Mon. July 8, 2013: New Moon!

Monday, July 8, 2013
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy weekend. Wow! Do I even remember Fourth of July? I know on Wednesday, I started tackling the revisions on the book. I did 110 pages, but it felt like I didn’t do anything, and I’m not happy.

I also finished a major edit for a client, and accepted another editing job.

The Media Kit Seminar on Wednesday had to be cancelled because of a scheduling problem. All course fees have been refunded.

Instead, I’m doing a revision intensive for the first 10 pages, from July 12-15. We’ll nitpick to get that opening perfect, and then you can apply the same techniques to the rest of the book. Details here.

Cut myself a break on the 4th. Read a lot.

Got some other editing work done over the weekend, and responses from happy clients. Very pleased about that.

The corset arrived for the Mermaid Ball and it’s perfect. I’m so happy with it! Now I can get to work on the rest of the costume. I have to redesign the tail of the costume. It’s out of proportion and unwieldy. If I was going to BE a float, maybe. But as part of an overall costume — I need to wear the tail. The tail cannot wear me. Back to the drawing board. Better to find out now that the day of the Ball!

Read Juliet Blackwell’s TARNISHED AND TORN, and Kevin Hearne’s HUNTED. Enjoyed them both. Did my coursework for Archaeology and Climate Literacy. Did a photo shoot to go with the still room article that was accepted last week. Did laundry.

Started a mystery/fantasy hybrid that whomped me upside of the head. 17 handwritten pages yesterday — love it. I’d hoped it would only be 20 pages total, but it’s more likely 50. I can play with wonderful sensory detail, action, adventure, mystery, and sociological elements wrapped in fantasy. It’s a palate cleanser before going back to the revisions.

Must run some errands today, turn around another editing project, write a review, promote my workshop, work on the short story, and finish two articles. Hop to it, hop to it, right? At least it’s a little cooler today.

Devon

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Fri. May 17, 2013: Next Step With Revision Process

IMG_1094

Friday, May 17, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warmer

I didn’t mow yesterday, so I’m paying for it today! The front yard looks raggedy, so I’ll have to get my act together and do it. It’s cooler today, so it will be easier on the body to haul the machine around.

Yesterday, I focused on the revisions(once I’d worked with my students). Next five chapters done. I think I dropped a thread somewhere (sort of like dropping a stitch in knitting). When I go back for the final proofread later today, hopefully, I’ll catch it.

Two more chapters prepped last night, so I will finish them today. Then, this draft is done.

What does that mean?

I go over the proposal again, tweaking it, especially when it comes to the outline. I attach the freshly-polished first three chapters to the proposal.

I finish up the back matter — all those special tidbits for reader enjoyment that help set this book apart from others in the genre.

I proofread the whole thing again (even though I’ve been proofing each set of chapters as I revised them), making sure it holds together and fixing typos.

I put together this draft into one document for the full.

I send the proposal and the full to my agent.

I let go (although I’m so tempted to use the momentum to start the next book in the series). It’s at the point where I need feedback from the professional team.

At some point in the next few days, I will type up the Series Bible material I have (I worked in longhand, with the hard copy), print it out, and put everything in binders, so I’m ready for the next step.

I get to work, over the weekend, on the next book in the queue (different genre) and work on the new play, whose proposal and first ten pages have to go out next week.

I catch up on all the admin and other stuff that I let slide while I spent the last ten days deep in revisions. That includes finishing up some work for Confidential Job #1, which I hope to get done today.

Have a great weekend, all, and don’t forget — Preakness tomorrow!

Devon

Published in: on May 17, 2013 at 7:28 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. May 15, 2013: Long Grass and Revision

IMG_1081
Tessa suns herself by the front door

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Read about the garden and see some of the new pictures on Gratitude and Growth’s latest entry.

Worked with students, worked on the book. Finally got through chapters 12 & 13, and am tackling Chapter 14. This chapter needs some substantial new material, so it’s taking awhile. I like what I’m coming up with, though, and tying the different elements together.

Had hoped to have the draft done today, but that’s not going to happen. However, these chapters are the most complex and needed the most work, so putting in the extra time now will benefit the book in the long run.

Had a meeting in Sandwich — it went well, we had a lot of fun, got a lot of work done. Dropped off books at the library, but didn’t take out any more, since I’ll be away when they’d be due.

Came back, exhausted. Got some reading done in the evening, but not much else.

Finished Susan Wittig Albert’s TOGETHER, ALONE, and am now re-reading Joan Anderson’s A YEAR BY THE SEA. I lived in NY when I originally read it, so I’m looking at it from a very different perspective.

