Wed. Jan. 9, 2019: Using Rest to Regain Balance

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Waxing Moon

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post on Multi-Tiered Marketing.

I’m still tired, but I’m hoping today, my last day this week with this particular client, will go smoothly and then I can get a rest.

Got my review out on time, and will get my next book to review today.

I’m also going to try to fix my printer today; or else I’ll end up buying a new one on Friday.

Got some writing done, but not enough. However, I think I’m getting into the swing of it again.

STILL taking down decorations. I’m starting to think I’ll be taking them down until the summer solstice.

The new clothes are a hit; getting a lot of compliments. I feel better wearing them, and I wear them with more confidence, which helps, too.

Also got a request from a full script from a UK company to which I’d sent a pitch. So I’m on track with my resolutions. I know, I know, the year is young. But I’m not! 😉

The new meditation class on Monday was great. I hope I can make it every Monday for the next few months. It certainly helped me navigate yesterday.

I have to send my responses to the radio play notes today (for the one that’s being produced here), and then get to work on the revision. Which I have very little time to do, instead of the seven weeks I was supposed to have. Shall I have a little cheese with my whine? I’ll get it done. I might bitch and moan a bit, but I’ll get it done.

Working on the monologues, since I want to test it next week. I may draft two and decide at the last minute which one to test, taking the emotional temperature of the room.

Unless there’s a snowstorm next Wednesday, in which case I’m not going anywhere.

I think I’m going to write the emotional lifting and the civility monologues first, although the mansplaining one is also pretty insistent. I’ll play with them for the next few days, and see what works best.

Need to do some research on the Venetian Renaissance and also on the Round Table for two different projects. BALTHAZAAR TREASURE is pretty much back on track, but I’m behind where I want to be on DHARMA.

Somehow, it will all work out. If I can balance some really good rest over the next few days with the writing, I’ll even out and be productive again.

 

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019: Hit The Ground Running and Hitting Back at Those Who Denigrate Artists

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Time to hit the ground running. I have a few thoughts on that, over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Friday wore me out. I had to take the car in (which wasn’t as bad as I feared). I spent time with a client, then had some running around to do.

I was also still spinning ideas for the online brainstorming session I had with Jackie Kessler, Deanna Rayburn, and Erin Cronican on new material for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST.

WOMEN WITH AN EDGE is a show with legs. Some of the material is evergreen; some is dated. It’s time for another show along the same lines that deal with topics relevant now. I have a few places I can test material, although there’s not a theatre on Cape who’d have the guts to produce the piece. Too right-wing around here.

But we brainstormed pages of notes, and I’ve taken it further. I threw some ideas into the Women Write Change forum as well on Monday, so I’m sure that will generate more ideas.

I want to write the first couple of monologues this week.

Saturday was unseasonably warm. I had another run to the store (because there’s always one more thing). We got the garbage to the dump (and the guys got their cookies).

I started playing with some more ideas. Because ideas come in batches. So it’s important to take notes, date the notes, and then figure what’s pulling hardest and where to put what.

Sunday I managed fourteen pages on an idea with which I’m playing — I think it will work. My two main protagonists are deliciously more complicated and manipulative than I originally envisioned. It will be interesting to see how they play off each other. A missing music composition is a big part of the story, too.

Worked on the proposal for the play set in Renaissance Venice. With that, and the anti-gun violence play, and the two women authors play, and WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, that’s four stage plays and three novels releasing this year. Minimum.

We’re pushing the Jain Lazarus re-release back to 2020. It doesn’t make sense to do it this year. That way, in 2020, the third Gwen-Justin book releases, the third Nautical Namaste releases, the fifth Coventina Circle releases — along with the first three Jain Lazarus. Those are all outlined — it’s a case of writing/revising.

This year, I’m scrambling to get BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA out on schedule — last year was just too much. GRAVE REACH will be in good shape in a few months, and ready for edits. And we’re still trying to figure out if the Justice by Harpy trilogy can come out this year.

Plus, I want to make room to have at least one stand-alone a year.

I’m posting this on Monday, so I have no idea what my Eve and Day will be. I’m determined to make them good. I’m determined not to teeter at the edge of the abyss I usually find myself on every New Year’s Eve.

I have worlds to build.

Social media has just been depressing lately. I know I need it for the books and the writing. I enjoy genuine interaction, and I’ve met some great people.

But there’s too much viciousness. And too much whining.

You want to be a full time artist? Then you have to rearrange your life and put the work first. You can’t do it all and have it all. If you want to be a part-time artist in order to have a more balanced life, fine, go ahead. But don’t whine at those of us who made the choices and put in the work about “not having time to write.” You are CHOOSING not to write. You are CHOOSING other elements in your life over the writing. And they are your choices. So own them.

