Thurs. Sept. 27, 2018: Getting Out of Your Own Way

Thursday, September 27, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, rainy

It’s hot and humid and yucky again. Urgh. On the one hand, it’s good, because then the heat doesn’t kick on (although it did earlier this week), and I don’t have to worry about heating bills. But I’m tired of the heat and humidity.

I’m tired, in general, feeling exhausted from the last few weeks, but too bad for me. There’s still a lot to do.

And I wish the damn tourists would go home already. I’m glad people come and enjoy the beauty of Cape Cod, and spend money, but they’re rude, with false senses of entitlement, and trash the place. Go home already!

Even though I was exhausted, I got up early, put myself together, and got out (in the rain) to the Hearth and Kettle in Yarmouth for the CCWA Coffee Chat meeting. It was a lot of fun. There were about thirteen women there, all interesting and passionate about what they do. It was great to talk to them, learn about their different businesses, and exchange information.

I’m following up with everyone I met this morning; a couple of people wanted more information on my marketing writing services, so that will go out. We’ll see what happens. There’s a lack of follow through here on Cape, so I just do what I do, and see what happens.

I also got invited to a couple of events hosted by other members, and they sound cool, so if I can fit them in, I want to go. I talk about reciprocity a lot — part of that is also doing my bit to accept invitations and get out there.

Made it to my client’s office on time. I’d brought a weekend bag with a change of clothes, so I changed, got some marketing/promotional material posted, and then went out back to the warehouse to help with some inventory and get some samples out for a big sale on the West Coast.

Some of those pieces are great for auditions. I talked to an acquaintance of mine who’s a casting assistant and described the pieces. She’s going to tell me if they show up on actors auditioning! It will be fun to hear about it.

Dealt with some frustrations during the day that only reinforce the decisions I’m making. I still have things to put in place, puzzle pieces to set, but there’s a lot to get done in the coming months.

When I finally got home, I should have dug into the RELICS revisions, but I was just too damn tired. There’s a point where pushing through no longer works.

I also have to stop beating myself up about being tired. I am no longer in my twenties. I am in my mid-fifties. This is what it is. I still do more and get a lot more done than many people around me. I have the right to admit it when I’m tired, and to do what I need to in order to recharge, so that I can continue, instead of just pushing through until I collapse.

I have an appointment this morning, and then I have to head back; they’re cleaning the furnace for the upcoming winter. The afternoon MUST be spent in revisions and working on calendar articles.

I’m also going through material for my Idea Bazaar speech at the human rights conference. The flow seems like tangents, but when I really look at it, I can rearrange it so it builds and is of a piece. I’m starting to look forward to it.

When I was so nervous about speaking at the Provincetown Book Festival, an actor friend in the UK said, “Do you trust the work?”

I did. The monologue is part of a play that was produced twice, and the monologue has been performed internationally on stage and radio. The prose scene was from TRACKING MEDUSA, a book in which I have confidence. So my answer to the question was “yes.”

“Then get out of the way and let the work speak.”

Which is what I did. And it worked.

Even though I was nervous about giving the acceptance speech at the award ceremony on Tuesday, it wasn’t about me. It was about my client, who received the award. So by getting out of the way and speaking from the heart, I could honor her properly.

The speech for the human rights conference is again, not about me. It’s about a much larger issue that we must all be invested in, or we will ALL suffer.

Which is one of the things that drives me nuts about this area of the country. Unless it’s a personal threat, too few people around here give a damn. I am done with those people.

Digging in to DAVY JONES DHARMA again this morning, and then working on some articles to post. Somehow, it will all get done.

Back to the page.

 

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Monday, May 14, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors The Next Step on the Ladder

black-and-white-construction-ladder-54335

Photo courtesy Khimish Sharma, via Pexels.com

Monday, May 14, 2018
Dark of the Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

 

My first response to that is, “Which ladder?” I have various limbs on various ladders. I write in different genres, under different names, in a variety of formats: prose, theatre, television, film, radio. Journalism. Essays. Marketing writing. Reviewing.

I do very little editing for private clients now, because the time/money ratio doesn’t work for me, too many would-be writers default on payments (when they’re not trying to lowball me down to a fraction of my rate), and I need the primary focus to be on my own work. When I edit, I am generally hired by the publishing house to work for something under contract that has passed particular gate-keeping standards.

I am with more than one publisher. One of them, who has signed several projects, is small, just starting out. We are taking a risk on each other. Among the reasons I was excited to work with them was that they pay small advances, don’t demand their writers acquiesce to a boiler-plate contract AND, instead of POD, they do small print runs. The print runs are after a certain digital threshhold is reached, but the POD model was not working for me, so I wanted to try this. I am still with another publisher who is doing the POD model, and I have submissions out to several other publishers, who work on a mix of models, so we’ll see what happens. I also liked them because the editor with whom I’m working constantly pushes me to be better. And that is my goal — that every book I write is better, in both craft and art, than the previous books.

