Wed. June 5, 2019: Trying to Balance Irritation and Action

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Exhausted.

Ink-Dipped Advice has a post on trade-offs today.

Irritated because someone has been bitching at me about money, about how much certain things cost. But I’m doing the numbers, and it’s not adding up. I don’t want to hear it any more.

I had an epiphany, and, while it’s not appropriate for me to go into public detail, a few things are going to change soon, paving the way for bigger changes in a few months.

I’m also sick and tired of these nasty, filthy tourists who come on Cape Cod supposedly to “enjoy” the natural beauty, and then do everything in their power to destroy it. Leaving their trash everywhere, being rude to people. Now the Army Corps of Engineers is talking about doubling the size of both bridges. How are they going to feed that extra traffic into the narrow roads? We can’t fit the people that are here now.

But again, everything is being sold off to corporations not located on Cape Cod, so all they care about is short-term profit.

Thank goodness for Monday’s meditation group.

The writing is not going well, because I have so much other stuff to sort out, and that always sends me into a downward spiral.

I need to come up with something pithy for the radio play set on Brighton Pier. I’m not feeling very witty right now, though. But I think I can have a lot of fun with the premise. Carousel sounds and carnival barkers and fortune tellers and the rest.

I need to get out of this negative headspace. I also need to push back against those who are demanding that I live my life to their rules, when my life has little to nothing to do with theirs.

What I need, most desperately, is some time off.

Which isn’t going to happen any time soon.

With a client today, for most of the day, and then, possibly, with another client.

Onward.

Published in: on June 5, 2019 at 6:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 5, 2019: Trying to Balance Irritation and Action  
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Tues. April 30, 2019: Conference Wrap-up and New Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ever so much to talk about, and some things about which I’m not yet ready to talk about, because I’m still mulling them over.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the April wrap-up. It should be up within a half hour of this post.

This past weekend, I was a presenter at the #NECRWA conference in Burlington, MA. It’s one of my favorite conferences, because it’s relaxed and upbeat. It always gives me a lot to think about.

I re-connected with some people I knew from before, met new people, met some people I knew from online and this was the first time we’d met in person.

The weather was awful on Friday. I had the car packed early, and left a little before noon. Usually, it takes me about 3 hours to get there (and it’s only outside of Boston) because of traffic. I’d managed to time it so it only took two hours.

My room was ready; I checked in and it took 2 luggage cart trips from car to room to get everything up. Made me think maybe I brought too much stuff.

The hotel had a renovation. It’s very upscale business traveler with dark wood and shiny counters and a huge TV. My room had a kingsized bed AND a chaise longue, with which I immediately fell in love. The bathroom was all shiny counters and frosted glass.

I unpacked, tried to rest up a bit, looked through the conference materials. I also worked ona book I have to review.

Freshened up and went downstairs for the cocktail hour. They served us a buffet dinner, too, courtesy of Red Feather Romance. That definitely got our attention — feed us! 😉

I had some interesting conversations. One with a writers’ group who’d travelled here together to attend — their members were from Western MA and upstate NY. I had another conversation with some early career writers who didn’t even try to hide their contempt that I’m with a small publisher and that I talked about craft and the importance of a good editor, and how much I value both my editor and my copy editor. They plan to self publish, and, according to them, “craft doesn’t matter, because Kindle readers don’t care.”

I beg to differ.

I found that arrogance rather off-putting, and wondered if that would be the tone of the conference.

The Literacy signing was after the dinner. I prefer it when it’s at the end of the weekend, when I’ve gotten to know some of the authors and have an idea of their books. I felt like I “should” buy a lot of books, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and I felt guilty when I browsed a table without buying.

I went back upstairs to decompress a little and read more of the book for review.

I also set up my rolling rack for tomorrow, went over the presentation again. Second-guessed myself on every item I brought and every slide I chosen; wondered if I should revise the presentation. But that way madness lies.

Tried to watch television, but it was lousy. I’m not missing anything by giving up cable.

Got an email from that new-to-me editor who wanted yet more information about why the topic — an underused resource that can generate more income for freelancers — is relevant to his site, which is supposed to be about generating income for freelancers. I have now written more than twice the word count ABOUT what the actual article would run. For a publication for which I’ve written a half a dozen times, and where I never had to jump through all these hoops for the other editor.

