Tues. Nov. 20, 2018: Writing, Reconstruction, Announcements

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend. I was lucky enough to focus on the writing.

I finished the 4th draft of HEART SNATCHER on Sunday morning, after spending part of Friday and most of Saturday on it. I wound up cutting seven chapters, doing a lot of tightening. It’s now back down within an acceptable range for genre, although I’d like it to be even leaner.

But I love Max and Valerie, and what they’re dealing with. The characters are well-developed, the plot moves.

I made some changes in the first third of HEART BINDER, the second book in the trilogy, and then went over the outline for books two and three, and made some changes to support the revisions in book 1.

I also found a place where I need to add a few words of description to an object that makes an appearance in Book 1 and then becomes vital to the plot in Books 2 &3.

I wrote another chapter on HEART BINDER on Sunday afternoon.

I’ll send HEART SNATCHER to my editor after the Thanksgiving holiday. I want it to marinate, so to speak, for a few days, and then I’ll do one more pass before I send it off. She liked the synopsis and sample chapters, and in the current climate of a toxic administration, it’s relevant.

Along with the discussions I’ve been having with editor and publisher, we are moving the release of DAVY JONES DHARMA into February, rather than December. I can’t get it into the shape I want by the end of this week. I need to tear it apart and reconstruct it. The contract schedule this year was just too tight for me.

From a marketing standpoint, it makes more sense to release a book set on a cruise ship in February, during the height of cruise season, so that all works.

THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE is on track, and retains its late January release date.

We may push back the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and the future of the Gambit Colony series is up in the air, as far as when it will release.

That’s all dependant, of course, if the publisher wants the Justice by Harpy trilogy. If not, we still have to rearrange some of the schedule, so that each book we release is the best I can make it, within the time frame, and the time frame is realistic so it doesn’t suck.

I’m also at that weird stage I hit with certain books, where I don’t like to be physically separated from the manuscript.

Got a few pages done on the suicidal veteran piece.

Friday night, there was an NBC news piece about teaching kids to triage each other in active school shootings. Right, because the adults refuse common sense gun legislation.

But that got me thinking about the anti-gun violence play. I wrote a new opening, and I have the notes for a new closing. They will echo each other, without boring repetition (if I do it properly). Instead of writing this play linearly, the way I usually do — start at the beginning, write it through, and then revise — I’m writing it from both ends to the middle. It’s a variation on a technique I learned in a playwrighting workshop I took with the National Theatre when one of my plays was done at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

I found out about the deadline to submit the application on the last day. I went to the Fringe office to apply. A scene had to accompany the application, so I sat down and wrote one. When I turned it in, they asked me to wait. A few minutes later, the instructor said, “You wrote this just now? It’s not part of something else?”

I said, “No. I can’t use anything from the piece that’s running, because it would hurt both processes.”

He looked at me and said, “You’re in.”

It’s one of the best classes I ever took in my life, and I still use what I learned.

Anyway, I rewrote the opening scene. I sent it off to my UK actor pal (the one who told me to get out of my own way in the reading). He’s one of the few who sees an early draft of anything; he’s both supportive and critical. I asked him what it needed. His reply: “To be on stage. Now.”

So I’m on the right track.

Yard work suffered this weekend, but too damn bad. I was so sick and tired of all the damn leaf blowers. It’s autumn in New England. Leaves fall down. The lawn doesn’t have to be immaculate every moment.

It was a Twitter pal’s birthday yesterday. I sent him good wishes; but, because I wasn’t close enough to buy him a drink in person, I went to a local bar where veterans hang out (he’s a veteran) and anonymously bought a round for a table of them in his honor. I left before the bartender could point me out. Because none of this is about me.

The rest of this week’s posts are placeholders and good wishes for the holidays. The next post with teeth in it is next Monday, the Upbeat Authors post wondering if authors can have friends, since everything is material.

Back to the page.

Advertisements

Thurs. Nov. 15, 2018: Passion, Creativity, and a Dark Night of the Soul

Thursday, November 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

 

It never ceases to amaze me how often people criticize others in order to feel more powerful themselves, or because they feel threatened by others’ talents.

