Thurs. July 19, 2018: And It’s Always A-Changing

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Never a dull moment, that’s for sure.

Woke up this morning to find the birdbath knocked over in the backyard. I’d heard a young coyote pup crying in the night — I bet he stood up to take a drink and it fell on him, poor thing.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I list some suggestions for working while going through the grief process.

Got a nice chunk done on RELICS on Tuesday, but Wednesday seems to be my non-writing-on-deadlined fiction day. I had a couple of errands in the morning, before heading out to a client. Had another decent session on it this morning.

The person who caused the problems on site with the client lately quit for another job. So that will be interesting. I’ve been asked if, during the days I’m on site with this client, I will handle some of the duties until a replacement is hired. That’s fine. As long as it’s temporary. I’m ahead of everything that needed to be done for the next few weeks; someone will probably be hired soon — ads are already up, resumes coming in.

Figured out the basic shape of the comic radio play; hope to get some work done on it in the next couple of days, so the proposal can go out. I have to come up with a catchy title. At first, the idea was too convoluted, but I pared it down.

Plenty of client meetings stacked up today, and I hope I can fit in a yoga class. Also, have to get work done on RELICS & on DAVY JONES, write a review, and get to work on the foreword. Plus keep working on almanac articles.

Like I said, never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

I’ll post late tomorrow, close to afternoon my time, because I have errands to run in the morning, and I have to run them before the tourons clog up the roads.

Back to the page.

 

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Wed. July 18, 2018: Working Situations

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde


MYTH & INTERPRETATION
released yesterday, digitally. It will be out on Amazon in a few days. If you didn’t see the piece about it on A Biblio Paradise, I hope you will hop over and take a look. It’s a Gwen Finnegan between-the-books novella, and I’m happy with it. And, it’s only $1.99.

RELICS is humming along, although not as quickly as I’d like. But steady progress beats no progress. I’m behind where I want/need to be on it, which means I’m even further behind where I want/need to be on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

I talk about grief and work over on Ink-Dipped Advice today. Click over and take a peek. Add anything you feel I missed.

I found a way to explore this particular type of grief that I feel about my friend’s terminal illness in the book I’m outlining that’s set at Culzean Castle. Originally, the protagonist was trying to recover from the death of her long time partner, but a new character, also recently deceased, came into the mix — a long time friend. This way, I can contrast how the different losses impact the character. The way the book is taking on a life of its own is kind of beautiful.

Finished reading an advance copy of a colleague’s book and loved it. Will write about it soon.

Client work on-site was fine on Monday, and a little more difficult on Tuesday. The person who caused an issue between my client and me last week caused a problem between the client and another employee. And then, of course, pretends innocence. Okay, I get it now. THAT’s who and what she is. Done. I have no doubt it will be even more stressful today. Had another client appointment on Monday afternoon, but got home at a reasonable hour. It was too hot to do yard work or much of anything else, so I finished the book I have to review instead. That way, I didn’t have to feel guilty about not getting any work done!

The Quisling Narcisstic Sociopath’s behavior in Helsinki on Monday was appalling. Any doubt that he’s a traitor and fully owned by Russia is gone. The fact that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan enable him — and therefore are equally treasonous — is even more appalling. Russia has succeeded in dismantling our democracy. Ryan and McConnell must be held accountable for their responsibility in this. They don’t get to walk away giggling and smirking and cashing huge checks. The GOP is no longer an American party — it is filled with agents of a foreign government hostile to the US. It is disgusting. The Democrats’ lack of fight is equally infuriating.

Thank goodness for the Tuesday night group meeting for savasana/sukasana/reiki. It helps to get calm and centered. Because only from a place of groundedness, not denying the rage, but using it, can we come up with solutions.

I have a proposal and a few sample pages to write for a radio comedy, and I’m really not in the mood. But too bad for me. The work still has to get done.

Onward.

Thurs. July 12, 2018: Clown Semen & Other Creative Adventures

Thursday, July 12, 2018
New moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see why loving your job does not forfeit your right to earn a living at it.

The impromptu artists’ retreat with my friends last week gave me a lot to think about, and it will take me some time to work through it all. While I didn’t get a lot of words on paper during that time, I refilled the creative well, as we all helped each other refill our creative wells.

I helped brainstorm their creative projects; because that work is not mine, I can’t discuss it here, in a public space. The results of the brainstorming are theirs to use or not use, discuss or not discuss as they see fit. But I find helping others sort their way out of creative obstacles always teaches me a lot about my own work.

