Thurs. Dec. 27, 2018: Hypocrisy & Artistry

Thursday, December 27, 2018
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Second Day of Christmas

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Solstice was a little more drama-ridden than I would have liked, and I was under more stress than I wanted, but it all worked out.

Nice ceremony, starting at dusk, when the house went into full dark. Then, the fire lit first, then the candles in each room, then the tree and all the lights I have around the windows, then the outside lights, then the ritual, followed by a nice meal.

The Narcissistic Sociopath shut down the government, screwing 800,000 federal workers right before Christmas. Typical. He’s such a vile and disgusting pretension of a human being, and those around him, like Ryan and McConnell, who enable him, are even worse.

Saturday was the full moon. Again, more drama than I would have liked (and less writing). More cookie platter deliveries, a few errands and things I had to get done.

Trader Joe’s was a zoo. People screaming into their cell phones and acting like it was the bumper car ride at an amusement park. I met a lovely elderly man there, clutching his list, his cane, and his cart. I walked through the aisles with him, more to keep him from getting knocked over than anything else. His wife was sick, and the family coming in, so he decided to take over cooking the dinner. He was a WWII pilot in the RAF; he guessed he could figure out how to cook a turkey.

What a contrast to that awful man at the library, a week or so ago, whining that his wife was recovering from surgery, couldn’t do anything, so his meals weren’t on time and the house was dirty? When challenged he should step up and help he said, “That’s not why I got married.”

I will use the lovely ex-RAF man in a book as a positive character, and kill off a character based on the nasty man.

Worked ahead on Sunday on a bunch of articles and posts I’ll need in the new year. Didn’t get enough work done on any fiction. But even writing non-fiction helped a lot. Steady writing helps me keep my equilibrium.

Started a proposal for one of the plays that will have to go out the first or second week of January.

I’m under enormous deadline pressure for the next few months, so I have to step it up. The emotional exhaustion of the past couple of months has led to physical exhaustion. I’m sleeping, but I’m not getting any rest.

I also had a chance to sit with a stack of books on Degas and Sargant, and figure out which painting I want to use as a clue in DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’ve got it — it’s a lovely painting of a dancer in an aqua-colored costume. That will be perfect for the Scavenger Hunt clue.

Woke up to a bit of snow on Monday, not quite a white Christmas Eve, but still pretty. Read and wrapped packages and wasted time on silly things and spent time with the guests.

Dinner was the traditional pork roast, with mashed potatoes, green beans with hollandaise sauce, and red cabbage. It was very good. We had home-made stollen for dessert.

Quiet evening, talking, burning down the advent candles and the bayberry candle. Sent some good wishes to friends and cyberfriends.

The hypocrisy of the so-called “Christians” is in even starker contrast this year than in previous ones. Going to church, talking about God and love, and then supporting the policies of this administration, the racism, the sexism. It’s sickening. I’m at the point where, when someone starts the whole “Jesus” tirade, I ask them what they’re doing about the wall, about the children in cages, about homeless veterans and homelessness in general? When they start to sputter, I say, “Live your path and then come tell me what you’ve accomplished. Not doing anything? STFU and get out of my face.” I’m done with these hypocrites.

Up late with the candles, then filled the stockings. Up early the next morning (the cats won’t have it any other way).

We opened the stockings, then I made our traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs served with thick slices of panettone. Then I stuffed the turkey and got it into the oven.

Then, we did presents. We usually do them on the Eve, but this year, we did them on the day.

Settled down to read, while the dinner cooked. Turkey with all the trimmings. It was delicious. Read, talked, listened to music for the rest of the day.

I read two theatre-oriented books: UNMASKED, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s memoir, and SOMETHING WONDERFUL, about the Rodgers and Hammerstein partnership. Both books talk a lot about process, which I loved. It got me thinking in terms of structure and possibilities for the three plays I’ll write this coming year: the anti-gun violence play, the play set in Renaissance Venice, and the play with the two women authors central to it.

I need to figure out where to submit the other plays I’ve got. I haven’t been active enough about submissions in 2018. That changes in 2019. I need to get back to the Thirteen-in-Play, where there are always at least thirteen pieces out on submission or pitched. Separate from the client work pitches.

Someone told me about a production company that’s looking for new film scripts, but I don’t think what I do is in alignment with what they want. The two film scripts I have that are ready to go are very different: an action/adventure and a drama. I’ll do some more research on them, but why send them something they’re not looking for? Unless they’re on the hunt for good writers? But if I don’t like writing what they like producing, it’s a waste of both our time.