That’s kind of the entire GOP platform at this point — dehumanize anyone they deem “different.” Only give basic human rights to those who do as they’re told.

Which is a conversation for another day, but an ongoing one we need to have here in the U.S.

Again, if you haven’t read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, do so now.

I’ve been called “difficult” often over the years because I walk my talk, I’m passionate about my work, and I’m ruthless about protecting my creative time. I’ve grown to embrace the “difficult” moniker because these are things I’m not willing to change about myself. The toll is too high. And, frankly, I’m old enough not to really give a damn what most people think.

I recently came across some old journals, as I’m cleaning out the basement. That younger me who was in so much pain with this man or that man in my life tried to demean or demoralize me for being creative and passionate, telling me I was “too much” or had to “tone it down.” Or the one who said I “didn’t give him enough to complain about” and he felt left out when his friends bitched about their wives and girlfriends.

They were all kicked to the curb, and it was the right decision. I stayed true to my core. Had I stayed with any of them, I would be miserable now.

Hell, I might not even be alive.

There have been some wonderful men in my life, even though we’ve chosen not to stay together forever. I tend to have long stretches of being single rather than going from relationship to relationship, because I learned the hard way that it’s lonelier to be with the wrong person that to be alone.

I’ve been told I’m not a “real” writer (even though that’s how I earn my living) because I write more than one thing, because I do marketing writing as well as novels and plays and radio drama, because I write in genre instead of “literary” fiction, because I’m not published by one of the Big Five, because I worked in theatre, because I worked in a library — it just goes on and on and on.

You know what? Go ahead and define me. I’ll just keep working and cash my checks.

Am I rich? No. But I’m building the life and career I want.

Am I famous? No, and with luck and careful strategy, I never will be. I spent many years working with actors and directors, many of them big names. I don’t want what comes with fame.

A little more financial security that buys me freedom? Yeah. I’ll take it. Fame? No. Let those who like it have it.

When I was nervous about reading at the festival in Provincetown this year, an actor friend in the UK (for whom I’ve written) asked, “Do you trust the work?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “Then get out of the way and let the work breathe. Trust the work.”

He was right, and it was a good experience. It’s also one of the reasons he’s getting to be a known name (and no, I’m not going to name drop here).

None of that created the dark night of the soul of this title.

As many of you know, it’s been a tough year for me. A year of loss. Deaths in the family, deaths of friends, of my elderly cat, health issues in the family, other pressures, a tight contract schedule, intense political activism (which has brought me into contact and sometimes friendship with people I might never have crossed paths with otherwise). I have had a lot of demands on me physically, emotionally, creatively.

There have also been plenty of friends, family members, colleagues, and others in my life who have needed my love and support, and to whom I gave and continue to give it willingly. They are not a burden. They are my heart.

In October, I received a disappointment that shook my confidence in my work. Had nothing to do with publication or production, and I’m not going into detail about it publicly. But it devastated me, and I’m still trying to recover and get my creative feet back under me. Intellectually, I should be able to shrug and move on; emotionally, it’s much more difficult.

Trying to create in this political atmosphere is, anyway, like swimming through molasses. Says the chick who never learned how to swim. But you get the idea.

It’s necessary, and yes, I do take the position that all art is political. Even art that claims not to be supports the status quo.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be light and entertaining and fun.

Chuck Wendig had a terrific thread on Twitter the other day about the importance of creating, of “making stuff” — both because we as artists need to do so, and the world needs it.

I re-read HEART SNATCHER, the draft of the ass-kicking novel I wrote several years ago. It’s filled with rage I felt as a woman at unchecked violence against women and people who can’t defend themselves. It’s urban fantasy, not “literary” and its protagonist is charged with fulfilling justice, especially when the law moves away from justice. The writing was praised, but I was told to tone it down, that “women’s rage makes readers uncomfortable.” I put it away, but I think its time has come.

I started Women Write Change to create a place where women can develop creative projects sparked by what’s going on in the world. That’s been a great help.

