Thurs. Jan. 19: Day of Resistance (Part II)

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy turning to sunshine and cool

Not a productive writing day yesterday, but got a bunch of other things done. One contract negotiation, in particular, is taking more and energy than it should. I’m being pushed towards signing something that is not in my best interest and is in conflict with the standards provided by the Authors’ Guild, and I’m not willing so to do. Yes, I am willing to walk away if necessary. But the person who fights me on it wants me to sign it anyway. Which I won’t. This “shut up, roll over and deal, even though you’re being fucked on every level” mentality especially irritates me because it reflects what Swamp Thing Elect’s supporters are demanding of the country in every capacity.

Got some research done, but not as much as I’d like. I’m on hold on some of the research, because that is yet another contract that needs to be finalized.

On the third ongoing contract negotiation, the other party asked for more time, which is fine. She needs to run things by her legal advisors, too.

Today is officially the Day of Resistance, before tomorrow’s inauguration and our country’s march into destruction.

I am not able to go to NYC for tonight’s rally led by Michael Moore and Mark Ruffalo, unfortunately. Unfortunately, I’m limited in how much I can afford to travel right now, and since I’ll be marching this weekend, and last weekend was the PEN event — something had to give somewhere. But I will attend it virtually.

Swamp Thing Elect, the Narcissistic Sociopath, that corrupt con man, is not my president. I will not give him the attention he craves. I will not capitulate to his bullying, nor will I become complicit as he tries to destroy the many good things this country stands for, and the progress we’ve made over the last fifty years.

I am not interested in “unity” with Swamp Things Elect’s supporters, who believe it’s okay to mock the disabled, to deny women healthcare, to sexually prey on others, to destroy Medicare — which is an EARNED benefit, to destroy Social Security — again, an EARNED benefit, to condone violence against those who disagree, to destroy the educational system, to destroy the very planet on which we live on, to deny equal rights and basic human decency based on skin color and/or religion, and/or sexual orientation, to force one’s particular brand of extreme religion down the country’s throats while claiming everyone else’s religion makes them a “terrorist”, to condone domestic terrorism as long as the individuals performing it are white, to deny the press access to what is going on so the corruption can go unhindered, to put people in charge of agencies they are bound and determined to destroy, and to get us into a nuclear war because of a Who-Has-the-Biggest-Dick contest.

I’ve heard Swamp Thing Elect’s supporters proclaim that, should they see anything unethical, immoral, or tactics that resemble fascist tactics, they will be the “first” to stand up, and they will protect the “others.” These idiots are completely ignoring that they HAVE seen countless demonstrations of all of that throughout the campaign and voted for him anyway. The behavior had only intensified since the election. They can’t expect anyone to take them seriously that they believe in “family values” when they vote for someone who is its antithesis. They ARE NOT and they WILL NOT stand up against Swamp Thing. or his goons. As usual, they’re blowing a lot of hot air. Paraphrasing the meme that’s been going around, when someone comes for them, there will be no one left to stand for them, because they did not stand for others.

He has had numerous opportunities to respond to criticism and dissent with statesmanship and dignity. He refuses so to do. Instead, he behaves like a spoiled, ranting toddler, and incites further hatred.

It also amazes me how many Swamp Thing Elect supporters think they’re on a “special list” because they voted for him. They genuinely believe that, while people who voted for Hillary will lose health care, Medicare, all health and human services, and Social Security, because they voted for the Swamp Thing, they will keep their benefits while the “others” lose them. Several have SAID that to me. “You’ll be left to die in a ditch, but I’m getting a Cadillac plan and I don’t have to pay for it, because I’m on The List.”

So when they’re shocked that they might lose their benefits and go crying to the media? Honey, this is what you voted for. There is no such thing as “one issue voting.” You voted for the whole package including advocating racism and violence and inequality. You voted to lose your healthcare, your benefits, your overtime pay at your minimum-wage job, and to have your house foreclosed. You are not exempt. You are not on a “special list.” The information was out there; you chose to ignore it.

All while Swamp Thing Elect and his buddies line their own pockets, plunder the US Treasury for themselves, sell us off to other countries, and probably put the contents of the White House up for sale on eBay.

No. I will not “unify”. I will not normalize one of the most unqualified and corrupt administrations in this country’s history.

It is BECAUSE I have respect for the Office of the President that I will not unify with those determined to destroy it for personal gain.

For eight years, anti-Obama factions refused to work with/unify/compromise with the Obama administration. The amount of racial insult against the President and his family, the constant obstructionism. Mitch McConnell declaring it was his mission to make sure Obama was a “one-term President”. Not that he would do his job to serve the country, but that his entire mission was to obstruct Obama. Mitch McConnell refusing to give Merrick Garland a fair hearing for the Supreme Court vacancy, and then whining that the Senate has to rubber stamp anyone Swamp Thing Elect puts forth. If the cabinet posts are any indication, the next nominee for the Supreme Court won’t even have any legal experience.

