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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wrote another chapter on HEART BINDER on Sunday afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got a few pages done on the suicidal veteran piece.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I’m on the right track.

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

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

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

Back to the page.

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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.

 

Tues. June 26, 2018: Good Writing Things While the Country Burns Down

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

Five retrogrades. That’s a lot of weight.

Turned around the galleys for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. The book will be ready for pre-orders soon. I’m happy with it.

RELICS & REQUIEM is steaming along nicely. I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night, so I spent several hours lying in bed refining plot points and making mental adjustments to the Writers Rough outline. I’ve started putting those adjustments into practice. It makes a big adjustment to the romantic part of the romantic suspense arc, and I’m not quite sure it will work, but I’m going to give it a shot.

This week, along with RELICS, I get back into the saddle with DAVY JONES DHARMA, the second Nautical Namaste mystery. I need to re-read the material and take a look at the outline to get back into that headspace and voice.

The anti-gun violence play is going along slowly. But that’s okay. Every piece has its own innate rhythm. I don’t yet have a title for it, which is making it more difficult.

I received the check from the radio play. Always great to get those checks.

PJ Friel, the cover artist, is going to stay on as the cover artist for The Jain Lazarus Adventures, which is a relief. She created a specific look for the series, which I think works. My publisher agreed. I’m very proprietary about Jain, and I’m lucky that my publisher is giving me more leeway than is usual.

I’m also reading PJ’s debut novel, A TWIST OF WYRD, and loving it. It’s a terrific urban fantasy with a strong romance at its core. I’m looking forward to more in the series. PJ was a guest of mine on A Biblio Paradise when the book came out, a few weeks ago.

Friday night, I went out with a friend I haven’t seen in person since last fall, right after PLAYING THE ANGLES released. We went to Embargo, a tapas place in Hyannis. The food was surprisingly good, and we had a great catch-up. She invited me to participate in a fundraiser for a mutual friend of ours, which will happen in August. I’m going to write a new monologue for that, which I’ve started percolating. She is a ceramic artist, and is participating in a show in Falmouth opening in a couple of weeks, so I will go to that. And she’s encouraging me to apply for a reading slot at a local festival this fall. She’s right. All they can do is say no. But they can’t say yes if I don’t let them know I’m interested.

So it was a good, creative shoring up of each other’s work.

Saturday was a rainy day. I like listening to the rain here. I gave myself the day off. I needed it.

Sunday, I was back in the saddle for RELICS & REQUIEM, and got some solid work on it in. I also read over what I’ve got on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, now that I’ve cut out the material used for MYTH. It’s much tighter and more focused. I’ll have to massage a few things for the timeline and then move forward; I’ve lost several chapters of the material that was the foundation for MYTH. But now BALTHAZAAR has its necessary pace and focus, and I can move forward.

Re-read what I’ve got so far on CRAVE THE HUNT, the third Jain Lazarus. It’s a little more than the first quarter of the book, a little less than the first third. I like it. I found most of my outline notes, so I know where I’m going with it. I think I can whip it into shape for its release in March.

IF I stay focused on everything else that’s already contracted.

Yesterday was about client work and continuing to work on the media kit for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I had trouble getting my head back into RELICS, for some reason; but eventually, I got there.

Some idiot yesterday, here on Cape said, “I don’t have anything to worry about with politics. My skin is white.” And THIS is why we now live in a fascist dictatorship. The ignorance and lack of care is appalling.

Today is about more client work. I’m hoping to get to Reiki tonight. Because believe me, I need it!

 

Published in: on June 26, 2018 at 1:44 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 26, 2018: Good Writing Things While the Country Burns Down  
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Fri. June 22, 2018: Jain Lazarus Announcement (and Other Writing)

HexBreakerAlt

Friday, June 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Jain Lazarus announcement: Bluestockings and Gentlemen Press has picked up the series contract for The Jain Lazarus Adventures. HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK will be re-released along with the third book in the series, CRAVE THE HUNT, in Spring of 2019. The plan is for the first three books to re-release and release a week apart, and then one book a year for the next four books, should they pick up the option.

Wrote a couple of blog posts and scheduled them to post yesterday. I wasn’t in the mood for sitting in front of the computer.

