Tues. Sept. 5, 2017: Into a Fresh Cycle

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
First Day of the Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT

Mercury goes direct today. Today could still be rough, but we’re almost there! It kicked my ass — again — this time around. Although there were also some good things.

We’re gearing up for Hurricane Irma, which might or might not have a huge impact on this area. They “don’t know”. So for all those ass wipes criticizing people for not evacuating Houston — first of all, we don’t get accurate information; second, we don’t get it early enough; third, the evacuation plans around here (I’m not in Houston, I’m talking personally) don’t work. So STFU and don’t criticize.

I don’t care how much the various staffs have been downsized. With the millions of dollars in equipment, they need to give us accurate information in enough time to make informed decisions that can be practically acted upon. In other words, we need information weeks ahead, not hours. 48 hours doesn’t cut it.

And saying you can’t predict the weather — hon, you’re PAID to predict the weather. Any other job with that much error and you’d be out on your ass. So do it, already.

I remember, way back in grade school in the 1970s when they told us about technology in development to fly into the eye of a hurricane and release a chemical that would dissipate the hurricane. Whatever happened to that? Probably found out the chemical killed people.

Anyway, busy weekend. Lots and lots and lots of yoga. Seriously sore.

Finished the proofs for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Let’s hope we caught everything this time around. They go off to the publisher today.

Worked on my review assignment. The book is denser than I expected, and I can’t read it as quickly as I’d like.

Read a lot. Also went through some research books, which, unfortunately, weren’t as useful as I’d hoped. They all go back today.

Worked on the overall series outlines for Nautical Namaste Mysteries and the Picaroon Island Mysteries. Did some more work on the overall outline for Coventina Circle.

Did some more work on “Labor Intensive”, which I think will be re-secheduled for release on September 12. Unless we’re in the middle of a hurricane.

Started preparing for the annual rental inspection, which happens tomorrow.

Got some yard work done, but not enough. The mower is cranky, and it rained quite a bit on Sunday (Harvey remnants), so I’m behind.

Re-reading LEAVING A TRACE, about journals. That gave me an idea for a literary fiction novel, written as diary entries. I wrote a writers’ rough outline and the first twelve pages. I think I have something worthwhile here, but don’t know how to fit it into the schedule. Will have to work on it piecemeal around other things.

Also got an idea for an odd, one-off thriller. Did the writers’ rough outline.

It was nice enough to do some work sitting out on the deck. But I feel like I’m not getting enough done.

I’m waiting to hear back on two gigs this week — one which would be the following week, and the other which would be from now through November. I’d like to do both, but we’ll see if I’m what they want.

I also have to get out at least one essay and one short story, not to mention some pitches and LOIs. I should hear back this week on a couple of pitches I sent to a publication with whom I work fairly regularly, and I’m waiting for payment on two other pieces.

Saturday night, I had a wonderful aha! moment in the evening meditation, that sends me back on the right track. I’ve lost too much of what I worked hard to gain, in personal terms, and I need to be less willing to compromise. But the realization when it all clicked into place — it gives me a huge sense of freedom.

The next few months will include a lot of long-term planning, and that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, for short-term planning, go hop onto the GDR site and see my September To Do List.

This morning, I did a major grocery shopping, and I got the proof of PLAYING THE ANGLES to the publisher. An article I pitched was accepted (for January, but I’ve been trying to break into this market, so great). I accepted the assignment this morning.

Still have a lot to do, and the traffic is still a nightmare (summer people, go home).

But it’s all good.

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Published in: on September 5, 2017 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 5, 2017: Into a Fresh Cycle  
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Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions

Monday, July 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Intense weekend. Still dealing with personal issues.

Worked on the article; it should be ready to go out tomorrow. Roughed out two more articles and two flash fiction pieces I hope to get done this week.

Most of the weekend was spent working on the Coventina Circle series. I’ve got the edits done on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I have a bit more backmatter to add in over the next few days, and then it goes to my editor and copy editor.

Worked on the information for what will be the Coventina Circle Series Bible. I have most of the character information in there; now I need to do the place information.

We’ve roughed out the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, too. The central protagonists are Bonnie and Rufus, and it deals with both contemporary times and with New York City’s history as New Amsterdam. The first chapter of SPIRIT REPOSITORY will be included in the back of PLAYING THE ANGLES.

I re-read what I have on the book. I thought I was nearly finished with it, but it’s really only about a third. I have to get cracking, since we now have a May 2018 release date for it. But I got a good sense of it, and have to sit down and work out some plot complications. It will take a few days to finish outlining it and then I can get back to work on it. That book has to go into the regular, daily writing schedule.