As far as my work, I now have:

— a clearer idea of how to proceed on the anti-gun violence play;

–a stronger thread for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (breaking MYTH & INTERPRETATION out of it helped, but now it’s even more focused);

–a clearer idea of CRAVE THE HUNT, which needs to go back into the queue in late summer;

–how to incorporate the editorial notes I received recently on the two manuscripts in a way that solves the problems the editors pointed out without diluting my vision for the books. The only way I could see on one of them was to dumb it down, but now I know how to make what the editor feels is missing work while still driving the book’s unique edge, the thing that makes it different from other books in the genre;

–a new determination to work, in and around other projects on what I’ve called THE POWER OF WORDS, so the first six books will be ready to release one-a-month next spring or summer;

–a new determination to get back to THE FIX-IT GIRL edits (the book set in 1930s Hollywood), so that can go out on submission;

–the problem that had me stuck on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is untangled, and I can fix that; when, I’m not sure, but the “how” is handled;

–the outline for the first book in a more traditional mystery series that has a good chance of finding a home in a more traditional venue — if I can work in the time to do a good job on it;

–ideas for a couple of radio plays, and new venues to send existing radio plays;

So I would say it was a productive few days.

I went to Falmouth Art Center to the opening of an exhibit where a friend of mine had a couple of pieces. The drive was a nightmare, but the exhibit was lovely. Her pieces (ceramics) had a wonderful sense of fun. Of the other pieces, I found myself especially drawn to the oils. I loved their depth. It reminds me of the difference between film and video.

Came home to discover other family friends had stopped by, although they hadn’t been able to stay.

Once the last of the guests left. I did laundry and some tidying up, but cut myself a break to process ideas and read and rest. I felt a huge need to rest.

Part of me worried that I’m getting too far behind on the word count for RELICS; more of me felt I couldn’t put words of any value down, and it was better to rest.

One of the books I read was THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis, which I really liked.

I tried to read some books by an author whose latest book I loved, but they were written in present tense, and I couldn’t. I loathe novels written in present tense. I don’t care how much praise they get. I find them unreadable. It’s the author getting between me and the story, screaming in my face about what a cool stylist the author is, instead of letting me experience the story.

A writer friend is coming to the Cape to teach at the Conference next month and wants to get together. I’m delighted.

Monday morning, I woke up early with a blasting headache. I ended up drafting most of a flash fiction piece — I still have to figure out how to end it. That alleviated the headache somewhat.

Client work, prepping and getting out a marketing campaign for an event the client has in August.

Steady work on RELICS, getting back into the groove with DHARMA. Researching my almanac articles. Getting ready to re-read HEADLONG this weekend so I can write the foreword. I’m so thrilled my friend asked me to write the foreword. What an honor. It remains one of my favorite books ever. I have to put some material together for a couple of proposals in the next few days, too.

I’d sent a pitch to a potential client through a recruiter — who sent it to THE WRONG COMPANY. My pitch was to join the marketing team for a company that promotes wellness in the workplace. Instead, the recruiter sent the pitch to a different company with the same first initials/acronym located in a different town. This one is a fast-paced, very corporate organization. I was puzzled at first, when the corporation contacted me to set up a meeting. Because I knew I hadn’t sent them anything. Then I did some research and realized what had happened. Then I did some research on the company and — no. Just no. We are not a good fit. The “leaders” stay in the shadows and the double-speak made me question their ethics. Plus, they’re looking for entry level to groom. I’m not entry level. Too many decades of work under my belt for that. I sent a polite email thanking them for their interest, explaining the mix-up, and withdrawing from consideration.

Savasana/sukasana/reiki was great. I love spending an hour a week lying in a quiet room with no expectations.

Then, Wednesday, there was some unpleasantness at one of the client sites. Unnecessary, manipulative unpleasantness. I was onsite, working on the client’s campaign for an upcoming event. However, another person in the workplace specifically sparked an incident that she knew would set off my client to go on a rant to which I would have to respond or be the type of compliant spineless moron I despise.This individual did it because she thought it was “funny.”Now, my client and I wound up being fine by remaining cordial and listening to each other, and giving each other respect for our differing views.

