Fri. Sept. 22, 2017: Jose’s Sit-N-Spin, Writing Weekend

Friday, Sept. 22, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hurricane Jose still here
Autumn Equinox

Jose’s doing a sit-and-spin over us. It’s not anywhere near as bad as how other areas have suffered. It will, however, require a good bit of clean-up when it finally moves on. I am grateful for the lack of force and fury, but tired of the steady rain and wind.

I have a few difficult days coming up, and my coping skills are not at their best. But not coping is not an option.

Worked on the back matter for SAVASANA AT SEA; started working on the opening chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will be in the back of this one. I’m having a lot of fun with the chapter. The premise of this book is going to allow for a lot of adventure, mystery, comedy, and romance.

Wrote a little over 1K on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN.

Did some research, took some notes.

Turns out an article I’d submitted at the end of July never arrived; good thing I contacted the editor to follow up. I re-sent it, and it is scheduled to run in about six weeks — longer than I’d like, mostly because of the pay, but at least it’s all sorted out, and neither of us wonders if the other party is unreliable.

Heard back from a script pitch — basically, as part of the interview process I’m supposed to become a customer of the product I pitched to write about. Um, no. Honey, that’s not how it works. You bring in a professional to write about the product for other people. You don’t pretend you’re hiring someone to enlarge your customer numbers. Next!

I have promotion and research to do today, and then a lot of work to get done over the weekend. I have two books to review — I’ve been dragging my feet on one of them, because it’s a draft in desperate need of an editor, not a finished book one can charge money for — and I’m trying to figure out how to review it properly without being that blunt. But I must get on with it, and then move on to the other book. I’d like to get them both done and the reviews submitted by early next week.

I have a couple of short pieces to work on, that should also go out next week, finish up the backmatter for SAVASANA, so that can go off to my editor early next week, and work on FIX IT GIRL. Two of the research books I needed are in, so I can settle in with those chapters, and maybe return the books once and for all by the end of next week.

The book Willow works on in THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is so interesting that now I want to write it, too. Since I have to do the shadow research in order to properly write about the research she does for the book, I’ll have enough material to write the actual book!

Feeling discouraged on several fronts, and overwhelmed. I hope that the Equinox ceremony this afternoon will set me back to rights.

I have a meeting early on Monday, so I will be late posting.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

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Thurs. Sept. 21, 2017: Jose Hangs Out, Draft Gets Finished

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy & blustery from Hurricane Jose

Busy time. Jose scratched us yesterday and is hanging out with winds and some rain, but not as bad as feared. I am grateful.

Most of the past couple of days has been about SAVASANA AT SEA. I found a major logic lapse, and have been working to fix it. That meant going back to my research and expanding on it, and then picking and choosing what best suits the story. It’s starting to feel like it’s meeting my overall vision again.

I worked hard these past two days, and finished the whole draft yesterday, just before 5 PM. This draft feels really good. I’ve gotten the energy and the spirit of the piece back. I chose where to stay within the cozy mystery formula and where I wanted to break it.

I need to write the first chapter of the second book and do the rest of the back matter, then put it all together and off it goes to the editor.

That was all I did yesterday — work on the book. It felt good.

I didn’t go out, because of the storm, although it didn’t hit as badly as they said, and it didn’t even get truly nasty until last night. We’d been told Tuesday into Wednesday would be the worst, but, as usual, they were wrong, and it’s Wednesday into today. Only I can’t put off today what needs to be done away from home. So I have to go out in this mess.

I also managed to get about 1000 words done on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN in the evening. I don’t want to lose that book’s rhythm, either.

Today will be busy, but busy is good. Hopefully, we won’t lose power, etc., but who knows?

Worried about those hit with Hurricane Maria. Worried about those who suffered in Mexico’s earthquake. Worried that the corrupt GOP is determined to take away healthcare and sign the death warrant for millions of people (which would include me and my family). Which is, of course, what they want: cull the herd of those who can’t afford to buy them off. Perform economic genocide.

I’m doing my bit with my elected officials and hoping for the best.

Onward.

 

Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters

Friday, September 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I mis-dated Wednesday. All day Wednesday, I thought it was September 14, and it was only the 13th. I knew it was Wednesday, but I had the date wrong. Apologies.

I didn’t blog yesterday; worked at home and focused on other things.

I’ve been getting back into the FIX-IT GIRL revisions the past few days. These are the difficult chapters that require a great deal of restructuring. Lots of new material written, opening out certain storylines, having it make sense, pick up intensity, moving toward the climactic sequence. Mavis made a decision that could easily ruin her personal reputation, outside of work, but she’s owning it.

