Wed. Aug. 9, 2017: Building & Happiness

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy day yesterday. Early morning errands and bill paying, including a major grocery shop. I love grocery shopping. I love looking at what’s fresh and in season, and, because I cook, I can make up recipes as I shop.

Built two websites yesterday, one for the Coventina Circle series and one for the Nautical Namaste series. They’re not live yet; I want to get most of the material on the site before I send it live.

At first, it looked like the host wouldn’t let me build any more without yet another fee, but then I figured out how to do it. As usual, customer disservice was useless.

I’m happy with the look of both sites, although I need to wrangle the graphics on the Nautical Namaste site a bit more.

Finished the last piece of backmatter for the PLAYING THE ANGLES manuscript. One more major proofread, and off it goes. I need to get it out the door before Mercury goes retrograde! I have to change a few links, since I directed readers to the web PAGE for the Coventina Circle series on the Devon Ellington site, whereas now they will go to the web SITE dedicated to the series. And I’ve got some fun stuff going on the site, too!

I had a lovely wine/cheese/gab session with someone yesterday afternoon. Good catch-up. And, for dinner, baked chicken with Thai sweet chili, basil, and garlic, along with mashed potatoes and spinach. Yummy! And I baked chocolate chip cookies, because I wanted to.

It was nice to spend a few hours relaxed and happy after the unrelenting stress of the past few months.

Today, it’s getting the manuscript out the door, uploading more material to the Coventina Circle website, getting in cat food, and probably buying a new phone.

I’ve been having trouble with this phone for months now. It’s constantly telling me I’m “running out of internal storage”. I’ve taken out almost all the apps; I have about 11 emails in my inbox. And it keeps “running out of storage”. That’s because the manufacturer, BLU, is trying to force me to buy a more expensive phone. I may well do that, but it won’t be from this company. It stopped letting me take photos months ago, claiming there wasn’t any room; and the camera isn’t anywhere near as good as it was on the other phone. The other phone wasn’t very good, either (Alcatel), and I won’t buy another of those. BLU was useful in the transition from T-Mobile to AT&T. T-Mobile was a crap carrier; AT&T serves my needs much better. But this particular phone causes me grief on a daily basis. I need a smart phone for email and to do internet research. I never TALK on the phone — my hyperaccusis makes it painful. I don’t do business by phone. But I need something reliable for email and social media, and so I can look things up when I write. So I’m off to hunt down a new, affordable

And it all needs to happen before Mercury turns retrograde, or I’m really screwed.

I’m still not back into a good writing rhythm, but I hope to get that handled later today.

“Labor Intensive”, SAVASANA AT SEA, and SPIRIT REPOSITORY are the priorities here.

Onward.

Research and Reading

Thursday, January 21, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

A blizzard during a full moon Mercury retrograde. What could go wrong? Yes, that was sarcasm.

Meeting all morning yesterday. Lots of information, good group of people, which is always helpful. My computer at work still isn’t working properly (the guy was out again — it worked for fifteen minutes after he left, and then — same old). Worked on some programming stuff, caught up on email, had to work the desk in the afternoon.

I have most of the research books I need to start the play set in 17th century Italy — I will dive into them and start note taking this weekend. I also plan to finish reading my friend’s manuscript and type up the notes. Plus, of course, finish the radio play, and keep working on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, to meet my self-imposed deadline.

I’m gathering research for another project, set in the Berkshires. Actually, I might be able to use the research for more than one project, which is always good. I’ve got some submissions to prepare over the weekend — I might even get one or two of them out before the weekend, if everything works. With Mercury retrograde, I doubt it, but fingers crossed.

I also need to work on a potential submission for an art exhibit. I have to think about it. I’m not sure I can get my hands on what I want and need for the visual element, but I’m going to try. Again, it’s a stretch, and my piece might not be accepted — but I need to stretch. I’ve been avoiding it, on the one hand, since I heard about it last week; on the other, it’s been percolating. So we’ll see.