I will not “unify” with such hypocrites.

I will not give the Swamp Thing the attention he craves. When the Supreme Court betrayed the American people by handing the election to GW Bush, instead of allowing votes to be counted, I did not consider Bush my president, either. I ignored him as much as possible, working with my elected representatives on issues that mattered to me.

Then, of course, 9/11 happened. Even though Bush had the information on August 6 that would have prevented it. Read, or re-read, the 9/11 Commission Report if you’ve forgotten. So we had to pay attention. And then Bush came to speak to an anti-war rally in NYC, against getting into Iraq, and told the assembled crowed, “I don’t care what you think.” I was there. I heard the words. I wrote them down on the day. He was my EMPLOYEE. He damn well better care what I thought!

And here we are, with thousands of lives lost and thousands of veterans who aren’t being cared for, and who won’t, be cared for, under the incoming administration.

The dumbing-down began in the Reagan years. I lived through them. I remember. It got worse with reality television. And now a reality television celebutard is about to take an oath of office he will not fulfill, treat the job like a hobby that he will ignore when he doesn’t feel like doing it, destroy our relationships with our allies all over the world, do whatever Putin tells him, and probably get us into a nuclear war, because he thinks it’s like a video game, and, in his pathetic life, there have never been any consequences for any of the horrible things he’s done. He’s been bankrupt four times. If this cabinet picks are any indications of how he’s run his businesses, hiring the least qualified for every position, no wonder. Now he gets to bankrupt the country.

I will not give him the attention he craves. I will ignore him as much as possible, while working with my elected officials on issues that matter, and fighting the policies that will destroy us.

One of the first things to do is to remove Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell from their positions, because they are using Swamp Thing’s ignorance and bombastic posturing for their own ends.

I have been keeping up with the confirmation hearings this week for the inept and corrupt that want cabinet positions. So far, they’ve all been horrifyingly unqualified for the positions to which they were named. I have been letting my elected officials know how I feel about them. I will continue working with my elected officials, and I will work to help other ethical progressives get elected all over the country in 2018.

I will continue with my own creative work, in prose, on stage, on film, and on radio, and accepting gigs from organizations in whose missions I can believe. I will not normalize behavior, legislation, and corruption that are sickening to me, and I will not “unify” with people who promote, condone, and live those beliefs. If I have to, I will co-exist with them, provided they don’t try to force them on me, and I will continue to use my First Amendment rights to speak out.

I will continue working with organizations like PEN, Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and environmental organizations that work for dignity and rights for all. I will cut ties with organizations who don’t take a stand.

I will continue to vote when votes come up, to read as many bills coming up as possible, and to find daily ways in my life to make the world around me a better place. That does not mean shutting up and ignoring the corruption around me.

There are plenty of progressive slogans being bandied about with which I don’t agree, because I think it’s too much bunnies and rainbows and not enough practicality. While we often need to unwind with cute cat videos and a glass of wine after a long day, bunnies and rainbows and “positive energy” won’t fix this. Hard work, cunning, intelligence, and a refusal to back down will.

That is my resistance.

I am not watching the inauguration tomorrow, for the first time since I can remember. I have other work to do, especially creative. I am also taking the trash to the dump — the gesture pleases me, in a small way. I intend to help take out the trash that is the incoming administration as much as possible in the coming months.

I will be offline from tomorrow until Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Fri. Jan. 13, 2017: Lucky Day & Retreat!

Friday, January 13, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Sunny and mild

Yesterday was rather a useless writing day — yet another one.

I managed to get started on the contest entries, though. That’s always a good thing.

I’m also in the early stages of negotiations for an interesting project in New Bedford — that would happen when it’s unlikely snow will derail me! Fingers crossed I’m what they’re looking for.

I decided, this morning, that, once I go offline after posting things, I’m offline until Tuesday. I’m giving myself a writing/yoga retreat for a few days. I want to work for a few days without distraction.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

May you take Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday to contemplate the positive change he created in the world and see how you can contribute to it.

Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 11:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art

Monday, January 9, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cold

Mercury is finally direct, thank goodness! This was a tough one.

It started snowing on Friday; I’d planned ahead, so I didn’t go out. We got about 4-6 inches of heavy, wet snow on Friday, which was a pain in the butt to shovel, but knowing another storm was on the way, we did it anyway.

Saturday, the snow started in the morning, and it snowed until well into the evening. Blizzard conditions, white-outs, instructions to stay off the road.

I had to give up my reading slot in the MOBY DICK MARATHON at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, because I couldn’t get there. Disappointing, but not worth risking my life over.

Instead, I stayed home and read and we took down the holiday decorations. It took most of the day Friday and most of the day Saturday. We’d taken in the outdoor decorations on Thursday, before the first storm hit.

I still have to fluff bows before packing them, switch out and wash/iron/fold fabric. I shouldn’t be surprised it took several days to take down — after all, it took a month to put up!

