Tues. May 21, 2019: Digging In to Dig Out

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Busy weekend, but a different busy than I expected. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Work is coming along steadily on ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s different than my usual pieces, and I’m taking what I’ve learned in other pieces and applying it here. It’s taking on its own form and rhythm, while still holding genre elements which interest me.

Working on GRAVE REACH, which is interesting in the way it’s forming, too. I feel as though last year I’d hit a plateau with my work. Although I wanted to improve, I’m not sure I did. I think both GRAVE REACH and ELLA will wind up being really good books. They’ll need a lot of work to get there, but the bones are solid on both of them, and I can layer on in the edits.

Ran errands on Friday, got out some LOIs, handled some stuff for my mom, and some grocery shopping. Saturday morning, more groceries, gas in the car, and a trip to Country Gardens so that I could get the stuff I need to treat the deck for ticks, et al. There were lettuce six packs on sale, so I could replace some of the lettuce we lost.

I did some trimming in the yard, and spent a good portion of the day transplanting tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings, and repotting some herbs. I also planted nasturtium, morning glory, moonflower, kale, mesculan green, and spinach seeds.

We have to take some of the tender plants back in at night, but they need the long sunshine.

Did the first of the tick treatments on the deck. I’m probably more afraid of ticks than anything else.

Later in the day, I enjoyed the scent of lilacs on the breeze, as I did research for a couple of projects.

The check arrived from the radio play in Minnesota that was taped last week. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the check from the Boston production a month ago. I’ll wait a few more days and then do a follow-up.

The Preakness was wild. Both in the entrants, and the poor horse who ran without his jockey.

Last week, I re-watched, on DVD, Bill Moyers’ FAITH & REASON, which took place at a PEN conference in NYC a few years back. What those writers predicted is even more chilling today. Now, I’m watching A WORLD OF IDEAS, conversations Moyers had with writers way back in 1988. E.L. Doctorow predicted what has since come to pass.

I overslept on Sunday, not getting up until after 8. I can’t remember when I’ve done that. Put the plants out on the deck for the day. Will have to take them in and out all week, because the nights are still too cold. I’m slowly taking out the teak furniture, a piece at a time, and rubbing it with teak oil, so it won’t crack in the weather. Did three loads of laundry. Wanted to mow (okay, not really, more like NEEDED to mow), but it kept threatening to rain, so I didn’t. That was my excuse, anyway. I need to get the meadow done soon, or it will be too high for the mower.

Worked on ELLA; worked on GRAVE REACH; worked on a tweak my editor asked for in the review; got ahead on some blogging. Worked on the articles that are due this week.

Woke up at 2:30 on Monday morning; managed to get back to sleep, but it always means I’m groggy and have a problem getting going when the alarm goes off. The weather was lousy, so I kept the tender plants inside.

I think I’m going to stick to my plan of taking off from this Thursday through Memorial Day. I’ll make it a long weekend of reading, writing, and yard work (weather permitting). As little online as possible, not dumping things on people’s desks except for deadlined work. I need the break, or I will break.

Taking Sunday almost completely offline helped a great deal. I need to go back to one day a week that’s disconnected; for a long weekend, I plan to spend most of it disconnected.

Was with a client yesterday. It was a little chaotic. Will be there today and tomorrow, and then I have a break from client work until next Tuesday. I barely made it to meditation on time.

I desperately, desperately need it.

 

Thurs. April 25, 2019: Evolution of the Writing Process & Internet Bullying

Thursday, April 25, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

That pressure you’re feeling? Jupiter AND Pluto are retrograde. Saturn joins them on Monday. Yuck.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post on the garden.

Was with a client most of yesterday. Somehow, when I woke up I thought it was Thursday instead of Wednesday; even once I realized it, I had trouble getting into the Wednesday head space to work with the client.

Home and worked in the garden for about an hour. There’s still a lot to do, but I just have to do it one piece at a time. Eventually, it will all get done.

Worked on contest entries.

I’m playing with a new idea for a series of novellas. I want to mix genres. I want them to be short. The characters are clear; the world is taking shape. I have the beginnings of a plot, which I’ll have to explore further. I don’t want them to run longer than 25-30K, so the plot has to be precise, and a minimum of sub-plots, even though I want a couple of them to run the course of the series.

I’m not sure WHEN I can fit in the writing of them, so I have something worthwhile to show my editor. I have deadlines to meet, and re-adjusted deadlines to meet.

But it’s fun to play with the ideas.

It’s so important for process to evolve. My process is constantly evolving. I learn from each project. I work on both art and craft. Some of them wind up not working at all, and that’s okay. Disappointing, but even what doesn’t work gets me somewhere else, and gives me valuable experience.

I’ve written books as a blank-pager, not using an outline. (I don’t use the term “pantser” — to me, it sounds like an STD). While it was sometimes fun and often frustrating to figure it out as I wrote, ultimately, I had to evolve away from that. It also needed a lot more drafts to get it into the shape where I could even ask a Trusted Reader to look at it.

This is my profession, not my hobby. This is how I keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I don’t have the luxury of writer’s block or not knowing what comes next when I sit down at the page. I need to be able to drop immediately into the world of whatever I’m working on and move forward.

