Monday, May 14, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors The Next Step on the Ladder

black-and-white-construction-ladder-54335

Photo courtesy Khimish Sharma, via Pexels.com

Monday, May 14, 2018
Dark of the Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

 

My first response to that is, “Which ladder?” I have various limbs on various ladders. I write in different genres, under different names, in a variety of formats: prose, theatre, television, film, radio. Journalism. Essays. Marketing writing. Reviewing.

I do very little editing for private clients now, because the time/money ratio doesn’t work for me, too many would-be writers default on payments (when they’re not trying to lowball me down to a fraction of my rate), and I need the primary focus to be on my own work. When I edit, I am generally hired by the publishing house to work for something under contract that has passed particular gate-keeping standards.

I am with more than one publisher. One of them, who has signed several projects, is small, just starting out. We are taking a risk on each other. Among the reasons I was excited to work with them was that they pay small advances, don’t demand their writers acquiesce to a boiler-plate contract AND, instead of POD, they do small print runs. The print runs are after a certain digital threshhold is reached, but the POD model was not working for me, so I wanted to try this. I am still with another publisher who is doing the POD model, and I have submissions out to several other publishers, who work on a mix of models, so we’ll see what happens. I also liked them because the editor with whom I’m working constantly pushes me to be better. And that is my goal — that every book I write is better, in both craft and art, than the previous books.

About a year ago, I sat down with a lawyer, an agent, an editor, and a marketing advisor, and we came up with a plan. I was unhappy and frustrated with the way things were going in my career. I knew I wasn’t writing what the Big Five wanted; I wanted to explore some things that they are currently giving lip service to, but not following through on, and I wanted to do it in my way. We were not a good fit at the time. I knew I was going to part from an agent I’d been working with for several months, because we were not a good fit. When we got together, she was excited by my work and my voice; but the more we worked together, the more she wanted to dilute it and take out what made it unique. She kept telling me my themes and issues were “too hard for the typical reader.” In other words, she wanted me to dumb things down, and I didn’t want to do that. Also, she only wanted to commit to a book at a time, and I need an agent who is interested in long-term career planning. She has since signed a friend of mine, and they’re doing great together. I’m happy for both of them; they are the right fit. We were not.

As far as the marketing writing went, I wanted to have the confidence to say “No” to the lowballers locally and reach farther afield. The interesting thing is that as soon as I did that, I landed two clients locally with whom I work well, WHILE also reaching beyond the bridge for clients who pay better.

We took four or five days together, and I took about twenty pages of notes. We crafted a plan. Some of that we followed; some of that has fallen by the wayside for various reasons.

I re-stated my commitment not to “niche” — to me, that’s a death toll for a creative life. Far too many people who “advise” freelancers sneer and call what I do a “generalist.” I prefer to call it being a “Renaissance Writer” and I’ve written on this topic for both WOW-Women on Writing and Write Naked!

I wanted to get back into article writing, which fell by the wayside for a bit. I started pitching again, and I did pretty well, but that seems to be one of the things that falls away first. Since I enjoy articles — every part from the pitch through the research through the writing and the polish, especially working with a good editor — I need to get back on track with that.

One of the big changes I made was in the way I do pitch letters. Instead of trying to frame what I do to sound like what they want, I’m more specific in the elements I think will appeal and more specific in where our paths diverge. I’m more myself in the cover letter — while still structuring it the way I find works — hook, one paragraph summary, technical info, bio, why this market. And the results are good.

This year and next, I’m on a brutal contract schedule. I’d spent a couple of years working on different types of material, on working on craft. Now, with a commitment to more than one series, I am sitting down and writing the books.

Last year, PLAYING THE ANGLES was re-released, as the first of the Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels (in its original incarnation, it was a stand-alone). The second book in the series, THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, just released, and the third, RELICS & REQUIEM, will come out in October of this year, with the fourth, GRAVE REACH, coming out in May of 2019. So that’s a tight schedule.

Last year, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA (as Ava Dunne) released. It’s a not-quite-cozy mystery series, whose protagonist is a yoga instructor on a cruise ship. Only one of those books comes out a year! But the next one, DAVY JONES DHARMA, is due in early December this year.

