Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)

Personal Revolution Cover

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Promotion starts today for “Personal Revolution”, a short mystery set in a town near Concord, MA, that takes place around Independence Day. It’s only 99 cents, available on Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, and more.

Blurb:
When a man is hanged from the oak tree in a Redcoat uniform at an historic house just before the Independence Day program, Glenda is determined to both solve the murder and protect the newly-opened museum. What she finds is much darker — and more personal — than she bargained.
(End blurb)

I hope you enjoy it. I’m playing with the idea of doing more with these characters.

Yesterday seems very far away, somehow. Maybe it was all those mass shootings, and the ridiculous and irresponsible way they were covered by the press.

What did I do yesterday? Sent out some pitches. Worked on the 30 second script. Did more research for the article that I hope to finish, polish, and get out the door today. Checked email incessantly to see if another pitch was accepted (haven’t heard back yet). Looked at a website that’s been fallow for the past few years, with an eye to starting up that platform again.

The Ridiculous Request of the Day was from an “author” who “generously offered” (his words) to pay me $350 to do a line edit on his “blockbuster” novel — that runs 120,000 words. Um, no. 120,000 words breaks down to 480 pages in Standard Manuscript Format, and I bet his wasn’t. Bet it’s single-spaced. Sweetie, $350 gets you to page 70, and I’m on the low end of the editing price range. It’s not “generous”. It’s not even a professional rate. Plus, I’m taking on very few of that type of editing client — more for scripts than for novels at this point, unless it’s at the top of my rate. Now, I am sympathetic to someone’s tight budget. But don’t boast it’s a “blockbuster” (because if it was, you’d be under contract to an agent and one of the Big 5). Look for an editor where appropriate to your budget, such as a grad student in English, who can both use the cash AND potentially use it for credit in an independent study.

On a happier note, “The Ramsey Chase”, the first Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure, will be ready for re-release sooner than I expected. The cover design will be done soon, and I should have the galleys shortly for a final proof read.

However, that means that I have to have the opening of the second Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure ready to pop into the back of it, have the darned thing outlined, and meet a deadline for its release!

Considering that I also have to get moving on the next Twinkle Tavern comic mystery, which needs to be ready to release by Labor Day, that’s a new (but positive) pressure. That will feature the characters from “Plot Bunnies” and release under the Ava Dunne name.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Cornelia and Roman. It’s a satirical fantasy/adventure series, involving time travel and an alternate universe that’s somewhat familiar and somewhat not. There’s a wry, arch tone to it that’s a blast to write. I have a lot of fun turning genre formula inside out with it, and making pointed social commentary. When first released, in 2008, it was kind of relevant; it’s even more relevant now.

We’re also in talks to set the re-release date for Playing the Angles (which used to be Assumption of Right, or, as I joked, When Bad Titles Attack). Early October is looking good, with The Spirit Repository then releasing in May of 2018. This means we have to make sure the cover is ready sometime in July. Since we’ve been having difficulty finding the right cover image, that worries me.

I should have mowed yesterday, but didn’t. So guess what I had to do first thing today? Yup, side yard needs it.

So, there were two mass shootings yesterday in the country, one on the East Coast, one on the West. The UPS shooting is hardly getting any coverage, because only ordinary people were hurt and/or killed. The one involving a Congressman, a lobbyist, and other political types is getting attention, because of the GOP’s propaganda machine. The two Capitol police personnel who put themselves in the line of fire are being mostly ignored, while politicians who weren’t even there are tearful about their own “narrow escape.” The press is covering it irresponsibly, as usual. The GOP is blaming the left, because the shooter volunteered on the Sanders campaign. Of course, the fact that the Narcissistic Sociopath repeatedly incited and encouraged violence during his campaign and actually called for Hillary Clinton’s assassination is being ignored. As is the fact that the GOP is the party who votes to allow the mentally ill access to guns (because they expect shooting victims to be outside their own party — yesterday shocked them because they think only unarmed liberals will be shot). Paul Ryan is being lauded for the speech he gave on the floor; people are saying it was wonderful. I disagree. For the man who is determined to make inhuman cuts to healthcare, Social Security, Medicare and food stamps to declare “We don’t shed our humanity when we enter the Chamber” is hypocrisy. It’s typical of Lyin’ Ryan, but it is still hypocrisy.

