Fri. Sept. 22, 2017: Jose’s Sit-N-Spin, Writing Weekend

Friday, Sept. 22, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hurricane Jose still here
Autumn Equinox

Jose’s doing a sit-and-spin over us. It’s not anywhere near as bad as how other areas have suffered. It will, however, require a good bit of clean-up when it finally moves on. I am grateful for the lack of force and fury, but tired of the steady rain and wind.

I have a few difficult days coming up, and my coping skills are not at their best. But not coping is not an option.

Worked on the back matter for SAVASANA AT SEA; started working on the opening chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will be in the back of this one. I’m having a lot of fun with the chapter. The premise of this book is going to allow for a lot of adventure, mystery, comedy, and romance.

Wrote a little over 1K on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN.

Did some research, took some notes.

Turns out an article I’d submitted at the end of July never arrived; good thing I contacted the editor to follow up. I re-sent it, and it is scheduled to run in about six weeks — longer than I’d like, mostly because of the pay, but at least it’s all sorted out, and neither of us wonders if the other party is unreliable.

Heard back from a script pitch — basically, as part of the interview process I’m supposed to become a customer of the product I pitched to write about. Um, no. Honey, that’s not how it works. You bring in a professional to write about the product for other people. You don’t pretend you’re hiring someone to enlarge your customer numbers. Next!

I have promotion and research to do today, and then a lot of work to get done over the weekend. I have two books to review — I’ve been dragging my feet on one of them, because it’s a draft in desperate need of an editor, not a finished book one can charge money for — and I’m trying to figure out how to review it properly without being that blunt. But I must get on with it, and then move on to the other book. I’d like to get them both done and the reviews submitted by early next week.

I have a couple of short pieces to work on, that should also go out next week, finish up the backmatter for SAVASANA, so that can go off to my editor early next week, and work on FIX IT GIRL. Two of the research books I needed are in, so I can settle in with those chapters, and maybe return the books once and for all by the end of next week.

The book Willow works on in THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is so interesting that now I want to write it, too. Since I have to do the shadow research in order to properly write about the research she does for the book, I’ll have enough material to write the actual book!

Feeling discouraged on several fronts, and overwhelmed. I hope that the Equinox ceremony this afternoon will set me back to rights.

I have a meeting early on Monday, so I will be late posting.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Advertisements

Thurs. Sept. 21, 2017: Jose Hangs Out, Draft Gets Finished

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy & blustery from Hurricane Jose

Busy time. Jose scratched us yesterday and is hanging out with winds and some rain, but not as bad as feared. I am grateful.

Most of the past couple of days has been about SAVASANA AT SEA. I found a major logic lapse, and have been working to fix it. That meant going back to my research and expanding on it, and then picking and choosing what best suits the story. It’s starting to feel like it’s meeting my overall vision again.

I worked hard these past two days, and finished the whole draft yesterday, just before 5 PM. This draft feels really good. I’ve gotten the energy and the spirit of the piece back. I chose where to stay within the cozy mystery formula and where I wanted to break it.

I need to write the first chapter of the second book and do the rest of the back matter, then put it all together and off it goes to the editor.

That was all I did yesterday — work on the book. It felt good.

I didn’t go out, because of the storm, although it didn’t hit as badly as they said, and it didn’t even get truly nasty until last night. We’d been told Tuesday into Wednesday would be the worst, but, as usual, they were wrong, and it’s Wednesday into today. Only I can’t put off today what needs to be done away from home. So I have to go out in this mess.

I also managed to get about 1000 words done on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN in the evening. I don’t want to lose that book’s rhythm, either.

Today will be busy, but busy is good. Hopefully, we won’t lose power, etc., but who knows?

Worried about those hit with Hurricane Maria. Worried about those who suffered in Mexico’s earthquake. Worried that the corrupt GOP is determined to take away healthcare and sign the death warrant for millions of people (which would include me and my family). Which is, of course, what they want: cull the herd of those who can’t afford to buy them off. Perform economic genocide.

I’m doing my bit with my elected officials and hoping for the best.

Onward.

 

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.

 

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!

 

Wed. Sept. 14, 2017: Balancing Act

Wednesday, September 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was a long day of admin, filing paperwork, updating links, et al.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is now live on Google Play, ready for pre-order.

My article “Tracking Your Banged Buck” is live on WOW-Women on Writing, and I want to thank K.R. Conway, Jessica Glenn, Goddess Fish Promotions, Arlene Kay, Alyssa Maxwell, and Barbara Ross for their quotes. I made a document for their clip files, and sent that, along with the live link and a thank you, to them. I heard from the editor last night that the article is getting positive feedback, so I’ll pass that along today, too.

Exhausted by the time I got back, and came down with a migraine. However, I didn’t have the luxury of taking an afternoon off, so I kept working.

I did some work on the FIX-IT GIRL revision. It’s going slowly, and I’m frustrated. I’m not quite sure how to solve the frustration, which leaves me more frustrated, and so it goes. The first eighteen chapters of the revision sailed along well, but this is a tricky part, a turning point. I have to get it right, or the book falls apart.

