Wed. May 15, 2019: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

If you haven’t stopped by A Biblio Paradise to see the interview with Heather Haven, please do so. It’s wonderful, and I’m excited to read her new book.

You can also go on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site and see my mid-month check-in.

I can’t believe how cold it is. They actually has snow in Western Mass Monday night into Tuesday. We had a cold, damp rain.

My lower back and hip have been incredibly painful. On Monday, at meditation, I had trouble moving from position to position. I don’t understand what’s going on. I’m sure all the sitting I do is part of it. More yoga? More movement? Back to acupuncture? There are times when the pain is excruciating, and I’m always aware of a dull throb.

But at least, Monday night, I slept through the night. I went to bed ridiculously early, and slept until the alarm woke me up on Tuesday.

Got some writing done in the morning. Waited for the insurance adjustor to show up. It went okay– he’s approving less than the initial claims agent thought was covered. But then, it’s his job.

Then, it was off to work onsite with a client, which was exhausting.

To the library, back home. I’m so exhausted I can’t even see straight.

Published in: on May 15, 2019 at 5:25 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 15, 2019: Keeping On Keeping On  
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Wed. May 1, 2019: Recalibration Time

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool
Beltane

Blessed Beltane, for those who celebrate!

The May To Do list is up on the GDR site. I have to re-think a few things, so it’s subject to change.

I can’t shake this overwhelming fatigue. Je suis très fatigue.

Because even exhaustion sounds better in French!

Worked with a client. Started working on the thanks yous and follow ups for the conference, but I’m behind. Started sending requests for quotes on an article on which I’m working. I have to craft a letter for the Bourne Town Council, which is giving a local organization for which I have great respect a hard time, thanks to a damned developer.

Working on contest entries.

Trying to recalibrate what I want and need from my work and how to get it.

It’s hard to think straight when I’m so tired I can barely sit up.

Plugging along with the book. Have to get back to the play this weekend. Have some new web content to write and get up, and I want to write ahead on a few posts for Upbeat Authors and for Ink-Dipped Advice.

I’m having trouble with A2 Hosting and their insistence that I can only access my websites from a single, fixed IP address. That simply is not my life. I travel. I work from different machines in different locations. I need to get on when I need to from where I need to. They don’t protect from hackers, but they prevent me from accessing the sites for which I pay. That’s wrong on so many levels.
So I guess I’ll be moving hosts again when this contract is up. Which is a shame, because I like everything else about them.

Meanwhile, I’m as happy as can be with my registrations over on Name Silo. No drama. Great customer service.

The weather isn’t letting me do yard work. The grass is growing nicely (a good thing), but it needs mowing. However, unlike some of my neighbors, I don’t believe it’s useful to mow in the rain.

I desperately need some time off, but I don’t know when I’ll get it. I need a few days with no demands of any kind made on me, where I can just create each day as it unfolds.

Some of the research books came for the Caribbean. That’s where I’m setting this Shiny New Project — and they also serve two other projects on which I’m working.

I’m also working on the forensic psychology books I have for GRAVE REACH.

All interesting stuff.

I need more energy, so I can make better use of my time.

Onward.

Published in: on May 1, 2019 at 8:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 1, 2019: Recalibration Time  
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Tues. April 30, 2019: Conference Wrap-up and New Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ever so much to talk about, and some things about which I’m not yet ready to talk about, because I’m still mulling them over.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the April wrap-up. It should be up within a half hour of this post.

This past weekend, I was a presenter at the #NECRWA conference in Burlington, MA. It’s one of my favorite conferences, because it’s relaxed and upbeat. It always gives me a lot to think about.

I re-connected with some people I knew from before, met new people, met some people I knew from online and this was the first time we’d met in person.

The weather was awful on Friday. I had the car packed early, and left a little before noon. Usually, it takes me about 3 hours to get there (and it’s only outside of Boston) because of traffic. I’d managed to time it so it only took two hours.

My room was ready; I checked in and it took 2 luggage cart trips from car to room to get everything up. Made me think maybe I brought too much stuff.

The hotel had a renovation. It’s very upscale business traveler with dark wood and shiny counters and a huge TV. My room had a kingsized bed AND a chaise longue, with which I immediately fell in love. The bathroom was all shiny counters and frosted glass.

I unpacked, tried to rest up a bit, looked through the conference materials. I also worked ona book I have to review.

Freshened up and went downstairs for the cocktail hour. They served us a buffet dinner, too, courtesy of Red Feather Romance. That definitely got our attention — feed us! 😉

I had some interesting conversations. One with a writers’ group who’d travelled here together to attend — their members were from Western MA and upstate NY. I had another conversation with some early career writers who didn’t even try to hide their contempt that I’m with a small publisher and that I talked about craft and the importance of a good editor, and how much I value both my editor and my copy editor. They plan to self publish, and, according to them, “craft doesn’t matter, because Kindle readers don’t care.”

I beg to differ.

I found that arrogance rather off-putting, and wondered if that would be the tone of the conference.

The Literacy signing was after the dinner. I prefer it when it’s at the end of the weekend, when I’ve gotten to know some of the authors and have an idea of their books. I felt like I “should” buy a lot of books, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and I felt guilty when I browsed a table without buying.

I went back upstairs to decompress a little and read more of the book for review.

I also set up my rolling rack for tomorrow, went over the presentation again. Second-guessed myself on every item I brought and every slide I chosen; wondered if I should revise the presentation. But that way madness lies.

Tried to watch television, but it was lousy. I’m not missing anything by giving up cable.

Got an email from that new-to-me editor who wanted yet more information about why the topic — an underused resource that can generate more income for freelancers — is relevant to his site, which is supposed to be about generating income for freelancers. I have now written more than twice the word count ABOUT what the actual article would run. For a publication for which I’ve written a half a dozen times, and where I never had to jump through all these hoops for the other editor.

