Thurs. Aug. 24, 2017: Getting Motivated Again

Thursday, August 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I had trouble getting going yesterday. Eventually, I did, and sent off the edits for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Got a couple of pitches out. Heard back from an LOI I’d sent to a company that sounded interesting, but I don’t think we’re the right match.

Read a JD Robb novella, featuring Eve Dallas. Those are the science fiction/mystery/romance novels Nora Roberts writes. I enjoyed it; I’d read more. I like how she works with elements of all three genres. Structurally, I found it very strong, and I like the characters.

Got some work done on “Labor Intensive”, but not enough. That piece has to be ready to go next week, and I’m dragging my feet. I have to buckle down and get it done. I need to do some work on the essays, and get both FIX-IT GIRL and SAVASANA AT SEA revisions back on track.

One of the elements I’ve found most time-consuming in preparing these manuscripts is the back matter — excerpts from other books, additional material relevant to the books, etc. I enjoy writing and researching and sharing these materials, but it takes time, which means it has to be carefully built into the schedule.

I’m feeling creatively drained and fallow right now, without the usual stories and characters buzzing around in my head. Those are the stretches were one has to lean on craft first, and hope the creativity comes out of that. The foundation in craft is vital for a sustainable writing career. It also makes me very grateful for tools like my Writers Rough Outlines. They keep me on track, even on the rough days.

Alyssa Maxwell (a fellow Sister-in-Crime who writes the mysteries set in Newport) recommended the Hattie Darvish books written by Anna Loan-Wilsey. Hattie is a private secretary, earning her living, so each book is in a different location and different professional setting. I started with the first book in the series, A LACK OF TEMPERANCE. She’s very good with historical detail, makes it come alive well.

Several things are in limbo right now, and I’m trying to get things ready for my mother’s upcoming surgery. It’s in October, but there’s a great deal to be done before then, especially since she’s in her nineties, and any surgery can have difficult consequences.

Plenty to do today — research-wise and writing-wise.

One of the many good things about the trip to Nantucket is that it solidified my decision to set the whaling mysteries in New Bedford. I wasn’t sure which location I should pick, although I leaned toward New Bedford. What I need to serve the story makes more sense to put in New Bedford than on Nantucket, although, with its importance in the whaling industry, I’m sure there will at least be scenes set there.

Setting is so important to me, in what I read and what I write. Yes, the fictional elements of a setting are important, but they need to be grounded in reality if it’s in a real place or near a real place, and has to be believable as that area, not generic “small town” or “coast town” or “Southern town” or “English village” or whatever.

As I’ve spoken and taught for years, emotional geography matters.

In September, I really need to get to work writing the Lavinia Fontana play (it’s due in December). Some of the scenes are starting to take shape in my mind, but I still lack the throughline. I have themes, but not yet a plot. I’m character-building, and I may write one or two of the scenes to see how I can get a plot to emerge. The social structure of Bologna, especially amongst the noblewomen, will be an important part of that, and how Lavinia navigates that, with the burden of being the primary breadwinner for a large family, and the fact that she was constantly pregnant. It didn’t slow down her painting, though.

I feel like I’m using so much creative energy with the writing that pays the bills, it’s much more difficult to find the energy for the percolating time I need. The fiction and the non-fiction usually feed each other well, but, right now, I’m creatively weary and I don’t have the luxury of taking a break. X amount has to go out regularly, so X amount of dollars come in.

Smashwords has started paying monthly. Honestly, I prefer quarterly and/or twice-a-year payments for royalties.

In any case, I need to dig down and get back to work.

Buzz is starting to build for Nano again. With a book releasing in November, I don’t think this is a good year to do it. I might “write along with” Nano, riding the energy wave to finish THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, but I don’t think I should “do” Nano, as in starting a new book on November 1. I have to say, though, the tandem Nano I did two years ago was a good thing, winding up with DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, and a good chunk done on THE TIE-CUTTER (which has to go back on the schedule soon).

Preparing for the weekend, lots of reading and writing needs to happen (I have a reviewing assignment I need to finish), plus it’s toxic disposal day at the dump, so I can get rid of used batteries, light bulbs, aerosol cans, etc.

And, of course, I need to catch up on mowing. I’m sure you can all feel the eye roll, even though you can’t see it. 😉

Back to the page.

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Mon. Aug. 7, 2017: Working is My Rest

Monday, August 7, 2017
Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I feel better after cutting myself a break for the weekend. I rested a lot on Friday, and read — I’m reading a lot of Maggie Shayne’s work lately, and learning from it. Also reading Christopher Isherwood’s diaries, which are interesting, and doing my 1940s New York research (or, I should say, more research, from a different angle on the same decade).

It was nice enough to do some reading/writing outside on the deck, and I even managed some yard work (although no mowing). The Rose of Sharon is blooming beautifully, as are the geraniums, begonias, and mums — the mums are a bit early, in my opinion. We’ll have a decent tomato harvest, with three different varieties. This morning, we had an entire family of bunnies chomping on the dandelions in the back, and a blue jay taking a bath in the fresh water I put in the birdbath.

Worked on notes for the Coventina Circle series, and for some short pieces. Reworked an essay to slant to another market — I need to do another pass, to go a bit deeper, and out it goes.

