Fri. May 20, 2016: Getting Back into Writing Rhythm

Friday, May 20, 2016
Day before Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was fine, lots to do, and I wound up with a massive headache by the end of the day.

Lawn’s growing fast – I have to get mowing this weekend!

A call for submission landed on my desk, and I managed to get it out. Either it will be what they want, or it won’t, but at least the piece is out there, trying to earn its place in the world.

Trying to figure out how I’m going to juggle DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, SONGBOUND SISTERS, “Just a Drop”, HEART SNATCHER, and INITIATE. Time management will be key.

I figure DEATH OF A CHOLERIC will need one more round of revisions before it’s submission-ready. I feel good about it; it’s one of the stronger pieces I’ve written lately. SONGBOUND and “Drop” are still in early drafts – pushing through to finish is key. HEART SNATCHER is in its final round of revisions before submission – finally – and I just need to tweak the submission packets. INITIATE will need finishing and several rounds of revisions before it’s submission-ready. It’s also a departure – and somewhat of a risk – for me, but that’s one of the reasons I’m so fond of it.

I’m also in the final prep for the re-release of “Severance”, and I have to put together the media kit. The next one that releases, I think, will be the comic romantic mystery, “Plot Bunnies” under the Ava Dunne name. And, it would make sense to re-release “Personal Revolutions” around the 4th of July, since that’s when it takes place.

Basically, everything needs to be finished and earn its keep! 😉

I do love the process of writing, though. I am one of those writers who loves the actual sitting down and putting words on paper. Do I like “having written’? Yes, that sense of accomplishment. But I love the actual writing even more.

Work tomorrow; there’s a tag sale next store, benefitting the library, so there will be chaos all day. I need to do a lot in the garden this weekend, and get back into my writing rhythm.

Read Amanda Quick’s TILL DEATH DO US PART. Enjoyed it. I enjoy her books. I also learn a lot about structure from her.

As busy as it gets in summer, I’m still trying to figure out how to have TWO days of disconnect per week. I need the quiet time for my own work.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on May 20, 2016 at 8:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 20, 2016: Getting Back into Writing Rhythm  
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Fri. May 13, 2016: Preparing for Guests

Friday, May 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was busy. As soon as I finished cataloging/processing one batch, another box arrived! But we’ve got some great stuff going out, so it’s all good.

Baked spice cupcakes for Saturday’s program, lemon cupcakes for our guests, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for Saturday’s program, and made potato salad for the guests. Finished straightening up my room this morning, changed the beds, rearranged some things on the deck, frosted all the cupcakes.

I have to stop at the liquor store on the way home, and then it’s entertaining all weekend, plus the program here at the library tomorrow. I didn’t get a chance to work on any writing or revisions this morning, which has put me off my game a bit. I’m eager to get back to the revisions on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, finish them next week, and then let it sit for another couple of weeks, before doing the third round of revisions and getting the submission packets ready.

SONGBOUND SISTERS has been woefully neglected the past few weeks, so I have to dig back into that, and I have to finish “Just a Drop.” I need isolation to work on the play. I have most of it figured out in my head, but now I have to translate it onto the page. It’s turning out to be a bigger play than I expected, but I think it will pack a punch, if I handle it properly.

I’m in for a busy weekend, but I’m looking forward to it. And looking forward to getting some sleep next week!

Have a wonderful time!

Devon

Published in: on May 13, 2016 at 8:22 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Intense few days. Very productive, but intense.

The two new Topic Workbooks, THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE , are both available here and through the Premium Catalog (which means Kobo, Nook, etc.). I’m pleased that they turned out so well. I’ll be adding them in to the various necessary web pages this week.

I worked on Saturday, and was exhausted by the time I came home. I spent Saturday and most of Sunday working on contest entries. I can’t believe how many entries are well beyond 500 pages — I’m talking 750, 850, 1410! And, in all those cases, it’s Book 1 which is so long! Few of them are well-written enough to sustain that length. Most of them are overwritten, have pages of info dump, and the pace can’t maintain the marathon. The characters and the plot aren’t strong enough to compensate.

Monday morning, off to Buzzards Bay for the Board meeting, followed by the Capital Campaign meeting.