About a year ago, I sat down with a lawyer, an agent, an editor, and a marketing advisor, and we came up with a plan. I was unhappy and frustrated with the way things were going in my career. I knew I wasn’t writing what the Big Five wanted; I wanted to explore some things that they are currently giving lip service to, but not following through on, and I wanted to do it in my way. We were not a good fit at the time. I knew I was going to part from an agent I’d been working with for several months, because we were not a good fit. When we got together, she was excited by my work and my voice; but the more we worked together, the more she wanted to dilute it and take out what made it unique. She kept telling me my themes and issues were “too hard for the typical reader.” In other words, she wanted me to dumb things down, and I didn’t want to do that. Also, she only wanted to commit to a book at a time, and I need an agent who is interested in long-term career planning. She has since signed a friend of mine, and they’re doing great together. I’m happy for both of them; they are the right fit. We were not.

As far as the marketing writing went, I wanted to have the confidence to say “No” to the lowballers locally and reach farther afield. The interesting thing is that as soon as I did that, I landed two clients locally with whom I work well, WHILE also reaching beyond the bridge for clients who pay better.

We took four or five days together, and I took about twenty pages of notes. We crafted a plan. Some of that we followed; some of that has fallen by the wayside for various reasons.

I re-stated my commitment not to “niche” — to me, that’s a death toll for a creative life. Far too many people who “advise” freelancers sneer and call what I do a “generalist.” I prefer to call it being a “Renaissance Writer” and I’ve written on this topic for both WOW-Women on Writing and Write Naked!

I wanted to get back into article writing, which fell by the wayside for a bit. I started pitching again, and I did pretty well, but that seems to be one of the things that falls away first. Since I enjoy articles — every part from the pitch through the research through the writing and the polish, especially working with a good editor — I need to get back on track with that.

One of the big changes I made was in the way I do pitch letters. Instead of trying to frame what I do to sound like what they want, I’m more specific in the elements I think will appeal and more specific in where our paths diverge. I’m more myself in the cover letter — while still structuring it the way I find works — hook, one paragraph summary, technical info, bio, why this market. And the results are good.

This year and next, I’m on a brutal contract schedule. I’d spent a couple of years working on different types of material, on working on craft. Now, with a commitment to more than one series, I am sitting down and writing the books.

Last year, PLAYING THE ANGLES was re-released, as the first of the Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels (in its original incarnation, it was a stand-alone). The second book in the series, THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, just released, and the third, RELICS & REQUIEM, will come out in October of this year, with the fourth, GRAVE REACH, coming out in May of 2019. So that’s a tight schedule.

Last year, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA (as Ava Dunne) released. It’s a not-quite-cozy mystery series, whose protagonist is a yoga instructor on a cruise ship. Only one of those books comes out a year! But the next one, DAVY JONES DHARMA, is due in early December this year.

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, re-released this past January. As I worked on the second book, THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, I realized that there was a chunk of it that slowed down the plot. Yet the information was necessary to where my characters were in their emotional lives and how they’d built their day-to-day relationships. Flashbacks and info-dump conversations wouldn’t work; so my editor and I decided to pull out those chapters, flesh them out into a “between-the-books” novella, now called MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and put that out this summer. BALTHAZAAR is still scheduled to come out in January of 2019, and that is now back on track, the pace and content correct.

In the meantime, I had three terrific opportunities. One was to pitch a serial. Those of you who’ve known me for several years know that I used to write four serials in four genres under two names for 18 months a few years back. A total of 8000 words a month. I love writing serials, and I miss it. I had the chance to pitch to a company that specializes in serials.

I pitched a fantasy/adventure novel. I’d written the first four chapters a couple of years ago and put it aside for scheduling reasons. But, when I had this opportunity, I wrote a few more chapters, and outlined what would be the book-length arc of this serial. I fell in love with it all over again. If it’s picked up, it goes back in the schedule; if not, it will be back-burnered again.

I also had two other ideas, stand-alones, that I played with, on and off for a couple of years, writing my way in the first few chapters, then making notes for my Writers’ Rough. On impulse, I polished pitches and tossed them into a Twitter pitch day for a specific company. Editors liked both; so I’m working on some additional chapters, polishing them, and sending them out by deadline this month. Again, if the editors want the full manuscript, they go back into the schedule sooner rather than later; if not, they are back-burnered until next year, when my contract schedule isn’t quite as demanding.

As I said above, I have a couple of other pieces out on submission; if they are contracted, they will be worked in. I also have a serial novel — which is different than a novel broken down as a serial. This is a set of novels that are all of a piece. It follows the filming of a television series over several seasons. Not a series, in the sense that each stands alone and progresses. These novels all fit together like puzzle pieces. One of my publishers has expressed interest in looking at it when the first five or so puzzle pieces are ready. When will that be? I don’t know.

I also made a commitment to do more script work again. I’m taking this year off from stage plays (I wrote four in three years for 365 Women). But one of my radio plays will be produced later this month, and I want to submit some screenplays I’ve polished.

