Thurs. March 23, 2017: Processing (and Activating) Process

Thursday, March 23, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. I had lots of admin work to do and situations to handle, so I did.

I wrote about six pages. That’s not bad, but since there were so many days when I wrote so much more each these last few months, it felt like I was behind.

Re-read and did some editing on several projects, and I’m getting back into NOT BY THE BOOK, which is good, because that needs to get back on track.

Worked on contest entries — reading another darn good one, which is always invigorating. Truly, each time I pick up a new entry, I want to fall in love with it. I WANT them to be good, I WANT them to succeed on every level. It’s not possible to have too many good books out there.

Working on promotions for the Topic Workbooks, mostly on social media. I’m trying timed promotions on specific outlets one at a time, to see which are the most successful. I’m sure “what works” will regularly change up!

Discouraged about a few things, and trying to keep my spirits up. I’m trying to gear up to work on some short stories, but not feeling inspired in that direction. If I’m not excited by a piece, there’s no way I can infuse it with enough passion to engage a reader, so I’ve put aside several potential short stories I planned to work on.

It’s important to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track, because it’s a fun piece and I’ve also got a target market in my sights; same with SONGBOUND SISTERS (which will need more time and careful attention), and HEART THIEF.

While, of course, working on the never-ending POWER OF WORDS, which is how I blow off steam and keep steady. I’m figuring POWER OF WORDS (and the actual books it eventually breaks down into) needs about another three years before it’s ready for publication. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. It’s not going to be earning its keep for awhile — but I think, once it does get out there, it will intrigue people who are interested in the process of creating, and how it’s done collaboratively (and sometimes combatively), and how one goes off to create alone, and then brings it forward to meld it with other collaborators, to make it work better.

The never-ending first draft is the skeleton, and not active enough. As I rework sections (which often happens as I’m moving forward — it’s a process unlike any other I’ve ever used for a book or series), it gets more active, more invigorating, more engaging. The process about making process active is interesting.

Have to take my mom for a medical check, and then run some errands. This afternoon, I have a meeting a few towns over, and then, it’s back to the page.

I had to cancel my weekend plans, which is disappointing, but that’s life.

Onward, with pen in hand.

Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 9:19 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 23, 2017: Processing (and Activating) Process  
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Tues. Feb. 28, 2017: Creative Leaps

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was about a lot of writing, and not much else, although I had a few errands and a meeting.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the February wrap-up. I totaled how much I’ve written this month, and, between the work on POWER OF WORDS and the adaptations, it’s about 100K. Not bad at all.

I have to turn my focus, in March, more evenly to SONGBOUND SISTERS and to NOT BY THE BOOK, since they will be quicker sale than what POWER has evolved into, but, after several months of struggling creatively, I’m glad to be getting back on track.

I had a horrible migraine yesterday, which slowed me down. It was better when I woke up, but it’s coming back.

I wrote a few pages this morning on a contemporary action comedy screenplay. The characters started talking to me yesterday, and I just want to get enough down not to lose it.

Errands, writing, research, and HobNob tonight.

And then it’s March. Wow. This year’s speeding by. It will be ever so much better when we remove sociopaths from the administration.

Onward.

Published in: on February 28, 2017 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 28, 2017: Creative Leaps  
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Thurs. Feb. 16, 2017: Getting Back to the Creative Groove

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Snowy and cold

Not much to stay about yesterday. I wrote, I studied, I researched.

I’m in negotiations for several interesting projects; we’ll see how they go. I think I’m going to withdraw from consideration for one — it’s intriguing, but when I weigh in all the factors, I don’t think we’re the right fit for each other. Rather than finding that out when we’re committed, I think I should trust my instincts.

I also have two plays to get out this week — they’re written and polished, but there’s an opportunity, and I’m going to see if these particular plays are right for it.

Happy that the nominee for Labor Secretary withdrew his nomination. We don’t need someone accused of domestic abuse who doesn’t believe in minimum wage heading the Department of Labor.

