Tues. July 10, 2012: Typing My Fingers Off

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The weather has been gorgeous the last few days. May all of summer be this lovely!

Productive day yesterday: invoiced a client, edited three short stories for an anthology, sent off a contract, worked on three articles, worked on the ghostwriting project, worked on two short stories, started teaching the Scene Meat workshop, pitched for an editing job, worked on edits for HEART SNATCHER, finished reading the material for the latest assignment from Confidential Job #1. Ran an errand, swapping a donation a pro bono client is giving to a local auction, picking up the one they’re donating to my client’s auction, and picked up three gallons of water for tonight’s jazz concert.

I ordered some library books on women and aviation in the 40s for further research into the short story with potential for a novel. For the purposes of the piece due at the end of this week, I will take the first scene and turn it into a stand-alone short story, test-driving some of my ideas. I’m working on a writer’s rough outline for the novel. I need a better title for the whole darned thing, but that will come as my themes become clearer.

I’m reading Jeff Vandemeer’s BOOKLIFE — very clear-sighted breakdown of setting goals and separating out the private and public elements of the writing life.

“Town Crier” is no longer available, but don’t fret — a new Jain Lazarus story featuring Billy Root will be going live soon! “Town Crier” will be included in the collection of Jain Lazarus shorts released next year, that will also feature two brand-new novellas especially for the collection.

If you haven’t signed up for the Series Bible seminar on Saturday, you can still do that here. It is the only time the class will be offered this year.

I’ve got the ghostwriting to work on, more short stories to edit for the anthology, the introduction to work on, the classes to teach, and two more short stories to get out by this week, along with a new post up on Writers Vineyard for Thursday.

It’s a good busy, though, and that’s the way I like it!

Devon

Fri. July 6, 2012: Hamster on a Treadmill (does this mean I’ll lose weight)?

Friday, July 6, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

That’s what I feel like — running in place, not getting anywhere. One of many reasons I don’t run on a treadmill — I want to make progress when I work hard! Frustrating day yesterday. Didn’t get enough done. Worked on revisions, the ghostwriting project, got my article out, worked with students. Sent out the email blast for the organization with whom I’m working and, although the test emails were perfect, some people couldn’t open it. I can’t sit there and send out individual emails to people in 15 different formats. I re-created the email early this morning, tried again in both HTML and text-only formats, again, per the technical support instructions, and it damn well better have gone through. I used the site’s format, so it has nothing to do with being on Mac rather than PC. Of course, if the previous person who handled all this had had the courtesy to give me the correct information instead of just up and leaving, none of this would be a problem.

Read a mediocre mystery the other day, and I’m reading one that’s just plain bad right now. This is someone with over a dozen books to the author’s credit. But the writing is sloppy, the logistics are off, when the author switches from first person POV to third, the third person is all telling, not showing, and the heroine is a bit of a moron. Discouraging.

My yoga teacher is giving a class on the beach today, so I’m headed out there this morning, and then I have an event at the Art Museum, and THEN I have to buckle down and work this afternoon, working on a couple of articles,working on the ghostwriting, working with students, and polishing a short story So much for mowing! But I got the daylilies deadheaded yesterday. And I got in a good weight training session. I’ve been lax about the weigh training lately.

A pair of guests left yesterday, another group leaves this afternoon, and the last leave on Sunday. Costume Imp arrives in two weeks for ten days — that will be fun.

Next week will be insane — teaching four classes, meetings almost every day or night, article deadlines, writing, and some other personal paperwork that has to be finished. I hope to make a dent in it this weekend. Probably not taking my preferred Sunday off!

Oh! One of the bunnies just scooted across the lawn. Fortunately, the marigolds in the front are too close to the house to be part of his buffet — but he and his partner ate all of the ones in the back! Better the marigolds than the veggies, though.

Onward.

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Tues. July 3, 2012: Extrarodinary . . .


Squash blossoms

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got a lot of work done on freelance assignments, but as always, it’s never enough. Plugging away on the ghost writing gig, polishing the lectures for next week’s classes, working on my articles, got out the write up for Confidential Job #1. Did some promo for HEX BREAKER and booked a few slots. Worked with students. Worked on HEART SNATCHER revisions. Worked on the short stories.

Went over to Mother’s Park. Deadheaded and weeded. The beds were in good shape. Cleaned up a lot of broken vodka bottles –someone had a party there and left a mess. Pigs. Wait, no, that’s insulting to pigs, who are perfectly lovely. When we first moved to this house, some people around the corner would drive by and throw empty beer cans and cigarette packs on our lawn. I waited one day, caught them mid-air, tossed them back in the effing jerks’ faces and told them, very calmly that, next time, I’d break their fingers. It did not happen again. You do not mess with someone who lived on the Deuce.

