Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

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Fri. Oct. 20, 2017: Glad A Tough Week Comes to a Close

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles

Friday, October 20, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday morning was stressful; dealing with the Best Buy fiasco, trying to get back on track with the work.

I desperately needed the noon yoga class. It was great — the teacher is wonderful. A fellow Hob-Nobber was there, and I had a great conversation with another woman who also absolutely loved the class. I hope I can go to the teacher’s crystal sound meditation session in November.

Came home and worked on the next book for review. Mixed feelings about it.

A new editor and I are going through an adjustment process. We’ll see if we can make it work. I may depart in the next few months.

Dragging in the reading of a book I wanted to read for pleasure. Only, sadly, it’s not a pleasure. I don’t respect a protagonist who doesn’t pass on information or take action because she’s “tired” or “hungry”, and then someone dies, or evidence is destroyed. That means the protag is directly responsible for the death (not that those protags ever have a prick of conscience). In my universe, I’d want her karma to even it out by her being the next victim, because she’s too much of a fucking moron for me to respect her as a protagonist. I see more and more of this lamentable excuse to create inorganic plot complications in a way that makes me loathe the protagonist.

I might just skip to the end to see if I’m right about the murderer (I usually am), and then call it a day with this author.

I picked the book because I was interested in the location. That part is rendered pretty well; too bad the rest of the book is so annoying.

I contacted the “staffing service” that I felt pulled a bait-and-switch on me a few weeks ago, getting me in under false pretext, making me fill out all that paperwork, talking about the job in financial terms that were nearly 1K/week less than the listing, and promising to set up a meeting for said job — and I never heard from them again. I decided to behave the way I believe is professional, which was to contact them and tell them that, since I had never heard about the actual meeting set up or anything else, I assumed I was no longer in the running for that “job”, and that my situation had changed. My availability has changed, and I’m only available for freelance or short-term clients that required little on-site time, and it is a X rate. I received a somewhat polite response, thanking me and telling me that, in 25 years of doing HR, this was the only client she ever had looking for a writer! Hmm, and how does she think all those materials are created that those businesses she deals with use? I was right; they are a bait-and-switch, typical Cape Cod scam. Try to get in qualified people, then convince them to work shit jobs at even worse shit rates. Next!

Need to get back on track, writing-wise this weekend. I’m way too far behind on several projects.

Hopefully, I can also nail down the new design for A Biblio Paradise. I’m sure I’m making far too big a deal out of it. Just make a decision and do it, for goodness sake!

It’s supposed to be a nice weekend, so I can put up the outdoor decorations, and also do some more yard work. I swear there are a pair of squirrels sitting in one particular tree practicing their throws by aiming acorns at my head!

Gathering some material for an upcoming meeting with one client (a week from Monday, but I want to send the material ahead of time), and next week, I start with another new client, who will be a regular several-days-a-week writing and marketing gig for the next few months.

Working on replacing the gig I’ve been so unhappy with the past few months with something that works better for both of us, so I can ease out of that one.

Getting out some pitches for a few more one-offs to fill in here and there and round out the roster.

While doing all this, I have to keep promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, keep the release of SAVASANA on track, finish the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA and get that to my editor, and get the digital shorts back on track. I’ve got “Miss Winston Apologizes” coming up, and I have to get the release of “Labor Intensive” done.

Heap on top of that finishing the last few chapters of THE FIX-IT GIRL and getting it out on submission, writing the Lavinia Fontana play, and getting the manuscripts that were derailed back on track.

Not to mention finish THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so that can go to the editor after the holidays.

Deadline pressure much?

Somehow, it will all get done.

The focus of both my physical and emotional energy next week will be my mother’s surgery. I posted on Facebook yesterday how I couldn’t believe how many so-called “well-meaning” people said things like “well, she’s old, you can’t expect her to survive the surgery.” Excuse me? Not helpful. Not comforting. It’s not being “honest”, it’s being cruel.

May YOUR weekend be filled with kindness.

Wed. Oct. 4, 2017: Reasons I Should Not Do Nano

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank you to everyone who has purchased PLAYING THE ANGLES. I hope you’re loving it. I’m getting some wonderful feedback. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, a variety of digital links are here and the website is here.

Busy day — pitches, promo for PLAYING THE ANGLES, updating sites, research for articles, etc.

Finished writing a weird little short story — for me, very weird and out of my wheelhouse. But I like it. Have to type it up and polish it.

Got in the two reviews, and requested two more books to review.

Heard back from a pitch and have a meeting about it tomorrow afternoon, which will be fun. Looking forward to it.

Playing with an idea for a story, a way to channel current rage and frustrations. I started playing with it last night. Not only did I enjoy working the idea, but I felt better about things in general. It’s evolving away from the original inspiration into something much more complex and interesting, which is what a good bit of imagination partnered with craft does. I like even the unlikable characters, and it has a weird humor to it. It’s also out of my usual wheelhouse, which makes it an interesting challenge.

Added a challenging yoga sequence before last night’s meditation. I’m sore this morning, but slept better. Upped this morning’s yoga practice, too. Important to keep it fresh.

Of course, the Nano debate is coming up again, for me and for most writers I know. To Nano or not to Nano? Everyone, of course, has different reasons for doing or not doing Nano. I need to separate my ego at writing 50K in 30 days away from what’s on my schedule.

First and foremost, I know I can write 50K in 30 days. I proved that over 5 bouts of Nano, and, at this point, that’s basically a normal month, although usually spread over several projects.

Second, the Lavinia Fontana play has to take center stage as far as drafting, since it’s due to the producer by the end of the year.

Third, I’m promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, and by November, will have to get back into finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so it can release in May.

Fourth, SAVASANA AT SEA releases on November 15, so I’ll be working on pre-release and release material for that WHILE still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES.
Fifth, I’ll be working on the research and finishing the outline for DAVY JONES DHARMA, so I can start writing it after the first of the year, since it releases in November of 2018.

Sixth, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story is set to release in November. Which means writing the opening of the following story to go in the back matter.

Seventh, we still have to re-schedule the release of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern short.

