Mon. Oct. 16, 2017: Stressful Weekend, but Good Writing

Monday, October 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Late posting today, due to more medical appointments for my mom.

I’m so angry at the insurance company. After telling me everything was fine, they contact me late on Friday afternoon with an encrypted message I can’t open — so I don’t know if there’s a problem. And they refuse to send it in a way I can access and read it, and refuse to give me the information that’s in it. So I don’t know if we’re on track or there’s a problem. That is not “customer service.” That is unethical, inhumane crap. And, because it was Friday, after a certain point, they simply ignored my contact.

In spite of all that chaos, I did another proofread of SAVASANA AT SEA. Caught another set of errors. I’m convinced the copy editor and I fixed some of them last go-round, but they didn’t save. So, in they go again. I got in the fixes on Saturday, and am sending this draft off today. Let’s see what we find this go-round. I need to get it up for pre-order and get the media kit finished.

I polished and sent off my article; I was paid by the end of the weekend.

I also did a couple of interviews connected to PLAYING THE ANGLES. Will let you know, as soon as the links go live. Every copy sold, every review that appears, makes a big difference.

The weather was vile on Saturday. I wrote 2700 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. It’s taking some interesting twists and turns. It might decide to wind up in a different direction than I planned. Or maybe it will circle back to the original ending after some tangents. I’m letting this draft lead me, instead of the other way around.

I spent most of the afternoon immersed in books on Renaissance artists, as background for the Lavinia Fontana play. The book on TITIAN’S WOMEN also gave me material I will wind up using in THE MARRIAGE GARDEN.

I also baked my favorite chocolate walnut butter bread — yum, yum! And, for dinner, it was maple-coriander-marinated pork chops, that had marinated overnight. Pretty darned good, too.

Sunday, more work on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I couldn’t seem to stop work on it. By the end of the weekend, I’d written nearly 10K.

Worked on new material for A Biblio Paradise, which will go up shortly, and the mid-month check in for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

Finished the book for review, and it was excellent. Best I’ve read for this particular publication since I’ve worked for them. Wrote and polished the review this morning; it will go off today, and then I start reading the next book in the queue.

Read REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi. Definitely a “ha-ha-ow” book, that makes you think and rethink multiple realities and their consequences, especially if you’re a writer.

I have a couple of meetings in the mornings during these next few days, so, chances are, I will post late.

Here’s hoping my copy editor and I finally caught ALL the typos in SAVASANA!

Back to the page.

 

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Fri. Oct. 13, 2017: Lucky Friday & Trying to Make Sense of Things

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Playing the Angles available now!

Friday, October 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I love Friday the 13th!

Yesterday was difficult, but ultimately worked out. I realize yesterday’s blog was focused on the feigned outrage in the entertainment industry rather than on the writing life, but it affects my writing life, and affected my work life for decades.

Difficult few days; not happy with the writing progress. Plenty of pitching. Frustrated at the usual lack of professionalism here in this area.

Absolutely horrified by the wildfires in California. I spent a great deal of time in Santa Rosa and Calistoga and Sonoma when I lived in San Francisco. How can we help? Not just with the physical rebuilding, but how can we help the trauma of those who’ve lost everything? For the lives, both human and animal, that are being consumed?

And what’s this about giving Puerto Rico “loans” to rebuild while awarding “grants” to Florida and Texas? Oh, yeah, Puerto Rico isn’t white. I’m tired of this racist government.

The world is falling apart, and those in DC just laugh and grift more to line their own pockets. It’s disgusting.

Sold an article yesterday on the basis of its pitch. Wrote it, will give it a polish, and it goes out today. Waiting to hear back on a couple of other things.

Fighting with the insurance company again about my mother’s upcoming surgery. I sent a fax from the library. The machine at the library had the wrong date, so the insurance company THREW THE FAX AWAY. Didn’t look at the contents or the signature or the fact that it came out of their fax machine on the right date. Not only that, they couldn’t be bothered to let me know, so if I hadn’t nagged them about where the answer was, I wouldn’t have known, the paperwork wouldn’t have been done, and we would have been screwed when we showed up for the surgery.

The insurance industry is the biggest fucking scam in this country. Again, let me re-iterate that one of my first temp jobs, many years ago, was typing jewelry policies for an insurance company. They were delivered to my desk via handtruck, several hundred at a time. This was in the days before computers, when I used an IBM Selectric.

The agents who worked around me had, posted above each desk, the direction, “Always Say No the First Time.” They were instructed to refuse EVERY claim the first time it was sent in. They were told not even to read it, just to say no. The theory behind it was that 75% of the people refused wouldn’t fight it, and the company would save millions of dollars a year. Only if a claimant challenged the refusal would anyone bother to read it. How is that legal or ethical? It’s not. That’s yet another reason why all insurance companies should be non-profits. CEOs of insurance companies should not be making millions of dollars a year and bonuses off of other people’s misfortunes, especially when their sole purpose is to refuse claims.

The entire industry needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

That won’t happen in this corrupt administration.

Pleased that this next book I’m reading for review is very, very good. Probably the best I’ve had to review from this publication since I started working for them.

