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.

 

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Published in: on September 12, 2018 at 2:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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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.

 

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!

 

Wed. Aug. 15, 2018: Getting My Creative Feet Back Under Me

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

They told us showers Monday night. We had a monsoon. The yard needed it, but still. Glad I didn’t have to be out in it.

Client work yesterday and today. Getting back into the rhythm so that I can buckle down and really push on RELICS. Getting back into the groove for DHARMA.

Got a stack of LOIs out. Have some more to work on this weekend. Working on articles for Ink-Dipped Advice and Biblio Paradise (the Lucy Burdette piece stays up another week at the top of the feed — I’m posting a new piece next Tuesday). Check out the new piece on Ink-Dipped Advice today, though, about being paid appropriately for multiple skills.

I need to get back into the pattern of pitching articles. That’s really fallen by the wayside this year, and it can’t. I like the work, and I want to keep doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I get plenty of requests to post articles on money-generating websites — but they don’t want to pay, so no thanks. This is my business, not my hobby. An occasional post swap with another author whose work I like and respect is one thing, and yes. The demand that I work for free while the site owner earns money off my piece? No.

Lots of positive feedback on Monday’s article about self-respect. I’m glad it helped. I’m done with non-reciprocal respect. I will almost always meet a new-to-me individual on the base foundation of respect. However, if that person proves unworthy of that respect — which includes showing me the same respect from the get-go — excommunicated from my universe. Done. I will not be a doormat or otherwise badly treated because that individual demands “civility” without behaving with it.

The mid-month check in is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’m behind on just about everything, and the rest of the month is about catching up.

Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki was great last night, as usual. I will be sad when the class ends.

Back to the page.

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Wed. July 25, 2018: Prepping for the Onslaught

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury goes Retrograde TOMORROW

Batten down the hatches, we’re about to be in for a bumpy ride.

Click on over to Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve got some suggestions for dealing with “tired brain.” And it’s not about sleeping.

I overslept yesterday, which put me behind as I worked on RELICS and tried to pull the radio proposal together.

I was pleased by the positive response to The Idea Vat over on Biblio Paradise. I’m so glad people found it helpful. It helps me let go of the irritation at the author who flaked out on the slot.

Worked on the review I’m writing; I’m doing some short reviews for the review sites, per instructions, and a longer piece will be up on A Biblio Paradise next Tuesday for her release day.

I don’t have much of value to say, and I want to stay relatively quiet over this difficult retrograde period. Five icky retrogrades.

Busy day with a client yesterday.

Happy with the way RELICS is going; just wish I could do more each day. It has its own rhythm, and once I’ve hit it, that’s it for the day. If I push too hard, I have to throw out the words the next day. But then, each book has its own personality. I’ll still make the deadline.

There’s some less-than-stellar response to the potential DAVY JONES DHARMA cover. I thought it was really cute in the right way; the general response seems that it’s veering too much into the cute. So, we’ll look at a few other things.

The RELICS cover will be revealed in September, just after Labor Day.

Digging into BALTHAZAAR TREASURE a bit, too, and I have to get focused on CRAVE THE HUNT again. In a couple of weeks, we’ll look at the manuscripts of HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK to see what needs to be tweaked, and I’ll need to find the rhythm for HUNT again (not to mention my notes). Because March isn’t that far away. And we’re trying to wrangle the newly re-shaped POWER OF WORDS into possibility, so we can announce the new series title, the new book titles, and get working on the websites and covers.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

 

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.

 

Published in: on July 19, 2018 at 8:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 19, 2018: And It’s Always A-Changing  
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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.

Published in: on July 18, 2018 at 2:21 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 18, 2018: Working Situations  
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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!

 

Published in: on June 27, 2018 at 2:37 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 27, 2018: Trying to Balance the Writing  
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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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