Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES will release on October 2, 2017. It is available on the following:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Monday, September 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Quite the weekend. Of course, most of the focus is on Hurricane Irma and its devastating path in Florida. And on the clean-up in Houston.

I am deeply grateful that the weather here on Cape has been so beautiful the past few days. I realize how lucky I am. It’s difficult not to feel guilty, but it’s better to be grateful and then take what action I can to help those who are struggling.

As part of that gratitude, I went out and did yard work. The mower is still being cranky, but I pruned the forsythia in the back that nearly obscured the path on the west side of the house, and the forsythias on each side of the garage door that were making entering and exiting the garage feel like hacking through a jungle. I yanked out a lot of invasive brambles, vines, and autumn olive, clearing out one of the front beds, tidying up two beds in the back, and some random growth in the meadow. I also cleared out some of the oak that’s acting more like an invasive than anything else. There’s still a lot more to clear — I’ll have to take the saw to some of it.

As the feverfew passes, I’ll clear all of that out of the beds, too. I figure if I do a little bit every pleasant day, then it won’t overwhelm me later in the season.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is up for pre-order so far on iApplem Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I’m putting the pre-order links up on the websites as they come in. Publication date is October 2, and it’s a go. I’m pretty excited. The PDF of the ARC is ready to send out for review. The promotional train is headed out.

Meanwhile, I finished a pass on the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA. I also spent time fixing and smoothing out problems and logistical lapses that the previously requested edits and cuts caused. I’ve restructured a good bit of the book, which is fine for the pace, but I have to fix some gaps. The chapters are all loaded into one document now, and I’m going to do a pass for smoothness and logic.

I also have to write the first chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, in the next week or so, and prepare the back matter, as I smooth things out. I’d like to get this draft to my editor in about ten days or so. I’m sure we’ll have several passes to whip it into shape, the way we did with ANGLES.

Did quite a bit of work on the literary fiction, tentatively entitled THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I like the way it’s taking shape. It will need an awful lot of editing once I’ve got the draft done, but I’m getting to say things that I haven’t found a way to speak otherwise, and explore some interesting relationships and quirks about this area.

I am going to have to create a fictional town, though; too much controversy if I portray some of the actual places as I’ve experienced them.

Re-reading Joyce Carol Oates’s published diary from 1973-1982. I always learn something new.

“The artist must find an environment, a pattern of living, that will protect his or her energies; the art must be cultivated, must be given priority.” (p.21). So true.

I’m reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy, and trying to understand him better. I remember reading TESS OF THE D’UBERVILLES in school and hating it; but I wonder if I just didn’t understand it, and if I’d have more appreciation for his work now.

I started reading the next review assignment. It’s one of the worst-written pieces I’ve ever had to plow through, with a lack of editing and copyediting, and no knowledge of the difference between a possessive and a contraction. Very frustrating.

I have such a list of things that need to get done today, looking at it I feel overwhelmed. But all I can do is start at the top and work my way as far down as possible.

September 11 is always a tough day for me — and for so many. I’m doing my remembrance rituals, and keeping candles lit. I’m trying to balance that with the creative work that needs to be done.

 

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Mon. Aug. 7, 2017: Working is My Rest

Monday, August 7, 2017
Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I feel better after cutting myself a break for the weekend. I rested a lot on Friday, and read — I’m reading a lot of Maggie Shayne’s work lately, and learning from it. Also reading Christopher Isherwood’s diaries, which are interesting, and doing my 1940s New York research (or, I should say, more research, from a different angle on the same decade).

It was nice enough to do some reading/writing outside on the deck, and I even managed some yard work (although no mowing). The Rose of Sharon is blooming beautifully, as are the geraniums, begonias, and mums — the mums are a bit early, in my opinion. We’ll have a decent tomato harvest, with three different varieties. This morning, we had an entire family of bunnies chomping on the dandelions in the back, and a blue jay taking a bath in the fresh water I put in the birdbath.

Worked on notes for the Coventina Circle series, and for some short pieces. Reworked an essay to slant to another market — I need to do another pass, to go a bit deeper, and out it goes.