Makes me think we are no longer a good fit, and perhaps it’s time to move on to another dance partner.

The bed had one of those pillow top or memory foam things. I felt like I sank so far down it would cover me and smother me. It was comfortable; I’m just used to a much firmer mattress.

I woke up once at 4 AM with a horrible headache, but got back to sleep, and got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. I like writing in hotel rooms. There aren’t many distractions.

On my way to the first session, I stepped outside for a few minutes — and the headache went away. I realized that I can’t open the windows in my room, and I always sleep with my window cracked. I’m not used to recycled air.

A few minutes outside, even in the rain, helped.

Before the first session, I talked to some people who live in Central MA about the benefits of living there. They love it, because one can get to anywhere from there. It was great to hear them talk about what they loved about the area, how it’s changing, what frustrated them. The arts community seems much more vibrant and able to earn a living than it is here.

The first session was great, about burnout. Emily Nagoski was the presenter. Her handouts and worksheets were great. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the crossroads I’m facing right now. I also want to get a quote from her for an article I’m writing.

Went outside for a few minutes in between sessions, then went to a panel discussion where the participants frankly discussed money. We all agreed not to share these authors’ actual financial details outside of the room. But some of their approaches and concepts were interesting.

I was surprised — at this panel and elsewhere in the conference — by how large a percentage of the incomes are via Amazon’s Kindle direct. I’ve always avoided them because I don’t like the contract. My small publisher distributes digitally through Amazon, but my contract is not directly with Amazon, but via my publisher.

Also, the volume at which some of these authors are turning out books. There’s one full-time author who has published 70 books in the last 11 years. She’s earning money, she’s winning awards. She’s turning out quality work. She’s got audio books and translations out.

I always thought I wrote reasonably fast, but I couldn’t keep up that pace, unless I had a full staff to run the rest of my life.

I’m wondering if I should run an experiment, and have something that is more typically genre run through KDP/Unlimited to see how the returns differ.

The downside to that (apart from the qualms I have about the KDP contract) is that having only one book in that pipeline isn’t going to do much. I’d need at least three.

Three books that are separate from anything I currently have on contract, when I’m already on a brutal contract schedule.

Of course, a new pseudonym and a new idea for a series, even its title, came bursting forth almost immediately.

Whether I choose to go KDP or not, I’m kind of in love with this idea. It fuses with a couple of other ideas I’ve been playing with, and mixes the mystery and romance genres in a beautiful location.

I even have the opening line, which is a kicker.

The problem is — when will I be able to write it? We’ve already rescheduled THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m on track for GRAVE REACH, but I can’t let the other two fall by the wayside.

I have to get back into the Jain Lazarus Adventures later this year, revising CRAVE THE HUNT, and my editor and I have to go over the first two, seeing if we need to make any changes.

I have to get back on track with the JUSTICE BY HARPY books. The first book is in great shape; the second two, not so much. Since all three have to release close together, that’s a challenge.

I want to get THE FIX-IT GIRL out on traditional submission, and work on THE TIE-CUTTER.

And, of course, there’s always GAMBIT COLONY that pulls whenever I’m stressed to blow off steam.

I have a radio play going live in May. I have another radio play due in Florida in the next couple of weeks, and requests for more; I have ANOTHER radio play to send to MN as soon as I’m done with it.

I have a play due in NY at the end of May for a contest.

I have to get into the MFA to research Canaletto and the Bibiana families so I can start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters that’s due at the end of the year.

I have to finish the anti-gun violence play (because it’s not like that issue will be solved any time soon).

I have to keep working on WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, and test the monologues.

I have to write the play about the two infamous women authors.

I have articles to pitch and write, and other marketing writing that keeps a roof over my head. I have contest entries to finish, books to review, a couple of speaking engagements coming up.

I have to come up with a new marketing strategy for my books.

How do I make it all work? Especially when, right now, I’m exhausted? And deal with the garden? And I probably have to face some major life changes in the upcoming months.

I’m not sure. I have to take some time to sit and think. To prioritize. To push myself to get it all done.

To do it without killing myself.

Hence why the burnout workshop was so relevant.

Outside, took a few breaths of fresh air, then back in for a seminar on ebook pricing. Some of which directly contradicted what worked for some of the authors in the last seminar.

