Tues. Oct. 3, 2017: Releases, Writing, Worrying

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Plenty of links today. First, check out the piece about PLAYING THE ANGLES over on A Biblio Paradise. Don’t forget to order your copy in any of the various digital formats. Links here.

Second, my October To Do list is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’ll also post questions to think about between now and the end of the year shortly.

Yesterday, I did promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I also got some new material up on the Nautical Namaste website. I’ll be linking and promoting that site in a few weeks, when SAVASANA AT SEA becomes available for pre-order. Right now, I want to focus on PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Sent out some pitches, did some follow-up on pieces. Sent out two short stories, which had come back from other markets. It’s always a dance, finding the right partner for a piece.

Finished both books I have to review, and the reviews will go out today. My new editor told me I hadn’t acknowledged receipt of the books — but I had, weeks ago, when I received them. I always do. I HATE the “dashboard” system they have us working in.

Started working on the galleys for SAVASANA AT SEA. There are lots of little, fiddly things the copy editor and I have both caught. Also, although some grammatical choices are technically correct according to the style guide we’re using, they look awful on the Kindle. In some cases, the fix is as simple as using Chicago Manual of Style rather than Strunk; in other instances, I’d rather change how I communicate the material. There are a few places where the copy editor and I are working together to see what is correct and still looks and feels right.

I haven’t even had the chance to work on the galleys of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM.

Got a weird idea for what I hope will be a flash fiction piece and wrote about 400 words on it. It’s an odd little piece. It will take time and shaping, but I like the premise. Now I have to add in the craft.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is both heart-breaking and infuriating. It could have been prevented. Again, the GOP doesn’t care how many people die, as long as it’s those who don’t buy them off. The NRA isn’t about responsible gun ownership, it’s about profit. I have never heard the NRA or anyone who boasts about their association with them, talk about RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. There’s just a lot of chest thumping and “Me have right to own guns.” In fact, most of the people I have met who scream about their right to own guns lack the IQ, in my opinion, to be allowed such ownership.

Every member of Congress who votes against responsible, common-sense gun laws should be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL for every murder that results in their legislation. They can’t be allowed to hide behind their jobs or use tax payer dollars for defense or if and when they are convicted. The only way it will change is when it costs them more to vote against pro-gun legislation than for it. Because Congress, especially the members of the GOP, don’t care about individual lives. They care about personal profit. They demonstrate this over and over again, with every vote. So make it cost them.

John Scalzi wrote a beautiful piece on his blog about how difficult it is to work amidst all this chaos. You can find it here. I read it at 3:30 this morning, when I couldn’t sleep, and it helps.

Of course, the current administration is anti-art. They WANT us not to be able to create. Artists are the biggest threat to autocracy that there is, because good art makes people see and understand the world beyond themselves.

Keep making art.

Back to the page.

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Mon. July 31, 2017: Author, not “Author”, Women’s Memoir Cliches, and Unfair Expectations

Monday, July 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It definitely smells like autumn. Tomorrow is the first harvest festival, so it makes sense.

The cats and I were up most of the night because a neighborhood dog was crying. We couldn’t figure out where it was, or I would have comforted it. Poor thing!

I gave myself the weekend off, mostly. I needed to recharge; I was mentally exhausted, even more than physically.

I did some yard work. I read a lot, which was hit and miss. I read a mystery that was set “backstage” in a “professional” theatre. Yeah, right. The performers went around quoting the Scottish play without comment or consequence. DOESN’T HAPPEN. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t be an “author”. Be an author or a writer.

I read another mystery, first book in the series, where the characters were okay, but the plot forced to fit into a tight formula that didn’t work for the premise, and the writing weak.

I read Val McDermid’s OUT OF BOUNDS, which was excellent.

At least it was nice enough to read outside most of the time. A little cool, but nice. I prefer cool weather to hot, anyway, which is why I live in a place with seasons.

I’m reading a stack of books and memoirs about the NEW YORKER magazine, as background for a piece. Hit and miss interesting. I’m looking more for the daily-ness of working at the publication set against the historical backdrop, and what made the people tick, not the navel-gazing.