Researched some other markets, and dismissed several as not being the type of market to which I want to pitch. I’m not going to pay a membership fee for the “privilege” of pitching — either you’re a professional publication that hires professional writers, or you’re a membership enclave where people pay you to be published. I’m not interested in the latter. Nor am I interested in embedding links to previous articles on your site in order to have an article published. I disagree with the ethics of both those positions. While it’s not up to me to make decisions on someone else’s website, as a “Free Lance”, I get to decide where I do and don’t pitch. Both of the above situations are a no-go for me.

Found another market for which I’d really like to write — a bit more academically-slanted than I usually do, but a good stretch. It will take me a couple of weeks to put together the pitch packet, though.

Have at least one, maybe two short stories that will go out today.

Debating on whether or not to pitch to a company — I like what they do, but don’t particularly like the employees of theirs I’ve dealt with. Not sure that would be the right situation.

Another project is going in a different direction, so we decided not to work together. I was having second thoughts about the whole enterprise, so it’s a relief.

The information in the public statements about the shooting a block away and what I see happening at the house are two different things. I’d like to think they’re merely being thorough in the investigation; however, I doubt they’ll ever tell us what really happened — or catch the shooter.

Got a good bit of work done on the draft of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY — about nine chapters. About half of each chapter is new material, so it was a good bit of writing. I’m deepening the atmosphere and the sensory detail and finding ways to weave together seemingly disparate plot threads. I’m happy with the progress. I want to get back into a daily rhythm with it, so it can release on time in May 2018.

I also have to get back into a daily rhythm with SAVASANA AT SEA this week — since its release date is this November! Most of it is rearranging material, “uncutting” the cuts that took the heart out of it, and doing some restructuring that keeps the fresh voice, but also keeps the plot moving. Pace and energy are important here.

What would have been a good night’s sleep was disrupted by some moron at 3 AM sitting in his car and revving the engine for 15 minutes. Hey, if you have to leave early, go ahead. Put the key in the ignition and drive off. But do NOT sit and rev the engine until the whole neighborhood is awake, and then peel out of your driveway with the tires screeching. Not cool at all.

Found out the insurance company lied to me. No surprise there, but it means more battles this week.

Already did an early morning grocery shop to avoid the damn tourists. Lots to do today, so I better get moving!

Fri. July 28, 2017: Progress, Prep, and Difficult Weekend Ahead

Friday, July 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Didn’t get a chance to post yesterday; apologies.

Some good work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’m reshaping the opening a bit — I want it more atmospheric, and I’m getting rid of some lazy language. That’s delayed sending the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES back to my editor and copy editor, since they have to edit and copy edit my back matter, and the first chapters of both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and SAVASANA AT SEA are included. I’m also working on a back matter piece about theatre ghosts, which I think readers will enjoy.

I have plenty to say about the health care issue, but it’s going into an article, not on the blog. Last night’s vote was a relief; I’m spending far too much time trying to sort things out for my mother’s upcoming surgery, and correct errors by both providers and the insurance company. (hint: double-dipping by some providers involved).

Sent off the contracted article Wednesday morning. Also wrote, polished, and sent off an essay for a new-to-me site with whom I’d had a discussion last week. The email kept bouncing back. When I went back to look at the site, turns out they’d gone out of business over the weekend. So why did they say they wanted to hire me? Frustrating.

Fortunately, I can re-slant the piece slightly for another, higher-paying market. That will go out early next week. I have another essay that also needs to go out next week, to another new-to-me market.

We’re reworked and simplified the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Much better now.

The cover reveal for PLAYING THE ANGLES will be August 1.

I finished the media kit for PLAYING THE ANGLES, and I’ve created a Facebook page for the Coventina Circle series. I hope you’ll hop over there and “like” it. I’m going to invite people to the page on the day of the cover reveal, and I’m going try to post interesting tidbits on theatre and healing circles between now and the release date.
I’m going to sit down and figure out the posts and schedule ahead of time, so as things get busy, it doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Had a good meeting in Harwich yesterday; should hear by early next week. It’s a situation that requires close proximity, so the client has to choose the person with whom she feels the most affinity and alignment with what she wants.

Got some good work done on the latest book sent for review. I will finish it today, and the review will be ready to go out on Monday.

This time of year is always a challenge. Tomorrow (the 29th) is the anniversary of my father’s death. Yes, it was a long time ago, but still reverberates. The 30th is the anniversary of my own serious surgery — again, a long time ago, but it’s amazing how the body captures sense memory. Then, we upswing to the 1st of August — a big, positive day on my own personal calendar.

Watching a documentary about some of the great houses in Scotland sparked an idea last night, so I took some notes. This morning, I’m also working on the flash fiction of the butcher and his vegetarian customer. I like these characters; they have a good sense of humor, along with common sense, even though they approach the world from very different places.

I’m going to try to get some rest this weekend. I overworked last weekend, and it set me back during the week, because I was mentally exhausted. I need to rest the mind as well as the body.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on July 28, 2017 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 28, 2017: Progress, Prep, and Difficult Weekend Ahead  
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Monday, July 17, 2017: Breaking Points and New Covers

Monday, July 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, humid, hot

Sometimes you go through a rough patch, which is what is happening right now.  It will cycle through, but it’s not fun while I’m in it.  This post is a bit on the downside; feel free to skip it.  Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a more upbeat day!  But it does deal with some of the more stressful and unpleasant realities of the freelance life.

