Wed. March 9, 2016: Excellent Writing Weekend

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy few days! It was nice not to work on Saturday. I ran errands and did research, and, generally, gave myself a day off.

That meant Sunday morning was for research, and then back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I went over the whole book, fixing things (my process is completely different with this one) and then wrote about twenty additional pages.

Monday, I wrote another chapter. Yesterday, another chapter. I’m past the 300 page mark. I figure I have, at the most, five chapters left. I can see the end. I know where I’m going, although I don’t have all the details about getting there. I’m excited! I’m at the point where I don’t really want to talk about the details, because I’m worried that it will derail the momentum.

I also woke up in the middle of the night with a solution to a logistical problem that’s bothered me in the book, that will also solve a second dilemma. It will mean quite a few tweaks in the revision, and I don’t want to put them in now, but it’s important, because that particular lapse in the story left the reader (me, at this point), with the feeling of something not adding up properly. And, in a mystery, everything has to add up — that’s the comfort of it. A thriller can get away with loose ends, or a fatalistic ending. A mystery has to give the reader comfort that justice was served.

I got the next batch of books for the contest. More mystery, more novella, more fantasy. Considering how many strong contenders were in the mystery category in the first batch, it’s exciting.

I’m finishing up the handouts for my talk on the 16th. Nowhere near as detailed as the ones I had for the script topic, but that’s what happens when you switch things out on me after I’ve done my prep. A friend told me I should have just refused to change topics, or, if they didn’t want the topic, withdrawn from the event. She’s probably right — I’ve spent too much time being a “good sport” with these people over the years, and it’s yielded absolutely nothing. It certainly hasn’t garnered book sales.

Got in a good bit of reading, too, this weekend. Reading I WANTED to do, rather than HAD to do. My favorites were TO HELVETICA AND BACK by Paige Shelton, a surprisingly good cozy, and Stephanie Barron’s latest Jane Austen mystery, JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP. I read several mediocre books, too, but I’d rather applaud the books I enjoy than trash ones that aren’t really worth the time.

Nasty dream last night about a home invasion — this home. Not a good dream.

Long day at work today. I have a lot to get done. I finished my taxes last night, so that’s something off my plate, thank goodness.

And got another chapter written on the mystery before I left. End is in sight!

Devon

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Published in: on March 9, 2016 at 10:37 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 9, 2016: Excellent Writing Weekend  
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Getting Back on the Writing Wagon

Wed. January 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy few days, but at least I feel like I’m starting to get my feet back under me. It’s still hard to shake off the exhaustion, which is a little worrying.

Friday was busy and a little scattered. Since my computer at work isn’t working, I’m bouncing around, trying to get things done. Sort of like I did when my computer was struck by lightening shortly after I started the job. I managed to get some cataloguing done, and get my report for the Board meeting done, get some emails and PR out.

Saturday was the Saturday “off” and I took advantage of it. Adapted “Light Behind the Eyes” radio play from BBC format to US format. It’s actually easier to write it in the BBC format and convert it to US than to write in the US and convert to BBC. It’s not just about doing a universal change in the document — much more nuanced and complicated than that. But now the US version is ready to be registered and then submitted.

Ran out to get some yarn. My mom and I are both knitting. I’m doing very simple projects, to get my confidence up again.

Wrote a chapter of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m close to the halfway point.

Struggling with the short radio play. I either have to introduce an additional character earlier or make one of the current characters the murderer, and change the red herrings. While the wit works, there’s a structural problem, and I have to fix that or it will fall apart. Tried several things over several days; so far, nothing works.

Re-watched Season 1 of BROADCHURCH. I’d forgotten how sad it is. Love David Tennant’s work. The ending didn’t quite satisfy me, because it was too much out of left field, and seemed structured more for shock value than organically out of the character. Now, I want to watch the US version, and also the second season of BROADCHURCH. I’m interested to see where they go from here.

I’m delighted that 365 Women wants me to write TWO plays for 2016, on two very different women. I’m preparing to start research for the first, set in 17th Century Italy, immediately. I want that one out the door June 1, and the second one done by November 1. I’m adding them into the schedule, and tweaking my lists.

Up at 4:30 on Monday, to get everything done I needed to do so I could leave by 7 AM for my 8 AM meeting in Buzzard’s Bay. We had a long board meeting, but we got some work accomplished, and I have my list of what I need to get done between now and February’s board meeting. Typed up the minutes on Tuesday, so they’re all set. I’m still working on some language to help with the strategic plan. It’s ambitious, but I think it’s vital for us to be ambitious at this point.

Read BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN by Marion Meade, which is very good. It’s a social history of how writers like Dorothy Parker, the Fitzgeralds, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edna Ferber, etc., crossed paths all over the world during the 20s.