Also, ideas come in batches. I got ideas for several new short stories. I’m doing research and will write a play about gun violence and possible solutions. That was inspired by a conversation I had with an actress friend on Twitter, when we felt so angry and helpless after Stoneman Douglas. I started PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, a novel that also deals with gun violence (among other things) when I was so uncomfortable about a gun vendor being part of that awful shopping/liquor event I did with my client a few weeks back.

Veterans’ Day weekend brought a batch of new/old ideas and inspirations, growing out of conversations with vets I’ve worked with on various projects over the years, vets I’ve gotten to know on social media as we fight to save our country in our various ways, and my experience working/talking/caring over the years.

Mixed into that is the book on the tightest deadline just isn’t working. I can’t fill it with the effervescence it needs right now. Everything is forced. The darker piece due next is doing better, but this one, I’m struggling, and I feel like I’m failing — myself, my editor, my readers.

I’m looking at some huge, huge changes in my life in the coming year (and I’m sure there will be plenty of unplanned stuff). I’m trying to prepare for those on every level.

And I’m tired of being tired, angry, and sad all the time — again, that’s mostly due to the state of the country.

Tuesday going into Wednesday was pretty rocky for me, and Tuesday night was basically a Dark Night of the Soul. I’ve had these periodically, and some are darker than others. I’ve learned how to create a container of ritual for these now, which supports the experience and makes it a tool to get somewhere instead of a downward spiral into the abyss.

Once the emotion was burned away (and there was plenty of that), there was clarity. I won’t go so far as to say “peace” — but there was clarity on several things. I’m now taking steps to make some adjustments.

There was also a fresh surge of creative energy, which is always welcome, and when I make the adjustments I need to make, I will be able to shape it into something that might help someone else get through a bad day.

One of the comments that mattered most to me about my work came in a letter that arrived about a year after one of my plays was produced in Australia. The writer had come to the play at a particularly low point in her life. Low enough to consider suicide. She came to the play (which also touched on the topic), and it made her see things in a new way. It made her feel that she mattered and SHE could instigate her own changes. A year later, she had a job she liked, working her way to a job she loved; her own apartment; and was in the early stages of a relationship she felt was the first healthy one in a long time.

During that production in Australia, I hit a particularly low point, my own danger zone. I attended someone else’s production, which got me down another train of thought, and I would up staying up for a couple of days and writing a play about a suicidal woman stalked by a serial killer. Both want her dead, but who gets to control it? Which became one of my signature works.

When I hit a particularly bad patch, I remember that, and it helps get things into perspective.

I’m feeling like I have more perspective, and that I can make some positive decisions.

And please, please remember that you matter, your creativity matters, your contribution to the world matters.

Tues. Nov. 6, 2018: A Vital Election Day

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and mild
Election Day

This is the most important election of my lifetime. I’m worried. Worried, worried, worried.

Hop on over to the GDR site. I have the October wrap-up, November To-Do List, and the questions for 2019 up. The approach to the 2019 questions is different, hoping to create a different perspective on it, rather than running the same treadmill every year.

It was a busy weekend.

Had a lot of fun meeting a new colleague for coffee on Friday at Washashore Bakery in Mashpee. It was great to have a real, far-ranging conversation, and I hope we get to do it again.

The weekend’s work on DAVY JONES DHARMA was frustrating. I’m struggling, and I don’t have time to struggle, because I’m on deadline.

I worked on the revision of HEART SNATCHER, as part of the Women Write Change project. I restored the prologue. Fine, plenty of people don’t like prologues. In this case, the prologue works for the book. So I put it back in. Fixed it, but put it back in. Revised the first four chapters. The draft is tightening, which is a good thing. I’d cut a little too much before, and had to put some back, but I fixed and tightened it.

Did some work on the Gambit Colony website materials. As soon as BALTHAZAAR goes into galleys, I have to get the final drafts of those books ready to go to the editor.

The cover ideas we talked through for the Justice by Harpy trilogy are really cool. I’m excited to see the drafts.

