Tues. Sept. 25, 2018: Awards and Concerns

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days. I did not get the amount of writing done that I wanted or needed to do.

Most of it has been caught up with the final details for the breakfast where my client gets an award this morning– an award which I will accept on her behalf and say a few words. I’ve been working on the speech — short, simple, from the heart. Focused on HER. Too much about this award has been focused on another agenda, not the awardees, in my opinion. But yesterday, we got a lot of the kinks worked out.

I did some additional research for RELICS. I read Joy Harjo’s memoir, and most of a series of letters between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright, which are beautiful. I polished the review that was due and sent it off. I juggled home centric tasks. I worked on what used to be POWER OF WORDS. I re-read what’s written of TIE CUTTER again, and love it more than ever. There’s a lot of heart in that book.

I miss traveling. Next year, I need to arrange my schedule so I can travel more. Not just for clients over the bridge, but for myself and my writing.

I am angered an infuriated at the way the GOP dismisses the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, especially since more women are coming forward, and especially since they KNEW about these allegations last week, and that’s why they tried to accelerate the process. They truly believe it doesn’t matter. That men have the right to violate women. People asking, what if it was your wife or daughter are missing the point — this is how they treat the women in their own lives. And that former aide, who nearly killed his pregnant mistress by giving her an abortificant in a smoothie without her knowledge? Don’t tell me the GOP is pro-life. They want to tear away women’s rights and human rights back to before the Civil War.

There are some very interesting stories out there about how this is all tied beyond women’s rights into something much darker and religious and international — interesting theory, but I hope it’s not true.

The bottom line is that the GOP does not care about women’s rights. If the allegations are true, the Judge has proven a pattern of disregard for women’s rights that ensures he will overturn Roe vs. Wade. Which is what they want. He also says that a sitting President can’t be indicted. Which is what they want — especially since most of them are corrupt, and they count on him to protect them as well.

Kavanaugh’s behavior since Day One has shown he is not fit for the office. If he was this brilliant intellect and ethical man the GOP claims, he would have insisted that there’s no reason to rush. He would have insisted that ALL his records be released for review. He would have shaken Fred Guttenberg’s hand at the break, whether or not he knew who the man was, because as a SCOTUS, he is supposed to protect and serve ALL people in this country. He would not have lied, multiple times, under oath, or hedged on questions he didn’t like.

The whole Kennedy retirement/Deutsche Bank loans by his son to the Narcissistic Sociopath/nomination stinks.

People are saying it’s a done deal, that K is out. I think the GOP will ram him through anyway, just to prove they can and send a message that they can and will do whatever they want without consequence. I hope, in this case, I am wrong.

I participated in the Day of Solidarity yesterday, wearing black and stepping out of the office at 1 PM. I don’t post selfies, so I didn’t do that part. My client’s office is part of a large complex. I was the ONLY person who stepped out. I am disgusted. A red enclave in a blue state. I am fed up.

The level of corruption is appalling. I can’t see how it can be resolved without tragic circumstances.

As far as Yale goes, when I was applying to schools waaaaay back when, Yale was on the list. I will add that I was accepted at EVERY school to which I applied. I went in for the interview at Yale, which went really well. I spent a weekend to “get to know the campus.” By the end of the weekend, I pulled my application, because I knew I didn’t want to go to a school where the frat boy aggressive mentality toward the girls on and off campus was so vile.

I also remember, earlier in high school, as part of the Model U.N., we did a conference at Yale. We hung out and partied and were less than model citizens after hours. I don’t know how our chaperones coped with us. We were awful. But I remember the frat boys hanging around and trying to get high school girls to come out with them. (Being in a fraternity was a selling point, as far as they were concerned). Later, at NYU, I was talking to a student who’d also been involved in Model U.N. (from a different high school). She said her older brother, who went to Yale, wouldn’t let her go to the conference there because the frat boys were notorious for picking up high school girls, getting them drunk, having sex with them, and boasting about it. (Her brother was not in a fraternity).

I went to a few frat parties early on in college, but they weren’t fun. I didn’t like the people, and I didn’t like the aggression. I never went through rush week or tried to pledge to a sorority, because I didn’t like the mentality or the exclusiveness. I didn’t like the girls I met who were recruiting, or the girls back at the various houses. Plus, the time factor — when I wasn’t in class or doing homework or at a work study job, I was in the theatre or on the film set WORKING. I was earning my way in the arts since age 18. I wasn’t going to give up a show or a film gig for a party house. It had no place in what I wanted in my present or my future.

Back to my own daily life, this will post before the breakfast happens today. I’ll write about it all in my post tomorrow. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly and my speech goes well. I want it to be a good moment honoring my client.

Namaste.

 

Published in: on September 25, 2018 at 1:11 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 25, 2018: Awards and Concerns  
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Fri. Sept. 21, 2018: Exciting Invitations

Friday, September 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It finally feels like fall! So happy about that.

Have to go in to my client’s for a few hours to do some more coordination for the event ceremony next week. Have been invited to another networking breakfast the following day. Still debating whether or not to go to that one.

Got some client work done yesterday, and some reading, but not enough writing. Had to get some political activism work done — there’s too much at stake right now to shrug and claim that I don’t have time. It was raining off and on, so I couldn’t get yard work done.