When I got back, I was ready to dig in to the writing. On a whim, I pulled out the second draft of HEART SNATCHER, which I’d put in stasis for awhile, because I was frustrated with it. I was surprised by how well it held up. I made notes — mostly having to do with cuts. It’s in good shape, and I think in another draft, it will be ready to go. I then started re-reading what I have of the second book in the trilogy, HEART BINDER — needs work, but there’s promise, especially since I outlined the entire trilogy and smoothed over logistical lapses early on. I want to find a way to add it into the current schedule, while not dropping the ball on either SONGBOUND SISTERS or “Just a Drop.”

Got some work done on Non-Fiction #2, which is chugging along nicely.

Tuesday morning, I rewrote about the first 100 pages of HEART BINDER, fixing a lot of the problems and making it continue smoothly from HEART SNATCHER.

In the afternoon, I finished up the contest entries and made sure the choices were the ones I believed in most strongly.

By the end of this week, I’ll get in the entries for the radio contest, and those will be done by the end of the month.

This morning, I revised the prologue and first three chapters on the next draft of HEART SNATCHER. It will be a long day at work, but I’m eager to get back home this evening and write some more. I’m going to spend the next three days on this trilogy, and then, once I’ve got that in the groove, add in SONGBOUND and “Drop” over the weekend.

Of course, because I have to be inside for the next three days, it’s gorgeous out. But the weather is supposed to hold all weekend and finally get warmer, so maybe we can start setting up the deck.

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing  
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Wed. March 30, 2016: Refilling the Well & Moving Forward

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy few days. That seems to be the mantra, doesn’t it?

Saturday was my Saturday “on”, and I was exhausted by the time I came home. I read, worked on contest entries, worked on the outline of the gothic, and percolated on the two short stories I have to write in the next month.

Sunday was Easter — even though we don’t technically celebrate it, the way I do with the Equinox, we ate an egg for breakfast and enjoyed the fact it’s a holiday. The weather wasn’t good enough to work in the yard. I did some planning, though, for what I’d like to do in the yard in the upcoming weeks. I baked a ham, and we had a good holiday dinner.

I worked my way through another stack of contest entries. The entries in the genre I’m currently reading, are, unfortunately, both derivative and weakly-written.

I took a break to read something well-written, which was Dawn Tripp’s novel GEORGIA, about Georgia O’Keefe. It was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday, I did some work in the morning, ran errands, and took my mom to the doctor. The weather was vile, but we got there. Good news — she’s in good shape, n spite of the X-rays and the pulmonary test for which she was sent. But she has to exercise more. On nice days, we’ll walk on the beach. On nasty days, she walks around the house trailing a cat toy, so the cats get exercise, too.

Went to Country Gardens to drop off a sample of the invasive, pick up a present for a colleague, and do some pricing on things I want/need in the next few weeks for the garden.

Came home and percolated on various projects — reading background material, sitting in the office in the reading chair, and just being quiet and contemplative. People don’t realize how important that kind of time is to the creative process. I have ideas for several more paintings and one or two mixed media pieces I’d like to play with, so I’m also going to build more studio time into the schedule. It can’t interfere with the writing, but I also want to make sure that I follow this thread of creativity, simply because I enjoy it.

Went out to dinner at the Black Cat in Hyannis with a writer friend — it was her thank you for me reading a draft of her novel (and giving her nineteen pages of notes on it). We had fun. It was a pleasant evening out, and we both miss the nineties! 😉

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty day. I tried doing a scene for SONGBOUND from a different POV — didn’t work at all for the story. Although I’m working in close third, it needs to remain in Enid’s POV throughout. Good to know.

The play is coming along slowly. Its innate natural rhythm is much slower than a lot of other things I write, although the actual playing pace of it will be brisk enough to keep it from sagging. I have a title — “Just a Drop” — and that’s helping its shape. It won’t be done by tomorrow, which was my original deadline — but I’m pretty sure I can finish it by the end of April, which still gives me May for revisions. Scripts don’t need as much “resting time” in between revisions as novels for me.

Went to a birthday lunch for a work colleague yesterday. She’s a lovely woman, and it was nice to let her know she’s appreciated.

