Tues. Nov. 1, 2016: Revisions, Samhain, No Nano for Me

November 1, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, but a good one. I got some solid work done on the 4th draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m still worried I’m not cutting enough, but I am making cuts, so we’ll see where we end up. Since the focus of the book is the interweb of relationships and it’s set against the backdrop of the mystery, it’s a little different than a typical, formula mystery.

I also found that I had to write my way a bit into the second book, MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC, to satisfy myself on a few things in CHOLERIC.

I hope you enjoyed “The Possession of Nattie Filmore.” The link is down, and it’s no longer available, but you can take your coupon for the Yuletide comedy “Just Jump in and Fly” and use it until tomorrow.

Got plants repotted and stored either in the garage or found a spot in the house for the winter. The bed between the pines has been tilled and raked and cleaned; it has too much shade to be used for vegetables and herbs next year, but maybe I can put in some lovely shade plants. I still have quite a bit of work to do to get the whole yard to bed for the winter, but I’m getting there. And yes, there is still mowing that needs to happen!

Samhain was fun yesterday. The little kids were adorable, and they found the house delightful. The older girls were mostly dressed as superheroes, but will elaborately beaded and feathered masks. Gorgeous! A neighbor and I were the only ones participating in Halloween, which is kind of a shame. But it was fun.

Samhain ritual was good last night, too. It was the first time I’d done a formal ritual with all the bells and whistles, rather than a spontaneous one. I’m glad I did. Lots of work to do for the coming year! Lots of changes coming.

Baked “Day of the Dead” bread this morning — good stuff. Although I’m not a big fan of anise, I liked it here.

I have errands this morning, and then it’s back to the revisions, and, hopefully, doing some more writing, both on the prose and the plays. I am NOT participating in Nano this year –it will derail too much. But I wish everyone who’s doing it success and the joy of the process!

Devon

Published in: on November 1, 2016 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 1, 2016: Revisions, Samhain, No Nano for Me  
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Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016: Lucifer, Choleric, and Cooking

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

I’ve been binge-watching the first season of LUCIFER. Spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, skip down a few paragraphs.

For the most part, I really liked it. I think the cast is great, and there’s a lot of wit in the writing. The cast has chemistry together, and that’s always fun to watch. They add detail, so the work isn’t just in broad strokes. The raise of an eyebrow, a particular inflection, a gesture — it’s those little things that make it unique. Every once in awhile, there was a clunker of a line or a twist in it, and it was obvious it was a network note. I got ahead of where it was going a few times, but it surprised me more than not, which is good.

However, in the set-up for season two with “mum” escaping — I will be seriously irritated if “mum” turns out to be Lilith. I’m tired of that depiction, and they will have to be very clever to win me back if that’s what it is. That’s one of the places where the Shadowhunters books irritated me, too — with the depiction of Lilith. As if women aren’t “demonized” enough anyway, on multiple levels.

At the same time, every creative person has the right and obligation to be true to his or her vision. I can always stop watching/reading if it bothers me that much. I don’t expect anyone to modify their vision just because I don’t like it, any more than I will modify my vision because someone else doesn’t like it.

So we’ll see what Season Two is like.

But, as I said, I like the acting and most of the writing. I like the production design, although Lucifer as a nightclub owner — I’d rather have seen him do something more unexpected. But the character behaves unexpectedly, so I like that. I know it’s based on a graphic novel series, and I’m purposely staying away from reading those in order not to skew my perspective.

Spoilers done.

I was so excited yesterday afternoon when I finished the third draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Then, I was totally bummed, because in spite of cutting nearly two dozen characters and plot lines, it’s still too damn long. In fact, with all the cutting, I came up with nearly the same word count. I’m four chapters shorter, but there’s still work to do.

Part of it is defining what the book is — my protagonist’s personal journey to returning to her life after a period of mourning, set against a mystery. It’s more literary than mystery, and more about the community she’s trying to participate in than about keeping the pace and leanness of a thriller. But that still doesn’t justify the length. I need to make some more serious cuts.

I know where I can do it. I lose some atmosphere there, but it will be necessary. I have to get the same feeling across, but with few and better words.

I wanted to put it aside and then re-attack it in a few weeks, but if I’m going to get it out before holiday madness descends on the industry, I need to get right back into it.

So disappointed in myself.