Eighth, the galleys for the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA will be in full swing by then (since it releases in January) — which also means I’ll have to reshape the material for the opening of MYTH & INTERPRETATION (which drops next July) and the opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (which releases in January of 2019).

Ninth, I have article and review deadlines to keep the bills paid and a roof over my head.

Tenth, my mother will just have had surgery, and we don’t yet know the next steps.

Eleventh, FIX-IT GIRL has to go out on submission.

Twelfth, I have other original novels that got derailed with this new writing/release schedule that have to get back on track.

Those reasons are all in the “don’t do it this year” column.

In the “gosh I’m tempted column”:

I like riding the wave of creative energy. The air tingles with excitement;

The new novel I’m playing with wants attention; it would give me a chance to write a bit over 1600 words/day to see if it’s actually viable, or just a release valve for the moment;

I love the space where the local Nano group is meeting, and I’m tempted to go and write in community.

The Nano definition has gotten much looser in the last few years, but I still stick to the original definition.

“Doing” Nano means you start a new project on Nov. 1 and you write 50K in 30 days. If you’re not done with your first draft then, you keep going until you’re done, using the Nano momentum.

“Writing Along With” Nano means you’re working on something in progress. Some people use it to work on revisions. Personally, I find the first-draft energy generated by millions of people scribbling for a month too intense for anything but first-draft work.

So why not “Write With” on more than one project?

Technically, one isn’t supposed to work on a script — this NOVEL writing month. The Lavinia Fontana script must take priority. There used to be Script Frenzy in the spring, but I think that petered out. Plus, I can’t be held to a daily word count with Lavinia. She is bound and determined to do things her way, just like she did in life — serene and determined (which I’m seriously thinking of using as the title).

First-draft energy would mean either finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY or using it to push DAVY JONES DHARMA (since I’m already immersed in the world of that series).

Or, it could be used to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track. Since that’s only got a 55K word limit, it’s do-able.

Or I could use it to keep working on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but that’s developed a solid, innate rhythm, sometimes as much as 3K/day, and I don’t want to disrupt it.

Or, I could work on the first 50K of the new piece I’m noodling with — but DOING Nano would mean I can’t work on it between now and November 1, which just isn’t going to happen. I’m pretty sure this book will run to just under 100K.

Last time I “wrote along with” Nano, about two years ago, I was already working on TIE-CUTTER, but then I wanted to “do” Nano, too, so I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC — and wrote the whole damn thing while writing daily on TIE-CUTTER, doing what I called “Tandem Nano.” CHOLERIC is out on submission; TIE-CUTTER was put aside to work on other projects, and will go back in the queue late next year.

On an emotional/ego level, I want to do it. On a practical level, it is going to work against me instead of for me. Which should make the decision easy.

We’ll see what happens come November 1.

Lots of fiddly things to do today, and then it’s back to the SAVASANA galleys, polishing the short story, and working on articles.

Back to the page.

I’m glad so many of you are loving PLAYING THE ANGLES! It means a lot to me.

Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/cool

Yesterday was all about updating links into websites. I got the live links for PLAYING THE ANGLES up onto the blog, onto the Devon Ellington website, onto the Coventina Circle website.

I added links to the newsletter and got it out — my first newsletter in a long time. I’ll have to clean up any bounce backs, new subscriptions, unsubscriptions.

It also meant I had to put the Nautical Namaste site live earlier than I planned, and set up the Nautical Namaste Facebook page earlier than planned. But it’s done, at least I have the links.

Had to get some admin paperwork done, and have to go into Hyannis this morning to file it, before picking up a few things at the grocery store.

The writing suffered yesterday, although I managed to get some more work done on the FIX-IT GIRL, and I hope to have that draft done in about two weeks. While juggling finishing the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so I can get it to my editor.

Because of Hurricane Irma, we pushed back the release of “Labor Intensive” yet again, but pretty soon, the timing will be so bad, I’ll have missed the boat. If we could not have any disasters, either caused by the Narcissistic Sociopath or Nature for a bit, that would be great.

Being 9/11, yesterday was tough as it always is. Tears off an on all day. You never “get over” something like that; you have to learn to live with it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused  
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Wed. Aug. 29, 2017: Short-Term and Long-Term Relief Planning, Balancing With Work

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cool

We’re getting the very outer grazings of Tropical Storm Irma. Not bad, especially not in perspective with what’s going on down south, but still worth paying attention to and not taking unnecessary risks.

The Narcissistic Sociopath lived up to his name yesterday on his visit to flood stricken areas. Not a word of comfort or support or empathy. He treated it like a campaign rally, going on about “crowd size.” Excuse me? And the tone-deaf wife, insensitive to the losses of those around them — the whole propaganda event was sickening.

Amy Siskind, with whom I often agree, especially as she documents how our civil rights are being methodically stripped away every day, said we shouldn’t criticize the wife because it reflects how we treat women in general. I disagree. You don’t get respect BECAUSE of your gender. You get basic respect as a human being, because every human being should get that, and build that WITH YOUR ACTIONS. Or you lose it WITH YOUR ACTIONS. The fact that too often women are objectified and criticized for their appearance or choices doesn’t mean that, simply because one is a woman, one can’t criticize or be criticized by another woman. The wife is in a position of leadership, and it is her JOB to behave with grace, class, and sensitivity towards ALL the people who live in or visit this country. She has done nothing, EVER, to earn respect, at least not from me. To say she’s “learning on the job” is crap — all First Ladies learn on the job, because there’s no other job quite like it. And yes, it is a job, and don’t give me that crap that she didn’t “choose” it. She didn’t walk away from it. She CHOSE to stay. Top offices are a package deal, and yes, there are politicians who have not gotten my vote because I thought their partners weren’t up to the job, and would, in fact, be a detriment. One person holds the elected office, but the couple is in it together.

And then, the Nashville Statement? Disgusting. Again, I was in Nashville several years ago to cover the NHL draft. Six days in Nashville was five days too many, as far as I was concerned. They were talking about secession and creating a country which recognized that slavery was a “good” thing. I still have the newspaper coverage tucked away in some file somewhere.

