Thurs. July 12, 2018: Clown Semen & Other Creative Adventures

Thursday, July 12, 2018
New moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see why loving your job does not forfeit your right to earn a living at it.

The impromptu artists’ retreat with my friends last week gave me a lot to think about, and it will take me some time to work through it all. While I didn’t get a lot of words on paper during that time, I refilled the creative well, as we all helped each other refill our creative wells.

I helped brainstorm their creative projects; because that work is not mine, I can’t discuss it here, in a public space. The results of the brainstorming are theirs to use or not use, discuss or not discuss as they see fit. But I find helping others sort their way out of creative obstacles always teaches me a lot about my own work.

As far as my work, I now have:

— a clearer idea of how to proceed on the anti-gun violence play;

–a stronger thread for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (breaking MYTH & INTERPRETATION out of it helped, but now it’s even more focused);

–a clearer idea of CRAVE THE HUNT, which needs to go back into the queue in late summer;

–how to incorporate the editorial notes I received recently on the two manuscripts in a way that solves the problems the editors pointed out without diluting my vision for the books. The only way I could see on one of them was to dumb it down, but now I know how to make what the editor feels is missing work while still driving the book’s unique edge, the thing that makes it different from other books in the genre;

–a new determination to work, in and around other projects on what I’ve called THE POWER OF WORDS, so the first six books will be ready to release one-a-month next spring or summer;

–a new determination to get back to THE FIX-IT GIRL edits (the book set in 1930s Hollywood), so that can go out on submission;

–the problem that had me stuck on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is untangled, and I can fix that; when, I’m not sure, but the “how” is handled;

–the outline for the first book in a more traditional mystery series that has a good chance of finding a home in a more traditional venue — if I can work in the time to do a good job on it;

–ideas for a couple of radio plays, and new venues to send existing radio plays;

So I would say it was a productive few days.

I went to Falmouth Art Center to the opening of an exhibit where a friend of mine had a couple of pieces. The drive was a nightmare, but the exhibit was lovely. Her pieces (ceramics) had a wonderful sense of fun. Of the other pieces, I found myself especially drawn to the oils. I loved their depth. It reminds me of the difference between film and video.

Came home to discover other family friends had stopped by, although they hadn’t been able to stay.

Once the last of the guests left. I did laundry and some tidying up, but cut myself a break to process ideas and read and rest. I felt a huge need to rest.

Part of me worried that I’m getting too far behind on the word count for RELICS; more of me felt I couldn’t put words of any value down, and it was better to rest.

One of the books I read was THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis, which I really liked.

I tried to read some books by an author whose latest book I loved, but they were written in present tense, and I couldn’t. I loathe novels written in present tense. I don’t care how much praise they get. I find them unreadable. It’s the author getting between me and the story, screaming in my face about what a cool stylist the author is, instead of letting me experience the story.

A writer friend is coming to the Cape to teach at the Conference next month and wants to get together. I’m delighted.

Monday morning, I woke up early with a blasting headache. I ended up drafting most of a flash fiction piece — I still have to figure out how to end it. That alleviated the headache somewhat.

Client work, prepping and getting out a marketing campaign for an event the client has in August.

Steady work on RELICS, getting back into the groove with DHARMA. Researching my almanac articles. Getting ready to re-read HEADLONG this weekend so I can write the foreword. I’m so thrilled my friend asked me to write the foreword. What an honor. It remains one of my favorite books ever. I have to put some material together for a couple of proposals in the next few days, too.

I’d sent a pitch to a potential client through a recruiter — who sent it to THE WRONG COMPANY. My pitch was to join the marketing team for a company that promotes wellness in the workplace. Instead, the recruiter sent the pitch to a different company with the same first initials/acronym located in a different town. This one is a fast-paced, very corporate organization. I was puzzled at first, when the corporation contacted me to set up a meeting. Because I knew I hadn’t sent them anything. Then I did some research and realized what had happened. Then I did some research on the company and — no. Just no. We are not a good fit. The “leaders” stay in the shadows and the double-speak made me question their ethics. Plus, they’re looking for entry level to groom. I’m not entry level. Too many decades of work under my belt for that. I sent a polite email thanking them for their interest, explaining the mix-up, and withdrawing from consideration.

Savasana/sukasana/reiki was great. I love spending an hour a week lying in a quiet room with no expectations.