I’m also tired of being attacked for earning money from my work. Loving my work does not forfeit my right to earn a living at it — provided I’m willing to put in the work. I am. I do.

Those who aren’t willing to put in the work or believe getting paid for art and craft is “selling out” can go to hell. Because I have stuff to do and can’t be bothered.

And all these attacks on artists as not being smart or who shouldn’t have opinions or participate in political activism? Those who make their living in the arts tend to be smarter and more committed than those around them, or they couldn’t do it.

If you think artists are stupid, if you attack them for being intelligent, articulate, and committed to building a better world, yeah, you can go to hell, too.

I have no time for these jealous, petty morons. People who attack artists generally do so out of spite, because they hate that artists have the talent and the skills and the work ethic, and, most importantly, the COURAGE to put it all on the line.

I’m not arguing with them. I’m not “debating” with them. Let those who are only in it to cause trouble and spread spite twist in the wind.

I have art to create. I have work to do. I have a world to change, one story at a time.

 

Wed. Dec. 19, 2018: Regain the Balance By Writing

Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the final business post of the year.

Yesterday was challenging. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. Today will be as well. I will just have to make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

By the end of the work day, I was very discouraged and disheartened. Change will happen, not as fast as I want it to, but it will. I have to be patient and smart. But it was one of those situations where I wanted to just sit down and cry, only there was no guarantee I’d stop any time in the foreseeable future.

Behind on where I want to be with deliveries and finishing the cards. I’m close to the end of the cards, but I’ve been so wiped out when I get home that I’m practically babbling.

Working on THE LINGERIE TRAIL and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and starting to get back to fixing the problems in DAVY JONES DHARMA.

I’m brainstorming an idea that’s been rolling around in my head for years, which is demanding attention. It’s most likely to be a play, with two infamous female writers at the center of it. That’s all I’m going to say for now. Doing some brainstorming in the Women Write Change forum.

I’m not going to work on the anti-gun violence play until after the holidays. There’s too much going on for me to go deep enough, and then be able to come back and deal with life stuff that needs handling. I’ll need to block off some quiet, depth time. But I am working on the proposal for the play I want to write about Canaletto’s sisters.

Also toying with the idea of a novella (? Not sure there’s enough for a novel) about a charming guy who entices women he meets online to support his expensive lifestyle, and how he gets his comeuppance. If it remains as light and comic as the initial notes, I’ll keep it as an Ava Dunne piece; if it goes darker, it’ll go out under the Devon Ellington byline. I probably won’t get to it until about spring anyway.

Yeah, I can hear you guys from here, telling me of course it will go dark. Because, hey, who’s got a trilogy coming out next year called “Justice by Harpy”?

I might just surprise you all!

Or not.

I’ll trust the characters to lead me to the best format.

I have a lot to do over the next few days, but I’m also looking forward to Winter Solstice on Friday, full moon Saturday, and celebrating a (hopefully) quiet Eve and Day early next week.

I love those moments at the beginning of the Winter Solstice ritual, where the house goes to full dark. Then we light the fire in the fireplace, and then light all the candles, and then put on all the twinkle lights. It really does make me feel like things will turn for the better.

I need rest, which is different than sleep.

But before then, I need to get things done.

Hopefully, yoga is on tomorrow. I need to be back in class.

I need some good writing time this week – which I will get in, around the Solstice and Christmas prep and some friends coming in with whom I’ll brainstorm the new plays.

 

Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on why word choice matters.

Heads up: Venus goes direct on Friday WHILE Mercury turns retrograde. In other words, that’ll be one messed up day. And then I’ll have to spend the next three weeks keeping my mouth shut!

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS is up as a free download (how’s that for contradictory language?) here. Although originally geared to National Novel Writing Month, you can decide any day is “Day 1” and go for it. I’m committed to keeping it free, since Nano is free, and that was the catalyst for it.

I got the center front yard raked on Monday afternoon, before the storm started. Tuesday was nasty; I’m hoping to get all those bags of leaves (nearly 800 gallons’ worth) to the dump (excuse me, transfer station) either today or tomorrow. And then get some more raking in before Friday’s storm hits.

Steady work on DAVY JONES DHARMA, although slower than I’d like or need. I’m not sure how to step it up. I need to push harder, but right now, the tank on that project is pretty low. Truly, I’m trying to make like a hockey player and dig deeper, but I’m struggling!

Drafted about half of a short story, inspired by a conversation I had over Veteran’s Day weekend and some of my own experiences back when I did a lot of work with Vietnam vets. There’s a lot of pain in the story, but it’s in subtext, not text. That means each word has to be chosen even more carefully than in a typical short story. There’s also a twist in the last couple of lines that I hope I don’t foreshadow too directly, but I want readers to be hit with it, then go back and not feel cheated. It’s a good craft stretch for me.