I had a lousy writing week. Last week started like gangbusters, with about half the short story due at the end of the month, and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK, and some other stuff. But every word, later in the week, was a fight, and the ones I wrestled, I don’t like very much.

I’m hoping for a better writing week this week. I NEED a better writing week this week.

It’s tough, because I have no energy. At all.

I had some promising news from my agent over the weekend, which is nice, but nothing is settled until contracts are signed, so I’m not jumping up and down yet. If negotiations work out, great; if not, on to the next.

I also have to do some negotiating on a potential freelance job. We’ll see how that works. Again, until there’s a signed contract and the deposit clears, I’m not counting on anything.

I’ve been re-watching all of M*A*S*H lately, and I’m reminded how wonderful Alan Alda’s work is. I remember, during my theatre days, when he was the ultimate intelligent woman’s sex symbol: in addition to looks, he has intelligence, wit, humor, compassion, and courage. Then, I was lucky to work with him on some benefits, and he’s even better in person — interested and engaged, and KIND. His wife, Arlene, is amazing, too, and they’re wonderful together. He continues to be active, writing and advocating for science. We need more Alan Alda and less reality celebutard.

Adding to that, was Meryl Streep’s beautiful speech last night at the Golden Globes. As usual, she was intelligent, thoughtful, precise, insightful, and truthful.

Narcissistic Sociopath is having a hissy fit, but there again, you see the contrast between a genuine talent and a reality celebutard.

And hey, if the Duck Dynasty Dickheads have a right to spout politics — and they do, no matter how much I might disagree with them — then intelligent, talented artists have that same right.

For those who say actors/artists don’t have the right to speak about politics — ALL art is political. Some is overt, some is not. Great art makes the audience better, even for a few moments. Great art inspires us not to stand by and let people stomp on us. The incoming fascist regime is counting on squashing our spirit, by taking away everything that makes it possible to have a dignified life. We have to fight that, and one of the most effective ways so to do is through art.

You want to write narrow-minded formula pieces just to make money? Go ahead. That is your right. Even in those, though, isn’t there a happy ending? Doesn’t LOVE triumph over scheming and hate? That’s a form of political discourse. The most popular YA books in recent years — Hunger Games, Testing, et al — are political. Harry Potter is about overcoming a dictator. In Nora Roberts’s books, love and good overcome evil and destruction. That is political. Instead of just burrowing into these books (and we all need that escape), it’s time to take the principles that touch our souls in art and bring them forward into life. It is time for US to overcome those who want to break our spirits, take away love and hope, and control every aspect of OUR lives for THEIR profit.

We need to start creating the reality we want, both in our art, and then take it forward to turn it into our reality. It is time to defeat those who would crush our hearts, so they can line their own pockets.

Wed. Jan. 4, 2017: Writing a Better Reality, Reviews, Contract Controversy

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold
Tenth Day of Christmas

Not a good dream last night, which means October will be rough. Oh, well. Maybe I can figure it out in time to make it smoother.

Yesterday, I was basically a waste of food. I got a lot done administratively, but not creatively. I felt about as creative as wilted lettuce. I managed to get in some MOBY DICK rehearsal, but the writing did not go well.

Which means I have to make up for it today.

I was so frustrated yesterday with reading. I’m so tired of dipshit, dumbed-down protagonists who can’t handle more than a half a glass of wine — white, no less! — without getting “sleepy”, put people’s lives in danger because they’re “too tired” to make a simple phone call, don’t learn from their mistakes, and, live in narrow-minded towns where you wish a serial killer would come in and wipe out a good portion of the population.

I want strong, intelligent, sassy, resourceful protagonists with a solid learning curve. I want to see diverse communities that are actually working together to build a better world. There’s plenty of drama in that, and plenty of obstacles.

By narrowing the formula, making it more and more restrictive, the big publishers are giving their readers permission to laugh AT protagonists instead of WITH them, and to say it’s “normal” to live in communities full of beastly people who hate anyone different. Basically, publishers are encouraging everything the Narcissistic Sociopath stands for, and telling people it’s okay to be narrow-minded and hateful.

It’s not.

People learn more from fiction than nonfiction. If we want a better world, it has to first start appearing in our fiction.

Simon & Schuster gave that disgusting, hateful What’s-His-Face a quarter of a million dollar book contract. Now, saying that S&S “shouldn’t” publish him is a form of censorship. If we are going to have free speech, that extends to speech with which we disagree. What we can do — unless we’re paid reviewers — is to refuse to purchase the book, if we want to send a message to the publisher. I won’t buy the book — I’ve heard what that creep has to say, and I both disagree and have no intention of lining his wallet.

I don’t know why anyone is surprised that S&S gave him a contract. Years ago, when I worked in publishing, in the industry, the nickname was “Shyster & Shyster”. That’s how they were referred to at book events or in the bar. They were known for having less than stellar contracts and treating their staff worse than other companies. Again, that was years ago; I think all staffs in publishing houses are suffering now.