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, re-released this past January. As I worked on the second book, THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, I realized that there was a chunk of it that slowed down the plot. Yet the information was necessary to where my characters were in their emotional lives and how they’d built their day-to-day relationships. Flashbacks and info-dump conversations wouldn’t work; so my editor and I decided to pull out those chapters, flesh them out into a “between-the-books” novella, now called MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and put that out this summer. BALTHAZAAR is still scheduled to come out in January of 2019, and that is now back on track, the pace and content correct.

In the meantime, I had three terrific opportunities. One was to pitch a serial. Those of you who’ve known me for several years know that I used to write four serials in four genres under two names for 18 months a few years back. A total of 8000 words a month. I love writing serials, and I miss it. I had the chance to pitch to a company that specializes in serials.

I pitched a fantasy/adventure novel. I’d written the first four chapters a couple of years ago and put it aside for scheduling reasons. But, when I had this opportunity, I wrote a few more chapters, and outlined what would be the book-length arc of this serial. I fell in love with it all over again. If it’s picked up, it goes back in the schedule; if not, it will be back-burnered again.

I also had two other ideas, stand-alones, that I played with, on and off for a couple of years, writing my way in the first few chapters, then making notes for my Writers’ Rough. On impulse, I polished pitches and tossed them into a Twitter pitch day for a specific company. Editors liked both; so I’m working on some additional chapters, polishing them, and sending them out by deadline this month. Again, if the editors want the full manuscript, they go back into the schedule sooner rather than later; if not, they are back-burnered until next year, when my contract schedule isn’t quite as demanding.

As I said above, I have a couple of other pieces out on submission; if they are contracted, they will be worked in. I also have a serial novel — which is different than a novel broken down as a serial. This is a set of novels that are all of a piece. It follows the filming of a television series over several seasons. Not a series, in the sense that each stands alone and progresses. These novels all fit together like puzzle pieces. One of my publishers has expressed interest in looking at it when the first five or so puzzle pieces are ready. When will that be? I don’t know.

I also made a commitment to do more script work again. I’m taking this year off from stage plays (I wrote four in three years for 365 Women). But one of my radio plays will be produced later this month, and I want to submit some screenplays I’ve polished.

Along with all this, I will pitch to higher-paying clients and higher-paying article markets. Gotta keep a roof over my head, and if I don’t keep up the writing pace I can’t. This is my profession, not my hobby. I am paid to write. That IS my day job. While my book sales have jumped considerably since I moved webhosts and redesigned my websites, I still need the marketing writing and article writing for income. Plus, I enjoy it.

So, my “next step” is building on the foundation of the series on which I currently write; continuing to expand the publication contracts with other publishers at higher-paying tiers, and book higher-paid marketing and article gigs.

I’ve found a process that works for me as far as the new ideas — because, as we all know, new ideas come in batches. I write my way in for a few chapters, then sit down and do a Writer’s Rough Outline. That way, whenever I can actually sit down and WRITE the book, I can drop into its world. The Writer’s Rough outline captures the initial energy of the idea, and then, as I work, I can develop the structure and the craft.

In the coming weeks, we will sit down again and assess how this last year played out. What worked, what didn’t. Where I lost focus, and what I dropped because it didn’t work. And we will craft a plan for the coming year that will guide me toward the “next step on the ladder.”

I don’t want fame. I worked in theatre and film for too many years and see how it can hurt creativity and general life; that is not what I want. I do want financial stability, and to be paid fairly for my work. There is no reason not to be paid well doing work I love. My profession is writing. I will not let ANYONE decide that it’s a cute lil hobby and I don’t deserve to be paid a living wage. I will dig in and do it, and earn my living. It will be a mix and match of projects and styles and tangents, but writing is my profession. When I decided I wanted to work on Broadway, I didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving that goal. Now that I’m writing full-time, I feel the same way.

