Tues. April 30, 2019: Conference Wrap-up and New Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ever so much to talk about, and some things about which I’m not yet ready to talk about, because I’m still mulling them over.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the April wrap-up. It should be up within a half hour of this post.

This past weekend, I was a presenter at the #NECRWA conference in Burlington, MA. It’s one of my favorite conferences, because it’s relaxed and upbeat. It always gives me a lot to think about.

I re-connected with some people I knew from before, met new people, met some people I knew from online and this was the first time we’d met in person.

The weather was awful on Friday. I had the car packed early, and left a little before noon. Usually, it takes me about 3 hours to get there (and it’s only outside of Boston) because of traffic. I’d managed to time it so it only took two hours.

My room was ready; I checked in and it took 2 luggage cart trips from car to room to get everything up. Made me think maybe I brought too much stuff.

The hotel had a renovation. It’s very upscale business traveler with dark wood and shiny counters and a huge TV. My room had a kingsized bed AND a chaise longue, with which I immediately fell in love. The bathroom was all shiny counters and frosted glass.

I unpacked, tried to rest up a bit, looked through the conference materials. I also worked ona book I have to review.

Freshened up and went downstairs for the cocktail hour. They served us a buffet dinner, too, courtesy of Red Feather Romance. That definitely got our attention — feed us! 😉

I had some interesting conversations. One with a writers’ group who’d travelled here together to attend — their members were from Western MA and upstate NY. I had another conversation with some early career writers who didn’t even try to hide their contempt that I’m with a small publisher and that I talked about craft and the importance of a good editor, and how much I value both my editor and my copy editor. They plan to self publish, and, according to them, “craft doesn’t matter, because Kindle readers don’t care.”

I beg to differ.

I found that arrogance rather off-putting, and wondered if that would be the tone of the conference.

The Literacy signing was after the dinner. I prefer it when it’s at the end of the weekend, when I’ve gotten to know some of the authors and have an idea of their books. I felt like I “should” buy a lot of books, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and I felt guilty when I browsed a table without buying.

I went back upstairs to decompress a little and read more of the book for review.

I also set up my rolling rack for tomorrow, went over the presentation again. Second-guessed myself on every item I brought and every slide I chosen; wondered if I should revise the presentation. But that way madness lies.

Tried to watch television, but it was lousy. I’m not missing anything by giving up cable.

Got an email from that new-to-me editor who wanted yet more information about why the topic — an underused resource that can generate more income for freelancers — is relevant to his site, which is supposed to be about generating income for freelancers. I have now written more than twice the word count ABOUT what the actual article would run. For a publication for which I’ve written a half a dozen times, and where I never had to jump through all these hoops for the other editor.

Makes me think we are no longer a good fit, and perhaps it’s time to move on to another dance partner.

The bed had one of those pillow top or memory foam things. I felt like I sank so far down it would cover me and smother me. It was comfortable; I’m just used to a much firmer mattress.

I woke up once at 4 AM with a horrible headache, but got back to sleep, and got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. I like writing in hotel rooms. There aren’t many distractions.

On my way to the first session, I stepped outside for a few minutes — and the headache went away. I realized that I can’t open the windows in my room, and I always sleep with my window cracked. I’m not used to recycled air.

A few minutes outside, even in the rain, helped.

Before the first session, I talked to some people who live in Central MA about the benefits of living there. They love it, because one can get to anywhere from there. It was great to hear them talk about what they loved about the area, how it’s changing, what frustrated them. The arts community seems much more vibrant and able to earn a living than it is here.

The first session was great, about burnout. Emily Nagoski was the presenter. Her handouts and worksheets were great. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the crossroads I’m facing right now. I also want to get a quote from her for an article I’m writing.

Went outside for a few minutes in between sessions, then went to a panel discussion where the participants frankly discussed money. We all agreed not to share these authors’ actual financial details outside of the room. But some of their approaches and concepts were interesting.

I was surprised — at this panel and elsewhere in the conference — by how large a percentage of the incomes are via Amazon’s Kindle direct. I’ve always avoided them because I don’t like the contract. My small publisher distributes digitally through Amazon, but my contract is not directly with Amazon, but via my publisher.

Also, the volume at which some of these authors are turning out books. There’s one full-time author who has published 70 books in the last 11 years. She’s earning money, she’s winning awards. She’s turning out quality work. She’s got audio books and translations out.

