Fri. July 6, 2018: Ongoing Artists Retreat

Friday, July 06, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I wish this darned storm would just break so we’d get some relief.

Impromptu artists’ colony continues. It’s great, I’m getting so much inspiration and things worked out on different projects. But I am behind on word count for both RELICS and DHARMA. I’m hoping that all this brainstorming and refilling the creative well will then catapult me ahead so it goes more smoothly.

Some guests were supposed to leave this afternoon, but if the weather is bad, they might leave tomorrow. The rest will leave tomorrow, heading up to their rental in Maine.

It’s one of those situations where so much is percolating that I have to figure it out for myself, before I can talk about it publicly. Some wonderful new ideas and possibilities and solutions are opening. I need to mull them over for myself first, before any sort of public brainstorming.

Next week will be stressful on site with clients, and, hopefully, I’ll catch up with the wordcount on the two books.

I needed this creative interlude, even though it puts me behind on word count. It’s also nice to talk to artists working in different disciplines,  to see new ways to looking at the world. A sculptor sees things differently than a writer than an actor than a filmmaker. There are points of intersection, but the individual lens is different. It’s so interesting!

In breaks between creating and discussion creating, I’ve been reading. I’m reading Donna Andrews’s series featuring her protagonist Meg Langslow, which are fun. There are some things that hit me the wrong way, when the author has her characters patronize the theatre profession, but, for the most part, I enjoy them.

Tried to read another book that came highly recommended, but . . .it was in present tense. I find novels written in present tense unreadable. I don’t care how famous or revered the author. I can’t stand them. I was so frustrated by page three that I stopped. Read half of another book by an author whose name I’d heard, but whose work I hadn’t read – put that down, too. The author and her protagonist were parading as “quirky” and “liberal” –while in reality, promoting racist, misogynistic views pretending to be wrapped in tolerance. Her protagonist was a nasty piece of work and not very nice – not someone I want to spend a mystery series with. Tried to read a book by a very well-known author who tried something in a new direction. Some of her other books have worked for me, some have not, as happens with a prolific author who tries new things. This didn’t do it for me – I read about three chapters, and that was it. At the same time, I applaud her for not allowing herself to be boxed in by what she’s done before.

So I haven’t had much luck on the reading front. But I just got my hands on two novels by a novelist whose newest book blew me away, so here’s hoping.

Back to my guests, to creating, to the page. I’m hoping the storm will be gone by the time I’m supposed to go to a friend’s art gallery reception tonight.

 

Advertisements
Published in: on July 6, 2018 at 8:48 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Thurs. April 19, 2018: Roller Coaster Day

Thursday, April 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

What is it now? The 107th day of January? Sure feels like it!

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for an update.

Yesterday was a roller coaster that nearly broke me.

I had guests, more than expected, up for a funeral. Tuesday night, I cooked and baked. They arrived at night. I fed them and listened to them talk. We were up until the wee hours. Mostly, I listened and offered sanctuary. That was my role.

Helped them get ready the next morning. And discovered that 1&1.com destroyed all seven of the websites I’d built on the new host. All gone. Supposedly as part of the “holding package” they forced me into, although when I asked them BEFORE MOVING the DNS to A2, and NOTHING was mentioned about needing to have a “holding package” in order to retain the registrations that are paid through until October of this year.

I was furious. 1&1 shrugged and said all I had to do was re-point the DNS. Of course, I could sign in to the 1&1 Control Panel, but the only option was to “re-join” their package. There was no way to re-point the domain. That screen wouldn’t come up, and every other click put me into an endless loop. Finally, someone at 1&1 did the re-point and the sites came back up. They should have never gone down in the first place. But 1&1 did it because they could, and they like to fuck with their customers and do whatever they can to make life hell and prevent their customers from actually receiving services for which they paid.

THEN — 1&1 made an unauthorized withdrawal from my bank account. I was told — in writing — that the fee for this “holding package” would be waived, and I would not be charged until April of 2019. But then, they pull a payment WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION from my bank account. Not to mention that I warned my bank back in March that I was afraid they would pull this kind of a stunt, but I could not delete my card from their information until the registration transfer was complete. But, you know, TD Bank — if you’ve ever dealt with a vendor, as long as it’s not a prince from Nigeria, they’ll let anyone at any time remove any amount from your account. Their position is that you have to fight it out with the vendor. They won’t credit it or put a hold on the amount until it’s investigated. Too bad for you. They just keep racking up fees against you.

I told 1&1 they had to reverse the payment. 1&1 said it wasn’t a “real” payment, but an “RVK” and wouldn’t actually go through. TD Bank shows it as a debit, and, in fact, now says I’m overdrawn and is adding overdraft fees. 1&1 says there’s “nothing they can do” and they’ve refused to reverse the charge or give me a credit.