I’m trying to come up with a plan for long-term giving. I don’t have the financial resources right now to do a lot, but I’m doing what I can, and planning what I can do over the long-term, because the area will need help long-term. So far, with my due diligence, I’m focusing on food banks for people and the Texas SPCA and Pets Alive in Austin for animals. When the immediate need eases, I’ll focus on Habitat for Humanity for people. My friend, author Joelle Charbonneau, who always goes the extra mile for everyone, gave me information on Global Giving, so I’ll also do what I can with them.

I’m reading the material on why one shouldn’t give to the Red Cross. It disturbs me. I agree that the company that took over in the past few years isn’t transparent enough, especially with donations. I volunteered with the Red Cross in NYC during Desert Storm (I was a military case worker). I learned a lot, disagreed with some of their policies, but overall, had a great deal of respect with them at the time. As far as being helped by them, in my personal experience, I found them good at immediate, short-term assistance — such as when the building I lived in caught fire, and when my hometown flooded — but not structured to handle long-term issues. The Text and $10 goes to them option is, in my opinion, good in the short term, but for longer term help, I’m going to give elsewhere.

The phone scams for false charities are already in full swing. Half a dozen calls yesterday morning alone. I don’t give out my phone number, so how do they get it? Which corporation (of the few that have it — utility companies, etc.) is selling phone numbers? That needs to stop. I’m on every Do Not Call list there is. In any case, be careful, and don’t make donations by phone, unless you’re texting one to a vetted organization.

All of this has to balance with the writing, or I can’t keep a roof over my head.

Not much writing done yesterday, although I have to get back on track for that. I got out an article pitch and another pitch, so, hopefully, they’ll hit home. I need to do some research for a batch of LOIs to go out next week, when Mercury goes direct and after the holiday weekend.

I’ve gotten several questions as to when NOT BY THE BOOK will be ready to submit (some publishing people are interested), so that has to get back on the schedule, along with everything else.

August was a month away from the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions in the sense of not sticking to a list, but relevant due to the internal work.

Finished Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CHATEAU SUR MER, one of her Gilded Newport Mysteries. I love the series, and I love the growth of Emma Cross.

I have to figure out a new release date for “Labor Intensive”. Since it takes place on Labor Day Weekend, I don’t want it to be too far out, but I also don’t want to do a big promotion when people are drowning in Harvey.

I like the new covers for both “Labor Intensive” and “Plot Bunnies”. I think they fit the scope of the series better.

More ideas are coming in for the Picaroon Island series. I need to jot them down before I lose them. The ideas pouring in right now are for what would be the fifth book in the series. The first book is out on submission. Visiting Nantucket got me thinking about it again.

Next week, the first pre-pub push for PLAYING THE ANGLES goes out. Lots of juggling going on.

Not to mention that I really want to get SAVASANA AT SEA to my editor by mid-September.

I have one more pass at ANGLES to go, and that needs to happen this weekend.

Never a dull moment, which is good.

Tues. Aug. 29, 2017: Just Doing Whatever Little Bits I Can

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Doing whatever I small bits I can to help those suffering from Hurricane Harvey. It doesn’t feel like much, or enough, but I have to remember that many individuals doing as much as they can eventually adds up.

Didn’t get much writing done; can’t concentrate.

Am irritated at more late payments. Am pitching to a different tier or client – ones that pay on time.

I never give my phone number out; so how do the donation scammers already popping up in response to Harvey have the number to call? Which of the few places that have my number – utility companies, phone company, etc., is selling my number?

I’ve decided to postpone the release of “Labor Intensive” until next week. It just doesn’t feel right to promote right now. That’s not a judgment on anyone else making a different choice – it’s just what I need to do.

I’m dropping off a ream of paper at the local animal shelter (“Tessa’s orphanage”). They put out a call on Facebook that they were out of paper, and I have an extra ream, so over it goes.

Early morning grocery shopping. This afternoon, I have to write, research, work on final galleys for PLAYING THE ANGLES (according to the copy editor, there are only two tiny fixes, but I want to do a full proof), and read another assignment.

We’re going to be clipped by Tropical Storm Irma tomorrow, and then get the remnants of Harvey on Sunday.

Onward.

Published in: on August 29, 2017 at 9:18 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 29, 2017: Just Doing Whatever Little Bits I Can  
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Fri. Aug. 25, 2017: Thoughts on Forced Extroversion by an Introvert

Friday, August 25, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ten more days of Mercury Retrograde. Ack!

Sent out some pitches and an initial step of a proposal for a project I’d really like to do. I only heard about it very close to their deadline, so they may already have hired someone, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it’s in my wheelhouse, right on target (to mix metaphors), so I gave it a shot.

Worked on “Labor Intensive”, which lived up to its name.

Worked on the revisions for SAVASANA AT SEA. I thought I’d done so much, because I’m in serious beat-to-beat change territory, but it was only a few chapters. A little discouraging, but slow progress is better than no progress.

Got another round of copy edits back on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I don’t understand all of them — some of them refer to changes I made — so I have to go over it with the copy editor. Not sure if the changes didn’t save properly, or if I have to enter them differently in the document or what. We’ll get it sorted out.

Sending back some research books for projects that are farther out in the schedule, because I can’t effectively use them in the current timeline. Noted them, so I can order them again when I need them.

Did some promo for the Topic Workbook The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects which holds up well. This fall, I need to apply some of the techniques, as I reschedule projects for 2018.

Getting the balance right between the fiction and the nonfiction is always tricky. That and deciding where and how to use the peak of my creative energy on any given day.

There was a fantastic piece posted on Facebook, leading back to an article about introverts. As an introvert, it resonated. One of the things I deeply resent about living here is that I’m constantly forced into extroversion, which is painful and makes me miserable. In NY, you were who you were, and, as long as you did your work, no one cared. Here, the pressure to be constantly extroverted — and always to someone else’s convenience — makes me both miserable and furious.

I feel like I’ve lost a vital part of what made me good at what I do, living here. On the one hand, the place itself — the ocean, the land — have definitely helped my work, and in some ways, the quality of life is better. But the constant intrusions into my personal space and needs and the demands that I change the core of who I am to “fit” — well, guess what? I won’t. “Fitting in” has never driven me. I tried to be a civilian and a part of community life, and the prevalent “gimme culture” here doesn’t work, along with the lack of support for the arts (in spite of pretending the opposite). So I’m redrawing boundaries, and I don’t really care if it suits anyone else.