Along with all this, I will pitch to higher-paying clients and higher-paying article markets. Gotta keep a roof over my head, and if I don’t keep up the writing pace I can’t. This is my profession, not my hobby. I am paid to write. That IS my day job. While my book sales have jumped considerably since I moved webhosts and redesigned my websites, I still need the marketing writing and article writing for income. Plus, I enjoy it.

So, my “next step” is building on the foundation of the series on which I currently write; continuing to expand the publication contracts with other publishers at higher-paying tiers, and book higher-paid marketing and article gigs.

I’ve found a process that works for me as far as the new ideas — because, as we all know, new ideas come in batches. I write my way in for a few chapters, then sit down and do a Writer’s Rough Outline. That way, whenever I can actually sit down and WRITE the book, I can drop into its world. The Writer’s Rough outline captures the initial energy of the idea, and then, as I work, I can develop the structure and the craft.

In the coming weeks, we will sit down again and assess how this last year played out. What worked, what didn’t. Where I lost focus, and what I dropped because it didn’t work. And we will craft a plan for the coming year that will guide me toward the “next step on the ladder.”

I don’t want fame. I worked in theatre and film for too many years and see how it can hurt creativity and general life; that is not what I want. I do want financial stability, and to be paid fairly for my work. There is no reason not to be paid well doing work I love. My profession is writing. I will not let ANYONE decide that it’s a cute lil hobby and I don’t deserve to be paid a living wage. I will dig in and do it, and earn my living. It will be a mix and match of projects and styles and tangents, but writing is my profession. When I decided I wanted to work on Broadway, I didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving that goal. Now that I’m writing full-time, I feel the same way.

My next step is increased earnings and visibility for my work. It is also participating in the community of writers who love what they do and are committed to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work across the board, no matter what the profession. It is refusing to “dumb it down” or change what I write because people I don’t respect threaten not to buy what I write. The great thing about writing is that there are plenty of authors writing in plenty of styles and genres, so there’s something for everyone. It’s fine if someone doesn’t connect with my work — there are wonderful authors out there with whom they WILL connect. But threatening me and demanding I change what I write is not going to work.

Artists have a responsibility. I believe that responsibility is to bear witness to the world, to expand people’s vision of the world, but also to create better worlds and help us find ways to reach those better worlds inclusively and fairly. A better world needs social and economic justice. By respecting our own value, our own worth, we set the tone.

For more inspiration on valuing your work, please visit Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog. It’s great all the time, but May is Writers Worth Month. It’s especially great now.

 

Wed. April 11, 2018: Visions and Re-visions

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to the Fearless Ink site for the latest post on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Busy couple of days. I’m prepping a presentation for a client. The opportunity came in on Monday, and the presentation is next week; today is my last day with the client before the presentation. And so it goes. But it’s an interesting project, and I enjoy the process as much as the result — which is why I do this in the first place.

The work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY is going very well. I did six chapters on Monday morning before my client meeting and four more that night. That left me only six more chapters to do. I got up at 5 yesterday, to get at it. Two seriously rewritten chapters in the morning, another at night.  I have to add an entire section to the last chapter to plug a hole and had to rewrite one of the earlier chapters in a different character’s POV. But I think I can send it to my editor either tomorrow or Friday, so we can get into galleys.

The glitch with Amazon for both PLAYING THE ANGLES and TRACKING MEDUSA has been solved, and they are both available for Kindle. Big relief. I’m pleased that all three books are selling steadily on Kobo and B&N, too. I’m amazed and delighted by the positive difference the new websites on the better host make. Learn from me, my writer friends — the website matters! Do your research, invest the money. It’s worth it.

Need to polish up the first chapter of RELICS & REQUIEM to include in the back of SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Need to polish the book-exclusive article on genius locii. Need to finalize both the Acknowledgements and the Dedication. Then, put it all together, and off we go. This phase of the book is always exciting and terrifying.

Back to the page! With relish today, instead of dread. I prefer it this way, and, more often than not, that’s what I feel. I am a writer who loves WRITING, not just HAVING WRITTEN. Big difference.

 

Published in: on April 11, 2018 at 2:34 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 11, 2018: Visions and Re-visions  
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Thurs. April 4, 2018: Brief Sun Before More Snow

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

They’re predicting another snow storm this weekend. Enough!

Tired, on many levels right now. I’m struggling.

Onsite work with one client was quiet, but busy this week. I’m behind where I want to be on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, but that seems to be a theme for the book. I’m working on the outline for the serial, and need some more time for it. I’d like to get it out at some point next week.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest.

Working on next week’s post for Ink-Dipped Advice, next Monday’s #Upbeat Authors post, and for a guest post over for Writer’s Worth month on Words on the Page.

Need to get back on track with MYTH AND INTERPRETATION, too, although we’ve come up with a potential cover image to start building its cover. We also found some great stuff for the cover of RELICS & REQUIEM, and possibly even GRAVE REACH. SPIRIT REPOSITORY will have its cover reveal tomorrow. My newsletter subscribers got it first!

