Fri. July 1, 2016: Mars Makes His Move & I’m Independent

Personal Revolution CoverFriday, July 1, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Walked in to the library yesterday morning to be told I was fired, the position was “eliminated”. I would have stayed for a few hours to compile contacts info for upcoming programs and finish dangling ends, but I had to turn in my key and leave without even turning on the computer or anything else. Buh-bye.

Had to take my mom on some medical errands, but then I went down to the “Career Center” in Hyannis to fill out the unemployment paperwork and do all the registering and stuff one does in this situation. They were absolutely lovely AND I can go down there and do my job searches on their computers and book time and all kinds of things. In fact, I have to show my face once a week, which is fine, because they’re so helpful. I haven’t had to fill out unemployment paperwork since 1991. It’s kind of different now. But if you have half a brain, it’s not rocket science. They also suggested that I not put so much pressure on myself now (the first three hours after I was fired), and at least give myself the holiday to decompress.

Of course, I’ll be writing for the entire holiday weekend to finish the book that’s due at the end of next week, but that’s another whole ball of wax.

It also shores up how people took advantage of us at the Place That Shall Not Be Named when they demanded we fill out applications for them, instead of going to the center and learning how to do it them-damn-selves.

But that’s no longer my problem, and neither is anything else over there.

I let the people with whom I’d been negotiating projects know I was gone and they’d have to deal with Them directly.

Did the grocery shopping (chop wood, carry water). Did a little bit of work on INITIATE, and finished the proofs of “Personal Revolution”.

Read Lilith St. Crow’s CLOUD WATCHER, which I enjoyed.

I have a massive migraine, but that’s the stress, and once it releases, I’ll be okay.

Didn’t feel up to doing much of anything last night and went to bed early. I promised myself I’d give yesterday over to mourning, and then get on with it. Too many deadlines to indulge in a pity party.

Lots of support from friends all over the place, and suggestions from colleagues in the business who are off-Cape. Also getting a lot of love & support from some actor pals, even though we are all far-flung all over the world on different projects right now. Because when you’re “one of us”, you circle the wagons when the civilians behave like . . .well, civilians.

Up early this morning. Yoga outside, and my first writing session of the day on the deck (on INITIATE).

“Personal Revolution” released this morning. You can find it on Smashwords here. It’s set during an Independence Day event at a New England historical site (a fictional one), so it’s relevant to the weekend, and I was damned if I was going to drop that ball, even though it was rough getting it done. But done it is, and I hope people enjoy it.

Headed back to the page for the CHARISMA revisions. I have a wide stretch of uninterrupted worktime, and I intend to make the most of it and meet my deadlines.

The summer flirt boys are back in town, so that’s always amusing, too. Not that I take any of it seriously, but it’s a fun distraction.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! See you on the other side, when I’ll update where I am on the deadlines.

Happy 4th! Mars is kicking my ass, and “Independence Day” is a relevant meaning this year!  😉 It will all be good, it just sucks right now.

Devon

Published in: on July 1, 2016 at 9:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 1, 2016: Mars Makes His Move & I’m Independent  
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Sat. June 4, 2016: Writing and Longing

Saturday, June 04, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a blur. We were two short at work, so it was crazy/busy. But we handled it.

Plus, I had the details of the “Plot Bunnies” release. When I got home last night, I had to update the “Stories” page on this blog, and the various pages on the website. I have to put together a media kit for the piece, too, and get a press release out next week.

Meanwhile, I need to get going on the edits for “Personal Revolution”, and I need to think about getting another Topic Workbook out.

I started digging into the revisions on CHARISMA KILLINGS (new title still to be finalized with my agent). It feels right – I think I’ve got it on track. As long as I don’t get overwhelmed by the way I need to shuffle the pieces, I’ll be fine.

But I’m behind on the play, “Just a Drop”, and on SONGBOUND SISTERS, which I can’t drop, especially since I’m in the running for a grant for it. And INITIATE has been pulling very, very, VERY hard.

Of course, there are other demands on my time, and I’m hitting a point where I need to do another reassessment and get ruthless again. If it interferes with the writing instead of supports it, it has to go.

I’m also missing Scotland an awful lot. I’m missing it so badly it’s manifesting as physical pain. I need to find a way to get there next year or so. I’d just posted about it on Facebook and a writer friend plans to go to Scotland next July. So that’s something to plan toward. Ask and there it is!

Started thinking about an old friend this morning, and am trying to track him down. We lost touch even before I left NY – while I was still working on Broadway.

Once I’m done here, it’s back to the page. I’m eager for it, looking forward to it, craving it. There’s a lot to do, and the byword for the summer is “time management.”

I’m already over the summer people and wish they’d go away. I love the PLACE of the Cape, I feel connected to the land and sea, but it’s gotten too crowded. I need more quiet.

Lots to think about, but I also don’t want to make decisions when I’m feeling so unsettled. Once I get the strands of work sorted out and back in their grooves (so I can properly groove each day as I write), I will then be in a position to make rational decisions.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release

Plot Bunnies Cover 1

Friday, June 03, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a long day, but fine.