Got my next round of proofs back on SAVASANA AT SEA. Will have to go over them again this weekend. I’m so grateful to my copy editor!

Need to do more promo on PLAYING THE ANGLES and start the promo for SAVASANA. Have a very long list of other things that “have” to be done as well.

Playing with a story idea that’s more blowing off steam than anything else. But, if it releases stress, it’s worth taking some time over. I like the idea and the characters and situation — it makes me feel like there ARE solutions to all the horrible things happening in the world. Solutions that don’t just benefit the corrupt, racist grifters at the top.

I’m feeling a little more optimistic today than I have the past few days. Hope I can ride the wave and make some good things happen.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wed. Oct. 11, 2017: I WILL This to be a Better Day

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Playing the Angles

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was just one of those days that one is happy is done. Dozens of frustrations and incompetent people adding up to annoyance.

But it’s done, it’s over, and today will be better. I will MAKE it better.

Got out some pitches, heard back from a few places in the negative. Was supposed to have a meeting scheduled for today, but the person never bothered to get back to me as promised, responded when I asked, or let me know that the meeting had to be postponed. That individual better not think I will jump if suddenly that party decides the meeting should happen today. Some basic courtesy and professionalism is appreciated. Of course, that’s another strike against this potential gig. I already feel it was a bit of bait-and-switch. The signs point more and more to potential nightmare.

I’m working on the survey for working writers, which I think will be interesting both for those taking it and for me. I’m not yet sure how I’ll use the information, possibly as a basis for an article.

Matched the copy edit errors I caught with those my copy editor caught on SAVASANA. Of course, she caught more. Thank goodness. Put in all the fixes, and the manuscript goes off today for another proofread.

Then, I can turn my attention to the fixes I need to do on the edition of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM for the new distributor.

I also have to prep the other workbooks for new distribution, and figure out when to schedule in the new ones.

I did a little bit of work on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but couldn’t concentrate.

I have to take a look at the BBC version of the radio play LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, and maybe do some tweaks for a potential market over there.

Some promo on PLAYING THE ANGLES (it never feels like enough, does it?) and on the Topic Workbooks.

Started reading one of the two new books I need to review. I like it a lot, which is a relief. So far, anyway, it’s very well done.

Finished reading a memoir of a mucky-muck in the art world. The book is well-written, but I don’t think I’d have liked the person very much. Happy to admire his skills from afar.

I have some new article ideas to pitch to several publications, more promo to do, some permissions to hunt down for quotes I want to use in an article, and follow-ups.

I took twenty research books back to the library yesterday. Smaller stack today; small stack tomorrow, but big books. All in prep for the next slew of books coming in.

Also, have to clean out the garage while it’s still warm enough; give everything a good scrub, so that, as I bring in plants for the winter, they have a clean, safe place to sit until next spring. Might make bread later on, too.

Hoping I’ll be able to tackle the FIX IT GIRL section today and tomorrow. The end of the book is fairly close — maybe seven chapters? But this section is tricky to rewrite. Then, off it goes on submission. Long journey for this book, but worth it. My protagonist makes some choices that might shock some readers — which is why it falls into literary/historical rather than a genre with a tighter formula.

By next week, I hope to get back to the TRACKING MEDUSA edits. I need to get that out so we can turn around the galleys before the holiday madness.

Still trying to figure out when we can reschedule the release of “Labor Intensive”. That’s negatively affecting the Digital Delights schedule in general. I don’t want to take away from PLAYING THE ANGLES or SAVASANA AT SEA sales.

Also need to finish the media kit for SAVASANA AT SEA. I need to figure out one more excerpt, do the press release, and finish the Q & A, and then it can go out.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

 

Fri. Oct. 6, 2017: Busy Day Segues into Writing Weekend

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a good busy. Two short stories and some pitches out.

Yoga at the library. I liked the class a lot — I’ve studied with this teacher before. I had a chance to work on alignments. The alignments in my personal practice have gotten sloppy.

On the frustrating level, my FOUR MONTH OLD PHONE is already giving me grief. It’s all such a scam — forcing updates, then forcing one to buy more storage. Also, this phone won’t let me delete apps I don’t want. Not happy at all.

Came home, showered, changed, and went to my meeting. The person who set it up in response to my pitch did not give me information that was vital to this meeting, and then didn’t even meet with me. I don’t like bait-and-switch, so that put me on my guard. Talking with the person who DID speak with me opens some new possibilities. We’ll see. I’m delivering some requested information.

Read John Scalzi’s LOCK IN. So far, it’s my favorite of his, with OLD MAN’S WAR a close second.

This weekend is about finishing the SAVASANA galleys, working on FIX IT GIRL revisions, writing the first scene of the Lavinia Fontana play, and working on a short story and an essay. So much for a weekend!

Speaking of weekends, in a moment of shameless self-promotion, the weekend is the perfect time to read PLAYING THE ANGLES. Buy links here.

And have a good weekend, even if you don’t read my book! 😉
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Thurs. Oct. 5, 2017: The Good Kind of Busy

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny/mild

Yesterday seems so long ago, somehow!