Stressful weekend. The life stress has been very, very bad, ramped up to a height where I’m ready to break under it, and, added to that, the last few days were filled with creative stress (the wrong kind) as well.

Some creativity in there, too, but stressful.

Two of the interview subjects (with big name associations) who’d promised to have their information back to me by Friday for one of the articles didn’t. Which meant on Saturday, I had to nag — something I hate. Because let’s face it, it’s not “follow up”, it’s nagging, and if you say you’re going to do something by a certain date, do it. Don’t just not get in touch. One of them suddenly said she was too busy to take the TEN MINUTES to answer the questions. No, honey, you’re not “too busy”. You either don’t want to share your knowledge, or you suck at time management.  Either one is your choice, and I respect it; perhaps you’re trying to be polite with the “too busy”, but I read your subtext.  Moving on!

The other sent the answers, and they’re very good, so they go in to the article.

Three other interview subjects never bothered to get back to me. Two of them were businesses related to the topic of the article with whom I considered doing business in the next few months. I’ve changed my mind. If they can’t answer a few basic questions, they’re not getting any dollars from me.  The third non-response was rather expected; it was a stretch, and I had the feeling that organization wasn’t about to share information. It proved something I suspected.

I thought the cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES was all set, but now I’m having second thoughts. I’m afraid the cover is too bright and peppy for paranormal romantic suspense. The cover has to properly represent and support the story; the image was more appropriate for one of the pieces in development.

The designer and I worked up a new cover this morning, and I like it much better. So that’s a load off – it combines theatre, moonlight, and gives a sense of suspense.

I did some work on the galleys; I’m working on the series bible as I work through the galleys, so that I’ll have it ready when I go back to finish SPIRIT REPOSITORY.  Tracking details is so important.  This past weekend, I saw a post from a writer who asked her readers a consistency question because she couldn’t remember and didn’t feel like looking back through her own work.  I was shocked.  That’s the WRITER’S job — keep a Series Bible, for crying out loud.  I was further surprised because it’s the only series this particular writer works on; I’d understand more if she was juggling multiple series.

Worked on SAVASANA AT SEA. While the pace of the last draft is decent, I had to dumb down a bunch of stuff in the previous draft for the previous team, and I want to figure out a way to put back some of the more interesting items I was forced to cut. The new editor and I are working on that together. The manuscript, as it stood, was only 70K, so there’s room for a few thousand more words, as long as they don’t hurt the pace.

Did more Lavinia Fontana research. I’m getting an idea of the characters I want to include. So much of her life was handled by men; even though she is the central character, there will be a lot of male roles in the piece. I need to find at least one patron or wife of a patron so she’s got a good female character to play off of.

Outlined a new idea and wrote about twenty pages on it, so that the characters would shut up and let me think about other things. There’s potential in the piece, but I’m not sure when or how to fit it in. There are several pieces with potential that have to get back on the schedule and have to get finished, polished, and out.

“The Ramsey Chase” media kit is almost ready to go. PLAYING THE ANGLES media kit is almost finished. I updated the Q & A to reflect what’s changed in the re-release. I finished drafting the fiction section of the overall Devon Ellington media kit. I’m about to start work on the nonfiction section.

I have to figure out how to do subdomains for both the Coventina Circle series and the Nautical Namaste series. I have the right to the subdomains from my host, but I can’t use the website builder for any more projects without being charged extra — and they just raised my hosting fees AND told me that I have to pay every month, instead of quarterly. I’m out of available web pages to add on my main Devon Ellington site — unless I agree, again, to a higher monthly fee. Not that they’re giving me the services supposedly included in my package. But I can’t afford to switch hosts right now. I should be able to create pages and upload them as ftp files, except the host won’t give me the correct code to get into my ftp manager. Because 1and1.com is one of the worst hosts out there. I’ve been talking about moving hosts for years; as soon as I have enough money so to do, I have to do it, because they are costing me so much in lost revenue every single month and they REFUSE to provide customer service when something goes wrong. They are just awful. Unfortunately, right now I’m trapped. I have to stay, because I can’t afford to move, even though staying is costing me lost income. They know it, and they’re screwing me even worse than usual.

Sunday, I worked on the article and its sidebar, and worked on a couple of pitches that have to go out today. Most of Sunday was devoted to the article. The initial draft, with all the information waaaay above my allotted word count. I cut nearly 1000 words, and I was still over, by a good deal. I contacted my editor and asked if there was wiggle room — and got it. While I don’t want to take advantage, and will try to cut some more, I am grateful that she trusts me so much.

I think I found a new market for a rejected short story. I’m irritated that there’s been no response to a follow-up I sent on a couple of pitches, where I’ve worked for the publication before and the editor seemed to like me. I’m even more irritated that now I have one late payment that’s a month late and another going on two months. Not acceptable AT ALL. I have bills to pay; I need to be paid on time, PER CONTRACT, not if and when you happen to get around to it.

Did several loads of laundry on Sunday, too.  Carry wood, chop water.  It keeps things in perspective.  Managed to deadhead some of the tiger lilies, too.