Makes me think we are no longer a good fit, and perhaps it’s time to move on to another dance partner.

The bed had one of those pillow top or memory foam things. I felt like I sank so far down it would cover me and smother me. It was comfortable; I’m just used to a much firmer mattress.

I woke up once at 4 AM with a horrible headache, but got back to sleep, and got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. I like writing in hotel rooms. There aren’t many distractions.

On my way to the first session, I stepped outside for a few minutes — and the headache went away. I realized that I can’t open the windows in my room, and I always sleep with my window cracked. I’m not used to recycled air.

A few minutes outside, even in the rain, helped.

Before the first session, I talked to some people who live in Central MA about the benefits of living there. They love it, because one can get to anywhere from there. It was great to hear them talk about what they loved about the area, how it’s changing, what frustrated them. The arts community seems much more vibrant and able to earn a living than it is here.

The first session was great, about burnout. Emily Nagoski was the presenter. Her handouts and worksheets were great. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the crossroads I’m facing right now. I also want to get a quote from her for an article I’m writing.

Went outside for a few minutes in between sessions, then went to a panel discussion where the participants frankly discussed money. We all agreed not to share these authors’ actual financial details outside of the room. But some of their approaches and concepts were interesting.

I was surprised — at this panel and elsewhere in the conference — by how large a percentage of the incomes are via Amazon’s Kindle direct. I’ve always avoided them because I don’t like the contract. My small publisher distributes digitally through Amazon, but my contract is not directly with Amazon, but via my publisher.

Also, the volume at which some of these authors are turning out books. There’s one full-time author who has published 70 books in the last 11 years. She’s earning money, she’s winning awards. She’s turning out quality work. She’s got audio books and translations out.

I always thought I wrote reasonably fast, but I couldn’t keep up that pace, unless I had a full staff to run the rest of my life.

I’m wondering if I should run an experiment, and have something that is more typically genre run through KDP/Unlimited to see how the returns differ.

The downside to that (apart from the qualms I have about the KDP contract) is that having only one book in that pipeline isn’t going to do much. I’d need at least three.

Three books that are separate from anything I currently have on contract, when I’m already on a brutal contract schedule.

Of course, a new pseudonym and a new idea for a series, even its title, came bursting forth almost immediately.

Whether I choose to go KDP or not, I’m kind of in love with this idea. It fuses with a couple of other ideas I’ve been playing with, and mixes the mystery and romance genres in a beautiful location.

I even have the opening line, which is a kicker.

The problem is — when will I be able to write it? We’ve already rescheduled THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m on track for GRAVE REACH, but I can’t let the other two fall by the wayside.

I have to get back into the Jain Lazarus Adventures later this year, revising CRAVE THE HUNT, and my editor and I have to go over the first two, seeing if we need to make any changes.

I have to get back on track with the JUSTICE BY HARPY books. The first book is in great shape; the second two, not so much. Since all three have to release close together, that’s a challenge.

I want to get THE FIX-IT GIRL out on traditional submission, and work on THE TIE-CUTTER.

And, of course, there’s always GAMBIT COLONY that pulls whenever I’m stressed to blow off steam.

I have a radio play going live in May. I have another radio play due in Florida in the next couple of weeks, and requests for more; I have ANOTHER radio play to send to MN as soon as I’m done with it.

I have a play due in NY at the end of May for a contest.

I have to get into the MFA to research Canaletto and the Bibiana families so I can start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters that’s due at the end of the year.

I have to finish the anti-gun violence play (because it’s not like that issue will be solved any time soon).

I have to keep working on WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, and test the monologues.

I have to write the play about the two infamous women authors.

I have articles to pitch and write, and other marketing writing that keeps a roof over my head. I have contest entries to finish, books to review, a couple of speaking engagements coming up.

I have to come up with a new marketing strategy for my books.

How do I make it all work? Especially when, right now, I’m exhausted? And deal with the garden? And I probably have to face some major life changes in the upcoming months.

I’m not sure. I have to take some time to sit and think. To prioritize. To push myself to get it all done.

To do it without killing myself.

Hence why the burnout workshop was so relevant.

Outside, took a few breaths of fresh air, then back in for a seminar on ebook pricing. Some of which directly contradicted what worked for some of the authors in the last seminar.

One interesting thing that came up was to set the first book in a series perpetually at 99 cents. I’ve played with that idea. I don’t want the people who are excited by a new release to feel screwed if I lower the price of the first book to 99 cents and keep it there. My publisher is open to discussing pricing changes, but is more in favor of limited-time discounts than a permanent change.

A few months ago, I was advised that I should lower the price of ALL the earlier books whenever I have a new release out. I balked at that idea, as did the publisher. Because then why should people order the book when it first comes out? They know it’ll come down in price a year later when the next one comes out. In the interim, I might lose them anyway.

It was also brought up that $1.99 is an awful price. I put my Delectable Digital delight shorts at 99 cents (making sure people understand they are SHORT). My publisher usually has novellas or short novels at $1.99 or $2.99 if they’re almost up to category length. Now I’m wondering if we should go up to some funky price like $2.09 or $2.49?

Yeah, this is just what my publisher wants. Me to come back from a conference full of ideas that aren’t new books! 😉

The lunch buffet was fun. I got to catch up with a friend who has nine books out under one of her names, and is about to launch a cozy mystery series under another. Can’t wait to read all of them!

Met another author, Jillian David, whose presentation I missed (and I felt guilty for so doing, because I really liked her). I now can’t wait to read her books, either.

