Wed. Oct. 10, 2018: A Creative Place to Put the Rage

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest post!

Disheartening times. We no longer have a functioning democratic republic in this country. We need to stop talking about “civility” and the “high road.”

Don’t even get me started on Susan Collins. She needs to be removed far before 2020. The fact her husband is a lobbyist should disqualify her (and any candidate) from office.

Friday was a blur of grocery shopping and appointments and trying to get my act together and feeling awful. Finally got a quote from the mechanic — they want to charge me over $100 for an oil change — before adding in labor — for something that usually costs me $40? I don’t think so. And they “can’t” give me an estimate on the rest of the work? Did they sell the business to someone? Or do I need to find a new mechanic?

Shopping around for other quotes. I might have to get the work done piecemeal.

PetSmart Customer Disservice is a disgrace. Instead of addressing and solving the problem, they sent me a form letter and a coupon. No. That’s not what I wanted. I don’t want free stuff. I want them to stop slapping me in the face after being a customer for over 20 years. I have to ask Purina where else they distribute ProPlan. Not shopping at PetSmart anymore.

The ARC I won from Jenn McKinlay, HITTING THE BOOKS arrived, and I read it. It’s well-done. Yes, I figured it out, but I still enjoyed the journey, and the way the character relationships are growing.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, filled with great stuff. A nice treat.

It took most of the day to clean the oven and the stove, but it was worth it.

Was ill overnight on Friday, which meant I had to cancel out of plans on Saturday. Had to run a few errands. Baked a chive batter bread, which looks better than it tastes, sadly.

Saturday, I went to pick up a prescription for my mom. An old white man driving a Mercedes screamed at me in the CVS parking lot that he had the right of way (he didn’t), because “you’re only a woman.”

The Kavanaugh Effect has already started. White men emboldened to act on their misplaced senses of entitlement more than ever.

On the positive side, this new revision of RELICS & REQUIEM is going well. I’m fixing the problems. The book is much, much stronger now, and tearing out that secondary plot line allows the relationship between Amanda and Phineas to shine.

Unfortunately, that puts me even further behind on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Needing something to do with all this rage, I went back and re-read HEART SNATCHER, the first in the Justice By Harpy Trilogy, and what I’ve written in HEART BINDER, the second book.

There’s a lot of stuff in there that works. And the timing of the book is right. I stopped submitting the book a few years ago. The universal notes from agents and editors were that the writing was strong, but “women’s rage makes readers uncomfortable.”

You know what? Too fucking bad.

This book’s time has come.

I sent the latest draft (which still needs work) to my editor, to see what she says about it. Since we’re still trying to negotiate only doing one Coventina Circle a year, and scheduling the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures, maybe this is something they can use instead of two Coventina Circle Books. The whole trilogy is outlined, and i have a third of book 2 written. They would have to come out pretty close together to work, but it’s important that the first book ride the wave. It’s time is now, and if I hesitate, I’ll miss it.

I’ve been re-reading WOMEN ON THE CASE, a Sisters in Crime anthology edited by Sara Paretsky that came out in 1996. It’s eerily relevant (not to mention filled with gorgeous writing). It also makes me feel that Sisters in Crime has softened too much from its original purpose.

Barbara Ross wrote a piece on the need for cozy mysteries entertainment and escape during dark times on The Wickeds.  While I agree with it, and I think we need to write relevant work that writes our way to a better world, I think WOMEN ON THE CASE, and most of the early Sisters in Crime anthologies show it’s possible to do both.  Although, to give the cozy its due, the murderers are brought to justice. Which is something we’re not seeing enough of in the real world.

I mentioned on Twitter that, for this year’s Nano, we need a Women’s Rage/Women Write Change forum, dedicated to the politics of the day, the rage, and writing the change we want to see in the world. The Nanowrimo organization needs to stay neutral and completely inclusive. I respect that. But I need something different this year. So I will build it myself.

I’ve also been unhappy in the Nano forums the last couple of years. They used to be a big part of why I hung out on them. Interesting people from all over the world writing and getting to know each other. The last few years, though, any time I mentioned a published book or answered a question about publishing, the moderators scolded me for “self-promotion.” Which it wasn’t. It was using an example from something that actually got published. But I noticed the disdain so many moderators now have when published writers/working professionals actually participate.

The idea of #WomenWriteChange has gotten some positive feedback, so I’m going to put something together. Stay tuned.

Worked with a client yesterday, and will do so today. Yesterday with the client was exhausting on far too many levels. Ran around trying to get other quotes for the work that needs to happen on the car. It shouldn’t be this hard to get an oil change, for goodness’ sake. It never used to be.

RELICS needs to go into galleys by the end of the week, so I have to double down.

And I need to finish my speech for the human rights conference.

Onward.

 

Wed. Sept. 5, 2018: Trying to Fuse the Past and Present Selves

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Saturn goes direct tomorrow, thank goodness.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I have a post up about teachers.

Busy weekend, and, emotionally difficult.

The writing went well, although it wasn’t enough, it’s never enough. But Sunday, in particular, was strong on RELICS, writing two and a half chapters.