An idea is percolating. It might actually be two ideas, but I’m hoping to find a way to meld them. The characters are talking to me — now, if I can only convince them to inhabit the same fictional world, it’ll be great!

I have an article over on the GDR site about “The Difference Between Giving Up and Letting Go.”

Wrote just over 1K on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC yesterday, and it was a struggle. There will be things I need to restructure and tear apart in the revisions, but for now, I need to get it down on paper.

The first submissions for the Indie Next Generation Book Awards arrived. I’ve sorted them and started on them. Always an exciting process. Every time I pick up an entry, I hope it’s wonderful.

Worked on TIE-CUTTER a bit this morning. I’m doing the section set in Iceland. There are some important things that have to happen in that setting for both plot and character development, but I have a feeling I’ll have to strip it way back in the revisions.

Also did some writing-related administrative work. Last year, I didn’t make enough pitches or submissions. Because I was so discouraged, I didn’t track the ones I made as carefully as I should have. I intend to remedy that this year — both by making more pitches and submissions, and keeping the records up to date.

Today will be a long day, but, hopefully, a good one. I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of pitches, so, fingers crossed.

Devon

Published in: on January 13, 2016 at 11:56 am  Comments Off on Getting Back on the Writing Wagon  
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Wed. June 3, 2015: June Blooms

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days.

Friday was busy at work. Picked up dinner from Osterville Fish Market and relaxed.

There was a contractual glitch with one publisher, but we seem to have worked it out. I’m glad I asked questions, instead of assuming the worst and getting angry.

The play submission got out and was acknowledged. I’ll hear by August on that. Either it’s what they want, and we move forward, or it’s not, and it goes somewhere else. I’m still going to work on the play in the interim.

Saturday was all about the garden. Bought dirt, bought flats of marigolds, pots of basil, various and sundry other plants, and NINE flats of petunias. Put together the hanging baskets for the deck. Still have to do the ones for the front of the house. Replanted the small trees in the front of the house and pruned them. Replanted one of the bush cherries in the ground, and I’m trying to figure out what to do with the other one. Replanted all 28 tomato plants. Ran out of basil, but had enough marigolds for them. Also replanted some of the Brussel Sprouts, which are getting big. Planted the rosemary, oregano, thyme, and dill.

Sunday, I mowed the front (which needed it again). I kept thinking it would rain, it kept threatening to rain, but it didn’t. I was supposed to go to the Berkshires, but that trip got cancelled.

Then, I was going to go to Boston on Monday and Tuesday, but the weather was so miserable, I postponed it.

Monday rained just about all day. We needed it. It was good. I wasn’t feeling well, and gave myself the day off. I read a lot and tried to get better.

Yesterday, I ran errands and attended a birthday party in the early afternoon, then came home and tried to get my act together.

Did some more poker research, which was depressing. It’s not a game I ever enjoyed or felt affection for, although I admire people who play professionally.

Did some research on circuses and their history. Not sure where I’ll go with it, but an idea is percolating just under the surface.

Doing research on Matta, one of my favorite painters.

Writing wise, I did some work on one of the mysteries, and figured out the opening of the historical play. That was difficult. I didn’t want to start too early and do a lot of exposition, but I still have to make clear the sting operation. But I think I figured it out.

Someone I never heard of or met sent me a manuscript and announced I would edit it. That’s not the way it works, bubbelah. I’m constantly astonished by the arrogance of the unpublished. I don’t sit around waiting for someone to deign to send me a manuscript so I can edit for free and fun. First of all, it’s my business, and you ASK about terms and whether we are a good fit and whether I have time and, secondly, my own work ALWAYS comes first.

There’s enough information out there on how to work with editors and publishers that there is NO excuse for “not knowing”, even when you start out. We’re in the information age. Bother to look up some information.

Today will be a long day at work, with a long list of stuff I need to get done, and, no doubt, hundreds of interruptions.

American Pharoh goes for the Triple Crown this Saturday at Belmont Park, which is almost sold out already. I hope he wins. I’m afraid to count on it, but he looks so good and so happy, and he’s had so much FUN during the races so far that it gives me hope.

Trying to sort out travel glitches on a friend’s upcoming trip, and also prepare for overseas guest who will be staying a good, long time.

Have to change the batteries in one of the carbon monoxide detectors again, in spite of having done so on the Equinox.

Irritated that the gas and electric companies were allowed to raise their rates, respectively, 39% and 27%. If the few people who get raises only get a 2.5% cost of living increase, which has to cover EVERYTHING in life, then the utilities should be only allowed to raise their prices one quarter of one percent. Period. If they “can’t afford it”, they should cut executive salaries and they should be non-profit anyway, with profits going back into improving the grid instead of going to stockholders.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the latest.

