing, which means it ships out to other retailers like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, et al.

I also got back the galleys for “Plot Bunnies”, which is the next to release (although we’re still working on the cover), and the cover for “Personal Revolution”, which will release just before the Fourth of July weekend, since that’s when it’s set.

“Broken Links” is in rehearsal in Virginia. I’m looking forward to hearing it when it broadcasts in June.

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT will be renamed PLAYING THE ANGLES. I need to do another pass on that, and then it goes out on submission again – there have been a few indications of interest, and I look forward to the possibility of its re-release.

I’m also in talks about reviving Nina Bell – in other words, rewriting TAPESTRY, although keeping it set in the 1990s, and having the series progress through the turn into the 21st century. Most likely, those books would go out via Smashwords. It breaks too many genre rules for it to make good business sense for a traditional publisher.

I’m looking forward to digging back in to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC this weekend. I’m hoping I can finish this round of revisions within a week. Then I can get going on the submission materials while it marinates – the logline, the one paragraph blurb, the query letter template, the beginning of the outline and synopsis. Those will change, and, obviously, I can’t finalize those materials or my first 3 chapter, first 10 pages, et al files until I have a submission-ready draft.

I admit, it’s hard not to get caught up in starting to query while I’m prepping what I consider is the “submission-ready draft”, but the Universe just likes to bite you in the butt when you try that. If you are sending out queries, the manuscript has to be ready to submit. When you get a “yes, I’d like to see it”, you send it within 48 hours. You don’t tell an agent or an editor that you need X more months to finish. Until you’re established and on contract cycles, you need a polished draft ready before you start querying.

“Just a Drop” also needs serious attention. And I have to find my notes for SONGBOUND SISTERS to get back on track for that. HEART SNATCHER and INITIATE will just have to sneak in when there’s room.

I’m going to have to mow the lawn when I get home. I stopped at Auberchon’s for some more starter fluid from the mower, and they tried to sell me fluid for a grill. I told them no, it’s for the mower. They argued. I pointed out that grill fluid on the lawn mower would make it blow up, and just because I’m female doesn’t mean I’m an idiot when it comes to machines. Geez, Louise.

Looking forward to getting some mowing done so I can settle on the deck with a glass of wine and a manuscript. Looking forward to a writing weekend.

Oh, and I got an idea overnight for a short story, and got going on that this morning.  I was asked to submit to an anthology — but it has to be this coming week.  I’m having fun playing with these characters in this situation, but I need to research sailboats.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on May 21, 2016 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.  
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Fri. Feb. 13, 2015: Love the 13th, But not the Black Eye

Friday, February 13, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy. I wrenched my ankle. I didn’t remember hitting my face, but by the afternoon, the left side around the eye was swollen and looked like someone hit me. Not my best look.

I set up for Tango, but had to pull out of actually attending it. I lay on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my face and a bag of frozen spinach on my ankle, feeling like an idiot. I have a whole new respect for the tube of concealer I carry in my purse.

Wrote a kick ass “ask” letter for the library yesterday, and we had a good meeting on a potential upcoming project. Afternoon was mostly spent at the desk, since both our volunteers for the day couldn’t come in.

My street is worse than ever. The town says they’re out of sand, yet they sanded a completely clean road I take to work. Yesterday, one of the frontloaders was taking snow from a mound of snow that was already out of the way and moving it from one side to the other. Because, you know, actually clearing a street that needs it would be too much to hope for.

Couldn’t work on my galleys last night because I couldn’t see well enough to work on them.

Down from pain to discomfort this morning. Swelling’s down, and a trip to urgent care averted.

Ordered some fun stuff for the Luau that will happen the last week of the month, and renewed my driver’s license online.

The wellies I ordered from the Animal Rescue Site arrived yesterday – so cute, black with multi-colored dogs on them! They will be well used.

Busy day today, and then I’m going home to work on my galleys and rest up. We’re getting hit with another blizzard tomorrow night. I have to get the garbage and recycling to the dump in the morning and do some last-minute shopping before work. Once I leave work at 2 PM, I am going home and not emerging until the storm is done!

I have a feeling Sunday and Monday will require a lot of shoveling.

May do a radio play for a company in Paris after I finish the one for the company in Ireland. That will be fun.

Re-read the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE. It holds up well. I’m going to tweak it a bit and write the season synopsis for it and send it out next week.

Also plan to get a good chunk of the radio play done, and work on BALTHAZAAR – once the galleys are done, of course.

Monday is a holiday, and the library is closed, but we’re setting up for the book sale; if I get the writing done, I’ll come in and help for a couple of hours.

In the meantime, stay safe!

Devon

Published in: on February 13, 2015 at 11:15 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Feb. 12, 2015: Here Comes Another One

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Supposed to get more snow today. I salted the street at the bottom of my driveway so I could actually get out onto the street (with my own personal salt), but then fishtailed all the way down the street, because it’s so gutted and slippery my tires can’t get any traction.

Yet the plows keep driving up and down the streets – not plowing. Haven’t seen a sand truck since two days after the initial blizzard.

Yesterday was busy at work. We used eight bags of rock salt on our parking lot first thing in the morning, then had to go out and get more, while also buying salt (separately) for ourselves. One town over says they’re out of salt and sand and the state won’t give them any more.

