Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear

Monday, May 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Not the productive weekend I’d hoped for, unfortunately.

The stress of the personal issues I’m dealing with hit like a hammer, and it was difficult for me to get anything else done. I managed a little yard work, but not like the marathon hours that my neighbors did. Their lawns are pristine; my mower still isn’t working. I’m hoping the replacement of a simple part or two will do the trick.

I got a little work done on the play proposal, and some plotting work done on the radio play. I need to gear up and get those out the door this week.

On the upside, I re-read Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons mysteries, and enjoyed them. I drafted up some reviews I’ll leave for them. I also read a couple of her earlier books, one-offs, which were also fun.

STILL waiting for my first assignment from that editor who, weeks ago, said I was hired. I could have done THREE assignments (and been paid) in this time frame. I’m irritated. Perhaps it’s time to move on and take other work instead. IF I’m ever contacted, I’ll see what my schedule is, or I’ll bow out. If you’re “constantly” adding people to the team and promising “steady” work, it doesn’t take three weeks to make the first assignment.

Drafting a short article and an article pitch that need to go out today. Also want to tackle the short story — I’d like to get that out by the end of this week. I need to do some reformatting on the Topic Workbooks for an additional release venue, and get back to work on the next Topic Workbook. I’m going to try to release one every three months.

I re-read TIE CUTTER, which needs to get back into the writing mix in the next few months, and also did some more research for the next section of FIX IT GIRL revisions. The revision process on this novel is different than my usual, but it’s working for the particular novel, so I’m going with it.

Managed to get in a bit of yard work this morning before the rain started, although I was bitten several times. I hate ants. I’m in full out war with the ants. I know, I should appreciate them and all they stand for, but they’re not keeping their part of the bargain.

I have errands to run this morning, some things to do at the library, and then, hopefully, I can get back to the page. This week will be very stressful, on multiple fronts, and I’m trying to prepare myself, both mentally and physically.

Tues. May 16, 2017: Breakthroughs and Restructuring

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Finally, a sunny day! Now, if I could only get that mower going! Otherwise, I’ll be sitting on the grass with the pruning shears, cutting a few inches at a time.

Yesterday wasn’t as productive in terms of words on paper as I would have liked, but it was good in terms of creativity.

I got out the short story and a re-slanted pitch. I was about to send out a filler; I checked the guidelines one last time, and found the publication is ceasing — something which wasn’t on their website last week! So I have to rethink and re-slant.

Did some research. Was going to give myself the day off from writing completely (except for the work I’d done on the short story in the morning), but didn’t want to lose momentum on WINNER TAKE ALL. So I did the next 20 pages of revisions on that, and it felt good. I should be able to finish this second draft in a day or two, and then put it aside to marinate.

Had a breakthrough on the proposal for the play set in Boston. All of a sudden, it came clear, it started shaping. I can write the synopsis, I’ve written several sample pages, the artistic vision of what I want to explore and why is clear. I even found the right title, at least for while it’s a work-in-progress. I love those kinds of epiphanies!

I wrote a good chunk of the proposal this morning. I have to type up what I scribbled for sample pages and finesse them before I finish the proposal and send it off.

I’m preparing for tomorrow, when there is a big sit-down to figure out how I want to reshape my career. I’m tired of the “everybody does” and “this is THE way it has to be. It’s obviously not working. The big 5 are dumbing down way too many of their releases; independent authors are struggling, and I know several who are ready to give up; the small publishers who do POD are shut out of too many venues that could be profitable; even Harlequin is shutting down five of its lines. Not that I have anything with Harlequin, but for the authors who’ve been paying their bills with those five lines, it’s a shock. There are things that “everybody does” that I don’t agree with, that I don’t like, and that don’t work for me.

