Thurs. July 13, 2017: Writing Despite Building Stress

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

Got a lot done yesterday. Worked on the YA story for the sick teen, spent a lot of time working on the article — thanks to all the sources who got back to me so fast!

Worked on three chapters of revisions of something I hadn’t planned on working on quite yet, but it pulled at me, so I did. I think I might collapse the second and third chapters together to get the first body drop in at the end of Chapter Two. But Chapter One is still one of my favorite chapters I’ve ever written. It’s important to setting up the character and situation, and it hurt the book when it was cut. There’s plenty of other unnecessary stuff that I think I can cut, but that chapter’s too important to who Sophie is and why. But right now the body drop is at the end of Chapter Three, and I’m worried that it’s too far in.

We’ve also gotten the cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES done! I’m happy with it. It doesn’t bow to genre tropes in that, although it’s paranormal romantic suspense, it’s bright colors instead of dark. But it clearly states that it’s a Coventina Circle Romantic Suspense, and the texture in the photo supports the story better than the more conventional cover images did. That’s a relief; now I can get back on track with the galleys. I’ve signed the digital contract, and we’re still in negotiating the print details.

I’m trying something new to me here; I’m doing the digital version with one company, and a traditional print run with another. Neither has a problem with it. It’s a risk, and there will be a lag between digital and print release, but, I think in terms of long-range vision, it will work better.

Today will mostly focus on article work, but I want to work on the YA story, the PLAYING THE ANGLES galleys, and maybe even get back to FIX IT GIRL.

I’m beginning to despair the late payments ever showing up, which puts me in deep trouble for July’s bills.

I’m scrambling to make it up with other freelance work, but even when I land something, the payment contract schedule doesn’t solve this immediate problem.

I’m also irritated that the doctor hasn’t bothered to call to schedule my mother’s surgery. Does he expect we can just show up the morning after the call? I am so sick of the lack of “care” in the healthcare system.

Back to the page.

Tues. July 11, 2017: More Freelancing Than Fiction

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where Colin Galbraith talks about his latest release, GATECRASH.

Yesterday was not a good writing day. That was frustrating.

I was reasonably productive, at least in the morning: mowing, errands, final polish on the essay.

Send out questions to two potential project partners (two different projects); followed up on some pitches where I haven’t yet heard back; sent off the essay; sent a thank you & goodbye to a collaborator where our contract is up tomorrow, and I’m not extending it; sent out a query and sample pages for another book project; posted a call for questions in one of the groups in which I participate (and will do the same in another group); promoted “The Ramsey Chase”; sent out some more pitches.

The cover designer and I worked with some of the images that are possible for the new PLAYING THE ANGLES cover, but we don’t like it. I wish I could find the photos I know will work. Also playing with images for another project (which will be revealed shortly). We’re closer there, which is worrisome, since it’s not releasing until after ANGLES.

The editor with whom I’ve had a rocky relationship really likes the last piece I sent in; maybe we’re on the right track. The lag in assignment and pay, however, still bother me. I’ll have to weigh them against each other.

Read a bit; it’s an author’s new book. I have mixed feelings about the author. She’s got a huge following, but a lot of her writing doesn’t work for me. I appreciate that she’s trying something new here, but it doesn’t quite work, in my opinion. However, her fans will love it and she’ll make a packet of money, so good for her.

Still waiting on those two late payments, which I need this week in order to pay the bills. One changed the terms of the agreement (which means he is in breach of the agreement, since I did NOT agree); the other is simply not responding. Very frustrating.

On the positive side, last night, I heard back from a publication for whom I’ve written before, and to whom I pitched a couple of weeks ago. They like my article and want to contract it (sold on query again, not pre-written), AND they’re going to pay me more than the usual rate. I’m pretty happy about that. It will be a month or so before I’m paid (the article will take between one and two weeks), but at least I know that’s on the horizon. Plus, I have good clips and always been paid on time from this publication, so that’s all good.

Unfortunately, the fiction suffered — a LOT — yesterday, and I didn’t work on the media kits, either.

Today, I’ve already done a Trader Joe’s run. I have to get all my article questions out this morning, a few more pitches, and hope I hear back from the places I contacted yesterday, so I know which projects are moving forward.

I hope to have an exciting announcement in a week or two, but I don’t want to count my chickens too early, and all that stuff.

I’m in the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES now, taking my time to make sure I hit all the points and get all the editorial notes handled. If we’re going to adhere to the October release date, I have to be thorough, but also can’t take too long. Then, I’ll have to edit the first chapter of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY so it can also go in. What a relief not to battle this “one-book-in-a-series” lack of commitment that far too many of the smaller publishers are currently doing. I understand that far too many of the writers are unreliable and can’t deliver regularly, but if the publishers were paying them proper advances, there’d be more motivation to get things done on time.

I’m frantic to get the story for the sick teen finished, too, and feeling the time pressure there. Every day that passes where it’s not done means more suffering for her.

Plus, the life pressures this week are at an almost intolerable point. Most of them would be solved if those damn late payments would show up.

Back to the page.