I’m wondering how many people have to die in crashes because of roads that still haven’t been cleared before anyone does anything. The town’s sending a very clear message to those of us who live on tertiary streets: “You don’t matter.”

Meetings yesterday, and cozy mystery book club. I have to write some material for the library. Got a freelance request from someone to whom I’d pitched over a year ago. We’ll see how that goes, but I have a feeling that my rates – even at the non-profit discount – are too high. Oh, well, then I’m not doing it. I’m sick and tired of the attitude around here that I should do what I do FOR A LIVING for nothing. Um, no.

I have to read over the two television pilots this weekend and decide which one to submit for something – will have to come up with a season synopsis, too. I’m leaning more towards THE BROWNSTONE than to TALENT, because I think the place to which I’m submitting is more likely to respond to THE BROWNSTONE. But I’ll read over both and see which is stronger.

Got the final galleys back for KILLER QUINTET. Managed to proof “Personal Revolution” this morning. One down, four to go.

Watching STUDIO 60 FROM THE SUNSET STRIP on DVD. Forgot how much I enjoyed the show, and how much I related to it.

I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the radio play done this weekend, along with the galleys. Fingers crossed.

I have a feeling tango will be cancelled tonight – it’s such a mess that even a little bit more snow will make it dangerous.

Stay safe.

Devon

Fri. April 18, 2014: I Got Sleep, Whether I Meant To or Not!

SEAL TIDES flyer - 2nd version-1

Friday, April 18, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I had a great day at the library yesterday. Really fun. Ran what needed to be run, made decisions that needed to be made, learned a bunch of new stuff, did some research, outsmarted the computer which tried to balk and not do what we needed it to do.

Came home, cooked dinner, worked on research for a project — and fell asleep. Woke up long enough to haul myself to bed and had a long, hard rest. Feel much better this morning.

Got some work done early on the script project and a client project. I plan to wrap up the next phase of the client project tomorrow. Later than I wanted, but the information is still trickling in, and it’s bumped up against other deadlines now, so I’m working around everything as best I can.

Also found the galleys of “Lake Justice” in my mailbox this morning — have to turn them around in the next two days.

I go directly from the library to rehearsal tonight. Tomorrow, I have client work, one more prop to build for the show, the “Lake Justice” galleys, storyboarding for the series, finishing up the course materials for the conference, rehearsal with the understudy, and I have to finalize the program for the show. I have a feeling there’s something else, too, but that’s what’s on my plate for tomorrow. I’m hoping I can have a much-needed day off for Easter Sunday, but that will depend on the galleys and the storyboarding for the series.

Next week is the show! Please support us, either by coming to see us, or by tossing a few bucks at our indiegogo campaign here.

Have a GREAT holiday weekend!

Devon

Published in: on April 18, 2014 at 6:42 am  Comments (2)  
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and raw

Had a good day’s work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, finally. What a relief! I think I’m figuring out the book’s themes. I often have the basics of the plot down when I start (whether I write them out or not), but the theme or themes only emerge as I write the book.

Working slowly on the final galleys of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, because I’m so afraid I’ll miss something. I printed out the whole document, because it’s easier for me to accurately read it on the page than on the screen. My eyes don’t get tired as quickly.

It cleared up enough for me to spend a couple of hours in the yard in the afternoon. I pulled up all the dandelions. Now, I’m fond of dandelions, and if I knew how the lawn was treated in the past, I’d use them in my stillroom. But I don’t, so I don’t dare risk it. And dandelions are difficult on the lawn, especially if they get all puffy and go into other people’s lawns. So I removed them. I raked out another section of the back bed. From the ground, it looked and felt as though I hadn’t made any progress (although I filled two 30 gallon bags). But from the upstairs windows, one can see the progress.

The new lilac bush arrived, totally surprising me (I expected it about Saturday). It’s settled and budding. I’ll have to get it a nice pot, but it came in a tub, so it’s fine for the moment.

Caught up with my students in the workshop. They’re starting off on time and staying on top of the assignments and no whining, so that’s a good sign. Towards the end of the second week, in a month-long class, there’s usually a bit of a lag, but when they start strong, it’s not as much of an issue than if they’ve been behind from Day One.

Most evenings/nights at this point are spent studying — botany texts, gardening books, herbals, latin texts, etc. Better than TV most nights, that’s for sure. I’m unearthing (no pun intended) a lot of the books I bought over the years with an eye to having a garden “someday”. Well, someday is here. And there’s a lot of information in my older Craft books, books that had a lot of influence on me fifteen or so years ago, and now I can re-read them with a new appreciation based on the experiences in the interim. So that’s good.

Confidential Job #1 sent me my new assignment — that was fast! It looks interesting. Once I get the final galleys of ASSUMPTION done and back to the publisher, I’ve got two other manuscripts I’d like to run an eye over and get out the door before I leave for CT next week. I’m hoping to get the CJ1 assignment turned around this weekend, and have the next assignment ready to take with me on the site gig.

Today is about writing, editing galleys, and taking my mom to the doctor in the afternoon. And getting coffee — I ran out and got into my emergency stash, which isn’t very good. But it’s better than being coffee-less!

Back to the page.

Devon