Tuesday was a day onsite with a client, and today will be the same.

Looks like the Democrats picked up another Senate seat in Arizona. Maybe the gap in the Senate will be closer than predicted, even with Heitkamp and McCaskill losing.

Meanwhile, the Narcissistic Sociopath continues to be a corrupt embarrassment to the office and the country.

And California continues to burn.

Took a look at two projects I’d worked on a few years back and put aside. They’ve got a good foundation, great characters. I need to think about when I can get them back into the writing queue. They have temporary end points, so they wouldn’t drain creative energy. But I really like what I’m trying to say in them.

While doing some research for one of my projects, the song from 1984, “Obsession” by Animatron, started running through my head. I found the video and watched it — I don’t remember ever seeing it. But then, I don’t remember plenty of things from the 80s. I do remember having a lot of fun to that song and others when I lived on the West coast during that time. I’m grateful it was before the time when going out to blow off steam meant it showed up on social media. In the context of the time, I wasn’t particularly wild, but when I tell stories from those days, people around here seem to think I was. I was passionate and determined, and seized life for everything it had. I have no regrets.

Later that night, I put on the iPod and started dancing around the kitchen, just blowing off some steam. Hadn’t done that in awhile. Tessa, the older cat, looked at me, rolled her eyes (as only a feline can), and stalked out. Lucy, the newer rescue, was terrified and ran away. It was pretty funny.

I want to weave more dancing into some of my projects. I haven’t had the chance to go out dancing much here. Of course, when I worked on Broadway, we made our own dance parties regularly. Anywhere we went had potential to turn into a dance party.

In one of those weird creative synchronicity things, when I checked my Twitter feed the next morning, one of my Twitter pals had posted a video of him dancing in his kitchen. It was wonderful! Made me smile and reminded me that happiness is contagious.

He’s invited his followers to shoot videos dancing in their kitchens and will edit it together. Since I don’t do on-camera stuff, I won’t shoot one, but I’ll sure as hell enjoy watching what he compiles. He’s wildly creative, and I’m sure it will be a blast.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 14, 2018 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity  
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Wed. Nov. 7, 2018: Post-Election

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read about the poorly-organized event I worked with one of my clients last week.

Yesterday was a long damn day. I worked with my client, then worked on getting the 30 Tips for 30 Days book uploaded and out — only the channels aren’t accepting it, even though it’s free. I might just convert it to PDF and keep it perpetually on my own sites. There’s all this demand for free content, and now that I have something I’m willing to offer for free, I’m getting pushback.

It also doesn’t bode well for switching over the Topic Workbooks from their current platform to the new one.

I have some good news — a Boston-based radio company is going to produce my radio drama about Kate Warne in the spring! It seems they’d tried to contact me a few weeks ago, only all the emails showed up in a lump yesterday. I sent them the full script, and we’ll go from there. As soon as I have all the details and am allowed to share them, I will. That was a bright spot yesterday.

Didn’t get much work done on either PREVENTATIVE MEASURES or DAVY JONES DHARMA. Although I did some plotting on PREVENTATIVE MEASURES. There are a few characters who will complicate my two protagonists’ journey to each other.

Most of the day and night was spent worrying about the election. I am disappointed in the results. I think there are some great new faces in the House — and even in the Senate. But how anyone could pick Ted Cruz over Beto O’Rourke shows the level of racism and stupidity there, and, as usual Florida is an embarrassment. And what happened in Georgia is criminal. But NONE of the races, in an enlightened society, should have even been close. It should have been a clean sweep throughout Congress. “Voter suppression” — which needs to be dealt with and prosecuted — isn’t enough of an excuse. The racism is far too ingrained in this country, and that has to change.

It’s about time we had some Native Americans in Congress, and I’m glad they’re women. I’m proud of New York; I’m mostly proud of MA. But it wasn’t enough.

Now that the Dems have the House back, they better take decisive action, instead of continuing to let the Repubs do whatever they want. We will not make progress being civil.

And the Repubs can still cause a lot of damage between now and January.

Frankly, I think the Dems should be quiet until they’re sworn in. Don’t signal the plans. Just state that they plan to take action. Get sworn in, and then move.

The Boston radio station, WBZ, which is supposed to be a CBS affiliate, was so right-wing partisan biased that I turned it off by nine in the morning and didn’t listen again. They’ve been more and more biased since we moved here; at this point, they don’t even pretend to have objective coverage. CBS should cut ties with them.

I’d suggest boycotting the advertisers, but the advertisers are so sleazy to begin with, there’s no one with whom I’d do business.

