Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges

Friday, May 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Sorry this is up late; I had errands to run this morning before the tourons descend on Cape Cod and make our lives hell for the next three months.

The relief I feel at getting out both requested partials to the interested editors ahead of deadline leaves me exhausted. HEART THEFT went out nine days before deadline; NOT BY THE BOOK went out four days before deadline. Neither one were dumped on the editor during a holiday weekend (although I cut it close with NBTB). I lived up to my own expectations for myself AND I’m happy with the quality of work I turned in.

I tried mowing yesterday. The reel mower doesn’t really mow much. It massages, and the grass snaps right back up. I bought a rolling blade. It should damn well cut whatever vegetation over which I roll it. Not happy AT ALL. When it cuts, it does a decent job of it, but there’s too much it’s not cutting.

I’m getting annoyed by the part-time writers who have non-writing day jobs to pay the bills attacking full-time writers who earn our living at it for “writing every day.” This is my profession, not my hobby. If I don’t show up and do the work every day, I can’t pay the bills. Getting paid for my writing doesn’t make me love it any less or make me any less of a writer. Stop attacking people who achieve what you can’t.

And, you know what? Go ahead and DON’T write regularly. Only write “when the muse strikes.” You’ll still be a cubicle slave. I’ll still be earning my living doing what I love — because I show up and do the work.

Spent some time outside, both reading and working on the maps for THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I’m moving forward as though my first choice market passed, and not writing it with an eye to their parameters. I’m back to writing it because I really love the piece and want to create this world. It will have to be done in and around other projects, but not having a deadline means less pressure. I’m getting more and more ideas about the world, and making more and more notes. The chapters I’ve written so far have a strong energy and drive, and I like the sprawl. I like weaving the characters, situations, and storylines together, to see where they converge and where they part.

This morning, I worked out a plot and character arc involving one of my five central protagonists with one of the minor characters who’s more complex than I expected. In my first putterings with this arc, it would have derailed the main drive of the piece. But now, I’ve figured out a way to adjust it so it supports the central plot instead of serving as a tangent. It will drive plot, illuminate character, enrich the world. In other words, serve its purpose.

However, this morning, I’m going back to work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, whose deadline is coming up quickly. I’ll be looking at cover choices next week from my publisher and cover designer — hopefully, there will be a cover reveal soon.

I’d also like to sit down with the market list this weekend and come up with some more article pitches to go out next week.

I finished reading Marshall Ryan Maresca’s AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE. I like this series a lot. A MURDER OF MAGES remains as one of my Top Twelve Books across genre. The choices made as the series develops surprise me. I often think, “I wouldn’t do it that way — but I’m really glad HE did!” I enjoy his world building, and I enjoy the way he breaks genre clichés.

There’s such a big difference between turning a trope (I hate that word) inside out and ignoring it. Tropes set up expectations. A talented writer (like Maresca) knows them intimately and knows how to use them beyond the expectations and take the reader somewhere new and exciting. A careless writer would toss it in and not follow through or defy it without providing expansion and payoff.

I admit it, I read Maresca as much for craft as for story and character. I learn a lot about the way he structures his books, about the paths his characters take. There’s always the sense of discovery there, but he’s got such good craft, I’m willing to leap with him wherever he goes, because I know it will be a satisfying, exciting experience. He was also kind enough to point me in the right direction when I had questions about mapping that have been useful.

I heard the radio play went well earlier this week. The cast, crew, and audience had fun with it — that’s music to a playwright’s ears! I’m looking forward to hearing it.

I’m playing with ideas for the new gun violence play that came out of the conversation I had with an actress friend. I’d set out a cast of characters, but they started feeling too much like representations than individuals. So I stripped it back and narrowed the focus. Now, I have something to work with, something to develop. I usually don’t mention the physical characteristics or race of characters in a cast breakdown. With my work, I find that when the actor who connects best with the work is cast, we have an array of physical types, races, ethnicities.

However, in this case, race is part of what the play deals with. Which means I need to specify which characters are black, white, etc. We’re dealing with things people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge, but which have to be acknowledged. This will be a challenging piece to work on, and I’m pulling in advice from all kinds of actors and creatives with whom I’ve worked on Broadway, to make sure it’s not just a banal “I’m presenting a message” piece, but a piece that digs deep in search of the cause of the problem, and also offers more than one solution. The development process will take a looong time. But it will be worth it, if something valuable comes out of it, for those of us in the creation and the experience of the final piece. Flippant responses out of emotion, fear, anger, aren’t necessarily ones that will help. Yet they will also need to be a part of this, as they are a step on the journey to a solution, and sometimes a tangent.

