Fri. May 17, 2019: Inspiration & Focus

Friday, May 17, 2019
First day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

For some reason, yesterday seems far away.

I got some work done at the library. Sent out notes to the person who organized the panel and my fellow panelists, thanking them for including me. Worked on articles.

My brain needed a break in the afternoon. I did a little bit of trimming and pruning in the yard, but, most of the day, I just read.

SHELL GAME, by Sara Paretsky, is one of the best books I’ve read lately. A social justice mystery, she reminds us how to seamlessly integrate what’s happening in the world with a heart-pounding mystery around great characters. I’ve always liked her work, but this is probably my favorite of all the books.

Doing some research on a couple of different projects. Working on articles, working on pitches. My main focus this weekend will be GRAVE REACH, the new play, and polishing “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” so it can go out next week. If the weather is decent, I’ll do more yard work.

Yoga was good yesterday; I’m glad I went.

Next week will be stressful on several fronts. I’m hoping a strong, productive writing weekend will counteract some of the stress.

The Go Fund Me is still on for a few more days; I’m hoping next stage car repair can happen next week.

Ran some errands, got out some pitches. I’m ready for a nap.

But first, I write.

Published in: on May 17, 2019 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 17, 2019: Inspiration & Focus  
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Thurs. May 16, 2019: Process, Viability, and Attitude Adjustment

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Check out the latest on the garden here.

I still have the Go Fund Me up for the car repairs. Your help in sharing is greatly appreciated.

I was pleasantly surprised that the insurance adjustor got back to me on Tuesday night. Part of the repair costs will be approved. Hopefully, I’ll get the check soon; then I’ll know if and when I can shut down the GoFundMe, and schedule the next phases of repair. Even a little bit will be a relief.

I just hope it doesn’t make my insurance skyrocket.

I also have to face the fact that, within the next couple of years, I’ll need a new, or at least new-to-me, car. I love my little blue rabbit. But it’s twelve years old.

Woke up at 3 AM yesterday. The good part about 3 AM is that, from 3-5 AM, it’s relatively quiet. I can get some thinking and plotting done, even if I don’t get up and actually write.

I got up at 5. Worked on ELLA BY THE BAY. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Worked on articles, and on blog posts that have to go up in the next few weeks. Worked on the review of the book I just read.

I’ve now written my way four chapters into ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s a viable book. The next step is to sit down and do a writer’s rough outline, so I can continue with an idea of where I’m going.

My process has changed over the years, from being a total blank pager, to being a total outliner, to mixing the two. I get an idea; if it nags me, I write about four chapters, to see if it can sustain. If it can, I then outline, and then go back and write it.

Some pieces can’t sustain. Some are okay, but I do a nice temporary chapter ending and put them aside to get back to “someday.” (See my Topic Workbook THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS for more on this).

But “process” has to change, as we grow and change as writers. How I created work twenty years ago doesn’t necessarily work the way I do it now, although some tools still work.

Went in and worked onsite with a client.

Came home, changed, had a quick snack, and then drove to Brewster to participate in a panel discussion for a local organization.

Of course, I had handouts. Because I am the Queen of Handouts.

We got off to a bit of a rocky start. I’d given myself an hour to drive there, which would mean I arrived 15 minutes before start time. But the traffic was lighter than I expected, and it only took me 45 minutes to get there. So I was a half hour early. I’m often that early to events — it gives me time to prepare, set out handouts, find out the structure of the event, etc. However, as I tried to get into the building, a board member came out and said, “You’re really early. We’re in the middle of a meeting. Come back in ten minutes.”

Excuse me?

I am one of your guest speakers. An UNPAID speaker, on top of that. (I rarely accept unpaid gigs at this point, but I did here because of my connection with the organization). The proper greeting is, “We’re so glad you’re here! We’re still in the board meeting. I’ll get you set up over here until we’re done.”

Not “come back in ten minutes” so I had to sit outside in the cold.

When I was on the board, I considered it my JOB, my RESPONSIBILITY, my HONOR to make guest speakers and presenters feel welcome and appreciated. I also considered it my job to make the audience feel the same.

“Come back in ten minutes” because they’re busy? No.