They all make me sick.

On that not-so-happy note, I need to go and mow, and then it’s back to the page, because, no matter what the external stresses, I have to keep showing up at the page and getting it done.

Don’t forget to hop over to the GDR site, where I have the mid-month check-in posted. I can’t believe we’re half way through June!

Published in: on June 15, 2017 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)  
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Fri. July 1, 2016: Mars Makes His Move & I’m Independent

Personal Revolution CoverFriday, July 1, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Walked in to the library yesterday morning to be told I was fired, the position was “eliminated”. I would have stayed for a few hours to compile contacts info for upcoming programs and finish dangling ends, but I had to turn in my key and leave without even turning on the computer or anything else. Buh-bye.

Had to take my mom on some medical errands, but then I went down to the “Career Center” in Hyannis to fill out the unemployment paperwork and do all the registering and stuff one does in this situation. They were absolutely lovely AND I can go down there and do my job searches on their computers and book time and all kinds of things. In fact, I have to show my face once a week, which is fine, because they’re so helpful. I haven’t had to fill out unemployment paperwork since 1991. It’s kind of different now. But if you have half a brain, it’s not rocket science. They also suggested that I not put so much pressure on myself now (the first three hours after I was fired), and at least give myself the holiday to decompress.

Of course, I’ll be writing for the entire holiday weekend to finish the book that’s due at the end of next week, but that’s another whole ball of wax.

It also shores up how people took advantage of us at the Place That Shall Not Be Named when they demanded we fill out applications for them, instead of going to the center and learning how to do it them-damn-selves.

But that’s no longer my problem, and neither is anything else over there.

I let the people with whom I’d been negotiating projects know I was gone and they’d have to deal with Them directly.

Did the grocery shopping (chop wood, carry water). Did a little bit of work on INITIATE, and finished the proofs of “Personal Revolution”.

Read Lilith St. Crow’s CLOUD WATCHER, which I enjoyed.

I have a massive migraine, but that’s the stress, and once it releases, I’ll be okay.

Didn’t feel up to doing much of anything last night and went to bed early. I promised myself I’d give yesterday over to mourning, and then get on with it. Too many deadlines to indulge in a pity party.

Lots of support from friends all over the place, and suggestions from colleagues in the business who are off-Cape. Also getting a lot of love & support from some actor pals, even though we are all far-flung all over the world on different projects right now. Because when you’re “one of us”, you circle the wagons when the civilians behave like . . .well, civilians.

Up early this morning. Yoga outside, and my first writing session of the day on the deck (on INITIATE).

“Personal Revolution” released this morning. You can find it on Smashwords here. It’s set during an Independence Day event at a New England historical site (a fictional one), so it’s relevant to the weekend, and I was damned if I was going to drop that ball, even though it was rough getting it done. But done it is, and I hope people enjoy it.

Headed back to the page for the CHARISMA revisions. I have a wide stretch of uninterrupted worktime, and I intend to make the most of it and meet my deadlines.

The summer flirt boys are back in town, so that’s always amusing, too. Not that I take any of it seriously, but it’s a fun distraction.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! See you on the other side, when I’ll update where I am on the deadlines.

Happy 4th! Mars is kicking my ass, and “Independence Day” is a relevant meaning this year!  😉 It will all be good, it just sucks right now.

Devon

Published in: on July 1, 2016 at 9:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 1, 2016: Mars Makes His Move & I’m Independent  
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Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release

Plot Bunnies Cover 1

Friday, June 03, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a long day, but fine.