Researched some other markets, and dismissed several as not being the type of market to which I want to pitch. I’m not going to pay a membership fee for the “privilege” of pitching — either you’re a professional publication that hires professional writers, or you’re a membership enclave where people pay you to be published. I’m not interested in the latter. Nor am I interested in embedding links to previous articles on your site in order to have an article published. I disagree with the ethics of both those positions. While it’s not up to me to make decisions on someone else’s website, as a “Free Lance”, I get to decide where I do and don’t pitch. Both of the above situations are a no-go for me.

Found another market for which I’d really like to write — a bit more academically-slanted than I usually do, but a good stretch. It will take me a couple of weeks to put together the pitch packet, though.

Have at least one, maybe two short stories that will go out today.

Debating on whether or not to pitch to a company — I like what they do, but don’t particularly like the employees of theirs I’ve dealt with. Not sure that would be the right situation.

Another project is going in a different direction, so we decided not to work together. I was having second thoughts about the whole enterprise, so it’s a relief.

The information in the public statements about the shooting a block away and what I see happening at the house are two different things. I’d like to think they’re merely being thorough in the investigation; however, I doubt they’ll ever tell us what really happened — or catch the shooter.

Got a good bit of work done on the draft of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY — about nine chapters. About half of each chapter is new material, so it was a good bit of writing. I’m deepening the atmosphere and the sensory detail and finding ways to weave together seemingly disparate plot threads. I’m happy with the progress. I want to get back into a daily rhythm with it, so it can release on time in May 2018.

I also have to get back into a daily rhythm with SAVASANA AT SEA this week — since its release date is this November! Most of it is rearranging material, “uncutting” the cuts that took the heart out of it, and doing some restructuring that keeps the fresh voice, but also keeps the plot moving. Pace and energy are important here.

What would have been a good night’s sleep was disrupted by some moron at 3 AM sitting in his car and revving the engine for 15 minutes. Hey, if you have to leave early, go ahead. Put the key in the ignition and drive off. But do NOT sit and rev the engine until the whole neighborhood is awake, and then peel out of your driveway with the tires screeching. Not cool at all.

Found out the insurance company lied to me. No surprise there, but it means more battles this week.

Already did an early morning grocery shop to avoid the damn tourists. Lots to do today, so I better get moving!

Wed. April 12, 2017: Script Progress

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Venus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Some yard work done in the front and back yesterday. I’m attacking the beds a little differently this year. Instead of just trying to tidy up so the whole thing looks “okay”, I’m breaking the yard down into sections and doing detailed work on each section. That will make it harder to get the whole thing done, but it will look better when it finally is.

10 more pages on the screenplay. The scene I’m getting ready to tackle today is the end of Act I, pretty much in the right place. I think the first draft will run a little long, but I already see where I can make some cuts. Of course, there are a few things I also have to plant. It will work out. The script feels “right” in a way few have in a long, long time.

Worked on contest entries. Nearly finished with the second category in print — will be able to finish that and start the final category today; when those are done, I’ll get started on the digital entries, probably next week. The gap between the books that really work and that really don’t is the largest, this year, than they’ve ever been. The winners and finalists will be within a whisker of each other.

Spent a lot of time outside on the deck yesterday. Took my work out there, and worked outside, because it was so lovely. Tessa was out with me, for most of it. She was pretty happy, too.

Back to the page, errands, yard work, taking my mom to a medical appointment, preparing for a meeting tomorrow. Somehow, it all weaves together.

Published in: on April 12, 2017 at 11:22 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 12, 2017: Script Progress  
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Tues. April 11, 2017: Building the Writing, Building the Garden

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Full Moon
Venus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I wrote about Adrienne Rich for National Poetry Month. The essays I’m writing for the month there are personal, rather than critical. It’s about my response and reaction to the material, not an objective examination of it.

Got some yard work done yesterday, but nowhere near enough. I’m out of shape. It will take much longer than I would like to get things back to rights. Plus, there’s a LOT of work to do, and I’m paying for not getting more done before the snows hit last winter.

Got a chunk of the terraced bed done, but there’s a lot more to do. Managed to get some of the invasives out, but some weird grasses also took up residence, and there’s stuff that has to be dug out that takes time and attention. The star juniper in the barrel out front died, so I have to yank that out. I think I’ll put flowers in it this year, and not worry about something permanent.

Got more plants out on the deck, and they’re happy.

Started the screenplay I outlined yesterday morning, and did 14 pages on it. The outline is a huge help, although I’m finding I have to get a few more things in earlier, and I’m combining action in some scenes to keep it lean.

