Fri. July 21, 2017: Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Balancing Act

Friday, July 21, 2017
Day before Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Back to our regularly scheduled balancing act.

Lori Widmer kindly referred to me in one of her posts on Words on the Page as an example of busting a freelance writing myth. I’m honored to be included. I’m in a rough patch now, and that mention makes me realize that I’m further along than I often feel.

I’m having trouble with the mower again, which is hurting my ability to get the meadow finished. That was one of the worst purchases I’ve ever made, certainly the worst house-related purchase. Poulan Pro not only has substandard equipment, they don’t honor the warranty. I spent far too much on this piece of garbage, and it’s never worked properly. Very frustrating. At least I won’t make the mistake of doing business with Poulan Pro again.

Worked on the article on deadline. I’m waiting for one more quote, will integrate it when it arrives, and then off it goes (probably on Monday).

I have to figure out where to pitch next. I’m feeling a little burned out, pitch-wise, and I need to get back on track with a couple of short stories that need to go out.

Pitched for a project out of San Francisco that sounds like great fun; I’d love to be part of that team, if they’re willing to work with someone remotely.

Working on the PLAYING THE ANGLES galleys. Still trying to figure out how I can get the right Facebook page up. The one for Delectable Digital Delights and Jain Lazarus work well; the Gwen Finnegan doesn’t. But I can’t find in the settings what page I chose when I set it up. All very frustrating.

Working on the adjusted outlines for the “between-the-books” novella MYTH & INTERPRETATION and then, BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Prepping for my project meeting next week. I hope we like each other and it works out. The company interests me.

I’ve been reading about web design, trying to figure out if I can create GOOD ftp files for subdomains and uphold them to my current website. I’m intimidated. What I need to do is take a course in all this. I need a structured environment to learn how to do it. It’s a different language; rather than just saying, ” I don’t get it”, I want to find a way to learn it.

The books on Hearst Castle came back, so hopefully, I can dig into them and get that section done on FIX IT GIRL in the next couple of weeks. I’m behind where I want to be on that.

I hope, this weekend, to do a big chunk of work on “Labor Intensive” as well.

Hopefully, the humidity will lessen; I don’t do well in this weather and neither does the computer. I’d like to be clear-headed and productive.

On author Trish Milburn’s recommendation, I’m reading THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin. I’m thinking about doing an essay on it for Biblio Paradise next week. There are things I really respond to in the book, and things I don’t. But then, the book is about HER happiness, not mine.

The day before the dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month, so I’m dragging today. It’s an effort to dig down and focus. Layer on the life stress, and today is a challenge.

Back to juggling burning chainsaws.

Have a great weekend.

Wed. July 5, 2017: “Ramsey Chase” Cover Reveal & Gwen Finnegan Mysteries News!

Ransey Chase Cover 2 Small

“The Ramsey Chase” — The First Remarkable Adventure of Cornelia True and Roman Gray. Miss Cornelia True lives in Bodwin’s Ferry, a small seacoast town, with her sisters Arabella and Viola. Her life changes forever when Roman Gray, a “fixer” from the future and across the seas from the metropolis of Newest Yorkke, lands, naked, amongst Cornelia’s petunias due to a glitch in his Device. Together, they embark on a series of remarkable adventures. In “The Ramsey Chase”, Roman arrives hunting a time-travelling serial killer who preys on young women for their blood.

Yes, that’s the cover, and the story will release next Monday, July 10.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I took time off, not that it helped much when yesterday was stressful. I didn’t do most of what I’d planned.

I read a lot — the Helen Bevington books. Worked my way through a bunch of research books. I have about twenty books to return to the library today.

I also re-read the many, many pages on INITIATE, which will eventually become the series encompassing SCHOLAR, WRAIG NAIF, WRAIG MATURE, INITATE, and KNIGHTWITCH. There’s a lot of good stuff in there. I even found my notes and wrote more pages. Not a lot, but a few thousand words here and there.

