Wed. July 31, 2019: Learning, Growing, Planning

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury goes DIRECT today (thank goodness) — but it’s almost midnight by the time it does so
Hot, humid, storms in the evening

I don’t do well in this heat and humidity. I’m like the cats — all I want to do is lie around and do nothing.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see the second chapter of Fred’s adventures trying to hire a writer for his small business.

Meditation was great on Monday afternoon. A big group, and a great session.

I’m reading Jean Claude Izzo’s Marseilles trilogy. It’s quite wonderful. His tone reminds me a bit of Ron MacLean’s in HEADLONG.

I’m learning a lot from reading these international novels in translation. Not books by Americans set overseas, but books by writers about their own countries. The tone, the pace, the structure is very different from what we consider the “formula” for the genre, and it works.

I hope my little tiny publisher grows to the point where it can sell/negotiate international rights. I already know my plays do better in the UK and Australia than in the US; my friends in France, Spain, and Germany think my books would do well there, if translated properly.

Up early on Tuesday. Great session on ELLA, mediocre one on GRAVE REACH, but I’m determined to get back into its groove. I need to get it out to my editor soon. Fortunately, THE BARD’S LAMENT and DEADLY GROVE are properly percolating, so I hope not to get behind on those. Although I have to jump right back into the next round of revisions for BALTHAZAAR and then for DHARMA when GRAVE REACH goes out.

I’ve figured out where I want the next two ELLA books to go (it was always meant to be a trilogy), and how to make each book stand alone, while the three will be satisfying together. After that, I can decide if I want to write more ELLA books, or if I’ve said everything I have to say. I’m nearly at the two thirds point with ELLA. It’s been fun to write steadily, but not have a daily quota or a deadline on it.

My friend was pleased with the blurb I wrote for his book. I’m glad; it’s a lovely book and deserves to do well.

Still trying to pull myself out of the mire of discouragement. Client work yesterday was challenging, and will be so today. I’m working on my article for Llewellyn — that will probably go out early next week. I’m polishing some pitches. They’re taking longer than I expected, but I’d rather do them well than rush them and alienate a potential new-to-me editor.

Tomorrow is Lammas, one of the biggest days in my personal calendar. I’m trying to decide if I want to take a few days to disconnect and focus on writing, yoga, meditation, and the changes I’m trying to make.

Next Monday, the upbeat authors posts start on inspiration for the month of August. Believe me, I have plenty to say about that!

Have a lovely day. If I do decide to take a break, also have a lovely weekend as we slide into August.

 

Published in: on July 31, 2019 at 5:13 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 31, 2019: Learning, Growing, Planning  
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Wed. July 17, 2019: Keeping Some Writing Consistency

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where we start a saga of different business approaches. Sort of a serialized parable.

Good morning’s session yesterday on ELLA, although I’m using too many placeholders. Decent session on GRAVE REACH. It has its own pace and meets it, but I need it to happen more quickly.

Onsite with the client was what it was. Got some other client work done later on.

My friend’s surgery on Monday went well. He’s healing, although in pain. He’s got the determination to make a full recovery relatively quickly.

Monday night, I made crabmeat rolls, and cooked ahead to make a sausage/potato salad with mayo/mustard/paprika dressing for Tuesday night. This week is supposed to be hot and humid, and I wanted to get a bit ahead. The cats are miserable in the heat, especially Lucy, even with the fans.

I’m going to cook a few dishes in the coming weeks that are featured in ELLA, BALTHAZAAR, and DHARMA.

Finishing up some research on Venice from the Commonwealth Catalog books. I might have to reorder one of them, after I’ve sent it back. I need to start the play about Canaletto’s sisters by the end of the month. Not to mention the other radio play.

Prepping a few pitches to go out later this week, and reading submission calls to see if I have any short stories that might fit. My schedule’s too tight to write something new, especially with the #31Prompts.

I’m not writing a piece a day for #31Prompts, but I have a feeling all of them will eventually turn into something or be folded into something, which is a good thing.
I might keep up the #31Prompts page and update it occasionally with what each prompt inspired, and where it ended up.

I’m feeling stuck and discouraged on several fronts, which makes sense with all the retrogrades, but I also know I’m running out of time on several things, and I need to marshal some resources. I’m also angry at a lack of professionalism with which I’ve been met on several fronts, although I shouldn’t really be surprised.

Conversations are ongoing with several of my elected officials about situations where I have concerns. They can’t represent me if I don’t communicate with them. So I am.

As always, in times of stress, the GAMBIT COLONY pieces offer sanctuary.

But they are not on deadline, and I have plenty of other work that is, so I need to focus on that.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 17, 2019 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 17, 2019: Keeping Some Writing Consistency  
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Thurs. June 13, 2019: Writing, Garden, Rain

Thursday, June 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Raining and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the details about the garden and the mowing.

People are pretty sad around this area. The Bruins lost the Stanley Cup last night to St. Louis.

Yesterday, the guy came to mow, early in the morning. I’d let my neighbor know, so that he wouldn’t be rudely awakened (although he was probably up). In one hour, the guy did what usually took me several days. There’s a lot of relief in having this off my plate. I never found my mowing Zen, I hated the mowing part of having a yard. I struggled for years. This guy is nice, charges a price fair to both of us, and does a good job. If anyone decides to give me a hard time for not handling it myself, too bad. I’m not twenty any more. There are things I can’t physically do anymore, and things I don’t WANT to do. Mowing is both.

The lawn looks good (okay, I admit, I preferred it to look wild in the back), and now I can concentrate on the beds and plants, and putting down fertilizer to keep it green and healthy.

Client work onsite was fine. I’m prepping for next week’s big event. I’ll probably have to put in some extra hours in the next few days, remotely, but that’s fine.

Another client gave me the greenlight on the material I wrote, so now I’m getting it out to the press and up on event calendars.

Again, I got jerked around by the potential client in Boston. We’ve now had half a dozen conversations that I need advance notice to come up from the Cape to Boston. It is ignored. When I follow up on meetings they claim they want for confirmation, I get excuses.

So, it’s finally gotten through my thick skull that they’re not serious about hiring me. Somehow, they can use me as leverage against someone else. They’re stringing me along for whatever reason. But guess what? I’m not willing to be anyone’s second choice. And if so many red flags come up during our initial meetings, what would working with them be like?

I’m going to keep pursuing other opportunities. I’m going to keep keeping up with my other clients. I’m going to keep sending out LOIs and article pitches.

I’m disappointed, I’m a little angry, I’m insulted. But it’s best that I acknowledge those feelings, then drop them and move on.

I’m doing all kinds of research in Caribbean history. It’s technically for ELLA BY THE BAY, but some of it is useful in THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA.