Not only that, but now they want to hold the transfer hostage for another 60 days (the original 60 days that would have allowed the move would be up in early May). How much more money will they extort from me with the threat of again destroying my sites and making it impossible for me to promote my books or earn a living?

So I have to file a boatload of paper work with Attorneys General, with my Senators, and probably go fill out a police report so that TD Bank will take this seriously.

I talked to Name Silo, to whom I plan to move the registration, and they told me it was par for the course with 1&1. They also said that the DNS should never have been touched, even if the names of the domains were moved into another package, and told me that, once I wrench the domain registrations away from them and get them to Name Silo, there isn’t any need to re-point DNS; it should remain the same. Intellectually, I knew that; it’s yet again, 1&1 doing whatever they can to hurt me and get more money out of me.

At four a.m. this morning, they sent me another invoice and are going to make another pull from my bank for monies to which they have no right. AFTER telling me IN WRITING none of this would cost me anything until April 2019.

So, now I also have to file more paperwork with ICANN.

I’m also not happy with A2 Hosting’s position, which is that it’s not their problem and there’s nothing they can do. I’m paying them to host my sites. I expect them to keep those sites secure and not let any random individual re-point a DNS without permission.

This will be hours and hours of putting together documentation that I need to spend writing. I am furious.

I finished up a couple of ads for one of my clients yesterday — things are moving along nicely there.

I got more work done on the outline for the serial. I hope to finish it today, distill it down into a synopsis, and send it off with the sample pages by tomorrow.

The good news is that I participated in the Carina Pitch event on Twitter. I’d polished and honed the pitch for NOT BY THE BOOK for hours on Tuesday afternoon. As a “what the hell” later that day, I polished a pitch for HEART THEFT as well. This particular round of pitching is open to partials as well as full manuscripts, so I was clear. Both NOT BY THE BOOK and HEART THEFT were developed with an eye to the Harlequin lines.

I pitched both on Twitter early in the morning. Almost immediately, one of the editors expressed interest in HEART THEFT. She sent me information to her personal submission link and the rest of the guidelines.

I re-pitched NOT BY THE BOOK in the early afternoon (you can pitch each project twice). A few minutes later, I heard from another editor, who liked that pitch, and asked for more. She sent me HER personal submission link and the guidelines.

So I have until May 28 to submit both.

I have four polished chapters of each book done and my writer’s rough outline. I plan to write six more of each in the interim, and polish them, and distill my writer’s rough into a polished synopsis. The cover letter will be a little different than I usually write, since it’s a partial, but that’s okay. I want to get them both in before May 28.

This is a great opportunity and I’m excited.

Of course, I still have SPIRIT REPOSITORY in galleys, and I have to keep MYTH & INTERPRETATION, RELICS & REQUIEM, and DAVY JONES DHARMA on track. AND keep up with client projects. AND keep landing new clients.

I will have to be focused and disciplined over the next few weeks.

In other words, the fraud and extortion practiced by 1&1 and the shrugging off about the unauthorized transactions by TD Bank need to be stopped by the appropriate authorities.

I have a life to live, and I’m tired of companies like 1&1 and TD Bank preying on people because those people don’t have infinite amounts of money to spend and actually notice when there are unauthorized transactions, and that it matters.

I have sixteen pages of copyediting notes to put in to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I am mortified that I missed so many things in the manuscript I turned in; I am grateful for the opportunity to fix them with my copyeditor before the book is published!

Onward.

Wed. April 18, 2018: Schedules, Decisions, and Unexpected Guests

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for today’s post, “Fake Pitches that Alienate” to see how I answer that question.

The weather really got me down on Monday. I got a bunch of niggily admin stuff done for one of my clients, but I had trouble focusing. Yesterday, it was creating a couple of new ads for a client, and helping sort a big shipment that came in that has to be broken down into orders and go out.

I started putting together a slideshow of my books that I’m going to add to the Devon Ellington Work site. That will take a bit of doing, but I think it will be worth it. If I like it, I can do one for the Delectable Digital Delights page, too.

I’m getting an awful lot of spam through my contact forms. I’m glad it’s through the form, and not through the actual address. Many of them are scams. At least one of them threatened the registration of one of my sites.

I left 1&1.com’s hosting platform because it didn’t work for what I do, their customer service is non-existent, their techs are idiots without basic reading comprehension or problem-solving ability, and they try to extort additional fees for basics like posting jpgs on the site.

Unfortunately, I could not move my registrations at the same time as I moved the sites themselves. Because they did not update the contact information I provided, I have to wait 60-90 days before moving my registrations to Name Silo. My registrations are paid through October, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

But, when I forwarded the threatening scam email so they’d know what was going on and so they would DO THEIR JOB AND DEAL WITH IT, all I got back was a mis-spelled, poorly written email saying that the domain was no longer on their host.