I’m working my way through the contest entries. The first batch of ebooks is coming in now, to supplement the print. I’m nearly through the stack of print mysteries, and then I will turn my attention to novella, then to fantasy, then to ebooks, and by then, the second deadline will have passed, and the final batch should be in. There aren’t a lot of “maybes” this year so far — they are either fully in the “yes” pile that will need to be winnowed down or the “no” pile, because the craft and storytelling just isn’t there. Previous years have had more that were right on the cusp — some problems, but, depending on the entire batch of submissions, a stronger possibility to move into the “yes” pile. This year’s strong entries are STRONG, and those winnowed out will be so by a point or two on the scale. Truly enjoyable reading. Several new-to-me authors that I plan to keep reading.

Once I’ve read everything, each entry gets a second look. Then the weighing and comparison starts. I want to make sure each entry gets full attention and a fair deal.

Washington DC and New York are hunkering down for a blizzard. Local weather people are just dithering, which is highly annoying. I’d like to at least have an idea of range of possibility. “I dunno” two days before the storm is NOT acceptable.

Today will be a long day — big upgrade to the system used for books. I’m sure it will take most of the morning to get everything back online.

I’m almost looking forward to the possibility of being snowed in. Not the shoveling part, but the can’t-go-anywhere-so-stay-home-read-and-write part.

Have a great day!

Devon

Published in: on January 21, 2016 at 10:39 am  Comments Off on Research and Reading  
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Thurs. Jan. 7, 2016: Fighting Fatigue

Thursday, January 7, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

This is going to be a tough Mercury Retrograde. I am going to do my best to try and keep my mouth shut and my head down. My computer at work is fried — it’s been limping along for awhile, but it is done. No one is really understanding what anyone else is saying (I include myself in both the speaking and the hearing ends of that equation). I’d like to just stay in bed until the 25th, but the bed would probably break.

So I’m trying to tread as carefully as possible, and take a breath whenever something hits me the wrong way — which it’s doing about once every five minutes.

Three weeks of this is going to be exhausting.

It was tough to get anything done at work, because I had to keep moving computers. I got a few things done, but not everything I wanted. I got some writing done in the morning, but not as much as I wanted. Yes, there’s a pattern. I have an article to write this week, and the thought of it is just overwhelming, but I better get over it and down to it.

We had our holiday party at work last night. My Secret Santa was both generous and thoughtful. I am grateful.

The very last of the holiday decorations needs to be put away. I have some proposals to prepare, but I’m hesitant to send them out during the retrograde.

I was supposed to do something interesting in New Bedford this weekend, but I don’t think it’s going to work out. I don’t want to drive that far on a “maybe”. I think I’d be better off doing things at home, trying to get some rest (I’m mentally and physically exhausted), and get some writing done. There are deadlines coming up, and I want to make sure I’m not scrambling at the last minute.

I kind of feel like a dog chasing its tail right now, but sometimes, it happens.

Hope your year is starting off more smoothly!

Devon

Published in: on January 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 7, 2016: Fighting Fatigue  
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Wed. Jan. 6, 2016: Starting Out the New Year Right!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Because, really, what better what to start off the New Year than with a Mercury Retrograde? Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

The holidays were good. Busy, busy, but good. I’m exhausted. I feel like I need about a month to sleep and do nothing.

That’s not an option, of course.

Ran around a bit when work closed at noon on New Year’s Eve. But, once settled at home, it was all good. Saw in the New Year with a good meal and prosecco. Up early on the Day for the Fire & Ice ritual, eggs benedict, more prosecco, and some good writing on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Made the dips for the party.

Worked on Saturday, ran some errands, got in the liquor for the party, made more food. Also, rearranging the house. It looked really pretty. I’m going to sort and purge as I bring stuff back, so that the year doesn’t clutter again.

The party was Sunday afternoon. The right mix of people showed up. It was fun, and I’m glad that I did the party again — although it was a “Nine Ladies Dancing Party” instead of a “Twelfth Night” party. After two years of being snowed out, it was nice to have it again.

When people left, did a pile of dishes, put away as much as possible from the party. Collapsed into bed early. Woke up at 4 AM on Monday, and started taking down the holiday decorations. Twelve hours later, most of it was done. Not all, but most. There are still a few dribs and drabs to finish. But most of it is put away safely in the Christmas closet. I have to do the laundry and put away the fabric, and do a few more little things.

It snowed on Monday night into Tuesday. Not much, just enough to be pretty and slippery. I went over to a friend’s on Tuesday morning — a group of us gathered to help with a contest where the ball was dropped, and get it back on track. Although the people were great and I got a lot done, it reminded me why I am no longer a part of that group.