I’ve let SAVASANA AT SEA sit for a few days, so I can go back to it with fresh eyes. I don’t want to blur the tones of the two books, since they are both in revisions, by working on them in too close a tandem. I had some ideas on restructuring some of the marketing for the series, too, thanks to a conversation with Ilona Andrews. Ilona reinforced what I know in my gut, but have been advised to take a different route by the “experts”. As my intent is to guide the book and the series back to the original vision that feels right in my gut, it makes sense.

Speaking of “gut feeling” — I had an opportunity yesterday that, on a logical level, seemed good. But my gut told me otherwise. So I decided to go in a different direction. I declined gracefully, and well before the deadline for response. In the short-run, it may cause some difficulty, but in the long run, I believe it’s the right decision. Amazing how much stress was relieved once it was made.

I’ve been working on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. There are books within the book — the books the characters are working on during the course of the novel. I’m finding I have to do nearly as much research for those as I do for the novel itself. It’s a quiet book, which will have to be rewritten in certain sections to be more active, but I like stretching in this non-genre direction. My characters are trying to find their way back to each other, and not always succeeding. I don’t know how it will end. Either they will or they won’t. The events within the book will shape that.

The furnace was cleaned yesterday morning — this company is always prompt and very nice. So we’re set for the winter, which is great. The guy that used to come every year to take care of it — young guy, big, with brilliant tattoos, had said, a year or so ago, he was tired of winter and was thinking of selling up and leaving. Guess that’s what he did. The new guys (a pair of them ) were very nice, though.

Yesterday afternoon, we sorted out the yarn stash — bags and boxes and bits and bobs. It now makes more sense, and several projects have been planned/sketched out for the winter. I have a couple of pieces in progress that need to be finished. So, when I get the craft urge, there’s plenty to work on. Couldn’t believe we spent the entire afternoon on it, but it was well worth it.

I’ve joined Lissa Matthews in the #10KWeekendWriters challenge this weekend. Writing 10K from Thursday through Sunday. Yesterday’s total was 1500 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and 900 new words within the revision of THE FIX-IT GIRL. Total: 2400 words (100 words shy of my goal). Remaining words to goal: 7600.

I’m wondering if I can count the words on the article I’m expanding/polishing/adding to the Coventina Circle website about working on Broadway? 😉 Yes, you can find that article here. Because I intend to post the article before I post this blog.

This needs to be a writing/reading/sorting weekend. Next week is Mabon, and a whole lot of other things. As usual, I’m waiting on a round of freelance payments so I can meet the bills. I also have to research some markets.

I have some pitches to get out this morning, websites to update, and PR to work on for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I haven’t been sleeping well, and have had migraines off and on this weekend, but taking time off today is not an option. I find, though, that when I push hard on the early part of Friday, I tend to take most of Friday afternoon off, and then am more productive on Saturday and Sunday. So, if I can get it all done this morning, that’s what I’ll do. Once I get in my 2500 words for the day (will try to get in 2600 to make up for yesterday’s shortfall).

The yard is fading in stages this year. Usually it hangs on and then everything goes at once and it’s overwhelming. This is much easier to deal with — doing a bit every few days. I wish I could get the mower working again, though. I’d like to do one more big mow. Well, I don’t WANT to do it, it’s not something I enjoy, but I think it’s necessary.

Have a great weekend!

 

Wed. Sept. 14, 2017: Balancing Act

Wednesday, September 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was a long day of admin, filing paperwork, updating links, et al.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is now live on Google Play, ready for pre-order.

My article “Tracking Your Banged Buck” is live on WOW-Women on Writing, and I want to thank K.R. Conway, Jessica Glenn, Goddess Fish Promotions, Arlene Kay, Alyssa Maxwell, and Barbara Ross for their quotes. I made a document for their clip files, and sent that, along with the live link and a thank you, to them. I heard from the editor last night that the article is getting positive feedback, so I’ll pass that along today, too.

Exhausted by the time I got back, and came down with a migraine. However, I didn’t have the luxury of taking an afternoon off, so I kept working.

I did some work on the FIX-IT GIRL revision. It’s going slowly, and I’m frustrated. I’m not quite sure how to solve the frustration, which leaves me more frustrated, and so it goes. The first eighteen chapters of the revision sailed along well, but this is a tricky part, a turning point. I have to get it right, or the book falls apart.

I’ll just keep at it until I do.

Also did some work on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the literary fiction. This first draft will need a lot of revision, a lot of making scenes active that are now too narrative. But I need to set out the narration for myself first, and then pick which scenes to dramatize, and what to leave as narration. Because the book is quiet and introspective, rather than an action-driven piece, it needs a different approach. Too much action, and I lose the tone and the reflective quality that is the reason for the book’s existence. Too much narrative and it’s telling rather than showing and just plain dull.