My fury (and believe me, it was fury) was at the person who sparked the incident, who threw me under the bus because she thought it was “funny.” My client left and I was finishing up what I needed to get done until I go back onsite next week. I was seething, but I figured I’d let myself cool down and then, if it was relevant, have a quiet word with the instigator next week.

But no, this one had to start joking about how funny it was. I told her to never put me in that situation again, and that I was angry, and didn’t appreciate she threw me under the bus. I have covered her ass plenty of times in that place. Then she denied that she “knew” it would cause a problem which either a flat out lie or she has cognitive issues, because we’ve discussed this more than once. Then she started the whole thing about how my anger “hurt her feelings.”

Too bad, bubbelah, maybe you should have considered that before deliberately stirring the pot. Her actions and her words are too far apart for me to believe her words. Anyone with a grain of common sense, consideration for someone else, and basic reasoning skills could have predicted what would happen.

Walk your fucking talk or get out of my life.

Of course, this is the same person who, last week, during a discussion about human rights violations, said she “doesn’t do politics. Besides, none of this affects me because I have white skin.”

Which just tells all of us all we need to know, right?

I’d much rather know someone’s true colors sooner rather than later. Now I know what I’m dealing with.

Fortunately, I got to have fun on Wednesday night, which is where the clown semen comes in.

My friend, author Ray Bartlett, did an event with another author, Mary Hart. I saw his post on Facebook about it, and hadn’t seen him in ages, so I figured it was a good time to get together, come out and support his book (I’d put together the launch party for it when it originally came out), and meet a new-to-me author. All good.

It was at Hyannis library, and tons of fun. Ray read from SUNSETS OF TULUM, and Mary read from SOME HORRIFIC EVENING. The audience was engaged, there was a great talk/question & answer session, and, best for them, the audience members bought books. It was lively and fun and creative.

I’m also looking forward to both of their next books.

After, we went to a nearby bar to chat and catch up. We ordered our various drinks. Mary ordered an IPA called something like “Clown Shoes”. It was clown something. Well, when it arrived at the table, it looked kind of like milky orange juice.

You get where I’m going with this, right?

We asked the waitress if it was supposed to look like that; she didn’t know, but suggested an app that has pictures and info on different beers. Mary pulled it up on her phone.

Uh, no, it wasn’t supposed to look like that. All the pictures were very different than what was in the glass in front of us. In the photos, it looked like beer.

What was in the glass didn’t look like beer.

Which is when the comment came up about it looking like “clown semen.”

Which quieted the men at the table into shocked silence for about 20 seconds.

Anyway, she sent it back and got something drinkable. But we started doing jokes about clown semen. Because it was just that kind of night.

We decided that it should be the title of her third book (because the title of her upcoming second book is already really cool). And if she doesn’t use it by her third book, I will.

I promised her I’d write about this today, so Mary, this one’s for you! 😉

And there was other laughter interspersed with the creative conversation, and it was fun. Also, when you go to one of Mary’s readings, ask about the story of how her parents met, because it’s really lovely.

Came home later than expected and puttered around.

This morning, it’s yard work, some remote client work. I need to up my game on RELICS & REQUIEM to make deadline, and I have to make sure I don’t drop the ball on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Plus, you know, the novella, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, releases on Tuesday, so I better up the PR.

I need to prepare an international proposal for a play that needs to go out tomorrow, and two radio drama pitches to go out next week. I also want to get out some more LOIs this week.

Tomorrow, I’ll share some Adventures in Wildlife we’re having around the yard.

Back to the page!

 

Wed. June 27, 2018: Trying to Balance the Writing

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Day before full moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

The retrogrades are stifling.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for my piece on billing for phone time.

Mowed the front lawn on Monday afternoon. Still don’t love it, but the reel push mower works better for me than the gas mower.

But then, of course, it was cocktail time!

MYTH & INTERPRETATION is going through the publication process. I should have the Universal buy link and pre-order information up soon. It releases on July 17. I’m finishing up the media kit for it, and then I’ll do the series media kit.

I have to up my game with RELICS & REQUIEM. I often say that every novel has its own innate rhythm. This one’s is slower than I need it to be in order to meet my deadlines. I have to up it by at least two pages a day. Not quite sure how I’ll do that yet.

Another Gwen Finnegan between-the-books novella has started churning in my head. This would be between Book #2, BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and Book #3, SANDOVAHL SECRET. It puts them in competition, when they are hired by different teams after the same object. Given where they are at the end of BALTHAZAAR, it might be a fun piece. I may do an outline and give it to my editor, to see what she thinks.