I’d like my client work in 2019 to have more script work for clients involved. I have to research companies that specialize in that kind of work and pitch to them, rather than to the corporations/small businesses directly. All I want to do is write the scripts for them, not produce the segment or any of the other production work that goes with it.

I spent most of yesterday onsite with a client. I’ll be with that same client today. Tomorrow morning, I have to take the car in over the bridge to Plymouth — in bad weather, and I’m worried the repair will cost more than I can afford. If it’s simpler than I fear, I’ll spend some time with my client. If not, I’ll do what needs to be done.

2018 was definitely better than 2017, but 2019 needs to put them both in the shade.

 

Published in: on December 27, 2018 at 6:13 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 27, 2018: Hypocrisy & Artistry  
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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.

 

Tues. April 18, 2017: Creative Well Refilled & Overflowing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Direct
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I gave myself the weekend off, a long weekend off, starting on Friday. I read, puttered, refilled the creative well.

It must have been a good choice, because yesterday, I wrote 13 pages on the screenplay, wrote the first third of a new, short radio play, and did most of the revision on a one act play that needs to go out this week.

I got through a big stack of research books (which have to go back to the library today), and did some work on the outline of the other new script. I’m still doing research on it. I’ve got about the first third outlined.

I tracked down and reconnected with an old friend from my off-Broadway days; looking forward to catching up with him.

Saturday was a big day of trauma, for the cats, anyway. I haven’t been able to land an appointment with the regular vet, and it’s time for the girls to get their rabies shots. The Rabies Clinic was in Sandwich, so I stuffed them in their carriers (an ordeal in itself) and off we went. Iris yowled non-stop, as usual. Tessa had fought so violently, I wasn’t sure what would happen when they tried to give her the shot.

But they were both very good. We were in and out in no time, shots updated, paperwork complete, back home.

Tessa was SO relieved. I realized she thought she was being dumped, poor thing. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to reassure her that wouldn’t happen, and she stuck close. Once a rescue, always some issues.

Iris had forgotten everything within fifteen minutes, of course, the little princess.

I HAVE to get some yard work done today. The neighbors have been puttering around, and I’ve been neglectful. I just have to stick to the schedule of doing even just a little bit on every reasonably nice day, and, eventually, it will all add up. I just don’t have the stamina to put in eight or ten hours at a time, nor do I want to give up that much writing time.

I didn’t work on any contest entries over the weekend — I wanted to read only what I WANTED to read — so I have to get back on it today. I want to get the contest wrapped up sooner, rather than later. There’s a much larger gap between the strong contenders and the rest of the pack this year. It’s been interesting to see how the entries evolve. Some writers, who enter on consecutive years, have grown beautifully. Others spin in their same mire, no improvement, no attempt at learning craft.

I’m just past the half way point on the script. Looking forward to digging back into it. The short radio script is trying to go in a different direction — looks like the antagonist is not who I expected, which, if I can surprise the audience in the same way, is a good thing. And I’m so relieved the one act is salvageable.

I’d written it and it got into a local reading series a few years ago, a place that was supposedly “safe space” for development. I wanted to take advantage of it. Of course, the other entrants were polished, sometimes produced scripts, honed over years, not early drafts, like mine was. That was fine; we all learned from each other (there were plenty of so-called “polished” drafts that needed a lot more work). What disillusioned me about that particular environment was that there was a REVIEWER there, and REVIEWS were printed in the newspaper. You don’t REVIEW works in development. That completely negates the point of having the development atmosphere safe space in which to experiment. I wasn’t attacked in the review or anything, but it pointed out that the script needed work, without giving any useful feedback. I already KNEW the script needed work; that’s why I was there in the first place.

When I set out my response to the organizer of the event, and my sense that the “safe space” we’d been promised had been violated — she never spoke to me again. Not even to explain why she invited a reviewer. I understand why she wanted publicity; but we should have been warned. Not blindsided. And, when unhappiness with the choice was brought up, an actual discussion (even if the result wasn’t what I wanted) was the correct response. So much for professionalism.

Anyway, the experience left a sour taste in my mouth about the play. I put it away and never looked at it again until this weekend. I’d planned to junk it. But, with the objectivity and with what I’ve learned in the last few years about craft, I can see flaws, and, more importantly, I see ways to FIX them. Ways to make it better. It still might (will) need more work, especially once actors are involved, but I think I can fix the things that made it veer off course originally and the last third turn into a giant mess. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see if it works. This draft might not work, either.

