Tues. April 30, 2019: Conference Wrap-up and New Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ever so much to talk about, and some things about which I’m not yet ready to talk about, because I’m still mulling them over.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the April wrap-up. It should be up within a half hour of this post.

This past weekend, I was a presenter at the #NECRWA conference in Burlington, MA. It’s one of my favorite conferences, because it’s relaxed and upbeat. It always gives me a lot to think about.

I re-connected with some people I knew from before, met new people, met some people I knew from online and this was the first time we’d met in person.

The weather was awful on Friday. I had the car packed early, and left a little before noon. Usually, it takes me about 3 hours to get there (and it’s only outside of Boston) because of traffic. I’d managed to time it so it only took two hours.

My room was ready; I checked in and it took 2 luggage cart trips from car to room to get everything up. Made me think maybe I brought too much stuff.

The hotel had a renovation. It’s very upscale business traveler with dark wood and shiny counters and a huge TV. My room had a kingsized bed AND a chaise longue, with which I immediately fell in love. The bathroom was all shiny counters and frosted glass.

I unpacked, tried to rest up a bit, looked through the conference materials. I also worked ona book I have to review.

Freshened up and went downstairs for the cocktail hour. They served us a buffet dinner, too, courtesy of Red Feather Romance. That definitely got our attention — feed us! 😉

I had some interesting conversations. One with a writers’ group who’d travelled here together to attend — their members were from Western MA and upstate NY. I had another conversation with some early career writers who didn’t even try to hide their contempt that I’m with a small publisher and that I talked about craft and the importance of a good editor, and how much I value both my editor and my copy editor. They plan to self publish, and, according to them, “craft doesn’t matter, because Kindle readers don’t care.”

I beg to differ.

I found that arrogance rather off-putting, and wondered if that would be the tone of the conference.

The Literacy signing was after the dinner. I prefer it when it’s at the end of the weekend, when I’ve gotten to know some of the authors and have an idea of their books. I felt like I “should” buy a lot of books, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and I felt guilty when I browsed a table without buying.

I went back upstairs to decompress a little and read more of the book for review.

I also set up my rolling rack for tomorrow, went over the presentation again. Second-guessed myself on every item I brought and every slide I chosen; wondered if I should revise the presentation. But that way madness lies.

Tried to watch television, but it was lousy. I’m not missing anything by giving up cable.

Got an email from that new-to-me editor who wanted yet more information about why the topic — an underused resource that can generate more income for freelancers — is relevant to his site, which is supposed to be about generating income for freelancers. I have now written more than twice the word count ABOUT what the actual article would run. For a publication for which I’ve written a half a dozen times, and where I never had to jump through all these hoops for the other editor.

Makes me think we are no longer a good fit, and perhaps it’s time to move on to another dance partner.

The bed had one of those pillow top or memory foam things. I felt like I sank so far down it would cover me and smother me. It was comfortable; I’m just used to a much firmer mattress.

I woke up once at 4 AM with a horrible headache, but got back to sleep, and got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. I like writing in hotel rooms. There aren’t many distractions.

On my way to the first session, I stepped outside for a few minutes — and the headache went away. I realized that I can’t open the windows in my room, and I always sleep with my window cracked. I’m not used to recycled air.

A few minutes outside, even in the rain, helped.

Before the first session, I talked to some people who live in Central MA about the benefits of living there. They love it, because one can get to anywhere from there. It was great to hear them talk about what they loved about the area, how it’s changing, what frustrated them. The arts community seems much more vibrant and able to earn a living than it is here.

The first session was great, about burnout. Emily Nagoski was the presenter. Her handouts and worksheets were great. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the crossroads I’m facing right now. I also want to get a quote from her for an article I’m writing.

Went outside for a few minutes in between sessions, then went to a panel discussion where the participants frankly discussed money. We all agreed not to share these authors’ actual financial details outside of the room. But some of their approaches and concepts were interesting.

I was surprised — at this panel and elsewhere in the conference — by how large a percentage of the incomes are via Amazon’s Kindle direct. I’ve always avoided them because I don’t like the contract. My small publisher distributes digitally through Amazon, but my contract is not directly with Amazon, but via my publisher.

Also, the volume at which some of these authors are turning out books. There’s one full-time author who has published 70 books in the last 11 years. She’s earning money, she’s winning awards. She’s turning out quality work. She’s got audio books and translations out.

I always thought I wrote reasonably fast, but I couldn’t keep up that pace, unless I had a full staff to run the rest of my life.

I’m wondering if I should run an experiment, and have something that is more typically genre run through KDP/Unlimited to see how the returns differ.

The downside to that (apart from the qualms I have about the KDP contract) is that having only one book in that pipeline isn’t going to do much. I’d need at least three.

Three books that are separate from anything I currently have on contract, when I’m already on a brutal contract schedule.

Of course, a new pseudonym and a new idea for a series, even its title, came bursting forth almost immediately.