Finished this round of galleys on MYTH and sending them off to my editor & copyeditor today. It wasn’t too bad; there were a few things I missed, and some paragraph indents that didn’t take. I’m hoping I can turn around the next set of proofs fast this weekend and we’ll have caught everything. It was nowhere near as mortifying as the copyedits on SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Not a good day on RELICS, as far as getting words on paper, but figured out a few things. I need to re-arrange some events, so the timeline works out. I want to do a big push on it this weekend, because starting next week, I have to juggle both RELICS and DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Did some preliminary research for the first three pieces I have to write for the 2020 Almanac, and will draft them and test them this weekend. If I do three a week, I have plenty of time to write and revise them before deadline.

And, of course, there’s a new idea tugging at me. As if there weren’t enough projects competing for my attention.

I did some weed whacking yesterday, in the front and the side yards. I have to mow the front later today, while the weather is still good.

Errands this morning — bill paying, stocking up on cat food. They’re working on my street again, so hopefully, I won’t have trouble getting in and out.

Last night was the Summer Solstice ceremony — lovely. As of today, the days start getting shorter.

I’m supposed to meet a friend this evening to catch up on life, the universe, and everything. It will be a nice start to what I hope is a productive, creative weekend.

Have a good one!

Published in: on June 22, 2018 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 22, 2018: Jain Lazarus Announcement (and Other Writing)  
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Tues. June 19, 2018: Stressors

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

Four planets retrograde, with Mars going retrograde next week. Can I please just stay in bed until it’s all direct?

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for “The Lost Art of Reading Aloud.”

Busy weekend. Most of it was focused on turning around the revisions of MYTH & INTERPRETATION back to my editor. We’re in galleys now. Since it’s a novella, not a novel, and just over 40K, I’m hoping the galley process won’t be as drawn out as with SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Back in the saddle with RELICS & REQUIEM. Going at a good clip with that. I love the way the relationship is unfolding between Amanda and Phineas. It gets my full writing focus (as opposed to revision or proofreading focus) this week, because next week, DAVY JONES DHARMA gets back into the mix. I’m looking forward to spending time again with Sophie and the crew of the Charisma.

Did some work on the anti-gun violence play. It’s slow going. Instead of drafting in a rush, I’m working and reworking each scene, building the piece. It’s a different way of working than I usually use, but this play needs it. You change the process to meet the demands of a specific project.

It makes me shake my head when writers — usually un-published or under-published refuse to try something new because “that’s not my process.” Until you have a published track record, you’re still trying to find your process. And, even then, you have to change it when the work calls for it.

For the anti-gun violence play, all that time I’ve spent in DC working with senators and reps on legislation, talking to various members of Congress and their aides about issues has all come in handy. It allows me to give it texture, to layer in sights, sounds, smells, attitudes.

I’m still in touch with many of the people with whom I worked when I lived in New York, and have added the MA delegations to my contacts since I’ve moved here. Usually about once a day, always several times a week. Just because I don’t post about it all the time doesn’t mean I remain silent. Or uninvolved. Especially now, it’s vital to be immersed in our political process. My mother, who survived Russian prison camp in WWII, is horrified at the way the US is going down the road of Nazi Germany.

I am sickened by separating children from their families and putting them in cages. Every single individual who does this must be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL. No hiding behind “job” or “policy.” If your job or policy requires you to do something inhumane, you refuse. You fight. Period. If you commit an inhuman act because your job “requires” you to do it, YOU are inhumane. And must face consequences.

I take note of so many people who claim they are “religious” and “Christian” who agree with this inhumane policy of degrading people and putting children IN CAGES. Look at the AP reports. Look at John Moore’s photos. It’s happening. In our country. These people who protest outside of Planned Parenthood, want to deny women reproductive rights, are anti-abortion, delight when doctors who provide health care for women are SHOT, all in the name of RELIGION — they think putting children in cages and denying them basic human rights and dignity is just fine. Not only are they disgusting individuals with no moral compass or authority — they are hypocrites.

I saw a suggestion from a Catholic bishop to deny those implementing this inhumane treatment the sacrament. I am fully on board with that. Go further — excommunicate any individual who does not repent, not only in words, but in ACTION.

Ex-communicate Paul Ryan. This granny-starving sleazeball, who delights in taking away healthcare and other rights, posted a tone-deaf tweet for Father’s Day, while doing nothing to help the situation.

I’m deeply disappointed in Susan Collins from Maine. I have family in Maine; spent lots of time there. Have met with her, in Maine and in Washington. She seemed like a fairly reasonable, rational human being. How disturbing to find it was all a facade.

We are losing a generation of children. Physically and emotionally. It is inexcusable and must be stopped.