So we have to sit down and find other ways. The Topic Workbooks do well, but they can do better. I want PLAYING THE ANGLES to have a good shot at market share when it re-releases, because it’s a good book, and I want the books that are set/planned for that world to build on each other. I want TRACKING MEDUSA to have a good re-release, so I can complete the books I see with those characters. Only then can I decide what I want to do with the Jain Lazarus books, which are in a weird limbo with their current publisher. I want to do more with the delectable digital delights, and I have a batch of short stories whose rights have reverted, and maybe I can do something with them that will serve them well. The Justice by Harpy trilogy is sitting around gathering dust instead of earning its keep, are EARTH BRIDE and ANGEL HUNT. They need to get out the door. I want to take the Sophie Batchelder books in the direction I believe is best for them, not the current constant dumbing-down, and I need to see if there’s also a place in the world for the Gin Adams books. These are stories that interest me, that I wrote because there wasn’t anything else like it on the market.

THE FIX IT GIRL is going to be solid; it’s going to need one more revision after this current draft, I think, but it should be ready for submission sometime in summer. I want to get back to NOT BY THE BOOK and HEART SNATCHER, which are geared to a specific, traditional market, and also get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS and the 1940s aviation mystery, both of which have early chapters which excited people.

At the same time, I have to balance and hustle and juggle the freelance work, which pays for everything else. I have to freshen the scripts in my portfolio, and get those back out in the pipeline. And keep up on the play commissions and the radio scripts.

All the while, I have to plan both long-and-short-term marketing campaigns, both financially and conceptually, and then have impeccable follow-through.

It’s a lot. A lot of juggling, a lot of brain time, a lot of physical time, and needs a very big calendar. I need to market in a way that highlights the best of each separate element/pseudonym, but also tie it all together.

So tomorrow will be a long, difficult day, but important to implementing the vision of the next phase of my creative life.

In the meantime, I have to fix the mower!

Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

We had snow yesterday! Enough to cancel my evening plans, although not so much we were stuck and had to be rescued. Again.

Busy day yesterday. Short story out to the anthology, the Constitutional Law textbook arrived and I can dig in. Worked on contest entries. Worked with my elected officials.

Not enough writing done, which is something that has to be remedied this month.

Contract negotiations that were seemingly settled blew up last night on the ghostwriting project– after I’d sent out the paperwork at the author’s request. The other side came at me with new terms — even worse than the terms to which I’d agreed. Not only that, but I was accused of “imaginary research” — for a non-fiction project. We’d talked about research — the author wanted me to do research, handle photo permissions, and all that — and then decided she didn’t want to pay for it. Um, no. I put in the work, you pay for the work, and for any permissions fees. So we agreed to a provision where I wouldn’t put in any time or incur any costs without prior written permission from her on specific parameters. So she comes back with capping “imaginary research” at a specific fee.

I don’t know of a single professional working in non-fiction who doesn’t research the topic in question. I can understand if she was talking to advisors and that term was bandied about in conversation — but to try to put that language into a contract?

I wrote a rebuttal and formally withdrew from the project. She’d already kept scaling back and scaling back — trying to get out of a fair rate. No. Line. Crossed it. Done. Find someone on craigslist who’s going to do substandard work and screw you six ways from Sunday. Because it sure as heck won’t be me working on this.

My lawyer warned me it would come to this, back when she negotiated back the fee the first time. He gets to do the “I Told You So” song, and I’m going to have to acknowledge that, as usual, he was right.

This is the second referral from the same person who tried to screw me on money. I’m going to tell this individual to not give out my name and information any more.

I’ve got my To-Do list for February up on the GDR site. Let’s hope I’m more productive in February than I was in January!

Back to the page — and to the Constitutional Law textbook!

Published in: on February 1, 2017 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song  
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Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance

Friday, January 27, 2017
New Moon
Chinese Lunar New Year — Year of the Fire Rooster
Cloudy and cold

Temperature’s going down again, but at least the rain’s let up for the moment.

Yesterday, I got some work done on the short story. I think it will be ready to go out on Monday (it’s due on Wednesday). As I was going to sleep last night, I had an “aha!” moment about it, which I will have to work in to the text today.

