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!

 

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Wed. June 22, 2016: The Writing Fugue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devon

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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