I’m so tired of memoirs by women who spent the whole book “finding” their “independence”, only to get married (or get married again). Basically, they’re just circling back to where they started, but with a different guy. But people buy into all this “I’m now an independent woman” — um, no, you’re still acting like a 1950s college grad with her MRS degree. Leaving one guy, “travelling” mentally and physically, in order to wind up with another guy, doesn’t make you “independent”. It makes you a cliché.

Worked on notes for a couple of projects.

Finished the next book I have to review. I want to get the review out today, and then request the next book. Hopefully, it won’t take them two weeks to assign it this time. To me “steady work” means the next assignment arrives when I turn in the previous one. They still owe me for the last two reviews, too.

I have two essays and two short stories to finish, plus a couple of pitches to get out. I SHOULD have done them this weekend, but the quality would have been crap. I’m still within my deadline, so it was a better choice to give myself a break, and then be able to attack them with fresh eyes this morning.

I already did a pre-tourist grocery run, so I’m doing okay! 😉

Little annoyed with a friend. I didn’t hear from him for about six months; fine, no problem. But I received an email from him late Friday night, and another one early this morning, berating me for not instantly getting back to him. Um, no. This was a “hey, how are you?” email, not an emergency or a question that required immediate response, and taking the weekend off-line is something he KNOWS I do. Not answering until this morning (just over 48 hours later) is not too long, especially since the last contact was at Christmas. I don’t say “how high?” when someone says “Jump”. I’m more likely to tell that person to eff off. 😉

Tomorrow is the cover reveal for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I’m nervous!

July wrap-up is over on the GDR site.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 31, 2017 at 9:40 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 31, 2017: Author, not “Author”, Women’s Memoir Cliches, and Unfair Expectations  
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Fri. June 30, 2017: When the Road Not Taken is Best Left Untrod

Friday, June 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Two essays and a short story went out the door yesterday. I don’t write many essays — they make me feel too exposed.

Finished the reading for an assignment and got to work on it. Will polish it this morning and send it off.

As of about mid-day, I’ll be offline until Wednesday. I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to a party tonight in Dennis at a friend’s place; the rest of the weekend is about reading, writing, meditation, yoga. Recharging the batteries.

I got an idea for a new short story that I hope to draft; I want to finish another short story that needs to go out; and I want to dig in and finish the draft of FIX IT GIRL. Plus, I have to finish the proofs on “Ramsey Chase”. Cover reveal for the latter will be next week.

I realized, in this morning’s meditation as my mind wandered over roads not taken, that not taking them was the right choice. That lifts quite a load off the worries.

Had to dash out way too early this morning to do errands, grocery shop, pick up my mom’s medication, etc. Even though everything was done before 9 AM, the traffic was still unbearable. The 20 minute drive to Dennis tonight will probably take an hour.

Hop on over to the GDR site and see the June wrap-up. The July to Do list won’t be up until next week, and I’m working on the Mid-Year Assessment.

Have a wonderful long weekend!

Published in: on June 30, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 30, 2017: When the Road Not Taken is Best Left Untrod  
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Fri. June 16, 2017: Just Keep Writing

Friday, June 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I finally got the article I’d been working on all week out the door; still waiting to hear back from a pitch I’d hoped was a quick turnaround. Got a few other pitches out.

Consultations on the new cover for “The Ramsey Chase”. There were two possibilities, both eye-catching, but I chose the one set in the graveyard, because the denouement is set in a graveyard. It’s not quite as spooky as the original cover, but I like the image. The byline might be enlarged just a point in the font, but, other than that, I’m happy with it.

I played with some ideas for the next story in the series, and I’ve got a few ideas spinning. We’ll see which ones actually work. I’ll have to write at least the opening scene soon, so it can go in with “Ramsey”. The re-read and the proof-read I need to do on it should help me regain the tone.

It was actually too cool to work outside on the deck yesterday afternoon; I only managed a few minutes. But, I roughed out some article ideas that I will now formulate into pitches, and also found the premise of what could be an intriguing piece of fiction. I need to play with it for a bit. The contrasting POVs would be fascinating to explore.

The exercise bicycle I picked up last week on craigslist is already having a positive effect. I’ve also finally lost the “library weight” I’d put on. Even though I’m sitting a lot for my work, I’m more active and I’m eating better. It seems all I crave lately are apples, cucumbers, peppers, parsley, and the like.

