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 . . .

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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  
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May 1, 2017: Process and Planning

Monday, May 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Beltane
Rainy and cool

Busy weekend, but good one.

Finished the first draft of the screenplay WINNER TAKES ALL. It took me 19 days to write it from concept through first draft. It flowed well. I’ll have it marinate for about a week, and then hit revisions. The 6 pages/day schedule was good (although I usually averaged 10-13). I like the leaps of craft I’ve made in this. The storytelling is better, and that’s the point.

I had an idea for a new mystery on Friday and started playing with it. We’ll see if it goes anywhere. I wrote a few pages and it seemed distant. This morning, I woke up with the protagonist’s voice very strong in my head, and the realization it needs to be first person. However, I’m worried about yet another mystery of mine in the first person, although I feel Anna’s voice is quite distinct from either Sophie’s or Gin’s. We’ll see.

Disappointing response to a pitch that requested samples. Part of it was my misunderstanding the request, which is entirely on me; the rest of it is the person in charge not wanting/being able to evaluate a writing sample that wasn’t project specific. In my mind, if you look at a writer’s portfolio, you should be able to evaluate voice, style, craft, even if the sample wasn’t written specifically for you — that’s the point of a writing sample. To show breadth and depth, not to provide something for free to the publication. An editor should be able to read a piece and tell if the writer fits the publication. If said individual “can’t” because it’s not specific to that publication, the warning bells go off. It had potential to be a steady gig that could have been fun, but if the editor’s ability to evaluate is so narrow, I’m not a good fit for the publication. Next. I was going to try to fix the misunderstanding, but the more I consider it, the more my gut tells me that I’ve dodged (yet another) bullet.

Did some yard work, and planted some bee-friendly patches on the side of the house and in the stone circle. Arranged the deck, turning it into the Enchanted Garden for summer. There’s still a lot to do, but I’m out of shape, and only have the stamina to do a little bit every nice day. I’m going to have to start mowing this week.

Have an idea for a literary fiction/historical novel. Not sure if it will go anywhere. Again, the protagonist’s voice is strong, and quite different from the other voices. I will play with the ideas.

Made some research notes for FIX-IT GIRL — I start revisions on it today. I need to finish the Venice section on POWER OF WORDS, because I need to get those research books back, since I have oh-so-many other research books on the way out.

Rewatched THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR and liked it. I appreciate Matt Smith’s work more with some distance. When he first started, I missed David Tennant’s work so much, it was hard to connect to Matt Smith’s. They’re very different, but very good, and they were excellent together.

Watching the AGATHA RAISIN series. I am not a fan of the books, and the series doesn’t do it for me, either. There’s a mean-spiritedness in so much of it, and a lack of logic that thinks it’s funny, but just comes across as stupid. I like most of the actors, I love the locations, but I don’t like the tone.

Finished re-reading the Anthony Trollope biography. I’ve always admired his professional approach to his writing. He got up early every morning and wrote five pages, no matter what or where he was. 250 words per page, 1250 words a day. If he finished a novel within those five pages, he pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and started the next one. He got things done, without a lot of fuss and bother, or moaning.

The April wrap-up is on the GDR site, and May’s To Do list will be up tomorrow. The view on May looks very stressful from here — I hope I can get things sorted out to relieve some of the pressure. Otherwise, it will be a very difficult month.

I have some errands to run this morning, and then, this afternoon, I hope to dig back in to the writing. My To-Do list includes NOT BY THE BOOK, THE FIX-IT GIRL, POWER OF WORDS, “Seven of Swords”, and “Axe to Grind”, but I seriously doubt I can get work done on all of them today.

I’m worried I may have missed the window of opportunity for “Seven of Swords.” At the same time, I can’t send out a piece I know is sub-par. I have to try to fix it. I thought I had the key to fixing it, but it’s not quite working. I want to retain some of the ambiguity, but clean up the parts that are a hot mess. I haven’t hit that balance yet. I either over-explain or it’s overly ambiguous. I just have to keep at it until I get it right.

Like so many things.

Onward.

Tues. April 18, 2017: Creative Well Refilled & Overflowing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Direct
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I gave myself the weekend off, a long weekend off, starting on Friday. I read, puttered, refilled the creative well.