Back to the page — must press on.

And, of course, I must MOW. I haven’t even done the meadow yet, and it’s looking like high grasses in the savanna, and I already have to do the terraced back and the front again!

Devon

Published in: on May 15, 2013 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 15, 2013: Long Grass and Revision  
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Wed. July 24, 2012: Market Basket as good as reputed

Wednesday, July 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The Executive office of Verizon Wireless is just as stupid and deliberately vicious as the Customer Dis-service Representatives. Figures — the top always trickles down. It explains a lot. It’s still not acceptable.

On a happier note, went to Market Basket for the first time yesterday. It is an amazing grocery store. Huge, good quality, great prices. It’s quite a drive, but well worth it. I restocked quite a bit. Wow. Just wow. I was ready to set up a cot and move in.

Got a different type of cat litter at PetSmart — hopefully this will solve our kitty litter dilemma. Now, don’t get me wrong, the CATS have handled this all well. But the Feline Pine hasn’t been clumping well lately, and the Arm & Hammer we tried is just awful. I get disgusted looks and vocal complaints from the cats, but they’re still using the box. Hopefully, this other type of pine clumping litter will work and they’ll be happier.

Also fell in LOVE with an eight year old male brown tabby. The lease only allows three cats here, and we have three, but I’m talking him up, hoping someone I know will adopt him. He’s a unique cat and deserves a good home.

Got some work done yesterday, but not enough (it’s never enough lately), and I’m slowly, but surely working through the galleys for the anthology. Still struggling with the introduction, trying to get the right tone.

At least the research for the aviation project is going well.

I’m ripping apart the harpy book again and attacking it from a different perspective. This last revision was necessary to narrow the focus; however, I felt I took it too far into an urban fantasy procedural direction, and I’m losing the bigger social justice scope that’s the real heart of the book. POWER OF WORDS is pulling at me, too, and demanding some attention. I’m feeling creatively flat at the moment, too many “shoulds”, not enough “want tos”. I need a few days to let the creativity soar. I’m hoping the writer’s conference in two weeks will give me a good shot at that.

Need to get a lot of work done, and, hopefully, get to go out with friends tonight. Taking Costume Imp to breakfast at Daily Paper this morning — always fun.

Devon

Published in: on July 25, 2012 at 7:49 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. May 2, 2012: Egg on Face Moment

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Worked as much as I could; couldn’t get as much done as I needed because of the ongoing dispute with Verizon, and their refusal to actually provide individualized customer service or comply with Federal Law. So, now it’s up to the authorities.

Finished the assignment for Confidential Job #1, and have to do the write up today. Thought I had a meeting in Buzzards Bay, cancelled out — found out it’s actually tomorrow (I wrote it down wrong). I still can’t go — I’ll be dealing with my grandmother’s ashes — but it was truly an “egg on face” moment.

Revised five chapters of HEART SNATCHER and wrote just under 2K on HEART BINDER. I feel better about both projects. The students in the year-long are doing very well, and I’m proud of them. It’s an intense revision process, quite different from the way most people teach revisions, because we look at individual trees AND the forest together. It’s less about doing X on page X than putting together a cracking good story that hangs together in each individual situation.

Still feel like crap, but oh, well. Eventually I’ll feel better, right? 🙂

Busy day of writing, proposals, reports, and taking my mom to get her eyes checked. Also preparing for bringing my grandmother’s ashes home later in the week. I’m surprised at the feelings that is bringing up. It’s a good thing, a necessary thing, but it’s still emotional.

Tessa is taking full advantage of being a birthday girl! She’s so funny.

Devon

Don’t forget the Amazing Antagonists workshop on May 12! Create complex, fascinating individuals that are a good match for your beloved protagonists!

Published in: on May 2, 2012 at 6:52 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. April 10, 2012: Good News to Share!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday, worked flat out all day. Worked with my students on the revision process, got out a requested partial, got out a couple of short stories, worked on some marketing and proposal stuff. Someone who wanted a manuscript by June 1 now wants to take a look at the opening chapters earlier, so I need to figure out how to fit that in. Got some good work done on HEART BINDER in the sprint with students. Did my work in the Steampunk class and started One Story, Many Voices.

Went to use the library’s computer to put in a “tweet this” button on my website for the workshops, but the website won’t hold the code. Typical. Next week, I need to meet with the Mac people and set up time to learn how to pull the materials the web host is holding hostage, so I can get the website move DONE. I should probably wait until some of the Fast & Funs are done, but I think my current host is interfering so much with my ability to earn a living that I should risk the move sooner rather than later.