One interesting thing that came up was to set the first book in a series perpetually at 99 cents. I’ve played with that idea. I don’t want the people who are excited by a new release to feel screwed if I lower the price of the first book to 99 cents and keep it there. My publisher is open to discussing pricing changes, but is more in favor of limited-time discounts than a permanent change.

A few months ago, I was advised that I should lower the price of ALL the earlier books whenever I have a new release out. I balked at that idea, as did the publisher. Because then why should people order the book when it first comes out? They know it’ll come down in price a year later when the next one comes out. In the interim, I might lose them anyway.

It was also brought up that $1.99 is an awful price. I put my Delectable Digital delight shorts at 99 cents (making sure people understand they are SHORT). My publisher usually has novellas or short novels at $1.99 or $2.99 if they’re almost up to category length. Now I’m wondering if we should go up to some funky price like $2.09 or $2.49?

Yeah, this is just what my publisher wants. Me to come back from a conference full of ideas that aren’t new books! 😉

The lunch buffet was fun. I got to catch up with a friend who has nine books out under one of her names, and is about to launch a cozy mystery series under another. Can’t wait to read all of them!

Met another author, Jillian David, whose presentation I missed (and I felt guilty for so doing, because I really liked her). I now can’t wait to read her books, either.

The lunchtime keynote was Penny Reid, who was funny and heartfelt, and now I have another new-to-me author to read. That’s one of my favorite things about conferences — finding new-to-me authors whose work I can gobble up.

I found Kilby Blades, who was presenting the two sessions before mine in the salon we would all share, to ask if she minded that I brought my rack down and stashed it before her session started. She was cool with it. I didn’t want to just show up with a bunch of stuff and presume I could take up space.

I attended both of her marketing sessions which was useful. She navigates how to use best business practices in marketing and then morph them for the weirdness that is the book business. It helped me rethink some strategies, and I will have a lot to discuss with my publisher’s new marketing director soon!

There were some elements that gave me a headache. Charting daily sales–I know it’s useful, but I’d much rather look at weekly or monthly breakdowns. But as we work on new marketing strategies, the daily fluctuations and the importance of serious testing matters. The same way it does when I do it for other people.

I wish it wasn’t so much easier to market for someone else than to market myself!

Then, it was my turn.

My audience was great, but I was not happy with my performance. I talked too quickly. I didn’t share enough anecdotes from the set (only two or three). I meant to talk about heirloom pieces that are passed down and how they have meaning, and didn’t. I meant to tie in to some of the other sessions, and it flew right out of my mind.

I was frustrated with myself because it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the only one to blame was me.

I shouldn’t have cut reading the passage from a friend’s book about how a couple of characters cleaned up for a funeral. That would have been a good addition. But when I timed a rehearsal, it made the session run long without time for questions.

As I said, my audience was great. I could have been better. I did not live up to my own expectations.

I packed up, took everything back up to the room, and changed for dinner. I wore Cupcake International pieces all weekend — I was a walking advertisement for them. But the pieces were fun and comfortable and flattering.

Dinner was good. I sat with some people who’d been in my session, and another woman from NH who was lovely. We had a great talk about life in New Hampshire and a whole lot of other things.

Sonali Dev was our Keynote, and she was wonderful. She said something that resonated. “We write because we refuse to be silent.”

Again, gave me a lot to think about.

I was exhausted and my mind going a mile a minute after dinner. I didn’t join the debrief sessions; I went upstairs. I finished reading the book for review, and made notes.

I made some notes on some new ideas. I tried watching TV, but there was nothing I wanted to see. Packed everything up.

I pondered all the information I’d gathered. It will take me awhile to sort it all out and decide how best to put it to use.

Woke up at 1 AM and got back to sleep. Woke up a little after six. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. Breakfast.

Had the car loaded and was gone a little after 8. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was home by 10:30.

Unloaded. Put stuff away. Unpacked. Sorted laundry. Unpacked the handouts and bookmarks and other things I picked up at the conference. It will take me a few days to go through them.

I usually go through them the day of or the day after. But I was too tired.

I don’t get why — I hardly drank at all. I usually spend more time at the bar at conferences, and I didn’t this time around. But I feel more worn out than when I spend most of my free time in the bar. Here I tried to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I’m still wiped out.