It must have been a good choice, because yesterday, I wrote 13 pages on the screenplay, wrote the first third of a new, short radio play, and did most of the revision on a one act play that needs to go out this week.

I got through a big stack of research books (which have to go back to the library today), and did some work on the outline of the other new script. I’m still doing research on it. I’ve got about the first third outlined.

I tracked down and reconnected with an old friend from my off-Broadway days; looking forward to catching up with him.

Saturday was a big day of trauma, for the cats, anyway. I haven’t been able to land an appointment with the regular vet, and it’s time for the girls to get their rabies shots. The Rabies Clinic was in Sandwich, so I stuffed them in their carriers (an ordeal in itself) and off we went. Iris yowled non-stop, as usual. Tessa had fought so violently, I wasn’t sure what would happen when they tried to give her the shot.

But they were both very good. We were in and out in no time, shots updated, paperwork complete, back home.

Tessa was SO relieved. I realized she thought she was being dumped, poor thing. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to reassure her that wouldn’t happen, and she stuck close. Once a rescue, always some issues.

Iris had forgotten everything within fifteen minutes, of course, the little princess.

I HAVE to get some yard work done today. The neighbors have been puttering around, and I’ve been neglectful. I just have to stick to the schedule of doing even just a little bit on every reasonably nice day, and, eventually, it will all add up. I just don’t have the stamina to put in eight or ten hours at a time, nor do I want to give up that much writing time.

I didn’t work on any contest entries over the weekend — I wanted to read only what I WANTED to read — so I have to get back on it today. I want to get the contest wrapped up sooner, rather than later. There’s a much larger gap between the strong contenders and the rest of the pack this year. It’s been interesting to see how the entries evolve. Some writers, who enter on consecutive years, have grown beautifully. Others spin in their same mire, no improvement, no attempt at learning craft.

I’m just past the half way point on the script. Looking forward to digging back into it. The short radio script is trying to go in a different direction — looks like the antagonist is not who I expected, which, if I can surprise the audience in the same way, is a good thing. And I’m so relieved the one act is salvageable.

I’d written it and it got into a local reading series a few years ago, a place that was supposedly “safe space” for development. I wanted to take advantage of it. Of course, the other entrants were polished, sometimes produced scripts, honed over years, not early drafts, like mine was. That was fine; we all learned from each other (there were plenty of so-called “polished” drafts that needed a lot more work). What disillusioned me about that particular environment was that there was a REVIEWER there, and REVIEWS were printed in the newspaper. You don’t REVIEW works in development. That completely negates the point of having the development atmosphere safe space in which to experiment. I wasn’t attacked in the review or anything, but it pointed out that the script needed work, without giving any useful feedback. I already KNEW the script needed work; that’s why I was there in the first place.

When I set out my response to the organizer of the event, and my sense that the “safe space” we’d been promised had been violated — she never spoke to me again. Not even to explain why she invited a reviewer. I understand why she wanted publicity; but we should have been warned. Not blindsided. And, when unhappiness with the choice was brought up, an actual discussion (even if the result wasn’t what I wanted) was the correct response. So much for professionalism.

Anyway, the experience left a sour taste in my mouth about the play. I put it away and never looked at it again until this weekend. I’d planned to junk it. But, with the objectivity and with what I’ve learned in the last few years about craft, I can see flaws, and, more importantly, I see ways to FIX them. Ways to make it better. It still might (will) need more work, especially once actors are involved, but I think I can fix the things that made it veer off course originally and the last third turn into a giant mess. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see if it works. This draft might not work, either.

If it remains a mess, I won’t submit it. If I think there’s something worth working on, I will. If it’s used in the series (at a different theatre) and put on its feet, it gives me a chance to see what additional work it needs, or if I should put it on the compost heap permanently.

I’m going to write to another college friend (with whom I reconnected last summer) and see if he can help me untangle the problems I’m having with the Lavinia Fontana play. He’s always been good at figuring out where I’m focusing on the wrong thing, and get me pointed back in the right direction. I STILL haven’t found the dramatic catalyst yet, and pretty soon Research Time for this play is over and Writing Time has to start. I’m also going to contact curators at the Met in New York (my go-to for art questions, and see if they can point me in the right direction).