Devon

Published in: on June 3, 2015 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 3, 2015: June Blooms  
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Wed. Sept. 19, 2012: New Article Up & Television Musings

Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and warm

In spite of the migraine, I had a very good day of edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. I’m starting to feel good about the book and how it sets up the rest of the series, as well as standing on its own.

Also did some notes to shut up a character who’s been yapping at me the past few days, in a built world. I’ll be writing from a male POV, I think, this time,which will be fun.

Got work done on the opening of the marine life mystery.

Re-sent some invoices — I want to wind up completely with one client and be done, buh-bye, and the other wants more work from me, but the payments have to be on time, or it simply won’t happen.

My article on “The Renaissance Writer” is up on WOW-Women on Writing here. It was a lot of fun to write, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Didn’t get enough housecleaning done yesterday, so I’ll have to make up for it today.

Planning on staying in today, writing, writing, writing.

Forgot to mention that I watched the pilot of REVOLUTION on Monday. I hadn’t particularly liked the promos –to me, they came across as jumping on THE HUNGER GAMES bandwagon. But Billy Burke has one of the leads, and I like his work (although I had no idea he was involved in the TWILIGHT franchise, because I haven’t bothered with the movies). I also wanted to see Giancarlo Esposito’s work — I liked him a lot in both BREAKING BAD and ONCE UPON A TIME.

I was pleasantly surprised. I LOVE the production design — sets, costumes, et al. The attention to detail is great. Again, though, I’m glad not to be doing wardrobe on it, because they’re outside a lot! Continuity with dirt is not easy! It uses archetypes from the Hero’s Journey nicely, although I hope they deal with the fact that one of the lead characters is a young woman. The heroine’s journey is, by nature, different. The writing was much better than I expected, and I thought the actors committed fully in a really wonderful way. One of the reasons I like Billy Burke’s work so much is that he is such an active listener. He is unafraid of stillness, and he listens completely and responds to what is actually said and done in the moment. He does that in interviews, too — there’s never a sense that he’s skipping ahead, thinking about what HE will say next. He’s very much a partner in whatever scene he’s in, not trying to take all the focus with the underlying, “Look at ME!” that so many actors (especially in leading TV roles) insist on. I’m interested in seeing how the show evolves.
However, if it starts messing with the audience just to mess with them, the way I felt LOST often did — I’m outta there.

Going back to the active listening and partnership in a scene, I’m already struggling to continue watching a different show that an acquaintance of mine is on. I like HIS work a lot, and he’s good at the give-and-take, but he’s a second lead and the two lead actors are very much in the “I’m the show’s star” mode in a way I feel hurts the overall show. Sometimes it’s the number of close-ups; sometimes it’s screen time; sometimes it’s not letting one of the other actors have a moment that makes more logical and organic sense. I continue to watch because my acquaintance and I dissect every episode after, in terms of writing and character development, and I’m loyal to him; but I’m finding it more and more difficult to watch.

Okay, I need to get back to the page and get a bunch of other things done today, too. We had a bad storm last night — we didn’t have too much damage, other than overwhelmed plants.

Back to work!

Devon

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Took my mom to the doctor yesterday morning and got that sorted out. Took all morning, but at least everything seems to be okay. Which means, of course, they have no idea what’s going on, but at least they took the time to fit her in and she feels better. Re-stocked cat food on the way home. Caught up with my students in the afternoon.

Reading a mystery where many of the elements in it are wonderful — plot, setting, inventive ways to deal with things we’ve seen before. However, the protagonist keeps making the same STUPID mistakes and having the same conversations about them. She’s not learning. This is the second book in the series, and keeps referring back to the first, where, it’s obvious, she made the same stupid mistakes and hasn’t learned from them.

Not someone I want to continue to spend time with.

I want to see growth in characters, and, more importantly, intelligence. It’s not cute and endearing when a female character acts like an idiot, nearly gets killed, and does the same thing again and again. It’s offensive.

Even shows I usually enjoy seemed banal last night, which is unfortunate.

Up early for yoga on the beach. It looks like it wants to rain, but I hope it holds off until we’re done. I need this morning’s class! 😉

Will spend a few hours with my students, and, hopefully, on my own writing, when I get back. I’ve got to work on site this afternoon, and I have a meeting (that I’m not looking forward to) this evening. I need to have my guard up for that. Living the principles I work on on the mat and in meditation group does not mean allowing poor treatment.

Prepared for battle or not, I’ll be glad when this day is over.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 5:03 am  Comments (5)  
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A Mystery for March 10

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars DIRECT (thank goodness)
No idea what the weather’s like

I’m headed to Cape Cod for my birthday (it’s tomorrow). Hopefully, I actually got out the door early. Cat sitter promised to be there about a half hour or so after I left, even though I said she didn’t have to arrive mid-morning. I think she wants to avert the Destructo-Kitty Syndrome. At least she seems more reliable than the last one.