The great news is that OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus book, was accepted by Solstice. I’ll send back the contract today, and off we go. I need to have the third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, done and out to them early in June.

Family’s coming down in May, and I had to get my Fast & Fun dates sorted for May and June. Looks like those are going to work out, so the pages and registration information will go up soon.

Overslept this morning, but still managed to get to meditation on time. We had a good session and an interesting discussion. Stopped at Nirvana on the way back for coffee and chocolate croissants. A couple very impressed with their own importance was in the place, talking to make sure they were overheard. Nothing they had to say was worth hearing. Geez, the only way I could use characters inspired by them is in a dark comedy, where a boulder falls on them or something after a snippet of their vapid exchange.

I’ve got a busy day stretching in front of me, and a migraine with which to contend. I better get to it — got to take back a stack of books to the Sandwich Library and see what else they’ve got waiting for me! And I’ve got an article to finish up. Plus all the writing.

Fingers crossed that submitted material just keeps hitting the target!

Devon

Don’t forget — Dialogue Dilemmas & Solutions, a one-day online seminar to help you create unique and sparkling dialogue. This is the only time I’ll be teaching a dialogue workshop online this year. Information and sign-up here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

I’ve gotten some really nice emails/comments about both yesterday’s Jenny Storm interview and the Anita Blake essay. Thank you! I learned a lot writing both, and hope I can apply that moving forward. Talk about work in two very different arenas, right? But that’s what makes writing such fun. I can switch between a rather innocent piece for middle grade readers and an examination of using sex as a character-building device.

I’m going over the first six chapters of POWER OF WORDS and sending them to Trusted Readers. Normally, I wouldn’t send first draft pages – I usually send out about third draft — but I need to know specifics about what does and doesn’t work in certain elements here in order to focus on the next bit. The next bit, the section dealing with rehearsals, has to be massively rewritten. A lot of that is because of changes I made in this section, dealing with the audition process.

Relationships in this industry tend to be transient, not because the people are shallow, but because, when you spend 18 hours a day for months working on a creative process, creating as a group, there’s a special bond and intensity that no one outside of that specific project shares or understands. The project ends, as it must, you scatter to other projects, and it starts again. Some people you never see again, and that’s okay; some you miss a lot, but lose touch with. Some strong friendships are formed, and you keep in touch regularly wherever you go. Some people you don’t really keep in touch with, but if you land on another project again or even run into each other in the street, the warmth is there instantly and you pick up the conversation right where you left off. It’s very different than working in any other industry. People truly do fall in love during a project — it just is often not a “forever” type of love portrayed in romance novels. That doesn’t make it any less real or less intense, but it’s a different kind of love than most people see as the traditional, settle down forever love. It takes a lot of life experience, self-knowledge, and self-esteem not to blur the line between the creative process and one’s life. And there are all kinds of strong emotional bonds created on a production that have nothing to do with affairs or romance. Some do, of course, but plenty don’t. You’re dependent on each other for your creative and emotional lives. And since each project is sooo different and each experience so different, only those on a particular project can ever really understand the experience. Even when it’s bad, there’s a bond. It’s much closer to the type of bond soldiers share in the field than people going to an office. The threat of physical death rarely exists on a production (unless the director and producers are totally irresponsible, hence the strong safety regulations enforced by unions), but the threat of emotional devastation is always there. Some directors feel they get better work out of actors if they are emotionally or verbally abusive. I think that’s a crock, myself, but that’s the way some people work. Or, you can pour your heart and soul into a project, but sometimes it still doesn’t work No one WANTS to make a bad film, but sometimes the elements just don’t come together, for a variety of reasons. That’s devastating, not just because it can make it harder to get hired again, but because you gave your all and it failed. Usually, it’s because the original vision was diluted by a bunch of executives who shouldn’t be making creative decisions, but are trying to justify their salaries. The more diluted the vision, the more of a mess the project. Or, if you cast because you want a name instead of getting someone who’s not only right for the role but enthusiastic, you can run into problems. You want someone low-key, with a strong work ethic, who treats people well and can retain a sense of humor in difficult situations. Theatre-trained people tend to fit that bill better, because it takes a lot of stamina, professionalism, and humor to do eight shows a week indefinitely. It’s one reason, when I have a say in the casting process of my own work, I am adamant that there’s a good theatre resume. Most big name actors who are known for their acting rather than their lives have solid theatre credentials, and come back to Broadway when they can (Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Hugh Jackman, etc.).