Once work was done, we settled on the cover for “Plot Bunnies”, gave it a final going-over – which meant a couple of last-minute revisions. Much easier in this format than in most manuscript galleys, where I wouldn’t have been able to change anything. But this was important, because I may well do more stories with these characters. I reworked the end scene, and fixed something early on that sets up a good deal of the when and why. I also came up with a series title: Twinkle Tavern Mysteries.

This morning, “Plot Bunnies”, under the Ava Dunne name, released via Smashwords. You can purchase a copy for only 99 cents here.

This has to do with the platform building I’m doing for the Ava Dunne name, so that if and when my agent sells the series she’s got, I’ve already got a foundation.

Now, I have to go into edits for “Personal Revolution”, because that has to go to galleys and be ready to go by the end of the month.

This morning, I managed to start getting the rewrite for CHARISMA on paper – new opening sequence. I like it, although I have to massage it a bit. It’s still first drafty. But it feels good to be actually putting words on paper again, after a week of percolating. I know where I’m headed and am looking forward to both the journey and the destination. I’m hoping for a solid writing weekend, even though it’s my Saturday “on” tomorrow.

We’re down two people at work, so I have no doubt it will be very busy. It already has been.

But I hope you enjoy “Plot Bunnies”. I’m very fond of the piece and its characters.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on June 3, 2016 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release  
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Thurs. May 26, 2016: Genre Dilemmas

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy few days. I worked on Saturday, and there was a tag sale next door, so it was busy.

Front lawn is mowed; side lawn is mowed. I still have to mow the terraced back area and the meadow. The meadow, in particular, needs help. The grass is getting knee-high!

Sunday, I went to see a show a friend directed and choreographed. Her work was good. Unfortunately, the cast was tired; the tempos were slow, and, vocally, they were all over the place.

Over the past few writing days, I updated the Devon Ellington site, to add “Severance” to it. It’s available in the Premium catalog at Smashwords, which means it is also on Kobo, Nook, and will be on Amazon. There’s press going out for the release next week.

I also have a “Media Room” on the Devon Ellington site. The media kit for “Severance” is up, and so are the kits for the Jain Lazarus Adventures. I’ll work at keeping interview links and review links updated. There’s also some press for the “Severance” re-released going out this week.

The cover for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” is done and I like it a lot. The photo shoot for the cover of “Plot Bunnies” had to be postponed. I hope to get that done in the next few days, and then that will be ready to go. I have the galleys for “Plot Bunnies” — it needs a solid proofing, and then it’ll be ready to release in early June. “Personal Revolution” will release just before the 4th of July weekend, since that’s when it’s set. I’m waiting for the next round of edits/galleys on that.

I’ve done two more rounds of revisions for the short story “Won if By Sea”, and that will go out later this week. The characters are not particularly likeable, but they’re smart. Either it’s what this anthology wants, or it’s not, and then it will go off somewhere else.

I had an agent request a whole manuscript after liking the partial she requested, she read the entire manuscript in a couple of days and liked it; fingers crossed.

“Broken Links” is in rehearsal in Virginia, and will broadcast in early June. I’m looking forward to burning a CD and having a listening party in late June or early July.

On Tuesday, I finished the second draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I enriched the setting, characters, and scenes quite a bit. The elation at finishing was dampened when I realized I’m way over the word count. A mystery like this cannot come in at 111K. It’s not appropriate for the genre. I’m going to have to cut a minimum of 20K, possibly more. There’s at least one subplot I’m going to cut out completely, and I’m going to have to make some other adjustments. I’m going to save that subplot and use it later in the series.

If I cut and shape to fit the traditional cozy mold, in the following books, I will have to force the characters into whitewashing their actions in a way that is untrue to where I see the series headed. That’s besides at least needing to cut 30K instead of 20K. My other choice is to go darker, more along the lines of Philip Craig’s mysteries set on Martha’s Vineyard or Jane Haddam’s mysteries set in Concord. I’d still have to cut quite a bit, but I could go deeper, darker, and keep my characters true to themselves. The books would still have an amateur sleuth, but they wouldn’t be cozy. I like to read those, but the market is narrowing to be either cozy or procedural. It’s a dilemma.

I made a few pages of notes, and I’m making notes where I see the next books going, especially in terms of the relationships between the characters. One of the secondary characters surprised me by pushing himself forward, and he’s important to the growth of my protagonist, so I’m going to go with it. Again, this means the book can’t fit into “cozy”, nor can it fit into “romance”, because my protagonist is not going to have a one-and-only identified in the first book and that’s that. She’s coming out of a hugely traumatic event in her life, and has to reawaken to her life slowly.

It’s a lot to think about; I’m making notes, but I’ve also put the draft away for a couple of weeks, so I can go back to it with more objectivity. Much of what I need to cut will get written up into the Series Bible — the background of various residents and the island. I fought making a map of the island, but I think I need to do so, just for my own use. I can add to it as the series grows.

Tuesday night, thinking about it all, I was horribly blue; but the more I think about the possibilities, the more optimistic I get that I can shape something that tells the story I want to tell without forcing itself into a formula that negates the story. Whether anyone will want to take a chance on it is something else, but at least I’ll have written the book I want to read (and am having trouble finding).