I sent off my proposals and we’ll see what happens next. I also worked on a counter proposal to the other contract negotiation. We’ll see if that works for both of us. If not, we part ways and wish each other well. I’m done accepting work for so far under my rate that it costs me. Pay me a fairly for a fair day’s work, or hire someone off Craigslist with no credits who mixes up possessives and plurals.

Turning over and over the themes and actions for the play. I hope to get a good chunk of it written this weekend, once the short story is done and simmering, prior to its final polish.

Worked on contest entries yesterday, and also on the research for the Italian Renaissance play. Found a tangent to my research — something very, very cool, but off-topic. However, it’s so cool that I made note of the sources and started a fresh file, so that I can go back and build a project just around that in the future.

Fascinating tangents are a pitfall of research. Many sniffily advise to “just ignore them.” I take notes, especially for sources, so I can go back to them once the project I’m researching is done. I find that works better for me — I don’t waste time on tangents (fifteen minutes to note sources is reasonable, in my opinion), and I don’t resent losing something interesting.

Did some political work, and have more to do today, including a potentially contentious encounter with someone whom I don’t think is living up to the obligations of the job.

One of my favorite authors, Nicole Peeler, has started a virtual book club as part of her activist and educational work. I joined, and ordered the first book. I’m looking forward to it — she’s putting together a smart group of people, and I think we can have some invigorating discussions.

I’m re-reading AS Byatt’s novel POSSESSION. I re-read it regularly, and it remains one of my favorite novels, although I wasn’t crazy about the film adaptation. I always get something new and nourishing from the text, as one does from well-written material.

I had hoped to get to Cape Cod National Seashore today, since our National Parks are about to be sold off, and I’d like to see it one last time. I don’t think I’ll make it until next week, but I’m determined to get there, thank the rangers in person, and take one last look before the destruction.

Back to the page.

Published in: on January 27, 2017 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance  
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Thurs. Jan. 26, 2016: Contracts, Decisions, Opportunities

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Dark Moon
Rainy and cold

At least it’s not snow, although I’m getting a little tired of rain. And it’s been so mild that the shrubs aren’t sure whether to stay dormant or to bud.

Got some work done on the short story yesterday, and on two proposals. Had a nice lunch at Captain Parker’s in Yarmouth, which is a fun restaurant with good food. Worked on contest entries.

Worked with my elected officials. We are differing on a couple of things, but are keeping it a civil discussion. Working with my elected officials, I don’t expect to get everything I want just because I ask for it; but they can’t represent me unless they know where I stand on things. When they make decisions counter to what I believe is the right choice, we discuss it. If their decisions are counter too often, I vote for someone else in the next election. But a good channel of communication is helpful. Even when I disagree, at least I know I’m being heard and not just ignored, especially when discussions hit specifics. And that’s the point of public services — you are representing many individuals, trying to make decisions that benefit as many as possible, within the value system of those who want you to represent them.

Walked away from a bad contract offer yesterday with the full support of my agent and lawyer. The offer was unacceptable as presented. Our side suggested changes, as one does. The other side said they don’t make any changes. Well, then, I’m not working with you. The first offer is where negotiations START, at least in the professional world. These smaller publishers who expect authors to sign boilerplates are delusional, and the authors so desperate they’re willing to give everything away just to get their names in print usually wind up regretting it.

A second contract negotiation on a different project walked back the money a LOT. We’re talking about walking back the workload to match. Otherwise, I won’t be doing that project, either. Which is fine, since I’d only even agreed to talk to the person as a favor to a friend. You’re not paying? I’m not working. This isn’t my cute lil hobby on the side.

Worked on a couple of proposals last night and this morning, and feel pretty good about them. We’ll see where they end up. This is in follow-up to Tuesday’s meeting.

Writing to do today, and research. The play I’ve been outlining gnaws at me. The last few scenes are very, very clear in my head. I may have to write them down so I don’t lose them.

I’d like to have the short story ready to submit by tomorrow or Saturday so that I can write a bit of the play and get it out of my head — and my heart. This one will be a gut-wrencher to write, which means I’m probably on the right track.

I forgot yesterday that it was both Burns Night and Virginia Woolf’s birthday. Salutes to both of them!