Probably because this was at the end of a long, stressful month.

Tried to rest on Sunday. Wrote the review. Read some other books. I gave myself the day off from contest entries.

Monday was back to the normal routine, although I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

Got some writing done in the morning, although it wasn’t very good. Played with my new idea. That world is coming into focus surprisingly clearly. Although I don’t want to be arrogant about it, so I ordered a bunch of research books from the library.

Returned what I’d borrowed for the conference. Spent time onsite with a client. Turned in my review.

Cancelled out of my mid-afternoon appointment because my brain was mush and I was making stupid mistakes.

I’d walked out of the house without my phone. Meant to pick it up after the session with my client and before leaving for meditation group. But, of course, I walked out without it — mostly because the cats caught a little, tiny mouse, and I felt horribly guilty about her demise. I mean, I don’t want mice in the house, and I’m glad the cats did their feline job — but I still felt awful about that poor little mouse, and buried her in the yard.

Meditation was good. I felt better and more focused after, although still tired.

Read a couple of Tracy Kiely’s Nic and Nigel Martini books over the past two days. They’re a lot of fun.

Went to bed early; overslept this morning.

Got some writing done, but not enough. Still mulling things over in my head.

Onsite with a client most of the day, then I have to get some work done at the library.

More contest entries to work on tonight, and I’m starting to enter the scores into the digital sheets.

Was assigned my next book for review.

I have to get going on the thank yous and follow ups from the conference today and tomorrow. I don’t want to let that slide.

And I have to get on a more productive writing schedule. I think I have to add a second writing session into the evening for the next few months. The morning at 1.5-2K is okay (although it makes me feel very slow). But if I can add in another 1K session in the evening, I should be able to get back on track. Maybe I can up it a little on weekends.

Mostly, though, I’m so, so tired. My body is tired and my brain is tired. I’m seriously thinking of taking a few days off this weekend, except for contest entries, and then starting up again with the new moon.

But the conference was great, and it gave me a lot to think about. Now, I have to sort through it, and, most importantly, APPLY WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

Because otherwise, it’s just time spent without gain.

Back to the page.

 

Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019: Snowing & Planting

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Snowing and cold

Hop on over to the GDR site for February’s wrap-up, and over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was a mixed bag of client work and other things.

I heard back from a producer to whom I’d pitched a play on Tuesday. He read it overnight, loved it, and is going to recommend to the company to do it. He’d like more with these characters. Hopefully, it will all work out.

I finally got a chance to listen to the production they did last summer of “Light Behind the Eyes” and they did a good job.

I heard from the other radio company to whom I’d pitched, located in California. They wanted to let me know they are a little behind, but would give me an answer by the end of April.

So far this year, one of my radio scripts will be performed in early April in Boston, and another in early to mid-May in Minnesota. With three more plays in the pipeline for Minnesota, and possibly more in Florida.

All these gigs are paid, professional gigs. Which is great, since I love writing for radio, but I’m past the point of working for free.

I have to get back on track with the novels, though, and spend some time on the stage plays as well this weekend. I’m planning it to be a fairly quiet reading-and-writing weekend.

I was onsite with a client and couldn’t watch the Michael Cohen hearings, although I caught up with them later. It’s stunning to me that the GOP members on the committee aren’t at all upset that Cohen lied FOR the Narcissistic Sociopath; they’re upset he’s no longer doing it.

It snowed last night, and we woke up to about 5 inches of fluffy, lovely white stuff this morning. I was out early shoveling. Figures as soon as I was done, it started again!

I’ve got some work to do at the library, then I’m meeting a writer friend for an early afternoon cocktail later on. Looking forward to it.

Working on the contest entries and the book for review. And reading Ed Ifkovic’s Edna Ferber mysteries just because I want to.

Not looking forward to going out in this weather, but, oh well. Sooner I get out there sooner I can get back.

And go back to the page. I’m hoping to get some more work done on the Straw Hat play today, and work on the monologues.

Have a lovely snowy day! Guess March is really going to come in like a lion these next few days.

Guess I won’t be traveling anywhere for my birthday in a couple of weeks.