My next step is increased earnings and visibility for my work. It is also participating in the community of writers who love what they do and are committed to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work across the board, no matter what the profession. It is refusing to “dumb it down” or change what I write because people I don’t respect threaten not to buy what I write. The great thing about writing is that there are plenty of authors writing in plenty of styles and genres, so there’s something for everyone. It’s fine if someone doesn’t connect with my work — there are wonderful authors out there with whom they WILL connect. But threatening me and demanding I change what I write is not going to work.

Artists have a responsibility. I believe that responsibility is to bear witness to the world, to expand people’s vision of the world, but also to create better worlds and help us find ways to reach those better worlds inclusively and fairly. A better world needs social and economic justice. By respecting our own value, our own worth, we set the tone.

For more inspiration on valuing your work, please visit Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog. It’s great all the time, but May is Writers Worth Month. It’s especially great now.

 

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Fri. Feb. 23, 2018: Positive Web Host Adventures (For a Change)

Friday, February 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

They told us it would be snowing and raining on Cape this morning, so I changed my off-Cape appointment, and now it’s beautiful. Cold, but beautiful. How annoying.

Yesterday was a lousy day, writing-wise. I could not make SPIRIT REPOSITORY work. The deadline looming doesn’t help, and I feel like I’m chasing my own tail. At the same time, POWER OF WORDS is singing its siren song to me. But I can’t do anything until I have the contracted work back on track.

On the positive side, I got a lot of work done on both the Devon Ellington Work site and the Coventina Circle site. I figured out WHY there’s a problem on the landing page of the DE site, but not how to fix it. At least I cleaned it up! I also realized I had to add an “anthology page” for the anthologies in which I’m included. I realized there’s quite a bit of my work out there — I’ve had a decent output. It’s nice to see it all set out.

As I finish building the subdomains, I’ll have to keep tweaking some of the information on the links, but, for the most part, the DE site is done.

The Coventina Circle site is almost done. I have to tweak and upload the media kit for PLAYING THE ANGLES, and then it can go live.

I plan to do that work on both sites today, and then move on to building the Nautical Namaste site.

I still have to go back and do an article on the goddess Coventina and create the playbill for the show within PLAYING THE ANGLES, but at least there’s enough content to give readers something to enjoy. I have a feeling I can’t call it “playbill”, but have to call lit “show program.”

I’ll do as much as I can today, and then, the weekend is about SPIRIT REPOSITORY, not the websites. I’ll go back to work next week on the websites. I’m hoping I can go live with all the series subdomains by next week and start building Cerridwen’s Cottage, get that moved, get Fearless Ink up and moved on so on. And then, breathe a huge sigh of relief!

I have house-and-home stuff to do this weekend, too. Some yard work, if the weather holds, some errands across the bridge.

But most of the weekend is about finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

And then, the primary focus shifts to MYTH & INTERPREATION, but I have to work on RELICS & REQUIEM in tandem with that. My editor and I talked about stripping MYTHS down quite a bit, which I think is a good idea. I still might overwrite some of it, but she pointed out where the tangents are derailing the story. Since MYTHS was a derail of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE in the first place, I don’t want to wander too far afield.

It’s a good kind of busy, and I’m trying to push other frustrations out of the way and focus on the work that gives me the most satisfaction and is the most career-building.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 23, 2018: Positive Web Host Adventures (For a Change)  
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Tues. Feb.6, 2018: Same Location, Distinct Voices

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Waning Moon

I’m in a juggling act right now. I’m working on books in different series, but I’m working on them at the same time.

One of the challenges, is, of course, keeping the voices distinct. Especially since two of the books take place in contemporary New York City, and their circles of influence somewhat intersect.

The Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels take place in contemporary New York City. Well, sort of contemporary — based on my last visit there after the move away. Things change all the time, so it’s a recognizable New York City, while still serving the fictional needs of my plots and stories.

The Gwen Finnegan mysteries have a longer reach, because Gwen and Justin’s adventures take them all over the world. After all, TRACKING MEDUSA had sections set in New York, London, Lindisfarne, Ayrshire, Greece, and Marseilles.

THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second Coventina Circle book, is set in New York again. Most of it is in Greenwich Village, a place I’ve known and loved for years. Some of it takes place on the Upper West Side, where Bonnie, the central protagonist of this book, has sublet the apartment from Morag (the central protagonist of PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first book in the series). And part of it is set up in Inwood, near the Cloisters, where one of the secondary characters lives. The third book in the series, RELICS & REQUIEM, with Amanda as the central protagonist, will focus mostly on the Upper West Side and on Midtown East, where the Phineas Regan lives.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, which lands between TRACKING MEDUSA and its locations, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which is mostly set in the Bahamas, but with some sections in New York and in the UK, is completely set in New York. Okay, Justin makes a foray to Princeton in New Jersey. But the focus is in New York.

Both deal with paranormal. Central characters in both are witches.

So it becomes an interesting challenge to keep the books from intersecting. The voices must be different. The issues the members of the Coventina Circle face in their lives and loves are quite different from the issues faced by Gwen and her archaeological clan. Yet the frequent some of the same places — libraries, museums, restaurants, and the like.

When I lived in Manhattan, I was involved in a variety of different circles, although my primary one was theatrical (since if you work in the theatre, you spend 90 hours or more a week in the theatre). I also moved in publishing/literary circles, in the wellness/spiritual circles, in academic circles, in art and music circles. It was always interesting to see where they intersected and where they did not.

Applying that in a believable way while keeping both these series’ voices distinct is an interesting challenge. If the deadline pressure wasn’t so severe, I’d probably enjoy it more.

Some of it means writing fast and then breaking down sentence and paragraph structures as I rewrite, to fit the cadences already set up in the first book of the series. That’s easier to do in the Gwen Finnegan mysteries, because Gwen is central to each book. It’s more of a challenge with the Coventina Circle books, because each book has a different set of central protagonists, each with their own distinctions.

I’m also taking a risk, putting in a site and a small group of characters into both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and into MYTH & INTERPRETATION that make a bit of a crossover, although Bonnie, Rufus, Gwen, and Justin won’t meet and/or interact.

It’s similar to some of the in-jokes and crossover Jenn McKinlay’s done between her Hat Shop Mysteries, her Cupcake Bakery, and her series set in Maine.

Hopefully, I can pull it off!

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle mystery is available digitally here for $3.99.

Witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States — or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP?

THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, will release in May 2018.

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, is available digitally here for $3.99.

Archaeologist Dr. Gwen Finnegan is on the hunt for her lover’s killer. Historical researcher Justin Yates bumps into her, literally, on the steps of the New York Public Library, and comes to her aid when she’s attacked, sparking an attraction between them in spite of their age difference. After avoiding a cadre of pursuers at the Met Museum, Gwen impulsively invites Justin to hop a plane with her to the UK. The shy historian, frustrated with his failing relationship, jumps at the chance to join her on a real adventure. That adventure takes them through Europe, pursued by factions including Gwen’s ex-lover and nemesis, Karl, as they try to unspool fact from fiction in a multi-generational obsession with a statue of the goddess Medusa.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, a “between the books” novella, will be available digitally in July 2018.

 

Published in: on February 6, 2018 at 6:28 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb.6, 2018: Same Location, Distinct Voices  
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Fri. Jan. 12, 2018: Re-Release TRACKING MEDUSA!

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

Tracking Medusa is available through multiple digital formats here.

Blurb:

Archaeologist Dr. Gwen Finnegan is on the hunt for her lover’s killer.  Historical researcher Justin Yates bumps into her, literally, on the steps of the New York Public Library, and comes to her aid when she’s attacked, sparking an attraction between them in spite of their age difference.  After avoiding a cadre of pursuers at the Met Museum, Gwen impulsively invites Justin to hop a plane with her to the UK.  The shy historian, frustrated with his failing relationship, jumps at the chance to join her on a real adventure.  That adventure takes them through Europe, pursued by factions including Gwen’s ex-lover and nemesis, Karl, as they try to unspool fact from fiction in a multi-generational obsession with a statue of the goddess Medusa.

Friday, January 12, 2018
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild; turning colder

Well, I’m sick, which totally sucks, because I have so much to do.