Back to the page.

Published in: on January 26, 2017 at 11:25 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 26, 2016: Contracts, Decisions, Opportunities  
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Wed. Jan. 25, 2017: Meetings & Negotiations & National Parks

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild

Yesterday morning was about contract negotiations on two projects. We’ll see. At this point, either the terms will be accepted, or they won’t. I’m fine with either. I’m not willing to sign something detrimental to my interests. I’d rather walk away.

Got some work done on the short story. I feel good about what’s there, and where it’s going. It was nice to get in some solid writing time.

Drove to New Bedford in the afternoon for my meeting. Drive wasn’t bad, although the fog was thick and it was raining. I need to replace my windshield wipers. I don’t understand the idiots who’ll drive in that weather, refusing to put on their lights. It’s the law to have one’s lights on in this weather; would be nice if it was enforced. It would prevent a lot of accidents.

The meeting went very well. I have some materials to put together by tomorrow and we have to negotiate money. Hopefully, it will work.

On the way back, I plotted out a new play, and worked on the outline last night. It’s a rather bleak, dystopian piece. In other words, contemporary.

Had my orientation for Constitutional Law. I really like the professor. While I believe the class will be challenging, I think it will be worth it.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home, and worked on contest entries. The last couple have been very good.

Love watching WEST WING, but it makes an even starker contrast to what we’re facing.

Kudos to the National Park Service and the employees who are standing up to climate change facts being censored. The Park Service reports to the PEOPLE, who pay for them.

I have a lot of work to do today, along with errands and a lunch mid-Cape. I’ve been invited to an early morning coffee tomorrow morning by a networking organization. I’m tempted to go, but it’s during my best writing time, so I hesitate.

The White House is still ignoring the devastation caused by the tornadoes this weekend. In the states who voted for him. That is not okay. Too busy abusing executive order power and gagging federal agencies.

Published in: on January 25, 2017 at 10:10 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 25, 2017: Meetings & Negotiations & National Parks  
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Tues. Jan. 3, 2017: Writing and Books

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Ninth Day of Christmas
Rainy and cool

If you want to see my To Do List for January, visit the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site here.

I also have an article up about my favorite “Comfort Books” — books I re-read regularly — up on A Biblio Paradise here.

Yesterday, I wrote nearly 2300 words on the 5K short story that’s due at the end of the month, so that’s well on its way. It’s surprising me in a good way; I just hope it’s what they want.

I also wrote an article (the one on comfort books), and started rehearsing for this weekend’s MOBY DICK marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

I should have worked on NOT BY THE BOOK, but I didn’t. I’ll have to make up for that today.

I read a book called SKIN LIKE SILVER by Chris Nickson, and I really liked it. I definitely want to read more of his work. I ordered a bunch from the library. Once I read some more, I will decide which ones I’ll buy. Important to support living writers and all that.

I have more admin work to do today, and then it’s back to the page — both the short story, and NOT BY THE BOOK. Then, it’s more rehearsal for MOBY DICK.

Started a new training regimen of strength & cardio work to go along with the yoga and mediation. Yesterday was strength training. The circuit was challenging without being disheartening, and I felt much better once I did it. Today is cardio — I’m supposed to walk in this bad weather. Too bad for me, right? The only way I’m going to achieve what I want and need to is to get back in shape and stay healthy.

So the House of Representatives wants to gut the Congressional Ethics Panel, does it? The House GOP isn’t even pretending to have any ethics any more. Then it’s up to the few ethical Congress members left to hire private investigators and prosecute the unethical Congressional members through the court. Don’t make our entire system a mockery.

As of January 20, our government WILL be a mockery.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on January 3, 2017 at 10:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 3, 2017: Writing and Books  
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Mon. Jan. 2, 2017: Hit the Ground Writing

Monday, January 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Eighth Day of Christmas

Busy few days.

The file with my answers to the GDR questions didn’t save, so I have to retype it and, hopefully, post it in the next couple of days.  Very frustrating.