But that’s the way it goes. I’m lucky this wasn’t part of a contract schedule, or I’d really be screwed.

It’s also interesting to see how far the novel has evolved since I started writing it last November. It’s a much better novel now. Originally, I thought it would be a cozy. It got darker and darker, and I thought it would be a more traditional mystery with an amateur sleuth. Now it’s more literary fiction against a mystery backdrop.

Trying to get back into the rhythm of the two projects that started out with such energy a few weeks ago. I got some decent work done on one of them, but my frustration with CHOLERIC is now shadowing everything else, unfortunately. I need to let go of the frustration and the fact that I’m behind, and just write.

The weather is supposed to turn nasty. I’m going to do a turkey meatloaf for tonight (my special recipe). For my mother’s 92nd birthday, on Saturday, she’s requested lasagna, so I’ve got the ingredients for that and will make that on Saturday. I think I’ll use the recipe from THE NEW BASICS cookbook, one of my favorites. And, of course, she has cheesecake.

Don’t forget to come back here tomorrow for the link to the free download of “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016: Lucifer, Choleric, and Cooking  
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Wed. Oct. 26, 2016: Nattie Filmore Upcoming Free Release, HobNob, and More!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy, and, a little frustrating. The RMV renewal office at AAA told me I needed a “sticker” from my insurance company, but couldn’t explain how it worked — electronically or otherwise. I contacted my insurance company, and they sent me something they assured me would work, so I have to hike back out to Dennis this morning and try again.

I critiqued my friend’s short script for NMLC’s participation in Mass Audubon’s “Enchanted Forest” on Friday night — it’s hilarious and adorable. It’s about the dangers of plastic debris to marine life (specifically, in this case, sea turtles). It’s terrific!

I worked on revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m about five chapters from the end. Then I will let it sit for two weeks and marinate, while I work on the plays, the tweaks on what is now PLAYING THE ANGLES, and the submission materials I need for CHOLERIC. I’d like to get it out the door in November, before the holiday insanity.

Last night was another HobNob night. It was such fun! Someone I had recommended join us showed up and had a good time, and it was nice to reconnect with familiar faces. David Kuehn, from Cotuit Center for the Arts, was our speaker, and it was nice to see him again.

I’d made business-card sized promotions for “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” and gave them out at the event. Most of my fellow HobNobbers haven’t read any of my work yet.

Off to RMV again, and then it’s back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’d like to get this draft finished either today or tomorrow.

My mother’s 92nd birthday is coming up this weekend! She gets her favorite: cheesecake.

Don’t forget: “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, a short Jain Lazarus adventure, will be available for free download starting on Friday, October 28, through Monday, October 31. It will contain excerpts from several other pieces. It will also contain a coupon for one of the Ava Dunne shorts, will be good until Nov. 2.

Come back on Friday and get the link!

Devon

Published in: on October 26, 2016 at 8:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 26, 2016: Nattie Filmore Upcoming Free Release, HobNob, and More!  
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Tues. Oct. 11, 2106: The Satisfaction of A Solid Writing Weekend

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

Busy weekend, even though it was a holiday weekend. The traffic was insane.

I managed to get a lot of writing done, on the two projects on which I’m switching off. Since I started them last Thursday (this is Day 6), I’ve written just over 10K on one of them, and I’ll pass 10K today on the other. My goal is to write a minimum of 1K on each of them every day. So far, I’ve managed to go beyond that on both, although yesterday, it wasn’t much beyond both, because I wasn’t in the mood to write.

But I showed up at the page, and did it anyway, because that is what writers do. Once I got started, it was okay, although it didn’t flow as well as it had the previous days. Today, I felt like I was back in the groove.

I also worked on the revisions of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I have to put some changes into chapters, and rewrite the next batch of chapters. I also managed to come up with the logline and paragraph description, although I will have to make some tweaks. But I want it to be ready to go out after one more pass.

I’ve also been tweaking PLAYING THE ANGLES, which is the new title of what was once ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. I’m also thinking about putting it out under the Devon Ellington name instead of the Annabel Aidan name. When I’m done with this revision, I’ll have to see which voice resonates, and then I’ll know which name to use as the byline.

I should be doing promotion for “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, but with all this political chaos, I feel it’s shallow to go around hawking my writing. Yet that’s how I pay the bills and keep a roof over my head. So it’s a dilemma — how to do it in a way where I don’t go against what I feel is right and important. If I don’t walk my talk, I’m just as bad as the politicians.