I always thought I wrote reasonably fast, but I couldn’t keep up that pace, unless I had a full staff to run the rest of my life.

I’m wondering if I should run an experiment, and have something that is more typically genre run through KDP/Unlimited to see how the returns differ.

The downside to that (apart from the qualms I have about the KDP contract) is that having only one book in that pipeline isn’t going to do much. I’d need at least three.

Three books that are separate from anything I currently have on contract, when I’m already on a brutal contract schedule.

Of course, a new pseudonym and a new idea for a series, even its title, came bursting forth almost immediately.

Whether I choose to go KDP or not, I’m kind of in love with this idea. It fuses with a couple of other ideas I’ve been playing with, and mixes the mystery and romance genres in a beautiful location.

I even have the opening line, which is a kicker.

The problem is — when will I be able to write it? We’ve already rescheduled THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m on track for GRAVE REACH, but I can’t let the other two fall by the wayside.

I have to get back into the Jain Lazarus Adventures later this year, revising CRAVE THE HUNT, and my editor and I have to go over the first two, seeing if we need to make any changes.

I have to get back on track with the JUSTICE BY HARPY books. The first book is in great shape; the second two, not so much. Since all three have to release close together, that’s a challenge.

I want to get THE FIX-IT GIRL out on traditional submission, and work on THE TIE-CUTTER.

And, of course, there’s always GAMBIT COLONY that pulls whenever I’m stressed to blow off steam.

I have a radio play going live in May. I have another radio play due in Florida in the next couple of weeks, and requests for more; I have ANOTHER radio play to send to MN as soon as I’m done with it.

I have a play due in NY at the end of May for a contest.

I have to get into the MFA to research Canaletto and the Bibiana families so I can start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters that’s due at the end of the year.

I have to finish the anti-gun violence play (because it’s not like that issue will be solved any time soon).

I have to keep working on WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, and test the monologues.

I have to write the play about the two infamous women authors.

I have articles to pitch and write, and other marketing writing that keeps a roof over my head. I have contest entries to finish, books to review, a couple of speaking engagements coming up.

I have to come up with a new marketing strategy for my books.

How do I make it all work? Especially when, right now, I’m exhausted? And deal with the garden? And I probably have to face some major life changes in the upcoming months.

I’m not sure. I have to take some time to sit and think. To prioritize. To push myself to get it all done.

To do it without killing myself.

Hence why the burnout workshop was so relevant.

Outside, took a few breaths of fresh air, then back in for a seminar on ebook pricing. Some of which directly contradicted what worked for some of the authors in the last seminar.

One interesting thing that came up was to set the first book in a series perpetually at 99 cents. I’ve played with that idea. I don’t want the people who are excited by a new release to feel screwed if I lower the price of the first book to 99 cents and keep it there. My publisher is open to discussing pricing changes, but is more in favor of limited-time discounts than a permanent change.

A few months ago, I was advised that I should lower the price of ALL the earlier books whenever I have a new release out. I balked at that idea, as did the publisher. Because then why should people order the book when it first comes out? They know it’ll come down in price a year later when the next one comes out. In the interim, I might lose them anyway.

It was also brought up that $1.99 is an awful price. I put my Delectable Digital delight shorts at 99 cents (making sure people understand they are SHORT). My publisher usually has novellas or short novels at $1.99 or $2.99 if they’re almost up to category length. Now I’m wondering if we should go up to some funky price like $2.09 or $2.49?

Yeah, this is just what my publisher wants. Me to come back from a conference full of ideas that aren’t new books! 😉

The lunch buffet was fun. I got to catch up with a friend who has nine books out under one of her names, and is about to launch a cozy mystery series under another. Can’t wait to read all of them!

Met another author, Jillian David, whose presentation I missed (and I felt guilty for so doing, because I really liked her). I now can’t wait to read her books, either.

The lunchtime keynote was Penny Reid, who was funny and heartfelt, and now I have another new-to-me author to read. That’s one of my favorite things about conferences — finding new-to-me authors whose work I can gobble up.

I found Kilby Blades, who was presenting the two sessions before mine in the salon we would all share, to ask if she minded that I brought my rack down and stashed it before her session started. She was cool with it. I didn’t want to just show up with a bunch of stuff and presume I could take up space.

I attended both of her marketing sessions which was useful. She navigates how to use best business practices in marketing and then morph them for the weirdness that is the book business. It helped me rethink some strategies, and I will have a lot to discuss with my publisher’s new marketing director soon!