The lunchtime keynote was Penny Reid, who was funny and heartfelt, and now I have another new-to-me author to read. That’s one of my favorite things about conferences — finding new-to-me authors whose work I can gobble up.

I found Kilby Blades, who was presenting the two sessions before mine in the salon we would all share, to ask if she minded that I brought my rack down and stashed it before her session started. She was cool with it. I didn’t want to just show up with a bunch of stuff and presume I could take up space.

I attended both of her marketing sessions which was useful. She navigates how to use best business practices in marketing and then morph them for the weirdness that is the book business. It helped me rethink some strategies, and I will have a lot to discuss with my publisher’s new marketing director soon!

There were some elements that gave me a headache. Charting daily sales–I know it’s useful, but I’d much rather look at weekly or monthly breakdowns. But as we work on new marketing strategies, the daily fluctuations and the importance of serious testing matters. The same way it does when I do it for other people.

I wish it wasn’t so much easier to market for someone else than to market myself!

Then, it was my turn.

My audience was great, but I was not happy with my performance. I talked too quickly. I didn’t share enough anecdotes from the set (only two or three). I meant to talk about heirloom pieces that are passed down and how they have meaning, and didn’t. I meant to tie in to some of the other sessions, and it flew right out of my mind.

I was frustrated with myself because it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the only one to blame was me.

I shouldn’t have cut reading the passage from a friend’s book about how a couple of characters cleaned up for a funeral. That would have been a good addition. But when I timed a rehearsal, it made the session run long without time for questions.

As I said, my audience was great. I could have been better. I did not live up to my own expectations.

I packed up, took everything back up to the room, and changed for dinner. I wore Cupcake International pieces all weekend — I was a walking advertisement for them. But the pieces were fun and comfortable and flattering.

Dinner was good. I sat with some people who’d been in my session, and another woman from NH who was lovely. We had a great talk about life in New Hampshire and a whole lot of other things.

Sonali Dev was our Keynote, and she was wonderful. She said something that resonated. “We write because we refuse to be silent.”

Again, gave me a lot to think about.

I was exhausted and my mind going a mile a minute after dinner. I didn’t join the debrief sessions; I went upstairs. I finished reading the book for review, and made notes.

I made some notes on some new ideas. I tried watching TV, but there was nothing I wanted to see. Packed everything up.

I pondered all the information I’d gathered. It will take me awhile to sort it all out and decide how best to put it to use.

Woke up at 1 AM and got back to sleep. Woke up a little after six. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. Breakfast.

Had the car loaded and was gone a little after 8. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was home by 10:30.

Unloaded. Put stuff away. Unpacked. Sorted laundry. Unpacked the handouts and bookmarks and other things I picked up at the conference. It will take me a few days to go through them.

I usually go through them the day of or the day after. But I was too tired.

I don’t get why — I hardly drank at all. I usually spend more time at the bar at conferences, and I didn’t this time around. But I feel more worn out than when I spend most of my free time in the bar. Here I tried to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I’m still wiped out.

Probably because this was at the end of a long, stressful month.

Tried to rest on Sunday. Wrote the review. Read some other books. I gave myself the day off from contest entries.

Monday was back to the normal routine, although I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

Got some writing done in the morning, although it wasn’t very good. Played with my new idea. That world is coming into focus surprisingly clearly. Although I don’t want to be arrogant about it, so I ordered a bunch of research books from the library.

Returned what I’d borrowed for the conference. Spent time onsite with a client. Turned in my review.

Cancelled out of my mid-afternoon appointment because my brain was mush and I was making stupid mistakes.

I’d walked out of the house without my phone. Meant to pick it up after the session with my client and before leaving for meditation group. But, of course, I walked out without it — mostly because the cats caught a little, tiny mouse, and I felt horribly guilty about her demise. I mean, I don’t want mice in the house, and I’m glad the cats did their feline job — but I still felt awful about that poor little mouse, and buried her in the yard.

Meditation was good. I felt better and more focused after, although still tired.

Read a couple of Tracy Kiely’s Nic and Nigel Martini books over the past two days. They’re a lot of fun.

Went to bed early; overslept this morning.

Got some writing done, but not enough. Still mulling things over in my head.

Onsite with a client most of the day, then I have to get some work done at the library.

More contest entries to work on tonight, and I’m starting to enter the scores into the digital sheets.

Was assigned my next book for review.

I have to get going on the thank yous and follow ups from the conference today and tomorrow. I don’t want to let that slide.

And I have to get on a more productive writing schedule. I think I have to add a second writing session into the evening for the next few months. The morning at 1.5-2K is okay (although it makes me feel very slow). But if I can add in another 1K session in the evening, I should be able to get back on track. Maybe I can up it a little on weekends.

Mostly, though, I’m so, so tired. My body is tired and my brain is tired. I’m seriously thinking of taking a few days off this weekend, except for contest entries, and then starting up again with the new moon.

But the conference was great, and it gave me a lot to think about. Now, I have to sort through it, and, most importantly, APPLY WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

Because otherwise, it’s just time spent without gain.

Back to the page.

 

Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019: Snowing & Planting

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Snowing and cold

Hop on over to the GDR site for February’s wrap-up, and over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was a mixed bag of client work and other things.

I heard back from a producer to whom I’d pitched a play on Tuesday. He read it overnight, loved it, and is going to recommend to the company to do it. He’d like more with these characters. Hopefully, it will all work out.

I finally got a chance to listen to the production they did last summer of “Light Behind the Eyes” and they did a good job.

I heard from the other radio company to whom I’d pitched, located in California. They wanted to let me know they are a little behind, but would give me an answer by the end of April.

So far this year, one of my radio scripts will be performed in early April in Boston, and another in early to mid-May in Minnesota. With three more plays in the pipeline for Minnesota, and possibly more in Florida.

