Tues. Aug. 7, 2012: Conference Day 1

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

It’s only Tuesday? So much has gone on, I feel like I’m living a week in every day.

The Conference is great. I got some work done yesterday morning before I left, work with students, etc. My first conference session was with C.E. Lawrence, for mystery/thriller. Great, great session. Plus, we both love Edinburgh, we both have theatre backgrounds, we both have long histories in New York. The class gave me a series of “aha” moments that will help me in my work. Today, I’m going to read the opening of the aviation piece, to see if what bugs me about it is what the others pick up on.

Met up with friends and had lunch at the cabana by the pool. The back of my chair got hit with a golf ball, so I stomped over to the links, waving it, demanding to know who nearly clocked me. No one would take responsibility, so I said, “Fine, you’re not getting it back.” I stuck it in my bag, brought it home, washed it, and the cats are playing with it.

Afternoon session was with Peter Drummey, of the MA Historical Society (I always get his title wrong, I keep calling him “director”, but I think it’s something else), on historical research. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I can get a Boston Public Library card, even though I live on the Cape. As a “citizen of Massachusetts” (that makes me feel so Revolutionary), I can access libraries and collections all over the state. I’m beside myself with excitement. Now, if I could send these selves to some of the collections simultaneously, imagine how much I could get done. Great session, and gives me so many ideas for my research for the aviation, whaling, astronomy, and mill girls projects.

Had to shoot out of that session like a bat out of hell, because it ran over, and we had to be at a reading in Sandwich at 3. We were only a few minutes late — Randall Peffer was reading from his new Civil War novel, SEAHAWK BURNING at Titcomb’s Books. Since one of my friends/students is studying with him, and I know him from both his work and writers’ center events, off we went. It was great fun, and we wound up sitting around chatting for a full hour past the time of the actual event.

I sent my friends off to the Beehive for dinner, while I raced back home. I had to grovel to the cats (who were mad at me for being gone all day), get some work done, and marinate the chicken for Wednesday’s dinner party.

Back to the conference center, for a talk by Joe Finder. He was engaging and hilarious — he really knows how to uplift his audience. I’m familiar with his name, but hadn’t yet read any of his work. I bought VANISHED. He signed it, and I had nothing of value to say at the signing table, so I simply said, “thank you.”

Met Gina Barreca on my way out, and didn’t realize until later that she wrote THEY USED TO CALL ME SNOW WHITE . . .BUT I DRIFTED, which is one of the books that got me through the 90s, along with KISS MY TIARA by Susan Jane Gilman, and were very important when I wrote my show WOMEN WITH AN EDGE. Which makes laughing and talking with her even more special.

Home, worked on the synopsis for HEART SNATCHER, could not get online to my students. Prepared my bag for today, and fell into bed.

Got up around 5:30. Tweaked the piece I’m going to read in the mystery class — moved around some description, cut some qualifiers, made a couple of things more specific. Hate reading work this raw, but if I’m going to find the right direction and learn the expectations in this genre, I need to take what I have and learn how to make it better. If I’m not willing to be bad, I can’t learn to be good.

I have to say, I love just being a student for this, and running around laughing, talking, and listening as much as possible. No pressure, just learning.

I have two cakes to bake before I leave, and I want to see if I can get into the forum to spend time with students. I better get moving!

Devon

Mon. June 25, 2012: “Town Crier” finally live — and free!

Monday, June 25, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

Lots of catching up to do!

First, I have to say that the premiere of NEWSROOM on HBO was one of the best-written television episodes I’ve ever seen. The opening alone is brilliant, and it just got better from there. I was thrilled to see John Gallagher, Jr. in one of the best roles –we worked together on Broadway in SPRING AWAKENING. He’s terrific, both on and off stage, and I’m so happy to see him in such a great show. Loved the show, thought it was great, thought the writing and the casting were terrific, and can’t wait to see more.

Second, 1and1 finally fixed the website bug, and “Town Crier” is now available for a free download until July 9. You can read an excerpt and then download the story here. I had a totally cool cover that I had to crop and change because the file upload couldn’t support it, so I’m bummed, but the story’s fun. And it ties in to both HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, although it takes place ten years before the events of HEX BREAKER.

Friday’s Breakfast with the Authors was terrific. All three — Joseph Doolin, Terri Arthur, and Randall Peffer — have books I can’t wait to read. I’ve read some of Peffer’s previous work, and look forward to the newest of his mysteries. We sat together at breakfast and had a great conversation.

Went home, worked flat out all the rest of the day. The next two assignments have arrived for Confidential Job #1, and look good. I did some more pitches, and started working on upcoming articles. I managed to get an absolutely fantastic source for the one due this week — someone whose work I’ve admired since I’ve moved to the Cape, so I’m very excited. Pitched for a few other jobs — fingers crossed.

Worked with students, got a good bit of work done on a rewrite of a small writing book I want to release in the coming weeks.

Sunday’s class was cancelled. The director told me that people were interested, but didn’t want to commit ahead of time. Well, honey, I’m not going to sit around and see if people show up. She also mentioned that people want “light creative writing classes.” That’s just insulting. “Creative writing” is what you as an eighth grade elective or as therapy. It’s not what I do. I work with people who are serious about and committed to writing. That venue is simply not the right match for me. I have one more thing scheduled in mid-July with them, but I’m not holding my breath.

The “Scene Meat” and “Series Bible” classes are filling up nicely, and those should be great fun. I’m really looking forward to them.

Worked on the revisions for HEART SNATCHER. For this draft, I’m cutting all the chapters from secondary characters’ POVs, and focusing on those in the POV of Valerie, Max, and Carey. I’ll sprinkle in necessary information from those cut chapters through other POVs. I’m also putting Max’s first chapter right after the prologue, where it was in the original draft (I’d moved it in the second draft to chapter two, moving Valerie’s first chapter, originally chapter 5, as chapter 1). I’ll give Max one, maybe two chapters, then do Valerie’s, cut Grace’s, and then have Carey’s. It makes it more of an urban fantasy mystery/suspense than the wider ranging fantasy, but it might serve the book better. The changes are based on both the actual notes from the critique swap and new ideas inspired by those notes.

However, changing the first book in the trilogy is making it harder to write the first draft of the second book.

I wrote out on the deck this morning, some work on a magical realism piece. I’m going to work on a couple of articles today, a couple of press releases, get out two more pitches, and get started on the short story due July 6 and start the Billy Root story that has to go live on July 13. Hopefully, the deposit check I keep getting promised for the ghost writing assignment will arrive today, so I can get that in, too.

It was supposed to rain this morning, so I overslept instead of going to yoga. I need to mow the front before the rain starts (it hasn’t yet) — we’re starting to suffer from vacant lot syndrome again, even though it wasn’t that long since I mowed.

Dreamed about an adventure story — movie, really, with Henry Ian Cusick playing the male lead. I mean, he wasn’t himself, he was a character, so I assume I dreamed a script. I have no reason for him to turn up in a dream, and I wasn’t in it anywhere, so I was dreaming a story. Jotted some notes to see if it’s something I can work with in the future.

Back to the page. And the lawn mower.

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!