Wed. Oct. 11, 2017: I WILL This to be a Better Day

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was just one of those days that one is happy is done. Dozens of frustrations and incompetent people adding up to annoyance.

But it’s done, it’s over, and today will be better. I will MAKE it better.

Got out some pitches, heard back from a few places in the negative. Was supposed to have a meeting scheduled for today, but the person never bothered to get back to me as promised, responded when I asked, or let me know that the meeting had to be postponed. That individual better not think I will jump if suddenly that party decides the meeting should happen today. Some basic courtesy and professionalism is appreciated. Of course, that’s another strike against this potential gig. I already feel it was a bit of bait-and-switch. The signs point more and more to potential nightmare.

I’m working on the survey for working writers, which I think will be interesting both for those taking it and for me. I’m not yet sure how I’ll use the information, possibly as a basis for an article.

Matched the copy edit errors I caught with those my copy editor caught on SAVASANA. Of course, she caught more. Thank goodness. Put in all the fixes, and the manuscript goes off today for another proofread.

Then, I can turn my attention to the fixes I need to do on the edition of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM for the new distributor.

I also have to prep the other workbooks for new distribution, and figure out when to schedule in the new ones.

I did a little bit of work on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but couldn’t concentrate.

I have to take a look at the BBC version of the radio play LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, and maybe do some tweaks for a potential market over there.

Some promo on PLAYING THE ANGLES (it never feels like enough, does it?) and on the Topic Workbooks.

Started reading one of the two new books I need to review. I like it a lot, which is a relief. So far, anyway, it’s very well done.

Finished reading a memoir of a mucky-muck in the art world. The book is well-written, but I don’t think I’d have liked the person very much. Happy to admire his skills from afar.

I have some new article ideas to pitch to several publications, more promo to do, some permissions to hunt down for quotes I want to use in an article, and follow-ups.

I took twenty research books back to the library yesterday. Smaller stack today; small stack tomorrow, but big books. All in prep for the next slew of books coming in.

Also, have to clean out the garage while it’s still warm enough; give everything a good scrub, so that, as I bring in plants for the winter, they have a clean, safe place to sit until next spring. Might make bread later on, too.

Hoping I’ll be able to tackle the FIX IT GIRL section today and tomorrow. The end of the book is fairly close — maybe seven chapters? But this section is tricky to rewrite. Then, off it goes on submission. Long journey for this book, but worth it. My protagonist makes some choices that might shock some readers — which is why it falls into literary/historical rather than a genre with a tighter formula.

By next week, I hope to get back to the TRACKING MEDUSA edits. I need to get that out so we can turn around the galleys before the holiday madness.

Still trying to figure out when we can reschedule the release of “Labor Intensive”. That’s negatively affecting the Digital Delights schedule in general. I don’t want to take away from PLAYING THE ANGLES or SAVASANA AT SEA sales.

Also need to finish the media kit for SAVASANA AT SEA. I need to figure out one more excerpt, do the press release, and finish the Q & A, and then it can go out.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

 

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Fri. Sept. 29, 2017: If You Don’t Respect the Value of Your Work, Why Should Anyone Else?

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Friday, September 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny/cool

Yesterday was about sending out pitches and preparing SAVASANA AT SEA to go off to the publisher today.

I can’t believe PLAYING THE ANGLES releases on Monday! Excited and nervous all at once.

So, fixed the problem in the first chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA (that goes in the back of SAVASANA), fixed a few errors, and SAVASANA goes off today.

Also went over the manuscript of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, which is going to an additional distributor — all the Topic Workbooks will, eventually. I want to get them on Amazon and into libraries.

That goes out today, too.

There’s been an editorial change at one of my regular gigs. I wish the editor himself had told me, instead of sending out a merry message about assignment distribution a few days ago, and then we get another message yesterday that he’s gone. He should have told us himself (unless he was unexpectedly fired).

I people’d yesterday, went out for the first time in too long, to a lecture sponsored by the Writers Center at Hyannis Library. It’s been nearly two years since I did anything with this group — can’t believe how the time has flown! Saw only a handful of familiar faces, met plenty of new and interesting people.

However, there were some annoyances, based in the typical attitude around here that what we do (writing) has no value. Three exchanges.

