Mon. Sept. 18, 2017: A Successful Writing Weekend & Preparing for Jose

Monday, September 18, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

We’re battening down for the outer fringes of Hurricane Jose to hit tomorrow and Wednesday. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad. The lack of specific information, as usual, is infuriating.

Tough weekend of writing. The revisions on THE FIX IT GIRL are stalled. I need to check some research information and the books I need haven’t arrived yet. Just when I felt it was getting back on track.

THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is going well, though, with 1600 words on Friday, 2500 words on Saturday, and 5500 words on Sunday. All in longhand! I’m in the groove of it now. Making it more active, along with the introspective sections.

Outlined an idea that I like a lot, but don’t know when I can get to; started a short story that will be sad. “Tragic” might be pushing it, but it will be sad. It deals with spousal abuse. It must stay short, under 1000 words.

So I met Lissa Matthews’s #10KWeekendWriters Challenge, with a total of 13,500 words. 3500 over goal. Which is funny, because by Saturday night, even though I hit 8K of the 10K, I was pretty sure I’d have to cut myself a break for not meeting the goal.

Re-read Steven Axelrod’s NANTUCKET GRAND, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I wanted to read a well-known author’s new release, but it’s in present tense. As much as I like and respect her writing most of the time, I can’t read this. The present tense pushes me away from the story and the characters. Disappointed, but I’m not going to struggle with it. I’ll just pass. The only time a novel written in present tense works for me is if it’s structured as epistolary (letters) or in diary format. Otherwise, it’s the author screaming at me for attention instead of letting me experience the book.

I’m re-reading John Steinbeck’s JOURNAL OF A NOVEL: THE EAST OF EDEN LETTERS. The way he has to coach himself and the repetitive nature of some of his struggles is interesting.

Did eight loads of laundry on Sunday, in and around the writing. Caught up. Now, when the days are sunnier, I’ll have to catch up on mending. I’ve accumulated quite a pile.

My To Do List for this week is overwhelming. So I just have to attack it one item at a time, and hope for the best.

Mabon/Autumn Equinox this week, along with the new moon. And Rosh Hashanah. Days are getting shorter. Although it’s been hot and humid this week, it smells like fall, especially in the evening and early morning.

We’ll put away some of the lighter things from the deck/yard in preparation for the hurricane. They might not come back out until next spring.

 

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Published in: on September 18, 2017 at 8:38 am  Comments Off on Mon. Sept. 18, 2017: A Successful Writing Weekend & Preparing for Jose  
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Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters

Friday, September 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I mis-dated Wednesday. All day Wednesday, I thought it was September 14, and it was only the 13th. I knew it was Wednesday, but I had the date wrong. Apologies.

I didn’t blog yesterday; worked at home and focused on other things.

I’ve been getting back into the FIX-IT GIRL revisions the past few days. These are the difficult chapters that require a great deal of restructuring. Lots of new material written, opening out certain storylines, having it make sense, pick up intensity, moving toward the climactic sequence. Mavis made a decision that could easily ruin her personal reputation, outside of work, but she’s owning it.

I’ve let SAVASANA AT SEA sit for a few days, so I can go back to it with fresh eyes. I don’t want to blur the tones of the two books, since they are both in revisions, by working on them in too close a tandem. I had some ideas on restructuring some of the marketing for the series, too, thanks to a conversation with Ilona Andrews. Ilona reinforced what I know in my gut, but have been advised to take a different route by the “experts”. As my intent is to guide the book and the series back to the original vision that feels right in my gut, it makes sense.

Speaking of “gut feeling” — I had an opportunity yesterday that, on a logical level, seemed good. But my gut told me otherwise. So I decided to go in a different direction. I declined gracefully, and well before the deadline for response. In the short-run, it may cause some difficulty, but in the long run, I believe it’s the right decision. Amazing how much stress was relieved once it was made.

I’ve been working on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. There are books within the book — the books the characters are working on during the course of the novel. I’m finding I have to do nearly as much research for those as I do for the novel itself. It’s a quiet book, which will have to be rewritten in certain sections to be more active, but I like stretching in this non-genre direction. My characters are trying to find their way back to each other, and not always succeeding. I don’t know how it will end. Either they will or they won’t. The events within the book will shape that.