Took my mom to get her medication, and then we walked on the beach. A little windy, but nice. Too windy and raw to work in the yard, though. Tried sitting on the deck for awhile, working, but it was too cold for that, too. In fact, it went down to 33 degrees overnight!

But the seedlings inside are thriving.

I’ve been re-reading some of the books on my shelves — books that meant a lot to me, for one reason or another at different parts of development — and jotting notes down about them, thinking there might be material in there for an essay “someday.” I realized, yesterday, that I have the basis for two non-fiction books. Nonfiction #1 will take about a year to eighteen months to re-read everything and then sort out the material, get in additional statistics and anecdotes; Nonfiction #2 will take between three and five years. Some of this is because they have to fit in and around other projects. Some if because it will just take that darn long. But the process will be a pleasure, and I think I’ll get something good out of it.

Last night was the Artist HobNob, back in Hyannis (I’ve been to Hyannis a lot this week) at Kelly’s on Main. Fun evening, good speaker. Good talk with two other artists, who’ve been very supportive of my foray into mixed media. We’re talking about doing a ‘play date” and just messing around, to see what we come up with. That sounds like fun.

This will be a long week at work — today, tomorrow, and then Friday night we have a big fundraiser, so it will be a 13 hour day for me. Fortunately, I don’t have to work on Saturday — although I’ll be doing plenty of work –errands, dump run, cat food, garden center, yarn shop, etc., etc. Saturday night is the opening of the “Unsafe” exhibit, so I’ll be over there for a couple of hours. Sunday, there’s Julian Cyr’s campaign kickoff in Truro, so I’ll be out there.

I’m hoping the weather will be nice enough to get some yard work done, too!

Plus, of course, work on SONGBOUND SISTERS and “Just a Drop”, starting the short stories, and continuing on with the non-fiction pieces.

I hope it will be a productive spring. A POSITIVE spring.

Devon

Published in: on March 30, 2016 at 9:12 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 30, 2016: Refilling the Well & Moving Forward  
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Thurs. March 24, 2016: Stacks of Work

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was a long and frustrating day. I’m glad it’s over. Today will also, no doubt, be long, but hopefully less frustrating.

We did have a program that ran well, though, in spite of a relatively low turnout. I have to make some adjustments on an upcoming program, though, which I hope can be done quickly so the proper PR can go out. I also have a lot of processing/cataloging to do.

I submitted the two short radio plays and the grant proposal. Both were acknowledged; either they are what is wanted in each individual situation, or they’re not. Time will tell.

Got a little bit of writing done this morning, but not enough. I’ve made some notes on revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, even though that project Is supposed to be “out of sight, out of mind” for the next few weeks. But I didn’t want to forget these editing notes, so I jotted them down. One of them will require a major restructuring of certain relationships in the book, but it fixes a logistical problem that bothered me.

This weekend is my Saturday “on”, but I’m hoping to get some work done in the garden if it’s nice when I get home.

I also need to work on the latest stack of contest entries, work on the play set in 17th century Italy, and get to work drafting the stories that are due at the end of April. Plus, get back to work on SONGBOUND SISTERS, or I’ll get behind. I have another proposal due as soon as I can get it done for a project where the powers that be will try to make me do all the work without any money, which simply is not going to happen.

One step at a time, one word at a time.

Published in: on March 24, 2016 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 24, 2016: Stacks of Work  
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Wed. March 23, 2016: Lots of Good News!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Busy few days! Including a snow storm on the Equinox, although it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as predicted.

Saturday, I had some running around to do, and some writing to do. Baked cupcakes. I’d come home from work on Friday feeling just awful. We think I might be having a bad reaction to the new carpet.

Then, at 2 PM, we hosted Caroline Kepnes at the library. She’s got two wonderfully creepy books out, You and Hidden Bodies. She’s also a smart, funny, terrific person. it was a great presentation. We’re so glad she could fit us in before she went back to LA.

Sunday, I had a few things to pick up at the hardware store to finish prepping my canvas, and then it started to snow. I read and researched, but didn’t do much else. In my mind, I was preparing to write two short radio plays.

I also pulled out of an interview with a theatre company for a project because there are upcoming scheduling conflicts, and we’d all get frustrated. Maybe we’ll work together at a later date. They’re interviewing plenty of candidates for this particular project, so it’s not like I’m the top choice or leaving them in the lurch.