If it remains a mess, I won’t submit it. If I think there’s something worth working on, I will. If it’s used in the series (at a different theatre) and put on its feet, it gives me a chance to see what additional work it needs, or if I should put it on the compost heap permanently.

I’m going to write to another college friend (with whom I reconnected last summer) and see if he can help me untangle the problems I’m having with the Lavinia Fontana play. He’s always been good at figuring out where I’m focusing on the wrong thing, and get me pointed back in the right direction. I STILL haven’t found the dramatic catalyst yet, and pretty soon Research Time for this play is over and Writing Time has to start. I’m also going to contact curators at the Met in New York (my go-to for art questions, and see if they can point me in the right direction).

Need to get out a query to a company in Paris, and get another script off to Ireland, all in the next few weeks.

Busy. The RIGHT kind of busy.

April’s mid-month check-in is over on the GDR site. WordPress is refusing to add the link, which is irritating. It’s the midmonth post on http://goalsdreamsresolutions.wordpress.com (you can cut & paste the link, sorry for the inconvenience). I should have had a poetry essay ready for A Biblio Paradise, but I don’t. I wanted to do something on Shakespeare’s sonnets and got all caught up (as I always do), following this thread and that thread and the other thread, that the actual essay didn’t get done. The Adrienne Rich essay is still the latest one.

Have some issues to discuss with my senators and reps today. I have an idea for a couple of bills I’d like them to propose. Which means I have to write coherent proposals for them to propose. Never a dull moment.

Now — my day’s quota on the screenplay, and then out in the yard.

Published in: on April 18, 2017 at 10:28 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 18, 2017: Creative Well Refilled & Overflowing  
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Thurs. July 21, 2016: So Much To Do!

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Who knew being unemployed/partially employed could be so busy?

Hey, anyone who does 8 shows/week.

The confidentiality agreement prevents me from talking about the theatre job, but all is good, and it’s only until September 3 anyway.

The writing is going well – I had some additional changes to make on the book, and my new agent is sending it out.

I’m deep at work on scripts, and, especially, INITIATE, which burns my soul lately. I love these characters so much, I can’t stand to be separated from them.

Three new stories/sets of characters are burning within, too. I hope they are for novellas, not novels, or I’m in trouble!

And, of course, dealing with the intricacies of trying to get the unemployment benefits I earned, but they don’t want to pay. Because, hey, all they want to do is have people jump through hoops and take jobs in anything to get them off the rolls, not actually help people find jobs to better their lives.

I resigned from the Board of the National Marine Life Center, which broke my heart, but was necessary. I can’t give them what they need right now, not without sending myself over the edge. They asked me to move to the Advisory Board, and I’ve agreed to that.

We went to the Glasgow Lowlands Scottish Festival in central MA last Saturday. It was so much fun! Everyone was delightful, and we had a wonderful time, in spite of the heat. I was able to help a young man with his kilt emergency, thanks to still carrying safety pins. Of course, help one guy with his kilt, and suddenly they all want a hand!  But it was all in good fun. Caber toss always cracks me up. I got some great ideas I can incorporate to stories, though. It was a delightful day.

It was hard to get back over the bridge, but we managed.

I get to see an old friend today – we were tight in NY, and I haven’t seen her for at least 10 years She’s down for a few days doing a reading, and I can’t wait to see her.

If I don’t get back on wordpress tomorrow, have a great weekend! I am, of course, in shows.

Devon

Published in: on July 21, 2016 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 21, 2016: So Much To Do!  
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Fri. Jan. 8, 2016: Revising the Writing Schedule and Goals

Friday, January 8, 2016
Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Meeting in Hyannis yesterday morning. It was fine; at least I didn’t want to jab my eye with a fork, like I do at some of these meetings.

Back to work, tried to catch up. Computer isn’t working properly, so that makes it more difficult.

I got some sad news: Amber Quill, with whom I have half a dozen titles, is shutting its doors on March 30. LAKE JUSTICE, SEVERANCE, ELUSIVE PRAYERS, and TRACKING MEDUSA will cease to be available from them at that time. I wish I’d found out directly from THEM instead of through a second party, but, other than that, I’ve always been treated well by them. I loved my editor; they paid on time; they gave me good covers. They believed in their authors. I will miss being a part of the company.

So what does that mean for my writing?