I sat outside, fuming. I was tempted to rant on social media. Which was inappropriate. I was tempted to leave. And then I thought, why? Why behave with as little grace as this individual? I’m not Top Poobah Writer of the Universe who demands minions bow to me. It’s really not that big a deal in the scheme of the Universe. It gives me important information, and factors in to future dealings, but, really, it’s not a crisis. I got over myself. Because, in the bigger scheme of things, apart from both my ego, and from feeling that’s not the way to treat people who donate their time to an organization, getting over myself made more sense.

Which was the right choice, because ultimately, it was a lovely evening. My fellow panelists were delightful. The questions, for the most part, were excellent. Except for the couple of people who went on and on about the “art” of what they do and how they didn’t like we talked so much about business. (The topic of the evening was business-oriented, so go figure).

Well, first of all, one does not negate the other. My passion for my art does not mean I forfeit my right to earn a living at it. And if you want to succeed as an author, the business part of it is part of the gig. All of those making faces about how they “don’t do” or “don’t like” websites and social media and all the rest can either pay someone to do it for them — and really PAY, not the attitude around here where $20 is supposed to pay your rent for three months, or better yet, you’re supposed to be THRILLED to do it for free — or suck it up and learn or don’t do it and have a different career trajectory. But if you do the latter, don’t whine that nobody pays attention to you.

Still, it’s an important discussion to have. The more information people have, the more informed decisions they can make for the path that works best for them. There is no ONE WAY — thank goodness! It would be far too dull.

But I’m glad I did it. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in ages, and that was great to catch up.

And I’m glad I didn’t stay mired in annoyance. That wouldn’t have done any good for anyone. This was a case where recognizing the emotion and CHOOSING to move on from it made a lot of sense. I didn’t ignore my response. Nor did I pitch a tantrum. I was able to face it and see how it fit into the bigger picture, and make the best choice for me, which turned out to be positive for everybody.

However, if this individual treats the keynote speakers and better-known workshop presenters at the conference this way, it’s going to hurt the organization.

Happily, it is not my problem!

It was still light-ish driving home, which was nice. I had Prince turned up on the radio for a few miles, and then, by the time I got to Yarmouth, I drove through Yarmouth and Barnstable with the windows down singing along with various radio songs at the top of my lungs. Which was really fun.

The abortion ban in Alabama is disgusting. So are the bans in Georgia and Ohio. I am sick and tired of old white male religious zealots trying to control me. And who are bound and determined to kill me if I don’t “behave.” They must be stopped. Especially when they give rapists more rights than rape victims.

The level of corruption in our government is appalling. Russia is delighted.

Last night, I dreamed about a large tree falling. It woke me, and I was upset, but I managed to get back to sleep. When I looked it up, it said it indicated that I’m “on the wrong path.” Which path is wrong? I’m preparing to make several major changes over the coming months. Is it warning me where I am at this moment is wrong (which I know) or that the options I’m looking at are wrong? So now I’m really confused and worried.

Today, I’m working on ELLA BY THE BAY, GRAVE REACH, and the articles. I hope I can polish the review well enough to send it off, either later today or tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go to yoga.

If the weather holds, I’ll do some yard work.

I have a new Trusted Reader for GRAVE REACH. She’s going to read GR, and I’m going to read her magical realism she’s-not-sure-what-it-is.

I hope the rest of the quotes I requested for articles come in soon, so I can finish them and send them off. My mechanic can’t give me an estimate on the rest of the work without seeing the car. That means losing another day of work to go to Plymouth, and then losing another day of work when repairs are actually done. Whereas if I have them done here, at the original estimate, they will drive me to and from work and home. The money I lose by losing those days in Plymouth will even out what I’d save in actual repair costs. So I’m not sure what to do.

I have some more pitches to finesse and send out. I was about to send out a short story to a market, only to find it closed early this reading period. Oh, well.

I also have to finish the first draft of the short play that has to go out this month, so it can marinate for a few days before revisions, and polish “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” so it can go out next week.

One step at a time. That’s the best I can do.

Tues. May 14, 2019: Trying to Get Some Equilibrium Back

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

I tried to take some time off this weekend to regroup.

I’m keeping up the Go Fund Me at least through this week. I’ve landed two article assignments that I have to turn around this week, have pitched a couple more, and am in the process of pitching more.

