Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Hop on over to the Midnight Enchantments series on A BIBLIO PARADISE so that you can celebrate Michelle Miles’s contribution to the ENTANGLED anthology.

Still sick. Resting as much as possible, letting it take its course, hoping at least I don’t lose my voice by the time I have to teach on Saturday. Everything is ready for the conference; I just have to load it into the car.

Working with my students, resting, trying to keep up, but not doing enough marketing. That will have to change next week.

Happy with the way the book’s going. I want to work on it all the time, which is where I should be at this point. I’m getting more and more convinced it’s a trilogy, not a single book. The threads that would have to be cut to make it one book include my readers’ favorite characters and subplots, so it makes more sense to figure out natural stopping points in the story that will allow each segment to stand on its own, while feeding into the larger arcs.

Furnace man fixed the furnace yesterday, and the owner came by with new CO detectors. So, all is good.

Today is supposed to be nasty, so I plan to take it as easy as possible, rest a lot, and get well.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1238
Total word count: 34,464

Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 7:44 am  Comments (6)  
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and warm

First of all, hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and celebrate the release of my friend Michelle Miles’s new book, ONE KNIGHT ONLY. Congrats, Michelle!

Tired, but it’s a good tired. Got some work done in the morning, Drove to Wareham. Didn’t find what I needed at Lowe’s, but at a combination of other stores, unexpectedly got almost all my fall/winter shopping done: three pairs of yoga pants (two eco-friendly and amazingly comfortable that can also double as “real people pants” to go out in with tunics or long sweaters), some sports bras, three shirts, a pair of subtle Glen-Plaid dress slacks, and a pair of shoes. The shoes are really for spring and summer — turquoise suede peep-toe skiimmers. I had my eye on them earlier this year, but didn’t want to spend the money. However, they were about 85% off — I got them for $6.29! So I’m a happy camper.

And, of course, stopped at the Lindt outlet to stock up on chocolate, what with a new book to start on Saturday and all! 😉

Spent most of the afternoon organizing the storage room. We’re getting an anergy assessment on Monday, and I have to get at least the storage room organized (the basement is a lost cause). Unpacked more than a dozen boxes, rearranged things, did four loads of laundry as I discovered sheets, towels, blankets, linens. More work on that today.

And I finally have the creativity altar for the Year-Long the way I want it!

However, that meant that I was up until midnight catching up with student work. I collapsed into bed, exhausted, and dreamed about a mishmash of everyone’s stories being one big tale.

Onward.

Devon

Monday, June 6, 2011 — Release Day for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT

Monday, June 6, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and Cool

RELEASE DAY FOR ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT!

Yes, it’s finally here! My paranormal romantic suspense novel ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, launching the Annabel Aidan pseudonym releases digitally from Champagne Books today. I’m very excited about it, and I’m delighted that my good friend Michelle Miles also hosts me for the release over on her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell, where I talk about Challenging Yourself as a Writer and the way this particular book evolved.

About the book:
Witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide and combine as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States — or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP?

Witch and theatre professional Morag D’Anneville is annoyed when she’s assigned to dress the conservative Vice President as he makes a surprise appearance in his favorite Broadway show. Even more irritating, she has to teach Agent Simon Keane, part of the security detail, the backstage ropes in preparation. A strong attraction flares between them which they both recognize is doomed, and Simon must also fight his superior’s prejudice that Morag’s beliefs make her a threat to the Vice President. When Morag is attacked, Simon’s loyalties are torn between protecting the man he’s sworn to protect, and protecting the woman he loves.

About Annabel:
Annabel Aidan  writes romantic suspense with a hint of magic. She 
publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and nonfiction. She 
spent over twenty years working behind the scenes on Broadway, in film and 
television, mostly working wardrobe. Her plays are produced in New York, 
London, Edinburgh, and Australia. If you run towards her undoing buttons, 
she will tear off your clothes and flip you into something else — and then 
read your tarot cards. Visit Annabel here.