ELLA BY THE BAY is going very well. I enjoy my daily writing session on it, in longhand. I like mixing elements of mystery, romance, and the character’s self-exploration.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly, but it’s finding its way. I look forward to getting this draft to my editor. THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA both have new release dates, early next year, and I’m working on the revisions. The new track for both books is much better. I’d rather spend more time on the book than rush it and put out a lousy book.

I’m reading some material on Brighton Pier in preparation to write the next radio play. I’m looking forward to it. I might also contact the museum with some questions.

There’s still an awful lot that needs to be dealt with in the next few months, but I’m doing what I can each day to deal with it. Mercury in Retrograde for the bulk of July isn’t going to help.

Have to follow up today on an article I submitted a couple of weeks ago. It’s supposed to be paid on acceptance, and there hasn’t been any acknowledgement of it, much less acceptance, or payment. If this was the first time working with the publication, I would figure this is just the way they operate, but I’ve written and been paid for a half a dozen pieces over the years, so I don’t understand what’s going on now.

Will follow up on a couple of other things, too.

Fingers crossed, and then back to the page.

 

Published in: on June 13, 2019 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 13, 2019: Writing, Garden, Rain  
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Tues. April 30, 2019: Conference Wrap-up and New Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ever so much to talk about, and some things about which I’m not yet ready to talk about, because I’m still mulling them over.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the April wrap-up. It should be up within a half hour of this post.

This past weekend, I was a presenter at the #NECRWA conference in Burlington, MA. It’s one of my favorite conferences, because it’s relaxed and upbeat. It always gives me a lot to think about.

I re-connected with some people I knew from before, met new people, met some people I knew from online and this was the first time we’d met in person.

The weather was awful on Friday. I had the car packed early, and left a little before noon. Usually, it takes me about 3 hours to get there (and it’s only outside of Boston) because of traffic. I’d managed to time it so it only took two hours.

My room was ready; I checked in and it took 2 luggage cart trips from car to room to get everything up. Made me think maybe I brought too much stuff.

The hotel had a renovation. It’s very upscale business traveler with dark wood and shiny counters and a huge TV. My room had a kingsized bed AND a chaise longue, with which I immediately fell in love. The bathroom was all shiny counters and frosted glass.

I unpacked, tried to rest up a bit, looked through the conference materials. I also worked ona book I have to review.

Freshened up and went downstairs for the cocktail hour. They served us a buffet dinner, too, courtesy of Red Feather Romance. That definitely got our attention — feed us! 😉

I had some interesting conversations. One with a writers’ group who’d travelled here together to attend — their members were from Western MA and upstate NY. I had another conversation with some early career writers who didn’t even try to hide their contempt that I’m with a small publisher and that I talked about craft and the importance of a good editor, and how much I value both my editor and my copy editor. They plan to self publish, and, according to them, “craft doesn’t matter, because Kindle readers don’t care.”

I beg to differ.

I found that arrogance rather off-putting, and wondered if that would be the tone of the conference.

The Literacy signing was after the dinner. I prefer it when it’s at the end of the weekend, when I’ve gotten to know some of the authors and have an idea of their books. I felt like I “should” buy a lot of books, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and I felt guilty when I browsed a table without buying.

I went back upstairs to decompress a little and read more of the book for review.

I also set up my rolling rack for tomorrow, went over the presentation again. Second-guessed myself on every item I brought and every slide I chosen; wondered if I should revise the presentation. But that way madness lies.

Tried to watch television, but it was lousy. I’m not missing anything by giving up cable.

Got an email from that new-to-me editor who wanted yet more information about why the topic — an underused resource that can generate more income for freelancers — is relevant to his site, which is supposed to be about generating income for freelancers. I have now written more than twice the word count ABOUT what the actual article would run. For a publication for which I’ve written a half a dozen times, and where I never had to jump through all these hoops for the other editor.

Makes me think we are no longer a good fit, and perhaps it’s time to move on to another dance partner.

The bed had one of those pillow top or memory foam things. I felt like I sank so far down it would cover me and smother me. It was comfortable; I’m just used to a much firmer mattress.

I woke up once at 4 AM with a horrible headache, but got back to sleep, and got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. I like writing in hotel rooms. There aren’t many distractions.

On my way to the first session, I stepped outside for a few minutes — and the headache went away. I realized that I can’t open the windows in my room, and I always sleep with my window cracked. I’m not used to recycled air.

A few minutes outside, even in the rain, helped.

Before the first session, I talked to some people who live in Central MA about the benefits of living there. They love it, because one can get to anywhere from there. It was great to hear them talk about what they loved about the area, how it’s changing, what frustrated them. The arts community seems much more vibrant and able to earn a living than it is here.

The first session was great, about burnout. Emily Nagoski was the presenter. Her handouts and worksheets were great. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the crossroads I’m facing right now. I also want to get a quote from her for an article I’m writing.

Went outside for a few minutes in between sessions, then went to a panel discussion where the participants frankly discussed money. We all agreed not to share these authors’ actual financial details outside of the room. But some of their approaches and concepts were interesting.

I was surprised — at this panel and elsewhere in the conference — by how large a percentage of the incomes are via Amazon’s Kindle direct. I’ve always avoided them because I don’t like the contract. My small publisher distributes digitally through Amazon, but my contract is not directly with Amazon, but via my publisher.

Also, the volume at which some of these authors are turning out books. There’s one full-time author who has published 70 books in the last 11 years. She’s earning money, she’s winning awards. She’s turning out quality work. She’s got audio books and translations out.

I always thought I wrote reasonably fast, but I couldn’t keep up that pace, unless I had a full staff to run the rest of my life.

I’m wondering if I should run an experiment, and have something that is more typically genre run through KDP/Unlimited to see how the returns differ.

The downside to that (apart from the qualms I have about the KDP contract) is that having only one book in that pipeline isn’t going to do much. I’d need at least three.

Three books that are separate from anything I currently have on contract, when I’m already on a brutal contract schedule.

Of course, a new pseudonym and a new idea for a series, even its title, came bursting forth almost immediately.

Whether I choose to go KDP or not, I’m kind of in love with this idea. It fuses with a couple of other ideas I’ve been playing with, and mixes the mystery and romance genres in a beautiful location.

I even have the opening line, which is a kicker.

The problem is — when will I be able to write it? We’ve already rescheduled THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m on track for GRAVE REACH, but I can’t let the other two fall by the wayside.

I have to get back into the Jain Lazarus Adventures later this year, revising CRAVE THE HUNT, and my editor and I have to go over the first two, seeing if we need to make any changes.

I have to get back on track with the JUSTICE BY HARPY books. The first book is in great shape; the second two, not so much. Since all three have to release close together, that’s a challenge.

I want to get THE FIX-IT GIRL out on traditional submission, and work on THE TIE-CUTTER.

And, of course, there’s always GAMBIT COLONY that pulls whenever I’m stressed to blow off steam.