I’m juggling several series, along with other projects. Some are novels; some are radio plays; some are stage plays; some are articles or other writing I do for clients. I don’t have the option of telling a client I “didn’t have time” to do their project.

Outlining has helped me. I sit down and plot out the book. I free write the characters’ stories. Then I go back and work on plot points and scenes. Then I arrange and rearrange them as I best think it will serve that particular book.

I don’t like working on index cards. For scripts, especially television scripts, that’s the protocol, and if I’m working as part of a staff, or with a partner, yes, we use index cards. But I’m happier with paper and pen. My outlines are more like treatments.

This is NOT the outline I’d send with a query. Even the outlines I send my editors for series in progress are honed from these outlines, but are NOT these outlines. I call these outlines my “Writer’s Rough Outline.”

I type a copy and keep my original handwritten copy. I usually work from the handwritten (if I can read it — sometimes it’s too scrawled). The creative energy that went into the handwritten copy often serves me better than a cold, typed version.

As I complete each section of the outline, I check it off.

I adjust along the way, as the story and characters dictate and evolve.

My outline is a roadmap, not a prison. I often go in very different directions. That’s okay.

The first draft is often lean and skeletal. I don’t want to lose momentum. I want to get through it.

I like to put each draft away. The most important rest time is between the first draft and the second. Ideally, it’s two months. The reality is often far less, but I always try for at least two weeks.

I have to be able to look at it objectively, as though someone else wrote it.

Then I do as many drafts as it takes, including my multi-colored draft (where I go through with different colored markers highlighting adverbs, passive or past perfect, and qualifiers. Then I take them out and look for better ways to express what I want to say. If that word IS the best way, I negotiate with myself to put it back in).

The second draft is usually where I overwrite and follow tangents and develop ideas. The third draft if usually a combination of multi-colored draft and massive cuts.

Trusted readers usually get a third or fourth draft. I usually have at least one, sometimes two drafts after my readers see it before I consider it submission-ready. An un-contracted manuscript can take several years until it’s ready for submission.

The books on series contract have fewer drafts, since my contracted editor is in earlier in the process. Plus, the schedule is tighter.

There are always more ideas than hours in the day to write them. (I distrust those who say they “don’t have anything to write about” the same way I distrust people who get bored. Writers always have too much to write about). I recently started a notebook I call the “Whatever” notebook. I’ve had variations on this throughout the years, usually called “Fragments.”

I date every entry. I find the date provides a context for the inspiration, and sometimes it helps to go back to other elements of the day.

In it, I write whatever I want. A snippet of dialogue, an observation, ideas as characters and situations come to me. If I’m somewhere between meetings or in a waiting room or just want to get away and clear my head, I take the Whatever notebook and free write. Write about whatever’s on my mind, a combination of inspiration, what if, development, and brain dump.

It’s along the lines of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Practice and Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, although they happen at any time in the day, and at any place.

Morning pages work for lots of people, but not fore me. Morning is my most creative time. If I do morning pages, then I’ve used up that creative energy that should have gone into whatever is my Primary Project (the manuscript in which I write my first 1K of the day every morning). I think they’re great if they work. The concept is terrific, and it gets the person writing every day. But I need my first writing of the day to be about the work, not about me.

I’ve also started reading a few pages in one of my favorite writing books in the morning, before I start writing. Morning routine is: make coffee, feed the cats, check email/social media (sometimes I respond, while the coffee is brewing; sometimes I make a note to respond later), first cup of coffee, yoga, meditation, shower/dress, first 1K of the day.

When the weather is nice, I have my first cup of coffee out on the deck. When it’s not, I have it in my writing room. Now, I’m reading a few pages in one of my favorite books about writing (I have shelves of them, and some of them I re-read regularly as fuel).

Any other kind of book siphons energy away from my own work; in other words, I don’t read fiction first thing, or it derails my first 1K. But reading about writing and process helps. Usually it’s only 2-3 pages. But it starts building the desire.

Once I’ve written my first 1K of the day, I have breakfast. Check email, plan the day. If I can, I get a little more writing done. If it’s a day where I’m headed off to work with a client, I do it. Otherwise, I might write at home for a bit, and then head to the library for a few hours. There, I can research and put together pitches, or just sit in a corner and write. I answer emails, I send out LOIs or pitches. It’s easier for me to do that away from the writing room.

I prefer to write in the morning and edit in the afternoon. That’s flexible, depending on deadlines.

Again, weather dictates when I can work in the yard, so sometimes I have to push an editing session or add an extra writing session into the evening, when necessary.

I still go out with friends. I still spend time with family. But they can’t sabotage the writing. Anyone who sabotages the writing is removed from my life. This is my profession as well as my passion. I am the breadwinner. Writing is a priority, and those who don’t understand that, who don’t respect that, reveal a far deeper problem than time or writing. They reveal that they don’t understand or respect ME. Why would I have people in my life who don’t respect me?