So, I leave you with The Mystery of the Missing Amethyst.

I hope you can solve it, because I’m stumped.

I keep an amethyst cluster on the bedroom window sill, per feng shui orientation. Yesterday morning, I noticed it was gone. I assumed one of the cats (probably Iris, because she spends a lot of time in the window and is a klutz), knocked it down.

Looked everywhere — under the bed, along the entire window sill, behind the cushions, everywhere.

No amethyst.

Basically tossed the room.

No amethyst.

There’s no tear in the screen. The window’s kept locked unless we’re actually in the room, because the window is on the fire escape. Plus, there’s a rune on the window, so if anyone prowls around the fire escape when they shouldn’t be, it triggers something in them and they freak out.

Ideas? Theories? Suspects?

I’m curious to see what you come up with.

Devon

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 2:11 am  Comments (9)  
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

IMG_0249
The garden at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, MA

Sunday, September 6
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

For some reason, I thought the full moon was tomorrow, but it was on Friday. Sorry about that.

I forgot this was up: I guested on Catalyst Blogger on the 2nd. Oop. Stop by and drop a comment, okay?

I was a little annoyed at an email posted on a board about what I’m “supposed” to do on 9/11 as my “duty.” I lost a LOT of people on that day, firefighters from my neighborhood, people with whom I went to school, people I knew from work. NO ONE tells me what I HAVE to do on that day. Especially not someone who lives thousands of miles away and lost no one. I think it’s wonderful people are putting together events and using it as a day of service, but no one has the right to dictate how anyone else mourns.

Yesterday morning was very productive — I polished an article and sidebar and submitted them. I also got the guest blogs sorted and uploaded and scheduled to post — if they post properly, there will be some really great articles here while I’m gone!

I spent the afternoon relaxing, reading a mystery that was a delightful surprise. I expected something light and brain candy-ish, but it actually had some substance. The writer knew the ins and outs of her character’s profession (instead of assuming she knew it from stuff she’s seen on TV), and created good characters and plots. My only disappointment was that I pegged the murderer the minute the character made its first appearance. Even though lots of suspicion was pointed at two other characters, I knew who it really was the first time the character was introduced to the reader.

While I read, I had the iPod on, listening to waves on the beach through an application called Naturespace. Most of these “nature” sounds are usually pretty cheesy, but this one is actually good. It’s a free app I downloaded via iTunes; I figured if I hated it, I could delete it. But it’s actually good! I spent half the afternoon listening to beach waves and the other half listening to a river in the woods.

So it SOUNDED like I was on vacation, even though I was home!

Lazy evening, good morning’s yoga practice, having a hard time getting started on AMENDS. I have to go to Trader Joe’s to stock up on cat food and get in some more milk. It’s my last chance to get out that way until not only after Prague, but after the scallop festival.

Did I mention I got my hair chopped off on Friday? Over 12 inches off! I hadn’t had hair that long in 15 years. It’s short again, but a kind of a wavy, bouncy cut instead of a very short, sleek, to-the-head one. I’ll do the color either today or tomorrow, and then I’m good to go. Just about anywhere.

I did a little digging around, and Switzerland’s not going to work as a home base. First and foremost, I don’t feel the sense of belonging when I’m there and the sense of longing when I’m not, the way I do in other places. Second, it’s land-locked, and I prefer sea, not lakes. Third, the real estate negotiations are ridiculous. So, Switzerland’s a nice place to visit, but I don’t see myself living there.

I liked the idea of living someplace neutral, though, a place not caught up in other people’s arguments. Lichtenstein’s run out of land, so that’s out. Plus, I drove through it once without realizing it, which is not a good sign. Costa Rica — well, I’m not really a tropical girl. Sweden and Finland both intrigue me, though.

Heads up, Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow for three weeks: travel delays, technology problems, miscommunication, no large purchases, but great shopping for smaller stuff.

Mantra: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.

Enjoy!

Devon
IMG_0295
the Library of Congress, in Washington, DC. A place of personal pilgrimmage for me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Quick post because there’s too much going on and not enough hours in the day.

Got a good batch of work done yesterday a.m., plus getting to Trader Joe’s to stock up on cat food. Then, I was called in to another site job for an emergency during the late afternoon and evening, and I’ll have to go back today after my Genius Bar appointment. They’ve been really good to me, so I don’t mind helping them out, but I also got in some client work I wasn’t expecting until the middle of next week, and I’m going to have to do it piecemeal in and around the site job next week. There was no way I could turn around that amount of material in a couple of hours and give it the attention it needs, even if it was the only project on my desk (which it wasn’t).

AND meet the deadlines for my own work.