I have a radio play going live in May. I have another radio play due in Florida in the next couple of weeks, and requests for more; I have ANOTHER radio play to send to MN as soon as I’m done with it.

I have a play due in NY at the end of May for a contest.

I have to get into the MFA to research Canaletto and the Bibiana families so I can start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters that’s due at the end of the year.

I have to finish the anti-gun violence play (because it’s not like that issue will be solved any time soon).

I have to keep working on WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, and test the monologues.

I have to write the play about the two infamous women authors.

I have articles to pitch and write, and other marketing writing that keeps a roof over my head. I have contest entries to finish, books to review, a couple of speaking engagements coming up.

I have to come up with a new marketing strategy for my books.

How do I make it all work? Especially when, right now, I’m exhausted? And deal with the garden? And I probably have to face some major life changes in the upcoming months.

I’m not sure. I have to take some time to sit and think. To prioritize. To push myself to get it all done.

To do it without killing myself.

Hence why the burnout workshop was so relevant.

Outside, took a few breaths of fresh air, then back in for a seminar on ebook pricing. Some of which directly contradicted what worked for some of the authors in the last seminar.

One interesting thing that came up was to set the first book in a series perpetually at 99 cents. I’ve played with that idea. I don’t want the people who are excited by a new release to feel screwed if I lower the price of the first book to 99 cents and keep it there. My publisher is open to discussing pricing changes, but is more in favor of limited-time discounts than a permanent change.

A few months ago, I was advised that I should lower the price of ALL the earlier books whenever I have a new release out. I balked at that idea, as did the publisher. Because then why should people order the book when it first comes out? They know it’ll come down in price a year later when the next one comes out. In the interim, I might lose them anyway.

It was also brought up that $1.99 is an awful price. I put my Delectable Digital delight shorts at 99 cents (making sure people understand they are SHORT). My publisher usually has novellas or short novels at $1.99 or $2.99 if they’re almost up to category length. Now I’m wondering if we should go up to some funky price like $2.09 or $2.49?

Yeah, this is just what my publisher wants. Me to come back from a conference full of ideas that aren’t new books! 😉

The lunch buffet was fun. I got to catch up with a friend who has nine books out under one of her names, and is about to launch a cozy mystery series under another. Can’t wait to read all of them!

Met another author, Jillian David, whose presentation I missed (and I felt guilty for so doing, because I really liked her). I now can’t wait to read her books, either.

The lunchtime keynote was Penny Reid, who was funny and heartfelt, and now I have another new-to-me author to read. That’s one of my favorite things about conferences — finding new-to-me authors whose work I can gobble up.

I found Kilby Blades, who was presenting the two sessions before mine in the salon we would all share, to ask if she minded that I brought my rack down and stashed it before her session started. She was cool with it. I didn’t want to just show up with a bunch of stuff and presume I could take up space.

I attended both of her marketing sessions which was useful. She navigates how to use best business practices in marketing and then morph them for the weirdness that is the book business. It helped me rethink some strategies, and I will have a lot to discuss with my publisher’s new marketing director soon!

There were some elements that gave me a headache. Charting daily sales–I know it’s useful, but I’d much rather look at weekly or monthly breakdowns. But as we work on new marketing strategies, the daily fluctuations and the importance of serious testing matters. The same way it does when I do it for other people.

I wish it wasn’t so much easier to market for someone else than to market myself!

Then, it was my turn.

My audience was great, but I was not happy with my performance. I talked too quickly. I didn’t share enough anecdotes from the set (only two or three). I meant to talk about heirloom pieces that are passed down and how they have meaning, and didn’t. I meant to tie in to some of the other sessions, and it flew right out of my mind.

I was frustrated with myself because it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the only one to blame was me.

I shouldn’t have cut reading the passage from a friend’s book about how a couple of characters cleaned up for a funeral. That would have been a good addition. But when I timed a rehearsal, it made the session run long without time for questions.

As I said, my audience was great. I could have been better. I did not live up to my own expectations.

I packed up, took everything back up to the room, and changed for dinner. I wore Cupcake International pieces all weekend — I was a walking advertisement for them. But the pieces were fun and comfortable and flattering.

Dinner was good. I sat with some people who’d been in my session, and another woman from NH who was lovely. We had a great talk about life in New Hampshire and a whole lot of other things.

Sonali Dev was our Keynote, and she was wonderful. She said something that resonated. “We write because we refuse to be silent.”

Again, gave me a lot to think about.

I was exhausted and my mind going a mile a minute after dinner. I didn’t join the debrief sessions; I went upstairs. I finished reading the book for review, and made notes.

I made some notes on some new ideas. I tried watching TV, but there was nothing I wanted to see. Packed everything up.

I pondered all the information I’d gathered. It will take me awhile to sort it all out and decide how best to put it to use.

Woke up at 1 AM and got back to sleep. Woke up a little after six. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. Breakfast.

Had the car loaded and was gone a little after 8. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was home by 10:30.

Unloaded. Put stuff away. Unpacked. Sorted laundry. Unpacked the handouts and bookmarks and other things I picked up at the conference. It will take me a few days to go through them.

I usually go through them the day of or the day after. But I was too tired.

I don’t get why — I hardly drank at all. I usually spend more time at the bar at conferences, and I didn’t this time around. But I feel more worn out than when I spend most of my free time in the bar. Here I tried to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I’m still wiped out.

Probably because this was at the end of a long, stressful month.

Tried to rest on Sunday. Wrote the review. Read some other books. I gave myself the day off from contest entries.

Monday was back to the normal routine, although I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

Got some writing done in the morning, although it wasn’t very good. Played with my new idea. That world is coming into focus surprisingly clearly. Although I don’t want to be arrogant about it, so I ordered a bunch of research books from the library.

Returned what I’d borrowed for the conference. Spent time onsite with a client. Turned in my review.

Cancelled out of my mid-afternoon appointment because my brain was mush and I was making stupid mistakes.

I’d walked out of the house without my phone. Meant to pick it up after the session with my client and before leaving for meditation group. But, of course, I walked out without it — mostly because the cats caught a little, tiny mouse, and I felt horribly guilty about her demise. I mean, I don’t want mice in the house, and I’m glad the cats did their feline job — but I still felt awful about that poor little mouse, and buried her in the yard.

Meditation was good. I felt better and more focused after, although still tired.

Read a couple of Tracy Kiely’s Nic and Nigel Martini books over the past two days. They’re a lot of fun.

Went to bed early; overslept this morning.

Got some writing done, but not enough. Still mulling things over in my head.

Onsite with a client most of the day, then I have to get some work done at the library.

More contest entries to work on tonight, and I’m starting to enter the scores into the digital sheets.

Was assigned my next book for review.

I have to get going on the thank yous and follow ups from the conference today and tomorrow. I don’t want to let that slide.