For all those who turn away and say they “aren’t political.” They’re coming for you next, you spineless pieces of crap. You won’t be spared. You’re useful to them now, because of your inaction. But you will be tossed away as soon as they choose.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is dealing with some of these issues, as in, when you fight atrocity, how far into similar behavior can you descend without becoming what you fight? Who gets sacrificed? How can anyone come back from it?

Which is, of course, why the piece is pulling at me. Although, I suspect that, once the anti-gun violence play is drafted and goes out to Trusted Readers, I will write a play about this situation.

And, of course, POWER OF WORDS wants attention. We’ve come up with a new series title that we all like. We’ve even named the first six books, and I THINK those titles will stick. Now the question is, how realistically can I finish the material that will be broken into the rest of Book 4 and make up Books 5 & 6, with everything else going on? Books 1, 2 & 3 have been through multiple drafts. They are almost ready to send to the editor. But, because we want to have all six ready at once, I have to finish the rest. I have most of Book 4 done, and part of Book 5 (I skipped ahead). I have Book 6 outlined. But how to fit it in?

On top of that, the Jain Lazarus Adventures must now be factored back in. I need to finish CRAVE THE HUNT, so it can go into edits and be ready to release when HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK re-release. While still staying on track with the Coventina Circle books, the Nautical Namaste books, and the Gwen Finnegan books.

And, you know, client work.

STILL waiting for two checks, one that is now almost a month late. Where the place lied and said it was “sent” and that the accountant wouldn’t be in until this week, and there was nothing they could do about a replacement. You’re a business. You’re telling me that no one can take 5 minutes to write a check? That’s not business.

Feeling pressured and upset and in despair on multiple fronts. All I can do is put my head down and keep writing.

 

Mon. June 18, 2018: Follow Your Dreams — A Personal Story #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, June 18, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I’ve lived my life by that motto.

I knew I wanted to be a writer by the time I was six years old. I published in school magazines and newspapers. As a teen, I wrote plays, and I did press releases and other articles for local and regional newspapers about the high school music groups with which I was associated.

In college, I got away from the writing (although I wrote plenty of awful poetry) when I committed to theatre. I graduated high school early, tested my way out of freshman year, and entered Florida State University in Tallahassee mid-year. I took a stage lighting class. I was supposed to put in 20 hours of lab work in the theatre during the semester. I put 20 hours in my first week and never left the building until I transferred to NYU’s film and television program a year later. I got terrific experience at FSU, and even picked up a few side rock and roll gigs.

I transferred to NYU and got into the film department. My first day in film school, I met the guy who still, all these decades later, is one of my closest friends. But, because I was practical and a problem-solver, I wound up more on the production management level than the writing level. I had two brilliant professors, who encouraged me, and with whom I’m still in contact. One was my screenwriting professor, and I wish I’d studied more with him. I still use what I learned from him, in screenwriting, playwrighting, radio writing, and novels.

I picked up theatre jobs here and there. In other words, I started earning my living in the arts when I was 18. Any non-arts job I ever had was only temporary, and in between shows, for the cash. I knew I wasn’t suited to an office job or anything the fearful call “a real job.” Honey — working in the arts is about giving EVERYTHING and leaving it out there. It’s far more real than ANY office job. So shut the eff up.

When I graduated from NYU, I moved to the west coast for three years to work in regional theatre. I knew I needed experiences outside of New York. I loved it, but I also knew that if I was going to realize my dream of working on Broadway, I had to be in New York. While I was west, I spent some time in LA and knew it wasn’t for me.

I came back east, initially to help with a family issue, for two months. I immediately landed a stage management job and worked my way up in the off-off-off-off Broadway community. (I had worked as a stage manager and production manager in San Francisco, and as a props person in Seattle). I switched to wardrobe (as a stage manager in small SF companies, I’d often both stage managed and handled quick changes). I worked my way from off-off-off Broadway to off-off Broadway and then to off-Broadway. I did some work in New York as a stage manager and an associate production manager, for the Pearl Theatre and for Manhattan Class Company. I did wardrobe for the Vineyard, and then spent several seasons at Manhattan Theatre Club, which led to open-ended runs rather than repertory.

While I was still working off-off Broadway, I spent three years working during the day for an art book publisher. I learned an enormous amount that has served my writing career well, working both sides of the table. I worked in the development offices of the Neuberger Museum and the Guggenheim Museum. At the latter, I spent my lunch hour walking the museum, immersing myself in the art. I worked part-time for five years for the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, when it was so small the staff consisted of the Executive Director and me, putting on seminars and support groups and roundtables and award shows. I learned so much.