Got some work done on what used to be POWER OF WORDS. Have a lot of thoughts about what I still need to do to polish the last three books in this first major arc, and then ideas for the next books. I’ve made some decisions about the Mia-Evan arc that incorporates a lot of what I felt had to be either/or, but now see can be worked into an interesting conflict between them.

Getting ready to dig into the edits for RELICS AND REQUIEM. Have a review to finish, and also want to polish at least most of the calendar articles — that deadline is looming. Plus get some decent work done on DHARMA.

I’ve been invited to participate in a virtual global human rights conference, put on by the university where I’ve been studying the International Tribunals and the UN. I’ve even been invited to contribute a piece for their “Ideas Bazaar” on one day of the conference. We have to work out the details, especially with the time changes, but that’s exciting. I’d really like to do it.

I wanted to participate in the local yoga festival this weekend in Falmouth. But they’re so unclear about costs, etc., that I hesitate. I wanted to buy the three day pass that supposedly gives access to everything. But I look at some of the workshops and they’re marked as “sold out.” So that would mean I’d be paying, but not able to attend what I want to attend, unless a certain number of slots are being held for 3-day pass holders. Because why should I pay for 3 days when the entire first day and most of the things I want to do the other two days are marked “sold out”? I asked about it, and no one organizing it has a definitive answer.

So I’m not buying something that may or may not be honored.

Because if you’re selling a 3-day pass, it means the holders can attend whatever they want on those days. Not be shut out of events for which they’ve already paid. It doesn’t make sense.

And, this being Cape Cod, they’d just shrug and keep my money and not let me in to the workshops. So I’ll pass. I have enough to keep me busy this weekend. Plus, there are dozens of other things going on. Everyone tries to pack September to the gills, because the damn tourists are still here.

It’s also the Equinox, and I have ritual.

So it will be a busy, but hopefully happy weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Published in: on September 21, 2018 at 8:39 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 21, 2018: Exciting Invitations  
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Wed. Sept. 19, 2018: The Great Busy

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Humid, Rainy, Warm

So much has been going on. Most of it good, but it’s been busy.

Friday, I had to go into the office for one of my clients and coordinate a film shoot for Monday for a package about an award she’s getting next week. She will still be out of the country. So we’re talking and emailing over the date line.

Friday afternoon, I had to catch up with what I hadn’t done that morning. I also had to prep for Saturday.

I rehearsed most of Friday afternoon. I made some cuts in the material, so I wasn’t just talking at top speed, but could put nuances in.

Up at 5:30 on Saturday morning, out the door a little after 8. Pleasant drive to Provincetown, parked in my usual lot. Headed for the library.

The whole day was just great. The Festival was beautifully organized, everyone was so nice! The new library director there is wonderful. My fellow authors were terrific, and ran the gamut. We were all deeply invested in each other’s work. My friend Andrew, a fellow author, was there with his book, China Sings to Me (he wasn’t reading, unfortunately, but he was part of the festival outside). The reading was packed. We had a great time.

I talked to a lot of new-to-me people. I had the chance to walk around a bit. Provincteown was still packed. It was a beautiful day, and although it was crowded, people were in a good mood. All day, I was stopped by people who enjoyed the reading.

I spent some time up in the reading room, overlooking the bay, resting up and reading Tavis Smiley’s memoir of Maya Angelou.

I attended a cooking demonstration by Justin Chapple of Food & Wine and Tom Acitelli, who specializes in liquor/travel writing. It was a great session, with lots of lively chat and terrific information.

I re-met a radio host I’d met through my late friend Pam a year or so ago, and we caught up.

I headed back home in the late afternoon, made my infamous devilled eggs, and headed for the party in Dennis. We had a great time, although I probably shouldn’t have eaten two hamburgers!

Up early on Sunday, but pretty tired. However, Sunday afternoon, I attended a picnic/town meeting for Attorney General Maura Healey in Hyannis. It’s always great to see her — she’s committed, lively, smart, and gets it done. My state Senator, Julian Cyr, was also there, and I got a chance to catch up with him and ask him about an issue a colleague of mine is struggling with. He gave me the information needed, which I passed on to my colleague on Monday. Also ran into some other people I knew, and helped someone with his brand-new, lively, rambunctious yellow lab puppy. I was really glad I went, tired or not.

I have a TON of follow-up/thank you notes to write this week.

Monday was all about filming stuff for the awards package at two locations. It is always more chaotic than one wants. My end of it was organized, but a lot of the rest of it was on the fly. Our people, though, represented well. I wish I trusted the producer not to twist things in the editing room.

I barely got any sleep on Monday night. I was getting incoming texts and emails that had to be dealt with immediately until about midnight. Then the coyotes were howling. Then, in the middle of the night, the crazy neighbor behind me decided he had to work on his motorcycle. By the time I finally fell asleep, the alarm went off.

I was dragging yesterday.

But it was more organizational stuff, international phone calls, flurry of emails trying to get permissions for materials to use that aren’t ours (shouldn’t the producing team be doing that?) and more.

Had one pickup to do at the library after work, then cancelled the next meeting because we got a weather alert — all the phones screeching at once. I managed to get home just as the storms moved in — the remnants of Hurricane Florence that did so much damage down south. It was only a few hours, but it was intense.

To bed very early, and at least got some sleep.

Onsite at my client’s today, doing the organizational stuff for the award ceremony, which is next Tuesday morning.