And I have to get on a more productive writing schedule. I think I have to add a second writing session into the evening for the next few months. The morning at 1.5-2K is okay (although it makes me feel very slow). But if I can add in another 1K session in the evening, I should be able to get back on track. Maybe I can up it a little on weekends.

Mostly, though, I’m so, so tired. My body is tired and my brain is tired. I’m seriously thinking of taking a few days off this weekend, except for contest entries, and then starting up again with the new moon.

But the conference was great, and it gave me a lot to think about. Now, I have to sort through it, and, most importantly, APPLY WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

Because otherwise, it’s just time spent without gain.

Back to the page.

 

Thurs. Jan.10, 2019: Focus on Writing

Thursday, January 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a long, damn day onsite with a client. It was a good day, a productive day, but a long one. I couldn’t face cooking when I came home, so I picked up a pizza on the way.

And I’m still trying to take down decorations!

Put in my responses for the notes on the radio play. Called out the comments I felt were sexist — they’re not happening. But most of the other ones make sense, and I will implement them in the new draft. Of course, this company uses a format completely different from any other radio format I’ve ever worked in, but hey, gaining an additional tool is always valuable.

Got the next book I need to review. And the first shipment of books for the contest arrived. I’m excited to dig into them. They look good. Every time I pick up a book, either to review or for a contest, I want to fall in love with it. Doesn’t always happen, but I’m always excited and optimistic.

Tried adding the exercise bicycle to the fitness routine. I’d tried it a few years ago, and it caused so much pain in my knees, hips, and back that I stopped. But I need more elements in the routine, so I’m trying again. Just a short stint, but I was in pain a good portion of the night and this morning. I’ll give it a week of daily attempts; if it doesn’t feel better, I’ll stop.

Meanwhile, my 94-year-old mother does 20 minutes every day of the week on the bike! That’s her preferred form of exercise.

I’ve stuck to the weight training, though, and that feels good. I even upped the repetitions on one of the lifts. I’ve also added plank position every day back into the yoga sequence. I hate it, but I need it for the core. So I’ll deal.

I have some admin work to do today, and some LOIs to get out. Hopefully, a pitch for an article, and also work on a conference proposal I want to send out tomorrow. I also have a detailed proposal to go to my representatives on the federal level about the government shutdown. This crap has to stop, and if Mitch McConnell won’t do his job and let votes come to the floor, then remove Mitch McConnell. Even if it’s unprecedented. This administration has set the precedent that rules don’t count.

On today’s writing agenda: THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, start revisions on the radio play, and work on the first of the monologues. And write ahead on some blog posts. I’m going to introduce a Reader Expansion Challenge on A Biblio Paradise next week.

On the life agenda: Get the rest of the decorations down from the tree. Fix the printer, if possible.

Have a great Thursday!

 

Published in: on January 10, 2019 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan.10, 2019: Focus on Writing  
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Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
No Retrogrades

I’d forgotten what it feels like not to have retrogrades.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for my take on “The Book Boyfriend Dilemma.”

Busy few days, and it was a little overwhelming. Friday morning was stressful with a client, then I had some errands in the afternoon. I ended up buying some clothes to freshen up my wardrobe, some pants and skirts. I need to have a bit more of a polished look this year.

When I’m writing at home, I can wear whatever I want (usually yoga clothes, never pajamas. I can’t write in pajamas). But when I actually have to leave the house, I need and want to look professional, even if it’s not to a formal meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived on Friday, a day early, so that was a fun treat.

Saturday morning, I had errands — and wound up doing more clothes shopping — more pants and a few jackets. So I’m all set for the coming season.

Got two sets of notes on the radio play — which they claim they originally sent early in December, and I never received them. I had a conversation months ago, when they claimed they’d sent me something and I had never received it, which is why they didn’t get a response — if I don’t respond in 2-3 business days, it means I didn’t get it, and please follow up. I can’t respond if I don’t know they need something. Which they did not do, again. Now, they want a new draft in a little over two weeks. When I should have had seven.

I’m all signed up for a conference at which I’m a presenter — the schedule hasn’t officially been released yet, so I can’t give out the details. I will, as soon as I get the okay. Got a pitch for another radio play out (to a different company).

Started taking down the decorations. It took me a month to get them up; I don’t know why I thought I could get them down in an afternoon. And I used enough florists’ wire to build a small city.

Got some writing done, and some work on galleys. Not enough, I’m behind, and it frustrates me.

Got yet more contradictory information on my health insurance. I now have four sets of documents, all which contradict each other. I’m turning the whole mess over to Elizabeth Warren’s office. Don’t ever believe the marketing crap that health coverage in the state of Massachusetts works. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars in repeatedly having to send documents via certified mail (which they always claim they never received, even when I have proof) and dozens of lost work hours every year to sign up for health coverage — all with the threat that I’ll have to pay a fine WHEN THEY SCREW IT UP EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Single payer. Anything else is just stupid.

Exhausted on Sunday. Had trouble getting going. Working on finishing up a book for review. Had to do some client work that I couldn’t get finished last week, and which had to be done by Monday.

Worked on taking down decorations. Still not done. The tree only has lights left on it, but it will be another day or two before I can get them off and take the tree apart. I haven’t even stripped the tree in my office of ornaments yet.

I’m just unbelievably exhausted, and don’t see any option for rest coming up. It’s not about sleep. It’s about rest.

Sunday night was a fancy dress party. The reason I’d been shopping earlier in the weekend was to find a dress for this party. I didn’t find one, although I found pieces to freshen my wardrobe. But it turns out that I could fit into my favorite navy blue velvet evening gown. I paired it with my new blue suede pumps, thigh-high stockings (I’m sticking to my resolution not to wear pantyhose anymore), a multi-colored velvet wrap, elbow-length red velvet gloves, and I had my hair up with a tiara. I was pretty pleased with the effect.

The party was fun. It was at a restaurant in Hyannis. There was live music, a dance floor. I had a few glasses of Prosecco, danced, talked to people I knew and didn’t.

When I got home, I changed into pajamas and made scrambled eggs and ham for a late, light supper.

Monday was spent in client work, a couple of other appointments, and then a new meditation class. I desperately, desperately needed it.

I was exhausted when I woke up on Monday, but proud of myself for sticking to the weight training. I do the weights before I do yoga, and that works much better. I used to do it the other way around, and it didn’t work.

My printer is acting up – just when I have A LOT that needs to be done in the next few days. I’m trying to replace the drum and hope that solves it; otherwise, I have to buy a new printer.

With a client today and tomorrow. Thursday, I start digging into the radio script revisions, and focus on some of the other writing.

Usually, even when I’m too tired to physically write much, I can work out plot points and story themes. But I’m so physically and mentally spent that I can’t even string two silent thoughts together. It’s very hard to be vocally coherent with clients.

And maybe, MAYBE this coming weekend, I can get some rest.

I’m going to figure out where I can take a few days off, either later this month, or early next month.