I think I’m going to set the screenplay in 1937, although I’ll have to research a few things. I want it to be later than FIX-IT GIRL, but before the US gets into World War II.

Got some research done. Still hoping to find that catalyst to get the Lavinia Fontana play in gear. It’s frustrating — I have an idea of the characters, but I need a plot to galvanize things. I’m hoping studying the monograph on her patrons will help me find what I need.

Also need to do some research for an article I want to write this week. It may be my introduction to a new-to-me publication. The pay is a little lower than I’d like, but it’s been awhile since I did any articles, so maybe that would get me back into the swing of things. I need to do a bit more research — something I saw on the website yesterday troubled me; I need to dig a little further, and it may knock the publication off my list of possibilities.

So United dragged off a paid passenger because THEY overbooked. It’s time that we stop flying all the major US carriers and send them out of business. Flying used to be glamorous and fun; customer service used to matter. Not anymore. It’s simple: DON’T GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY. Even though trains, busses, and automobiles take longer, it will be worth it in the long run. Or use non-US carriers. It’s time to teach this “industry” that if they don’t treat their customers like they matter, they won’t have a business anymore. But the general public won’t have the guts to actually take action that will make changes. They’re too lazy. They’d rather pay through the nose to be treated like cattle than take a stand that gets results.

Today’s supposed to be an even nicer day than yesterday, so I’m hoping to do my errands quickly, get some good writing done, and then it’s back in the yard.

Published in: on April 12, 2017 at 11:20 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Feb. 24, 2017: Differing Realities

Friday, February 24, 2017
Day Before Dark Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Good writing day yesterday. It’s been good to get so deep into the work. The problem is that the world of the book feels more real than what’s happening when I look up from the page, and the transition between the two is difficult. But I’ve been so lucky to be able to spend such solid workdays. I’m grateful.

Ran around and did errands yesterday, back to the page, then to a friend’s going away party. She got a terrific job in Baltimore, so she and her family are moving down there. I think they’ll love it — Baltimore’s a unique and terrific city. But she will be missed.

It was fun to see people I hadn’t seen in ages. Part of me dreaded going — I wanted to say goodbye, and let my friend know how much she was valued — but just the daily running errands and being around people made my skin hurt lately, so I wasn’t sure how well I would deal with the party. But, you know? Last night wasn’t about me, so I was determined to deal.

And I had fun.

Came home and puttered. Had a dream that I was busy doing all kinds of work, so when I woke up this morning, I was puzzled to find myself in bed.

Errands and meetings this morning, then back to the page. I want to dig into the book some more. I might even do yard work — it’s unseasonably warm right now, so it makes sense to take advantage of it.

This weekend, I have to finish reading and critiquing my colleague’s script, and also work on contest entries. Reading-wise, nothing has satisfied me lately, and I haven’t wanted to impose that on the contest entries, so I put them aside for awhile. But I need to finish them, because the next batch arrives at the end of next week.

Have a great weekend! We are supposed to have gorgeous weather, and I intend to take full advantage.

Published in: on February 24, 2017 at 11:01 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 24, 2017: Differing Realities  
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Fri. Nov. 18, 2016: Rolling the Writing Ball

Friday, Nov. 18, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cool

I forgot to post yesterday. I apologize. So this post combines both day’s thoughts.

Busy few days. Got some painting done, some yard work done (but I can’t stay ahead of the leaves).

DEATH OF A CHOLERIC was ready to go out on submission yesterday, but I had file compatibility problems, so it has to go out today instead. However, the completed revisions of PLAYING THE ANGLES went out, and will hopefully be picked up and re-issued soon. I’m going over TRACKING MEDUSA in a few days, and then that will go out the door in search of re-issue, too. HEART-SNATCHER is almost through revisions and will be ready to go on submission either before the end of the year, or just after the first of the year.

I love PLAYING THE ANGLES (what used to be ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT). It’s still one of my favorite books that I’ve written.

I think I’m going to do the Nina Bell books myself; they’re too quirky to make business sense for a traditional publisher. I need to do a new cover in the next few weeks for one of the shorts, and then work on the first Nina and the beginning of the second Nina so that I can release the first one in spring. It makes me laugh (uncomfortably) that a range of time I lived through could now be called “period”.