 

Published in: on February 28, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019: Snowing & Planting  
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Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way

Tuesday, February 5, 2018
Waxing Moon

The weather is milder, thank goodness. Some rain expected mid-week, but if it then clears up, I’ll be in the yard doing yard work next weekend. The squirrels are very happy with the massive amount of acorns that fell last fall, but I still have lots of leaves to rake.

The weekend was fine. It was cold and sunny. I didn’t do much. I gave myself some time off to recharge.

Got a little bit of work done on the radio play; I have two possible endings, and I have to figure out which one is funnier; I might have to rewrite the first half and introduce another character, but I’d rather not.

Did some work on the Gambit Colony books. They’re pulling at me, although I really have no time for them right now.

Read — finished Michelle Obama’s beautiful autobiography, BECOMING. Went through some research books for various projects. And finally read Theodora Goss’s THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER. I’d read TRAVEL FOR THE EUROPEAN GENTLEWOMAN, the second book in the series, first. Love them both.

Found the Super Bowl dull. I should be all in with the New England Patriots, since they’re the home state team, but their owner’s friendship with the Narcissistic Sociopath has dimmed that for me. Of course, the owner of the Rams is also a supporter, so neither team was really an option for me.

But, the Patriots pulled it out again, as they usually do. I’m surprised by how many people hate them because they’re a good team and get the job done. I respect Tom Brady’s work, although I’m not a particular fan (for numerous reasons), and I’m glad he rubbed it in the faces of all those that said he was washed up.

The Half time show was awful. Went back to doing other things rather than put myself through that. Really, at this stage in the process, the organizers should know better.

Some of the trash talking comments I saw on social media, even by people I usually respect, made me rethink how much regard to actually have for said individuals. Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t like. Don’t trash stuff other people like when it doesn’t cause harm. And don’t trash talk professionals who can do what you can’t. I don’t like football, but I respect good players and good teams on a professional level. When I see people whose only form of exercise is lifting their beers trash talk pros, I lose respect for them. If you disagree with something an individual does, or the league does, or whatever, state your case and put your money elsewhere. But demeaning people who had the guts to achieve their dreams and are good at their chosen professions — all that does is show what trash the speaker is.

Artists and athletes get that kind of derision all the time from people who don’t have the talent or the guts or the commitment to follow their own dreams and turn them into reality. And those people can fuck right off.

Up early on Monday, for the usual routine. I think I might have to start getting up at 5:30 again soon, not 6. Decent first writing session.

Worked with a client. Stressful time. Picked up a prescription for my mother. More stress, that particular pharmacy is always having a problem with something. Very poorly managed.Headed to the library for some other work. Then to the much-needed meditation group.

In the evening, I worked on the book I have to review.

Today, I’m with a client, and then off to the library to do some work, then work on the review.

Once I get in my words for the day, of course.

Published in: on February 5, 2019 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way  
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Wed. Jan. 30, 2019: Preparation and Boundaries

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Waning Moon

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest business writing post.

Trying to catch up on a lot of things on the one hand, I’m doing a lot. On the other, I still feel as though I’m far behind.

Meditation group was good on Monday. There’s something wonderful about being quiet in company.

Had a decent writing session first thing Tuesday morning; then client work, then grocery shopping, then another appointment., and got out a few pitches. I had to put my foot down with a client who wants to change the parameters of a job into something that’s not writing. Sorry. No reason for me to be there if that’s what the gig is turning into. Today, I will be with a client for a few hours, and then hopefully back home to do some more writing. I have to prep some article pitches, too. I need to get them out by the end of the week. I’m also trying to write ahead on all the Upbeat Author posts for February, and the Ink-Dipped Advice posts.

I was delighted to receive a copy of the re-release of Ron MacLean’s novel HEADLONG, for which I wrote the foreword. It looks great, and it was such an honor to write the foreword for one of my favorite books.

I’m prepping some radio plays to go out this week as requested, while trying to get back on track with the novels, and juggling research for the plays. I have to work on some monologues this weekend, too. I hope I won’t be sick again and can try them out in February.

I want to get back to actual writing on the anti-gun violence play this weekend. I need to get the first act done sooner rather than later.

Plus, I’ve got cleaning and purging of unneeded papers and all kinds of stuff to do from the basement. Plenty to do, and it’s up to me to bend time to get it all done.