Got out a few pitches, prepared for today’s meeting. Polished the short story, and it goes out today. Worked on promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Worked on the galleys of SAVASANA AT SEA — about halfway through. Again, I’m mortified by the copy editing errors. And deeply grateful for my copy editor.

Finished reading John Scalzi’s COLLAPSING EMPIRE. I liked it a lot, but felt it ended on a cliffhanger. Not sure if this is part of a series? Anyway, in the acknowledgements, he talks about the stress of the 2016 election. Amazing how things have gone downhill from there.

As usual, I get most of my best gig leads from Twitter — two were sent on to me by contacts that look really, really cool; one of them I already pitched to; the other, I need to read the guidelines thoroughly, but I think I have something that might fit. Very exciting.

The opening of the Lavinia Fontana play is taking shape in my head. Soon, I’ll be ready to put it on the page.

I’m late posting today; went grocery shopping early this morning, the rounds of the four stores I frequent, all in one swoop. I keep the prices and quality for each in my head, and then can juggle and create recipes and menus by what looks good and what’s at a good price.

I LOVE grocery shopping.

I also love cooking and creating menus with what I buy.

I’m at the library later this morning working, because I want to stay for the yoga class. Then, I’ll just have time to run home, shower, change, and make my meeting.

Today is one of those busy days, but I love it!

Back to the page.

Don’t forget to get your copy of PLAYING THE ANGLES!

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Wed. Oct. 4, 2017: Reasons I Should Not Do Nano

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank you to everyone who has purchased PLAYING THE ANGLES. I hope you’re loving it. I’m getting some wonderful feedback. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, a variety of digital links are here and the website is here.

Busy day — pitches, promo for PLAYING THE ANGLES, updating sites, research for articles, etc.

Finished writing a weird little short story — for me, very weird and out of my wheelhouse. But I like it. Have to type it up and polish it.

Got in the two reviews, and requested two more books to review.

Heard back from a pitch and have a meeting about it tomorrow afternoon, which will be fun. Looking forward to it.

Playing with an idea for a story, a way to channel current rage and frustrations. I started playing with it last night. Not only did I enjoy working the idea, but I felt better about things in general. It’s evolving away from the original inspiration into something much more complex and interesting, which is what a good bit of imagination partnered with craft does. I like even the unlikable characters, and it has a weird humor to it. It’s also out of my usual wheelhouse, which makes it an interesting challenge.

Added a challenging yoga sequence before last night’s meditation. I’m sore this morning, but slept better. Upped this morning’s yoga practice, too. Important to keep it fresh.

Of course, the Nano debate is coming up again, for me and for most writers I know. To Nano or not to Nano? Everyone, of course, has different reasons for doing or not doing Nano. I need to separate my ego at writing 50K in 30 days away from what’s on my schedule.

First and foremost, I know I can write 50K in 30 days. I proved that over 5 bouts of Nano, and, at this point, that’s basically a normal month, although usually spread over several projects.

Second, the Lavinia Fontana play has to take center stage as far as drafting, since it’s due to the producer by the end of the year.

Third, I’m promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, and by November, will have to get back into finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so it can release in May.

Fourth, SAVASANA AT SEA releases on November 15, so I’ll be working on pre-release and release material for that WHILE still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES.
Fifth, I’ll be working on the research and finishing the outline for DAVY JONES DHARMA, so I can start writing it after the first of the year, since it releases in November of 2018.

Sixth, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story is set to release in November. Which means writing the opening of the following story to go in the back matter.

Seventh, we still have to re-schedule the release of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern short.

Eighth, the galleys for the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA will be in full swing by then (since it releases in January) — which also means I’ll have to reshape the material for the opening of MYTH & INTERPRETATION (which drops next July) and the opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (which releases in January of 2019).

Ninth, I have article and review deadlines to keep the bills paid and a roof over my head.

Tenth, my mother will just have had surgery, and we don’t yet know the next steps.

Eleventh, FIX-IT GIRL has to go out on submission.

Twelfth, I have other original novels that got derailed with this new writing/release schedule that have to get back on track.

Those reasons are all in the “don’t do it this year” column.

In the “gosh I’m tempted column”:

I like riding the wave of creative energy. The air tingles with excitement;

The new novel I’m playing with wants attention; it would give me a chance to write a bit over 1600 words/day to see if it’s actually viable, or just a release valve for the moment;

I love the space where the local Nano group is meeting, and I’m tempted to go and write in community.

The Nano definition has gotten much looser in the last few years, but I still stick to the original definition.

“Doing” Nano means you start a new project on Nov. 1 and you write 50K in 30 days. If you’re not done with your first draft then, you keep going until you’re done, using the Nano momentum.

“Writing Along With” Nano means you’re working on something in progress. Some people use it to work on revisions. Personally, I find the first-draft energy generated by millions of people scribbling for a month too intense for anything but first-draft work.

So why not “Write With” on more than one project?