The snow on Sunday night into Monday was more like two inches, instead of ten, which was a relief. I sat down and wrote “Not Such a Bargain”, one of the ten minute plays, finished putting the hardware on the canvas, dropped it off at Cotuit, and then came back and wrote the other short radio play, “Fright Shift.” By then, I was ready for a glass of wine.

I’m happy with both plays, although I think “Not Such a Bargain” is a little stronger. I do love Emily in “Fright Shift”. She’s kind of a bratty teenager, but she gets things done!

Watched CRIMSON PEAK on Monday night. Absolutely gorgeous production design, but Tom Hiddleston’s character was underwritten, and not given enough to show his transformation. He did the best he could with what he had, and I liked that it was the Edith who was the rescuer, not the rescued, but if he’d just been given a handful of lines more in a couple of scenes, it would have worked better for me.

Tuesday, up early and wrote a grant proposal for an individual grant. I had to do a one-page synopsis of where I think SONGBOUND SISTERS is headed, and they also wanted a one-page bibliography of my published work. I could only fit back to 2012 on one page. I might have too many credits for the grant, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Then, I outlined a new project nagging at me — a novel. I see the shape in my head — just have to get it all down, and figure out where to slot it in.

Did some research. Watched CHASING SHADOWS, which is a little odd, but interesting, and THE BIG SHORT — well done, and I still think all of them should be in jail.

Got some excellent news — “Broken Links”, the comic mystery, won first place and will be produced and performed by On the Air Radio Players in June. I’m excited and thrilled! I plan to have a listening party when I get the link. So that was a good note on which to end the day.

Up early this morning to do the revisions on the two short radio plays, and do a final polish on the grant proposal. Today will be a long day at work, with an “Easter Tea” program. I have to do PR, and I have to get posters and PR done for the Shakespeare night and for the ArtsWeek Boston panel, and some other programs.

Onward!

Wed. March 16: Exciting News

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and cold

What a whirlwind the past few days have been!

Some big news, on several fronts:

First and foremost, I finished the first draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC last night. Technically, it was at 12:57 this morning, but since I hadn’t been to bed, I called it last night! 😉

I’m thrilled to have the draft done. I have some notes to make on changes I already know need to be made in the revisions, and then it goes away to marinate for about a month, so I can approach the revisions with a fresh eye.

The wonderful and slightly scary news is that a mixed media piece I worked on for a couple of months in early winter was submitted and accepted to an art show at Cotuit Center for the Arts for their exhibit “Unsafe”, about life post-9/11. I wish my uncles, who were artists were still alive; they would be proud.

If anything, working on it taught me how much I still have to learn about that craft of that particular medium! I liked working in it, though, and I want to learn –and do – more. I have to drop off the piece next Monday.

I’m also doing some campaign writing for someone who I think will be terrific in his job.

Today will be a long day at work, because we are woefully short-staffed. I’m leaving early, because I’m speaking tonight at the Cape Cod Writers Center Writers Night Out on Point of View.

The next primary focus is the first draft of the play set in 17th Century Italy – I hope to get a good push on that in the next couple of days. I want to finish the draft by the end of the month.

And, in a few days, I dive into the next first draft of the next novel – which is SONGBOUND SISTERS.

I have to take my mom in for some tests tomorrow at the hospital – I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s nothing serious. I’d like everything to remain on a positive trajectory!

Devon

Sat. March 12, 2016: Post-Birthday Writing

Saturday, March 12, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and gorgeous

Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday, everyone! I had a good day. I didn’t do much. I’d hoped to do some yard work, but the weather didn’t clear up until too late in the day for me to be productive.

I ate and read and ran some errands. I worked on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC – I’ll have the first draft finished by the 15th. Then it can marinate for awhile, while I work on the play and get to work on SONGBOUND SISTERS. I’ve definitely decided to flip it with TIE-CUTTER. I’m making notes on the major changes I have to handle in the edits, to fix the big logistical problem that led to several smaller problems in the manuscript, so when I officially start edits in a month or so, I will have everything set and can dig in.  I have a working title for the new play, which is always exciting.  The right title helps focus.