That carries over to the endless bullying on the Internet. The last few days, I have received demands to stop talking about politics because the follower “only” wants writing information; to stop talking about writing because the follower “only” wants politics; to block people that person didn’t like or they would block me; if I’m even willing to listen to a different point of view, they’ll block me; if I don’t like the same thing they do, they’ll block me; they pick the “hill they want to die on” for something meaningless to most of the rest of us and demand fealty; that they’ll block anything that is retweeted without comment — really? If it’s well said, adding anything is only ego on my part; that I have to “prove” I’m a “real person” and they get to define “real” and that I “must” use pronouns in my bio– um, no. I get to decide what I share publicly and how to share it; to stop forwarding information on animals in kill shelters whose lives can be saved through adoption, fostering, and sponsorship.

All these people can go to hell, as far as I’m concerned. They don’t get to tell me what to post about, what to write about, how to live, what parts of myself I choose to share with the world.

I’m tired of people who claim they support inclusion and tolerance and are fighting for what’s right then tell me what I can and can’t say or do or think — as much as those we’re fighting dictate to us. Especially if it’s someone I’ve never met and only know for a few days on a social media platform.

Are you paying me to write something specific? No? Then you don’t have a say in what I write. YOUR right is not to buy it. Or read it. But not to tell me I can’t or shouldn’t write it.

None of these people matter in my life. I quietly unfollow or block plenty of people every week. We’re just not compatible. I don’t have to threaten them or fight with them. I either scroll past (because we are all more than one thing, and that’s beautiful) or, if it truly is something I don’t want in my life in the long term, I unfollow or block, as appropriate. I don’t have to make a big deal out of it. I’m a random person on plenty of people’s feeds, as they are on mine. We can peacefully co-exist, in most instances, without bullying each other. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to write posts that incite violence or demean people — yes, those should be called out. But if someone is happy about a show or a flavor of ice cream or whatever? Why be mean? If something matters to someone and they want to share a post to try and help? Why do YOU have the right to say THEY don’t have the right to care or to share it?

You don’t.

Also, I am not required to follow everyone who follows me, nor is everyone I follow required to follow me. There are certain red flag words in posts or bios that mean I won’t follow back. It doesn’t mean that person is expected to change; it’s just not something I want in my life. Eventually, they will probably unfollow me anyway.

And we don’t miss each other, because we never really knew each other.

Yes, social media is a marketing tool for my work. But that’s only part of the reason I’m on it. I’m on it to learn from people who know and are interested in different things than I am. I am on it for conversation and information and laughter. I don’t have to like, or even agree, with every post from every person that shows up on my feed.

Have I made poor choices, either in comments or in sharing? Of course. But I’m getting more aware of it, and am thinking twice before doing either. I am well aware how flawed I am, and I work on it. But I don’t bow to bullies, even in elementary school.

I’m happy with the way GRAVE REACH is going, and hope to get in at least one more writing session on it today. I have to make a grocery run, go to the library, take my mother to a doctor’s appointment, get some yard work in.

I also have to go over Saturday’s presentation one more time, and re-check the packing and all the stuff I’m bringing for the presentation. I have a rolling rack full of fun stuff. I leave for the conference tomorrow. I present late on Saturday. I know I’m prepared, but I always like to make sure.

I could teach a semester-long course on this. I have 50 minutes. I hope I picked the right 50 minutes of material!

Back to the page. And the yard.

 

Fri. April 12, 2019: Long Weekend Needs to Be Productive

Friday, April 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Got some yard work done yesterday, which was a good thing. Compared with how much still needs to be done, it doesn’t look like I got a lot done, but every bit of progress is progress. I got rid of a lot of invasives, which was not fun, but necessary.

Took my mother to the doctor. She had to have another biopsy done on her leg. Hopefully, she won’t need more surgery.

Worked on contest entries and some other stuff. Behind where I want to be in the writing, and have to push hard this weekend. Also want to finish the material for my workshop. I’m last on the schedule, about which I have mixed feelings. It’s my lowest energy point of the day. But I’ll pull it off.

I need to start putting together the handouts, too. Because, of course, I am the Queen of Handouts.

I’m still not sure if I should do a Power Point presentation, or visual boards, or a mix. I might do both and be prepared.

Still not happy with those two scenes in “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”

Waiting to hear back on a couple of things, prepping a couple of pitches. In a holding pattern for a few things, because I can’t move forward until I have more information, and, once I have it, I might have to do some negotiating.

I have a meeting at 2 this afternoon, which could also put a few interesting things into play.

Tomorrow morning, Tessa goes to the vet to get her shots updated (Lucy’s are still good). In the afternoon, I have a sound bath workshop. I can’t wait.

In between, I have to write and do yard work (unless it’s raining). And finish my taxes (ick).

Most important errands this morning are to pick up my mother’s prescription and put gas in the car! All the other errands are build around that.

Monday is Patriot’s Day here in MA, but I’m going in to work with a client on a big project.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on April 12, 2019 at 8:47 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 12, 2019: Long Weekend Needs to Be Productive  
Tags: , , , , ,

Tues. April 2, 2019: Regaining Equilibrium & Grabbing Opportunities

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Waning Moon

I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Mine was all over the place. The drama surrounding what should have been something simple intensified, and I’m fed up. In addition to being hurt and frustrated because I said if these particular actions were taken, these would be the results, and I would be the one who had to pay for it both financially and emotionally. That was ignored, I was hit with consequences for something that was not an action of MINE, and now I’m supposed to jump through more hoops to fix it, instead of the person who caused the issue in the first place. No. Just no.