Technically, one isn’t supposed to work on a script — this NOVEL writing month. The Lavinia Fontana script must take priority. There used to be Script Frenzy in the spring, but I think that petered out. Plus, I can’t be held to a daily word count with Lavinia. She is bound and determined to do things her way, just like she did in life — serene and determined (which I’m seriously thinking of using as the title).

First-draft energy would mean either finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY or using it to push DAVY JONES DHARMA (since I’m already immersed in the world of that series).

Or, it could be used to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track. Since that’s only got a 55K word limit, it’s do-able.

Or I could use it to keep working on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but that’s developed a solid, innate rhythm, sometimes as much as 3K/day, and I don’t want to disrupt it.

Or, I could work on the first 50K of the new piece I’m noodling with — but DOING Nano would mean I can’t work on it between now and November 1, which just isn’t going to happen. I’m pretty sure this book will run to just under 100K.

Last time I “wrote along with” Nano, about two years ago, I was already working on TIE-CUTTER, but then I wanted to “do” Nano, too, so I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC — and wrote the whole damn thing while writing daily on TIE-CUTTER, doing what I called “Tandem Nano.” CHOLERIC is out on submission; TIE-CUTTER was put aside to work on other projects, and will go back in the queue late next year.

On an emotional/ego level, I want to do it. On a practical level, it is going to work against me instead of for me. Which should make the decision easy.

We’ll see what happens come November 1.

Lots of fiddly things to do today, and then it’s back to the SAVASANA galleys, polishing the short story, and working on articles.

Back to the page.

I’m glad so many of you are loving PLAYING THE ANGLES! It means a lot to me.

Tues. Oct. 3, 2017: Releases, Writing, Worrying

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Plenty of links today. First, check out the piece about PLAYING THE ANGLES over on A Biblio Paradise. Don’t forget to order your copy in any of the various digital formats. Links here.

Second, my October To Do list is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’ll also post questions to think about between now and the end of the year shortly.

Yesterday, I did promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I also got some new material up on the Nautical Namaste website. I’ll be linking and promoting that site in a few weeks, when SAVASANA AT SEA becomes available for pre-order. Right now, I want to focus on PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Sent out some pitches, did some follow-up on pieces. Sent out two short stories, which had come back from other markets. It’s always a dance, finding the right partner for a piece.

Finished both books I have to review, and the reviews will go out today. My new editor told me I hadn’t acknowledged receipt of the books — but I had, weeks ago, when I received them. I always do. I HATE the “dashboard” system they have us working in.

Started working on the galleys for SAVASANA AT SEA. There are lots of little, fiddly things the copy editor and I have both caught. Also, although some grammatical choices are technically correct according to the style guide we’re using, they look awful on the Kindle. In some cases, the fix is as simple as using Chicago Manual of Style rather than Strunk; in other instances, I’d rather change how I communicate the material. There are a few places where the copy editor and I are working together to see what is correct and still looks and feels right.

I haven’t even had the chance to work on the galleys of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM.

Got a weird idea for what I hope will be a flash fiction piece and wrote about 400 words on it. It’s an odd little piece. It will take time and shaping, but I like the premise. Now I have to add in the craft.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is both heart-breaking and infuriating. It could have been prevented. Again, the GOP doesn’t care how many people die, as long as it’s those who don’t buy them off. The NRA isn’t about responsible gun ownership, it’s about profit. I have never heard the NRA or anyone who boasts about their association with them, talk about RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. There’s just a lot of chest thumping and “Me have right to own guns.” In fact, most of the people I have met who scream about their right to own guns lack the IQ, in my opinion, to be allowed such ownership.

Every member of Congress who votes against responsible, common-sense gun laws should be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL for every murder that results in their legislation. They can’t be allowed to hide behind their jobs or use tax payer dollars for defense or if and when they are convicted. The only way it will change is when it costs them more to vote against pro-gun legislation than for it. Because Congress, especially the members of the GOP, don’t care about individual lives. They care about personal profit. They demonstrate this over and over again, with every vote. So make it cost them.

John Scalzi wrote a beautiful piece on his blog about how difficult it is to work amidst all this chaos. You can find it here. I read it at 3:30 this morning, when I couldn’t sleep, and it helps.

Of course, the current administration is anti-art. They WANT us not to be able to create. Artists are the biggest threat to autocracy that there is, because good art makes people see and understand the world beyond themselves.

Keep making art.

Back to the page.

Fri. Sept. 29, 2017: If You Don’t Respect the Value of Your Work, Why Should Anyone Else?

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Friday, September 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny/cool

Yesterday was about sending out pitches and preparing SAVASANA AT SEA to go off to the publisher today.

I can’t believe PLAYING THE ANGLES releases on Monday! Excited and nervous all at once.

So, fixed the problem in the first chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA (that goes in the back of SAVASANA), fixed a few errors, and SAVASANA goes off today.

Also went over the manuscript of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, which is going to an additional distributor — all the Topic Workbooks will, eventually. I want to get them on Amazon and into libraries.

That goes out today, too.

There’s been an editorial change at one of my regular gigs. I wish the editor himself had told me, instead of sending out a merry message about assignment distribution a few days ago, and then we get another message yesterday that he’s gone. He should have told us himself (unless he was unexpectedly fired).