It was at Manhattan Theatre Club where I had the honor of working with Arthur Miller and Athol Fugard within the same six months. I’d started writing again. Even though I was the wardrobe girl, Athol respected that I wrote, that I was starting to define myself as a writer. He invited me to sit in on rehearsals any time I wanted, to ask any questions I wanted. I did, and I learned an amazing amount from him. He directed what he wrote, but he kept his writing self and his directing self separate.

On the first day of rehearsal, in his opening remarks, he said, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the writer is dead in this process. There will be no revisions during rehearsal. The bad news is that I promised him you chaps would speak every line exactly as written.”

I loved it. He demanded respect for the words. No paraphrasing (which American actors tend to do more than any other actors, claiming to be “in the moment” when, in reality, most of them simply haven’t bothered to take the time to memorize).

I worked with Arthur Miller within the same six months (their plays were produced one after the other in the season). I adored him. He was one of the most vibrant, vital, intelligent people I ever met. He used to hang out in the wardrobe room during the show sometimes.

At the time, I was getting back into writing. Monologues for actresses with whom I worked, who couldn’t find good monologues for auditions. Who landed the job every time they used something I wrote for them. I was also working on a short story, for a themed competition.

I wrote the first draft on butcher paper in between cues in the wardrobe room. I typed it up and worked on revisions between cues (there were long periods where I didn’t have any quick changes with my actors). I hid the pages in the room, but Arthur found them one evening when I was on the deck doing quick changes.

I was mortified when I returned to the room and found him reading the pages. He was Arthur Miller! I was, well, me.

He looked up and said, “This is good. What are you doing working backstage?”

“I like it. Plus, you know, I like to do things like eat. I have to pay the rent.”

“You need to write full time. You’ll never be the writer you can be, find your full potential, until you rely on it to pay the bills.”

David Mamet told me something very similar when we worked together.

Arthur gave me some suggestions on the text. He never treated me like “less than” because he was Arthur Miller and I was a wardrobe girl scribbling in a corner. He always treated me like a colleague. We kept in touch until his death, and he always pushed me to do better, be more — and only write.

It was quite a few years before I had the courage to only write — and it was AFTER I’d accomplished my dream of working on Broadway.

The monologues I wrote expanded to plays, the plays that would take me to fringe festivals in both Edinburgh and Australia. I found my work got a much stronger reception in Europe than in the US. It wasn’t angsty enough for the American audiences at the time; there was too much sharp humor.

I landed at the Public Theatre and worked with one of my idols, Hal Prince. Another person at the top of his craft who liked and respected everyone with whom he worked. The assistant designers at the Public were working on Broadway and took me with them when the show at the Public closed.

I found myself learning how to be a swing dresser on Broadway, on the production of MISS SAIGON, and in the union. Each series of cues a dresser performs during the course of the show is called a “track.” If you read my novel PLAYING THE ANGLES, set backstage on a Broadway show, my protagonist Morag is a Broadway dresser.

MISS SAIGON had 13 tracks. I learned them in 26 performances. You follow the dresser once to learn it; the dresser follows you as you do it. Within three months, after swinging every track on the show multiple times, the lead actresses who played Kim requested me when their regular dresser took another job. I stayed with the show for five years, until it closed.

It was an amazing, creative group. We wrote plays, songs, other performances, and all went to each others’ shows. Which took place at midnight, in various venues around the city. We put on our own shows, and hung out with the cast & crew of other shows like SNL at KGB. We did The Easter Bonnet Competition and Gypsy of the Year and Broadway Bares to raise money for AIDs and breast cancer. I worked the Tony Awards once and attended it twice over my years on Broadway.

I think I had four shows I wrote produced during that time, in small venues. Dozens of monologues and short pieces. A few short stories published. MISS SAIGON closed and I worked on other shows at other theatres: RENT, GYPSY (the Bernadette Peters version), FOLLIES, 42ND ST, SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS (with Mark Hamill, who became one of my favorite people ever), URINETOWN, and then as a swing on the first 3 1/2 years of WICKED.

I loved it, but I knew I was aging out. Physically, it was getting tougher and tougher. Mentally, I was struggling to get the writing done and work full time on Broadway. They’re not kidding when they say, “The theatre is a jealous mistress.”