This morning, I mowed, did a grocery store run, finished a review and submitted it, submitted two short stories and a pitch. I have to write some follow up letters that might negate my original pitch, but I can’t wait any longer for an answer. I can’t be in limbo any longer with vague, “yes, you’re hired and we’ll get back to you.” To top it all off, I have a migraine.

I’m supposed to do something for a pro-positivity site I was invited to join, but I’m not finding much that’s positive right now. I’m being run into the ground, without recompense.

I posted a couple of upbeat things on Facebook and Twitter in honor of the day’s theme, but that’s all I can do.

However, the new cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES has cheered me up.

I just have to dig deeper and find a way to make things work.  Maybe I’ll sing the “Cranky Pants” song and it will help me get over myself!

Tomorrow will be better!

Tues. July 11, 2017: More Freelancing Than Fiction

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where Colin Galbraith talks about his latest release, GATECRASH.

Yesterday was not a good writing day. That was frustrating.

I was reasonably productive, at least in the morning: mowing, errands, final polish on the essay.

Send out questions to two potential project partners (two different projects); followed up on some pitches where I haven’t yet heard back; sent off the essay; sent a thank you & goodbye to a collaborator where our contract is up tomorrow, and I’m not extending it; sent out a query and sample pages for another book project; posted a call for questions in one of the groups in which I participate (and will do the same in another group); promoted “The Ramsey Chase”; sent out some more pitches.

The cover designer and I worked with some of the images that are possible for the new PLAYING THE ANGLES cover, but we don’t like it. I wish I could find the photos I know will work. Also playing with images for another project (which will be revealed shortly). We’re closer there, which is worrisome, since it’s not releasing until after ANGLES.

The editor with whom I’ve had a rocky relationship really likes the last piece I sent in; maybe we’re on the right track. The lag in assignment and pay, however, still bother me. I’ll have to weigh them against each other.

Read a bit; it’s an author’s new book. I have mixed feelings about the author. She’s got a huge following, but a lot of her writing doesn’t work for me. I appreciate that she’s trying something new here, but it doesn’t quite work, in my opinion. However, her fans will love it and she’ll make a packet of money, so good for her.

Still waiting on those two late payments, which I need this week in order to pay the bills. One changed the terms of the agreement (which means he is in breach of the agreement, since I did NOT agree); the other is simply not responding. Very frustrating.

On the positive side, last night, I heard back from a publication for whom I’ve written before, and to whom I pitched a couple of weeks ago. They like my article and want to contract it (sold on query again, not pre-written), AND they’re going to pay me more than the usual rate. I’m pretty happy about that. It will be a month or so before I’m paid (the article will take between one and two weeks), but at least I know that’s on the horizon. Plus, I have good clips and always been paid on time from this publication, so that’s all good.

Unfortunately, the fiction suffered — a LOT — yesterday, and I didn’t work on the media kits, either.

Today, I’ve already done a Trader Joe’s run. I have to get all my article questions out this morning, a few more pitches, and hope I hear back from the places I contacted yesterday, so I know which projects are moving forward.

I hope to have an exciting announcement in a week or two, but I don’t want to count my chickens too early, and all that stuff.

I’m in the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES now, taking my time to make sure I hit all the points and get all the editorial notes handled. If we’re going to adhere to the October release date, I have to be thorough, but also can’t take too long. Then, I’ll have to edit the first chapter of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY so it can also go in. What a relief not to battle this “one-book-in-a-series” lack of commitment that far too many of the smaller publishers are currently doing. I understand that far too many of the writers are unreliable and can’t deliver regularly, but if the publishers were paying them proper advances, there’d be more motivation to get things done on time.

I’m frantic to get the story for the sick teen finished, too, and feeling the time pressure there. Every day that passes where it’s not done means more suffering for her.

Plus, the life pressures this week are at an almost intolerable point. Most of them would be solved if those damn late payments would show up.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 11, 2017 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 11, 2017: More Freelancing Than Fiction  
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Wed. June 28, 2017: Trying to Line Up Ducks Before the Holiday Weekend

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Monday was busy. I re-slanted and re-sent two pitches; sent out two new pitches; caught up on correspondence. Somehow, the day flew by.

I did research on several new-to-me markets. Some, I need to do some more in-depth digging; a couple, I think I can craft pitches and send them.

My mom has to have surgery in July, on her foot. Results of the biopsy done a couple of weeks ago. I want to know why her first doctor — the one that dropped her because she wasn’t making enough money off my mom — didn’t diagnose this wound properly a year and a half ago, when my mom showed it to her?

And, of course, I have to come up with the co-payment. Another expense I wasn’t counting on. Not to mention that my mom is 94 and any surgery is worrisome.

There’s a possible new-to-me micro-fiction market. They pay, but I have to figure out the details and ratio of word count/payment/frequency of assignment to see if it’s something I want to or can take on. They seem to be more legitimate and a better payer than the other company I talked to last week. We’ll see. There’s a humor market that could become a regular gig, but I’m not feeling particularly witty or funny right now.

Read Barbara Ross’s ICED UNDER, another Maine Clambake book. I really like this series.

