Mon. Feb. 25, 2013: Rehearsals Begin on a Full Moon


Monday, February 25, 2013
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold

We had more snow overnight, but it was a coating, no big deal. I like snow a lot, but even I am getting a little weary of it.

Busy weekend working on casting the final role in the show and setting up the rehearsal schedule. I met some really interesting people during this process, and I think it is opening up some doors for collaborative projects down the road. We have our first meeting/read-through tonight.

Read the materials for the next assignment from Confidential Job #1 and have to do the write-up today. Drafted an article last night, which I will type up and edit today, and hopefully get out the door. Turned around a client project in 24 hours — much faster than I thought, but a block of time opened, and I seized it. The client had paid me FULLY in advance, not just half, so it was worth it to quicken the promised turnaround time.

Creative Stimulus Cover

CREATIVE STIMULUS has released — a new workbook a little more comprehensive than the regular “Topic Workbooks” — this one combines updated material and exercises from the “5 in 10” workshop, the “Sensory Perceptions” Workbook, the “Writing Rituals” booklet and the infamous Tip Sheets, all in one place. It’s $6.99, over on Smashwords.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK drops next Monday — I’m looking forward to it, and am doing quite a few guest blogs in the coming weeks to promote the release.

This is the last week to sign up for “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”. Putting together the materials for this class has been terrific. I’m very excited about it. More information on how to register here.

Read Anna Devere Smith’s LETTERS TO A YOUNG ARTIST. Terrific book for artists at any stages of their careers. Developing an idea based on some of Manet’s Paris cafe paintings. Reading a book called CREATIVE TIME AND SPACE: MAKING ROOM FOR MAKING ART, which is also very interesting.

I can take on one more full manuscript critique and/or edit or 3-5 short projects for a slot, but it must be booked this week. Please contact fearlessinkworkshops at gmail dot com for more information on rates and to set it up. Once I get deep into rehearsal, I cannot take on any more projects until the show is done.

My other show, SEVEN OF SWORDS, will be read this Friday at Tilden Art Center. That should be interesting. It’s definitely not a comedy, and it’s a raw piece that could go in several different directions.

I have to get a proposal for an arts festival out today or tomorrow — I have to figure out what I want to do for it.

Great morning’s session on the Dickensian steampunk.

That’s kind of where things stand, going into this week. I hope you have a good one!


Jan. 2, 2013: Racing into 2013!

The winter doormat

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

2013 and here we are! Yippee!

Since I’m rather fond of anything with the number “13” in it, I’m a happy camper about the coming year.

First of all, today is the last day “First Feet”, the Jain Lazarus tie-in story, is available. So download it before the link is cut. 😉

If you didn’t get a chance to read my first recommendation of a book for the new year, Shirley Wells’s DYING ART, please hop over to A Biblio Paradise and check it out.

The GDRS are up — the answers to my questions (and those were hard to answer both honestly and compassionately) are here and my To-Do list for January is here. I’ve even managed to knock a few things off the list!

I worked more than I expected to yesterday — I meant to just hop on “for a minute”, but then got tied up in stuff. Which is fine; it needed to get done.

Both “When Words Align” and “Sensory Perceptions” start today, along with a private student, so I’ll have my hands full for the next chunk of time. I’m almost finished with the wacky proposal for my agent, I’ve been working on the next assignment from Confidential Job #1, I got a few pitches out yesterday, and am still working on the Twelve Days of Christmas stories. Glad I didn’t commit to writing, editing, and POSTING them for this cycle! I like the challenge of doing them, but some need to be circled back to for some additional work.

I need to spend time on the Astronomy assignments today — I’m falling farther and farther behind. The lectures are long — there are about 15 of them per week, instead of the usual 6-8 I had in other classes, and a lot of them are double the length. However, I’m not holding anyone else up, since I’m auditing, and I’ll just keep working. The next science class starts on Monday, so I don’t want to fall too far behind on this one.

Of course, I’ve got a bunch of other work to do today, too, trying to secure some income-generating work immediately for the New Year! Lots to do, but I’m excited for the New Year!

Baked scones this morning (test driving the recipe for Sunday). It’s fine. Not brilliant, but it will work. Wrote my 1K on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE.

And off we go!