The first was with a board member, who talked to me about stepping in occasionally to interview authors. She said the interviews take place on Friday afternoons “when most people work.”

Um, what I do isn’t work? I beg to differ.

Second was with another writer. We talked about our writing, and he said, “What do you do for a living?”

Me: Write.

Man: I mean, your day job.

Me: Write.

Man: I mean, how do you make money?

Me: Write.

His incredulity was quite insulting.

Third encounter, I was talking to a lovely woman who happened to be friends with the former partner of someone I knew in New York. We had a great conversation about this, that and the other, and talked about writing. She dismissed the writing she does for companies and non-profits as “not real writing.”

Um, no. It IS real writing, it’s a specific skill, and deserves to be valued.

Until we value our own work, no one else has any reason to value it, either.

I was sitting with a lovely man who lives in New York, near where I grew up, and has a house in Falmouth. He’s writing a book about Ireland, during the famine. It sounds quite wonderful. He didn’t know one could rent from the National Trust, so I gave him the information.

Figures I’d connect with a fellow New Yorker. No insults about day jobs or writing not being work from him!

Anyway, the speaker was quite wonderful — an historian. I got some great ideas for better note-taking when I research, and I’m very excited to read his books. His name is John Cumbler, and the book I’m most interested to read is FROM ABOLITION RIGHTS TO RIGHTS FOR ALL: THE MAKING OF A REFORM COMMUNITY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

All in all, it was a good evening, and I’m glad I went. But those encounters with people who don’t value what they do and what we, as a writing community do, are disturbing. This attitude is one of the biggest disappointments about living in this area. I thought I was moving to a progressive community that supported artists — not just by talking about how much they support arts, but by making it possible for artists to live and work with dignity. That is, unfortunately, not the case. If you come in with money and a best seller, they fall all over you. If you actually want to live here and work, you’re looked at as though something must be wrong with you, or you “couldn’t make it” elsewhere. Which is simply not the case. Writers (and many other types of artists) can and should work anywhere that calls to them.

A community that does not support its artists (and that includes financially) is doomed to ignorance and lack of progress. And, eventually, will fail in all other respects as well. Because artists are visionaries. They not only bear witness to the good and bad of current society, they hold the lessons of history, and they envision what the future can be — both good and bad.

Anyway, today is about errands and then pitches, work on some articles, getting both book manuscripts out, working on prepping the SERIES BIBLE manuscript for this other distributor, working on the books I have to review.

I’m having coffee with an artist friend this afternoon, which should be fun. Yes, I’m peopling two days in a row. It may take me days to recover!

I also have to do a big push on the FIX IT GIRL today, do the sections set in San Simeon, since those books have arrived, and start figuring out how I’m going to structure the Lavinia Fontana play.

I know I want to root it in how the nobles’ wives created the opportunities for her to compete for commissions with the male artists, but I have to figure out the details. I also know she will be pregnant in the play, as she was pregnant for much of her working life. I don’t want to have actual children on stage (not practical), but will use sound effects.

I’ve got some research for the novel within the MARRIAGE GARDEN, and I need to use those books and get them back.

Have a great weekend!

Don’t forget — PLAYING THE ANGLES releases on Monday! Woo-hooo!

 

Fri. March 24, 2017: Creative Productivity

Friday, March 24, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We’re supposed to get a mix of rain and wet snow today. Ick.

Yesterday was fairly productive. Got some admin done, did some promotion for the Topic Workbooks. I’ve set up a page on the Devon Ellington website that’s dedicated to the Topic Workbooks here, and I’ll keep adding information on all of them until it’s all there.

I revised about a third of a new Topic Workbook, one that I hope to release in April. I’m updating it and adding new material. I want to deepen what’s there and give some really detailed, useful information.

I also did just over 1K on NOT BY THE BOOK. I’m not really back into its groove yet, but I’m confident if I keep showing up at the page every day, I’ll get there. I’ve got just over 10K on this first draft, and I need another 44K. For the target market, I need to keep it around 55K, which , since I’m holding the book in my head and keeping it active and lean, I ought to be able to do.

