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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Thurs. March 24, 2016: Stacks of Work

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was a long and frustrating day. I’m glad it’s over. Today will also, no doubt, be long, but hopefully less frustrating.

We did have a program that ran well, though, in spite of a relatively low turnout. I have to make some adjustments on an upcoming program, though, which I hope can be done quickly so the proper PR can go out. I also have a lot of processing/cataloging to do.

I submitted the two short radio plays and the grant proposal. Both were acknowledged; either they are what is wanted in each individual situation, or they’re not. Time will tell.

Got a little bit of writing done this morning, but not enough. I’ve made some notes on revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, even though that project Is supposed to be “out of sight, out of mind” for the next few weeks. But I didn’t want to forget these editing notes, so I jotted them down. One of them will require a major restructuring of certain relationships in the book, but it fixes a logistical problem that bothered me.

This weekend is my Saturday “on”, but I’m hoping to get some work done in the garden if it’s nice when I get home.

I also need to work on the latest stack of contest entries, work on the play set in 17th century Italy, and get to work drafting the stories that are due at the end of April. Plus, get back to work on SONGBOUND SISTERS, or I’ll get behind. I have another proposal due as soon as I can get it done for a project where the powers that be will try to make me do all the work without any money, which simply is not going to happen.

One step at a time, one word at a time.

Published in: on March 24, 2016 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 24, 2016: Stacks of Work  
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Sat. March 12, 2016: Post-Birthday Writing

Saturday, March 12, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and gorgeous

Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday, everyone! I had a good day. I didn’t do much. I’d hoped to do some yard work, but the weather didn’t clear up until too late in the day for me to be productive.

I ate and read and ran some errands. I worked on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC – I’ll have the first draft finished by the 15th. Then it can marinate for awhile, while I work on the play and get to work on SONGBOUND SISTERS. I’ve definitely decided to flip it with TIE-CUTTER. I’m making notes on the major changes I have to handle in the edits, to fix the big logistical problem that led to several smaller problems in the manuscript, so when I officially start edits in a month or so, I will have everything set and can dig in.  I have a working title for the new play, which is always exciting.  The right title helps focus.

Three months is really too tight a timeframe for a first draft, unless I can spent 10 or so hours a day at the desk, and am not juggling multiple projects.. Four months makes for a stronger manuscript.

I was going to bake for today’s Caroline Kepnes author event, but she’s ill and had to cancel. It’s been rescheduled for next Saturday, so I’ll bake then.

I basically just chilled out. Ate too much cake! 😉 Did a lot of yoga.

When I get home after locking up today, I’ll get back to work on the book, and do my final push tomorrow and Monday. Monday, I have to be up extra early, because I have a Marine Life Center Board meeting, but when I come home, it’ll be that final stretch so I can write “The End.” It’s so close, I can taste it!

It’s a gorgeous day outside. It’ll be too late to do yard work when I get home, but I hope I can sit outside and enjoy it a bit.

Some black locust has invaded the side front yard, in front of the dogwood. As soon as the ground is mushy enough, I’m going to have to yank all of it out, and put in wildflowers and other plants that will attract bees and butterflies.

Looking forward to spring! This winter hasn’t been bad, especially not compared to last winter, but I’m still ready for it to be over. Hate losing an hour of sleep to “spring forward” tonight, though.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on March 12, 2016 at 10:36 am  Comments Off on Sat. March 12, 2016: Post-Birthday Writing  
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Nano Prep: Oct. 27: Rituals, Routines, Timing

I prefer to write in the morning, before I am “tainted by the day”. I get up, feed the cats (or nothing gets done), do my yoga and meditation practice, and then I sit down to write.

Then and ONLY then, am I free to start my day – breakfast, shower, other freelance work, catching a train to a site job, etc. On days that I write full-time, I do my first 1K of the day on whatever is in first draft, and then, after breakfast, blog, check email, and switch between other freelance projects, depending upon deadline and money. On days I work on a site, I do my first 1K before breakfast, and get out the door on time to get to work on time. It means getting up early; it’s worth it.

It’s fine to occasionally skip a day; it’s when you start skipping a sequence of days that you trip yourself up. It gets very easy to let the writing slip away, or use “life” as an excuse not to write. We all have to work when we’re tired or don’t feel like it or anything else. If you don’t treat writing as a second job, it will never become your only job. That doesn’t mean you can’t love it – you can and you should. But you can’t just do it when you feel like it.

I use my creativity altar as a place to brainstorm, or I go out in the garden and do some yard work. Weeding, folding laundry, and working out problems in the shower are my best places to work past “stuck.”

The ritual of lighting the candle at the beginning and end of a session helps me drop into my creative zone, and also rejoin the world in a positive manner.

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano Prep: Oct. 27: Rituals, Routines, Timing  
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Sat. Oct. 10, 2015: The Early Bird Gets the WorD

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Day Before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

We had thunderstorms and rain last night. We took in some of the decorations, worried they’d get ruined.

I was up at 5 this morning, feeding the cats, doing yoga and meditation, and then writing. I had to research a bunch of details for the current scenes – which is fine, but it slowed me down. I couldn’t put in placeholders and come back after research, because the rhythm of the scene was dictated by said details.

On top of that, I’d left my Kindle bag at work last night – which had the phone charger in it!

But it all worked out.

Managed to get the recycling to the dump and start painting the pumpkins with the mirror paint. It will be interesting to see how they turn out. I also got the decoration back out and up.

I know I’m going to keep having the internal debate about Nano up until Nano’s first day. Between now and then, I’m going to work steadily on my deadlined work and see where I am by the end of the month.

One of the weird things about writing a contemporary piece is that I’m sometimes so deep into the world of the piece that I forget which details belong in my character’s life and which belong in mine. My character bought something a few scenes back – and I was looking for it this morning, as though I’D bought it! 😉 Not that I’m anywhere near as cool as my character – she’s got her challenges, but she’s also achieved some things I wish I had! However, those successes are part of what’s causing the dramatic conflict that drives this particular story.

Part of me is glad that tomorrow’s event is cancelled – mostly because I’d have an awful lot of work to do on it after work today and tomorrow would be a long day, and I’ve caught my colleague’s cold. I have plenty to do tomorrow, plenty of running around and stuff, but at least I’ll also be able to spend extra time in bed, have soup, and take care of myself.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 10, 2015 at 9:26 am  Comments Off on Sat. Oct. 10, 2015: The Early Bird Gets the WorD  
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