I found an older novel of mine, that needs about 100 more pages to complete, which I loved, but put away. It’s called THE FIX-IT GIRL, and is set in 1930s Hollywood. I read it yesterday. There’s a lot of good stuff there. I made notes on revisions, and I’ve got an idea of what to do with the last 100 pages. I think I can whip it into shape to be ready for submission by late winter or early spring.

I want to make sure I get through the backlog, and that everything out there is earning its keep!

Did some work on MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC, and also on the sci-fi/fantasy/mystery. and the contemporary play. I need to get back to the contemporary intrigue/romance, and the two historical plays.

I have to stop eating red meat for awhile again; that seems to be what’s been making me sick lately. That happened a few years ago — I had to stop eating red meat for about six months. I’ve eaten too much of it since our company came in September (they were big fans of red meat), and now I’m paying the price. So, back to a lighter diet.

I’ve got to finish up some research on Gilded Age Newport in the next few days and get those books back to the library. I think I need to focus on plot and character for this draft, and then layer in historical detail in the next. I’ve got a decent idea of time and place, but the research is interfering with the story at this point. I need to write the story to see what I have, and then see what needs to change for it to make sense within its historical context, and where my character chooses to break the social norms. That’s one of the themes of the series — that she chooses to break convention, and then has to pay the price.

I’m hoping it clears up a bit in the coming hours, so I can get more yard work done. I mowed the front day before yesterday. It looked good for about five minutes until it filled with leaves again. I still need to do no-man’s land, the terrace, and the meadow, and then start raking the front.

However, I need to take the yard waste and recycling in as soon as the weather clears. It rained off and on yesterday. It’s miserable trying to unload the car and get it all the bins and on the yard waste piles in bad weather. But the garage is about to pop.

I think I’m done painting until spring, unless I paint some of the shells I’ve collected, with an eye to the holidays.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on November 18, 2016 at 9:40 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 18, 2016: Rolling the Writing Ball  
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Tues. Nov. 1, 2016: Revisions, Samhain, No Nano for Me

November 1, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, but a good one. I got some solid work done on the 4th draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m still worried I’m not cutting enough, but I am making cuts, so we’ll see where we end up. Since the focus of the book is the interweb of relationships and it’s set against the backdrop of the mystery, it’s a little different than a typical, formula mystery.

I also found that I had to write my way a bit into the second book, MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC, to satisfy myself on a few things in CHOLERIC.

I hope you enjoyed “The Possession of Nattie Filmore.” The link is down, and it’s no longer available, but you can take your coupon for the Yuletide comedy “Just Jump in and Fly” and use it until tomorrow.

Got plants repotted and stored either in the garage or found a spot in the house for the winter. The bed between the pines has been tilled and raked and cleaned; it has too much shade to be used for vegetables and herbs next year, but maybe I can put in some lovely shade plants. I still have quite a bit of work to do to get the whole yard to bed for the winter, but I’m getting there. And yes, there is still mowing that needs to happen!

Samhain was fun yesterday. The little kids were adorable, and they found the house delightful. The older girls were mostly dressed as superheroes, but will elaborately beaded and feathered masks. Gorgeous! A neighbor and I were the only ones participating in Halloween, which is kind of a shame. But it was fun.

Samhain ritual was good last night, too. It was the first time I’d done a formal ritual with all the bells and whistles, rather than a spontaneous one. I’m glad I did. Lots of work to do for the coming year! Lots of changes coming.

Baked “Day of the Dead” bread this morning — good stuff. Although I’m not a big fan of anise, I liked it here.

I have errands this morning, and then it’s back to the revisions, and, hopefully, doing some more writing, both on the prose and the plays. I am NOT participating in Nano this year –it will derail too much. But I wish everyone who’s doing it success and the joy of the process!

Devon

Published in: on November 1, 2016 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 1, 2016: Revisions, Samhain, No Nano for Me  
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Fri. Oct. 7, 2016: Going with the Writing Flow

Friday, October 7, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Here’s hoping Hurricane Matthew isn’t hitting the SE United States as badly as predicted.

Got a good bit of research done yesterday afternoon, and I’m ready, later today, to do some more work on the Victorian mystery.

I also did a fresh pass on “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the Jain Lazarus short that’s set in this season, and added in some excerpts from some of the other Digital Delights. I will post it as a free download toward the end of the month. I have to check some links, to make sure I’ve got them right. Next week, I’ll get the marketing started for that.