I have to look at the edits for RELICS and get them turned around fast, review a book and send that off. I’m also up on Ari Meghlen’s blog today, talking about organization. But I don’t think it’s live yet.

I’m leaving the blog up from last week at Ink-Dipped Advice, because I think it’s still relevant.

I’m behind on DAVY JONES DHARMA, but I’ve been working on what used to be POWER OF WORDS.

Onward.

Published in: on September 19, 2018 at 9:14 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 19, 2018: The Great Busy  
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Fri. Sept. 14, 2018: Exciting and Busy Times

Friday, September 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Why, yes, I was up at 5 and at my client’s at 7:30 this morning on site, so she could call from overseas and we could figure out the details because she’s won an award! I’m very excited for her, and it will be fun. I’m handling all the details up to and including the ceremony, which happens while she’s still out of town. She sent a video clip that I’m editing in iMovie that will be used in the ceremony.

So I’m behind on DHARMA, and I haven’t received the edits yet for RELICS. But I’m working on the idea set in New Mexico, and doing another pass on the first book of what used to be POWER OF WORDS.

And rehearsing for my reading tomorrow.

Exciting times!

But there’s plenty to worry about elsewhere — a series of explosions north of Boston — at one point over 50 fires burning. Hurricane Florence hitting the Carolinas.

I hope they figure out the WHY of these gas explosions. And I hope the Hurricane loses power quickly, so that those who’ve lost power can regain it, and that the storm surges and rainfall totals aren’t as bad as expected.

Quick reminder — if you’re on Cape tomorrow, please stop by the Provincetown Library, where I’m one of ten readers appearing between 10-11:30 AM as part of the Provincetown Book Festival.

Cover reveal for RELICS & REQUIEM to the public next week!

Have a great weekend, and stay safe!

Published in: on September 14, 2018 at 7:43 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 14, 2018: Exciting and Busy Times  
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Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Andrew Singer’s wonderful memoir, China Sings To Me.

The 17th Anniversary of 9/11. I knew a lot of people who died that day. I still grieve. I perform my own ceremony of remembrance.

I get annoyed when people book social events, etc. on this day, but it’s not up to me. What is up to me is not engaging, and keeping it a day of remembrance in the way that works for me. People have the right to live their lives. I have the right to live mine.

For me, this day is about remembrance, commitment to those for whom I care, and trying to figure out how to make the world a better place that’s not fear-based. I have a long way to go, but at least I put in the work.

There was some sort of stomach bug prevalent in the house over the last few days. I had trouble Thursday and Saturday; my mom was sick Saturday into Sunday.

I managed to finish this draft of RELICS on Saturday night and get it off to my editor. I’ll get editing notes back later this week, turn it around, and then we go into galleys.

Meanwhile, DAVY JONES DHARMA moves into the Priority slot, with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE moving back into the secondary slot (out of the “I’ll work on it whenever” slot). CRAVE THE HUNT and the rest of what used to be POWER OF WORDS are in the “whenever” slot, and I’m percolating the opening chapter of GRAVE REACH, which goes into the back of RELICS.

GRAVE REACH is outlined, but I’m on a tight schedule for it, and have to get cracking. That will also be in a “whenever” slots.

I read some nonfiction books by an author whose work I’ve followed for decades. Some of her work resonates with me; some does not. She is not someone I want to meet or work with, though. Too many of her quirks annoy me: they’re not honest or endearing; I find them selfish and hypocritical.

But then, as someone pointed out a couple of years ago, we all have areas in which we’re hypocrites. We simply choose our level of hypocrisy. I’m trying to narrow those areas in my own life. Again, work in progress.

Also read an urban fantasy novel by a new-to-me author. I’d read one of her short stories in an anthology and liked it, so I figured I’d try a full-length book. The only book I could get from the library was in the middle of the series. Loved the action. Although, after awhile, it was too much action and not enough happening in between. The sex scenes were necessary to drive the plot, and were pretty well written, but ten pages plus, in my opinion, is too long in this case. Some of the best development of supporting characters I’ve seen in a long time. I wasn’t so thrilled about the protagonist. This was book six and she was in a place I’d have expected in the middle of book one or maybe book two. She doesn’t make a mistake once and then learn from it. She makes it five or six times, finds a solution by accident, but doesn’t apply it moving forward. That bothers me. She found out information and, at the end, it looked like she evolved, but when I read the reviews for the next few books in the series, it seems like she’s doing same old, same old. Also, according to the reviews, the cliffhanger set up at the end of this book still isn’t resolved two books down. I’m not sure I’m willing to go ahead indefinitely with constant cliffhangers, so that each book is like an overlong chapter. Especially since the cliffhanger involves the character that was my favorite in the book.

I rarely use reviews to make a decision about whether or not to read a book, but I had suspicions about where this was going, and wasn’t sure I wanted to put time into it, which is why I hunted down the reviews. I’m on the fence. If I can come across the next two books easily via the commonwealth catalogue or something (they’re not in CLAMS), I’ll try them.

Then I feel guilty, because I should support my fellow writers. However, this woman has plenty of sales — mine won’t matter! And, since a library book is a sale for her, it works all around.

I was really disgusted by the way Serena Williams was treated at the US Open. Men get away with questioning the umpire, but heaven forbid a woman, especially a talented black woman, do the same. The crowd also treated Naomi Osaka terribly. It should have been a glorious day for her, not a misogynistic one.