We need to make some solid decisions about “Labor Intensive”, and I also need to get back to the draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so that can go off to the editor, and she can catch me out on my bad habits again. 😉

As much of a slime pit as social media can sometimes be, through all this political chaos, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people from all over the world, in all walks of life, with whom I might not have otherwise crossed paths. They are intelligent, creative, and committed to making the world a better place. I hope we’ll stay in touch if and when things settle down.

It looks like I didn’t land two gigs I’d really hoped for this week. One of them would have been well within my wheelhouse, but the people making the top decisions have proven, over the past few weeks, to be consistently disorganized. On the other, it would have been a physical challenge in some respects, but the company’s lack of basic business protocol makes me wonder if the listing was scam. One can put up a slick website and still be a con. More research done, and perhaps I should be grateful not to be associated with either organization! Only time and what happens next will tell.

My editor asked for some revisions on a review; I have to get back to work on the next book, which is one of the most sloppily written pieces I’ve read in a long time. I need to work on some article pitches that I’d like to get out before the end of the week, and expand an essay where there’s interest, but it’s too short.

Whenever the days are nice enough to be outside, I’m trying to work at least for a few hours at a time on the deck. Pretty soon, everything has to come back in for the winter.

Speaking of winter, yesterday I worked on a section of THE MARRIAGE GARDEN taking place during a blizzard, while we had lovely, sunny, warm weather. It was an interesting exercise in sense memory for writing.

 

Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/cool

Yesterday was all about updating links into websites. I got the live links for PLAYING THE ANGLES up onto the blog, onto the Devon Ellington website, onto the Coventina Circle website.

I added links to the newsletter and got it out — my first newsletter in a long time. I’ll have to clean up any bounce backs, new subscriptions, unsubscriptions.

It also meant I had to put the Nautical Namaste site live earlier than I planned, and set up the Nautical Namaste Facebook page earlier than planned. But it’s done, at least I have the links.

Had to get some admin paperwork done, and have to go into Hyannis this morning to file it, before picking up a few things at the grocery store.

The writing suffered yesterday, although I managed to get some more work done on the FIX-IT GIRL, and I hope to have that draft done in about two weeks. While juggling finishing the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so I can get it to my editor.

Because of Hurricane Irma, we pushed back the release of “Labor Intensive” yet again, but pretty soon, the timing will be so bad, I’ll have missed the boat. If we could not have any disasters, either caused by the Narcissistic Sociopath or Nature for a bit, that would be great.

Being 9/11, yesterday was tough as it always is. Tears off an on all day. You never “get over” something like that; you have to learn to live with it.

Onward.

 

Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES will release on October 2, 2017. It is available on the following:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Monday, September 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Quite the weekend. Of course, most of the focus is on Hurricane Irma and its devastating path in Florida. And on the clean-up in Houston.

I am deeply grateful that the weather here on Cape has been so beautiful the past few days. I realize how lucky I am. It’s difficult not to feel guilty, but it’s better to be grateful and then take what action I can to help those who are struggling.

As part of that gratitude, I went out and did yard work. The mower is still being cranky, but I pruned the forsythia in the back that nearly obscured the path on the west side of the house, and the forsythias on each side of the garage door that were making entering and exiting the garage feel like hacking through a jungle. I yanked out a lot of invasive brambles, vines, and autumn olive, clearing out one of the front beds, tidying up two beds in the back, and some random growth in the meadow. I also cleared out some of the oak that’s acting more like an invasive than anything else. There’s still a lot more to clear — I’ll have to take the saw to some of it.

As the feverfew passes, I’ll clear all of that out of the beds, too. I figure if I do a little bit every pleasant day, then it won’t overwhelm me later in the season.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is up for pre-order so far on iApplem Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I’m putting the pre-order links up on the websites as they come in. Publication date is October 2, and it’s a go. I’m pretty excited. The PDF of the ARC is ready to send out for review. The promotional train is headed out.

Meanwhile, I finished a pass on the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA. I also spent time fixing and smoothing out problems and logistical lapses that the previously requested edits and cuts caused. I’ve restructured a good bit of the book, which is fine for the pace, but I have to fix some gaps. The chapters are all loaded into one document now, and I’m going to do a pass for smoothness and logic.

I also have to write the first chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, in the next week or so, and prepare the back matter, as I smooth things out. I’d like to get this draft to my editor in about ten days or so. I’m sure we’ll have several passes to whip it into shape, the way we did with ANGLES.