Several different things.

I’m meeting with my advisors to decide what to do. There are still two months until the doors close, two months until rights revert back. Once rights revert back, unless I’m going the indie route, it doesn’t make sense to just shoot the titles straight out again. While it makes me nervous to have anything go out of print, at the same time, I need time to launch a re-release properly, wherever and however I decide to do it. I expect they will be out of print until at least September. If I go independent, I’m going to have to marshal massive marketing resources to make it worthwhile. Right now, that much marketing emphasis isn’t going to fit my schedule. I’m not convinced the independent route is the right choice for me. I prefer to work in a more traditional model right now.

I do realize that, when I’m ready to launch the series that started life as THE POWER OF WORDS (which now has multiple titles as it breaks down into multiple books), it is most likely I have to use the independent model, because it would be exceedingly difficult for a traditional publisher to put it out in the usual channels. It’s a strange monster – one I love, but one that would require the type of Gentleman (or Bluestocking) Publisher to take it on, a type of publisher who no longer exists.

I was in the throes of planning a big marketing campaign for everything over the next few months, which now will not include the titles that won’t be available, for obvious reasons.

I also had three books scheduled to go to Amber Quill this year, all Gwen Finnegan books: BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, SANDOVAL SECRET, and SHAKESPEARE’S BACON. It was a pressurized schedule, but I wanted to make sure I finished the Gwen Finnegan cycle quickly for them, with an eye to moving in some new directions, as inspired by last August’s conference, where Claire Cook gave me the push I needed to give what’s now TIE-CUTTER a shot, and Carole Bugge encouraged me to continue work on SONGBOUND SISTERS.

With those three books off the schedule, at least for the moment (which means I’ll work on them in and around other projects, without the pressure) it moves up SONGBIRD SISTERS and the aviation mystery set in the late 1940s that I’ve been playing with for a few years.

I do love Gwen and Justin, and I want to see their stories to completion, but a break may not be a bad thing. As I kept saying last year, struggling with BALTHAZAAR, I can do it fast or I can do it well. Both aren’t happening in tandem right now.

HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the Jain Lazarus books, are still with Solstice, and I’m not sure what’s next with them; we’re in a bit of a holding pattern.

I have several play scripts and radio scripts on the slate for the year, and some film and television scripts on which I worked last year, which go out on submission this year.

The focus will be more on writing, polishing, and submitting this year, building on the previous writing, but taking me in new directions that I’ve been interested in for the past few months. That’s a positive. It moves up the timeline for me, but it’s a positive. It takes a lot of the “write as fast as possible” pressure off me – something that’s bogged me down over the past couple of years and actually interfered with my productivity, instead of increasing it.

As saddened as I am by the news, I think it’s the push I need right now. My gut tells me this is a positive in the long run.

I’ll have a long day at work today, but, since I’m feeling run down, I pulled out of my commitments for this weekend. I have some work to do for Monday’s NMLC Board meeting, and I’m going to write. I want to finish the first draft of the short radio play that goes out at the end of the month, and I’ve been approached to adapt the historical play into a radio play. I’ll take a look at that to see if it makes sense. I use a good deal of sound in the play anyway, and I think if I make some changes to make it more aural than visual, it will work. I also need to get LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES into US radio format from BBC format, because I have a US market interested.

Plus, I want to stay on schedule with TIE-CUTTER and DEATH OF A CHOLERIC.

So I’ll have a solid writing weekend ahead of me.

This certainly didn’t happen the way I wanted it to, but I have a feeling that, in the long run, these changes will be positive.

I remain hugely grateful to Amber Quill for their support, belief in me, and everything they’ve done for me and for my writing over the years I spent with them. I wish all the partners well in their new ventures, and I hope we can all stay in touch and support each other’s work. Thank you, Amber Quill!

Have a great weekend, people.

Devon

Tues. June 10, 2014: Slow Recovery

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

So, even though I’ve done exactly what I said I would, and we have a so-called “mediator”, Comcast fucked me again. They can go to hell. It’s about time that the people who are supposed to be consumer advocates and who are supposed to keep these corporations in line with the law and regulations actually do their jobs, instead of being in Comcast’s pocket and sitting around with their thumbs up their asses.