With Hurricane Florence a threat, I have to finish what I’m doing, cleaning-up wise, on the deck in the next few days. Here I’d hoped I’d have until nearly the end of October to use the deck as a staging area as I clean out, but I guess not.

Rehearsing for the reading, working on the calendar articles.

Onsite client work yesterday, today, tomorrow. Trying to find a new angle for the current and upcoming collections.

The newsletter went out on Friday, with cover reveals for the next three books. Next newsletter is December’s.

Working on my sell sheet for the weekend (and beyond), too.

Sent off a guest blog post. Working on the calendar articles. I want them done by the end of the month.

Got an idea from some of the non-fiction reading I’ve been doing for a novel. Playing with the setting, characters, themes, plot. We’ll see.

Working on the book I have to review.

Working. Working. Working.

I like it.

 

Published in: on September 11, 2018 at 3:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work  
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Wed. Aug. 22, 2018: Creative Expansion & Annoyance at Forced Terms

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Today would have been my father’s birthday, if he was still alive.

Hop on over for the latest freelancing advice over on the Fearless Ink website, Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve tweaked the look of it a bit, too.

I hurt my back on Monday, and it’s still bothering me. On top of it, yesterday, I had an awful headache.

I’m surprised by how upset I am at Facebook’s new terms, where authors can’t talk about their books on their personal pages. Because talking about them IS promoting them — it’s all integrated. My work is deeply entwined with who I am — even though my work is public and my life is private. My reason for being on social media is to talk about the work (and watch food porn and share pet photos, but that’s secondary). To force authors and all artists to move their work to business pages in order to force all of that to be paid promotion — I’m angry.

I’m also disappointed in Mark Zuckerberg, and his journey from creative entrepreneur to greedy corporate owner. People don’t change (although one hopes they grow), so it was always there. I had hoped it wouldn’t be what he leads with, but now it is. It’s bad enough he sold out his country to foreign entities, fake news, and hate groups. All these changes, which he claims are part of controlling that are crap. All he’s doing is hurting the small businesses and individual artists.

So, yes, I’m putting up a Devon Ellington Author page tied to my other pages. For the moment, I am still on FB. But if I’m kicked off, while I will miss some of my FB-only contacts, I’m going to shrug and move on.

I signed up on Tumblr, and you can find me here. I’m still figuring out how to use it.

I signed up on Ello, and you can find me here. I’m digging the creative energy over there, and I think I’m going to like it.

Once I upgrade my phone, I might join Vero, but the jury’s still out on that.

I’m thinking about reviving my old My Space account, even.

It all has to evolve, doesn’t it?

I use Twitter differently than I use Facebook. Facebook is more for hanging out. Twitter is more hard-edged and focused. Although I’ve gotten some of my highest-paid gigs off Twitter.

I might have to suck it up and try to be active on Goodreads, although I can’t stand the thought of it. But I need to be able to connect with readers and potential readers.

The whole thing is discouraging, depressing, and dispiriting. As usual, it’s about screwing the individual artist.

Negotiations for the gig are ongoing. I’d like to land it, but we have a few things to work out. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll shrug and move on.

Lucy loves to sit in my lap as I type. Lucy loves to sit in my lap no matter what. It makes Tessa grumpy, so I make sure to give Tessa plenty of extra attention.

Needless to say, I really, really needed Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki last night!

Continuing on with RELICS, happy that I see the end in sight for this draft and moving toward it.

DHARMA is heating up; once that moves back into the primary position, I think it will cook along fine.

BALTHAZAAR is also taking shape nicely, and I’m eager to get back to that, and to CRAVE THE HUNT.

We’re working on the relaunch of the Jain Lazarus books. My editor has asked me for a few tweaks, especially when it comes to OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. And I’ll have to do some major work on the website. I’m going to get it more in alignment with the other series sites.

We’re also talking about the series POWER OF WORDS is evolving into. The cover for the first book is stunning. I’m so happy with it. The second still needs some more tweaks, but it communicates what the book is about. We should see some proofs for the upcoming books shortly. We’re still tweaking titles on some of them, and starting to build the website.

Client work today; I’ll be late getting posts up both Thursday and Friday, because of things that have to get done in the morning before I can post. I hope to spend most of the upcoming weekend writing and working on the house and garden. With any luck, it will be cool enough and dry enough so to do.

I’m absolutely delighted that I was chosen to read at the Provincetown Book Festival on September 15. We’ll be in the Marc Jacobs room at the Provincetown Library, from 10-11:30 AM. Can’t wait.

Back to the page!

 

Tues. July 31, 2018: Busy and Behind

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

I had a rough time of it these past few days, and I’m way behind where I need to be on a bunch of things.

The writing did not go well at all on RELICS & REQUIEM. I couldn’t get a pivotal scene right. I couldn’t put in a place holder, because what happens in that scene affects every other scene in the book. Besides, I don’t like writing piecemeal. It doesn’t work for me, except in a few unique instances. Each scene builds on the next. I’ve fought my way through it for now, and am frantically trying to get back on track; I just hope that I can.

Which means I also got behind on DHARMA. And I tried to work on POWER OF WORDS, but the amount of information I have to juggle in order to write the scenes properly — well, I got about 7 pages done, that’s all.

It was hot and uncomfortable, which didn’t help.

I managed to get a review up and out, and work on the longer article on that same topic that goes up next week. I’m behind where I want to be on the calendar articles.