I did some research on an upcoming section of POWER OF WORDS. I might have to write the section set in Venice ahead of where it comes in the order of the story, simply because the research materials I ordered are here NOW, and I need to use them while I have them. I rarely like writing out of order (although I’m doing so more than usual on INITIATE), but here, it’s a case of making the best use of the research materials from the library while I have them.

I’m also figuring out the fashion stuff I need for the rest of THE FIX-IT GIRL, I hope to dig back into that early in April. I’d like to finish the first draft sometime in June, let it percolate, then go into serious revisions over late summer, getting it out on submission in early fall.

Reading an excellent contest entry. Not quite as good as the one that got a perfect score (this has to be docked a couple of points for mis-use of words, grammar errors, and length — it could use about 75 pages cut), but it’s a strong contender as one of the finalists in its category. I’m enjoying it, but, because it’s so darned long, it’s putting me behind where I want to be in my entry pace.

I’m starting a promotion for the digital short comic mystery “”Plot Bunnies” under the Ava Dunne name, since it’s Easter-themed and Easter’s coming up. Seems like a good time to promote! It’s available digitally on Smashwords here.

I have paperwork and other admin to deal with this weekend, along with, I hope, a lot of writing, and maybe even getting some yard work done. I’m feeling emotionally exhausted and stressed by several things right now, so I’m counting on showing up at the page every day, my yoga and medication practices to keep me balanced and able to move forward and deal with what needs to be dealt with.

I have several choice words for other things going on in the world, but I’ll save them until after the weekend. I want to see how a few things play out first! 😉

Have a great weekend.

It would be so nice if we actually moved into spring by next week!

Published in: on March 24, 2017 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 24, 2017: Creative Productivity  
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Tues. Jan. 17, 2017: Reading, Figuring, Negotiation

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and take a look at “The Joy of Re-Reading.” Maybe it will inspire you to re-read some of your favorites.

Well, the weekend wasn’t as relaxing or productive as I hoped.

There was news happening, such as Swamp Thing Elect’s attack on John Lewis — right before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Typical of a self-centered Swamp Thing to attack someone vital to this country’s civil rights.

Not to mention that Biloxi, MS is now calling it “Great Americans Day”. That is not the name of the holiday, and you don’t get to change its name just because you’re a racist representing other racists.

Ringling Brothers’ Circus is closing after 146 years. Feld blames animal rights activists, and I call bullslhit on that. There are circuses without animal acts (such as Big Apple) who are doing fine without them. As someone who pitched to them several years ago to be part of their marketing department, I had a plan that would have brought them into the 21st Century while still paying tribute to their history and the history of “circus.” (Regular readers know I have several circus-themed projects in development — I have a good handle on the history). They weren’t interested. To their credit, they also didn’t start hiring third-rate reality celebutards to get them more attention. Am I saying that if they’d hired me they’d still be viable? No, because I’m sure other people pitched even better plans. But they weren’t willing to take big enough risks.

Sent off some material to a theatre that seems interested in working with me. We’ll see.

Did some more research for a pitch to a different theatre. I’d like to do the particular project I’ve been researching, so I sent off the pitch. Fingers crossed. It would mean six months of immersion in a period of time I’m interested in, but don’t know much about except peripherally. It would mean six months of immersion in beauty (as well as drama), which I could use right now.

I also re-thought another long-term project, which means one of my deadlines that was at the end of this month is now at the beginning of March, and then the next at the beginning of June, and so forth, every 12 weeks for the next two years, instead of every 6 weeks for a year. That will allow each of those pieces to be more in depth and more polished.

Because the point of honing one’s craft is that every piece one writes is better than the earlier ones.

Read Gail Godwin’s PUBLISHING: A MEMOIR, and recommended it to a friend who’s been going through a rough time. I didn’t realize how many publishers and editors she had — although she found the right agent early on and they stuck by each other. The right agent is so important. And difficult to find.

I used to read a lot of Godwin’s work, and really liked it. Until the religion overshadowed things like plot, character, and story, and then she lost me. I haven’t read the last few books, but I think I will try them. I also want to find the early ones, the ones I liked so much, that are packed away somewhere downstairs, and re-read them.

I don’t trust people who say they never re-read. A good book gives you fresh gifts every time you enter it. The “don’t have time” argument is just another bullshit excuse. There’s no such thing as “having” time for anything. You make the time for things that matter, and you ignore the rest.