Whether I choose to go KDP or not, I’m kind of in love with this idea. It fuses with a couple of other ideas I’ve been playing with, and mixes the mystery and romance genres in a beautiful location.

I even have the opening line, which is a kicker.

The problem is — when will I be able to write it? We’ve already rescheduled THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m on track for GRAVE REACH, but I can’t let the other two fall by the wayside.

I have to get back into the Jain Lazarus Adventures later this year, revising CRAVE THE HUNT, and my editor and I have to go over the first two, seeing if we need to make any changes.

I have to get back on track with the JUSTICE BY HARPY books. The first book is in great shape; the second two, not so much. Since all three have to release close together, that’s a challenge.

I want to get THE FIX-IT GIRL out on traditional submission, and work on THE TIE-CUTTER.

And, of course, there’s always GAMBIT COLONY that pulls whenever I’m stressed to blow off steam.

I have a radio play going live in May. I have another radio play due in Florida in the next couple of weeks, and requests for more; I have ANOTHER radio play to send to MN as soon as I’m done with it.

I have a play due in NY at the end of May for a contest.

I have to get into the MFA to research Canaletto and the Bibiana families so I can start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters that’s due at the end of the year.

I have to finish the anti-gun violence play (because it’s not like that issue will be solved any time soon).

I have to keep working on WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, and test the monologues.

I have to write the play about the two infamous women authors.

I have articles to pitch and write, and other marketing writing that keeps a roof over my head. I have contest entries to finish, books to review, a couple of speaking engagements coming up.

I have to come up with a new marketing strategy for my books.

How do I make it all work? Especially when, right now, I’m exhausted? And deal with the garden? And I probably have to face some major life changes in the upcoming months.

I’m not sure. I have to take some time to sit and think. To prioritize. To push myself to get it all done.

To do it without killing myself.

Hence why the burnout workshop was so relevant.

Outside, took a few breaths of fresh air, then back in for a seminar on ebook pricing. Some of which directly contradicted what worked for some of the authors in the last seminar.

One interesting thing that came up was to set the first book in a series perpetually at 99 cents. I’ve played with that idea. I don’t want the people who are excited by a new release to feel screwed if I lower the price of the first book to 99 cents and keep it there. My publisher is open to discussing pricing changes, but is more in favor of limited-time discounts than a permanent change.

A few months ago, I was advised that I should lower the price of ALL the earlier books whenever I have a new release out. I balked at that idea, as did the publisher. Because then why should people order the book when it first comes out? They know it’ll come down in price a year later when the next one comes out. In the interim, I might lose them anyway.

It was also brought up that $1.99 is an awful price. I put my Delectable Digital delight shorts at 99 cents (making sure people understand they are SHORT). My publisher usually has novellas or short novels at $1.99 or $2.99 if they’re almost up to category length. Now I’m wondering if we should go up to some funky price like $2.09 or $2.49?

Yeah, this is just what my publisher wants. Me to come back from a conference full of ideas that aren’t new books! 😉

The lunch buffet was fun. I got to catch up with a friend who has nine books out under one of her names, and is about to launch a cozy mystery series under another. Can’t wait to read all of them!

Met another author, Jillian David, whose presentation I missed (and I felt guilty for so doing, because I really liked her). I now can’t wait to read her books, either.

The lunchtime keynote was Penny Reid, who was funny and heartfelt, and now I have another new-to-me author to read. That’s one of my favorite things about conferences — finding new-to-me authors whose work I can gobble up.

I found Kilby Blades, who was presenting the two sessions before mine in the salon we would all share, to ask if she minded that I brought my rack down and stashed it before her session started. She was cool with it. I didn’t want to just show up with a bunch of stuff and presume I could take up space.

I attended both of her marketing sessions which was useful. She navigates how to use best business practices in marketing and then morph them for the weirdness that is the book business. It helped me rethink some strategies, and I will have a lot to discuss with my publisher’s new marketing director soon!

There were some elements that gave me a headache. Charting daily sales–I know it’s useful, but I’d much rather look at weekly or monthly breakdowns. But as we work on new marketing strategies, the daily fluctuations and the importance of serious testing matters. The same way it does when I do it for other people.

I wish it wasn’t so much easier to market for someone else than to market myself!

Then, it was my turn.

My audience was great, but I was not happy with my performance. I talked too quickly. I didn’t share enough anecdotes from the set (only two or three). I meant to talk about heirloom pieces that are passed down and how they have meaning, and didn’t. I meant to tie in to some of the other sessions, and it flew right out of my mind.

I was frustrated with myself because it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the only one to blame was me.

I shouldn’t have cut reading the passage from a friend’s book about how a couple of characters cleaned up for a funeral. That would have been a good addition. But when I timed a rehearsal, it made the session run long without time for questions.

As I said, my audience was great. I could have been better. I did not live up to my own expectations.