Then, Wednesday, there was some unpleasantness at one of the client sites. Unnecessary, manipulative unpleasantness. I was onsite, working on the client’s campaign for an upcoming event. However, another person in the workplace specifically sparked an incident that she knew would set off my client to go on a rant to which I would have to respond or be the type of compliant spineless moron I despise.This individual did it because she thought it was “funny.”Now, my client and I wound up being fine by remaining cordial and listening to each other, and giving each other respect for our differing views.

My fury (and believe me, it was fury) was at the person who sparked the incident, who threw me under the bus because she thought it was “funny.” My client left and I was finishing up what I needed to get done until I go back onsite next week. I was seething, but I figured I’d let myself cool down and then, if it was relevant, have a quiet word with the instigator next week.

But no, this one had to start joking about how funny it was. I told her to never put me in that situation again, and that I was angry, and didn’t appreciate she threw me under the bus. I have covered her ass plenty of times in that place. Then she denied that she “knew” it would cause a problem which either a flat out lie or she has cognitive issues, because we’ve discussed this more than once. Then she started the whole thing about how my anger “hurt her feelings.”

Too bad, bubbelah, maybe you should have considered that before deliberately stirring the pot. Her actions and her words are too far apart for me to believe her words. Anyone with a grain of common sense, consideration for someone else, and basic reasoning skills could have predicted what would happen.

Walk your fucking talk or get out of my life.

Of course, this is the same person who, last week, during a discussion about human rights violations, said she “doesn’t do politics. Besides, none of this affects me because I have white skin.”

Which just tells all of us all we need to know, right?

I’d much rather know someone’s true colors sooner rather than later. Now I know what I’m dealing with.

Fortunately, I got to have fun on Wednesday night, which is where the clown semen comes in.

My friend, author Ray Bartlett, did an event with another author, Mary Hart. I saw his post on Facebook about it, and hadn’t seen him in ages, so I figured it was a good time to get together, come out and support his book (I’d put together the launch party for it when it originally came out), and meet a new-to-me author. All good.

It was at Hyannis library, and tons of fun. Ray read from SUNSETS OF TULUM, and Mary read from SOME HORRIFIC EVENING. The audience was engaged, there was a great talk/question & answer session, and, best for them, the audience members bought books. It was lively and fun and creative.

I’m also looking forward to both of their next books.

After, we went to a nearby bar to chat and catch up. We ordered our various drinks. Mary ordered an IPA called something like “Clown Shoes”. It was clown something. Well, when it arrived at the table, it looked kind of like milky orange juice.

You get where I’m going with this, right?

We asked the waitress if it was supposed to look like that; she didn’t know, but suggested an app that has pictures and info on different beers. Mary pulled it up on her phone.

Uh, no, it wasn’t supposed to look like that. All the pictures were very different than what was in the glass in front of us. In the photos, it looked like beer.

What was in the glass didn’t look like beer.

Which is when the comment came up about it looking like “clown semen.”

Which quieted the men at the table into shocked silence for about 20 seconds.

Anyway, she sent it back and got something drinkable. But we started doing jokes about clown semen. Because it was just that kind of night.

We decided that it should be the title of her third book (because the title of her upcoming second book is already really cool). And if she doesn’t use it by her third book, I will.

I promised her I’d write about this today, so Mary, this one’s for you! 😉

And there was other laughter interspersed with the creative conversation, and it was fun. Also, when you go to one of Mary’s readings, ask about the story of how her parents met, because it’s really lovely.

Came home later than expected and puttered around.

This morning, it’s yard work, some remote client work. I need to up my game on RELICS & REQUIEM to make deadline, and I have to make sure I don’t drop the ball on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Plus, you know, the novella, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, releases on Tuesday, so I better up the PR.

I need to prepare an international proposal for a play that needs to go out tomorrow, and two radio drama pitches to go out next week. I also want to get out some more LOIs this week.

Tomorrow, I’ll share some Adventures in Wildlife we’re having around the yard.

Back to the page!

 

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Tues. June 19, 2018: Stressors

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

Four planets retrograde, with Mars going retrograde next week. Can I please just stay in bed until it’s all direct?

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for “The Lost Art of Reading Aloud.”

Busy weekend. Most of it was focused on turning around the revisions of MYTH & INTERPRETATION back to my editor. We’re in galleys now. Since it’s a novella, not a novel, and just over 40K, I’m hoping the galley process won’t be as drawn out as with SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Back in the saddle with RELICS & REQUIEM. Going at a good clip with that. I love the way the relationship is unfolding between Amanda and Phineas. It gets my full writing focus (as opposed to revision or proofreading focus) this week, because next week, DAVY JONES DHARMA gets back into the mix. I’m looking forward to spending time again with Sophie and the crew of the Charisma.