I hope I’m up to the challenge.

In the meantime, I have to tackle the challenge of the Lawn that Refused to Bow to the Mower.

Have a great weekend!

 

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Published in: on May 25, 2018 at 9:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges  
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Thurs. May 24, 2018: And It’s In Before Deadline!

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/mild

I did it. I finished the partial and the synopsis of NOT BY THE BOOK, and it’s going out to the requesting editor today!

That means I can enjoy my weekend!

Check out the new books I’ve put up on the Recommended Reading page for the Coventina Circle mysteries. I used them for the research on Klaus Hendrik’s backstory in THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Klaus is the ghost of the young soldier who died shortly after the Battle of Fort Washington during the American Revolution.

Finished two big projects for a client yesterday. Should have mowed and didn’t. I am fighting with wasps on the deck, but haven’t found the nest yet. I will win.

I wrote until nearly 1 AM this morning. I have errands and some other stuff to do, but then I am taking the rest of the day off. Heck, I’m taking the holiday weekend off.

Yeah, of course I’ll be writing, but only what I want to write!

Enjoy!

Published in: on May 24, 2018 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 24, 2018: And It’s In Before Deadline!  
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Wed. May 23, 2018: Juggling Deadlines Again

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

It’s official. I still hate mowing. Yes, I like the new reel mower better than the other one. But it still has issues — it sticks, it doesn’t cut down certain types of grass. Really, I’m not asking for much. I’m asking that the damn wheels turn in the direction I push, and that the damn blade cuts GRASS. Which is, supposedly, what a lawn mower does. Why is that so difficult?

Big project for the client is stressful. It’ll get done, but the client doesn’t understand that it doesn’t happen by magically pushing a button on the computer.

Sent out a couple of LOIs. The media kit for the Coventina Circle series is done and up in that site’s Media Room. There’s a media kit for each book, and then there’s the media kit for the entire series, which will be updated with each release.

I’m behind on getting the judging sheets done, because of the mowing.

Working steadily on NOT BY THE BOOK, but struggling. The partial has to go out tomorrow, and I’m worried. The voice is strong, but I’m having the same struggle I’ve had in these past months trying to get it back on the roster — it’s not flowing.

Plus, both the serial and THE POWER OF WORDS are pulling at me, and I’m under the gun for MYTH & INTERPRETATION.

I want to get NOT BY THE BOOK out the door and then give myself breathing room, resting room for the long holiday weekend. I’m sure I will write, but I won’t pressure myself as to what.

I want to play with the ideas my actress friend and I discussed. I’ve come up with a couple of working titles. I’m still not sure if it will be one piece, or a pair of one acts hooked together on a common theme to make an evening.

But I need breathing room, thinking room, daydreaming room. I’m just so exhausted. Our country is being dismantled by grifters and criminals, and it’s difficult to create. But I must, or I truly will die.

I have to finish a couple of things for a client today. And then, I need to write and polish. It’s hard for me to write at the end of the day; my best working time is in the morning. But, when I’m under deadline pressure, I have to.

I’m so sick and tired of writers who say you don’t have to write every day. “Writing every day” doesn’t mean you never take a day off or a vacation. It means you choose when and how to take time off, and the rest of the time, you show up like a professional. Writing is a “real job.” Writers deserve to be paid well for what they do, and not derided because they love what they do. Professionals in all fields show up at the job and do the work. You have a major agent who can negotiate with a major publisher so you can take as long as you want to write something? Good for you. You make enough at the day job so you can only write if you “feel like it?” Good for you. You have a spouse or partner who takes care of the bills so you can write when the mood strikes? Good for you. But I — and most of my working peers — need to show up every day and do the work, whether we feel like it or not. It doesn’t make us love it any less. Getting paid doesn’t mean our work is “less than” someone who “writes for love.” We love it, too. We also value our work and demand a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Earning a living at it means it’s our profession. So we act like professionals.