At least we’re ahead on some of the book covers — now I have to make sure the books live up to their covers! 😉

Busy couple of days with a client today, since there’s a big event coming up.

One friend is still in hospice. I heard back from another friend, with whom I’d been out of touch for awhile — his wife died a couple of months ago. It’s a period of loss right now. Sunday was the 46th anniversary of my dad’s death.

Even though it’s hot and humid, it smells like autumn, especially early in the morning and late at night. Tomorrow is the first day of autumn, first harvest. An important day on my personal calendar.

So I will be back blogging on Thursday.

Hopefully, I will have undone this muddle by then.

My wrap-up is over on the GDR site, and I have a post up on A Biblio Paradise, too!

Onward.

 

Published in: on July 31, 2018 at 1:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 31, 2018: Busy and Behind  
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Wed. July 25, 2018: Prepping for the Onslaught

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury goes Retrograde TOMORROW

Batten down the hatches, we’re about to be in for a bumpy ride.

Click on over to Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve got some suggestions for dealing with “tired brain.” And it’s not about sleeping.

I overslept yesterday, which put me behind as I worked on RELICS and tried to pull the radio proposal together.

I was pleased by the positive response to The Idea Vat over on Biblio Paradise. I’m so glad people found it helpful. It helps me let go of the irritation at the author who flaked out on the slot.

Worked on the review I’m writing; I’m doing some short reviews for the review sites, per instructions, and a longer piece will be up on A Biblio Paradise next Tuesday for her release day.

I don’t have much of value to say, and I want to stay relatively quiet over this difficult retrograde period. Five icky retrogrades.

Busy day with a client yesterday.

Happy with the way RELICS is going; just wish I could do more each day. It has its own rhythm, and once I’ve hit it, that’s it for the day. If I push too hard, I have to throw out the words the next day. But then, each book has its own personality. I’ll still make the deadline.

There’s some less-than-stellar response to the potential DAVY JONES DHARMA cover. I thought it was really cute in the right way; the general response seems that it’s veering too much into the cute. So, we’ll look at a few other things.

The RELICS cover will be revealed in September, just after Labor Day.

Digging into BALTHAZAAR TREASURE a bit, too, and I have to get focused on CRAVE THE HUNT again. In a couple of weeks, we’ll look at the manuscripts of HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK to see what needs to be tweaked, and I’ll need to find the rhythm for HUNT again (not to mention my notes). Because March isn’t that far away. And we’re trying to wrangle the newly re-shaped POWER OF WORDS into possibility, so we can announce the new series title, the new book titles, and get working on the websites and covers.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

 

Thurs. July 12, 2018: Clown Semen & Other Creative Adventures

Thursday, July 12, 2018
New moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see why loving your job does not forfeit your right to earn a living at it.

The impromptu artists’ retreat with my friends last week gave me a lot to think about, and it will take me some time to work through it all. While I didn’t get a lot of words on paper during that time, I refilled the creative well, as we all helped each other refill our creative wells.

I helped brainstorm their creative projects; because that work is not mine, I can’t discuss it here, in a public space. The results of the brainstorming are theirs to use or not use, discuss or not discuss as they see fit. But I find helping others sort their way out of creative obstacles always teaches me a lot about my own work.

As far as my work, I now have:

— a clearer idea of how to proceed on the anti-gun violence play;

–a stronger thread for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (breaking MYTH & INTERPRETATION out of it helped, but now it’s even more focused);

–a clearer idea of CRAVE THE HUNT, which needs to go back into the queue in late summer;

–how to incorporate the editorial notes I received recently on the two manuscripts in a way that solves the problems the editors pointed out without diluting my vision for the books. The only way I could see on one of them was to dumb it down, but now I know how to make what the editor feels is missing work while still driving the book’s unique edge, the thing that makes it different from other books in the genre;

–a new determination to work, in and around other projects on what I’ve called THE POWER OF WORDS, so the first six books will be ready to release one-a-month next spring or summer;

–a new determination to get back to THE FIX-IT GIRL edits (the book set in 1930s Hollywood), so that can go out on submission;

–the problem that had me stuck on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is untangled, and I can fix that; when, I’m not sure, but the “how” is handled;

–the outline for the first book in a more traditional mystery series that has a good chance of finding a home in a more traditional venue — if I can work in the time to do a good job on it;

–ideas for a couple of radio plays, and new venues to send existing radio plays;

So I would say it was a productive few days.

I went to Falmouth Art Center to the opening of an exhibit where a friend of mine had a couple of pieces. The drive was a nightmare, but the exhibit was lovely. Her pieces (ceramics) had a wonderful sense of fun. Of the other pieces, I found myself especially drawn to the oils. I loved their depth. It reminds me of the difference between film and video.

Came home to discover other family friends had stopped by, although they hadn’t been able to stay.

Once the last of the guests left. I did laundry and some tidying up, but cut myself a break to process ideas and read and rest. I felt a huge need to rest.

Part of me worried that I’m getting too far behind on the word count for RELICS; more of me felt I couldn’t put words of any value down, and it was better to rest.

One of the books I read was THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis, which I really liked.

I tried to read some books by an author whose latest book I loved, but they were written in present tense, and I couldn’t. I loathe novels written in present tense. I don’t care how much praise they get. I find them unreadable. It’s the author getting between me and the story, screaming in my face about what a cool stylist the author is, instead of letting me experience the story.