I also spent time doing Writers Rough Outlines on other books in the series. I have basic notes on the Lesley/Sam book and the Diana/Greg book. I spent most of my time focusing on Book 3 in the series, which has the tentative title of RELICS & REQUIEM. That book focuses on Amanda and Phineas.

Because the lives of these characters are so entwined, and I’ve set up some strong relationships in ANGLES, I find I need to work on the outlines in tandem. Things that happen further down the line need seeds planted in the earlier books. Each book stands alone, and has a different central pair of protagonists, as paranormal romantic suspense does, but they feed on each other.

It’s an interesting process, and I understand so much more about structure than I did when I first wrote ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. Growth in a writer is a good thing.

Started reading WORDS ON THE AIR, which is the collected letters of poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. It’s gotten me thinking about writing an epistolary novel. Supposedly, that’s out of fashion, but it’s a style I enjoy. Made some notes. I think I want it to cover several decades of history. The characters are talking to me, telling me about their lives and how they want it to work. It will take quite a bit of research, I think.

Getting back into writing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY means re-visiting some of New York City’s earliest history. I ordered some books from the library, then looked up and realized I owned one of them. When I first percolated the novel, I used Washington Irving’s diaries. I also bought a good biography of him, but didn’t read it. It’s sitting on the shelf next to his diaries. Time to read it.

One of the late payments arrived; the smallest one (of course), and only part of it. But better than nothing. The other payment better arrive in the next few days. This is ridiculous. “Processing” means the check will be written and mailed, not that you’re deciding to maybe someday pay or not pay. Use the right language.

The actor John Heard died. I was sorry to hear it. We worked together off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club on an Arthur Miller play quite a few year ago. He had a meticulous process approaching his work. He had the reputation for being difficult, but we got along well.

Watched PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES again this weekend. I liked it better this time around. My favorite scene is still the Bennett girls getting ready for the ball, hiding their weapons in their gowns. My 94 year-old mother, who doesn’t like paranormal movies, loved it. She’s re-reading Jane Austen right now, and we’re watching all the movies, and I wanted to see this one shortly after seeing the definitive PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Colin Firth.

Lots to do today. I’d like to stay in the cocoon of the Coventina Circle books, but I have to deal with the real world in order to keep a roof over our heads. I have a project meeting on Thursday that I’m looking forward to.

I have to do some rearranging of front matter for a play that a producer is interested in; more to do with renumbering the pages than anything else. I gave it a proofread yesterday, and it holds up better than I remember, which is a good thing.

Already did a grocery run this morning (to avoid the tourists), and wrote two drafts on a flash fiction piece I’ve been turning around in my head for a few days. I hope to get it out the door soon. While I drove to the grocery store, I had another flash fiction idea about a butcher and his vegetarian customer who shops for her elderly neighbor. Will work on that when I’m done with the articles.

Because, you know, ideas come in batches.

Published in: on July 24, 2017 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions  
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February 3, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing

Yep, it’s snowing agian. Just flurries, it’s pretty, but I am over it.

Unfocused day yesterday, although I managed to track down the address of someone I used to work with a long time ago and send him a “hey, how are you” missive. He’s been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I’d reconnect and wish him well.

I didn’t post in the garden journal because “It’s snowing again” just didn’t seem worth a post.

I found some of the really intense, handwritten writer’s rough for CRAVE THE HUNT — thank goodness. I was worried I’d lost it. I still have to find the rest of it, which somehow got separated in the move, but at least I have this in hand, which will help with the next sections, and, if I have to, I can always rewrite the rest of the outline, because I remember where I was going with it. Once the first draft is written, I’ll probably have to do some massive cuts, but I’m just following all the threads here until I see what I have. It’s a complex story, and Billy Root’s fans will be thrilled with the way his character grows — plus there are great arcs for Jain and Wyatt, both as individuals and with their relationship.

Water coming into the basement via the bulkhead, so I had to put a tarp over the top of it, use the wet vac (which the owner left, fortunately), and check every few hours. Had to weight the tarp with the new planters — nice to know they can multi-task.

Found POWER OF WORDS, and re-read the parts of that I’ve written so far. It holds up better than I remembered, although it needs tweaking and cutting. Unfortunately, in the move, the 200+ pages of notes I’d written for it — which CAN’T be recreated — got separated — I’d gone as far as to mapping and the series arc of the piece they’re filming within the piece, and even production schedules, all of which I need handy in order to keep writing. So I can’t do much more on that until I find it in the boxes.

Got out a couple of queries yesterday, which was good, and got paid for an article (day after I sent the invoice — love that) and a workshop. That means I’ll be able to pay some bills before I leave on the site gigs.