Playing with a few things writing-wise, but it wasn’t anywhere near the productive writing weekend I needed it to be. I’m way, way behind where I need to be and frustrated.

I managed to write 14 pages on a piece on Saturday, but it wasn’t one of the pieces I should be working on. However, it was important in its own way, and I learned from it.

Read Miles Morland’s MILES AWAY: A WALK ACROSS FRANCE, which was fun.

There was an absolutely amazing event on Sunday at the New York Public Library, hosted by PEN America. It was the Louder Together Event, for writers to express the importance of protecting and fighting for free speech. There were people I knew there; people I didn’t know before but admired; new-to-me people who I now know. Writers of all kinds: novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists, translators, journalists (I’m talking REAL journalists who work stories, not news readers), and, most importantly to me, perhaps: playwrights. Because live theatre is a huge arena of change, because it is experiential rather than theoretical. Heroines of mine such as Anna Devere Smith and Eve Ensler spoke. I have always felt a great honor and a great responsibility as a member of PEN — it was strengthened on Sunday.

I was disappointed not to see any familiar faces from where I now live — Cape Cod. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and think they went to the sister rally held in Boston. However, I seriously doubt it. May I be proven wrong!

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and a holiday. I took it as such. A contract offer came through — why it was sent to me instead of to my agent puzzles me. Negotiations will start this week, and it will be settled one way or the other.

I have a lot of lost ground to make up on both NOT BY THE BOOK and SONGBOUND SISTERS, although I’m feeling more confident in SONGBOUND SISTERS. Its natural rhythm is a bit slower than I’m used to; since it is yet to be contracted, I have the luxury of working with the book’s natural rhythm.

I started reading ITALIAN WAYS: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks. He says something that resonates even more strongly in 2017 than in 2013, when the book was written: “In America the lack of investment in train travel speaks eloquently of a country always ready to appear righteous but pathologically averse to surrendering car and plane for a more eco-friendly, community-conscious form of mobility.” (p. viii, Preface).

Today, in addition to catching up on writing, I have a Very Long List of administrative tasks. Gotta keep up with them or they become overwhelming.

If the contract negotiations end positively later this week or early next week, there will be press releases to get out. Ditto if the play set in the Renaissance I pitched is commissioned. So, I have to be ready to jump on either of those instantly, should they come to pass.

I’m also working on a new marketing plan for the Topic Workbooks.

It’s always feast or famine; if even a handful of the opportunism work out, I’m entering a feast cycle, which will be good. I’ll need to step up to the plate and deliver. And adjust the uncontracted work so it still moves forward (because today’s uncontracted work is tomorrow’s contracted work) without sabotaging the contracted work.

It’s all about protecting the work while keeping one’s commitments, and knowing how to shift. And being able to work on more than one thing. Very few writers have the luxury any more, of being able to work on one project at a time. They should honor their agents and editors when they do.

Have a great week!

Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Intense few days. Very productive, but intense.

The two new Topic Workbooks, THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE , are both available here and through the Premium Catalog (which means Kobo, Nook, etc.). I’m pleased that they turned out so well. I’ll be adding them in to the various necessary web pages this week.

I worked on Saturday, and was exhausted by the time I came home. I spent Saturday and most of Sunday working on contest entries. I can’t believe how many entries are well beyond 500 pages — I’m talking 750, 850, 1410! And, in all those cases, it’s Book 1 which is so long! Few of them are well-written enough to sustain that length. Most of them are overwritten, have pages of info dump, and the pace can’t maintain the marathon. The characters and the plot aren’t strong enough to compensate.

Monday morning, off to Buzzards Bay for the Board meeting, followed by the Capital Campaign meeting.

When I got back, I was ready to dig in to the writing. On a whim, I pulled out the second draft of HEART SNATCHER, which I’d put in stasis for awhile, because I was frustrated with it. I was surprised by how well it held up. I made notes — mostly having to do with cuts. It’s in good shape, and I think in another draft, it will be ready to go. I then started re-reading what I have of the second book in the trilogy, HEART BINDER — needs work, but there’s promise, especially since I outlined the entire trilogy and smoothed over logistical lapses early on. I want to find a way to add it into the current schedule, while not dropping the ball on either SONGBOUND SISTERS or “Just a Drop.”