Didn’t sleep well; am tired and cranky this morning. Have to work with a client, then drop some stuff off at the library. Tomorrow, I will post late, because I have an early morning coffee meeting.

I need to turn my attention to my own work for the rest of the week, take a break from politics, and then get back into the fray.

But it makes the projects I’m developing in Women Write Change more relevant than ever.

So I return to the page.

Published in: on November 7, 2018 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 7, 2018: Post-Election  
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Wed. Oct. 24, 2018: It Keeps Going

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Day after Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cold and gray

Busy/crazy few days.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post on techniques I learned during Nano that apply well to freelance work.

Challenging days with the client.

There was some controversy over one of my published pieces. I am grateful that my editor backed me.

Finished yet another round of copyedits on RELICS. This better be it. The damn book is close to release. I’m getting a little fed up with the way Word changes text from draft to draft, auto-correcting even when I don’t want it to. There’s got to be a way to turn it off. I don’t like a computer program rewriting my text.

This has all put me far behind on DHARMA, which is causing even more stress.

On top of that, there were water spouts only a few miles away at the canal last night, and we were under tornado warnings. The cats were upset. But it turned out okay.

This weekend, the primary focus is on the DHARMA draft, and on yard work and finally getting up the decorations for next week.

On top of that, there are two short stories that are bothering me. I know if I don’t get some work on them, they will distract me from everything else.

And Jake’s book, in the Coventina Circle series, is taking form. That’s book #8. So I’m making notes. Morag’s is the first, Bonnie’s the second, Amanda’s the third, Lesley’s the fourth, Sylvie’s the fifth, Diana’s the sixth, Hartley Crain’s the seventh, Jake’s the eighth. I’ll either do another Morag as number nine, or a final book with everyone. That’s the plan so far. Who knows how it will actually shake out? .

From there, I can build the paranormal historicals and the side books that are seeded in the main books.

But for the next couple of years, I can only write one Coventina a year, not two. That’s just too much, juggling that and the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries and the Nautical Namaste mysteries and Jain Lazarus coming back and Justice by Harpy and the Gambit Colony books

Plus, there are other ideas I have that have nothing to do with the current series!

Oh, and I have to buy another bag of candy, because I ate one!

Rescheduled some coffee dates that got bumped.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on October 24, 2018 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 24, 2018: It Keeps Going  
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Wed. Oct. 3, 2018: Work and Hacked!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frustrating, and it shouldn’t be necessary.

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

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

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

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

Onward.

Wed. Sept. 12, 2018: Switching Genres

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Yesterday was a sad day. It was appropriate that it rained for most of it.

The Narcissistic Sociopath was his usual disgusting self.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see my article on how to lose a client.

Getting back into the groove of DAVY JONES DHARMA. These characters are a lot of fun. I enjoy spending time with them. Now that this is the primary writing focus, I can have fun with the piece, and be a little zany.

Having fun playing with a new idea, although I have no idea when I’ll actually get to write it.

Working on website stuff.

Working on the info sheet for my books that I need for Saturday (and beyond). I had a heck of a time fitting everything on it, about the different books and series. I finally distilled down the blurbs to three words per book. THREE WORDS.

Watched a BBC production of Shaw’s THE MILLIONNAIRESS, starring Maggie Smith. Still relevant in many ways. There’s a reason we keep doing Shakespeare and Shaw.

We are teaching Lucy how to play. She’s starting to enjoy herself. She and Tessa are figuring out how to be friends.

While I appreciate the efforts of people to be politically active on social media, for me, I don’t necessarily want to broadcast everything I do. I do a slew of active things every day. I don’t detail it, either on social media or here. I do it because I believe it’s part of the deal when you’re a citizen — you vote, you serve jury duty, you let your elected officials know where you stand on issues and bills so they can properly represent. It’s great to know what other people are doing, but I don’t feel detailing it publicly is the right choice for me. So I don’t. Because I get to make those choices. And those who find it appropriate to discuss their daily details make their choices. That’s why we’re all working for positive change — so we get to make these choices.

The story about a female cop who went into the wrong apartment and killed the man who lived there has a lot of holes in it. I’ve stumbled home after a 22-hour day on set. I always recognized my apartment (or, if I was staying at someone’s place, their apartment). I didn’t try to get into other people’s apartments. And to just shoot the guy? No. It’s beyond poor judgment. Especially for someone who is supposed to protect and serve, and who carries a gun. There’s more to this story. I don’t know whether there’s race involved (it wouldn’t surprise me) or something more personal. But there’s more to this story, and I hope it gets thoroughly investigated.

Hurricane Florence is supposed to hit the Carolinas tomorrow. I hope it loses power along the way.