I people’d yesterday, went out for the first time in too long, to a lecture sponsored by the Writers Center at Hyannis Library. It’s been nearly two years since I did anything with this group — can’t believe how the time has flown! Saw only a handful of familiar faces, met plenty of new and interesting people.

However, there were some annoyances, based in the typical attitude around here that what we do (writing) has no value. Three exchanges.

The first was with a board member, who talked to me about stepping in occasionally to interview authors. She said the interviews take place on Friday afternoons “when most people work.”

Um, what I do isn’t work? I beg to differ.

Second was with another writer. We talked about our writing, and he said, “What do you do for a living?”

Me: Write.

Man: I mean, your day job.

Me: Write.

Man: I mean, how do you make money?

Me: Write.

His incredulity was quite insulting.

Third encounter, I was talking to a lovely woman who happened to be friends with the former partner of someone I knew in New York. We had a great conversation about this, that and the other, and talked about writing. She dismissed the writing she does for companies and non-profits as “not real writing.”

Um, no. It IS real writing, it’s a specific skill, and deserves to be valued.

Until we value our own work, no one else has any reason to value it, either.

I was sitting with a lovely man who lives in New York, near where I grew up, and has a house in Falmouth. He’s writing a book about Ireland, during the famine. It sounds quite wonderful. He didn’t know one could rent from the National Trust, so I gave him the information.

Figures I’d connect with a fellow New Yorker. No insults about day jobs or writing not being work from him!

Anyway, the speaker was quite wonderful — an historian. I got some great ideas for better note-taking when I research, and I’m very excited to read his books. His name is John Cumbler, and the book I’m most interested to read is FROM ABOLITION RIGHTS TO RIGHTS FOR ALL: THE MAKING OF A REFORM COMMUNITY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

All in all, it was a good evening, and I’m glad I went. But those encounters with people who don’t value what they do and what we, as a writing community do, are disturbing. This attitude is one of the biggest disappointments about living in this area. I thought I was moving to a progressive community that supported artists — not just by talking about how much they support arts, but by making it possible for artists to live and work with dignity. That is, unfortunately, not the case. If you come in with money and a best seller, they fall all over you. If you actually want to live here and work, you’re looked at as though something must be wrong with you, or you “couldn’t make it” elsewhere. Which is simply not the case. Writers (and many other types of artists) can and should work anywhere that calls to them.

A community that does not support its artists (and that includes financially) is doomed to ignorance and lack of progress. And, eventually, will fail in all other respects as well. Because artists are visionaries. They not only bear witness to the good and bad of current society, they hold the lessons of history, and they envision what the future can be — both good and bad.

Anyway, today is about errands and then pitches, work on some articles, getting both book manuscripts out, working on prepping the SERIES BIBLE manuscript for this other distributor, working on the books I have to review.

I’m having coffee with an artist friend this afternoon, which should be fun. Yes, I’m peopling two days in a row. It may take me days to recover!

I also have to do a big push on the FIX IT GIRL today, do the sections set in San Simeon, since those books have arrived, and start figuring out how I’m going to structure the Lavinia Fontana play.

I know I want to root it in how the nobles’ wives created the opportunities for her to compete for commissions with the male artists, but I have to figure out the details. I also know she will be pregnant in the play, as she was pregnant for much of her working life. I don’t want to have actual children on stage (not practical), but will use sound effects.

I’ve got some research for the novel within the MARRIAGE GARDEN, and I need to use those books and get them back.

Have a great weekend!

Don’t forget — PLAYING THE ANGLES releases on Monday! Woo-hooo!

 

Wed. Sept. 27, 2017: Writing, Working Artists, and Social Media Paradox

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and muggy

PLAYING THE ANGLES releases next Monday. The buy links are here. Pre-sales make a huge difference; but, whenever you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it!

Apologies for not posting yesterday. I ran errands early early in the morning, and then I was wiped out for the day. It’s been a stressful time.

I dealt with life stuff, and I finished read John Scalzi’s THE GHOST BRIGADES, which I also loved. Learned a lot from it; I love both his structure and his narrative drive.

Monday, I’d finished the proofread/revision of SAVASANA AT SEA. I have to fix one scene in the last third and add one piece of information at the end. I want to do another pass at the first chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA. Then, I’ll put all the pieces together, and hopefully get it to my editor tomorrow.

I’ve been writing the outline of DAVY JONES DHARMA in my head, and will get it on the page during the next day or two. This morning, I had ideas for the third book in the series, tentatively titled MARINE MUDRA MURDERS, and jotted them down. One of the cats woke me at 3:30 because she wanted attention and then went back to sleep, so my brain had time to percolate.

I have requested material to put together for a potential gig, and work to do on articles, an essay, and a couple of short stories. And I need to work on the books I have for review. Hopefully, after yesterday’s day off, I can attack it with energy today.

I seem to have gone back to having a floating day off, instead of a fixed one. Hey, whatever works. That’s why I freelance.