On a happier note, I re-read the first four of Kate Parker’s Victorian Bookshop mysteries. I really like that series. I want to read her two series, too.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 23, 2018 at 2:34 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 23, 2018: Juggling Deadlines Again  
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Apologies. This was scheduled to post this morning, and, for some reason, did not.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to learn all about A.M. Griffin’s newest release, THE GOD KILLER.

Last night, my comic noir mystery radio drama LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES was performed by the Radio Theatre Players in St. Petersburg, Florida. I wish I could have been there to cheer them on in person!

Busy, busy, busy! Good busy, but still busy.

I finally bought a new lawn mower late last week, a reel push mower. No more horrible noise. No more fumes. No more gasoline. It was a pain the butt to put together. However, it’s been raining for days, so yesterday, before I left for my client meeting, was the first chance I had to really use it.

I like it much better than the gas mower.

I dug down and finished the requested partial for HEART THEFT. Seven polished chapters, and the synopsis, cut down from the nine page outline to a five page synopsis. It felt weird to send off a partial of an unfinished manuscript. I’m so used to submitting partials of complete manuscripts.

It also felt weird to step out of the rhythm of the book I’d established and switch over to NOT BY THE BOOK, which I’m now digging down on, because that partial has to go out this week. I aim for Thursday.

The deadline on both was actually Monday night (Memorial Day). However, I wanted them out early. I also don’t want to dump a manuscript on anyone as they’re leaving on Friday for the weekend, so I want to get NBTB out on Thursday, and I already have HT out, so I can actually enjoy the long holiday weekend.

I should hear back by July. Either the editors will like it and want more, which means the books go up a few steps in the writing queue, or they won’t, and the books stay where they are, and get submitted elsewhere when they’re submission-ready.

Once NBTB is out, the primary focus goes back to MYTH & INTERPRETATION, with RELICS & REQUIEM as a close second. In a few weeks, I have to get going on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Had a conversation on Twitter with an actress friend about our anger over the lack of action taken by politicians on gun control. That’s translating into notes for a script, which I will send her when it’s done. She runs a theatre company.

Came across information on Julie d’Abigny, a fascinating woman from history. I considered pitching to write a play about her for 365 Women, but when I checked, someone else already has (and they’re full for this season). So I guess I sticking to not writing a play for them this year! 😉

But I miss script writing.

So, the summer will be a juggling act. How many balls I have in the air will depend on whether the serial is picked up, and how the editors respond to these two partials.

Considering all the non-writing stuff that has to get done this summer as well, it should be, well . . .interesting.

For me, the best part of the royal wedding was how people enjoyed the happiness the marrying couple shared. I didn’t watch it; I did, however, enjoy how happy so many people were on Twitter and FB.

For those who had to deride the happiness? They’re not worth my time. It’s fine not to like what others like. But don’t scorn them for it, because it doesn’t fit what YOU like. As long as they’re not hurting anyone, let them have their happiness. Not everything is about YOU or YOUR opinion.

Happy that Justify won the Preakness. The hope for another Triple Crown is still alive. Good Magic got a lousy ride – the jockey wore him out too early. My poor little Quip had a bad day, and was depressed to come in last. Poor little one. We forget how young they are when they run these races.

Client work yesterday, today, and tomorrow on a big project. Some LOIs out. Yard work.

Getting the final paperwork out for the contest. It was much easier when I just mailed them the judging sheets. But now I have to key it into the computer, zip a file, and send it off. I need the physical sheets for the way I organize Yes, No, and Maybe piles in each category.

Bought a big new sketch pad yesterday, because I need to figure out some physical mapping on the serial. I need to render the main building where a good portion of it takes place, the street, the neighborhood, and then, the entire town.

Good thing I studied stage design. It’s amazing how much that helps me in writing novels.

It’s amazing how many skills I picked up working in theatre help with the writing.

Thurs. May 17, 2018: Writing Retreat & Preakness Picks

Thursday, May 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’m tired, but I’m deep in HEART THEFT. I had that moment when the book cracks open and makes perfect sense, and I’m going to ride that wave until I finish what I need to send to the editor. I’m also polishing the synopsis. I hope to have it out this weekend, and then turn my attention to NOT BY THE BOOK, and have that out next week.

As of noon today, I am on a self-imposed writing retreat. With only a quick foray out to buy a new lawnmower. We have Vacant Lot Syndrome going on in the front yard.

Any post I post will be quick tomorrow. Monday’s will be for Upbeat Authors.

Preakness is Saturday.

