Thurs. July 26, 2018: And Mercury Goes Retrograde, Too!

Thursday, July 26, 2018
Day Before Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I’m tired of everything being perpetually warm and damp.

Mercury goes retrograde today, with all these other retrogrades, and right before a full moon with the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

Yesterday was not a productive day on RELICS, and I’ll have to make it up this weekend. I have a deadline looming (although my editor let me push it back a few days). But this new deadline still must be met. I have Amanda and Phineas’s first real love/sex scene to write, and it’s tricky. I haven’t been in the right headspace to write it, and I can’t just skip it, move on and go back, because how it plays out influences the rest of the book. I know the focus and drive of it and what happens after, but the nuances I’ll discover when actually writing the scene will make a big difference.

Review out, a few blog posts ahead on some other blogs. Worked with a client on a batch of blog posts. The new hire at that client’s place is working well, so far. We’re finding lots of mistakes from the person that left. I also got a raise at this gig, without having to be the one to say, “I’m raising my rate.” Which is nice.

Got some work done restructuring THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, so I have an idea of what I have, how much, what needs to be tweaked since I split out the material that grew into MYTH & INTERPRETATION. Behind on where I want/need to be for DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will also have to get caught up this weekend.

The consensus on the DAVY JONES DHARMA cover was that it was too cutesy. Since the Nautical Namaste mysteries intentionally break some of the cozy formula rules, the covers can’t be entirely cozy, although they are more light-hearted than the ones for the other series. My cover designer showed me two other options. My editor, publisher, and I all liked the same one best, and I admit — they were right, I was wrong. The new one fits the tone of the book and the theme of the series better. We’re still debating whether or not to have the figure seated in lotus position, as we did on SAVASANA, to keep it consistent. But it looks wrong, so we might go without.

Also saw a rough of the cover for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which I love, love, love!!!! Completely different direction than I expected, and much better.

And the cover for RELICS & REQUIEM is beautiful. We also have a rough of the fourth boo in the Coventina Circle series, GRAVE REACH, which is lovely. The image was originally one of those proposed for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It wasn’t right for that book, but was compelling and fit more in the style of the Coventina Circle books.

So all of those covers are done ahead of time and are in good shape. I’ll be working with my other cover designer on the covers for the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures for next spring, and the next set of covers we need to worry about are those for what used to be POWER OF WORDS, but is now going to be called something else, and get its own logo and subdomain and website and all the rest, so it’s a lot.

I have a few things to do this morning and the library, and then it’s back home to write, write, write!

 

Advertisements

Monday, May 14, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors The Next Step on the Ladder

black-and-white-construction-ladder-54335

Photo courtesy Khimish Sharma, via Pexels.com

Monday, May 14, 2018
Dark of the Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

 

My first response to that is, “Which ladder?” I have various limbs on various ladders. I write in different genres, under different names, in a variety of formats: prose, theatre, television, film, radio. Journalism. Essays. Marketing writing. Reviewing.

I do very little editing for private clients now, because the time/money ratio doesn’t work for me, too many would-be writers default on payments (when they’re not trying to lowball me down to a fraction of my rate), and I need the primary focus to be on my own work. When I edit, I am generally hired by the publishing house to work for something under contract that has passed particular gate-keeping standards.

I am with more than one publisher. One of them, who has signed several projects, is small, just starting out. We are taking a risk on each other. Among the reasons I was excited to work with them was that they pay small advances, don’t demand their writers acquiesce to a boiler-plate contract AND, instead of POD, they do small print runs. The print runs are after a certain digital threshhold is reached, but the POD model was not working for me, so I wanted to try this. I am still with another publisher who is doing the POD model, and I have submissions out to several other publishers, who work on a mix of models, so we’ll see what happens. I also liked them because the editor with whom I’m working constantly pushes me to be better. And that is my goal — that every book I write is better, in both craft and art, than the previous books.

About a year ago, I sat down with a lawyer, an agent, an editor, and a marketing advisor, and we came up with a plan. I was unhappy and frustrated with the way things were going in my career. I knew I wasn’t writing what the Big Five wanted; I wanted to explore some things that they are currently giving lip service to, but not following through on, and I wanted to do it in my way. We were not a good fit at the time. I knew I was going to part from an agent I’d been working with for several months, because we were not a good fit. When we got together, she was excited by my work and my voice; but the more we worked together, the more she wanted to dilute it and take out what made it unique. She kept telling me my themes and issues were “too hard for the typical reader.” In other words, she wanted me to dumb things down, and I didn’t want to do that. Also, she only wanted to commit to a book at a time, and I need an agent who is interested in long-term career planning. She has since signed a friend of mine, and they’re doing great together. I’m happy for both of them; they are the right fit. We were not.

As far as the marketing writing went, I wanted to have the confidence to say “No” to the lowballers locally and reach farther afield. The interesting thing is that as soon as I did that, I landed two clients locally with whom I work well, WHILE also reaching beyond the bridge for clients who pay better.

We took four or five days together, and I took about twenty pages of notes. We crafted a plan. Some of that we followed; some of that has fallen by the wayside for various reasons.

I re-stated my commitment not to “niche” — to me, that’s a death toll for a creative life. Far too many people who “advise” freelancers sneer and call what I do a “generalist.” I prefer to call it being a “Renaissance Writer” and I’ve written on this topic for both WOW-Women on Writing and Write Naked!