I packed up, took everything back up to the room, and changed for dinner. I wore Cupcake International pieces all weekend — I was a walking advertisement for them. But the pieces were fun and comfortable and flattering.

Dinner was good. I sat with some people who’d been in my session, and another woman from NH who was lovely. We had a great talk about life in New Hampshire and a whole lot of other things.

Sonali Dev was our Keynote, and she was wonderful. She said something that resonated. “We write because we refuse to be silent.”

Again, gave me a lot to think about.

I was exhausted and my mind going a mile a minute after dinner. I didn’t join the debrief sessions; I went upstairs. I finished reading the book for review, and made notes.

I made some notes on some new ideas. I tried watching TV, but there was nothing I wanted to see. Packed everything up.

I pondered all the information I’d gathered. It will take me awhile to sort it all out and decide how best to put it to use.

Woke up at 1 AM and got back to sleep. Woke up a little after six. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. Breakfast.

Had the car loaded and was gone a little after 8. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was home by 10:30.

Unloaded. Put stuff away. Unpacked. Sorted laundry. Unpacked the handouts and bookmarks and other things I picked up at the conference. It will take me a few days to go through them.

I usually go through them the day of or the day after. But I was too tired.

I don’t get why — I hardly drank at all. I usually spend more time at the bar at conferences, and I didn’t this time around. But I feel more worn out than when I spend most of my free time in the bar. Here I tried to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I’m still wiped out.

Probably because this was at the end of a long, stressful month.

Tried to rest on Sunday. Wrote the review. Read some other books. I gave myself the day off from contest entries.

Monday was back to the normal routine, although I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

Got some writing done in the morning, although it wasn’t very good. Played with my new idea. That world is coming into focus surprisingly clearly. Although I don’t want to be arrogant about it, so I ordered a bunch of research books from the library.

Returned what I’d borrowed for the conference. Spent time onsite with a client. Turned in my review.

Cancelled out of my mid-afternoon appointment because my brain was mush and I was making stupid mistakes.

I’d walked out of the house without my phone. Meant to pick it up after the session with my client and before leaving for meditation group. But, of course, I walked out without it — mostly because the cats caught a little, tiny mouse, and I felt horribly guilty about her demise. I mean, I don’t want mice in the house, and I’m glad the cats did their feline job — but I still felt awful about that poor little mouse, and buried her in the yard.

Meditation was good. I felt better and more focused after, although still tired.

Read a couple of Tracy Kiely’s Nic and Nigel Martini books over the past two days. They’re a lot of fun.

Went to bed early; overslept this morning.

Got some writing done, but not enough. Still mulling things over in my head.

Onsite with a client most of the day, then I have to get some work done at the library.

More contest entries to work on tonight, and I’m starting to enter the scores into the digital sheets.

Was assigned my next book for review.

I have to get going on the thank yous and follow ups from the conference today and tomorrow. I don’t want to let that slide.

And I have to get on a more productive writing schedule. I think I have to add a second writing session into the evening for the next few months. The morning at 1.5-2K is okay (although it makes me feel very slow). But if I can add in another 1K session in the evening, I should be able to get back on track. Maybe I can up it a little on weekends.

Mostly, though, I’m so, so tired. My body is tired and my brain is tired. I’m seriously thinking of taking a few days off this weekend, except for contest entries, and then starting up again with the new moon.

But the conference was great, and it gave me a lot to think about. Now, I have to sort through it, and, most importantly, APPLY WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

Because otherwise, it’s just time spent without gain.

Back to the page.

 

Fri. April 26, 2019: Headed for the Conference!

Friday, April 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and chilly

I’m on the road today, headed to the conference. The most stressful thing about it will be driving the dangerous stretch of road full of dumbass drivers texting between here and the conference. It’s two of my least favorite roads in the area. It’s pouring down rain, and there’s already street flooding, so it will be a nightmare.

But that’s life.

I’m feeling a little under the weather. I have some errands to run this morning before I leave, some things to take care of. If one more person asks for something — everyone’s known FOR WEEKS I’m presenting this weekend, and yesterday a half a dozen people had questions that they think have to be answered RIGHT NOW. Just get over yourself. It’s going to have to wait until I get back.

I’m going to take it easy once I get to the hotel tonight. I may nip down to the signing and meet a few people. I have another meeting scheduled later in the evening. But I need to put together the rolling rack and unbag/hang the clothes, go over the presentation again, check the packets, etc.

Since I’m presenting at the end of the day, the lowest energy point of my day, I have to pace myself and conserve energy, so I can leave it all out on the floor during my slot.

Saturday night, once I’ve taken everything back up to the room, broken it down, and repacked it — I can hang out! 😉

Remember, most of us are a combination of nervous and excited about a conference situation. Seeing old friends, making new ones, meeting new people. Just be kind, smile, and invite someone to pull up a chair.

We’ll all have fun, learn from each other, and come back richer for the experience.

See you at NECRWA!