Yesterday, I was really sick. I was up a good part of the night with a nasty stomach virus. I was so weak for the rest of the day that, most of the time, I couldn’t even sit up. I cancelled just about everything I could. There was one contract I had to go over to Osterville to sign. My mom had to drive me, because I was too sick to drive. I couldn’t eat at all — although I managed to hydrate. I had to cut short a Skype rehearsal with the actor overseas. Most of the time, I was lying down, either on the floor or in bed. I hope I don’t feel anywhere near that bad again anytime soon.

I’m a little better today — I can sit up. I ate a little. I’m catching up on the work I couldn’t do yesterday. I can’t be online much because Comcast fucked me, but that’s life.

I’m doing the polish for the scripts, and then I’ll head to the library to hook up to the internet and do what I need to do. I hope the rain ends soon, so that I can take the garbage to the dump. The bins are full, the recycling needs to go, and I have a lot of yard waste to add to the pile that becomes loam.

The “Elusive Prayers” edits landed on my desk yesterday, so I’ll have to get going on those, too.

This will be a busy week, but I just have to cut back wherever I can until I’m well enough to be 100%.

Devon

Published in: on June 10, 2014 at 11:02 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. April 8, 2014:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Worked on the short turnaround script yesterday, wrote two reviews, sent them to my editor, invoiced. Worked on client projects. Pitched for a couple of quick turnaround projects — since my schedule is changing, if these clients don’t book in the next couple of weeks, it’s not going to happen.

Got an absolutely ridiculous demand from a potential client — wanted me to line edit a 300 page novel in less than 24 hours, but he felt he shouldn’t have to pay for it because he’s “an undiscovered genius.” Go find yourself a disciple, pal, because I’m not doing it.

Had a question on the short turnaround script on a passing reference that didn’t quite make sense. Glad I asked, because the information was needed to set up a major plot point. So that will be integrated into the next set of revisions.

Headed to the Marine Life Center. Had to get the room re-set for rehearsal. We got the computer/Power point prop set up. I realized I have to edit down the slides from the real presentation to the five or six we need for the show.

Rehearsal went well, although we didn’t get in all the tech we’d hoped, and the person who was supposed to start as the SM flaked out, and is now on my list of those to never deal with again. It is not acceptable to string me along for a week, not communicate, and then flake out. I don’t what the excuse is. You are not someone I want to deal with. So I’m still looking for a stage manager. But the actors are doing really well! 😉

Looks like the good news will be ready to share by the end of the week. It means I have to pull out of a different gig that was supposed to start next Monday, too. I will go in person to withdraw — they were kind enough to take a chance on me.

Today will be flat out busy, and I’ll be working well into the night. I have to miss Volunteer Appreciation Day at the Marine Life Center in order to meet my deadlines.

I better get to work!

Devon

Published in: on April 8, 2014 at 7:39 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 8, 2014:  
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Fri. Nov. 22, 2013: Mourning and Writing

Friday, November 22, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cold and rainy
50th Anniversary of JFK’s Assassination

Yesterday was busy: worked with students, worked on the script, worked on pitches, worked on the paperwork for the script packages I’m preparing. Got some grocery shopping done — my job is to make dinner for the family the night BEFORE Turkey day — beef stroganoff this year.

The script took up most of the day. I’m into the final act now, and this one’s been humming along nicely. There is a character that wants to enter, but I want him to have more of a purpose than he’s currently demonstrating. I might let him in, with the caveat that if he becomes too much of a deus ex machina, he gets cut.

Today is the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. I was too little to remember it – -although I remember Robert Kennedy’s assassination clearly. Day of mourning.

But along with that, for me, a day of writing.

Devon

Published in: on November 22, 2013 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 22, 2013: Mourning and Writing  
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Thurs. Sept. 5, 2013: Need Breathing Room

Thursday, September 5, 2013
New Moon
Cloudy and cool

I had a good writing morning yesterday, getting another chapter of the book done, and I’ve gotten about halfway through (1800 or so words) of the third chapter this morning.

Someone else wants to know if I’ll write a script — when there’s money on the table and a contract, I’ll say yes and get to work. Not before.

Worked with students, fixed the non-fiction proposal, sent it to my agent.

Started the coursework for the creativity class, which was disappointing. It feels like it’s geared to eight year olds. Which is fine, but I’m not eight and I’m not trying to “find” my creativity. I want fresh challenges in it. Frustrating.

The Paleontology course, on the other hand, is a hoot. I’m having fun with it.

The course I need, desperately, the Neuro-ethics course, keeps getting bumped back.