Need to get out a query to a company in Paris, and get another script off to Ireland, all in the next few weeks.

Busy. The RIGHT kind of busy.

April’s mid-month check-in is over on the GDR site. WordPress is refusing to add the link, which is irritating. It’s the midmonth post on http://goalsdreamsresolutions.wordpress.com (you can cut & paste the link, sorry for the inconvenience). I should have had a poetry essay ready for A Biblio Paradise, but I don’t. I wanted to do something on Shakespeare’s sonnets and got all caught up (as I always do), following this thread and that thread and the other thread, that the actual essay didn’t get done. The Adrienne Rich essay is still the latest one.

Have some issues to discuss with my senators and reps today. I have an idea for a couple of bills I’d like them to propose. Which means I have to write coherent proposals for them to propose. Never a dull moment.

Now — my day’s quota on the screenplay, and then out in the yard.

Published in: on April 18, 2017 at 10:28 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 18, 2017: Creative Well Refilled & Overflowing  
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Mon. Nov. 14, 2016: No Holiday Weekend For Me! Writing!

Monday, November 14, 2016
Full Moon
Sunny and cold

I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. It sure wasn’t a holiday for me.

On Thursday, I started the fifth draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I finished it on Saturday. It’s still got a higher word count than I hoped, but under the absolute “no way in hell” count it had before.

But I’m happy with it. I wrote the book I wanted to read and couldn’t find.

I have a few sentences to tweak, but it’s ready for submission. I wrote the blurb, the query template, and the synopsis. I didn’t even mind writing the synopsis this time, and liked the outcome. I must still be feverish. 😉

But doing all that means I didn’t get JUST A DROP done. Actually, the play about the female pirate (due the same day as JUST A DROP) is pulling me fairly hard. So I might do that one first — I think that will be a one act, and JUST A DROP is definitely full length.

However, the opening of a new play — not connected to any of my deadlines — came to me and I hurried to scribble it down. The working title is IDEAS AND IDENTITY. While that reflect the theme of the play, I think I have to come up with a better title! The rest of the play is percolating — I hope I can keep up!

I got some yard work done — although not enough. Never enough, is it? I painted some more planters and two more tables. The problem with painting is that one thing looks great, and everything else looks dingy, so you keep going.

Most of the pots are put away; most of the outdoor furniture is oiled and put away. I have a few more bits and bobs to do this week, and one more shelf to paint, and then, other than mowing and raking, we are set for the winter.

I have every intention of enjoying the last holiday before the Apocalypse!

Today, I start the mowing, do some more painting, work on MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC (it takes place over Christmas, and I always write better about a season when I’m in it), work on the fantasy novel that came in a dream, and the plays. Plus, I have more edits to do on PLAYING THE ANGLES, so that, too can go out this week.

I made cranberry walnut bread first thing this morning. Hopefully, that’s a positive, productive omen for the coming week. And there’s an amazing full moon tonight. I intend to take advantage of it!

I went back to keeping the phone/social media/email, etc. turned off on Sunday, and it was great. I’d cheated the last few weeks. But the quiet time was wonderful. I want to hold a day of silence each week as long as I can. It lets me refill the creative well, and tap into creativity that gets tamped down by the constant noise.

Have a wonderful week.

Devon

Published in: on November 14, 2016 at 9:53 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 14, 2016: No Holiday Weekend For Me! Writing!  
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Thurs. Oct. 6, 2016: Creativity Flow & Opportunity

Thursday, October 6, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devon

Published in: on October 6, 2016 at 11:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 6, 2016: Creativity Flow & Opportunity  
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Fri. May 20, 2016: Getting Back into Writing Rhythm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on May 20, 2016 at 8:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 20, 2016: Getting Back into Writing Rhythm  
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Wed. April 1, 2015: Where Fools Leap

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold
April Fool’s Day

At least it didn’t snow last night, as threatened.

I’m not a fan of the way April Fool’s Day has evolved. My understanding of its original purpose is to show the ridiculousness in “establishment” and authority. Unfortunately, too many of the so-called pranks pulled on this day aren’t funny; they’re mean. There’s an undercurrent of hostility.