Once work was done, we settled on the cover for “Plot Bunnies”, gave it a final going-over – which meant a couple of last-minute revisions. Much easier in this format than in most manuscript galleys, where I wouldn’t have been able to change anything. But this was important, because I may well do more stories with these characters. I reworked the end scene, and fixed something early on that sets up a good deal of the when and why. I also came up with a series title: Twinkle Tavern Mysteries.

This morning, “Plot Bunnies”, under the Ava Dunne name, released via Smashwords. You can purchase a copy for only 99 cents here.

This has to do with the platform building I’m doing for the Ava Dunne name, so that if and when my agent sells the series she’s got, I’ve already got a foundation.

Now, I have to go into edits for “Personal Revolution”, because that has to go to galleys and be ready to go by the end of the month.

This morning, I managed to start getting the rewrite for CHARISMA on paper – new opening sequence. I like it, although I have to massage it a bit. It’s still first drafty. But it feels good to be actually putting words on paper again, after a week of percolating. I know where I’m headed and am looking forward to both the journey and the destination. I’m hoping for a solid writing weekend, even though it’s my Saturday “on” tomorrow.

We’re down two people at work, so I have no doubt it will be very busy. It already has been.

But I hope you enjoy “Plot Bunnies”. I’m very fond of the piece and its characters.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on June 3, 2016 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 3, 2016: “Plot Bunnies” Release  
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Thurs. May 26, 2016: Genre Dilemmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful holiday!

Devon

Wed. Jan. 16, 2013: Rain and webinars and work

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Yes, Jupiter’s been retrograde for a good, long while now, but I’d hoped if I ignored it . . .didn’t work! 😉

I like the rain, though — I like being all warm and cozy inside and hearing it patter out there. I LIKE variations in weather! 😉

Got some decent work done yesterday, got out a few pitches, worked with students, got out the next of the Topic Workbooks up on Smashwords:

The Series Bible: Creation and Maintenance

It’s a great little book with ways to set up a series bible to track details, arcs, setting, clothing, furniture, quirks in the series, so that if there’s a deviation, it’s a choice rather than a mistake. I hope you enjoy it!

I also added one more workshop for February, again a short one, running Feb. 11-14: “Journal into Fiction”. It deals with different types of journals, and how to transform entries into viable fiction. It also has tips on keeping a travel diary with an eye to mining it for stories, articles, and essays in the future. Details and registration here, under the information for the Graveyard of Abandoned Projects.

Both February workshops are at the beginning of the month, because I’m going into rehearsal for the new play and that will be my life for most of February and into March. I’m waiting to find out the date the venue is booked, because that’s what I will work backwards from.

Dropped off some books at the Centerville Library, and picked up some books at the Osterville Library. Read Sheila Bender’s KEEPING A JOURNAL YOU LOVE, which was interesting, and some of the writers quoted make me want to read them! Now reading Nancy Slonim Aronie’s WRITING FROM THE HEART — good info and encouragement for those in the early stages of their creative exploration, although she advocates writing in the present tense, and there’s nothing that gets me to put down a book faster than an author using the present tense. To me, it’s not a sign of immediacy in the work — it’s the author calling attention to himself, a twee “look at ME!” rather than letting me enter the character’s skin. I can take it in non-fiction and essay, but in fiction — just makes me want to throw the book across the room. I agree with a lot of Aronie’s suggestions, but this is one where I respectfully disagree!

I’m always reading new-to-me books about writing, to see what’s useful to add to the list for students.

I’ve got to get some work done on the play this morning, and work with students this afternoon. At 11 AM, I’m attending a webinar that sounds pretty interesting, about marketing strategies. So I need to clear everything possible off my desk before that.

Spent some time with both my Cosmology and Astronomy homework — amazing how much the greenhouse effect comes up in Astronomy class!

I’m coughing and have a scratchy throat — will use one of my herbal remedies, but I’ve been feeling so run down the last couple of weeks, I hope I’m not tipping into full sick.

Devon

Thurs. Jan. 3, 2013: Writing, writing, writing, writing . . . .

IMG_0779

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and c-c-cold!