Yeah, moron, I KNOW THAT. I MOVED IT BECAUSE YOU ARE EXTORTING IDIOTS.

But my registration is still stuck with them. I PAID THEM. It is THEIR JOB to deal with threats to the registration.

In fact, the accounting department was very specific about the fact I still have an account and a customer number, even though I cancelled my plan and moved the sites.

But those idiots keep coming back with improperly structured sentences about how my plan is cancelled.

In other words, 1&1.com and their incompetence are still making my life hell. It took more than a dozen emails to get it bumped up the food chain until there was someone who knew the difference between hosting a domain and registering a domain.

I look forward to moving the registrations as soon as I can. Hopefully, they won’t have allowed someone else to seize the domains and hold them hostage.

Echoes of Mercury Retrograde, still being frustrating. Pile on the Jupiter and Saturn retrogrades, and the upcoming Pluto Retrograde, and I am not a happy camper.

On the positive side, I’m working through contest entries.

I also did a first pass on the galleys for SPIRIT REPOSITORY. It never ceases to mortify me when it comes back in copyedits and I see all those things I should have caught and didn’t. Thank goodness for my copyeditor! In my own defense, some of the errors I remember changing, and it annoys me that the “saves” didn’t hold.

Anyway, I hope to get the galleys back to Cady either late today or first thing tomorrow, and I’ll probably have my next set to read over the weekend.

The page is up for the third Coventina Circle book, RELICS & REQUIEM, with its blurb. Cover will be revealed in autumn, and it releases in October.

Working on the media kit for SPIRIT REPOSITORY and some ads for SPIRIT REPOSITORY and the Jain Lazarus Adventures.

Working steadily on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I love being back with Gwen and Justin.

Working steadily on the outline for the serial, while moving ahead with several more chapters. If it gets picked up as a serial, I’ll have some material to hand over right away, working with the developer, and I won’t be scrambling. I also have plans for a cool website with maps and background material and micro-fiction on supporting characters who can’t get enough time in the main arcs.

If the serial isn’t picked up, I have the basis of a solid novel, tweaking it back from serial format and pace, and the website will still happen.

Getting excited about RELICS & REQUIEM again, too.

Having a discussion about some shorter tie-in novellas or novelettes with the stories that serve as catalysts in the Coventina Circle series. These would not be paranormal romantic suspense. These would be historical fiction. I would do one about the woman who fell down the stairs and broke her neck, becoming one of the ghosts at the Candasco Theatre, mentioned in Playing the Angles. I could do one about the time Mathias Hendrik’s nephew Pieter goes missing, mentioned in Spirit Repository; the story of Klaus Hendrik, taken prisoner during the Battle of Fort Washington and put on the horrible prison ship in Brooklyn, mentioned in the same book; the tale of Hugh Gwydion Llewellyn and his passion for the medium Natasha Levelle (born Deborah Brown) in Victorian New York, also mentioned in the same book.

Again, carving out the time to re-visit the research with it being the foundation for those tales themselves, and putting them in the appropriate genre will be a challenge. As will marketing them to make it clear that the seeds are planted in the paranormal romantic suspense books, but they’re historical fiction instead. I don’t want readers to feel mis-led, so the website and copy has to be clear.

These stories within the stories are interesting, but if I fully explored them, I’d go off tangent on the Coventina Circle books. Yet they deserve their own time.

At the same time, I’m on a brutal contract schedule this year, and, because I hesitate to put all my eggs in a single publishing basket, I’m also trying to finish and get a few other submissions out the door.

I’ll make notes, gather research sources, maybe even do a reader survey. Then, when we meet this spring for another career re-evaluation and decide what to tweak for the next year, we’ll see if it makes sense to weave these shorter, more straightforward historical pieces in or not.

That decision will be influenced by whether or not the serial gets picked up. If it does, the novellas need to be put on hold until the serial is running, the website’s up, and there’s a good portion of micro-fiction up.

This year alone, I have THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY (Coventina Circle #2), MYTH AND INTERPRETATION (Gwen Finnegan #1.5), RELICS & REQUIEM (Coventina Circle #3), and DAVY JONES DHARMA (Nautical Namaste #2) releasing, with THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (Gwen Finnegan #2) out in January of next year. That’s a brutal schedule.

I don’t want to burn out. Did that, a few years back. Don’t want to get there again.

The serial novel that’s under the working title of POWER OF WORDS, DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, SONGBOUND SISTERS, NOT BY THE BOOK, HEART THEFT, and FIX-IT GIRL all need attention, too.

it’s a lot of juggling, especially with the marketing writing that keeps us all afloat.