All these gigs are paid, professional gigs. Which is great, since I love writing for radio, but I’m past the point of working for free.

I have to get back on track with the novels, though, and spend some time on the stage plays as well this weekend. I’m planning it to be a fairly quiet reading-and-writing weekend.

I was onsite with a client and couldn’t watch the Michael Cohen hearings, although I caught up with them later. It’s stunning to me that the GOP members on the committee aren’t at all upset that Cohen lied FOR the Narcissistic Sociopath; they’re upset he’s no longer doing it.

It snowed last night, and we woke up to about 5 inches of fluffy, lovely white stuff this morning. I was out early shoveling. Figures as soon as I was done, it started again!

I’ve got some work to do at the library, then I’m meeting a writer friend for an early afternoon cocktail later on. Looking forward to it.

Working on the contest entries and the book for review. And reading Ed Ifkovic’s Edna Ferber mysteries just because I want to.

Not looking forward to going out in this weather, but, oh well. Sooner I get out there sooner I can get back.

And go back to the page. I’m hoping to get some more work done on the Straw Hat play today, and work on the monologues.

Have a lovely snowy day! Guess March is really going to come in like a lion these next few days.

Guess I won’t be traveling anywhere for my birthday in a couple of weeks.

 

Published in: on February 28, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019: Snowing & Planting  
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Thurs. Jan. 31, 2019: Good, Radio Busy

Thursday, January 31, 2019
Waning Moon
Sunny and bitterly cold

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, for January’s wrap-up.

Client work was okay yesterday. There’s a lot of detail work that needs to be done, and too many interruptions. That’s why I prefer to work remotely. Or at least have an office where I can close the door. I admit, I was exhausted by the time I left. Completely wiped out.

One of the tools that I’m using with this particular client is something I will adapt to my own marketing. I’m going to sign up on Twuffer, and I’m going to schedule my marketing tweets for Twitter a couple of weeks to a month in advance. I’ll still do my regular interacting, but that’s going to streamline some of the marketing. I’ll try that for a few months, see if it helps.

Had an excellent day’s work on the new short radio play, “Tap o’My Heart” yesterday. It goes out later today, along with the two-part version of “Light Behind the Eyes.” I’m pleased with both of them.

I’m getting to work on the comic mystery ghost story radio play, and also got an idea for one set during the Straw Hat Circuit theatre days. Those will be fun.

Amazon is causing issues with Draft2Digital. They’re trying to force authors to only publish through them instead of using them as a distribution channel. There’s a ton of additional paperwork and “checklists” to now do for each of the releases. My editor has also prepared a letter on publisher letterhead, just in case. I wish the trade issues with Canada would get fixed, so we can move ahead on the print editions, too — although I bet Amazon will cause problems with that, too.

I had a phone meeting this morning with a potential new client. Call never came. After a half hour, I sent over an email asking if we should reschedule or move on. The client wanted to do the call right then. I refused, due to other commitments (because whenever someone asks for a “short” phone conversation, you know it’s not). So we’re rescheduled for tomorrow morning – which means I’ll be posting late tomorrow, too. This time, I am the one initiating the call. So we’ll see how that goes.

It’s bitterly cold here, and I had some errands, then some admin. Then it’s back home and back to the page. I have a lot to get done.

I went through my sewing projects yesterday, too. I want to get back on track with those. Because what I create myself is better than what’s on the rack in the stores.

Onward.

 

Published in: on January 31, 2019 at 11:37 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 31, 2019: Good, Radio Busy  
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Tues. Jan. 15, 2019: The Waves of Different Opinions & Ideas

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Waxing Moon

There are several links for you to check out today.

Over on A Biblio Paradise, join the Reader Expansion Challenge, where we stretch each month to read beyond our normal genres and new-to-us authors, then share them. I hope you’ll join in.

Yesterday, on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, I talked about using each week as a building block on your goals, and, this week, to add one more thing.

Today, on the same site, I have my mid-month check-in up.

I didn’t feel well on Friday. It didn’t help that I had printer problems. I changed the drum, no problem. But now the paper won’t catch. I can’t be without a printer, and I can’t afford a new one right now. So, I’m basically screwed. I’m tired of disposable printers. I want my printer to work, for years on end. Or be fixable. Not with these crappy plastic parts that stop working if you breathe on them wrong, and then you have to buy a new printer.

Actually, this Brother laser has been great. I’ve used it daily for about seven or eight years, which is amazing. But I’m on deadline and need it working now. The first time it ever had a paper jam, it shouldn’t just give up the ghost.

Read FIT AT MID-LIFE: A FEMINIST JOURNEY. The book is very well done, and still depressed the hell out of me. All this talk about running and cycling and swimming and triathlons. I don’t want to do any of it. I hate running and cycling hurts. I can’t swim. So, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Deepen the yoga practice. Stay with the weights and add as I hit levels of fitness. Try other things to find something I like. I’d like to try the rowing machine (can’t swim, so can’t actually row on the water). But I have to be careful with my shoulder, from when it was dislocated and I still have issues. I HATE treadmill desks and standing desks. Not doing them. So, we’ll see.

I managed to finish the requested revision of the radio version of “Confidence Confidant” — so I can send it off this week. I cut one character, brightened some dialogue, clarified a few things, added some sound cues. I did not implement the sexist request to make one of the female characters more “likable.” That would change the point of her character and the piece.

I don’t like the particular way they need it formatted — between using multiple fonts in the script (something I’ve never encountered before, anywhere) AND using line numbers — adding in the line numbers, after reading it through several more times and making more tweaks, is the absolute last thing I will do, and takes the longest.