Managed to get the outdoor decorations in before the bad weather, but it was Saturday before I got the indoor decorations down, everything packed away, and switched out the curtains. No more spiderweb curtains. We have the heavy winter drapes up in the living room. But, in my office, we hung the vintage 1940 green striped curtains that used to hang in the bedroom in Rye. They look good.

Damn neighbors spent most of the weekend leaf blowing. It was ridiculous on Saturday — it was raining and we had high winds. But heaven forbid the one dumbass at the top of the street not leafblow for at least an hour EVERY DAY. Granted, she does it so she can wander up and down the street spying on everyone.

And Sunday morning, the machines started before 9 AM. They should be banned on Sundays. Completely. And people should only be allowed to leaf blow for 20 minutes once a week.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s lovely. It’s such a great treat every month.

Drafting PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, the new novel dealing with gun violence and the opiod crisis, is going well. By Sunday lunchtime, I had 27 pages in longhand.

Read the book for review, and worked on the review, which went out yesterday.

The shooting at the yoga center in Tallahassee was upsetting. Both because it was a yoga studio, and because I lived in Tallahassee my first year of college. I need to somehow weave my response into PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.

Yesterday, worked with a client, did some grocery shopping, and then went to a meditation for peace at my yoga studio, which was their response to the shooting.

Voted early this morning. It’s always a good experience in this neck of the woods. The polling place was packed. I drove several people, and will drive some more from the neighborhood later this afternoon.

I’m invited to a party tonight to watch results. I’ll have to see if I feel like I can bear being around other people, or if I just want to hunker down at home.

Turned down a freelance gig because the way the client wants to work is so counter to the way I work that I’m not the right fit for her business. I can’t be productive or creative within her parameters; there are plenty who will.

Digging into DHARMA for a big push this week. I love the story, so it doesn’t make sense that I’m struggling. By next week, I have to start pushing again on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, too.

At the same time, I don’t want to lose momentum on HEART SNATCHER or PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.

I just have to dig deeper and get it all done.

But worry about tonight’s results makes everything else pale.

Onward.

Tues. Oct. 20, 2018: The Wrong Tired Early in the Week

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Day Before Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Busy, busy weekend.

The Global Human Rights conference was intense. Fortunately, I can catch up on sessions I missed over the next couple of weeks. So much material on so many levels. A lot that I can use as jumping off points for creative work.

By Saturday, I was worn out. I gave myself the second half of the day off. I went grocery shopping, did laundry, made parsnip-carrot-leek soup, roasted a chicken.

Read more than I wrote: LARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING by Donna Andrews, which had me laughing out loud. It’s nice to see how Andrews developed the community, and how the time and energy Meg has put into it is now being returned.

Also read SHELTER IN PLACE by Nora Roberts. This is one of her better books, in my opinion. Relevant and sad, dealing with the aftermath of a mass shooting, and how the survivors’ lives evolved. Not all of her books work for me, but this one did, on multiple levels. Well done.

Read a nonfiction book that came highly recommended, from other people and in reviews. Found it very disappointing. The narrator meandered around, being ungrateful for her opportunities and blowing them, and the “memoir” had very little point, other than making me not like or respect her very much. The constant tense shifts and second person gave me a headache. The framework of the piece made sense, but too much of the internal structure within that framework didn’t support the narrative, in my opinion.

Author Lauren Dane turned me on to the poetry of Warsan Shire. Wow. Just wow, on so many levels. One of the most powerful poets I’ve read in a long time.

I needed to take in work this weekend, rather than spewing it out.

But by Sunday, I was back on track with DAVY JONES DHARMA, and that draft is humming along nicely.

I also did another round of copyedits on RELICS. STILL finding errors that I know I changed. Still finding things that, when I changed, the “auto correct” on the machine changed back, and then I changed them again, and so forth and so on. It also angers me that the latest version of Word’s Grammar/Spellcheck doesn’t recognize “it’s” and always wants to change it to “its.”

I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A POSSESSIVE AND A CONTRACTION. STOP TRYING TO CHANGE IT TO THE ONE I DON’T WANT.

Yes, I am screaming.

Worked on site with a client, which had its challenges. This week and next will be difficult, with this particular client.