Corporations can’t create art, which is why we need a renaissance of small publishers. Not necessarily self/indie publishers, unless those authors have the craft or are willing to pay the money for actual, talented editors (some do, and some put out excellent work). But small, old-school publishers who love books and give individual attention to every release on their list. Books need a chance to grow an audience, not rely on “pre-sales”. It wasn’t until I worked in a library until I realized how much all these “lists” are manipulated. Books need to grown an audience over time.

Do you even remember last week’s bestseller list? Can you recite it from memory? When was the last time you LIKED, really LIKED something that got a lot of buzz? I thought ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE and GIRL ON A TRAIN were well done and interesting. But the majority of books on the majority of lists haven’t resonated with me in the last several years. In fact, several of them have been beyond disappointing, they lack so much craft you wonder how they got their in the first place.

Market manipulation.

So how do you find good books? People whose opinions you trust. Readers tend to congregate with other readers. Librarians who actually read. I was shocked, once I worked in a library, when some of my colleagues claimed not to have “time” to read. Part of the job, people, especially with so many hours cut back. Reliable review publications who PAY THEIR REVIEWERS and where the reviews show a sense of craft, skill, and good writing, not just a book report. Preferably written by people who have an understanding of good writing and good storytelling. An actual, critical review is a honed skill. Everyone has an opinion and a right to their opinion. But an actual REVIEW, that is useful on more than one level, goes far beyond that.

A publication which charges authors for reviews can’t be trusted. Before you take a review seriously, find out if the review was bought, or if it’s an honest review.

At least one review publication has stated they will not review books put out by S&S in 2017. That is their right. They get to choose to whom they give space. Is it the fault of the other authors in the stable that S&S offered the contract? Of course not. I don’t get to tell my publishers and editors who else to publish. I’m an employee.

If the situation is so intolerable I can’t stand it, I get to leave, if I choose. But I don’t get to dictate who they do and don’t publish.

The way to put pressure on the publisher is not to buy the book.

Some people will do that by not buying ANYTHING by the publisher. I think it’s more effective if you simply refuse to put your money on the particular volume that you don’t like. Encourage them to publish books by ethical, insightful authors who do their research. Buy fiction that makes the world a better place. Reject the hatemongers.

I have to admit that I put a book back on the shelf the other day that I considered buying. It was non-fiction; I was not particularly familiar with the author or the author’s credentials. The publisher was S&S. I put the book back because I don’t trust that S&S will have done any fact-checking. Until I know more about the author, and whether the author actually deals in facts and reliable sources, I’m not going to shell out for the book.

That is MY choice. I get to practice conscientious consumerism — which, once I get the GDR file rewritten and up, you will see is one of my resolutions for this year.

If the knee-jerk response is that a publisher “can’t” publish something — well, eventually, someone will say they “can’t” publish something YOU agree with, too. It has to be a level playing field. Freedom of speech, whether you agree or not. When you don’t agree, come up with a reasoned argument backed by facts and evidence, and also practice conscientious consumerism. Free speech is different than incitement and hate mongering. Incitement and hate mongering are the abuse of free speech “Free” speech comes with responsibility, and the knowledge that words have weight and power, so you must choose your words wisely and practice your freedom responsibly. “Free” has far more layers than “I can do and say anything I want”. It also has consequences.  The speaker/writer must take responsibility instead of simply stating, “I can say whatever I want.”  It’s a sticky wicket — if you support the First Amendment, you must support the right of those with whom you disagree to have their say.  Where that becomes hate speech/incitement is an ever-changing line.   If you silence someone else, then someone will try to silence you in turn.  What you can do is not support hate speech and refuse to be incited.

I will not purchase that book. If I am paid by a legitimate publication to review it, I will read it and give my honest opinion on it. Since I rarely review non-fiction for the publications for whom I work, I doubt that will happen. However, without reading the book, I also cannot engage in reasoned debate about it once it comes out. If it becomes a central issue in my writing or personal life, I will have to read it. But I sure as heck won’t spend my hard-earned money on it. I will use the resources of the library — the sanctuary where ALL diverse reading is encouraged without judgment. If the book does not become a debate central to my work and life, I will ignore it and concentrate on publications that are.

There are plenty of things I WANT to read that are relevant to my life.

On a happier note, “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” got a five star review yesterday, which was very much appreciated. The things the reviewer criticized and wanted more of were all valid, and things that I felt, too, and the fact that the piece merited five stars anyway was gratifying.

I got a late start today. I better get going, or I’ll never catch up.

I started, this morning, a wonderful book:  GOLD WEB by Vicky Delany. Grabbed me from the first paragraph, as a book should. I’m a big fan of her Constable Molly Smith books. If you haven’t read that series, I highly recommend it. This is not part of it — this is an historical mystery in the Klondike. But it’s damn good.