I’ve done the Tip Sheets for tomorrow night’s talk in Brewster. I have my other materials — list of favorite writing books, promotional materials — ready.

I did some work on the book I have to review, but I needed to give myself a break, at least on Sunday, and not do anything that was a “have to.” I needed some quiet.

Friday, I had to go onsite with a client, because I couldn’t get there on Wednesday because of the car situation. Got a bunch of work done, then did the grocery shopping. Saturday morning, took the garbage to the dump and picked up a few Mother’s Day essentials. I did a little work in the yard — some pruning — but nowhere near as much as I should have. It was nice to enjoy a sunny, pleasant day.

Did a little bit of work on the play that has to go out at the end of the month. It’s supposed to be a gentle comedy, but I don’t feel very funny right now. I have to let the characters talk and let the humor evolve organically, then shape it to build proper beats and laughs.

We got the curtains switched out to the lace panels in the windows. I washed the winter curtains and put them away. I polished the wooden front door. I’m working on washing and packing away the thick winter sweaters — although we still have frost warnings, and it snowed in the Berkshires.

I’m behind on the planting, but I can’t do any of the outdoor planting until it gets warmer, and we’re out of room inside.

Sunday it was wet and cold and raining. I cooked a big Mother’s Day breakfast for my mom, and we spent a quiet day, mostly reading. I had a fire going in the fireplace to take off the damp chill.

I finally got to read Juliet Blackwell’s A MAGICAL MATCH, which I really liked. I’m also re-reading Louisa May Alcott’s Journals, which soothe me.

Yesterday, I was onsite with a client, and then worked on my articles, and then worked on more pitches. I was also dealing with my car insurance – since I have comprehensive insurance, they might cover part of the repair.

This morning, the adjustor/inspector is coming to check the car. Fingers crossed.

Desperately needed meditation group by the time I got there.

I’ve been working pretty steadily in longhand on ELLA BY THE BAY, but I’m behind where I want to be on GRAVE REACH, and that has to change this week.

Mostly, I am desperate for some rest.

 

Published in: on May 14, 2019 at 5:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 14, 2019: Trying to Get Some Equilibrium Back  
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Thurs. Sept. 27, 2018: Getting Out of Your Own Way

Thursday, September 27, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, rainy

It’s hot and humid and yucky again. Urgh. On the one hand, it’s good, because then the heat doesn’t kick on (although it did earlier this week), and I don’t have to worry about heating bills. But I’m tired of the heat and humidity.

I’m tired, in general, feeling exhausted from the last few weeks, but too bad for me. There’s still a lot to do.

And I wish the damn tourists would go home already. I’m glad people come and enjoy the beauty of Cape Cod, and spend money, but they’re rude, with false senses of entitlement, and trash the place. Go home already!

Even though I was exhausted, I got up early, put myself together, and got out (in the rain) to the Hearth and Kettle in Yarmouth for the CCWA Coffee Chat meeting. It was a lot of fun. There were about thirteen women there, all interesting and passionate about what they do. It was great to talk to them, learn about their different businesses, and exchange information.

I’m following up with everyone I met this morning; a couple of people wanted more information on my marketing writing services, so that will go out. We’ll see what happens. There’s a lack of follow through here on Cape, so I just do what I do, and see what happens.

I also got invited to a couple of events hosted by other members, and they sound cool, so if I can fit them in, I want to go. I talk about reciprocity a lot — part of that is also doing my bit to accept invitations and get out there.

Made it to my client’s office on time. I’d brought a weekend bag with a change of clothes, so I changed, got some marketing/promotional material posted, and then went out back to the warehouse to help with some inventory and get some samples out for a big sale on the West Coast.

Some of those pieces are great for auditions. I talked to an acquaintance of mine who’s a casting assistant and described the pieces. She’s going to tell me if they show up on actors auditioning! It will be fun to hear about it.

Dealt with some frustrations during the day that only reinforce the decisions I’m making. I still have things to put in place, puzzle pieces to set, but there’s a lot to get done in the coming months.

When I finally got home, I should have dug into the RELICS revisions, but I was just too damn tired. There’s a point where pushing through no longer works.