There were some elements that gave me a headache. Charting daily sales–I know it’s useful, but I’d much rather look at weekly or monthly breakdowns. But as we work on new marketing strategies, the daily fluctuations and the importance of serious testing matters. The same way it does when I do it for other people.

I wish it wasn’t so much easier to market for someone else than to market myself!

Then, it was my turn.

My audience was great, but I was not happy with my performance. I talked too quickly. I didn’t share enough anecdotes from the set (only two or three). I meant to talk about heirloom pieces that are passed down and how they have meaning, and didn’t. I meant to tie in to some of the other sessions, and it flew right out of my mind.

I was frustrated with myself because it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the only one to blame was me.

I shouldn’t have cut reading the passage from a friend’s book about how a couple of characters cleaned up for a funeral. That would have been a good addition. But when I timed a rehearsal, it made the session run long without time for questions.

As I said, my audience was great. I could have been better. I did not live up to my own expectations.

I packed up, took everything back up to the room, and changed for dinner. I wore Cupcake International pieces all weekend — I was a walking advertisement for them. But the pieces were fun and comfortable and flattering.

Dinner was good. I sat with some people who’d been in my session, and another woman from NH who was lovely. We had a great talk about life in New Hampshire and a whole lot of other things.

Sonali Dev was our Keynote, and she was wonderful. She said something that resonated. “We write because we refuse to be silent.”

Again, gave me a lot to think about.

I was exhausted and my mind going a mile a minute after dinner. I didn’t join the debrief sessions; I went upstairs. I finished reading the book for review, and made notes.

I made some notes on some new ideas. I tried watching TV, but there was nothing I wanted to see. Packed everything up.

I pondered all the information I’d gathered. It will take me awhile to sort it all out and decide how best to put it to use.

Woke up at 1 AM and got back to sleep. Woke up a little after six. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. Breakfast.

Had the car loaded and was gone a little after 8. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was home by 10:30.

Unloaded. Put stuff away. Unpacked. Sorted laundry. Unpacked the handouts and bookmarks and other things I picked up at the conference. It will take me a few days to go through them.

I usually go through them the day of or the day after. But I was too tired.

I don’t get why — I hardly drank at all. I usually spend more time at the bar at conferences, and I didn’t this time around. But I feel more worn out than when I spend most of my free time in the bar. Here I tried to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I’m still wiped out.

Probably because this was at the end of a long, stressful month.

Tried to rest on Sunday. Wrote the review. Read some other books. I gave myself the day off from contest entries.

Monday was back to the normal routine, although I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

Got some writing done in the morning, although it wasn’t very good. Played with my new idea. That world is coming into focus surprisingly clearly. Although I don’t want to be arrogant about it, so I ordered a bunch of research books from the library.

Returned what I’d borrowed for the conference. Spent time onsite with a client. Turned in my review.

Cancelled out of my mid-afternoon appointment because my brain was mush and I was making stupid mistakes.

I’d walked out of the house without my phone. Meant to pick it up after the session with my client and before leaving for meditation group. But, of course, I walked out without it — mostly because the cats caught a little, tiny mouse, and I felt horribly guilty about her demise. I mean, I don’t want mice in the house, and I’m glad the cats did their feline job — but I still felt awful about that poor little mouse, and buried her in the yard.

Meditation was good. I felt better and more focused after, although still tired.

Read a couple of Tracy Kiely’s Nic and Nigel Martini books over the past two days. They’re a lot of fun.

Went to bed early; overslept this morning.

Got some writing done, but not enough. Still mulling things over in my head.

Onsite with a client most of the day, then I have to get some work done at the library.

More contest entries to work on tonight, and I’m starting to enter the scores into the digital sheets.

Was assigned my next book for review.

I have to get going on the thank yous and follow ups from the conference today and tomorrow. I don’t want to let that slide.

And I have to get on a more productive writing schedule. I think I have to add a second writing session into the evening for the next few months. The morning at 1.5-2K is okay (although it makes me feel very slow). But if I can add in another 1K session in the evening, I should be able to get back on track. Maybe I can up it a little on weekends.

Mostly, though, I’m so, so tired. My body is tired and my brain is tired. I’m seriously thinking of taking a few days off this weekend, except for contest entries, and then starting up again with the new moon.

But the conference was great, and it gave me a lot to think about. Now, I have to sort through it, and, most importantly, APPLY WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

Because otherwise, it’s just time spent without gain.