I’m hauling all the stuff I’ve been working on out on the deck inside, because of the rain and humidity. Guess I’ll be unpacking inside for awhile. I hoped to have a few more months to air things out on the deck.

Rehearsing for Saturday. Public readings are a necessity, and once I do them, I’m fine, but it’s the prep and the pre-show jitters that I hate.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 12, 2018 at 2:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 12, 2018: Switching Genres  
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Wed. Sept. 5, 2018: Trying to Fuse the Past and Present Selves

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Saturn goes direct tomorrow, thank goodness.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I have a post up about teachers.

Busy weekend, and, emotionally difficult.

The writing went well, although it wasn’t enough, it’s never enough. But Sunday, in particular, was strong on RELICS, writing two and a half chapters.

Cleaning out boxes from the basement. It’s slow going, because there are many, many boxes. And I want to deal with EACH ITEM in each box, and make a decision on it. I’m tossing a good deal; found a few things to sell or give away. Some of the books are dusty and damaged, and I’m trying to restore them and repack them so I know what I have and where it is.

I’m finding a lot of mysteries, especially those written by women, from the 1990s. Books when Sisters in Crime was just coming to prominence, when the writing was fast and fresh and determined. I really feel that women’s rights, in general, have gone backwards since 2001. There have been some writers that have managed to break out, but so many have been forced into an ever-tightening formula that dumbs down the characters to make the readers feel better about themselves. There were so many more books dealing with different approaches to real issues. Definitely not enough diversity in either the writers or the characters. But when I look at these books and I look at a lot of what’s out there now, we’ve definitely backslid. Formulas are more restrictive; where characters used to be non-conformists and were accepted by the community by the end of it because of what they brought to the table, too many now are conforming by the end of the books. I see a loss of the independence we strove so hard to gain.

I wonder where some of these authors, who were so important to me then, have gone. Are they still writing? Did they give up or move onto other things, when they said all they felt they had to say in this arena? We all move and change. But I’m wondering what happened and where they are.

Once I started working on Broadway, I wasn’t active in most writers’ organizations for a long, long time. They met in the evenings; I worked. Even though I wrote, and I wrote every day, the bulk of my life was caught up with the theatre. The saying “Theatre is a jealous mistress” is not just words.

I still read a lot and constantly bought books (hey, Broadway salary, I could afford it). But, as I go through these boxes of books, I see that particular authors fell off my radar. It was the days before social media; heck, re-reading my 1995 diary, I’d just started on CompuServe.

Speaking of which, I found and re-read my journal form 1995. I was making the transition from off-Broadway to Broadway (which is huge; don’t ever let anyone tell you that different types of theatre aren’t vastly different). I was getting into the habit of writing every day (or, at least, most days). I was working 8 shows/week. I was also out at least 5X week at museums, gallery openings, screenings, music, other shows, etc., etc. A very full NYC life. I had a lot of energy, although I lived in a perpetual state of exhaustion.

I’d forgotten how much I’d dated that year. And, looking back, I’m grateful I didn’t wind up long-term with any of them!

I cry for my younger self, who, depending on how you look at it, was either naive or stupid. But I’m grateful for those experiences.

The problem with finding so many books is that I want to sit down and re-read most of them! That slows things down, too.

This cleanout is a combination of wonderful and painful.

I’m so close to the end of this draft of RELICS. And it feels like the horror movie where you run down the hall and it keeps getting longer.

Sad to hear about the death of Carole Shelley. We worked together on WICKED. A talented, formidable woman both on and off stage who did not suffer fools a all.

There are so many other issues I want to discuss – THE NEW YORKER acting like idiots offering a headline slot to a white supremacist – cancelling didn’t solve the issue. The joke of SCOTUS hearings – Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley are an embarrassment to the Senate. If Kavanaugh was actually worthy of the slot, he would request the hearings postponed and all the records released. The fact that he’s not demanding transparency tells us all we need to know.

 

Published in: on September 5, 2018 at 2:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 5, 2018: Trying to Fuse the Past and Present Selves  
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Fri. Aug. 31, 2018: A Flying Poodle & Beer Nuts

Friday, August 31, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Finally, a break in the heat and humidity.

August wrap up is up on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. September’s To-Do List won’t go up until Wednesday.

Yesterday, after I was done at the library, I went to the liquor store (of course I did). Or, as we call it here, “the Package store.” Two Ladies of Certain Age were in there. Old-school, with wigs, dark make-up, oversized sunglasses, blinding cocktail rings. One of them had a male, black, toy poodle on a leash. They’re either having a party or they plan to be drunk for the next five days, because in addition to one woman with a full shopping cart of bottles and the other woman’s arms full of vodka bottles, a staff member had two cases of wine on a hand truck. Good customers, nice sale.