Watched NATIONAL TREASURE for about the fortieth time on Monday night. I have such fun with that movie.

RELICS & REQUIEM, finessing the DAVY JONES DHARMA outline, client work. I got some LOIs out, and one of them already wants additional information, so that’s good.

Lost respect for several people because they don’t care enough to take action against the human rights violations done by our own government, because they don’t believe it affects them. I have no place in my life for cowards or appeasers.

There was a beautifully written editorial in the NY Times by Michelle Goldberg. The content was superb (unusual, because for months the NYT has been the Paper of Appeasement). But the writing, the sentence structure was glorious. I loved it, and tweeted about her.

I shouldn’t have been shocked that those who derided the writing – not the content, but the quality of the writing – were white men.

It’s a gorgeous piece. The use of language is the best of what being a writer can be.

Today, one of my clients is taking her team out to lunch overlooking the water. That should be fun. Depending on my schedule after that, I might to go Green Drinks in Mashpee later. Never a dull moment, and that’s the way it should be!

 

Wed. June 20, 2018: Writing and Meetings

Wednesday, July 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read my suggestions for doing the research that helps craft your pitch.

One of the checks I’m waiting for finally arrived on Monday. Yes, it was dated when it was supposed to be; but it was mailed last Friday, three days after I asked about it and was told it had been sent out on time. All they had to do was say, “we found the check; we thought it had gone out; sorry.” Instead, they lied and said they’d sent it on time, and that it would be at least a week before the accountant could write a new one. Why not just admit the mistake and apologize? We all make mistakes.

Still waiting for the other check, but it’s not at the point where I can question yet. Tomorrow will be one month, so next week, I can follow up.

Monday night, I went to Yarmouth to the Cultural Center to a Mass Cultural Council meeting. As a former grant recipient, I felt it was important to show up, especially since I’d been asked to come. Only two working artists were there; the other was a filmmaker from Falmouth. I didn’t think I knew anyone; but I was surprised how many people knew my work — under more than one name, no less. Even the regional representative knew who I was.

I met some very interesting people, including someone who just took a job on Nantucket, moving here from Houston. Since I was on tour in Houston, with a Broadway show, we had a lot to talk about.

Most of the participants were either from local Cultural Councils or town municipalities. I was positively struck by how committed the members of the councils are to the arts — which is, of course, why they are there. I also met the new (well, she’s been there for a couple of years) head of the Arts Foundation — we recognized each other from advocacy with Mass Creative and our state and federal legislators.

We were broken up into groups to discuss obstacles, positives, and potential solutions. Then, each group shared what they’d learned. There were a lot of overlaps, and some terrific ideas. Let’s hope that something happens and there’s action.

I spoke to the rep after about the necessity of having artists at the table for these discussions. She said there will be a separate meeting for artists, and then another putting things together. I’m putting together some thoughts and suggestions.

So, let’s hope these are positive steps. Nothing can happen if people don’t get involved.

I got a response to an LOI I sent out, but the rate offered is so far under my rate that, with travel to and from Maine, it doesn’t make sense. I will gracefully withdraw.

Got feedback on a manuscript. The feedback was interesting. Some of it makes total sense, some of it I disagree with, but I’ll send it to a couple of Trusted Readers to see if I get the same response. If they hit on the same points, I’ll know I’m on the wrong track and will adjust. One of the points the editor didn’t like was something the readers to date loved, so there’s a dilemma.

But at least it doesn’t have to go back into the queue right away.

Tuesday was about client work, RELICS & REQUIEM, galleys for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. At the time I’m scheduling this to post, I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to either of the two events to which I’ve been invited, or if I’m just going to go home and work on galleys.

Today (Wednesday) is about client work, some ghostwriting, RELICS & REQUIEM, MYTH & INTERPRETATION galleys. And I need to write ahead on a couple of blog posts. And get up a couple of articles that tie in to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

 

Published in: on June 20, 2018 at 2:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 20, 2018: Writing and Meetings  
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Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period

Thursday, June 7, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I have my notes back on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. That’s the great thing about a novella — turnarounds are quicker.

My editor is pleased with the energy and the character development. But she feels I streamlined a bit too much, kept things a bit too lean. She has some suggestions about developing a few points more deeply and supporting the theme a bit more. An exchange here, a paragraph there. I came in a little under projected word count, so we have a bit of room to maneuver. I can write and then we can cut back some more.