Did some work on the anti-gun violence play. It’s slow going. Instead of drafting in a rush, I’m working and reworking each scene, building the piece. It’s a different way of working than I usually use, but this play needs it. You change the process to meet the demands of a specific project.

It makes me shake my head when writers — usually un-published or under-published refuse to try something new because “that’s not my process.” Until you have a published track record, you’re still trying to find your process. And, even then, you have to change it when the work calls for it.

For the anti-gun violence play, all that time I’ve spent in DC working with senators and reps on legislation, talking to various members of Congress and their aides about issues has all come in handy. It allows me to give it texture, to layer in sights, sounds, smells, attitudes.

I’m still in touch with many of the people with whom I worked when I lived in New York, and have added the MA delegations to my contacts since I’ve moved here. Usually about once a day, always several times a week. Just because I don’t post about it all the time doesn’t mean I remain silent. Or uninvolved. Especially now, it’s vital to be immersed in our political process. My mother, who survived Russian prison camp in WWII, is horrified at the way the US is going down the road of Nazi Germany.

I am sickened by separating children from their families and putting them in cages. Every single individual who does this must be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL. No hiding behind “job” or “policy.” If your job or policy requires you to do something inhumane, you refuse. You fight. Period. If you commit an inhuman act because your job “requires” you to do it, YOU are inhumane. And must face consequences.

I take note of so many people who claim they are “religious” and “Christian” who agree with this inhumane policy of degrading people and putting children IN CAGES. Look at the AP reports. Look at John Moore’s photos. It’s happening. In our country. These people who protest outside of Planned Parenthood, want to deny women reproductive rights, are anti-abortion, delight when doctors who provide health care for women are SHOT, all in the name of RELIGION — they think putting children in cages and denying them basic human rights and dignity is just fine. Not only are they disgusting individuals with no moral compass or authority — they are hypocrites.

I saw a suggestion from a Catholic bishop to deny those implementing this inhumane treatment the sacrament. I am fully on board with that. Go further — excommunicate any individual who does not repent, not only in words, but in ACTION.

Ex-communicate Paul Ryan. This granny-starving sleazeball, who delights in taking away healthcare and other rights, posted a tone-deaf tweet for Father’s Day, while doing nothing to help the situation.

I’m deeply disappointed in Susan Collins from Maine. I have family in Maine; spent lots of time there. Have met with her, in Maine and in Washington. She seemed like a fairly reasonable, rational human being. How disturbing to find it was all a facade.

We are losing a generation of children. Physically and emotionally. It is inexcusable and must be stopped.

For all those who turn away and say they “aren’t political.” They’re coming for you next, you spineless pieces of crap. You won’t be spared. You’re useful to them now, because of your inaction. But you will be tossed away as soon as they choose.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is dealing with some of these issues, as in, when you fight atrocity, how far into similar behavior can you descend without becoming what you fight? Who gets sacrificed? How can anyone come back from it?

Which is, of course, why the piece is pulling at me. Although, I suspect that, once the anti-gun violence play is drafted and goes out to Trusted Readers, I will write a play about this situation.

And, of course, POWER OF WORDS wants attention. We’ve come up with a new series title that we all like. We’ve even named the first six books, and I THINK those titles will stick. Now the question is, how realistically can I finish the material that will be broken into the rest of Book 4 and make up Books 5 & 6, with everything else going on? Books 1, 2 & 3 have been through multiple drafts. They are almost ready to send to the editor. But, because we want to have all six ready at once, I have to finish the rest. I have most of Book 4 done, and part of Book 5 (I skipped ahead). I have Book 6 outlined. But how to fit it in?

On top of that, the Jain Lazarus Adventures must now be factored back in. I need to finish CRAVE THE HUNT, so it can go into edits and be ready to release when HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK re-release. While still staying on track with the Coventina Circle books, the Nautical Namaste books, and the Gwen Finnegan books.

And, you know, client work.

STILL waiting for two checks, one that is now almost a month late. Where the place lied and said it was “sent” and that the accountant wouldn’t be in until this week, and there was nothing they could do about a replacement. You’re a business. You’re telling me that no one can take 5 minutes to write a check? That’s not business.