I also re-read what I have of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, the second Gwen Finnegan mystery. My friend Arlene Kay loved TRACKING MEDUSA, and has encouraged me to get Gwen back on the schedule. I’d stopped working on BALTHAZAAR when Amber Quill went under; there didn’t seem any point since TRACKING MEDUSA went out of print. I was also frustrated, because the first section of the book is important to the growth of Gwen and Justin’s relationship, but doesn’t really drive BALTHAZAAR.

I realized I could cut the part before they actually go on the treasure hunt and expand it, turning it into a novella that will run about 200 pages or so. It will cover the time between MEDUSA and BALTHAZAAR, introduce a character who is vital to the next two Gwen mysteries, and show that important growth arc in their relationship, without derailing BALTHAZAAR the way it did. Then, BALTHAZAAR can open IN THE STORY and not lose momentum. Better structural choice.

The title of the novella is MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and will be focused in and around New York City.

If I can work out the details for MEDUSA along the same lines as I’m doing for PLAYING THE ANGLES — digital release first, then a small traditional print run (not POD), it makes sense to get MEDUSA back on track for an early 2018 release, with the novella mid-year, and BALTHAZAAR a few months after that. At the same time, I don’t want to drop the ball on PLAYING THE ANGLES or the books that come after it. I have to see if it’s physically and mentally possible for me to juggle both those series while I’m also writing books that are more suited to traditional publishers and working on that angle of my career as well. I want and need to be working along several fronts.

I am sick and tired of publishers (and now, many agents), only committing to one book at a time, instead of making a worthwhile, longterm investment in a writer’s career. That model doesn’t work for me. So I need to reshape my career in the way that does. That is why having a good entertainment lawyer is so vital.

The proofing of “The Ramsey Chase” is done (although I’ll probably do one more proofread before I send it in. The cover’s at the top of the post — ta da! Cover reveal! I kind of love it. Blurbs, excerpts, et al, will release this week, and it drops next Monday, via Smashwords. It’s a short, and will be only 99 cents.

I do love the stories and characters; I’m just sick of the piece right now, with all the re-reading I had to do to prep it for release!

The file also contains the opening of the second Remarkable Adventure, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which will release in November.

The media kit is almost done. Press goes out today (release was finished this morning).

Hopefully, plenty of you enjoyed “Personal Revolution” over the weekend.

The fireworks were ridiculous. Fireworks are an art form, and they are beautiful. Go watch the professionals. Do NOT put your entire neighborhood in danger because you are a dumbass. And yes, I trained in pyrotechnics when I worked rock and roll, so I know what I’m talking about. The majority of people who buy illegal fireworks and set them off are too stupid to properly work them, which is why THEY ARE ILLEGAL. And don’t for a second think I’ll contribute to your Go Fund Me Campaign when you lose a limb or an eye. Not to mention the fact that it terrifies pets and triggers PTSD in many veterans.

Every night, when it quieted down, I gathered up the frightened animals who took refuge under the deck or in our bushes, soothed them, fed them. They overnighted with us, and I got them back to their humans the next day.

I didn’t celebrate yesterday. It was impossible to celebrate “independence” when we have a sociopathic moron and his evil henchmen in charge, turning this place into an authoritarian, white supremacist, misogynistic theocracy.

I don’t have the To Do List up yet for July. I’m still trying to figure out my schedule. There’s a lot of pressure on me the next few weeks, especially with my mother’s surgery coming up. Once the late payments catch up, I can hit an even keel, but until everything’s caught up and I have enough work booked for the month, I’m going to be stressed.

I ate red meat last night — something I rarely do any more, and was miserable. It was good while I ate it, and I paid for hours after.

However, there was some good news: an actor for whom I’d written a monologue, and with whom I worked via Skype, landed a role in a series of the type that we’d always dreamed about him doing “someday”. He’s going to be fabulous. It’s wonderful to see that the talented kid has grown into such a terrific man. I feel like a proud momma! He pointed out that I’d been a friend during some tough times, when many people forgot about him. I’m thrilled for him. (And yes, completely content to stay in the background — I’m not going to run around trying to ride on his coattails).