A writer friend is coming to the Cape to teach at the Conference next month and wants to get together. I’m delighted.

Monday morning, I woke up early with a blasting headache. I ended up drafting most of a flash fiction piece — I still have to figure out how to end it. That alleviated the headache somewhat.

Client work, prepping and getting out a marketing campaign for an event the client has in August.

Steady work on RELICS, getting back into the groove with DHARMA. Researching my almanac articles. Getting ready to re-read HEADLONG this weekend so I can write the foreword. I’m so thrilled my friend asked me to write the foreword. What an honor. It remains one of my favorite books ever. I have to put some material together for a couple of proposals in the next few days, too.

I’d sent a pitch to a potential client through a recruiter — who sent it to THE WRONG COMPANY. My pitch was to join the marketing team for a company that promotes wellness in the workplace. Instead, the recruiter sent the pitch to a different company with the same first initials/acronym located in a different town. This one is a fast-paced, very corporate organization. I was puzzled at first, when the corporation contacted me to set up a meeting. Because I knew I hadn’t sent them anything. Then I did some research and realized what had happened. Then I did some research on the company and — no. Just no. We are not a good fit. The “leaders” stay in the shadows and the double-speak made me question their ethics. Plus, they’re looking for entry level to groom. I’m not entry level. Too many decades of work under my belt for that. I sent a polite email thanking them for their interest, explaining the mix-up, and withdrawing from consideration.

Savasana/sukasana/reiki was great. I love spending an hour a week lying in a quiet room with no expectations.

Then, Wednesday, there was some unpleasantness at one of the client sites. Unnecessary, manipulative unpleasantness. I was onsite, working on the client’s campaign for an upcoming event. However, another person in the workplace specifically sparked an incident that she knew would set off my client to go on a rant to which I would have to respond or be the type of compliant spineless moron I despise.This individual did it because she thought it was “funny.”Now, my client and I wound up being fine by remaining cordial and listening to each other, and giving each other respect for our differing views.

My fury (and believe me, it was fury) was at the person who sparked the incident, who threw me under the bus because she thought it was “funny.” My client left and I was finishing up what I needed to get done until I go back onsite next week. I was seething, but I figured I’d let myself cool down and then, if it was relevant, have a quiet word with the instigator next week.

But no, this one had to start joking about how funny it was. I told her to never put me in that situation again, and that I was angry, and didn’t appreciate she threw me under the bus. I have covered her ass plenty of times in that place. Then she denied that she “knew” it would cause a problem which either a flat out lie or she has cognitive issues, because we’ve discussed this more than once. Then she started the whole thing about how my anger “hurt her feelings.”

Too bad, bubbelah, maybe you should have considered that before deliberately stirring the pot. Her actions and her words are too far apart for me to believe her words. Anyone with a grain of common sense, consideration for someone else, and basic reasoning skills could have predicted what would happen.

Walk your fucking talk or get out of my life.

Of course, this is the same person who, last week, during a discussion about human rights violations, said she “doesn’t do politics. Besides, none of this affects me because I have white skin.”

Which just tells all of us all we need to know, right?

I’d much rather know someone’s true colors sooner rather than later. Now I know what I’m dealing with.

Fortunately, I got to have fun on Wednesday night, which is where the clown semen comes in.

My friend, author Ray Bartlett, did an event with another author, Mary Hart. I saw his post on Facebook about it, and hadn’t seen him in ages, so I figured it was a good time to get together, come out and support his book (I’d put together the launch party for it when it originally came out), and meet a new-to-me author. All good.

It was at Hyannis library, and tons of fun. Ray read from SUNSETS OF TULUM, and Mary read from SOME HORRIFIC EVENING. The audience was engaged, there was a great talk/question & answer session, and, best for them, the audience members bought books. It was lively and fun and creative.

I’m also looking forward to both of their next books.

After, we went to a nearby bar to chat and catch up. We ordered our various drinks. Mary ordered an IPA called something like “Clown Shoes”. It was clown something. Well, when it arrived at the table, it looked kind of like milky orange juice.

You get where I’m going with this, right?

We asked the waitress if it was supposed to look like that; she didn’t know, but suggested an app that has pictures and info on different beers. Mary pulled it up on her phone.

Uh, no, it wasn’t supposed to look like that. All the pictures were very different than what was in the glass in front of us. In the photos, it looked like beer.

What was in the glass didn’t look like beer.

Which is when the comment came up about it looking like “clown semen.”

Which quieted the men at the table into shocked silence for about 20 seconds.

Anyway, she sent it back and got something drinkable. But we started doing jokes about clown semen. Because it was just that kind of night.

We decided that it should be the title of her third book (because the title of her upcoming second book is already really cool). And if she doesn’t use it by her third book, I will.

I promised her I’d write about this today, so Mary, this one’s for you! 😉

And there was other laughter interspersed with the creative conversation, and it was fun. Also, when you go to one of Mary’s readings, ask about the story of how her parents met, because it’s really lovely.

Came home later than expected and puttered around.

This morning, it’s yard work, some remote client work. I need to up my game on RELICS & REQUIEM to make deadline, and I have to make sure I don’t drop the ball on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Plus, you know, the novella, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, releases on Tuesday, so I better up the PR.