 

Published in: on April 26, 2019 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 26, 2019: Headed for the Conference!  
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Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Day Before Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy & cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

It looks like I may be moving webhosts again, or at least when my current term nears expiration. Here I thought A2 hosting was so great. Their price point is perfect. I like their panel. Yet the fact that I can’t access my sites from anywhere I want means they cannot serve my needs. I work on different machines in different locations. That is the nature of my work. I need to be able to access my sites WHENEVER and from WHEREVER I need. But because I don’t do so from a “static IP” address, they claim I triggered a firewall and won’t let me sign in far too often.

Basically, I’m only “allowed” to sign in from a single computer they recognize. Which is not how my life works. Nor am I going to change it to suit them.

They claim this is for “security.” Yet my email accounts have been hacked multiple times by outside sources and they shrug and tell me there’s nothing they can do. But I cannot access the sites for which I’m paying far too often. And ALWAYS when I’m under time pressure.

Which means A2 Hosting cannot meet my needs, and I must look elsewhere. Which is a shame, because there are so many things I like about them. The plan has to be affordable, allow me to run unlimited websites and unlimited email accounts, and also allow me to sign in from whatever computer and wherever I am located in the world.

A2 Hosting was great for the transition away from the awful 1&1, and they are light years superior to 1&1. A2 is so much better than Green Geeks. You remember what I nightmare I went through with them when I was trying to transition my sites over a year ago. But A2 Hosting is still not what I need. I am not an IT person or a developer, nor can I afford to have one on-call. I understand most of WordPress and am always learning, but I can’t run my own server. I don’t have the skills. I need shared hosting.

Both InMotion and SiteGround have come highly recommended. They were under consideration for the last move. I may talk to them both again.

I’m really tired of the sales departments of these hosts writing checks the tech department won’t cash. I ask very specific questions when I’m interviewing hosts, and when I’m assured they can and will meet my needs, I expect them so to do. They need to stop lying and misleading in order to land the sale.

I checked out Blue Host and HostGator. They could not meet my needs.

So the search continues. I welcome recommendations. My registrations are now all with Name Silo and I love working with them. No drama. Great customer service. Great prices.

The event I attended the other night was not what I expected, and not for the better. It was presented as a speaker teaching us how to make best use of visuals on social media. Instead, in an hour and a half, the “speaker” — reading from notes she took at someone else’s social media basics workshops — never got beyond joining groups on Facebook. Well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Now I know.

Wednesday morning, I worked on GRAVE REACH and on my presentation for next week’s NECRWA workshop. Two people I really like have let me know they’ll be in the workshop. It will be great to see some friendly faces.

Had to send an email ending a situation where I feel I’ve been jerked around for a week. It should have been simple and straightforward, and the other person is making Big Drama. Sorry. I keep it on the page and out of my life. The person responded in the evening, wanting to string me along indefinitely. So I said no and ended the situation. It leaves me heart-sore on one level, but I’m tired of the demands in this area of constantly having to accommodate everyone else’s neuroses, and not getting ANY accommodation for ANYTHING ever in return. It’s non-reciprocal, and I’m not participating.

Waiting to hear back from another potential client who told me they’d make a decision at the end of last week. I’m assuming they’re still negotiating with their first choice. We’ll see what happens. On the fence about whether I’d even say yes at this point. If I’m not the first choice, it’s not the right situation for either of us.

Got a weird email back from one of my LOIs, trying to justify making an offer to someone else. Hey, doesn’t matter to me. He’s the one hiring. The email made me think he has hirer’s remorse already. I sent a gracious email back.

Got out some LOIs. Had to sent a follow up email to one of the radio producers, because it’s been nearly a month and no check yet. Professional protocol is that the check goes out the day of or the day after the final performance. Not whenever someone feels like getting around to it.

I’m weary and exhausted from all the crap.

It’s all cycles. I had a strong cycle a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s more difficult. I have to acknowledge the frustration, the anger, the pain instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. I have to sort through each situation logically and figure out the best way to respond, handle, extricate, or move forward. Then I have to take the actions so to do.

My life is mine. It is not to be lived for others’ convenience or agendas.

I’m invited to another event next week, and I doubt I’ll attend. Why bother? It’ll be same old, same old. Lots of meaningless chatter in the moment, no follow-through. Then, when I follow through, trying to get me to work for nothing. That’s the pattern here. I’m not playing the game anymore.

Working on contest entries, working on GRAVE REACH, working on “Aurora Nightingale.” I still can’t get those two scenes where I want them.

Tempted to work on GAMBIT COLONY, although I really shouldn’t. But working on that piece is a great stress reliever.

Working on the presentation. I think it will be a lot of fun next weekend. I’m not happy about being in the last slot of the day, when I’m at my lowest energy, but hey, someone had to be in it, so why not me? I’ll pace myself during the day and then pull up the energy and leave it all out in the room when it’s my turn.