The cover designer has an idea for a tweak on the cover, so we’ll look at that today. We looked at some early ideas for RELICS & REQUIEM, and I think we’ve found what we want. So we’re ahead of the game on that, and she will start work on the cover for DAVY JONES DHARMA soon.

Back matter won’t be difficult to put together for MYTH — I have most of it, I just have to assemble the bits. I’m working on the revisions this weekend, so I can get them out next week. I need to work on the newsletter, and get started on the media kit for MYTH & the overall kit for the Gwen Finnegan series.

A bit of work on RELICS & REQUIEM; I need to get into the groove of that, which will take awhile. I have to figure out a way to move from Gwen & Justin’s world to Amanda & Phineas’s world, since they are both contemporary NYC around the same time.

Did a bit of work on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS, but having trouble settling. I feel like I need to type up what I have in longhand and take a look. I also have to add a chapter, or the new structure I’ve been playing with is off.

Have some material to work on to go with THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Re-reading parts of POWER OF WORDS. Playing with a new series title; seeing how I can break it up into books/sections that are a comfortable reading length, still complete certain arcs, and yet keep the reader wanting more. We want to put out the books that cover the audition process, rehearsals, filming the mini-series, and the first season in quick succession. I’d like to have the hiatus, the second season, that hiatus, and the third season ready to go, too, but I’m not sure if that puts us so far down the road it doesn’t even make any sense to commit. That will need its new subdomain, and lots of different, interesting material about the business and behind-the-scenes to keep it fresh and interesting. There will also need to be a specific look for the covers, so they can each be eye-catching, yet also tie together to the actual stories.

The titles and subtitles we’ve played with that make it clear what the books are about are so long and convoluted that they’re annoying. I see that far too often: complex titles and subtitles that serve as log lines and wear me out before I even see the blurb. I want to avoid that. I need something ear-catching (yes, that’s deliberate) and quick that pulls a potential reader in.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS will also need its own subdomain. That’s a lot of web work.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s all moot if the books aren’t written, then edited properly.

If you didn’t get a chance to read “My Rolodex isn’t Free” yesterday, over on Ink-Dipped Advice, hop on over.

I’m trying to work ahead on a few blogs today, to take off some pressure in the coming weeks. I want to focus on MYTH, RELICS, and see what I can do with THREE ROADS and WORDS.

Hopefully, I can get to yoga. If the weather is nice this afternoon — more yard work.

Back to the page!

 

Published in: on June 7, 2018 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period  
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Wed. June 6, 2018: One Project Out, Another Moves Up

Wednesday, June 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read why “My Rolodex Isn’t Free.”

MYTH & INTERPRETATION went out to my editor yesterday morning. I look forward to her comments. It’s a fast-paced novella that seeds conflicts that will grow in BALTHAZAAR.

On Monday afternoon, we looked at the four cover choices. They were all wildly different and quite beautiful. Each evoked something different. After much discussion, we decided on what will be the cover — both eye-catching and supports the novella.

So now, the primary focus goes back to RELICS & REQUIEM, and I’m excited. I love Amanda. I think she and Phineas will make an odd, if good team. GRAVE REACH (Coventina Circle #4) is already spinning, and I’m making notes in and around RELICS, because things from SPIRIT REPOSITORY and RELICS cause incidents in GRAVE REACH.

I have most of RELICS outlined; I’m going to write a few more chapters, then finish the outline and send it to my editor for comments as I draft; I hope we’ll have some of the same process to streamline as we did for MYTH.

I’d like both RELICS and GRAVE REACH to be close to 80K. And I’d like to keep Sylvie’s book lean, too. When we hit Diana’s book, it will sprawl a bit — I have a lot to weave in there. So the vision for Coventina Circle is pretty clear, with room for inspiration.

I want to get a lot of RELICS under my belt, because pretty soon, it’s time to turn attention to DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Never a dull moment.

Exhausting day with the client, doing IT work above my pay grade. I look forward to yoga tomorrow.

 

Published in: on June 6, 2018 at 2:32 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 6, 2018: One Project Out, Another Moves Up  
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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).

 

Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I need another week of weekend.

Busy times. Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest post.

I have to find someone who can help me re-thread the spool for the weed whacker, so I can keep working on the yard.

I made a stupid mistake on Friday because I was over-tired and careless. I can’t fix it; therefore I’ve lost a good opportunity. That’s my own damn fault. I need to let it go and move on.