I’m about to step up to the next counter with my own bottle of vodka when the poodle yanks his leash out of his human’s grip and leaps into the air at me. I tossed my vodka bottle to the clerk, who caught it like an infielder, and the poodle landed in my arms, whereupon he wriggled with joy and licked my face.

The woman was embarrassed, but I told her no problem, I love dogs, and it was an honor that he wanted to make friends. I put him down and she pulled him back to her counter so she could finish paying.

Only there are rows of snacks under the counter.

So the poodle grabbed a bag of beer nuts. Which he shouldn’t have. The two women and several employees were alternately trying to scold and coax him to drop the beer nuts. But he’s got it by the corner of the packet, backing away and growling at anyone who comes near.

I got on my knees (technically Hero Pose in yoga, with my feet tucked under) and the poodle bounced over to me. I held out my hand and asked, “Will you share?” He dropped the bag onto my lap and did that two-step bounce back dogs so often do when they bring you something. I told him he was a good boy and he danced around, wagging his tail, happy as could be.

It was hilarious.

I didn’t keep the nuts.
When I came home smelling of boy poodle, both Tessa and Lucy were displeased, so I had to scrub the poodle scent off.

I’m reading the anthology WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE, and enjoying. Donna Andrews has a great story in it called “The Haire of the Beast.” I laughed out loud when I read it.

Managed to unpack four basement boxes yesterday. Sorted some stuff, found some really cool stuff, am airing out and cleaning some things, and there’s stuff to throw out. Slowly, but surely, if I keep at it, I’ll get the whole thing tackled and done. I should have been doing it since we moved in, but should have doesn’t solve anything. I’m now DOING.

Percolating some story ideas as I work. We’ll see what happens. Fitting them into the schedule is the big thing right now.

Ari Meghlen needs the blog post earlier than expected, because of a schedule change, so I will write it this weekend and get it out early next week.

Finishing this draft of RELICS is on the agenda, making good progress on DHARAMA and calendar articles. More box-purging, and sorting and integrating what I’ve unpacked that I’m keeping so far. Writing ahead on the month’s posts for Upbeat Authors and for Ink-Dipped Advice. Doing yard work, if it’s not too hot. Meditating.

It’s interesting how GRAVE REACH, the fourth and next Coventina Circle book, is taking more and more shape the closer I get to the end of RELICS. I’ll revisit the outline for it shortly.

Hopefully, I’ll also have some time for relaxing!

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

Thurs. Aug. 30, 2018: Dissecting Creativity & Poor Business Choices

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, cloudy

Long day yesterday, although I got good work done on RELICS. The heat and humidity are supposed to break a bit later today, thank goodness. I am not productive in this weather, and I need to be productive. This morning, the RELICS worked rocked! We are at the first of the double climactic sequence and barreling to the end of this draft!

Lots of work with the client yesterday, and next week will be long days of extra hours. But it’s all good. The work is interesting, and that helps.

Finished re-reading TENDER IS THE NIGHT (F. Scott Fitzgerald). Although there is a lot of beautiful language, it’s also a cruel book. It also keeps the reader at a distance, which I hadn’t noticed the first time I read it. I never felt that the POVs were close enough. It wasn’t quite third omniscient, but not really close third, either. That got frustrating after awhile.

It’s also interesting to speculate on how he used material and transformed it into fiction. I always wonder how much of that transformation is using a real-life inspiration as a jumping off point, and how much is exploring one’s feelings toward that inspiration? In my case, when I do my job properly, the inspiration evolves into a fully-formed individual/character very separate from the original inspiration. I know where they diverge. But I always wonder if and where it happens for other authors.

Nicole Diver reminded me, in some ways, of Sara Murphy. So many of her characteristics are similar to Sara’s. But her mental health issues reminded me of Zelda Fitzgerald. In the same way, Dick Diver seemed a combination of Gerald Murphy and Fitzgerald himself. Although the McKiscos also reminded me of the Fitzgeralds. The racism in the book also struck me. I think it was deliberate on Fitzgerald’s part, him pointing it out and depicting it, I mean. I don’t think it was thoughtless. I think he wanted a spotlight on how black individuals were treated in that time and place. There were many people in the novel where one could speculate the inspirations — especially because I’m re-reading the book about Sara and Gerald Murphy, EVERYONE WAS SO VERY YOUNG, at the same time. The first time I read it, I didn’t know any of the context. It was less distracting in some ways, but I was also less discerning.

It’s been an interesting experience.