A part-time artist was tweeting yesterday about how, because he has a day job, he can focus on quality. I found that insulting. The insinuation is that if art is how you make your living, if you actually earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, you must be a hack, create crap, and not care about quality. He then amended it to say he meant “passion” instead of “quality”, which is equally insulting. I don’t take on gigs I don’t find interesting, intriguing, a challenge in a positive way. In fact, I’ve turned down plenty of big money gigs because I found the company’s position on issues revolting.

Even though he didn’t post the words “if you’re paid you must make crap”, that was the subtext. He was trying to make himself and his own work superior to those PROFESSIONALS who are good enough TO EARN A LIVING AT IT.

Think about that for a minute. A part-time hobbyist claims superiority over those who are professionals in the field.

There are plenty of people who have a day job and create good material. Many of them love their day jobs. They love their art. They look at it as holding down two jobs. Some of them are working towards creating full time and leaving the day job. Others are happy with things the way they are. Good for them. But it doesn’t mean that those who earn a living at it aren’t good at what they do. Quite the opposite. Even though “good” is often subjective. Perhaps “skilled” is a better term.

However, this is someone with whom I cross paths on Twitter, for crying out loud. Not someone I spend a lot of time communicating with, or someone who is relevant in my actual life. Did I find his comments insulting? Of course, as any working artist would. It wasn’t an attack on me personally, but it was an attack on the full-time artist and his circle of full-time artist friends to whom the tweet was originally directed — who happens to make more money than I’ve ever seen in my life AT HIS ART AND CRAFT.

This part-timer is not part of my life, so in the bigger scheme of things, who care? I sure as heck am not going to be buying any of his work any time soon. Especially since he’s got a day job, doesn’t need the money, and boasts about it. I’d rather support artists who need the sale to keep a roof over their heads, and I would hope they do the same for me.

I made a couple of comments in response, including the fact that earning a living and creating quality work AND having passion for it aren’t mutually exclusive. And that’s it. He’s not worth my time. It’s like a mosquito. Annoying, you slap it, but it doesn’t define the rest of your life unless it gives you West Nile or something.

It was disappointing to hear that kind of crap from a fellow creator. I’ve grown to expect it from the general public, especially from those who never had the guts to dig in and follow their dreams, and therefore feel the need to punish those with the courage to take the risk.

But I’d rather put my energy into creating my own work and promoting the work of those I like and respect than engaging in a battle with someone who, in the grander scheme of things, does not matter to me. I’ve acknowledged my irritation and anger (rather than suppressing it). I’ve expressed it, without trashing this individual by name publicly, and now it’s time to move on.

Therein lies a paradox of social media. I’ve gotten to know some terrific people. I’ve crossed paths with many others, many of whom leave each other in peaceful co-existence. We can support each other and encourage each other and work to make the world a better place (as the defeat of the latest GOP Deathcare Bill proves). But sometimes, poison arrows strike, and you have to remove them and disinfect the wound.

Things can get out of proportion. You have to ask, “Who is this person in relation to my life?” Sometimes, it’s a person with value, and you figure a way to work things out. Discuss it; perhaps the words were not well-chosen and the intent was not what it seems. People speak without thinking, off the cuff, are unintentionally cruel. Part of being human. When it’s on social media, it’s forever (even with a delete key). Sometimes the cruelty is intentional. So we all have to work to keep perspective. Decide how much room we give each other; decide when to work on forgiveness; decide when to excommunicate someone from our universe.

It’s an example of how social media can be a blessing or a curse, and is usually, on any given day, a mixture.

I still think the slime in the GOP that make pond scum look like leading lights are going to try to pull some last minute crap with their Deathcare Bill Friday night or on Saturday. Fingers crossed they don’t.

I’m also disgusted at the lack of aid sent to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It’s been more than a week. There are machines like planes and high-powered vessels that could be bringing in supplies and making a difference. I know New York and MA have sent help, but two states can’t fix it all.

If it was an island full of rich white people, help would have been there the day after the storm.

This, while cabinet members spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on unnecessary private jets. I refuse to have my tax dollars used for that. I want a refund. They should have to reimburse the taxpayers from out of their own pockets.

Back to the page. Plenty to do. Onward!

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Mon. Sept. 25, 2017: Writing Weekend

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Monday, September 25, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

After a week, the sun finally peeked out yesterday afternoon. Eight gloomy days — it was nice to have a little light.

Urgent meeting this morning, so I’m late getting on line today. Apologies. In general, I’m still difficult to reach.

Don’t forget — PLAYING THE ANGLES releases NEXT MONDAY! I can’t believe it. I’m excited and nervous. You can find all sorts of buy links here.

Busy weekend, mostly writing. I worked and re-worked the first chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA, the second Nautical Namaste Mystery, until I was happy and excited with it. Worked on front and back matter for the book — almost done. A bit more research, a few more links, and I can add it in.

Doing another proofread of the SAVASANA AT SEA manuscript, and then I’ll put in all the extras, and of it goes to the editor and publisher for its final tweaks. I had hoped to get the entire manuscript re-proofed, along with doing the front matter and the website matter and the series bible information, but it’s slow going when it’s all in tandem. Still, it’s easier and more efficient than doing multiple passes.