Feeling pressured and upset and in despair on multiple fronts. All I can do is put my head down and keep writing.

 

Tues. June 12, 2018: A Happy Weekend

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

That was quite a weekend!

I mowed the center front yard Friday morning, with the reel push mower. This time, it worked better, and the yard looks darned good, if I say so! Saturday, I did the side and No Man’s Land. It needs some weed whacking, but it looks much better.

The newsletter went out on Friday, with the cover reveal for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’ll do the public cover reveal later this week here, on the Gwen Finnegan website, on Facebook, on Twitter.

I started working on the media kit for MYTH and the one that will encompass the whole series. The latter will be updated each time a book is released.

I’m getting into the groove for RELICS & REQUIEM. Answered some of the “why” questions for myself, which will help me move the plot along smoothly. I need to do some tweaks in the outline, and then settle in for the ride. But I’ve got a good steady pace on it, about 1800-2000 words a day. Under what I’d like it to be, but decent.

I dug into the revisions for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. Made a few more connections, expanded some themes, cut some distractions. I’m happy with the way it’s going.

We started watching THE CROWN, which is interesting. Matt Smith does a wonderful job. I didn’t know about the fatal, coal-induced fog in the mid 1950s that triggered Britian’s Clear Air Act. It triggered the idea for a mystery.

It also infuriated me that Scott Pruitt wants to bring the United States back to worse than this, all as he continues to grift from the taxpayers.

Read Meg Wolitzer’s THE FEMALE PERSUASION. Absolutely loved it. I fall between the ages of Faith and Greer, so my experiences overlapped with some of each, and I could relate to both of them. The book is so well done. Hits on specifics, while making it feel universal, as all the best books do.

Did some work on THE POWER OF WORDS. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ve hit on a series title that might actually work, along with titles for the first two books. I’m drafting what will be book four, although I’ve written part of book five already.

Realized that I can’t move forward on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS until I add in that chapter I need earlier. It ties in too much to what’s going on now. I’m touching on some of the human trafficking themes in this book, but if there’s a second Cuanoir Port novel, I think that human trafficking will be its central focus. This needs to be about the intervention of foreign powers and fighting it (sound familiar)? If I try to put everything into the book, it will get unfocused.

Not enough work on the anti-gun violence play. Not happy with how I’ve handled the opening.

Saturday, I finished my daily writing quota early enough to feel good about participating in Worldwide Knit in Public Day. My mom and I were invited to join the group at Salt Yarn Studios in Dennis. They’d put aside some yarn I liked, so I was there to pick it up as well as participate.

My mom already finished the back of the top I designed from the yarn with which I’d fallen in love the last time we were there. She started on the front. I started on a crochet project — because I prefer crocheting to knitting, and I’m better at it.

I also fell in love with some other yarn and bought it, because, well, YARN.

One of the women who works in the store loves reading on her Kindle. She was excited to meet an author. I gave her information on the books, and she’s going to read through the sites and the blurbs and find what interests her. So that was fun.

We were outside, in the garden, overlooking Rt. 6A, in our chairs, with our yarn, working and chatting. It was a nice group of people, and passers-by stopped to find out what we were doing, ask questions, be included.

What a different vibe than the knitting group in a neighboring town that we participated in a few years ago, where they ignored newcomers and only said snide, gossipy, judgmental things about everyone else. This was much more of what I want from a group knitting experience. Not to mention the mango Bellinis and watermelon!

On the way home, I planned to stop and pick up a prepared meal because I didn’t feel like cooking. I stopped at a local market and the shelves were practically bare! Guess plenty of other people didn’t feel like cooking, either. We wound up picking up a pizza.

Absolutely thrilled that Justify won the Belmont. Thrilled for the horse. Thrilled for Mike Smith, who I think is one of the best people on the planet. If it wasn’t for him, I would have never gotten the use back in my shoulder after it was dislocated. Not to mention the many other acts of kindness and friendship over the years. I also love that he won the 13th Triple Crown.

I love how Justify wired the race, how his stride remained smooth throughout. It was a thing of beauty. He went from unraced to Triple Crown winner in 112 days. Pretty darn spectacular.

I was filled with gratitude that Saturday was such a happy day. Those are too rare lately.

And Sunday was the Tony Awards! I was so proud of the Broadway/theatre communities and how they are working for positive change.

Client work yesterday, today, and tomorrow onsite. More flexiiblity later in the week. I can’t believe it’s nearly mid-June. That means I’ll have to post the mid-month check in for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site by the end of the week.

