Thurs. May 26, 2016: Genre Dilemmas

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy few days. I worked on Saturday, and there was a tag sale next door, so it was busy.

Front lawn is mowed; side lawn is mowed. I still have to mow the terraced back area and the meadow. The meadow, in particular, needs help. The grass is getting knee-high!

Sunday, I went to see a show a friend directed and choreographed. Her work was good. Unfortunately, the cast was tired; the tempos were slow, and, vocally, they were all over the place.

Over the past few writing days, I updated the Devon Ellington site, to add “Severance” to it. It’s available in the Premium catalog at Smashwords, which means it is also on Kobo, Nook, and will be on Amazon. There’s press going out for the release next week.

I also have a “Media Room” on the Devon Ellington site. The media kit for “Severance” is up, and so are the kits for the Jain Lazarus Adventures. I’ll work at keeping interview links and review links updated. There’s also some press for the “Severance” re-released going out this week.

The cover for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” is done and I like it a lot. The photo shoot for the cover of “Plot Bunnies” had to be postponed. I hope to get that done in the next few days, and then that will be ready to go. I have the galleys for “Plot Bunnies” — it needs a solid proofing, and then it’ll be ready to release in early June. “Personal Revolution” will release just before the 4th of July weekend, since that’s when it’s set. I’m waiting for the next round of edits/galleys on that.

I’ve done two more rounds of revisions for the short story “Won if By Sea”, and that will go out later this week. The characters are not particularly likeable, but they’re smart. Either it’s what this anthology wants, or it’s not, and then it will go off somewhere else.

I had an agent request a whole manuscript after liking the partial she requested, she read the entire manuscript in a couple of days and liked it; fingers crossed.

“Broken Links” is in rehearsal in Virginia, and will broadcast in early June. I’m looking forward to burning a CD and having a listening party in late June or early July.

On Tuesday, I finished the second draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I enriched the setting, characters, and scenes quite a bit. The elation at finishing was dampened when I realized I’m way over the word count. A mystery like this cannot come in at 111K. It’s not appropriate for the genre. I’m going to have to cut a minimum of 20K, possibly more. There’s at least one subplot I’m going to cut out completely, and I’m going to have to make some other adjustments. I’m going to save that subplot and use it later in the series.

If I cut and shape to fit the traditional cozy mold, in the following books, I will have to force the characters into whitewashing their actions in a way that is untrue to where I see the series headed. That’s besides at least needing to cut 30K instead of 20K. My other choice is to go darker, more along the lines of Philip Craig’s mysteries set on Martha’s Vineyard or Jane Haddam’s mysteries set in Concord. I’d still have to cut quite a bit, but I could go deeper, darker, and keep my characters true to themselves. The books would still have an amateur sleuth, but they wouldn’t be cozy. I like to read those, but the market is narrowing to be either cozy or procedural. It’s a dilemma.

I made a few pages of notes, and I’m making notes where I see the next books going, especially in terms of the relationships between the characters. One of the secondary characters surprised me by pushing himself forward, and he’s important to the growth of my protagonist, so I’m going to go with it. Again, this means the book can’t fit into “cozy”, nor can it fit into “romance”, because my protagonist is not going to have a one-and-only identified in the first book and that’s that. She’s coming out of a hugely traumatic event in her life, and has to reawaken to her life slowly.

It’s a lot to think about; I’m making notes, but I’ve also put the draft away for a couple of weeks, so I can go back to it with more objectivity. Much of what I need to cut will get written up into the Series Bible — the background of various residents and the island. I fought making a map of the island, but I think I need to do so, just for my own use. I can add to it as the series grows.

Tuesday night, thinking about it all, I was horribly blue; but the more I think about the possibilities, the more optimistic I get that I can shape something that tells the story I want to tell without forcing itself into a formula that negates the story. Whether anyone will want to take a chance on it is something else, but at least I’ll have written the book I want to read (and am having trouble finding).

Wednesday, we had a staff development day out in Plymouth. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and lots of fun. I got sunburned, though.

Lots to do today, and we’re short-staffed. Tomorrow will be a long day, too, and then the weekend. I’ve got to finish the mowing, and I also need to dig into the play set in 17th century Italy, and get back on track with SONGBOUND SISTERS.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Devon

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Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a busy day. Lots to do, and I had a migraine by the end of it.