Devon

Tues. Jan. 3, 2017: Writing and Books

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Ninth Day of Christmas
Rainy and cool

If you want to see my To Do List for January, visit the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site here.

I also have an article up about my favorite “Comfort Books” — books I re-read regularly — up on A Biblio Paradise here.

Yesterday, I wrote nearly 2300 words on the 5K short story that’s due at the end of the month, so that’s well on its way. It’s surprising me in a good way; I just hope it’s what they want.

I also wrote an article (the one on comfort books), and started rehearsing for this weekend’s MOBY DICK marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

I should have worked on NOT BY THE BOOK, but I didn’t. I’ll have to make up for that today.

I read a book called SKIN LIKE SILVER by Chris Nickson, and I really liked it. I definitely want to read more of his work. I ordered a bunch from the library. Once I read some more, I will decide which ones I’ll buy. Important to support living writers and all that.

I have more admin work to do today, and then it’s back to the page — both the short story, and NOT BY THE BOOK. Then, it’s more rehearsal for MOBY DICK.

Started a new training regimen of strength & cardio work to go along with the yoga and mediation. Yesterday was strength training. The circuit was challenging without being disheartening, and I felt much better once I did it. Today is cardio — I’m supposed to walk in this bad weather. Too bad for me, right? The only way I’m going to achieve what I want and need to is to get back in shape and stay healthy.

So the House of Representatives wants to gut the Congressional Ethics Panel, does it? The House GOP isn’t even pretending to have any ethics any more. Then it’s up to the few ethical Congress members left to hire private investigators and prosecute the unethical Congressional members through the court. Don’t make our entire system a mockery.

As of January 20, our government WILL be a mockery.

Onward.

Devon

Thurs. Dec. 8, 2016: The Lioness of Brittany — out!

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

The new play is done, registered, and out the door. It’s called “Courting the Lioness” and its central character is Jeanne de Clisson, a pirate in 14th Century France. That went off to 365 Women in NYC this morning. Phew!

I’ve been fighting with that last scene, between Jeanne and Walter, for a couple of weeks, now, to get the balance of tension and conflict with the other elements I need in it.

It’s a one-act — runs just under an hour — but padding it to two hours would be just that — padding. I’ve presented what I wanted in an hour. So be it.

Now, the attention goes to JUST A DROP, and to the story that’s due at the end of the month.

Still trying to get the tree and house decorated, the baking and the cards done.

All I really want to do is curl up with a good book. I’m loving Vicki Delany’s Constable Molly Smith books.

Other than what’s deadlined this month, I’m not submitting anything else until after the new year. It’s not fair to stack stuff on editor and agent desks this close to the holiday. I’ll keep working on my revisions and polishes, et al, on projects outside of the two still due this month, but I’m going to hold them until after the new year.

Back to the page, the tree, the card, and the kitchen!

Devon

Published in: on December 8, 2016 at 12:12 pm  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 8, 2016: The Lioness of Brittany — out!  
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Mon. Nov. 21, 2016: Writing Retreat

Monday, November 21, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

They say we’ll have some snow flurries today. So much for yard work! The weather was so damp and windy the past few days I didn’t get much done.

This will probably be the only time I blog this week, except for a holiday greeting on Thursday. This week is about the writing. I want to dive into it, and stay off most media for the bulk of the week. Check in just enough to make sure the Apocalypse hasn’t started early.

On top of everything else, I broke some bones in my foot on Saturday. The poor toe that keeps getting broken got it again; and also a bone lower down on the side of my foot. I didn’t even break it doing anything interesting. I was merely careless. Can’t even get a good story out of it!

Most of the weekend was spent working on the play about the 14th century female pirate. That’s been pulling at me harder than the 17th century poisoning ring in Italy. So I’m focusing on this one first, then going back to JUST A DROP. I hate the working title I have for this play, and have to come up with a better one. But I’m having fun with the characters, and letting them lead me, in the context, into some interesting places.

This will be only the fifth time in 44 years we have not gone to Maine for Thanksgiving: three years when I lived on the west coast, one year when I was working on Broadway and couldn’t get coverage (I usually had Thanksgiving off and worked Christmas), and this year. We’ve been too sick for too long to feel up to the trip, and with a broken right foot, I can’t go anyway.

Relieved that both DEATH OF A CHOLERIC and PLAYING THE ANGLES are out. I’m prepping TRACKING MEDUSA for resubmission.

I also want to get back to work on THE FIX-IT GIRL, finish the draft, then start revisions. I think it might need less work than some of my other pieces, although I have to decide how explicit I want the love scenes to be.

Mark December 17th on your calendar. I’m doing a holiday jingle party on Facebook with Angela Aarons and Tracy Kincaid. My slot is from 1 to 1:30 PM, EST. There will be giveaways and games, and all kinds of fun stuff.

Don’t worry, I’ll remind you!