This morning, I wrote just over 1900 words on one project and 1599 on a second project — the two projects I can’t yet talk about, but am working steadily on.

I also got the terraced area mowed, which is a big relief.

On my way to do some errands, then it’s back to the page. Lots to do, and deadlines looming.

I could have done either of these two new projects as Nano pieces, but they’re catching fire now. I may write “along with” Nano in November, using the creative energy of so many people working at once to fuel them, but I don’t think I’ll start a new project in less than a month. I have too many pieces competing for my attention that need completion.

Hope to get some work done on the Victorian mystery this afternoon, and a few more chapters of revision on CHOLERIC.

This is a holiday weekend, so I hope I can get some uninterrupted work time both on the page and in the garden.

Have a great one!

Devon

Published in: on October 7, 2016 at 10:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 7, 2016: Going with the Writing Flow  
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Wed. Oct. 5, 2016: Revising The Way I Run My Writing Career

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

I managed to find my mowing Zen, going into my seventh year in this place. I got the front and side yards mowed in twenty minutes yesterday, without feeling like it nearly killed me. There’s still an enormous amount of yard work to do, but at least I’ve got a decent start. I’m not putting up the outdoor decorations until I’m sure Hurricane Matthew has passed. Right now, it doesn’t look as though we’re going to be badly hit, but it’s a storm, so who knows?

Working on the Victorian mystery, fixing the bits that need adjustment due to research. Also doing some procedural research for the states of Massachusetts and Vermont — jeez, the way things are done so differently from state to state! 😉 That’s for two different contemporary projects.

I’m having trouble getting back into the plays. I’m not quite in the right headspace for any of the three of them that need work. That will have to change this weekend. I need to dig in and get working on them, whether or not I feel like it.

I have to take a look at PLAYING THE ANGLES this weekend, too. I want to get that out on submission next week. I have some solid possibilities.

I need to figure out a marketing push for the Digital Delights, and it’s time to give the Jain Lazarus short story set around this time another push. I’ll have to figure out a good day to have it available as a free download and then do a big PR push for it.

I’m reading Alyssa Maxwell’s Gilded Newport mysteries and loving them. I was worried that my Victorian mystery would be too similar, because it’s set in Newport just a few years after her first mystery. But it’s very, very different, thank goodness. Plus, for this particular series, I’m only setting the first book in Newport. The second will be in Saratoga, the third in NYC. If the series continues beyond that, I plan to do one on an ocean liner, one in England, one in Florence, and so on and so forth. If the series takes off, it will be fun. But, as I said yesterday, these books require a very different writing process than I usually use, and can’t be written quickly. In other words, not a good candidate for a Nano!

If I was going to get sucked into doing Nano this year, it would be either the book that follows DEATH OF A CHOLERIC (using my friend Lori’s suggestion to call it MURDER OF A MELACHOLIC), or the next Sophie Batchelder. However, I am probably NOT going to do Nano this year, so the point is moot. I have three plays to get back on track, and I need to get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS. Nano would be a distraction, and it would be my ego wanting it, instead of it actually being useful.

Since a great deal of last year and this year have been about thinking about how I want to proceed in my writing career and changing a good many things about it, I need to concentrate on those decisions, those actions, and that follow-through, rather than getting distracted by new and shiny. I am also tired of other people telling me how I “have to” do things in my writing career, and trying to push me into boxes and formulas that don’t suit me or don’t interest me. I spent many years developing my voice, and I don’t want it diluted by “formula”. Which means I have to look at options that give me more flexibility. I also don’t like the way we are “supposed” to market. Bland or aggressive marketing turns me off as a consumer, and that’s not what I want to put out there to promote my work.

Yet, the siren call of Nano is always tempting.

I have a meeting this afternoon that could also wind up opening some lovely doors for me, and I’ve got a boatload of research to do (some of it is even about boats). So I better get going!

Devon

Published in: on October 5, 2016 at 9:36 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 5, 2016: Revising The Way I Run My Writing Career  
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Thurs. May 26, 2016: Genre Dilemmas

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy few days. I worked on Saturday, and there was a tag sale next door, so it was busy.

Front lawn is mowed; side lawn is mowed. I still have to mow the terraced back area and the meadow. The meadow, in particular, needs help. The grass is getting knee-high!