I wanted to get back into article writing, which fell by the wayside for a bit. I started pitching again, and I did pretty well, but that seems to be one of the things that falls away first. Since I enjoy articles — every part from the pitch through the research through the writing and the polish, especially working with a good editor — I need to get back on track with that.

One of the big changes I made was in the way I do pitch letters. Instead of trying to frame what I do to sound like what they want, I’m more specific in the elements I think will appeal and more specific in where our paths diverge. I’m more myself in the cover letter — while still structuring it the way I find works — hook, one paragraph summary, technical info, bio, why this market. And the results are good.

This year and next, I’m on a brutal contract schedule. I’d spent a couple of years working on different types of material, on working on craft. Now, with a commitment to more than one series, I am sitting down and writing the books.

Last year, PLAYING THE ANGLES was re-released, as the first of the Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels (in its original incarnation, it was a stand-alone). The second book in the series, THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, just released, and the third, RELICS & REQUIEM, will come out in October of this year, with the fourth, GRAVE REACH, coming out in May of 2019. So that’s a tight schedule.

Last year, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA (as Ava Dunne) released. It’s a not-quite-cozy mystery series, whose protagonist is a yoga instructor on a cruise ship. Only one of those books comes out a year! But the next one, DAVY JONES DHARMA, is due in early December this year.

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, re-released this past January. As I worked on the second book, THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, I realized that there was a chunk of it that slowed down the plot. Yet the information was necessary to where my characters were in their emotional lives and how they’d built their day-to-day relationships. Flashbacks and info-dump conversations wouldn’t work; so my editor and I decided to pull out those chapters, flesh them out into a “between-the-books” novella, now called MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and put that out this summer. BALTHAZAAR is still scheduled to come out in January of 2019, and that is now back on track, the pace and content correct.

In the meantime, I had three terrific opportunities. One was to pitch a serial. Those of you who’ve known me for several years know that I used to write four serials in four genres under two names for 18 months a few years back. A total of 8000 words a month. I love writing serials, and I miss it. I had the chance to pitch to a company that specializes in serials.

I pitched a fantasy/adventure novel. I’d written the first four chapters a couple of years ago and put it aside for scheduling reasons. But, when I had this opportunity, I wrote a few more chapters, and outlined what would be the book-length arc of this serial. I fell in love with it all over again. If it’s picked up, it goes back in the schedule; if not, it will be back-burnered again.

I also had two other ideas, stand-alones, that I played with, on and off for a couple of years, writing my way in the first few chapters, then making notes for my Writers’ Rough. On impulse, I polished pitches and tossed them into a Twitter pitch day for a specific company. Editors liked both; so I’m working on some additional chapters, polishing them, and sending them out by deadline this month. Again, if the editors want the full manuscript, they go back into the schedule sooner rather than later; if not, they are back-burnered until next year, when my contract schedule isn’t quite as demanding.

As I said above, I have a couple of other pieces out on submission; if they are contracted, they will be worked in. I also have a serial novel — which is different than a novel broken down as a serial. This is a set of novels that are all of a piece. It follows the filming of a television series over several seasons. Not a series, in the sense that each stands alone and progresses. These novels all fit together like puzzle pieces. One of my publishers has expressed interest in looking at it when the first five or so puzzle pieces are ready. When will that be? I don’t know.

I also made a commitment to do more script work again. I’m taking this year off from stage plays (I wrote four in three years for 365 Women). But one of my radio plays will be produced later this month, and I want to submit some screenplays I’ve polished.

Along with all this, I will pitch to higher-paying clients and higher-paying article markets. Gotta keep a roof over my head, and if I don’t keep up the writing pace I can’t. This is my profession, not my hobby. I am paid to write. That IS my day job. While my book sales have jumped considerably since I moved webhosts and redesigned my websites, I still need the marketing writing and article writing for income. Plus, I enjoy it.

So, my “next step” is building on the foundation of the series on which I currently write; continuing to expand the publication contracts with other publishers at higher-paying tiers, and book higher-paid marketing and article gigs.

I’ve found a process that works for me as far as the new ideas — because, as we all know, new ideas come in batches. I write my way in for a few chapters, then sit down and do a Writer’s Rough Outline. That way, whenever I can actually sit down and WRITE the book, I can drop into its world. The Writer’s Rough outline captures the initial energy of the idea, and then, as I work, I can develop the structure and the craft.

In the coming weeks, we will sit down again and assess how this last year played out. What worked, what didn’t. Where I lost focus, and what I dropped because it didn’t work. And we will craft a plan for the coming year that will guide me toward the “next step on the ladder.”

I don’t want fame. I worked in theatre and film for too many years and see how it can hurt creativity and general life; that is not what I want. I do want financial stability, and to be paid fairly for my work. There is no reason not to be paid well doing work I love. My profession is writing. I will not let ANYONE decide that it’s a cute lil hobby and I don’t deserve to be paid a living wage. I will dig in and do it, and earn my living. It will be a mix and match of projects and styles and tangents, but writing is my profession. When I decided I wanted to work on Broadway, I didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving that goal. Now that I’m writing full-time, I feel the same way.