Knitting was fun last night. Turns out one of the women in the group lived near us in Westchester, and her mother-in-law is best friends with the mother of an actor I worked with both on and off-Broadway. Small world!

365 Women is pleased with “Confidence Confidant” and would like me to do another play this year. I sent them a pitch, so we’ll see. I have two unique women about whom I’d really like to write, so we’ll see what we come up with.

I also have to get back on track with BALTHAZAAR, CHOLERIC, TIE-CUTTER, and finish the short radio play.

The Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site will have more going on this year. Instead of just sharing lists, there will also be posts on getting and staying organized, and on motivation. So I hope you visit the site a few times a month, or set it so you get notifications when new posts come up.

I’m already starting to plan the garden for the coming spring. I am determined not to suffer from blossom rot again with my tomatoes!

This year, I’m trying to figure out how different parts of my creativity feed each other, and encourage that integration.

Hope you’re setting yourself up for a wonderful new year!

Devon

Published in: on January 6, 2016 at 11:00 am  Comments (2)  
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Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.

Thursday, October 08, 2015
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I am looking forward to Mercury going direct tomorrow!

So, the library is an official Come Write In! Center for Nano, which I think will be great fun. We will have drop-in writing hours on Tuesdays from 11-1 and Thursdays from 2-4 for the month. There are other Cape Cod Write-ins and events throughout the month – if you’ve signed up for Nano, go to the Cape Cod Region Forum, and you’ll find the information.

Also, I’m going to revive my “30 Tips for 30 Days” for Nano, and schedule one writing tip per day for the duration. It will be set apart from the daily blog post and clearly marked as a 30 Tips for 30 Days post. Basically, they’re cheerleading posts to help you get through the month.

I won’t be “doing” Nano per say, as in starting a new book on November 1 and writing it through November 30, because of my current deadlines and where I am with current projects. I don’t want to lose the current momentum on any of them.

However, I will be likely “writing along with” Nano, on my projects in process, to ride the enormous current of creative energy that Nano generates.

I’m not mentoring individuals this year, either – the 30 Tips posts will be used for that, but too often, the Mentees flake, and I don’t have time to waste on people who can’t commit to writing for one whole month every day. Harsh, blunt, true. My own work must come first.

Yesterday was a good, busy day. I was pretty tired when I came home. Watched KILL THE MESSENGER, which is a good film, although I would have restructured the opening a bit. Also started watching the first season of SCORPION, which I liked better than I expected.

Woke up extra early this morning, got in some decent writing on the contemporary piece. Yesterday and today I’ve been working on a couple of comic scenes that revolve around Hollywood pitch meetings, so revisiting those experiences and dramatizing them has been fun.

I have some proposal packages to work on this weekend, a house inspection to prepare for on Tuesday, and, of course, going through my uncle’s photos and documents.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on October 8, 2015 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.  
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Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles

Friday, October 10, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold

Yesterday was busy. Got in early, processed all the check-ins that couldn’t be handled the previous day due to the computer being down; got the holds and other books processed; hand-entered the manual checkouts into the system. Thank goodness we had volunteers at the desk to handle the patrons coming in and out that day needing check-ins and check-outs, so that I could catch up on the previous afternoon’s system work.

It all got done, and that’s what counts.

Home, tired. Dinner, some reading, worked on a student manuscript.

Watched STILL LIFE, the film version of Louise Penny’s book. Nathaniel Parker played Gamache; Kate Hewlett (whose work I really enjoy) was Clara. One of the biggest delights was Anthony Lemke as Jean-Guy. I knew his work from LOST GIRL – he was terrific in this. I like the character of Jean-Guy in the books, but this was definitely a case of the actor raising it to an even better, deeper level. I hope they film more of the books in the series. I can’t wait to see what he does with Jean-Guy’s journey. I was disappointed that they pushed the character of Myrna aside, and they didn’t start the development of the wonderful relationship between Jean-Guy and Ruth. To me, the odd affection between those two is one of the best cornerstones in the series, and I hope it develops in future films.

Bad dreams last night. Truly disturbing, and when I woke from them, I remembered that they’ve been progressive. I have to stop them before they progress any farther, or I will be in trouble, so that’s on my agenda for tonight.