I had hoped to have four solid days to do yard work, but it will be raining the entire time I have off. I need to get into better alignment with the weather, so I can get the yard done!

Going to do some policy work with a few people later today. That will make me feel better. Doing something that might actually make a positive difference somewhere.

So, yeah, going through a few tough days. It will even out eventually. In the meantime, I’m frustrated and exhausted and disheartened.

 

Published in: on April 18, 2019 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others  
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Wed. April 10, 2019: Sorting Out Priorities

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Waxing Moon

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for more on the Personal Strategic Plan.

Yesterday morning, I woke up around 3:30, wondering about the evolution of language. Not sure why that would wake me up in the middle of the night, but there you go. I managed to fall back asleep, but had a hard time getting up when the alarm woke me.

Worked on contest entries and a bit of writing in the morning. I’m shaping an essay for submission, and working on a few pitches.

I need to contact some sources for the essay, just to get a few good quotes. I need to do the final polish on the trade magazine pitch I’ve worked on for weeks and keep putting aside, because, should it hit properly, it would be both a fun and lucrative assignment.

I need to finish putting together the presentation for my NECRWA workshop, and start printing the handouts. Because, remember, I am the Queen of Handouts, and when someone takes one of my workshops, they get a Big Packet of Stuff to take away with them. I also have to start packing the pieces I’m going to take with me, and the books I want to show. I’m bringing a rolling rack and about a dozen garments, along with some accessories, books, and maybe even a few vision boards.

I have to ask where I can stash it on the morning of the conference before my workshop. I have to ask the conference organizers what they’d like me to do. I also need to decide if I’m going to do a Power Point presentation or have it all tangible. Because clothing is so tangible, I’m tempted to do the latter.

I’d gotten out five LOIs on Monday afternoon; heard back from one the same day, from two different people, one saying they were interested, one saying they weren’t. I’m going to assume the latter, because that just sends up red flags.

Frustrated by a couple of things, but also have a sense that things are falling into place the way that will be for the best in the long run.

Worked with a client, worked on GRAVE REACH, got out some more LOIs, worked on pitches, worked on the essay.

Today, I’ll be with a client, then working on more contest essays, and whatever writing I can get done.

At some point, in the next few days, I have to do my taxes. I resent funding the golfing grifters.

Published in: on April 10, 2019 at 5:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 10, 2019: Sorting Out Priorities  
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Thurs. March 9, 2019: Need for Time Management

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

If you didn’t see it yesterday, hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see how guidelines can be beautiful and liberating.

With a client yesterday; exhausted by the time I got home. Read and worked on contest entries. The second shipment arrived. I have my work cut out for me over the next two months, but every time I pick up one of the books, I’m excited.

It’s very, very cold and the heating bill is very, very high.

Got a card from an old friend I hadn’t heard from in about four years. Good to hear from him again.

Working on the pitches for the trade journals, and the monologues, and the workshop for NECRWA. Have to upload information into Twuffer for the next month’s worth of scheduled tweets about this, that, and the other.

Woke up just before 3 AM, due to a nightmare. Then fretted about a client issue. Then worked out some plot points on a few stories. Finally fell back asleep for about an hour around 5. I should have gotten up and either sat zazen or written. It would have been a better use of the time.

So I’m unfocused and out of sorts today.

I have a lot to get done this weekend, and even the thought of it is overwhelming.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on March 7, 2019 at 10:32 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 9, 2019: Need for Time Management  
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Tues. March 5, 2019: Prepping Pitches

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Today is my friend Arlene Kay’s launch of her new book, DEATH BY DOGSHOW, the first in her new series! She’s a wonderful writer, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Not loving the Mercury Retrograde thing, especially since it covers most of this month.

I ran around a lot on Friday, doing storm prep, errands, laundry, baking, etc. Got some reading done, but not much writing.

Got a new idea during meditation that I’m playing with. Kind of out of my wheelhouse, but it intrigues me. It needs a lot of figuring out before I can write it.

Slept in Saturday and woke to snow. Snowed most of the day. The heavy, wet kind.

I roughed out three pitches for trade journals, and an idea for another article. The latter probably won’t hit where I plan to pitch it. The editor decided she doesn’t like me, and she always rejects my pitches. As much as the call for pitches got me thinking down the road for this particular article, it makes more sense to pitch it elsewhere. Why beat my head against the wall? So I roughed the pitch but I’m re-thinking where it will go.

Got my hotel booked for NECRWA. That’s a relief. There were rumors all the rooms were booked. But I got my confirmation, etc., so I’m all set.

If you’re in the northeast, and interested in my workshop about using wardrobe as a character development tool, information on the conference is here.

Made some notes on the next section of GAMBIT COLONY, then wrote 16 pages. Made some notes on the next radio play, featuring Frieda and Lazarus from “Horace House Hauntings.” I think I’ll put them on a luxury cruise ship across the Atlantic.