Back to the page.

 

Fri. Oct. 27, 2017: Post-Op, CVS & Instafreebie Fail

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for pre-order here.

Friday, October 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday day was a tough day all around. If it nearly wiped me out, I can only imagine how hard it was for my mom, who is in her nineties.

Dropped her off early for the surgery. Went to the library to get some work done, such as updating the buy links on the websites, et al. SAVASANA AT SEA is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Put together some materials for a client and sent it off, in preparation for Monday’s meeting.

Went home to wait for the call that I could pick up my mom from surgery. For some reason, they couldn’t get through, and wound up contacting the landlord, who managed to get hold of me. So much for the new damn phone. Seriously, as soon as I can afford it, I’m sucking it up and buying an iPhone. They seem to be the only phones that work.

I was told she’d be ready to come home by 2. I went back early, hoping I could spring her earlier. No such luck. They’d had to do additional surgery on the foot in order to get out all the cancerous cells. Which meant she had to go back in for a skin graft to patch up the foot. It was frightening and painful. Plus, she wasn’t hungry and had refused to each lunch, which meant she nearly passed out during the graft surgery.

Let me emphasize that the surgeon and her staff were great throughout. They made it as comfortable as possible. It’s just that it was a complicated and unpleasant procedure.

I finally got her in the car by about 3:30. The surgeon gave us a long list of post-op care for the next two weeks, and her office called in an antibiotic prescription to the pharmacy. She wanted me to get it immediately, so my mom could start taking it right away.

I get to the pharmacy, and they have no interest in filling the prescription. First, they denied getting the call. When I said I was standing next to the person who called (I was), she strolled across the floor, picked it up, put it back, shrugged, and said, “Yeah, we’ll get to it. Come back in an hour or so. We’re busy right now.”

Busy. Supposedly serving customers. Six customers, four people behind the desk and you’re too “busy” to fill the prescription.

I asked how much it would be. She refused to tell me. I asked to give an estimate. She refused. She said I should call in about an hour to see if they’d filled it and maybe they’d tell me the price then.

Now, every other pharmacy in the world I’ve dealt with, when you arrive with a prescription that’s been called in will ask if you want to wait and gives an estimate of the waiting time, and can tell you the range of the drug price.

But, you see, at CVS in Centerville, the customer is an inconvenience.

Had I said I would wait for it, ahe would have intentionally NOT filled it for at least an hour, probably longer.

I came home (because I couldn’t do any of the other errands until I knew how much this prescription was going to cost). I contacted the regional manager, who’d helped us a few months ago, when the pharmacy overcharged for the shingles shot that was supposed to be free (after refusing to give the shot six times), and dragged their feet/argued on other prescriptions. He said if there was ever a problem with them, I should get in touch. I did. I also told him we were getting the same runaround with the pneumonia shot. He took care of it.

I went back in an hour. They had the prescription put aside. I could tell they were FURIOUS that I’d complained and they’d been called out by the head office. Well, if they’d done their job in the first place, I wouldn’t have.

When we moved here, they were so nice, helpful, nothing was ever a problem. For the past two years or so, every prescription pick up or anything else is a major fight. They always act like serving a customer is beneath them and maybe they’ll deign to do it if they happen to feel like it. They’re required to ask if there are any questions for the pharmacist, but the answer is ALWAYS, “I don’t know.” Nor are they willing to find out.

I’m wondering if any of them actually went to school for pharmacy — all they do is stare like zombies at screens and fill bottles. When they can be bothered.

I’ve never had this poor attitude in any pharmacy, no matter where I’ve lived. And it’s not the fault of the insurance companies or the doctors, no matter how the right will howl about it. It’s this particular pharmacy can’t be bothered. They need new management and new staff.

I’m looking into moving the prescriptions elsewhere. It will be inconvenient, but dealing with a pharmacy that offers basic customer service — like actually filling a prescription or answering a question –might be worth it.

So, I finally had the antibiotic and could run the other necessary errands, and then get back and make sure my mom ate (because the antibiotic has to be taken on a full stomach) and do everything else that needed to be done post-op.