Sunday, I went to see a show a friend directed and choreographed. Her work was good. Unfortunately, the cast was tired; the tempos were slow, and, vocally, they were all over the place.

Over the past few writing days, I updated the Devon Ellington site, to add “Severance” to it. It’s available in the Premium catalog at Smashwords, which means it is also on Kobo, Nook, and will be on Amazon. There’s press going out for the release next week.

I also have a “Media Room” on the Devon Ellington site. The media kit for “Severance” is up, and so are the kits for the Jain Lazarus Adventures. I’ll work at keeping interview links and review links updated. There’s also some press for the “Severance” re-released going out this week.

The cover for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” is done and I like it a lot. The photo shoot for the cover of “Plot Bunnies” had to be postponed. I hope to get that done in the next few days, and then that will be ready to go. I have the galleys for “Plot Bunnies” — it needs a solid proofing, and then it’ll be ready to release in early June. “Personal Revolution” will release just before the 4th of July weekend, since that’s when it’s set. I’m waiting for the next round of edits/galleys on that.

I’ve done two more rounds of revisions for the short story “Won if By Sea”, and that will go out later this week. The characters are not particularly likeable, but they’re smart. Either it’s what this anthology wants, or it’s not, and then it will go off somewhere else.

I had an agent request a whole manuscript after liking the partial she requested, she read the entire manuscript in a couple of days and liked it; fingers crossed.

“Broken Links” is in rehearsal in Virginia, and will broadcast in early June. I’m looking forward to burning a CD and having a listening party in late June or early July.

On Tuesday, I finished the second draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I enriched the setting, characters, and scenes quite a bit. The elation at finishing was dampened when I realized I’m way over the word count. A mystery like this cannot come in at 111K. It’s not appropriate for the genre. I’m going to have to cut a minimum of 20K, possibly more. There’s at least one subplot I’m going to cut out completely, and I’m going to have to make some other adjustments. I’m going to save that subplot and use it later in the series.

If I cut and shape to fit the traditional cozy mold, in the following books, I will have to force the characters into whitewashing their actions in a way that is untrue to where I see the series headed. That’s besides at least needing to cut 30K instead of 20K. My other choice is to go darker, more along the lines of Philip Craig’s mysteries set on Martha’s Vineyard or Jane Haddam’s mysteries set in Concord. I’d still have to cut quite a bit, but I could go deeper, darker, and keep my characters true to themselves. The books would still have an amateur sleuth, but they wouldn’t be cozy. I like to read those, but the market is narrowing to be either cozy or procedural. It’s a dilemma.

I made a few pages of notes, and I’m making notes where I see the next books going, especially in terms of the relationships between the characters. One of the secondary characters surprised me by pushing himself forward, and he’s important to the growth of my protagonist, so I’m going to go with it. Again, this means the book can’t fit into “cozy”, nor can it fit into “romance”, because my protagonist is not going to have a one-and-only identified in the first book and that’s that. She’s coming out of a hugely traumatic event in her life, and has to reawaken to her life slowly.

It’s a lot to think about; I’m making notes, but I’ve also put the draft away for a couple of weeks, so I can go back to it with more objectivity. Much of what I need to cut will get written up into the Series Bible — the background of various residents and the island. I fought making a map of the island, but I think I need to do so, just for my own use. I can add to it as the series grows.

Tuesday night, thinking about it all, I was horribly blue; but the more I think about the possibilities, the more optimistic I get that I can shape something that tells the story I want to tell without forcing itself into a formula that negates the story. Whether anyone will want to take a chance on it is something else, but at least I’ll have written the book I want to read (and am having trouble finding).

Wednesday, we had a staff development day out in Plymouth. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and lots of fun. I got sunburned, though.

Lots to do today, and we’re short-staffed. Tomorrow will be a long day, too, and then the weekend. I’ve got to finish the mowing, and I also need to dig into the play set in 17th century Italy, and get back on track with SONGBOUND SISTERS.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Devon

Wed. May 11, 2016: Back from Vacation!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter direct (as of the 9th)
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was on vacation. It was nice to have time off, although I didn’t get as much rest as I hoped. And it’s nice that one of the retrogrades has gone direct.

It rained almost the entire time, except for the past two days. That made things a bit more complicated, but I kind of like rain — gives one the chance to be a little more quiet.