Wednesday, we had a staff development day out in Plymouth. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and lots of fun. I got sunburned, though.

Lots to do today, and we’re short-staffed. Tomorrow will be a long day, too, and then the weekend. I’ve got to finish the mowing, and I also need to dig into the play set in 17th century Italy, and get back on track with SONGBOUND SISTERS.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Devon

Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a busy day. Lots to do, and I had a migraine by the end of it.

On the upside: “Severance”, the sci-fi/horror/western short, has re-released through Smashwords. You can buy it for 99 cents here. It’s been accepted as a “Premium” listing, which means it ships out to other retailers like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, et al.

I also got back the galleys for “Plot Bunnies”, which is the next to release (although we’re still working on the cover), and the cover for “Personal Revolution”, which will release just before the Fourth of July weekend, since that’s when it’s set.

“Broken Links” is in rehearsal in Virginia. I’m looking forward to hearing it when it broadcasts in June.

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT will be renamed PLAYING THE ANGLES. I need to do another pass on that, and then it goes out on submission again – there have been a few indications of interest, and I look forward to the possibility of its re-release.

I’m also in talks about reviving Nina Bell – in other words, rewriting TAPESTRY, although keeping it set in the 1990s, and having the series progress through the turn into the 21st century. Most likely, those books would go out via Smashwords. It breaks too many genre rules for it to make good business sense for a traditional publisher.

I’m looking forward to digging back in to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC this weekend. I’m hoping I can finish this round of revisions within a week. Then I can get going on the submission materials while it marinates – the logline, the one paragraph blurb, the query letter template, the beginning of the outline and synopsis. Those will change, and, obviously, I can’t finalize those materials or my first 3 chapter, first 10 pages, et al files until I have a submission-ready draft.

I admit, it’s hard not to get caught up in starting to query while I’m prepping what I consider is the “submission-ready draft”, but the Universe just likes to bite you in the butt when you try that. If you are sending out queries, the manuscript has to be ready to submit. When you get a “yes, I’d like to see it”, you send it within 48 hours. You don’t tell an agent or an editor that you need X more months to finish. Until you’re established and on contract cycles, you need a polished draft ready before you start querying.

“Just a Drop” also needs serious attention. And I have to find my notes for SONGBOUND SISTERS to get back on track for that. HEART SNATCHER and INITIATE will just have to sneak in when there’s room.

I’m going to have to mow the lawn when I get home. I stopped at Auberchon’s for some more starter fluid from the mower, and they tried to sell me fluid for a grill. I told them no, it’s for the mower. They argued. I pointed out that grill fluid on the lawn mower would make it blow up, and just because I’m female doesn’t mean I’m an idiot when it comes to machines. Geez, Louise.

Looking forward to getting some mowing done so I can settle on the deck with a glass of wine and a manuscript. Looking forward to a writing weekend.

Oh, and I got an idea overnight for a short story, and got going on that this morning.  I was asked to submit to an anthology — but it has to be this coming week.  I’m having fun playing with these characters in this situation, but I need to research sailboats.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on May 21, 2016 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.  
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Thurs. Feb. 12, 2015: Here Comes Another One

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Supposed to get more snow today. I salted the street at the bottom of my driveway so I could actually get out onto the street (with my own personal salt), but then fishtailed all the way down the street, because it’s so gutted and slippery my tires can’t get any traction.

Yet the plows keep driving up and down the streets – not plowing. Haven’t seen a sand truck since two days after the initial blizzard.

Yesterday was busy at work. We used eight bags of rock salt on our parking lot first thing in the morning, then had to go out and get more, while also buying salt (separately) for ourselves. One town over says they’re out of salt and sand and the state won’t give them any more.

I’m wondering how many people have to die in crashes because of roads that still haven’t been cleared before anyone does anything. The town’s sending a very clear message to those of us who live on tertiary streets: “You don’t matter.”

Meetings yesterday, and cozy mystery book club. I have to write some material for the library. Got a freelance request from someone to whom I’d pitched over a year ago. We’ll see how that goes, but I have a feeling that my rates – even at the non-profit discount – are too high. Oh, well, then I’m not doing it. I’m sick and tired of the attitude around here that I should do what I do FOR A LIVING for nothing. Um, no.

I have to read over the two television pilots this weekend and decide which one to submit for something – will have to come up with a season synopsis, too. I’m leaning more towards THE BROWNSTONE than to TALENT, because I think the place to which I’m submitting is more likely to respond to THE BROWNSTONE. But I’ll read over both and see which is stronger.

Got the final galleys back for KILLER QUINTET. Managed to proof “Personal Revolution” this morning. One down, four to go.

Watching STUDIO 60 FROM THE SUNSET STRIP on DVD. Forgot how much I enjoyed the show, and how much I related to it.

I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the radio play done this weekend, along with the galleys. Fingers crossed.

I have a feeling tango will be cancelled tonight – it’s such a mess that even a little bit more snow will make it dangerous.

Stay safe.

Devon