I need to prepare an international proposal for a play that needs to go out tomorrow, and two radio drama pitches to go out next week. I also want to get out some more LOIs this week.

Tomorrow, I’ll share some Adventures in Wildlife we’re having around the yard.

Back to the page!

 

Tues. June 19, 2018: Stressors

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

Four planets retrograde, with Mars going retrograde next week. Can I please just stay in bed until it’s all direct?

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for “The Lost Art of Reading Aloud.”

Busy weekend. Most of it was focused on turning around the revisions of MYTH & INTERPRETATION back to my editor. We’re in galleys now. Since it’s a novella, not a novel, and just over 40K, I’m hoping the galley process won’t be as drawn out as with SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Back in the saddle with RELICS & REQUIEM. Going at a good clip with that. I love the way the relationship is unfolding between Amanda and Phineas. It gets my full writing focus (as opposed to revision or proofreading focus) this week, because next week, DAVY JONES DHARMA gets back into the mix. I’m looking forward to spending time again with Sophie and the crew of the Charisma.

Did some work on the anti-gun violence play. It’s slow going. Instead of drafting in a rush, I’m working and reworking each scene, building the piece. It’s a different way of working than I usually use, but this play needs it. You change the process to meet the demands of a specific project.

It makes me shake my head when writers — usually un-published or under-published refuse to try something new because “that’s not my process.” Until you have a published track record, you’re still trying to find your process. And, even then, you have to change it when the work calls for it.

For the anti-gun violence play, all that time I’ve spent in DC working with senators and reps on legislation, talking to various members of Congress and their aides about issues has all come in handy. It allows me to give it texture, to layer in sights, sounds, smells, attitudes.

I’m still in touch with many of the people with whom I worked when I lived in New York, and have added the MA delegations to my contacts since I’ve moved here. Usually about once a day, always several times a week. Just because I don’t post about it all the time doesn’t mean I remain silent. Or uninvolved. Especially now, it’s vital to be immersed in our political process. My mother, who survived Russian prison camp in WWII, is horrified at the way the US is going down the road of Nazi Germany.

I am sickened by separating children from their families and putting them in cages. Every single individual who does this must be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL. No hiding behind “job” or “policy.” If your job or policy requires you to do something inhumane, you refuse. You fight. Period. If you commit an inhuman act because your job “requires” you to do it, YOU are inhumane. And must face consequences.

I take note of so many people who claim they are “religious” and “Christian” who agree with this inhumane policy of degrading people and putting children IN CAGES. Look at the AP reports. Look at John Moore’s photos. It’s happening. In our country. These people who protest outside of Planned Parenthood, want to deny women reproductive rights, are anti-abortion, delight when doctors who provide health care for women are SHOT, all in the name of RELIGION — they think putting children in cages and denying them basic human rights and dignity is just fine. Not only are they disgusting individuals with no moral compass or authority — they are hypocrites.

I saw a suggestion from a Catholic bishop to deny those implementing this inhumane treatment the sacrament. I am fully on board with that. Go further — excommunicate any individual who does not repent, not only in words, but in ACTION.

Ex-communicate Paul Ryan. This granny-starving sleazeball, who delights in taking away healthcare and other rights, posted a tone-deaf tweet for Father’s Day, while doing nothing to help the situation.

I’m deeply disappointed in Susan Collins from Maine. I have family in Maine; spent lots of time there. Have met with her, in Maine and in Washington. She seemed like a fairly reasonable, rational human being. How disturbing to find it was all a facade.

We are losing a generation of children. Physically and emotionally. It is inexcusable and must be stopped.

For all those who turn away and say they “aren’t political.” They’re coming for you next, you spineless pieces of crap. You won’t be spared. You’re useful to them now, because of your inaction. But you will be tossed away as soon as they choose.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is dealing with some of these issues, as in, when you fight atrocity, how far into similar behavior can you descend without becoming what you fight? Who gets sacrificed? How can anyone come back from it?

Which is, of course, why the piece is pulling at me. Although, I suspect that, once the anti-gun violence play is drafted and goes out to Trusted Readers, I will write a play about this situation.

And, of course, POWER OF WORDS wants attention. We’ve come up with a new series title that we all like. We’ve even named the first six books, and I THINK those titles will stick. Now the question is, how realistically can I finish the material that will be broken into the rest of Book 4 and make up Books 5 & 6, with everything else going on? Books 1, 2 & 3 have been through multiple drafts. They are almost ready to send to the editor. But, because we want to have all six ready at once, I have to finish the rest. I have most of Book 4 done, and part of Book 5 (I skipped ahead). I have Book 6 outlined. But how to fit it in?

On top of that, the Jain Lazarus Adventures must now be factored back in. I need to finish CRAVE THE HUNT, so it can go into edits and be ready to release when HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK re-release. While still staying on track with the Coventina Circle books, the Nautical Namaste books, and the Gwen Finnegan books.

And, you know, client work.

STILL waiting for two checks, one that is now almost a month late. Where the place lied and said it was “sent” and that the accountant wouldn’t be in until this week, and there was nothing they could do about a replacement. You’re a business. You’re telling me that no one can take 5 minutes to write a check? That’s not business.

Feeling pressured and upset and in despair on multiple fronts. All I can do is put my head down and keep writing.

 

Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period

Thursday, June 7, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I have my notes back on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. That’s the great thing about a novella — turnarounds are quicker.