It’s an interesting challenge to try to present the complexity of relationships on a production. I did a bit of that in REAL, although the circumstances of the production and the primary relationship in that book were very different. There are some similarities — the creative team has enough clout to tell many an exec to go f–um, go away! 😉

I have to say something about Tuesday’s episode of LOST. Yes, it was sad and very well-acted, but really, how could anyone be surprised by this? Look at the way they’ve jerked around the audience for six years. Again, much as I like the scene work and the actors, I sit there and shake my head and say, “Of course they chose that.” The creators never regained my trust after they broke it several years ago. I think they created a wonderful phenomena, and the amount of creative control they were granted shows how good work can happen when you leave the creative team alone to fulfill their vision and keep executives from diluting it as mentioned above. I wish networks would learn from this, but instead, they try to copy the show, instead of developing other creative teams’ unique potentials. Yes, I’m watching this final season. And I have yet to be surprised. They moved around the order of a few things I expected, but nothing, so far, has surprised me. I appreciate the talent and the vision that goes into the piece, and I think it will remain as a wonderful example of creation, even when I don’t find it personally fulfilling overall. I’ve certainly learned a lot from it. I hope the people from the show don’t keep getting hired in the hopes of recreating it; it would be nice to let them fulfill new visions, and not compare everything they do to LOST. Once it’s done, let it be what it is and appreciate it as an entity unto itself, because that’s what it deserves. However I feel about certain elements of it, it’s always been a top quality production.

A bit of work on the urban fantasy this morning, then another pass at POWER OF WORDS so I can get those chapters out (along with a list of very specific questions). Some of the typos I’ve caught are screamingly funny and entirely change the context of the chapter they’re in. Then, it’s tackling the ANGEL HUNT revision. I think I’ve finally figured out how to wrestle what I need from chapters 12 & 13. I’m going to combine them, strip them, and then rebuild them. It’s a true “re-envisioning” of this section, not just fixing a few typos. This book has made such a huge transformation since its original life as a serial, and I’m so passionate about it. It’s the best, riskiest, most challenging thing I’ve ever written.

I also need to get back to the BEHIND THE MAN adaptation. So I’ve got a busy day.

We’re adjusted Elsa’s medication to wean her off the steroid, and she’s in that delicate transitional stage, where one minute she’s better and then she’s not.

Devon

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’m back home, for a couple of days. Weekend gig was good, but busy. I could only get online via the very slow PC, so all I did was check messages and tweet occasionally. The essay I busted my ass so much to get in on time — still not up. Typical. Last time I take a quick turn-around demand from them seriously.

Didn’t do much work on ANGEL HUNT. I’ve gutted chapters 10 & 11. I’m going to combine them in the current draft, and I think I’ll write most of it from scratch without looking at the earlier draft, and then fold in anything that’s still relevant. Right now, by trying to revise what’s on the page, I’m getting caged by it, when what I need to do is take the literal meaning of the work and Re-Vision what purpose the chapter needs to serve and how to get there. I won’t be able to take the hard copy with me to Philly — I’m not hauling around several hundred pages of manuscript — so I won’t do much work on it while I’m there.

Besides, the conference starts on Friday — I’m teaching two workshops for an entire week AND doing a live chat on Sunday afternoon. That will take up the bulk of my time.

Made some notes on a few other pending projects, worked a bit on the short stories. I’m trying to gear up and get back into the headspace for the commissioned plays, but the light humor isn’t coming through. I need to get on the ball with those — the producer has to plan next season, and I want to be a part of it.

I did start another play, a much more serious one. that just sort of came to me out of nowhere, and wrote the first two scenes.

Reading-wise, I finished THE SWAN THIEVES. I liked it, although I felt the end was a little anti-climactic, and there were questions left unanswered (not directly related to the main plot) that I needed answered. In a way, it reminds me a little of AS Byatt’s POSSESSION, which is one of my favorite novels (never saw the movie).

After THE SWAN THIEVES, I needed something light and completely different. I read Michael Thomas Ford’s JANE BITES BACK, which is quite clever and funny, riding the Austen and the historical figure re-creationist wave while also poking fun at it.

I also picked up another book that I loathed. I won’t bash the writer here — it’s too hard to make a living doing this. Let’s just say that, after 50 pages, I was so furious, and the fury gained when I skimmed it, that I took it back to the store and swapped it out for something else. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before. It was unrelenting, unnecessary gore, and unrelenting violence towards animals, which is one of my personal “don’t cross” boundaries. In the first 50 pages, a horse was brutally slaughtered in detail AND a supposed favorite pet dog was handed to a character to be eaten alive — no way. And that’s not even touching what was done to people.