My next step is increased earnings and visibility for my work. It is also participating in the community of writers who love what they do and are committed to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work across the board, no matter what the profession. It is refusing to “dumb it down” or change what I write because people I don’t respect threaten not to buy what I write. The great thing about writing is that there are plenty of authors writing in plenty of styles and genres, so there’s something for everyone. It’s fine if someone doesn’t connect with my work — there are wonderful authors out there with whom they WILL connect. But threatening me and demanding I change what I write is not going to work.

Artists have a responsibility. I believe that responsibility is to bear witness to the world, to expand people’s vision of the world, but also to create better worlds and help us find ways to reach those better worlds inclusively and fairly. A better world needs social and economic justice. By respecting our own value, our own worth, we set the tone.

For more inspiration on valuing your work, please visit Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog. It’s great all the time, but May is Writers Worth Month. It’s especially great now.

 

Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Waning Moon

I moved the Cerridwen’s Cottage website all by myself. I’m so darned proud. For me, a non-IT person, it was a big deal. It’s a big personal milestone for me.

Yesterday, I started building it live. I’m hoping to move the Fearless Ink site late this week, and then maybe get to build it early next week. And then I’ll be done with 1&1 as far as hosting go. They still hold my registrations for the moment.

I also finally understand why I’m having the problem on the Welcome page of the Devon Ellington Work site. Even better, I understand how to fix it!

Now, I still have to learn how to do a drop-down menu . . .

There’s a storm coming in, so I might not get to post tomorrow, although I hope to do so on Friday. I hope it won’t be as bad as they say; I’m getting a little weary of the storms. As long as the power holds . . .

Working steadily on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Playing with ideas to finish POWER OF WORDS. Got re-ignited for NOT BY THE BOOK — there are good bones there. If I can pull it off, it will be a worthwhile book. Working on FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

It’s a good busy.

A potential client liked my pitch, but wanted me to do a proofreading test before talking any further. I did. It was a timed test, full of the errors that set my teeth on edge. So, we’ll see. The money would be great, but I need to know more about the parameters.

My flash drive is full, so I started a new, 32GB drive. I moved over pertinent files from the old drive and sorted them properly. Let’s hope I can keep this drive organized.

I’m reworking the media kits for TRACKING MEDUSA and the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and looking for some fun, additional material to add to the Jain Lazarus site.

I need to put together some more material for the Coventina Circle site, and put together the pieces for the SAVASANA AT SEA giveaway I want to do in a couple of months. I’m also working on some ads for the different books and stories. I want to see if they make a difference. Friends of mine tend to have good luck with Facebook ads, and they’re usually reasonably priced, so we’ll see.

I’ve had a terrible headache for the past few days. I hope it lets up when the storm moves in.

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 2:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Jan. 16, 2018: Steady Writing Gets There

 

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
New Moon

Busy few days.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my article over on Write Naked, about being an “Anti-Niche Writer,” you can visit it here. And leave a comment!

TRACKING MEDUSA (above) has re-released digitally. New buy links here and on the Books page of this blog.

There’s also a piece about the re-release over on A BIBLIO PARADISE here.

Because of issues with my old webhost, I can’t upload either the new cover or the new media kit to the website for the Gwen Finnegan mysteries or on the main Devon Ellington Work site (although the buy links will go up); when the webhost move is complete, a newly designed site with all the relevant information will go up. I thank you in advance, for your patience.

PLAYING THE ANGLES has moved distributors, and the new buy links are here. The information is up on the Books page of this blog; I’m updating the links on the Devon Ellington and the Coventina Circle site. Again, because of the webhost issues, the cover and the media kit will not be available until the host move is complete.

SAVASANA AT SEA will complete its distribution move and be available here as of today. Again, I will update the links on the Books page and on the Nautical Namaste website, but the cover and the media kit will not be available for download until the host move is complete at the end of the month.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

I will be boosting posts for all of the above on FB once the website moves are complete, because I want to send readers to the websites, which have all kinds of fun stuff and cool information — which will actually be accessible, once the web host move is complete and the new websites are built and go live.

So, this month is frustrating, but will ultimately be worthwhile.

Re-building the Fearless Ink site is going well, albeit more slowly than I would like. I like the new logo a lot. It’s clean and simple. The site will be much the same. No need for a lot of bells and whistles. The words are what matters.

I was feeling miserable on Friday; well enough to whine, so I obviously wasn’t THAT sick. After working on the website building for a few hours, and posting the details about the TRACKING MEDUSA re-release, I went home. Scratchy throat, achy, headache, tired.

I read; some for my own research/pleasure. The first batch of books arrived for contest judging, so I’ve also started on them.

One of Janet Malcolm’s pieces in FORTY-ONE FALSE STARTS: ESSAYS ON ARTISTS AND WRITERS inspired a new piece, set in the 1990s in the New York City arts culture, with the protagonists a painter and a choreographer. I don’t know when I’ll get time to WRITE the damn thing, but I made notes for the outline.

Friday night, the storm came in. It was unnaturally warm for the season, but the rain pounded and the wind howled. More naturally, the power went out, so we went to bed early.

It was restored pretty quickly, but the weather was still vile on Saturday. I put a pot roast in the crock pot and settled in to work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’m behind where I want to be on it, and wanted to catch up.