Saturday was all about the yard. I worked in the front, I worked in the back. I set down the organic fertilizer that also fights ants and ticks. I planted the tomatoes I’ve grown from seed, re-planted some mints and other plants from the garden store, planted some more seeds, tracked down and destroyed the wasp nest and the wasps that have been tormenting us. Part of me felt guilty for the latter; however, they have an entire yard that remains organic; they don’t have to harass us on the deck. If they won’t respect boundaries, they are gone.

We set up the deck, and it’s lovely. I hope we can spend many wonderful hours out there this season.

I planned Sunday and Monday as writing days, and they were. However, they weren’t on the projects where I’m under the most pressure. I should have been working on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

Instead, I worked on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I wrote about fifty pages (mostly on Sunday, less on Monday). The shape is a little different than I expected, but I like it. The characters are surprising me in good ways. I’m having fun with the maps and building a dirigible that’s different from the other dirigibles I’ve designed for other stories. I have to adjust the structure — and that means going back and adding a chapter I skipped. I thought I had to rotate points of view and each chapter had to be from a different POV; however, I’m finding certain chapters where two in a row need to be from my primary protagonist. I’m also naming the chapters — something I rarely do. I’m naming them once they’re written, so the title reflects the content. I find if I try to name the chapter first, I then try to bend the chapter to fit the title, and it takes me off the track of the piece.

Thank goodness for my tracking sheets, or I’d never be able to stay consistent.

I heard that my radio play was well-received. I’m glad, and I look forward to hearing it when the link goes up. I also heard from some readers who bought and read my books over the holiday weekend, and enjoyed them. Always glad when something I write makes someone happy.

Worked on the anti-gun violence play. I have the characters, I think. I removed some, because they were pulling the focus of the piece. I have a smaller cast and a narrower focus, but I think it will work for what it is. I have what drives each of them; I have a basic idea of plot. I’m still working on structure, but I’m close. I find that, for a play, I need to work out a lot more in my head before I start writing. For prose, I need to make more notes and outline.

Yesterday, it was difficult to move out of the world of THREE ROADS and back into the contemporary New York of MYTH & INTERPRETAITON and RELICS & REQUIEM. Not to mention my actual reality of Cape Cod and having to work with a client on-site. I’m really tired of the attitude on Cape Cod of “if you’re not sitting in front of me doing the work, you can’t be working.” I’m much more productive working off-site, in my preferred surroundings. Both the quantity and the quality of my work are better when I work remotely.

Back on track with MYTH. Getting there with RELICS. My reward for getting each day’s quota on each is doing some work on THREE ROADS. Working steadily on the play — should be able to start putting something on paper this week.

Some LOIs out yesterday and more will go out today. I’m on-site with a client again, and have plenty of other stuff to get done while I’m gone.

And yard work, whenever I can, because the whole summer will be about yard work.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 30, 2018 at 2:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards  
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Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas on “The Social Media Conversation.”

I am exhausted, and I have to reconcile myself to being so until at least the end of the month.

Monday was busy — I went in early to work with my client, who was leaving for an international trip later that day. I had company when I came home — a writer with whom I’m acquainted who happened to be in Boston and came down to visit.

We were having a good visit when an email came through — the person who was scheduled to post on one of my sites the next day (which was uploaded and ready to go) wanted to postpone because one of the links wouldn’t be live. ONE of the links. The others were fine.

I was angry. You don’t pull out the day before guesting. Not unless you’re offering other content for the slot. Plus, as a guest, YOU don’t tell ME when to post your piece. You’re a GUEST. You can request a preferred date and I’ll do what I can. But you don’t make the decision when it runs. My house, my rules. Not to mention that I was off the clock for the day, had company, and wasn’t near a computer. There’s a reason I schedule posts ahead of time. I run multiple sites. I have X amount of time. I plan ahead, schedule ahead, and that’s that.

I said no and vented to my guest and to another friend.

On the other hand, I had some empathy. I had a book where I’d spent months lining up release-day promo for its release. Many of the sites were reluctant to include me, because they had trouble with that particular publisher before and considered the publisher unreliable. The caveat was that they would run my posts provided I could guarantee the links would be live on release day. I discussed it with my publisher, and was promised everything would be on time. I even turned in final galleys early to make sure everything on my end was done.