I’m also irritated because changes I’ve made multiple times in the manuscript didn’t save properly, and I keep having to go back and put them in again.

Now, while I’m in the throes of DHARMA, I want to outline the whole book, so when it comes back up in the writing queue, I haven’t lost the energy and momentum I’ve built doing the first chapter.

Worked on material for the Nautical Namaste website, too. I still have a couple of pieces for PLAYING THE ANGLES to add over the next couple of weeks on the Coventina Circle website, but I also wanted to get the Nautical Namaste website up to speed.

Also got a bit over 3K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. Pretty soon, I have to stop and type up what I have, or I’ll never catch up. I like working in longhand for this particular book.

Reading Steinbeck’s journal, I got irritated that the person he wrote the journal TO — I don’t remember if it was his agent or editor — Steinbeck expected this individual to provide him with boxes of pencils and the notebooks to write the book! That struck me as typically entitled male — a woman would just go out and buy the supplies her own damn self. It’s not like he couldn’t afford it at the time. It irked me.

Read Claire Tomalin’s biography of Katherine Mansfield. I admire some of her writing, but everything I learn about her makes me glad I never knew her. (Not that I was even alive when she was). Nasty piece of work.

I believe in putting one’s art first, but I don’t believe in being horrible to other people, on the pretext of being an “artist”. Most of the best at their art and craft I’ve known over the years are also decent human beings.

It begs the interesting question of where does one draw the line between protecting oneself to do one’s art and engaging with the world? Because there are always parasites who prey on artists, and it’s important not to let them feed off one. At the same time, when people are kind to one and help one, showing basic human courtesy in return isn’t too much to ask.

So, out of the nasty human beings who created beautiful art/music/literature, whose work would we have been better without?

I don’t have the answers, but when I have a few extra minutes not on deadline and am reading biographies of other artists, I sometimes like to ponder the question.

Sunday was also spent getting the plants we’d sheltered against the house back out, and putting out the tomatoes, etc. that we’d taken inside back out. The geraniums got infested with something nasty, so we’re trying to save them. Have to wash and disinfect a few things.

Some of what we took in will stay in; some we will slowly wash over the next few weeks and put away. The tomatoes still need sun so they can ripen.

I have to oil the teak furniture before it comes in. That always takes a few days, and it’s better to do when it’s drier, not so humid.

Lots to do today, catching up on the time lost in this meeting. Long list. Then, back to the manuscript to finish the proofread. I’ve got some articles and essays to work on this week, and some pitches to get out.

Let’s hope this is a great and productive week for all of us!

Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters

Friday, September 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I mis-dated Wednesday. All day Wednesday, I thought it was September 14, and it was only the 13th. I knew it was Wednesday, but I had the date wrong. Apologies.

I didn’t blog yesterday; worked at home and focused on other things.

I’ve been getting back into the FIX-IT GIRL revisions the past few days. These are the difficult chapters that require a great deal of restructuring. Lots of new material written, opening out certain storylines, having it make sense, pick up intensity, moving toward the climactic sequence. Mavis made a decision that could easily ruin her personal reputation, outside of work, but she’s owning it.

I’ve let SAVASANA AT SEA sit for a few days, so I can go back to it with fresh eyes. I don’t want to blur the tones of the two books, since they are both in revisions, by working on them in too close a tandem. I had some ideas on restructuring some of the marketing for the series, too, thanks to a conversation with Ilona Andrews. Ilona reinforced what I know in my gut, but have been advised to take a different route by the “experts”. As my intent is to guide the book and the series back to the original vision that feels right in my gut, it makes sense.

Speaking of “gut feeling” — I had an opportunity yesterday that, on a logical level, seemed good. But my gut told me otherwise. So I decided to go in a different direction. I declined gracefully, and well before the deadline for response. In the short-run, it may cause some difficulty, but in the long run, I believe it’s the right decision. Amazing how much stress was relieved once it was made.

I’ve been working on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. There are books within the book — the books the characters are working on during the course of the novel. I’m finding I have to do nearly as much research for those as I do for the novel itself. It’s a quiet book, which will have to be rewritten in certain sections to be more active, but I like stretching in this non-genre direction. My characters are trying to find their way back to each other, and not always succeeding. I don’t know how it will end. Either they will or they won’t. The events within the book will shape that.

The furnace was cleaned yesterday morning — this company is always prompt and very nice. So we’re set for the winter, which is great. The guy that used to come every year to take care of it — young guy, big, with brilliant tattoos, had said, a year or so ago, he was tired of winter and was thinking of selling up and leaving. Guess that’s what he did. The new guys (a pair of them ) were very nice, though.

Yesterday afternoon, we sorted out the yarn stash — bags and boxes and bits and bobs. It now makes more sense, and several projects have been planned/sketched out for the winter. I have a couple of pieces in progress that need to be finished. So, when I get the craft urge, there’s plenty to work on. Couldn’t believe we spent the entire afternoon on it, but it was well worth it.