I was going to cheer myself up by taking advantage of an Instafreebie offer that an acquaintance was involved with. First of all, I saw this several days ago, and “claimed” my books. It took three days for them to show up in my email. Then, after 45 minutes of hoopjumping and having to sign in and “send” or “forward” files between multiple email addresses to get it to my Kindle – nothing. So I contacted Instafreebie – well, I have to download a specific program to a computer in order to get the book then sent to the Kindle. Um, no. I told them I needed to be able to open my email on my Kindle and pick it up on said Kindle, the way I do with any other book sent to me. I basically got a big fuck you from them, so fuck them.

I’m sure some will argue, well it’s free, so why complain because you have to do some work? Sorry, I’d rather pay for the book and actually be able to GET IT, then be promised the book free, waste more than an hour of BILLABLE TIME (so now it’s costing me money) for a “free” book I can’t access anyway. And then be told I have to download this program and that program to a desktop computer and THEN connect it with the Kindle in order to get the book. NO. And THEN be automatically signed up for authors’ email lists when I don’t even know if I like their work or want to keep in touch.

Again, I’d rather pay for the book.

My process with free deals is that I use them to try out new-to-me authors. If I like them, then I start buying their books. Unlike many people, who only read someone if they’re free. I believe in supporting living authors, and I buy as many of their books each month as my budget allows.

Also, as I’m trying out as a customer for various services, it gives me an idea of how they work. BookFunnel and Instafreebie have both been nightmares for me, on multiple occasions. Going forward, I will ignore their promos. It also means I won’t sign up for them as an author. I’m all for promos and giveaways and stuff, but I need to be convinced that if I use one of these “services”, interested readers can actually get what’s promised to them. Not happening with either BookFunnel or Instafreebie.

So they are crossed off my list of organizations with whom I want to do business as either a reader or an author.

Started watched season three of BROADCHURCH last night. Riveting. Just love David Tennant and Olivia Coleman.

My mom had a bad night. She’s in pain. Which means, she is at the stage where most people would be taking morphine and she’s taking liquid Tylenol. No, she wasn’t even offered painkillers after the surgery. Just Tylenol. Which is fine, because she doesn’t like painkillers and wouldn’t have taken them for more than a day or so. But when you think how many people take a narcotic the second they get a hangnail and she’s not even offered a painkiller after cancer surgery — something is wrong with the system.

I have to get a review out today, and do a few other things, but, mostly I want to stay close to home.

I’m STILL waiting for that freelance check. Yet, the client I worked with on Wednesday has already paid me. Unprofessional, meet professional.

I won’t get to post until sometime on Tuesday. Monday, I have client meetings all day.

Hope you have a great weekend. My mom’s birthday is on Sunday; I hope she’s feeling up to at least a small celebration.

I hope I can get some writing done.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)

Personal Revolution Cover

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Promotion starts today for “Personal Revolution”, a short mystery set in a town near Concord, MA, that takes place around Independence Day. It’s only 99 cents, available on Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, and more.

Blurb:
When a man is hanged from the oak tree in a Redcoat uniform at an historic house just before the Independence Day program, Glenda is determined to both solve the murder and protect the newly-opened museum. What she finds is much darker — and more personal — than she bargained.
(End blurb)

I hope you enjoy it. I’m playing with the idea of doing more with these characters.

Yesterday seems very far away, somehow. Maybe it was all those mass shootings, and the ridiculous and irresponsible way they were covered by the press.

What did I do yesterday? Sent out some pitches. Worked on the 30 second script. Did more research for the article that I hope to finish, polish, and get out the door today. Checked email incessantly to see if another pitch was accepted (haven’t heard back yet). Looked at a website that’s been fallow for the past few years, with an eye to starting up that platform again.

The Ridiculous Request of the Day was from an “author” who “generously offered” (his words) to pay me $350 to do a line edit on his “blockbuster” novel — that runs 120,000 words. Um, no. 120,000 words breaks down to 480 pages in Standard Manuscript Format, and I bet his wasn’t. Bet it’s single-spaced. Sweetie, $350 gets you to page 70, and I’m on the low end of the editing price range. It’s not “generous”. It’s not even a professional rate. Plus, I’m taking on very few of that type of editing client — more for scripts than for novels at this point, unless it’s at the top of my rate. Now, I am sympathetic to someone’s tight budget. But don’t boast it’s a “blockbuster” (because if it was, you’d be under contract to an agent and one of the Big 5). Look for an editor where appropriate to your budget, such as a grad student in English, who can both use the cash AND potentially use it for credit in an independent study.

On a happier note, “The Ramsey Chase”, the first Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure, will be ready for re-release sooner than I expected. The cover design will be done soon, and I should have the galleys shortly for a final proof read.