Human beings make mistakes. It happens.

When I make a mistake, I apologize, first and foremost. Then I take actions to correct the mistake. Then I work to rebuild any trust that was broken because of the mistake. Especially the latter takes time, and isn’t always successful. But I make the effort.

Yet in this situation, when the other party made a mistake that affected me in more than one area of my life — I had to fight to get an acknowledgement and then a half-hearted apology. And then I was told the hoops I had to jump through to get it fixed with a third party– again, this was NOT my mistake — which I had told the person who made the mistake wouldn’t work in the first place, because I actually have worked in this field and know the manipulations. As I predicted, it did not work, I was badly treated, shamed, and mansplained to. The situation is still not resolved. We are now in Day 5 of something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and could have been fixed in FIVE MINUTES.

Even if it is, any future interactions will be tainted. What used to be in the life balance column is now in the life stressor column.

I don’t need that, especially not this month, when things are stretched to the max anyway.

In addition to the whole situation making me angry, I am so, so hurt. This was someone I trusted.

But now I know better.

And I’ve lost a sanctuary I deeply value. Which is painful.

So, basically, most of the weekend was spent in emotional pain management, trying to heal, and, every time I took a step to try to resolve the situation, getting another metaphorical slap in the face.

I didn’t get a lot of writing done, although I got some plotting, and I’m back working on GRAVE REACH this week. At least I can relate to Lesley’s pain and sense of betrayal. I’ll find a way to funnel it into the work.

I read my friend Arlene Kay’s DEATH BY DOG SHOW, which was really fun. Made me laugh a lot.

I worked on the books for review. I worked on contest entries. I got quite a bit done on the contest entries.

I started working in the yard. Saturday was so beautiful. I got the terraced area in the back raked out. I didn’t get as far as the border bed on the terraced area, but I got the rest of the beds raked out, did some pruning and cutting back. Got rid of a lot of bindweed that’s been creeping around. And some of the roses are taking over, so I’m going to have to do some serious hacking back in the next few weeks.

Worked on the proofs for the almanac. They went out yesterday morning.

Was with a client on Monday, and will be so today. Wednesday, Thursday, and maybe into Friday, I have an adventure. I’ll be able to share some of the details next week. And then I go into another intense weekend of writing and, next Saturday, going to see my radio play performed live in Boston.

My entire intent on Monday was to keep my head down. I don’t like April Fool’s Day. I don’t like that people feel liberated to be cruel — although, since the 2016 election, they feel that every day, and, especially around here, regularly act on it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on April 2, 2019 at 5:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 2, 2019: Regaining Equilibrium & Grabbing Opportunities  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Nov. 20, 2018: Writing, Reconstruction, Announcements

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend. I was lucky enough to focus on the writing.

I finished the 4th draft of HEART SNATCHER on Sunday morning, after spending part of Friday and most of Saturday on it. I wound up cutting seven chapters, doing a lot of tightening. It’s now back down within an acceptable range for genre, although I’d like it to be even leaner.

But I love Max and Valerie, and what they’re dealing with. The characters are well-developed, the plot moves.

I made some changes in the first third of HEART BINDER, the second book in the trilogy, and then went over the outline for books two and three, and made some changes to support the revisions in book 1.

I also found a place where I need to add a few words of description to an object that makes an appearance in Book 1 and then becomes vital to the plot in Books 2 &3.

I wrote another chapter on HEART BINDER on Sunday afternoon.

I’ll send HEART SNATCHER to my editor after the Thanksgiving holiday. I want it to marinate, so to speak, for a few days, and then I’ll do one more pass before I send it off. She liked the synopsis and sample chapters, and in the current climate of a toxic administration, it’s relevant.

Along with the discussions I’ve been having with editor and publisher, we are moving the release of DAVY JONES DHARMA into February, rather than December. I can’t get it into the shape I want by the end of this week. I need to tear it apart and reconstruct it. The contract schedule this year was just too tight for me.

From a marketing standpoint, it makes more sense to release a book set on a cruise ship in February, during the height of cruise season, so that all works.

THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE is on track, and retains its late January release date.

We may push back the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and the future of the Gambit Colony series is up in the air, as far as when it will release.

That’s all dependant, of course, if the publisher wants the Justice by Harpy trilogy. If not, we still have to rearrange some of the schedule, so that each book we release is the best I can make it, within the time frame, and the time frame is realistic so it doesn’t suck.

I’m also at that weird stage I hit with certain books, where I don’t like to be physically separated from the manuscript.

Got a few pages done on the suicidal veteran piece.

Friday night, there was an NBC news piece about teaching kids to triage each other in active school shootings. Right, because the adults refuse common sense gun legislation.

But that got me thinking about the anti-gun violence play. I wrote a new opening, and I have the notes for a new closing. They will echo each other, without boring repetition (if I do it properly). Instead of writing this play linearly, the way I usually do — start at the beginning, write it through, and then revise — I’m writing it from both ends to the middle. It’s a variation on a technique I learned in a playwrighting workshop I took with the National Theatre when one of my plays was done at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

I found out about the deadline to submit the application on the last day. I went to the Fringe office to apply. A scene had to accompany the application, so I sat down and wrote one. When I turned it in, they asked me to wait. A few minutes later, the instructor said, “You wrote this just now? It’s not part of something else?”