Direct buy link here.

Enjoy!

Devon
AKA Annabel

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I light this candle every morning when I start my first writing session of the day. I love it — I find it very soothing. It was originally a pyramid shape. I don’t remember where I got it, but I hope to find a similar one soon, because I like using this type as my writing candle. I found it in a “Misc.” box as I cleaned out storage.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Dark of the Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It’s September, and A Biblio Paradise is gearing up again, for Tuesday posts featuring books, authors, and other writing stuff. Our first post of the new season is an interview with Michelle Miles, whose book SEX. LUST & MARTINIS recently released. Hop on over here to check it out, and leave a comment, so we’ll know you were there!

So, I was thinking yesterday — hey, you, over there. Stop laughing! Anyway, I was thinking, after yesterday’s post, why SHOULDN’T the Hundred Dollar Bill Fairy come visit and leave hundred dollar bills under my pillow?

I just have to figure out an offering! 😉

I’m waiting for the workmen to come back today, making my life hell. I just don’t get why they have to use MY fire escape when they’re working on the other side of the building with fire escapes more convenient to their “work”. Oh, yeah, because they were instructed to make things as miserable as possible for the tenants that the landlord wants to drive out.

Triumphed over the Scary Monster Closet yesterday. It wasn’t as scary as I feared, but it could have been better. But it was scrubbed, purged, organized and packed. At this point, all the closets in the apartment are ready to load. I don’t yet have a place in which to UNLOAD them, but at least I’m getting the energy moving in the right direction.

Hey, any time the Hundred Dollar Bill Fairy wants to send a few my way . . .

Worked on the lectures. I’m doing some restructuring on them, so that will take awhile. I hope you’ll join me. We’re deconstructing my favorite fantasy romance novel from September 13-19 and a steampunk film from September 20-27. You can sign up by clicking on the name of each type of deconstruction. It should be a lot of fun and very useful for both readers and writers.

Took Elsa to the park yesterday. I wanted her to get more sun, so I took her to the baseball diamond, but she felt too exposed. She always eats better when she gets back, though, and she’s eating so little at this point, that any improvement is worth it.

I have a business appointment this morning, and then I’m going to take a carload of stuff to storage and do an inventory of what’s there. I’ll do some more work on the lectures and the scripts this afternoon, and also try to go back to pulling material off the PC floppies and getting them onto flashdrives. I want to dump all the PC behemoth equipment before I leave. I also want to excavate my desk again — my paper reproduces as I sleep, and it needs to refrain from doing so for the next few months. I’ve set up files and envelopes for the important transition stuff that has to be carted back and forth, and I’m packed for the Philly gig this coming weekend. Bills are all written, and marked to be mailed on the appropriate days.

Optimum doesn’t cover the area in which I plan to relocate, which is awful, since now I’ve finally found a decent company. My choices are Comcast (who suck), RCN (who suck even worse) and Time Warner (no idea if they’re any good). There’s also FIOS, but, uh, no, not an option for me. The only thing I want to keep with Verizon is my cell phone.

Well, I don’t need to make that decision quite yet.

I had a decent, but not brilliant first writing session this morning. At least every word I manage to get down is one more than I had before. I may have slowed down, but any steady routine during the chaos is helpful. And little bits add up to big bits. I’m not on a deadline for this – although I am for SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which I hope to get back to in a few days.

Onward.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove Novel (first draft, handwritten): 43,000 words out of est. 100,000 (43%)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and COLD

Yesterday was a conflicted day, as far as work went. I’m on deadline for a couple of projects; at the same time, both REDEMPTION KILL and ANGEL HUNT are on a roll that I don’t want to stop.

I fought and fought and fought to keep away from ANGEL HUNT yesterday, trying to get to work on the other projects and then get back to ANGEL HUNT. I lost.