Saturday, I was sick and miserable. However, I managed to run some errands, and then wrote two chapters on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. That felt good, being back in the world.

In the evening, I had a glass of wine by the fire and read. I’d made pot roast in the crackpot, which was good.

I’ve started reading the books submitted for the contest. They are good. This year will be fierce competition. Which is great. But it also means, when I go back over the books I think are the best, it’s going to be the details that decide which book is chosen.

Sunday, I was truly sick and miserable. I got the laundry done, but the rest of the day, I was huddled in bed, reading. Which is not a bad way to spend the day, but not the way I wanted/needed to spend it.

One of the books was one for review; big disappointment. The entire book was “telling” narration without active scenes. It was impossible, as a reader, to engage or care about the characters. It read like the outline for the novel, not the novel itself.

Yesterday, although it was technically a holiday, I was onsite with a client (even though I felt awful).

Got some more work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, though, early in the morning, so I don’t lose that momentum. I have a draft due on February 15, and I can’t drop the ball.

This will be a busy week, including the weekend, with two big events coming up.

All I really want to do is curl into a ball and sleep!

Not an option. Not right now.

Onward.

Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 1:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 16, 2018: Steady Writing Gets There  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018: Stress For A Cause

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold (but milder than the past few weeks)

The past few days have been stressful.

Signing with a new webhost and getting oriented has been tough. But I believe, in the long run, it will work better.

The Fearless Ink website is the first one undergoing the overhaul and move; I’m hoping, as I learn my way around, each site will get easier. And I’ll get faster at putting things together.

Fearless Ink is also getting a new logo.

Because I’m under a time crunch (everything has to move by the end of the month), I’m worried it won’t be as good as it can be. But I need to get something up and moved, and THEN I can tweak and hone. So it might be awhile before I do a big reveal on any site, although it may go live sooner.

Tomorrow is the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA. As soon as I’ve verified the new buy links, they will go up. I also have to tweak the media kit.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is moving through its new distribution channels, and as soon as I have the buy links, I will make the appropriate changes, on the websites, here on the Book page of the blog, and in the media kits.

SAVASANA AT SEA goes off to the new distributor today, and will follow the same process.

1and1.com’s extortion (telling me the only way I can have book covers and downloadable content on the websites is to pay an extra $140/month on top of my plan) and my refusal to cave in to them has hurt my sales — I lost ALL my holiday sales, and, since I can’t put the new media kits up or the new covers up — I won’t see decent results until the website/webhost moves are complete. Because the Devon Ellington site is the most complicated, with all the subdomains, that will be the hardest. I have a feeling that once the main DE domain moves, the subdomains will all disappear, so I’m trying to get them as streamlined as possible before.

It’s overwhelming if I look at all of it, so I’m looking at it one piece at a time.

Lots of client work this week, and trying to support a colleague who’s going through a challenging time. I feel a little guilty, because the situation has inspired a piece of writing. I don’t know when I’ll actually get to write it, but I’m working on the outline. I’m going to change enough to make it stand apart from the personal information, but it’s also one of the dangers of knowing a writer. Everything is material.

Managed to go out yesterday afternoon and spend time with a friend I hadn’t seen for awhile, and catch up on life, the world, and everything. That was fun. We went to the Dolphin, in Barnstable, which was the perfect place for our chat.

Had to try to explain creative process to someone who didn’t understand why people won’t just “create” in front of him. Because it’s intimate and comes from a private place. Otherwise, you’re just taking down dictation. Too many people around here claim they want a marketing professional when what they really want is a secretary.

I’m supposed to go out tonight, too, but I woke up with a scratchy throat, so I’m going to have to see how the day goes. I’ve been feeling off most of the week, trying not to get sick. I might have to take some time to rest.

The first shipment of books has arrived for judging in the contest. I’m very excited. I’m reading three categories again this year. I also have three books to review in the next three weeks, so I better get to it!

Trying to get back in the groove of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY along with everything else.

If I can get some rest this weekend and not get sick? That would be a good thing.

It’s supposed to be a miserable day tomorrow, so I’m trying to stack all my errands in today, and not have to dash around in the bad weather tomorrow.

Onward!

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018: Stress For A Cause  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Jan. 3, 2018: Hitting the Ground Writing

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Uranus Direct (as of yesterday)

Can you believe it’s 2018? Let’s build a better year together.

Yesterday, my answers to the 2018 Questions went up on the GDR site. Today, the To-Do list for January went up. It’s shorter than my opening shots for the year usually are, but this month has complicated work.

I took a lot of time off over the holiday weekend, to read, to meditate, to do yoga. To think. To be. I’m not building enough percolation time into my life, and that needs to change. I need to percolate in order to create.

I read A LOT — hop over onto A Biblio Paradise to see some notes about it.

Also, hop on over to Cerridwen’s Cottage for the full moon meditation. Thanks to my current lousy webhost, it didn’t go live before the weekend the way it was supposed to. Apologies.

It was a beautiful full moon, albeit cold.

One of the things that struck me during my time off was how much more productive, better rested, and less stressed I was because I turned my phone OFF. Not just put it aside and told myself not to look at it. I turned it off.

I checked mail and spent a few minutes on social media each day, especially on New Year’s Eve. But I spent a lot of time with the phone off.