I said, “No. I can’t use anything from the piece that’s running, because it would hurt both processes.”

He looked at me and said, “You’re in.”

It’s one of the best classes I ever took in my life, and I still use what I learned.

Anyway, I rewrote the opening scene. I sent it off to my UK actor pal (the one who told me to get out of my own way in the reading). He’s one of the few who sees an early draft of anything; he’s both supportive and critical. I asked him what it needed. His reply: “To be on stage. Now.”

So I’m on the right track.

Yard work suffered this weekend, but too damn bad. I was so sick and tired of all the damn leaf blowers. It’s autumn in New England. Leaves fall down. The lawn doesn’t have to be immaculate every moment.

It was a Twitter pal’s birthday yesterday. I sent him good wishes; but, because I wasn’t close enough to buy him a drink in person, I went to a local bar where veterans hang out (he’s a veteran) and anonymously bought a round for a table of them in his honor. I left before the bartender could point me out. Because none of this is about me.

The rest of this week’s posts are placeholders and good wishes for the holidays. The next post with teeth in it is next Monday, the Upbeat Authors post wondering if authors can have friends, since everything is material.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 20, 2018 at 6:05 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 20, 2018: Writing, Reconstruction, Announcements  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Nov. 13, 2018: Digging into the Inspiration

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Busy, intense weekend.

Friday, we went to the Cahoon Museum, to see the fiber arts exhibit. It was astonishing. My favorite pieces were the enormous scorpion made out of black lace doilies — it took up about a third of the floor space in the exhibit room — and a quilt called “Security Blanket” filled with charms and shells and artifacts from different belief systems.

There was also an amazing painting in the upstairs gallery by a painter named Jim Dowd. When you first look at it, it’s dark blue. As you continue to look at it, you start seeing the moonlight, the outline of the houses, the light in the windows. It was another piece I kept going back to. It filled me with delight and discovery.

Picked up some stuff at the Patisserie in Falmouth (still my favorite bakery), stocked up on cat food and cat litter, ran some other errands.

Saturday was a stormy, rainy day, but Sunday was lovely, and I got to see the matinee of a musical in which a former colleague had a role. Overall, the production was well-directed, well-designed, well-choreographed, well music-directed. My colleague and one of the young actresses were terrific vocally. But the score was beyond some of the other performers. It was better than most musical productions I’ve seen here, but still, there were too many sharps and flats and missed notes. I enjoyed it, though, and the overall sense was of a good production. The audience stood, although I did not. I have only stood at curtain call for three productions in my life, three productions where I felt blown away. I rarely stand, and this “standing for everything” dilutes the meaning of a standing ovation.

Worked on DAVY JONES DHARMA over the weekend, but still am not where I need to be. I’d hoped to have this draft done this weekend. I’m having trouble keeping the tone light enough.

Read an historical mystery where the period detail was exquisite, but the characters and plot didn’t quite do it. Read Michael Ovitz’s memoir, which was interesting. CAA was in its heydey as I transitioned from off-Broadway to Broadway. I liked (and continue to respect) the long-term career planning the agents did (rather than take the money and run). What I didn’t and don’t like is them putting together packages of all their personnel — writer, director, actors. Taking over that part of the creative process. I don’t think you can get the best person for each slot that way. Of course, one could argue that film and television production isn’t about the “best” but the most bankable. Sometimes they align, and sometimes they don’t. Anyway, it was interesting to learn that perspective. That will feed into the GAMBIT COLONY series.

I also wonder who his ghostwriter was. The tone sounds familiar.

Did some work on PREVENTATIVE MEASURES. Got over a point where I’d stalled. I’m writing some bits I’ll probably cut, but I need to write them so I have the information. Then I can cut it and seed in what’s necessary for the reader.

The Narcissistic Sociopath was an embarrassment on a global scale, yet again. Flying to France (on our $$$), then refusing to go to the Armistice Ceremony because it was raining. Berating California for its wildfires and refusing aid. Skipping the dinner of World leaders (or maybe he was 2 1/2 hours late — I’ve heard conflicting stories). Wagging his tail like an eager puppy when Putin arrived. Refusing to walk down the Champs Elysee with 70 other world leaders. He’s a disgrace, on every level.

The California wildfires are heartbreaking. The loss of life, home — not just belongings, but home. At least one actor with whom I’m acquainted has lost his home, and I’m worried about others. The animals dying, people burned alive in their cars as they try to flee.

And the federal government doing NOTHING. The Red Cross telling them there’s nothing coming in. Well, Red Cross, you have a HUGE bank account — crack it open and help these people. The Red Cross has been a major disappointment in my lifetime. The one time I personally needed help from them, where there was a fire in my apartment building and I was traumatized and frightened and didn’t know what to do? They were useless.