You want to look back at a great Labor Secretary? Research Frances Perkins. She witnessed the Triangle Factory Fire (those of you who know me know why that tragedy is so important to me), and then, later, when she became Labor Secretary, she actually cared about people who work for a living and implemented policies for them, not just for the employers who are more interested in personal profit than a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

All of these Republicans who are blocking fair and independent investigations into the Russia connections and other security breaches — after relentless investigations into Clinton THAT FOUND NOTHING BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING TO FIND — all they’re doing is raising suspicion that they’re in on the fix and that they, too, are treasonous and need to be investigated. A lot of people need to be removed from their jobs in DC, and a lot of indictments need to be handed down.

I have to work on writing a paper for Constitutional Law in the next few days. It’s short — 500-750 words. But it has to be not just good, but great.

Never short of challenges, which is a good thing.

At least I’m getting my creative groove back. I think I’m ready to tackle the next chapter of SONGBOUND SISTERS later today (after I do some work on WORDS) and maybe even can get back to NOT BY THE BOOK this weekend.

Fingers crossed.

Monday is a holiday, so maybe it’ll be quiet and I can get a lot done.

Published in: on February 16, 2017 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 16, 2017: Getting Back to the Creative Groove  
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Wed. Feb. 15, 2017: Of Words and Firemen

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was an odd day. Dump run in the morning, to get rid of the trash. Errands. Library.

Had a huge craving for fish and chips. My characters ate it in a recent scene, while they were having a production meeting, and suddenly, all I could think of was how badly I wanted fish and chips.

There’s a place just down the street from me, a chain restaurant I usually avoid, but they were close and reasonably price.

As I pull up and get out of the car, three fire trucks pull up. And the guys, my firemen, are busting my chops, because here we all are again. Together.

Turns out the power outages caused problems in the sprinkler system for the whole plaza, and they had to check each pressure point. The fire alarms were going off all over the place, including in the restaurant. They couldn’t cook, but people could stay. Most didn’t.

I hung out, nursing a beer, and about a half hour later, it was all settled, and I got my fish and chips. Worth the wait. The manager knocked 50% off, but I left the waitress a huge tip, because three tables had walked out on her, and she was having a rough day.

So it was all good.

But I didn’t get started on my writing day until nearly 3 PM, and only got 14 pages in. Which is still decent.

I figured, as I was doing my mid-month GDR evaluation, that I’ve written 177 pages so far this month, a little over 44K words. Even though it’s not on the projects I planned, it’s a good pace.

I’m rethinking some of the plot points of SONGBOUND SISTERS, and I hope to get back into that this weekend. I’m not quite sure how I can get back on track with NOT BY THE BOOK, but I’d like to, because it’s high energy, fun, and romantic, and I think readers would enjoy it.

I’m hoping to have a solid writing and research day today, and later, spend some time on Constitutional Law. I’ve also got some material to work on for FIX-IT GIRL.

Back to the page, which is my favorite place to be.

Published in: on February 15, 2017 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 15, 2017: Of Words and Firemen  
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Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Day after Lunar Eclipse
Snowy and cold

I don’t often post on a Saturday; let’s see if I can today, or if nothing’s working.

We had a blizzard on Thursday. Basically, the Cape shut down. The Governor told people to stay home. Although it didn’t hit the Cape until around noon, people paid attention — schools, libraries, lots of businesses closed. Most things were closed yesterday, although it wasn’t as bad as predicted.

During the blizzard, I looked out of the window, and there was something flapping in one of the snow banks. It looked like a person in distress. I bundled up and dashed out, wondering if I was going to have to call my lovely firemen. But it wasn’t a person — it was my neighbor’s flag, whose line had snapped. The way it landed in the snow bank looked like a body (it’s a big flag). I managed to grab it before it ever technically hit the ground (it was above the ground on the snow bank) and took it in. I hung it in the bathroom to let it dry off, then folded it up and gave it back yesterday, when he came over to help us dig out the bottom of the driveway. He was glad to get it back — and glad it hadn’t touched the ground.

I wrote, although not on what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m back working on what was originally called POWER OF WORDS. Now that I know what I want to do with it, once it’s all done and goes through a massive editing process, I’m inspired again. Yesterday, I finished what will eventually be Book 2 of the series and started Book 3. Yesterday I got about 40 pages done. I’m first-drafting right now, so it’s fast. It’s the basic plot and character drives, and then, in the second draft, I fill it out and deepen it. I’d already done the second draft for book 1 and part of book 2. The tandem drafting is a little odd, but every project requires its own process.