However, that means that I have to have the opening of the second Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure ready to pop into the back of it, have the darned thing outlined, and meet a deadline for its release!

Considering that I also have to get moving on the next Twinkle Tavern comic mystery, which needs to be ready to release by Labor Day, that’s a new (but positive) pressure. That will feature the characters from “Plot Bunnies” and release under the Ava Dunne name.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Cornelia and Roman. It’s a satirical fantasy/adventure series, involving time travel and an alternate universe that’s somewhat familiar and somewhat not. There’s a wry, arch tone to it that’s a blast to write. I have a lot of fun turning genre formula inside out with it, and making pointed social commentary. When first released, in 2008, it was kind of relevant; it’s even more relevant now.

We’re also in talks to set the re-release date for Playing the Angles (which used to be Assumption of Right, or, as I joked, When Bad Titles Attack). Early October is looking good, with The Spirit Repository then releasing in May of 2018. This means we have to make sure the cover is ready sometime in July. Since we’ve been having difficulty finding the right cover image, that worries me.

I should have mowed yesterday, but didn’t. So guess what I had to do first thing today? Yup, side yard needs it.

So, there were two mass shootings yesterday in the country, one on the East Coast, one on the West. The UPS shooting is hardly getting any coverage, because only ordinary people were hurt and/or killed. The one involving a Congressman, a lobbyist, and other political types is getting attention, because of the GOP’s propaganda machine. The two Capitol police personnel who put themselves in the line of fire are being mostly ignored, while politicians who weren’t even there are tearful about their own “narrow escape.” The press is covering it irresponsibly, as usual. The GOP is blaming the left, because the shooter volunteered on the Sanders campaign. Of course, the fact that the Narcissistic Sociopath repeatedly incited and encouraged violence during his campaign and actually called for Hillary Clinton’s assassination is being ignored. As is the fact that the GOP is the party who votes to allow the mentally ill access to guns (because they expect shooting victims to be outside their own party — yesterday shocked them because they think only unarmed liberals will be shot). Paul Ryan is being lauded for the speech he gave on the floor; people are saying it was wonderful. I disagree. For the man who is determined to make inhuman cuts to healthcare, Social Security, Medicare and food stamps to declare “We don’t shed our humanity when we enter the Chamber” is hypocrisy. It’s typical of Lyin’ Ryan, but it is still hypocrisy.

They all make me sick.

On that not-so-happy note, I need to go and mow, and then it’s back to the page, because, no matter what the external stresses, I have to keep showing up at the page and getting it done.

Don’t forget to hop over to the GDR site, where I have the mid-month check-in posted. I can’t believe we’re half way through June!

Published in: on June 15, 2017 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)  
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Sat. Oct. 10, 2015: The Early Bird Gets the WorD

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Day Before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

We had thunderstorms and rain last night. We took in some of the decorations, worried they’d get ruined.

I was up at 5 this morning, feeding the cats, doing yoga and meditation, and then writing. I had to research a bunch of details for the current scenes – which is fine, but it slowed me down. I couldn’t put in placeholders and come back after research, because the rhythm of the scene was dictated by said details.

On top of that, I’d left my Kindle bag at work last night – which had the phone charger in it!

But it all worked out.

Managed to get the recycling to the dump and start painting the pumpkins with the mirror paint. It will be interesting to see how they turn out. I also got the decoration back out and up.

I know I’m going to keep having the internal debate about Nano up until Nano’s first day. Between now and then, I’m going to work steadily on my deadlined work and see where I am by the end of the month.

One of the weird things about writing a contemporary piece is that I’m sometimes so deep into the world of the piece that I forget which details belong in my character’s life and which belong in mine. My character bought something a few scenes back – and I was looking for it this morning, as though I’D bought it! 😉 Not that I’m anywhere near as cool as my character – she’s got her challenges, but she’s also achieved some things I wish I had! However, those successes are part of what’s causing the dramatic conflict that drives this particular story.

Part of me is glad that tomorrow’s event is cancelled – mostly because I’d have an awful lot of work to do on it after work today and tomorrow would be a long day, and I’ve caught my colleague’s cold. I have plenty to do tomorrow, plenty of running around and stuff, but at least I’ll also be able to spend extra time in bed, have soup, and take care of myself.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 10, 2015 at 9:26 am  Comments Off on Sat. Oct. 10, 2015: The Early Bird Gets the WorD  
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Tues. June 24, 2014: Offline to ReFuel

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’ve been offline for a few days, for a much-needed creative restoration.