Justify and Good Magic across the board and boxed exactas again.

I kind of like Quip. If he looks good on Saturday, I’ll throw him into the mix.

I like Diamond King’s personality, and Sporting Chance was sired by my old fave Tiznow. I’ll look at them on the day and then make the decision. But my top choices remain Justify and Good Magic. If anything, I have more confidence in Good Magic here than I did in the Derby. But I can’t help hoping Justify wins again!

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on May 17, 2018 at 9:11 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 17, 2018: Writing Retreat & Preakness Picks  
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Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas on “The Social Media Conversation.”

I am exhausted, and I have to reconcile myself to being so until at least the end of the month.

Monday was busy — I went in early to work with my client, who was leaving for an international trip later that day. I had company when I came home — a writer with whom I’m acquainted who happened to be in Boston and came down to visit.

We were having a good visit when an email came through — the person who was scheduled to post on one of my sites the next day (which was uploaded and ready to go) wanted to postpone because one of the links wouldn’t be live. ONE of the links. The others were fine.

I was angry. You don’t pull out the day before guesting. Not unless you’re offering other content for the slot. Plus, as a guest, YOU don’t tell ME when to post your piece. You’re a GUEST. You can request a preferred date and I’ll do what I can. But you don’t make the decision when it runs. My house, my rules. Not to mention that I was off the clock for the day, had company, and wasn’t near a computer. There’s a reason I schedule posts ahead of time. I run multiple sites. I have X amount of time. I plan ahead, schedule ahead, and that’s that.

I said no and vented to my guest and to another friend.

On the other hand, I had some empathy. I had a book where I’d spent months lining up release-day promo for its release. Many of the sites were reluctant to include me, because they had trouble with that particular publisher before and considered the publisher unreliable. The caveat was that they would run my posts provided I could guarantee the links would be live on release day. I discussed it with my publisher, and was promised everything would be on time. I even turned in final galleys early to make sure everything on my end was done.

Book release day came. My posts were up on multiple sites. As soon as I woke up, I received a barrage of angry messages from the site masters — the book had not released. I had not been warned by my publisher that there would be a delay. If I had, I could have let the site masters know in time and offered other content. I contacted my publisher, who got back to me hours later with a shrug that “it happens” and “they didn’t have time” to get it up when they said they would. And that “that’s the way it is with digital releases; you better get used to it.”

Meanwhile, my posts had been pulled down by the site masters and they’ll never trust me again. I lost all the publicity I’d set up, I lost future publicity. I never got as much as an apology from my publisher. The book went up nearly a week later, and they refused to give me any marketing support. As far as they were concerned, I should have “known better” than to expect the book to be ready on release day. This is the same publisher who felt I wasn’t spending enough money to promote my books, and didn’t spend a dime.

Yeah, not a publisher I want to keep working with.

I remember how upsetting that was. I’d never told this particular guest that all the links had to be live, just that I needed links.

So, I’m sitting outside the restaurant, on my phone. I managed to get into my site on my phone and reschedule the post. Fortunately, I was still deciding which post would go up on the next requested day. I sure as heck wasn’t going to bump someone else.

THEN I had to take down all the scheduled promotional posts/tweets/et al I’d put up to promote it.

THEN, I had to figure out how to get substitute content for the next day.

But I told my guest I’d moved it, and that I needed the new links by Thursday noon. I’m on a brutal deadline right now. From Thursday noon through next Monday, I’m on a writing retreat/no or limited internet. I’m not blowing my deadline because someone else’s publisher didn’t come through for them.

No response. Not a thank you. Not a sorry. Nothing.

I was angry at myself for not just saying “no” and sticking with it.

I still needed content for the day, even though it would go up late.

I invited my in-person guest to write something.

She was terrified. She’s early in her writing career, no website, no blog, no contract. But she’s a good writer and she does the work. She came up with a post, I made a few suggestions, and yesterday it went up.

She’s already received an invitation to guest on another blog from it, so everything worked out.

And I got an idea for Ink-Dipped Advice on “Guest Post Etiquette.”

Between us all, we made it work. Was it a hassle? Yes. Was I frustrated and angry? Yes. But it worked out. I learned from it and moving on.
So that was Monday into Tuesday. The rest of Tuesday was busy at my client’s site. Even with her out of the office, there’s plenty to do. It’s interesting, but exhausting.