On the positive – it’s re-release day for TRACKING MEDUSA! Not that I can post covers or media kits on anything on the Gwen Finnegan website – because, hey, that would mean 1and1.com actually gave me the services for which I’m paying! But no, unless I bow to their extortion of additional payments every month for every site ON TOP OF what I regularly pay – I don’t get to have photos on my sites.

Which is, of course, why I signed with a new webhost and why I’m in the process of moving everything.

But TRACKING MEDUSA is a re-release – and will be featured on A BIBLO PARADISE on Tuesday. If you have the original release, either digital or print – the text is the same (albeit with some stylistic changes to the new “house style”), and it contains the beginning of MYTH & INTERPRETATION and the beginning of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Other than that, there are no major changes.

I’m also over on Write Naked! with the article “The Anti-Niche Writer.” Check it out here. Doing this article was a joy from pitch to release.

In spite of being sick, I’m trying to update the release links for TRACKING MEDUSA, promote its release, and do some more work on the new Fearless Ink website. I want it to go live next week. Because then I have the Cerridwen’s Cottage website to build and move, and the Devon Ellington Work website with all its subdomains – including the Gwen Finnegan mysteries, where TRACKING MEDUSA belongs.

I have a book to read and review this weekend, and I want to start reading the books sent for the contest.

I also have set a high goal of word count on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY because I’m behind where I want to be (although still within the wheelhouse of the deadline).

Somewhere in there, I need to rest with hot tea and brandy, so I don’t get sicker!

We are expecting two days of heavy rain, resulting in flooding, and then turning to ice. Keep your fingers crossed we don’t lose power.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on January 12, 2018 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 12, 2018: Re-Release TRACKING MEDUSA!  
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Wed. Jan. 3, 2018: Hitting the Ground Writing

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Uranus Direct (as of yesterday)

Can you believe it’s 2018? Let’s build a better year together.

Yesterday, my answers to the 2018 Questions went up on the GDR site. Today, the To-Do list for January went up. It’s shorter than my opening shots for the year usually are, but this month has complicated work.

I took a lot of time off over the holiday weekend, to read, to meditate, to do yoga. To think. To be. I’m not building enough percolation time into my life, and that needs to change. I need to percolate in order to create.

I read A LOT — hop over onto A Biblio Paradise to see some notes about it.

Also, hop on over to Cerridwen’s Cottage for the full moon meditation. Thanks to my current lousy webhost, it didn’t go live before the weekend the way it was supposed to. Apologies.

It was a beautiful full moon, albeit cold.

One of the things that struck me during my time off was how much more productive, better rested, and less stressed I was because I turned my phone OFF. Not just put it aside and told myself not to look at it. I turned it off.

I checked mail and spent a few minutes on social media each day, especially on New Year’s Eve. But I spent a lot of time with the phone off.

I planned to add social media packages to the services offered on Fearless Ink, and this makes me re-think it. If I do, I have to set strong boundaries, because I want to spend more time this year disconnected.

Of course, with the repeal of net neutrality, that might be forced, rather than a choice.

I have to think about it some more.

PLAYING THE ANGLES and SAVASANA AT SEA came off the Pronoun distribution channels yesterday. It will be a few days before they are re-settled on D2D. The buy links will change, but the price and the text remains the same (although I’ve shorted some of the teasers for the other books at the back).

This should not change anything about the copies already purchased. You own those copies; they are YOURS.

I lose my reviews and have to contact the people who received review and guest hosting information. But that’s the way it goes. I pulled and have saved the reviews for the media room and kits and information sheets.

I spent some time this weekend prepping the manuscripts for both (since the requirements are a little different for this distributor than for the previous distributor). It will take a couple of extra days to get the books on Amazon.

TRACKING MEDUSA is still set to re-release on January 12th, through this new distributor. It has a new cover, but the rest of it is the same, except for some minor house style changes. So, if you have a print or digital copy from its time with Amber Quill, you’re not missing anything except the opening chapter of the novella MYTH AND INTERPRETAION and the opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

You know me, constantly cooking. Dinner on New Year’s Eve was lemon-cumin glazed salmon, sweet potatoes, and steamed green beans with Hollandaise. On the Day it was pork roast with red cabbage, small yellow potatoes, and peas. And, of course, Eggs Benedict and Prosecco for brunch.