On the upside: “Severance”, the sci-fi/horror/western short, has re-released through Smashwords. You can buy it for 99 cents here. It’s been accepted as a “Premium” listing, which means it ships out to other retailers like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, et al.

I also got back the galleys for “Plot Bunnies”, which is the next to release (although we’re still working on the cover), and the cover for “Personal Revolution”, which will release just before the Fourth of July weekend, since that’s when it’s set.

“Broken Links” is in rehearsal in Virginia. I’m looking forward to hearing it when it broadcasts in June.

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT will be renamed PLAYING THE ANGLES. I need to do another pass on that, and then it goes out on submission again – there have been a few indications of interest, and I look forward to the possibility of its re-release.

I’m also in talks about reviving Nina Bell – in other words, rewriting TAPESTRY, although keeping it set in the 1990s, and having the series progress through the turn into the 21st century. Most likely, those books would go out via Smashwords. It breaks too many genre rules for it to make good business sense for a traditional publisher.

I’m looking forward to digging back in to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC this weekend. I’m hoping I can finish this round of revisions within a week. Then I can get going on the submission materials while it marinates – the logline, the one paragraph blurb, the query letter template, the beginning of the outline and synopsis. Those will change, and, obviously, I can’t finalize those materials or my first 3 chapter, first 10 pages, et al files until I have a submission-ready draft.

I admit, it’s hard not to get caught up in starting to query while I’m prepping what I consider is the “submission-ready draft”, but the Universe just likes to bite you in the butt when you try that. If you are sending out queries, the manuscript has to be ready to submit. When you get a “yes, I’d like to see it”, you send it within 48 hours. You don’t tell an agent or an editor that you need X more months to finish. Until you’re established and on contract cycles, you need a polished draft ready before you start querying.

“Just a Drop” also needs serious attention. And I have to find my notes for SONGBOUND SISTERS to get back on track for that. HEART SNATCHER and INITIATE will just have to sneak in when there’s room.

I’m going to have to mow the lawn when I get home. I stopped at Auberchon’s for some more starter fluid from the mower, and they tried to sell me fluid for a grill. I told them no, it’s for the mower. They argued. I pointed out that grill fluid on the lawn mower would make it blow up, and just because I’m female doesn’t mean I’m an idiot when it comes to machines. Geez, Louise.

Looking forward to getting some mowing done so I can settle on the deck with a glass of wine and a manuscript. Looking forward to a writing weekend.

Oh, and I got an idea overnight for a short story, and got going on that this morning.  I was asked to submit to an anthology — but it has to be this coming week.  I’m having fun playing with these characters in this situation, but I need to research sailboats.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on May 21, 2016 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Sat. May 21, 2106: Release, Revision, Writing. Repeat.  
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Thurs. April 21, 2016: Shakespeare Joy

Thursday, April 21, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday wound up being a fun day. Got a lot done at work, including processing books, videos, and magazines, and then the amazing Neil McGarry performed a “Tribute To Shakespeare” that he created specifically for this event. It was beautiful and powerful and personal. It reminded me, yet again, why I love Shakespeare so much, and that I could work on Shakespeare for the rest of my life.

I also met some terrific people who attended the event, and we had a great conversation about creative projects.

Last night also gave me fuel for a piece I’ve been playing with, set against the background of the Scottish play.

Once home, I worked on the new version of “Severance”, the first of the shorts to be re-released, hopefully in mid-May. I tightened the text a bit. The voice is unique, and I didn’t want to make it too much like the voices of other first person characters, so I had to be careful.

I do like the piece. I’d always thought it was a one-off, but if it gets enough response, I might write another piece with Eidolinn and Riker.

I think “Plot Bunnies” will be the next one to re-release, in June.

Managed to get the major script material in for the Big Deal Deadline. I won’t hear anything about it until early August, but at least it’s out. It’s either what they want, or it’s not.

Didn’t have a chance to do any yard work this morning, but I did manage some work on Non-fiction #1.

I have a lot on my agenda today, but hopefully, I’ll get a chance to get most of it done. Then, more writing tonight. I don’t particularly like to write at night, but if that’s when it needs to be done, then that’s when it needs to be done.

At least the weather is lovely – I see more yard work and replanting in the future!