I got some work done on “Plot Bunnies” and finished the second mystery this morning. I need a new title. However, it’s different enough in tone and style that it does fit under the “Devon” name rather than the “Ava” name under which “Plot Bunnies” will submit. And, with the latter, I think I only have to cut about 60 words — not 1500, like in the first.

I have my work “cut out” for me — pun intended!

I have to pack up and move three sets of bookcases and files from in front of the phone jack before the Optimum guy shows up next week. Got started on that and will stop at Target after the Genius Bar appointment to pick up, you guessed it more bins. I’ll do a little bit each day when I dash back for the hour or so to feed the cats.

Sending the Verizon marketing materials back unopened and marked “Refused.”

Ran out of ink on the big printer, so I have to deal with that in the next couple of days, since I’ve got to print out postcards and sent them to a friend who offered to distribute them for me. Also have to do a little research on a reasonable quote for a big project. The guy wants a for-hire on something that is usually done by royalties — he swears there won’t be any; I think he’s full of it. For-hire is a way higher price than royalties, in my book, so I’m sure I’ll price myself out of his budget.

The cats and I were all settled down to sleep late last night when the familiar heaving noise all cat owners know and hate so well filled the room. I turned on the light to find that Violet, the littlest cat, heaved up the biggest fur ball I’ve ever seen. We all just stared at it. I said, “How can something that big come out of something so little?” Not fun to clean up, but at least she’s feeling better and we know the Petromalt does its job!

I’ve got to clean out the litter boxes, get to the bank and post office, and get over to the Genius Bar. I hope we can get this issue resolved once and for all.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on August 8, 2009 at 9:15 am  Comments (1)  
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to the Scruffy Dog Review blog for my article, “Don’t Assume You Know My Contract” and leave a comment.

I’m so tired of everything being damp and clammy all the time. Ick!

After a day as good as Tuesday, of course, yesterday was filled with interruptions and frustrations. I had a heck of a time getting out the door to storage, and it wasn’t fun hauling the crap to storage. My wrist and I are not on speaking terms.

I swung by the site where I needed to get some paperwork signed and took care of that, had lunch with a friend, and installed myself at the Greenwich Library to get some work done.

I wound up finding some very interesting material and going off on a tangent, but that’s okay, because it will come in useful further down the road. It just means working some additional hours today and tomorrow to get everything done.

I looked up about halfway through the afternoon and saw the storm moved in, so I gathered my belongings and headed home. I tried to get some more work done, and managed to write two articles and get some editing work done before the storm was bad enough for me to shut down all the electronics (since surge protectors are basically useless).

I tried to read a mystery I picked up. It lost me in the first sentence. I felt I was being unfair, so I struggled along. Most of the writing is far too precious — the writer is in love with the sound of her own voice and wants to sound “literary”, but doesn’t have the skill level to pull it off. And, while she writes well about the conceit of the protag’s profession, the mystery part of the tale falls apart. The protag makes such stupid choices that, should she become the killer’s next victim, it wouldn’t bother me too much. This is the third book of a series. I won’t be going back to read the first two, and I won’t read the books that follow. These are hours of my life better spent reading GOOD writing.

Well, at least I learned valuable lessons about what NOT to do in this type of book!

I packed up some more stuff — this has to be stacked in a corner until the furniture swap happens, and I can put it away in the furniture coming in. The new couch shipped, and, after using Safari to push the site link (it spun and wouldn’t connect in Firefox) and discovered that it left California on Tuesday (huh?), so I don’t think I have to worry about it showing up until the original Monday – Wednesday time frame.

I had a good writing morning on the mystery short story. I’ll have to rearrange a bit of the dialogue for logistical reasons, but I think I can finish it this weekend and let it sit for a week or so while I write the second story, and then go back, edit this one, edit the other one, and get them in on deadline.

I’ve got to vacuum (here we go, Jupiter Retrograde influence). I’m going to write in a local coffee shop for awhile, then I have a lunch date, then I’ve got a site job in CT this afternoon.

It also looks like I’ll land a gig down in DC for a few days in November, which will be really cool! IF all the contract details work out.

Of course, if I go down, I will build in time to visit my Senators and Congressional Reps. Can’t let any opportunity slip by. My Congresswoman wants me to be part of a Telephone Town Hall on health care tonight — only I’ll still be onsite at the time it starts. I’ve sent her my cell phone and also some thoughts on it, in general.

Devon

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Kentucky Derby Day

My picks for the full race card are in the post below this one, so scroll down if you’re interested.

With the poor weather, it gives my top pick, Friesan Fire, a better shot at the win. Friesan Fire and Pioneer of the Nile are still my top picks. And Dunkirk’s moved up from a “maybe” to a “definite.” He’s gorgeous, tons of personality, and, if his mental focus is there tonight, I think he can do it. I’m betting all three across the board and boxing a trifecta. One of my longshots will be Chocolate Candy, for a show spot, and I’ll probably toss in another, perhaps Flying Private or Hold Me Back.