I still have two books coming out quickly that need to be marketed; and get back in the groove of GRAVE REACH, which comes out near the end of the year. And the plays. This year is about a lot of scripts.

I also have to get the registration of the websites shifted over to Name Silo. That means the sites will probably go down for a bit, as 1&1 tries to sabotage the transfer. But I’m happy with A2 as my host, and I want Name Silo to hold the registration. I want to finally be free of 1&1 for good. I wish I’d had the courage and the knowledge to leave them years ago. It’s cost me thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

But most of all, most of all, I am desperate for some rest.

Published in: on January 8, 2019 at 6:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest  
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Wed. Dec. 19, 2018: Regain the Balance By Writing

Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the final business post of the year.

Yesterday was challenging. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. Today will be as well. I will just have to make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

By the end of the work day, I was very discouraged and disheartened. Change will happen, not as fast as I want it to, but it will. I have to be patient and smart. But it was one of those situations where I wanted to just sit down and cry, only there was no guarantee I’d stop any time in the foreseeable future.

Behind on where I want to be with deliveries and finishing the cards. I’m close to the end of the cards, but I’ve been so wiped out when I get home that I’m practically babbling.

Working on THE LINGERIE TRAIL and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and starting to get back to fixing the problems in DAVY JONES DHARMA.

I’m brainstorming an idea that’s been rolling around in my head for years, which is demanding attention. It’s most likely to be a play, with two infamous female writers at the center of it. That’s all I’m going to say for now. Doing some brainstorming in the Women Write Change forum.

I’m not going to work on the anti-gun violence play until after the holidays. There’s too much going on for me to go deep enough, and then be able to come back and deal with life stuff that needs handling. I’ll need to block off some quiet, depth time. But I am working on the proposal for the play I want to write about Canaletto’s sisters.

Also toying with the idea of a novella (? Not sure there’s enough for a novel) about a charming guy who entices women he meets online to support his expensive lifestyle, and how he gets his comeuppance. If it remains as light and comic as the initial notes, I’ll keep it as an Ava Dunne piece; if it goes darker, it’ll go out under the Devon Ellington byline. I probably won’t get to it until about spring anyway.

Yeah, I can hear you guys from here, telling me of course it will go dark. Because, hey, who’s got a trilogy coming out next year called “Justice by Harpy”?

I might just surprise you all!

Or not.

I’ll trust the characters to lead me to the best format.

I have a lot to do over the next few days, but I’m also looking forward to Winter Solstice on Friday, full moon Saturday, and celebrating a (hopefully) quiet Eve and Day early next week.

I love those moments at the beginning of the Winter Solstice ritual, where the house goes to full dark. Then we light the fire in the fireplace, and then light all the candles, and then put on all the twinkle lights. It really does make me feel like things will turn for the better.

I need rest, which is different than sleep.

But before then, I need to get things done.

Hopefully, yoga is on tomorrow. I need to be back in class.

I need some good writing time this week – which I will get in, around the Solstice and Christmas prep and some friends coming in with whom I’ll brainstorm the new plays.

 

Published in: on December 19, 2018 at 6:57 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 19, 2018: Regain the Balance By Writing  
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Tues. Nov. 20, 2018: Writing, Reconstruction, Announcements

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend. I was lucky enough to focus on the writing.

I finished the 4th draft of HEART SNATCHER on Sunday morning, after spending part of Friday and most of Saturday on it. I wound up cutting seven chapters, doing a lot of tightening. It’s now back down within an acceptable range for genre, although I’d like it to be even leaner.

But I love Max and Valerie, and what they’re dealing with. The characters are well-developed, the plot moves.

I made some changes in the first third of HEART BINDER, the second book in the trilogy, and then went over the outline for books two and three, and made some changes to support the revisions in book 1.

I also found a place where I need to add a few words of description to an object that makes an appearance in Book 1 and then becomes vital to the plot in Books 2 &3.

I wrote another chapter on HEART BINDER on Sunday afternoon.

I’ll send HEART SNATCHER to my editor after the Thanksgiving holiday. I want it to marinate, so to speak, for a few days, and then I’ll do one more pass before I send it off. She liked the synopsis and sample chapters, and in the current climate of a toxic administration, it’s relevant.

Along with the discussions I’ve been having with editor and publisher, we are moving the release of DAVY JONES DHARMA into February, rather than December. I can’t get it into the shape I want by the end of this week. I need to tear it apart and reconstruct it. The contract schedule this year was just too tight for me.

From a marketing standpoint, it makes more sense to release a book set on a cruise ship in February, during the height of cruise season, so that all works.

THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE is on track, and retains its late January release date.

We may push back the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and the future of the Gambit Colony series is up in the air, as far as when it will release.

That’s all dependant, of course, if the publisher wants the Justice by Harpy trilogy. If not, we still have to rearrange some of the schedule, so that each book we release is the best I can make it, within the time frame, and the time frame is realistic so it doesn’t suck.

I’m also at that weird stage I hit with certain books, where I don’t like to be physically separated from the manuscript.

Got a few pages done on the suicidal veteran piece.

Friday night, there was an NBC news piece about teaching kids to triage each other in active school shootings. Right, because the adults refuse common sense gun legislation.

But that got me thinking about the anti-gun violence play. I wrote a new opening, and I have the notes for a new closing. They will echo each other, without boring repetition (if I do it properly). Instead of writing this play linearly, the way I usually do — start at the beginning, write it through, and then revise — I’m writing it from both ends to the middle. It’s a variation on a technique I learned in a playwrighting workshop I took with the National Theatre when one of my plays was done at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

I found out about the deadline to submit the application on the last day. I went to the Fringe office to apply. A scene had to accompany the application, so I sat down and wrote one. When I turned it in, they asked me to wait. A few minutes later, the instructor said, “You wrote this just now? It’s not part of something else?”

I said, “No. I can’t use anything from the piece that’s running, because it would hurt both processes.”

He looked at me and said, “You’re in.”

It’s one of the best classes I ever took in my life, and I still use what I learned.

Anyway, I rewrote the opening scene. I sent it off to my UK actor pal (the one who told me to get out of my own way in the reading). He’s one of the few who sees an early draft of anything; he’s both supportive and critical. I asked him what it needed. His reply: “To be on stage. Now.”

So I’m on the right track.

Yard work suffered this weekend, but too damn bad. I was so sick and tired of all the damn leaf blowers. It’s autumn in New England. Leaves fall down. The lawn doesn’t have to be immaculate every moment.

It was a Twitter pal’s birthday yesterday. I sent him good wishes; but, because I wasn’t close enough to buy him a drink in person, I went to a local bar where veterans hang out (he’s a veteran) and anonymously bought a round for a table of them in his honor. I left before the bartender could point me out. Because none of this is about me.