The theory that one can’t have privacy or a personal life if you work in the arts or set foot in social media (or even outside one’s own door) is ridiculous. I get to decide what to share with others. They get to decide what to share with me. The only exception is if any of us are involved in something that actively hurts those around us, instead of peaceful co-existence.

Remember, fellow female travelers, all those times you walk down the street, minding your own business, mulling over whatever needs attention and some jackass calls out, “Smile, honey!”

Forced constant extroversion is the same thing.

I’m not going to damn smile if I don’t want to. Not then nor now. (Which, since I usually am smiling, if I’m not, you can be sure there’s a reason for it, and back the eff off).

I’m not going to be forced into being someone I am not, and someone I do not wish to become.

Nor do I have to explain WHY I don’t want to do something or go somewhere. If I say “no” it is no, and I don’t need to qualify it.

I’m going back to being who I am.

Wherever that may lead.

That’s how I got to Broadway and lived my dream. That’ll work moving forward.

In any case, have a great weekend! I have lots of hearth-tending to do this weekend, along with A LOT of writing.

Best wishes to those in the path of Hurricane Harvey. I hope something happens and the storm weakens and it’s not anywhere near as bad as predicted.

Published in: on August 25, 2017 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 25, 2017: Thoughts on Forced Extroversion by an Introvert  
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Thurs. Aug. 24, 2017: Getting Motivated Again

Thursday, August 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I had trouble getting going yesterday. Eventually, I did, and sent off the edits for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Got a couple of pitches out. Heard back from an LOI I’d sent to a company that sounded interesting, but I don’t think we’re the right match.

Read a JD Robb novella, featuring Eve Dallas. Those are the science fiction/mystery/romance novels Nora Roberts writes. I enjoyed it; I’d read more. I like how she works with elements of all three genres. Structurally, I found it very strong, and I like the characters.

Got some work done on “Labor Intensive”, but not enough. That piece has to be ready to go next week, and I’m dragging my feet. I have to buckle down and get it done. I need to do some work on the essays, and get both FIX-IT GIRL and SAVASANA AT SEA revisions back on track.

One of the elements I’ve found most time-consuming in preparing these manuscripts is the back matter — excerpts from other books, additional material relevant to the books, etc. I enjoy writing and researching and sharing these materials, but it takes time, which means it has to be carefully built into the schedule.

I’m feeling creatively drained and fallow right now, without the usual stories and characters buzzing around in my head. Those are the stretches were one has to lean on craft first, and hope the creativity comes out of that. The foundation in craft is vital for a sustainable writing career. It also makes me very grateful for tools like my Writers Rough Outlines. They keep me on track, even on the rough days.

Alyssa Maxwell (a fellow Sister-in-Crime who writes the mysteries set in Newport) recommended the Hattie Darvish books written by Anna Loan-Wilsey. Hattie is a private secretary, earning her living, so each book is in a different location and different professional setting. I started with the first book in the series, A LACK OF TEMPERANCE. She’s very good with historical detail, makes it come alive well.

Several things are in limbo right now, and I’m trying to get things ready for my mother’s upcoming surgery. It’s in October, but there’s a great deal to be done before then, especially since she’s in her nineties, and any surgery can have difficult consequences.

Plenty to do today — research-wise and writing-wise.

One of the many good things about the trip to Nantucket is that it solidified my decision to set the whaling mysteries in New Bedford. I wasn’t sure which location I should pick, although I leaned toward New Bedford. What I need to serve the story makes more sense to put in New Bedford than on Nantucket, although, with its importance in the whaling industry, I’m sure there will at least be scenes set there.

Setting is so important to me, in what I read and what I write. Yes, the fictional elements of a setting are important, but they need to be grounded in reality if it’s in a real place or near a real place, and has to be believable as that area, not generic “small town” or “coast town” or “Southern town” or “English village” or whatever.

As I’ve spoken and taught for years, emotional geography matters.

In September, I really need to get to work writing the Lavinia Fontana play (it’s due in December). Some of the scenes are starting to take shape in my mind, but I still lack the throughline. I have themes, but not yet a plot. I’m character-building, and I may write one or two of the scenes to see how I can get a plot to emerge. The social structure of Bologna, especially amongst the noblewomen, will be an important part of that, and how Lavinia navigates that, with the burden of being the primary breadwinner for a large family, and the fact that she was constantly pregnant. It didn’t slow down her painting, though.

I feel like I’m using so much creative energy with the writing that pays the bills, it’s much more difficult to find the energy for the percolating time I need. The fiction and the non-fiction usually feed each other well, but, right now, I’m creatively weary and I don’t have the luxury of taking a break. X amount has to go out regularly, so X amount of dollars come in.

Smashwords has started paying monthly. Honestly, I prefer quarterly and/or twice-a-year payments for royalties.

In any case, I need to dig down and get back to work.

Buzz is starting to build for Nano again. With a book releasing in November, I don’t think this is a good year to do it. I might “write along with” Nano, riding the energy wave to finish THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, but I don’t think I should “do” Nano, as in starting a new book on November 1. I have to say, though, the tandem Nano I did two years ago was a good thing, winding up with DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, and a good chunk done on THE TIE-CUTTER (which has to go back on the schedule soon).

Preparing for the weekend, lots of reading and writing needs to happen (I have a reviewing assignment I need to finish), plus it’s toxic disposal day at the dump, so I can get rid of used batteries, light bulbs, aerosol cans, etc.

And, of course, I need to catch up on mowing. I’m sure you can all feel the eye roll, even though you can’t see it. 😉

Back to the page.

Published in: on August 24, 2017 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 24, 2017: Getting Motivated Again  
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Wed. Aug. 23, 2017: Ground To Cover, Books to Write

Wednesday, April 23, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Lots of ground to cover. Lots went on.