I was absolutely shocked when I opened my email yesterday and there was an email from a startup wellness company attacking me for not buying their product. I’m not even sure how I got on their list in the first place. They asked if I wanted an invitation to subscribe to their monthly yoga box. I accepted the invitation for an invitation. That’s not a commitment. That’s saying I’m interested in hearing about it. When I received the invitation, it was for a limited time, and I was dealing with two deaths that happened in close proximity. I glanced at the invitation, I had questions about pricing — things were unclear and it looked like the pricing would fluctuate every month, which meant it wasn’t an option for me. And, frankly, their stuff was fine but it didn’t excite me. I put it aside. I CHOSE not to purchase it at this time. That is my right as a potential customer. To CHOOSE whether or not I buy a product.

Yesterday I got an email, berating me for not purchasing the product. Basically calling me too stupid to understand their offer.

I sent a strongly-worded email saying that I was dealing with two deaths at the time and not everything was about THEM, and sending an email attacking potential customers is not the way to grow one’s business. I then unsubscribed from the email list, too.

Of course, there was no apology. I felt like I’d been blindsided with a gut punch, and I wanted one. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it didn’t matter. Yeah, my ego wanted the apology. But there is no way I’d become a customer. There is NOTHING they could do or say — not an apology, not an offer of free or discounted anything — that would make me trust them enough to give them money. I’m done.

And this is supposed to be a company promoting the yoga lifestyle. Hypocrites.

I’m still hurt and angry, but I’ll get over it, I’ll move on, and I want nothing to do with them. I realize it’s hard to be a start-up, but walk your talk. And you’re NOT going to succeed if you abuse potential customers.

Roughed out the next month’s worth of Ink-Dipped Advice pieces. Uploading next week’s today; will write the next over the weekend and upload them next week. Also want to get ahead on the September postings for Upbeat Authors.

Working on calendar articles.

Have to get the balance back between working on RELICS and DHARMA. This draft of RELICS will head off to the editor as soon as I can finish it (hopefully this weekend).

Working on the piece about Donna Andrews’s Meg Langslow mysteries, which should go up on A Biblio Paradise next week.

I have errands this morning, and writing, and web stuff (have to get the new website offline properly so we can work on it). Because it takes place behind-the-scenes on a television series, my editor and I are also discussing how the #MeToo movement will affect the plot. When I started writing it, we dealt with the issues differently than we are trying to deal with them now. So, as we work through this next draft preparing for galleys, we have to figure out how to acknowledge how things have changed and figure out where and if they affect the plot.

I’m hoping the weekend will be a combination writing retreat/meditation/purge-the-basement/yardwork event.

I’m not going anywhere. The Labor Day Tourist Insanity was already in full swing yesterday. I’ll do some grocery shopping tomorrow, and some errands, and then I’m in for the weekend.

Back to the page.

Wed. Aug. 29, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Blisteringly hot & humid

Hop on over to the Fearless Ink Site for the latest on Ink-Dipped Advice.

I’ve been onsite with a client the last few days, doing studio/design work. She leaves for Thailand early in September and needs to get this done. It’s interesting work, the way she designs clothes, and very different from costume design in theatre.

I’m re-reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s TENDER IS THE NIGHT and wallowing in the beauty of the language. Which is weird, because when one breaks down certain sections of it, it shouldn’t work. But when you put it together, it does.

Since I’m reading EVERYONE WAS SO YOUNG, which deals with the inspiration for TENDER IS THE NIGHT, it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

Ari Meghlen invited me to guest on her blog (it will go up next year) and I said yes. I also invited her onto Biblio Paradise. I need to get the next few dozen posts on that sorted this week.

Working on the calendar articles. The first book for my new reviewing gig arrived, and I really like it. I hope to finish it this weekend and get the review out early next week. Worked on the newsletter, which will go out early next week.

Shameless promotional note: If you haven’t signed up for my quarterly newsletter yet, you can do so here.

This newsletter has a triple cover reveal: RELICS & REQUIEM, DAVY JONES DHARMA, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Pushing for the end of this draft of RELICS. Behind where I need to be on DHARMA. But BALTHAZAAR is where it should be, and CRAVE THE HUNT needs to get back into the mix once RELICS is in galleys and the next draft of DHARMA is done.

Right now, the goal is a minimum of 2500 words/day on RELICS (more if I can) and 1K on DHARMA, but that doesn’t always happen.

Getting more comfortable on Tumblr; loving Ello; joined Triberr, and we’ll see how that goes. I’m ready to give up on Vero — if I’m having trouble with even the sign-up, a client less IT fluent won’t like it at all. Their support people have been lovely, but the problem’s not solved. We’re going on a week here. And it’s just about signing up and my email address (that I use a dozen times a day) coming up in the sign-up as invalid. It’s not.

I have to start rehearsing the material for the Ptown Book Festival Reading and put together a flyer/handout for it.