Woke up feeling much more cheerful this morning, after a bad night thanks to the red meat. I have so much to do today that I will be overwhelmed if I don’t just deal with each piece at a time, and then move on to the next piece.

And I HAVE to get back to FIX-IT GIRL this week. I can’t keep the research books any longer. I also feel, since I started “Miss Winston”, I should keep going on it, although it’s not releasing until November. “Labor Intensive” has a closer deadline, and therefore should get attention first.

But first, mowing. The front yard looks raggedy. I wish I could learn to like it. The mowing, I mean, not the raggedy lawn!

Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles

Friday, October 10, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold

Yesterday was busy. Got in early, processed all the check-ins that couldn’t be handled the previous day due to the computer being down; got the holds and other books processed; hand-entered the manual checkouts into the system. Thank goodness we had volunteers at the desk to handle the patrons coming in and out that day needing check-ins and check-outs, so that I could catch up on the previous afternoon’s system work.

It all got done, and that’s what counts.

Home, tired. Dinner, some reading, worked on a student manuscript.

Watched STILL LIFE, the film version of Louise Penny’s book. Nathaniel Parker played Gamache; Kate Hewlett (whose work I really enjoy) was Clara. One of the biggest delights was Anthony Lemke as Jean-Guy. I knew his work from LOST GIRL – he was terrific in this. I like the character of Jean-Guy in the books, but this was definitely a case of the actor raising it to an even better, deeper level. I hope they film more of the books in the series. I can’t wait to see what he does with Jean-Guy’s journey. I was disappointed that they pushed the character of Myrna aside, and they didn’t start the development of the wonderful relationship between Jean-Guy and Ruth. To me, the odd affection between those two is one of the best cornerstones in the series, and I hope it develops in future films.

Bad dreams last night. Truly disturbing, and when I woke from them, I remembered that they’ve been progressive. I have to stop them before they progress any farther, or I will be in trouble, so that’s on my agenda for tonight.

I have two books and a novella screaming for writing time. I managed to untangle a problem in INITIATE that prevented me from moving forward in the fight sequence. Something that happens post-sequence needs to be set up properly here, and because I’d tried to force one of the characters in a wrong direction, it wasn’t working. But we’re back on track, so that sequence should start flowing. I have to do the opening of RED WIDOW (the novella), because the characters are getting very impatient, and BALTHAZAAR is starting to percolate properly again.

I was going to submit a couple of pieces, and then realized it’s Mercury Retrograde, so there’s no damned point. I will prep them, and then send them when everything goes direct.

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I can write all day on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Wednesday, we have a staff day out in P-town, so, after tomorrow, I won’t be back on line until Thursday, which is great. I LOVE being offline at least half the week. The improvement to my work is tremendous.

I also have to do some yard work any time it’s not raining. Time to put the garden to bed for the winter.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 10, 2014 at 8:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles  
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Mon. July 28, 2014: Undersea (in a Good Way)

Monday, July 28, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm (after downpours)

I’m a little late getting this up today, but, since I won’t be online tomorrow, today’s post has to work for both days! 😉

Busy weekend. Friday was busy at the library, but good. I was able to work on my boss’s computer (I should have mine in about ten days) and catch up on paperwork, PR, book orders, etc.

Saturday, I ran back into the library to print out a few things I’d forgotten on Friday, drop off books, pick up books.

The rest of the day was spent in research. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to keep BALTHAZAAR set in the Bahamas, to keep the Woodes Rogers connection historically accurate. I got through several research books, taking extensive notes, and jotting down ideas for scenes. This morning, I got most of Chapter Four drafted. I’m trying to effectively weave together four plotlines, two of which are contemporary and two of them in the late 1700s. Plus layer in the paranormal aspects. Justin, the male protagonist, is going to have to fight to keep his central position, because Alec, a character introduced in this book who will also be integral to Book #3, is threatening to take over. Justin is very aware of the threat. I’m almost ready to do the Writer’s Rough Outline — it usually takes me four chapters to write my way into the book. That will make the rest of the writing go more smoothly, even though I’ll have to research and write simultaneously, instead of spending months researching, then spending months writing and only filling in the gaps.