As I’m working on these last few chapters in the draft — I think I have three more to write, including the climactic sequence and the aftermath — I realize how much I’m going to have to cut. With three more chapters to go, I’m over 113K, which is unacceptable. I don’t have the clout to dump a manuscript of that size onto an editor’s or agent’s desk. The book also can’t be split into two books – it’s a single story. I already cut out an entire subplot and two whole sets of characters.

I broke one of my own rules and went back to re-read the early chapters. And I cut A LOT. There are scenes that work rhythmically unto themselves, or within the context of the chapter, but where I can cut out beats — or sometimes entire pages — without hurting the overall piece. In fact, it makes the book stronger and tighter, and keeps more of the focus on Lianna and Zeke. I’ve introduced Zeke earlier — in the first chapter, which is vitally important for the overall story, and his presence is felt in the first few pages, although about 2/3 of the initial scene between Lianna and Lucius DeWitt has been cut and tightened. There’s room for their verbal volleyball elsewhere, and just hinting at it here does the trick. Lachlan’s entrance remains where it is, although I’ve tightened a lot of the exposition. Gaston, who is a major figure in the bulk of the book is now mentioned early on, but doesn’t actually appear until much later because that serves the story best. HIs physical presence is a necessary catalyst, and to bring him in earlier would destroy the build of the piece, even though it’s an often-used convention to place all players on stage in the first few chapters. I’m careful not to make him a deus ex machina — in fact, I’m worried that such a character will show up in the climactic sequence and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen. But I can cut a lot of the debate and wheel-spinning out, so that’s what I’m doing. At this point, all the subplots feed and strengthen the main plot, but I have to streamline and trim so every word, phrase, and beat drives the piece forward. Lianna may stop to take a breath here and there, but there’s no room for a vacation! 😉

I also did some work on the short story, and on the deadlined assignments. I’ll get the one due today out the door by the end of the business day — barely. And I’ve set specific daily goals for the essay for each day, so I’m not leaving it until the last minute — I need to turn in something polished by Monday, and since the details weren’t settled until yesterday . . .and my focus is completely elsewhere . . .you get the idea.

Layer on the fact that I’m writing about the Olympics over the next two weeks, and, well, it’ll be busy.

I had a wonderful first writing session this morning on REDEMPTION KILL. Eddie’s not getting everything his way, and he’s just about reached the limit of his flexibility. So now he’s being pushed further. He’s used to facing down physical dangers, but now, emotions he thought he’d controlled for years are returning to haunt –and taunt — him. In other words, right now, I have the upper hand with Eddie instead of the situation in the past week where he had the upper hand with me.

Yes, when I’m writing them, the characters are as real as anyone who walks through the door. I’m always surprised when I go to fix dinner and they’re not in the kitchen. 😉

I haven’t even packed yet, and I’m leaving around noon. I should have limited internet access over the weekend, although I may have to switch between MacGeorge and (oh, horrors) a PC.

Better get going — noon’s not too far away!

Have a great weekend, all, and I’ll catch up on the Prolific Blogger Award (From Kim Smith) and the Sunshine Award (from Michelle Miles) early next week. Thanks to both for the honors!

Devon

Published in: on February 12, 2010 at 9:09 am  Comments (7)  
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Christmas Eve
Sunny and cold

For the curious, yes, I can celebrate both the Solstice and Christmas if I want, and it doesn’t mean I’m being hypocritical to either. The former is my chosen path in my adult life. The latter is a nod towards happy family traditions and memories, since I am one of those freakish individuals who experienced a decent amount of happiness while growing up. And I will celebrate as many traditions as I wish! So there! 😉

There’s a giftie waiting for you under the virtual tree, but you’ll have to wait until the end of the post to retrieve it.

Wow! Natalie Bahm gave me a Kreativ Blogger Award. I am so honored! Thank you so much! Part of this honor is to thank her, and I do.

Part of this honor is to pay it forward to 7 other bloggers and to write post 7 things others might not know about me.