I’m stressed out and trying to juggle a lot of things, while also riding a creative wave, and trying to find ways to replace the hole the contract I didn’t get left. I really need some breathing room, a couple of weeks where I don’t have to WORRY about anything and just keep my head down and work. That’s just not going to happen for the next few months.

Buck up, bunny, as my friend used to say, and deal.

Devon

Published in: on September 5, 2013 at 9:29 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 5, 2013: Need Breathing Room  
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Tues. July 23, 2013: Interviews & Plans

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Last Day of Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Humid and cloudy

Everyone’s all in a tizzy about the new royal baby born in the UK. I bet the mother is glad to be out of labor! All the fussing, for goodness’ sake!

Worked yesterday, with students and on pitches and with one of my editors and on admin stuff. We had a power outage for a stretch of afternoon, which threw a monkey wrench into the works. I did, however, get my final week’s coursework done for Archaeology and did well on the quiz. That class truly lit a flame of inspiration in me (not to mention how it gave me much needed information for the revisions of BLOOD AND BONE and the next Gwen/Justin books). A great deal of that is because the professor, Sue Alcock, is so inspiring. She loves what she does, she’s funny, smart, and knows how to communicate ideas in a way that makes you want to go out and discover more on your own. Truly a gifted teacher.

I was getting ready to settle back in for some work when I got a message from a local reporter, and spent the next hour being interviewed. It was fun; I liked the individual. It had to do with my work at the National Marine Life Center, so, hopefully, there’s more focus on Townsend than on me! Because it’s about the work, not about me.

I’m re-reading Helene Hanff’s UNDERFOOT IN SHOW BUSINESS, about how she tried to make it in theatre just after the depression. It’s given me an idea — I’ve got some of the characters and the situation and the time frame. I have to choose the form — do I see this as a script? As prose? I’m not sure yet.

I’m waiting to hear back on some script proposals, and I don’t want to take on anything else until I know if they’re accepted and will move forward, or if it’s a pass, and I go on to other things.

I’ve got work to do today for the upcoming conference, the ball, and tonight’s Beautification meeting. Big projects for all three organizations happen the first weeks of August. It’s a little overwhelming, and I have to make sure I don’t put myself in this situation again next year.

I need to polish some script coverage samples today and get them out, too. I want to do more of that type of work — I enjoy it. One of my editors sent off the materials for my next assignment yesterday — it should arrive tomorrow, and I can get going on it.

Back to work!

Devon

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Violet supervises sorting and packing

Saturday, September 18, 2010
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Tired. I’ve got a bunch of paperwork to fill out, get notarized, and file today, and may have to head into the city first thing on Monday to take care of some other business. It will all be worth it by the end of the year. Not happy at the latest twist, I’m risking a chunk of my future by doing something that needs to be done in order to make the move happen on time, but it feels like the right thing to do and I’m going to trust it will work out. I can’t hesitate or things will go off schedule.

Colin, why would you think I’d support a bunch of moronic, lying, ignorant, treasonous nut jobs wearing foil hats?

On a happier note, an agent asked for a full manuscript on one of my projects, so that’s a good thing. We’ll see. I got it out as soon as it was requested, got a lovely acknowledgement, so it is what it is. Either it’s what they like, or it’s not. I have too many things to worry about to obsess over it.

Got some stuff done yesterday morning, and treated myself to a chocolate croissant from the French bakery. Spent the afternoon at my friend’s, doing the laundry and talking through this, that, and the other scenario for the move.

Finished the material for Confidential Job #1, sent if off, sent off the invoice. That always feels good.

A producer I worked with has started a company doing old-time radio shows. So I’ve got to pull something together in order to make a pitch.

I’ve also got to work on some short scripts this weekend, and polish the lectures for next week’s deconstruction workshop. i need to get in some more cat food and cat litter, to see the little darlings through when I’m gone next week, and finish packing. Yeah, I don’t leave until Thursday, but I pack early. This time last year, I was in Prague!

I’m going to go by storage and pick up some of the empty boxes I saved from the sorting I did earlier this year. My friend never dropped off the other boxes, and I don’t want to get behind.

Great writing session this morning — about 1800 words. I’m glad that I’m sticking to the morning sessions, even on the tough days. Even on days when I wind up only doing little bits, it’s slowly adding up to a whole, and I’m not losing the rhythm of the piece by putting it aside and working piecemeal.

Lots to do this weekend — I better get to it.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (first draft, longhand): 53,250 words out of est 100,00 (53.25%)

Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 7:57 am  Comments (3)  
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