I have two books and a novella screaming for writing time. I managed to untangle a problem in INITIATE that prevented me from moving forward in the fight sequence. Something that happens post-sequence needs to be set up properly here, and because I’d tried to force one of the characters in a wrong direction, it wasn’t working. But we’re back on track, so that sequence should start flowing. I have to do the opening of RED WIDOW (the novella), because the characters are getting very impatient, and BALTHAZAAR is starting to percolate properly again.

I was going to submit a couple of pieces, and then realized it’s Mercury Retrograde, so there’s no damned point. I will prep them, and then send them when everything goes direct.

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I can write all day on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Wednesday, we have a staff day out in P-town, so, after tomorrow, I won’t be back on line until Thursday, which is great. I LOVE being offline at least half the week. The improvement to my work is tremendous.

I also have to do some yard work any time it’s not raining. Time to put the garden to bed for the winter.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 10, 2014 at 8:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles  
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Thurs. Feb. 6, 2014: And Mercury Retrograde Hits!

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing

Yup. it’s snowing again. Getting a little tired of it, and I LIKE winter.

Got some decent work done yesterday, in the morning. Made some notes on a couple of projects, played with ways to punch up the play.

Of course, shoveled.

Lost the second half of my workday at the doctor’s office. I took my mom in for her check-up. We’d confirmed the appointment in the morning, but we get there, and she’s not on the schedule. They said they’d “fit her in” around 3-ish, two hours after her appointment, then didn’t tell the doctor, and it was nearly 4 by the time she was in and out for a FIVE MINUTE APPOINTMENT. Three other people showed up during that time who weren’t on the schedule, either. Instead of trying to solve problems caused by THEIR screw-ups, they don’t give a shit. Unacceptable. It’s not like we could go home and come back in the bad weather, either. So we had to sit and wait while they carried on personal conversations that are inappropriate to have in patients’ hearing instead of working.

Before anyone goes on about “a mile in their shoes” — I’ve worked as a receptionist for a BUSY doctor’s office. I know all about the challenges of dealing with patients who think every hangnail is a major emergency, how one often has to juggle appointments, how one has to monitor doctors’ time to keep them on schedule with patients and with the other work they have to do — reviewing charts, doing notes, making calls, writing prescriptions, etc. I’ve done it. It’s not difficult work (although sometimes exasperating), and it requires a level of attention to detail that this staff lacks.

In the four years we’ve lived here, not ONCE has an appointment run on time — even in an empty office without emergencies calling staff away. Three hours’ wait time is the norm. This is not acceptable. Just because a patient is elderly doesn’t mean you can let them sit there for hours. And when YOU make a mistake — FIX it. Don’t just shrug and ignore it. Mistakes happen. Own it and make it right.

When my mother complained to the doctor, the doctor said if she’d known my mom was sitting out there, she would have taken her earlier. Don’t play “good cop, bad cop” either, missy. Yes, the staff should have let her know there was a screw up and had a solution to fix it that INCLUDED the doctor. But the doctor walked past at least a half a dozen times during those hours. You don’t recognize a patient unless that person is inside the examining room? You expect me to believe that? You, who have a MEDICAL degree?

My mom feels comfortable with the doctor herself and doesn’t want to start over with someone else, or I would have ditched this place a long time ago. But she’s left to sit around for hours at every appointment, and I lose a half day of work every time I have to take her to an appointment. I read TWO BOOKS while we were waiting — a book of essays and a book of poetry. If the books that arrived for review had arrived BEFORE we left, I could have knocked out one of those and been paid for my time.

I’m going to start invoicing them for wasted time. Maybe then they will start to pay attention.

But my mom negotiated not having to go back until next January, and she’s happy about that! She still has to go for regular blood work at the facility in Mashpee, but they whisk her in and out in about ten minutes and have the results back within three days.

Frustrating.

Came back and tried to pick up some threads of the day, which was difficult. However, while I was in the office (fuming and advocating), a scene for a piece came to me, along with the setting. When I came home, I sketched out the basic configuration of the main location and made some notes. Later, I wrote about 1700 words of the opening.