Book release day came. My posts were up on multiple sites. As soon as I woke up, I received a barrage of angry messages from the site masters — the book had not released. I had not been warned by my publisher that there would be a delay. If I had, I could have let the site masters know in time and offered other content. I contacted my publisher, who got back to me hours later with a shrug that “it happens” and “they didn’t have time” to get it up when they said they would. And that “that’s the way it is with digital releases; you better get used to it.”

Meanwhile, my posts had been pulled down by the site masters and they’ll never trust me again. I lost all the publicity I’d set up, I lost future publicity. I never got as much as an apology from my publisher. The book went up nearly a week later, and they refused to give me any marketing support. As far as they were concerned, I should have “known better” than to expect the book to be ready on release day. This is the same publisher who felt I wasn’t spending enough money to promote my books, and didn’t spend a dime.

Yeah, not a publisher I want to keep working with.

I remember how upsetting that was. I’d never told this particular guest that all the links had to be live, just that I needed links.

So, I’m sitting outside the restaurant, on my phone. I managed to get into my site on my phone and reschedule the post. Fortunately, I was still deciding which post would go up on the next requested day. I sure as heck wasn’t going to bump someone else.

THEN I had to take down all the scheduled promotional posts/tweets/et al I’d put up to promote it.

THEN, I had to figure out how to get substitute content for the next day.

But I told my guest I’d moved it, and that I needed the new links by Thursday noon. I’m on a brutal deadline right now. From Thursday noon through next Monday, I’m on a writing retreat/no or limited internet. I’m not blowing my deadline because someone else’s publisher didn’t come through for them.

No response. Not a thank you. Not a sorry. Nothing.

I was angry at myself for not just saying “no” and sticking with it.

I still needed content for the day, even though it would go up late.

I invited my in-person guest to write something.

She was terrified. She’s early in her writing career, no website, no blog, no contract. But she’s a good writer and she does the work. She came up with a post, I made a few suggestions, and yesterday it went up.

She’s already received an invitation to guest on another blog from it, so everything worked out.

And I got an idea for Ink-Dipped Advice on “Guest Post Etiquette.”

Between us all, we made it work. Was it a hassle? Yes. Was I frustrated and angry? Yes. But it worked out. I learned from it and moving on.
So that was Monday into Tuesday. The rest of Tuesday was busy at my client’s site. Even with her out of the office, there’s plenty to do. It’s interesting, but exhausting.

And, I’m working steadily on HEART THEFT, because I need to get out what I have this weekend. I like the work, I’m enjoying it, but I’m pushing. Especially because the characters in the serial won’t shut the heck up, and the other deadlines are looming as well.

Did a grocery run, trying to get home before the storm and forgot half of what I needed. As one does.

The storm wasn’t anywhere near as bad here as it was in New York. Some hail during the day, thunder, lightning, and rain at night. Power flickered, so I couldn’t write on the computer, and we didn’t watch anything.

Today, I’m with the client again, then picking up the missed groceries. Then, it’s back to HEART THEFT. Big push today, tomorrow, and Friday for that. I doubt I will post on Friday here, or if I do, it will be a post saying I’m not posting! 😉

HEART THEFT needs to go out this weekend, and then it’s NOT BY THE BOOK, which needs to go out by the end of next week.

And then, the editors either want them or they don’t. And my focus goes back to juggling MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

And preparing for another career evaluation/assessment over the Memorial Day weekend, where we will meet, talk, discuss, plan, and relax, while plotting out my next moves.

Have a great day!

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway  
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Wed. April 25, 2018: The Need For Focus, The Immersion in Worlds

Wednesday, April 25, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

It’s difficult to let go of the serial right now. The proposal is out; either they want it or they don’t. But I’m immersed in the world and the energy of the piece, and it’s difficult to put it aside until it’s back on the schedule.

But I have to.

The primary focus right now has to be on doing the additional work I need to do on HEART THEFT and NOT BY THE BOOK and get them to the interested editors. I also have to keep up with the work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and on RELICS & REQUEIM. It’s difficult enough to juggle four projects. Five is beyond imagination.

And yet. . .

The next round of copyedits on SPIRIT REPOSITORY goes out tomorrow. I hope this is it. The review went out yesterday; I’m still working on contest entries, both for the fiction contest and for the radio contest. I’ll have the decisions for the radio contest tomorrow.

The slideshow plug-in I tried for the Devon Ellington site didn’t work the way I need it to — it mangles the cover images instead of adjusting them. So I’ll try a different one. There are plenty of them out there.