Mon. Oct 15, 2012: OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK Cover & Rough Weekend

Monday, October 15, 2012
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Here it is! The cover for the second Jain Lazarus Adventure, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK! Once again, my cover artist is the wonderful PJ Friel, who did the art for HEX BREAKER and also for the anthology in which we both appear, DEATH SPARKLES. I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve also got my second round of edits to deal with this week!

“The First Three Pages: Dynamic Openings”
workshop is on for next Saturday, October 20, where we spend the day making the opening of the novel or short story as strong as possible. More information here. “Dissecting Submission Guidelines” has been rescheduled for November 3.

The weekend was rough, on several levels. Good, too, but rough. Deadbeat client still hasn’t paid me — the check can’t be “in the mail” for this long. Typical of someone who runs around yapping about how much they “work with spirit” — total bullshit. Especially since I’d given this client a special rate, lower than my usual one. Not happening again.

Wrote one of the best kick-ass critical essays on a book in my life on Friday. I’d been working on it for two weeks, had voluminous notes, but sat down and pulled it all together on Friday. My editor loves it, is taking it to his bosses — but, it still needs to be cut by 2/3. That’s my first task this morning. He’s still going to use it to try to get me more prestigious assignments, and I’m going to use it as a sample, and possibly as a basis for an article on a quartet of semi-related novels this author has written (which I couldn’t address in this piece), It wasn’t wasted, even if this publication can’t use it in its entirety. That’s the reality of word counts and space requirements — something, I would say at least 80% of writing students don’t get on any given day. You have to be able to fit the available space, or you don’t get in. They can’t expand space for YOUR work and lose advertising or encroach on someone else’s space.

Wrote a paper for my Sustainability class on leveling the policy-making field by removing lobbyists (and how to do that). Kept looking for the feedback on the rough draft of my final project, which was supposed to be ready by Wednesday and . . . nothing. A little disheartening, as was not getting a timely response on my submission questions and finding out that I could only present one and not both of my projects. I realize there are a lot of us, but the lack of administrative response for things is not handled as well in this particular class as in both the others. And if the feedback is supposed to be available Wednesday, and the final project is due on Sunday — the feedback should DEFINITELY be available by Friday. I went out of my way to provide feedback on more than the required amount of projects during the first couple of days in the week because I know that, even though all 26,000 students didn’t submit projects, a lot did, and everyone who puts in the work deserves feedback.

Also took the time to comment on five of my fellow students’ papers in the World History Class, as was required. Lots of good writing, but only one out of the five went beyond regurgitating the information we got in class, which was disappointing. Of course, my paper went way out of the box, and I bet you dollars to doughnuts “my peers” grade me down for doing more than spitting class notes back up (but I have a list of really cool sources, and I’m going to use it as a basis for an article for the AFL-CIO magazine).

I woke up on Saturday, feeling lousy and cranky, and glad that I’d been smart enough to cancel the day’s workshop, because I could not have done justice to my students. I was worse than a bear with a sore head, and that’s not fair to them. For once, I listened to myself and knew I wasn’t well enough to teach, and cancelled early enough not to screw up anyone else’s schedule.

I was even more disheartened when I logged on to the workshop I’m teaching, and, out of the entire class, only two people bothered to turn in the assignment on time. Not acceptable, and entirely disrespectful. Every moment I spend on their work is time I’m not spending on my own, and I resent it when they can’t be bothered to keep their commitments. It’s disappointing, because the quality of the work is good, but the fact that they can’t keep a simple commitment — and this is an extraordinarily light course load for one of my classes — it’s not about writing when you feel like it or “get around to it”. It’s about getting it done when it’s due.

I’m taking three classes at coursera right now, EACH requiring 7-12 hours of work a week (which means I’ve added 21-36 hours of additional work onto my already long days) ON TOP of keeping up with current deadlines, the courses I’m teaching, and freelance work to pay the bills. If I can do that, and I’ve kept on top of ALL my course assignments because I’d be letting MYSELF down hugely by not meeting those commitments — someone with a 400 word piece due and more than week to get in done can get it in on time, no matter what else is going on.