I’m hoping to have a solid writing weekend, although when it’s not raining, I’ll still have to mow. I got the side yard done yesterday morning, so it’s the terraced back area today, and then, tomorrow, back to the meadow. I also have to do some trimming in areas that the mower can’t reach.

Finished a short story that will go out today. I’m getting better at fiction that’s truly short. Which is a good thing, since there are markets for it. It’s also a good contrast to novel-length. I’m proud of myself, because the story came in only one word over the count, and I cut a qualifier, and there I was!

Started a short science fiction story, which is kind of fun. If it works, I should be able to have it submission-ready by Monday.

Still wrestling with the longer piece; I have to dig farther into the emotions, and rework the structure a bit. It should hit just over 3K when it’s done and revised. That needs to go out next week.

Started two more articles, with the basics that I’ll then fill in and use citations.

I have a project meeting set up for mid-week next week. Looking forward to meeting them – I think/hope we’d work well together.

I’d like to take some time off this weekend, but I also have to do the next section on THE FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on June 16, 2017 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 16, 2017: Just Keep Writing  
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Fri. May 19, 2017: Trying to Put It Into Play

Friday, May 19, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Took my mom to her medical appointment. Found more evidence on the CVS issue, and will turn everything over to the State’s Attorney General.

Finished reading a book by an author whose work I usually like, but this one had sloppy writing in it. Good plot, but one could tell that it was written fast. Sets up a new web of characters for more interconnected books, though.

Started implementing some of the things that were discussed on Wednesday. I have to make sure I break down the lists into do-able pieces, or I’ll get overwhelmed and won’t do anything.

Started working on some formatting changes for another outlet for the Topic Workbooks. The problem with those is that I can only work on them for a couple of hours at a stretch. It takes longer than I’d like to get the material done.

Re-read Arlene Kay’s SWANN DIVE. It’s the first of her Boston Uncommons Mysteries. Every time I re-read her books, I enjoy them more.

Still waiting for my first assignment from this supposed new gig.

Started going over some old short stories, both published and unpublished, to see if there are enough on any given theme for a collection. A collection of short stories is less important than getting on the novel carousel again, but it would be nice to get them out there. Some of them are more relevant now than when they were written.

Wrestling in the FIX IT GIRL revisions. There are a couple of B plot lines and red herrings I feel I should weave in to enrich the story; at the same time, I like the leanness and the pace. So I’m struggling with that. Can I keep a lean, fast pace, while just adding in a few tidbits here and there without it either slowing the piece down or it feeling like I’ve thrown things in there with no follow-up?

Getting some yard work done, but it’s difficult without a working mower.

Hopefully, I can have a solid writing weekend, and figure some more stuff out on my recalibration plan. I want to start implementing a few things, and then step back and look at it all again, make some decisions based on the new implementation, and so on and so forth.

Part of that is that, in the next few months, I want to get some general swag done for the constants: Ink in My Coffee, the Devon Ellington website, the Fearless Ink website, and maybe even the Topic Workbooks. Then, as more projects launch, I can add project-specific swag and mix and match for giveaways.

I also need to get rights back on a book where I suspect the contract expired ages ago. The publisher’s done diddly, in fact, new management wanted its authors to pay a monthly fee for promotion. I’d assumed they’d dropped me, but I found the book still on the website; never gotten any reports from them for years. So I have to dig up the contract, get the rights back, do some rewrites, and get it out in a better format.

I also have to figure out why I’m struggling to get back to NOT BY THE BOOK. It’s a good, tight story with fun characters.

Managed to handwrite a couple of pages on something this morning, but I’m still looking for those sample pages for the play proposal. I guess it won’t get out until early next week. I’ve got the proposal section done and the resume done, and I have the completed play done, but I have to find — and then type and polish — the sample pages to finish it.

Published in: on May 19, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 19, 2017: Trying to Put It Into Play  
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Mon. May 15, 2017: Creative Juggling & The Need to Weigh Decisions

Monday, May 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The lilacs are magnificent this year. I could just sit all day and breathe in the scent.

Busy writing weekend. On Friday, I managed to revised six chapters of THE FIX-IT GIRL and get the changes put into the manuscript. I also did 20 pages of revision on WINNER TAKE ALL.

I put changes into three more chapters of FIX IT GIRL, but didn’t get them into the manuscript.

Saturday, another 21 pages of revision on WINNER TAKE ALL. Two and a half pages of new material on the literary novel, five pages on a paranormal Victorian romance. Research.

I worked on the proposal packet for the new play, including sample pages. I wish I could submit ENEMY for development, but that’s not inherently in Boston, and the producer wants something where Boston is a character.

I also found a new-to-me market and came up with ideas for four short pieces for them. I roughed out all four, and now it’s a case of drafting them. They’re short — one is 800 words, one is 1000 words, and the other two can run between 3K and 7K. I figured out where to re-slant and re-send a pitch that I’d sent to a publication and they liked it, but had run something similar in the issue that was about to land. I’m hoping they’ll accept a different idea. I’d like to get all these pieces done and out the door this week, along with finding some markets for some other ideas.

I’m still waiting to receive my first assignment on this new gig I was supposedly hired on.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and pouring rain. I cut some lilacs (this is a wonderful year for lilacs on Cape), and made scrambled eggs with Canadian bacon for my mom.

I also wrote the first draft of the 800 word piece and did another 23 pages of revisions on the screenplay. I’m just beyond the half way point on it. This morning, I revised the 800-word piece, and it’s ready to send out.

Re-slanted a pitch, typed up a filler, and created another pitch and article outline.

I re-read Meg Wolitzer’s THE INTERESTINGS, which was interesting (I like her writing). I’m in the midst of reading another novel (by a different author) I found among my pile and hadn’t yet read — I’m on the fence about it. Parts of it I really like, and other parts feel a bit pretentious. Tried watching a new-to-me series, but it was juggling too many subplots with no explanations, taking spare dialogue too far, and I got exasperated. I don’t need everything explained (in fact, I prefer it not to), but this was beyond Mamet-ian. And British. Which didn’t quite work for me.

Heard from an old friend I didn’t think I’d hear from again. We have a lot of catching up to do. Drafted back my response. Found out another old pal is only about an hour and a half away — I’ll have to get in touch.

Did more Lavinia Fontana research. I have a feeling her father, Prospero, will be one of the top supporting characters in the play. He strikes me as quite an ambitious rascal.

This morning, I drafted just over 600 words of one of the 3K stories I’m working on this week. It’s taking on a more vibrant life of its own, which is a good thing, but it’s also not something I can just crank out, the way I’d hoped. But the quality will be better without the cranking, and the quality of the work is the ultimate test.

I need to make some decisions on what I want the trajectory to be for PLAYING THE ANGLES and the subsequent books from that circle of friends, and how I want to re-launch the Gwen Finnegan books. Simply sending them to a small publisher who only does POD doesn’t help me. The companies are too small to do adequate promotion, and the POD knocks me out of too many markets. Yet neither series really fits the current traditional publishing trends. They’re good stories, and people respond positively, but they intentionally break traditional formulas. Do I have the creativity, the stamina, and the resources to mount the carefully-plotted out marketing campaigns they would need? More importantly, am I able to keep up with the additional books in each series in a timely manner? Because feeding the monster is important. And Amazon, the Behemoth, is an important market force, but I have trouble with some of the ways they’re doing business. All of this has to be weighed and measured.

I hope this week will wind up being both creatively fulfilling AND financially rewarding. I need the two to balance. I’ve got my mid-month check-in up on the GDR site here.

Have a great week!

Published in: on May 15, 2017 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 15, 2017: Creative Juggling & The Need to Weigh Decisions  
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Wed. Feb. 17, 2016: Steadily Writing

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Waxing Moon
Chilly and cloudy

Weather’s been up and down and all around.

Saturday was a busy day at the library. Got quite a bit done, but I was glad to go home.

The mystery is chugging along well — got some good writing done on it Sunday, Monday, and yesterday. This morning, I’m doing some layering, so that I set up my murderer better. I feel pretty good about the end of the month deadline for the first draft. I think I’ll be within a few days of it, one way or the other.

I polished two short stories that will go out this week. I need to polish one proposal, and get to work on another proposal. I have to be careful with the latter — it’s a project I think is exciting, but I refuse to, yet again, ply my VOCATION full-time without compensation. I got the details on judging the radio contest, and I also worked my way through some more contest entries. The last batch should arrive soon, so I want to make sure I’ve finished the first batch before they arrive.

I got in some studio time, when the light was good.

Did some more background reading for several projects.

Wrote a bit on the project that starts in the early 1920s, just to get the characters quiet. I want to deal with the racism of the time — to do so properly will be a challenge. But it’s important.

Grocery shopping on Monday. Tuesday, I finally got the headlamp fixed on the car, ran some other errands. Baked the banana-coconut cake for today’s luau, and a couple of lemon cakes as thank yous for neighbors who helped us in the snow. I also made the base of the tropical punch and chilled it.

I got up at 5 this morning (after a bad night) to make the ham-and-pineapple bites and the crabmeat/avocado/mango spread. I’m not happy with the latter. I expected it to have more zing.

I feel like I’m coming down with something; hope that’s not the case. I don’t want to lose momentum on the mystery, and I have too much else going on right now. Fingers crossed I can take care of myself well enough in the next few days not to succumb.

Published in: on February 17, 2016 at 10:28 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 17, 2016: Steadily Writing  
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Wed. April 29, 2015: Excellent Writing Days

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy, but good weekend. Excellent writing time.

Saturday, I came back from work, read a bit, cooked dinner, worked on contest entries.

Sunday, I wrote. I wrote nearly two chapters on a book, and I finished the edits on one of the short stories. I realized that the other short story I’m working on has a slower innate pace than what is needed for the intended venue — I can tighten the pace and hurt the story, or I can trust the pace and find a different home for it. I got an idea for a replacement story with a faster pace and more of a noir feel that is more natural to the intended market, so I worked on that.

Sunday night, I was invited to a tango practica in Cotuit — the couple who invited us transformed their basement into a dance studio. It’s magnificent. I learned a lot, and I have some specifics on which to work over the next few weeks. I’ll miss the Thursday lessons and the Sunday practicas, but I’ll also be able to work on a few techniques. If I really put in the work, I won’t fall too far behind.

Monday, I wrote all morning. I proofread the edited story and found some typos. That’s why it’s so important to wait before proofreading — if you proofread as soon as you finish, your brain fixes the typos instead of finding them. Wrote some more on the book. Percolated on the new story.

In the afternoon, I dug into contest entries. My final decisions are due this week, and I want to make sure I give each submission a fair shot. They were created out of love and hard work, and deserve to be given respect, even when the craft is weak. What irks me is when it’s obvious the printed books haven’t been proofread.

Monday night, watched DEATH AT PEMBERLEY. Well done, but the actress who played Elizabeth had poor posture, very modern, and even being in a corset didn’t help. It bothered me. The Empire style of dress shows the shoulder blades and emphasizes the shoulder, so perfect posture is important.

Yesterday, I sent off the completed short stories (typos corrected), ran some errands, and worked on contest entries.

In the evening, I went to an event at the Naked Oyster in Hyannis called “Hobnob”, which was great fun — artists in all disciplines getting together to talk about what they do. I met some very interesting people.

Stopped at the beach on the way home — just love our beaches. I love being near ocean. It’s soothing. In spite of rising sea levels!

Home, am almost finished with the contest entries. I want to go over my top choices one more time tonight.

Also have to finish the noir story tonight and get it out tomorrow.

Today will be a busy day at work, as will tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. I was lazy when it came to yard work this weekend — the broadcast kept saying it would rain, but it was nicer than suspected. Hopefully, this weekend, I can dig in (literally and figuratively) to the yard, and also do a solid houseclean, in preparation for the upcoming vacation and house guests.

Hope you’re having a GREAT week.

Devon

Published in: on April 29, 2015 at 8:47 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. April 15, 2014: The Life of 5:30 AM – Midnight

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Full Moon
Lunar Eclipse
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Tax day and the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. Rain is appropriate.

Busy day. It was hard not to hustle for jobs — that’s become such a reflexive part of my day. But I really can’t take anything new on until late June, so anything that’s quick turnaround just can’t fit in.

Caught up on some stuff for the library, worked on client projects, wrote a review, wrote an article going live later this week, got the contest entries for the next contest, checked them in, read the series bible for the scripting job, took notes, had a meeting on that job, interviewed potential stage managers, worked on a prop I need to be able to put onto another prop and remove after each show. Still not where I want it. Took care of some correspondence. Hunted down a couple of stories I have to read for Thursday’s short story group. Got my instructions for Thursday, when I’m in charge — a little intimidating, but I plan to step up.

Today, I need to finish a draft of a client project, run some errands in Falmouth and Sandwich (preferably before the torrential rain begins), get some groceries and cat food into the house, continue the search for a stage manager, research my two articles due at the end of the month, finish another book for review, read two short stories for an event at the library on Thursday, and work on the storyboard for the scriptwriting job.

In other words — I better get going!

If you can’t come and see Seal Tides in person, I hope you’ll support it by donating to our indiegogo campaign here. Even $10 makes a huge difference (and you get a program mention, a signed program, etc.).

Devon

Wed. May 22, 2013: Trying to Clear the Desk

IMG_1101
The beach down the street

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Want to see how my garden grows? Hop over to Gratitude and Growth to check out the new photos.

Monday, I worked flat out, and was exhausted. Part of that is a new playwrighting opportunity dropped into my lap, and I worked on the proposal. I have to proofread and tweak it today, and get it out. Then, I have to massage a different playwrighting proposal and get that off my desk, too.

Got material out for Confidential Job #1, and got my next assignments. Working on my appointments for the trip next week. Having trouble settling back into the Cape Cod theatre novel. Did some work on the adaptation. Roughed out a few articles, a couple of which I need to get off my desk this week. Pitched. Followed up. Worked with students. Got some reading done. Sketched out ideas for a couple of short stories. Did five loads of laundry. Worked in the yard — the meadow is finally mowed.

My heart hurts for the people in Oklahoma devastated by the tornado. I remember, back in the 70s, they talked about coming up with chemicals that planes could spray into hurricanes and tornados to make them dissipate (something that was being worked on). Whatever happened to that? Did it not work? Did it lose funding? Did they realize the chemicals would kill more people than the weather?

Started my schoolwork for the Climate Literacy class I’m taking over the next ten weeks, from two professors at the University of British Columbia. A LOT of information (and maybe they can answer some of the above questions). But I think it will be a fascinating class, and certification in this and the one I got in Sustainability last fall certainly make me more hire-able in the eco-friendly fields.

Meeting last night was good. I have work to do in connection with that — again, most of which has to get done before I leave on my trip next week. I have a feeling I’ll be working flat out all weekend. I’ll sleep on the bus, right?

Lots to do and not a lot of hours — Mermaid Ball meeting in Buzzards Bay late this afternoon.

Better hop to it.

Devon

Wed. Nov. 28, 2012: “Just Jump in and Fly” — a fun twist on Yuletide Myths!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Here’s the cover for “Just Jump in a Fly” a romantic comedy/fantasy re-working of the Yuletide Myths that went up yesterday under the Ava Dunne name.

Blurb:
Samantha Wright has a problem. The attractive Kris Teague crash- landed his sleigh and eight not-so-tiny reindeer in her driveway. His uncle Nick happens to be THAT Nick – as in Claus – and they need Samantha Wright’s help to turn back the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at one of the Universal Gates not only to save Christmas, but keep Earth turning. A fresh, romantic comedy turn on Yuletide myths and traditions!

For an excerpt and Buy Link, go to the Ava Dunne page. It’s only 99 cents!

I love this story — I had such a great time playing with the myths of the season. I’m planning to do more with these characters for each turn of the wheel. Which means the next piece has to be released by February1!

I figured out how to do better covers in Pages. I realized, for the PDFs, I don’t have to work in .doc. I also learned how to save into PDF and transform that into a JPG. Unfortunately, the back cover fill doesn’t convert from Pages to PDF, so, while the stand-alone cover I’m using to promote the book has the background color I want, the download is in simple black and white.

I tweaked the cover for “Tumble”. I think it looks much better. Again, I can’t replace the cover in the PDF, but it’s close, and this looks better for promotion. It’s much easier to work with photographs than anything else, so I need to go find some mistletoe and re-do the other cover. The Nina stories are too much fun to suffer from poor covers!

And yes, I’m hiring a cover ARTIST for the Nina Bell book release on April Fool’s Day! 😉

My bio’s up on the Indie Book Award site, and I look forward to being one of their judges this winter/spring. Exciting!

Had a good writing session in the morning, both yesterday and a little tougher one today. Ran errands — had to find a new tree topper — it’s hard! Finally found one that I think will be pretty.