I have another round of copyedits to do on RELICS. This damn well better be the last one; we’re getting way too close to the release date, and it’s hurting the pre-orders.

But once this releases, I can get back into splitting my writing work between the latest draft of DAVY JONES DHARMA and the latest draft of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Although, because I’m so deep in RELICS right now, I want to slide right into GRAVE REACH.

Prepping for the next revision on HEART SNATCHER, which I will do during the Women Write Change project.

Gathering research for both the anti-gun violence play and the multi-media performance piece.

In despair about the corruption of the US government right now. Voters better turn out.

Trying to schedule a bunch of appointments, and it’s all chaos.

Tired, tired, tired.

 

Tues. Oct. 16, 2018: Creating and Other Busy Times

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Sorry I didn’t blog on Friday. I never even made it out of the house. We had bad storms, so I wasn’t online, and cancelled out of my appointments. I’m lucky I didn’t have to be out in that weather.

I stayed in and worked on the RELICS revision, and re-worked the first chapter of Coventina Circle #4, GRAVE REACH, which is Lesley’s story. It took 14 hours, but it was good work, and, when I finally could get online, it went out to my editor.

Now we’re in galleys. It’s a very tight turnaround, since the book releases this month, but the revision cycles we did for this make me feel good about the book. If we worked in print, it wouldn’t be possible to stay on this schedule.

Finished, polished, and sent the review I was working on. Worked on Friday’s speech.

Worked on the Women Write Change forum. We have a few new members. It’s going to take awhile to spread the word. And that’s okay. The point is to have a contained creative space with like-minded women, giving participating artists freedom to create.

One of my main email addresses on the fearlessink site was hacked, with the same threats. So now it’s about filing the paperwork, temporarily suspending the address, etc. I’m working with Submittable to merge my account under that address with my main personal email address, which is simpler.

This is on 1&1. They are punishing me for moving hosts by lowering security. They dragged their feet so I couldn’t move the domain registrations before they renewed, and now, until I can move over to Name Silo, I’m going to have these problems. They’re just awful. I will be glad when I’m disentangled them for good.

The weather was dreadful all weekend, except for Sunday, when I couldn’t work in the yard, so I didn’t get the yard work done. I’m trying to find a place to get a decent oil change around here. When did it become such a big deal to get a basic oil change? This area has really devolved in the past few years.

Client work yesterday was challenging, and I’m sure it will be today and tomorrow.

All I really want to do is finish the galleys, start the promotion for RELICS, and prep for Friday’s speech.

DAVY JONES DHARMA and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE are chugging along. I think DAVY JONES, in particular, will be lots of fun. BALTHAZAAR has a few surprises in store that will shake readers.

I keep making notes for GRAVE REACH, which is percolating nicely, too. I have a very basic outline for it, done when I outlined the series. It won’t come out until next October; two books a year from this series is too tight a schedule right now. I’m happy with the first chapter, though. It hits some good points.

Developing some ideas that I want to work on for Women Write Change, in addition to the revision on HEART SNATCHER and researching the anti-gun violence play. I’m not sure if it will be a series of short pieces, or feed into something bigger. They’re mostly to blow off steam and frustration, but, after that initial cathartic draft, maybe I’ll have something that can be shaped into a viable piece.

I’m also playing with what I hope will be a flash fiction about solitary confinement.

I’m reading a wonderful book by Mary Gabriel called NINTH STREET WOMEN, about five women painters whose work changed the art landscape. It’s relevant to Women Write Change.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 16, 2018 at 1:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 16, 2018: Creating and Other Busy Times  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Oct. 10, 2018: A Creative Place to Put the Rage

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest post!

Disheartening times. We no longer have a functioning democratic republic in this country. We need to stop talking about “civility” and the “high road.”

Don’t even get me started on Susan Collins. She needs to be removed far before 2020. The fact her husband is a lobbyist should disqualify her (and any candidate) from office.