Quite a contrast to another book I tried to read (by a different author). It was a mystery. The protagonist was a narrow-minded, unlikable little twit. The story was dumbed down, the characters were ciphers instead of people. The author was anti-artist and anti-anyone who chose more than being a traditional housewife. I made it to page 35, closed the book, and have put the author on my Will Not Read list. She insulted my intelligence AND my profession. Next!

I really want to take this upcoming holiday weekend as a writing/reading/yoga retreat. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

Did a little bit of work on the Scottish mystery with the older protagonists on Tuesday, after running errands early enough in the morning so I didn’t get caught up in tourist traffic. That threw off my writing schedule, though.

Finished DRINKING THE RAIN by Alix Kates Shulman. Liked it a lot. And loving Helen Bevington’s THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING.

Worked on the June wrap-up, July’s To Do list, and, soon, I’ll have to do the mid-year assessment. We’ll see how far I’ve strayed.

Worked on the media kit. It’s always such journeyman work, but it’s important, and I always discover something I didn’t realize about my own work, because I have to look at it as though I’m handling someone else’s.

I came up with a series title for Playing the Angles and The Spirit Repository — but that makes me wonder if I should change the name under which the books appear. At the same time, I’m not completely sure I’ve hit exactly what I want with the series title. I’m feeling creatively drained.

The project in Orleans isn’t going to work out — they’re going with someone younger. That’s not what they said (which would be illegal), but that’s what they’re doing. Heaven forbid they hire someone with experience who expects a professional rate! Well, they’ll get what they paid for. I was having second thoughts myself — the money, the refusal to commit beyond the summer, and a few other elements. My ego’s bruised, but, deep down in my gut, I know it’s for the best.

Fretting because I’m waiting for two checks that are late. Not happy, because there are bills that need to be paid before the end of the month, and then I have to focus both on next month’s bills and on the co-payment for my mother’s surgery.

Got about half of “The Ramsey Chase” proofread. I’m creating the tracking sheets and character bible for the series as I go, which also slows me down.

Worked my way through a stack of research books that I hoped would be helpful as background for a project. Unfortunately, they were mostly self-indulgent navel-gazing masquerading as “self help.” There’s quite a stack to go back to the library.

I’m gathering questions for the Q&A section of the Devon Ellington media kit. Colin Galbraith had two interesting ones that I’m going to use. I’m hoping other people will post questions on Facebook, Twitter, and/or in the comments here on Ink.

I did quite a bit of work on the media kit yesterday afternoon. I’m through most of the fiction/series/shorts section. I’ve got some more Digital Delights to add in, make the links live.

Still fretting about the series title. That series title means it makes more sense to have the books appear under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name rather than the Annabel Aidan or Devon Ellington name. Also, the more I think about it, the more that series title fits a different series — one I’ve yet to write. So I’m on the hunt for another series title. Some of the books are set in New York, or at least start in New York and move outward. So the title needs to have a bit of an urban edge, but also fulfill the books when they move beyond the city limits. I came up with another series title, but it might also be a bit too soft. I’ll pull out the Thesaurus (the print one, not look online) and browse.

During this morning’s meditation, a new set of characters and situations dropped into my head. I still don’t have the plot, although I have a premise. I think it will be set on the outskirts of Portland, Maine.

Finished a science fiction short story this morning. Will revise it later today and tomorrow, and it can go out the door tomorrow. Now, have to turn my attention back to the more complicated, contemporary one and finish that to get it out the door.

I’m going to take the holiday weekend as a writing/yoga/meditation retreat. I need the mental and the physical break. If I can get my ducks in a row, and my deadlines met by Friday (gulp), that’s what I’ll do. Be offline from Friday afternoon until sometime on Wednesday.

Yet I’m sure there will be mowing in my future. I’ve been bad and haven’t done any this week, although the weather’s been good for it.

Errands, admin, and correspondence to do, and then, it’s back to the page.

Wed. May 24, 2017: Trying to Keep Going On

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Struggled a lot with the sample pages for the play proposal. They’re speaking the subtext, and I need to cover it with text that’s clever enough to communicate the subtext, but not be as ham-handed as it currently is.

Got a new cover for “Creative Stimulus”, so it now matches the other Topic Workbooks. I want to go over the text again, maybe do some updates.

Looked at some images for the new Fearless Ink logo, but didn’t find what I wanted. I may have to shoot it myself and then layer in the text. I’m looking into rights for a Charles Dana Gibson image that I like for something else. It’s supposedly in public domain, but I want to be sure.

Talked to a designer about a new cover for the re-release of PLAYING THE ANGLES. I need to do another copy editing pass on it, and then also put in the first chapter of SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and then make sure I can get SPIRIT out on time. We need to talk release dates soon.

More mower issues — turns out I have to buy special tools in addition to the special parts. Take it from me — don’t buy a Poulan Pro. They run poorly and the company has no interest in honoring warranties. Really, really not okay.

I have a meeting next week north of Boston for a project I’d really like to do. The logistics would be a nightmare, but first we have to see if we’re compatible.

Struggling to show up at the page every day and get anything done. Feeling sick and exhausted all the time doesn’t help. But any time I put off the work on the page, I feel worse.

Managed to create a pitch on the fly for an opportunity that landed unexpectedly. Fingers crossed.

Just have to keep going on, don’t I. That’s the only option.