Busy few days off. I was immersed in COLLABORATIVE BIRTH. Rewrote nearly 300 pages. That included tearing apart and rewriting the Prague section AGAIN — but hey, keep at it until it’s right. Running a draft through spell check or auto crit is not an edit OR a revision — it’s running words through a tool. Both editing and revision are far more complex than that.

Rewrote the New Mexico section, which needs more re-structuring because of what I did in the Prague section. A couple of characters stepped forward more strongly than I expected, but, for the moment, I’m going with it.

The world of the novel(s) goes from fairly simple and protected to wider and wider as their work gets more noticed and more attention. It’s got a large cast of characters, which won’t work for some readers, but is necessary in order for the piece to make sense. I’ve read plenty of books that pretend to be behind-the-scenes looks at theatre or film or television, with a character of six or ten, and it’s simply not the way it works. No matter what you do on a production, you deal with a large number of different, determined people every single day.

Did a ridiculous amount of grocery shopping, but hopefully that means all I’ll have to buy over the next couple of weeks is milk, bread, eggs. Got some new summer clothes — I seem to be drawn to varying shades of blue and aqua this year.

The snow is melting, which means yard work can start this weekend (if it doesn’t rain). I managed to drag the downed tree limbs out of the front yard and stash them in the back. The crocuses are up, and some tulips, hyacinth, and glory-of-the-snow are fighting the good fight to emerge. Pretty soon, I can rake the beds and get things started for planting.

I have a LOT of work to do in the back yard, since I didn’t prepare it properly in the fall. So I’m paying the price now.

Went to Country Gardens. Bought a six-pack each of Boston, Salad Bowl, and Bibb Lettuces, and a six pack of Brussels sprouts. That gives me a head start on those. I don’t really like Brussels sprouts, but the plants are pretty, so if they form properly, I’ll eat them. Bought tomato seeds, but haven’t started them yet (yes, I know it’s late), and morning glory and moonflower seeds that I will start on the next planting day.

Baked lemon cupcakes for tomorrow night’s Tango session. I’ll frost them tonight.

Finished watching the first season of MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES, out of Australia. The production design is gorgeous, and the writing and acting are superb. I hope to watch the second season this week.

Also re-watched GAME CHANGE, which is a well-done film.

Dithering about the final cuts on the radio play LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, but those have to be done in the next few days, and it has to go out as soon as I can get it finalized and registered. Then, I have to do the American version, and also get started on the radio play that’s going to the Parisian company.

Reading THE WRITERS by Miranda J. Banks, about the formation of the Writers Guild. Very inspiring.

I haven’t written about the plane crash in the French Alps, because I’ve been listening, in horror, as everyone else has. It’s important that people aren’t stigmatized by something like depression. However, being ill does NOT give an individual the right to murder 149 other people. Or any person, other than himself. Period.

The next three days at the library will be busy, and then I have a lot of writing, research, and gardening to do over next weekend.

I’m almost afraid to hope that it’s actually spring.

Devon

Published in: on April 1, 2015 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 1, 2015: Where Fools Leap  
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Mon. June 9, 2014: Belmont, Tony Awards, and Stomach Virus

Monday, June 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Foggy and muggy

Busy weekend. Busy but good day at the library on Friday. We had a power failure twenty minutes before closing time. Brief, but enough to totally freak the computers out. Came home, cooked, tried to relax a bit, did some work. Agreed to participate in a big local author signing event, which should be fun.

Worked at the library on Saturday. Good day, again busy. Came home and watched Belmont Stakes day. I was disappointed that California Chrome lost, but not particularly surprised. I felt bad for the poor horse. Not only did he come out of it bleeding (he hurt his foot early on), he didn’t understand why his people were upset. He was calm before and during the race, but got anxious when his people were unhappy. He was like, “I ran around really fast in a circle, just like you asked. Why are you mad at me?”

I was disappointed in the owner’s outburst. I understand the anger and disappointment in the heat of the moment, but the Triple Crown is not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be won by the freak horses like Secretariat. Yes, three races in five weeks is hard. Yes, the fact that the people who make the rules allow fresh, rested horses in the race makes it an unfair playing field, to some extent. But then be mad at those who make the rules, not at the horse who wins. To call Tomalist and his people “cowards”? No. Strategists, maybe. Cowards, no. And this guy’s behavior allows the snobs to sniff and say that’s why they don’t like it when “regular” guys think they can enter the race. The owner positioned himself, during the PR madness surrounding the races, to represent more than himself. HE took on and accepted that mantle. That man did not represent me. Of course he’s angry and disappointed, but grace under pressure would have been a better choice.