But, overall, I feel good about the revisions. I’ll probably update the BBC format and the stage play, and re-register/re-submit as necessary. I still plan to expand the stage version into a full-length, adding in active scenes of what happened in the New York jail.

So, yes, I still want to write more about Kate Warne. Next year, I might do another short play about another of her cases, where she posed as a medium.

I was also delighted that the proposal to write a play about Canaletto’s Sisters for 365 Women was accepted. I’m looking forward to that. Of course, the minute I announced it, some random guy started telling me what was wrong with the idea, since he’d done a dissertation on a contemporary of Canaletto’s. First of all, I’m still in the research stage — I’m sure I would have discovered the points on my own. Second, the classy thing to do would have been to say, “Hey, I’d love to be a resource” and then privately tell me where he felt I got off track. Instead, he chose public humiliation.

Not interested in dealing with him.

I’m tired of internet bullies. Not engaging.

I’m also tired of people who claim to defend others’ rights making demands that if I don’t do/like/say what they want, they’ll block me. I don’t care. I will do/like/say whatever I want on my own timeline; I won’t trash what you like, although I may say it doesn’t work for me if you’re inviting discussion. If you into something I’m not, providing it doesn’t hurt anyone else, I’ll just keep scrolling. It’s not my business.

But if you are inviting discussion, then don’t get mad when people have different opinions or experiences. There’s a way to disagree while being respectful and kind. Really, the stupid lately is off the charts.

I’ve barely been on Facebook for weeks, and, I have to say, I don’t miss it. I was offline almost all day again Sunday; when I checked the news, that’s when I found out about Stratford, so I kind of wish I’d stayed off all day!

I’ve let go of a bunch of people in my life lately, which was necessary. Last year, I did a lot of reconnecting and catching up. But I’m not doing all the heavy lifting any more. Hey, great, glad you’re doing well, and we can both continue on our separate journeys. I learned that the one I’d always looked upon as the “one that got away” was better off away; I learned that some people that were once important to me at a particular stage of my life are well and happy and creative where they are. That’s great for all of us. Want to connect further? Great Ball’s in your court now. I’ve opened the channel. What you do from here is up to you. But I’m no longer always going to be the kin-keeper, the organizer, the connector. Can’t make the time to stay in touch? Fine. Be well. I have people who actually do make time for me on whom I’ll spend my energy.

It’s official: I’m teaching a workshop on Character Closets: Wardrobe at a Character Development Tool at the NECRWA conference in April. You can learn more about it here and sign up here. I’m putting together a fun presentation, and I hope to reconnect with people from previous conferences and meet lots of new readers and writers! We’re finally allowed to promote our workshops!

I was heartbroken to learn that the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford burned down on Saturday night. That was such a huge part of my early theatre career, even though I never had the chance to work there. But I attended Shakespeare performances again and again and again, to learn. Christopher Walken as Hotspur, and, later as Hamlet, among other experiences. It was a beautiful, wonderful place.

The official line is that it’s devastating to the community, but I’ve heard rumors about the town wanting to demolish it or sell it to developers for years, so I’m suspicious about the cause. It’s just a little too convenient.

I was sick as could be on Sunday. I bundled up and read — worked on the book for review, read a book lent by a friend, and did research on the Algonquin Round Table for another project. That way, at least I didn’t feel like I’d lost a whole day.

Back to writing first thing Monday, which at least got my week off to a decent start. I’m so far behind where I want to be.

Had a great conversation with the director and the producer of the radio play – who totally backed me in what I felt were sexist notes. The director also asked that I put back a character the previous set of notes had asked me to cut. Easy fix.

Client work, and a quick trip to the library; then I had to skip meditation, because I was still coughing. I’m losing my voice, so I’m not going to be able to test the monologue on Wednesday, either. That’s frustrating.

But this desperation for rest that I’ve had for weeks has now manifested into illness to force me to rest. Only I can’t afford to let any of my deadlines slide right now.

Client work again today, and then rest. There are also still decorations to put away.

 

Thurs. Nov. 29, 2018: Sick, but Writing

Thursday, November 29, 2018
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I’m still sick, at least as far as coughing and exhaustion goes.

I cancelled out of the networking event this morning, because I’m in no shape to make a good impression.

Work with the client yesterday was fine, and then I came home, exhausted.

I wrote 7 pages in longhand on INNATE POWER, a new fantasy novel that tugs at me (I wrote the outline on Monday, I believe, while I was home sick).

Today’s plans are to write a few pages on INNATE POWER, at least a chapter on the latest draft of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, at least once scene on the anti-gun violence play, a few blog posts, and some LOIs.

I need to get back to decorating, too. The boxes are stacked all over the place; they need to be emptied and the contents put where they need to go.

This weekend, I plan to dig into the writing, the decorating, and write the overseas holiday cards.

As soon as I’m not sick, I’ll start the holiday baking, because baking when I’m sick would be eww.

Navigating a new friendship with someone very different from me, and we have to learn to communicate on the same plane. On some levels, we understand each other very well; on others, not at all. Mercury in retrograde doesn’t help, either. Patience and caution are key. This person is serving as a muse on several projects, and that gets tricky. Some people like it; some feel used. But the truth is, if you know me on any level, you will be absorbed into the work somehow.

Working on my GDRS for next year, and looking at my list for this month and next month. I wish I didn’t feel such an overwhelming exhaustion, which is worsened by the administrative corruption in DC.

But the next few days are about the writing, so it’s back to the page.

And planning some holiday marketing campaigns!

 

Published in: on November 29, 2018 at 9:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 29, 2018: Sick, but Writing  
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Wed. Oct. 3, 2018: Work and Hacked!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas on post-network interactions.

I’m working on the 2019 questions for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. This one is a bit different. It uses more visuals, along with the words. I hope to have it up by next week some time.