Working on the updated media kit for TRACKING MEDUSA (since the one I’d worked on dumped last week, and I’ve had to start from scratch). I still have a good deal of work to do on the Jain Lazarus site.

The main focus right now is finishing SPIRIT REPOSITORY so it can release on schedule, and get back in gear with both MYTH and RELICS & REQUIEM. I have to get started on DAVY JONES DHARMA pretty soon, too, to keep that on track.

I read Alice Hoffman’s THE RULES OF MAGIC. It’s about the early life of the aunts in PRACTICAL MAGIC, which is one of my favorite books. I loved a lot of this book, but I got frustrated with the characters sometimes, their refusal to learn more about what they are, the lack of curiosity. It also made me think about the thread throughout many books, of the healers in a community who are shunned by day, but people creep to the door for their help at night. Not just in this book, but in literature in general, across genre. It makes me wonder why characters and authors allow characters this type of hypocrisy without consequence. Yes, it happens in life. But I would also like to see some characters, sometime, somewhere, refuse to condone and enable it. It’s gotten me thinking, in a good way. Which means the book touched on something deep in me, even if every reaction to it wasn’t positive, and the book did its job of getting me to think, to feel, and to ask questions. So my final response is positive.

Today, I have to run some errands and go grocery shopping, do some more research on ANCESTRY, do some yard work (if the weather holds), and, most importantly, WRITE.

I feel like I’m juggling two-ton dictionaries right now.

Back to the page.

Wed. March 28, 2018: Writing And Other

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see the latest post for business owners on how to write an ad that attracts the right writer.

I’m clipping along on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It’s great to be back with Gwen and Justin. Keeping in mind what my editor and I discussed about the outline helps me keep it moving without it getting too unwieldy. After all, this is a between-the-books-novella, not the second book in the series.

The fact it’s not the “second book” is probably part of why I’m not struggling to write it (so far, anyway). I struggle with every second book in a series, it seems, and wind up unhappy with it. The outline helps a lot, too.

Breaking this section off and developing it, keeping it separate from BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, was the right decision.

The notes are due back from my editor on SPIRIT REPOSITORY today, and I’ll have to start digging in to make our release date. I’m nervous about the notes.

Working on the Writer’s Rough Outline for the serial project. It’s coming along more slowly than I would like, but it’s coming. Even if the pitch isn’t contracted, it gives me clarity on where I want to go with this piece, and that’s a good thing.

Working on the Writer’s Rough of another outline for a piece that’s been bugging me. I want to get the notes down so it will leave me alone, but when I decide to go back to it, the bones are there.

The work on the outline is making me refine the pitch, which is a good thing.

Client work the past few days has been challenging. Not the work itself, but some of the personalities. All in day’s work. Especially when both Mercury and Jupiter are retrograde.

I did some promotion on both Facebook and Twitter for all the novels in all the series yesterday. I usually don’t do batch promotions like that, but I had the chance, and I did it. I’m not too worried about it; I spent a LOT of time promoting, re-tweeting, and encouraging other authors.

With all the anger at Facebook for the way they sell data on their users (well-placed anger, I might add), I’ve been looking at other social media possibilities. I prefer Twitter to Facebook for many things anyway. But I wanted to see what else is out there. So, far, not impressed by what I’ve come across. Again, they want too much control over my content and too much information.

I had a typical Mercury Retrograde experience on Monday. I spent hours on a supposedly stable computer reconfiguring the TRACKING MEDUSA media kit, tweaking content, adding content, switching out some of the excerpts, etc. And the damn computer crashed, so I lost the new material. I’m frustrated. But then, that’s what I get for working on a PC. It seemed it would make more sense to work on it than on my aging Macbook, but it wasn’t.

More on-site client work today, and then, I’m sure I’ll have the notes for the final big REPOSITORY edit waiting for me. Once I get over the shock of all the red marks (because, no matter how hard I worked on the draft, there will be plenty of red marks), I’ll get to work and make it better.

To the page.

 

Published in: on March 28, 2018 at 2:28 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 28, 2018: Writing And Other  
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Tues. March 27, 2018: Multiple Writing Tracks

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Yes, Jupiter went retrograde on March 9 (I’ve been in denial). And now Mercury is retrograde. It’s like walking on eggshells.

Busy weekend. Spent the bulk of it working on the Writer’s Rough Outline so I can finesse it into a synopsis for the project going out in a few weeks. Nowhere near done. Also made notes on another project pulling at me.

Any minute now, I’ll get back the edits on SPIRIT REPOSITORY and have to dig in, so we stay on track for it.

Worked on the newsletter; worked on the new media kit for TRACKING MEDUSA. Pondered new content for the Jain Lazarus site.

The new websites are working, though; people are finding them and, therefore, finding the books, the stories, the workbooks. It’s so good to have working sites again that support what I do.

