Fri. May 20, 2016: Getting Back into Writing Rhythm

Friday, May 20, 2016
Day before Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was fine, lots to do, and I wound up with a massive headache by the end of the day.

Lawn’s growing fast – I have to get mowing this weekend!

A call for submission landed on my desk, and I managed to get it out. Either it will be what they want, or it won’t, but at least the piece is out there, trying to earn its place in the world.

Trying to figure out how I’m going to juggle DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, SONGBOUND SISTERS, “Just a Drop”, HEART SNATCHER, and INITIATE. Time management will be key.

I figure DEATH OF A CHOLERIC will need one more round of revisions before it’s submission-ready. I feel good about it; it’s one of the stronger pieces I’ve written lately. SONGBOUND and “Drop” are still in early drafts – pushing through to finish is key. HEART SNATCHER is in its final round of revisions before submission – finally – and I just need to tweak the submission packets. INITIATE will need finishing and several rounds of revisions before it’s submission-ready. It’s also a departure – and somewhat of a risk – for me, but that’s one of the reasons I’m so fond of it.

I’m also in the final prep for the re-release of “Severance”, and I have to put together the media kit. The next one that releases, I think, will be the comic romantic mystery, “Plot Bunnies” under the Ava Dunne name. And, it would make sense to re-release “Personal Revolutions” around the 4th of July, since that’s when it takes place.

Basically, everything needs to be finished and earn its keep!😉

I do love the process of writing, though. I am one of those writers who loves the actual sitting down and putting words on paper. Do I like “having written’? Yes, that sense of accomplishment. But I love the actual writing even more.

Work tomorrow; there’s a tag sale next store, benefitting the library, so there will be chaos all day. I need to do a lot in the garden this weekend, and get back into my writing rhythm.

Read Amanda Quick’s TILL DEATH DO US PART. Enjoyed it. I enjoy her books. I also learn a lot about structure from her.

As busy as it gets in summer, I’m still trying to figure out how to have TWO days of disconnect per week. I need the quiet time for my own work.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Wed. May 11, 2016: Back from Vacation!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter direct (as of the 9th)
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was on vacation. It was nice to have time off, although I didn’t get as much rest as I hoped. And it’s nice that one of the retrogrades has gone direct.

It rained almost the entire time, except for the past two days. That made things a bit more complicated, but I kind of like rain — gives one the chance to be a little more quiet.

I spent the first part of my vacation in the Berkshires, at Kripalu. I was looking forward to it enormously — which was probably one reason I was so disappointed. They no longer enforce the “electronic devices only in the Wifi lounge” policy. People were on their cell phones EVERYWHERE, even right under the signs that asked them not to. The Sunroom, which is supposed to be for quiet contemplation, was turned into an office by a group of people — laptops, file folders, bag lunches. They texted in the meditation room; they were on their phones in the silent dining room. People are now smoking outside (it used to be no smoking anywhere on the grounds). Not only is it contradictory to their stated mission (which makes them hypocrites), but it makes them any nameless, overpriced resort out there. There was NO WHERE on the entire property where one could go for quiet contemplation. Not acceptable.

I enjoyed some interested workshops, but it didn’t make up for the fact that there was nowhere to go to be quiet. The point of an R&R retreat is to have “rest” and “relaxation”. I got neither –and, at those prices, I expected both.

My favorite program was given by the chef — the food is still outstanding. I learned a lot I could take back with me and use. I met some great people, including a lovely woman from Syracuse who is a graphic designer.

I stayed at the Black Swan Inn — right across Laurel Lake from the Edith Wharton house. It’s a lovely hotel. I had a fantastic room with one of the most comfortable beds in which I’ve ever slept. Unfortunately, T-Mobile has no coverage in the Berkshires, so my cell phone was useless. The landline in my room didn’t work. My Kindle worked, on the hotel’s wifi, so I emailed a neighbor and asked him to contact home and let them know I got in safely.

Ironic — more electronically disconnected at the Inn than at Kripalu!

Once home, I focused on the writing. I’m just past the halfway mark on the DEATH OF A CHOLERIC rewrites. I believe the book will need one more round of revisions before it’s ready to send out. I also got a lot of work done on Nonfiction #1. And, I’ve started purging things — from the office, and then I’ll tackle all those unpacked boxes in the basement. It’s slow going, but at least there’s progress.