I studied Constitutional Law. It’s depressing to see how the GOP have turned into such oathbreakers. The level of corruption in the current administration is appalling. The courts are our last line of defense, and the administration is bound and determined to shred them, too. But I’m learning a lot in the class. My professor is terrific, and the course is very well done. My professor is much more optimistic than I am, that’s for sure!

I’ve been researching the Italian Renaissance, which is such a pleasure. It’s also relevant — in terms of the development of humanism and the need for art. It’s interesting how the wealthy of that time were determined to make the world better, not just for themselves, but for everyone, becoming patrons of the arts to create things that were both beautiful and challenging. The present-day rich only want to take more from themselves and hurt others. They want to shut down beauty, challenge, and, especially, education.

That is why art is always political and always important. It can also be entertaining and a relief from the strife of daily life, but, for it to connect to people, there’s got to be something meaningful there. Otherwise, it’s just empty calories. Sometimes one needs that as a stress relief valve, but genuine art always challenges and always makes the world better, even when it’s uncomfortable.

I’ve got a stack of books out of the various libraries in the network, and I’ve also checked out “Great Courses” in both art and in history. The lectures are interesting, although dense, and it’s interesting to see how connected everything is. Both professors are committed to context, and that is so important.

In other words, I’m making good use of my snowed-in time!

I have to venture out today to return some books, send off some material, and run some errands. We had more snow overnight — which means more shoveling — and expect another storm tomorrow into Monday, which could wipe out most of Monday.

Last year, the wood lasted all winter. I’m already running low. Might have to restock the wood next week.

Back to the page — things are rolling with this piece, and I want to keep up the momentum. SONGBOUND SISTERS also is starting to pull again, as is NOT BY THE BOOK, so I’m hoping I can give them some attention soon, too.

However, the bulk of the day and tomorrow morning must be about studying for the Constitutional Law quiz. If I can even take it, depending on the power situation.

Power issues all week have put me behind in getting stuff out.

At least I can write in longhand by candlelight, if necessary! 😉

Published in: on February 11, 2017 at 10:46 am  Comments Off on Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank  
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Tues. Jan. 17, 2017: Reading, Figuring, Negotiation

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and take a look at “The Joy of Re-Reading.” Maybe it will inspire you to re-read some of your favorites.

Well, the weekend wasn’t as relaxing or productive as I hoped.

There was news happening, such as Swamp Thing Elect’s attack on John Lewis — right before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Typical of a self-centered Swamp Thing to attack someone vital to this country’s civil rights.

Not to mention that Biloxi, MS is now calling it “Great Americans Day”. That is not the name of the holiday, and you don’t get to change its name just because you’re a racist representing other racists.

Ringling Brothers’ Circus is closing after 146 years. Feld blames animal rights activists, and I call bullslhit on that. There are circuses without animal acts (such as Big Apple) who are doing fine without them. As someone who pitched to them several years ago to be part of their marketing department, I had a plan that would have brought them into the 21st Century while still paying tribute to their history and the history of “circus.” (Regular readers know I have several circus-themed projects in development — I have a good handle on the history). They weren’t interested. To their credit, they also didn’t start hiring third-rate reality celebutards to get them more attention. Am I saying that if they’d hired me they’d still be viable? No, because I’m sure other people pitched even better plans. But they weren’t willing to take big enough risks.

Sent off some material to a theatre that seems interested in working with me. We’ll see.

Did some more research for a pitch to a different theatre. I’d like to do the particular project I’ve been researching, so I sent off the pitch. Fingers crossed. It would mean six months of immersion in a period of time I’m interested in, but don’t know much about except peripherally. It would mean six months of immersion in beauty (as well as drama), which I could use right now.

I also re-thought another long-term project, which means one of my deadlines that was at the end of this month is now at the beginning of March, and then the next at the beginning of June, and so forth, every 12 weeks for the next two years, instead of every 6 weeks for a year. That will allow each of those pieces to be more in depth and more polished.

Because the point of honing one’s craft is that every piece one writes is better than the earlier ones.