Some of the research I can also use for DARK ANNIE’S SECRET and for when I dust off CUTTHROAT CHARLOTTE and adapt it from serial to novel, so at least the research will have far-reaching goals.

One of those funny things — I got so many research books from the library, and the most useful one is a volume I own. Typical.

Quick check online, and then back into research. I won’t have time to do much tomorrow except play — I’ll be at the Cape Cod Canal Centennial Celebration. Don’t worry — I’ll take lots of pictures.

There’s also a Marine Medical Mystery by the NMLC at MMPL on Wednesday morning, and suspense author Joseph Finder speaks Wednesday night. So Wednesday will be busy, too.

I can’t believe that the Writers Conference is next week, and then the Mermaid Ball, and then it’ll be September!

Things are happening quickly. It’s all good, it’s just fast.

Devon

Published in: on July 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm  Comments Off on Mon. July 28, 2014: Undersea (in a Good Way)  
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Fri. July 11, 2014: Rolling in Pages

Friday, July 11, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy day yesterday. Good busy, but still busy. Had a terrific meeting with the woman who donated the theatre collection to the library, and we discussed ways to partner between New York and the Cape. There are very exciting possibilities.

Also brainstormed with a colleague about exciting plans for Banned Books week, and booked poet Charles Coe. Exciting times!

Revised my report for next week’s board meeting, got out some PR for the Elisabeth Elo event, brainstormed the Mermaid Ball release with my cohorts over there.

Bought flowers from one of the local farm stands on my way home. So pretty! Love how people have cutting gardens, cut/arrange/sell their flowers.

Finished proofreading THE CHARISMA KILLINGS and the proposal last night, and sent it out this morning. Got a little bit of work done on BALTHAZAAR, but not enough. Have to do the galleys for “Elusive Prayers” this weekend.

Didn’t sleep well; fretting over things, in a way that my grandmother would call “borrowing trouble.” Coyotes woke me up at 2 AM again, but once I fell asleep, I figured out a few things and made some decisions. I didn’t make it to Broadway without an element of ruthlessness, and some of that has to be applied to the situations that currently bother me.

Done.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Thurs. July 10, 2014: Are we sure Mercury’s Direct?

Thursday, July 10, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Yesterday morning, I wound up getting a nice chunk of work done on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which meant I felt better about life, the universe, and everything. I’m starting to reconnect with the characters and the story again.

The last round of edits for “Elusive Prayers” went back to my editor, so I’m sure it will be galley time soon, and then another drop. I have to finish up the press kits and the website material.

Library was busy. Lots to do. I got volumes of Vital Records donated from another library, and Poetry and Drama criticism, which will be great for our collection.

Had a good program committee meeting, and got the go-ahead on a few projects about which I’m excited.

Last night, I started another pass on THE CHARISMA KILLINGS, which will go out again soon. I like it better than I remembered. It’s very different than a lot of what’s out there, which I think is a strength. I still believe in the book.

Busy day expected at the library again today, but I hope it will be fun. I love working with books and getting people excited about books.

Devon

Fri. May 30, 2014: Good Busy and Day of Seshat

Friday, May 30, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool
Day of Seshat

It was 38 degrees around here this morning! The kitchen looks like a jungle, because we brought in the plants.

Today is the Day of Seshat. She’s the Egyptian goddess of books and writing implements. Perfect for a library — and a writer!