Okay, choosing only 7 is hard, I read more than that on any given day, but here’s an attempt:

Lori Widmer — Words on the Page — she’s an amazing writer and human being, a dear friend, and one of the most spiritually aware and emotionally grounded people I know. She gives back constantly.

Diane Parkin — another amazing writer and good friend. She gets more done in an hour than I can get done in a week.

Michelle MilesYe Olde Inkwell — terrific balance of blogging between writing and life.

Lara Stauffer Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom. A daily must-read from a good friend whose life is very different from my own!

Colin GalbraithFreedom From the Mundane — another good friend and fellow writer, whose blog is a daily must-read.

Brandy Book Mom — because she loves books and cats.

Margaret FinneganFinnegan Begin Again. I just found this blog the other day, and it is amazing.

Okay, now for 7 things:

1. I developed a deadly allergy to shrimp. I used to love shrimp and now I’m horribly, horribly allergic. As in vomiting-for-18-hours-straight-and-going-to-the-hospital allergic.

2. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals, and I trust them even less if the animals don’t like them back. In my experience, the animals are usually right! 😉

3. Three things on my Must-Learn Someday List are: Learning to play the piano; taking a pottery class; learning to paint.

4. Even though I spent over 20 years in theatre, the period where I wanted to be an actor was very short-lived. I don’t like that much attention focused on me. Although many actors look at playing characters as getting to be someone totally different, for me it was always about bringing forward different aspects of my personality, and I like to choose for whom I do that.

5. I loathe tabloids and gossip magazines. Having worked with lots of actors over the years and feeling protective of the ones I like and admire, I am enraged to see such lies printed — and 90% of what goes in those rag sheets are lies. They are lies that hurt people, and for the general public to think it’s “fun” to feed into those lies by purchasing the magazines, reading, and even believing the crap makes me sick. Not only that, they are poorly written. If house guests leave one of the mags behind, I literally remove it from the premises with tongs and scrub the place down.

6. I get twitchy if I walk into someone’s house and there aren’t any books around. I try to get out of there as quickly as possible.

7. I am better at crochet than I am at knitting. I’d love to be a better knitter, but I’m awkward and clumsy at it. For some reason, I find crochet easier and more logical.

On to other things. I realized that I don’t have enough dishes for left overs (I’m taking left overs with me to the site), so I have to dash out today and get some more.

Yesterday was fine. I wrote. All day. Over 6K. Until nearly midnight. Edited, polished, et al, this morning.

So, here’s your giftie:

JUST JUMP IN AND FLY: a holiday tale by Ava Dunne.

When two men have an accident with eight no-so-tiny reindeer on her front lawn, Susanna Wright has to balance thinking they’re delusional with keeping in the spirit of the night and getting them back on the road.

The story pulls from a mix of myths and traditions, sprinkled with a few of my own “what ifs”. Although it’s just over 10K, it’s a fast read, and, I hope, a funny one.

To read an excerpt, visit the Ava Dunne page. The download link is also on the site. It downloads as a PDF.

Enjoy!

Devon

September 15: Guest Blog by Michelle Miles!

If all goes as planned, today Costume Imp and I land in Prague to start our adventure.

I don’t want you to miss me too much, so I’ve got a series of guest bloggers while I’m gone –and, if I hit an internet cafe and can, I might sneak in a few quick posts myself.

My good friend and fellow author Michelle Miles kicks us off, talking about packing an emotional punch in one’s writing:

Giving Your Characters Emotional Punch
By Michelle Miles

When Devon asked me to guest blog, I had already started writing this little article on emotional punch. I thought it’d be the perfect guest post for her blog, so here I am!

Writing emotion is probably one of the hardest things to learn. You have to do it in such a way that makes the reader believe that’s what the character is thinking and feeling and you have to make the reader feel it, too.

I write romance because I love seeing two people overcome impossible obstacles and odds to get together and have that happy ending. That’s what it’s all about for me. And, as we all know, romance stories are character-driven. I can suspend disbelief in the hokiest plot as long as the characters are unforgettable and the romance is timeless. Seriously.