Read Gail Godwin’s PUBLISHING: A MEMOIR, and recommended it to a friend who’s been going through a rough time. I didn’t realize how many publishers and editors she had — although she found the right agent early on and they stuck by each other. The right agent is so important. And difficult to find.

I used to read a lot of Godwin’s work, and really liked it. Until the religion overshadowed things like plot, character, and story, and then she lost me. I haven’t read the last few books, but I think I will try them. I also want to find the early ones, the ones I liked so much, that are packed away somewhere downstairs, and re-read them.

I don’t trust people who say they never re-read. A good book gives you fresh gifts every time you enter it. The “don’t have time” argument is just another bullshit excuse. There’s no such thing as “having” time for anything. You make the time for things that matter, and you ignore the rest.

Playing with a few things writing-wise, but it wasn’t anywhere near the productive writing weekend I needed it to be. I’m way, way behind where I need to be and frustrated.

I managed to write 14 pages on a piece on Saturday, but it wasn’t one of the pieces I should be working on. However, it was important in its own way, and I learned from it.

Read Miles Morland’s MILES AWAY: A WALK ACROSS FRANCE, which was fun.

There was an absolutely amazing event on Sunday at the New York Public Library, hosted by PEN America. It was the Louder Together Event, for writers to express the importance of protecting and fighting for free speech. There were people I knew there; people I didn’t know before but admired; new-to-me people who I now know. Writers of all kinds: novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists, translators, journalists (I’m talking REAL journalists who work stories, not news readers), and, most importantly to me, perhaps: playwrights. Because live theatre is a huge arena of change, because it is experiential rather than theoretical. Heroines of mine such as Anna Devere Smith and Eve Ensler spoke. I have always felt a great honor and a great responsibility as a member of PEN — it was strengthened on Sunday.

I was disappointed not to see any familiar faces from where I now live — Cape Cod. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and think they went to the sister rally held in Boston. However, I seriously doubt it. May I be proven wrong!

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and a holiday. I took it as such. A contract offer came through — why it was sent to me instead of to my agent puzzles me. Negotiations will start this week, and it will be settled one way or the other.

I have a lot of lost ground to make up on both NOT BY THE BOOK and SONGBOUND SISTERS, although I’m feeling more confident in SONGBOUND SISTERS. Its natural rhythm is a bit slower than I’m used to; since it is yet to be contracted, I have the luxury of working with the book’s natural rhythm.

I started reading ITALIAN WAYS: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks. He says something that resonates even more strongly in 2017 than in 2013, when the book was written: “In America the lack of investment in train travel speaks eloquently of a country always ready to appear righteous but pathologically averse to surrendering car and plane for a more eco-friendly, community-conscious form of mobility.” (p. viii, Preface).

Today, in addition to catching up on writing, I have a Very Long List of administrative tasks. Gotta keep up with them or they become overwhelming.

If the contract negotiations end positively later this week or early next week, there will be press releases to get out. Ditto if the play set in the Renaissance I pitched is commissioned. So, I have to be ready to jump on either of those instantly, should they come to pass.

I’m also working on a new marketing plan for the Topic Workbooks.

It’s always feast or famine; if even a handful of the opportunism work out, I’m entering a feast cycle, which will be good. I’ll need to step up to the plate and deliver. And adjust the uncontracted work so it still moves forward (because today’s uncontracted work is tomorrow’s contracted work) without sabotaging the contracted work.

It’s all about protecting the work while keeping one’s commitments, and knowing how to shift. And being able to work on more than one thing. Very few writers have the luxury any more, of being able to work on one project at a time. They should honor their agents and editors when they do.

Have a great week!

Wed. Jan. 11, 2017: Steady Writing

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Day Before Full Moon
Sunny and mild

I finally had a better writing day yesterday, although I wouldn’t call it a “good” one. I did a good day’s work on SONGBOUND SISTERS, though. I’m getting back into the protagonist’s soul. It’s slow, but it’s getting there.

I’m still struggling with NOT BY THE BOOK. I did some research for a potential play I’m debating on whether or not I should do; I’m interested, but I’m a little commitment-shy right now. I looked at what I’d written so far on the new pilot, and it’s solid. I have to decide the direction I want for the rest of it. Looked back at another pilot I wrote last year; wondering if it needs a little tweaking.