There’s a big announcement regarding the Jain Lazarus Adventures coming out soon. Stay tuned!

 

Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period

Thursday, June 7, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I have my notes back on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. That’s the great thing about a novella — turnarounds are quicker.

My editor is pleased with the energy and the character development. But she feels I streamlined a bit too much, kept things a bit too lean. She has some suggestions about developing a few points more deeply and supporting the theme a bit more. An exchange here, a paragraph there. I came in a little under projected word count, so we have a bit of room to maneuver. I can write and then we can cut back some more.

The cover designer has an idea for a tweak on the cover, so we’ll look at that today. We looked at some early ideas for RELICS & REQUIEM, and I think we’ve found what we want. So we’re ahead of the game on that, and she will start work on the cover for DAVY JONES DHARMA soon.

Back matter won’t be difficult to put together for MYTH — I have most of it, I just have to assemble the bits. I’m working on the revisions this weekend, so I can get them out next week. I need to work on the newsletter, and get started on the media kit for MYTH & the overall kit for the Gwen Finnegan series.

A bit of work on RELICS & REQUIEM; I need to get into the groove of that, which will take awhile. I have to figure out a way to move from Gwen & Justin’s world to Amanda & Phineas’s world, since they are both contemporary NYC around the same time.

Did a bit of work on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS, but having trouble settling. I feel like I need to type up what I have in longhand and take a look. I also have to add a chapter, or the new structure I’ve been playing with is off.

Have some material to work on to go with THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Re-reading parts of POWER OF WORDS. Playing with a new series title; seeing how I can break it up into books/sections that are a comfortable reading length, still complete certain arcs, and yet keep the reader wanting more. We want to put out the books that cover the audition process, rehearsals, filming the mini-series, and the first season in quick succession. I’d like to have the hiatus, the second season, that hiatus, and the third season ready to go, too, but I’m not sure if that puts us so far down the road it doesn’t even make any sense to commit. That will need its new subdomain, and lots of different, interesting material about the business and behind-the-scenes to keep it fresh and interesting. There will also need to be a specific look for the covers, so they can each be eye-catching, yet also tie together to the actual stories.

The titles and subtitles we’ve played with that make it clear what the books are about are so long and convoluted that they’re annoying. I see that far too often: complex titles and subtitles that serve as log lines and wear me out before I even see the blurb. I want to avoid that. I need something ear-catching (yes, that’s deliberate) and quick that pulls a potential reader in.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS will also need its own subdomain. That’s a lot of web work.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s all moot if the books aren’t written, then edited properly.

If you didn’t get a chance to read “My Rolodex isn’t Free” yesterday, over on Ink-Dipped Advice, hop on over.

I’m trying to work ahead on a few blogs today, to take off some pressure in the coming weeks. I want to focus on MYTH, RELICS, and see what I can do with THREE ROADS and WORDS.

Hopefully, I can get to yoga. If the weather is nice this afternoon — more yard work.

Back to the page!

 

Published in: on June 7, 2018 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period  
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Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I’m leaving the essay on the “In Death” series up as the lead article on A Biblio Paradise for another week. If you haven’t yet read it, hop on over.

Got yard work done, mostly on Saturday. The front yard and the side front are now under control, although by the end of the week, I’ll have to mow again. I trimmed the beds in the terraced back area.

As soon as the weather clears, I’ll have to mow the terraced back area, no man’s land, and the meadow. But I feel like I’m getting a handle on things, between the push mower and the weed whacker.

I apologize for not posting on Friday. Comcast was down in my area, and couldn’t be bothered to give us an estimated repair window. Because, as they tell us often, “we’re you’re only option, so we get it done when we get it done.” I hate them.

The weekend focused on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It will be ready to go to the editor in a couple of days, and cover art will be ready in a couple of days. I’m happy with the work. It feels good to be back in the groove with Gwen and Justin. It gives me the opportunity to seed the stresses that later explode in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and yet it stands fine on its own.

It made a huge difference to show an outline early in the process to my editor, back when we talked about breaking off the section that grew into MYTH off BALTHAZAAR, because it gummed up BALTHAZAAR’S works.

I wrote a Writer’s Rough Outline for MYTH. I showed it to my editor. She came back with suggestions to streamline and focus. As I wrote, I could streamline and focus even more. I kept a nice, lean word count that works for a novella, it has a good story on its own, and it drives forward the series arcs of both Gwen and Justin.