The furnace was cleaned yesterday morning — this company is always prompt and very nice. So we’re set for the winter, which is great. The guy that used to come every year to take care of it — young guy, big, with brilliant tattoos, had said, a year or so ago, he was tired of winter and was thinking of selling up and leaving. Guess that’s what he did. The new guys (a pair of them ) were very nice, though.

Yesterday afternoon, we sorted out the yarn stash — bags and boxes and bits and bobs. It now makes more sense, and several projects have been planned/sketched out for the winter. I have a couple of pieces in progress that need to be finished. So, when I get the craft urge, there’s plenty to work on. Couldn’t believe we spent the entire afternoon on it, but it was well worth it.

I’ve joined Lissa Matthews in the #10KWeekendWriters challenge this weekend. Writing 10K from Thursday through Sunday. Yesterday’s total was 1500 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and 900 new words within the revision of THE FIX-IT GIRL. Total: 2400 words (100 words shy of my goal). Remaining words to goal: 7600.

I’m wondering if I can count the words on the article I’m expanding/polishing/adding to the Coventina Circle website about working on Broadway? 😉 Yes, you can find that article here. Because I intend to post the article before I post this blog.

This needs to be a writing/reading/sorting weekend. Next week is Mabon, and a whole lot of other things. As usual, I’m waiting on a round of freelance payments so I can meet the bills. I also have to research some markets.

I have some pitches to get out this morning, websites to update, and PR to work on for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I haven’t been sleeping well, and have had migraines off and on this weekend, but taking time off today is not an option. I find, though, that when I push hard on the early part of Friday, I tend to take most of Friday afternoon off, and then am more productive on Saturday and Sunday. So, if I can get it all done this morning, that’s what I’ll do. Once I get in my 2500 words for the day (will try to get in 2600 to make up for yesterday’s shortfall).

The yard is fading in stages this year. Usually it hangs on and then everything goes at once and it’s overwhelming. This is much easier to deal with — doing a bit every few days. I wish I could get the mower working again, though. I’d like to do one more big mow. Well, I don’t WANT to do it, it’s not something I enjoy, but I think it’s necessary.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on September 15, 2017 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters  
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Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/cool

Yesterday was all about updating links into websites. I got the live links for PLAYING THE ANGLES up onto the blog, onto the Devon Ellington website, onto the Coventina Circle website.

I added links to the newsletter and got it out — my first newsletter in a long time. I’ll have to clean up any bounce backs, new subscriptions, unsubscriptions.

It also meant I had to put the Nautical Namaste site live earlier than I planned, and set up the Nautical Namaste Facebook page earlier than planned. But it’s done, at least I have the links.

Had to get some admin paperwork done, and have to go into Hyannis this morning to file it, before picking up a few things at the grocery store.

The writing suffered yesterday, although I managed to get some more work done on the FIX-IT GIRL, and I hope to have that draft done in about two weeks. While juggling finishing the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so I can get it to my editor.

Because of Hurricane Irma, we pushed back the release of “Labor Intensive” yet again, but pretty soon, the timing will be so bad, I’ll have missed the boat. If we could not have any disasters, either caused by the Narcissistic Sociopath or Nature for a bit, that would be great.

Being 9/11, yesterday was tough as it always is. Tears off an on all day. You never “get over” something like that; you have to learn to live with it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused  
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Fri. Sept. 8, 2017: Finalizing One Book, Moving on to the Next

Friday, September 8, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Got my review out yesterday. Was assigned my next two books, which I pick up today.

Put together some information for my friend, which he found helpful.

Worked on the literary fiction piece. It’s an interesting challenge. Today, I get back to the other work on the roster, but I’m finding a way to keep the momentum for this piece along with the work that has to be done on other pieces. Now I’m second-guessing (maybe it’s fourth-guessing, by this point), and thinking I SHOULD focus on each section in each voice at once to go deep enough, rather than alternating shorter sections. As I reader, I prefer chapters or sections that go long enough to get deeply into the character. I could always rearrange the sections once they’re written, but I’m not sure which way will serve best in the WRITING of it.

We found one small thing that had to be clarified in PLAYING THE ANGLES. I probably could have gotten away with it, but if anyone questioned it and it needed clarification — better to use the clear language from the outset. Hopefully, it’s off for the last time — which always makes me queasy. Even with the editor, the copy editor, and I going over it multiple times, I’m always afraid we missed something, simply because we’ve gone over it so many times.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. October is filled with appointments before her surgery, poor thing.