And, I’m working steadily on HEART THEFT, because I need to get out what I have this weekend. I like the work, I’m enjoying it, but I’m pushing. Especially because the characters in the serial won’t shut the heck up, and the other deadlines are looming as well.

Did a grocery run, trying to get home before the storm and forgot half of what I needed. As one does.

The storm wasn’t anywhere near as bad here as it was in New York. Some hail during the day, thunder, lightning, and rain at night. Power flickered, so I couldn’t write on the computer, and we didn’t watch anything.

Today, I’m with the client again, then picking up the missed groceries. Then, it’s back to HEART THEFT. Big push today, tomorrow, and Friday for that. I doubt I will post on Friday here, or if I do, it will be a post saying I’m not posting! 😉

HEART THEFT needs to go out this weekend, and then it’s NOT BY THE BOOK, which needs to go out by the end of next week.

And then, the editors either want them or they don’t. And my focus goes back to juggling MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

And preparing for another career evaluation/assessment over the Memorial Day weekend, where we will meet, talk, discuss, plan, and relax, while plotting out my next moves.

Have a great day!

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway  
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Thurs. May 10, 2018: Head Down, Working

Thursday, May 10, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Head down, working hard. I’ve been helping one client with her new collection for Spring 2019, while working on marketing materials for 2018. I’m making the final decisions for the contest I’m judging – sometimes, the winner is chosen by a few punctuation marks, or whether or not a word was mis-used, when the rest of the quality is high.

Working on HEART THEFT and NOT BY THE BOOK. HEART THEFT has the bulk of the focus right now, and I’ll switch that out next week.

I was frustrated on HEART THEFT yesterday, because it read like I was trying too hard. I’m tired, I’m not at my best, but I can’t drop the ball on this deadline, nor can I get an extension. I either step up to the opportunity, or it’s gone.

I’m excited that my radio play LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, will be performed on May 21 in Florida. I look forward to hearing it.

Back to the page – my own and those I’m judging. Finishing up the last few entries today and tomorrow.

Published in: on May 10, 2018 at 10:32 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 10, 2018: Head Down, Working  
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Fri. May 4, 2018: Company and Writing

The Spirit Repository.6

The Spirit Repository,  the second Coventina Circle romantic suspense novel, releases on May 8. Blurb here. Universal Buy Link here.

Friday, May 04, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny and pleasant

The house is clean. Beds are changed. Fresh towels out. Cookies are baked. The food and liquor are in. I have a chocolate mousse still to prepare, and then we are ready for our weekend guests!

SPIRIT REPOSITORY is available for pre-order here, and will go to Amazon as soon as it releases on Tuesday.

The major writing focus right on is on HEART FOCUS and then NOT BY THE BOOK, with MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM working around that.

I’m working on contest entries.

I’m making notes for the serial, but not letting it pull too much focus.

I’ll lose some writing time with my guests this weekend, but I’m looking at the break as a way to refill the creative well.

I’m tired, oh so tired, but determined to enjoy the weekend!

And, hey, SPIRIT REPOSITORY comes out on Tuesday!

Published in: on May 4, 2018 at 9:18 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 4, 2018: Company and Writing  
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Fri. April 27, 2018: Immersed in My Fictional Worlds

Friday, April 27, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The work continues: On the galleys of SPIRIT REPOSITORY; on HEART THEFT and NOT BY THE BOOK. On the contest entries. On the garden.

Deep in all this writing, trying to keep on top of MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM. I finally figured out the relic – thanks to an article suggested by a Twitter contact, just because that person thought I might be interested. And the article solved the problem of what kind of artifact I needed.

Finishing up a project for a client, and will make a break with this particular client. I’ve been working with this company for a year as of the end of May, and I’m uncomfortable with too many of their business practices for me to stay. They’re not doing anything illegal; I just question some of the ethics, and I shouldn’t be the person in the position. Someone else, more aligned with the company’s mission, will be a better fit. Our relationship has been cordial; they do pay, although not as regularly as the contract stated. It’s just best for me to be done. To make room for something that’s a better match, for both of us.

Some admin work to take care of, yard work before the next rain moves in, and then, all weekend, writing, writing, writing. I want to get one of these partials out early the week of May 7, and the other about a week or so after. I don’t want to wait until the end May deadline.