Friday was a prime example of Mercury Retrograde. The negotiations broke down with the gig I’d been offered and the offer was rescinded. It could have been worked out, but the other side’s position of not allowing disagreement or discussion made it impossible. Although the whole situation left me feeling bruised, better to know early on and not go on than be mired in it and have it worse later on. I also found out something, that, had I known it about the company, I wouldn’t have pitched to work there in the first place. That is totally on me — I did not do my due diligence on the company. I looked at the parts of the job that appealed to me, rather than looking at the whole thing.

Mercury Retrograde is a time when people are likely to mis-communicate and mis-understand each other. It is also a time when one is supposed to avoid signing a contract. I’d hoped I could circumvent the possibilities with it this go-round and it didn’t work out.

I did some research for another publication with whom I’m in discussions. Coming up with suitable pitches for them will be an intriguing challenge.

Worked on the proofs for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Grateful to the copy editor for the catches, and annoyed with myself that I didn’t catch them. But that’s why one puts another pair of eyes on it, isn’t it? Also, reading the digital proofs on the Kindle, and then looking at the manuscript/Track Changes made me realize more than just looking at the manuscript on the screen.

I’m learning a lot with this process, which is great. Each book should teach something. The craft in each book needs to build on the previous books.

The cover for “Labor Intensive” is done — finally, I think we’ve hit on the style and tone for these covers. The cover of “Plot Bunnies” was then re-worked, to fit the series.

Now I just have to finish the damned piece! I’m cutting it a little too close for comfort.

Friday night into Saturday morning, we were woken by the most intensive rainstorm we experienced since moving here. Torrential. By the time we got the windows closed, water was across half the room. Dried pretty quickly, thank goodness. But it was hard to get back to sleep.

Saturday was the counter protest to the so-called “Free Speech Rally” in Boston. After Charlottesville, and the Narcissistic Sociopath’s response on Tuesday, supporting the white supremacists, I was worried that the violence would be worse in Boston than it had been in VA. I was wrong, and glad to be so proven.

100 people showed up for the rally. 40,000 showed up in an anti-hate counter protest. The “rally” lasted a little less than an hour. There were some arrests — 33 was the last number I heard on the news — and protestors were afraid of people playing the tuba.

The counter-protest had music (tuba, drums, bagpipes), dancing, and anti-hate chants. Had the rally ACTUALLY been about “free speech” and not “hate speech” — the organizers would have welcomed the counter protestors and invited some of them to speak at the “rally”.

I felt the mood was much darker and more cynical than at the Women’s March in January — or maybe that’s because my mood is so much darker and more cynical. Still, I think we can all be proud of how Boston behaved — a mostly peaceful protest standing against hate.

The Narcissistic Sociopath tweeted against the march at first, calling it “anti-police”, and then somebody changed his tune, and he started praising Boston. There was a lot of discussion on social media about mis-spelling “heal” as “heel”. Yes, it could have been a Freudian slip; it could also have been Auto-Incorrect. I certainly struggle with that enough when I’m typing on my phone. Even when I check it before hitting send, Auto-Correct sometimes changes it just as I hit “send.” So the spelling is not an issue where I feel I have any right to criticize. Content, yes. Spelling — when I’m able to overcome Auto-Incorrect on a regular basis, then I can.

I read over the short story I’m not sure where to place, the one where a friend thinks it’s the germ of a novel. I see possibilities. At the same time, I wonder how I can possibly expand a piece intentionally tightly written to be under 8K to novel length. With a good plot and outline. Strengthen the supporting characters. Add a couple of subplots. The potential is there; it’s just making the time in the schedule to get it all done without dropping the ball on anything else. I’ve already pushed back several manuscripts that I fully believed I could have out the door this year.

I put in the changes to PLAYING THE ANGLES — it can go back out today. I still want to look at it again before it goes to publish.

Monday was my “day off” — just like in theatre days. I enjoyed myself, preparing for my trip, and reading E.J. Kahn’s memoir of his years at THE NEW YORKER, and having fun, both virtually and in real life, with the eclipse. We only had a partial here, but it was interesting — the birds upset, the cats restless, everything going quiet except for the crickets, the quality of light all wispy, shadowy, and textured. Eerie silence. Then, getting brighter — Bratty Bird, our resident nuthatch, was the first to start yelling. When I stepped onto the deck, the Murder of Crows who hangs out around here came right up to tell me all the news. They are so funny!

Things brightened up quickly, and, of course, the damn neighbor started right back up with their damned power tools. Could we have 24 hours without them once in awhile, please?

There was a passage of only a couple of paragraphs in Kahn’s memoir, but it sent me on a fun “what if?” for either a section of a piece I’m already outlining (mostly likely) or its own piece.

Making time for all of this is the key.

Tuesday, we were up at 4:30 AM and out of the house by 5:30. After a bit of parking lot kerflamma, we were on the 6:30 AM ferry to Nantucket. It was great — only about ten people and a dog on the whole big ferry. Mostly truck drivers, who settled themselves onto the benches and went to sleep. Beautiful and quiet.

I meant to write on the 2 hr. 45 minute ride — I got about a page written. But it was so beautiful that I just sat back and enjoyed it.

A friend met us at the dock. We went to breakfast at Met on Main, which was terrific. We sat outside and I had the enormous and delicious “Met Muffin”. We toured around the town — too many tourists, to which we helped contribute, I’m afraid. Library, Whaling Museum, Oldest House and its Kitchen Garden, etc. Drove around the island, seeing the sites. Spent the afternoon at the house the friends rented for their vacation, sitting out on the deck, looking at the water, and talking. It was fun.

Steven Axelrod’s books will make ever so much more sense now! 😉

5:30 PM ferry back — many more people this time, and lots of dogs. Among the passengers was a pack containing 5 standard poodles — one white (the King), one black and white, one black, and two brown. They were gorgeous and regal and beautifully behaved — better behaved than some of the children on that boat, that’s for sure.

It was still a decent ride back, although not as good as the ride out. The crew on the ferry is always terrific, and boy, they sure know their stuff.

Home a little after eight. The cats were upset, and relieved we were back. Although we had to grovel appropriately.

Hard to get back into the swing of things today. I liked having a couple of days off. I was disgusted by the rally in Phoenix last night. Others are articulating the event far better than I can, so I’ll leave them to it.

I’d really like a few more days off.

But, the manuscript needs to go back to the publisher with the accepted changes. That’s the most important.