By this point, I was also day-playing on television shows shooting in New York. For the money. I could earn in one day on set when I earned in a week on Broadway. I liked it. I learned so, so much. But I didn’t love it the way I loved Broadway. I’m better suited to theatre production than television production. Which is a shame, from a financial standpoint.

I was also writing about sports for various publications. I covered horse racing and ice hockey. Thirteen years’ worth of Triple Crown races; traveled with a minor league hockey team for eight months as background for a book. Covered America’s Cup races and learned about sailing, although I can’t even swim.

By this point, the first Jain Lazarus Adventures were out, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, DIXIE DUST RUMORS, and a bunch of short stories and anthologies. I was writing for calendars and almanacs. I was doing marketing writing for companies. I was writing and teaching and working on novels and trying to build a writing career as the publishing world changed. I hit a point where I had to make a decision. I had to decide if I would stop writing or if I would give up Broadway.

I knew I couldn’t continue physically on Broadway much longer — heavy costumes, raked stages, blowing out my knees running up and down concrete steps carrying stacks of clothes.

I chose writing.

SPRING AWAKENING was my last show as a swing on Broadway. The last event I worked was a staged reading of ALL ABOUT EVE, which had a plethora of people I loved working with involved, AND I got to bow out by working with Jennifer Tilly, Keri Russell, Peter Gallagher, Annette Bening, Angela Lansbury, Zoe Caldwell, and more. It was a great way to leave the business. I’d heard so many stories about how wonderful Peter Gallagher is, and thought, “No one can be that great” — he IS that great, and even better. I’ve never laughed as much with anyone as I did with Jennifer Tilly, and I loved working with Keri Russell (we had five quick changes in a staged reading, which means walking around holding scripts).

I moved away from New York to write. There are challenges. I live in a place that is a prime example of how trickle-down economy does not work. I live in place that, if you’re a working artist who visits, they fall all over you, but if you chose to LIVE here, you’re considered a failure and should get a “real” job. Honey, this is a real job. Granted, most of the clients who pay me well are remote, but I’m working a real job. I’m writing material that helps businesses grow and spread their message. I’m writing books that I love. I’m writing plays and radio plays that invigorate people.

I have always made the choices to do what I love. To fight for what I want, to refuse to compromise and be forced into work I hate. I have made plenty of personal compromises along the way.

Every single one of them has been worth it.

Just because I love what I do does not mean I don’t deserve to be paid for it. Loving my work does not mean I don’t deserve to earn a living at it. I do. And nothing less is acceptable.

Those who don’t have the courage to follow their dreams often try to punish those of us who do.

They are not worth our time or our energy.

Do what you love. Follow your dreams. Make them your reality.

Wed. June 13, 2018: Creative Changes and Challenges

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Busy times. Revisions are going more slowly than I’d like for MYTH & INTERPRETATION, but I like how the book is taking shape.

RELICS & REQUIEM is moving forward very well. I’m happy with the pace and the way the book is taking shape.

There are negotiations about how the Jain Lazarus Adventures will move forward, and I will make the announcement as soon as that’s finalized. But it had me re-reading what I’ve written on CRAVE THE HUNT. There are definitely things I want to change/improve, but the bones are solid.

Some dumbass drove into the Centerville Library parking lot the wrong way up the one way exit and slammed into the building. I have never lived any place in the world where people are so stupid they regularly drive into buildings. I’m over it.

Weed whacked the back terraced area on Monday. I still have to mow, but it looks better. Slowly but surely, we are getting there.

Bought a plant to cheer up my elderly neighbors.

Client work yesterday and today (today will be challenging). It’s hard to switch away from my fictional worlds at the moment. Necessary, but difficult.

But it keeps my brain flexible and my thoughts fresh.

Published in: on June 13, 2018 at 4:21 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 13, 2018: Creative Changes and Challenges  
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Fri. April 6, 2018: Seriously Sick of Retrogrades

Friday, April 6, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Why yes, we are going to have more snow this weekend. Enough already!

Yesterday was a lot of running around in the morning, juggling errands and priorities. I posted pieces for Upbeat Authors, next week’s Ink-Dipped Advice, worked on a few LOIs, did some promo for the Jain Lazarus Adventures. The ebooks are discounted on Kindle, $1.99 for HEX BREAKER and $2.99 for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, with Kindle Unlimited editions free.