Elegantly sparse prose can communicate horror much more effectively, in my opinion, than the verbal equivalent of a slasher film. And that’s what this was. Not for me.

I picked up something that looks far more interesting. I stuck it in my bag to serve as my travel book to Philly later this week, and, if I like it as much as I hope, I’ll write about it.

Watched the Olympics nearly non-stop. I don’t think I’ve ever had the television on so much in my life. The US Women’s Hockey Team continues to thrill me. I just can’t get enough of them. The US Men’s Hockey Team has come together nicely, as evidenced by their 5-3 win over Canada last night, which was a great game. and goalie Ryan Miller is obviously one of the unsung heros, until now, of the sport. These Olympics will change all that. Earlier in the day, I’d called the game as going 4-3 to the US, but they got that extra, empty net goal. The Russia-Czech Republic game was also great, although I expected at any minute, they’d start ignoring the puck and go after each other swinging. Yes, you can’t have physical fights in Olympic hockey, the way you can in the NHL, but you could tell they REALLY wanted to!

One of the things I like about the snowboarding is how much individuality the participants retain. Watch someone do a run once or twice and you don’t need to look at the screen anymore to know who it is — the style is that distinctive. I hope that doesn’t get sponsored out of the sport.

Watched a lot of the skiing, the aerialists, the ski cross (first year for that). I’m annoyed that the Olympic committee won’t allow women to have a ski jumping event — they do it, why not include it? Watched the speed skating and short track — so glad for Apolo Ohno. As I said before, it’s wonderful to watch him really grow into himself. Delighted that Bode Miller’s doing so well, and loved his interview about his definition of success and basically telling everyone who tries to force him to define himself in their terms to F*&k off. I totally relate, since I live by my definition of success in my field and am constantly attacked for it — especially by those who can’t earn a living at it. He articulated what I feel very well.

I love that fact that Julia Mancuso wore a tiara to the medal ceremony. She’s my favorite of the female skiers. And tiaras and cookies make everything better, in my opinion!

Good for Evan Lysacek, congrats to him. I felt Johnny Weir’s program was underscored, though, because it was gentle instead of flamboyant, and he should have gotten third or fourth.

I know I’m forgetting some of the fun moments, but I didn’t write them down, so, oh well.

Research books were waiting for me when I got home, including one on taxes (since this is the year I start the whole self-employment tax thing), the Mac, and the new WRITER’S MARKET. I started going through the WM. So far, I have 15 pages of single-spaced notes on markets to which to pitch articles. ARTICLES, not fiction or anything else. And that’s just the list that covers topics with which I’m familiar and don’t have to spend hours or days in additional research. So, when some wanna-be who defends content mills and getting paid for pennies starts up that there’s no work out there — if I can have 15 pages of notes on well-paying markets just on topics where I can pitch myself as experienced — there’s well-paid work out there.

More fuel for my live chat on Sunday on making a living as a freelancer.

I’m reworking my workshops a bit, tinkering to make them the best they can be for this group, and will post Welcome messages hopefully later today.

The next few days are filled with practicalities, admin, pitches, errands. I leave later in the week for Philly, and every duck has to be in a row before that. But it’s a good busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Devon

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and COLD

Yesterday was a conflicted day, as far as work went. I’m on deadline for a couple of projects; at the same time, both REDEMPTION KILL and ANGEL HUNT are on a roll that I don’t want to stop.

I fought and fought and fought to keep away from ANGEL HUNT yesterday, trying to get to work on the other projects and then get back to ANGEL HUNT. I lost.

As I’m working on these last few chapters in the draft — I think I have three more to write, including the climactic sequence and the aftermath — I realize how much I’m going to have to cut. With three more chapters to go, I’m over 113K, which is unacceptable. I don’t have the clout to dump a manuscript of that size onto an editor’s or agent’s desk. The book also can’t be split into two books – it’s a single story. I already cut out an entire subplot and two whole sets of characters.