I did some work on the outline for a new idea. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to fit it into the schedule, but I promised myself to build in time to work on ideas, not feel trapped by deadlines and then procrastinate and meander. I need to balance ideas and deadlines, so they feed off each other and expand creativity, not contract it.

I did five loads of laundry, got the garbage and recycling out, vacuumed, mopped, and cleaned off both desks before the new year. Of course, I have to go through everything I swept off the desks, but it was nice to start clean.

One of my favorite New Year’s rituals (along with burning the bayberry candle) is to open the back door just before midnight to let out the old year, and after the midnight toast, open the front door to let in the new year.

This year, it was more like giving the old year a boot about twenty minutes early! 😉

Yesterday was spent on site with a client, as most of today will be spent.

I’m back to work on both THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and NOT BY THE BOOK. I need to re-find my groove with each of them. I was delighted with my progress on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY yesterday — an entire chapter, 2576 words. Not a bad way to get back into it.

If the bad storm we’re supposed to get tonight arrives, I won’t be blogging until Friday. So maybe we’ll connect tomorrow, and maybe not until Friday.

Happy New Year!

Published in: on January 3, 2018 at 3:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 3, 2018: Hitting the Ground Writing  
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Wed. Dec. 13, 2017: The Holiday Spiral

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

I was going to split this and add an article below on the need for authors to demand results for their marketing dollars, but I’m going to wait to post that portion.

Also, head on over to the Wayback Machine to read about the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit opening at the Peabody Essex Museum and some great pieces designed that were inspired by the artist’s own wardrobe. PEM also has a blog post up, an interview with designer Brenda Lee.

The bomb detonated on Monday at Port Authority shook me, metaphorically speaking, because I used to live across the street from where it went off. I haven’t lived there for years; yet it felt as immediate as if I still did.

The human psyche is weird.

Had a good day on site with my client on Monday, then another meeting, then ran around dropping off cookie platters. The platters make people happy, which is their purpose.

I’m working on my 2018 questions for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. The changes that the career recalibration I started this year are happening; but there’s more work to be done.

I’m almost done with the TRACKING MEDUSA edits. I have the new opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. It took me what, two years, to get it right? I have to rework it a bit and pop it in, and off it goes, hopefully tomorrow.

Still behind on SERENE AND DETERMINED. But getting there.

Delivering cookie platters like a madwoman.

Nice lunch with work colleagues yesterday.

Delivered cookies to the firemen. They were delighted!

So relieved that Doug Jones won in Alabama. It shouldn’t even have been a close race, but those faux Christians who were willing to vote for a racist, misogynistic pedophile were defeated. Good.

Now, if the Democratic party doesn’t want to lose 2018 (which they can easily lose), they will stop pandering to the Narcisstic Sociopath’s voters and actually stand for something positive like equality and human rights.

Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Wed. Oct. 4, 2017: Reasons I Should Not Do Nano

Playing The Angles Cover Sm
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank you to everyone who has purchased PLAYING THE ANGLES. I hope you’re loving it. I’m getting some wonderful feedback. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, a variety of digital links are here and the website is here.

Busy day — pitches, promo for PLAYING THE ANGLES, updating sites, research for articles, etc.

Finished writing a weird little short story — for me, very weird and out of my wheelhouse. But I like it. Have to type it up and polish it.

Got in the two reviews, and requested two more books to review.

Heard back from a pitch and have a meeting about it tomorrow afternoon, which will be fun. Looking forward to it.

Playing with an idea for a story, a way to channel current rage and frustrations. I started playing with it last night. Not only did I enjoy working the idea, but I felt better about things in general. It’s evolving away from the original inspiration into something much more complex and interesting, which is what a good bit of imagination partnered with craft does. I like even the unlikable characters, and it has a weird humor to it. It’s also out of my usual wheelhouse, which makes it an interesting challenge.

Added a challenging yoga sequence before last night’s meditation. I’m sore this morning, but slept better. Upped this morning’s yoga practice, too. Important to keep it fresh.