I also have to withdraw from consideration for a gig. It sounded like a fun topic and steady work. I was asked for my rate, and gave them a range for the range of work they claim to want. They came back with an offer that’s 1/3 of the lowest number of my range, and said they assign articles to those with the lowest rate first, and higher-paid writers get assigned anything “left over”, while insisting they hired “fantastic writers.”

Um, no. First of all, I don’t know ANY “fantastic” writer who would work for the rate quoted. “Fantastic” writers are paid professional rates and have enough self-esteem not to work for rates that are barely above content mill level. Second, I don’t work for 1/3 of what I told you was my lowest rate. Third, if you’re going to put me on staff for “steady” work, I don’t wait around for the leftover crap assignments, simply because I get a decent rate.

Buh-bye.

On to other pitches.

I’d like to take a few more days off, but work (especially “Labor Intensive”) dictates otherwise.

Onward.

Published in: on August 23, 2017 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 23, 2017: Ground To Cover, Books to Write  
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Tues. Aug. 8, 2017: Small Victories Pave the Way

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Got out a short story and a couple of pitches yesterday. The medium-sized late payment (not the big one that’s nearly two months late) arrived, so yesterday afternoon and today is a flurry of catching up on bills. Also had a small victory with one of the insurance companies.  One down, three to go!

My web host is placating me for the moment — I now have the ability to build more subdomains, and I can still pay quarterly. I’m going to see how it goes for the next three months (since I’m paying this week). I’m still interviewing other hosts, But it also means I can build the subdomains for the Coventina Circle Paranormal Romantic Suspense books and for the Nautical Namaste books.

I came up with some fun stuff for the websites, and a couple of good things for the tour giveaway.

I worked on the final piece of back matter for PLAYING THE ANGLES, so I can get that darned thing out the door, but it needs some more work. I’m hoping if I dig in today, I can get the manuscript out to the publisher by tomorrow or Thursday, and then, once I clear it with them, book the release tour.

The paperwork arrived for my mother’s upcoming surgery. There’s a lot of it, unfortunately. Not too happy about that. The surgery itself will take five to six hours. Not happy about that, either. But it is what it is.

This morning is all about errands and starting the new series websites. This afternoon is about finishing the back matter for PLAYING THE ANGLES and doing yet another proofread so it can go out; if I can, I need to do more work on an essay, work on a pitch package that needs to go out by mail, and do work on both THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and THE FIX-IT GIRL. AND “Labor Intensive”. However, I have the feeling some of that will wind up bumped over to tomorrow.

I think I’ve figured out how to get “Labor Intensive” back on track. I’m lightening the plot a bit, and getting the tone right, but not losing some of the social prejudices I had in the darker version.

The cover is a problem, though. Fireworks seem more like July 4th, but there are fireworks in the story. I don’t have much time to come up with the cover — or finish and edit the story. It needs to drop at the end of the month. But I’ll figure it out. Somehow, I always do.

I also have to get the big fall cleaning started — yes, even though it’s only August. I’m trying to do it in little bits every day, once I finish my writing quota, rather than putting aside days to do big bits. We’ll see how that works.

It’s raining, so no yard work today. I can practically watch the grass growing. As soon as the weather clears up, there will be yet more mowing in my future.

Second day of a migraine, but at least I can fit into my favorite pair of jeans again. I’ve lost weight, which is a good thing. I’m not completely down to what I consider my ideal weight — I may never reach it again, but I look and feel better. And my clothes fit again.

Which is why I think those “organizers” who tell you to purge everything the minute you need a different size are full of crap. I’m convinced that most “professional” organizers are in league with stores to try to get their clients to spend as much money as possible, instead of making use of what they have.

Anyway, there’s a lot on the agenda today, so I better get moving! Trader Joe’s grocery run starts the day, along with putting some gas in the tank.

Published in: on August 8, 2017 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 8, 2017: Small Victories Pave the Way  
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Tues. July 25, 2017: Working In Multiple Directions

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Drizzily and cool

First and foremost, happy release day to Alyssa Maxwell for her newest book, MURDER AT CHATEAU SUR MER. I love this series, and that particular house is my favorite of the Newport mansions.

Sorry to post so late. I got a late start and have been running behind ever since. Today is proof that if I don’t get up around 5:30 or 6 AM and get to it, I lose the most creative part of my day and I’m disoriented.

Yesterday, I managed to get a play out to an interested producer. There are quite a few of us in contention — it’s a big deal. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, and the play stood up to re-reading better than I remembered it, so off it went.

Another producer was interested in the work I’ve done for 365 Women; unfortunately, she’s looking for non-naturalistic work, and all the plays I’ve done for them are naturalistic, inspired by real historical figures and events. I was recommended to her on the strength of the writing, which is always good; but my structure isn’t what she’s looking for, unfortunately. Still, if I ever decide to write something non-naturalistic, I know where to pitch it first!

Did one editing pass on the short story written yesterday morning; now I have to let it sit for a bit before doing another round. One can’t edit well right after finishing a piece; there needs to be time, so one can go back with fresh eyes, and look at it as though someone else wrote it. Whenever someone boasts about finishing a book or a story or whatever and immediately starting edits, I roll my eyes and know it’s a book I won’t be reading (unless one of the publications that pays me to review sends it to me).

I’m also getting tired of the bullying posts aimed at authors, some of them posing as “articles”. They spend the bulk of the article diminishing authors’ self-esteem, telling the authors they suck, and then, at the end, pretending to “rescue” the author — should the author buy whatever product they’re selling.

First of all, the content of most of these pieces is crap. They’re not well-written, many of them are “listicles” — a format I loathe as both a reader and a writer. They’re advertorials posing as articles.

Every author’s path is different. That’s a good thing; the level of conformity that’s being demanded, both by corporate-owned mega-publishers and by society in general is geared to kill creativity. It IS important to build a strong foundation in craft and to know how to tell a cracking good story. Craft is something that should grow with every book or story or article. Authors need the flexibility to try new things — even if not all of them work.

When it comes to marketing, it’s time for unique and creative campaigns, not following what “everyone” does. You need to target your audience; at the same time, you want to reach as wide an audience as possible. You want to be assertive and inclusive, not aggressive. It’s hard to find that balance. Also, people will respond differently on different days. All you can do is the best you can do.