The rest of the day was spent finishing up the work for the final Sustainability project, which means I had to revise the first chapter of the marine life mystery and write the next two chapters, and then massage them so they were polished enough to submit. It took me awhile to get back into the groove, but once I did, it went pretty well. I explained, in the Cover Sheet notes, that not every topic inspired by the Sustainability course was going to be fully explored in only the first three chapters, but again, I expect to be marked down by my “peers.” And again, that’s really fine, because I’m fulfilling the commitment to the class, and I’m also getting out a lot of material I can use far beyond class. I would, however, have liked to get that feedback before submitting the final, to see if I needed to tweak it one way or another to fit the class parameters. But I didn’t, so what the hell, and I polished, proofread, and uploaded it a day early. This week, I’ll read five other class projects (as required) and comment on them. I also watched the rest of the videos and took my two quizzes. The less I study for those quizzes, the better I do on them, for some reason.

I was so tired and cranky and felt so lousy that I read Nora Roberts to do something different. Now, I totally respect what she’s achieved in her career, and admire her work ethic enormously. However, her tendency to head-hop in her scenes always leaves me feeling slightly motion-sick, so it wasn’t quite the cure I was looking for!

Sunday was all about coursework, once I’d read the paper and played with the cats. I watched all the week’s videos for the World History Class and took all the quizzes (there’a quiz at the end of each video — I aced all of them). The professor is terrific, and it really shows how we’ve been making the same mistakes since the beginning, over and over, in cycles, financial crises and all (there have been similar ones as far back as 1720, all caused by greed on those making the most money — sound familiar?). We also got our “weekly letter” from the professor; out of 83,000 students, only 1800 submitted papers and he thinks that’s a terrific percentage! 😉 We certainly do math differently, or perhaps, he just has a more realistic picture of how people lack commitment. He keeps emphasizing how he hopes the class helps us make connections in the ways different elements in history affect each other, and he’s certainly opening up my perspectives enormously.

Then, it was on to the Greek and Roman Mythology course. This professor, and his Coursera administrative student assistants, do something called “Screenside Chat” which is just awesome — taking questions from the discussion groups and going into them in more depth, so we feel like there’s more connection and community. I watched all the week’s lectures (I’d already worked on the readings) and took the quiz — I got 88, not too bad. I also got the assignment for this week’s paper, which I’m REALLY looking forward to.

So, that was a pretty good day — I felt tired but accomplished by the end of it. And I finished early enough to have a relaxing evening.

This morning, the woodpecker was back — at the same spot we just fixed. I’m going to have to go hang an owl representation in that spot to keep him away.

Will plant the rest of the bulbs today, and clear out the rest of the vegetable patch (we harvested everything left to harvest before Saturday’s light frost).

I did some work on the non-fiction proposal, and will start organizing it today. I want to get it out the door in the next few days, strike while the iron is hot.


Tuesday, Oct. 2: Slow Start, Slow Internet, Lots of Work

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

CE Lawrence is a terrific thriller writer (and a great teacher). Lawrence was also kind enough to be a guest today on A Biblio Paradise here. Drop by and leave a comment!

Got a few hours of focused work done in the morning. Picked up my friend from the train station at 1 o’clock. We had a good catch-up chat on the deck, out in the sunshine, cooked dinner, chatting all the time, and she caught an evening train back. We hadn’t seen each other in two years, since before I moved, but we’ve kept in touch and picked up where we left off. It was great.

Found out that the person set to join me here on site wasn’t coming yesterday after all, but would arrive today. Gives me more uninterrupted work time, for which I’m grateful.

Have to do a rewrite for an editor — we thought we were on the same page, only to find out we’re on different pages! Not a big deal, just re-angle it a bit.

The cover is coming along for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK — I’m looking forward to it. And the DEATH SPARKLES anthology is moving towards its release date.

Watched REVOLUTION — had some interesting backstories and complexities. Even though I’d figured out some of the Miles/Lance backstory, there were some good layers. But I’ve still got to ask — why no windmills? Why no waterwheels?

I have to get going on this week’s schoolwork and writing assignments, along with the writing that pays the bills. I feel like I got a slow start this morning, but I hope to pick up speed. The internet connection is so damn slow, I can’t be efficient. Very frustrating.


Wed. May 30, 2012: HEX BREAKER released!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

It’s here! HEX BREAKER has released, available from Solstice Publishing and on Amazon Kindle for only $2.99. If you read the earlier version — this is juicier and better. If you’ve never read it, I hope you join me for this journey. HEX BREAKER is a personal favorite of mine. The book got excellent reviews in its first incarnation — if you read it and like it, I hope you’ll post a review on Amazon or some such, and if you’d like me as a guest on your blog, let me know — I’ll send you the media kit. I’d love to stop by! If you want to read an excerpt, there’s one here.