So it was a decent, if not a brilliant, writing day.

Kept track of the Senate hearings on Jeff Sessions, who is I believe is unfit to be Attorney General. My elected officials know how I feel; all I can do is trust them to do the right thing. Some of the others involved in the decision? Not so much.

Started re-watching THE WEST WING last night, because I’ll take a fictional president who has intelligence, heart, courage, and ethics over a reality celebutard any day.

On a creative level, I love ensemble casts. Shows that are nothing more than a “vehicle” for one particular actor usually bore me. Especially if the show is named for the actor in the lead role, who is playing a character with the same name. Ick. To me, it shows a lack of imagination.

I’m not even going to comment on the latest disgusting rumors surrounding Swamp Thing Elect. But if there’s actual treason at the root of it, something better be done about it, instead of this constant shrugging and turning the other way on the part of Congress and law enforcement.

The genuine President’s Farewell Address last night was a reminder of what we’re losing: a man with dignity, ethics, intelligent, heart, and class. Have I agreed with all his positions over the past eight years? Absolutely not. In fact, I’ve been frustrated because I felt he was too conciliatory most of the time. But he was always someone I could respect.

Errands to run today, trying to get things done between the storms. Last night’s rain got rid of a good portion of the snow pack. We have more rain coming. It’s supposed to be in the 50s today and tomorrow — far too warm for this time of year. I have a feeling there will be a lot of illness with the fluctuating temperatures.

I’m hoping for another good day on SONGBOUND SISTERS, and maybe NOT BY THE BOOK. I’m way behind on the latter.

The first batch of books for contest judging arrived last night. I have to sort them (I’m doing mystery, fantasy, and novella again), and then get down to it. It’s much better to have them come in batches, because then I can give each one more attention.

I’m reading THINGS I LEARNED WHILE TALKING TO MYSELF by Alan Alda. What a terrific book, especially in these dark times. He reminds me of issues I’d forgotten in the 80s and 90s, things that upset us then. I wish there were young actors coming up with the commitment to both art and justice that people like Alan Alda and Meryl Streep have. Emma Watson is really the only one I can think of.

Off to try and have a creative, productive, positive day.

Published in: on January 11, 2017 at 11:56 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 11, 2017: Steady Writing  
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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. 1, 2016: Keeping on Top of Writing Deadlines

Thursday, December 01, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Most of this week is spent at the JFK Museum for Spectacle of Trees. As usual, it’s a lot of fun, and a great community-building experience. The party is tonight – I’m wearing the Calvin Klein dress I bought earlier this week.

Writing-wise, there are now four novels out on submission, so I’m getting caught up on that. I have to finish the last scene of the 14th century pirate play, do another pass, and that goes out next week. I’d hoped to get it out this week, but that’s not happening. It’s not due until the end of the month, so I’m fine.

Then, I immediately switch back to the play JUST A DROP, to finish that, and get it out by the end of the month.

I’m juggling MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC and will shortly add THE FIX-IT GIRL to the WIP queue. I have to get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS, but I’m not sure when. I’ve misplaced the notes, and I’d been pretty specific about where I wanted to go with it, so I don’t want to start over.

I’m working on the short story for the anthology that’s due at the end of the month. I’m worried it’s going to be too dark for the collection, but I won’t know until I’m further in to it.

Anything that doesn’t go out on submission by December 12 can’t go out until the new year, (except for the pieces with the December 31st deadline). I think I’m in decent shape for all of it.

It’s good to be so deep in the writing, but skipping National Novel Writing Month was the correct choice. Quality was key for November – if I couldn’t focus on the quality, no matter how long it took, rather than a set word count each day, I would be up the creek, no paddle.

There’s no point In submitting something that’s not ready for submission.

I still managed 1K or more almost every day, so I’m happy with that, but some projects I’d hoped to be further along on fell by the wayside due to contracted projects. I will pick those back up as soon as the plays and the short story go out.

FIX-IT GIRL only needs another 100 pages or so to be a complete draft, and then I can figure out how I want to change it and if I want to go even more noir with it. That’s my instinct.