Did quite a bit of work on the literary fiction, tentatively entitled THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I like the way it’s taking shape. It will need an awful lot of editing once I’ve got the draft done, but I’m getting to say things that I haven’t found a way to speak otherwise, and explore some interesting relationships and quirks about this area.

I am going to have to create a fictional town, though; too much controversy if I portray some of the actual places as I’ve experienced them.

Re-reading Joyce Carol Oates’s published diary from 1973-1982. I always learn something new.

“The artist must find an environment, a pattern of living, that will protect his or her energies; the art must be cultivated, must be given priority.” (p.21). So true.

I’m reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy, and trying to understand him better. I remember reading TESS OF THE D’UBERVILLES in school and hating it; but I wonder if I just didn’t understand it, and if I’d have more appreciation for his work now.

I started reading the next review assignment. It’s one of the worst-written pieces I’ve ever had to plow through, with a lack of editing and copyediting, and no knowledge of the difference between a possessive and a contraction. Very frustrating.

I have such a list of things that need to get done today, looking at it I feel overwhelmed. But all I can do is start at the top and work my way as far down as possible.

September 11 is always a tough day for me — and for so many. I’m doing my remembrance rituals, and keeping candles lit. I’m trying to balance that with the creative work that needs to be done.

 

Wed. Aug. 29, 2017: Short-Term and Long-Term Relief Planning, Balancing With Work

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cool

We’re getting the very outer grazings of Tropical Storm Irma. Not bad, especially not in perspective with what’s going on down south, but still worth paying attention to and not taking unnecessary risks.

The Narcissistic Sociopath lived up to his name yesterday on his visit to flood stricken areas. Not a word of comfort or support or empathy. He treated it like a campaign rally, going on about “crowd size.” Excuse me? And the tone-deaf wife, insensitive to the losses of those around them — the whole propaganda event was sickening.

Amy Siskind, with whom I often agree, especially as she documents how our civil rights are being methodically stripped away every day, said we shouldn’t criticize the wife because it reflects how we treat women in general. I disagree. You don’t get respect BECAUSE of your gender. You get basic respect as a human being, because every human being should get that, and build that WITH YOUR ACTIONS. Or you lose it WITH YOUR ACTIONS. The fact that too often women are objectified and criticized for their appearance or choices doesn’t mean that, simply because one is a woman, one can’t criticize or be criticized by another woman. The wife is in a position of leadership, and it is her JOB to behave with grace, class, and sensitivity towards ALL the people who live in or visit this country. She has done nothing, EVER, to earn respect, at least not from me. To say she’s “learning on the job” is crap — all First Ladies learn on the job, because there’s no other job quite like it. And yes, it is a job, and don’t give me that crap that she didn’t “choose” it. She didn’t walk away from it. She CHOSE to stay. Top offices are a package deal, and yes, there are politicians who have not gotten my vote because I thought their partners weren’t up to the job, and would, in fact, be a detriment. One person holds the elected office, but the couple is in it together.

And then, the Nashville Statement? Disgusting. Again, I was in Nashville several years ago to cover the NHL draft. Six days in Nashville was five days too many, as far as I was concerned. They were talking about secession and creating a country which recognized that slavery was a “good” thing. I still have the newspaper coverage tucked away in some file somewhere.

I’m trying to come up with a plan for long-term giving. I don’t have the financial resources right now to do a lot, but I’m doing what I can, and planning what I can do over the long-term, because the area will need help long-term. So far, with my due diligence, I’m focusing on food banks for people and the Texas SPCA and Pets Alive in Austin for animals. When the immediate need eases, I’ll focus on Habitat for Humanity for people. My friend, author Joelle Charbonneau, who always goes the extra mile for everyone, gave me information on Global Giving, so I’ll also do what I can with them.

I’m reading the material on why one shouldn’t give to the Red Cross. It disturbs me. I agree that the company that took over in the past few years isn’t transparent enough, especially with donations. I volunteered with the Red Cross in NYC during Desert Storm (I was a military case worker). I learned a lot, disagreed with some of their policies, but overall, had a great deal of respect with them at the time. As far as being helped by them, in my personal experience, I found them good at immediate, short-term assistance — such as when the building I lived in caught fire, and when my hometown flooded — but not structured to handle long-term issues. The Text and $10 goes to them option is, in my opinion, good in the short term, but for longer term help, I’m going to give elsewhere.

The phone scams for false charities are already in full swing. Half a dozen calls yesterday morning alone. I don’t give out my phone number, so how do they get it? Which corporation (of the few that have it — utility companies, etc.) is selling phone numbers? That needs to stop. I’m on every Do Not Call list there is. In any case, be careful, and don’t make donations by phone, unless you’re texting one to a vetted organization.