I’ve joined Lissa Matthews in the #10KWeekendWriters challenge this weekend. Writing 10K from Thursday through Sunday. Yesterday’s total was 1500 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and 900 new words within the revision of THE FIX-IT GIRL. Total: 2400 words (100 words shy of my goal). Remaining words to goal: 7600.

I’m wondering if I can count the words on the article I’m expanding/polishing/adding to the Coventina Circle website about working on Broadway? 😉 Yes, you can find that article here. Because I intend to post the article before I post this blog.

This needs to be a writing/reading/sorting weekend. Next week is Mabon, and a whole lot of other things. As usual, I’m waiting on a round of freelance payments so I can meet the bills. I also have to research some markets.

I have some pitches to get out this morning, websites to update, and PR to work on for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I haven’t been sleeping well, and have had migraines off and on this weekend, but taking time off today is not an option. I find, though, that when I push hard on the early part of Friday, I tend to take most of Friday afternoon off, and then am more productive on Saturday and Sunday. So, if I can get it all done this morning, that’s what I’ll do. Once I get in my 2500 words for the day (will try to get in 2600 to make up for yesterday’s shortfall).

The yard is fading in stages this year. Usually it hangs on and then everything goes at once and it’s overwhelming. This is much easier to deal with — doing a bit every few days. I wish I could get the mower working again, though. I’d like to do one more big mow. Well, I don’t WANT to do it, it’s not something I enjoy, but I think it’s necessary.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on September 15, 2017 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters  
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Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/cool

Yesterday was all about updating links into websites. I got the live links for PLAYING THE ANGLES up onto the blog, onto the Devon Ellington website, onto the Coventina Circle website.

I added links to the newsletter and got it out — my first newsletter in a long time. I’ll have to clean up any bounce backs, new subscriptions, unsubscriptions.

It also meant I had to put the Nautical Namaste site live earlier than I planned, and set up the Nautical Namaste Facebook page earlier than planned. But it’s done, at least I have the links.

Had to get some admin paperwork done, and have to go into Hyannis this morning to file it, before picking up a few things at the grocery store.

The writing suffered yesterday, although I managed to get some more work done on the FIX-IT GIRL, and I hope to have that draft done in about two weeks. While juggling finishing the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so I can get it to my editor.

Because of Hurricane Irma, we pushed back the release of “Labor Intensive” yet again, but pretty soon, the timing will be so bad, I’ll have missed the boat. If we could not have any disasters, either caused by the Narcissistic Sociopath or Nature for a bit, that would be great.

Being 9/11, yesterday was tough as it always is. Tears off an on all day. You never “get over” something like that; you have to learn to live with it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused  
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Fri. Sept. 8, 2017: Finalizing One Book, Moving on to the Next

Friday, September 8, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Got my review out yesterday. Was assigned my next two books, which I pick up today.

Put together some information for my friend, which he found helpful.

Worked on the literary fiction piece. It’s an interesting challenge. Today, I get back to the other work on the roster, but I’m finding a way to keep the momentum for this piece along with the work that has to be done on other pieces. Now I’m second-guessing (maybe it’s fourth-guessing, by this point), and thinking I SHOULD focus on each section in each voice at once to go deep enough, rather than alternating shorter sections. As I reader, I prefer chapters or sections that go long enough to get deeply into the character. I could always rearrange the sections once they’re written, but I’m not sure which way will serve best in the WRITING of it.

We found one small thing that had to be clarified in PLAYING THE ANGLES. I probably could have gotten away with it, but if anyone questioned it and it needed clarification — better to use the clear language from the outset. Hopefully, it’s off for the last time — which always makes me queasy. Even with the editor, the copy editor, and I going over it multiple times, I’m always afraid we missed something, simply because we’ve gone over it so many times.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. October is filled with appointments before her surgery, poor thing.

I did some yard work. I started cutting back in two of the beds in the back, and I hard pruned the forsythia that grew so wild this year it completely blocked one of the paths on the side of the house. I hacked back most of the invasive autumn olive, and a lot of oak that’s acting like an invasive. When it gets colder, I’ll have to saw down some more oak that’s interfering with the roses. Doing a little bit every sunny day, and eventually, it will get done. Don’t know how I’m going to finish the mowing, though, with this damn mower being recalcitrant.

I had weird dreams, mashing three different times/experiences in my past. Probably because I’ve been talking with my college friend. Bizarre.

I want to get anything I need to do out and about done fast this morning, so I can get back into the writing for the rest of the weekend. I keep changing my mind about what to do with a particular section of THE FIX-IT GIRL, but I have to suck it up, make a decision and move on this weekend.

I’m worried about my friends in the path of Hurricane Irma, and I’m not looking forward to the anniversary of 9/11 on Monday. I think next week could be quite emotionally difficult, for a lot of people.

I also have some paperwork to file with the attorneys general of MA and NY on two different scam issues that they need to know about. Some other paperwork to get done, too, some for me, and more with my mom’s insurance.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

Published in: on September 8, 2017 at 8:52 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 8, 2017: Finalizing One Book, Moving on to the Next  
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