In some of the contest entries I’ve read, the story is great, the pacing is fine, the plot is good. The author even has a good voice. But the characters are flat, flat, flat. You have to dig deeper and go beyond the physical description to make me want to cheer for your hero or heroine. It’s not just about how they look, it’s what they feel and how they feel it. You have to make me ignore my dirty house, the litter box that needs to be emptied, and the mounds of laundry to spend three hundred pages (or more) with your peeps.

How do you give your character that emotional punch?

Dig deeper! I bet you’re wondering how you can do that. The best way I can describe it is put yourself in your hero/heroine’s shoes. Think like they do. Channel their personality through your fingers as you type their actions, thoughts, feelings, dialogue.

Before you run screaming from the blog, here are a few examples that can help you get that power punch. These are from my current work-in-progress, Phoenix Rising.

Original:
“No!” Elena shouted. “I won’t do it.”

“Oh, yes. I think you will. Because if you refuse,” the Emperor said, “then I’ll have you both killed right now. Accept and perhaps one of you will live.”

“We’ll do it,” Cassius said quickly.

“Cassius, no—”

“Done,” the Emperor interrupted.

Revised:
“No!” Elena shouted. “I won’t do it.” She floundered in the agonizing maelstrom swirling within her. She couldn’t face Cassius in the arena. She wouldn’t! She’d rather die on Death Hill. She’d rather die in the jaws of the tigers. Anything but fighting Cassius, one-on-one to the death.

“Oh, yes. I think you will. Because if you refuse,” the Emperor said, “then I’ll have you both killed right now. Accept and perhaps one of you will live.”

“We’ll do it,” Cassius said quickly.

“Cassius, no—” The desolate shock held her immobile, a terrible sense of bitterness assailing her.

“Done,” the Emperor interrupted.

When I read the revised version, I can really feel her desolation, her shock, her fear all boiling out of her. The thought of facing the man she loves in the arena is devastating to her. And when I wrote it, I tried to channel that into Elena. I asked myself how *I* would feel if I had to fight the man I loved to the death. Not a happy feeling, to be sure.

But emotion isn’t all despair like this. Sometimes, it’s all about feelin’ the love. Romance novels (and Hershey bars) are about giving the reader that intense feeling of falling in love. Who doesn’t want to fall in love over and over again? If you’ve ever been there, then you know what I’m talking about. You can’t breathe if you don’t have that person near you. Your world is whole now that you’ve found your certain someone.

Showing with your character is all about feeling it, too.

Original:
Sometime during the night, Cassius slipped out of her apartment and left her alone. It would do neither of them any good if he were to be found in her company the next morning. It was a risk both of them knew they couldn’t take, even though she desperately wanted him to stay the night.

Her sleep had been restless. She tossed and turned for much of the night. Without a doubt, she had allowed herself to fall in love with him. As she watched, the sun’s rays filtered brighter and brighter through her room.

Can you spot the telling? Here, I’ll help. Telling: Without a doubt, she had allowed herself to fall in love with him.

BOR-ING. This makes me want to hit the snooze bar. Instead of telling the reader she loved him, how can we show it? Read below.

Revised:
Sometime during the night, Cassius slipped out of Elena’s apartment leaving her to her restless sleep. Memories of skin meeting skin, breath mingling with breath, bodies brushing in the heat of desire and lust haunted her dreams. Her heart skittered in her chest more than once when she thought of him. And a constant flutter in her lower abdomen had her pressing the palm of her hand against her skin to quell the flurry.

With the blood quivering in her veins, she realized it was more than lust. More than illicit sex and defiant passion.

    By the gods, I love him.

Rolling to her side and drawing her knees to her chest, she clutched the ratty blanket and squeezed her eyes shut. Was the Goddess of Fate playing a horrific trick on the two mere mortals? Or was her love for Cassius, the man who would be the Emperor’s killer and her savior, truly meant to be?