Have a lovely holiday week, and I’ll check back in next week!

Devon

Published in: on November 21, 2016 at 9:30 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 21, 2016: Writing Retreat  
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Fri. Nov. 4, 2016: Friday Already?

Friday, November 4, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and mild

I was such a waste of food yesterday, it wasn’t even funny. I did not get much done. A little work on revisions, some procedural research, some Newport research, switching out the spiderweb curtains to the winter curtains, making chocolate walnut butter bread. Not much to show for the day, although the bread is very good!

Just felt out of sorts, and not particularly creative. Realized I have to go back a few chapters in CHOLERIC and fix something else. Again, every time I get frustrated, I remind myself better to catch it now than have it go out with those mistakes. I should have caught some of them in earlier drafts, though.

Put together pitches on a couple of projects, so we’ll see where that goes. Unfortunately, several projects in which I’m involved will be affected by who wins the election next week, so I’m in a holding pattern on a few things, and I’m putting together alternate plans, just in case.

Had a lovely online conversation with author Paige Shelton yesterday. I’m looking forward to her story “A Christmas Tartan” that I downloaded a few days ago, but haven’t yet read. I like her work.

I read Eric R. Asher’s DAYS GONE BAD last night, on the Kindle. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised. The writing is lively and fun, I liked the characters, and Asher made good choices about where to play within the formula and where to break it. I’ll definitely read more of his work.

Some errands to run, and hopefully, it’s warm enough to paint those pieces I need to paint before putting them away for the winter. I’m going to try to oil some of the teak furniture, too, so it has time to dry before I put it away.

And get back to the edits. I have two pieces I need to finish editing and get out on submission before the holiday madness starts, so it doesn’t give me much time. But I need to make sure they’re in the best shape possible BEFORE submission, instead of rushing it just to get it out. That tender balance is always tough.

I can’t believe it’s Friday! If the weather is decent, the weekend means lots of yard work for me; otherwise it’s all edits, all the time.

Have a great one!

Devon

Published in: on November 4, 2016 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 4, 2016: Friday Already?  
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Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016: Lucifer, Choleric, and Cooking

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

I’ve been binge-watching the first season of LUCIFER. Spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, skip down a few paragraphs.

For the most part, I really liked it. I think the cast is great, and there’s a lot of wit in the writing. The cast has chemistry together, and that’s always fun to watch. They add detail, so the work isn’t just in broad strokes. The raise of an eyebrow, a particular inflection, a gesture — it’s those little things that make it unique. Every once in awhile, there was a clunker of a line or a twist in it, and it was obvious it was a network note. I got ahead of where it was going a few times, but it surprised me more than not, which is good.

However, in the set-up for season two with “mum” escaping — I will be seriously irritated if “mum” turns out to be Lilith. I’m tired of that depiction, and they will have to be very clever to win me back if that’s what it is. That’s one of the places where the Shadowhunters books irritated me, too — with the depiction of Lilith. As if women aren’t “demonized” enough anyway, on multiple levels.

At the same time, every creative person has the right and obligation to be true to his or her vision. I can always stop watching/reading if it bothers me that much. I don’t expect anyone to modify their vision just because I don’t like it, any more than I will modify my vision because someone else doesn’t like it.

So we’ll see what Season Two is like.

But, as I said, I like the acting and most of the writing. I like the production design, although Lucifer as a nightclub owner — I’d rather have seen him do something more unexpected. But the character behaves unexpectedly, so I like that. I know it’s based on a graphic novel series, and I’m purposely staying away from reading those in order not to skew my perspective.

Spoilers done.

I was so excited yesterday afternoon when I finished the third draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Then, I was totally bummed, because in spite of cutting nearly two dozen characters and plot lines, it’s still too damn long. In fact, with all the cutting, I came up with nearly the same word count. I’m four chapters shorter, but there’s still work to do.

Part of it is defining what the book is — my protagonist’s personal journey to returning to her life after a period of mourning, set against a mystery. It’s more literary than mystery, and more about the community she’s trying to participate in than about keeping the pace and leanness of a thriller. But that still doesn’t justify the length. I need to make some more serious cuts.

I know where I can do it. I lose some atmosphere there, but it will be necessary. I have to get the same feeling across, but with few and better words.

I wanted to put it aside and then re-attack it in a few weeks, but if I’m going to get it out before holiday madness descends on the industry, I need to get right back into it.

So disappointed in myself.

But that’s the way it goes. I’m lucky this wasn’t part of a contract schedule, or I’d really be screwed.

It’s also interesting to see how far the novel has evolved since I started writing it last November. It’s a much better novel now. Originally, I thought it would be a cozy. It got darker and darker, and I thought it would be a more traditional mystery with an amateur sleuth. Now it’s more literary fiction against a mystery backdrop.