I broke one of my own rules and went back to re-read the early chapters. And I cut A LOT. There are scenes that work rhythmically unto themselves, or within the context of the chapter, but where I can cut out beats — or sometimes entire pages — without hurting the overall piece. In fact, it makes the book stronger and tighter, and keeps more of the focus on Lianna and Zeke. I’ve introduced Zeke earlier — in the first chapter, which is vitally important for the overall story, and his presence is felt in the first few pages, although about 2/3 of the initial scene between Lianna and Lucius DeWitt has been cut and tightened. There’s room for their verbal volleyball elsewhere, and just hinting at it here does the trick. Lachlan’s entrance remains where it is, although I’ve tightened a lot of the exposition. Gaston, who is a major figure in the bulk of the book is now mentioned early on, but doesn’t actually appear until much later because that serves the story best. HIs physical presence is a necessary catalyst, and to bring him in earlier would destroy the build of the piece, even though it’s an often-used convention to place all players on stage in the first few chapters. I’m careful not to make him a deus ex machina — in fact, I’m worried that such a character will show up in the climactic sequence and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen. But I can cut a lot of the debate and wheel-spinning out, so that’s what I’m doing. At this point, all the subplots feed and strengthen the main plot, but I have to streamline and trim so every word, phrase, and beat drives the piece forward. Lianna may stop to take a breath here and there, but there’s no room for a vacation! 😉

I also did some work on the short story, and on the deadlined assignments. I’ll get the one due today out the door by the end of the business day — barely. And I’ve set specific daily goals for the essay for each day, so I’m not leaving it until the last minute — I need to turn in something polished by Monday, and since the details weren’t settled until yesterday . . .and my focus is completely elsewhere . . .you get the idea.

Layer on the fact that I’m writing about the Olympics over the next two weeks, and, well, it’ll be busy.

I had a wonderful first writing session this morning on REDEMPTION KILL. Eddie’s not getting everything his way, and he’s just about reached the limit of his flexibility. So now he’s being pushed further. He’s used to facing down physical dangers, but now, emotions he thought he’d controlled for years are returning to haunt –and taunt — him. In other words, right now, I have the upper hand with Eddie instead of the situation in the past week where he had the upper hand with me.

Yes, when I’m writing them, the characters are as real as anyone who walks through the door. I’m always surprised when I go to fix dinner and they’re not in the kitchen. 😉

I haven’t even packed yet, and I’m leaving around noon. I should have limited internet access over the weekend, although I may have to switch between MacGeorge and (oh, horrors) a PC.

Better get going — noon’s not too far away!

Have a great weekend, all, and I’ll catch up on the Prolific Blogger Award (From Kim Smith) and the Sunshine Award (from Michelle Miles) early next week. Thanks to both for the honors!

Devon

Published in: on February 12, 2010 at 9:09 am  Comments (7)  
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Stop by Sole Struck Fashions for my article on “Freshen Your Wardrobe”.

It’s still below freezing here, and it’s half-way through April. Hope that means the serious heat doesn’t arrive until well into June.

Never got around to blogging yesterday because I was too busy writing. Saturday was a cold, rainy day. I took it easy, alternating between leisurely-paced writing and reading. Part of the reading was some hard science research for a project, and the reading got the cogs of it unstuck, so I got several chapters of it written on Sunday. I had also had to do things like research a driving route between Detroit, Michigan and Santa Fe, NM and then rewrite a section of the chapter, because my protagonist came across like a moron. The first time around, I took the easy way to make happen what I needed to happen, and it made my protag come across as incompetent. So, I had to re-think it and find a more clever way to portray the circumstances, so the same chain of events I needed to happen happened, but without losing respect for the character. Always an interesting challenge. I got there, eventually.

Wound up writing a little over 30 pages on the project, which is a pretty good day’s work. Again, it didn’t feel frantic, and I didn’t feel wrung out by the end. It was simply a good, steady pace.

I’m doing one more proofread on the full of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. The submission package material is all fine, but I want to do one more pass on the full. So I’m working on it in short spurts – about three chapters per day, reading slowly, to make sure I catch everything. If I get a request for the full quickly, I’ll have to ramp it up, but for now, I think I can accomplish it via slow, steady & very, very careful.

Did a little reading in the evening, talked to friends, watched some television. Couldn’t tell you what. Reviewing tape of Derby contenders – the Kentucky Derby is in a few weeks, and there are articles to write.

Finished my taxes.

Had a decent, but not great writing session this morning. Need to get out some business correspondence, make the copies and mail out the tax returns, and get back to work on some of the deadlined writing, as well as get out some more pitches today. Gotta keep up the momentum.

Hope you had a great holiday weekend and will have a great week!