No matter how she played out the scenario in her mind, she still came up with the same answer: she would either be dead or alone. And neither sounded very appealing.

The revision is so much better than the original, don’t you think? It really shows what Elena is thinking and feeling about Cassius. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had intense emotions like this before. And instead of telling the reader she’d fallen for him, we feel it. So much better!

One more example and then I’ll close this post.

I never really “got” the emotional punch until a critique partner pointed out all my missed opportunities. And when I forced myself to sit and really think about who my characters were and worked on their emotional responses, I think I have a much better story.

Original:
She couldn’t—or wouldn’t—let it go. She had managed to work herself into a frenzy. “Just because I’m stuck in this pit of hell doesn’t mean I want to be. It doesn’t mean I want to kill people. It means I’m a slave of Rithos, just like you are now. Just like any of us here in the Games. Forced to fight or die. I have no choice. I hate it!”

What can be changed in the above paragraph to make it more emotional? To give it more of a punch? Here’s the sentence I changed: She had managed to work herself into a frenzy.

Now, read below.

Revised:
She couldn’t—or wouldn’t—let it go. Her heart palpitated at a quick pace. Her palms had broken in to a hot-cold sweat. “Just because I’m stuck in this pit of hell doesn’t mean I want to be. It doesn’t mean I want to kill people. It means I’m a slave of Rithos, just like you are now. Just like any of us here in the Games. Forced to fight or die. I have no choice. I hate it!”

Not only do we see and feel her frenzy, we hear it, too, in her dialogue.

So, do you see how do you get an emotional punch? It’s your job as the author to feel character’s feelings, too. Don’t play it safe and tell the reader, show it. Push yourself. It’s not always going to be comfortable for you or your characters (and, if you’ve done your job well, your readers!).

If you can do that and translate it successfully on paper, then you’ll have one heckuva punch!

Now go take on the page!

Michelle Miles is a member of Romance Writers of America® and serves as President of her local chapter as well as Treasurer of the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal special interest chapter. She writes hot contemporary and fantasy romance. For more information about her books or to sign up for her monthly newsletter, visit her website at http://www.michellemiles.net.

Published in: on September 15, 2009 at 1:24 am  Comments (16)  
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Check me out on LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS!

First, I want to congratulate my friend Michelle Miles on the release of her new novel, TAKE ME, I’M YOURS, published by Cobblestone Press. Way to go, Michelle! Check out her blog and her website for excerpts, purchase links, and more. She will be featured on A BIBLIO PARADISE at some point in the future.

Yesterday was an up-and-down day. I feel a bit overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. On the positive: My computer works beautifully and I can get it all done. On the negative: I’m burning out and have to pace myself better.

On Sunday, I re-read the first twelve chapters of the Helena Francis mystery and made some notes. Yesterday, I ran off Chapters 13-23 (there’s only about two pages of Chapter 23, so it doesn’t really count) and re-read those. The piece has good bones, I made good notes, I want to finish it, think about the overall series, and then go back and do a serious rewrite so I can get the book out the door sometime this summer.

By the end of the day, my publisher had the proofs of DIXIE DUST RUMORS back to me. I will start them today, with a clear head.

I did a big chunk of the media kit for DIXIE DUST RUMORS. I hope to finish it in the next few days and start getting it out there. When reviews for the book come in (if they’re good), I’ll add a reviews page. The media kit will be available on the website, once it’s done. I would have uploaded the excerpt onto the site, but 1and1’s server was down AGAIN. Every day, from 11 AM to 4 PM, EST, I get server errors when I try to access my email. This is not acceptable. I’ve complained for over a year, and they don’t fix the problem. Host moving is a nightmare, plus I’d lose everything I built on their templates, but I’m beginning to think that’s the only option.

I love the package I have with 1and1. I’m hosting three full sites plus numerous subdomains, and I can customize their website builder with my own designs. I have all the email addresses I need. But, at least 50% of the time, there are server problems and I can’t access either my email or my site. Don’t charge me if you’re not going to fulfill the contract. The price is great, what I get is great — but it doesn’t work when I need it to work.