I have a couple of articles to work on, have to get back to the play, work with students, get some pages done on a handful of projects, and buckle down for Mercury Retrograde. Not looking forward to this one — the anxiety dreams have already started.

The day’s barely begun and I’m exhausted.

Devon

Published in: on February 6, 2014 at 8:48 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I knew it was too good to be true. I kept my head down for the first few days of the Mercury Retrograde and hoped for the best, and got whammed this morning when Comcast screwed me. I am so sick of them having a stranglehold on the Cape and being my ONLY choice. Where are the anti-trust laws when you need them?

Yesterday I worked at getting the screenplay on track, and I think I’m getting there, at least for this draft. Then I worked on the palate-cleanser, which is just taking off.

Sent out a few pitches, and got immediately hired on a new, potentially long-term, fun gig. My first assignment is on its way, so we’ll see how that works out.

Got in many of the plants from the deck. Working at putting everything to bed. There’s a LOT of work still to do in the yard, but I’m doing a little bit every day, and, eventually, I will get there.

Most of the afternoon was spent getting ready for the CCWC Annual Meeting (in costume). Not having to set up the ball all day and then having only 40 minutes to get ready made a big difference. I got an hour just to do the make-up, and it was much better. Getting into the corset was, of course, an adventure in itself. Next corset will be front-lace.

Since it was raining, I had to put a cloak over the costume, and maneuver the cloak and the tail. Quite the adventure.

Dinner was fun, the annual meeting part of it was quick and fun, and it was great to see familiar faces and meet some new ones.

Home at a reasonable hour, stripped out of the costume pieces back into sweats, to bed early (after taking nearly as long to scrub the make-up off as it took to put it on).

Worked with students, shot an email to an editing client asking for the new ETA on the project that was supposed to arrive on Monday. Have two articles to write in the next few days, an article to wrap (got two new sources yesterday), and an essay to get started on.

Deep breath, pull it together, move forward.

I need a nap, and it’s barely 9 AM.

Devon

Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 8:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast  
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Monday, Oct. 21, 2013: Writing, Editing, Eager for the Week

Monday, October 21, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yes, Mercury goes retrograde today, until the 10th of November. However, since it never felt that Mercury went direct for me last time, other than a temporary ease of psychological pressure, I’m going to use this retrograde to untangle what’s still tangled, instead of cowering in a corner.

I will also try to remember to be quiet and not just be reactive.

Weekend was good. I booked three editing jobs for the week that really excite me, have a Writer’s Center Annual Meeting (in costume), and my own work. Plus, of course, hustling work for the coming weeks and months.

The screenplay is 2/3 done. Love my central characters, but am worried it’s neither fish nor fowl. There’s not enough sense of urgency in the piece; I have to ratchet up the tension. I know it’s going to run long and need cuts, especially with the elements I’ve had to go back and plant so there’s a more dramatic payoff, but it’s still not where it needs to be. Which is fine, it’s a first draft, but it’s frustrating to know there’s a problem and not feel I can fix it until I have a full draft.

Did some work on the novella, which I had hoped would be done by now, but oh, well. Will get back to that again, this week.

Did some yard work, but not enough. We have to bring in the rest of the plants this week.

Went to a party on Saturday, at my friends’ place in Sandwich. That was fun. It was nice to get out of the house and have conversations with real people, rather than fictional characters in my head.

Off to work, and I’m looking forward to it!

Devon

Published in: on October 21, 2013 at 6:43 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. July 12, 2013: Today’s Another Day

Thursday, July 11, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Humid and cloudy

Last day to sign up for the “Start Your Revision Engines” workshop, which begins tomorrow. Registration closes at 5 PM EST today, which means the combo discount offer for both the revision workshop and the “Develop Your Idea” workshop, running next week, also expires today. Info here.

While you’re clicking around, visit my article on “Character Balance” here, over on the Writers Vineyard in my Annabel Aidan persona. Something I’m struggling with in the current revision.

Yesterday just sucked six ways from Sunday, and I’m over a lot of people and a lot of situations. I do not want to make decisions out of haste or anger during Mercury retrograde, but there are changes coming.

But today is a new day, and therefore, it will be better!

Finished my archaeology paper, turned it in, started this week’s coursework, wrote and polished a review, sent it to my editor, and he’s already sent out the material for the next assignment. Love that rhythm! Got some writing done, but not enough, worked with students, battled with the revision.