My editor is pleased with the energy and the character development. But she feels I streamlined a bit too much, kept things a bit too lean. She has some suggestions about developing a few points more deeply and supporting the theme a bit more. An exchange here, a paragraph there. I came in a little under projected word count, so we have a bit of room to maneuver. I can write and then we can cut back some more.

The cover designer has an idea for a tweak on the cover, so we’ll look at that today. We looked at some early ideas for RELICS & REQUIEM, and I think we’ve found what we want. So we’re ahead of the game on that, and she will start work on the cover for DAVY JONES DHARMA soon.

Back matter won’t be difficult to put together for MYTH — I have most of it, I just have to assemble the bits. I’m working on the revisions this weekend, so I can get them out next week. I need to work on the newsletter, and get started on the media kit for MYTH & the overall kit for the Gwen Finnegan series.

A bit of work on RELICS & REQUIEM; I need to get into the groove of that, which will take awhile. I have to figure out a way to move from Gwen & Justin’s world to Amanda & Phineas’s world, since they are both contemporary NYC around the same time.

Did a bit of work on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS, but having trouble settling. I feel like I need to type up what I have in longhand and take a look. I also have to add a chapter, or the new structure I’ve been playing with is off.

Have some material to work on to go with THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Re-reading parts of POWER OF WORDS. Playing with a new series title; seeing how I can break it up into books/sections that are a comfortable reading length, still complete certain arcs, and yet keep the reader wanting more. We want to put out the books that cover the audition process, rehearsals, filming the mini-series, and the first season in quick succession. I’d like to have the hiatus, the second season, that hiatus, and the third season ready to go, too, but I’m not sure if that puts us so far down the road it doesn’t even make any sense to commit. That will need its new subdomain, and lots of different, interesting material about the business and behind-the-scenes to keep it fresh and interesting. There will also need to be a specific look for the covers, so they can each be eye-catching, yet also tie together to the actual stories.

The titles and subtitles we’ve played with that make it clear what the books are about are so long and convoluted that they’re annoying. I see that far too often: complex titles and subtitles that serve as log lines and wear me out before I even see the blurb. I want to avoid that. I need something ear-catching (yes, that’s deliberate) and quick that pulls a potential reader in.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS will also need its own subdomain. That’s a lot of web work.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s all moot if the books aren’t written, then edited properly.

If you didn’t get a chance to read “My Rolodex isn’t Free” yesterday, over on Ink-Dipped Advice, hop on over.

I’m trying to work ahead on a few blogs today, to take off some pressure in the coming weeks. I want to focus on MYTH, RELICS, and see what I can do with THREE ROADS and WORDS.

Hopefully, I can get to yoga. If the weather is nice this afternoon — more yard work.

Back to the page!

 

Published in: on June 7, 2018 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period  
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Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I’m leaving the essay on the “In Death” series up as the lead article on A Biblio Paradise for another week. If you haven’t yet read it, hop on over.

Got yard work done, mostly on Saturday. The front yard and the side front are now under control, although by the end of the week, I’ll have to mow again. I trimmed the beds in the terraced back area.

As soon as the weather clears, I’ll have to mow the terraced back area, no man’s land, and the meadow. But I feel like I’m getting a handle on things, between the push mower and the weed whacker.

I apologize for not posting on Friday. Comcast was down in my area, and couldn’t be bothered to give us an estimated repair window. Because, as they tell us often, “we’re you’re only option, so we get it done when we get it done.” I hate them.

The weekend focused on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It will be ready to go to the editor in a couple of days, and cover art will be ready in a couple of days. I’m happy with the work. It feels good to be back in the groove with Gwen and Justin. It gives me the opportunity to seed the stresses that later explode in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and yet it stands fine on its own.

It made a huge difference to show an outline early in the process to my editor, back when we talked about breaking off the section that grew into MYTH off BALTHAZAAR, because it gummed up BALTHAZAAR’S works.

I wrote a Writer’s Rough Outline for MYTH. I showed it to my editor. She came back with suggestions to streamline and focus. As I wrote, I could streamline and focus even more. I kept a nice, lean word count that works for a novella, it has a good story on its own, and it drives forward the series arcs of both Gwen and Justin.

Knowing the four books and the novella in the series have a contractual commitment, being able to work with my editor before I finished a first draft, made a huge difference in the process. It made the writing smoother, more focused, and will save me a few drafts full of tangents.

I could get used to these multi-book contracts.

I also spent a little time on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS and re-reading POWER OF WORDS. I didn’t get any work done on the play, because I’m pushing hard to get the novella out to my editor this week.

I miss POWER OF WORDS. A lot. I don’t know when I can get back to it, though.

I’m still waiting for a check from a gig that was contractually obligated to be here on the 31st. This is the same gig whose ethics (or lack thereof) make me uncomfortable. Once I get this check, I will withdraw, as gracefully as possible. I hate to lose the money, but a two month lag time and the rewrites to turn it into something different than it claims to be make it an unworkable gig for me. I need to let it go and make room for something better.

Hopefully that check and the check from the radio play will arrive shortly.

Yesterday was a chaotic day onsite with a client, and I expect today will be the same. But I got off some paperwork to another client; I have one more batch, and then I’m caught up on that job until next January.

But I had a great writing morning with MYTH, and another one today, so I’m feeling good about that portion of my working life, at least.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on June 5, 2018 at 1:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!  
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