Sunday, I worked in the yard — mowing (still not done), and got some plants at the garden stores — flowers, veggies, etc. Started putting in them in.

The Tony Awards were last night. Hugh Jackman demonstrated, once again, why he is the most beloved man on Broadway. He was a fantastic host. Great mix of humor, skill, intelligence. It was a fun show, and I was delighted for the winners.

Came down with a nasty stomach virus in the night. I am miserable. I had to cut short the international Skype rehearsal early, early this morning, because I was too sick to function. JUST what you want to happen when you start a new working partnership. But my actor was very sweet and wanted to know if there was someone he could call to come and take care of me.

I have so much that HAS to get done TODAY. Can’t be put off because I’m sick. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’ll have to figure it out. A couple of things I can move, but there’s a list that can’t be moved.

The edits for ELUSIVE PRAYERS also landed on my desk this morning. I have another round of edits to get going on.

Yesterday, I stayed true to my “one day a week unplugged” (except for watching the Tony Awards). I desperately needed it, but it means getting sick today puts me far behind.

I’m going to try to go to bed for a few hours, and then see if I can get back on track.

Bad timing. 😦

Devon

Mon. Oct. 14, 2013: Hard working Weekend and THE TOWN

Monday, October 14, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Weekend of hard work. Lots of pitches. Lots of supposed clients who want work for nothing, which isn’t going to happen, because I have bills to pay, and I’m not a twenty two year old just starting out. Lots of scams out there asking for project specific samples, then telling people they didn’t get the job, but using the samples so they wind up with piecemeal work on the entire job and not paying anything. May those scammers have their karma rebound quickly on them.

Watched THE TOWN again — I’d seen it when it first came out, but wanted to see it again. I’d forgotten just how good it is, especially Jeremy Renner’s performance as Jem. The unconditional loyalty he has, especially for Dougie, is one of the things I connected most strongly to in the piece, although all of his work, and much of everybody’s work is beautifully detailed. That moment where Dougie asks for his help with no questions asked, and Jem just looks at him & says, “Whose car we takin’?” That moment, those inflections, what was going on his eyes, just defined their whole relationship. So simple, and so much there. Perfection. So many other actors would have made it unnecessarily complicated and diluted the power of the moment, but not Renner.

Read a couple of books, but nothing stood out. Wrote and polished a review, sent it to my editor. Worked on my neuro-ethics homework (love that class) and the human genome homework (bit of a slog).

Wrote a few chapters on the novella. Finished the section set at the Santa Anita Park racetrack, and now I’ve got them in the San Gabriel mountains. Realized I have to seed in a subplot.

Outlined a screenplay, and realized the scenes that are more interesting to me – -the ones that were the inspiration for the piece — need to be moved into the final act — I’ve got them, in the outline, at the top of the second act, and it doesn’t really work. I have to work out an important “why” for my female protagonist. My male protagonist seems like a pretty straightforward guy (although he’s got more going on than initially apparent), but my female protag is hiding something from me, that, as the writer, I need to know in order for the piece to work, and it’s not something that I can discover within in the writing. So I’ll be pondering that.

Did some yard work — lots to do to rake and put the yard to bed for the winter.

Onward.

Devon

Thurs. April 18, 2013: Writing and Talking

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

If you haven’t hopped over to Beth Barany’s blog to read my article on how my heroine Jain Lazarus personifies karmic return, please do. I’m also on The Writers Vineyard, in my Annabel Aidan persona, talking about the Boston Marathon and how grief can affect writing.

Wrote Chapter 10 of the book yesterday, just over 2300 words. I feel like I’m back in the flow. Did 10 pages on the non-fiction book. I have some questionnaires to complete and get out to artists and holistic therapists, which I will do today. Worked with students. Did an LOI. Had a few ideas percolating on stuff, but not sure how to follow through on them.