Published in: on April 21, 2016 at 8:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 21, 2016: Shakespeare Joy  
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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

Wed. June 25, 2014: Deadline Pressure & Focus

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Day Before Dark Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day yesterday. Worked flat out, focusing on the revisions for the Big Script Project, and the galleys of “Severance”. Nipped over to Wheldon Library in the late morning to come up for air for a few minutes, connect to the internet, sort out a few things, and send off the finished products.

Then, it was back home and more writing. Also wrote about 750 words in longhand on something I hope is a novella, but I suspect may be longer. AND I figured out how I can tie one of the new ideas I outlined over the weekend to the world in which “Severance” is set.

Also discovered three new possible publishers for the Sophie Batchelder mystery series. I think I’ll re-read the first book and the proposal over the weekend, see if it needs any more tweaks, and then send it out next week, when Mercury goes direct.

I am so ready for Mercury to go direct!

Reading Rachel Aaron’s Eli Monpress series, which I thoroughly enjoy. The first book reminded me, in tone, of Robert Asparin’s first few M.Y.T.H. books, which I loved, and the second book went deeper in a good way. Looking forward to the third.

Working on the materials I’m taking to the Author Palooza event this weekend. I’ve got the copies of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, HEX BREAKER, and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. Fingers crossed the print copies of TRACKING MEDUSA are arrive on time, but hey, it’s Mercury Retrograde, so I’m not counting on anything.

Busy day today at the library — training session, getting as much work as I can, and then meetings at 4 PM, 5 PM, 6 PM. I’m supposed to read at Cotuit Center of the Art’s Salon of Shorts tonight, too, but I wonder if I’ll have enough in the tank after three back-to-back meetings to do it. Then home, starting the food I’m bringing to tomorrow night’s party, and more revisions. And this, being the day before the Dark Moon, is my lowest energy day of the month. Tomorrow morning, when I get up, I have to finish prepping the devilled eggs while working on more revisions.

And here, I thought my schedule would slow down. Silly me!

But it’s all good busy, and I’m grateful.

Have a great day!

Devon

Tues. June 24, 2014: Offline to ReFuel

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’ve been offline for a few days, for a much-needed creative restoration.

Friday was busy — I had a full, but good day at the library, put in some book orders, etc. Came home and got some work done, but was tired.

Saturday, I was up early, wrote, and ran an errand on my way to the library — got some candles for the Solstice ceremony, and the woman who checked me out at RiteAid is a Reiki professional. Never know who you’re gonna meet, right?

Good day at the library — busy, but a nice, steady pace. I also sent off the final new episode on the Big Script Project, which means I’m buried in revisions all this week.

Came home, rested up a bit, prepared for the Solstice Ceremony. It was wonderful –first time I used oil lamps instead of quarter candles, and they worked very well. It was beautiful and powerful and wonderful.

Also re-read Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM — I’d love to do a live reading at the library next year for the Solstice, although I wonder if it would turn out to be a Magilla to organize.

Sunday, I stayed true to my Disconnect Policy — no internet, phone, etc. The only music was the music outside. I binge-read Ilona Andrews books, some of both the Kate Daniels novels and the Edge novels. FATE’S EDGE was my favorite. I outlined several pieces where the characters are gnawing at me. Hopefully, figuring stuff out will quiet them down until it’s their turn.

Monday, I really needed to be disconnected, too, so that’s what I did. As far as I knew, I had no commitments to meet that day, so I remained disconnected and worked. It’s hard to explain the work, because so much of it was internal. It was the quiet time, the figuring out time for writing. Some notes, but not actual scenes. It was internal, not external work, but so necessary in order to create. I went deep, deep down into the worlds of several projects and let the characters talk. If I had had any interruptions during that time, I would have lost the work — permanently.

I also got part of the meadow mowed and some plants repotted. Good to work the mind and the hands together.

When I resurfaced, in the evening, I found that a Mermaid Ball meeting had been scheduled. That was the first I’d heard about it — after the last one, which happened while I was so sick, no one ever let me know when the next one was. Even a year ago, I would have felt horribly guilty. I don’t. I needed to protect the work and work. If they needed me at the meeting, they should have let me know, right after the last one, when the next one was scheduled. If they want me there, it’s up to THEM to tell ME the schedule, not me to run around begging for information. If only the people at any given meeting are given the information, then that’s their choice, and it takes the pressure off of me. I’m already working three jobs under very tight deadlines. We sorted it out this morning, so no harm, no foul. Glad I didn’t waste my time in guilt!