Discussions on the Jain Lazarus covers with that cover designer. The cover I want to go back to was not by that designer — paint me mortified! I have to figure out what to do about OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. CRAVE THE HUNT is more important now.

We got the new subdomain for the new series set up and WordPress on it. Now, I have to take it offline so we can build privately. The first three books in the series are in good shape. The cover for the first is great; we have to tweak the second a bit. The fourth book is almost ready; the fifth is partially done, and the sixth outlined and has to get back into the writing roster. How the next few books in the other series stay on track and what goes on with CRAVE THE HUNT will decide a lot about the schedule for this series.

It’s a juggling act.

The cleanout of the basement is going more slowly than I’d like. The heat and humidity has a negative effect.

Last night was our last session of Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki for the season. It’s been a beautiful experience, and I am glad I made it to every session.

Today, I’m with a client for most of the day, and then I hope to get more basement cleaning done. The humidity/heat is set to break either tomorrow or Friday, so maybe I’ll have a productive weekend.

Back to the page.

Wed. Aug. 22, 2018: Creative Expansion & Annoyance at Forced Terms

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Today would have been my father’s birthday, if he was still alive.

Hop on over for the latest freelancing advice over on the Fearless Ink website, Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve tweaked the look of it a bit, too.

I hurt my back on Monday, and it’s still bothering me. On top of it, yesterday, I had an awful headache.

I’m surprised by how upset I am at Facebook’s new terms, where authors can’t talk about their books on their personal pages. Because talking about them IS promoting them — it’s all integrated. My work is deeply entwined with who I am — even though my work is public and my life is private. My reason for being on social media is to talk about the work (and watch food porn and share pet photos, but that’s secondary). To force authors and all artists to move their work to business pages in order to force all of that to be paid promotion — I’m angry.

I’m also disappointed in Mark Zuckerberg, and his journey from creative entrepreneur to greedy corporate owner. People don’t change (although one hopes they grow), so it was always there. I had hoped it wouldn’t be what he leads with, but now it is. It’s bad enough he sold out his country to foreign entities, fake news, and hate groups. All these changes, which he claims are part of controlling that are crap. All he’s doing is hurting the small businesses and individual artists.

So, yes, I’m putting up a Devon Ellington Author page tied to my other pages. For the moment, I am still on FB. But if I’m kicked off, while I will miss some of my FB-only contacts, I’m going to shrug and move on.

I signed up on Tumblr, and you can find me here. I’m still figuring out how to use it.

I signed up on Ello, and you can find me here. I’m digging the creative energy over there, and I think I’m going to like it.

Once I upgrade my phone, I might join Vero, but the jury’s still out on that.

I’m thinking about reviving my old My Space account, even.

It all has to evolve, doesn’t it?

I use Twitter differently than I use Facebook. Facebook is more for hanging out. Twitter is more hard-edged and focused. Although I’ve gotten some of my highest-paid gigs off Twitter.

I might have to suck it up and try to be active on Goodreads, although I can’t stand the thought of it. But I need to be able to connect with readers and potential readers.

The whole thing is discouraging, depressing, and dispiriting. As usual, it’s about screwing the individual artist.

Negotiations for the gig are ongoing. I’d like to land it, but we have a few things to work out. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll shrug and move on.

Lucy loves to sit in my lap as I type. Lucy loves to sit in my lap no matter what. It makes Tessa grumpy, so I make sure to give Tessa plenty of extra attention.

Needless to say, I really, really needed Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki last night!

Continuing on with RELICS, happy that I see the end in sight for this draft and moving toward it.

DHARMA is heating up; once that moves back into the primary position, I think it will cook along fine.

BALTHAZAAR is also taking shape nicely, and I’m eager to get back to that, and to CRAVE THE HUNT.

We’re working on the relaunch of the Jain Lazarus books. My editor has asked me for a few tweaks, especially when it comes to OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. And I’ll have to do some major work on the website. I’m going to get it more in alignment with the other series sites.

We’re also talking about the series POWER OF WORDS is evolving into. The cover for the first book is stunning. I’m so happy with it. The second still needs some more tweaks, but it communicates what the book is about. We should see some proofs for the upcoming books shortly. We’re still tweaking titles on some of them, and starting to build the website.

Client work today; I’ll be late getting posts up both Thursday and Friday, because of things that have to get done in the morning before I can post. I hope to spend most of the upcoming weekend writing and working on the house and garden. With any luck, it will be cool enough and dry enough so to do.

I’m absolutely delighted that I was chosen to read at the Provincetown Book Festival on September 15. We’ll be in the Marc Jacobs room at the Provincetown Library, from 10-11:30 AM. Can’t wait.

Back to the page!