I also have to stop beating myself up about being tired. I am no longer in my twenties. I am in my mid-fifties. This is what it is. I still do more and get a lot more done than many people around me. I have the right to admit it when I’m tired, and to do what I need to in order to recharge, so that I can continue, instead of just pushing through until I collapse.

I have an appointment this morning, and then I have to head back; they’re cleaning the furnace for the upcoming winter. The afternoon MUST be spent in revisions and working on calendar articles.

I’m also going through material for my Idea Bazaar speech at the human rights conference. The flow seems like tangents, but when I really look at it, I can rearrange it so it builds and is of a piece. I’m starting to look forward to it.

When I was so nervous about speaking at the Provincetown Book Festival, an actor friend in the UK said, “Do you trust the work?”

I did. The monologue is part of a play that was produced twice, and the monologue has been performed internationally on stage and radio. The prose scene was from TRACKING MEDUSA, a book in which I have confidence. So my answer to the question was “yes.”

“Then get out of the way and let the work speak.”

Which is what I did. And it worked.

Even though I was nervous about giving the acceptance speech at the award ceremony on Tuesday, it wasn’t about me. It was about my client, who received the award. So by getting out of the way and speaking from the heart, I could honor her properly.

The speech for the human rights conference is again, not about me. It’s about a much larger issue that we must all be invested in, or we will ALL suffer.

Which is one of the things that drives me nuts about this area of the country. Unless it’s a personal threat, too few people around here give a damn. I am done with those people.

Digging in to DAVY JONES DHARMA again this morning, and then working on some articles to post. Somehow, it will all get done.

Back to the page.

 

Tues. July 17, 2018: Release Day Amid Sadness

MYTH&INTERPRETATION Cover

A Between-the-Books Novella

Stuck in NYC when plans for their next expedition fall through, Gwen and Justin accept teaching jobs at different local universities. Adjusting to their day-to-day  relationship, and juggling the academic and emotional demands of their students, they are embroiled in two different, disturbing, paranormal situations that have more than one unusual crossing point. Can they work together to find the answers? Or are new temptations too much to resist? For whom are they willing to put their lives on the line?

$1.99 on multiple digital channels here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

It’s release day for the Gwen Finnegan novella, MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It’s only $1.99 on digital channels, and will be available on Amazon in a few days (there’s a delay for the Amazon listing with this distributor). Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read more about the process of the book, and an excerpt, and go on over to the Gwen Finnegan website for even more.

I feel good about this book. It was great to be back with Gwen and Justin, and now I’m excited again about THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which will release in January of 2019.

I hope you enjoy it, too!

Difficult weekend. My friend, who is suffering from cancer, said her goodbyes to us, and is going into hospice. She is a shining light. I was confident she would beat this. It’s heartbreaking, especially for her parents, and for her daughter, who starts college this fall.

I didn’t get much writing done. I played with a few ideas, but didn’t work on any of the deadlined stuff, which means I’m getting far behind.

I managed to get the international play proposal out on Friday, along with one of the radio proposals. I have another couple of radio proposals to get out this week, along with at least one article pitch.

I’m on site for the first part of the week, working for a client, in the same space with the individual who caused a problem last week. We’ll see how it goes. I have no interest in engaging. I can be a pleasant work colleague and share space, and still stay out of the crap. I have no doubt she will do whatever she can to escalate the situation, but I don’t intend to participate. I have other priorities.

Decent day on RELICS on Monday, but I’m still behind. Hoping to get back on track with DHARMA, too.

Tonight is savasana/sukasana/reiki, and it is much needed.

Tomorrow, I’m back on site, and then I have a few other appointments, and, weather-permitting, yard work.

Onward.

 

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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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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Tues. May 23, 2017: Personal Scale, Grand Scale

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy/sunny/cool

Yesterday was a day. The stress is getting to me. I’m getting tired of the platitudes people offer. This isn’t about attitude, this is about situation, trying to change the situation, and setting fresh boundaries. I realize people mouth platitudes because it makes THEM feel better (and has little to do with the person to whom it’s being offered), but, really, if you can’t offer useful action, just back off, please.

There have been times, over the last few weeks, where I’ve felt as though I was on the brink of collapse. Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of that type of indulgence, so I have to carry on, no matter when I’m feeling.