My hosting plan renews tomorrow with A2. I’ve been quite happy with them, and will stay. I’m still trying to wrest the registrations away from 1&1 and get them over to Name Silo. It will have taken over a year to get things straightened out, but the sites are much better, in a visual and a useful aspect, and more effective for my work.

Heads up — I have a morning appointment tomorrow, so the Thursday blog will go up late. Hopefully, there will be some good news in there!

I’m in a getting-things-in-order phase before my next leap. I just have to remember to keep things in order, and not get messy again. I tend to nest wherever I settle to work, and pile up project bits. Once I file something or put it in a drawer, my subconscious thinks it’s done. So if I put things away at the end of the day, my creative part of my brain moves on to the next thing the next day.

Published in: on January 30, 2019 at 6:35 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 30, 2019: Preparation and Boundaries  
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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!

 

Wed. June 22, 2016: The Writing Fugue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devon

Thurs. March 24, 2016: Stacks of Work

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was a long and frustrating day. I’m glad it’s over. Today will also, no doubt, be long, but hopefully less frustrating.

We did have a program that ran well, though, in spite of a relatively low turnout. I have to make some adjustments on an upcoming program, though, which I hope can be done quickly so the proper PR can go out. I also have a lot of processing/cataloging to do.

I submitted the two short radio plays and the grant proposal. Both were acknowledged; either they are what is wanted in each individual situation, or they’re not. Time will tell.

Got a little bit of writing done this morning, but not enough. I’ve made some notes on revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, even though that project Is supposed to be “out of sight, out of mind” for the next few weeks. But I didn’t want to forget these editing notes, so I jotted them down. One of them will require a major restructuring of certain relationships in the book, but it fixes a logistical problem that bothered me.

This weekend is my Saturday “on”, but I’m hoping to get some work done in the garden if it’s nice when I get home.

I also need to work on the latest stack of contest entries, work on the play set in 17th century Italy, and get to work drafting the stories that are due at the end of April. Plus, get back to work on SONGBOUND SISTERS, or I’ll get behind. I have another proposal due as soon as I can get it done for a project where the powers that be will try to make me do all the work without any money, which simply is not going to happen.

One step at a time, one word at a time.

Published in: on March 24, 2016 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 24, 2016: Stacks of Work  
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Getting Back on the Writing Wagon

Wed. January 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy few days, but at least I feel like I’m starting to get my feet back under me. It’s still hard to shake off the exhaustion, which is a little worrying.

Friday was busy and a little scattered. Since my computer at work isn’t working, I’m bouncing around, trying to get things done. Sort of like I did when my computer was struck by lightening shortly after I started the job. I managed to get some cataloguing done, and get my report for the Board meeting done, get some emails and PR out.

Saturday was the Saturday “off” and I took advantage of it. Adapted “Light Behind the Eyes” radio play from BBC format to US format. It’s actually easier to write it in the BBC format and convert it to US than to write in the US and convert to BBC. It’s not just about doing a universal change in the document — much more nuanced and complicated than that. But now the US version is ready to be registered and then submitted.

Ran out to get some yarn. My mom and I are both knitting. I’m doing very simple projects, to get my confidence up again.

Wrote a chapter of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m close to the halfway point.

Struggling with the short radio play. I either have to introduce an additional character earlier or make one of the current characters the murderer, and change the red herrings. While the wit works, there’s a structural problem, and I have to fix that or it will fall apart. Tried several things over several days; so far, nothing works.

Re-watched Season 1 of BROADCHURCH. I’d forgotten how sad it is. Love David Tennant’s work. The ending didn’t quite satisfy me, because it was too much out of left field, and seemed structured more for shock value than organically out of the character. Now, I want to watch the US version, and also the second season of BROADCHURCH. I’m interested to see where they go from here.

I’m delighted that 365 Women wants me to write TWO plays for 2016, on two very different women. I’m preparing to start research for the first, set in 17th Century Italy, immediately. I want that one out the door June 1, and the second one done by November 1. I’m adding them into the schedule, and tweaking my lists.