Plus, I’m pitching in the Carina Pitch fest over on Twitter today. Either they’ll like it or they won’t. I’ll make my decision from there.

So decisions will have to be made on long-term goals, sales numbers, and life-of-series viability. There’s just not the budget to do five and six figure advertising campaigns. Which means a quieter, but steady long-term strategy.

Stay tuned — I’m as interested to learn the results as anyone else (and have more invested, on many levels).

Had a houseful of people last night who came in from out of town for the wake and the funeral of their colleague. A couple of them I knew from my research days; they brought new colleagues. I cooked a lot of food, they brought a bunch of beer when they came back from the wake. I didn’t talk much, just listened. I hadn’t gone to the wake, although I stood to line the procession as my way to pay my respects. I listened to a lot of stories, a lot of pain, a lot of laughter. This morning, they attend the funeral and then head back.

 

Published in: on April 18, 2018 at 2:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 18, 2018: Schedules, Decisions, and Unexpected Guests  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. May 13, 2016: Preparing for Guests

Friday, May 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was busy. As soon as I finished cataloging/processing one batch, another box arrived! But we’ve got some great stuff going out, so it’s all good.

Baked spice cupcakes for Saturday’s program, lemon cupcakes for our guests, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for Saturday’s program, and made potato salad for the guests. Finished straightening up my room this morning, changed the beds, rearranged some things on the deck, frosted all the cupcakes.

I have to stop at the liquor store on the way home, and then it’s entertaining all weekend, plus the program here at the library tomorrow. I didn’t get a chance to work on any writing or revisions this morning, which has put me off my game a bit. I’m eager to get back to the revisions on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, finish them next week, and then let it sit for another couple of weeks, before doing the third round of revisions and getting the submission packets ready.

SONGBOUND SISTERS has been woefully neglected the past few weeks, so I have to dig back into that, and I have to finish “Just a Drop.” I need isolation to work on the play. I have most of it figured out in my head, but now I have to translate it onto the page. It’s turning out to be a bigger play than I expected, but I think it will pack a punch, if I handle it properly.

I’m in for a busy weekend, but I’m looking forward to it. And looking forward to getting some sleep next week!

Have a wonderful time!

Devon

Published in: on May 13, 2016 at 8:22 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Mon. July 9, 2012: Guest-Free & Geared For Insanity


Violet & Tessa get the bed back, once company leaves

Monday, July 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

All the guest are gone, which is good, since this week will be beyond insane. But that’s okay, I’m just going to deal with everything one piece at a time, and, somehow, it will all get done. It was great to have friends and family here, although having them converge unexpectedly at the same time, and both groups bring extra people I wasn’t expecting and didn’t know was a bit much. Everyone was nice and fairly easy-going, it was just a lot.

Friday was busy. Saturday, I just hated everybody. For no good reason, just everyone and everything worked my last nerve. Overtired, and tired of people who are lazy and incompetent making unreasonable demands. I don’t have time or tolerance, and I’m not going to waste my valuable time with them.

On the plus side, the weather is quite lovely, the garden is growing well (see the latest post on Gratitude and Growth), and I’m figuring out what I want to do next and what direction I want to take, career-wise. I’m getting rid of what no longer works, even if it’s scary to get rid of the known devil, and going after what I want.

I got the notebooks for the writers’ conference next month — yeah, it’s early, but fellow writers will nod and smile at the excitement of finding the right notebook for the job. Next month’s conference will be fun, and it will be nice to go hang out and not be responsible for anything except showing up and being a good student! 😉

The short story due last Friday, about a woman aviator in 1947, really wants to be a at least a novella, or maybe even a novel. I’m excited about the feedback on what I tried (even though it didn’t work as it stands), and looking forward to finding a way to slot it in and do more work on it.

Today is the last day “Town Crier” is available for download. Billy Root has a few things to say about it, and the upcoming story featuring him, “The Occasional Ghost”.

The Scene Meat workshop starts today — looking forward to it. But you can still sign up for the Series Bible seminar that runs on Saturday, and, if you’re on the Cape this weekend, for the Character and Situation Workshop over at Three Fish and A Ram.

Today, I’ve got to make arrangements for the yearly house inspection from the town, work on three articles, the ghostwriting project, deal with Nightmare Client, prepare for tomorrow’s jazz concert, do three chapters of revisions, deal with students, work on the edits for an anthology I’m collaborating on, polish “The Occasional Ghost”, deal with some more HEX BREAKER PR, and work on the deadlined novels.

NEWSROOM just gets better and better and better. How terrific that there’s a show on the air geared for intelligent people, instead of the reality-pay-them-for-being-their-worst-selves that dominates network television right now.

So, I better get going!

Have a great week, people!

Devon