The world may be falling apart, but at least I’m getting some creative work done. Eventually, I’ll figure out how to encompass the anger and despair at the country’s situation into art; right now, I need to focus on what pulls most strongly – and what has the earliest deadline!

If I don’t get a chance to check in tomorrow, have a great weekend!

Don’t forget, I’m doing the Get Your Jingle On Party on December 17th at 1 PM, over on Facebook. I’m giving away a signed set of HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the first two Jain Lazarus novels, to one lucky winner. I’ll also have a coupon for a holiday story digital download for anyone who comes to the event. It’s a Facebook Event, and I’ll post a link closer to the day.

Devon

Published in: on December 1, 2016 at 10:32 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 1, 2016: Keeping on Top of Writing Deadlines  
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Sat. June 4, 2016: Writing and Longing

Saturday, June 04, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a blur. We were two short at work, so it was crazy/busy. But we handled it.

Plus, I had the details of the “Plot Bunnies” release. When I got home last night, I had to update the “Stories” page on this blog, and the various pages on the website. I have to put together a media kit for the piece, too, and get a press release out next week.

Meanwhile, I need to get going on the edits for “Personal Revolution”, and I need to think about getting another Topic Workbook out.

I started digging into the revisions on CHARISMA KILLINGS (new title still to be finalized with my agent). It feels right – I think I’ve got it on track. As long as I don’t get overwhelmed by the way I need to shuffle the pieces, I’ll be fine.

But I’m behind on the play, “Just a Drop”, and on SONGBOUND SISTERS, which I can’t drop, especially since I’m in the running for a grant for it. And INITIATE has been pulling very, very, VERY hard.

Of course, there are other demands on my time, and I’m hitting a point where I need to do another reassessment and get ruthless again. If it interferes with the writing instead of supports it, it has to go.

I’m also missing Scotland an awful lot. I’m missing it so badly it’s manifesting as physical pain. I need to find a way to get there next year or so. I’d just posted about it on Facebook and a writer friend plans to go to Scotland next July. So that’s something to plan toward. Ask and there it is!

Started thinking about an old friend this morning, and am trying to track him down. We lost touch even before I left NY – while I was still working on Broadway.

Once I’m done here, it’s back to the page. I’m eager for it, looking forward to it, craving it. There’s a lot to do, and the byword for the summer is “time management.”

I’m already over the summer people and wish they’d go away. I love the PLACE of the Cape, I feel connected to the land and sea, but it’s gotten too crowded. I need more quiet.

Lots to think about, but I also don’t want to make decisions when I’m feeling so unsettled. Once I get the strands of work sorted out and back in their grooves (so I can properly groove each day as I write), I will then be in a position to make rational decisions.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Fri. May 27, 2016: Roaring into Revisions

Friday, May 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Foggy and warm

I can’t believe it’s Memorial Day Weekend. WTF???? I’m so not ready for it.

Yesterday was busy, although I feel as though I don’t have a lot to show for it. On the upside, the agent who read my book over the past few days really liked it. She had some suggestions, which resonated positively. As I drove home last night, I figured out how to implement them. I have to rewrite the first third of the book and rearrange the rest like puzzle pieces, but it’s do-able. We’re also going to come up with a new title and a new series title.

So that’s all good.

It means rearranging my writing schedule for the next few months. It also re-emphasizes that DEATH OF A CHOLERIC is NOT a cozy, nor should it be restructured to fit the formula. It’s much darker, and much more along the lines of Philip R. Craig’s mysteries set on Martha’s Vineyard and Jane Langston’s Homer Kelly mysteries set in Concord. CHOLERIC is under a different name than the CHARISMA, so it simply identifies the two names more strongly.

But I have my work cut out for me. I can’t drop the ball on either “Just a Drop” or on SONGBOUND SISTERS. I have to be ferociously protective of my time.

I woke up at 2 AM feeling awful – not sure if it was allergies or if I’m getting a cold. I took a Benedryl and finally got back to sleep, and then overslept.

I have a meeting this morning, and then I have to catalog and process books. I’m almost done with the next book order.

I’m looking forward to getting down to work on the revision!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! Out here on Cape, no more left turns until after Labor Day!

Devon

Published in: on May 27, 2016 at 8:30 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 27, 2016: Roaring into Revisions  
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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

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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