Frustrated with the pages for the play proposal. They’re not doing what I want/need them to do. I’m running out of time, so I have to figure out how to make them work.

Played with some other ideas. One mixes two genres, fantasy and mystery. We’ll see. The other is a contemporary piece, set in, of all places, Washington DC. The focus of it won’t be political, although one can’t set something in DC without politics affecting it.

Read an early novel of a writer whose work I’ve read quite a bit of. I see the seeds of how far she’s come, but boy, that book needed an editor. Copy editing mistakes up the ying yang, inconsistencies, and so many exclamation points the characters all sound breathless. But the characters, dialogue, and plotting are all solid, and I can see how that one-off book set the foundation for her other books. It’s also wonderful to see how much she’s grown.

The attack in Manchester is awful. Words fail. I have to say, I’m not impressed with the reaction so far from Ariana Grande’s camp. Yes, it’s a shock, and yes, it’s devastating. But for the reports to merely say she’s “inconsolable” and she’s cancelled concerts because she “can’t perform” — honey, this isn’t about YOU. This is about the people who died or were injured, and their families. Of course upcoming concerts had to be cancelled, out of respect. On top of that, come out swinging. A strongly-worded statement against this type of attack, and providing actual HELP to the injured and families of the dead. Not platitudes. Not acting like this is about you. Not hiding in one’s room crying and being “inconsolable”. It’s time to show public strength and class, and be devastated in private. As an artist whose venue/work was chosen as the site of the attack, it’s necessary to be a warrior in response, not pose as another victim.

Errands to do today. I wish I could get the damn mower fixed so that the yard wouldn’t look like a vacant lot. Hopefully, by tomorrow. I’d like to get the yard handled over the upcoming holiday weekend.

Finally heard from the editor who supposedly hired me several weeks ago. Looks like I’ll be getting my first assignment in the next few days. I’m ready to dig in.

Doing research and getting price quotes on several fronts in order to implement the writing plan worked on last week. I have to keep reminding myself to break things down into manageable steps. Having some interesting discussions with distributors, and also with swag providers.

In the next few months, I’d like to do some general swag for Ink in My Coffee, the Devon Ellington site, and the Fearless Ink site. There’s also some generalized swag I can do for the Topic Workbooks. Then, I can do book-specific swags for releases.

I’m also in the process of doing a general Devon Ellington media kit, along with the media kits that are project-specific. I should probably do one for the Topic Workbooks as well.

It’s hard to keep everything balanced, since the marketing uses different parts of the brain than the writing or editing.

All I’m craving lately are fruits and vegetables. I can’t seem to get enough cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, peppers, and the like. Well, if I’m going to stress eat, better a cucumber than a doughnut, right? 😉

Getting some pages done on several projects in the exploratory stage, so that I can see which will catch fire and should be pursued. Researching the next part of the FIX IT GIRL, so I can get the changes into the next chapters on the revision. Working on the short story I’d like to get out the door sooner rather than later.

Feel like I need to sleep for about a week, but not an option.

Onward!

Published in: on May 23, 2017 at 9:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 23, 2017: Personal Scale, Grand Scale  
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Mon. April 24, 2017: Digging In, Moving On

Monday, April 24, 2017
Waning Moon (Day Before Dark Moon)
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

My lowest energy day of the month, always.

Busy weekend.

I should be used to the deterioration of basic human courtesy around here, but it still surprises me. I remember, when we first moved here, I was so wonderfully surprised because people were “nice.” Well, Trumptattitude has taken over, ever since the election, and you can tell those who voted for them, because they now feel free to be their worst selves all the time. They’re the rudest, the worst drivers, the ones who take without conscience. Just like the one they follow. No patience with that. They need to go crawl back under their rocks.

Friday, I got some admin work done, some research done, and then worked my way through contest entries. Finished my third print category, and got to work on the digital entries. The weather was lousy, so it was nice to be able to stay tucked inside and get paid to read.

Ten script pages done on Friday and six pages on Saturday for WINNER TAKE ALL. I’m galloping toward the climax. Gave myself Sunday off from writing.