I did some yard work. I started cutting back in two of the beds in the back, and I hard pruned the forsythia that grew so wild this year it completely blocked one of the paths on the side of the house. I hacked back most of the invasive autumn olive, and a lot of oak that’s acting like an invasive. When it gets colder, I’ll have to saw down some more oak that’s interfering with the roses. Doing a little bit every sunny day, and eventually, it will get done. Don’t know how I’m going to finish the mowing, though, with this damn mower being recalcitrant.

I had weird dreams, mashing three different times/experiences in my past. Probably because I’ve been talking with my college friend. Bizarre.

I want to get anything I need to do out and about done fast this morning, so I can get back into the writing for the rest of the weekend. I keep changing my mind about what to do with a particular section of THE FIX-IT GIRL, but I have to suck it up, make a decision and move on this weekend.

I’m worried about my friends in the path of Hurricane Irma, and I’m not looking forward to the anniversary of 9/11 on Monday. I think next week could be quite emotionally difficult, for a lot of people.

I also have some paperwork to file with the attorneys general of MA and NY on two different scam issues that they need to know about. Some other paperwork to get done, too, some for me, and more with my mom’s insurance.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

Published in: on September 8, 2017 at 8:52 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 8, 2017: Finalizing One Book, Moving on to the Next  
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Tues. June 6, 2017: Writing Hangover

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I’d hoped to have the article up on A Biblio Paradise re: The Tempest, but writing about Shakespeare always takes longer than I expect. I hope to have it ready tomorrow or Thursday.

I did one thing yesterday: I worked on the new teleplay I’d outlined the night before. From 7:30 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon, I wrote 84 pages.

I don’t think I’ve ever written that much in one day in my life.

So, the radio play went out today, instead of yesterday, along with some more pitches. I got paid last night for an article I wrote last week, which will run shortly. I like that market, and I hope we can work together again.

The past two days, I’ve watched THE GAME, a British mini-series, starring Tom Hughes, set in 1970s Britain. Eerily reflective of today. Strong writing, excellent acting.

Absolutely in despair about the state of the country. Saddened that there was another attack in London; furious and embarrassed by the Narcissistic Sociopath’s inappropriate response.

However, I did not get caught up in the Ariana Grande spin on the benefit concert in Manchester. Yes, it’s good that she did it. However, immediately after the attack, she ran back home and talked about how “devastated” she was, making it about her instead of about the incident, instead of standing tall and being a leader IN THAT MOMENT. Coming back with a publicity stunt a couple of weeks later doesn’t cancel that out. Glad people enjoyed themselves, but she’s off my list.

Back to the teleplay today — a steady six pages/day will seem like a let-down after yesterday. I anticipate it as four hours, in two chunks. I’m going to write without worrying about page count/running time in the first draft, then cut and shape in subsequent drafts.

I’m working on the next section of THE FIX IT GIRL revision — soon, I’ll be able to use all those books about Hearst Castle, as Mavis and Troy spend some quality time there.

I have an enormous stack to return to the library today, both books and DVDs. But most of today will be about writing, pitching, creating content and finding professional-rate markets for it.

Onward, bad weather and all.

Published in: on June 6, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 6, 2017: Writing Hangover  
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Fri. March 24, 2017: Creative Productivity

Friday, March 24, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We’re supposed to get a mix of rain and wet snow today. Ick.

Yesterday was fairly productive. Got some admin done, did some promotion for the Topic Workbooks. I’ve set up a page on the Devon Ellington website that’s dedicated to the Topic Workbooks here, and I’ll keep adding information on all of them until it’s all there.

I revised about a third of a new Topic Workbook, one that I hope to release in April. I’m updating it and adding new material. I want to deepen what’s there and give some really detailed, useful information.

I also did just over 1K on NOT BY THE BOOK. I’m not really back into its groove yet, but I’m confident if I keep showing up at the page every day, I’ll get there. I’ve got just over 10K on this first draft, and I need another 44K. For the target market, I need to keep it around 55K, which , since I’m holding the book in my head and keeping it active and lean, I ought to be able to do.

I did some research on an upcoming section of POWER OF WORDS. I might have to write the section set in Venice ahead of where it comes in the order of the story, simply because the research materials I ordered are here NOW, and I need to use them while I have them. I rarely like writing out of order (although I’m doing so more than usual on INITIATE), but here, it’s a case of making the best use of the research materials from the library while I have them.