My rib is giving me a lot of trouble. But I have a lot to do today before I can rest.

Better get going.

Devon

Mon. March 11, 2013: New Moon Birthday!

Monday, March 11, 2013
New Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

I have now outlived my father. He never made it to the age I turn today.

Yup, it’s my birthday. I’m keeping it low-key and quiet — I need some rest. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still work to do — the next chapter on the new book, working with students, preparing for tomorrow night’s rehearsal. But I’m trying to keep it mellow and pleasant.

Weekend was busy. I’m reading the books for one of the contests I’m judging — wide range of topics and quality, which makes it interesting. I’m back in the groove on the new book, and pretty happy with it, and got an important research book for it that the Sandwich Library tracked down for me. I’ve been devouring that book, too, and already seeing where I need to make adjustments in past chapters.

I agreed to teach a two-part workshop the final two weeks of March on adapting a short story to the stage, and a short play into a short story. One can choose to take one or both sections, but there is an application process — no lurkers are allowed, and anyone who does not complete the daily assignment for ANY reason will be dropped without a refund. The application process closes on March 13 — this Wednesday — and the class runs from the 18-31 (with no class on either Palm Sunday or Easter), so get in your applications! Instructions for the application are here.

Don’t forget the Query Clinic on Sat. March 23, where you can bring in query letters for line-by-line critique and strengthening, and also learn how to make the process of writing future queries easier. Information here.

Yesterday’s rehearsal was good, although filled with Mercury Retrograde-type mishaps. I’m very happy with the cast, though. It may have been a rocky road to find them, but they are each and every one of them worth it!

I need to contact some more client prospects today, but I’m hoping for a light day online — and that some of these late checks that are supposedly “in the mail” — and have been for nearly a month now — actually show up. Wouldn’t that be a nice treat for my birthday?

Back to the page.

Devon

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus Adventure is now available. Excerpt and Buy Link here.

Fri. March 8, 2013: Life Lessons, Buy Links, Biblio ICU, Snow, & Migraines

Friday, March 8, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing — again

Yup, the snow is coming down quite heavily.

I’m in the third day of very severe neck pain and migraine. Nothing is helping — not heating pads, not ice, not pain killers, not valerian, not Tiger’s Balm. Nothing.

I’ve got an interview up on Vikki Thompson’s blog to celebrate OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, talk about process, and the state of publishing. I make some general comments about how the bulk of promotion is on the author now in the business– which it is — and that writers deserve to be paid for our work — which we do. Hopefully, my publisher won’t feel like it’s a slap at them, because it isn’t — it’s a comment on the current state of the business. These are issues that are discussed frequently, there are a lot of “how the business is changing” and what all types of publishers are trying to do to both survive and thrive. Publishers make an investment in writers; writers have to deliver. And, there’s a constant stream of writers who have struggled to get into print in the first place, and they keep accepting less and less to do more and more. This is across the board; it’s part of the way the business is transitioning. I worked for a NY publisher for several years — I know it from the other side of the desk, too. The staff is overworked and underpaid. Far too many writers don’t step up and meet deadlines and other commitments. Publishers need to make a profit to survive. But it IS Mercury retrograde, and this is a bad one, communications are a mess, so it is possible that my comments will be misconstrued and taken as personal instead of general. This is probably one of the worst times to have to be out and about and chatty, because there’s so much room for misunderstanding, both in the speaking and in the reception.

Note to self — in the future, make sure releases are scheduled well away from Mercury Retrogrades!

Everything’s been sorted, and the buy link for the book is here.

I hope you buy it. I hope you love it.

On the upside, in spite of both the Mercury Retrograde and Saturn Retrograde, all of that is making me re-assess what I really want from my writing career. This is my career, my business, not my hobby. I tend to jump in with both feet when something sounds good and interesting, roll up my sleeves and do my best to make a a go at it. I’m good about avoiding content mills and bidding sites, but what do I really want from my career in fiction? I’ve been blessed with good editors on the last few books, and made concessions to fit into business models as best I can, because that’s the gig. But what do I really WANT?