We’re also preparing for company to come in from Europe this weekend. Four people, so the little red house will be packed to the gills!

I’d put down fertilizer and grass seed before I left, on the front lawn. The daily rain did its thing while I was gone. I finally got the terraced back area mowed and fertilized, and got the front mowed again. I’d put in some creeping phlox at the bottom of the driveway, which is cheerful. I got a new, long hose for the front, so I’ve got long hoses both front and back to keep everything properly watered. I still have to rake out some beds and weed them, and I have to get in topsoil for the circular bed in No Man’s Land, so I can plant the bee/hummingbird plants.

I replanted most of the tomatoes, the peas, and the cucumber yesterday, and started zucchini, kale, and beans yesterday.

The mower’s being a pain in the butt — I’m fighting it so much to get it started that I barely have any energy left to actually mow! I still have to mow the meadow, and yank out some stuff that’s invaded.

I’d love another week to just read and sleep, but no such luck. It’s back to work today. I’m sure there are piles on my desk, and I have a program this upcoming weekend. I have a lot of PR to get out for upcoming programs.

The food is figured out when the guests arrive — I’ll be doing a lot of cooking as well as everything else.

I’ve been really careful in the revisions of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m only revising three chapters per day, and then reading the next day’s material for revision. That way, I don’t burn out, and I can keep a good overall eye on the piece, instead of getting bogged down in the same types of things that bogged down the draft. In general, I’ve used a much slower pace on this book, and I like it. The quality of work is better. The drafting was still 1K/day, but the rest of it — I’m letting it marinate in between drafts, and I’m pacing the revisions in a way that allows for better work.

Work on “just a Drop” is much slower than I would like, and I won’t get a chance to work on it with guests this weekend, but that’s life. Still trying to figure out how to fit the revisions of HEART SNATCHER back in, without throwing the entire schedule off.

I feel like I’ve already put in a full day before going to work — in the garden before 6 AM, working on Nonfiction #1, and then working on revision chapters before heading to work. Ah, the life of a writer!

Hope you’re having a wonderful spring!

Devon

Fri. April 22, 2016: Earth Day Productivity

Friday, April 22, 2016
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Earth Day!

Yesterday was a good day. Very productive. Processed books, DVDs, magazines. Created a poster for an upcoming event. Put calendar listings into the press. Created programs for two upcoming events. Time consuming, but all good.

Did some work on Nonfiction #1 both last night and this morning. Worked on the pages I’m going to read this weekend at the Moby Dick marathon.

It’s supposed to rain today, so no yard work, but I’m hoping to make up for it tomorrow and Sunday (and Monday and Tuesday).

I need to prep the questions for the panel I’m moderating next weekend, and decide what we’re serving (and then make it).

And then I’m on vacation. I’m trying to make sure nothing’s left hanging and gets dumped on anyone else while I’m gone.

I have to finish up the notes for the radio contest, and do some work for the NMLC this weekend, too.

I was thinking that Saturday was the end of the month, but it’s NEXT week – I still have a week’s worth of writing before I have to wrap up the month! I hope a lot of that will be progress on the play “Just a Drop.”

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Published in: on April 22, 2016 at 8:29 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 22, 2016: Earth Day Productivity  
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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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Fri. April 1, 2016: Looking at a Long Day

Friday, April 1, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool
April Fool’s Day

I’m not a big fan of April Fool’s Day. Most so-called “pranks” often have an undercurrent of hostility to them.

Yesterday was okay. Couldn’t get everything done that I hoped to, but that’s rather the norm. Did an additional last minute PR push for tonight’s Trivia Night fundraiser.

I’m excited to be included in the Moby Dick Marathon reading at the end of April in Provincetown. It should be fun!

Cooked steak last night because I was craving it and I could. Feel a little better today. I don’t eat red meat that often, so when I crave it, I generally listen.