Did some work on the Victorian mystery as well. The first draft is slow, because I’m researching as I write. I’m wondering if I should just blurt out the first draft, focusing on plot and character, and then go back and add in the period detail. Yet, so far, I’ve found the detail affects both plot and character a good deal, which is why I’m researching and writing simultaneously.

I’m behind on the plays, of course, which is worrisome, since I’m running out of time on those. Somehow, I’ll have to get them in.

I need more hours in the day, more hours where I can focus. There’s a certain point where my brain just gets tired, and I’m written out.

I’m also under pressure from this other annoying situation. Nothing like people actively working to sabotage you because they are both incompetent and nasty. It will get resolved; it’s just a shame that it has to be such an unpleasant process. But I am not going to back down and give up what I earned.

I’m also under pressure because a family friend is trying to manipulate me into taking on a job for someone who already stiffed me once, and with whom I said I wouldn’t work again. I told this family friend I would not put myself in that position again, yet he told the person I was waiting to hear from them. Then I get an incoherent email full of demands, but no actual proposal or payment offer. That would be a no, on many levels. I’m angry at this so-called “friend” for putting me in this position when I was very clear I wouldn’t do it.

So the writing is going well, but there are other pressures. Aren’t there always?

I have a lot of work ahead of me to put the garden to bed, and I’m tackling it a bit at a time.

Have a great week!

Devon

Fri. Oct. 7, 2016: Going with the Writing Flow

Friday, October 7, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Here’s hoping Hurricane Matthew isn’t hitting the SE United States as badly as predicted.

Got a good bit of research done yesterday afternoon, and I’m ready, later today, to do some more work on the Victorian mystery.

I also did a fresh pass on “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the Jain Lazarus short that’s set in this season, and added in some excerpts from some of the other Digital Delights. I will post it as a free download toward the end of the month. I have to check some links, to make sure I’ve got them right. Next week, I’ll get the marketing started for that.

This morning, I wrote just over 1900 words on one project and 1599 on a second project — the two projects I can’t yet talk about, but am working steadily on.

I also got the terraced area mowed, which is a big relief.

On my way to do some errands, then it’s back to the page. Lots to do, and deadlines looming.

I could have done either of these two new projects as Nano pieces, but they’re catching fire now. I may write “along with” Nano in November, using the creative energy of so many people working at once to fuel them, but I don’t think I’ll start a new project in less than a month. I have too many pieces competing for my attention that need completion.

Hope to get some work done on the Victorian mystery this afternoon, and a few more chapters of revision on CHOLERIC.

This is a holiday weekend, so I hope I can get some uninterrupted work time both on the page and in the garden.

Have a great one!

Devon

Published in: on October 7, 2016 at 10:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 7, 2016: Going with the Writing Flow  
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Thurs. Oct. 10, 2013: Jain Lazarus Short and More Instincts

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

If you haven’t read “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the short story Jain Lazarus tie-in that takes place between the events of HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, it’s available as a free download on the Hex Breaker site. Enjoy!

Yesterday was a day of fretting and not getting much done. Very frustrating.

I withdrew from consideration from a project because, frankly, I don’t believe it’s real. For two weeks, I’ve said that, in order to continue talks, I need to know the schedule and financials associated with the project. The only response is that the potential client wants to “talk”. First of all, I charge for phone time, like a lawyer. Second, I repeatedly said I would not schedule a phone conference without knowing if the schedule and financials worked. I was repeatedly ignored. So I withdrew. If this was a real project, the so-called client would give me this very basic information. “Talking” is a waste of time — 97% of phone calls with clients are a waste of time, which is why I charge for them — and the so-called client is not going to “talk’ me into doing the project for free.

Once I withdrew, I was so relieved. Just the frustration alone of not getting the information I needed to look over the schedule and see if it would work financially and every other way took a toll.

Did some pitches, prepped the story. First thing in the morning, a contest opportunity landed on my desk that sounded kind of cool. I rarely enter contests, but this was fun, and I had something for it, AND, because I walk my talk as far as my SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, I had everything in place and it only took 15 minutes to submit. If I had to put everything together from scratch, it would have taken me a couple of hours, and I wouldn’t have had time to do it.