Three months is really too tight a timeframe for a first draft, unless I can spent 10 or so hours a day at the desk, and am not juggling multiple projects.. Four months makes for a stronger manuscript.

I was going to bake for today’s Caroline Kepnes author event, but she’s ill and had to cancel. It’s been rescheduled for next Saturday, so I’ll bake then.

I basically just chilled out. Ate too much cake! 😉 Did a lot of yoga.

When I get home after locking up today, I’ll get back to work on the book, and do my final push tomorrow and Monday. Monday, I have to be up extra early, because I have a Marine Life Center Board meeting, but when I come home, it’ll be that final stretch so I can write “The End.” It’s so close, I can taste it!

It’s a gorgeous day outside. It’ll be too late to do yard work when I get home, but I hope I can sit outside and enjoy it a bit.

Some black locust has invaded the side front yard, in front of the dogwood. As soon as the ground is mushy enough, I’m going to have to yank all of it out, and put in wildflowers and other plants that will attract bees and butterflies.

Looking forward to spring! This winter hasn’t been bad, especially not compared to last winter, but I’m still ready for it to be over. Hate losing an hour of sleep to “spring forward” tonight, though.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on March 12, 2016 at 10:36 am  Comments Off on Sat. March 12, 2016: Post-Birthday Writing  
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Mon. March 2, 2016: Art, Politics, and Flexibility

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy few days. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I left the library on Saturday afternoon. But it was a beautiful day. I managed some studio time in the good light.

Friday night, I attended my HobNob colleague Leonore Lyons opening reception of her exhibit THE KEY IDEA at Centerville Historical Museum. It was wonderful – her project, a community art piece, is expanding exponentially, and the staff and volunteers at the Historical Museum were terrific. I’m glad I went.

I did a lot of work on notes for SONGBOUND SISTERS, which is pulling strongly at me. I may have to flip work on TIE-CUTTER with work on SONGBOUND, so I don’t lose momentum. I also got another submission out, and did some reformatting a radio play –halfway through, I realized I was doing the wrong formatting for that particular venue. So I’ve got to go back and fix it sometime this week.

Worked on two proposals — one is almost ready to go out, a co-teaching proposal with a friend that would happen locally. The other still needs some more work, and would be regional, not just local, and needs some more work on budgeting.

Sunday was about studio time, and also searching for one more object I needed for the piece. Couldn’t find it. Store after store after store.

Sunday afternoon, I went to a house party to meet a candidate for State Senate named Julian Cyr. One of the board members at the library had invited me, and he’s also an NYU alum, so I was interested. We hit it off immediately, talking like we’d known each other for years. The fact that he listens and responds to what is actually said to him will take him far, I think. He’s got great ideas, lots of energy, he’s smart in knowing how to get things done, and has integrity, the latter of which is very important to me. I’m glad he’s running for the seat that’s about to be vacant — I didn’t hate the current holder of said seat, but didn’t feel he was responsive enough to individuals, and he wouldn’t do things like take on Comcast when they broke the law (since Comcast believes they are above the law).

Cyr is about solutions for the lives people actually live here, not buzzwords and putting band-aids on amputations. The bulk of his work has been in public health, and he sees how what are often split into different issues are all connected. That’s important, especially on Cape Cod, where the fragile ecological balance affects absolutely everything else.

I also met some very interesting people at the house, who are involved in film production. One woman, a casting director, feels very much the way I felt when I left Broadway to come here. I’ve been through it — I offered to be a sounding board whenever she needs one.

Came home a little tired, but also energized by the prospects that, even if politics is going to the insane and incompetent on a national level, we might be able to do something positive here.

More studio time.

Monday morning, up early. Studio time. Finally found the final object for the project – in the 27th store I visited in three days. Times like this, I miss New York, where they actually HAVE what you need in the logical places. More studio time.

I’d rearranged my day for an afternoon appointment with a potential client. Never happened, never heard. Considering how much I needed both the studio time and the writing time, it told me all I needed to know. In the evening, I emailed, wishing them well. Heard back Tuesday morning for a re-schedule, but none of the times work for me, and I’m done. I realize things happen, but it was a “I don’t think you’re the right person but want to talk to you” kind of thing, so I’m not losing anything by not engaging.