Solstice contracted the second book in the series, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, a few months ago, and I’m under deadline pressure to get them the third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, as soon as I can. All seven books in the series are in writer’s rough outline.

“Town Crier”, a short story tie-in to the series, will be available for a free limited download the second week of June.

I’m busy updating my sites, and, this weekend, will launch the PR campaign (since I wasn’t expecting it to release yet and had no advance notice).

Of course, this is all while I’m prepping for Saturday’s one day seminar on Setting Up Your Submission System. I’m looking forward to it — I hope the students can learn from the mistakes I’ve made before I came up with a streamlined way to make it easy to put together and get submission packages out the door. Information and registration here. It’s the only time the course will be offered this year, so I hope people take advantage of it.

Spent time with students. Managed 35 chapters of the second pass of HEART SNATCHER. I’ve still got to wrestle the ending, but it will be ready for the critique swap on the first.

I’ve got to buckle back down with CRAVE THE HUNT then, next week, and polish some short stories.

Company’s coming today — good friends from Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to it. We can celebrate the book’s release.

Mowed the front and the side yesterday and got some weeding done. The meadow is my mission for the rest of the week. I haven’t managed to deadhead the rhodies yet, and I’m battling the ants again.

Always something, right? But this is release day for HEX BREAKER, and I choose happiness!


Tues. April 10, 2012: Good News to Share!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday, worked flat out all day. Worked with my students on the revision process, got out a requested partial, got out a couple of short stories, worked on some marketing and proposal stuff. Someone who wanted a manuscript by June 1 now wants to take a look at the opening chapters earlier, so I need to figure out how to fit that in. Got some good work done on HEART BINDER in the sprint with students. Did my work in the Steampunk class and started One Story, Many Voices.

Went to use the library’s computer to put in a “tweet this” button on my website for the workshops, but the website won’t hold the code. Typical. Next week, I need to meet with the Mac people and set up time to learn how to pull the materials the web host is holding hostage, so I can get the website move DONE. I should probably wait until some of the Fast & Funs are done, but I think my current host is interfering so much with my ability to earn a living that I should risk the move sooner rather than later.

The great news is that OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus book, was accepted by Solstice. I’ll send back the contract today, and off we go. I need to have the third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, done and out to them early in June.

Family’s coming down in May, and I had to get my Fast & Fun dates sorted for May and June. Looks like those are going to work out, so the pages and registration information will go up soon.

Overslept this morning, but still managed to get to meditation on time. We had a good session and an interesting discussion. Stopped at Nirvana on the way back for coffee and chocolate croissants. A couple very impressed with their own importance was in the place, talking to make sure they were overheard. Nothing they had to say was worth hearing. Geez, the only way I could use characters inspired by them is in a dark comedy, where a boulder falls on them or something after a snippet of their vapid exchange.

I’ve got a busy day stretching in front of me, and a migraine with which to contend. I better get to it — got to take back a stack of books to the Sandwich Library and see what else they’ve got waiting for me! And I’ve got an article to finish up. Plus all the writing.

Fingers crossed that submitted material just keeps hitting the target!


Don’t forget — Dialogue Dilemmas & Solutions, a one-day online seminar to help you create unique and sparkling dialogue. This is the only time I’ll be teaching a dialogue workshop online this year. Information and sign-up here.

Tues. March 20, 2012:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Spring Equinox
Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday was just a gorgeous day! Did a lot of work in the morning, with students, on HEART BINDER, and on the HEX BREAKER edits. I have one more scene on the latter that needs tweaking, and then, off it goes. The editor is pleased with the last round (phew, I was worried). I have to work on the updated front matter, so I can send that off, too.

Worked a bit on the new project, but didn’t get it uploaded. Still have to finish writing up Confidential Job #1, which has to go off today. Worked on a couple of proposals that will go out this week, and started an article that I have to get off today, which will go live on Thursday. Packed (since I leave tomorrow for the site job) — have to finish packing the writing bag. Percolated on the new Jain Lazarus story that has to be finished by next week, so it can be copyedited, designed, and ready to go along with the book release. The previous stories will also get snazzy new covers.

Ran some errands in the late morning. It was a gorgeous day, so, later in the afternoon, Imp and I packed up some work and went to Ashumet Holly Sanctuary. Well, first we went to Craigville Beach, which was gorgeous, but the breeze was too brisk to really get much done. So we tucked ourselves into the pitch pine grove at Ashumet for a couple of hours.