Made some notes for the new idea. It pulls at me, but has to be worked around other things.

Read quite a bit. I really enjoy Ed Ifkovic’s mysteries featuring Edna Ferber as a protagonist.

Started watching the 1982 RCS NICHOLAS NICKLEBY starring Roger Rees. I’d seen it on Broadway, and wanted to see the DVD again. It’s quite wonderful and disturbing.

Up early on Sunday. Did some Canaletto research. The books I need for the next steps in my research are all at the MFA’s library in Boston, and can only be used in-house. So I’m going to have to arrange a day to go into Boston and spend the day researching in the library. Not sure when that will happen.

Read a few more essays in SCRATCH. It really is a wonderful book.

Worked on polishing the trade journal pitches and also on notes for an essay I’m going to pitch to some of the writing magazines. As I checked the websites for the first four listings I made, I saw that the first one has changed their formatting a bit, but the slant I put on my pitch will still probably work; the second has gone out of business since listed, so I have to figure out where else I can send the pitch; the third no longer uses freelancers and does everything in-house; the fourth, I couldn’t access the guidelines from where I was, but I got them yesterday, and I’m pretty sure I can send them a decent pitch. I do, however, have to scan some article clips and turn them into PDFs to go with the pitches.

The article I had an idea for but don’t think a particular editor will take because she doesn’t like me? I re-framed it, and I have an idea where to pitch it to a higher-paid market. And I made some more notes on the essay.

We had a breath between storms on Sunday. It was nice and sunny. The snow that fell after I shoveled Saturday afternoon melted down, so I didn’t have to shovel again.

I’m reading Andrew Lanh’s mysteries, set n the Vietnamese-American community in Hartford, CT. Very well done. I should have been reading other things, but I was too caught up in the book.

Woke up to slush Monday morning. It had snowed a bit, then rained, so it was a big. slushy mess. Got some writing done, then went to work with a client, ran some errands. I’m with a client again today and tomorrow.

I’ll be working on all the other writing, but my primary focus this week is whipping the article pitches into shape and getting them out. I’ve been derelict about article pitches for months now, and I need to get back into the swing of it. I’m a little worried about sending them out during Mercury Retrograde (one shouldn’t sign contracts during the retrograde), but I also don’t want to put myself back another month, and sending them out now doesn’t mean I’ll get hired during the retrograde.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on March 5, 2019 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 5, 2019: Prepping Pitches  
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Tues. Jan. 15, 2019: The Waves of Different Opinions & Ideas

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Waxing Moon

There are several links for you to check out today.

Over on A Biblio Paradise, join the Reader Expansion Challenge, where we stretch each month to read beyond our normal genres and new-to-us authors, then share them. I hope you’ll join in.

Yesterday, on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, I talked about using each week as a building block on your goals, and, this week, to add one more thing.

Today, on the same site, I have my mid-month check-in up.

I didn’t feel well on Friday. It didn’t help that I had printer problems. I changed the drum, no problem. But now the paper won’t catch. I can’t be without a printer, and I can’t afford a new one right now. So, I’m basically screwed. I’m tired of disposable printers. I want my printer to work, for years on end. Or be fixable. Not with these crappy plastic parts that stop working if you breathe on them wrong, and then you have to buy a new printer.

Actually, this Brother laser has been great. I’ve used it daily for about seven or eight years, which is amazing. But I’m on deadline and need it working now. The first time it ever had a paper jam, it shouldn’t just give up the ghost.

Read FIT AT MID-LIFE: A FEMINIST JOURNEY. The book is very well done, and still depressed the hell out of me. All this talk about running and cycling and swimming and triathlons. I don’t want to do any of it. I hate running and cycling hurts. I can’t swim. So, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Deepen the yoga practice. Stay with the weights and add as I hit levels of fitness. Try other things to find something I like. I’d like to try the rowing machine (can’t swim, so can’t actually row on the water). But I have to be careful with my shoulder, from when it was dislocated and I still have issues. I HATE treadmill desks and standing desks. Not doing them. So, we’ll see.

I managed to finish the requested revision of the radio version of “Confidence Confidant” — so I can send it off this week. I cut one character, brightened some dialogue, clarified a few things, added some sound cues. I did not implement the sexist request to make one of the female characters more “likable.” That would change the point of her character and the piece.

I don’t like the particular way they need it formatted — between using multiple fonts in the script (something I’ve never encountered before, anywhere) AND using line numbers — adding in the line numbers, after reading it through several more times and making more tweaks, is the absolute last thing I will do, and takes the longest.

But, overall, I feel good about the revisions. I’ll probably update the BBC format and the stage play, and re-register/re-submit as necessary. I still plan to expand the stage version into a full-length, adding in active scenes of what happened in the New York jail.

So, yes, I still want to write more about Kate Warne. Next year, I might do another short play about another of her cases, where she posed as a medium.