Did some genealogy work. I enjoy it, but it’s specific and detailed, and it takes time. Carving out the time while juggling everything else that needs to be done is difficult. But I want to do it, so I’m finding a way.

The Stupid was very strong out and about, and, especially online yesterday. Just have no patience with it right now.

I have an article to finish today, another pitch to get out. I’m working steadily on the serial outline. I’m wondering if it makes more sense to put scenes on index cards and then arrange them. I HATE working that way, but it might make the most sense for this.

I’ll be digging in to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY over this weekend, with the snowstorm, and finishing up my taxes.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on April 6, 2018 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 6, 2018: Seriously Sick of Retrogrades  
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Tues. March 27, 2018: Multiple Writing Tracks

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Yes, Jupiter went retrograde on March 9 (I’ve been in denial). And now Mercury is retrograde. It’s like walking on eggshells.

Busy weekend. Spent the bulk of it working on the Writer’s Rough Outline so I can finesse it into a synopsis for the project going out in a few weeks. Nowhere near done. Also made notes on another project pulling at me.

Any minute now, I’ll get back the edits on SPIRIT REPOSITORY and have to dig in, so we stay on track for it.

Worked on the newsletter; worked on the new media kit for TRACKING MEDUSA. Pondered new content for the Jain Lazarus site.

The new websites are working, though; people are finding them and, therefore, finding the books, the stories, the workbooks. It’s so good to have working sites again that support what I do.

Saturday, I had to take my mom for an ultrasound, but it came back clear. But we were still exhausted. The timing of the test meant I had to cancel my plans to join the March for Our Lives, which disappointed me. I am in awe of these teenagers who refuse to be murdered by special interests and refuse to let corrupt politicians look the other way. Maybe there is hope for our country, after all. If we can take it back before the authoritarians destroy us all, in order to line their own pockets. We are, sadly, living a portion of a dystopian nightmare. The lack of action by those who put their hands over their ears and sang, “lah, lah, lah, it doesn’t affect me” is coming back to bite us all in the butt.

Worked on contest entries. Can’t believe it’s already another week, and the last week of March.

Client work yesterday, and client work today, both onsite.

Continuing to work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and the outline. Hoping the weather will hold this week, so I can get out there and clear up the debris from the last four storms we’ve had.

Onward.

Published in: on March 27, 2018 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 27, 2018: Multiple Writing Tracks  
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Tues. Feb. 27, 2018: Writing, Webbing, and Working With Clients

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Waxing Moon

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to check out Marian Lanouette’s latest release!

Busy weekend. But then, they usually aren’t, aren’t they?

The Devon Ellington Work site is live. Take a look around and enjoy. There will still be tweaks, since it’s an organic element of my writing life, and the new host and construction means I can actually do what I want and need to do with the site.

The Coventina Circle site is live. Again, go take a look around and enjoy. I have a few more pieces to upload, but the information about the series and the books is there.

The Nautical Namaste site is live. Go hang out! It’s got some fun background information on the crew and the passengers of the Charisma.

I’m working on the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries site. I hope that will go live in a few days. Because I’m digging up a lot of location photos for the sites, that may take awhile. Plus, I need to rewrite the Media Kit. Simply updating the old one doesn’t work.

I’m also working on the Jain Lazarus Adventures site, which will go up, I hope, by the end of the week. The information needs a lot of updating.

I hope to start building the new Cerridwen’s Cottage site at the end of this week, and then move it sometime next week; the Fearless Ink site build/move will happen shortly after that.

I see a light at the end of the tunnel with the website building/moving!

Unfortunately, this website stress has hurt my writing.

This is the first time I can remember, ever, in my writing career, where I don’t look forward to facing the page every day.

My editor has given me another extension, for this week. I HAVE TO GET IT DONE. What also worries me is that it’s putting me behind on the other books.

Saturday, I pushed hard on the book, while also cleaning out my closet — which meant 8 loads of laundry. The closet is in much better shape, and I found a bunch of stuff I forgot I owned. I also found a bunch of stuff into which I can still fit. So it’s a good thing I don’t listen to “if you haven’t worn it in a year, throw it out.”

I had high hopes for writing on Sunday, but my brain just couldn’t function. The weather was vile, so I gave myself the day off to recharge. I read, instead, which is one way I love to refuel.

I read both Frances Brody’s DEATH OF AN AVID READER and Louisa Morgan’s A SECRET HISTORY OF WITCHES. The Brody is my favorite in the Kate Shackleton series so far. SECRET HISTORY was beautifully written, both sad and fulfilling.