The writing comes first. ALWAYS. Right now, I’m not only under tight deadlines for contracted work, with releases coming up and all the work that goes with that, but, after a period of creative fallowness, the creativity it kicking up again. And I will protect it and honor it at all costs. Because that is what writers do. It’s not about doing the work when it’s convenient — it’s about doing the work when it needs to get done.

And if those with whom I VOLUNTEER get annoyed that “my cute lil hobby” (because so few of them respect writing as WORK) inconveniences them, tough shit. This is my career, my work, my passion, and everything else works around the writing, not the other way around.

Speaking of the work — in addition to the outlining and working stuff out on upcoming work, the galleys for “Severance” are done, and I’m getting started on “Elusive Prayer” edits. I’ve got three revised episodes to send off this morning on the Big Script Project, will have two tomorrow, and have to have five by Thursday morning, then, with only the last five on Friday and Saturday. It’s a lot of work, but it needs to be done, and it will be good to get it done.

I’ve got a lot of other writing to get done in the coming weeks.

I checked out a Kindle from the library, and I’m getting familiar with it. I’m kind of liking it. I still love holding a book in my hands, and my eyes tire on the screen, but there are definite uses for Kindles. A place for all kinds of books and stories, right?

I’m still not 100% from the stomach virus, which is all kinds of annoying. At least I’ve confirmed it’s NOT a new allergy to crabmeat — had some over the weekend, and was fine. So I don’t know what triggered it, just wish I’d get back to 100% sooner rather than later. I’m in the third week of it now.

Hope everyone has a great week. I’ve got a busy one coming up, but let’s hope it’s another busy in the right way.

Oh, and I read a terrific book last night: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS by Ian Doescher. If you like Shakespeare or STAR WARS, you’ll enjoy it; if you like both, you’ll LOVE it.

Stepped out on the deck this morning, and it smells like autumn. Considering that we just passed Midsummer, that concerns me.

Devon

Wed. June 18, 2014: Ron MacLean, Josh Radnor, Writing, Reading

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Busy day yesterday. Wrote in the morning. Went to the library to check email, send email, send out my episode due, and go down the list of things that needed to get done online.

Came back. Baked banana mini-muffins and orange-cranberry mini-muffins. Wrote. Put together the dishes, the books, and all the rest I need for this morning’s program.

Sorted through some research books. Pulled what I need; will take the rest back.

Cooked dinner — slowly, slowly, I’m getting back on solid food again. I still feel awful most of the time, but at least I’m eating.

The NMLC press conference started to pay off — THE CAPE COD TIMES ran a nice article on the Marine Life Center, in both the print and online editions. Hopefully, that will get us some attention and some public support. With pictures of adorable Belmont, Barclay, and Rose, how could it not? They’re just precious. The three remaining Kemp’s Ridley turtles are also well enough to be released in Maryland this weekend.

I got my cover for ELUSIVE PRAYERS. It’s good, but it’s very different than I imagined, so I have to get used to it. Will do a cover reveal soon. I’m putting together a sell sheet for the event on the 28th, and in general.

Today, author Ron MacLean will be at the library, talking about his book HEADLONG. I loved the book — it’s a spectacular contemporary social justice thriller. If you get a chance to read it, do so.

In the meantime, I still need to write for at least an hour before I eat and haul my bags and bags of stuff to the library.

I have some ideas to market TRACKING MEDUSA — I need to get those sorted out, along with marketing for the digital shorts. The press release on the summer releases is here.

I have to get the galleys for “Severance” turned around tonight, and the first round of edits for “Elusive Prayers” is also on my desk.

I finished reading a terrific science fiction novel last night, too: FORTUNE’S PAWN, by Rachel Bach. Absolutely loved it. Original, fast-paced, terrific characters. I can’t wait to read the rest of her work, and what she writes under Rachel Aaron.

I watched happythankyoumoreplease, another film by Josh Radnor, last night and really liked it. He’s such a confident filmmaker, and I admire that.