I’ll just keep at it until I do.

Also did some work on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the literary fiction. This first draft will need a lot of revision, a lot of making scenes active that are now too narrative. But I need to set out the narration for myself first, and then pick which scenes to dramatize, and what to leave as narration. Because the book is quiet and introspective, rather than an action-driven piece, it needs a different approach. Too much action, and I lose the tone and the reflective quality that is the reason for the book’s existence. Too much narrative and it’s telling rather than showing and just plain dull.

We need to make some solid decisions about “Labor Intensive”, and I also need to get back to the draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so that can go off to the editor, and she can catch me out on my bad habits again. 😉

As much of a slime pit as social media can sometimes be, through all this political chaos, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people from all over the world, in all walks of life, with whom I might not have otherwise crossed paths. They are intelligent, creative, and committed to making the world a better place. I hope we’ll stay in touch if and when things settle down.

It looks like I didn’t land two gigs I’d really hoped for this week. One of them would have been well within my wheelhouse, but the people making the top decisions have proven, over the past few weeks, to be consistently disorganized. On the other, it would have been a physical challenge in some respects, but the company’s lack of basic business protocol makes me wonder if the listing was scam. One can put up a slick website and still be a con. More research done, and perhaps I should be grateful not to be associated with either organization! Only time and what happens next will tell.

My editor asked for some revisions on a review; I have to get back to work on the next book, which is one of the most sloppily written pieces I’ve read in a long time. I need to work on some article pitches that I’d like to get out before the end of the week, and expand an essay where there’s interest, but it’s too short.

Whenever the days are nice enough to be outside, I’m trying to work at least for a few hours at a time on the deck. Pretty soon, everything has to come back in for the winter.

Speaking of winter, yesterday I worked on a section of THE MARRIAGE GARDEN taking place during a blizzard, while we had lovely, sunny, warm weather. It was an interesting exercise in sense memory for writing.

 

Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES will release on October 2, 2017. It is available on the following:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Monday, September 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Quite the weekend. Of course, most of the focus is on Hurricane Irma and its devastating path in Florida. And on the clean-up in Houston.

I am deeply grateful that the weather here on Cape has been so beautiful the past few days. I realize how lucky I am. It’s difficult not to feel guilty, but it’s better to be grateful and then take what action I can to help those who are struggling.

As part of that gratitude, I went out and did yard work. The mower is still being cranky, but I pruned the forsythia in the back that nearly obscured the path on the west side of the house, and the forsythias on each side of the garage door that were making entering and exiting the garage feel like hacking through a jungle. I yanked out a lot of invasive brambles, vines, and autumn olive, clearing out one of the front beds, tidying up two beds in the back, and some random growth in the meadow. I also cleared out some of the oak that’s acting more like an invasive than anything else. There’s still a lot more to clear — I’ll have to take the saw to some of it.

As the feverfew passes, I’ll clear all of that out of the beds, too. I figure if I do a little bit every pleasant day, then it won’t overwhelm me later in the season.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is up for pre-order so far on iApplem Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I’m putting the pre-order links up on the websites as they come in. Publication date is October 2, and it’s a go. I’m pretty excited. The PDF of the ARC is ready to send out for review. The promotional train is headed out.

Meanwhile, I finished a pass on the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA. I also spent time fixing and smoothing out problems and logistical lapses that the previously requested edits and cuts caused. I’ve restructured a good bit of the book, which is fine for the pace, but I have to fix some gaps. The chapters are all loaded into one document now, and I’m going to do a pass for smoothness and logic.

I also have to write the first chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, in the next week or so, and prepare the back matter, as I smooth things out. I’d like to get this draft to my editor in about ten days or so. I’m sure we’ll have several passes to whip it into shape, the way we did with ANGLES.

Did quite a bit of work on the literary fiction, tentatively entitled THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I like the way it’s taking shape. It will need an awful lot of editing once I’ve got the draft done, but I’m getting to say things that I haven’t found a way to speak otherwise, and explore some interesting relationships and quirks about this area.

I am going to have to create a fictional town, though; too much controversy if I portray some of the actual places as I’ve experienced them.

Re-reading Joyce Carol Oates’s published diary from 1973-1982. I always learn something new.

“The artist must find an environment, a pattern of living, that will protect his or her energies; the art must be cultivated, must be given priority.” (p.21). So true.

I’m reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy, and trying to understand him better. I remember reading TESS OF THE D’UBERVILLES in school and hating it; but I wonder if I just didn’t understand it, and if I’d have more appreciation for his work now.

I started reading the next review assignment. It’s one of the worst-written pieces I’ve ever had to plow through, with a lack of editing and copyediting, and no knowledge of the difference between a possessive and a contraction. Very frustrating.

I have such a list of things that need to get done today, looking at it I feel overwhelmed. But all I can do is start at the top and work my way as far down as possible.

September 11 is always a tough day for me — and for so many. I’m doing my remembrance rituals, and keeping candles lit. I’m trying to balance that with the creative work that needs to be done.