Saturday, I had to take my mom for an ultrasound, but it came back clear. But we were still exhausted. The timing of the test meant I had to cancel my plans to join the March for Our Lives, which disappointed me. I am in awe of these teenagers who refuse to be murdered by special interests and refuse to let corrupt politicians look the other way. Maybe there is hope for our country, after all. If we can take it back before the authoritarians destroy us all, in order to line their own pockets. We are, sadly, living a portion of a dystopian nightmare. The lack of action by those who put their hands over their ears and sang, “lah, lah, lah, it doesn’t affect me” is coming back to bite us all in the butt.

Worked on contest entries. Can’t believe it’s already another week, and the last week of March.

Client work yesterday, and client work today, both onsite.

Continuing to work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and the outline. Hoping the weather will hold this week, so I can get out there and clear up the debris from the last four storms we’ve had.

Onward.

Published in: on March 27, 2018 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 27, 2018: Multiple Writing Tracks  
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Fri. March 23, 2018: Anticipating a Writing Weekend

Friday, March 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

So, Mercury is retrograde. In Aries. Ick.

Yesterday wasn’t as productive writing-wise as I wanted, but it was productive in other ways. I finished the book I had to review, and will polish the review and send it off today. I worked my way through several contest entries.

The big deal, for me, was that I figured why the contact form wasn’t coding in properly on my websites, and fixed it. Now the websites have contact forms, rather than stating my email or writing out the email so I’ll get a lot of spam.

I cleaned up my new mailboxes. I am in the process of unsubscribing from a bunch of stuff, on all my email accounts. There’s too much crap coming in.

I figured out how to reconfigure my menu bars so I can use drop-down features where appropriate.

I have three different WordPress books checked out from various libraries in the system. In order to figure this out, I had to read the relevant sections in all THREE and then do something slightly different, based on what I read. Because heaven forbid, any ONE of them should have had the complete, correct steps.

I worked on the newsletter. I worked on the updated media kit for TRACKING MEDUSA. I may do the cover reveal for SPIRIT REPOSITORY in the newsletter.

I got ahead on some blog posts.

I’m working on the Writer’s Rough Outline so I can distill it down to a synopsis and get the submission packet for the last big project out in the next couple of weeks. I have another project to get back out on submission, but I will wait until after Mercury goes direct. I want to do another pass on it and make some cuts.

I have a lot of errands to run this morning, then a meeting, and then I’m digging back to drafting the books that are waiting rather impatiently for attention.

And, of course work on the Writer’s Rough/synopsis.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 23, 2018 at 9:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 23, 2018: Anticipating a Writing Weekend  
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Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Waning Moon

I moved the Cerridwen’s Cottage website all by myself. I’m so darned proud. For me, a non-IT person, it was a big deal. It’s a big personal milestone for me.

Yesterday, I started building it live. I’m hoping to move the Fearless Ink site late this week, and then maybe get to build it early next week. And then I’ll be done with 1&1 as far as hosting go. They still hold my registrations for the moment.

I also finally understand why I’m having the problem on the Welcome page of the Devon Ellington Work site. Even better, I understand how to fix it!

Now, I still have to learn how to do a drop-down menu . . .

There’s a storm coming in, so I might not get to post tomorrow, although I hope to do so on Friday. I hope it won’t be as bad as they say; I’m getting a little weary of the storms. As long as the power holds . . .

Working steadily on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Playing with ideas to finish POWER OF WORDS. Got re-ignited for NOT BY THE BOOK — there are good bones there. If I can pull it off, it will be a worthwhile book. Working on FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

It’s a good busy.

A potential client liked my pitch, but wanted me to do a proofreading test before talking any further. I did. It was a timed test, full of the errors that set my teeth on edge. So, we’ll see. The money would be great, but I need to know more about the parameters.

My flash drive is full, so I started a new, 32GB drive. I moved over pertinent files from the old drive and sorted them properly. Let’s hope I can keep this drive organized.

I’m reworking the media kits for TRACKING MEDUSA and the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and looking for some fun, additional material to add to the Jain Lazarus site.

I need to put together some more material for the Coventina Circle site, and put together the pieces for the SAVASANA AT SEA giveaway I want to do in a couple of months. I’m also working on some ads for the different books and stories. I want to see if they make a difference. Friends of mine tend to have good luck with Facebook ads, and they’re usually reasonably priced, so we’ll see.

I’ve had a terrible headache for the past few days. I hope it lets up when the storm moves in.

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 2:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm  
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Thurs. Feb. 22, 2018: Stresses and Deadlines

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Wacky weather.

Check out the latest post on Gratitude and Growth here. I’m trying to revive that blog, along with everything else.

I’m weary. There’s some stuff I can’t discuss publicly that has to be thought through and decisions made. It’s been a rough week. Especially since the bulk of the unpleasant chaos was unnecessary and caused by someone who is manipulative and a nasty piece of work.

On a happier note, the Devon Ellington Work site is coming along nicely. I’m pleased with the design; no muss, no fuss, easy to read. There are still a few glitches, some more material to add. But the host moved happened, and it’s just about ready to announce — once I figure out why the pages I trashed show up published under the home page!

I’m working my way through the emails, getting all the necessary accounts re-set, too.