Lots to do, but it’s good, happy stuff. Still haven’t finished mowing my lawn — maybe I can get a few rows done on the meadow when I come home tonight. Although, knowing me, all I’ll want to do is relax with a nice glass of wine!

Have a great day, people!

Devon

Thurs. June 5, 2014: Happy Tired and Workshops

Thursday, June 5, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Felt like I’d put in a full day before I even got to the library yesterday. Had a lot of stuff to haul in for the workshop — it was quite comical.

Busy day pre-workshop — got in a lot of books, and it was all the admin that has to happen to get a book out of the box and onto the shelf — setting up the record, putting on barcodes, stamping, spine labels, etc. I’m very excited by some of our new arrivals.

The workshop itself was fun — staff, volunteers, and some people from other libraries, and the one who administers the grant. Lots of info, lively discussion. The great thing about this group is that they were genuinely interested in the CRAFT that goes behind the books on the shelves. So often, especially now, when you speak to a group that’s primarily writers instead of readers, they wriggle impatiently through the craft part and the only questions they’re interested in is how they get an agent and get published without having to bother to learn the actual craft and Write WELL. The dynamic in this discussion was terrific. I might get to do it at other libraries, too.

Came home, exhausted. Tried to work on the script, but I didn’t like what I was doing. Did a rough draft of the monologue.

Booked a fun workshop for the library in August, in which I will be a co-participant. Costume Imp will be here and we’re doing it together. Details to follow!

This morning, I have to finish and send out the script episode and deal with some admin work before heading back to the library. It will be a busy morning — I have some press releases to get out — and then I’m in Chatham for a librarian workshop this afternoon, head back to the library for an hour or so, and then head off to the College to participate in an Environmental Summit. I couldn’t go to the full Cape Coastal Conference this year, because it fell on workdays, but the summit is in the evening, specifically geared to nonprofits working together, so I’m excited. I’m going on behalf of the Marine Life Center.

Pretty soon, the galleys from “Severance” will land on my desk, and my editor’s already working on the edits for “Elusive Prayers.”

I’m excited for both the Belmont Stakes and the Tony Awards this weekend. I want California Chrome to win — the sport needs another Triple Crown winner, it’s been long enough, and this guy has the talent AND the self-possession to do it. However, Belmont is famous for long-shot upsets. I’ve certainly cashed in on enough of them through the years. So we’ll see. I’m cautiously optimistic. Now that I’ve had a few years’ break from the dozen or so years covering the Triple Crown as a journalist, I can really ENJOY it again. And the Tony Award Show is the most fun of the award shows, with the strongest sense of community.

Off we go, to get it all done!

Devon

Wed. June 4, 2014: Collaboration Via Skype

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Worked flat out yesterday and this morning. Got Episode #105 revised and back out; got the new Episode #109 polished and out, and then got some work done on Episode #110.

Made some notes for POWER OF WORDS series, whose title will shortly change, and got some work done on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Turned around the edits for “Severance.”

Worked on a resource list for today’s workshop, and also on the Tip Sheet — which runs 8 pages!

Baked lemon bars, tollhouse cookies, and banana-chocolate chip — oatmeal–walnut cookies for the workshop, along with making black bean hummus.

Did some work on the Contest I’m helping with.

In one of those weird synchronicity things, an actor I’ve never met (except via social media), but whose work I know and like and who likes my work introduced an actor HE knows — whose movie I just happened to see the other night — to my work, and THAT actor contacted me to ask me to help him create an audition monologue that combines his musical abilities and fight combat skills. He’s got a terrific, highly unusual look, and he’s been a part of some big pieces, but is still at the point where he has to audition for serious work (although he gets called for plenty of B and below-type scripts). He needs something to merge the looks with intelligence and depth of character in a well-crafted character that plays to his strengths both as an actor and that particular character, so people will look beyond the pretty. The challenge intrigues me. The first actor (who found my work via an actor I’d actually worked with several years ago) had also contacted me and asked me to hear this other guy out “even though he’s a model; trust me, he’s got talent, too”, knowing how little patience I have with models. So we had a couple of exchanges, and the project intrigues me. This morning, we did some brainstorming/improv via Skype (since the actor is in the UK and I’m in the US). I like and respect this guy a lot more than I thought I would — he knows how to turn it on for the camera, but he’s also smart, kind of goofy, and has absolutely no filters. Since I don’t suffer fools gladly, we can be blunt with each other without being cruel, and actually, even in a short Skype session, started to forge a working language. So it’s interesting, and I’ll try it.