Re-connected with veterans, with Armistice Day and Veterans Day and all these important events this weekend. I’ve worked with a variety of them on different projects — theatre pieces, writing, listening to them. Every year, I’m saddened to see how many move from the Veterans’ Day list (alive) to the Memorial Day list (dead).

But from it, I got seeds of inspiration for several pieces. I’m taking notes, and will try to steal time here and there to work on them, while the inspiration burns hot. There’s so much pain going on, and in this percolation process, when I write from the inside out, it can be overwhelming. Actor friends tease me about “method writing.”

The process isn’t easy, but always worth it. Right now, I have no one to buffer between me and the world, which makes it more difficult. I have to build my own shells, my own walls, to protect myself and my process.

I really need a break, time off from the world, for a few days, but I can’t see how I’m going to get it.

I’d hoped to go on an adventure to Boston later this week, but I don’t think it will work. And, honestly, I don’t think I have the emotional energy for it right now.

Worked with my client onsite yesterday, and will do so today.

Focusing on DHARMA, since that deadline is looming, and on the pieces inspired this weekend, which fall into the category of development I can do in the Women Write Change project.

I got a little bit of yard work done, trying to get the leaves done and bagged. I’m getting a little sick of the neighbors, with their constant leaf blowing. But they only blow the leaves into piles, which then blow into my yard, and I’m the one who ends up having to rake and bag everyone’s leaves. Bag what you blow, people!

I’m tired, tired on so many levels.

But I need to get back to the page. That always helps.

Published in: on November 13, 2018 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 13, 2018: Digging into the Inspiration  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I need another week of weekend.

Busy times. Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest post.

I have to find someone who can help me re-thread the spool for the weed whacker, so I can keep working on the yard.

I made a stupid mistake on Friday because I was over-tired and careless. I can’t fix it; therefore I’ve lost a good opportunity. That’s my own damn fault. I need to let it go and move on.

Saturday was all about the yard. I worked in the front, I worked in the back. I set down the organic fertilizer that also fights ants and ticks. I planted the tomatoes I’ve grown from seed, re-planted some mints and other plants from the garden store, planted some more seeds, tracked down and destroyed the wasp nest and the wasps that have been tormenting us. Part of me felt guilty for the latter; however, they have an entire yard that remains organic; they don’t have to harass us on the deck. If they won’t respect boundaries, they are gone.

We set up the deck, and it’s lovely. I hope we can spend many wonderful hours out there this season.

I planned Sunday and Monday as writing days, and they were. However, they weren’t on the projects where I’m under the most pressure. I should have been working on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

Instead, I worked on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I wrote about fifty pages (mostly on Sunday, less on Monday). The shape is a little different than I expected, but I like it. The characters are surprising me in good ways. I’m having fun with the maps and building a dirigible that’s different from the other dirigibles I’ve designed for other stories. I have to adjust the structure — and that means going back and adding a chapter I skipped. I thought I had to rotate points of view and each chapter had to be from a different POV; however, I’m finding certain chapters where two in a row need to be from my primary protagonist. I’m also naming the chapters — something I rarely do. I’m naming them once they’re written, so the title reflects the content. I find if I try to name the chapter first, I then try to bend the chapter to fit the title, and it takes me off the track of the piece.

Thank goodness for my tracking sheets, or I’d never be able to stay consistent.

I heard that my radio play was well-received. I’m glad, and I look forward to hearing it when the link goes up. I also heard from some readers who bought and read my books over the holiday weekend, and enjoyed them. Always glad when something I write makes someone happy.

Worked on the anti-gun violence play. I have the characters, I think. I removed some, because they were pulling the focus of the piece. I have a smaller cast and a narrower focus, but I think it will work for what it is. I have what drives each of them; I have a basic idea of plot. I’m still working on structure, but I’m close. I find that, for a play, I need to work out a lot more in my head before I start writing. For prose, I need to make more notes and outline.

Yesterday, it was difficult to move out of the world of THREE ROADS and back into the contemporary New York of MYTH & INTERPRETAITON and RELICS & REQUIEM. Not to mention my actual reality of Cape Cod and having to work with a client on-site. I’m really tired of the attitude on Cape Cod of “if you’re not sitting in front of me doing the work, you can’t be working.” I’m much more productive working off-site, in my preferred surroundings. Both the quantity and the quality of my work are better when I work remotely.

Back on track with MYTH. Getting there with RELICS. My reward for getting each day’s quota on each is doing some work on THREE ROADS. Working steadily on the play — should be able to start putting something on paper this week.

Some LOIs out yesterday and more will go out today. I’m on-site with a client again, and have plenty of other stuff to get done while I’m gone.

And yard work, whenever I can, because the whole summer will be about yard work.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 30, 2018 at 2:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. April 24, 2018: The Right Kind of Writing Busy

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy, busy, busy weekend.

I did a lot of work on the serial proposal, and that went out yesterday. It’ll be about two months before I hear anything, and, hey, it’s a 50-50 chance. I hope they pick it up; if they don’t, I have it outlined and ready to dig back into as a novel when I can fit it back into the schedule.

I went through a stack of contest entries, and I started reading the radio dramas sent to me to judge.

I did a good bit of percolating and figuring out stuff for both NOT BY THE BOOK and HEART THEFT, and have started drafting the additional chapters.