The Coventina Circle site is also coming along well. It’s about halfway there, and should be ready for its live announcement in a few days. I’m building all the subdomains live, which is risky, but necessary.

Nautical Namaste, Gwen Finnegan, and Jain Lazarus all have temporary landing pages. I hope to have them finished next week, and then I’ll start on Cerridwen’s Cottage, get that moved, and then, last but not least, do Fearless Ink.

On a writing front, I’m frustrated with myself. I haven’t been pitching enough articles; I haven’t been sending enough LOIs; I am pushing to get THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY done on deadline, but I’m struggling.

Between the web host stress and difficulties on another front, I am worn out, physically and emotionally. But deadlines aren’t suggestions; they’re deadlines. So I’m pushing through. Once I get this book off my desk and to my editor, I’ll feel better.

Of course, then I’ll be focusing on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and starting RELICS & REQUIEM. And finishing FIX-IT GIRL so it can go out on submission and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK. But REPOSITORY must get the bulk of my writing attention now. I’m in the last few chapters. It’s just making them work, and picking up the pace.

We have some more cover discussion for SPIRIT, too, coming up.

Once the websites are live, then we can start putting our marketing ideas into play and get some promotion done on these books.

I found the photos for the special page on the Gwen Finnegan site, where I got inspirations for TRACKING MEDUSA. I’m excited, when I get to the point where I’m building that site, to put those up and share them.

Working steadily on the books submitted for the contest. I finished the first batch of mysteries, and I’m working on the fantasy genre now. I’m glad that the entries are so strong this year.

I’m looking forward to a productive few days, and then, maybe, maybe, just focusing on hearth and home issues this weekend!

Published in: on February 22, 2018 at 9:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 22, 2018: Stresses and Deadlines  
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Tues. Feb.6, 2018: Same Location, Distinct Voices

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Waning Moon

I’m in a juggling act right now. I’m working on books in different series, but I’m working on them at the same time.

One of the challenges, is, of course, keeping the voices distinct. Especially since two of the books take place in contemporary New York City, and their circles of influence somewhat intersect.

The Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels take place in contemporary New York City. Well, sort of contemporary — based on my last visit there after the move away. Things change all the time, so it’s a recognizable New York City, while still serving the fictional needs of my plots and stories.

The Gwen Finnegan mysteries have a longer reach, because Gwen and Justin’s adventures take them all over the world. After all, TRACKING MEDUSA had sections set in New York, London, Lindisfarne, Ayrshire, Greece, and Marseilles.

THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second Coventina Circle book, is set in New York again. Most of it is in Greenwich Village, a place I’ve known and loved for years. Some of it takes place on the Upper West Side, where Bonnie, the central protagonist of this book, has sublet the apartment from Morag (the central protagonist of PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first book in the series). And part of it is set up in Inwood, near the Cloisters, where one of the secondary characters lives. The third book in the series, RELICS & REQUIEM, with Amanda as the central protagonist, will focus mostly on the Upper West Side and on Midtown East, where the Phineas Regan lives.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, which lands between TRACKING MEDUSA and its locations, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which is mostly set in the Bahamas, but with some sections in New York and in the UK, is completely set in New York. Okay, Justin makes a foray to Princeton in New Jersey. But the focus is in New York.

Both deal with paranormal. Central characters in both are witches.

So it becomes an interesting challenge to keep the books from intersecting. The voices must be different. The issues the members of the Coventina Circle face in their lives and loves are quite different from the issues faced by Gwen and her archaeological clan. Yet the frequent some of the same places — libraries, museums, restaurants, and the like.

When I lived in Manhattan, I was involved in a variety of different circles, although my primary one was theatrical (since if you work in the theatre, you spend 90 hours or more a week in the theatre). I also moved in publishing/literary circles, in the wellness/spiritual circles, in academic circles, in art and music circles. It was always interesting to see where they intersected and where they did not.

Applying that in a believable way while keeping both these series’ voices distinct is an interesting challenge. If the deadline pressure wasn’t so severe, I’d probably enjoy it more.

Some of it means writing fast and then breaking down sentence and paragraph structures as I rewrite, to fit the cadences already set up in the first book of the series. That’s easier to do in the Gwen Finnegan mysteries, because Gwen is central to each book. It’s more of a challenge with the Coventina Circle books, because each book has a different set of central protagonists, each with their own distinctions.

I’m also taking a risk, putting in a site and a small group of characters into both SPIRIT REPOSITORY and into MYTH & INTERPRETATION that make a bit of a crossover, although Bonnie, Rufus, Gwen, and Justin won’t meet and/or interact.

It’s similar to some of the in-jokes and crossover Jenn McKinlay’s done between her Hat Shop Mysteries, her Cupcake Bakery, and her series set in Maine.

Hopefully, I can pull it off!

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle mystery is available digitally here for $3.99.

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?

THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, will release in May 2018.

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, is available digitally here for $3.99.