I’m about twice this guy’s age, so there are times in conversation where I think, “God, he’s so YOUNG”, but he’s aware he doesn’t know everything, is hungry to learn anything he can, and once we’re actually into the creative work of creating character and backstory and merging words and action, age doesn’t factor into it at all. In spite of us being thousands of miles apart and working through video, it was quite similar to being in the rehearsal room together because we could interact in real time. I liked working with him because there was no bullshit. With some actors, they’re so into themselves and their “moment” that it’s like talking to wallpaper. With this guy, I can start to say something, he’ll get it immediately, take it further, toss it back and I’ll build on it, and so forth and so on. We’re developing a good creative language together, which is so important for the process to work and the piece to resonate with writer, actor, and, eventually, audience.

I’m surprisingly enjoying the experience, and I think we’ll both get a good little piece of work out of it.

So, yeah, I was up at 4 AM so we could Skype a rehearsal at 5 (about 11 AM his time), but it was worth it.

Today, I’m at the library all day, which includes teaching a mystery workshop from 2-4 PM. Then I have to come home and polish Episode #110, so it can go out tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be a long day — at the library, at a library workshop in Chatham, and then at an Environmental Summit back here.

Onward!

Published in: on June 4, 2014 at 7:21 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 4, 2014: Collaboration Via Skype  
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Mon. June 2, 2014: BALTHAZAAR TREASURE Back on Track

Monday, June 2, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy weekend, but pretty good. Friday was a busy, somewhat chaotic day at the library, but it all worked out. A colleague and I are still trying to sort out the pile of (expletive deleted) that another colleague dropped into our laps (separate from the library work), but that will happen. I’m not going to waste my time in anger, nor am I going to leave my colleague holding the bag. We will sort it out, and I will make sure we’re not put in that position again.

My workshop for Wednesday is almost complete — I have to put together the tip sheet — it’s kind of in bits and pieces — and get some info from MWA, and we’re good to go.

Friday night, I was invited to the Unitarian Church to see a showing of the documentary TRASHED, about the problem and health risks associated with our trash. Eye-opening, although several of the people after with “questions” didn’t have questions at all, and were simply very impressed with the sounds of their own voices. Still, I’m glad I went.

Up early Saturday morning. Got some work done, stopped by the library to take care of something I forgot about, but most of the day was spent in errands. I thought they’d take two hours, and they took eight. Pierpont Glass, Christmas Tree Shops, Market Basket, Trader Joe’s. Ocean State — but got a lot done. Also finished the Media Kit for TRACKING MEDUSA, and the edits for “Severance” landed on my desk.

Read Ilona Andrews’s MAGIC BITES, which I really liked, and started another urban fantasy by a different author I’m not sure I like.

Watched THOR: THE DARK WORLD — was disappointed. I like the actors and their moments — especially the scenes between Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston — but the action scenes needed to be edited down in some spots. When there ARE character moments, they are great, and there are some hilarious throwaway lines, but there’s not enough of that. Also watched THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES, which wasn’t as bad as I’d heard. There were parts that I liked, and parts where it felt like scenes were edited/skipped, and information we needed for other scenes to make sense was simply ignored.

Was wiped out on Sunday, but suddenly BALTHAZAAR TREASURE started to make sense again. Wound up doing about forty pages’ worth of work on it, twenty plus of them new pages. Prologue still holds, but there’s a new opening chapter, what used to be chapter one is rewritten and now chapter two, what used to be the start of chapter two is now chapter three, and it’s nearly done, and they’re almost at the Bahamas. A new character walked in to cause more conflict between Gwen and Justin. Although Karl will still be the major wedge in their relationship, with Carolina and Irina causing some stress, the choice that Gwen makes to save her and Alec’s life in chapter one will now resonate through books two and three.

Watched some television, including GAME OF THRONES, although, as I’ve said before, the relentless brutality wears me out.

Lots to do today, including getting stuff done I didn’t get done yesterday, getting things sorted out for the muddled project, doing revisions on script episodes, new episodes, and working on both BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and “Severance.”

At least I feel good about BALTHAZAAR again, and feel it’s a viable project. I was having my doubts there for awhile.