Saturday was Earth Day, and also the March for Science. Important. Unfortunately, as I feared, the march out here in Falmouth was poorly organized. If you want a successful event, you have to plan for parking and porta-potties. Never got close enough to check out the porta-potty situation, because they hadn’t made any arrangements for attendees to park. The attitude was “oh, there are public lots”. Well, at the best of times, in winter, parking is nearly impossible in Falmouth. In season, it’s a nightmare. For something like a rally? MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE TOWN SO PEOPLE HAVE A PLACE TO PARK. Make arrangements with public transportation. Or you won’t get the attendance you want. It’s not brain surgery. They estimated a crowd of 600, which is decent, but no wonder there wasn’t any parking!

It is, however, typical of Cape Cod. There isn’t enough parking anywhere, and people ignore it, and then are shocked when they lose business or attendance. The lack of a learning curve around here is one of the reasons I find it frustrating.

Worked and worked and WORKED to fix the problems in “Seven of Swords.” I don’t want to lose all the ambiguity, but when ambiguity=mess, there need to be some clarifications. I sometimes wonder if the play CAN be fixed, or if I should just retire it into a drawer and be done with it.

Finished the Orient Express section on POWER OF WORDS. Now, to deal with the section set in Venice.

I want to travel to Venice probably more than anywhere else in the world right now.

Except, maybe, Bologna, for the Lavinia Fontana play.

Dug in all weekend and finished the contest entries. Now, in the next few days, I’ll go over them and make my choices in each category, finish the admin, and send the information to the organizers, so they can announce the winners on May 1. Read a couple of entries that came close — there was nothing, technically, wrong with them, but they lacked sparkle. They served the genre, they were serviceable stories, but they didn’t stand out against the best of the batch.

My reward for finishing was to re-read a novel I’d read back in 1989 that I’d loved; unfortunately, as I reread it now, I’m impatient with it. Rather a disappointment.

Switched out the winter curtains to lace curtains for summer downstairs — big difference in light. Switched out some of the fabric. Did a few loads of laundry. The amaryllis (which bloomed last July) has decided it’s time to bloom again. Go figure.

Admin work to do this morning, and, hopefully, some yard work in the afternoon. I wrote eight pages on the screenplay: later, I’ll tackle the one act and the short radio play. I’m still not convinced that I’m the right person to adapt the short stories for radio, but I’ll play with them a bit this week and then make my decision.

What I’d like to do is go back to bed and sleep all day, but, after days of rain, it’s far too nice a day so to do.

Time to tackle the week!

Published in: on April 24, 2017 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 24, 2017: Digging In, Moving On  
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Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance

Friday, January 27, 2017
New Moon
Chinese Lunar New Year — Year of the Fire Rooster
Cloudy and cold

Temperature’s going down again, but at least the rain’s let up for the moment.

Yesterday, I got some work done on the short story. I think it will be ready to go out on Monday (it’s due on Wednesday). As I was going to sleep last night, I had an “aha!” moment about it, which I will have to work in to the text today.

I sent off my proposals and we’ll see what happens next. I also worked on a counter proposal to the other contract negotiation. We’ll see if that works for both of us. If not, we part ways and wish each other well. I’m done accepting work for so far under my rate that it costs me. Pay me a fairly for a fair day’s work, or hire someone off Craigslist with no credits who mixes up possessives and plurals.

Turning over and over the themes and actions for the play. I hope to get a good chunk of it written this weekend, once the short story is done and simmering, prior to its final polish.

Worked on contest entries yesterday, and also on the research for the Italian Renaissance play. Found a tangent to my research — something very, very cool, but off-topic. However, it’s so cool that I made note of the sources and started a fresh file, so that I can go back and build a project just around that in the future.

Fascinating tangents are a pitfall of research. Many sniffily advise to “just ignore them.” I take notes, especially for sources, so I can go back to them once the project I’m researching is done. I find that works better for me — I don’t waste time on tangents (fifteen minutes to note sources is reasonable, in my opinion), and I don’t resent losing something interesting.

Did some political work, and have more to do today, including a potentially contentious encounter with someone whom I don’t think is living up to the obligations of the job.

One of my favorite authors, Nicole Peeler, has started a virtual book club as part of her activist and educational work. I joined, and ordered the first book. I’m looking forward to it — she’s putting together a smart group of people, and I think we can have some invigorating discussions.