I’m in another round of copyedits for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and hope to get them out later today or tomorrow.

I managed to get some yard work in, hauling the big branches that broke in the March storms, raking leaves in no man’s land, and cutting out some of the invasive oak. We put some of the big potted plants out on the deck — the two Rose of Sharons, the lilac, the forsythia, the hydrangea, the blueberry, some of the hanging baskets. Hopefully, we’ve moving into spring and can set up our enchanted deck soon.

I’m so exhausted, just feeling burned out on a lot of life stuff. But I’m excited about the writing opportunities, and I’m determined to do my best.

I’m excited by the worlds I’ve built for the serial, for HEART THEFT, and for NOT BY THE BOOK. I feel good about the work. There’s always room for “better” and that’s where editors come in, but I feel good about the work.

 

Published in: on April 24, 2018 at 2:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 24, 2018: The Right Kind of Writing Busy  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. April 3, 2018: Snow and Second Thoughts

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Snow yesterday. Not a happy camper.

The weekend wasn’t good for writing, but good for home and hearth. I started spring cleaning; I got yard work done.

I found out some interesting information about one branch on the family tree. I need to verify the information; if it’s true, I’ll share it. If not, it was still an interesting possibility.

Yet another coffee maker bit the dust this Mercury retrograde. This one last six months. That makes me grumpy.

Having second thoughts about the serial pitch. Not the worth of the pitch or the project, but I’m hearing people talk about the company, and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not. Not sure the financials would work out, and the more I hear, the more it sounds like the company expects the writer to bring the audience instead of working with the writer to grow the audience. My interest is in GROWING my audience, not handing my readers on a platter to someone else for THEIR profit. So, we’ll see.

Digging into the SPIRIT REPOSITORY edits. There’s a lot of work to be done. Instead of beating myself up about it, I need to buckle down and do it.

The retrogrades are weighing on me.

Published in: on April 3, 2018 at 1:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 3, 2018: Snow and Second Thoughts  
Tags: , , , , ,

Fri. March 30, 2018: I Hate Retrogrades

Friday, March 30, 2018
Day before Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and windy

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Semi-productive with admin work. We went another couple of rounds on the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and are all finally happy. The cover reveal was in the newsletter that also went out yesterday.

Got a little bit of writing done, but not enough. Worked through some contest entries.

Managed a few hours in the yard. Got most of the debris cleared out of the front, and one of the beds raked out. Slow going. I’m hoping that it clears up a bit today in order to get some more done. There’s a lot of work to do, and it’s going to take weeks, so I’d like to do a bit every day.

The Blue Moon meditation will go up on the Mediation page of Cerridwen’s Cottage later today.

And hop on over to the GDR site for the March wrap-up.

I have to track down a payment that was supposed to be in my account this morning and hasn’t shown up. This is from a reliable client, so I’m a bit concerned. I hate Mercury Retrograde, especially when it’s paired with Jupiter Retrograde.

I’m still having phone issues with AT&T. The phone hasn’t worked properly since the major cell service outage two storms ago. NOT acceptable.

Have a great weekend, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

 

Published in: on March 30, 2018 at 9:19 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 30, 2018: I Hate Retrogrades  
Tags: , , , , ,

Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Quite the busy holiday weekend. And yet, it feels like I got very little done.

We didn’t go to Maine for the holiday, like we usually do. Usually, the first few days of Thanksgiving week, I’m finishing my Nano word count, cooking up a storm of desserts and other things. Then, we usually drive up on Wednesday, making our favorite stops. I bring up the dinner and dessert for twelve I prepared at home, and that’s what I serve those who set up the Hall that’s always rented for Thanksgiving on Wednesday night. Thursday, I can usually get a bit of writing done in the morning, then help with the food prep at the hall (mashing vats of potatoes is my speciality), help with the clean-up, and preparing the snack for Thursday night. Because we have anywhere from 37 to 64 in the hall for the actual meal. And Friday, we head back while everyone else runs around shopping.

Not this year, because there’s too much post-op care after my mom’s surgery, and she still can’t fit into a shoe.

My mom had her doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning. He’s worried about her accelerated heart rate and is changing her medication. I took her home, got her settled, and spent a few hours on site with a client.

Then, home, and ready to dig in for the weekend.

Thursday morning, I was up early. The turkey was stuffed and in the oven by 7:30 in the morning. I read, and got some reading done, checking on the turkey and preparing the other dishes. We ate around 3. Maple-cranberry glazed turkey, my own stuffing recipe, mashed potatoes, my own carrot-parsnip in mushroom gravy, peas. Apple pie for dessert.

My mother wasn’t feeling well, with bouts of dizziness from her medication. So, all of the cooking, the set-up, and the clean-up was on me. I put away the leftovers, took apart the turkey. I’d gotten a bit overzealous with the turkey — over 22 pounds, and just for the two of us. We’ve got a good bit of leftovers. I then boiled down the bones to make stock. Once the stock was done, I added onion, celery, carrots, herbs, garlic, etc. and some turkey meat and made turkey soup. Once that cooled, I put everything in jars and labelled it.

Basically, I was in the kitchen for about 13 hours.

But it was an outstanding meal.

Friday, I was up early. I got a few things done around the house, and I emptied the Christmas closet and stacked the boxes by category in the back room.

I had to take my mom to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, and then we dumped a stack of books in the book drop at the library, and picked up her new medication. Then, we headed to Country Gardens, where I got the wreath I’ll decorate for the door, a small tree for the barrel in the front yard, and a cyclamen.

Home, and got the laundry going. Then, I ironed all the holiday fabric, took off the Thanksgiving fabric from all the surfaces that were covered, and replaced them with the Christmas/Yule fabric. Stripped the mantel and the hearth, wrapped the iron candle stands in gold ribbon, set up the Advent Table. Put up the musical fabric over the fireplace, set up the garland, the gold bells, and the caroler collection on the top, and the herd of deer on the bottom. Got some of the Advent table done.

That took all damn day.

Watched a rather pointless documentary on Stonehenge and did some reading.

Saturday morning, up early, outlined the next section of the Lavinia Fontana play. Changed the beds, vaccuumed, moved things. Hauled the big tree down. Got it into the stand (worst stand ever). Put the tree together. Got the lights on. Even though I tested them before I put them on, once they were on, half the strand at the top didn’t work. Took them off. Tested them again. They worked. Put them on. Now they didn’t. Went to the store to get a replacement strand. Got them home. Tested them. Three quarters of the strand worked; one quarter didn’t. Went back to the store. Swapped them out. This strand worked. Got them on the tree, and it all worked.

Lost two hours on the damn lights.

Unpacked a lot of the ornaments. Got some of the windows decorated. Finished the Advent Table (since Sunday was the First of Advent). But didn’t get the tree done. Didn’t even get the ornaments on it.

We’re rearranging things this year, and a lot of it is trying something, deciding that’s not what we want and changing it.

Honestly, it was easier in the small apartment where everything only fit one way!

But I do enjoy the decorating process.

I was tired that night, though. Too tired to do much. I did get the Norfolk pine planted in the barrel. But the neighbors are doing yard work and I am not. I am doing the inside first.

I couldn’t find the recipe I wanted, so I invented on. Hello, chocolate espresso spice cake. It turned out well, but I think I want to tweak some of the proportions and make it better.

We had power fluctuations on Saturday. Power kept going on and off in the evening and all night. Good thing it happened AFTER the cake was done!

Sunday, I gave myself the morning off to read and play with the cats.

Then, I had to do some work for one of my clients. I was behind, and we were meeting yesterday to finalize some photos for the rough of the media kit and the brochure.

We also did a photo shoot in the cemetery for the cover of “Miss Winston Apologizes”, since everything we’ve come up with so far isn’t quite right. Hopefully, what we came up with will now work.

Didn’t sleep well Sunday night into Monday. I’m dreading when Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Managed to get some good work done yesterday morning on SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Had to help my client untangle computer issues most of the day yesterday. How much do you want to bet there will be more today? Scary when I’m the most IT-savvy person in any room! 😉

Busy week – I feel like I’m falling behind, so I’ll have to add in extra writing sessions, probably late at night.

And so it goes . . .

Published in: on November 28, 2017 at 2:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Fri. Nov. 10, 2017: Problem-Solving, Weather Changes, Stitches

Friday, Nov. 10, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy yesterday. Some meetings in the morning. Then, I cleaned off deck furniture. Some of it got stashed in the basement; some is drying and will come in today.

Did some repotting and basic maintenance. After this morning’s meetings, I put the potted trees and shrubs near the window in the garage to overwinter, rearrange my bedrooms and some interior areas for the plants that have to come in, and then start on the front yard. I have to cut back, move the branches that have fallen in the wind, and rake. Working on the yard will probably take most of the weekend.

I had thought everything from Monday’s bad news was sorted out, but it’s not. And, because it’s not, I’m going to be majorly screwed next week. Not happy about that. But the catalysts are beyond my control; all I can do is come up with a solution that might still leave me temporarily screwed, but doesn’t hurt the other people affected by this.

It will work out in the long run; it just won’t be a pleasant process.

I won some yarn from one of Ashlyn Chase’s giveaways. I’m excited! 😉

My mom got out her stitches yesterday. Not pleasant. She has many more weeks of recovery — and doctor’s visits — before she can resume a normal schedule. Her foot’s got quite a hole in it, even with the skin graft.

My knees gave out yesterday. Both of them. Excruciating. I went to the health food store and got some salve, which did an amazing job. I’m not sure what that was all about. But I’m glad I’m not in constant pain today. I still feel it, a dull ache, but I can move the legs and do things like, you know, walk. And drive a car.

Working on some writing for a client, and sending off material in advance of our next meeting on Monday afternoon.

Over the weekend, along with yard work, I’ll also be baking cookies and roasting a chicken with the maple-cranberry glaze I learned how to make last week. I’ll also make a couscous salad for next week’s lunches.

The big writing pushes this weekend will be with THE FIX IT GIRL and the Lavinina Fontana play. The first three scenes are pretty clear in my head for the latter — it’s a case of getting them down on paper and moving things around, and then deciding how to build from there.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 11:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 10, 2017: Problem-Solving, Weather Changes, Stitches  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,