I planned to add social media packages to the services offered on Fearless Ink, and this makes me re-think it. If I do, I have to set strong boundaries, because I want to spend more time this year disconnected.

Of course, with the repeal of net neutrality, that might be forced, rather than a choice.

I have to think about it some more.

PLAYING THE ANGLES and SAVASANA AT SEA came off the Pronoun distribution channels yesterday. It will be a few days before they are re-settled on D2D. The buy links will change, but the price and the text remains the same (although I’ve shorted some of the teasers for the other books at the back).

This should not change anything about the copies already purchased. You own those copies; they are YOURS.

I lose my reviews and have to contact the people who received review and guest hosting information. But that’s the way it goes. I pulled and have saved the reviews for the media room and kits and information sheets.

I spent some time this weekend prepping the manuscripts for both (since the requirements are a little different for this distributor than for the previous distributor). It will take a couple of extra days to get the books on Amazon.

TRACKING MEDUSA is still set to re-release on January 12th, through this new distributor. It has a new cover, but the rest of it is the same, except for some minor house style changes. So, if you have a print or digital copy from its time with Amber Quill, you’re not missing anything except the opening chapter of the novella MYTH AND INTERPRETAION and the opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

You know me, constantly cooking. Dinner on New Year’s Eve was lemon-cumin glazed salmon, sweet potatoes, and steamed green beans with Hollandaise. On the Day it was pork roast with red cabbage, small yellow potatoes, and peas. And, of course, Eggs Benedict and Prosecco for brunch.

I did some work on the outline for a new idea. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to fit it into the schedule, but I promised myself to build in time to work on ideas, not feel trapped by deadlines and then procrastinate and meander. I need to balance ideas and deadlines, so they feed off each other and expand creativity, not contract it.

I did five loads of laundry, got the garbage and recycling out, vacuumed, mopped, and cleaned off both desks before the new year. Of course, I have to go through everything I swept off the desks, but it was nice to start clean.

One of my favorite New Year’s rituals (along with burning the bayberry candle) is to open the back door just before midnight to let out the old year, and after the midnight toast, open the front door to let in the new year.

This year, it was more like giving the old year a boot about twenty minutes early! 😉

Yesterday was spent on site with a client, as most of today will be spent.

I’m back to work on both THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and NOT BY THE BOOK. I need to re-find my groove with each of them. I was delighted with my progress on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY yesterday — an entire chapter, 2576 words. Not a bad way to get back into it.

If the bad storm we’re supposed to get tonight arrives, I won’t be blogging until Friday. So maybe we’ll connect tomorrow, and maybe not until Friday.

Happy New Year!

Published in: on January 3, 2018 at 3:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 3, 2018: Hitting the Ground Writing  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Nov. 17, 2017: Writing, Errands, and Amazon Delivery Fail

Friday, November 17, 2017
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a busy day. That seems to be the mantra, isn’t it? The Books and the Bear promotion went out for SA.VASANA AT SEA

Day before dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month. Dark moon, I start feeling better again.

I had to contact my webhost — the book covers aren’t showing up on my website for SAVASANA, nor is the Media Kit downloadable. That’s not acceptable. The host switched over to a Microsoft Server, and, Microsoft is claiming my uploads are “double escapes” and they are forbidden for “security”. Which is complete and utter crap.

So, again, just when I have a release, and it’s vital everything work, my host lets me down. Because 1and 1 sucks.

Moving everything and/or rebuilding the websites from scratch will be a nightmare, but I really don’t see what else I can do. 1and1 doesn’t deliver on the package for which I’m paying. Every “improvement” makes it more and more impossible for me to do what I need to do, and everything that’s supposed to be included then suddenly becomes an additional monthly fee.

I need a stable webhost that lets me do what I need to do. I need to be able to run multiple domains at a reasonable price, along with multiple subdomains.

So, I’m on the webhost hunt again.

Caught up on a lot of web and admin stuff yesterday, and uploaded next Tuesday’s post to A Biblio Paradise. My guest is Patsy Collins, whose newest book is set in both South Wales and Capri, which sounds interesting. Anyway, on Tuesday, I hope you’ll hop over. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you! 😉

I set up the Questions for 2018 on a separate page on the GDR site. I figured that makes more sense than having to constantly scroll down and look for it. The questions have shifted a bit from the past few years, because, well, people change. Life changes. Things evolve.

I’m having a series of interesting small “aha” moments lately. They are adding up to the major shift that will happen next spring. Clues along the trail. I still don’t know what the ultimate outcome of it all will be, but the journey is intriguing.

Did some client work. I’ve kind of done all I can on a couple of projects for this client until they get back to me with the information I requested in order to go further.

Yoga mid-day yesterday. It was a good class. I was achy and tight all over. It made me realize that, on days when I’m working onsite with my clients, I have to come home, immediately change into yoga clothes, and do a solid, forty minutes or so of yoga or I get out of alignment and tangled up. I can’t sit for so long, especially since the desk and chair are the wrong heights for me on one particular site.

My mom’s medical appointment was moved a few hours earlier, so I dashed home from yoga, packed her into the car, drove her over in the pouring rain. While she was in there, I ran a couple of errands nearby, then picked her up, and off we went home. She’s healing well. It’s slower than she would like, and she can’t do much, which frustrates her, but the nurses assure her she’s doing well and is right on track.