I’m re-reading AS Byatt’s novel POSSESSION. I re-read it regularly, and it remains one of my favorite novels, although I wasn’t crazy about the film adaptation. I always get something new and nourishing from the text, as one does from well-written material.

I had hoped to get to Cape Cod National Seashore today, since our National Parks are about to be sold off, and I’d like to see it one last time. I don’t think I’ll make it until next week, but I’m determined to get there, thank the rangers in person, and take one last look before the destruction.

Back to the page.

Published in: on January 27, 2017 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance  
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Fri. Dec. 2, 2016: Redefining How I Want to Handle My Writing Career

Friday, December 2, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday, I got some errands done and then started on the rewrite of TAPESTRY, which needs to be done in mid-January. I had forgotten how much fun that book is; definitely quirky and breaks formula a lot. Some of it I can make work; some will have to be rewritten, because there are logistical problems. I’ve tweaked the frame of the piece a bit, which I think works better, but kept the action in the mid-1990s.

I’m also starting a binge read of the books by Vicki Delany. I read her Constable Molly Smith novel NEGATIVE IMAGE and really liked it, so I’ve ordered everything else I can find by her from the library. And then, yes, I’ll be BUYING her work, because I believe in supporting living authors with my dollars. Dead ones, not so much. It’s not my job to support their descendants. Living authors — we all need to support each other to make sure we can continue writing.

It took awhile to get gussied up for the Spectacle of Trees party, but it was worth it. Used every Broadway wardrobe trick in the book on myself, and it worked. The party was a lot of fun, the wreaths went for good sums of money. I helped clean up, got home, and got right into my jammies. We needed something sparkly and joyful after the month we’ve lived through. And I got the sweetest thank you from the event organizers this morning for all my extra help.

The last of the books I need to finish the play arrived, so I can dig into that either later today or tomorrow. I want the play (with a new title, I hope), out the door by next Tuesday. Then, the attention goes back to JUST A DROP, and also to the short story I have to submit for inclusion in the anthology.

Yet my mind is churning with creative ideas; I want to keep WIPs on track, so that there’s material ready to launch as other pieces fall into place, especially where the various series are concerned; I want to revise, polish, and get out some of the projects I put aside out of frustration, but which have potential.

It’s about finding the right people to partner with, not just trying to change material to please them. If I’m going to do the latter, it’ll be a for-hire contract with a big paycheck up front; if it’s going to be MY vision, then I need to be true to it and not compromise on elements that dilute the work. The work needs to be as strong and unique as possible, and that’s what will enchant the reader.

If all I do is try to conform to formula, it will dilute my unique, quirky characters and stories, go against the themes I’m trying to explore, and not engage the readers I want to engage. Readers who only enjoy tight formulas and want the comfort of knowing the ending when they start the book aren’t the readers who will respond to the themes, characters, and situations I write anyway. Rather than trying to please them, it’s far more important to please myself (within the context of always improving my craft).

Every book or story I write needs to be better than the previous one, on a craft level and every other level. If I don’t like the other books an agent represents, it’s probably not the right agent for me; same thing with a publisher.

I’ve been truly lucky in most of my editors with my published work. They’ve understood what I was trying to achieve and guided me to make the material stronger without losing what makes it unique. I am so grateful to my editors.

I want the security of a traditional publisher with a recognizable name, only that security doesn’t exist any more. I watch the authors I like reading best dropped from their Big Five contracts, and authors whose work I don’t like (because they’re bland, lack craft, and, in some cases, the protagonists are bigoted, racist fools, and not because the author is trying to communicate that’s a negative) being heavily promoted.

The books I enjoy are, for the most part, coming out of small presses and, in some cases, independently published. Indie publishing is always hit and miss, because so many of those books are so published because the author lacks the craft to land an agent or a traditional contract. Yet, more and more ARE well-crafted, and have more interesting characters and situations and a broader context than that coming out of traditional houses.

Small presses are great because they are small, and they’re willing to take chances on the unusual. If you find the right small press with which to click, everything is possible. Of course, because they are small, even if you, as an individual, do your part, if every other author in the stable isn’t holding up their end, the publisher can burn out.