Yesterday, sent off the information about the project. Either it will be accepted, or it won’t. If not, I’m still glad I did it — I learned a lot. People kept telling me it would be “cathartic”. It wasn’t. It was painful. But I’m still glad I did it.

Sending it off, and getting it out the door left me exhausted, though.

I got my hair cut — short, cute, a bit vintage. My mom and I went and voted — always a satisfying feeling, although I miss the big machines with the levers. Then, you REALLY feel like you accomplished something!

Our treat for getting out and voting was lunch at Crisp, in Osterville. I had a gift card from the holidays, and their food is excellent. So that was a good choice.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, read a bit, and watched election results until I was too tired.

Today, work turns back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m behind where I want to be on it, but I think I can catch up during the coming week. I want to get this draft done so it can marinate while I work on SONGBOUND SISTERS, and then, when SONGBOUND is done, I’ll go back to TIE-CUTTER. The creative balance, I think, will work, since there’s more of a difference lining up CHOLERIC, SONGBOUND, TIE-CUTTER, and then the 1947 aviation novel, rather than having CHOLERIC and TIE-CUTTER back to back.

I also want to get the first draft of the play about the 17th Century poisoner in Italy done this month. I want it out the door by June.

Long day at work, with lots of PR writing to get done. Onward.

Published in: on March 2, 2016 at 10:35 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 2, 2016: Art, Politics, and Flexibility  
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Fri. Feb. 26, 2016: Changes to the Freelance Work

Friday, February 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday seemed longer than it was, although that was mostly because I’m tired.

Over the past few days, I’ve updated both the Fearless Ink and the Devon Ellington Work websites. I decided that I’m no longer going to take on private editing clients, unless I’m hired by the publisher. I’m going to finish up the contracts I have, but enough already.

First and foremost, I need to spend that time on my own work. Every minute I work on something by someone else is time taken away from my own work that I can never get back. In my experience, the bulk of the editing clients: don’t want to pay a fair rate for the work they want done; have no interest in learning craft; don’t meet deadlines; book time and then don’t send in their material, which means I’ve turned down other paying work, and then I’m short. Not every editing client has been like that, and I’ve had some wonderful, exciting stuff to work on over the years, but the bulk of them have fitted into one or more of the above. When I accepted editing work from a publishing house, the work has already been vetted, so there’s at least some craft involved, they are as committed to the schedule as I am, they understand this is a business and not a hobby, and they pay on time. All around, it makes more sense.

Plus, I’m getting more script work and more marketing writing work, and I enjoy it more. So that’s what I’m focusing on. I’ll teach workshops if I’m brought in by an organization and paid in proportion to what I’m teaching, paid a deposit, paid the balance on the final day of the class (not this 30 days after crap), and, if necessary, paid a cancellation fee if they can’t fill the class. I’m happy to develop custom workshops for organizations, but there’s a fee involved.

And if you’re not going to pay an appropriate rate for my work – you don’t get it. I will take my work elsewhere.

Setting those boundaries has removed lots of stress from my life, and I feel much better moving forward. This is a business, not a hobby. I don’t have to accept any and every offer that comes down the pike.

The Freelancers Union motto: “Freelance isn’t free.”

Today will be another long day. I’m going to the opening of an acquaintance’s exhibit this evening, which will be fun. I’m in tomorrow, and then it’s heavy duty studio time. On Sunday, I’m going to a meet-and-greet of a fellow NYU alum who is running for state Senate. But the bulk of the weekend has to be studio time, to get this project in under deadline, and then back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, which won’t be finished by Monday, but I hope to finish by the following weekend, because TIE-CUTTER has to get back into the mix and finished, too. I’m very eager to get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS, and am taking notes. I also have to finish the first draft of the play.

And do things like my taxes.

Busy times ahead!

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on February 26, 2016 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 26, 2016: Changes to the Freelance Work  
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Fri. Jan. 8, 2016: Revising the Writing Schedule and Goals

Friday, January 8, 2016
Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Meeting in Hyannis yesterday morning. It was fine; at least I didn’t want to jab my eye with a fork, like I do at some of these meetings.

Back to work, tried to catch up. Computer isn’t working properly, so that makes it more difficult.