Friday was a blur of grocery shopping and appointments and trying to get my act together and feeling awful. Finally got a quote from the mechanic — they want to charge me over $100 for an oil change — before adding in labor — for something that usually costs me $40? I don’t think so. And they “can’t” give me an estimate on the rest of the work? Did they sell the business to someone? Or do I need to find a new mechanic?

Shopping around for other quotes. I might have to get the work done piecemeal.

PetSmart Customer Disservice is a disgrace. Instead of addressing and solving the problem, they sent me a form letter and a coupon. No. That’s not what I wanted. I don’t want free stuff. I want them to stop slapping me in the face after being a customer for over 20 years. I have to ask Purina where else they distribute ProPlan. Not shopping at PetSmart anymore.

The ARC I won from Jenn McKinlay, HITTING THE BOOKS arrived, and I read it. It’s well-done. Yes, I figured it out, but I still enjoyed the journey, and the way the character relationships are growing.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, filled with great stuff. A nice treat.

It took most of the day to clean the oven and the stove, but it was worth it.

Was ill overnight on Friday, which meant I had to cancel out of plans on Saturday. Had to run a few errands. Baked a chive batter bread, which looks better than it tastes, sadly.

Saturday, I went to pick up a prescription for my mom. An old white man driving a Mercedes screamed at me in the CVS parking lot that he had the right of way (he didn’t), because “you’re only a woman.”

The Kavanaugh Effect has already started. White men emboldened to act on their misplaced senses of entitlement more than ever.

On the positive side, this new revision of RELICS & REQUIEM is going well. I’m fixing the problems. The book is much, much stronger now, and tearing out that secondary plot line allows the relationship between Amanda and Phineas to shine.

Unfortunately, that puts me even further behind on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Needing something to do with all this rage, I went back and re-read HEART SNATCHER, the first in the Justice By Harpy Trilogy, and what I’ve written in HEART BINDER, the second book.

There’s a lot of stuff in there that works. And the timing of the book is right. I stopped submitting the book a few years ago. The universal notes from agents and editors were that the writing was strong, but “women’s rage makes readers uncomfortable.”

You know what? Too fucking bad.

This book’s time has come.

I sent the latest draft (which still needs work) to my editor, to see what she says about it. Since we’re still trying to negotiate only doing one Coventina Circle a year, and scheduling the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures, maybe this is something they can use instead of two Coventina Circle Books. The whole trilogy is outlined, and i have a third of book 2 written. They would have to come out pretty close together to work, but it’s important that the first book ride the wave. It’s time is now, and if I hesitate, I’ll miss it.

I’ve been re-reading WOMEN ON THE CASE, a Sisters in Crime anthology edited by Sara Paretsky that came out in 1996. It’s eerily relevant (not to mention filled with gorgeous writing). It also makes me feel that Sisters in Crime has softened too much from its original purpose.

Barbara Ross wrote a piece on the need for cozy mysteries entertainment and escape during dark times on The Wickeds.  While I agree with it, and I think we need to write relevant work that writes our way to a better world, I think WOMEN ON THE CASE, and most of the early Sisters in Crime anthologies show it’s possible to do both.  Although, to give the cozy its due, the murderers are brought to justice. Which is something we’re not seeing enough of in the real world.

I mentioned on Twitter that, for this year’s Nano, we need a Women’s Rage/Women Write Change forum, dedicated to the politics of the day, the rage, and writing the change we want to see in the world. The Nanowrimo organization needs to stay neutral and completely inclusive. I respect that. But I need something different this year. So I will build it myself.

I’ve also been unhappy in the Nano forums the last couple of years. They used to be a big part of why I hung out on them. Interesting people from all over the world writing and getting to know each other. The last few years, though, any time I mentioned a published book or answered a question about publishing, the moderators scolded me for “self-promotion.” Which it wasn’t. It was using an example from something that actually got published. But I noticed the disdain so many moderators now have when published writers/working professionals actually participate.

The idea of #WomenWriteChange has gotten some positive feedback, so I’m going to put something together. Stay tuned.

Worked with a client yesterday, and will do so today. Yesterday with the client was exhausting on far too many levels. Ran around trying to get other quotes for the work that needs to happen on the car. It shouldn’t be this hard to get an oil change, for goodness’ sake. It never used to be.