Also, the entire author bio reads “Louisa Morgan is a pseudonym.” So I don’t want to hear anything from anyone about “why do you write under different names?” and “what are you hiding?” Granted, I’ve only ever encountered that inability to understand a pseudonym where I live now.

There’s a lot of internal work going on, in preparation for upcoming decisions and changes. Nothing happens as quickly as I’d like, constant obstacles are up. The current political situation doesn’t help. The constant need to fight to keep my government from trying to kill me while they’re grifting and helping their friends grift is exhausting. In my opinion, we are living THE WALKING DEAD, with the Narcissistic Sociopath’s cult as the zombies, determined to kill us all and turn us into the mindless shufflers they are.

This morning, I’m back to the book, determined to make it work. Well, determined to finish it and get it on my editor’s desk, so she can help me make it work!

Yesterday, I had a good day onsite with a client. Lots of social media work. Today, I’m back with that client, creating an ad campaign. The photos we got back from the photo shoot look great, and will inspire the text.

Then, it’ll be back to work on the Gwen Finnegan site.

 

Fri. Feb. 16, 2018: More Website Building Adventures & Digging in To Write

Friday, February 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Rainy and mild

Busy day yesterday. Not enough writing done, but when is there?

The mid-month check-in is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

The Devon Ellington website is ready to move. There are tweaks I’ll have to do as soon as the site goes live, especially when it comes to creating custom perma-links. But the text and the look work for me. I mean, I kind of wish I could do a slight parchment color on the background, so the text isn’t against something so white, but I’m not quite savvy enough or confident enough to change the CSS script to do it. Not yet, anyway!

So now, I go into my pHp admin, change the links from the temporary building URL, and then dig in to my old webhost to try and point the site to the new address.

It’s also a case of creating the email addresses on the new site, and then setting up the subdomains for each series. I already put the pinned posts up on the various Facebook pages for each series to let them know that the old sites will be dark while the new sites are built.

I rebuilt the Devon Ellington Work site on a temporary URL, so I could test and tweak as I built and gain confidence. The subdomains, one for each series, will be built live. Yes, that’s a risk, but it’s easier (I think) than creating a temporary URL for each of them and then moving it. We’ll see, right?

I hope the site move will happen over the weekend, so I can start building the subdomains next week. I’d like to get them all up in about a week or so.

And then I’ll set up a temporary URL for Fearless Ink and work on that build, and, finally, the Cerridwen’s Cottage site. I’m looking forward to being done!

But I’ve learned a lot. And I have a stack of books to teach me more! 😉

So, I spent yesterday morning building and editing the Devon Ellington site. I still have to come up with logos for the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries and the Jain Lazarus Adventures, but I can always create those and add them in.

Then, I took a much-needed break for yoga class. Boy, did I need it. The stress from the past few weeks took a toll on my body.

After that, I spent the afternoon on site working with a client.

Today, early morning grocery shopping, then time on the site move, and then, for the weekend, I’m digging into SPIRIT REPOSITORY. The original due date was yesterday; thank goodness it was moved. But I want to get some serious work done on it.

And I have to find a new drum for my laser printer.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on February 16, 2018 at 10:48 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 16, 2018: More Website Building Adventures & Digging in To Write  
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Thurs. Dec. 15, 2016: Writing, Baking, and Get Your Jingle On!

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy few days. Ever so much of the week has been taken up by the holiday baking. But now, the baking for other people is done, and deliveries have started.

This is the last year I do the Lemon Sugar Cookies. They are too much of a pain in the butt. The recipe needs modification, and I haven’t had the time to tweak it.

I’m behind on JUST A DROP, because I’m working on a story that has an earlier deadline. I’ve got a really cool cover for it. Now the story just has to live up to it! But I’m not where I want to be on that one. Go figure. Somehow, it will all happen, although I’ll be exhausted.

And, I’m behind in my cards. Oh, well.

I helped count tickets for Spectacle on Monday, which took most of the day. Sunday was baking. Tuesday, I had appointments all over the state, and then there was more baking. Yesterday was decorating and baking.

This morning, we were up early to take the car to Plymouth for inspection – and give the auto body shop their holiday treats! They were thrilled. Also dropped off platters at NMLC and at the fire station in Falmouth where I always stop for directions. They were delighted. Gave my hometown firemen their platter, and the library.