There’s a difference between incorporating notes/feedback into a manuscript to make it the best it can be, and changing it to fit someone else’s formula. If all they like and all they can sell is X, and I’d rather do Y, then I have to have enough savvy to realize that when they want it to conform to X, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s to make it better. It’s to make it fit. I don’t have to fit, if I’m willing to put in the thought, time, and effort, to do something else. It means not signing with them, but so what? The advances have gone down considerably in most cases, and few traditional houses are putting effort into promoting anything that doesn’t have to do with manipulating the so-called “best seller ” lists.

It wasn’t until I worked in a library that I realized just how much manipulation goes into those lists, and how little has to do with the actual worth of a book.

All of that has to be taken into consideration as I make my decisions in the coming months. I also want to redefine how I promote my work. I don’t WANT to do the same thing everyone else does — there’s a saturation of desperate promotion that works for very few. Instead, I want to craft campaigns that are as unique and quirky as the material I’m promoting.

The next couple of years should be interesting, craft-and-career-wise.

In the meantime — I have a play to finish!

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on December 2, 2016 at 10:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 2, 2016: Redefining How I Want to Handle My Writing Career  
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Mon. Nov. 28, 2016: Writing Progress

Monday, November 28, 2016
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Week.

I concentrated on letting the broken foot heal and on writing. The play about the 14th century pirate is nearly done and will go out at the end of the week. The proof of TRACKING MEDUSA will be done later today, and it will go out on resubmission tomorrow. Plus, I got some work done on a couple of other projects, including MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC.

I need to do a couple of tweaks to the end of CHOLERIC, and then another batch of queries go out on that, too. Although I think that series will be a challenge for any thing that smacks of corporate structure, since the series breaks so many rules. But I wrote the book (and am developing the series) that I want to read, but can’t find anywhere.

I’ve studied structure, and I have craft, although I intend to keep honing the craft my entire career. When I break rules now, it’s by choice. Unless I’m being paid a VERY high for-hire fee, I’m going to write what I want and stand by it. I’m going to run my career the way I want to, not the way others tell me I “should.”

Participated in the Not Bannon postcard avalanche. It may not do any good, but it’s better than doing nothing.

This week is the set-up for Spectacle of Trees in Hyannis. I’m going to help decorate this afternoon, and we’ll see what the next few days holds for that.

Once the current play is out, I go back to JUST A DROP, because that’s due in a few weeks, and still needs a lot of work.

Tomorrow starts a new moon. Wouldn’t it be nice if, during that time, the Electoral College showed some guts and integrity? They won’t, however. They’re cowards, just like everyone else who is supposed to stand up for us.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on November 28, 2016 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 28, 2016: Writing Progress  
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Wed. June 22, 2016: The Writing Fugue

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I will be so glad when this Mars retrograde is done. It has kicked my ass.

Saturday’s house & garden tour went well – people seemed to enjoy it. Things were busy. I stayed after the library closed and got some work done, and then went over to the play. It was cute, although I wasn’t really sure while all these Cape Codders were speaking in a southern accent.

Home, writing. Wrote all day Sunday, all day Monday, all day Tuesday. 100 pages in longhand, finishing a major section of INITIATE. Worked on the radio plays – trying to figure out as much in advance so that I can get what I need to in the ten minute limit. Developed a logline and quick pitch for the potential new series that the actor pal wants to send to his producer pal. These projects can take years to develop – so I stepped up, did my part, delivered what and when I said I would, and we’ll see what happens from there.

Was asked to return to an organization I left about a year ago; not going to do so. It would simply be yet another drain on my time, and people expecting me to put their demands before my own writing, which I am not willing to do. I tried working with them, and they were detrimental to my writing, not supportive of it; therefore, no.

This will be another long week, with long days at the library, and then, on Friday night, our Casino night fundraiser. On Saturday, I’m headed out to the flower show.

I hit up the wholesale nursery on Sunday and got some great plants, and then hit Country Gardens to get potting soil and a few other things. I mowed a lot, and put down more fertilizer, but there’s still a lot to do.

I’m behind where I want to be on CHARISMA KILLINGS, so that is where the bulk of my focus needs to be for the next few weeks. Somehow, everything will get done!

Devon