The rest of this week’s posts are placeholders and good wishes for the holidays. The next post with teeth in it is next Monday, the Upbeat Authors post wondering if authors can have friends, since everything is material.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 20, 2018 at 6:05 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 20, 2018: Writing, Reconstruction, Announcements  
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Tues. Oct. 20, 2018: The Wrong Tired Early in the Week

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Day Before Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Busy, busy weekend.

The Global Human Rights conference was intense. Fortunately, I can catch up on sessions I missed over the next couple of weeks. So much material on so many levels. A lot that I can use as jumping off points for creative work.

By Saturday, I was worn out. I gave myself the second half of the day off. I went grocery shopping, did laundry, made parsnip-carrot-leek soup, roasted a chicken.

Read more than I wrote: LARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING by Donna Andrews, which had me laughing out loud. It’s nice to see how Andrews developed the community, and how the time and energy Meg has put into it is now being returned.

Also read SHELTER IN PLACE by Nora Roberts. This is one of her better books, in my opinion. Relevant and sad, dealing with the aftermath of a mass shooting, and how the survivors’ lives evolved. Not all of her books work for me, but this one did, on multiple levels. Well done.

Read a nonfiction book that came highly recommended, from other people and in reviews. Found it very disappointing. The narrator meandered around, being ungrateful for her opportunities and blowing them, and the “memoir” had very little point, other than making me not like or respect her very much. The constant tense shifts and second person gave me a headache. The framework of the piece made sense, but too much of the internal structure within that framework didn’t support the narrative, in my opinion.

Author Lauren Dane turned me on to the poetry of Warsan Shire. Wow. Just wow, on so many levels. One of the most powerful poets I’ve read in a long time.

I needed to take in work this weekend, rather than spewing it out.

But by Sunday, I was back on track with DAVY JONES DHARMA, and that draft is humming along nicely.

I also did another round of copyedits on RELICS. STILL finding errors that I know I changed. Still finding things that, when I changed, the “auto correct” on the machine changed back, and then I changed them again, and so forth and so on. It also angers me that the latest version of Word’s Grammar/Spellcheck doesn’t recognize “it’s” and always wants to change it to “its.”

I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A POSSESSIVE AND A CONTRACTION. STOP TRYING TO CHANGE IT TO THE ONE I DON’T WANT.

Yes, I am screaming.

Worked on site with a client, which had its challenges. This week and next will be difficult, with this particular client.

I have another round of copyedits to do on RELICS. This damn well better be the last one; we’re getting way too close to the release date, and it’s hurting the pre-orders.

But once this releases, I can get back into splitting my writing work between the latest draft of DAVY JONES DHARMA and the latest draft of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Although, because I’m so deep in RELICS right now, I want to slide right into GRAVE REACH.

Prepping for the next revision on HEART SNATCHER, which I will do during the Women Write Change project.

Gathering research for both the anti-gun violence play and the multi-media performance piece.

In despair about the corruption of the US government right now. Voters better turn out.

Trying to schedule a bunch of appointments, and it’s all chaos.

Tired, tired, tired.

 

Wed. Aug. 29, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Blisteringly hot & humid

Hop on over to the Fearless Ink Site for the latest on Ink-Dipped Advice.

I’ve been onsite with a client the last few days, doing studio/design work. She leaves for Thailand early in September and needs to get this done. It’s interesting work, the way she designs clothes, and very different from costume design in theatre.

I’m re-reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s TENDER IS THE NIGHT and wallowing in the beauty of the language. Which is weird, because when one breaks down certain sections of it, it shouldn’t work. But when you put it together, it does.

Since I’m reading EVERYONE WAS SO YOUNG, which deals with the inspiration for TENDER IS THE NIGHT, it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

Ari Meghlen invited me to guest on her blog (it will go up next year) and I said yes. I also invited her onto Biblio Paradise. I need to get the next few dozen posts on that sorted this week.

Working on the calendar articles. The first book for my new reviewing gig arrived, and I really like it. I hope to finish it this weekend and get the review out early next week. Worked on the newsletter, which will go out early next week.

Shameless promotional note: If you haven’t signed up for my quarterly newsletter yet, you can do so here.

This newsletter has a triple cover reveal: RELICS & REQUIEM, DAVY JONES DHARMA, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Pushing for the end of this draft of RELICS. Behind where I need to be on DHARMA. But BALTHAZAAR is where it should be, and CRAVE THE HUNT needs to get back into the mix once RELICS is in galleys and the next draft of DHARMA is done.

Right now, the goal is a minimum of 2500 words/day on RELICS (more if I can) and 1K on DHARMA, but that doesn’t always happen.

Getting more comfortable on Tumblr; loving Ello; joined Triberr, and we’ll see how that goes. I’m ready to give up on Vero — if I’m having trouble with even the sign-up, a client less IT fluent won’t like it at all. Their support people have been lovely, but the problem’s not solved. We’re going on a week here. And it’s just about signing up and my email address (that I use a dozen times a day) coming up in the sign-up as invalid. It’s not.

I have to start rehearsing the material for the Ptown Book Festival Reading and put together a flyer/handout for it.

Discussions on the Jain Lazarus covers with that cover designer. The cover I want to go back to was not by that designer — paint me mortified! I have to figure out what to do about OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. CRAVE THE HUNT is more important now.

We got the new subdomain for the new series set up and WordPress on it. Now, I have to take it offline so we can build privately. The first three books in the series are in good shape. The cover for the first is great; we have to tweak the second a bit. The fourth book is almost ready; the fifth is partially done, and the sixth outlined and has to get back into the writing roster. How the next few books in the other series stay on track and what goes on with CRAVE THE HUNT will decide a lot about the schedule for this series.

It’s a juggling act.

The cleanout of the basement is going more slowly than I’d like. The heat and humidity has a negative effect.

Last night was our last session of Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki for the season. It’s been a beautiful experience, and I am glad I made it to every session.

Today, I’m with a client for most of the day, and then I hope to get more basement cleaning done. The humidity/heat is set to break either tomorrow or Friday, so maybe I’ll have a productive weekend.

Back to the page.

Wed. Aug. 22, 2018: Creative Expansion & Annoyance at Forced Terms

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Today would have been my father’s birthday, if he was still alive.

Hop on over for the latest freelancing advice over on the Fearless Ink website, Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve tweaked the look of it a bit, too.

I hurt my back on Monday, and it’s still bothering me. On top of it, yesterday, I had an awful headache.

I’m surprised by how upset I am at Facebook’s new terms, where authors can’t talk about their books on their personal pages. Because talking about them IS promoting them — it’s all integrated. My work is deeply entwined with who I am — even though my work is public and my life is private. My reason for being on social media is to talk about the work (and watch food porn and share pet photos, but that’s secondary). To force authors and all artists to move their work to business pages in order to force all of that to be paid promotion — I’m angry.