I’m putting together the neighbor platters and delivering them this afternoon, and then, the last few, tomorrow. I want to get everything done before Mercury goes retrograde on Monday!

So, on Saturday – please come and participate in Get Your Holiday Jingle On, a Facebook party. The party itself runs from Friday night through Sunday. My slot is on Saturday the 17th at 1 PM for a half hour.

Everyone who attends will get a coupon for a holiday short story. One person will win a set of signed Jain Lazarus books. I have a fun game that will end in a participatory project. And, if I can get my act together, there will also be another surprise. So, please come! Facebook event link is here.

I can’t believe Christmas is just over a week away.

As of today, it’s legal in MA to have pot for home/recreational use and grow it, but not buy or sell it. Yeah, figure that one out! 😉

I’m not ready! Usually I’m disgustingly filled with holiday spirit, but I’m having to work at it this year.

Be well.
Devon

Published in: on December 15, 2016 at 11:55 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 15, 2016: Writing, Baking, and Get Your Jingle On!  
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Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016: Lucifer, Choleric, and Cooking

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

I’ve been binge-watching the first season of LUCIFER. Spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, skip down a few paragraphs.

For the most part, I really liked it. I think the cast is great, and there’s a lot of wit in the writing. The cast has chemistry together, and that’s always fun to watch. They add detail, so the work isn’t just in broad strokes. The raise of an eyebrow, a particular inflection, a gesture — it’s those little things that make it unique. Every once in awhile, there was a clunker of a line or a twist in it, and it was obvious it was a network note. I got ahead of where it was going a few times, but it surprised me more than not, which is good.

However, in the set-up for season two with “mum” escaping — I will be seriously irritated if “mum” turns out to be Lilith. I’m tired of that depiction, and they will have to be very clever to win me back if that’s what it is. That’s one of the places where the Shadowhunters books irritated me, too — with the depiction of Lilith. As if women aren’t “demonized” enough anyway, on multiple levels.

At the same time, every creative person has the right and obligation to be true to his or her vision. I can always stop watching/reading if it bothers me that much. I don’t expect anyone to modify their vision just because I don’t like it, any more than I will modify my vision because someone else doesn’t like it.

So we’ll see what Season Two is like.

But, as I said, I like the acting and most of the writing. I like the production design, although Lucifer as a nightclub owner — I’d rather have seen him do something more unexpected. But the character behaves unexpectedly, so I like that. I know it’s based on a graphic novel series, and I’m purposely staying away from reading those in order not to skew my perspective.

Spoilers done.

I was so excited yesterday afternoon when I finished the third draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Then, I was totally bummed, because in spite of cutting nearly two dozen characters and plot lines, it’s still too damn long. In fact, with all the cutting, I came up with nearly the same word count. I’m four chapters shorter, but there’s still work to do.

Part of it is defining what the book is — my protagonist’s personal journey to returning to her life after a period of mourning, set against a mystery. It’s more literary than mystery, and more about the community she’s trying to participate in than about keeping the pace and leanness of a thriller. But that still doesn’t justify the length. I need to make some more serious cuts.

I know where I can do it. I lose some atmosphere there, but it will be necessary. I have to get the same feeling across, but with few and better words.

I wanted to put it aside and then re-attack it in a few weeks, but if I’m going to get it out before holiday madness descends on the industry, I need to get right back into it.

So disappointed in myself.

But that’s the way it goes. I’m lucky this wasn’t part of a contract schedule, or I’d really be screwed.

It’s also interesting to see how far the novel has evolved since I started writing it last November. It’s a much better novel now. Originally, I thought it would be a cozy. It got darker and darker, and I thought it would be a more traditional mystery with an amateur sleuth. Now it’s more literary fiction against a mystery backdrop.

Trying to get back into the rhythm of the two projects that started out with such energy a few weeks ago. I got some decent work done on one of them, but my frustration with CHOLERIC is now shadowing everything else, unfortunately. I need to let go of the frustration and the fact that I’m behind, and just write.

The weather is supposed to turn nasty. I’m going to do a turkey meatloaf for tonight (my special recipe). For my mother’s 92nd birthday, on Saturday, she’s requested lasagna, so I’ve got the ingredients for that and will make that on Saturday. I think I’ll use the recipe from THE NEW BASICS cookbook, one of my favorites. And, of course, she has cheesecake.

Don’t forget to come back here tomorrow for the link to the free download of “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016: Lucifer, Choleric, and Cooking  
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