I spent the first part of my vacation in the Berkshires, at Kripalu. I was looking forward to it enormously — which was probably one reason I was so disappointed. They no longer enforce the “electronic devices only in the Wifi lounge” policy. People were on their cell phones EVERYWHERE, even right under the signs that asked them not to. The Sunroom, which is supposed to be for quiet contemplation, was turned into an office by a group of people — laptops, file folders, bag lunches. They texted in the meditation room; they were on their phones in the silent dining room. People are now smoking outside (it used to be no smoking anywhere on the grounds). Not only is it contradictory to their stated mission (which makes them hypocrites), but it makes them any nameless, overpriced resort out there. There was NO WHERE on the entire property where one could go for quiet contemplation. Not acceptable.

I enjoyed some interested workshops, but it didn’t make up for the fact that there was nowhere to go to be quiet. The point of an R&R retreat is to have “rest” and “relaxation”. I got neither –and, at those prices, I expected both.

My favorite program was given by the chef — the food is still outstanding. I learned a lot I could take back with me and use. I met some great people, including a lovely woman from Syracuse who is a graphic designer.

I stayed at the Black Swan Inn — right across Laurel Lake from the Edith Wharton house. It’s a lovely hotel. I had a fantastic room with one of the most comfortable beds in which I’ve ever slept. Unfortunately, T-Mobile has no coverage in the Berkshires, so my cell phone was useless. The landline in my room didn’t work. My Kindle worked, on the hotel’s wifi, so I emailed a neighbor and asked him to contact home and let them know I got in safely.

Ironic — more electronically disconnected at the Inn than at Kripalu!

Once home, I focused on the writing. I’m just past the halfway mark on the DEATH OF A CHOLERIC rewrites. I believe the book will need one more round of revisions before it’s ready to send out. I also got a lot of work done on Nonfiction #1. And, I’ve started purging things — from the office, and then I’ll tackle all those unpacked boxes in the basement. It’s slow going, but at least there’s progress.

We’re also preparing for company to come in from Europe this weekend. Four people, so the little red house will be packed to the gills!

I’d put down fertilizer and grass seed before I left, on the front lawn. The daily rain did its thing while I was gone. I finally got the terraced back area mowed and fertilized, and got the front mowed again. I’d put in some creeping phlox at the bottom of the driveway, which is cheerful. I got a new, long hose for the front, so I’ve got long hoses both front and back to keep everything properly watered. I still have to rake out some beds and weed them, and I have to get in topsoil for the circular bed in No Man’s Land, so I can plant the bee/hummingbird plants.

I replanted most of the tomatoes, the peas, and the cucumber yesterday, and started zucchini, kale, and beans yesterday.

The mower’s being a pain in the butt — I’m fighting it so much to get it started that I barely have any energy left to actually mow! I still have to mow the meadow, and yank out some stuff that’s invaded.

I’d love another week to just read and sleep, but no such luck. It’s back to work today. I’m sure there are piles on my desk, and I have a program this upcoming weekend. I have a lot of PR to get out for upcoming programs.

The food is figured out when the guests arrive — I’ll be doing a lot of cooking as well as everything else.

I’ve been really careful in the revisions of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m only revising three chapters per day, and then reading the next day’s material for revision. That way, I don’t burn out, and I can keep a good overall eye on the piece, instead of getting bogged down in the same types of things that bogged down the draft. In general, I’ve used a much slower pace on this book, and I like it. The quality of work is better. The drafting was still 1K/day, but the rest of it — I’m letting it marinate in between drafts, and I’m pacing the revisions in a way that allows for better work.

Work on “just a Drop” is much slower than I would like, and I won’t get a chance to work on it with guests this weekend, but that’s life. Still trying to figure out how to fit the revisions of HEART SNATCHER back in, without throwing the entire schedule off.

I feel like I’ve already put in a full day before going to work — in the garden before 6 AM, working on Nonfiction #1, and then working on revision chapters before heading to work. Ah, the life of a writer!

Hope you’re having a wonderful spring!

Devon

Published in: on May 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm  Comments Off on Wed. May 11, 2016: Back from Vacation!  
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Wed. April 20, 2016: Writing Intensifies – So Does the Garden

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Two retrogrades, and Mercury goes retrograde next week. Can I please just stay in bed until everything goes direct?