The serial still pulls. I’m designing the city as well as several of the houses/strongholds in it. I need RPG-style map-making software to really do it well. Right now, I’m doing a combination of drawing and blueprints/floorplans. I suck at the former, but developed some skills in the latter when I learned set and lighting design. I worry that the time I’m taking on this project is a form of procrastination on the deadlined stuff. After all, I won’t know about the serial for at least another month; if it’s a no, it gets adapted back to novel and goes farther back into the queue anyway.

But it pulls at me. The world opens up, heartbeat by heartbeat, and I don’t want to lose it.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on April 27, 2018 at 9:30 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 27, 2018: Immersed in My Fictional Worlds  
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Wed. April 25, 2018: The Need For Focus, The Immersion in Worlds

Wednesday, April 25, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

It’s difficult to let go of the serial right now. The proposal is out; either they want it or they don’t. But I’m immersed in the world and the energy of the piece, and it’s difficult to put it aside until it’s back on the schedule.

But I have to.

The primary focus right now has to be on doing the additional work I need to do on HEART THEFT and NOT BY THE BOOK and get them to the interested editors. I also have to keep up with the work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and on RELICS & REQUEIM. It’s difficult enough to juggle four projects. Five is beyond imagination.

And yet. . .

The next round of copyedits on SPIRIT REPOSITORY goes out tomorrow. I hope this is it. The review went out yesterday; I’m still working on contest entries, both for the fiction contest and for the radio contest. I’ll have the decisions for the radio contest tomorrow.

The slideshow plug-in I tried for the Devon Ellington site didn’t work the way I need it to — it mangles the cover images instead of adjusting them. So I’ll try a different one. There are plenty of them out there.

Sales of the Topic Workbooks have picked up, which is a good thing. I want to put together an ad for them and see if that helps, too. I’m also putting together the ad for SPIRIT REPOSITORY’s launch and a special promotion that will run for a few weeks.

I’m working on a couple of presentations for one of my clients. I’m having fun with it. Who knew Keynote/PowerPoint could be so much fun?

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice for my article on “Craft and Passion.”

Monday was such a gorgeous day. I should have worked in the yard. I was angry, though; they’re repairing my street. At the end of the workday, they “cleaned” up after themselves by using a leaf blower to put the debris onto my yard. I am NOT happy with it. That’s not the way to do the job, assholes.

I’m not going to re-clean the front until they’re done and gone. I have plenty to do in the back, but, instead, I had the first official glass of wine out on the deck, while doing some other reading. I didn’t want to waste time being disgruntled; I wanted to enjoy the beautiful day.

Tuesday, I buckled down and did some work in the back. Grudgingly, but I did. It’s supposed to rain today, so, gee, aw shucks, no yard work!

Tomorrow will be a busy day filled with doctor’s appointments for my mom. I have a lot to do, too, a lot to finish before I dig in for another intense weekend of writing, yard work, and cleaning up for the guests that are coming next week.

But it’s all good. I love the writing I’m doing, I’m happy that sales are picking up.

I just have to stay focused and creative.

 

Published in: on April 25, 2018 at 2:30 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 25, 2018: The Need For Focus, The Immersion in Worlds  
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Tues. April 24, 2018: The Right Kind of Writing Busy

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy, busy, busy weekend.

I did a lot of work on the serial proposal, and that went out yesterday. It’ll be about two months before I hear anything, and, hey, it’s a 50-50 chance. I hope they pick it up; if they don’t, I have it outlined and ready to dig back into as a novel when I can fit it back into the schedule.

I went through a stack of contest entries, and I started reading the radio dramas sent to me to judge.

I did a good bit of percolating and figuring out stuff for both NOT BY THE BOOK and HEART THEFT, and have started drafting the additional chapters.

I’m in another round of copyedits for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and hope to get them out later today or tomorrow.

I managed to get some yard work in, hauling the big branches that broke in the March storms, raking leaves in no man’s land, and cutting out some of the invasive oak. We put some of the big potted plants out on the deck — the two Rose of Sharons, the lilac, the forsythia, the hydrangea, the blueberry, some of the hanging baskets. Hopefully, we’ve moving into spring and can set up our enchanted deck soon.

I’m so exhausted, just feeling burned out on a lot of life stuff. But I’m excited about the writing opportunities, and I’m determined to do my best.

I’m excited by the worlds I’ve built for the serial, for HEART THEFT, and for NOT BY THE BOOK. I feel good about the work. There’s always room for “better” and that’s where editors come in, but I feel good about the work.