Wed. June 28, 2017: Trying to Line Up Ducks Before the Holiday Weekend

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Monday was busy. I re-slanted and re-sent two pitches; sent out two new pitches; caught up on correspondence. Somehow, the day flew by.

I did research on several new-to-me markets. Some, I need to do some more in-depth digging; a couple, I think I can craft pitches and send them.

My mom has to have surgery in July, on her foot. Results of the biopsy done a couple of weeks ago. I want to know why her first doctor — the one that dropped her because she wasn’t making enough money off my mom — didn’t diagnose this wound properly a year and a half ago, when my mom showed it to her?

And, of course, I have to come up with the co-payment. Another expense I wasn’t counting on. Not to mention that my mom is 94 and any surgery is worrisome.

There’s a possible new-to-me micro-fiction market. They pay, but I have to figure out the details and ratio of word count/payment/frequency of assignment to see if it’s something I want to or can take on. They seem to be more legitimate and a better payer than the other company I talked to last week. We’ll see. There’s a humor market that could become a regular gig, but I’m not feeling particularly witty or funny right now.

Read Barbara Ross’s ICED UNDER, another Maine Clambake book. I really like this series.

Quite a contrast to another book I tried to read (by a different author). It was a mystery. The protagonist was a narrow-minded, unlikable little twit. The story was dumbed down, the characters were ciphers instead of people. The author was anti-artist and anti-anyone who chose more than being a traditional housewife. I made it to page 35, closed the book, and have put the author on my Will Not Read list. She insulted my intelligence AND my profession. Next!

I really want to take this upcoming holiday weekend as a writing/reading/yoga retreat. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

Did a little bit of work on the Scottish mystery with the older protagonists on Tuesday, after running errands early enough in the morning so I didn’t get caught up in tourist traffic. That threw off my writing schedule, though.

Finished DRINKING THE RAIN by Alix Kates Shulman. Liked it a lot. And loving Helen Bevington’s THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING.

Worked on the June wrap-up, July’s To Do list, and, soon, I’ll have to do the mid-year assessment. We’ll see how far I’ve strayed.

Worked on the media kit. It’s always such journeyman work, but it’s important, and I always discover something I didn’t realize about my own work, because I have to look at it as though I’m handling someone else’s.

I came up with a series title for Playing the Angles and The Spirit Repository — but that makes me wonder if I should change the name under which the books appear. At the same time, I’m not completely sure I’ve hit exactly what I want with the series title. I’m feeling creatively drained.

The project in Orleans isn’t going to work out — they’re going with someone younger. That’s not what they said (which would be illegal), but that’s what they’re doing. Heaven forbid they hire someone with experience who expects a professional rate! Well, they’ll get what they paid for. I was having second thoughts myself — the money, the refusal to commit beyond the summer, and a few other elements. My ego’s bruised, but, deep down in my gut, I know it’s for the best.

Fretting because I’m waiting for two checks that are late. Not happy, because there are bills that need to be paid before the end of the month, and then I have to focus both on next month’s bills and on the co-payment for my mother’s surgery.

Got about half of “The Ramsey Chase” proofread. I’m creating the tracking sheets and character bible for the series as I go, which also slows me down.

Worked my way through a stack of research books that I hoped would be helpful as background for a project. Unfortunately, they were mostly self-indulgent navel-gazing masquerading as “self help.” There’s quite a stack to go back to the library.

I’m gathering questions for the Q&A section of the Devon Ellington media kit. Colin Galbraith had two interesting ones that I’m going to use. I’m hoping other people will post questions on Facebook, Twitter, and/or in the comments here on Ink.

I did quite a bit of work on the media kit yesterday afternoon. I’m through most of the fiction/series/shorts section. I’ve got some more Digital Delights to add in, make the links live.

Still fretting about the series title. That series title means it makes more sense to have the books appear under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name rather than the Annabel Aidan or Devon Ellington name. Also, the more I think about it, the more that series title fits a different series — one I’ve yet to write. So I’m on the hunt for another series title. Some of the books are set in New York, or at least start in New York and move outward. So the title needs to have a bit of an urban edge, but also fulfill the books when they move beyond the city limits. I came up with another series title, but it might also be a bit too soft. I’ll pull out the Thesaurus (the print one, not look online) and browse.

During this morning’s meditation, a new set of characters and situations dropped into my head. I still don’t have the plot, although I have a premise. I think it will be set on the outskirts of Portland, Maine.

Finished a science fiction short story this morning. Will revise it later today and tomorrow, and it can go out the door tomorrow. Now, have to turn my attention back to the more complicated, contemporary one and finish that to get it out the door.

I’m going to take the holiday weekend as a writing/yoga/meditation retreat. I need the mental and the physical break. If I can get my ducks in a row, and my deadlines met by Friday (gulp), that’s what I’ll do. Be offline from Friday afternoon until sometime on Wednesday.

Yet I’m sure there will be mowing in my future. I’ve been bad and haven’t done any this week, although the weather’s been good for it.

Errands, admin, and correspondence to do, and then, it’s back to the page.