Archaeologist Dr. Gwen Finnegan is on the hunt for her lover’s killer. Historical researcher Justin Yates bumps into her, literally, on the steps of the New York Public Library, and comes to her aid when she’s attacked, sparking an attraction between them in spite of their age difference. After avoiding a cadre of pursuers at the Met Museum, Gwen impulsively invites Justin to hop a plane with her to the UK. The shy historian, frustrated with his failing relationship, jumps at the chance to join her on a real adventure. That adventure takes them through Europe, pursued by factions including Gwen’s ex-lover and nemesis, Karl, as they try to unspool fact from fiction in a multi-generational obsession with a statue of the goddess Medusa.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION, a “between the books” novella, will be available digitally in July 2018.

 

Published in: on February 6, 2018 at 6:28 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb.6, 2018: Same Location, Distinct Voices  
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Tues. Jan. 16, 2018: Steady Writing Gets There

 

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
New Moon

Busy few days.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my article over on Write Naked, about being an “Anti-Niche Writer,” you can visit it here. And leave a comment!

TRACKING MEDUSA (above) has re-released digitally. New buy links here and on the Books page of this blog.

There’s also a piece about the re-release over on A BIBLIO PARADISE here.

Because of issues with my old webhost, I can’t upload either the new cover or the new media kit to the website for the Gwen Finnegan mysteries or on the main Devon Ellington Work site (although the buy links will go up); when the webhost move is complete, a newly designed site with all the relevant information will go up. I thank you in advance, for your patience.

PLAYING THE ANGLES has moved distributors, and the new buy links are here. The information is up on the Books page of this blog; I’m updating the links on the Devon Ellington and the Coventina Circle site. Again, because of the webhost issues, the cover and the media kit will not be available until the host move is complete.

SAVASANA AT SEA will complete its distribution move and be available here as of today. Again, I will update the links on the Books page and on the Nautical Namaste website, but the cover and the media kit will not be available for download until the host move is complete at the end of the month.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

I will be boosting posts for all of the above on FB once the website moves are complete, because I want to send readers to the websites, which have all kinds of fun stuff and cool information — which will actually be accessible, once the web host move is complete and the new websites are built and go live.

So, this month is frustrating, but will ultimately be worthwhile.

Re-building the Fearless Ink site is going well, albeit more slowly than I would like. I like the new logo a lot. It’s clean and simple. The site will be much the same. No need for a lot of bells and whistles. The words are what matters.

I was feeling miserable on Friday; well enough to whine, so I obviously wasn’t THAT sick. After working on the website building for a few hours, and posting the details about the TRACKING MEDUSA re-release, I went home. Scratchy throat, achy, headache, tired.

I read; some for my own research/pleasure. The first batch of books arrived for contest judging, so I’ve also started on them.

One of Janet Malcolm’s pieces in FORTY-ONE FALSE STARTS: ESSAYS ON ARTISTS AND WRITERS inspired a new piece, set in the 1990s in the New York City arts culture, with the protagonists a painter and a choreographer. I don’t know when I’ll get time to WRITE the damn thing, but I made notes for the outline.

Friday night, the storm came in. It was unnaturally warm for the season, but the rain pounded and the wind howled. More naturally, the power went out, so we went to bed early.

It was restored pretty quickly, but the weather was still vile on Saturday. I put a pot roast in the crock pot and settled in to work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’m behind where I want to be on it, and wanted to catch up.

Saturday, I was sick and miserable. However, I managed to run some errands, and then wrote two chapters on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. That felt good, being back in the world.

In the evening, I had a glass of wine by the fire and read. I’d made pot roast in the crackpot, which was good.

I’ve started reading the books submitted for the contest. They are good. This year will be fierce competition. Which is great. But it also means, when I go back over the books I think are the best, it’s going to be the details that decide which book is chosen.

Sunday, I was truly sick and miserable. I got the laundry done, but the rest of the day, I was huddled in bed, reading. Which is not a bad way to spend the day, but not the way I wanted/needed to spend it.

One of the books was one for review; big disappointment. The entire book was “telling” narration without active scenes. It was impossible, as a reader, to engage or care about the characters. It read like the outline for the novel, not the novel itself.

Yesterday, although it was technically a holiday, I was onsite with a client (even though I felt awful).

Got some more work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, though, early in the morning, so I don’t lose that momentum. I have a draft due on February 15, and I can’t drop the ball.

This will be a busy week, including the weekend, with two big events coming up.

All I really want to do is curl into a ball and sleep!

Not an option. Not right now.

Onward.

Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 1:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 16, 2018: Steady Writing Gets There  
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Fri. Jan. 12, 2018: Re-Release TRACKING MEDUSA!

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

Tracking Medusa is available through multiple digital formats here.

Blurb:

Archaeologist Dr. Gwen Finnegan is on the hunt for her lover’s killer.  Historical researcher Justin Yates bumps into her, literally, on the steps of the New York Public Library, and comes to her aid when she’s attacked, sparking an attraction between them in spite of their age difference.  After avoiding a cadre of pursuers at the Met Museum, Gwen impulsively invites Justin to hop a plane with her to the UK.  The shy historian, frustrated with his failing relationship, jumps at the chance to join her on a real adventure.  That adventure takes them through Europe, pursued by factions including Gwen’s ex-lover and nemesis, Karl, as they try to unspool fact from fiction in a multi-generational obsession with a statue of the goddess Medusa.