Of course, the Nano debate is coming up again, for me and for most writers I know. To Nano or not to Nano? Everyone, of course, has different reasons for doing or not doing Nano. I need to separate my ego at writing 50K in 30 days away from what’s on my schedule.

First and foremost, I know I can write 50K in 30 days. I proved that over 5 bouts of Nano, and, at this point, that’s basically a normal month, although usually spread over several projects.

Second, the Lavinia Fontana play has to take center stage as far as drafting, since it’s due to the producer by the end of the year.

Third, I’m promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, and by November, will have to get back into finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so it can release in May.

Fourth, SAVASANA AT SEA releases on November 15, so I’ll be working on pre-release and release material for that WHILE still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES.
Fifth, I’ll be working on the research and finishing the outline for DAVY JONES DHARMA, so I can start writing it after the first of the year, since it releases in November of 2018.

Sixth, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story is set to release in November. Which means writing the opening of the following story to go in the back matter.

Seventh, we still have to re-schedule the release of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern short.

Eighth, the galleys for the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA will be in full swing by then (since it releases in January) — which also means I’ll have to reshape the material for the opening of MYTH & INTERPRETATION (which drops next July) and the opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (which releases in January of 2019).

Ninth, I have article and review deadlines to keep the bills paid and a roof over my head.

Tenth, my mother will just have had surgery, and we don’t yet know the next steps.

Eleventh, FIX-IT GIRL has to go out on submission.

Twelfth, I have other original novels that got derailed with this new writing/release schedule that have to get back on track.

Those reasons are all in the “don’t do it this year” column.

In the “gosh I’m tempted column”:

I like riding the wave of creative energy. The air tingles with excitement;

The new novel I’m playing with wants attention; it would give me a chance to write a bit over 1600 words/day to see if it’s actually viable, or just a release valve for the moment;

I love the space where the local Nano group is meeting, and I’m tempted to go and write in community.

The Nano definition has gotten much looser in the last few years, but I still stick to the original definition.

“Doing” Nano means you start a new project on Nov. 1 and you write 50K in 30 days. If you’re not done with your first draft then, you keep going until you’re done, using the Nano momentum.

“Writing Along With” Nano means you’re working on something in progress. Some people use it to work on revisions. Personally, I find the first-draft energy generated by millions of people scribbling for a month too intense for anything but first-draft work.

So why not “Write With” on more than one project?

Technically, one isn’t supposed to work on a script — this NOVEL writing month. The Lavinia Fontana script must take priority. There used to be Script Frenzy in the spring, but I think that petered out. Plus, I can’t be held to a daily word count with Lavinia. She is bound and determined to do things her way, just like she did in life — serene and determined (which I’m seriously thinking of using as the title).

First-draft energy would mean either finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY or using it to push DAVY JONES DHARMA (since I’m already immersed in the world of that series).

Or, it could be used to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track. Since that’s only got a 55K word limit, it’s do-able.

Or I could use it to keep working on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but that’s developed a solid, innate rhythm, sometimes as much as 3K/day, and I don’t want to disrupt it.

Or, I could work on the first 50K of the new piece I’m noodling with — but DOING Nano would mean I can’t work on it between now and November 1, which just isn’t going to happen. I’m pretty sure this book will run to just under 100K.

Last time I “wrote along with” Nano, about two years ago, I was already working on TIE-CUTTER, but then I wanted to “do” Nano, too, so I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC — and wrote the whole damn thing while writing daily on TIE-CUTTER, doing what I called “Tandem Nano.” CHOLERIC is out on submission; TIE-CUTTER was put aside to work on other projects, and will go back in the queue late next year.

On an emotional/ego level, I want to do it. On a practical level, it is going to work against me instead of for me. Which should make the decision easy.

We’ll see what happens come November 1.

Lots of fiddly things to do today, and then it’s back to the SAVASANA galleys, polishing the short story, and working on articles.

Back to the page.

I’m glad so many of you are loving PLAYING THE ANGLES! It means a lot to me.

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!

Published in: on July 5, 2017 at 9:33 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 5, 2017: “Ramsey Chase” Cover Reveal & Gwen Finnegan Mysteries News!  
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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