Trying to get back into the rhythm of the two projects that started out with such energy a few weeks ago. I got some decent work done on one of them, but my frustration with CHOLERIC is now shadowing everything else, unfortunately. I need to let go of the frustration and the fact that I’m behind, and just write.

The weather is supposed to turn nasty. I’m going to do a turkey meatloaf for tonight (my special recipe). For my mother’s 92nd birthday, on Saturday, she’s requested lasagna, so I’ve got the ingredients for that and will make that on Saturday. I think I’ll use the recipe from THE NEW BASICS cookbook, one of my favorites. And, of course, she has cheesecake.

Don’t forget to come back here tomorrow for the link to the free download of “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016: Lucifer, Choleric, and Cooking  
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Tues. Oct. 11, 2106: The Satisfaction of A Solid Writing Weekend

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

Busy weekend, even though it was a holiday weekend. The traffic was insane.

I managed to get a lot of writing done, on the two projects on which I’m switching off. Since I started them last Thursday (this is Day 6), I’ve written just over 10K on one of them, and I’ll pass 10K today on the other. My goal is to write a minimum of 1K on each of them every day. So far, I’ve managed to go beyond that on both, although yesterday, it wasn’t much beyond both, because I wasn’t in the mood to write.

But I showed up at the page, and did it anyway, because that is what writers do. Once I got started, it was okay, although it didn’t flow as well as it had the previous days. Today, I felt like I was back in the groove.

I also worked on the revisions of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I have to put some changes into chapters, and rewrite the next batch of chapters. I also managed to come up with the logline and paragraph description, although I will have to make some tweaks. But I want it to be ready to go out after one more pass.

I’ve also been tweaking PLAYING THE ANGLES, which is the new title of what was once ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. I’m also thinking about putting it out under the Devon Ellington name instead of the Annabel Aidan name. When I’m done with this revision, I’ll have to see which voice resonates, and then I’ll know which name to use as the byline.

I should be doing promotion for “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, but with all this political chaos, I feel it’s shallow to go around hawking my writing. Yet that’s how I pay the bills and keep a roof over my head. So it’s a dilemma — how to do it in a way where I don’t go against what I feel is right and important. If I don’t walk my talk, I’m just as bad as the politicians.

Did some work on the Victorian mystery as well. The first draft is slow, because I’m researching as I write. I’m wondering if I should just blurt out the first draft, focusing on plot and character, and then go back and add in the period detail. Yet, so far, I’ve found the detail affects both plot and character a good deal, which is why I’m researching and writing simultaneously.

I’m behind on the plays, of course, which is worrisome, since I’m running out of time on those. Somehow, I’ll have to get them in.

I need more hours in the day, more hours where I can focus. There’s a certain point where my brain just gets tired, and I’m written out.

I’m also under pressure from this other annoying situation. Nothing like people actively working to sabotage you because they are both incompetent and nasty. It will get resolved; it’s just a shame that it has to be such an unpleasant process. But I am not going to back down and give up what I earned.

I’m also under pressure because a family friend is trying to manipulate me into taking on a job for someone who already stiffed me once, and with whom I said I wouldn’t work again. I told this family friend I would not put myself in that position again, yet he told the person I was waiting to hear from them. Then I get an incoherent email full of demands, but no actual proposal or payment offer. That would be a no, on many levels. I’m angry at this so-called “friend” for putting me in this position when I was very clear I wouldn’t do it.

So the writing is going well, but there are other pressures. Aren’t there always?

I have a lot of work ahead of me to put the garden to bed, and I’m tackling it a bit at a time.

Have a great week!

Devon

Fri. Oct. 7, 2016: Going with the Writing Flow

Friday, October 7, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Here’s hoping Hurricane Matthew isn’t hitting the SE United States as badly as predicted.

Got a good bit of research done yesterday afternoon, and I’m ready, later today, to do some more work on the Victorian mystery.

I also did a fresh pass on “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the Jain Lazarus short that’s set in this season, and added in some excerpts from some of the other Digital Delights. I will post it as a free download toward the end of the month. I have to check some links, to make sure I’ve got them right. Next week, I’ll get the marketing started for that.

This morning, I wrote just over 1900 words on one project and 1599 on a second project — the two projects I can’t yet talk about, but am working steadily on.

I also got the terraced area mowed, which is a big relief.

On my way to do some errands, then it’s back to the page. Lots to do, and deadlines looming.

I could have done either of these two new projects as Nano pieces, but they’re catching fire now. I may write “along with” Nano in November, using the creative energy of so many people working at once to fuel them, but I don’t think I’ll start a new project in less than a month. I have too many pieces competing for my attention that need completion.

Hope to get some work done on the Victorian mystery this afternoon, and a few more chapters of revision on CHOLERIC.

This is a holiday weekend, so I hope I can get some uninterrupted work time both on the page and in the garden.

Have a great one!