Had a great dinner with my friend on Monday night. We met at Stir Crazy, the Cambodian restaurant in Bourne. In spite of the weather turning awful, it was a fun night. We realized we hadn’t gotten together in person for about a year. Too long! But our schedules just never coincided.

Yesterday, another day of nasty weather, I got some client work done on site, worked polishing calendar articles, worked on my speech, worked on a proposal that has to go out in a couple of weeks, worked on RELICS revisions, worked on DHARMA.

The big problem is site hacking on several of the email addresses connected to the website. Complete with threats to “expose my secret life” and what kind of porn I’m watching. Now, first of all, I don’t watch porn. It’s boring and badly filmed, so why bother. Second, I don’t have a secret life. But the emails threaten extortion. So, I forwarded everything to the proper authorities, and my web host is trying to help me. Added filters, changed passwords, the works.

I bet that 1&1, who still holds the registration (since I haven’t been able to wrest them away to Name Silo yet) sold my information to the hackers. After all, the last time I had a problem with phishing and hacking and contacted them, they basically tried some extortion of their own. I can’t wait until I’m free of them.

So, if you get anything from hexbreaker@devonellingtonwork.com or devon@devonellingtonwork.com — DON’T OPEN IT!!!

The Devon address is a big deal, because I do so much of my business with it. I’ve taken the contact forms off the Jain Lazarus Site (since the books aren’t coming out until next year, it won’t be a problem. But the Devon address is a problem. So we’re dealing with it.

Frustrating, and it shouldn’t be necessary.

It’s not like I’m important enough to be hacked! 😉

I’m in discussions with my publisher and editor about changing the release schedule for the Coventina Circle books in general. At this point, two books a year puts me under too much pressure. I don’t feel like I have the time in the schedule to really step back and then dig into the edits the way I like. Yes, I can write them quickly. But the revision process is compressed to a scale that makes me uncomfortable. I need more breathing room for revisions. So that’s under discussion.

If I wasn’t juggling several other series, projects, plays, radio plays, scripts, and client work, I could probably do it. But I’m not in my twenties anymore, and while I can often put in twelve hour days, I can no longer put in sixteen hour days. Nor do I want to. So that’s one of the adjustments I want for next year.

I’m hoping to get a lot of work done today, both for my client and for myself. And then, weather-permitting, I need to do a lot of yard work in the next few days.

Onward.

Tues. Oct. 2, 2018: Autumn Means Busy (in the right way)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto DIRECT (as of Sunday)
Uranus Retrograde

We’re already into October. Wow, this year is going quickly.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see my list for October.

The end of last week was a travesty for anyone who values human rights or justice. I have a distinct feeling it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

It was difficult to get anything done (especially with a raging migraine).

I caught up on most of my follow-up, from the Coffee Chat and from the breakfast and all the way back to the Provincetown Book Festival. I still have a few more notes to write, but I’m getting there. Follow-up and thank-yous are so important.

To my delight, I’m getting together for further interaction/meetings/hanging out/networking with half of the group I met last week, so far.

I’m debating whether or not to pitch a workshop for a couple of spring conferences, but I’m waiting to hear on some other schedule things before I do. That might mean I miss the deadline, but if I do, that’s the way it goes.

Friday night and most of Saturday was spent doing a major revision on RELICS & REQUIEM. Completing reframing the secondary plot line. So major, I wondered if we have to postpone the release, although my editor doesn’t think so. I’m feeling huge pressure, but so far, I seem to be coming through. I hope that remains the case.

Sunday, I focused on the calendar articles, polishing, revising, and getting them ready to go to my editor next week.

Got some more pieces polished Monday and today, so I feel pretty good about that.

Working on my speech for the human rights conference. There are several different elements I want to incorporate, and it has to build properly. So that’s what I’m working on.

Yesterday I spent time with one client on site, got some other work done elsewhere, and had dinner with a friend with whom I hadn’t spent time in awhile. Today, I’m on site for the bulk of the day with one client, and then other appointments. I was supposed to go to a non-profit meeting tonight, but I have to cancel, due to other work commitments.

Behind where I want to be on DAVY JONES, but I hope to get on track when we go into galleys for RELICS.

Some of the pressures I’ve been under (non-work-related) have eased a bit as of this weekend. So I’m hoping that I can regroup and dig back in.

To relieve pressure, I’ve been doing some work on THE REAPER’S RETREAT. Because, of course, when you have half a dozen deadlines looming, why not work on the project that has none!

But it’s a pressure-release valve, and then I can get back to the deadlined work!

 

Published in: on October 2, 2018 at 2:08 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 2, 2018: Autumn Means Busy (in the right way)  
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Friday, July 13, 2018: Wildlife Adventures and Proposal Writing

Friday, July 13, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I love Friday the 13th. It’s usually a good luck day for me.

It’s amazing how reader stats jump up if you title a post “Clown Semen.”

Feeling weary on many fronts. But, hey, deadlines and work that needs to get done.

Got out some LOIs yesterday, posted some copy, did some follow-up and scheduling. Didn’t get as much work done on RELICS or DHARMA as I needed to do, so have to make up for that today.

Mowed the terraced back area of the yard. Need to do the side front and no man’s land today. I like working with the push mower much better than the gas mower. Once the first long cut is done, it’s easier and the lawn looks better.

I still don’t like mowing, though.

I promised wildlife anecdotes, and therefore, you will have some. We don’t use chemicals in the yard and neighbors do; also, our yard is wilder and not as typically suburban as our neighbors’ yards. So the local wildlife hangs out here.

I haven’t seen much of the coyotes this year. Those of you who’ve known me for awhile remember a few years ago, when the coyote pair raised their pups in the yard. I saw a pair early in the season, but haven’t seen them (or any pups) since.