Friday was busy — I had a full, but good day at the library, put in some book orders, etc. Came home and got some work done, but was tired.

Saturday, I was up early, wrote, and ran an errand on my way to the library — got some candles for the Solstice ceremony, and the woman who checked me out at RiteAid is a Reiki professional. Never know who you’re gonna meet, right?

Good day at the library — busy, but a nice, steady pace. I also sent off the final new episode on the Big Script Project, which means I’m buried in revisions all this week.

Came home, rested up a bit, prepared for the Solstice Ceremony. It was wonderful –first time I used oil lamps instead of quarter candles, and they worked very well. It was beautiful and powerful and wonderful.

Also re-read Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM — I’d love to do a live reading at the library next year for the Solstice, although I wonder if it would turn out to be a Magilla to organize.

Sunday, I stayed true to my Disconnect Policy — no internet, phone, etc. The only music was the music outside. I binge-read Ilona Andrews books, some of both the Kate Daniels novels and the Edge novels. FATE’S EDGE was my favorite. I outlined several pieces where the characters are gnawing at me. Hopefully, figuring stuff out will quiet them down until it’s their turn.

Monday, I really needed to be disconnected, too, so that’s what I did. As far as I knew, I had no commitments to meet that day, so I remained disconnected and worked. It’s hard to explain the work, because so much of it was internal. It was the quiet time, the figuring out time for writing. Some notes, but not actual scenes. It was internal, not external work, but so necessary in order to create. I went deep, deep down into the worlds of several projects and let the characters talk. If I had had any interruptions during that time, I would have lost the work — permanently.

I also got part of the meadow mowed and some plants repotted. Good to work the mind and the hands together.

When I resurfaced, in the evening, I found that a Mermaid Ball meeting had been scheduled. That was the first I’d heard about it — after the last one, which happened while I was so sick, no one ever let me know when the next one was. Even a year ago, I would have felt horribly guilty. I don’t. I needed to protect the work and work. If they needed me at the meeting, they should have let me know, right after the last one, when the next one was scheduled. If they want me there, it’s up to THEM to tell ME the schedule, not me to run around begging for information. If only the people at any given meeting are given the information, then that’s their choice, and it takes the pressure off of me. I’m already working three jobs under very tight deadlines. We sorted it out this morning, so no harm, no foul. Glad I didn’t waste my time in guilt!

The writing comes first. ALWAYS. Right now, I’m not only under tight deadlines for contracted work, with releases coming up and all the work that goes with that, but, after a period of creative fallowness, the creativity it kicking up again. And I will protect it and honor it at all costs. Because that is what writers do. It’s not about doing the work when it’s convenient — it’s about doing the work when it needs to get done.

And if those with whom I VOLUNTEER get annoyed that “my cute lil hobby” (because so few of them respect writing as WORK) inconveniences them, tough shit. This is my career, my work, my passion, and everything else works around the writing, not the other way around.

Speaking of the work — in addition to the outlining and working stuff out on upcoming work, the galleys for “Severance” are done, and I’m getting started on “Elusive Prayer” edits. I’ve got three revised episodes to send off this morning on the Big Script Project, will have two tomorrow, and have to have five by Thursday morning, then, with only the last five on Friday and Saturday. It’s a lot of work, but it needs to be done, and it will be good to get it done.

I’ve got a lot of other writing to get done in the coming weeks.

I checked out a Kindle from the library, and I’m getting familiar with it. I’m kind of liking it. I still love holding a book in my hands, and my eyes tire on the screen, but there are definite uses for Kindles. A place for all kinds of books and stories, right?

I’m still not 100% from the stomach virus, which is all kinds of annoying. At least I’ve confirmed it’s NOT a new allergy to crabmeat — had some over the weekend, and was fine. So I don’t know what triggered it, just wish I’d get back to 100% sooner rather than later. I’m in the third week of it now.

Hope everyone has a great week. I’ve got a busy one coming up, but let’s hope it’s another busy in the right way.

Oh, and I read a terrific book last night: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS by Ian Doescher. If you like Shakespeare or STAR WARS, you’ll enjoy it; if you like both, you’ll LOVE it.

Stepped out on the deck this morning, and it smells like autumn. Considering that we just passed Midsummer, that concerns me.

Devon