Up at 4:30 on Monday, to get everything done I needed to do so I could leave by 7 AM for my 8 AM meeting in Buzzard’s Bay. We had a long board meeting, but we got some work accomplished, and I have my list of what I need to get done between now and February’s board meeting. Typed up the minutes on Tuesday, so they’re all set. I’m still working on some language to help with the strategic plan. It’s ambitious, but I think it’s vital for us to be ambitious at this point.

Read BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN by Marion Meade, which is very good. It’s a social history of how writers like Dorothy Parker, the Fitzgeralds, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edna Ferber, etc., crossed paths all over the world during the 20s.

An idea is percolating. It might actually be two ideas, but I’m hoping to find a way to meld them. The characters are talking to me — now, if I can only convince them to inhabit the same fictional world, it’ll be great!

I have an article over on the GDR site about “The Difference Between Giving Up and Letting Go.”

Wrote just over 1K on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC yesterday, and it was a struggle. There will be things I need to restructure and tear apart in the revisions, but for now, I need to get it down on paper.

The first submissions for the Indie Next Generation Book Awards arrived. I’ve sorted them and started on them. Always an exciting process. Every time I pick up an entry, I hope it’s wonderful.

Worked on TIE-CUTTER a bit this morning. I’m doing the section set in Iceland. There are some important things that have to happen in that setting for both plot and character development, but I have a feeling I’ll have to strip it way back in the revisions.

Also did some writing-related administrative work. Last year, I didn’t make enough pitches or submissions. Because I was so discouraged, I didn’t track the ones I made as carefully as I should have. I intend to remedy that this year — both by making more pitches and submissions, and keeping the records up to date.

Today will be a long day, but, hopefully, a good one. I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of pitches, so, fingers crossed.

Devon

Published in: on January 13, 2016 at 11:56 am  Comments Off on Getting Back on the Writing Wagon  
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Fri. Jan. 8, 2016: Revising the Writing Schedule and Goals

Friday, January 8, 2016
Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Meeting in Hyannis yesterday morning. It was fine; at least I didn’t want to jab my eye with a fork, like I do at some of these meetings.

Back to work, tried to catch up. Computer isn’t working properly, so that makes it more difficult.

I got some sad news: Amber Quill, with whom I have half a dozen titles, is shutting its doors on March 30. LAKE JUSTICE, SEVERANCE, ELUSIVE PRAYERS, and TRACKING MEDUSA will cease to be available from them at that time. I wish I’d found out directly from THEM instead of through a second party, but, other than that, I’ve always been treated well by them. I loved my editor; they paid on time; they gave me good covers. They believed in their authors. I will miss being a part of the company.

So what does that mean for my writing?

Several different things.

I’m meeting with my advisors to decide what to do. There are still two months until the doors close, two months until rights revert back. Once rights revert back, unless I’m going the indie route, it doesn’t make sense to just shoot the titles straight out again. While it makes me nervous to have anything go out of print, at the same time, I need time to launch a re-release properly, wherever and however I decide to do it. I expect they will be out of print until at least September. If I go independent, I’m going to have to marshal massive marketing resources to make it worthwhile. Right now, that much marketing emphasis isn’t going to fit my schedule. I’m not convinced the independent route is the right choice for me. I prefer to work in a more traditional model right now.

I do realize that, when I’m ready to launch the series that started life as THE POWER OF WORDS (which now has multiple titles as it breaks down into multiple books), it is most likely I have to use the independent model, because it would be exceedingly difficult for a traditional publisher to put it out in the usual channels. It’s a strange monster – one I love, but one that would require the type of Gentleman (or Bluestocking) Publisher to take it on, a type of publisher who no longer exists.

I was in the throes of planning a big marketing campaign for everything over the next few months, which now will not include the titles that won’t be available, for obvious reasons.

I also had three books scheduled to go to Amber Quill this year, all Gwen Finnegan books: BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, SANDOVAL SECRET, and SHAKESPEARE’S BACON. It was a pressurized schedule, but I wanted to make sure I finished the Gwen Finnegan cycle quickly for them, with an eye to moving in some new directions, as inspired by last August’s conference, where Claire Cook gave me the push I needed to give what’s now TIE-CUTTER a shot, and Carole Bugge encouraged me to continue work on SONGBOUND SISTERS.

With those three books off the schedule, at least for the moment (which means I’ll work on them in and around other projects, without the pressure) it moves up SONGBIRD SISTERS and the aviation mystery set in the late 1940s that I’ve been playing with for a few years.