Knowing the four books and the novella in the series have a contractual commitment, being able to work with my editor before I finished a first draft, made a huge difference in the process. It made the writing smoother, more focused, and will save me a few drafts full of tangents.

I could get used to these multi-book contracts.

I also spent a little time on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS and re-reading POWER OF WORDS. I didn’t get any work done on the play, because I’m pushing hard to get the novella out to my editor this week.

I miss POWER OF WORDS. A lot. I don’t know when I can get back to it, though.

I’m still waiting for a check from a gig that was contractually obligated to be here on the 31st. This is the same gig whose ethics (or lack thereof) make me uncomfortable. Once I get this check, I will withdraw, as gracefully as possible. I hate to lose the money, but a two month lag time and the rewrites to turn it into something different than it claims to be make it an unworkable gig for me. I need to let it go and make room for something better.

Hopefully that check and the check from the radio play will arrive shortly.

Yesterday was a chaotic day onsite with a client, and I expect today will be the same. But I got off some paperwork to another client; I have one more batch, and then I’m caught up on that job until next January.

But I had a great writing morning with MYTH, and another one today, so I’m feeling good about that portion of my working life, at least.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on June 5, 2018 at 1:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!  
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Thursday, May 31: Multi-Level Creativity

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy and muggy and full of pollen

Sorry this is up late. I had to get the weed whacker fixed.

Hop on over to Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions to see the May Wrap-Up. I didn’t post a To-Do list for May, because I had those extra projects come up, and any list would have been tossed out the window. But I’m happy with what got done.

Yesterday’s work with the client was tiring. I came home and read on the deck for a bit. I was also disappointed, at that particular site, about several ignorant comments from people who should know better.

I was going to skip going to Green Drinks, but I have to make an effort to get out and participate more. I put on make-up, I made an effort, and hauled myself out the door. I’m glad I did.

The space was beautiful, and focused on the Love Live Local businesses in Hyannis. Little Beach Gallery, Shift Eco Boutique, and DeVinto Designs. I really like what they do, what they create themselves, and the artwork featured. I met a host of interesting people, including a cadre of New Yorkers who also live and work here. Almost everyone I met is involved in textile or fiber arts, which was also interesting. As an ex-wardrobe person, I’m still fascinated by anything to do with textiles or fiber. I also met the new owner of Salt Yarn Studio, in Dennis. What used to be Yarn Hound, and, before that, Ladybug. I planned to go there tomorrow anyway to check it out; we had a great talk and I’m more eager than ever to go over there.

I’m glad I forced myself out of my introvert hut. The individuals I met were all interesting, all had good stories and unique passions. I’m not a fan of “people” in the general sense, but I find that, when you take the time to talk to an individual, they’re usually pretty interesting.

Little Beach Gallery had some great organic soaps, so I bought a bunch of them.

I feel good about the work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’m deeply grateful that I could send the outline for the novella to my editor before I’d written much (back when we decided that the section that’s grown into MYTH didn’t fit in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE). We decided to break that section out into its own novella, because it was a tangent from BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, but the readers needed to know how the relationship between Gwen and Justin evolved between TRACKING MEDUSA and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

So, I wrote an outline and sent it to my editor. She read it through and sent it back with comments, and ideas on how to keep it from sprawling into too much. She had suggestions on how to pare down the ideas to get to the essence of the piece, which keeps the focus of the series, and also shows how Gwen and Justin navigate their new status as a couple, while trying to juggle their lives. Each of them had a life before the other; their relationship changed their lives, but didn’t negate them. Gwen is older than Justin both emotionally and chronologically — he’s starting to come into his own and grow up.

The short conclusion to all this is that listening to my editor worked. Even from the outline, I’m paring a few things down, rearranging them, streamlining them, and the piece works better in pace and content. I’m going to do a big push on it this weekend.

I’m a little behind where I want to be on RELICS & REQUIEM, so I’m also going to do a push on that this weekend. And I’m nearly at the point where I can put the opening of the anti-gun violence play down on paper.

My reward for this is, once I finish my quota each day, working on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I picked up the oversized sketchbook yesterday, so I can work on the maps I need for the project. I’m using the smaller sketchbook for floor plans and buildings, and the large one for sections of the city and the city itself. Eventually, I’ll be able to scan in the large maps and I hope to put them into a program to animate them when I’m ready to do the website to go with this project. That’s months down the road, maybe a year or two, but I’m looking into software that’s similar to gaming software for it.