Got some work done on NonFiction #1 last night and this morning, and worked on contest entries.  Also updated the websites to reflect Amber Quill closing its doors.  Designed a new cover for “Severance” — it looks like that will be the first of the shorts to re-launch.  I kind of love the cover.  It speaks more to the core of the piece, I think.  I’ll have to do some photo shoots to re-do some of the other covers.  I think I’ll release the pieces from KILLER QUINTET separately.  That might give me more flexibility. Still in negotiations for that.

Today, I’m working a 13 hour day, but I’m off this weekend. I’m flat out working, but it won’t be here.

My April To-Do list is up on the GDR site – the list is short, but each piece is labor-intensive, so it will require a lot of commitment and solid time management.

Devon

Published in: on April 1, 2016 at 8:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 1, 2016: Looking at a Long Day  
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Wed. March 30, 2016: Refilling the Well & Moving Forward

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy few days. That seems to be the mantra, doesn’t it?

Saturday was my Saturday “on”, and I was exhausted by the time I came home. I read, worked on contest entries, worked on the outline of the gothic, and percolated on the two short stories I have to write in the next month.

Sunday was Easter — even though we don’t technically celebrate it, the way I do with the Equinox, we ate an egg for breakfast and enjoyed the fact it’s a holiday. The weather wasn’t good enough to work in the yard. I did some planning, though, for what I’d like to do in the yard in the upcoming weeks. I baked a ham, and we had a good holiday dinner.

I worked my way through another stack of contest entries. The entries in the genre I’m currently reading, are, unfortunately, both derivative and weakly-written.

I took a break to read something well-written, which was Dawn Tripp’s novel GEORGIA, about Georgia O’Keefe. It was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday, I did some work in the morning, ran errands, and took my mom to the doctor. The weather was vile, but we got there. Good news — she’s in good shape, n spite of the X-rays and the pulmonary test for which she was sent. But she has to exercise more. On nice days, we’ll walk on the beach. On nasty days, she walks around the house trailing a cat toy, so the cats get exercise, too.

Went to Country Gardens to drop off a sample of the invasive, pick up a present for a colleague, and do some pricing on things I want/need in the next few weeks for the garden.

Came home and percolated on various projects — reading background material, sitting in the office in the reading chair, and just being quiet and contemplative. People don’t realize how important that kind of time is to the creative process. I have ideas for several more paintings and one or two mixed media pieces I’d like to play with, so I’m also going to build more studio time into the schedule. It can’t interfere with the writing, but I also want to make sure that I follow this thread of creativity, simply because I enjoy it.

Went out to dinner at the Black Cat in Hyannis with a writer friend — it was her thank you for me reading a draft of her novel (and giving her nineteen pages of notes on it). We had fun. It was a pleasant evening out, and we both miss the nineties!😉

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty day. I tried doing a scene for SONGBOUND from a different POV — didn’t work at all for the story. Although I’m working in close third, it needs to remain in Enid’s POV throughout. Good to know.

The play is coming along slowly. Its innate natural rhythm is much slower than a lot of other things I write, although the actual playing pace of it will be brisk enough to keep it from sagging. I have a title — “Just a Drop” — and that’s helping its shape. It won’t be done by tomorrow, which was my original deadline — but I’m pretty sure I can finish it by the end of April, which still gives me May for revisions. Scripts don’t need as much “resting time” in between revisions as novels for me.

Went to a birthday lunch for a work colleague yesterday. She’s a lovely woman, and it was nice to let her know she’s appreciated.

Took my mom to get her medication, and then we walked on the beach. A little windy, but nice. Too windy and raw to work in the yard, though. Tried sitting on the deck for awhile, working, but it was too cold for that, too. In fact, it went down to 33 degrees overnight!

But the seedlings inside are thriving.

I’ve been re-reading some of the books on my shelves — books that meant a lot to me, for one reason or another at different parts of development — and jotting notes down about them, thinking there might be material in there for an essay “someday.” I realized, yesterday, that I have the basis for two non-fiction books. Nonfiction #1 will take about a year to eighteen months to re-read everything and then sort out the material, get in additional statistics and anecdotes; Nonfiction #2 will take between three and five years. Some of this is because they have to fit in and around other projects. Some if because it will just take that darn long. But the process will be a pleasure, and I think I’ll get something good out of it.