RELICS needs to go into galleys by the end of the week, so I have to double down.

And I need to finish my speech for the human rights conference.

Onward.

 

Thurs. Oct. 4, 2018: Art & Rage

Thursday, October 4, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day with my client yesterday, but got some good work done. Will do an event with her in early November, which should be fun.

Stopped by a local newspaper to drop off some material from my client that will be used in the event. There was ONE person in the office. It truly was like a morgue. Disturbing, distressing, and frightening. But they shouldn’t be surprised that sales are down, when they’re outsourcing everything.

Home, too tired to do what I should have been doing.

However, I did write a proposal for a project (a multi-media performance piece) I’d like to develop in 2020. Yes, we look that far ahead. I’ve been playing with the ideas for bits and pieces for years now, but it wasn’t until I heard about this particular facility that it started coming together.

But it’s due soon. As in, I should send it today or tomorrow.

Writing the proposal nearly ripped my heart out, because the topic it covers is so relevant. I didn’t realize how passionate I am about the project until I dug into writing the proposal.

So I will do another edit/revision today, and hopefully get it out today or tomorrow.

The dilemma I have right now is not knowing which writing sample to include. They want 20 pages of a finished work. My best finished work is in a very different tone than this project. So I have to think about it.

Overslept, because I was woken in the night by rustling sounds. I don’t know if we have a critter inside, or if it was outside. Then, there was a weird, night-calling bird. Very creepy, all around.

So I’m having trouble getting my act together today. I have an appointment this morning, and then, I hope, yoga. And then, I have to finally put gas in the car and pick up milk, or I will be really sad!

In the shower this morning, I was thinking how frustrating the current situation is. How enraging. Then I remembered that I stopped submitting HEART SNATCHER because, although the writing was praised, the comments were, “Women’s rage makes readers uncomfortable.”

Well, those of us with brains, hearts, and ethics are enraged. Readers will have to deal. I will dust it off, do another revision on it, and start submitting. I was going to wait until I had the entire trilogy written, but it’s relevant NOW, so I better not miss the timing. It was ahead of its time before. Now, maybe, we can hit it properly.

I’m supposed to go to a spa open house this evening; I’ll see how I feel. I’d like to check them out.

Then, it’s polishing calendar articles, and back to the RELICS revisions and the DHARMA draft.

Published in: on October 4, 2018 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 4, 2018: Art & Rage  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on May 21, 2016 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. May 20, 2016: Getting Back into Writing Rhythm

Friday, May 20, 2016
Day before Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was fine, lots to do, and I wound up with a massive headache by the end of the day.

Lawn’s growing fast – I have to get mowing this weekend!

A call for submission landed on my desk, and I managed to get it out. Either it will be what they want, or it won’t, but at least the piece is out there, trying to earn its place in the world.

Trying to figure out how I’m going to juggle DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, SONGBOUND SISTERS, “Just a Drop”, HEART SNATCHER, and INITIATE. Time management will be key.

I figure DEATH OF A CHOLERIC will need one more round of revisions before it’s submission-ready. I feel good about it; it’s one of the stronger pieces I’ve written lately. SONGBOUND and “Drop” are still in early drafts – pushing through to finish is key. HEART SNATCHER is in its final round of revisions before submission – finally – and I just need to tweak the submission packets. INITIATE will need finishing and several rounds of revisions before it’s submission-ready. It’s also a departure – and somewhat of a risk – for me, but that’s one of the reasons I’m so fond of it.

I’m also in the final prep for the re-release of “Severance”, and I have to put together the media kit. The next one that releases, I think, will be the comic romantic mystery, “Plot Bunnies” under the Ava Dunne name. And, it would make sense to re-release “Personal Revolutions” around the 4th of July, since that’s when it takes place.

Basically, everything needs to be finished and earn its keep! 😉

I do love the process of writing, though. I am one of those writers who loves the actual sitting down and putting words on paper. Do I like “having written’? Yes, that sense of accomplishment. But I love the actual writing even more.