Auditing the class on International Tribunals in the Hague is fascinating. I’m glad I’m auditing and not taking it for credit, because it’s in French. While I can understand enough to get a lot out of the class (as long as I don’t try to translate every word as I hear it), my French isn’t strong enough to write the papers or take the exams. But I get a lot out of auditing.

Hopefully, there will be some good weather this weekend, so I can get yard work done.

If you haven’t read “My Deal with the Muse” over on Ink-Dipped Advice, go on over.

Today is the final day that PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle book (set backstage on a Broadway show) is 99 cents. You can buy it here. Tomorrow, it goes back up to its normal price of $3.99.

Still hearing good things in response to LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, the radio play that was broadcast last week. HEX BREAKER also got some good compliments. I’m glad people enjoy the work.

Back to the page.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States — or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP? Buy it for only 99 cents here (through May 31).

 

Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I need another week of weekend.

Busy times. Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest post.

I have to find someone who can help me re-thread the spool for the weed whacker, so I can keep working on the yard.

I made a stupid mistake on Friday because I was over-tired and careless. I can’t fix it; therefore I’ve lost a good opportunity. That’s my own damn fault. I need to let it go and move on.

Saturday was all about the yard. I worked in the front, I worked in the back. I set down the organic fertilizer that also fights ants and ticks. I planted the tomatoes I’ve grown from seed, re-planted some mints and other plants from the garden store, planted some more seeds, tracked down and destroyed the wasp nest and the wasps that have been tormenting us. Part of me felt guilty for the latter; however, they have an entire yard that remains organic; they don’t have to harass us on the deck. If they won’t respect boundaries, they are gone.

We set up the deck, and it’s lovely. I hope we can spend many wonderful hours out there this season.

I planned Sunday and Monday as writing days, and they were. However, they weren’t on the projects where I’m under the most pressure. I should have been working on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

Instead, I worked on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I wrote about fifty pages (mostly on Sunday, less on Monday). The shape is a little different than I expected, but I like it. The characters are surprising me in good ways. I’m having fun with the maps and building a dirigible that’s different from the other dirigibles I’ve designed for other stories. I have to adjust the structure — and that means going back and adding a chapter I skipped. I thought I had to rotate points of view and each chapter had to be from a different POV; however, I’m finding certain chapters where two in a row need to be from my primary protagonist. I’m also naming the chapters — something I rarely do. I’m naming them once they’re written, so the title reflects the content. I find if I try to name the chapter first, I then try to bend the chapter to fit the title, and it takes me off the track of the piece.

Thank goodness for my tracking sheets, or I’d never be able to stay consistent.

I heard that my radio play was well-received. I’m glad, and I look forward to hearing it when the link goes up. I also heard from some readers who bought and read my books over the holiday weekend, and enjoyed them. Always glad when something I write makes someone happy.

Worked on the anti-gun violence play. I have the characters, I think. I removed some, because they were pulling the focus of the piece. I have a smaller cast and a narrower focus, but I think it will work for what it is. I have what drives each of them; I have a basic idea of plot. I’m still working on structure, but I’m close. I find that, for a play, I need to work out a lot more in my head before I start writing. For prose, I need to make more notes and outline.

Yesterday, it was difficult to move out of the world of THREE ROADS and back into the contemporary New York of MYTH & INTERPRETAITON and RELICS & REQUIEM. Not to mention my actual reality of Cape Cod and having to work with a client on-site. I’m really tired of the attitude on Cape Cod of “if you’re not sitting in front of me doing the work, you can’t be working.” I’m much more productive working off-site, in my preferred surroundings. Both the quantity and the quality of my work are better when I work remotely.

Back on track with MYTH. Getting there with RELICS. My reward for getting each day’s quota on each is doing some work on THREE ROADS. Working steadily on the play — should be able to start putting something on paper this week.

Some LOIs out yesterday and more will go out today. I’m on-site with a client again, and have plenty of other stuff to get done while I’m gone.

And yard work, whenever I can, because the whole summer will be about yard work.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 30, 2018 at 2:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards  
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Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges

Friday, May 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Sorry this is up late; I had errands to run this morning before the tourons descend on Cape Cod and make our lives hell for the next three months.

The relief I feel at getting out both requested partials to the interested editors ahead of deadline leaves me exhausted. HEART THEFT went out nine days before deadline; NOT BY THE BOOK went out four days before deadline. Neither one were dumped on the editor during a holiday weekend (although I cut it close with NBTB). I lived up to my own expectations for myself AND I’m happy with the quality of work I turned in.