All of this has to balance with the writing, or I can’t keep a roof over my head.

Not much writing done yesterday, although I have to get back on track for that. I got out an article pitch and another pitch, so, hopefully, they’ll hit home. I need to do some research for a batch of LOIs to go out next week, when Mercury goes direct and after the holiday weekend.

I’ve gotten several questions as to when NOT BY THE BOOK will be ready to submit (some publishing people are interested), so that has to get back on the schedule, along with everything else.

August was a month away from the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions in the sense of not sticking to a list, but relevant due to the internal work.

Finished Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CHATEAU SUR MER, one of her Gilded Newport Mysteries. I love the series, and I love the growth of Emma Cross.

I have to figure out a new release date for “Labor Intensive”. Since it takes place on Labor Day Weekend, I don’t want it to be too far out, but I also don’t want to do a big promotion when people are drowning in Harvey.

I like the new covers for both “Labor Intensive” and “Plot Bunnies”. I think they fit the scope of the series better.

More ideas are coming in for the Picaroon Island series. I need to jot them down before I lose them. The ideas pouring in right now are for what would be the fifth book in the series. The first book is out on submission. Visiting Nantucket got me thinking about it again.

Next week, the first pre-pub push for PLAYING THE ANGLES goes out. Lots of juggling going on.

Not to mention that I really want to get SAVASANA AT SEA to my editor by mid-September.

I have one more pass at ANGLES to go, and that needs to happen this weekend.

Never a dull moment, which is good.

Fri. Aug. 25, 2017: Thoughts on Forced Extroversion by an Introvert

Friday, August 25, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ten more days of Mercury Retrograde. Ack!

Sent out some pitches and an initial step of a proposal for a project I’d really like to do. I only heard about it very close to their deadline, so they may already have hired someone, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it’s in my wheelhouse, right on target (to mix metaphors), so I gave it a shot.

Worked on “Labor Intensive”, which lived up to its name.

Worked on the revisions for SAVASANA AT SEA. I thought I’d done so much, because I’m in serious beat-to-beat change territory, but it was only a few chapters. A little discouraging, but slow progress is better than no progress.

Got another round of copy edits back on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I don’t understand all of them — some of them refer to changes I made — so I have to go over it with the copy editor. Not sure if the changes didn’t save properly, or if I have to enter them differently in the document or what. We’ll get it sorted out.

Sending back some research books for projects that are farther out in the schedule, because I can’t effectively use them in the current timeline. Noted them, so I can order them again when I need them.

Did some promo for the Topic Workbook The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects which holds up well. This fall, I need to apply some of the techniques, as I reschedule projects for 2018.

Getting the balance right between the fiction and the nonfiction is always tricky. That and deciding where and how to use the peak of my creative energy on any given day.

There was a fantastic piece posted on Facebook, leading back to an article about introverts. As an introvert, it resonated. One of the things I deeply resent about living here is that I’m constantly forced into extroversion, which is painful and makes me miserable. In NY, you were who you were, and, as long as you did your work, no one cared. Here, the pressure to be constantly extroverted — and always to someone else’s convenience — makes me both miserable and furious.

I feel like I’ve lost a vital part of what made me good at what I do, living here. On the one hand, the place itself — the ocean, the land — have definitely helped my work, and in some ways, the quality of life is better. But the constant intrusions into my personal space and needs and the demands that I change the core of who I am to “fit” — well, guess what? I won’t. “Fitting in” has never driven me. I tried to be a civilian and a part of community life, and the prevalent “gimme culture” here doesn’t work, along with the lack of support for the arts (in spite of pretending the opposite). So I’m redrawing boundaries, and I don’t really care if it suits anyone else.

The theory that one can’t have privacy or a personal life if you work in the arts or set foot in social media (or even outside one’s own door) is ridiculous. I get to decide what to share with others. They get to decide what to share with me. The only exception is if any of us are involved in something that actively hurts those around us, instead of peaceful co-existence.

Remember, fellow female travelers, all those times you walk down the street, minding your own business, mulling over whatever needs attention and some jackass calls out, “Smile, honey!”

Forced constant extroversion is the same thing.

I’m not going to damn smile if I don’t want to. Not then nor now. (Which, since I usually am smiling, if I’m not, you can be sure there’s a reason for it, and back the eff off).

I’m not going to be forced into being someone I am not, and someone I do not wish to become.

Nor do I have to explain WHY I don’t want to do something or go somewhere. If I say “no” it is no, and I don’t need to qualify it.