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 7:41 am  Comments (8)  
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Promised links pertaining to current events:
Several people wanted to know where they could get some unvarnished content on the stimulus bill. It’s up at the Government Printing Office:

http://www.gpo.gov

with the direct link to the text of the bill here:

http://fdsys.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr1ENR/pdf/BILLS-111hr1ENR.pdf

Yes, I will be reading it in its entirety. If there’s something worth saying about it here, I will. It’ll take awhile, it’s long, but, reading a few pages at a time, I will read it in its entirety, because only then do I have the information to responsibly comment on it. Of course, one of the bonehead representatives claimed it was “over 1100 pages” and that “nobody read it”. Um, then, why was ANYONE voting on it? We pay these people enough so that they can sit down and read the frigging legislation before voting, not spread lies from the sound bytes put together on a partisan level. And you know what? The people I pay to represent me actually DID read the plan before voting. Someone had to read it because someone had to write it and argue about it. It’s only 407 pages in the PDF format (only! Ha!), but the print is pretty tiny, so I suggest viewing it at 125%. I skimmed the first few pages, because I’d heard complaints that it was difficult to understand. I know five year olds who could read and comprehend the first couple of pages. But, of course, you can’t understand something you haven’t read.

You can also track the budget here:

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/index.html

and if you want to track how the specific stimulus money is being spent and compare it to what’s laid out in the bill, so you can let your representatives and senators know what you agree and disagree with, so that they can actually represent you, the link is here:

http://www.recovery.gov/

And if you want to track how your representatives vote, to make sure they aren’t doing one thing in Congress and coming home to spread yet more mis-information, you can go to the website for Congress and find records of the roll call votes in each house. Not every vote is a roll call vote; quite a few are by voice. But on major issues, someone usually demands a roll call vote so that it’s a matter of public record where each person stands and how they voted.

http://www.congress.org

The media’s giving me a headache about it all, no matter what side they’re spinning, and I’d rather use these resources to get my own information and make my own decisions. And then make my views known to the people who represent me. I’m not allowing the government to destroy everything I spent my life building, the way they tried over the past eight years.

Life, writing, etc.:
When is an apology not an apology? When it’s an editorial in the NY POST. What a joke. If you say you’re going to stand behind something, even against opposition, then do it. Don’t pretend you’re maybe sorta apologizing for something for which you aren’t in the least sorry. I have to say, I was curious about the whole protest-at-the-Post thing. The Post is a TABLOID, not in just the shape the newsprint they use, but in content. Controversy is their crack. If people want to send the POST a message, not buying the POST sends a much stronger one.

I have to say I’m glad that those NYU students have locked themselves into the cafeteria as a protest about – well, heck, whatever it is that they’re protesting. The news has been rather vague. It’s nice to see some social activism happening again, but they need to communicate their position clearly, and somehow, I don’t think those You Tube videos are necessarily going to do it. NYU is, of course, handling it with its usual lumbering lack of anything resembling grace or intelligence. I had some great times at NYU, I had some great teachers (some of whom I’m still in contact with 20 years later). But the administration is just eye-rollingly out of touch with reality, and has been as long as I’ve known the institution.

Too bad more people aren’t protesting, especially against the banks.

Just an aside on the Government Printing Office. I first heard about them in elementary school, when we took a trip to the United Nations (one could still listen in at the General Assembly sessions then, dialing the headphones to all the different languages), and I saw the stacks and stacks of publications on various topics. I used to use them to write papers throughout elementary and high school – topics like NASA, aviation, geography, agriculture, etc., etc. So, if you have kids who have to write reports, it’s a pretty wonderful resource. And, of course, for writers, it’s a great resource. The publications can point you towards hundreds of primary sources for your work.

I felt about as creative as wilted lettuce yesterday. I managed to get some work done on the revision of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, incorporating the last few days’ research into the piece. Now, I’m struggling with inconsistent points of view. Odd numbered chapters need to be from Morag’s POV, even from Simon’s. But I’m finding a lot of inconsistencies, and I have to fix them. Otherwise, I’m jumping around heads too much, and it doesn’t work. I can also see where each day’s work stopped, because there’s a lot of choppiness in the first draft. It’s an excellent learning experience to break it apart and make it work, but it’s much more complex than I originally thought.

Finished the assignment for Confidential Job #1. Will polish the write up and send it off this morning.

Did some research for the Billy Root story (yes, there are times where I have to research). I still haven’t quite figured out how to bridge the two sections of the book, but I think, in the next couple of scenes, I can put in a few things that seem like fleshing out the time and place, but are really setting up the second half of the book.

Couldn’t get the knot out of my shoulder. Weight training last night helped – I had a great work out session of weight training and then yoga. But I would up taking a couple of valerian root capsules and using a heating pad. That helped a lot, but it’s still not completely released, and it’s affecting my neck and head.