Last night was the Artist HobNob, back in Hyannis (I’ve been to Hyannis a lot this week) at Kelly’s on Main. Fun evening, good speaker. Good talk with two other artists, who’ve been very supportive of my foray into mixed media. We’re talking about doing a ‘play date” and just messing around, to see what we come up with. That sounds like fun.

This will be a long week at work — today, tomorrow, and then Friday night we have a big fundraiser, so it will be a 13 hour day for me. Fortunately, I don’t have to work on Saturday — although I’ll be doing plenty of work –errands, dump run, cat food, garden center, yarn shop, etc., etc. Saturday night is the opening of the “Unsafe” exhibit, so I’ll be over there for a couple of hours. Sunday, there’s Julian Cyr’s campaign kickoff in Truro, so I’ll be out there.

I’m hoping the weather will be nice enough to get some yard work done, too!

Plus, of course, work on SONGBOUND SISTERS and “Just a Drop”, starting the short stories, and continuing on with the non-fiction pieces.

I hope it will be a productive spring. A POSITIVE spring.

Devon

Published in: on March 30, 2016 at 9:12 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 30, 2016: Refilling the Well & Moving Forward  
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Wed. March 9, 2016: Excellent Writing Weekend

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy few days! It was nice not to work on Saturday. I ran errands and did research, and, generally, gave myself a day off.

That meant Sunday morning was for research, and then back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I went over the whole book, fixing things (my process is completely different with this one) and then wrote about twenty additional pages.

Monday, I wrote another chapter. Yesterday, another chapter. I’m past the 300 page mark. I figure I have, at the most, five chapters left. I can see the end. I know where I’m going, although I don’t have all the details about getting there. I’m excited! I’m at the point where I don’t really want to talk about the details, because I’m worried that it will derail the momentum.

I also woke up in the middle of the night with a solution to a logistical problem that’s bothered me in the book, that will also solve a second dilemma. It will mean quite a few tweaks in the revision, and I don’t want to put them in now, but it’s important, because that particular lapse in the story left the reader (me, at this point), with the feeling of something not adding up properly. And, in a mystery, everything has to add up — that’s the comfort of it. A thriller can get away with loose ends, or a fatalistic ending. A mystery has to give the reader comfort that justice was served.

I got the next batch of books for the contest. More mystery, more novella, more fantasy. Considering how many strong contenders were in the mystery category in the first batch, it’s exciting.

I’m finishing up the handouts for my talk on the 16th. Nowhere near as detailed as the ones I had for the script topic, but that’s what happens when you switch things out on me after I’ve done my prep. A friend told me I should have just refused to change topics, or, if they didn’t want the topic, withdrawn from the event. She’s probably right — I’ve spent too much time being a “good sport” with these people over the years, and it’s yielded absolutely nothing. It certainly hasn’t garnered book sales.

Got in a good bit of reading, too, this weekend. Reading I WANTED to do, rather than HAD to do. My favorites were TO HELVETICA AND BACK by Paige Shelton, a surprisingly good cozy, and Stephanie Barron’s latest Jane Austen mystery, JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP. I read several mediocre books, too, but I’d rather applaud the books I enjoy than trash ones that aren’t really worth the time.

Nasty dream last night about a home invasion — this home. Not a good dream.

Long day at work today. I have a lot to get done. I finished my taxes last night, so that’s something off my plate, thank goodness.

And got another chapter written on the mystery before I left. End is in sight!

Devon

Published in: on March 9, 2016 at 10:37 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 9, 2016: Excellent Writing Weekend  
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Fri. March 4, 2016: Snowy Writing

Friday, March 4, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowing

Yup, it’s snowing. The Cape and Islands are supposed to get the bulk of this storm. We were told it wouldn’t start until noon, but it started before 9 AM. Should be interesting.

Busy day yesterday, between meeting and trying to get stuff done when I got back to the desk. Exhausted by the time I got home.

Watching GOING POSTAL last night – funny. There were times, though, when the pace lagged a bit. Pratchett’s dialogue is often as quick as it is quick-witted, and when it’s not delivered that way, it hurts the overall effect.

Got out a submission last night, which is good. Have to keep up with all that.

Overslept a bit, didn’t have a good session at the desk this morning. I will have to make up for it this weekend.