I tried mowing yesterday. The reel mower doesn’t really mow much. It massages, and the grass snaps right back up. I bought a rolling blade. It should damn well cut whatever vegetation over which I roll it. Not happy AT ALL. When it cuts, it does a decent job of it, but there’s too much it’s not cutting.

I’m getting annoyed by the part-time writers who have non-writing day jobs to pay the bills attacking full-time writers who earn our living at it for “writing every day.” This is my profession, not my hobby. If I don’t show up and do the work every day, I can’t pay the bills. Getting paid for my writing doesn’t make me love it any less or make me any less of a writer. Stop attacking people who achieve what you can’t.

And, you know what? Go ahead and DON’T write regularly. Only write “when the muse strikes.” You’ll still be a cubicle slave. I’ll still be earning my living doing what I love — because I show up and do the work.

Spent some time outside, both reading and working on the maps for THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I’m moving forward as though my first choice market passed, and not writing it with an eye to their parameters. I’m back to writing it because I really love the piece and want to create this world. It will have to be done in and around other projects, but not having a deadline means less pressure. I’m getting more and more ideas about the world, and making more and more notes. The chapters I’ve written so far have a strong energy and drive, and I like the sprawl. I like weaving the characters, situations, and storylines together, to see where they converge and where they part.

This morning, I worked out a plot and character arc involving one of my five central protagonists with one of the minor characters who’s more complex than I expected. In my first putterings with this arc, it would have derailed the main drive of the piece. But now, I’ve figured out a way to adjust it so it supports the central plot instead of serving as a tangent. It will drive plot, illuminate character, enrich the world. In other words, serve its purpose.

However, this morning, I’m going back to work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, whose deadline is coming up quickly. I’ll be looking at cover choices next week from my publisher and cover designer — hopefully, there will be a cover reveal soon.

I’d also like to sit down with the market list this weekend and come up with some more article pitches to go out next week.

I finished reading Marshall Ryan Maresca’s AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE. I like this series a lot. A MURDER OF MAGES remains as one of my Top Twelve Books across genre. The choices made as the series develops surprise me. I often think, “I wouldn’t do it that way — but I’m really glad HE did!” I enjoy his world building, and I enjoy the way he breaks genre clichés.

There’s such a big difference between turning a trope (I hate that word) inside out and ignoring it. Tropes set up expectations. A talented writer (like Maresca) knows them intimately and knows how to use them beyond the expectations and take the reader somewhere new and exciting. A careless writer would toss it in and not follow through or defy it without providing expansion and payoff.

I admit it, I read Maresca as much for craft as for story and character. I learn a lot about the way he structures his books, about the paths his characters take. There’s always the sense of discovery there, but he’s got such good craft, I’m willing to leap with him wherever he goes, because I know it will be a satisfying, exciting experience. He was also kind enough to point me in the right direction when I had questions about mapping that have been useful.

I heard the radio play went well earlier this week. The cast, crew, and audience had fun with it — that’s music to a playwright’s ears! I’m looking forward to hearing it.

I’m playing with ideas for the new gun violence play that came out of the conversation I had with an actress friend. I’d set out a cast of characters, but they started feeling too much like representations than individuals. So I stripped it back and narrowed the focus. Now, I have something to work with, something to develop. I usually don’t mention the physical characteristics or race of characters in a cast breakdown. With my work, I find that when the actor who connects best with the work is cast, we have an array of physical types, races, ethnicities.

However, in this case, race is part of what the play deals with. Which means I need to specify which characters are black, white, etc. We’re dealing with things people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge, but which have to be acknowledged. This will be a challenging piece to work on, and I’m pulling in advice from all kinds of actors and creatives with whom I’ve worked on Broadway, to make sure it’s not just a banal “I’m presenting a message” piece, but a piece that digs deep in search of the cause of the problem, and also offers more than one solution. The development process will take a looong time. But it will be worth it, if something valuable comes out of it, for those of us in the creation and the experience of the final piece. Flippant responses out of emotion, fear, anger, aren’t necessarily ones that will help. Yet they will also need to be a part of this, as they are a step on the journey to a solution, and sometimes a tangent.

I hope I’m up to the challenge.

In the meantime, I have to tackle the challenge of the Lawn that Refused to Bow to the Mower.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on May 25, 2018 at 9:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges  
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