I’m going back to being who I am.

Wherever that may lead.

That’s how I got to Broadway and lived my dream. That’ll work moving forward.

In any case, have a great weekend! I have lots of hearth-tending to do this weekend, along with A LOT of writing.

Best wishes to those in the path of Hurricane Harvey. I hope something happens and the storm weakens and it’s not anywhere near as bad as predicted.

Mon. Aug. 7, 2017: Working is My Rest

Monday, August 7, 2017
Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I feel better after cutting myself a break for the weekend. I rested a lot on Friday, and read — I’m reading a lot of Maggie Shayne’s work lately, and learning from it. Also reading Christopher Isherwood’s diaries, which are interesting, and doing my 1940s New York research (or, I should say, more research, from a different angle on the same decade).

It was nice enough to do some reading/writing outside on the deck, and I even managed some yard work (although no mowing). The Rose of Sharon is blooming beautifully, as are the geraniums, begonias, and mums — the mums are a bit early, in my opinion. We’ll have a decent tomato harvest, with three different varieties. This morning, we had an entire family of bunnies chomping on the dandelions in the back, and a blue jay taking a bath in the fresh water I put in the birdbath.

Worked on notes for the Coventina Circle series, and for some short pieces. Reworked an essay to slant to another market — I need to do another pass, to go a bit deeper, and out it goes.

Researched some other markets, and dismissed several as not being the type of market to which I want to pitch. I’m not going to pay a membership fee for the “privilege” of pitching — either you’re a professional publication that hires professional writers, or you’re a membership enclave where people pay you to be published. I’m not interested in the latter. Nor am I interested in embedding links to previous articles on your site in order to have an article published. I disagree with the ethics of both those positions. While it’s not up to me to make decisions on someone else’s website, as a “Free Lance”, I get to decide where I do and don’t pitch. Both of the above situations are a no-go for me.

Found another market for which I’d really like to write — a bit more academically-slanted than I usually do, but a good stretch. It will take me a couple of weeks to put together the pitch packet, though.

Have at least one, maybe two short stories that will go out today.

Debating on whether or not to pitch to a company — I like what they do, but don’t particularly like the employees of theirs I’ve dealt with. Not sure that would be the right situation.

Another project is going in a different direction, so we decided not to work together. I was having second thoughts about the whole enterprise, so it’s a relief.

The information in the public statements about the shooting a block away and what I see happening at the house are two different things. I’d like to think they’re merely being thorough in the investigation; however, I doubt they’ll ever tell us what really happened — or catch the shooter.

Got a good bit of work done on the draft of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY — about nine chapters. About half of each chapter is new material, so it was a good bit of writing. I’m deepening the atmosphere and the sensory detail and finding ways to weave together seemingly disparate plot threads. I’m happy with the progress. I want to get back into a daily rhythm with it, so it can release on time in May 2018.

I also have to get back into a daily rhythm with SAVASANA AT SEA this week — since its release date is this November! Most of it is rearranging material, “uncutting” the cuts that took the heart out of it, and doing some restructuring that keeps the fresh voice, but also keeps the plot moving. Pace and energy are important here.

What would have been a good night’s sleep was disrupted by some moron at 3 AM sitting in his car and revving the engine for 15 minutes. Hey, if you have to leave early, go ahead. Put the key in the ignition and drive off. But do NOT sit and rev the engine until the whole neighborhood is awake, and then peel out of your driveway with the tires screeching. Not cool at all.

Found out the insurance company lied to me. No surprise there, but it means more battles this week.

Already did an early morning grocery shop to avoid the damn tourists. Lots to do today, so I better get moving!

Fri. July 28, 2017: Progress, Prep, and Difficult Weekend Ahead

Friday, July 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Didn’t get a chance to post yesterday; apologies.

Some good work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’m reshaping the opening a bit — I want it more atmospheric, and I’m getting rid of some lazy language. That’s delayed sending the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES back to my editor and copy editor, since they have to edit and copy edit my back matter, and the first chapters of both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and SAVASANA AT SEA are included. I’m also working on a back matter piece about theatre ghosts, which I think readers will enjoy.

I have plenty to say about the health care issue, but it’s going into an article, not on the blog. Last night’s vote was a relief; I’m spending far too much time trying to sort things out for my mother’s upcoming surgery, and correct errors by both providers and the insurance company. (hint: double-dipping by some providers involved).

Sent off the contracted article Wednesday morning. Also wrote, polished, and sent off an essay for a new-to-me site with whom I’d had a discussion last week. The email kept bouncing back. When I went back to look at the site, turns out they’d gone out of business over the weekend. So why did they say they wanted to hire me? Frustrating.