If the weather gets bad, we’ll close up early and head back; otherwise, It will be another long day, but then four days away that can focus on the writing. I’m behind where I want to be on CHOLERIC, but I’m close enough to the end to taste it. Now, I just have to get it down on paper, and then it marinates for awhile, so I can return to it with fresh eyes.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on March 4, 2016 at 9:05 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. March 2, 2016: Art, Politics, and Flexibility

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy few days. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I left the library on Saturday afternoon. But it was a beautiful day. I managed some studio time in the good light.

Friday night, I attended my HobNob colleague Leonore Lyons opening reception of her exhibit THE KEY IDEA at Centerville Historical Museum. It was wonderful – her project, a community art piece, is expanding exponentially, and the staff and volunteers at the Historical Museum were terrific. I’m glad I went.

I did a lot of work on notes for SONGBOUND SISTERS, which is pulling strongly at me. I may have to flip work on TIE-CUTTER with work on SONGBOUND, so I don’t lose momentum. I also got another submission out, and did some reformatting a radio play –halfway through, I realized I was doing the wrong formatting for that particular venue. So I’ve got to go back and fix it sometime this week.

Worked on two proposals — one is almost ready to go out, a co-teaching proposal with a friend that would happen locally. The other still needs some more work, and would be regional, not just local, and needs some more work on budgeting.

Sunday was about studio time, and also searching for one more object I needed for the piece. Couldn’t find it. Store after store after store.

Sunday afternoon, I went to a house party to meet a candidate for State Senate named Julian Cyr. One of the board members at the library had invited me, and he’s also an NYU alum, so I was interested. We hit it off immediately, talking like we’d known each other for years. The fact that he listens and responds to what is actually said to him will take him far, I think. He’s got great ideas, lots of energy, he’s smart in knowing how to get things done, and has integrity, the latter of which is very important to me. I’m glad he’s running for the seat that’s about to be vacant — I didn’t hate the current holder of said seat, but didn’t feel he was responsive enough to individuals, and he wouldn’t do things like take on Comcast when they broke the law (since Comcast believes they are above the law).

Cyr is about solutions for the lives people actually live here, not buzzwords and putting band-aids on amputations. The bulk of his work has been in public health, and he sees how what are often split into different issues are all connected. That’s important, especially on Cape Cod, where the fragile ecological balance affects absolutely everything else.

I also met some very interesting people at the house, who are involved in film production. One woman, a casting director, feels very much the way I felt when I left Broadway to come here. I’ve been through it — I offered to be a sounding board whenever she needs one.

Came home a little tired, but also energized by the prospects that, even if politics is going to the insane and incompetent on a national level, we might be able to do something positive here.

More studio time.

Monday morning, up early. Studio time. Finally found the final object for the project – in the 27th store I visited in three days. Times like this, I miss New York, where they actually HAVE what you need in the logical places. More studio time.

I’d rearranged my day for an afternoon appointment with a potential client. Never happened, never heard. Considering how much I needed both the studio time and the writing time, it told me all I needed to know. In the evening, I emailed, wishing them well. Heard back Tuesday morning for a re-schedule, but none of the times work for me, and I’m done. I realize things happen, but it was a “I don’t think you’re the right person but want to talk to you” kind of thing, so I’m not losing anything by not engaging.

Yesterday, sent off the information about the project. Either it will be accepted, or it won’t. If not, I’m still glad I did it — I learned a lot. People kept telling me it would be “cathartic”. It wasn’t. It was painful. But I’m still glad I did it.

Sending it off, and getting it out the door left me exhausted, though.

I got my hair cut — short, cute, a bit vintage. My mom and I went and voted — always a satisfying feeling, although I miss the big machines with the levers. Then, you REALLY feel like you accomplished something!

Our treat for getting out and voting was lunch at Crisp, in Osterville. I had a gift card from the holidays, and their food is excellent. So that was a good choice.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, read a bit, and watched election results until I was too tired.