By the time we got back, I was done for the day!

I’ve been expecting a book I ordered from an Amazon-connected vendor. It was ordered on Oct. 31, and supposedly shipped on Nov. 1. The delivery was marked between Nov. 8-15. Now, since I paid full price for the shipping, that seemed a bit long. But, most of the time, the stuff arrives on the front end of the estimate. I’d ordered two other books from different vendors the same day. At cheaper shipping, I might add. One arrived THE NEXT DAY with a nice note — you know I’ll be doing business with them again), and the other arrived less than a week later.

I’m still waiting for this book. The tracking said it would be delivered by 8 PM on the 15th. Well, the mailman was there around 3:30, and, no package. Then, yesterday, it’s marked “delivered.” Where? Sure as hell not to me. I was home when the mail was delivered, so it’s not like anyone had time to steal it off the doorstep. I walked around and don’t see it anywhere. If it was misdelivered to a neighbor, the neighbor would have brought it over. We run back and forth a few times a week with misdelivered mail. So where is it? And why the hell would it be my job to walk the neighborhood to try to figure out where it was misdelivered? I paid for it to be delivered in a timely fashion TO MY HOUSE.

I contacted the seller when it didn’t arrive the first time, and then again last night. I’m going to the post office with the tracking number today. Hopefully, the seller will put some pressure on it from that end, and we can figure out where the heck it is.

Not happy about it at all. On the one hand, I don’t want to blame the seller for something that happened on this end. On the other hand, I paid full price for shipping, so why wasn’t it sent via first class mail? And what good is the tracking number if it doesn’t accurately track?

Time to visit the post office. My post office people are very nice, so I know they will at least TRY to figure it out. But it’s frustrating. And it makes me not want to order again.

It’s not even holiday madness. If it was holiday madness, I’d give it more leeway, but this is basic mail delivery.

And, of course, crickets from the seller. Not even an acknowledgement that I contacted with a problem. However, it might be overzealous to expect a response in less than 48 hours. That IS the standard business response time. So I really don’t have a right to be annoyed with the seller until, like, Monday.

Enough of the cranky today, right?

I ran a ton of errands this morning. By accident, I found the turkey of my dreams on sale at a great price, so I hauled that home and it’s waiting patiently for Thanksgiving. Found the cookie tray packaging I need for my annual cookie tray event, and a couple of small gifts for my mom. And I have almost everything I need for the dinner next week – just have to pick up some fresh vegetables and the pie the day before. Picked up some yarn my mom needed, and a few other things.

Yard work after lunch, although it’s windy, and I hope my piles of leaves don’t blow into my neighbors’ pristine yards before I can bag them!

Only then will I be able to dig back into SERENE AND DETERMINED. I am determined — pun intended — to finish the first act this weekend.

A friend sent me some raw material that he’s wondering how he can shape, so I’m going to give him some advice, too.

I’m going to try to stay offline all weekend, and that includes social media, in order to really dig in to SERENE AND DETERMINED, and also, hopefully into a few other projects.

And get yard work done on any day that isn’t raining!

I won’t be able to post about the weekend’s writing until Tuesday’s post. Monday will, again, be an “intent” post.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on November 17, 2017 at 11:43 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 17, 2017: Writing, Errands, and Amazon Delivery Fail  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Tues. Nov. 14, 2017: Writing and Releases

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea release on November 15. Buy your copy here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about tomorrow’s release, Savasana at Sea!

Quite the weekend.

Friday was frustrating, because I was tired. I managed to get some decent writing done for a client and sent off the materials. I got as much as I could done online, but there were a lot of distractions.

I worked bringing in the rest of the plants that need to overwinter. Some rearrangement had to happen in the house, in order for them to fit; the rest, which overwinter in the garage, are now settled. There’s a kalachoe that’s infested with some sort of bug that I’m leaving out, in the hopes of killing the bugs in the frost; but we may end up losing that one. Which is a shame, because it’s a beautiful plant. I’m letting the Datura die back naturally.

Did some research for a couple of upcoming projects, but, frankly, by Friday afternoon, my brain was too tired to be particularly productive.

I worried that the version of SAVASANA that’s dropping next week is the latest ARC, and not the final corrected draft. I was having difficulty making sure it was the correct version, and had to ask them for help. We’re going through enough as it is without the wrong version of the book releasing. But it’s all good.

Saturday, ran some errands early. Then did six loads of laundry, scrubbed the house from top to bottom, baked six dozen tollhouse cookies, and roasted a maple-cranberry glazed chicken. Which, by the way, is becoming one of our favorite recipes.

Started playing with a new idea. Not sure if it’s a single book, or if there will be several books, or if it will be a flat-out series. It has to do with aging gracefully and making different decisions at one age than at another. The working title is so awful I’m not even sharing it. I’m using it privately until I come up with something better. Wrote about 8 pages (2000 words). It starts slower than I expected, and I may wind up cutting some of the beginning, but that’s where I need to start it in order to make sense of its world. I’m also building my “ideal” small community in the book — which isn’t to say it’s perfect. There’s definitely a dark side.

Also did notes for another book that would become a series if I can pull it off, set shortly after WWII. I’ve set several things in that time period; this shares some of them, but also goes beyond it, because it moves into the period of rapid change in the fifties and sixties. We’ll see if it’s an idea that flares out, or if it has potential. I like the core characters. I think I can do some good things with them.