New Jersey had three earthquakes in the past three weeks, and now has reports of red lights dancing in the sky that no one can figure out.

I got to watch BURN NOTICE last night. I enjoy that show so much – it’s clever and I love the cast, although I wish they’d change up the weekly structure a bit. I’m starting to get ahead of it, and can predict what will happen by looking at the clock. I’m learning a lot about script structure, though.

LOST just makes me roll my eyes. I’ve tried to watch the new season, because I like the actors and their scene work, in spite of feeling that the creators mess with the audience just to mess with them. I keep saying, “oh, no, they’re NOT going down that road, they’re just NOT” and then they do. I’m ahead of it all the time. They’re supposed to surprise me and they don’t. I stopped watching the show because I felt the creators were messing with the audience and because, of the three possible roads they could have chosen at the end of whatever season it was (I think it was Season 2), they chose the one I disliked the most strongly. I really like the cast, I really like the individual scenes, but overall, the show just isn’t working for me. I realize I’m in the minority, and I’m glad so many people love it (hey, it’s keeping a couple of hundred people employed in this economy, which is a good thing), but I want to be surprised and engaged in the overall piece, not just because I like the actors, and I’m not.

Today’s agenda includes: Errands , bills to pay, groceries to buy, laundry to do, some time spent outside. So I better have a really, really, REALLY productive early morning stint, because that’s my only shot at the computer all day.

Hope you all have a great weekend. And, if you haven’t stopped by The Urban Muse to read my article and comment, please do. Last time I checked, no one left a comment, and I’m feeling abandoned. 😉

Devon

Billy Root story – 19,348 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
19 / 60
(31.7%)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2stacys-christmas-blogfest-087

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Yesterday’s weather was vile, and today’s promises to be even worse, so I plan to get all of my running around done early and then stay safely tucked away at home.

Pop over to A Biblio Paradise for today’s featured author, Cornelia Amiri. She writes fascinating, well-researched Celtic Romance. Come on by!

Yesterday was a decent writing day. I didn’t get any stitching done on the gifts – too dark. I’m hoping the weekend will have enough natural light so I can finish them up. Have I started on the cards yet? No. That’s on the list (again) for today.

I’m considering a few job opportunities. My gut is telling me to stay away from one in particular – I don’t think we’re well suited, so I will gracefully decline. Always trust your gut, right? It sounds like steady money, but there are too many red flags for me to trust it.

The Maine project is going well, and, after I finish the revisions on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, I want to get back to the mystery. The Maine project is more complex than I expected, but I think that makes it richer. OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK is at that delicate state of revision where I can’t talk about it in detail, because it has to all be saved to go into the work. Also working on the materials for Confidential Job #2, and Confidential Job #1 paid me, which is always a good thing.

I’m having all kinds of computer problems. Very annoying.

A stack of business correspondence to get through today, along with the writing. And don’t forget – at 8 PM EST, I will be interviewed by the League of Extraordinary Paranormal Women on blogtalk radio:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/League_of_Extraoridinary_Paranormal_Women

Back to the page.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

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NEW! Too Much Mistletoe A Nina Bell Holiday Mystery by Devon Ellington. Nina Bell is back! Still trying to make a living in the New York theatre world of the 1990s, she’s trying to figure out which is the bigger mystery – a college friend’s disappearance, or her ever-complicated love life, as every man she meets wants to hang mistletoe over her head. Read an excerpt here and purchase the story for only $2.99 USD here .

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NEW! “The Ramsey Chase” A Remarkable Adventure of Cornelia True and Roman Gray By Devon Ellington
Meet the adventurous Cornelia True of Bodwin’s Ferry, whose life changes forever when “fixer” Roman Gray lands naked in her petunias, and they combine forces to track down a serial killer determined to murder thirteen women in thirteen months for their blood, with his latest victim right there in Bodwin’s Ferry!
Only $1.49 USD for this 10K adventure, the very first Penny’s Dreadfuls release! Read an excerpt of the adventure here.
Purchase the story here.

THE JAIN LAZARUS ADVENTURES
Free limited download
“The Possession of Nattie Filmore: A Jain Lazarus Adventure” by Devon Ellington. If you loved HEX BREAKER, you’ll love spending time with Jain and Wyatt as they try to solve a haunted house mystery. Read an excerpt of the story and download it free here

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Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

BOOKS FOR WRITERS
Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 8:54 am  Comments (7)  
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