Yesterday was busy at the library. Good busy, but busy. Did work on next week’s workshop, worked on the poster/flyer for Ron MacLean’s appearance, my boss landed Joe Finder for an appearance in late July, I did an Amazon order, I prepped an Ingram order, I set up for the evening’s Tango program, I helped out at the desk when necessary, I got some new books into the system and ready to go out onto the shelves, and worked on my new page on the library’s website, where I get to talk about the books, videos, CDs, and programs. I hope you’ll get into the habit of checking out the page here, especially if you live in the area.

Also did some coordinating work with the Writers Center for a program we want to collaborate on in September.

My boss is off to New York today, to BEA. We’ve all given her lists of what we want her to bring back! It was everything I could do to refrain from asking her to go to Chinatown and come back with supplies, too!

So tired when I came home — relaxed with a glass of wine, cooked dinner. Started reading Rebecca Mead’s wonderful new memoir, MY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH. One of my favorite lines is on p. 7: “Life happened at the library.” So true!

I’m going to get some writing done this morning before I head back to the library. There’s another busy day there. Then home, more writing and reading — I’ve got another book to finish for review for my editor — and I’ve got to invoice it.

Errands tomorrow, and I have to get some yard work done. Will also get going on the next two episodes of the script, and finish the revisions that have been piling up. I need to get out some press releases and media kits for “Lake Justice” and TRACKING MEDUSA, prep a draft for a press conference NMLC, and get some work done on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. The edits for “Severance” will come in any day now, too.

It’ll be another busy weekend, but the right kind of busy!

Devon

Tues. May 6, 2014: Light at the End of the Long Workday Tunnel

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to see the interview about “Lake Justice.”

Busy day yesterday. Worked on client projects, the Big Script Project, and wasted far too much time on administrative material with corporate assholes. The corporate structure in this country must be dismantled and rebuilt. Individuals cannot be allowed to mistreat and abuse customers and ignore laws and regulations due to “company policy”. If “company policy” is in conflict with a regulation or a law, the regulation or law takes precedence. The company and THE INDIVIDUAL who refuses to obey the regulation or law must be held accountable. If an individual doesn’t have the balls to stand up to illegal company practices, that individual deserves to be either fired or held liable for damages.

We had the put-in for the understudy for tomorrow night’s performance. Some of it was quite good; some of it needs work. It was a little distracting, because there was a volunteer orientation happening in the next room, but we all survived.

Tomorrow is the performance, then I file the final reports on SEAL TIDES, and we’re done. Big relief. I need to be able to settle into my new work schedule a bit, and figure out how to get the writing on my primary projects done in and around the library work, the script work, and the remaining client projects.

I also have a heck of a lot of yard work to get done.

Came home and worked on a script polish on the episode that I have to deliver today, and some work on the episode to be delivered on Thursday. I also have to get back to work on contest entries.

There will be more dealing with corporate assholes today, but at least I’m getting a lot of paperwork done, and I want to get these issues resolved.

I’m also working to get the TRACKING MEDUSA details into the Series Bible, so that I can dig into BALTHAZAAR TREASURE again, starting this weekend. July 1 is coming up quickly, and I need to get a submission-ready draft done by then — which means several rounds of edits.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on May 6, 2014 at 7:25 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 6, 2014: Light at the End of the Long Workday Tunnel  
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Fri. Feb. 7, 2014: The Project Juggle Dance (the 2200th Post)

Friday, February 7, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Do I get a prize for posting 2200 times? 😉

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading! I do this to have a conversation with you, and you inspire me.

I’ll have a post up, at some point today, on Adventures in Vineland, talking about an Argentinean Malbec I like.

Wrote nine pages on the untitled novella yesterday, which I suspect is turning into a novel. Pitched some jobs, worked with students, worked on the play, did some research.

Baked cupcakes for the helpful neighbors — lemon ones and spice ones. Frosted and delivered them.

Finished Stephen Dobyns’s novel THE BURN PALACE. Very unique and well-done. I love the different chances he’s taken over the years.

Feeling very tired and run down, but have to get it together and get a lot of work done today, and finish the draft of the play this weekend. It’s taking longer than I wanted, but it’s not sparkling the way I need it to.