Today, work turns back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m behind where I want to be on it, but I think I can catch up during the coming week. I want to get this draft done so it can marinate while I work on SONGBOUND SISTERS, and then, when SONGBOUND is done, I’ll go back to TIE-CUTTER. The creative balance, I think, will work, since there’s more of a difference lining up CHOLERIC, SONGBOUND, TIE-CUTTER, and then the 1947 aviation novel, rather than having CHOLERIC and TIE-CUTTER back to back.

I also want to get the first draft of the play about the 17th Century poisoner in Italy done this month. I want it out the door by June.

Long day at work, with lots of PR writing to get done. Onward.

Published in: on March 2, 2016 at 10:35 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 2, 2016: Art, Politics, and Flexibility  
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Fri. Feb. 26, 2016: Changes to the Freelance Work

Friday, February 26, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday seemed longer than it was, although that was mostly because I’m tired.

Over the past few days, I’ve updated both the Fearless Ink and the Devon Ellington Work websites. I decided that I’m no longer going to take on private editing clients, unless I’m hired by the publisher. I’m going to finish up the contracts I have, but enough already.

First and foremost, I need to spend that time on my own work. Every minute I work on something by someone else is time taken away from my own work that I can never get back. In my experience, the bulk of the editing clients: don’t want to pay a fair rate for the work they want done; have no interest in learning craft; don’t meet deadlines; book time and then don’t send in their material, which means I’ve turned down other paying work, and then I’m short. Not every editing client has been like that, and I’ve had some wonderful, exciting stuff to work on over the years, but the bulk of them have fitted into one or more of the above. When I accepted editing work from a publishing house, the work has already been vetted, so there’s at least some craft involved, they are as committed to the schedule as I am, they understand this is a business and not a hobby, and they pay on time. All around, it makes more sense.

Plus, I’m getting more script work and more marketing writing work, and I enjoy it more. So that’s what I’m focusing on. I’ll teach workshops if I’m brought in by an organization and paid in proportion to what I’m teaching, paid a deposit, paid the balance on the final day of the class (not this 30 days after crap), and, if necessary, paid a cancellation fee if they can’t fill the class. I’m happy to develop custom workshops for organizations, but there’s a fee involved.

And if you’re not going to pay an appropriate rate for my work – you don’t get it. I will take my work elsewhere.

Setting those boundaries has removed lots of stress from my life, and I feel much better moving forward. This is a business, not a hobby. I don’t have to accept any and every offer that comes down the pike.

The Freelancers Union motto: “Freelance isn’t free.”

Today will be another long day. I’m going to the opening of an acquaintance’s exhibit this evening, which will be fun. I’m in tomorrow, and then it’s heavy duty studio time. On Sunday, I’m going to a meet-and-greet of a fellow NYU alum who is running for state Senate. But the bulk of the weekend has to be studio time, to get this project in under deadline, and then back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, which won’t be finished by Monday, but I hope to finish by the following weekend, because TIE-CUTTER has to get back into the mix and finished, too. I’m very eager to get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS, and am taking notes. I also have to finish the first draft of the play.

And do things like my taxes.

Busy times ahead!

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on February 26, 2016 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 26, 2016: Changes to the Freelance Work  
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Wed. Feb. 17, 2016: Steadily Writing

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Waxing Moon
Chilly and cloudy

Weather’s been up and down and all around.

Saturday was a busy day at the library. Got quite a bit done, but I was glad to go home.

The mystery is chugging along well — got some good writing done on it Sunday, Monday, and yesterday. This morning, I’m doing some layering, so that I set up my murderer better. I feel pretty good about the end of the month deadline for the first draft. I think I’ll be within a few days of it, one way or the other.

I polished two short stories that will go out this week. I need to polish one proposal, and get to work on another proposal. I have to be careful with the latter — it’s a project I think is exciting, but I refuse to, yet again, ply my VOCATION full-time without compensation. I got the details on judging the radio contest, and I also worked my way through some more contest entries. The last batch should arrive soon, so I want to make sure I’ve finished the first batch before they arrive.

I got in some studio time, when the light was good.

Did some more background reading for several projects.

Wrote a bit on the project that starts in the early 1920s, just to get the characters quiet. I want to deal with the racism of the time — to do so properly will be a challenge. But it’s important.