I’m also disappointed in Mark Zuckerberg, and his journey from creative entrepreneur to greedy corporate owner. People don’t change (although one hopes they grow), so it was always there. I had hoped it wouldn’t be what he leads with, but now it is. It’s bad enough he sold out his country to foreign entities, fake news, and hate groups. All these changes, which he claims are part of controlling that are crap. All he’s doing is hurting the small businesses and individual artists.

So, yes, I’m putting up a Devon Ellington Author page tied to my other pages. For the moment, I am still on FB. But if I’m kicked off, while I will miss some of my FB-only contacts, I’m going to shrug and move on.

I signed up on Tumblr, and you can find me here. I’m still figuring out how to use it.

I signed up on Ello, and you can find me here. I’m digging the creative energy over there, and I think I’m going to like it.

Once I upgrade my phone, I might join Vero, but the jury’s still out on that.

I’m thinking about reviving my old My Space account, even.

It all has to evolve, doesn’t it?

I use Twitter differently than I use Facebook. Facebook is more for hanging out. Twitter is more hard-edged and focused. Although I’ve gotten some of my highest-paid gigs off Twitter.

I might have to suck it up and try to be active on Goodreads, although I can’t stand the thought of it. But I need to be able to connect with readers and potential readers.

The whole thing is discouraging, depressing, and dispiriting. As usual, it’s about screwing the individual artist.

Negotiations for the gig are ongoing. I’d like to land it, but we have a few things to work out. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll shrug and move on.

Lucy loves to sit in my lap as I type. Lucy loves to sit in my lap no matter what. It makes Tessa grumpy, so I make sure to give Tessa plenty of extra attention.

Needless to say, I really, really needed Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki last night!

Continuing on with RELICS, happy that I see the end in sight for this draft and moving toward it.

DHARMA is heating up; once that moves back into the primary position, I think it will cook along fine.

BALTHAZAAR is also taking shape nicely, and I’m eager to get back to that, and to CRAVE THE HUNT.

We’re working on the relaunch of the Jain Lazarus books. My editor has asked me for a few tweaks, especially when it comes to OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. And I’ll have to do some major work on the website. I’m going to get it more in alignment with the other series sites.

We’re also talking about the series POWER OF WORDS is evolving into. The cover for the first book is stunning. I’m so happy with it. The second still needs some more tweaks, but it communicates what the book is about. We should see some proofs for the upcoming books shortly. We’re still tweaking titles on some of them, and starting to build the website.

Client work today; I’ll be late getting posts up both Thursday and Friday, because of things that have to get done in the morning before I can post. I hope to spend most of the upcoming weekend writing and working on the house and garden. With any luck, it will be cool enough and dry enough so to do.

I’m absolutely delighted that I was chosen to read at the Provincetown Book Festival on September 15. We’ll be in the Marc Jacobs room at the Provincetown Library, from 10-11:30 AM. Can’t wait.

Back to the page!

 

Thurs. July 26, 2018: And Mercury Goes Retrograde, Too!

Thursday, July 26, 2018
Day Before Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I’m tired of everything being perpetually warm and damp.

Mercury goes retrograde today, with all these other retrogrades, and right before a full moon with the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

Yesterday was not a productive day on RELICS, and I’ll have to make it up this weekend. I have a deadline looming (although my editor let me push it back a few days). But this new deadline still must be met. I have Amanda and Phineas’s first real love/sex scene to write, and it’s tricky. I haven’t been in the right headspace to write it, and I can’t just skip it, move on and go back, because how it plays out influences the rest of the book. I know the focus and drive of it and what happens after, but the nuances I’ll discover when actually writing the scene will make a big difference.

Review out, a few blog posts ahead on some other blogs. Worked with a client on a batch of blog posts. The new hire at that client’s place is working well, so far. We’re finding lots of mistakes from the person that left. I also got a raise at this gig, without having to be the one to say, “I’m raising my rate.” Which is nice.

Got some work done restructuring THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, so I have an idea of what I have, how much, what needs to be tweaked since I split out the material that grew into MYTH & INTERPRETATION. Behind on where I want/need to be for DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will also have to get caught up this weekend.

The consensus on the DAVY JONES DHARMA cover was that it was too cutesy. Since the Nautical Namaste mysteries intentionally break some of the cozy formula rules, the covers can’t be entirely cozy, although they are more light-hearted than the ones for the other series. My cover designer showed me two other options. My editor, publisher, and I all liked the same one best, and I admit — they were right, I was wrong. The new one fits the tone of the book and the theme of the series better. We’re still debating whether or not to have the figure seated in lotus position, as we did on SAVASANA, to keep it consistent. But it looks wrong, so we might go without.

Also saw a rough of the cover for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which I love, love, love!!!! Completely different direction than I expected, and much better.

And the cover for RELICS & REQUIEM is beautiful. We also have a rough of the fourth boo in the Coventina Circle series, GRAVE REACH, which is lovely. The image was originally one of those proposed for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It wasn’t right for that book, but was compelling and fit more in the style of the Coventina Circle books.

So all of those covers are done ahead of time and are in good shape. I’ll be working with my other cover designer on the covers for the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures for next spring, and the next set of covers we need to worry about are those for what used to be POWER OF WORDS, but is now going to be called something else, and get its own logo and subdomain and website and all the rest, so it’s a lot.

I have a few things to do this morning and the library, and then it’s back home to write, write, write!

 

Published in: on July 26, 2018 at 8:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 26, 2018: And Mercury Goes Retrograde, Too!  
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Thurs. July 12, 2018: Clown Semen & Other Creative Adventures

Thursday, July 12, 2018
New moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see why loving your job does not forfeit your right to earn a living at it.

The impromptu artists’ retreat with my friends last week gave me a lot to think about, and it will take me some time to work through it all. While I didn’t get a lot of words on paper during that time, I refilled the creative well, as we all helped each other refill our creative wells.

I helped brainstorm their creative projects; because that work is not mine, I can’t discuss it here, in a public space. The results of the brainstorming are theirs to use or not use, discuss or not discuss as they see fit. But I find helping others sort their way out of creative obstacles always teaches me a lot about my own work.

As far as my work, I now have:

— a clearer idea of how to proceed on the anti-gun violence play;

–a stronger thread for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (breaking MYTH & INTERPRETATION out of it helped, but now it’s even more focused);

–a clearer idea of CRAVE THE HUNT, which needs to go back into the queue in late summer;

–how to incorporate the editorial notes I received recently on the two manuscripts in a way that solves the problems the editors pointed out without diluting my vision for the books. The only way I could see on one of them was to dumb it down, but now I know how to make what the editor feels is missing work while still driving the book’s unique edge, the thing that makes it different from other books in the genre;

–a new determination to work, in and around other projects on what I’ve called THE POWER OF WORDS, so the first six books will be ready to release one-a-month next spring or summer;

–a new determination to get back to THE FIX-IT GIRL edits (the book set in 1930s Hollywood), so that can go out on submission;

–the problem that had me stuck on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is untangled, and I can fix that; when, I’m not sure, but the “how” is handled;

–the outline for the first book in a more traditional mystery series that has a good chance of finding a home in a more traditional venue — if I can work in the time to do a good job on it;

–ideas for a couple of radio plays, and new venues to send existing radio plays;

So I would say it was a productive few days.