If a certain type of marketing makes you miserable, don’t do it. Do what you enjoy. When the author has fun in the process of sharing the work, the reader picks up on it.

Listening to someone who makes a living taking money off of aspiring authors by berating them doesn’t help me, that’s for sure. I like to see what other people are doing, and then either use that to jump start my own marketing ideas, see if I can adapt what they’re doing to suit my particular project, or if it’s something that I don’t respond to positively, and then I move on.

Just because it doesn’t work for ME doesn’t mean someone else shouldn’t do it. All I can do is make the best, most informed decisions I can for my own work.

But bullying posts turn me off. I’ve decided to stop sharing them. I’m not going to troll them. I just scroll by and go on with my life.

Did some work on the various media kits. I need to finish the Q &A for “The Ramsey Chase” media kit. I find the non-fiction section of the Devon Ellington media kit much harder than the fiction. I have to write the press release for the PLAYING THE ANGLES media kit. That needs to be ready to go out at the beginning of August, even though the book doesn’t drop until October.

Working on the article that’s almost ready to go out, and then two more are stacked up behind in.

We worked on a new cover for “Plot Bunnies”, to tie it in more with the upcoming “Labor Intensive”, but it wound up looking more like a children’s book than a light-hearted mystery, so we’ll stick to the current cover for now.

I’ve had to scrap parts of the plot for “Labor Intensive”, because it went too dark for the tone of the series. I will probably use those plot elements in one of my darker books.

I’m meeting a friend for coffee this morning, which should be enormous fun. She lives in Amsterdam now, and I only get to see her once a year, although we’re in regular contact.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing!

Published in: on July 26, 2017 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 25, 2017: Working In Multiple Directions  
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Wed. July 5, 2017: “Ramsey Chase” Cover Reveal & Gwen Finnegan Mysteries News!

Ransey Chase Cover 2 Small

“The Ramsey Chase” — The First Remarkable Adventure of Cornelia True and Roman Gray. Miss Cornelia True lives in Bodwin’s Ferry, a small seacoast town, with her sisters Arabella and Viola. Her life changes forever when Roman Gray, a “fixer” from the future and across the seas from the metropolis of Newest Yorkke, lands, naked, amongst Cornelia’s petunias due to a glitch in his Device. Together, they embark on a series of remarkable adventures. In “The Ramsey Chase”, Roman arrives hunting a time-travelling serial killer who preys on young women for their blood.

Yes, that’s the cover, and the story will release next Monday, July 10.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I took time off, not that it helped much when yesterday was stressful. I didn’t do most of what I’d planned.

I read a lot — the Helen Bevington books. Worked my way through a bunch of research books. I have about twenty books to return to the library today.

I also re-read the many, many pages on INITIATE, which will eventually become the series encompassing SCHOLAR, WRAIG NAIF, WRAIG MATURE, INITATE, and KNIGHTWITCH. There’s a lot of good stuff in there. I even found my notes and wrote more pages. Not a lot, but a few thousand words here and there.

I also re-read what I have of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, the second Gwen Finnegan mystery. My friend Arlene Kay loved TRACKING MEDUSA, and has encouraged me to get Gwen back on the schedule. I’d stopped working on BALTHAZAAR when Amber Quill went under; there didn’t seem any point since TRACKING MEDUSA went out of print. I was also frustrated, because the first section of the book is important to the growth of Gwen and Justin’s relationship, but doesn’t really drive BALTHAZAAR.

I realized I could cut the part before they actually go on the treasure hunt and expand it, turning it into a novella that will run about 200 pages or so. It will cover the time between MEDUSA and BALTHAZAAR, introduce a character who is vital to the next two Gwen mysteries, and show that important growth arc in their relationship, without derailing BALTHAZAAR the way it did. Then, BALTHAZAAR can open IN THE STORY and not lose momentum. Better structural choice.

The title of the novella is MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and will be focused in and around New York City.

If I can work out the details for MEDUSA along the same lines as I’m doing for PLAYING THE ANGLES — digital release first, then a small traditional print run (not POD), it makes sense to get MEDUSA back on track for an early 2018 release, with the novella mid-year, and BALTHAZAAR a few months after that. At the same time, I don’t want to drop the ball on PLAYING THE ANGLES or the books that come after it. I have to see if it’s physically and mentally possible for me to juggle both those series while I’m also writing books that are more suited to traditional publishers and working on that angle of my career as well. I want and need to be working along several fronts.

I am sick and tired of publishers (and now, many agents), only committing to one book at a time, instead of making a worthwhile, longterm investment in a writer’s career. That model doesn’t work for me. So I need to reshape my career in the way that does. That is why having a good entertainment lawyer is so vital.

The proofing of “The Ramsey Chase” is done (although I’ll probably do one more proofread before I send it in. The cover’s at the top of the post — ta da! Cover reveal! I kind of love it. Blurbs, excerpts, et al, will release this week, and it drops next Monday, via Smashwords. It’s a short, and will be only 99 cents.

I do love the stories and characters; I’m just sick of the piece right now, with all the re-reading I had to do to prep it for release!

The file also contains the opening of the second Remarkable Adventure, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which will release in November.

The media kit is almost done. Press goes out today (release was finished this morning).

Hopefully, plenty of you enjoyed “Personal Revolution” over the weekend.

The fireworks were ridiculous. Fireworks are an art form, and they are beautiful. Go watch the professionals. Do NOT put your entire neighborhood in danger because you are a dumbass. And yes, I trained in pyrotechnics when I worked rock and roll, so I know what I’m talking about. The majority of people who buy illegal fireworks and set them off are too stupid to properly work them, which is why THEY ARE ILLEGAL. And don’t for a second think I’ll contribute to your Go Fund Me Campaign when you lose a limb or an eye. Not to mention the fact that it terrifies pets and triggers PTSD in many veterans.

Every night, when it quieted down, I gathered up the frightened animals who took refuge under the deck or in our bushes, soothed them, fed them. They overnighted with us, and I got them back to their humans the next day.