Work tomorrow; there’s a tag sale next store, benefitting the library, so there will be chaos all day. I need to do a lot in the garden this weekend, and get back into my writing rhythm.

Read Amanda Quick’s TILL DEATH DO US PART. Enjoyed it. I enjoy her books. I also learn a lot about structure from her.

As busy as it gets in summer, I’m still trying to figure out how to have TWO days of disconnect per week. I need the quiet time for my own work.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on May 20, 2016 at 8:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 20, 2016: Getting Back into Writing Rhythm  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs.April 14, 2016: Work and Re-Work

Thursday, April 14, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a long day, but I survived. Came home feeling like crap, but improved as the evening wore on.

Processed/catalogued a lot of new books, DVDs, spoken CDs, so there’s lots of new material to interest people. Working on some new programs.

Woke up with a migraine this morning, which is hardly my favorite way to start the day.

Reworked Max’s introduction in HEART SNATCHER. Tightened the whole chapter a lot, while, at the same time, dispensing more information actively without it being an info dump. I’m eager to get back to the book either tonight or tomorrow morning, before I go in to work.

DEATH OF A CHOLERIC is starting to pull at me again, too – it wants to go into editing mode. Originally, I was going to start it this weekend; then I decided to wait until the beginning of May, but now I’m not sure anymore. I’m not sure if I can flow between HEART SNATCHER and CHOLERIC – although they are very different, so maybe it will be easier.

Finalized my decisions for the contest I spent the last couple of months judging, and sent off my top picks.

Another long day at work today, complete with meeting. I’m not in this weekend, and the weather’s supposed to be nice, so, hopefully, I can get some yard work done.

Not feeling well today at all, but too bad for me.

Onward.

Published in: on April 14, 2016 at 8:52 am  Comments Off on Thurs.April 14, 2016: Work and Re-Work  
Tags: , , ,

Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Intense few days. Very productive, but intense.

The two new Topic Workbooks, THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE , are both available here and through the Premium Catalog (which means Kobo, Nook, etc.). I’m pleased that they turned out so well. I’ll be adding them in to the various necessary web pages this week.

I worked on Saturday, and was exhausted by the time I came home. I spent Saturday and most of Sunday working on contest entries. I can’t believe how many entries are well beyond 500 pages — I’m talking 750, 850, 1410! And, in all those cases, it’s Book 1 which is so long! Few of them are well-written enough to sustain that length. Most of them are overwritten, have pages of info dump, and the pace can’t maintain the marathon. The characters and the plot aren’t strong enough to compensate.

Monday morning, off to Buzzards Bay for the Board meeting, followed by the Capital Campaign meeting.

When I got back, I was ready to dig in to the writing. On a whim, I pulled out the second draft of HEART SNATCHER, which I’d put in stasis for awhile, because I was frustrated with it. I was surprised by how well it held up. I made notes — mostly having to do with cuts. It’s in good shape, and I think in another draft, it will be ready to go. I then started re-reading what I have of the second book in the trilogy, HEART BINDER — needs work, but there’s promise, especially since I outlined the entire trilogy and smoothed over logistical lapses early on. I want to find a way to add it into the current schedule, while not dropping the ball on either SONGBOUND SISTERS or “Just a Drop.”

Got some work done on Non-Fiction #2, which is chugging along nicely.

Tuesday morning, I rewrote about the first 100 pages of HEART BINDER, fixing a lot of the problems and making it continue smoothly from HEART SNATCHER.

In the afternoon, I finished up the contest entries and made sure the choices were the ones I believed in most strongly.

By the end of this week, I’ll get in the entries for the radio contest, and those will be done by the end of the month.

This morning, I revised the prologue and first three chapters on the next draft of HEART SNATCHER. It will be a long day at work, but I’m eager to get back home this evening and write some more. I’m going to spend the next three days on this trilogy, and then, once I’ve got that in the groove, add in SONGBOUND and “Drop” over the weekend.

Of course, because I have to be inside for the next three days, it’s gorgeous out. But the weather is supposed to hold all weekend and finally get warmer, so maybe we can start setting up the deck.

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,