Planted the black-eyed Susans in the front yard, and did some other work on the yard at home. I have to mow the meadow this week.

Got some errands to run,and then I want to put in a good day’s work, because tomorrow is a holiday, and I”m going to enjoy it. Decided not to do the press jaunt in Newport on Thursday. They take us by boat to NY — but don’t give us a way back. Um, no, thanks.

I’ve gorged myself on Susan Wittig Albert’s lovely book, AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS. I write about it in-depth here.

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Mon. July 2, 2012: Starting July at a Quick Pace

Monday, July 2, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy weekend. Spent most of Friday editing the PSA. I think we did very well with the limited time and resources we had, but I’m also thinking ahead to how we can do something a little slicker next year. Anyway, it was out on time, so hopefully WBZ will start running it between now and the ball in August.

Worked with students, put together the anthology agreement and the editing schedule for the book — the pieces in it are really good, and we’ll have something tangible of which we can all be proud.

Worked in the garden — the front and the terraced back areas are mowed. I’ll have to tackle the meadow this week. I’ll have more to say about the garden on Gratitude and Growth on Wednesday!

Finished the materials for Confidential Job #1, now I have to write it up. Started the ghostwriting project, worked on my articles, got out some interview requests for upcoming articles.

This week, I’ve got articles to write, the ghostwriting project to work on, and it’s my week to take care of Mother’s Park, up the street. I’m going this morning, and, probably, back on Friday. I’ve been invited to participate in a parade and go out on a boat for a press jaunt — I’ll have to see if I can make all the scheduling work out. The July newsletter has to go out either today or tomorrow, because there’s a gosh-darned lot going on in July, and I’ve got a couple of non-fiction ebooks to work on, and the proposal for the “Topic Workbooks”.

Edits on HEART SNATCHER are coming along. I came up with a new idea for one of the characters that I think will make a huge difference. I’m cutting a lot in this draft, but there’s always the possibility I’ll have to expand, if I go back into the direction of a larger socio-political canvas than just a typical paranormal procedural. After all, the tagline for the series is, “Who defines justice?”

Working on two short stories — the Billy Root-centric piece that has to be ready for the July 13 roast-n-toast (don’t worry, you’re all invited — check out what he’s got to say here), and a short story due on Friday. The latter, which has to be a stretch in a genre I haven’t yet worked in this year, is kind of like herding cats. I’ve worked on several ideas, but they either are too much story for the parameters, or they turn into something mystery or paranormal, along the lines of what I’ve been working in. After those two, I need to take another look at “The Possession of Nattie Fillmore” to get it up and out again, and write a paranormal short story under the Annabel Aidan name. While keeping up with the novel deadlines, and the freelance work. Juggling cats, that’s what it is!

Mahoney’s had a sale — got a cilantro plant, some more geraniums, and a black-eyed Susan I’m putting in the front. I’ve got to get some pages done now, and then go over to Mother’s Park, before I get started on the rest of my freelance day.

The weather’s beautiful, and I’m enjoying re-reading Susan Wittig Albert’s magnificent AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS. What a beautiful book!

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Fri. June 29, 2012: The Kind of Work I Love


These roses planted themselves

Friday, June 29, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s been a long time since I drank tequila. More on that later.

Busy day yesterday, but tons of fun. Between prepping production for the PSA and IM’ing to live follow the Supreme Court Decision with the people with whom I’d worked so hard to get a decent version of health care passed, I had my hands full, once I got back from yoga.

Yoga was great– it kicked my ass. I came in with nothing in the tank and was wiped out when I left, but it really upped my energy for the rest of the day.

I was thrilled and delighted by the Supreme Court Decision. Surprised — I fully expected it to go the other way — and felt like all that work I did with my elected senators and representatives and their staffs hadn’t been thrown out just because the other side could afford to pay for more lies. It’s good to know that the highest court in the land doesn’t think I don’t deserve access to health care simply because I’m not rich, which is the right’s position on it. Even though I don’t agree with the mandate, there are many, many elements of the health care law that are important, especially for women. The provisions that insurance companies can’t charge women more than men simply because they’re women, and that they can’t turn away someone for a pre-existing condition are important. And, let me remind you, if the Republicans hadn’t forced those 168 stupid amendments, the insurance companies wouldn’t have been able to raise premiums the way they have. That was NOT part of the original legislation — that was ADDED by the GOP politicians owned by the insurance companies. If you don’t believe me, go to the government website, read the original legislation, and the read the GOP-forced amendments. There’s a lot more to be done until health care is fair for all. Erin Gloria Ryan has an hilarious and frighteningly on-the-mark response to what this decision means for women here.