 

Published in: on April 24, 2018 at 2:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 24, 2018: The Right Kind of Writing Busy  
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Thurs. April 19, 2018: Roller Coaster Day

Thursday, April 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

What is it now? The 107th day of January? Sure feels like it!

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for an update.

Yesterday was a roller coaster that nearly broke me.

I had guests, more than expected, up for a funeral. Tuesday night, I cooked and baked. They arrived at night. I fed them and listened to them talk. We were up until the wee hours. Mostly, I listened and offered sanctuary. That was my role.

Helped them get ready the next morning. And discovered that 1&1.com destroyed all seven of the websites I’d built on the new host. All gone. Supposedly as part of the “holding package” they forced me into, although when I asked them BEFORE MOVING the DNS to A2, and NOTHING was mentioned about needing to have a “holding package” in order to retain the registrations that are paid through until October of this year.

I was furious. 1&1 shrugged and said all I had to do was re-point the DNS. Of course, I could sign in to the 1&1 Control Panel, but the only option was to “re-join” their package. There was no way to re-point the domain. That screen wouldn’t come up, and every other click put me into an endless loop. Finally, someone at 1&1 did the re-point and the sites came back up. They should have never gone down in the first place. But 1&1 did it because they could, and they like to fuck with their customers and do whatever they can to make life hell and prevent their customers from actually receiving services for which they paid.

THEN — 1&1 made an unauthorized withdrawal from my bank account. I was told — in writing — that the fee for this “holding package” would be waived, and I would not be charged until April of 2019. But then, they pull a payment WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION from my bank account. Not to mention that I warned my bank back in March that I was afraid they would pull this kind of a stunt, but I could not delete my card from their information until the registration transfer was complete. But, you know, TD Bank — if you’ve ever dealt with a vendor, as long as it’s not a prince from Nigeria, they’ll let anyone at any time remove any amount from your account. Their position is that you have to fight it out with the vendor. They won’t credit it or put a hold on the amount until it’s investigated. Too bad for you. They just keep racking up fees against you.

I told 1&1 they had to reverse the payment. 1&1 said it wasn’t a “real” payment, but an “RVK” and wouldn’t actually go through. TD Bank shows it as a debit, and, in fact, now says I’m overdrawn and is adding overdraft fees. 1&1 says there’s “nothing they can do” and they’ve refused to reverse the charge or give me a credit.

Not only that, but now they want to hold the transfer hostage for another 60 days (the original 60 days that would have allowed the move would be up in early May). How much more money will they extort from me with the threat of again destroying my sites and making it impossible for me to promote my books or earn a living?

So I have to file a boatload of paper work with Attorneys General, with my Senators, and probably go fill out a police report so that TD Bank will take this seriously.

I talked to Name Silo, to whom I plan to move the registration, and they told me it was par for the course with 1&1. They also said that the DNS should never have been touched, even if the names of the domains were moved into another package, and told me that, once I wrench the domain registrations away from them and get them to Name Silo, there isn’t any need to re-point DNS; it should remain the same. Intellectually, I knew that; it’s yet again, 1&1 doing whatever they can to hurt me and get more money out of me.

At four a.m. this morning, they sent me another invoice and are going to make another pull from my bank for monies to which they have no right. AFTER telling me IN WRITING none of this would cost me anything until April 2019.

So, now I also have to file more paperwork with ICANN.

I’m also not happy with A2 Hosting’s position, which is that it’s not their problem and there’s nothing they can do. I’m paying them to host my sites. I expect them to keep those sites secure and not let any random individual re-point a DNS without permission.

This will be hours and hours of putting together documentation that I need to spend writing. I am furious.

I finished up a couple of ads for one of my clients yesterday — things are moving along nicely there.

I got more work done on the outline for the serial. I hope to finish it today, distill it down into a synopsis, and send it off with the sample pages by tomorrow.

The good news is that I participated in the Carina Pitch event on Twitter. I’d polished and honed the pitch for NOT BY THE BOOK for hours on Tuesday afternoon. As a “what the hell” later that day, I polished a pitch for HEART THEFT as well. This particular round of pitching is open to partials as well as full manuscripts, so I was clear. Both NOT BY THE BOOK and HEART THEFT were developed with an eye to the Harlequin lines.