My publisher already paid me for “The Retriever”. Pretty psyched. Will post the link to the story as soon as I’ve got it. I’m thrilled they took the piece, and I hope to work more with them in the coming months.

An interview with me is going up on Tuesday over at Long and Short Reviews. I’ll schedule the link, since I’ll be out of town — I hope you stop by.

Got to visit the chat room where I’m giving the workshop next week. We’ve got a test run today. I can only stop in for a minute, due to the Derby, but it’ll be worth it.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time handicapping today’s race card and running errands. Took some time off in the afternoon to read a cosy, getting me back in the headspace to go back to work on the Helena Francis mystery. The book was okay. There were some lapses of logic that bothered me. But the characters are fun and the writing’s fine. I just didn’t find it all that memorable.

Got to dash out for an errand and then get back and get ready for Derby coverage. This will be the first year I can use my own laptop to write my wrap up article as the races are happening instead of scribbling notes and then trying to decipher them later. I probably can’t Tweet as it’s happening, but, oh well. Besides, I need to be WATCHING the races.

The Red Wings vs. Anaheim hockey game was really good last night. Red Wings won, 3-2, as I hoped they would. They are one of the best-run teams in the league.

Off to a busy day.

Devon

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 8:24 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, November 24, 2008

too-much-mistletoe-cover1

Monday, November 24, 2008
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

There’s a press release making the rounds about TOO MUCH MISTLETOE:

Of course, I hope you all want to read the actual piece, too and not just the press release! 😉

Yesterday was a DAY, let me tell you.

Had to get out a stack of unpleasant business-related correspondence – icky, but necessary, and, of course, took longer than I wished.

Wandered up to the CVS in walking distance to pick up a few things. They’re so darned rude I can barely stand shopping there, and try to avoid it unless I have no other choice. They didn’t have everything I needed, so I got what I could and then walked across town to a local mom-and-pop shop which I hoped would have the rest. They did, and they’re always fun to talk to, so it was all good.

Wandered back through the main street of my town, which was closed off for some sort of holiday fair, with lots of inflatable slides and games for kids, some vendors, stilt walkers, carolers, and people dressed in snowman and reindeer costumes, poor things. It was cute; I just wasn’t in the mood.

Came back, took care of a few things, was startled by the phone and accidentally dripped nail polish remover in my eye. Don’t ask, it’s a situation that doesn’t even make sense to me. If you’ve never done it, I suggest keeping it that way. Hurts like hell and doesn’t wash out easily. Kept putting drops in my eyes to soothe them every half hour or so for the rest of the day.

Made the cappuccino brownies. The recipe is a pain in the ass. It’s not hard, but it has a lot of steps, and not all the steps are explained correctly. I wound up doing a good deal of notating, so I’ll do it right the first time on the next go-round. But it’s one of the best recipes I’ve ever made – almost as good as the brownie recipe I developed myself – so I guess spending nearly three hours making brownies occasionally is worth it. I may use the whipped cappuccino topping on other things as well, because it’s REALLY good.

Lots of stories and characters are clamoring for attention in my head, so I have to get things sorted out. Got a rejection on a piece that was disappointing, but oh, well. If it’s not the right fit, it’s not the right fit, right? On to the next name on the list. Actually, I think I’m going to wait until the New Year to resubmit – I thought of a couple of things I want to tweak, with more of a big picture view.

Re-reading Alexandra Johnson’s LEAVING A TRACE, an excellent book for writers. Although it’s primarily about journal-keeping techniques, she also talks about using the journal material to craft fiction, and many of her techniques are great for things like silencing the censor. My ways of using the journal for fiction are a little different (as anyone who’s taken my workshop JOURNAL INTO FICTION knows), but I find her suggestions fascinating and useful beyond the journal-into-fiction process.

If you haven’t checked out the new releases I have, the Nina Bell holiday mystery “Too Much Mistletoe” and the first Penny’s Dreadfuls release, “The Ramsey Chase”, scroll on down to the posts from the past weekend for the details.

Slow morning on the mystery. I was distracted, and wound up writing under 1000 words. However, I hit a good stopping point, a cliff hanger, so I stopped. It gives me a good place at which to pick it up tomorrow.

Lots of hearth-and-home errands to do today, getting stuff out of storage, going to several stores, baking for the holidays (yes, more baking, but this time it’s for other people), and cooking a stew I’m bringing up for my great-uncle.

And then, it’s back to the page, and finishing the assignment for Confidential Job #1. I want to get it out and invoiced today. I also have to get the deadlines for December sorted – there are a lot of them.