We met a friend for drinks and appetizers at Siena, then came home and relaxed. I got some other work done.

Today, I’m headed off to meditation, then it’s flat out work (since I’ll be on the road for most of tomorrow, and, while I’m able to juggle, I also have to do the job for which I’m paid to be on site).

The weather was absolutely wonderful yesterday — warm, breezy, truly felt like spring. I hope this doesn’t herald a hideously hot summer. My neighbor fertilized his lawn yesterday, but it seems just a tad too early for me. Because once I fertilize, it means I gotta mow! 😉

Off to meditation. I did the early morning Spring Equinox ritual; will plant some seeds later today in starter pots. May pumpkins flowering on the vine be a sign of wonderful things to come in this cycle!


Fri. March 16, 2012: Looking Forward to the Weekend (of Edits)


Friday, March 16, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I overslept yesterday.

I MEANT to get up early and get some work done before leaving for Boston, but the alarm didn’t go off, and I overslept. But I still managed to get the coffee on before Costume Imp got up! 😉

Yesterday was the big field trip to the Boston Flower Show. Fourteen of us rented a van and were driven in. Coffee and cake set up on a table (with cloth) in the parking lot before we left — yeah, this group does it up right! 😉 We had enough time to wander around and “ooh” and “aah” over things, do some shopping, and go out for lunch. I’d remembered the pub as the Drunken Monk, but it’s the Whiskey Priest (yeah, I made the jokes, too), but we hopped one pub over to American Beer Company. Good food, good company, tons of fun. Back to do more shopping, vanned home (with treats in the van), home before dinner time.

I’ll have a full write-up on Gratitude and Growth tomorrow.

Imp Dog came by to visit and wanted to play. I actually played with him for awhile, and then tossed him an organic dog treat. He caught it, trotted over to the japonica bush, delicately dug a hole, dropped it in, and covered it up. Too funny!

Did some work with my students and some other work; caught up on more TORCHWOOD. There’s no doubt –it’s my favorite show.

Wednesday wound up being very busy — worked with students in the morning; seem to have a payment problem solved, but now there’s a new admin problem. I’ve got some other things in the works, so I have to buckle down to them over the weekend.

Costume Imp and I also found a magnificent grocery store in Mashpee called Roche Brothers. We were in heaven. And then we nipped over to Market Street Books, where we found some good stuff and had a lovely chat with Cynthia. I’m putting together a packet for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT and dropping it off today. We had a quick lunch at Siena (which is quickly becoming a favorite place of mine on the Cape) and then back to work.

The second round of edits for HEX BREAKER came through, and I’ve got a little less than a week to do them. I’m excited to get back to it, and get the marketing ball rolling for it. I expect it will come out in May, although I haven’t yet been given a firm date.

I’ve got some other writing to attend to, and need to figure out, over the weekend, how to recalculate my hours in a business-minded way to get it all done and make the money I not only need, but deserve and EARN, for my work. I’m about to turn down an invite from a magazine editor with whom I’ve worked for in the past (for a fee) who wants me to do something for free — that will, at the same time, make a profit for the company, but not for the writers involved. That would be a negative. Bad business decision, and it wouldn’t be a big enough “good will” gesture to make it worth while.

Gotta take a stand on these things, or I’ll keep winding up in the mess I was earlier in the week. I have a couple of carefully chosen pro bono clients, and that’s the extent of my unpaid work. When the plumber, the accountant, and the doctor work for “exposure” — so will I.


Tues. Feb. 21, 2012: HEX BREAKER cover

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

And here it is. The new cover for HEX BREAKER’S re-release. The artist is the amazing PJ Friel, who is one of my writing students (she’s an awesome writer as well as an awesome artist). I LOVE this cover, and the publisher approved it, so we’re good to go.

Now, I just have to get those revisions done this week!

I’ve also updated the Jain Lazarus site, and there’s some cool new information over there — about tie-in short stories, the new re-release, etc. As soon as I have a firm release date, I’ll be pestering people for interviews and blog tours!

I thought I’d be able to schedule something to post yesterday, but no luck. I spent the last five days working in CT. I like the gig, but it was hard to be away from home. I really do work better at home.