Good morning! A little late getting online today, because I was at yoga.

I’m so delighted by the enthusiasm and thoughtful posts over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions — it’s always such fun to work towards goals together in company!

I wrote 1K on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE yesterday and 1K on LEADING OPPORTUNITIES — good day for both books. I caught up on a lot of email, and I’m getting through the backlog, too — seeing what needs to be filed, what can be dumped, if there’s stuff I never dealt with, and organizing market listings so I can attack them methodically for either queries or submissions. Swapped interviews for slots on blogs — my guest will be here at the end of January, and she’ll host me on the release day of OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

Spent most of the afternoon re-formatting “Too Much Mistletoe”, “Tumble”, and “Just Jump in and Fly” and getting them up on Smashwords. I’ll add the links to the appropriate pages on the website. I still have to tweak the covers some more — where Payloadz distorted the covers and said they were too big, Smashwords is saying they’re too small.

It’s made me realize that Nina Bell was really, in a lot of ways, a character ahead of her time. I’m looking forward to working with her more NOW, although, initially, the stories will be set back in the 1990s. I will move them forward — eventually, she’ll have to face 9/11. It will be interesting to see how she and her career evolve. I’m going to fix the parts of TAPESTRY that don’t work — since I know a lot more about structure than when I wrote it — while still keeping her character, well, Nina, because that’s what makes her memorable. The characters in “Just Jump in and Fly” and the energy in that piece just delights me — I look forward to working on the piece for Imbolc. I’ll probably release another Nina short in the next few weeks, and I also have to turn my attention to the re-release of “The Ramsey Chase” — now that I know I was writing time travel/steampunk/fantasy, I can actually use the expectations of each genre to support the structure better.

I’ll get those links up on the website later today — but I hope people find the stories and fall in love with the characters. Nina has always been a fan favorite — maybe, with my maturing a bit in terms of craft, now she can find her audience.

I’m also considering putting together a media kit that covers multiple books, etc., that I can use as a catch-all, in addition to having the more focused kits for the individual books.

I did a chunk of work on Confidential Job #1, and will be able to complete that assignment and get it out by tomorrow.

Still working on the proposal for my agent, and still working on the Twelve Days of Christmas stories — I have a feeling I’ll be working on those well into the month! But they’re fun, and I think, when they release during the holiday season at the end of this year, people will enjoy them.

Yoga was great — now, it’s digging in to work. Got some student assignments to check up on!

Devon

Fri. Nov. 30, 2012: Rich Writing & Trip Prep

IMG_0659

Friday, November 30, 2012
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Worked flat out yesterday. One press release was approved,and out it went The second press release was tweaked and I had to wait for photos, but those arrived last night and it will go out this morning. That will clear off the desk before I leave.

Polishing the Flash 7 Workshop that starts a week from today. The exercises are REALLY fun — I may well write along with the class, even if I don’t post the pieces. There’s still time to sign up here — it’ll be a great class, writing, revising, and submitting 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 days, and they’ll all be out the door before the holiday insanity starts! 😉

I started working on the Smashwords formatting — I think, once I get the hang of it, it will be pretty smooth, but the first one is always the hardest. I doubt I can get them up before I go to NY.

Caught up on my World History class. Next week is the last week of lectures, but we have until the end of the month to finish our final paper and wrap up.

Good writing sessions yesterday morning and this morning. There’s a richness in these characters’ lives that I enjoy writing, and something I find missing from a lot of the books I’ve read lately. Unfortunately, about the last dozen or so books I’ve read (from the library) have been awful. Very disappointing. I’m trying to pick the books for the trip carefully, so that I’m not disappointed.

Managed to get a few decorations up on the tree this morning, but it’s slow going. However, I am packed for my trip (except for the books). I need to finish Costume Imp’s birthday present today, and get a few other things done, and I’m good to go.

Devon

Published in: on November 30, 2012 at 9:33 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 30, 2012: Rich Writing & Trip Prep  
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