Published in: on May 24, 2017 at 9:34 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 24, 2017: Trying to Keep Going On  
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014: In the Writing Cave

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I’m getting good about hunkering into the writing cave on Mondays, but that means I usually skip blogging. Sorry about that.

Friday was a busy day at the library. Good busy, but busy. And I’ll have the chance to get some advice from the Morgan Library when I’m in New York in September. Very excited and tremendously grateful that the individual I contacted is willing to take time with me.

Friday night was tiring. Saturday, I did some running around, and had to pop in at the library quickly. Managed to also work my way through a stack of research books, that I can now return. I wanted to work on the website, but the host was down. Tried to get some work done on the press kits for “Severance” and “Elusive Prayers”, but didn’t get very far.

Sunday was my disconnect day. Mostly reading, including SILKWORM on the Kindle. I like the Kindle much more than I expected.

Yesterday, I descended back into the writing cave, writing 32 pages on THE POWER OF WORDS. I’m back on that, while still juggling BALTHAZAAR, and wondering if I can write BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DARK ANNIE’S SECRET simultaneously, since both of them deal with sunken treasure ships, albeit in very different situations, or if they’ll bleed into each other.

Finished the final galleys on “Elusive Prayers” and they’re about to go back out. Trying to decide if I should write Brother Joseph’s novella set in Iowa Territory or the Doc/Melody story next in that world. It also makes me long to go back to THE WIDOW’S CHAMBER and rewrite that as a novel in first person, adapting it from third person serial. And the next Bronwyn Rowan novella is percolating in my head.

Decided on the new title for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (will reveal that when I do the cover reveal in autumn). Will add back in something that was cut, so that it serves as a better introduction for Bonnie in THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and then figure out how to get that book back on track. If the re-figured A of R is released under new title and cover in fall, I’d like REPOSITORY to release in the spring.

Can’t figure out which course to take at the conference in August.

Trying to find out where the copies of TRACKING MEDUSA, which were supposed to be here for the signing in late June, are. They still haven’t arrived. I need copies for the bookstore and for the bookstore at the conference.

I have some grocery shopping and bill paying to do today, and then — it’s back to writing, until I go to the Elisabeth Elo event tonight at the library.

Watched THE KING’S SPEECH again last night. Terrific film.

Have a great week!

Devon

Wed. July 9, 2014: Back To It

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Humid and ready to rain

I’ve been offline for a few days, for a much-needed break. I’m creatively exhausted right now, and need a chance to reinvigorate. The past few months have been at a ridiculous pace, and took their toll.

Thursday was a busy day at the library — people stocking up for the holiday weekend. That’s always fun — people who are excited about taking out books for the weekend, or for any other time. It’s one of my favorite things about the work — helping people find reading material that they enjoy and that engages in them. Also managed to get my desk cleared off for the first time since I was hired.

Exhausted Thursday night, and grateful that Friday was a holiday.

However, I was up at 5:30 on Friday morning. Since Hurricane Arthur was set to hit, we had to bring in all the plants from the deck and all the outdoor furniture and all the statuary, etc. We set down old sheets on the floor in the living room and the back bedroom and hauled everything in. We had to lock Iris in the downstairs bedroom and Violet and Tessa in my room, or we would have lost them, since we had to have doors to both outside and the garage propped open.

But we got everything in and then . . .waited. Most of the day was spent in humid suspended animation, waiting for the damn storm. I wrote a bit, read a lot, and battled the pre-storm headache. The storm didn’t hit until evening, and then I was glad I’d brought everything in.

Watched the Joss Whedon version of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, which was very clever.

Saturday, I took out some of the plants before I left for work. Since there were so many power outages, I was afraid the library’d been hit, and didn’t want my colleague there in a dark building on her own. So I went in early, the Exec Director went in early, our colleague was there, and the power was on. So it was all good. But it was busy, and there was no book delivery, which meant we couldn’t give people the books they’d ordered, and it was more chaotic than I’d hoped.

Came home, exhausted, and got the rest of the plants, furniture, statuary, etc., back out onto the deck. Read.

Sunday, I was out early and got us a Dunkin Donuts treat. Wrote a bit, then ran errands — had to do things like get the re-up cards for the phone. Looked at Kindles, and a few other things. We even went to the mall (oh, horrors) to get the phone cards and to pick up some things at Crabtree & Evelyn, where we had one of the nicest salespeople I’ve ever encountered. So nice, I’m letting the office know. Got a case for my phone, too.

Back home to read and write a bit. Juliet Blackwell’s newest, A VISION IN VELVET, arrived on Saturday, and I read it. I enjoy the Lily Ivory series.

Worked on the final round of edits for “Elusive Prayers”, which will go out to my editor today. Wrote the press release and the PSA for the Mermaid Ball.

Monday, up early and off to run errands in Falmouth. Stuck in traffic all day. Gave up after awhile, realizing it was going to take as long as it would take, and that was simply that. Getting upset wasn’t going to change anything.

Wrote a bit, came home long enough to make a black bean ful, and then headed to the Marine Life Center for the Mermaid Ball meeting. It took me an hour and a half. The meeting was the meeting, and, fortunately, coming home was quicker than getting there.