Devon

Published in: on October 7, 2016 at 10:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 7, 2016: Going with the Writing Flow  
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Thurs. Oct. 6, 2016: Creativity Flow & Opportunity

Thursday, October 6, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

Busy day yesterday. Lots of research, some admin work.

Had an interesting meeting in the early afternoon that could open some new doors for me, which needs some thought. Is that the direction in which I want to go? Will it build skills that will serve me beyond the projects themselves?

Also had to deal with some frustrating stuff, some obstacles that were created by someone either because that individual is incompetent or that individual is being nasty. The reason could be either of those two, or a combination.

After my meeting, headed up to Sturgis Library. I’d been trying to find particular research books, and I was pretty sure they were in the library system, but they weren’t coming up in the search engine. So I went into the building itself, and there they were. Got the stack out and got a good section of research done in the afternoon and evening, too.

Several characters came to me with demands to tell their stories. I took some notes.

I’m developing a couple of projects that could be good for me. They’re in that delicate stage where if I talk about them too much, they won’t get done. But I got 1798 words done on one this morning, and the energy’s good and lively there, and 1207 words done on another, and that’s got a great vibe, too. So we’ll see. I don’t know how much I can juggle, but I will do my best.

I didn’t get any yard work done yesterday, which wound up being okay, because it rained in the afternoon anyway. But, in spite of a late start today, I hope to make up for it.

Finished a manuscript evaluation for a contest yesterday. Another disappointing one. So far, nothing I’ve evaluated for this contest has been publication ready. And yet, they’re published. The problems have been all the same — supposed to be suspense, but there’s no tension, unresearched situations and locations, pages and pages of info dump narration, undeveloped characters.

Creatively, I’m happy right now, but I need to get a few other things aligned before I can feel secure.

Devon

Published in: on October 6, 2016 at 11:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 6, 2016: Creativity Flow & Opportunity  
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Wed. Oct. 5, 2016: Revising The Way I Run My Writing Career

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

I managed to find my mowing Zen, going into my seventh year in this place. I got the front and side yards mowed in twenty minutes yesterday, without feeling like it nearly killed me. There’s still an enormous amount of yard work to do, but at least I’ve got a decent start. I’m not putting up the outdoor decorations until I’m sure Hurricane Matthew has passed. Right now, it doesn’t look as though we’re going to be badly hit, but it’s a storm, so who knows?

Working on the Victorian mystery, fixing the bits that need adjustment due to research. Also doing some procedural research for the states of Massachusetts and Vermont — jeez, the way things are done so differently from state to state! 😉 That’s for two different contemporary projects.

I’m having trouble getting back into the plays. I’m not quite in the right headspace for any of the three of them that need work. That will have to change this weekend. I need to dig in and get working on them, whether or not I feel like it.

I have to take a look at PLAYING THE ANGLES this weekend, too. I want to get that out on submission next week. I have some solid possibilities.

I need to figure out a marketing push for the Digital Delights, and it’s time to give the Jain Lazarus short story set around this time another push. I’ll have to figure out a good day to have it available as a free download and then do a big PR push for it.

I’m reading Alyssa Maxwell’s Gilded Newport mysteries and loving them. I was worried that my Victorian mystery would be too similar, because it’s set in Newport just a few years after her first mystery. But it’s very, very different, thank goodness. Plus, for this particular series, I’m only setting the first book in Newport. The second will be in Saratoga, the third in NYC. If the series continues beyond that, I plan to do one on an ocean liner, one in England, one in Florence, and so on and so forth. If the series takes off, it will be fun. But, as I said yesterday, these books require a very different writing process than I usually use, and can’t be written quickly. In other words, not a good candidate for a Nano!

If I was going to get sucked into doing Nano this year, it would be either the book that follows DEATH OF A CHOLERIC (using my friend Lori’s suggestion to call it MURDER OF A MELACHOLIC), or the next Sophie Batchelder. However, I am probably NOT going to do Nano this year, so the point is moot. I have three plays to get back on track, and I need to get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS. Nano would be a distraction, and it would be my ego wanting it, instead of it actually being useful.

Since a great deal of last year and this year have been about thinking about how I want to proceed in my writing career and changing a good many things about it, I need to concentrate on those decisions, those actions, and that follow-through, rather than getting distracted by new and shiny. I am also tired of other people telling me how I “have to” do things in my writing career, and trying to push me into boxes and formulas that don’t suit me or don’t interest me. I spent many years developing my voice, and I don’t want it diluted by “formula”. Which means I have to look at options that give me more flexibility. I also don’t like the way we are “supposed” to market. Bland or aggressive marketing turns me off as a consumer, and that’s not what I want to put out there to promote my work.

Yet, the siren call of Nano is always tempting.

I have a meeting this afternoon that could also wind up opening some lovely doors for me, and I’ve got a boatload of research to do (some of it is even about boats). So I better get going!

Devon

Published in: on October 5, 2016 at 9:36 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 5, 2016: Revising The Way I Run My Writing Career  
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