Cleaning out boxes from the basement. It’s slow going, because there are many, many boxes. And I want to deal with EACH ITEM in each box, and make a decision on it. I’m tossing a good deal; found a few things to sell or give away. Some of the books are dusty and damaged, and I’m trying to restore them and repack them so I know what I have and where it is.

I’m finding a lot of mysteries, especially those written by women, from the 1990s. Books when Sisters in Crime was just coming to prominence, when the writing was fast and fresh and determined. I really feel that women’s rights, in general, have gone backwards since 2001. There have been some writers that have managed to break out, but so many have been forced into an ever-tightening formula that dumbs down the characters to make the readers feel better about themselves. There were so many more books dealing with different approaches to real issues. Definitely not enough diversity in either the writers or the characters. But when I look at these books and I look at a lot of what’s out there now, we’ve definitely backslid. Formulas are more restrictive; where characters used to be non-conformists and were accepted by the community by the end of it because of what they brought to the table, too many now are conforming by the end of the books. I see a loss of the independence we strove so hard to gain.

I wonder where some of these authors, who were so important to me then, have gone. Are they still writing? Did they give up or move onto other things, when they said all they felt they had to say in this arena? We all move and change. But I’m wondering what happened and where they are.

Once I started working on Broadway, I wasn’t active in most writers’ organizations for a long, long time. They met in the evenings; I worked. Even though I wrote, and I wrote every day, the bulk of my life was caught up with the theatre. The saying “Theatre is a jealous mistress” is not just words.

I still read a lot and constantly bought books (hey, Broadway salary, I could afford it). But, as I go through these boxes of books, I see that particular authors fell off my radar. It was the days before social media; heck, re-reading my 1995 diary, I’d just started on CompuServe.

Speaking of which, I found and re-read my journal form 1995. I was making the transition from off-Broadway to Broadway (which is huge; don’t ever let anyone tell you that different types of theatre aren’t vastly different). I was getting into the habit of writing every day (or, at least, most days). I was working 8 shows/week. I was also out at least 5X week at museums, gallery openings, screenings, music, other shows, etc., etc. A very full NYC life. I had a lot of energy, although I lived in a perpetual state of exhaustion.

I’d forgotten how much I’d dated that year. And, looking back, I’m grateful I didn’t wind up long-term with any of them!

I cry for my younger self, who, depending on how you look at it, was either naive or stupid. But I’m grateful for those experiences.

The problem with finding so many books is that I want to sit down and re-read most of them! That slows things down, too.

This cleanout is a combination of wonderful and painful.

I’m so close to the end of this draft of RELICS. And it feels like the horror movie where you run down the hall and it keeps getting longer.

Sad to hear about the death of Carole Shelley. We worked together on WICKED. A talented, formidable woman both on and off stage who did not suffer fools a all.

There are so many other issues I want to discuss – THE NEW YORKER acting like idiots offering a headline slot to a white supremacist – cancelling didn’t solve the issue. The joke of SCOTUS hearings – Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley are an embarrassment to the Senate. If Kavanaugh was actually worthy of the slot, he would request the hearings postponed and all the records released. The fact that he’s not demanding transparency tells us all we need to know.

 

Published in: on September 5, 2018 at 2:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 5, 2018: Trying to Fuse the Past and Present Selves  
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Mon. Sept. 19, 2016: Getting Back to a Writing Rhythm

Monday, September 19, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and humid

We finally have some much-needed rain!

Saturday, we were up and out very early, headed to Providence. We dropped our friend off, then headed down to Newport. It was a gorgeous day.

The International Boat Show was in Newport. The place was packed! And I happened to walk into a store, and there was my fellow Sister-in-Crime, Alyssa Maxwell, doing a book signing for her Gilded Age mystery series set in Newport! I knew her work, of course, but we’d never met before. It was great to have a chat, meet, and I bought and she signed the book I didn’t have! 😉

We met friends for lunch at the Red Parrot (lots of choices, but a bit disappointing). I did some geographical research for the Victorian mystery.

Exhausted by the time we got home, and the cold came back full force. To bed early.

Sunday, I gave myself the day off, mostly reading and doing a few errands.

Today, it’s back to the page, once I’ve done some errands. I need to start opening out CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT (I need to submit the full length within the next few weeks), and work on the other projects I’m juggling. I’m also starting the next round of edits on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, and preparing for another trip later in the week.

Busy, busy, but good busy.

I think I know what’s coming next for the characters in “Lake Justice” – so I’ll have to get that going soon. I want to pair three shorts for the “Lake Justice” characters – one set in a ski resort, and the other set on an island in Maine. That will make a good set of stories to put together with the re-released “Lake Justice.”

I also want to do another Twinkle Tavern series mystery – probably a novella.

Somehow, I have to figure out how to fit them in with the projects I’m juggling, including the plays and CHOLERIC and SONGBOUND.

But it’s a good dilemma to have!

I will be very relieved when Mercury goes direct in a few days – and the Equinox is coming up!

Devon