But the happy dance had to pause, because I had a video shoot to deal with! Loaded up the car, got there on time. It took awhile to get set up, and there was a lot of noise all around on the early takes (because it’s not like we were shooting in a studio and had control of the environment). And we changed the background a few times, and tried takes with different wardrobe choices, and I was glad I brought some clip lights, because I needed to add some fill in to offset the overhead florescent. Obviously, it’s not studio production quality, but it’s something that’s simple and clean and clear and usable for what we need. It was fun for a day, and I realized that I miss some elements of the work — but if I had to do it every day again, it would quickly get old.

After the shoot, we had a good meeting, and then a couple of us went over to Captain Al’s, on the water to just go hang out. It was a ton of fun. I had a couple of margaritas — first time in a long time I had tequila. Fortunately, I’d brought dinner along to the shoot and the meeting (I made an Asian-style chicken salad), so we’d eaten before we went! It was nice to just hang out.

Today, I’ve got to edit the PSA and send it off. I’ve got to work on a couple of articles and get out some interview requests. It looks like another article assignment from a “slick” (print magazine on glossy paper) may have landed in my lap — I have to find out the deadline and word count. I start the ghostwriting gig — the check arrived and they emailed me the materials I need to get started. I have to turn around an assignment for Confidential Job #1. I’ve been invited to a press jaunt in Newport next week — if I can arrange it, I’d like to go. That’s very iffy at this point.

Edits, then errands — and I’m going to try to mow a bit before the rain starts.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Thurs. June 28, 2012: Challenging Day


Tessa and Violet enjoy the sun

Thursday, June 28, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Glad I got in two solid writing sessions in the morning, because the rest of the day was a challenge.

I got the front mowed yesterday, working on articles and sources, worked with students. Got yelled at by someone who asked me for a quote to write press releases — they wanted to pay me 1/10 of the rate. And NOT pay, but have me distribute the releases using my own contact list rather than theirs. So, basically, I’m working for close to free, but they’re not a non-profit or with a mission I’m particularly passionate about, yet I’m supposed to be grateful? I don’t think so. And don’t yell at me if you’ve asked me what my rate is, because you don’t like it. Also, my contact list is not part of the deal. I write the releases — the company distributes them, or they pay me an hourly rate to use THEIR list. You could have said, “I pay this for releases” and I wouldn’t have pitched in the first place. My response was, “A, don’t speak to me like that, it’s completely inappropriate and B, don’t hire me if I don’t fit into your budget. I’m not working for 1/10th of my normal rate, especially when you behave like this.” Buh-bye.

Did a cover letter for another client, and will pick it up when I go over to do the video shoot this afternoon. At least THAT client was happy! Got an offer from a client for more work next year, but am not sure the terms are going to work. If we can come to an agreement on that, I’ll do it; otherwise — it can’t cost me to work. I have to be able to pay my bills and make a profit, even if it’s a small one. The fact that what I do is “creative” doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to be fairly compensated.

The check on the other project still isn’t here. According to the contract, the schedule starts when the deposit check clears. Therefore, I am not working on the project yet, nor am I going to scramble to finish it in a shorter amount of time because the check is late.

Off to yoga this morning, then have to pick up a few things, scramble to get some work done, and maybe more mowing (if the weather holds), and then it’s a video shoot. At least I get to hang out with friends tonight after my shoot and meeting. I could use the break! 😉

Already got an article out this morning.

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Colorado, in such fire danger.

Have a great day!

Devon

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

And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Tues. June 26, 2012: Weary


View from Fort Hill

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday wasn’t as productive as I would have liked. Everything took longer than I wanted, and I’m trying to get a jump on next week’s deadlines, because, with the holiday falling midweek, there’s no way I can talk with sources for the next articles. All the requests for quotes went out, and I’m finishing up this week’s article. So I’ve got to do it all this week. And the check that was promised two weeks ago for the other project, of course, still isn’t here, so I’m not starting it.

Working on the revisions, working on a couple of short stories, working on some short scripts for a client, and a couple of press releases. Trying to get some press out for the upcoming workshops. Updated the workshop page here on the blog, and, provided I can get into the page on my website, will update that, too. Worked on a short ebook that needs to be ready to go later this week. Feeling a bit discouraged.

Worked with students — happy to see the progress they’re making. Everyone is very tired — hey, we’ve been writing for 41 weeks. But the sooner they learn that it’s not just about writing for two weeks here and there, or a month, the more likely they are to succeed. Some of them are in very good shape to tackle a real career at this.

Had a good morning’s writing session on the deck. Tessa just loves our mornings outside. We took a walk around the garden (I was carrying her), and discovered that the lavender I planted last year is blooming. The Stella D’oro lilies are in full bloom,and the Tiger lilies are starting.

A lot on my plate today, including a meeting tonight. When I get home, I’ll watch an encore of NEWSROOM and remind myself why I’m in this business again.

Devon

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

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

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

Lots of catching up to do!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the page. And the lawn mower.

Devon

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