Spent part of the afternoon working in the yard. There’s a section on the side that’s overgrown with some prickly briar-type vines that I want to clear out. The forsythia bushes will move to that side eventually, and the owner’s putting some flowering daphne by the garage instead. I also took Tessa out and did some of my reading outside.

I’m reading Robert Olen Butler’s book of lectures on writing. There are some things I totally agree with — his insistence on writing every day, once you start a project, his use of “dreamstorming”, etc. However, his utter contempt for genre/commercial fiction is disappointing — yeah, there’s a lot of crap out there, but genre fiction also is an opportunity to make readers see the world in a way they might not otherwise be open to t he information. He also claims that writers with talent don’t outline, yet advocates the use of index cards to prepare the book — which is a form of outlining. Granted, he is much more successful in his career than I am, so he’s doing something that works for him — but I disagree with a lot of what he advocates.

Writers Night Out was last night. The good friend who’s been their business manager (and in my play) is moving to Amsterdam soon, and I met her replacement, who is a lovely person. I think I’ll enjoy working with her, too, but I’ll miss my friend. However, this is a brilliant adventure for her.

We had a lively table, a mix of people I knew and people I didn’t, so there was lots of good conversation. Four poets read (April is poetry month). Very different styles, so the juxtaposition was interesting. One guy, the youngest of them, reminded me a lot of the poets at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project in the East Village in the 90s. The language is good, what he’s trying to do is interesting, but he read in a monotone, and hasn’t yet learned how to gauge his audience and adjust what he’s doing when they get restless. Since reading is performance, those are important skills to fold into one’s reading repertoire.

Came home, fell into bed early, but had a rough night. Lots of interruptions to my sleep, and then, early this morning, the carbon monoxide detector decided it had low batteries and started to chirp.

At least I’m going back to yoga today. I’ve been away from it for too long.

Must focus on the books today, and on polishing my presentation for next weekend’s conference. Hopefully, I can get some more work done in the yard today. The hyacinths are coming up — very pretty.

Devon

Mon. Nov. 19, 2012: So ready for a New Week! = Why didn’t this publish this AM? Darned Merc Ret!

Monday, November 19, 2012
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend. Friday was a discouraging day, on many fronts. By noon, I was just about ready to give up. But I pushed through, and just kept at it. But I was very discouraged and blue by the end of it — although a trip to the library cheered me up somewhat, as such trips do. Managed to get out a review, an interview, and an invoice, so it wasn’t completely a lost day.

Saturday was busy — yard work, hauling leaves to the dump, writing, doing article pitches, doing promotional stuff, and finishing up the final galleys for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. They are done, they are out. I turned around two sets of novel galleys this week — exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Also caught up on my World History coursework for the week (and aced all the quizzes).

Sunday was about newspapers and laundry and doing stuff around the house. The dump was accepting brush up until yesterday, post-hurricane, so I loaded up the car with all the brush the landscapers couldn’t be bothered to gather (although they were paid so to do and it was all in one pile) and dumped it myself. Sent a photo of the stuffed car to the landlord, so he can see how much debris had been left behind.

Did my mythology coursework for the week. The class is so helpful, and is feeding a lot of my fiction.

Read a couple of mysteries — the premise is good, but the protagonist is a man of certain age. Nothing wrong with that, except all the female characters of every age are morons who fall all over him in embarrassing ways and he’s always the smug, self-serving hero. Ick. And the stories lack logic — they discover something important, but don’t do anything about it for a few days, even though they know it’s important, and are then surprised when something goes to hell in a hand basket.

Writing is percolating — now I have to get stuff down on paper. It was really percolating yesterday, on more than one burner, but I purposely gave myself the day off writing to recharge and let it build up, so I can write more this week.

I got a solid 1000 words done on a project where I don’t know where it’s going, but I like the feel of it, and I know the overall shape I want it to take. Of course, that means I still have to turn my attention to several other deadlined projects today, as well as do things like yard work and taking the garbage to the dump and other home and hearth stuff.
I’m also going to do my World History coursework for the week today and the Mythology tomorrow, so I don’t have it hanging over me during the holiday.

Devon

Don’t forget — the deadline for the Playwright Intensive is November 25. Three months — a submission-ready play. More info and application here.

And the Flash 7 Flash Fiction workshop — Dec. 7-16 — write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 days. Info here.