JUST A DROP went out on time on Friday, and was accepted. I feel good about it, although there’s still work to do in the development process.

It was weird not to “have to” write for a few days.

So, of course, that meant I wanted to.

Ran some errands on Friday, including getting one of my 2017 calendars. In one of life’s little ironies, the store gave me a bag with a quote on it from MOBY DICK — just minutes after I was assigned my reading slot in next weekend’s MOBY DICK marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Nothing like synchronicity, is there?

But I tried to relax on Friday afternoon and evening. Saturday was about cleaning the house, ruminating on the year, and preparing for the coming one. As a final kick to all of us, 2016 took William Christopher, too. What a damn lousy year.

Made sidecars as the signature cocktail for the evening — I do love a good sidecar! Devilled eggs, cheese and crackers. Poached salmon with potatoes and broccoli for dinner. Bayberry candles for prosperity. Choked down some herring, too! 😉

Prosecco at midnight, a little writing, meditation before bed.

Up early on Sunday, extended yoga and meditation. Fire & Ice ritual, which I do every New Year’s Day. Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Cornish hen, roasted potatoes, and peas for dinner.

A little writing on a project just for me; sorting out some calendar stuff. Finishing up GDR answers and putting together my To Do List for January. Printing off my submission log from 2016, and putting away the drafts and the research for both “Courting the Lioness” and JUST A DROP. They want me to write another play this year; I’m trying to decide whether or not I think it’s a good idea. I will mull it over for a few days.

Re-read what I’ve written so far on NOT BY THE BOOK. I dive back into that today, hoping to finish a draft by March 6. Also working on the outline for SONGBOUND SISTERS, so I can start drafting that again next week.

I have some annoying administrative stuff to handle today, but can’t be avoided. Will also start putting together the newsletter, which I hope to get out by the end of the week. Instead of monthly, which isn’t an option, and too randomly, which doesn’t do anyone any good, I’m going to aim for quarterly.

Start rehearsals for the MOBY DICK marathon today, and also want to get a start on the short story due at the end of the month for the anthology. The word limit is 5K, so it shouldn’t take long to draft, but I want enough time to hone it.

Working on my personal strategic plan, and new marketing plans for the Topic Workbooks and for the Delectable Digital Delights.

Start a new strength training/cardio training plan today, that should work well with the deepening yoga/meditation practice. I need to get back into top condition. I was in shape working shows last summer, and then lost most of it in the autumn, between all the sitting and the driving.

I’m diving into the New Year and making a go of it!

Hope your New Year has started well. Let’s work together to make sure it gains positive momentum, shall we?

Devon

Published in: on January 3, 2017 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 2, 2017: Hit the Ground Writing  
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Thurs. Dec. 22, 2016: Lovely Solstice, Looking Forward to the Year’s End and More

Thursday, December 22, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Don’t forget, “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” is free here with Coupon Code QB74U until December 26, and “Just Jump in and Fly” is free here with Coupon Code LW63D until the same date.

Lovely Solstice celebration yesterday. Cheered me up considerably, which is part of the point of the ritual.

I have questions for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for 2017 up here. Please take some time and use them, if you connect with them. You are welcome to comment publicly on the site, or read along and work on your own. Some of the questions are from last year’s. There are also some new questions, and places where we build on the work done last year. You can access the questions here.

I’m working on the year-end wrap-up of Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. I will schedule it to post on December 31 at the GDR site.

I will not post my answers to my questions until January 2, because I intend to spend most of the 1st in deep contemplation. I am playing with ideas for a “dream” that will take several years to come to fruition, but, if I can pull it off, will be worth it. Or maybe it will stay a dream, but give me something about which to dream. We will see.

Today, I focus on writing JUST A DROP and the short story. After lunch, I deliver the last of the cookie platters to the neighbors. I’m almost finished decorating (finally). Tomorrow will be a major writing/cleaning day.

And then it’s Christmas! AND Chanukah! They both start on the same day this year.