I got some sad news: Amber Quill, with whom I have half a dozen titles, is shutting its doors on March 30. LAKE JUSTICE, SEVERANCE, ELUSIVE PRAYERS, and TRACKING MEDUSA will cease to be available from them at that time. I wish I’d found out directly from THEM instead of through a second party, but, other than that, I’ve always been treated well by them. I loved my editor; they paid on time; they gave me good covers. They believed in their authors. I will miss being a part of the company.

So what does that mean for my writing?

Several different things.

I’m meeting with my advisors to decide what to do. There are still two months until the doors close, two months until rights revert back. Once rights revert back, unless I’m going the indie route, it doesn’t make sense to just shoot the titles straight out again. While it makes me nervous to have anything go out of print, at the same time, I need time to launch a re-release properly, wherever and however I decide to do it. I expect they will be out of print until at least September. If I go independent, I’m going to have to marshal massive marketing resources to make it worthwhile. Right now, that much marketing emphasis isn’t going to fit my schedule. I’m not convinced the independent route is the right choice for me. I prefer to work in a more traditional model right now.

I do realize that, when I’m ready to launch the series that started life as THE POWER OF WORDS (which now has multiple titles as it breaks down into multiple books), it is most likely I have to use the independent model, because it would be exceedingly difficult for a traditional publisher to put it out in the usual channels. It’s a strange monster – one I love, but one that would require the type of Gentleman (or Bluestocking) Publisher to take it on, a type of publisher who no longer exists.

I was in the throes of planning a big marketing campaign for everything over the next few months, which now will not include the titles that won’t be available, for obvious reasons.

I also had three books scheduled to go to Amber Quill this year, all Gwen Finnegan books: BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, SANDOVAL SECRET, and SHAKESPEARE’S BACON. It was a pressurized schedule, but I wanted to make sure I finished the Gwen Finnegan cycle quickly for them, with an eye to moving in some new directions, as inspired by last August’s conference, where Claire Cook gave me the push I needed to give what’s now TIE-CUTTER a shot, and Carole Bugge encouraged me to continue work on SONGBOUND SISTERS.

With those three books off the schedule, at least for the moment (which means I’ll work on them in and around other projects, without the pressure) it moves up SONGBIRD SISTERS and the aviation mystery set in the late 1940s that I’ve been playing with for a few years.

I do love Gwen and Justin, and I want to see their stories to completion, but a break may not be a bad thing. As I kept saying last year, struggling with BALTHAZAAR, I can do it fast or I can do it well. Both aren’t happening in tandem right now.

HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the Jain Lazarus books, are still with Solstice, and I’m not sure what’s next with them; we’re in a bit of a holding pattern.

I have several play scripts and radio scripts on the slate for the year, and some film and television scripts on which I worked last year, which go out on submission this year.

The focus will be more on writing, polishing, and submitting this year, building on the previous writing, but taking me in new directions that I’ve been interested in for the past few months. That’s a positive. It moves up the timeline for me, but it’s a positive. It takes a lot of the “write as fast as possible” pressure off me – something that’s bogged me down over the past couple of years and actually interfered with my productivity, instead of increasing it.

As saddened as I am by the news, I think it’s the push I need right now. My gut tells me this is a positive in the long run.

I’ll have a long day at work today, but, since I’m feeling run down, I pulled out of my commitments for this weekend. I have some work to do for Monday’s NMLC Board meeting, and I’m going to write. I want to finish the first draft of the short radio play that goes out at the end of the month, and I’ve been approached to adapt the historical play into a radio play. I’ll take a look at that to see if it makes sense. I use a good deal of sound in the play anyway, and I think if I make some changes to make it more aural than visual, it will work. I also need to get LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES into US radio format from BBC format, because I have a US market interested.

Plus, I want to stay on schedule with TIE-CUTTER and DEATH OF A CHOLERIC.

So I’ll have a solid writing weekend ahead of me.

This certainly didn’t happen the way I wanted it to, but I have a feeling that, in the long run, these changes will be positive.

I remain hugely grateful to Amber Quill for their support, belief in me, and everything they’ve done for me and for my writing over the years I spent with them. I wish all the partners well in their new ventures, and I hope we can all stay in touch and support each other’s work. Thank you, Amber Quill!

Have a great weekend, people.

Devon