Spent a lot of time last night musing about The Big Project, to which I will return after Nano. Because that really needs to get done.

Devon

Untitled Helena Francis Mystery – 55,995 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55 / 50
(110.0%)

Untitled Helena Francis Mystery – 55,995 words out of est. 75,000 (total goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55 / 75
(73.3%)

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW! Too Much Mistletoe A Nina Bell Holiday Mystery by Devon Ellington. Nina Bell is back! Still trying to make a living in the New York theatre world of the 1990s, she’s trying to figure out which is the bigger mystery – a college friend’s disappearance, or her ever-complicated love life, as every man she meets wants to hang mistletoe over her head. Read an excerpt here and purchase the story for only $2.99 USD here .

NEW! “The Ramsey Chase” A Remarkable Adventure of Cornelia True and Roman Gray By Devon Ellington
Meet the adventurous Cornelia True of Bodwin’s Ferry, whose life changes forever when “fixer” Roman Gray lands naked in her petunias, and they combine forces to track down a serial killer determined to murder thirteen women in thirteen months for their blood, with his latest victim right there in Bodwin’s Ferry!
Only $1.49 USD for this 10K adventure, the very first Penny’s Dreadfuls release! Read an excerpt of the adventure here.
Purchase the story here.

THE JAIN LAZARUS ADVENTURES
Free limited download
“The Possession of Nattie Filmore: A Jain Lazarus Adventure” by Devon Ellington. If you loved HEX BREAKER, you’ll love spending time with Jain and Wyatt as they try to solve a haunted house mystery. Read an excerpt of the story and download it free here


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

BOOKS FOR WRITERS
Back By Popular Demand! 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
Limited time offer
Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

too-much-mistletoe-cover

Sunday, November 23, 2008
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Nina Bell is back! Yes, all of you who’ve loved her and missed her, she’s just as much of an impulsive mess as ever as she tries to figure out what happened to a college friend, while juggling an ever-complicated love life, and trying to make a living in NYC’s theatre world of 1993. The novella Too Much Mistletoe, just over 20,000 words is available for only $2.99. You can read an excerpt of it here and purchase it here.

That took up most of yesterday, dealing with Nina and her proclivities. I also managed to go to my friend’s place and give the dog a good workout. I wanted to make cappuccino brownies, but realized I have no powdered sugar, so I have to take care of that today.

Emotionally, it was an up and down day, as I’m sure each day will be for the next few weeks. Thank you so much for your continued support. It means a lot to me.

And the cats were absolute Velcro kitties – stuck to me all day long. They also managed to knock my phone down somewhere, and I can’t find it, so, at a reasonable hour when it won’t disturb the neighbors, I’ll have to call myself from the landline to track it down.

Sigh.

Got tons of stuff to do today – it’s really cold, in the thirties, so I’m all bundled up. Making brownies this afternoon will help, although (knock wood), they’ve actually given us some heat these last few days.

Also need to get Confidential Job #1’s next assignment done.

And, of course, the check I was promised over a week ago from that one particular editor who got that “s— or get off the pot” email from me and promised me a check, has yet to arrive.

Guess I won’t be working for them again.

Decent morning’s work on the mystery. I’m back down to a saner pace, and now I can fill in some of the other pieces that also need to get done. I achieved part of what I set out to do – hit the 50K in November, tried a new-to-me genre. I still have to finish the draft, then put it away and figure out what to do with it, but I’m turning my attention to the myriad of December deadlines looming before me, figuring out how to balance them with all the holiday stuff that must be done.

To answer Diane’s quilting question from a few days ago, primarily I will machine quilt the pieces of quilt top I found. I may do some hand quilting in the actual quilting stage, but we’ll have to see where I am at that point. I’m piecing it all by machine. If I do hand quilt, I’ll get one of the oval quilt frames. When I hand quilt on my own, I find the oval frames easier to deal with, while if I hand quilt in a group, the rectangular frames work better, because it’s easier to range people around the frame.

I’m very excited, though, about both “The Ramsey Chase” and “Too Much Mistletoe”. The first Mick Feeney story is also taking a nice shape, so I think you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

The latest issue of Devon’s Random Newsletter went out yesterday. If you didn’t get your copy, or you ‘d like to sign up, go here.

Devon

Untitled Helena Francis Mystery – 55,055 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55 / 50
(110.0%)

Untitled Helena Francis Mystery – 55,0ff words out of est. 75,000 (total goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55 / 75
(73.3%)

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW! Too Much Mistletoe A Nina Bell Holiday Mystery by Devon Ellington. Nina Bell is back! Still trying to make a living in the New York theatre world of the 1990s, she’s trying to figure out which is the bigger mystery – a college friend’s disappearance, or her ever-complicated love life, as every man she meets wants to hang mistletoe over her head. Read an excerpt here and purchase the story for only $2.99 USD here .