Fortunately, I can re-slant the piece slightly for another, higher-paying market. That will go out early next week. I have another essay that also needs to go out next week, to another new-to-me market.

We’re reworked and simplified the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Much better now.

The cover reveal for PLAYING THE ANGLES will be August 1.

I finished the media kit for PLAYING THE ANGLES, and I’ve created a Facebook page for the Coventina Circle series. I hope you’ll hop over there and “like” it. I’m going to invite people to the page on the day of the cover reveal, and I’m going try to post interesting tidbits on theatre and healing circles between now and the release date.
I’m going to sit down and figure out the posts and schedule ahead of time, so as things get busy, it doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Had a good meeting in Harwich yesterday; should hear by early next week. It’s a situation that requires close proximity, so the client has to choose the person with whom she feels the most affinity and alignment with what she wants.

Got some good work done on the latest book sent for review. I will finish it today, and the review will be ready to go out on Monday.

This time of year is always a challenge. Tomorrow (the 29th) is the anniversary of my father’s death. Yes, it was a long time ago, but still reverberates. The 30th is the anniversary of my own serious surgery — again, a long time ago, but it’s amazing how the body captures sense memory. Then, we upswing to the 1st of August — a big, positive day on my own personal calendar.

Watching a documentary about some of the great houses in Scotland sparked an idea last night, so I took some notes. This morning, I’m also working on the flash fiction of the butcher and his vegetarian customer. I like these characters; they have a good sense of humor, along with common sense, even though they approach the world from very different places.

I’m going to try to get some rest this weekend. I overworked last weekend, and it set me back during the week, because I was mentally exhausted. I need to rest the mind as well as the body.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on July 28, 2017 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 28, 2017: Progress, Prep, and Difficult Weekend Ahead  
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Monday, July 17, 2017: Breaking Points and New Covers

Monday, July 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, humid, hot

Sometimes you go through a rough patch, which is what is happening right now.  It will cycle through, but it’s not fun while I’m in it.  This post is a bit on the downside; feel free to skip it.  Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a more upbeat day!  But it does deal with some of the more stressful and unpleasant realities of the freelance life.

Stressful weekend. The life stress has been very, very bad, ramped up to a height where I’m ready to break under it, and, added to that, the last few days were filled with creative stress (the wrong kind) as well.

Some creativity in there, too, but stressful.

Two of the interview subjects (with big name associations) who’d promised to have their information back to me by Friday for one of the articles didn’t. Which meant on Saturday, I had to nag — something I hate. Because let’s face it, it’s not “follow up”, it’s nagging, and if you say you’re going to do something by a certain date, do it. Don’t just not get in touch. One of them suddenly said she was too busy to take the TEN MINUTES to answer the questions. No, honey, you’re not “too busy”. You either don’t want to share your knowledge, or you suck at time management.  Either one is your choice, and I respect it; perhaps you’re trying to be polite with the “too busy”, but I read your subtext.  Moving on!

The other sent the answers, and they’re very good, so they go in to the article.

Three other interview subjects never bothered to get back to me. Two of them were businesses related to the topic of the article with whom I considered doing business in the next few months. I’ve changed my mind. If they can’t answer a few basic questions, they’re not getting any dollars from me.  The third non-response was rather expected; it was a stretch, and I had the feeling that organization wasn’t about to share information. It proved something I suspected.

I thought the cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES was all set, but now I’m having second thoughts. I’m afraid the cover is too bright and peppy for paranormal romantic suspense. The cover has to properly represent and support the story; the image was more appropriate for one of the pieces in development.

The designer and I worked up a new cover this morning, and I like it much better. So that’s a load off – it combines theatre, moonlight, and gives a sense of suspense.

I did some work on the galleys; I’m working on the series bible as I work through the galleys, so that I’ll have it ready when I go back to finish SPIRIT REPOSITORY.  Tracking details is so important.  This past weekend, I saw a post from a writer who asked her readers a consistency question because she couldn’t remember and didn’t feel like looking back through her own work.  I was shocked.  That’s the WRITER’S job — keep a Series Bible, for crying out loud.  I was further surprised because it’s the only series this particular writer works on; I’d understand more if she was juggling multiple series.

Worked on SAVASANA AT SEA. While the pace of the last draft is decent, I had to dumb down a bunch of stuff in the previous draft for the previous team, and I want to figure out a way to put back some of the more interesting items I was forced to cut. The new editor and I are working on that together. The manuscript, as it stood, was only 70K, so there’s room for a few thousand more words, as long as they don’t hurt the pace.