But we do have Bratty Bird, a nuthatch that comes on the deck and teases Tessa terribly. I think Bratty Bird’s wife made a nest in the hanging impatiens. It’s too high to see, but it looks like they built something in that pot. Bratty Bird bounces around, making demands on the deck, roaming around the tops of the chairs, laughing at us, complaining. Yesterday, I didn’t wash out the birdbath and put fresh water in fast enough to suit him (I change it every day to prevent standing water/mosquitos). Then, there’s a family of chipmunks living under a bush. The little ones chase each other along the terraced wall, and sometimes come up on the deck. Bratty Bird dive bombed them this morning. Then, there’s a family of bunnies living under the forsythia. They are really cute. They come out and munch on the dandelions.

It’s interesting to watch them do their thing.

Received my first Goddess Provisions box yesterday and it is wonderful. I’m having so much fun with the contents!

Worked on the international proposal for the play. I need to do some more work on it before it goes out today. I’ve been honing it this morning. I want to sound committed and focused. I keep cutting out qualifiers. I don’t want to sound egotistical, but I have to sound assertive and professional.

One of the radio play proposals can go out today, but I need to do some work on the other one.

Trying to finish reading a book that I don’t find tightly written and I don’t like the protagonist. I find her pretty stupid and lose patience with her every couple of pages. I’d put it down, but I like the puzzle aspect and the international locations. I’m also reading it to analyze WHY what doesn’t work for me doesn’t work and what I can learn from it.

It will be a pleasure to then re-read Ron MacLean’s HEADLONG this weekend, a book that excels in plot, character, and the beauty of the writing.

The weekend will be split between writing and yard work. Lots to do, and not a lot of time to get it done.

On Monday, I’ll have the mid-month check-in up at the GDR site, and, later in the week, the mid-year evaluation.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on July 13, 2018 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Friday, July 13, 2018: Wildlife Adventures and Proposal Writing  
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Thurs. June 28, 2018: Creativity Must Win

Thursday, June 28, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Rainy and humid

I went to the savasana/sukasana/reiki session Tuesday night, and it removed my migraine. First time it’s happened that way. We used the chakras to drain the pain. Interesting technique. Hard to verbalize, because it was so experiential. But it worked, and that’s what matters.

Worried that putting a between-the-books novella in the Gwen Finnegan series between BALTHAZAAR and SANDOVAHL will dilute the power of what’s happened between those two books and take away from the opening of SANDOVAHL. Is it more interesting to have them working on separate teams toward the same goal when they are tight as a couple, or when they are having problems? Each introduces a different dynamic. I don’t know which is more effective. A friend who’s a fan of the series says she would like to see one of each, to see the contrast in how they deal with each other.

This is where discussions with one’s editor are so important. There are always editors who shrug and say, “whatever you think is best” and then there are those who point out how the different dynamics affect the overall series.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION is up for pre-order on several channels. The link is here. It won’t be available on Amazon until several days after its release, because that’s what they do with some distribution. Since Amazon is not the publisher, but the distributor, they can make certain arbitrary decisions on how they will distribute from particular publishers. I don’t really care — the universal buy link gives the reader the choice of channel, and waiting a few days is no big deal. Yes, it affects pre-sales (because Amazon won’t allow them via this publisher), but I would rather be with my publisher and distributed via Amazon than be published by Amazon. I don’t like Amazon’s author contract. I’m fine with this compromise.

Pushing through a tough part of RELICS. Mentally, I’m several chapters ahead, but I have to get there. I also have to make some decisions on timeline. because arbitrary days of the week are not working for this.

Working on calendar articles. It’s slower than I expected, because I’m testing what I write about, to make sure it works. But the testing process is fun. Kind of like recipe development.

On Wednesday, one of my clients treated us all to lunch at the local Beach Club, an old-fashioned establishment on the water, which was nice, and then took us to her house to walk around the garden and show us her unique house, that was a labor of love. It’s a gorgeous place, curated with well-loved objects from a lifetime of travel. It was lovely, and very kind of her to share it with us.

I came home and worked on the front beds. They’d gotten kind of wild, and I had to weed and cut back a lot of invasives. An ongoing process.

I will be offline most of tomorrow (no blog post). I’m having adventures. Saturday are the protests against the government’s human rights violations. Sunday, I’ve got a couple of other things to do (including write and work in the garden).

Needless to say, I’m furious that Justice Kennedy is retiring. Another instance of a Republican putting party over country. In the interim, he is determined to do as much damage as possible. Traitor.

Next week is Independence Day. I’ll be offline that day, taking a break (and, of course, writing). Ink-Dipped Advice will also take a break. I considered scheduling an informational post, but taking breaks is just as important as getting people in the habit of a weekly visit. So it is a celebration post.

The June wrap-up with go live on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions tomorrow, and the July To Do List will go live on the same site on Monday.

Have a great weekend.!

Fri. June 14, 2018: Cover Reveal & Writing Plans

 

MYTH&INTERPRETATION Cover

Myth & Interpretation

Stuck in NYC when plans for their next expedition fall through, Gwen and Justin accept teaching jobs at different local universities. Adjusting to their day-to-day  relationship, and juggling the academic and emotional demands of their students, they are embroiled in two different, disturbing, paranormal situations that have more than one unusual crossing point. Can they work together to find the answers? Or are new temptations too much to resist? For whom are they willing to put their lives on the line?

Friday, June 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Above is the cover for MYTH & INTERPRETATION, the between-the-books Gwen Finnegan novella, releasing digitally on July 17, from Bluestockings and Gentlemen Press.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the mid-month check-in. I can’t believe we’re already in June. Pretty soon, it will be time for the mid-year assessment!