I was also delighted that the proposal to write a play about Canaletto’s Sisters for 365 Women was accepted. I’m looking forward to that. Of course, the minute I announced it, some random guy started telling me what was wrong with the idea, since he’d done a dissertation on a contemporary of Canaletto’s. First of all, I’m still in the research stage — I’m sure I would have discovered the points on my own. Second, the classy thing to do would have been to say, “Hey, I’d love to be a resource” and then privately tell me where he felt I got off track. Instead, he chose public humiliation.

Not interested in dealing with him.

I’m tired of internet bullies. Not engaging.

I’m also tired of people who claim to defend others’ rights making demands that if I don’t do/like/say what they want, they’ll block me. I don’t care. I will do/like/say whatever I want on my own timeline; I won’t trash what you like, although I may say it doesn’t work for me if you’re inviting discussion. If you into something I’m not, providing it doesn’t hurt anyone else, I’ll just keep scrolling. It’s not my business.

But if you are inviting discussion, then don’t get mad when people have different opinions or experiences. There’s a way to disagree while being respectful and kind. Really, the stupid lately is off the charts.

I’ve barely been on Facebook for weeks, and, I have to say, I don’t miss it. I was offline almost all day again Sunday; when I checked the news, that’s when I found out about Stratford, so I kind of wish I’d stayed off all day!

I’ve let go of a bunch of people in my life lately, which was necessary. Last year, I did a lot of reconnecting and catching up. But I’m not doing all the heavy lifting any more. Hey, great, glad you’re doing well, and we can both continue on our separate journeys. I learned that the one I’d always looked upon as the “one that got away” was better off away; I learned that some people that were once important to me at a particular stage of my life are well and happy and creative where they are. That’s great for all of us. Want to connect further? Great Ball’s in your court now. I’ve opened the channel. What you do from here is up to you. But I’m no longer always going to be the kin-keeper, the organizer, the connector. Can’t make the time to stay in touch? Fine. Be well. I have people who actually do make time for me on whom I’ll spend my energy.

It’s official: I’m teaching a workshop on Character Closets: Wardrobe at a Character Development Tool at the NECRWA conference in April. You can learn more about it here and sign up here. I’m putting together a fun presentation, and I hope to reconnect with people from previous conferences and meet lots of new readers and writers! We’re finally allowed to promote our workshops!

I was heartbroken to learn that the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford burned down on Saturday night. That was such a huge part of my early theatre career, even though I never had the chance to work there. But I attended Shakespeare performances again and again and again, to learn. Christopher Walken as Hotspur, and, later as Hamlet, among other experiences. It was a beautiful, wonderful place.

The official line is that it’s devastating to the community, but I’ve heard rumors about the town wanting to demolish it or sell it to developers for years, so I’m suspicious about the cause. It’s just a little too convenient.

I was sick as could be on Sunday. I bundled up and read — worked on the book for review, read a book lent by a friend, and did research on the Algonquin Round Table for another project. That way, at least I didn’t feel like I’d lost a whole day.

Back to writing first thing Monday, which at least got my week off to a decent start. I’m so far behind where I want to be.

Had a great conversation with the director and the producer of the radio play – who totally backed me in what I felt were sexist notes. The director also asked that I put back a character the previous set of notes had asked me to cut. Easy fix.

Client work, and a quick trip to the library; then I had to skip meditation, because I was still coughing. I’m losing my voice, so I’m not going to be able to test the monologue on Wednesday, either. That’s frustrating.

But this desperation for rest that I’ve had for weeks has now manifested into illness to force me to rest. Only I can’t afford to let any of my deadlines slide right now.

Client work again today, and then rest. There are also still decorations to put away.

 

Fri. May 2, 2014: Headed for the Conference!

Friday, May 2, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and warm

Yesterday was a long day, but fun. Welcome Spring at the library was a big success! Some of the books I ordered from the mystery grant monies arrived, along with other books ordered by my predecessor, and some DVDs. Everything got processed; some is ready to go on the shelves. The books that don’t release until next Tuesday will go on the shelf on Tuesday. I also did some research and put together information for a long review memo I’m sending out next week. We set up for the event, and it ran smoothly. I even won the item on which I bid — a lovely pottery ginger jar.

Came home, collapsed, packed a few more things for the conference.

Finished packing this morning. I have to pick up a few things at the store for the cats before I go, and then I’m headed out to teach at NECRWA this weekend.

I cannot wait for the hotel room with the king-sized bed and some peace and quiet. I’m also taking contest entries, my edits, and the material for the scripts I have to start delivering next week with me.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

tnLakeJustice
“Lake Justice” available as a digital release from Amber Quill Press here.

Published in: on May 2, 2014 at 6:44 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. April 14, 2014: Cover Reveal, Play Information, and Tight Organizational Skills

med_TrackingMedusa

Monday, April 14, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Above is the cover for TRACKING MEDUSA, set to release soon. Isn’t it gorgeous? I’m thrilled with it.