Watched FROST/NIXON — excellent. Fascinating interpretation of a period in history though which I lived.

Up early yesterday. Writing, but feeling burnt out. The weather didn’t help much, either. Went to Just Picked, where I found some good deals, but mostly was an uncreative lump, reading, and trying to replenish. I’m so tired that everything is a ridiculous amount of effort right now.

Up early this morning. Usual routine (which I’ve managed to keep up every morning, in spite of the exhaustion) of yoga, meditation, etc. Had a bad night — I had trouble sleeping and was fretful, for some reason. The last thing I need to do right now is borrow trouble. Getting some work done before I head to the library. I’m sure it will be a busy day — it always is when I come back from a few days away — and then we have a program meeting in the afternoon.

Onwards. I need to get back in the groove of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and it hasn’t quite clicked yet.

The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA that were supposed to be here for the signing, and then the bookstore haven’t arrived, but the copy that the library ordered is there. Go figure.

I settled on the new title for the re-release of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, and have to book the new cover artist. I’m getting print quotes. I hope to re-release it under the new imprint, title, and cover in October. Stay tuned.

That also means I have to get THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY back on track, because I won’t be releasing it through Champagne, I’ll do it through the new imprint.
I’ve got to get BALTHAZAAR back on track, get back to the ferry girl novel, do another pass on CHARISMA KILLINGS and submit that to an interested party ASAP, and do the next Bronwyn Rowan piece.

Yet I’m feeling about as creative as wilted lettuce.

I’m also tracking my activity/commitment with an organization with which I’m working to decide whether I will remain past my commitment (which ends next year) or not. If the financial ratio and the ratio of emotional give/receive do not balance better than they have in the past two years, I will withdraw when my commitment is complete. I would like to withdraw now, but it is unfair not to fulfill my commitment to the best of my ability, and not to spend a reasonable amount of time gathering actual data to review, rather than making a decision based solely on emotion.

Onward.

Devon

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is now available in a print edition! I’m pretty thrilled. It also means that I can pursue some of the bookstore opportunities locally. I’M IN PRINT! Had a great conversation with my publisher, and it fuels the need to get THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY to them quickly. I’m so far behind on that, it’s not even funny.

I’m on site and things are fine. I’d just rather be home, because now I have a nice home in which to live! And it’s noisy here — landscapers and tree cutters and all the other “busy work”.

Yesterday was busy here, but I also managed to get the next assignment done for Confidential Job #1. It was really good. Today, I’m here all day, working from this site, polishing a couple of articles and getting them out the door.

I found my notes for the book I want to write along with my students during the year-long intensive, and I’m very excited. I was worried that I’d lost them. I knew I’d found them in the move, but then I put them in a “safe place” and couldn’t find them again. But I managed, and I can look over everything in time for the class. I’m also prepping my other fall classes this weekend — once I’ve gotten my articles out the door!

That’s the scoop — just trying to get some steady work done over the next few days.

Back to the page.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available in print and digital versions from Champagne Books, and digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on August 18, 2011 at 8:04 am  Comments (4)  
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
A Dark and Stormy Morning
Bastille Day

Yoga on the Beach cancelled this morning, due to the weather. I focused on home practice instead. I usually don’t go out there on Fridays because of traffic, but I’ll see tomorrow. It rained and stormed since about dinner time last night, so I don’t have to worry about watering for awhile.

Hop on over to The Writers Vineyard and read my piece on “Why Are We Here?”, meaning with characters, not in the deep, esoteric sense. I replaced the original piece I had posted for today, because it felt out of tone and a little too strident with the overall voice of the blog.

Bastille Day has great personal significance because, in the mid-80’s, I chose that as the day to leave a toxic job situation. So I consider it my personal liberation day!

Iris is fine. She screamed her head off in the car coming and going; never said peep in the office. The vets are pleased that, although they are chronologically eleven years old this year, both cats are more like healthy three or four year olds. This also means that the Third Kitty Adoption Project can move forward. So many shelters, so many cats that need homes. It will be a hard decision, but I trust I’ll know when it’s the “right” one to fit into the family.

Confidential Job #1 sent me a project that’s a Very Big Deal. I’m quite excited about it and already started it, I’m also honored that they think I’m the person to handle it.

Worked on Confidential Job #1 yesterday afternoon, and got a nice chunk of work done on POWER OF WORDS in the evening. I’m restructuring the audition section. Unlike a lot of other books, where I prefer to work in full drafts, each section sets up so much for the following sections that the section has to be in good shape in order to move forward. I’m stuck in the section where they’re filming in Prague because of weaknesses n the audition and rehearsal sections. I may have to re-envision some of the Cape Cod filming section, too. When you have a large ensemble of characters and many of them are playing characters inside the piece, it’s going to be a challenge to keep it all straight. I’m juggling the story lines of the characters in the book along with the storylines of the characters played by the characters within the series.

Not to mention the fact that, in its current shape, it’s unpublishable, and not just because it’s an early draft. The project is so unwieldy, when I get it into solid shape as a good story, I’ll have to figure out how to break it down and package each section. But that is WAAAAY down the line.

This morning, however, will focus on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and then I have a whole lot of work to do for the Mermaid Ball!