I pitched both on Twitter early in the morning. Almost immediately, one of the editors expressed interest in HEART THEFT. She sent me information to her personal submission link and the rest of the guidelines.

I re-pitched NOT BY THE BOOK in the early afternoon (you can pitch each project twice). A few minutes later, I heard from another editor, who liked that pitch, and asked for more. She sent me HER personal submission link and the guidelines.

So I have until May 28 to submit both.

I have four polished chapters of each book done and my writer’s rough outline. I plan to write six more of each in the interim, and polish them, and distill my writer’s rough into a polished synopsis. The cover letter will be a little different than I usually write, since it’s a partial, but that’s okay. I want to get them both in before May 28.

This is a great opportunity and I’m excited.

Of course, I still have SPIRIT REPOSITORY in galleys, and I have to keep MYTH & INTERPRETATION, RELICS & REQUIEM, and DAVY JONES DHARMA on track. AND keep up with client projects. AND keep landing new clients.

I will have to be focused and disciplined over the next few weeks.

In other words, the fraud and extortion practiced by 1&1 and the shrugging off about the unauthorized transactions by TD Bank need to be stopped by the appropriate authorities.

I have a life to live, and I’m tired of companies like 1&1 and TD Bank preying on people because those people don’t have infinite amounts of money to spend and actually notice when there are unauthorized transactions, and that it matters.

I have sixteen pages of copyediting notes to put in to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I am mortified that I missed so many things in the manuscript I turned in; I am grateful for the opportunity to fix them with my copyeditor before the book is published!

Onward.

Thurs. April 12, 2018: Evolving Process

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Garden update on Gratitude and Growth goes up tomorrow, because I’m performing the tasks I’ll write about later today!

If you didn’t stop by Fearless Ink yesterday to read my post on “Morning-After Networking,” please do, and leave me some comment love!

This week, I pushed hard to create and hone a presentation for one of my clients. She got a great opportunity to pitch her product to some decision makers with access to a 2-million person client base next week. So we dug in and did it. I did the design AND the text, we used a mix of photos, and it can be used as PowerPoint/Keynote, a handout, or a PDF. She’s thrilled, and I’m pleased by the whole thing. I have samples for my sample book, and it’s all good. It was a lot of concentrated work, but the result was worth it.

There’s a marketing piece I worked on for another client, and he stubbornly insists on using language that makes him sound down-market in a completely different field. I’m debating whether I should even use samples of that in my portfolio.

I have one more big project for another client, and then we’re done until autumn. I have to finish up a couple of small things for another client, and then I want to cordially move on. That client uses some business practices that make me uncomfortable, even though they are technically legal.

I have a bunch of LOIs out, I’m waiting to go to contract with a company for whom I used to do a lot of work, and I have some meetings coming up.

I cannot emphasize what a big, positive difference having the redesigned websites on the new web host have made. I’m shocked and horrified by how much business the old host cost me, because they kept making sure the sites didn’t work properly. Learn from my mistakes, my friends.

I’m doing the last pass on this draft of SPIRIT REPOSITORY today, and adding in the back matter, which includes polishing the first chapter of RELICS & REQUIEM, adding a short article on the concept of “genius locii” and putting in the information for the other books. Tomorrow morning, it will go off to my editor, so we can go into galleys.

The major attention then turns to the drafts of MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELLICS & REQUIEM, both of which have to be juggled in tandem. NOT BY THE BOOK is sneaking in there, too, and finishing up the rough outline for the serial, so I can distill it down into a pitch-worthy synopsis.

A note on evolving process: as much as I hate working on index cards to sort scenes, for this serial, I find I need to. I have plenty of background notes and other stuff as well, but I need to work the beats of each chapter/episode on cards, and then shuffle and re-shuffle. Some of that will further change as I actually write the chapters, since each chapter is in a different character’s POV. I think I need to write one more round in each POV, and I’m wondering if I should add another character’s POV. It would open up the world, but it then feels out of balance. As it is, the title has a “Three”in it, and I’m writing in four points of view. To expand it to five — not so sure it will work.

I’m eager to get some admin stuff out of the way and get back to the page.

Not so eager to finish my taxes this afternoon! This year, especially, I resent it. I do not want to give a single penny to this corrupt administration of grifters.

Onward.

 

Published in: on April 12, 2018 at 8:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 12, 2018: Evolving Process  
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