Friday, January 12, 2018
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild; turning colder

Well, I’m sick, which totally sucks, because I have so much to do.

On the positive – it’s re-release day for TRACKING MEDUSA! Not that I can post covers or media kits on anything on the Gwen Finnegan website – because, hey, that would mean 1and1.com actually gave me the services for which I’m paying! But no, unless I bow to their extortion of additional payments every month for every site ON TOP OF what I regularly pay – I don’t get to have photos on my sites.

Which is, of course, why I signed with a new webhost and why I’m in the process of moving everything.

But TRACKING MEDUSA is a re-release – and will be featured on A BIBLO PARADISE on Tuesday. If you have the original release, either digital or print – the text is the same (albeit with some stylistic changes to the new “house style”), and it contains the beginning of MYTH & INTERPRETATION and the beginning of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Other than that, there are no major changes.

I’m also over on Write Naked! with the article “The Anti-Niche Writer.” Check it out here. Doing this article was a joy from pitch to release.

In spite of being sick, I’m trying to update the release links for TRACKING MEDUSA, promote its release, and do some more work on the new Fearless Ink website. I want it to go live next week. Because then I have the Cerridwen’s Cottage website to build and move, and the Devon Ellington Work website with all its subdomains – including the Gwen Finnegan mysteries, where TRACKING MEDUSA belongs.

I have a book to read and review this weekend, and I want to start reading the books sent for the contest.

I also have set a high goal of word count on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY because I’m behind where I want to be (although still within the wheelhouse of the deadline).

Somewhere in there, I need to rest with hot tea and brandy, so I don’t get sicker!

We are expecting two days of heavy rain, resulting in flooding, and then turning to ice. Keep your fingers crossed we don’t lose power.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on January 12, 2018 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 12, 2018: Re-Release TRACKING MEDUSA!  
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Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018: Stress For A Cause

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold (but milder than the past few weeks)

The past few days have been stressful.

Signing with a new webhost and getting oriented has been tough. But I believe, in the long run, it will work better.

The Fearless Ink website is the first one undergoing the overhaul and move; I’m hoping, as I learn my way around, each site will get easier. And I’ll get faster at putting things together.

Fearless Ink is also getting a new logo.

Because I’m under a time crunch (everything has to move by the end of the month), I’m worried it won’t be as good as it can be. But I need to get something up and moved, and THEN I can tweak and hone. So it might be awhile before I do a big reveal on any site, although it may go live sooner.

Tomorrow is the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA. As soon as I’ve verified the new buy links, they will go up. I also have to tweak the media kit.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is moving through its new distribution channels, and as soon as I have the buy links, I will make the appropriate changes, on the websites, here on the Book page of the blog, and in the media kits.

SAVASANA AT SEA goes off to the new distributor today, and will follow the same process.

1and1.com’s extortion (telling me the only way I can have book covers and downloadable content on the websites is to pay an extra $140/month on top of my plan) and my refusal to cave in to them has hurt my sales — I lost ALL my holiday sales, and, since I can’t put the new media kits up or the new covers up — I won’t see decent results until the website/webhost moves are complete. Because the Devon Ellington site is the most complicated, with all the subdomains, that will be the hardest. I have a feeling that once the main DE domain moves, the subdomains will all disappear, so I’m trying to get them as streamlined as possible before.

It’s overwhelming if I look at all of it, so I’m looking at it one piece at a time.

Lots of client work this week, and trying to support a colleague who’s going through a challenging time. I feel a little guilty, because the situation has inspired a piece of writing. I don’t know when I’ll actually get to write it, but I’m working on the outline. I’m going to change enough to make it stand apart from the personal information, but it’s also one of the dangers of knowing a writer. Everything is material.

Managed to go out yesterday afternoon and spend time with a friend I hadn’t seen for awhile, and catch up on life, the world, and everything. That was fun. We went to the Dolphin, in Barnstable, which was the perfect place for our chat.

Had to try to explain creative process to someone who didn’t understand why people won’t just “create” in front of him. Because it’s intimate and comes from a private place. Otherwise, you’re just taking down dictation. Too many people around here claim they want a marketing professional when what they really want is a secretary.

I’m supposed to go out tonight, too, but I woke up with a scratchy throat, so I’m going to have to see how the day goes. I’ve been feeling off most of the week, trying not to get sick. I might have to take some time to rest.

The first shipment of books has arrived for judging in the contest. I’m very excited. I’m reading three categories again this year. I also have three books to review in the next three weeks, so I better get to it!

Trying to get back in the groove of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY along with everything else.

If I can get some rest this weekend and not get sick? That would be a good thing.

It’s supposed to be a miserable day tomorrow, so I’m trying to stack all my errands in today, and not have to dash around in the bad weather tomorrow.

Onward!

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018: Stress For A Cause  
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