I do love Gwen and Justin, and I want to see their stories to completion, but a break may not be a bad thing. As I kept saying last year, struggling with BALTHAZAAR, I can do it fast or I can do it well. Both aren’t happening in tandem right now.

HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the Jain Lazarus books, are still with Solstice, and I’m not sure what’s next with them; we’re in a bit of a holding pattern.

I have several play scripts and radio scripts on the slate for the year, and some film and television scripts on which I worked last year, which go out on submission this year.

The focus will be more on writing, polishing, and submitting this year, building on the previous writing, but taking me in new directions that I’ve been interested in for the past few months. That’s a positive. It moves up the timeline for me, but it’s a positive. It takes a lot of the “write as fast as possible” pressure off me – something that’s bogged me down over the past couple of years and actually interfered with my productivity, instead of increasing it.

As saddened as I am by the news, I think it’s the push I need right now. My gut tells me this is a positive in the long run.

I’ll have a long day at work today, but, since I’m feeling run down, I pulled out of my commitments for this weekend. I have some work to do for Monday’s NMLC Board meeting, and I’m going to write. I want to finish the first draft of the short radio play that goes out at the end of the month, and I’ve been approached to adapt the historical play into a radio play. I’ll take a look at that to see if it makes sense. I use a good deal of sound in the play anyway, and I think if I make some changes to make it more aural than visual, it will work. I also need to get LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES into US radio format from BBC format, because I have a US market interested.

Plus, I want to stay on schedule with TIE-CUTTER and DEATH OF A CHOLERIC.

So I’ll have a solid writing weekend ahead of me.

This certainly didn’t happen the way I wanted it to, but I have a feeling that, in the long run, these changes will be positive.

I remain hugely grateful to Amber Quill for their support, belief in me, and everything they’ve done for me and for my writing over the years I spent with them. I wish all the partners well in their new ventures, and I hope we can all stay in touch and support each other’s work. Thank you, Amber Quill!

Have a great weekend, people.

Devon

Fri. Feb. 13, 2015: Love the 13th, But not the Black Eye

Friday, February 13, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy. I wrenched my ankle. I didn’t remember hitting my face, but by the afternoon, the left side around the eye was swollen and looked like someone hit me. Not my best look.

I set up for Tango, but had to pull out of actually attending it. I lay on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my face and a bag of frozen spinach on my ankle, feeling like an idiot. I have a whole new respect for the tube of concealer I carry in my purse.

Wrote a kick ass “ask” letter for the library yesterday, and we had a good meeting on a potential upcoming project. Afternoon was mostly spent at the desk, since both our volunteers for the day couldn’t come in.

My street is worse than ever. The town says they’re out of sand, yet they sanded a completely clean road I take to work. Yesterday, one of the frontloaders was taking snow from a mound of snow that was already out of the way and moving it from one side to the other. Because, you know, actually clearing a street that needs it would be too much to hope for.

Couldn’t work on my galleys last night because I couldn’t see well enough to work on them.

Down from pain to discomfort this morning. Swelling’s down, and a trip to urgent care averted.

Ordered some fun stuff for the Luau that will happen the last week of the month, and renewed my driver’s license online.

The wellies I ordered from the Animal Rescue Site arrived yesterday – so cute, black with multi-colored dogs on them! They will be well used.

Busy day today, and then I’m going home to work on my galleys and rest up. We’re getting hit with another blizzard tomorrow night. I have to get the garbage and recycling to the dump in the morning and do some last-minute shopping before work. Once I leave work at 2 PM, I am going home and not emerging until the storm is done!

I have a feeling Sunday and Monday will require a lot of shoveling.

May do a radio play for a company in Paris after I finish the one for the company in Ireland. That will be fun.

Re-read the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE. It holds up well. I’m going to tweak it a bit and write the season synopsis for it and send it out next week.

Also plan to get a good chunk of the radio play done, and work on BALTHAZAAR – once the galleys are done, of course.

Monday is a holiday, and the library is closed, but we’re setting up for the book sale; if I get the writing done, I’ll come in and help for a couple of hours.

In the meantime, stay safe!

Devon

Published in: on February 13, 2015 at 11:15 am  Comments (1)  
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