Sales of the Topic Workbooks have picked up, which is a good thing. I want to put together an ad for them and see if that helps, too. I’m also putting together the ad for SPIRIT REPOSITORY’s launch and a special promotion that will run for a few weeks.

I’m working on a couple of presentations for one of my clients. I’m having fun with it. Who knew Keynote/PowerPoint could be so much fun?

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice for my article on “Craft and Passion.”

Monday was such a gorgeous day. I should have worked in the yard. I was angry, though; they’re repairing my street. At the end of the workday, they “cleaned” up after themselves by using a leaf blower to put the debris onto my yard. I am NOT happy with it. That’s not the way to do the job, assholes.

I’m not going to re-clean the front until they’re done and gone. I have plenty to do in the back, but, instead, I had the first official glass of wine out on the deck, while doing some other reading. I didn’t want to waste time being disgruntled; I wanted to enjoy the beautiful day.

Tuesday, I buckled down and did some work in the back. Grudgingly, but I did. It’s supposed to rain today, so, gee, aw shucks, no yard work!

Tomorrow will be a busy day filled with doctor’s appointments for my mom. I have a lot to do, too, a lot to finish before I dig in for another intense weekend of writing, yard work, and cleaning up for the guests that are coming next week.

But it’s all good. I love the writing I’m doing, I’m happy that sales are picking up.

I just have to stay focused and creative.

 

Published in: on April 25, 2018 at 2:30 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 25, 2018: The Need For Focus, The Immersion in Worlds  
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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  
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Thurs. April 12, 2018: Evolving Process

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Garden update on Gratitude and Growth goes up tomorrow, because I’m performing the tasks I’ll write about later today!

If you didn’t stop by Fearless Ink yesterday to read my post on “Morning-After Networking,” please do, and leave me some comment love!

This week, I pushed hard to create and hone a presentation for one of my clients. She got a great opportunity to pitch her product to some decision makers with access to a 2-million person client base next week. So we dug in and did it. I did the design AND the text, we used a mix of photos, and it can be used as PowerPoint/Keynote, a handout, or a PDF. She’s thrilled, and I’m pleased by the whole thing. I have samples for my sample book, and it’s all good. It was a lot of concentrated work, but the result was worth it.

There’s a marketing piece I worked on for another client, and he stubbornly insists on using language that makes him sound down-market in a completely different field. I’m debating whether I should even use samples of that in my portfolio.

I have one more big project for another client, and then we’re done until autumn. I have to finish up a couple of small things for another client, and then I want to cordially move on. That client uses some business practices that make me uncomfortable, even though they are technically legal.

I have a bunch of LOIs out, I’m waiting to go to contract with a company for whom I used to do a lot of work, and I have some meetings coming up.

I cannot emphasize what a big, positive difference having the redesigned websites on the new web host have made. I’m shocked and horrified by how much business the old host cost me, because they kept making sure the sites didn’t work properly. Learn from my mistakes, my friends.

I’m doing the last pass on this draft of SPIRIT REPOSITORY today, and adding in the back matter, which includes polishing the first chapter of RELICS & REQUIEM, adding a short article on the concept of “genius locii” and putting in the information for the other books. Tomorrow morning, it will go off to my editor, so we can go into galleys.

The major attention then turns to the drafts of MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELLICS & REQUIEM, both of which have to be juggled in tandem. NOT BY THE BOOK is sneaking in there, too, and finishing up the rough outline for the serial, so I can distill it down into a pitch-worthy synopsis.

A note on evolving process: as much as I hate working on index cards to sort scenes, for this serial, I find I need to. I have plenty of background notes and other stuff as well, but I need to work the beats of each chapter/episode on cards, and then shuffle and re-shuffle. Some of that will further change as I actually write the chapters, since each chapter is in a different character’s POV. I think I need to write one more round in each POV, and I’m wondering if I should add another character’s POV. It would open up the world, but it then feels out of balance. As it is, the title has a “Three”in it, and I’m writing in four points of view. To expand it to five — not so sure it will work.

I’m eager to get some admin stuff out of the way and get back to the page.

Not so eager to finish my taxes this afternoon! This year, especially, I resent it. I do not want to give a single penny to this corrupt administration of grifters.

Onward.

 

Published in: on April 12, 2018 at 8:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 12, 2018: Evolving Process  
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