NEW! “The Ramsey Chase” A Remarkable Adventure of Cornelia True and Roman Gray By Devon Ellington
Meet the adventurous Cornelia True of Bodwin’s Ferry, whose life changes forever when “fixer” Roman Gray lands naked in her petunias, and they combine forces to track down a serial killer determined to murder thirteen women in thirteen months for their blood, with his latest victim right there in Bodwin’s Ferry!
Only $1.49 USD for this 10K adventure, the very first Penny’s Dreadfuls release! Read an excerpt of the adventure here.
Purchase the story here.

THE JAIN LAZARUS ADVENTURES
Free limited download
“The Possession of Nattie Filmore: A Jain Lazarus Adventure” by Devon Ellington. If you loved HEX BREAKER, you’ll love spending time with Jain and Wyatt as they try to solve a haunted house mystery. Read an excerpt of the story and download it free here


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

BOOKS FOR WRITERS
Back By Popular Demand! 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
Limited time offer
Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, cold, snow flurries

Yes, we’re set to have our first snow of the season today!

Sandy Lender’s making a stop on A Biblio Paradise on her blog tour. Stop by, check it out, leave a comment!

A short story of mine was rejected yesterday, which was disappointing. Even more disappointing is that I didn’t do my due diligence before I started submissions, so I haven’t yet created a list for it. I won’t have time to do anything about it until the end of the month. I hate just having a story sit around, but it’s my own damned fault. I thought it would be a good fit for this particular publication, hurried to meet the deadline, and then moved on to something else, instead of my tried-and-true list-making method.

I also have some other stories sitting around, and I have in mind several markets for them, but haven’t actually gotten around to submitting them; that will need to happen this week.

But then again, many things need to happen this week!

Got good news from the producer – she wants my next two plays. So we have to figure out deadlines for them.

Catching up with the research for the IOWFA interviews – I’m hosting a week’s worth of authors early in December from this particular group over on A Biblio Paradise.

Drove to White Plains on errands – some of them turned out to be fool’s errands; couldn’t find what I needed; will drive to Mohegan Lake later today to see if they have it.

Did a massive grocery shop. Realized that, due to what I saved by shopping at Costco last week, not only did I save $50 on the Costco stuff, but it cut my grocery bill by $13-$15 today. It’s nice when the numbers actually make sense.

Cooked a turkey chili for dinner – first time in my life I ever made chili. It was good!

I miss the linked, slightly magical, fantastical stories I worked on in October, and hope I can get back to them in December.

Decided to shelve the western novella for the moment – it wasn’t a solid contract, so, although there was a deadline to it, without a contract in place, I don’t feel bound by it. Withdrew gracefully, and will complete it when it’s appropriate – and probably submit it elsewhere. Part of the struggle was that I don’t particularly have warm and fuzzy feelings towards this particular house – there have been too many false promises out of them, and, unless there’s a solid contract in place, it’s silly for me to put me in a position to be jerked around when I have other, more solid contracts in place. However, not too many houses at this point do westerns, and it’s a genre of which I’m rather fond.

But I have more pressing and more solid, contracted, definitely paying deadlines to worry about, so something had to give. And it was the project with the least solid promise from the other side of the table.

How much do you want to bet that, now that I’ve decide to shelve it, the characters will have a different idea? Besides, Josiah and Amanda are too good to push back for long!

But Nina’s awfully persistent, and she’s determined to get her Christmas story out in a timely fashion, and Cornelia and Roman are quite irritated that I am STILL working on their tale . . .but we’re working up to The Big Reveal, which will be followed by The Big Finale, and then The Big Dilemma.

And there’s another project, still in too early stages to discuss in detail, that needs to be prepped (as in figured out and WRITTEN) for an early January launch.

And Aunt Doris and Cassio still want THEIR Christmas story written – they keep promising me it will be SHORT.

And Jain’s got a New Year’s story that’s clamoring to get out . . .

Sigh.

Good morning’s work on the mystery. In spite of all I need to fill in, I feel as though I’ve got a solid skeleton on which to build a book.

Devon

Untitled Helena Francis Mystery – 42,556 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
42 / 50
(84.0%)

Untitled Helena Francis Mystery – 42,556 words out of 75,000 (total goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
42 / 75
(56.0%)

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.

Free limited download
“The Possession of Nattie Filmore: A Jain Lazarus Adventure” by Devon Ellington. If you loved HEX BREAKER, you’ll love spending time with Jain and Wyatt as they try to solve a haunted house mystery. Read an excerpt of the story and download it free here


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

Back By Popular Demand!
30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
Limited time offer


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 7:57 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: , , , , , ,