Sunday, wrote a bit on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I feel like I have to type up most of Willow’s section before I can effectively work on Doug’s. There’s a lot of cross-referencing and same-situation-from-different point-of-view stuff, and it’s too hard to navigate in longhand.

Wrote ten more pages on the aging novel.

Managed to get a little bit of yard work in before the rain started.

In the afternoon, I went to a healing sound meditation class at the yoga center down the street. As someone who is highly sensitive to sound (I have a condition called “hyperaccussis”, as well as “misophonia”), I thought it would be good to be around positive sound instead of the damn repetitive machine sounds that make me want to choke someone with the cord of the leaf blower.

The session was terrific, but intense. It took awhile to get back to normal after, and driving was definitely a challenge! But I sure as heck slept well on Sunday night!

Monday was cold and rainy. The septic tank was pumped out. I did some prep for my client meetings and some writing.

I also wrote the opening for SERENE AND DETERMINED, the Lavinia Fontana play, and I’m on a roll. Working out most of it in my head ahead of time works, for this particular project.

Today, I’ll spend the bulk of the day with one client, and then have another meeting in the afternoon.

Published in: on November 14, 2017 at 9:29 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 14, 2017: Writing and Releases  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Nov. 9, 2017: Trying To Resolve the Difficulties

Thursday, November 9, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy. I spent most of the day onsite with a client, although I managed some other client work earlier in the day, and found some more copy editing fixes that didn’t take in SAVASANA in the afternoon.

Monday’s bad news seems to have been dealt with on Tuesday and we are moving forward. Depending on a few things that happen in today’s meetings, I will be able to talk about it by tomorrow. It means some changes, but not as big as they could have been. There will be a bit of kerflamma in early January, but everything else should stay on schedule. What they’re telling me and what’s actually happening aren’t working together, which is causing unnecessary stress.

I was absolutely wiped out last night and went to bed early. This morning, I woke up with terrible pain in my knees. I’ve suffered from “Broadway knee” for years, from pounding up and down concrete stairs carrying heavy baskets. But this is the good knee, and it’s excruciating.

Knee replacements are not an option, so I have to figure out the problem and come up with a solution.

Put the fixes in Savasana; have to send it off to the publisher. This BETTER be everything — between my copy editor and I, we’ve done four, maybe five rounds of proofreading, and found new things every time. I hope we’re finally done! I want it to release with clean copy!

Meetings in the morning, then my mother gets out her stitches in the afternoon. Then, some more work for a client to send over tomorrow before next week’s meetings.

We had frost last night and are supposed to get very cold tonight. Which means bringing in everything that needs to come in from the deck this afternoon. I didn’t manage to oil the teak furniture — hope it doesn’t crack overwinter.

I have to rearrange things in my bedroom so I can bring up the plants that thrive all winter in the window that gets lots of sun. And, any day that doesn’t rain this weekend means I have to spend time out in the yard, putting it to bed.

FIX IT GIRL is coming along, and so is the Lavinia play. I hope to dig in over the weekend and get some serious progress on both.

Of course, I voted on Tuesday. I wasn’t happy with either of the candidates running for Town Council. But I picked one that I thought was more likely to represent my interests. Of course, the other one won. It just underlined my increasing and continued frustration with the narrow vision of people in this area. They don’t look at long-term. It’s “gimme” with a sense that if someone else has something, it means someone else has to go without, which is not the case. These idiots also voted away their right to vote for certain positions — how dumbass is that? I don’t trust the Town Council to “appoint” positions that were previously voted.

Again, these issues affect the upcoming transitions.

Hopefully, the doctor will be pleased with my mother’s progress, and she can continue to heal.

Last night, we celebrated “Kami of the Hearth” — based on Japanese kitchen goddess traditions. In other words, we got takeout, so I didn’t have to cook! 😉

 

Published in: on November 9, 2017 at 10:28 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 9, 2017: Trying To Resolve the Difficulties  
Tags: , , , ,

Tues. Nov. 7, 2017: Settling into a New Schedule

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for pre-release orders. Releases on Nov. 15, 2017.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise. The prolific Rhonda Pollero is my guest this week, with her newest release, Trapped.

I broke a toe Thursday night. Not a big deal, just painful and distracting, and about the 6th time I’ve broken this poor toe. Not fun.

Busy weekend.

Spent a few hour with a client on Friday morning, then dashed off to another meeting and did errands. Worked on the book I have to review next — will send that off today.

Also did a dump run first thing Friday, and then scrubbed out our garbage bins.

Didn’t get much work done on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. Got some done on Saturday — it’s interesting how differently Doug sees many of the same situations as Willow does. The contrast is interesting, and fun to play with. He’s very much himself, and not a stereotype, which makes him more interesting.

We treated ourselves to fish and chips for dinner. We so rarely eat fried food. Worth every bite.

Watched LOCH NESS (first series) over the weekend. Loved the production values, the writing, the actors — until the ending. The ending didn’t quite satisfy me. But, overall, I liked it. If they do another season, I’d watch it.

Saturday, I did some work in the morning, including some yard work (not that one can tell — there’s far more to do), scrubbed the house from top to bottom.