Worked on some notes for a couple of other projects. May have to do a few pages.

Spun some ideas for the BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, rewriting the outline to make it make more sense. Pulled some of the research material to re-read over the next few weeks, as I get back into writing the book.

I don’t like that Olympic Events start before the Opening Ceremonies. If events start on Thursday, have the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday. If you need more time and want the Friday night TV audience, then tack more days onto the back. This “slipping a few things in” before the games officially starts feels wrong, on so many levels. I feel it’s disrespectful to both the athletes and the audience.

Watching and taking a lot of notes during the games, both for ongoing commentary and as research for some upcoming projects.

I prefer the Winter Games to the Summer Games, mostly because I prefer winter sports and winter, in general (although I’m kind of over winter this year). Everyone fusses about figure skating, but I like ice hockey, ski jumps, snowboarding, speed skating, etc. I love how the sport of snowboarding is growing and changing, and how the participants are coming up with new tricks and new challenges.

Back to the page — lots to do, and not much time. I have a meeting tonight. Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on February 7, 2014 at 9:15 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 7, 2014: The Project Juggle Dance (the 2200th Post)  
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Mon. Jan. 13, 2014: Writing, Clients, Research, Award Shows

Monday, January 13, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy weekend. Still annoyed with two clients. One is now three weeks late in paying me — and this is our first project together. It may well be our last. Being “on vacation” and “out of town on business” is not an excuse. The payment date was not a surprise. It was in our written agreement. Make arrangements for the check to be mailed while you’re gone, or pay me electronically. I fulfilled my part of the contract — now you fulfill yours. The other client, the perpetual random payer — is now over a week late. I’m not delivering the final two articles on the contract until I’m paid, and, once I’m paid for those — I’m done. There’s a reason both these clients have a high writer turnover — they’re unreliable. You want to keep good people? Show them respect, and part of that is paying on time per the contract.

On a happier note, I finished the airship steampunk, revised it, and sent it out. I had enough material for a novel and had to strip/throw out a lot of ideas. I kept notes, in case I ever want to expand it. Hopefully the story doesn’t read as compressed. I’m worried that there’s not enough conflict in the climax, although I invented some interesting gear used in it.

Totally cooked by Friday night — I wrote synopses for three different scripts. And another teleplay comes up in the editing/revision queue today. Gotta get that packet ready for February!

Had a meeting with a fellow writer and friend –we’re going to encourage each other along writing our novels. She’s outlined what she wants to work on — I have to decide which of three possibilities I want to work on with her.

I also have to get back to work on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which I hope my new publisher will like. I have to find the full writer’s rough I did a few years ago.

I have some admin work to do today, and I also have a client meeting about an hour off-Cape. My materials are all together for that; I just have to give myself enough time to find the place and feel settled before the meeting starts.

Read a supposed thriller over the weekend which did not thrill me. Started another novel, whose premise excited me, but the author was one of those pretentious ones who uses dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue AND writes in present tense. I lasted for ten pages and had to put it down. The structure did not support the novel. Since I wasn’t being paid to read it, I didn’t have to fight my way through it.

Found the letters from George Eliot to Harriet Beecher Stowe that I looked for in reference to the Charlotte Bronte conversation in a collection of Eliot’s letters. Copied out the relevant passages. Now, I want to read Harriet’s letters to see her side of it. So that project is developing.

Worked with students — I’m lucky to have a dedicated, committed batch this semester. They want it, and they’re willing to work for it, rather than making excuses.

Watched the Golden Globes last night, both for fun, and as background for a couple of projects that use award show scenes. Glad AMERICAN HUSTLE did well, but I feel that Jeremy Renner’s work is being unfairly overlooked. He went in a completely new direction for him, and I don’t feel the work is being properly appreciated.

Really pleased by the positive response to my short story “Catch Your Breath”. It encourages me to play more with contemporary literary fiction.

Off to get some writing done and then to the meeting.

Devon