Grocery shopping on Monday. Tuesday, I finally got the headlamp fixed on the car, ran some other errands. Baked the banana-coconut cake for today’s luau, and a couple of lemon cakes as thank yous for neighbors who helped us in the snow. I also made the base of the tropical punch and chilled it.

I got up at 5 this morning (after a bad night) to make the ham-and-pineapple bites and the crabmeat/avocado/mango spread. I’m not happy with the latter. I expected it to have more zing.

I feel like I’m coming down with something; hope that’s not the case. I don’t want to lose momentum on the mystery, and I have too much else going on right now. Fingers crossed I can take care of myself well enough in the next few days not to succumb.

Published in: on February 17, 2016 at 10:28 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 17, 2016: Steadily Writing  
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Fri. Feb. 5, 2016: Wintry Writing Weekend

Friday, February 05, 2016
Waning Moon
Rainy, expecting snow, falling temps

Yesterday was busy, but hard to focus.

I’d hoped it would snow overnight and we’d have a snow day today, but it’s rain that will change over at some point during the day.

Up early this morning. Got about 750 words done on LAUGHTER RETURNED, and I’m actually happy with some of them, which is good. One of the supporting characters, who I’d planned as a bit of a British dandy sponging off the main characters has turned out to be a tough Western American. He’s got an agenda, intelligence – and more to offer than the original concept of the character, which I think will work better in the overall scheme of the book.

Background reading on another project. Originally, I planned to set in the 1950s, but the early 1920s seems to support more of what I want out of the piece.

I’d left my flash drive with what I needed for CHOLERIC in the other computer – glad to find it safe, and I’ll be more careful today, so I have what I need to work at home this weekend.

Finishing up some material for Monday’s NMLC board meeting, and hoping to finalize the ArtsWeek Boston panel. February’s book groups got a nice mention in today’s paper, so that’s good. Always good to see the PR’s hit properly.

The bulk of the next four days will be about writing, although I’m attending a friend’s event tomorrow afternoon in Sandwich, have to go over the bridge for some errands on Sunday, and over again on Monday for the board meeting (weather permitting).

But, overall, I’m looking at a reasonably productive weekend. I also plan to dig back into contest entries. I had a week off reading for the contest, so now I’m ready to go back. I much prefer getting the entries in batches, rather than 100+ books landing on the doorstep all at once.

I’m sorting through some possible opportunities, to see what it makes sense to accept, and what will throw the schedule so far off-course (without enough recompense to make it worth while) that I should decline. I’ll have my lawyer look at the contract extension before I sign it for the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and I’m in the process of getting the paperwork for the rights to the pieces I have with Amber Quill, so those can go on to their next lives.

On an exciting note, I’ve been asked to be on a judging panel for a high school radio writing contest in New York State. That will be lots of fun.

I’m also going to start preparing my talk for the March Writers Night Out and the handouts this weekend.

This weekend will be the good kind of busy!😉

Devon

Published in: on February 5, 2016 at 9:44 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 5, 2016: Wintry Writing Weekend  
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Wed. Jan. 20, 2016: AAA Fail

Wed. January 20, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. I was exhausted when I got home from work on Saturday. Was not very productive. I’ve started on the books entered in the contest. The ones that are good are quite good; the ones that miss the mark do so in similar ways. They have too much unnecessary information dumped into scenes instead of integrated into them, lack logic, are poorly edited and/or copyedited. In a couple of cases, they are merely a re-telling of stories that hit the bestseller lists, with a few name and location changes, but trying to fit the formula so closely they don’t bring anything unique to the table. Those are simply poorly executed, pale imitations of books that worked. There are a few that have unique and interesting premises, but the writing is so awkward that they wind up not working. But I learn a lot from each book i read.

I’m also reading my friend’s manuscript. I’ve got some notes for her — this is her first foray into writing a novel. She usually writes biography.

Got a nice chunk of work done on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. It’s not chugging along as quickly as I would like, but I like what I’m doing, if that makes any sense.

Tried several ways to fix the short radio play. Finally found something that worked, and did a nice chunk of that on Tuesday morning. I’m close to finishing, and will be able to get it out on deadline.

Watched the second season of BROADCHURCH, which was well done, and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, which is one of those movies that, in my opinion, was probably more fun to make than to watch. It’s a great tribute to the stunt choreographers, it’s beautifully shot, but I didn’t really care about anything.