Then, I went Over the Bridge — a big deal for most people on Cape — because Edible Landscapes Cape Cod did a workshop at the Wildlands Trust in Plymouth.

Wildlands Trust isn’t far from where we did the Mermaid Ball for a couple of years. I’d never been there before — it’s beautiful. There was also someone there from Terra Cura, who’d written an article in Edible South Shore. She talks about creating an Herbal Spiral — something I’d like to try in the spring.

The workshop was in two parts — Medicinal Herbs by Marina, and then Seed Saving by Dave. Marina talked about infusions, tinctures, salves, oils, etc. I’ve always struggled with tinctures, but she presented the information in such a way that it suddenly made sense to me. She also talked about local plants considered weeds (certainly by my neighbors) such as dandelion, burdock, red clover, stinging nettle, and their uses. Then, Dave talked us through seed saving, and taught us how to winnow — a way to use wind to separate the seed from whatever’s protecting it. It was pretty cool.

I bought rue seeds and lobelia seeds for next season, and, from the winnowing, got some scarlet runner beans, anise hyssop, and shiso seeds. Can’t wait! Also learned how to store the cherry seeds I saved, and why the squash kept making blossoms and going no further (other than the fact some critter really liked to snack on the blossoms).

All in all, a great few hours spent in a beautiful location.

Home, wrote up some notes, got some writing done.

My mom is having a hard time with the post-op care. We have to constantly change the dressings (which is painful — no matter what type of tape we use, it hurts her). She can’t lift or bend, which means she can’t do even the most basic tasks, like feeding the cats. An independent person, it’s difficult for her. She gets out her stitches on Thursday, but there are still about six weeks of post-op care after that — hopefully less painful and complicated.

Sunday was all about grocery shopping. I made an Indonesian Rice Salad for lunch at the on-site client’s this week (Moosewood recipe), chocolate mousse (because one doesn’t need a reason to have chocolate).

Finished the book I have to review. Did research on San Simeon for this next, complex section of THE FIX IT GIR. Started one final pass on the proofs for SAVASANA AT SEA, which drops on the 15th.

Up early Monday. Wrote a few blog posts for clients. Site work with one client for the bulk of the day, then a couple of virtual meetings with other clients. Finished the review, which will go out today. Also trying to figure out the problem signing into PR Log, so I can get out the press release for SAVASANA.

Other than client work, the focus this week is on making sure there are no copyediting errors in SAVASANA, whipping into shape the next section of FIX IT GIRL, and starting the Lavinia Fontana play.

Plus, pre-release promotion for SAVASANA, and continuing promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES.

We decided FIX-IT GIRL won’t go out on submission until January. It’s too close to the holidays to dump anything on an agent’s desk, and I have a policy of not submitting between December 15 & January 15. First queries should go out around the 15th of January, which gives everyone a week or so to settle back in after the holidays.

Also, with TRACKING MEDUSA re-releasing on January 13, I have my hands full.

The deadline for the Lavinia play remains the end of December. It’s mostly shaped in my head; at this point, it’s more getting it down on paper, which means large swaths of uninterrupted work time. I will have to carve some out later this week.

I’ve also got to spend some time on “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which needs to drop by the end of the month. And I need to draft the flash fiction holiday piece I want to put into the newsletter that will go out in December.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing!

Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for advance purchase.

Friday, November 3, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and mild

I managed to get 1K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN yesterday morning.

I also updated 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the Nano cheerleading workbook. I tried to upload it to the Devon Ellington site, but Microsoft won’t let it then download when someone tries to click on it, calling it a “double escape” and citing “security” issues. Which is, of course, complete and utter crap. So it’s available on 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd. It is free — I hope it helps encourage those who are doing Nano.

Got some other work done as well, and then had yoga, which was bliss. I hadn’t realized how tight everything had gotten over these past two weeks. I also signed up for a crystal sound bowl meditation class on November 12 with the same teacher.

Took down the Samhain decorations, which included switching out the curtains from the black lace spiderweb curtains to the winter velour curtains.

My poor mother has another week of complicated dressing changes to go through before she gets her stitches out.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot — blood everywhere, but I can’t find a cut. However, the toe in question is badly bruised and it’s difficult to put weight on it. Fun and games all around.

Today, I have work to do early on at one site, then three hours on site with a client, then possibly back to the first site.

My article on “Conference Follow-Up” is live at Authors Publish. I also have to prepare the clip and send it to those who allowed me to quote them in the article.

I have more client work to do this afternoon, plus finish a book for review (I want to get it out tomorrow). I have to set a couple of posts up on various blogs, and type up some material for a client.

In addition, I have to do one more pass on SAVASANA and get some other writing of my own done.

There’s a full moon meditation up on Cerridwen’s Cottage in honor of the full moon, and tomorrow, a new post will go up on Kemmyrk, that ties in.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Plymouth to support one of my clients who has a speaking engagement, and I also have to get in a lot of writing. If the weather cooperates, some yard work has to happen, too.
Never a dull moment, but that’s the way I like it.

Don’t forget! SAVASANA AT SEA is available for pre-release orders and PLAYING THE ANGLES is available for purchase.

Have a great weekend. I won’t be able to post on Monday — a post will go live on Tuesday, talking about the weekend and Monday.

Playing the Angles available now.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Published in: on November 3, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,