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


View of the water in Newport
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and beautiful

One of my students, Carol Dunsford, gave me a nice mention in her blog, talking about my “Setting as Character” class and my recommendation of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Stop by and check out her blog — it’s good stuff (and not just because she mentioned me). Give her some comment love!

I’m late posting this morning, because I left at 6:30 to drive to Chatham for Yoga on the Beach, by the lighthouse. It was the best yoga class I’ve ever taken. The teacher is amazing — she knows how to encourage and challenge without incurring injury. It’s Kripalu style, with which I’m comfortable, and I discovered I’m a lot more able to do many of the poses than I expected. She also had wonderful suggestions for the backbends, which I have the most problems with. There were about 30 people, men and women, from about eight years old to eighty. Great group. It was an hour and fifteen minutes, but felt like fifteen minutes. My thighs currently aren’t speaking to me, but they’ll get over it! 😉

I love practicing in the sand — there’s more give than on a hardwood floor, but there’s also support. They meet every day; I can’t take that four hour chunk of time out of my morning every day, but I hope to go at least twice a week.

Missed the turn back to 28 going home, so drove all the way out to the Eastham rotary and took Rt. 6 coming back.

Came back, watered the garden, showered, ate, and am hitting the page. I want to spend some quality time on SPIRIT REPOSITORY this morning, and then I’ll have to mow the front lawn in the afternoon.

Yesterday, I poulticed the swollen bites, which meant I had to stay quiet for 90 minutes with my legs elevated — yay, reading time! Everything’s much better now.

The annoying neighbor I call Idiot Boy was putting metal through his wood chipper yesterday. When he’s not working my last nerve by walking away and leaving his power tools on (right across from my writing room window) or sitting in his truck idling the engine for 30 minute stretches (and then moaning about the price of gas), he’s putting metal through a wood chipper. Hence, the nickname.

In spite of him, I managed to revise a short story and get it out to an anthology call that unexpectedly landed on my desk.

Bessie the Squirrel is Very Busy burying things in the vegetable bed. I hope she won’t think I’m after her stuff when I go to harvest my vegetables. The strawberries are starting to ripen, so, provided the birds don’t get them first, we may actually have a strawberry harvest soon.

Obviously, no matter how hard I work on “loving kindness” aspects of practice, I’m going to fall short when it comes to insects. I’m an ant murderess, often before breakfast (which, I suppose, is better than being an aunt murderess). If the ants would stay at the bottom of the yard, we could leave each other in peace. However, since they insist on pock-marking and weakening the whole front yard in their tunnel-building towards the house, I do not consider them practicing “loving kindness” towards me, either! 😉

In other words, although there are aspects of Buddhist Practice I try to incorporate in my own life, I’m going to keep killing ants. And mosquitos. Etc. I tried negotiating. I tried using natural pests to eat other pests. The ants are relentless. I have a momentary victory, but I’ve hardly won the war, and next spring, I will have to be much more aggressive far earlier.

On that happy note, I’m going back to the page. 😉

update: The June Wrap-up for Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions is here.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


The eggplant is growing!

Saturday, June 25, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and warmer

Yesterday was a Busy Day. Got some work done early, headed off to the breakfast. Overshot the Hyannis Yacht Club, but found a friendly local cop, parked behind his car, walked up and say, “Hey! Good morning! I’m lost!” He was very helpful. He recognized me as the one who always waved and said thank you to the cops guiding traffic around construction. The local cops seem to find me as entertaining as the guys at the dump do.

Got to the breakfast on time, shared a table with three very interesting women, and the speakers were great — one being Carol McCleary, who writes the Nelly Bly mysteries. It was so good to see her again! We talked for a hot minute before I had to dash to get home, change clothes, and do the make-up for TV.

I overshot the studio, too, but turned around and found it without police assistance this time! They were running behind a bit, which was fine, because we all just sat around and talked. Of course, I got lipstick on my shirt just as I was sitting on the set chair! Urgh!!!! The wardrobe girl in me was going nuts!!!

My interviewer was a lovely man, who’d actually taken the time to read the first third of the book — he doesn’t have an e-reader, so he printed out as much as he could before the ink ran out! He asked some really good questions, including one on belief that I answered honestly, when I should have probably been more circumspect, so let’s hope no one shows up on the lawn with torches and pitchforks! 😉 I’d hate to have traded the safety I feel here for a moment on television. But the crew actually came out of their various booths to chat after the interview, so at least they found it interesting. Of course, I’m fretting about some things I wish I’d phrased differently, but that always happens, even in the best interviews. You don’t get to edit when it’s live! 😉

The content of my talk was good, but my body position was tense, and I kept doing the death-grip on the arms of the chair, so I don’t think it LOOKS good –a downside for TV. I so prefer radio, because I can rely just on the voice and the content. But overall, it was a positive experience, and the show’s producer is also an actress and knows actresses who need monologues, so I may be doing some playwrighting again in the future!

I got home in time for supper, completely wrung out.

Managed to spend some quality time with my students. The next book and the students are my priority today. The interviewer got me talking about THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so I damn well better finish it soon! 😉

To bed early, tried to sleep in, but the cats weren’t having it. Have to do some bill-paying and running around today, but the bulk of the day will be spent on SPIRIT REPOSITORY and winding up the class.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.