Don’t forget to track your dreams on the Twelve Days of Christmas — they are portents of the coming year! I’m hoping to have positive ones. 2016 was a tough year, and I need a year of kindness to make up for it. With the incoming administration, it is unlikely to happen, but there’s still hope.

Devon

Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 22, 2016: Lovely Solstice, Looking Forward to the Year’s End and More  
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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 30, 2015: Deadlines Met

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy, but good day yesterday. Got a lot done.

Came home, worked on the contest entries and the short story. I feel confident about my choices for the Awards. These are the books that stand out from the pack.

At 5 AM this morning, I bolted up and rewrote the short story. I decided that I wasn’t being true to my characters, and trying to force them into a physical, violent solution instead of a more intellectual one that was more in alignment with who they are. So I rewrote it, I’m much happier with it, and it’s off. On time.

So, both short stories and contest materials are done on time. Now, my focus changes to the contemporary play due on June 1, the historical play I want to finish by July first, and the next radio play.

Tonight, I’m going to the Grant Reception for the new recipients of the Mid-Cape Cultural Grants (since I got one last year, they invited me to this year’s reception). Then, I’ll swing by Liberty Hall to help clean up after tango (I won’t be able to participate this week). I’ve got some more research to do tonight for books that are due back into the ComCat system tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be busy, as will the weekend, but I’m looking forward to reading whatever catches my fancy this weekend.

Have a great day!

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2015 at 9:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 30, 2015: Deadlines Met  
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Sat. April 25, 2015: In Support of Shondra Rhimes

Saturday, April 25, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy. Mostly good busy, but busy. Got some cataloging done and some periodicals processed. Worked on programming stuff and book orders and PR. All that good stuff.

Tired when I got home. Cooked dinner, tried to relax a bit. Read until late, but it was worth it. Got some work done on what I hope will be a short story that test drives some characters for a book.

The new play is exciting. I won’t be able to devote full attention to it until next weekend, after I finish the contest entries and short stories due this week, but I feel like I’m actually SAYING something that’s been on my mind for awhile, in an entertaining fashion through interesting characters in a unique situation. I hope I’m right and it’s not just falling too much in love with the piece! 😉 That’s due June 1, so I have time to play with it.

Just shaking my head with the inane reaction people are having because Patrick Dempsey left GRAY’S ANATOMY and the hate-mongering towards Shondra Rhimes. Some of it by people who claim to be writers – but, of course, have never worked on a television production or been in a WGA writer’s room. He’d been on the show for ten years. If it was time to move on, it was time to move on, and it’s not like anyone who isn’t directly involved with the show is ever going to know the full, true story. There are multiple points of view and possibilities, and this gossip mongering by people who aren’t in the business and haven’t even set foot on a set just shows how stupid and ignorant the gossips are. The fact that so-called “writers” are trashing one of their own without knowing the story is disgusting.

I stopped watching the show several years ago for lots of reasons. But I respect Shondra Rhimes enormously, and hey, any show that can survive into its 11th season has a lot going for it. Good for all of them. It launched a lot of careers, and supported others in shorter arcs. They worked hard and have something to show for it. Whether or not I personally watch it every week doesn’t matter. Shondra Rhimes is a fellow writer, and I support her. Not that she needs it; she’s doing just fine without me! 😉

If some of the rumors are true and she writes people out when they become a pain in the ass, good for her. One works too long and too hard on a production to put up with crap from anyone, and I have a lot more respect for someone who cuts the deadwood than who allows anyone – be it an actor or a producer or a crew member – get away with treating people badly. I’m actually doing that in my backstage piece — an actor thinks he’s more than he is and becomes a PIA — and he’s gone. Written out. Sayonara, baby, and good riddance to you. If you’ve got that kind of control on your own show — use it.

But the rumors might be just that – rumors. I’m not on the show. I don’t know. I don’t even care that much. I do care that people who work hard are being trashed by those who don’t know anything about the profession and trashed by people who have a hard time finding their own asses with both hands.

Everyone has a right to an opinion on the quality of the show, and whether or not they choose to watch it. But to pass judgment on people they don’t know working in a profession they also know nothing about — a clip of a backstage interview is QUITE different than actually working on set, and I know, because I spent my life working backstage in theatre, film, and television — if you don’t know what you’re talking about, shut the fuck up. Who do you think you are, a Republican political candidate? They’re the ones who think because it drips from their poisoned lips, it’s a fact, even though most of them wouldn’t recognize a fact if it hit them with a two by four.

Up early this morning. Got some work done. Have a breakthrough in the edits of one of the stories. I have to cut one of the scenes I really like, and integrate some of the information into the previous scene. That will get me in under the word count AND serve the piece, so it’s all good.

Headed to CVS – they got my mother’s prescriptions wrong AGAIN. Third month in a row. They used to be great, and would be helpful in fixing a problem – back when we first moved here. And there were rarely problems. The last year and a half or so, there are constant errors and they have no interest in fixing the problems. Seems to me it’s time to switch pharmacies.

Working today, then going back to CVS, hoping they’ve sorted things out, then home to do some yard work and then work on contest entries. I want to get them done by Wednesday.

I also have lots of writing and editing to do.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on April 25, 2015 at 9:34 am  Comments Off on Sat. April 25, 2015: In Support of Shondra Rhimes  
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Wed. April 8: Lost Weekend — Writing, Not Liquor!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter DIRECT
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. Thursday and Friday were rough at work. Less said, the better. Really frustrated with the group that bought the CAPE COD TIMES newspaper. Not only did they dump all the calendar entries for April’s programs that took me several hours to load — and they dumped them AFTER they’d confirmed them — now, every calendar entry has to be approved by someone sitting in an office in Tennessee. That is simply not acceptable. Someone in Tennessee should not have the authority to approve or refuse a calendar entry about a local event on Cape Cod. Who ever is sitting there probably has never even visited, much less has any idea what’s important to residents. It’s WRONG on so many levels. Local calendar entries for the newspaper need to be handled LOCALLY.

So, I had to lose more hours re-entering everything into a new system, and now I have to wait for approval. From Tennessee. Especially with these crap “religious freedom” laws (which are, in actuality, laws to allow bigotry and discrimination to anyone the passers deem they want to discriminate against), it makes even less sense. If someone in the TN office decides a Cape Cod program is “against” his so-called “religious beliefs”, does that give him the right to refuse publication?

Finished watching the second season of MISS FISHER over the weekend. The energy and pace were off in a few of the early episodes, and then it picked up steam again as the season progressed. Read the first three books, too. Very different from the series. Since each is a completely different format, each works in its own way. The Phryne-Jack relationship is vital to the series, as is the Dot-Hugh relationship, in a way that isn’t in the books (Hugh isn’t even in the three I’ve read so far). Those relationships are what connect the viewer and make the episodes work within the time framework of each one, whereas the prose canvas is broader, and there’s more room for the other elements. Very interesting to see the differences, and how each works in its own format.

Scriptwriting isn’t “just dialogue” as so many prose writers who want to adapt their novels think. Scriptwriting is visual storytelling. Yes, dialogue is important, but so is choosing what the audience sees, and putting it on the page in such a way that the director and the creative team can fulfill the vision, without dictating every detail.
It’s a completely different way of telling the story.

Worked through quite a few contest entries. The disparity between what works and what doesn’t is far larger this year than in previous years. I finished all the print entries in one of the categories (I still have a few on Kindle), and I’m diving into the second category. The third category has only a few entries, so that won’t take long.

Watched THE IMITATION GAME over the weekend. It was well done, but Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance was a little too mannered for me. I like his intensity, I like his work, but he rarely surprises me any more. Keira Knightley was terrific. Also watched INTO THE WOODS. I’m a big Sondheim fan, and I loved the Broadway production. This one was clever, but I still think it works better on stage than on screen. Meryl Streep was wonderful. The actors playing Jack and Red Riding Hood reminded me of typical Broadway belter kids. There were lots of great moments by everyone throughout, although I thought Johnny Depp’s work was too close to his work in both ALICE IN WONDERLAND and WILLIE WONKA.