Feeling a little under the weather today.

Worked on articles yesterday, got out some LOIs, on the revisions of MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’d hoped to get it to my editor today, but it looks like I need the weekend to work out some problems. But that means going into galleys early next week, which will still be fine. I’m finally getting used to the fact that digital releases work on a faster scale than print. When we move to the print releases, we’ll be back at molasses, which is why they are staggered so differently.

I’m a little behind on RELICS & REQUIEM, and don’t want to lose momentum. RELICS will have the main drafting focus up through the end of next week; the following week, I will be in writing mode for both RELICS and DAVY JONES DHARMA.

The publisher is waiting for one more piece of information before making the Jain Lazarus announcement. The wait is to accommodate someone I want to include –who hasn’t gotten back to me yet, and the publisher is getting impatient. Now, this individual might be on vacation – it’s someone trustworthy. But, if we don’t hear back, one way or another, SOON, the publisher will need to move on.

I planned to do yard work today, but it’s not very nice out. Plus, I’m not feeling well. So we’ll see.

An organization I used to work with sent a condescending email on how I could “help” them, acting as if I’d never shared a post or posted a Tweet. It was demeaning, considering how much of my business is in social media. I need to let it go, but I’m angry.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and all is well, at least for the moment. So all was well.

The weekend will focus on MYTH, RELICS, the play, and maybe a little work on either THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS or POWER OF WORDS.

Good times!

Monday’s post for Upbeat Authors is a very personal essay on my journey.

I hope you’ll read it.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on June 15, 2018 at 9:05 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 14, 2018: Cover Reveal & Writing Plans  
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Thursday, May 31: Multi-Level Creativity

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy and muggy and full of pollen

Sorry this is up late. I had to get the weed whacker fixed.

Hop on over to Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions to see the May Wrap-Up. I didn’t post a To-Do list for May, because I had those extra projects come up, and any list would have been tossed out the window. But I’m happy with what got done.

Yesterday’s work with the client was tiring. I came home and read on the deck for a bit. I was also disappointed, at that particular site, about several ignorant comments from people who should know better.

I was going to skip going to Green Drinks, but I have to make an effort to get out and participate more. I put on make-up, I made an effort, and hauled myself out the door. I’m glad I did.

The space was beautiful, and focused on the Love Live Local businesses in Hyannis. Little Beach Gallery, Shift Eco Boutique, and DeVinto Designs. I really like what they do, what they create themselves, and the artwork featured. I met a host of interesting people, including a cadre of New Yorkers who also live and work here. Almost everyone I met is involved in textile or fiber arts, which was also interesting. As an ex-wardrobe person, I’m still fascinated by anything to do with textiles or fiber. I also met the new owner of Salt Yarn Studio, in Dennis. What used to be Yarn Hound, and, before that, Ladybug. I planned to go there tomorrow anyway to check it out; we had a great talk and I’m more eager than ever to go over there.

I’m glad I forced myself out of my introvert hut. The individuals I met were all interesting, all had good stories and unique passions. I’m not a fan of “people” in the general sense, but I find that, when you take the time to talk to an individual, they’re usually pretty interesting.

Little Beach Gallery had some great organic soaps, so I bought a bunch of them.

I feel good about the work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’m deeply grateful that I could send the outline for the novella to my editor before I’d written much (back when we decided that the section that’s grown into MYTH didn’t fit in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE). We decided to break that section out into its own novella, because it was a tangent from BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, but the readers needed to know how the relationship between Gwen and Justin evolved between TRACKING MEDUSA and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

So, I wrote an outline and sent it to my editor. She read it through and sent it back with comments, and ideas on how to keep it from sprawling into too much. She had suggestions on how to pare down the ideas to get to the essence of the piece, which keeps the focus of the series, and also shows how Gwen and Justin navigate their new status as a couple, while trying to juggle their lives. Each of them had a life before the other; their relationship changed their lives, but didn’t negate them. Gwen is older than Justin both emotionally and chronologically — he’s starting to come into his own and grow up.

The short conclusion to all this is that listening to my editor worked. Even from the outline, I’m paring a few things down, rearranging them, streamlining them, and the piece works better in pace and content. I’m going to do a big push on it this weekend.

I’m a little behind where I want to be on RELICS & REQUIEM, so I’m also going to do a push on that this weekend. And I’m nearly at the point where I can put the opening of the anti-gun violence play down on paper.

My reward for this is, once I finish my quota each day, working on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I picked up the oversized sketchbook yesterday, so I can work on the maps I need for the project. I’m using the smaller sketchbook for floor plans and buildings, and the large one for sections of the city and the city itself. Eventually, I’ll be able to scan in the large maps and I hope to put them into a program to animate them when I’m ready to do the website to go with this project. That’s months down the road, maybe a year or two, but I’m looking into software that’s similar to gaming software for it.

Auditing the class on International Tribunals in the Hague is fascinating. I’m glad I’m auditing and not taking it for credit, because it’s in French. While I can understand enough to get a lot out of the class (as long as I don’t try to translate every word as I hear it), my French isn’t strong enough to write the papers or take the exams. But I get a lot out of auditing.

Hopefully, there will be some good weather this weekend, so I can get yard work done.

If you haven’t read “My Deal with the Muse” over on Ink-Dipped Advice, go on over.

Today is the final day that PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle book (set backstage on a Broadway show) is 99 cents. You can buy it here. Tomorrow, it goes back up to its normal price of $3.99.

Still hearing good things in response to LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, the radio play that was broadcast last week. HEX BREAKER also got some good compliments. I’m glad people enjoy the work.

Back to the page.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States — or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP? Buy it for only 99 cents here (through May 31).