The past few days were good, although flat out busy. Saturday, I had lots of errands, but managed to get to the NMLC Seal Pup Shower, which kicks off April vacation week. We got a lot of donations of basic necessities — Pedialite, laundry soap, etc. First thing that morning, I’d done a major run to Country Gardens. Got the fertilizer for the lawn, lettuce plants, basil plants, etc. We’ve planted pansies in hanging baskets for the front and the deck — they’re happy in this cool weather. The lettuce is repotted, and so is the basil.

We’d bought a small table at Restore, and I repainted it an apple red, and repainted one of our metal plant stands green. I painted a few planters. I still have two more tables and a shelf unit. We put some of the furniture on the deck — we tend to rearrange every year — and some of the hardier plants.

I worked on the HEART SNATCHER rewrites. I have Max’s first chapter where I want it, so I think the Prologue and first three chapters are in good shape. I worked on the following six chapters. I’m still not happy with Carey’s introductory chapter. It needs more work. But the chapters where Max and Valerie keep running into each other are working. I’m doing quite a bit of tightening, better use of language, more sensory detail. I’m also about to cut a chapter.

I started re-reading DEATH OF A CHOLERIC with an eye to its revisions. I think it will need two more revisions, not just one. I’ve had to do a major shift in some of the relationships so it makes more sense, and I need to put those in and then read it through again, and THEN do another draft before that’s ready to go out.

Did a nice chunk of work on Nonfiction #1.

Received the radio contest entries, read them, made notes. I found it disturbing that not a single entry is in correct radio format. One of them is a screenplay; another is a stage play. Some of them tried, but don’t understand the use of sound in radio.

Worked on the pages for the MOBY DICK marathon reading in which I’m participating next weekend.

Did some yard work, although not enough. Somehow, it’s never enough, is it?

Read a couple of delightful mysteries: KILLER TAKEOUT by Lucy Burdette, and, especially, THE CRACKED SPINE by Paige Shelton, which is set in Edinburgh. Enjoyed them both.

Got some submission materials completed for a major script entry I have coming up.

Baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and almond cookies, and made a non-alcoholic syllabub for tonight’s Tribute to Shakespeare. I’d done the programs last week. I tried to put together the Globe Theatre model, but it was a disaster. No instructions, it makes no sense, and it doesn’t work to watch a You Tube Video. I want step-by-step, well-written instructions. Will never deal with THAT company again!

Up early this morning. Worked on Nonfiction #1, and also did a bit of yard work. Today will be a ten hour day for me at work — the full day, and then the Tribute to Shakespeare tonight. It will be a very long week. So will next week, especially since I’ll be flat out every day I’m not at the library, but then, I have a much-needed vacation.

I’m so wiped out when I get home at night that I can’t get anything done in the yard, so I’m going out on nice days in the early, early morning. Even twenty, thirty minutes here and there will eventually add up.

Onward.

Published in: on April 20, 2016 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 20, 2016: Writing Intensifies – So Does the Garden  
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Thurs. April 7, 2016: Entries & Covers & Incoming Snow

Thursday, April 07, 2016
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and milder

They’re saying we will get snow again on Saturday. I really need good weather on my days off so that I can do yard work!

Yesterday was a long day, but fine. I did PR for upcoming programs, and put out feelers for some programs I’d like to book. I did my reports.

The version of MOBY DICK from which we are doing readings at the end of the month came in. I copied out my pages. I thought there would be a kazillion holds on it, but there aren’t, so I’ll hang onto it for a few days and do some background reading around my assigned pages. It’s been years since I read MOBY DICK.

Worked on contest entries, and did some work on Nonfiction #1. Did some work this morning updating some Topic Workbook covers and on upcoming Topic Workbooks, so I can get those out.

I need to sit down with a calendar and come up with a realistic re-release schedule for the short pieces. I also need to get new cover designs for some of them, and a new cover design for “Too Much Mistletoe”.

I’m on the fence about whether I want to do the two short stories that would need to be finished by the end of the month. I have to weigh the time necessary to add them in to the potential payout (which encompasses both financial and career placement). Something to think about this weekend.

Long day today, and then back to the contest entries. Every time I pick up an entry, I want it to be wonderful. And then we go from there.

I also have to do some replanting. Some of my seedlings need more room, and I need to start the next batch.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Devon

Published in: on April 7, 2016 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 7, 2016: Entries & Covers & Incoming Snow  
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