Busy, busy weekend.

Friday, I was back at the new job at the library, learning new stuff. Learned how to check in books, do the holds, pull from the shelves for requests, etc., etc. Went over some of the ordering protocols. Got my professional email set up, and dived into the administrative part. Learning how to make spines and add bar codes and make records as new books, CDs, and videos come in and go on the shelf. Getting an idea of the current programs, since new programs for adults will be my jurisdiction moving forward. Lots to learn, but I’m eager to learn it all. My co-workers are lovely, and eager to help me settle in.

It was pleasant enough to eat lunch outside — something I hope to do on most nice days there.

Came home, checked email and discovered that I landed an educational scriptwriting job I really, really wanted. Fifteen episodes by the end of June. I’m looking forward to it — I had a blast with the paid test episode, so I’m eager to get to work on the project as a whole.

Packed up the car and headed for rehearsal. Loaded in the newly edited slides for the play (we’re using some of the real slides from the presentation in the play). I had one actor out sick and one not feeling well but there, so we worked as much as we could, and spent time on certain bits of business and tech. I had someone to sit on book, so I could actually concentrate on directing, for once.

Started the next book sent for review. The next contest entries are scheduled to arrive today.

Saturday morning, it was nice enough to get some yard work done.

I had a client meeting in the early afternoon about the new scriptwriting job, and they sent me more materials, with even more this morning in preparation for this afternoon’s meeting.

Worked on taxes and the new book for review after that.

Sunday, I had a slow, leisurely start out on the deck to the morning, went over some research materials that need to be returned, did some work marketing the play, and then finished up the taxes. They’re ready to go.

I also finished the first round of edits on “Lake Justice” and got them back to my editor.

I did some work on my materials for the workshop I’m teaching at NECRWA in two weeks, and prepared some notes for my lecture at the Community College earlier that week.

I have letters to write today, and quite a bit of material to go over before this afternoon’s client meeting. I also need to wind up two client projects today and tomorrow and get out some requested samples. Then, I’m not taking on any new freelance projects until early July, although I’ll still be pitching regularly in May, and ramping it up in June.

I posted on Facebook that I will be working a minimum of 18 hours per day, seven days a week, between now and May 8. That is not an exaggeration. I am grateful, and these are opportunities that could not be shifted and would not come again. I’m not going to whine about the time put in or how tired I’ll be. I know I’ll be both exhausted, and I’ll have to be very, very organized. However, anyone who whines AT me about how busy THEY are will be stabbed in the eye with a fork. A monogrammed one. Because let’s face it, those who WHINE about being busy aren’t actually busy — they waste a lot of time. Those of us who ARE keeping busy schedules during the feast cycle are way too busy getting things done to whine! For the next three weeks, I have an even more zero tolerance policy on whining than I usually do.

SEAL TIDES flyer - 2nd version-1

I hope you’ll come and see SEAL TIDES. If you can’t, I hope you’ll consider throwing even $10 to its indiegogo campaign to support the show and the Marine Life Center’s mission to educate the next generation of conservationists. Link here.

Onward!

Devon

Mon. April 7, 2014: Exciting New Paths

Monday, April 7, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Wow, what a weekend. Worked flat out on client projects, winding up the class, and on script revisions. In negotiations for another short script project that might happen between now and June, and which sounds kind of fun. Also worked on material for my editor.

I’m guest-lecturing at a local college later this month (they’re teaching one of my plays) and teaching a workshop at NECRWA at the beginning of May. That’s it for teaching for me for awhile. I’m glad, because I’m burned out on it, and my life is taking exciting new paths to which I want to give my full attention.

Went to NMLC mid-afternoon to work on the program and other show-related stuff. Set up the room, trying to get it warm enough so we could concentrate to work. We had a good rehearsal, got a lot done.

Landed a quick-turnaround script job (yes, paid, of course, or I wouldn’t do it), that could lead to a two or three month longer script job.

Saturday, I got some wonderful news, which I can’t share publicly until all the contracts are signed at the end of the week. But then, believe me, we’ll all be celebrating together. Also had the first interaction with my new editor at Amber Quill Press — I think we’ll get along just fine!

Did some work in the yard, raking out the terraced bed. It looks much better, and things are coming up. Hopefully, we are moving into spring. Did some work for one of my other editors, and did my pacing and muttering on the script job.

Sunday morning, I did some more pacing and muttering, and then wrote the first draft. I feel pretty good about it, which means I’ll feel even better after some revisions.

Then, I headed in to the NMLC to meet the light/sound designer for the show and we did the light hang. It went pretty well and we were done by 8:30.

Came home, had a late dinner, watched a little TV. GAME OF THRONES started again; much as I like the quality of it, I’m also tired of the unrelenting cruelty the characters have towards each other.

I have a busy day and a busy week coming up — somehow, with all this work coming in, I still have to find time to finish my taxes.

Devon