I have to finish an article today — the interview sources are dragging their feet getting the info to me, so I’m moving on. They’re not THAT important that they can’t respond to an email within the standard business protocol of 48 hours. If you’re not in the office, set up an auto-respond. If they didn’t want to be quoted, a simple “no” takes 15 seconds to type and send. The rude turn the bulk of the so-called “business community” has taken is appalling. Also have to finish a couple of grant proposals, and work on the novella, the short story, and Project B, which suddenly has an early November deadline (when I thought I had until spring to finish it).

So I better get going.

Devon

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cold, rainy, raw

Lots of stuff to talk about today.

First:
HEX BREAKER got another good review, this one from Bitten By Books here.

Second, building on that good review, the Jain Lazarus ghost story is finally available for free download! You can read an excerpt of “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” and then download it as a PDF here.

Third, I’ve got the website up for the new project launching next month, a line of short fiction called Penny’s Dreadfuls, in homage to the penny dreadful tales. The website’s still rough and will get worked on over the next few weeks, but come and visit the Penny’s Dreadfuls site to get an idea of the types of stories we will feature.

Okay, that’s the big stuff.

I got my Breeders’ Cup article out in the morning, and I’ll let you know when it publishes. I spent most of the rest of the day building the Penny’s Dreadfuls site, which didn’t take all that long because, for once, my webhost worked properly most of the time, and I understood what I was doing.

I lost far too much time prepping the Jain Lazarus story. I designed several really cool covers, but if they worked in Word, they didn’t convert properly in NitroPDF. NitroPDF does not have the versatility they promised when I bought it, and was not worth the price. It’s a huge, huge, huge disappointment. I’ll have to limp along with it for now, but once I get the new computer system, I’m getting the full Adobe Creative Suite package. That will do what I need it to do (although learning it will be a challenge, I’m sure). Until I can afford that purchase, all of my covers, etc., have to remain very simple and very geometric. Hopefully, I can grow from cover to cover, as far as scanning and maybe getting more color in (the Nitro conversion refuses to hold either background color or photographs as background, even though I can layer, and watermarking doesn’t really work, either). I can’t hold headers and footers with my cute little page designs, nothing. And, of course, I’m angry, because before I bought the program, I asked all these questions and was PROMISED it could do all these things that it can’t. So, don’t waste your money on NitroPDF. Perhaps somewhere out there is a product that actually does what it advertises.

And, of course, Microsoft just sucks, and I’m tired of the computer taking up to 22 minutes to boot up and then sticking, freezing, and giving me that fucking little hourglass all the time before I have to shut it down and start over.

Thank you, Colin, for all your time and patience helping me figure it out and helping me with the download glitch.

Heaven forbid I should be able to capture the cover out of Adobe and convert it to a jpg so I could do a thumbnail of the cover. No, tomorrow I have to go out and get more color ink. Then I have to print the cover, then scan it into the computer and then mess with it until I have a thumbnail. Which is ridiculous. I should be able to open the fucking document, copy the cover page into whatever format I want, and then manipulate it, not do 16 steps for something that should take 2.

Eventually, I’ll be able to post the damned cover!

Of course, it’s much simpler than the really cool covers I designed, with the photograph as the background and the text overlay, or the two column design with the current cover photograph on one side and the text on the other with a pumpkin-colored background, but again, fucking Microsoft won’t let me do that for the very first page, you have to have columns either for the whole document or “from this point forward”. How about “this page only” you dumbasses? I HATE MICROSOFT.

And, of course, I’m totally stressed out and behind on everything else because I had to waste so much fucking time AGAIN on programs that don’t do what they promise. Seriously, I’m ready to start invoicing NitroPDF and Microsoft for wasting my time.

On a happier note, I’m humming along with my N3s, all of whom seem committed and eager to get going, and I’m putting the work into my own outline. Yeah, I’m nuts, but let’s face it, I’m not going to be happy sitting on the sidelines. I still don’t have a title, so for now, it’s the Untitled Helena Francis Mystery. I think that’s what I’m doing – I might change my mind on November 1.

I’m happy with the site for Penny’s Dreadfuls, and working away on “The Ramsey Chase”, which is a ton of fun. Cornelia and Roman are quite an interesting pair.

Today is the worst weather day of the week; of course, I have to go out in it. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

Sigh.

Back to the page.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

Back By Popular Demand!
30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
Limited time offer


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here: