Fri. Nov.9, 2018: Digging in for a Writing Weekend

Friday, November 9, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Got a little bit of work done on PREVENTATIVE MEASURES this morning, but will have to dig back in to DAVY JONES DHARMA this afternoon.

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS is up as a free book via Draft2Digital on various channels here. However, Amazon refuses to distribute it. That’s life.

But I am committed to keeping this book as a free download, since Nano is free.

Hopefully, when I switch over the Topic Workbooks, it won’t be a problem on Amazon. It probably will.

Overslept this morning, but it’s so cute to see Tessa and Lucy making friends. They are really getting along. Lucy loves having Tessa as her big sister cat, and being with a cat who doesn’t beat up on her.

Busy weekend coming up. I’m on my way to the Cahoon Museum to see their fiber art exhibit, then headed to Falmouth to PetCo to stock up on cat food and cat litter. Since I don’t want to shop at PetSmart anymore, because of their demand that customers supply phone numbers (and I don’t give out my phone number), I have to find a new place to buy cat food.

This afternoon, I’m going to try to get some raking in before the rain begins. The maple tree is naked, which means I’ll only have to rake around it once.

I want to concentrate on DAVY JONES DHARMA today and tomorrow (which is supposed to be a rainy, icky day. On Sunday, I’m going to see a friend in a show in Falmouth.

I’m hoping for a writing-centric, focused weekend.

Have a good one!

 

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Wed. Oct. 24, 2018: It Keeps Going

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Day after Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cold and gray

Busy/crazy few days.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post on techniques I learned during Nano that apply well to freelance work.

Challenging days with the client.

There was some controversy over one of my published pieces. I am grateful that my editor backed me.

Finished yet another round of copyedits on RELICS. This better be it. The damn book is close to release. I’m getting a little fed up with the way Word changes text from draft to draft, auto-correcting even when I don’t want it to. There’s got to be a way to turn it off. I don’t like a computer program rewriting my text.

This has all put me far behind on DHARMA, which is causing even more stress.

On top of that, there were water spouts only a few miles away at the canal last night, and we were under tornado warnings. The cats were upset. But it turned out okay.

This weekend, the primary focus is on the DHARMA draft, and on yard work and finally getting up the decorations for next week.

On top of that, there are two short stories that are bothering me. I know if I don’t get some work on them, they will distract me from everything else.

And Jake’s book, in the Coventina Circle series, is taking form. That’s book #8. So I’m making notes. Morag’s is the first, Bonnie’s the second, Amanda’s the third, Lesley’s the fourth, Sylvie’s the fifth, Diana’s the sixth, Hartley Crain’s the seventh, Jake’s the eighth. I’ll either do another Morag as number nine, or a final book with everyone. That’s the plan so far. Who knows how it will actually shake out? .

From there, I can build the paranormal historicals and the side books that are seeded in the main books.

But for the next couple of years, I can only write one Coventina a year, not two. That’s just too much, juggling that and the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries and the Nautical Namaste mysteries and Jain Lazarus coming back and Justice by Harpy and the Gambit Colony books

Plus, there are other ideas I have that have nothing to do with the current series!

Oh, and I have to buy another bag of candy, because I ate one!

Rescheduled some coffee dates that got bumped.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on October 24, 2018 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fri. Oct. 3, 2018: Digging In

Friday, October 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was busy, but I didn’t get as much done as I needed to (that seems to be a theme lately).

The writing was unproductive, I had some errands.

On the up side, I got some good work done on the proposal, and got some LOIs out. I made myself take the time for my yoga class, and definitely needed it, then finally made it to the gas station to get gas in the car.

I’m still waiting on an estimate from my mechanic, so I can get some necessary repairs on the car.

Today will be an infuriating day for anyone who actually values Justice and the Constitution.

I’m doing a lot of writing in my head. That’s great for when I finally sit down and write, but now I have to sit down and DO IT.

This weekend, I need to dig in and get a lot of writing done. After tomorrow’s vote, I will probably stay offline through the holiday.

I doubt I’ll have a chance to blog on Tuesday, so I’ll be back up on Wednesday. I do have an #upbeatauthors post scheduled for Monday.

Have a great autumnal weekend!

Published in: on October 5, 2018 at 10:12 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 3, 2018: Digging In  
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Wed. Oct. 3, 2018: Work and Hacked!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas on post-network interactions.

I’m working on the 2019 questions for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. This one is a bit different. It uses more visuals, along with the words. I hope to have it up by next week some time.

Had a great dinner with my friend on Monday night. We met at Stir Crazy, the Cambodian restaurant in Bourne. In spite of the weather turning awful, it was a fun night. We realized we hadn’t gotten together in person for about a year. Too long! But our schedules just never coincided.

Yesterday, another day of nasty weather, I got some client work done on site, worked polishing calendar articles, worked on my speech, worked on a proposal that has to go out in a couple of weeks, worked on RELICS revisions, worked on DHARMA.

The big problem is site hacking on several of the email addresses connected to the website. Complete with threats to “expose my secret life” and what kind of porn I’m watching. Now, first of all, I don’t watch porn. It’s boring and badly filmed, so why bother. Second, I don’t have a secret life. But the emails threaten extortion. So, I forwarded everything to the proper authorities, and my web host is trying to help me. Added filters, changed passwords, the works.

I bet that 1&1, who still holds the registration (since I haven’t been able to wrest them away to Name Silo yet) sold my information to the hackers. After all, the last time I had a problem with phishing and hacking and contacted them, they basically tried some extortion of their own. I can’t wait until I’m free of them.

So, if you get anything from hexbreaker@devonellingtonwork.com or devon@devonellingtonwork.com — DON’T OPEN IT!!!

The Devon address is a big deal, because I do so much of my business with it. I’ve taken the contact forms off the Jain Lazarus Site (since the books aren’t coming out until next year, it won’t be a problem. But the Devon address is a problem. So we’re dealing with it.

Frustrating, and it shouldn’t be necessary.

It’s not like I’m important enough to be hacked! 😉

I’m in discussions with my publisher and editor about changing the release schedule for the Coventina Circle books in general. At this point, two books a year puts me under too much pressure. I don’t feel like I have the time in the schedule to really step back and then dig into the edits the way I like. Yes, I can write them quickly. But the revision process is compressed to a scale that makes me uncomfortable. I need more breathing room for revisions. So that’s under discussion.

If I wasn’t juggling several other series, projects, plays, radio plays, scripts, and client work, I could probably do it. But I’m not in my twenties anymore, and while I can often put in twelve hour days, I can no longer put in sixteen hour days. Nor do I want to. So that’s one of the adjustments I want for next year.

I’m hoping to get a lot of work done today, both for my client and for myself. And then, weather-permitting, I need to do a lot of yard work in the next few days.

Onward.

Mon. Oct. 1, 2018: Persistence — How Badly Do You Want It? #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, October 1, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

There are five Mondays in October, which means I have to sort my thoughts on persistence into FIVE posts. Yes, that will take persistence!

When I teach, one of the first questions I ask is, “How badly do you want this?”

The students who will gain the most out of my classes are not those who prefer “having written” to writing. I am strict, and demand a high level of productivity and commitment.

Because that is what you need if you plan to have a career in the arts.

High productivity.

Ever-increasing skills.

Commitment.

Persistence.

I spent most of my professional life earning my living in the theatre. I worked my way up to Broadway, production managed some indie films, and day-played on network television shows.

I made the decision that was what I wanted to do quite young, and started working professionally when I was 18, and still in college.

Did I ever do other things? Of course. I temped all over the country. I worked at nearly 200 different companies. I worked at many non-profits. Some of them were great experiences, like the Guggenheim Museum and the Neuberger Museum. I did a three-year stint for an art book publisher during the day while working off-off Broadway at night. I did five years working for the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation part-time, as I worked shows at night, moving from off-off Broadway to off-Broadway. Eventually, I worked enough off-Broadway to just work theatre, and write, and pick up some extra cash between gigs playing the horses at Aqueduct and Belmont and as a tarot reader.

Then, I worked at the Public Theatre for some people well-established in the field, who recommended me up the ladder to Broadway because they liked my work.

I made the leap.

At the same time I transitioned to Broadway, shows I wrote were produced in London, Edinburgh, and Australia, so I took time off from the transition in order to be with those shows in those locations.

When I worked on Broadway, I wrote. I had shows produced in small theatres. I collaborated with fellow artists.

I started getting back into writing not just plays, but short stories and novels again. I took workshops. I learned how to pitch. I learned more about effective pitching from working with film acquisitions people at conferences than anywhere else, and it is what I learned from those film people that honed my skills so that my novel pitches started to hit.

I made a tough decision that much as I loved writing scripts, I did not want to relocate to LA and start at the bottom of the ladder again. I didn’t want to do what was necessary to achieve a spot in a writer’s room. I respect writer’s rooms enormously, and the collaboration that goes on there. It is not an environment where I would thrive. Do I still write and pitch scripts? Yes. But I’m not going to earn a spot in a writer’s room of a television drama in LA. My career trajectory isn’t going to go there. I’m at peace with it. Most of the time. 😉

When it was time for me to leave Broadway, because the physical demands of the backstage work were too much, and mentally, I needed to stop splitting my focus between working on other people’s shows and my own, I left New York — and moved far enough away so that I wouldn’t be tempted back.

I dug in, and through a mix and match, and a lot of pain and frustration, made it work. I shifted and expanded what I write and how I handle my business in order to make a living. Unfortunately, I live in an area that talks big about celebrating artists, but doesn’t actually support working artists. Are you a visiting artist who likes the beauty and history of the area? They’ll fall all over you. Have a summer house? They grovel. But move here, live here year round and try to work? The attitude is that you must have failed elsewhere, so the expectation is for you to work three part-time jobs at minimum wage without benefits and do your art for “fun” because “we don’t pay for that.”

So I don’t work for them. I have some local clients I enjoy and value, who value me in return. I expanded my client base beyond the bridge, and reconnected with international contacts. I network here, sure, but have redrawn my boundaries, and when the demand is made to work for free, I say no. Because this is my business, not my hobby. I’m not living off a trust fund. I’m not writing for pin money. I am not supported by a corporate husband paying the bills.

This is my profession.

I talked in earlier posts about how if you don’t respect your own work, no one else will, either.

Saying “no” has done more to expand my business than saying “yes” to the wrong situations ever did.

Is my life perfect and without struggle? Of course not. I am still building the life I’ve always wanted. I will always be building the life I want, because life changes, breath to breath. You can either insulate yourself and pretend it doesn’t, or rage that the world refuses to change to suit you. or think on your feet and make the decisions that support your choices.

I knew, when I was six years old, that I wanted to be a writer. Once I fell in love with theatre, I wanted to do that, too. I had a dual career as long as it worked. While I have a multi-pronged writing career, it is also what I want. I like doing different things, having different facets and challenges.

Years ago, I thought I wanted an ivory tower existence. I imagined something quite different from what it is.

But what “is” is better, in many ways, than the roads not taken.

And the road I hope to build in the coming years will continue to improve. Not without obstacles, pain, and tangents — but if I persist, I can build something good.

I got here because when I asked myself, “How badly do you want this?” — my answer was, “Badly enough to do what it takes.”

 

Published in: on October 1, 2018 at 3:55 am  Comments Off on Mon. Oct. 1, 2018: Persistence — How Badly Do You Want It? #UpbeatAuthors  
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Tues. Sept. 25, 2018: Awards and Concerns

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days. I did not get the amount of writing done that I wanted or needed to do.

Most of it has been caught up with the final details for the breakfast where my client gets an award this morning– an award which I will accept on her behalf and say a few words. I’ve been working on the speech — short, simple, from the heart. Focused on HER. Too much about this award has been focused on another agenda, not the awardees, in my opinion. But yesterday, we got a lot of the kinks worked out.

I did some additional research for RELICS. I read Joy Harjo’s memoir, and most of a series of letters between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright, which are beautiful. I polished the review that was due and sent it off. I juggled home centric tasks. I worked on what used to be POWER OF WORDS. I re-read what’s written of TIE CUTTER again, and love it more than ever. There’s a lot of heart in that book.

I miss traveling. Next year, I need to arrange my schedule so I can travel more. Not just for clients over the bridge, but for myself and my writing.

I am angered an infuriated at the way the GOP dismisses the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, especially since more women are coming forward, and especially since they KNEW about these allegations last week, and that’s why they tried to accelerate the process. They truly believe it doesn’t matter. That men have the right to violate women. People asking, what if it was your wife or daughter are missing the point — this is how they treat the women in their own lives. And that former aide, who nearly killed his pregnant mistress by giving her an abortificant in a smoothie without her knowledge? Don’t tell me the GOP is pro-life. They want to tear away women’s rights and human rights back to before the Civil War.

There are some very interesting stories out there about how this is all tied beyond women’s rights into something much darker and religious and international — interesting theory, but I hope it’s not true.

The bottom line is that the GOP does not care about women’s rights. If the allegations are true, the Judge has proven a pattern of disregard for women’s rights that ensures he will overturn Roe vs. Wade. Which is what they want. He also says that a sitting President can’t be indicted. Which is what they want — especially since most of them are corrupt, and they count on him to protect them as well.

Kavanaugh’s behavior since Day One has shown he is not fit for the office. If he was this brilliant intellect and ethical man the GOP claims, he would have insisted that there’s no reason to rush. He would have insisted that ALL his records be released for review. He would have shaken Fred Guttenberg’s hand at the break, whether or not he knew who the man was, because as a SCOTUS, he is supposed to protect and serve ALL people in this country. He would not have lied, multiple times, under oath, or hedged on questions he didn’t like.

The whole Kennedy retirement/Deutsche Bank loans by his son to the Narcissistic Sociopath/nomination stinks.

People are saying it’s a done deal, that K is out. I think the GOP will ram him through anyway, just to prove they can and send a message that they can and will do whatever they want without consequence. I hope, in this case, I am wrong.

I participated in the Day of Solidarity yesterday, wearing black and stepping out of the office at 1 PM. I don’t post selfies, so I didn’t do that part. My client’s office is part of a large complex. I was the ONLY person who stepped out. I am disgusted. A red enclave in a blue state. I am fed up.

The level of corruption is appalling. I can’t see how it can be resolved without tragic circumstances.

As far as Yale goes, when I was applying to schools waaaaay back when, Yale was on the list. I will add that I was accepted at EVERY school to which I applied. I went in for the interview at Yale, which went really well. I spent a weekend to “get to know the campus.” By the end of the weekend, I pulled my application, because I knew I didn’t want to go to a school where the frat boy aggressive mentality toward the girls on and off campus was so vile.

I also remember, earlier in high school, as part of the Model U.N., we did a conference at Yale. We hung out and partied and were less than model citizens after hours. I don’t know how our chaperones coped with us. We were awful. But I remember the frat boys hanging around and trying to get high school girls to come out with them. (Being in a fraternity was a selling point, as far as they were concerned). Later, at NYU, I was talking to a student who’d also been involved in Model U.N. (from a different high school). She said her older brother, who went to Yale, wouldn’t let her go to the conference there because the frat boys were notorious for picking up high school girls, getting them drunk, having sex with them, and boasting about it. (Her brother was not in a fraternity).

I went to a few frat parties early on in college, but they weren’t fun. I didn’t like the people, and I didn’t like the aggression. I never went through rush week or tried to pledge to a sorority, because I didn’t like the mentality or the exclusiveness. I didn’t like the girls I met who were recruiting, or the girls back at the various houses. Plus, the time factor — when I wasn’t in class or doing homework or at a work study job, I was in the theatre or on the film set WORKING. I was earning my way in the arts since age 18. I wasn’t going to give up a show or a film gig for a party house. It had no place in what I wanted in my present or my future.

Back to my own daily life, this will post before the breakfast happens today. I’ll write about it all in my post tomorrow. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly and my speech goes well. I want it to be a good moment honoring my client.

Namaste.

 

Published in: on September 25, 2018 at 1:11 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 25, 2018: Awards and Concerns  
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Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Andrew Singer’s wonderful memoir, China Sings To Me.

The 17th Anniversary of 9/11. I knew a lot of people who died that day. I still grieve. I perform my own ceremony of remembrance.

I get annoyed when people book social events, etc. on this day, but it’s not up to me. What is up to me is not engaging, and keeping it a day of remembrance in the way that works for me. People have the right to live their lives. I have the right to live mine.

For me, this day is about remembrance, commitment to those for whom I care, and trying to figure out how to make the world a better place that’s not fear-based. I have a long way to go, but at least I put in the work.

There was some sort of stomach bug prevalent in the house over the last few days. I had trouble Thursday and Saturday; my mom was sick Saturday into Sunday.

I managed to finish this draft of RELICS on Saturday night and get it off to my editor. I’ll get editing notes back later this week, turn it around, and then we go into galleys.

Meanwhile, DAVY JONES DHARMA moves into the Priority slot, with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE moving back into the secondary slot (out of the “I’ll work on it whenever” slot). CRAVE THE HUNT and the rest of what used to be POWER OF WORDS are in the “whenever” slot, and I’m percolating the opening chapter of GRAVE REACH, which goes into the back of RELICS.

GRAVE REACH is outlined, but I’m on a tight schedule for it, and have to get cracking. That will also be in a “whenever” slots.

I read some nonfiction books by an author whose work I’ve followed for decades. Some of her work resonates with me; some does not. She is not someone I want to meet or work with, though. Too many of her quirks annoy me: they’re not honest or endearing; I find them selfish and hypocritical.

But then, as someone pointed out a couple of years ago, we all have areas in which we’re hypocrites. We simply choose our level of hypocrisy. I’m trying to narrow those areas in my own life. Again, work in progress.

Also read an urban fantasy novel by a new-to-me author. I’d read one of her short stories in an anthology and liked it, so I figured I’d try a full-length book. The only book I could get from the library was in the middle of the series. Loved the action. Although, after awhile, it was too much action and not enough happening in between. The sex scenes were necessary to drive the plot, and were pretty well written, but ten pages plus, in my opinion, is too long in this case. Some of the best development of supporting characters I’ve seen in a long time. I wasn’t so thrilled about the protagonist. This was book six and she was in a place I’d have expected in the middle of book one or maybe book two. She doesn’t make a mistake once and then learn from it. She makes it five or six times, finds a solution by accident, but doesn’t apply it moving forward. That bothers me. She found out information and, at the end, it looked like she evolved, but when I read the reviews for the next few books in the series, it seems like she’s doing same old, same old. Also, according to the reviews, the cliffhanger set up at the end of this book still isn’t resolved two books down. I’m not sure I’m willing to go ahead indefinitely with constant cliffhangers, so that each book is like an overlong chapter. Especially since the cliffhanger involves the character that was my favorite in the book.

I rarely use reviews to make a decision about whether or not to read a book, but I had suspicions about where this was going, and wasn’t sure I wanted to put time into it, which is why I hunted down the reviews. I’m on the fence. If I can come across the next two books easily via the commonwealth catalogue or something (they’re not in CLAMS), I’ll try them.

Then I feel guilty, because I should support my fellow writers. However, this woman has plenty of sales — mine won’t matter! And, since a library book is a sale for her, it works all around.

I was really disgusted by the way Serena Williams was treated at the US Open. Men get away with questioning the umpire, but heaven forbid a woman, especially a talented black woman, do the same. The crowd also treated Naomi Osaka terribly. It should have been a glorious day for her, not a misogynistic one.

With Hurricane Florence a threat, I have to finish what I’m doing, cleaning-up wise, on the deck in the next few days. Here I’d hoped I’d have until nearly the end of October to use the deck as a staging area as I clean out, but I guess not.

Rehearsing for the reading, working on the calendar articles.

Onsite client work yesterday, today, tomorrow. Trying to find a new angle for the current and upcoming collections.

The newsletter went out on Friday, with cover reveals for the next three books. Next newsletter is December’s.

Working on my sell sheet for the weekend (and beyond), too.

Sent off a guest blog post. Working on the calendar articles. I want them done by the end of the month.

Got an idea from some of the non-fiction reading I’ve been doing for a novel. Playing with the setting, characters, themes, plot. We’ll see.

Working on the book I have to review.

Working. Working. Working.

I like it.

 

Published in: on September 11, 2018 at 3:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work  
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Tues. Sept. 4, 2018: Diving Back into the Fray

diver-1081987_1920

image courtesy of Free Photos via Pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Today I’m

–writing

–voting

–spending extra hours with my client

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read my piece about Donna Andrews’s Meg Langslow series.

I’ll be back blogging tomorrow, with a catch-up post!

Published in: on September 4, 2018 at 4:20 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 4, 2018: Diving Back into the Fray  
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Tues. Aug. 28, 2018: Design, Create, Purge

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Direct (as of yesterday)
Uranus Retrograde

Sorry I didn’t post on Friday. The day got away from me.

But I bought 18 notebooks in the back-to-school sales, so I’m set for notebooks. For the moment!

Thursday was not a good writing day at all, but at least I got some other stuff done, including early morning grocery shopping.

I tried reading a book from a series by an author who’d come recommended. I wound up skimming through the second half of the book I was reading because the protagonist was such an idiot I wanted her to be the next murder victim, there were copy editing errors as in the wrong character name in a scene that made no sense, and some major revelations happened off the page and were told to the reader in a toss-off sentence.

No. Just no.

I tried a book from a different series by the same author; put it down after the third chapter. I’m tired of dumbed-down, silly protagonists being marketed as “cute” and “whacky” and “spontaneous” and “eccentric.” Sorry, they’re dumb and annoying. I know plenty of cute, whacky, spontaneous, and eccentric individuals who aren’t morons.

An author I’ve crossed off my list. Fortunately, I’m not in contact with her on social media or at conferences. And no, I won’t name her publicly. I don’t bash other authors.

I want the protagonists in the books I read to be smarter, more resourceful, and more inventive than the average person. Yes, I like to see characters grow and change during the course of a book and series, but the change has to start soon after the catalyst, not six books down the road. A protag doesn’t learn from mistakes and keeps making the same one over and over? First of all, I want that protag to be the next murder victim (Donna Andrews calls it the “Too Stupid to Live Syndrome” and I agree). Second, it’s not a person I’d spend time with in real life, so I sure as heck won’t waste my reading time with that individual.

I like living books through characters vastly different than I am, but I demand intelligence and resourcefulness from them. Or I just don’t care enough to take a book-length journey with them.

Dumbing down characters so the reader can feel superior (a reality-tv trend) is not something I buy into. Or buy books of authors who do that.

I managed to get some yard work done Wednesday afternoon, which meant I could sit out on the deck with a lime martini and my writing and some books and not feel guilty. I need to mow and tidy up the front again.

By the time I get the yard where I want it, it will be snowing!

Read Yasmine Galenorn’s SOULJACKER and really liked it. Totally understand why she can’t continue the series. But still really enjoy this book (and it does stand alone).

Got out a couple of article pitches. Working on a radio play pitch and a workshop pitch, and a detailed LOI for a company that really interests me. Doubt they’ll go out before the end of this week.

Friday, I got a bit of writing done, and then I had a stack of errands, including getting a new phone. I went to one store — I told the guy my budget, and he immediately tried to get me beyond by double for a phone that he could only sell me that day. Um, no. That’s more than I can afford for a phone I don’t want. So I shopped around, and finally got something at a different store within my budget, and they were nice about it. So I have a phone I like that works.

I’ve been trying to get onto Vero, a social media network that’s only on one’s phone, that’s supposedly far superior to Instagram, Facebook, etc. Only when I download the app and try to sign up, they tell me the email address I use a dozen times a day is invalid. I complained to support, and they respond quickly, but keep asking the same questions and not solving the problem. So, unless it’s solved by today, I’m done and moving on.

One of the reasons I try new social media networks/apps is because, in addition to my own needs, I run social media platforms for other businesses and creatives. I experiment with them, see how they work, and then, depending on the need of the client, I can suggest one or more network.

If there are glitches and problems and a lot of hoops to jump through, I’m not going to recommend it.

I’m still getting a handle on Tumblr. I really like Ello, but that’s for creating, not really promotion. Which is fine, because it fills the hunger I have for connecting with other creatives about creation, not promotion.

I need and want to be around other working creatives who are creating. Not who are whining about “not having time” or only talking about the business side. The whining and the only-market-driven talk is like a disease among creatives, and it interferes instead of enhances creativity.

The last days of the Mars retrograde were tough. I had to take a breath and step back or I would have burned some bridges that really don’t need it right now.

The weekend was frustrating. Saturday was not a good writing day, and I didn’t get enough done around the house, either. I feel like I have no energy, like I’m in limbo. I can’t wait for other people’s decisions, even though they affect mine. I have to do what I need to do and just adjust. But it all seems overwhelming right now.

Sunday was better, especially creatively, although I’m still not where I need to be.

In addition to necessities like laundry, I also spent some serious time working on unpacking/purging stuff from the basement. Stuff that’s sat down there for far too long that I haven’t dealt with.

Time to deal.

It took me two hours to go through four boxes. I’m trying to deal with each item only once. There are a few things which I’m not yet sure about. Everything else was either toss or integrate. Not merely keep. Integrate.

I have a box for stuff to give away, but nothing from these boxes was appropriate.

If I can do a little every day, and more on weekends, eventually I will have gotten through it. But it’s slow going and it means making decisions that I’ve been putting off, sometimes for years. But it must be done.

It was also much more emotional than I expected. I had to confront my past self, and, again, decide what to integrate and of what to let go.

Difficult, but necessary.

Design work on site with a client yesterday and today. It’s fun, but needs a lot of focus.

 

Published in: on August 28, 2018 at 3:42 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 28, 2018: Design, Create, Purge  
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Thurs. Aug. 23, 2018: Lucy Learns to Play

Thursday, August 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/hot/humid

Overslept, which is setting me back quite a bit today.

Couldn’t get to the grocery store on my way home from work yesterday because there were so many accidents. Streets blocked off all over the place.

Client work was okay, but a little tiring. The individual who left (the shit-stirrer) turned out to have made a LOT of expensive mistakes that we now have to fix. I know that my life on site for that particular gig is much less stressful now that she’s gone.

Some more client work today.

Working on my calendar articles.

RELICS is chugging along well. Now, when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, I work scenes out in my head and then they’re ready to type when I get up in the morning. I plan to dig in hard over the next few days.

When I do the next editing pass on it, I’ll work on all Amanda’s chapters first, then all of Phineas’s chapters, then do another pass to make sure they integrate properly.

If the weather holds this weekend, I’ll catch up on yard work (I hope).

DHARMA is behind where I want it to be, but it’s going along, too.

I was thinking, yesterday, about how much I miss days spent scribbling in notebook while sitting in a coffee shop. We have few coffee shops around here, and none close enough not to be a major planning operation to get up and get to it. Nirvana is my favorite.

I remember reading, in one of Natalie Goldberg’s later books, how she, too, misses the days that inspired WRITING DOWN THE BONES, when she didn’t know any better!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love what I do. I just need to find a way to build in some more unstructured creative time that’s not focused on any one creative project.

Lucy is learning how to play. Imagine a six year old cat who doesn’t know how to play! She’s finding she quite likes it. She learns by watching Tessa, and then I take time to introduce her to some of the other toys, too. We have a ton of toys; Tessa is partial to one in particular that she doesn’t want to share right now, so Lucy has plenty of others to keep her busy.

I have a couple of article pitches to get out, a couple of workshop proposals to get out, and some more LOIs. When I’m done with client work, of course.

Then, it’s yard work and back to the page.

I won’t be able to post tomorrow until the afternoon. My morning is caught up with appointments.

 

Published in: on August 23, 2018 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 23, 2018: Lucy Learns to Play  
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Fri. Aug. 17, 2018: Tucking In to a Weekend of Inspiration & Writing

Friday, August 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Here’s hoping I can hang on until Mercury goes direct!

Yesterday, not enough writing done. But I got some LOIs out, updated the websites. I’m trying out the new Fearless Ink logo, and I changed the background color on the site. As my work evolves, so must the site. The concept for the site wasn’t meshing enough with the practicality.

Did some updates on the Devon Ellington site, too. Tweaked the information; added a couple of necessary things. I really like the slideshow of book covers on the Welcome page; I’d like to add additional slideshows to the top of the Delectable Digital Delights Page and the Anthologies Page. Eventually, the Topic Workbooks will have one, too.

We’re working on a new look for the Topic Workbooks. So far, the consensus is that the old covers work better! So I guess we’ll keep working.

Saw a couple of roughs for the cover of what will be the new book in the first of what used to be the Power of Words series. I really like it. It’s very different from anything I’ve seen out there. It gives information on the cover without over-extending titles and gives an idea of what the series is about. We’re going to start building the website offline, so it can go live when we’re done.

About twenty research books arrived at the library — some I’d ordered quite awhile ago. Most of them already go back today.

Did some good work on something I had to research for RELICS. I think feeling insecure about some of the research is what’s tripping me up and making me second guess. Also, the massive overdose in New Haven, CT is supporting what I’m dealing with in the book.

A new character walked into DAVY JONES DHARMA and is going to give Sophie a hard time — in more than one book, it looks like!

Writing this morning. Then, I have to do a few things at the library, and then it’s off to the Cahoon Museum to see their exhibits.

Tessa and Lucy are doing really well. They’re adjusting to each other. Tessa’s mood has improved enormously since Lucy joined the household. Lucy came from a difficult situation, so she’s cautious, but she’s starting to feel safer and more confident.

I plan to dig in this weekend. It’s all about writing and working on the house.

Back to the page, and then off to get some inspiration!

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on August 17, 2018 at 8:48 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 17, 2018: Tucking In to a Weekend of Inspiration & Writing  
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Tues. Aug. 14, 2018: Getting Back on Track

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Quite a busy few days.

On Friday, we drove across the bridge and picked up the newest member of our family, a six year old tortoiseshell cat named Lucy. Her owner was a nice guy and it broke his heart to give her up; but she was friendly with us from the get-go, so I hope he is reassured she has a good home.

Coming back over the Bourne Bridge was a nightmare, but eventually, we got home. Then came the introduction/integration process.

It’s been working well. They growl at each other occasionally, or hiss. But there’s no other aggression, and, most of the time, they basically ignore each other. They both get a lot of affection, often in sight of each other, at the same time, so that they can associate good things with each other. We’re pretty low key and calm; because we’re not tense and fussing, other than a few growls and hisses, they don’t, either.

It will take a few months before they’re friendly with each other, but I think it will work out. They are both sweet-natured, affectionate cats.

The writing did not go well over the weekend; I’m exhausted. Although I did re-plot the rest of RELICS now that it’s diverged so far from the outline. Yesterday, I got back into the saddle with both RELICS and DHARMA. I’m not quite in the flow where I want to be yet, but we’re getting there.

It rained on and off, so when it was cool enough to do yard work, I couldn’t actually do any.

Saturday, I managed to do tons of laundry, get some cleaning done, and get material to create a new cover for the big chair. It’s the same color configuration as Lucy’s tortoiseshell fur, so sometimes when she sits in it, she’s camouflaged. I think she likes that.

I also experimented with a puff pastry filled with apple pie filling, making little turnovers. Needs some work.

We’re watching lots of travel-the-world through cooking videos, and it’s making me more adventurous and confident about my own recipes.

I finished off the foreword for my friend’s book and sent it off. He was thrilled with it. Hopefully, the publisher likes it, too, and doesn’t want too many other changes. But I’ll do whatever.

It was one of the more challenging pieces I’ve ever had to write. Keeping it simple, not getting too gushy, pointing out where it works and lifts the book above typical genre, why it works so well as an indie title due to the chances it takes and breaks through the narrowing of the genre that so many of the Big Five now do. Using examples, but not spoilers.

I’ve read far too many over-blown forewords that quote so much text and dissect so much of the book, you don’t need to read the book anymore. I didn’t want to write one of those!

It was a good stretch, and I learned a lot.

Sunday was the memorial service for the friend who lost her battle to cancer on Aug. 1. It was at a local theatre, which was great (especially during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in NY, we held a lot of memorials in theatres). Lots of people, photos and videos of productions and performances in which she was involved. Her family is bearing up while devastated, because what else could they be?

What I didn’t like was that there was a cash bar and the drinks were full theatre show night price. Since, in lieu of flowers, the theatre was getting donations anyway, I thought that was inappropriate. That’s something I’ve noticed lately at New England funerals/memorials — cash bars. The last two years, that’s been the case in MA and Maine. I don’t like it. I prefer the established ritual of the community providing the feast for the family of the bereaved — everyone would chip in if asked.

It was good to gather everyone to say a final goodbye, but it drove home that this was it. No more of our friend laughing and making our lives sparkle. It was closure, but I don’t want to close the chapter on her. It’s a closure her family, especially needs, and I guess the rest of us do, but there’s a part of me that rebels at it.

She will live in our hearts, but right now, that’s not enough. Even though it has to be.

Came home, exhausted, to calm kitties also sleeping. The past few days have been stressful for them; it was good they could sleep — especially in the same room.

With a client and some other appointments yesterday and today. Yesterday was a web of missed communications.

My phone is dying AGAIN. I’m tired of forced updates I don’t want and forced apps I can’t take out of my phone to make room for what I want and need in it. I resent being forced to run my life on my phone and everything is an app.

I’m not buying a phone during Mercury retrograde. Last time I did that, it died the day Mercury went direct.

I’ll just be old school for the next couple of weeks, and people don’t get an instant response.

This coming weekend, I will go offline all weekend. I’m looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, I’m booked into three yoga classes this weekend, which I’ll need!

Onward.

Published in: on August 14, 2018 at 1:37 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 14, 2018: Getting Back on Track  
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Monday, Aug. 13, 2018: Respect, as in Self-Respect #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, August 13, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Let’s talk about respect when it comes to ourselves and our work.

If you don’t respect your writing, no one else has any reason to, either.

Don’t demean your work. Don’t make excuses around it. If you talk about your writing, and call yourself a writer, CALL YOURSELF A WRITER.

If someone tries to demean you, give them “The Look” and move on.

You do not owe it to anyone to discuss how much you earn, how much your advance is, how much your royalties are, or any other terms of your contract. When someone who has no business asking these questions tries to pry the information out of you, simply smile and say, “I’m happy with the terms of my contract.” And don’t engage.

If they persist, go ahead and say, “That’s none of your business.”

If someone tries to get you to work for them for free, whether it’s the insulting “You should write . . .” or the even more insulting, “Oh, but it’ll be so EASY to write this and we’ll make a lot of money out of it” – no.

For “You should write” smile and say, “I’m already contracted out on at least three years’ worth of ideas. But thanks for thinking of me.”

For the trying to get you to team up – which ALWAYS means you do the work while they bask in the money they think they’re going to rake in, again, smile and say, “My agent (or lawyer) handles that. Here’s the number. By the way, negotiations for ghost writing or co-writing start at 30K. And there has to be a publisher in place.”

Don’t engage with people who try to sabotage you. There’s nothing wrong with being cordial and walking away. If they continue to behave badly, there’s nothing wrong with being RUDE and walking away.

But the walking away is important.

Also, don’t denigrate your own work. You don’t “just” write marketing material or romance or genre. There’s not “just” in it. You DO.

Marketing writing is every bit as legitimate as novel writing as play writing as short story as anything else.

Don’t make self-deprecating comments about your work. There’s a difference between keeping your ego in check by being low-key and actively encouraging people not to respect your work. The choice of words you use to describe your work, even jokingly, will set the tone for the way strangers will regard you and your work. There’s a difference between an arrogant hard-sell (which is a turn-off), and a pleasant one-sentence summary (your log-line, your hook that you used in your pitch) that gives potential readers and conversationalists a taste of it.

Women have a tendency to self-deprecate more than men do. In the 1980s, we were supposed to wear the oversized shoulder pads that made us look like line-backers so we could tackle “a man’s world” (in stilettos, no less). Then, in the 90s, we were expected to self-deprecate, especially when we had major achievements.

Don’t.

Use positive language that shows self-respect without arrogance. There’s a difference between arrogance and assertion, and yes, it is about more than gender. Plenty of people will call you “arrogant” or “aggressive” if you are an assertive woman, especially an assertive author who’s a woman. That’s their problem, not yours.

Changing your negative self-talk takes time, but it is well worth it. When you start watching what you say out loud, it will also adjust in the voice that’s your saboteur, that often comes out as the “internal editor” (the negative kind) that gets in the way when we create.

That’s like when someone feigns interest in what you write, asks you about it, you tell them, and they say, “Oh! I never would read THAT!”

They aren’t “being honest.” They’re intentionally trying to make you feel like “less than” and that what you do is “less than.” If they were actually being productive members of society, they would smile and say, “How interesting! How wonderful that you wrote/published that!”

There are plenty of books that I won’t read – but I won’t spit in an author’s face by saying so when they’ve taken the time to tell me about the book, ESPECIALLY when I’ve asked about it.

There’s no reason you can’t be supportive and gracious, even when you don’t plan to read the book.

Smile and move to a different conversational group. I no longer grope for another topic. I’ve learned that this individual does not have the most basic social etiquette, and I’m not going to waste time. I smile and move on.

In this divisive time, I get plenty of “I bet you write feminist libtard crap.” To which I smile and say, “No, you wouldn’t like it. My work deals with concepts of humanity, justice, equality, which don’t interest you. Plus, I use words of more than one syllable.”

And I walk away.

Never forget how much non-artists HATE the fact that artists create. They will pretend they “don’t mean anything” by their remarks. But they do. The purpose is to undermine your self-esteem, your self-confidence, to make you feel bad, to “cut you down a peg” or to “put you in your place.”

My place is wherever I CHOOSE it to be.

Smile, be gracious, disengage.

Hold on to the core of your self-respect.

Don’t let anyone treat you with less than respect.

When you respect yourself and disengage from those who treat you without it, you’ll be surprised how their behavior changes, how positively your self-respect affects your life (and your work), and it begins an upward spiral.

Published in: on August 13, 2018 at 4:14 am  Comments (4)  
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