Did more Lavinia Fontana research. I’m getting an idea of the characters I want to include. So much of her life was handled by men; even though she is the central character, there will be a lot of male roles in the piece. I need to find at least one patron or wife of a patron so she’s got a good female character to play off of.

Outlined a new idea and wrote about twenty pages on it, so that the characters would shut up and let me think about other things. There’s potential in the piece, but I’m not sure when or how to fit it in. There are several pieces with potential that have to get back on the schedule and have to get finished, polished, and out.

“The Ramsey Chase” media kit is almost ready to go. PLAYING THE ANGLES media kit is almost finished. I updated the Q & A to reflect what’s changed in the re-release. I finished drafting the fiction section of the overall Devon Ellington media kit. I’m about to start work on the nonfiction section.

I have to figure out how to do subdomains for both the Coventina Circle series and the Nautical Namaste series. I have the right to the subdomains from my host, but I can’t use the website builder for any more projects without being charged extra — and they just raised my hosting fees AND told me that I have to pay every month, instead of quarterly. I’m out of available web pages to add on my main Devon Ellington site — unless I agree, again, to a higher monthly fee. Not that they’re giving me the services supposedly included in my package. But I can’t afford to switch hosts right now. I should be able to create pages and upload them as ftp files, except the host won’t give me the correct code to get into my ftp manager. Because 1and1.com is one of the worst hosts out there. I’ve been talking about moving hosts for years; as soon as I have enough money so to do, I have to do it, because they are costing me so much in lost revenue every single month and they REFUSE to provide customer service when something goes wrong. They are just awful. Unfortunately, right now I’m trapped. I have to stay, because I can’t afford to move, even though staying is costing me lost income. They know it, and they’re screwing me even worse than usual.

Sunday, I worked on the article and its sidebar, and worked on a couple of pitches that have to go out today. Most of Sunday was devoted to the article. The initial draft, with all the information waaaay above my allotted word count. I cut nearly 1000 words, and I was still over, by a good deal. I contacted my editor and asked if there was wiggle room — and got it. While I don’t want to take advantage, and will try to cut some more, I am grateful that she trusts me so much.

I think I found a new market for a rejected short story. I’m irritated that there’s been no response to a follow-up I sent on a couple of pitches, where I’ve worked for the publication before and the editor seemed to like me. I’m even more irritated that now I have one late payment that’s a month late and another going on two months. Not acceptable AT ALL. I have bills to pay; I need to be paid on time, PER CONTRACT, not if and when you happen to get around to it.

Did several loads of laundry on Sunday, too.  Carry wood, chop water.  It keeps things in perspective.  Managed to deadhead some of the tiger lilies, too.

This morning, I mowed, did a grocery store run, finished a review and submitted it, submitted two short stories and a pitch. I have to write some follow up letters that might negate my original pitch, but I can’t wait any longer for an answer. I can’t be in limbo any longer with vague, “yes, you’re hired and we’ll get back to you.” To top it all off, I have a migraine.

I’m supposed to do something for a pro-positivity site I was invited to join, but I’m not finding much that’s positive right now. I’m being run into the ground, without recompense.

I posted a couple of upbeat things on Facebook and Twitter in honor of the day’s theme, but that’s all I can do.

However, the new cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES has cheered me up.

I just have to dig deeper and find a way to make things work.  Maybe I’ll sing the “Cranky Pants” song and it will help me get over myself!

Tomorrow will be better!

Fri. July 14, 2017: Keeping it Up Under Pressure

Friday, July 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Bastille Day

For many years, I have looked upon Bastille Day as my own personal independence day. Back in the mid-1980s, it was the day I walked away from a toxic situation.

Yesterday, I got out some pitches, I worked on the YA story, I worked on SAVASANA AT SEA, I worked on some proposals. Worked on the article. I’m waiting for a few more responses, and I hope to have it all together and out to my editor by Monday.

I re-read Lilith St. Crow’s CLOUD WATCHER, a story I love. I want to read the whole series.

Some characters started yapping at me, so I took notes and wrote about a thousand words, trying to get them to shut up.

Submitted a pitch to a site that claims to pay writers properly; only they expect said writers to pay a fee to join their “club” before they’ll consider what you pitch. Um, no, that is not a professional outlet. I don’t pay to write; I am paid to write.

I want a weekend, although I know it will be all about writing. I need other pressures to back off for a couple of days, even as they intensify. I need some breathing space to think things through and make some decisions.

Tense day, but hopefully, it will be a useful weekend.

The MidMonth Check in is up on the GDR site here.

Have a good one!

Published in: on July 14, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 14, 2017: Keeping it Up Under Pressure  
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