I’m also figuring out the fashion stuff I need for the rest of THE FIX-IT GIRL, I hope to dig back into that early in April. I’d like to finish the first draft sometime in June, let it percolate, then go into serious revisions over late summer, getting it out on submission in early fall.

Reading an excellent contest entry. Not quite as good as the one that got a perfect score (this has to be docked a couple of points for mis-use of words, grammar errors, and length — it could use about 75 pages cut), but it’s a strong contender as one of the finalists in its category. I’m enjoying it, but, because it’s so darned long, it’s putting me behind where I want to be in my entry pace.

I’m starting a promotion for the digital short comic mystery “”Plot Bunnies” under the Ava Dunne name, since it’s Easter-themed and Easter’s coming up. Seems like a good time to promote! It’s available digitally on Smashwords here.

I have paperwork and other admin to deal with this weekend, along with, I hope, a lot of writing, and maybe even getting some yard work done. I’m feeling emotionally exhausted and stressed by several things right now, so I’m counting on showing up at the page every day, my yoga and medication practices to keep me balanced and able to move forward and deal with what needs to be dealt with.

I have several choice words for other things going on in the world, but I’ll save them until after the weekend. I want to see how a few things play out first! 😉

Have a great weekend.

It would be so nice if we actually moved into spring by next week!

Published in: on March 24, 2017 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 24, 2017: Creative Productivity  
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Tues. Dec. 27, 2016: Calm Holiday, Making Plans

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Day before Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Second Day of Christmas
Second Day of Kwanzaa
Fourth Day of Hannukah
Stormy, windy, rainy, mild

It was a nice holiday weekend. Quiet on our part. Lots of reading, some planning, lots of eating. We spent Christmas Day with friends. It was nice.

Yesterday was a serious writing day. 26 pages on JUST A DROP. I love the shape the play is taking. It’s very naturally flowing into something that plays well. I’m excited to see where it takes me today. It goes out on Friday, so I have to dig in these last few days.

For the twelve days of Christmas, I can’t remember my dreams on either of the first two, so I hope that means January and February will be relatively quiet months.

I’ve been working on my GDR Wrap Up, which will post on Saturday, and on my GDRs and writing schedule for next year. We don’t even know if we have a future, so it sort of feels like I’m hedging my bets. But I intend to proceed, as long as I can, as though I do have a future, and sort out a writing schedule. I need to get a lot done. I’m giving myself more time for first drafts, which is probably a good thing. I just hope I can juggle as many projects as need juggling.

I’ve got some other stuff I’m working on, stuff I can’t yet talk about publicly. Don’t you hate it when someone posts like that? I certainly do. But it’s exciting, and while the initial planning may not pan out in the way it’s intended at the start, I think it opens some doors that may be worthwhile over the coming few years.

Along with that, I’m starting to think in terms of where I want to be in a year, in three years, in five years — even thought the Sociopathic Narcissist will probably cause a nuclear disaster by April. Still, I’d rather my final thoughts be, “damn, I didn’t get a chance to do that” rather than not having anything planned in the first place.

Planning the menu for New Year’s. We will have a quiet one at home. I hate going out for that holiday. Too much desperation for a good time. I’ve had too many miserable New Years in company. I’m much happier doing yoga and meditating.

Back to the page. I’m focusing only on the play this week. Next week, it’s back to NOT BY THE BOOK, figuring out the rest of THE FIX-IT GIRL, and drafting the short stories that are due at the end of January.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 10:46 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 27, 2016: Calm Holiday, Making Plans  
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Mon. Nov. 21, 2016: Writing Retreat

Monday, November 21, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

They say we’ll have some snow flurries today. So much for yard work! The weather was so damp and windy the past few days I didn’t get much done.

This will probably be the only time I blog this week, except for a holiday greeting on Thursday. This week is about the writing. I want to dive into it, and stay off most media for the bulk of the week. Check in just enough to make sure the Apocalypse hasn’t started early.

On top of everything else, I broke some bones in my foot on Saturday. The poor toe that keeps getting broken got it again; and also a bone lower down on the side of my foot. I didn’t even break it doing anything interesting. I was merely careless. Can’t even get a good story out of it!