Did a lot of laundry — it was New Year’s Eve the last time I did laundry, so it stacked up.

We had snow Sunday into Monday — not much, but just enough so I didn’t feel like running around on Monday. Tuesday morning, I was up early, and hit Country Gardens to get a load of wood. The car coughed when it started, but start it did, and I got there, loaded up, got home, unloaded.

We then loaded the garbage to take it to the dump — and the car wouldn’t start. I’ve suspected for awhile that a new battery was in my immediate future — this is still the original battery, and the car turns nine years old this year. It’s done very well.

So I call AAA, give them all the information, tell them I need a new battery (one of the services they now provide). The guy shows up pretty fast, but he won’t change the battery. He gives me a song and dance about how the car can’t be turned off once he’s jump started me, it’s something much more serious, and I have to take it straight to the dealer. I know my car — I know it’s the battery. But he’s insistent I need a complete electrical diagnostic and a whole bunch of other stuff. He said I didn’t want to “try” a new battery because it was $170 dollars at least — interesting, since the battery replacement service AAA claims to provide promises only $130.

I grab the Kindle and get in the now-running car and drive to the local dealer, rather than going to my regular mechanic in Plymouth (because I wasn’t sure I’d make it to Plymouth and didn’t want to break down on the way). I apologized at the dealership for coming in without an appointment and explained the situation. They figured I was right, and that we should try a new battery first. The diagnostic is an overnight thing, and let’s try the simple solution first.

It didn’t take them long to replace the battery and run a quick system check (without the elaborate overnight). Yeah, it was the battery. Of course, since I went to the dealer, it was MUCH more expensive than if the AAA guy had simply replaced it per my contract with AAA. But he didn’t want to bother, so he gave me sturm & drang and sent me to the dealer. The dealer was very nice and gave me a discount, but it was still more than I expected to have to shell out during these weeks. The dealer also told me that they’ve been getting a lot of these cases lately, where the tow driver gives them a story, jumps them, and sends them in, rather than actually doing what they were sent out to do.

Why am I paying for AAA again? I rejoined them a couple of years ago because the car is getting older and I wanted to feel secure in case something happened. This does not make me feel secure. If anything, it reminds me why I left AAA when I was a teenager, I broke down on the NY Thruway during July 4th, I had drunks shooting over the top of the car, I called them, they said there was nothing they could do, and they left me there. Not acceptable. You can bet they’re going to hear from me about it.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s an element of sexism involved — woman doesn’t know what’s wrong with the car, I can spin a story. I may not be a mechanic, but I know my car. It’s one of the reason I always go to Plymouth — because they don’t assume I’m an idiot.

So, not only did I have to pay more than I should have, but I lost a day set aside for getting things done. It didn’t take that long at the dealer (they were very nice to take me quickly), but it still added several hours to something that should have been a quick swap out of dead battery for new battery, and I was so exhausted by the time I got back, I couldn’t even think about driving over the bridge and dealing with errands.

Instead I spent the afternoon working on contest entries. So i didn’t completely lose the day, but what I hoped to get done will have to wait until next week, weather permitting.

We’re supposed to get slammed with a big storm next weekend. So I’ve got supplies set in, and we’ll see.

Today, I have a meeting for work in the morning, and then a long afternoon. There’s supposed to be a major upgrade on the software we use to check out and catalog, so we’ll see what fresh hell tomorrow brings.

More Mercury Retrograde — I heard back on a submission I’d made to a magazine. The story was rejected. Fine, it happens. However, it wasn’t the story that I sent. In fact, looking through my files (just to be sure), I don’t have any story with that name on my computer or flash drive. I remember sending a different story to that publication, and that’s the story that’s in the Submission log. So I’m seriously confused. I don’t know whether to say something or just write off the publication and not submit again.

I’m ready for Mercury to go direct!

I’m also deeply thankful to the car for getting me home safely with a load of wood in it, and not conking out until we were back in the garage!

Have a wonderful week, people!

Devon

Published in: on January 20, 2016 at 1:23 pm  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 20, 2016: AAA Fail  
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