Devon

Fri. May 30, 2014: Good Busy and Day of Seshat

Friday, May 30, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool
Day of Seshat

It was 38 degrees around here this morning! The kitchen looks like a jungle, because we brought in the plants.

Today is the Day of Seshat. She’s the Egyptian goddess of books and writing implements. Perfect for a library — and a writer!

Yesterday was busy at the library. Good busy, but busy. Did work on next week’s workshop, worked on the poster/flyer for Ron MacLean’s appearance, my boss landed Joe Finder for an appearance in late July, I did an Amazon order, I prepped an Ingram order, I set up for the evening’s Tango program, I helped out at the desk when necessary, I got some new books into the system and ready to go out onto the shelves, and worked on my new page on the library’s website, where I get to talk about the books, videos, CDs, and programs. I hope you’ll get into the habit of checking out the page here, especially if you live in the area.

Also did some coordinating work with the Writers Center for a program we want to collaborate on in September.

My boss is off to New York today, to BEA. We’ve all given her lists of what we want her to bring back! It was everything I could do to refrain from asking her to go to Chinatown and come back with supplies, too!

So tired when I came home — relaxed with a glass of wine, cooked dinner. Started reading Rebecca Mead’s wonderful new memoir, MY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH. One of my favorite lines is on p. 7: “Life happened at the library.” So true!

I’m going to get some writing done this morning before I head back to the library. There’s another busy day there. Then home, more writing and reading — I’ve got another book to finish for review for my editor — and I’ve got to invoice it.

Errands tomorrow, and I have to get some yard work done. Will also get going on the next two episodes of the script, and finish the revisions that have been piling up. I need to get out some press releases and media kits for “Lake Justice” and TRACKING MEDUSA, prep a draft for a press conference NMLC, and get some work done on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. The edits for “Severance” will come in any day now, too.

It’ll be another busy weekend, but the right kind of busy!

Devon

Fri. May 9, 2014: Library, Scripts, Contest Entries, and Edits

Friday, May 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy day at the library. A lot of it was spent coaxing our machines to do what they’re supposed to do — what should have been a fairly straightforward project took much longer than it should have. A solid reminder of why I loathe Microsoft and how much happier I am with my Mac. However, I also got some other work done, on outreach for the theatre collection and to writers, encouraging them to use our library as a resource and even write their books on site, polish my report for the board next week, etc. There were also all those things that come up during the day, to help patrons find something they want, and to deal with the dozens of issues that come up during the day that need attention to keep the collection running so patrons can get what they need when they need it.

Today, I’ll be finishing up the big project from yesterday and printing a lot of book spine labels, along with everything else. A few things came up yesterday that I need the Circulation Director to teach me how to do properly, too! Always something new to learn, which keeps things fun.

Before I’d gone to work, I’d polished and sent the second episode of The Big Script Project. I’d integrated notes from the first episode that affect the second episode, and tried a few things that are easy fixes if they want a different direction. Later today, I’ll get started on Episodes 3 & 4, which need to be delivered next week, along with the revisions of Episode 1.

The next round of edits for TRACKING MEDUSA arrived yesterday morning (I think I mentioned that in yesterday’s blog post), so I’ll turn those around this weekend, finalize the Series Bible for it, and do the “Odd Word Sheet” for “Severance”, which is the next Amber Quill release coming down the pike for me.

Stopped at the store and the liquor store on the way home from the library. Had a glass of wine on the deck — Tessa was pouting and wouldn’t come out. Cooked dinner, and then got to work on contest entries. I have one stack to finish up over the weekend, and I’m supposed to meet with a colleague after work to go over entries on another contest.

Donna Leon’s newest release, BY ITS COVER, is out (and I got it, I’d put it on hold). It’s set against a Venetian library. I’m in heaven! Now, I just have to make sure I carve out some time over the weekend to read it.

At some point, I also have to get gas for the mower, fire it up, and start mowing my lawn, before it looks like a jungle!

Have a great weekend, all, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Devon

Hey, if you want a fun read for the weekend, pick up a copy of my ghost story, “Lake Justice”, released by Amber Quill Press here.

Published in: on May 9, 2014 at 5:50 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 9, 2014: Library, Scripts, Contest Entries, and Edits  
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