Most of the weekend was spent working on the play about the 14th century female pirate. That’s been pulling at me harder than the 17th century poisoning ring in Italy. So I’m focusing on this one first, then going back to JUST A DROP. I hate the working title I have for this play, and have to come up with a better one. But I’m having fun with the characters, and letting them lead me, in the context, into some interesting places.

This will be only the fifth time in 44 years we have not gone to Maine for Thanksgiving: three years when I lived on the west coast, one year when I was working on Broadway and couldn’t get coverage (I usually had Thanksgiving off and worked Christmas), and this year. We’ve been too sick for too long to feel up to the trip, and with a broken right foot, I can’t go anyway.

Relieved that both DEATH OF A CHOLERIC and PLAYING THE ANGLES are out. I’m prepping TRACKING MEDUSA for resubmission.

I also want to get back to work on THE FIX-IT GIRL, finish the draft, then start revisions. I think it might need less work than some of my other pieces, although I have to decide how explicit I want the love scenes to be.

Mark December 17th on your calendar. I’m doing a holiday jingle party on Facebook with Angela Aarons and Tracy Kincaid. My slot is from 1 to 1:30 PM, EST. There will be giveaways and games, and all kinds of fun stuff.

Don’t worry, I’ll remind you!

Have a lovely holiday week, and I’ll check back in next week!

Devon

Published in: on November 21, 2016 at 9:30 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 21, 2016: Writing Retreat  
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Fri. Nov. 18, 2016: Rolling the Writing Ball

Friday, Nov. 18, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cool

I forgot to post yesterday. I apologize. So this post combines both day’s thoughts.

Busy few days. Got some painting done, some yard work done (but I can’t stay ahead of the leaves).

DEATH OF A CHOLERIC was ready to go out on submission yesterday, but I had file compatibility problems, so it has to go out today instead. However, the completed revisions of PLAYING THE ANGLES went out, and will hopefully be picked up and re-issued soon. I’m going over TRACKING MEDUSA in a few days, and then that will go out the door in search of re-issue, too. HEART-SNATCHER is almost through revisions and will be ready to go on submission either before the end of the year, or just after the first of the year.

I love PLAYING THE ANGLES (what used to be ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT). It’s still one of my favorite books that I’ve written.

I think I’m going to do the Nina Bell books myself; they’re too quirky to make business sense for a traditional publisher. I need to do a new cover in the next few weeks for one of the shorts, and then work on the first Nina and the beginning of the second Nina so that I can release the first one in spring. It makes me laugh (uncomfortably) that a range of time I lived through could now be called “period”.

I found an older novel of mine, that needs about 100 more pages to complete, which I loved, but put away. It’s called THE FIX-IT GIRL, and is set in 1930s Hollywood. I read it yesterday. There’s a lot of good stuff there. I made notes on revisions, and I’ve got an idea of what to do with the last 100 pages. I think I can whip it into shape to be ready for submission by late winter or early spring.

I want to make sure I get through the backlog, and that everything out there is earning its keep!

Did some work on MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC, and also on the sci-fi/fantasy/mystery. and the contemporary play. I need to get back to the contemporary intrigue/romance, and the two historical plays.

I have to stop eating red meat for awhile again; that seems to be what’s been making me sick lately. That happened a few years ago — I had to stop eating red meat for about six months. I’ve eaten too much of it since our company came in September (they were big fans of red meat), and now I’m paying the price. So, back to a lighter diet.

I’ve got to finish up some research on Gilded Age Newport in the next few days and get those books back to the library. I think I need to focus on plot and character for this draft, and then layer in historical detail in the next. I’ve got a decent idea of time and place, but the research is interfering with the story at this point. I need to write the story to see what I have, and then see what needs to change for it to make sense within its historical context, and where my character chooses to break the social norms. That’s one of the themes of the series — that she chooses to break convention, and then has to pay the price.

I’m hoping it clears up a bit in the coming hours, so I can get more yard work done. I mowed the front day before yesterday. It looked good for about five minutes until it filled with leaves again. I still need to do no-man’s land, the terrace, and the meadow, and then start raking the front.

However, I need to take the yard waste and recycling in as soon as the weather clears. It rained off and on yesterday. It’s miserable trying to unload the car and get it all the bins and on the yard waste piles in bad weather. But the garage is about to pop.

I think I’m done painting until spring, unless I paint some of the shells I’ve collected, with an eye to the holidays.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on November 18, 2016 at 9:40 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 18, 2016: Rolling the Writing Ball  
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