Finished the reading for Confidential Job #1 (it’s wonderful); just have to do the write-up, send it off, and send off the invoice.

Decided that the exercises I created for the Setting as Character Workshop aren’t challenging enough, so I’m working on a new set.

Did some Tower of London research,and am finding ways to integrate some of the “fun facts” that even I didn’t know into the scene of the WIP.

My back is getting worse instead of better, which is worrisome. It’s annoying to be limited in what I can do, and being in pain drains away energy that needs to be used for writing. I might have to book an acupuncture appointment here and not wait until I see my regular acupuncturist in NY at the end of the month.

Watched HUMAN TARGET to get my Jackie Earle Haley fix. In spite of the problems with the series, he finds the core of his character, adds specific details, and stays true to the integrity of the character. He can do more with a tilt of the head or an inflection of a word than most people do with a whole page of dialogue, and in a way that enhances everyone’s performance around him, so it’s always worth tuning in for him. The show itself, though, is struggling, and it wouldn’t surprise me if next week’s season finale is also the series finale. The vision feels unclear, like there are too many notes coming in from too many different directions. Now that they’ve added two female series regulars, the writing for them is much weaker than the writing for the female guest stars last season (who were given stronger and more interesting characters to play–even on Monday’s episode, the female guest star had a better-written role than the series regulars, and her chemistry with Mark Valley was off the charts), the creators are not developing them, the creators are diluting the wonderful chemistry between the three male leads, and there’s a lack of balance between the A & B episode storylines and the overall series arcs. Last season definitely had its problems, but it also had an element of fun and a lot of potential; this season just feels unfocused and panicked from the creative aspect of it. I hurt for the people working on it — I’ve worked on shows that are struggling, and it is hard. You want it to work, you have a loyalty to it, you care about what you’re doing, but the people making the decisions and supplying the cash aren’t capable of making the types of decisions that would actually help the show. Every day you go in to work hoping there’s a breakthrough; every day, you get your heart broken. I certainly hope this experience doesn’t turn JEH off from doing television ever again.

My fun lunch was cancelled — the weather’s caused a domino effect, but I’ll have to get out when the roads de-ice a bit to get ink at Staples and print off those manuscripts. They need to go out the door tomorrow.

I’m going to try for a few really focused days at the page — I want the first draft of this book done before I head for CT, so I can spend time down there on revisions.

Back to the page — with an icepack against my back.

Devon

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hey, I’m a guest over on Ye Olde Inkwell, Michelle’s blog, and there’s a giveaway! Hop on over and check it out!

I managed to get a good chunk of work done on CHANNELLING JIM MORRISON yesterday, which was a great feeling. It’s darker than I expected, but I think it works for the overall piece.

Sherrie, to answer your question about outlines: Often, I’ll do what I call a “Writer’s Rough” outline before I start a piece, or as I’m wrestling it and figuring it out. That way, I’ve got a blueprint, and I never just sit there and stare at the page. I sit down and go to work.

Once I’m in revisions, or after I’ve got a draft I think is solid, I’ll do the outline from which I pull the synopsis, et al, that will actually go out on submission. Because my books change a lot during the writing process, and the Writer’s Rough is free-form, stream-of-consciousness, it’s not something that’s usable as part of the submission package. That would be too much pressure! 😉

To answer PJ’s question – I’m not in the city, I’m in the ‘burbs, so no, there were no parks with free hot chocolate out here. I missed out! And it’s not like Metro North ran well enough for me to hop a train into the city for some sled time! 😉

Had some clarification to do for one of my assignments for Confidential Job #1, which was rather an oxymoron, since the point of the assignment was to be obtuse! That’s sort of what I pointed out. Hopefully, that’s helpful to my editor.

Got some business responses that were positive, and will let up some of the pressure in the coming months, which is great. Did some work on client projects in the afternoon.

Roasted a chicken. Having a chicken roasting in the oven always makes me feel secure for some reason. I can tell Elsa’s feeling better because she tried to “help” in every facet of the chicken preparation and I had to shoo her out of the kitchen, while making sure she wasn’t tag-teaming with the twins to get the chicken away. Yeah, I’m outnumbered.

Lots of computer problems yesterday and this morning, so I’m a little behind where I’d like to be, and I didn’t get any work done on the Billy Root story. I need to type up the outline notes I wrote a few weeks ago, and get it all clear in my head again. I have a feeling it will be longer than planned – but, once I have a draft, I can always cut.

Elsa had a good day yesterday, but got worse again at night. She seems a little better this morning. Minute by minute, right?

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 8:01 am  Comments (6)  
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