I want to continue to earn a living doing what I love, and to grow in that living, both creatively and financially. I need to pay my bills, and have skills that deserve a living wage. “Exposure” doesn’t cut it — I’m not a flasher, I don’t need exposure, and when the utility companies accept exposure in lieu of the monthly payment, then I can do the same thing. I don’t want fame, although I’d like to be respected as someone who does good work. I want someone to know that when they pick up one of my books, they’ll get a good read, and that my books are worth their time and money. When someone hires me to write a speech or an article or something else, they get high quality work.

I’m not perfect; I make mistakes. I want to do learn from those mistakes and do better next time.

I want each book to be better than the previous one, and I want to keep stretching creatively, not doing the same thing over and over.

But there are still aspects about which I’m unclear, and until I figure those out, I’m not going to be able to craft the career I want. Right now, I’m a hamster on a wheel, just trying to survive, and I need more than that. There are things I’m doing that aren’t serving me well, and I need to drop back, reassess everything and make some solid decisions, instead of just trying to “keep up” with older decisions.

I actually love almost all aspects of my life (even the difficult stuff) — except for my bank account!

Saturn Retrograde, Mercury Retrograde, a birthday coming up — a chaotic, difficult and painful time. Hopefully, once I’m through it, I will be in a stronger place of knowing what I want and need and how to get it.

I went outside yesterday afternoon, to find a cardboard box dumped by UPS in front of the garage — not at the front door. A box of books, that had three inches of water INSIDE it. Now, I’ve been expecting this box. Someone has been at the house all the time for the past couple of days, the lights have been on — it’s obvious that people are home. Yet, the box was dumped — not at the front door, but in front of the garage. A cardboard box left outside in the rain with a piece of plastic UNDER it, open on top, allowing the water to pool in and around the box. A cardboard box filled with books.

We pay UPS extra so that they take extra care with the packages. And this is the “care” they show. I’ve joked about the times they don’t even stop, just slow down and toss the box out of the truck (which I’ve seen them do) — but this is unacceptable.

We unpacked the box, took photographs, wiped down each of the 35 individual books, got out the hair dryers and got to work. Several of the books are in really bad shape — some of the pages were practically dissolving. A couple of volumes had to be dried one page at a time. We set up Biblio ICU.

One of the hair dryers sparked, and the plug popped off. This also tripped the breaker for part of the kitchen, so I had to go downstairs and flip the switch. The fridge was on that breaker, so I’m glad I figured it out before it was too late (because the rest of the lights in the room stayed on).

The whole experience does make me want to take a bookbinding class, though.

I would just really like to stay in bed until Mercury goes direct, but that’s not an option. So, back on the horse, and let’s hope I can stay out of trouble!

Devon

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Wed. March 6, 2013: This Mercury Retrograde Sucks!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was just thing after thing after thing after thing with Mercury Retrograde, complicated by the Saturn Retrograde.

On the positive side, I worked with students and spent time putting together a portfolio for a big, important meeting set to happen this afternoon. I revised per editor suggestion and sent out an article as requested.

On the not-so-positive side, I’m trying to adjust the marketing for the delayed release. Some sites are cool with it; several, especially those that are high profile, book months in advance, and are adamant that the book be available when the appearance goes live, are not, and I will not get those slots back. Whether the chances of landing a spot in the future are ruined or not remain to be seen.

I’d managed to work rehearsals around a meeting scheduled for tonight, and, although I was working until the last minute to get there, I was really proud of myself for doing it. Only to find out that the meeting was actually two hours before — I’d written it down and memorized it wrong. That was entirely my screw-up, and inexcusable. I’m usually pretty good about stuff like that, and I messed up.

I sat down at the meeting site and emailed an apology to my colleagues. I don’t want them to feel that I don’t respect their time.

Then, I was halfway home before I realized I left something at the meeting site and had to turn around, go back, and fetch it. I was in tears all the way home, just overwhelmed and exhausted.

The coordinator was very understanding, and I appreciate it.

This morning, I hope to get some writing and meeting prep done. If I don’t screw up this afternoon’s meeting, it could open some terrific doors. But I’m discouraged, blue, overwhelmed, and don’t feel on my game at all. I will have to do an attitude readjustment before I leave.

I’ve checked the time and place at least a half a dozen times to make sure I am in the right place at the right time!

Devon

Published in: on March 6, 2013 at 7:37 am  Comments (2)  
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