Mon. Feb. 24, 2014: A Writing and Researching Weekend

Monday, February 24, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Good news! My western novella, ELUSIVE PRAYERS, has been accepted by Amber Quill Press. This is a tie-in novella to my previous WIDOW’S CHAMBER serial. It had been accepted by the WC publisher, who went out of business on release day. I’ve rewritten it substantially in the interim, and it will now come out in late July. Re-working it, I liked the characters, situation, and depth of research, so I’m excited.

I have four releases coming out between the end of March and the end of July. So I’m pretty excited. It means I’ll be gearing up for some serious PR soon — watch out! 😉

Busy weekend. Friday was frustrating, but I got through it. Saturday, I worked on the novel I’m going to write in tandem with a friend who’s also working on a novel. We’re brainstorming and exchanging chapters, which is fun. I’ve read her outline and the first three chapters; she’s now got my initial fragment, my character notes, and the ideas for some major turning point scenes that I have to flesh out into my Writer’s Rough. In two weeks, I’m going to give her the first chapter. That’s longer than I usually take to write a chapter (I usually have to cough up one or nearly one a day), but this is a different kind of book and is not on a contract schedule.

I also wound up my course work for the Environmental Law and Policy Class. Got 100% on my final quiz, and 100% on my research exercise. I love, love, loved this class, and definitely want to get more involved in this type of work. It also made me understand some of the policies in place at the National Marine Life Center more completely.

I did some reading over the weekend. My next two books for review arrived, and I’m excited to dig into them. I started a couple of novels from the library, was frustrated with them, returned them. I read one novel I really enjoyed, THE TWISTED THREAD, by Charlotte Bacon. I wanted to shoot her an email to let her know how much I enjoyed it, but couldn’t find contact information online, and realized how spoiled we’ve all become at being able to locate anyone we want instantly! Good for her for not playing the always-available game!

Did a lot of research for the Sparkle & Tarnish series on Victorian dining. Since food plays a big part in the books, I want to make sure I get it right. I found THE SECRET GARDEN COOKBOOK filled with lovely historical tidbits, and I’m reading FANNIE’S LAST SUPPER, about a chef researching and recreating a meal from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 cookbook.

The current Garrett POV chapter I’m working on in TRUE HOME is set in Boston in 1886, so I’ve also been doing extensive research on geography, et al, of the time in order to properly write the chapter. Now, I have to cross-check some information, because I’d like to use some food info that is in books about Boston at the time, only I want to use them in NY chapters, but have to find out if similar places were in existence in NY at the time.

I see a trip to the Massachusetts Historical Society in the not-so-distant future for a day’s research.

Saturday night, I stayed up way too late watching NOW YOU SEE ME. The movie got lukewarm reviews, so I wasn’t expecting much, and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it a lot. I figured out the big twist, but then, that’s what I do. I understand structure, and that choice made the most sense within the structure and the clues dropped in. I watched it again on Sunday, to pick up some details I’d missed.

Sunday, I researched, wrote, and scheduled articles for the wine blog all the way into mid-March. Took a break for more research, and then spent the afternoon at the Osterville Library, at a talk by author Paul Kemprecos, who writes a detective series set in this area, and also wrote several books with Clive Cussler. A colleague from the Writers Center was there, and they had a nice spread of wine, cheese, etc. It was a fun, lively afternoon.

Watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics — pretty, but I didn’t have the context for much of the symbolism. Although I appreciated the tribute to writers, the performance didn’t make much sense, and where were the women writers?

This will be a very stressful week for me, not to mention that I have to finish the revisions of the play.

Got an intriguing job offer that I need to investigate more closely. I think it would be fascinating, if we can work out the time/money part of it.

The expected overnight storm missed us, and now they’ve downgraded Wednesday’s storm from a foot of snow to only four inches. Phew!

Back to the page.

Devon

Tues. Aug. 7, 2012: Conference Day 1

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

It’s only Tuesday? So much has gone on, I feel like I’m living a week in every day.

The Conference is great. I got some work done yesterday morning before I left, work with students, etc. My first conference session was with C.E. Lawrence, for mystery/thriller. Great, great session. Plus, we both love Edinburgh, we both have theatre backgrounds, we both have long histories in New York. The class gave me a series of “aha” moments that will help me in my work. Today, I’m going to read the opening of the aviation piece, to see if what bugs me about it is what the others pick up on.

Met up with friends and had lunch at the cabana by the pool. The back of my chair got hit with a golf ball, so I stomped over to the links, waving it, demanding to know who nearly clocked me. No one would take responsibility, so I said, “Fine, you’re not getting it back.” I stuck it in my bag, brought it home, washed it, and the cats are playing with it.

Afternoon session was with Peter Drummey, of the MA Historical Society (I always get his title wrong, I keep calling him “director”, but I think it’s something else), on historical research. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I can get a Boston Public Library card, even though I live on the Cape. As a “citizen of Massachusetts” (that makes me feel so Revolutionary), I can access libraries and collections all over the state. I’m beside myself with excitement. Now, if I could send these selves to some of the collections simultaneously, imagine how much I could get done. Great session, and gives me so many ideas for my research for the aviation, whaling, astronomy, and mill girls projects.

Had to shoot out of that session like a bat out of hell, because it ran over, and we had to be at a reading in Sandwich at 3. We were only a few minutes late — Randall Peffer was reading from his new Civil War novel, SEAHAWK BURNING at Titcomb’s Books. Since one of my friends/students is studying with him, and I know him from both his work and writers’ center events, off we went. It was great fun, and we wound up sitting around chatting for a full hour past the time of the actual event.

I sent my friends off to the Beehive for dinner, while I raced back home. I had to grovel to the cats (who were mad at me for being gone all day), get some work done, and marinate the chicken for Wednesday’s dinner party.

Back to the conference center, for a talk by Joe Finder. He was engaging and hilarious — he really knows how to uplift his audience. I’m familiar with his name, but hadn’t yet read any of his work. I bought VANISHED. He signed it, and I had nothing of value to say at the signing table, so I simply said, “thank you.”

Met Gina Barreca on my way out, and didn’t realize until later that she wrote THEY USED TO CALL ME SNOW WHITE . . .BUT I DRIFTED, which is one of the books that got me through the 90s, along with KISS MY TIARA by Susan Jane Gilman, and were very important when I wrote my show WOMEN WITH AN EDGE. Which makes laughing and talking with her even more special.

Home, worked on the synopsis for HEART SNATCHER, could not get online to my students. Prepared my bag for today, and fell into bed.

Got up around 5:30. Tweaked the piece I’m going to read in the mystery class — moved around some description, cut some qualifiers, made a couple of things more specific. Hate reading work this raw, but if I’m going to find the right direction and learn the expectations in this genre, I need to take what I have and learn how to make it better. If I’m not willing to be bad, I can’t learn to be good.

I have to say, I love just being a student for this, and running around laughing, talking, and listening as much as possible. No pressure, just learning.

I have two cakes to bake before I leave, and I want to see if I can get into the forum to spend time with students. I better get moving!

Devon