I didn’t get enough done on the HEX BREAKER edits. I got some good work done on HEART-BINDER, and I also got some great work done on the long short story and the shorter story. I sketched out a few ideas. And then, I went back and took another look at POWER OF WORDS, which, of course, really wants some attention because of everything else that is on deadline! There is potential here, although I think, because of the detail and the scope of the piece, it needs to go the indie route. Only an editor who’d actually worked on set would be able to effectively edit the piece, and that’s going to be next to impossible to find. If I go indie, I’ll get to interview the editors myself. Also, I think it’s kind of unfair to dump this muddle on a publisher. I need to get it streamlined and sorted and figure out a good presentation that will catch and hold the readers while still keeping the vision and integrity of the daily detail of the piece, WHILE juggling as many arcs and characters as the series does. But the piece just won’t let me rest, so, in a few weeks when I’ve got a few things cleared off my desk, I will give it a few hours’ worth of attention a week, without letting it take over, the way it usually does.

Got some good research done for another project, some of which feeds into the harpy trilogy, which was a happy surprise. Oh, and I even did the work for which I was brought down to CT!

I got the next assignment for Confidential Job #1, but haven’t had the chance to start it yet. HEX BREAKER edits are front and center all week.

I’m juggling three classes this week and the private students, which is a bit much, but, somehow, it will all get done.

This morning, I’m off to meditation, and then I have to take my mom to medical appointments. After that, the primary focus is on the HEX BREAKER edits, although the classes need some attention, too.

HOLIDAY HOCUS-POCUS has a good group in there, and looks like it will be fun. It’s more informational and brainstorming than “you have to write a 1500 word story by Friday”, but I’m still doing what I always do, which is tweak the lectures as I put them up, to make sure I have a lot of information that’s both broad and specific.

I’m going to try to knock out some words on HEART BINDER before I have to leave for meditation, and then, off we go, racing through the day.

I can’t believe how much Tessa grew in just a few days!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and warm

Yesterday was mostly about design. I did some promo work, but the bulk of the day was spent applying what I learned in the iPhoto and iPages workshops this week. I did a lot of work on the new Fearless Ink brochure. I need to hone the text, but it’s designed and the graphics are there. I managed to pull the old graphics I used in Windows, scan them, have the Canon printer send them to my email as a jpg and download them into iPhoto, so I can use them in design. I’m going to see if I can somehow do that with the moonlight-over-water graphic I use for my main business card (which is in a very old PrintMaster Gold program) and do the same thing. I COULD get BootCamp and run Windows simultaneously, but I really want to get away from Windows, except for using Word For Mac when I have to. The Mac system integrates much better and is more useful for my needs.

I also worked on the Jain Lazarus brochure — again, I need to hone text. I know I wrote text for all these — I bet it’s still on the old PC.

I started redesigning the ebooks. I’m trying two different methods, and whichever one is more efficient will be my first choice moving forward. I can design fun and eye-catching covers, create good-looking page designs, and set up the booklets so that they look better and read better. I’m going to redesign all of them, and then upload them at once.

And then, all of a sudden, it was dinnertime! I was tired, but not frustrated — even though there are some things that worked in the workshops that I couldn’t duplicate. Most of it has to do with transferring material that was in Word, rather than creating it in iPages. Although Word for Mac runs better than Word ran on the PC, it’s still Microsoft, and still doesn’t really want to integrate with anything else and has to be coaxed. I get there eventually, and, once I’m creating everything in Pages, it will be better. I figure it will take about six months to really transition things and feel comfortable moving between the older work in Word and the new material.

I can save into word and convert into PDF without using programs like the nightmare Nitro PDF — which didn’t even let me convert photos and covers.

For me, this system works much better.

Now, my big question for the DIXIE DUST RUMORS postcards is — glossy or matte? What do YOU think? Leave a comment below!

Confidential Job #1 has honored me enormously. The next assignment deals with the work of an iconic figure who was very central during the time I grew up. And they chose ME. Because of the confidentiality agreement, I can’t go into details, but I’m thrilled.

Got a little reading done, but not enough. I’ve got several books stacked up to read over the weekend and into next week, so I can send out interview questions for A BIBLIO PARADISE. And Colin’s book comes out on Sunday — I can’t wait to buy it, read him, and host him on his blog tour!

Lots of admin work to do today, along with some writing and some redesign work. I need to get follow-up done on the March pitches. I’ve got at least one pitch to get out, and start a proposal for a residency I’d like to land.