I didn’t celebrate yesterday. It was impossible to celebrate “independence” when we have a sociopathic moron and his evil henchmen in charge, turning this place into an authoritarian, white supremacist, misogynistic theocracy.

I don’t have the To Do List up yet for July. I’m still trying to figure out my schedule. There’s a lot of pressure on me the next few weeks, especially with my mother’s surgery coming up. Once the late payments catch up, I can hit an even keel, but until everything’s caught up and I have enough work booked for the month, I’m going to be stressed.

I ate red meat last night — something I rarely do any more, and was miserable. It was good while I ate it, and I paid for hours after.

However, there was some good news: an actor for whom I’d written a monologue, and with whom I worked via Skype, landed a role in a series of the type that we’d always dreamed about him doing “someday”. He’s going to be fabulous. It’s wonderful to see that the talented kid has grown into such a terrific man. I feel like a proud momma! He pointed out that I’d been a friend during some tough times, when many people forgot about him. I’m thrilled for him. (And yes, completely content to stay in the background — I’m not going to run around trying to ride on his coattails).

Woke up feeling much more cheerful this morning, after a bad night thanks to the red meat. I have so much to do today that I will be overwhelmed if I don’t just deal with each piece at a time, and then move on to the next piece.

And I HAVE to get back to FIX-IT GIRL this week. I can’t keep the research books any longer. I also feel, since I started “Miss Winston”, I should keep going on it, although it’s not releasing until November. “Labor Intensive” has a closer deadline, and therefore should get attention first.

But first, mowing. The front yard looks raggedy. I wish I could learn to like it. The mowing, I mean, not the raggedy lawn!

Published in: on July 5, 2017 at 9:33 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 5, 2017: “Ramsey Chase” Cover Reveal & Gwen Finnegan Mysteries News!  
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Mon. June 26, 2017: Traction to Getting Back on Track

Personal Revolution Cover

“Personal Revolution” — A Cabot’s Crossing Mystery — Independence-Day theme.

99 cents on Smashwords here.

Monday, June 26, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

A slower-paced weekend than I probably should have had, but I needed it. My brain is tired, my soul is tired.

Saturday morning, I took a wrong step down the stairs and wrenched my knee. The good knee, not the Broadway knee. The outer tendon. My poor hockey players had that often enough, although not from going down a flight of steps. I treated it with arnica and gentle yoga. As long as I keep the leg in alignment, from hip to foot, it’s okay. The minute I go out of alignment, I’m in pain. That certainly slowed me down, because I need to move with more care.

I managed eight loads of laundry over the course of the day. A lot of it consisted of the blankets and fleece covers on the furniture for the winter. They’re now washed and ready to be packed away, with lighter cotton covers on everything. It’s finally warm enough to put the winter things away. Also in the process of washing, blocking, drying, and then putting the winter sweaters away with cedar shavings.

In between the laundry, I’ve been clearing out things that have accumulated — the big stack around my big reading chair, where I tend to nest; starting to go through drawers and boxes. I’m weighed down by too much stuff I don’t need; we haven’t even unpacked everything since we moved here. I wanted to get through everything in the winter and didn’t; so I better buckle down and do it now. A little bit at a time eventually adds up to big bits.

In and around that, I also wrote nearly 2500 words on the piece with the two older protagonists. I’m writing my way in, to see if I have something viable. I like the characters a lot, especially how they’re trying to heal from their damage. It’s naturally set itself in Ayrshire, Scotland, near Culzean, where I’ve stretched the geography a bit to add a small, fictional village between the villages I spent time in when I was there.

I’ll set something else in Cornwall, eventually!

I’m reading Alix Kate Shulman’s DRINKING THE RAIN. It’s a wonderful exploration of a writer’s need to balance solitude and companionship. I’m not as adventurous as she is, as far as where she chooses to stay. I’m a modern woman who appreciates indoor plumbing, and I’m no longer willing to stay in places without it. That doesn’t feed my soul; it merely irritates me. My soul is fed when I’m comfortable.

The book is from the library, but I’m going to hunt down a copy to buy; it’s something I will re-read.

I’m also reading Helen Bevington’s The Journey is Everything: A Journal of the Seventies. I love her writing, and it’s interesting to see her perspective on historical events we both lived through (although I was much younger, just a kid).
I originally read her books shortly after 9/11. I was staying with my mother, in the NYC suburb in which I’d grown up. I got a new library card at the library I’d practically lived in growing up. Wandering the stacks, I found Helen Bevington’s memoirs and journals, and loved them. A few years later, I found A Book and a Love Affair in Niantic and bought it; I keep an eye out for her other books, so I can add them to my personal library. I re-read Book recently, when I came across it, unpacking a box, looking for something else. I wanted to re-read the rest. The Cape Cod libraries don’t carry her books, so I had to order it through the Commonwealth Catalog. This volume is from U Mass-Amherst.

Sunday, I didn’t feel much like doing anything. I read a bit, and then went to S. Yarmouth library, where my friend and fellow writer Arlene Kay gave a program as part of their Author Series. It was wonderful, but then her programs always are. She had a nice turnout (thank goodness, it’s always hit and miss around here), including some mutual friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was nice to catch up.

Came home, read on the deck, cooked dinner. I’d created a new-to-me salsa recipe on Friday, and combined two recipes from one of Barbara Ross’s mysteries (and then added some bits of my own) on Saturday, so Sunday was mostly leftovers.

I think I’ve got the opening of “Miss Winston Apologizes” in my head. Now, to write it down, so it’s ready to add when I’m done with the proofread of “Ramsey.”

I also have to write down the opening of “Labor Intensive” — and then write the rest of it.

Did some work on the Devon Ellington media kit. Did another 1000 words on the older protagonist piece. I think it’s viable. As I’ve been writing my way in, the plot is getting clearer. Pretty soon, I will stop and outline it. I worried the premise was a little too close to Death of a Choleric, but this morning, I figured out how to fix it.

I have a long list of things to do today, both fiction and non-fiction and pitching, and administrative work, and catching up on some correspondence. And, of course, mowing. I have to pause in my work on the meadow, because the damn front needs to be mowed again!

The roses are magnificent this year. We have vases of them all over the house and they smell lovely.

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