Don’t suggest Go Daddy. Their commercials are enough to make me refuse to do business with them, and they don’t have the capacity for what I need.

Fat Cow Hosting looks really good, and someone called Pinch Hosting contacted me via Twitter when I bitched and moaned, so I’m going to do some looking.

It would need to be a midsummer move, where I could devote an entire week to site move and redesign. I can’t do it when I’m on crazy deadlines, and May/June will be nuts.

I dashed out and got ink for the manuscript printer (the Pixma 1800 is my “manuscript printer” and also some new flashdrives. I booted up the old PC after a week — what a nightmare. 22 minutes for the initial boot and three crashes before I even got the flashdrive in. I spent two hours transferring a lot of material from floppies to just one flashdrive. This is the one with drafts of novels on it. Who knew I’d done so much and so many drafts of some of them? I realized that I’ve got a big slew of projects that aren’t just being archived. Some need to be finished; some need to be retired; some need a simple polish and sent out into the world. I’ve got quite a backlog, and it’s time it went out and earned its keep!

It’s going to take months to back up over 500 floppies. A single exterior hard drive backup won’t work because I need to sort them properly, not just send them all somewhere in a lump. So, this is housecleaning. But, if I do a little bit every day, eventually, it will get done. And I’ve found some quicker ways to do it.

I’ve got a stack of articles to get done in the next couple of days, a media kit to finish, and proofs to do. Busy, busy, busy.

And next week will be just insane. Good insane, but insane.

They closed the swanky private school up the road from me due to swine flu concerns. There’s a part of me that rolls my eyes at all this swine flu stuff, and then there’s a part of me that wonders if the reason the outbreak isn’t worse than it’s been is because of those precautions. Parents are being forced to keep their kids home from school when they’re sick, and that’s a good thing. Far too often, around here, kids are sent to school sick. Part of that is because parents have to go to work, affordable child care is practically non-existent (and, let’s face it, you send a sick kid to day care and every one there gets sick, too), and bosses get mad if you’re constantly taking time off because of a sick kid. Which is understandable — the work still needs to get done. The boss is paying you to work, not to parent, and it’s a delicate balance. However, in this techno age, many jobs can be done from home, and, while the sick kid is sleeping, the parent can catch up on work from the office.

The newest salary survey showed that if stay-at-home moms were paid for what they do, they’d ear nearly $123,000/year. Frankly, they should be paid for their work. It has value, and far too often the partner that works outside of the home uses the paycheck as manipulation. And most stay-at-home moms don’t have a staff AND work 24/7, where as most people who work office jobs outside the house do (or they ARE the staff).
Anyway, I’ve got a lot to do, on DIXIE DUST RUMORS, have some pitches to get out, and i’ve got to get back to the plays. FEMME FATALE and BLOOD SOUP need to go out the door this week.

I got a rejection letter on a project that wasn’t unexpected, so it’s off to the next on the list I was also called “unprofessional” for refusing to give someone an “at least” nine-month exclusive on a different project. I said that writing is how I make my living, how I pay the bills. I can’t afford to tie something up on a “maybe” for nine months. Besides, everything I write eventually finds a home, so I need to keep it out there. The person faltered and said, “Everything?” “Yes, everything. Sometimes it takes awhile, but it all finds a home, and finished projects need to be out there earning their keep, not languishing on someone’s shelf. Thank you for your time and goodbye.” Obviously, this person and I are not a good match. And I don’t work on principles of intimidation and desperation. Next!

Decent writing session this morning. The Matty book needs a slower pace than some of the other stuff. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done, and most of it needed to get done yesterday, so I have to break it down by deadline and priority and just work on it one piece at a time.

Back to the page. And to pulling more stuff of the PC later today.

Oh, did I mention I’m going to Prague in September? Costume Imp convinced me to join him on some international travel!

Devon