Got some work done on Non-Fiction #2, which is chugging along nicely.

Tuesday morning, I rewrote about the first 100 pages of HEART BINDER, fixing a lot of the problems and making it continue smoothly from HEART SNATCHER.

In the afternoon, I finished up the contest entries and made sure the choices were the ones I believed in most strongly.

By the end of this week, I’ll get in the entries for the radio contest, and those will be done by the end of the month.

This morning, I revised the prologue and first three chapters on the next draft of HEART SNATCHER. It will be a long day at work, but I’m eager to get back home this evening and write some more. I’m going to spend the next three days on this trilogy, and then, once I’ve got that in the groove, add in SONGBOUND and “Drop” over the weekend.

Of course, because I have to be inside for the next three days, it’s gorgeous out. But the weather is supposed to hold all weekend and finally get warmer, so maybe we can start setting up the deck.

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing  
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Thurs. April 7, 2016: Entries & Covers & Incoming Snow

Thursday, April 07, 2016
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and milder

They’re saying we will get snow again on Saturday. I really need good weather on my days off so that I can do yard work!

Yesterday was a long day, but fine. I did PR for upcoming programs, and put out feelers for some programs I’d like to book. I did my reports.

The version of MOBY DICK from which we are doing readings at the end of the month came in. I copied out my pages. I thought there would be a kazillion holds on it, but there aren’t, so I’ll hang onto it for a few days and do some background reading around my assigned pages. It’s been years since I read MOBY DICK.

Worked on contest entries, and did some work on Nonfiction #1. Did some work this morning updating some Topic Workbook covers and on upcoming Topic Workbooks, so I can get those out.

I need to sit down with a calendar and come up with a realistic re-release schedule for the short pieces. I also need to get new cover designs for some of them, and a new cover design for “Too Much Mistletoe”.

I’m on the fence about whether I want to do the two short stories that would need to be finished by the end of the month. I have to weigh the time necessary to add them in to the potential payout (which encompasses both financial and career placement). Something to think about this weekend.

Long day today, and then back to the contest entries. Every time I pick up an entry, I want it to be wonderful. And then we go from there.

I also have to do some replanting. Some of my seedlings need more room, and I need to start the next batch.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Devon

Published in: on April 7, 2016 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 7, 2016: Entries & Covers & Incoming Snow  
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Tues. Feb. 26, 2013: Ebooks and Rehearsals

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and milder

Yesterday started off as a good day — knocked out a review and got it to my editor; typed up the article I’d written the night before, edited it and pitched it; pitched two articles to a publication into which I’ve wanted to appear for years; started on another article; worked with students. Most importantly, I had an excellent writing session on my own novel, which put me into a pretty decent mood.

Frustrations started happening in the afternoon, everything from checks that were supposed to be here last week still not showing up to casting problems with the play. We lost an actor to a series pilot — understandable. An actress flaked, and she wouldn’t even have let me know if I hadn’t checked in with her about something about last night’s rehearsal. I was NOT amused, especially since she doesn’t seem to think it’s an issue, just to bail without notice. Needless to say, I won’t be using her for anything else. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. I found someone else who really wants to do it who ended up having to race to the hospital on a family emergency, so last night wasn’t a possibility, and we’re trying to figure out if we can make it work.

So, we were down two actors for the hospital tour and the read-through. But we coped, and the three actors we have are awesome. Completely the right choices. And they seemed very interested in the workings of the hospital. Townsend is emotionally ready to go, I think. He’s restless. Hopefully, we’ll be able to release him soon.

We loaded up my car with props afterwards, and I came home to work on leads for the other two actors. I have a meeting with one today — hopefully that will work out — he seems eager, and I know he’s really good.

I was exhausted by the time I got home, but so keyed up I couldn’t sleep.

Woke up with an excruciating migraine this morning.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about my non-fiction E-books and the Topic Workbooks.

I have a lot to get done today, and a meeting tonight, so, deep breath and jump in. Migraine or not, it all has to get done.

Devon

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 9:52 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 26, 2013: Ebooks and Rehearsals  
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