Got some raking done in the back — the terraced back area and one side of the house. That’s all we could get done before the sleet started. Took seven bags of leaves to the dump. Most of the day was about getting “Just Jump in and Fly” done.

Good meeting in the evening. I’m going to change the way we handle the mailing list, and set up a gmail account for the organization, which will make more sense and give us more flexibility. I’m also going to set up a WordPress site for them. We need to have an internet presence, and be able to link to other sites in the town, etc.

Started packing for the NY trip this weekend. Worked with tarot students. Set up a Tarot Lounge on the workshop board so that we can continue the conversation once class ends, and set up a Yahoo loop called “Myth-Drunk Writers” so we can continue the conversation once the Greek/Roman Mythology class is over.

I’ve got an article to write today, and I’ve got to prep “That Man in Tights” to upload, and get the lights on the darned tree — I finally found them. Tessa spends a lot of time playing with the tree — it makes her feel like outdoor kitty! Also have to go to the local library and Sandwich, and find mistletoe to photograph!

Busy times. But happy ones.

Devon

Don’t forget to sign up for Flash 7 — Write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days! Info and registration here.

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

Wed. April 11, 2012: Revisions and Writing

Don’t forget the 1-Day Dialogue Seminars & Solutions Seminar on April 14! Info here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy day yesterday, but a good one. Worked with students. Ran errands, took books back to Sandwich, got out some others, including an amazing new release I’m going to have to track down and buy. It’s called NEW YORK DIARIES: 1609-2009, edited by Teresa Carpenter, containing diary excerpts from various individuals, organized by day (Jan. 1, Jan. 2, etc.) from those 400 years. Amazing stuff.

The recommendation is going into the resource list for the digital handbook going along with the course.

I saw a kid waiting for the school bus, with a worried expression on his face, on my way to meditation yesterday. Gave me an idea for a short story, but I’m not sure where it’s going yet.

Revised the first four chapters of HEART SNATCHER. Decided I want the opening scene (now called “Chapter 1”) to be a prologue, in spite of some agents and editors currently cranky with prologues. I love ‘em, and it serves this particular book. Moved the first section of Chapter 5 as the new Chapter 1 — the timeline works better, and the overall flow is much stronger. Developed Chapter 2 — Max’s first chapter — and worked on the caseload timeline/assignments within the squadroom so it’s truer to NYPD procedure, but still makes sense to the reader. Added in the Sex Crimes detective who needs to be in there, reshuffled the squadroom a bit, still have to add a small scene between Max and this new guy towards the end of Chapter 2. Chapters 3 & 4 mostly needed tightening in language choices and flow — cutting more than anything else. I’m going to re-read them for flow again this morning, before printing them out.

I’ve got a variety of tracking sheets — Day/Night timelines (since I’m moving between multiple points of view and sometimes the action overlaps — but it’s got to overlap on the right day), Character tracking sheets, the squadroom case tracking sheet. I probably need to set up a tracking sheet for Valerie’s caseload, too, so I don’t drop anything I started (unless I choose to cut a subplot). Since this is part of a trilogy, and I envision a couple of books taking place several years after the trilogy ends, I’m also starting a Series Bible. The multi-colored draft, original notes, and the Scene Purpose and Character Purpose sheets are all a big help.

I also write 928 words, in the sprint with the students, on HEART BINDER, the second book. Managed to do some re-envisioning of what’s not working for me in “Town Crier”, jot down some notes on some of the other arcs I want to happen in the Jain Lazarus short stories, so I can feed them into the series properly, polished the lectures and resources for Saturday’s workshop.

It looks like I’ll get the same editor and cover artist for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so I’m happy about that.

Today’s the first due date for One Story, Many Voices. Most of the students have taken the previous two short story workshops this year, so they’re used to the drill. I think some of the newcomers are a bit nervous. If they show up and actually write, they’ll get a lot out of it. If they don’t — well, that’s on them. My classes are geared for those who want to challenge themselves as writers by writing in the moment, not think about doing it someday in the future.

We should have a new lecture in the Steampunk class. I’m getting a lot of ideas.

Also have a bunch of paperwork to get done, and must make a dump run — both garbage bins in the garage are getting rather full! Time to empty out and not have to think about it for awhile!

This week is busy/crazy, but I’m hoping next week will settle down a bit. Back to the page.

Devon