We got news of the death of a family member in Europe. It wasn’t someone I knew well, but it still leaves a hole, and there’s paperwork, and lots of other things to take care of.

Sunday was Easter. Since it didn’t rain, I did quite a bit of yard work. Not that it’s visible yet. There’s still plenty more to do. Monday it was supposed to rain, but didn’t, so I did even more yard work, including starting to clean out the front beds. There’s a little progress there, but I still have a lot more work to do, and I can’t do any of it until next weekend. Took a carload full of leaf bags to the dump. Replanted all eighteen heads of lettuce and six Brussels sprout plants. Started two kinds of tomato seeds, borage, feverfew, basil, parsley, and bok choy. Moved some of the potted trees and shrubs out of the garage and back onto the deck.

Tuesday, I was supposed to do taxes and finish the microfilm reels. Instead, I wrote a 5691 draft of a new short story. I have two short stories due at the end of the month. I’d been thinking, percolating, on some ideas, and this one burst forth. I thought I was only going to write 1 or 2K, but I was on a roll, and just kept going. Wrote the whole first draft in one day (practically one sitting, although I got up to pace and mutter fairly frequently).

It felt good, I got to figure out some stuff that was bothering me, and push it to its ridiculous limits and enjoy it. I like the characters, I like the premise. It’s 691 words above the limit, so there’s some serious cutting in its future. Either that, or I need to expand it by about 2K for a different market, and that leaves me still having to write two stories by the end of the month. So I’ll try to cut first. There’s a little too much of my Freudian slip showing in this one, so I’ll have to smooth this out. Great to have catharsis in writing, but therapy is not interesting to readers. Time to cut the navel-gazing and layer in the craft.

Far too many “writers”, when faced with a word count limit (especially in class assignments), ignore it. When called out about it, they go, “ha, ha, ha, I had too much story to fit.” Well, bunny boo, the limit is the limit. Either cut it down to fit, OR WRITE ANOTHER DAMN STORY THAT DOES. It’s called “craft.”

I was exhausted and out of words by the end of the day, although the next story is poking up from the subconscious to the conscious. I’m worried that, if I start it, I’ll lose all track of everything again.

Because, last night, I screwed up. I was supposed to attend a town meeting having to do with changes in parking and sidewalks that will adversely affect the library. I looked at the clock and had plenty of time. I started to do “one more thing.” The next time I looked at the clock, it was 9 PM, and I’m sure the meeting was winding up. I tried to justify it by reminding myself that it was my day off, and I put in far too many hours above and beyond my scheduled work time, but I still felt badly. There’s no excuse, no matter how I try to make myself feel better. I should have been there, and I wasn’t.

I had odd dreams all weekend. One night, I dreamed I moved back to San Francisco. Another night, I dreamed about genealogy. I don’t know WHOSE genealogy I was working on — it sure wasn’t my own family’s.

The upcoming week will be stressful, as will next week. Today is a basic, long workday. Tomorrow is pretty basic, with tango at night. Friday, I have a Chamber breakfast in Hyannis before work, then the work day, then a program that will probably last until 10 PM. I have to be in first thing on Saturday, and then there’s another program on Saturday afternoon, so I’m pulling a 10-5 day instead of a 10-2 day. I have Sunday and Monday to finish taxes and microfilm. Tuesday, I have a meeting in the afternoon (where I’m there for two different organizations), and then a program at the library at night. A week from today is another big program at the library, and so on and so forth.

I was up at 5:30 this morning, because I have so much to do before I go to work, including paperwork that has to go off to Germany. Somewhere in all this, I have to figure out where I’m going to bake and prepare “the light refreshments” we’re serving Saturday afternoon.

Thirty-two days until my vacation. I desperately need it. BEFORE that, I have to finish the contest entries, two stories, do the final edit on the radio play, and get it out. Plus all the programs at work. Plus put together some materials for the Marine Life Center.

It’s a busy month.

Devon

Published in: on April 8, 2015 at 9:37 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 8: Lost Weekend — Writing, Not Liquor!  
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