I went to Falmouth Art Center to the opening of an exhibit where a friend of mine had a couple of pieces. The drive was a nightmare, but the exhibit was lovely. Her pieces (ceramics) had a wonderful sense of fun. Of the other pieces, I found myself especially drawn to the oils. I loved their depth. It reminds me of the difference between film and video.

Came home to discover other family friends had stopped by, although they hadn’t been able to stay.

Once the last of the guests left. I did laundry and some tidying up, but cut myself a break to process ideas and read and rest. I felt a huge need to rest.

Part of me worried that I’m getting too far behind on the word count for RELICS; more of me felt I couldn’t put words of any value down, and it was better to rest.

One of the books I read was THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis, which I really liked.

I tried to read some books by an author whose latest book I loved, but they were written in present tense, and I couldn’t. I loathe novels written in present tense. I don’t care how much praise they get. I find them unreadable. It’s the author getting between me and the story, screaming in my face about what a cool stylist the author is, instead of letting me experience the story.

A writer friend is coming to the Cape to teach at the Conference next month and wants to get together. I’m delighted.

Monday morning, I woke up early with a blasting headache. I ended up drafting most of a flash fiction piece — I still have to figure out how to end it. That alleviated the headache somewhat.

Client work, prepping and getting out a marketing campaign for an event the client has in August.

Steady work on RELICS, getting back into the groove with DHARMA. Researching my almanac articles. Getting ready to re-read HEADLONG this weekend so I can write the foreword. I’m so thrilled my friend asked me to write the foreword. What an honor. It remains one of my favorite books ever. I have to put some material together for a couple of proposals in the next few days, too.

I’d sent a pitch to a potential client through a recruiter — who sent it to THE WRONG COMPANY. My pitch was to join the marketing team for a company that promotes wellness in the workplace. Instead, the recruiter sent the pitch to a different company with the same first initials/acronym located in a different town. This one is a fast-paced, very corporate organization. I was puzzled at first, when the corporation contacted me to set up a meeting. Because I knew I hadn’t sent them anything. Then I did some research and realized what had happened. Then I did some research on the company and — no. Just no. We are not a good fit. The “leaders” stay in the shadows and the double-speak made me question their ethics. Plus, they’re looking for entry level to groom. I’m not entry level. Too many decades of work under my belt for that. I sent a polite email thanking them for their interest, explaining the mix-up, and withdrawing from consideration.

Savasana/sukasana/reiki was great. I love spending an hour a week lying in a quiet room with no expectations.

Then, Wednesday, there was some unpleasantness at one of the client sites. Unnecessary, manipulative unpleasantness. I was onsite, working on the client’s campaign for an upcoming event. However, another person in the workplace specifically sparked an incident that she knew would set off my client to go on a rant to which I would have to respond or be the type of compliant spineless moron I despise.This individual did it because she thought it was “funny.”Now, my client and I wound up being fine by remaining cordial and listening to each other, and giving each other respect for our differing views.

My fury (and believe me, it was fury) was at the person who sparked the incident, who threw me under the bus because she thought it was “funny.” My client left and I was finishing up what I needed to get done until I go back onsite next week. I was seething, but I figured I’d let myself cool down and then, if it was relevant, have a quiet word with the instigator next week.

But no, this one had to start joking about how funny it was. I told her to never put me in that situation again, and that I was angry, and didn’t appreciate she threw me under the bus. I have covered her ass plenty of times in that place. Then she denied that she “knew” it would cause a problem which either a flat out lie or she has cognitive issues, because we’ve discussed this more than once. Then she started the whole thing about how my anger “hurt her feelings.”

Too bad, bubbelah, maybe you should have considered that before deliberately stirring the pot. Her actions and her words are too far apart for me to believe her words. Anyone with a grain of common sense, consideration for someone else, and basic reasoning skills could have predicted what would happen.

Walk your fucking talk or get out of my life.

Of course, this is the same person who, last week, during a discussion about human rights violations, said she “doesn’t do politics. Besides, none of this affects me because I have white skin.”

Which just tells all of us all we need to know, right?

I’d much rather know someone’s true colors sooner rather than later. Now I know what I’m dealing with.

Fortunately, I got to have fun on Wednesday night, which is where the clown semen comes in.

My friend, author Ray Bartlett, did an event with another author, Mary Hart. I saw his post on Facebook about it, and hadn’t seen him in ages, so I figured it was a good time to get together, come out and support his book (I’d put together the launch party for it when it originally came out), and meet a new-to-me author. All good.

It was at Hyannis library, and tons of fun. Ray read from SUNSETS OF TULUM, and Mary read from SOME HORRIFIC EVENING. The audience was engaged, there was a great talk/question & answer session, and, best for them, the audience members bought books. It was lively and fun and creative.

I’m also looking forward to both of their next books.

After, we went to a nearby bar to chat and catch up. We ordered our various drinks. Mary ordered an IPA called something like “Clown Shoes”. It was clown something. Well, when it arrived at the table, it looked kind of like milky orange juice.

You get where I’m going with this, right?

We asked the waitress if it was supposed to look like that; she didn’t know, but suggested an app that has pictures and info on different beers. Mary pulled it up on her phone.

Uh, no, it wasn’t supposed to look like that. All the pictures were very different than what was in the glass in front of us. In the photos, it looked like beer.

What was in the glass didn’t look like beer.

Which is when the comment came up about it looking like “clown semen.”

Which quieted the men at the table into shocked silence for about 20 seconds.

Anyway, she sent it back and got something drinkable. But we started doing jokes about clown semen. Because it was just that kind of night.

We decided that it should be the title of her third book (because the title of her upcoming second book is already really cool). And if she doesn’t use it by her third book, I will.

I promised her I’d write about this today, so Mary, this one’s for you! 😉

And there was other laughter interspersed with the creative conversation, and it was fun. Also, when you go to one of Mary’s readings, ask about the story of how her parents met, because it’s really lovely.

Came home later than expected and puttered around.

This morning, it’s yard work, some remote client work. I need to up my game on RELICS & REQUIEM to make deadline, and I have to make sure I don’t drop the ball on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Plus, you know, the novella, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, releases on Tuesday, so I better up the PR.

I need to prepare an international proposal for a play that needs to go out tomorrow, and two radio drama pitches to go out next week. I also want to get out some more LOIs this week.

Tomorrow, I’ll share some Adventures in Wildlife we’re having around the yard.

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