I’d like to get more writing done over the next few days, but I’ve also got to get out the DIXIE DUST mailing and another round of press materials. All good, just very busy.

Great morning’s work on the Matty book. The serial suffered the past week, and I need to get back to it.

The weekend will be busy — The Belmont Stakes are tomorrow, and I’m going to a Tony Awards party on Sunday.

My picks for Belmont will be up on RACING INK here later this morning.

Back to the page.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I’m a guest on Star-Crossed Romance, in an article detailing ideas how to give your fictional character a tarot reading. There’s also information about HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. Stop by and leave comment please!

Obviously, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK did not release on April 1 as scheduled. I know the publisher is behind in releases; I have not had any direct response to my questions as to the new release date. I had to give up quite a few promotional slots this month because the books aren’t ready and there’s no new firm release date. Once I get one, I will shout it from the rooftops, believe me.

The past weekend wound up being more of a writing retreat than intensely focused work. It was unexpected, but a good thing. I took a good deal of work with me, hoping to knock some of it out. I also took Natalie Goldberg’s books WRITING DOWN THE BONES and THUNDER AND LIGHTENING to re-read and maybe do a few exercises. It’s sort of like practicing scales – it’s helpful to go back to basics every now and again to stay agile.

I read one book on Saturday and one book on Sunday (I’d forgotten the book I planned to take with me as a pleasure read, and, the site on which I worked and where I stayed doesn’t have many books, which caused anxiety, and I couldn’t leave to go to a bookstore).

I also wrote. A lot. Not on any particular project or any exercises, but just writing to get a lot of what’s swirled in my head for the past few months out onto the page, to clear my head so I can work in a more focused manner this month. I wrote more than twenty pages longhand on Saturday, and about four or five pages on Sunday. It felt good to get it all out.

Some of it started to take the shape of a non-fiction book that I didn’t realize I wanted to write until I started writing about it. I don’t write much book-length non-fiction, although I do write many shorter pieces. This will be an interesting challenge because it will take a long time to achieve what I want, and it needs to be written non-linearly and non-chronologically. In other words, I’ll write chapters and then, once a draft is complete, I’ll rearrange them until it’s right. There will be a basic structure of sections within which the chapters will fall, but it’s not a case of writing an outline with a table of contents and shopping around the first three chapters, as one often does with non-fiction. I need to write the whole book (as one does in fiction) before I can write the proposal.

And no, I don’t think it’s a waste of time to do it before the contract. No writing is EVER wasted. It always pays for itself somewhere down the line.

I also had a breakthrough on the anthology story I put aside last month because I realized I didn’t want to write to the particular anthology’s guidelines (the replacement story, not the one where the characters looked at me and said, “Uh, no. We’re not doing that.”). Now the story makes sense. Too bad I didn’t have the epiphany a month ago. But I guess you can’t rush enlightenment. 😉

I did some work on the Maine book, and realized it doesn’t want to be outlined, so I have to discover what it is in the first draft. Okay. That’s the process the book demands, so that’s what I’ll do.

The truly practical accomplishment was a kick-ass query for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. I want to take another pass over the manuscript this week, tweak the synopsis a bit, and out it goes.

I cooked a lot; I ate properly. Yesterday was a gorgeous, sunny, warm spring day and I spent a good chunk of it outside. Today’s rainy and icky and cold. I’ve got some business correspondence to deal with, some errands to run, and I ‘m going to work on my receipts for my taxes. I’d also like to polish a proposal and get it out – finally. I’ve sat on it for far too long, and get started on two other proposals. No client work for me today – I’ve got too much other stuff on my plate.

On the fiction side, the primary focus this week needs to be CRAVE THE HUNT, FEMME FATALE, and the Maine book.

I had a good session on the Maine book this morning, about 1200 words. I think I’ve got Chapter 14 of CRAVE THE HUNT sorted out, so now I can write it. I have to be careful — Chapter 15’s already formed in my head, and I want to make sure I don’t rush 14 so I can get to 15.

I also want to reconfigure my writing space this week. Because I have deadlines/writing/client projects, I have to do it in increments, but I’m not happy with it – I want to clear off the clutter and start fresh for spring. I need to file what’s done, put “in process” pieces close enough so I’ll still deal with them, but out of the way, and have a clear creation space. This weekend was good for eliminating mental clutter; now it’s time to eliminate some of the physical clutter.


Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 7:48 am  Comments (7)  
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

So AIG gives out $165 million dollars of our money as bonuses to the executives whose irresponsible behavior caused the problems in the first place. Edward Liddy, the CEO – appointed by Bush, I might add – claims AIG’s “hands are tied” and they have to give bonuses to “retain the best and the brightest.” Here’s a news flash, you dumbass – if these people were the “best and brightest”, your company wouldn’t be in the toilet! Your company needs to FIRE them, not reward them. And you’re the CEO – your hands are NOT tied, you are aiding and abetting in practices that are unethical, even if they manage to walk the legality line – for now.

Liddy needs to be fired. The executives need to not only be fired but jailed. There should be demonstrations in front of AIG every day by rabid tax payers. Taxpayers should be taking apart the building with their bare hands. Now I understand why “tarring and feathering” was so popular during Revolutionary War Days!

The government needs to stop this crap NOW. Not “look into it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” STOP IT NOW. Barney Frank is correct – these executives need to choose between getting a bonus they don’t deserve and keeping their jobs.

The list of executives receiving bonuses – made up of OUR MONEY – who are in the most toxic division of the company – needs to be public. And if they start howling about “safety concerns” – then they can forego the bonuses. But we have the right to know who these people are, who lied and cheated and stole and now are taking millions of our taxpayer money.

I’m tellin’ ya: Make me Dictator of the World for three weeks and I’ll get this all sorted out! 😉

Yesterday was a more balanced day. I took some time to read the papers and relax, worked on CRAVE THE HUNT a bit more, and did some work on client projects. It was a quiet day, but a good one.

I’m back to work today on CRAVE THE HUNT, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, a piece for one of the websites, client projects, and making a few notes on a couple of ideas that are niggling away at me.

I was worried about the current section of CRAVE THE HUNT getting too big and detailed – I’ve got a lot of ground to cover in the whole book, I’m 145 pages in and still on page 1 of the Writer’s Rough – but then, the rest of the outline pages have much more detail including dialgoue, and the outline starts about two chapters back from where I am. Anyway, I figured how to skip ahead without losing the impact of what happens off-screen so to speak, so I think I’ll start Chapter 14 with Jain and Wyatt in Iceland, and then go back to Billy right before the Solstice.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it.


Published in: on March 16, 2009 at 7:32 am  Comments (8)  
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday, March 15, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cold
The Ides of March

Although, thanks to our pal Will Shakespeare, we now associate “The Ides of March” with murder, specifically the murder of Julius Caesar, in Roman times it was a counting mechanism. The 15th of May, July, and October are also called “ides”, whereas the “ides” of the other months falls on the 13th. The first day of each month is called the “Kalends” and the 7th of March, May, July, and October are called “nones’ – the “nones” of the other months falls on the 5th. Thank you, Romulus.

The PLAN yesterday was to spend an hour or so doing some tweaks on CRAVE THE HUNT and then work on other stuff all day.

What actually happened was that I sat down in the morning with CRAVE THE HUNT, and the next thing I knew, it was time for dinner.

I’d gotten up a few times to check on the sickroom, but that was it.

I did a pretty extensive re-write on the thirteen chapters I wrote thus far. I hate doing that mid-draft, but now the whole piece makes more sense, and it’s back to being Billy’s book. Yes, Jain’s important in it, and there are occasional chapters through her eyes, but it is very much Billy’s book, which is how it should be.

To answer your question about naming characters, Brandy, very often, they name themselves. When they come to me, they tell me the name and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. Sometimes, as in the revision of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, when I notice there are three characters named “Lesley” and that’s not a point of the piece, I have to go back and change names. Or, sometimes, if I’m not quite sure of a name, I’ll look through the meanings of names, and pick a name that is relevant to the character’s purpose in the piece. Most of the time, when they come to me with names, the name is already relevant.

I went to bed very early last night, exhausted by the day, sore from sitting so much, headachy, tired eyes, etc. I’m feeling better this morning, and raring to get back to work – but there are other things that need to get done as well as the work on CRAVE THE HUNT. Guess I’m craving the book, which is a good thing.


Crave The Hunt — 40,453 words out of est. 60,000 (67%)

Assumption of Right Revision – 35,183 words out of est. 80,000 (43%)

Published in: on March 15, 2009 at 10:05 am  Comments (6)  
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