Wed. Oct. 22, 2014: Writing Immersion and Diving Class

Wednesday, October 22, 2104
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Raining

Busy, busy time.

Friday morning, I was up at 4:30 AM and out the door around 5:45 AM, heading for Woods Hole. I couldn’t quite remember how to get to the Palmer Ave. lot for ferry parking, and, of course, Google Maps, Mapquest, AND GPS on the phone were wrong. Gee, there’s a surprise.

I found it anyway, but sort of remembering where to go when I got there, and made the 7 AM ferry. It was cold and wet outside, so I rode inside, and was able to do my 1K on INITIATE.

I had time, when I reached Vineyard Haven, to have a quick snack – coffee and chocolate croissant at Nat’s Nook, on Main Street. Very good, and it seems like a fun place to hang out. That’s one thing I miss about the area where I live now on Cape – a lack of coffee shops where I can hang out.

Arrived at the library. The workshop was GREAT. We had such fun, and it was very relevant to what I’m doing. I love spending time with the Vineyard Librarians, and I love that Martha’s Vineyard has SIX very distinct libraries, all on one island. I keep threatening to make a day trip and visit all of them!

Lunch at the Black Dog, near the water, burger and a beer. Caught an earlier ferry back than I expected, and it was so beautiful I rode outside the whole way. What a gorgeous day. Hard to come back.

Returned to the library/office for the last couple of hours of the day and tried to catch up. Some books came in that I knew had holds on them, so I went back on Saturday (my Saturday “off”) for about an hour to do processing, etc.

Watched PENNY DREADFUL all weekend. Had really mixed feelings about it. There may be spoilers in here, so read on at your own risk. Loved the production design. Would have been nice if they’d use an occasional key light here and there so we could actually see it. There’s dim lighting for mood effect and then there are scenes that are so poorly lit you can’t tell what’s going on, and this series has too much of the latter. And I started in lighting, and have lit theatre, film, and television, so yes, I know of what I speak. I had problems with the final confrontation with the vampires taking place in a theatre where a different storyline focused. It didn’t make sense, and felt like they’d run out of money for locations. If the vampires had nested in the theatre, the Creature (being not entirely human himself) would have known. And the vampires would have attacked the actors and the audience AND the Creature, so the logic set up in the world didn’t make sense. My biggest problem was, yet again, another male creator depicts negative female sexuality. The lead females were a consumptive whore and a woman possessed when she enjoys sex. Yes, those are common tropes of the era; however, when you’re going to take a genre to new heights, explore it in new ways – I expect better. By the time we got to the madhouse episode, I was irritated – yeah, let’s have an hour-long episode JUST about torturing the lead female character and call it “backstory” and “motivation”. And then the possession episode – right, because if a woman appears strong and in control and then loses control in a passionate encounter and wants/likes sex, she MUST be possessed by a demon. I was outright angry by the end of it. I thought there was a lot of depth and humanity in the other storyline, about Frankenstein and the Creature, but suddenly they have Victor as a morphine addict, several episodes in, without giving us an indication of it before? He wouldn’t be able to think, be as precise or as creative if he was an addict addled by drugs. I thought Harry Treadawell, Rory Kinnear, and Josh Hartnett were all very good. I’m interested in seeing what they do with the next season, but if they continue this negative portrayal of female sexuality (no matter how they pretend to justify it), I’ll stop watching. This is an outdated, overworn cliché that, if you’re going to break new ground with the genre, you have to go beyond “women who enjoy sex are possessed”. I realize that there are plenty of religious fundamentalists who still believe that, but the rest of us have moved beyond it.

The rest of the weekend was about writing INITIATE. Wrote a LOT. Typed up several earlier chapters, because I had to make fixes in a few things that needed to be set up in order for the chapters I’m doing now to work. Didn’t do enough work on RED WIDOW – will have to make up for that this week. I was as surprised as my character when he got unexpectedly seduced by a minor character.

Sent of the writers’ center board minutes on Monday. Spent most of Monday and Tuesday writing. Well, Sunday, too. In fact, I was up until midnight on Monday writing. Tuesday afternoon I had diving class in Onset – learning a lot that will help in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I have homework, which I’m sure will spur more questions. I put on some of the equipment. It’s damn heavy. Good to get my hands on things.

To the library early this morning; have the annual meeting for the Writers Center, and then I have to bake, because tomorrow morning, I have a board meeting at the Marine Life Center.

Never a dull moment, and that’s a good thing.

Devon

Published in: on October 22, 2014 at 9:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Oct. 16, 2014: Project Juggles and Other Obstacles

Thursday, October 16, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Stormy and hot

Feels very tropical today. I think it will be a pretty bad storm.

Friday was busy at the library, as was Saturday. Just exhausting. Came home, got some reading done, got some writing done.

Sunday, I did eight loads of laundry (turning over the furniture covers and curtains for fall), did some decorating, and read. I needed a break from writing. Monday, I ran errands and wrote. Tuesday, I finished decorating and wrote.

I’m moving back and forth between working on INITIATE and working on the novella THE RED WIDOW. Two different genres, very different ensembles, both on tight deadlines. Wrote 32 pages of THE RED WIDOW over the weekend, and probably about 20 of INITIATE.

I’m having a bit of trouble with the logic post fight sequence – I have to figure out a bit more.

Watched the Welsh detective series HINTERLAND. Liked most of it, love that they shot it in both English and Welsh. A little too many scenes at night, a little too mannered sometimes as far as being a little heavy-handed with the foreshadowing and some of the symbolism. But, overall, I really liked it, and I’m interested in seeing where it goes the next season.

Read a stack of cozies. Some were fun. Unfortunately, one of the best written had so many typos in it that I got frustrated. When you spell the same name three different ways on the same page, and the writer, the editor, and the copyeditor should have all caught it, there’s a problem. Some of the cozies were so poorly written and the characters so unlikeable that I didn’t even bother to finish them.

I was up early on Wednesday, to get my writing done –worked on INITIATE in the morning. The library was closed for carpet cleaning, so we had a staff development day. We drove to Provincetown, and took a dune tour. I hadn’t done that since the 1970s. The shacks remind me a lot of the conditions out at my friend’s island. It’s great that these retreats still exist. The whole no running water/outhouse thing isn’t really my preferred enjoyment, but I think it’s important to preserve the shacks. It’s a part of the local history and of artistic history, in general, that’s important.

We had lunch at the Lobster Pot, which was wonderful (lobster taco) and a staff meeting, to coordinate who does what when and to whom a little better. Definitely a working lunch, but good food and good company made it productive.

Got some stuff at Tim’s Books for some current and upcoming projects. We stopped at Atlantic Spice on the way back and I stocked up mon some stuff, including some pretty amazing oils.

Home. Dinner. Wrote seven pages on THE RED WIDOW. To bed early.

Sad news from a dear friend that one of his cats passed yesterday. She was a darling, and will be terribly missed.

Woke up at 2:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Fretting over several things. Finally got up a little after five. Wrote INITIATE. Got ready for the day.

Went in early to get a jump on all the processing that couldn’t get done yesterday, so that we could actually help patrons once we opened. Short story group met at the library today – always interesting conversation and laughter.

Four boxes of books showed up from Ingram, so I spent a lot of time processing and getting books out on shelves. Helped a patron with the Kindle, have more books to process. There are still a few things that need ironing out, so we’ll see.

I’m at a workshop on Martha’s Vineyard tomorrow. I expect to be back to the library in the late afternoon to finish a few things, but it all depends. I’ll have to get up at 4:30 in order to get out the door in time and make the ferry.

I intend to do some serious writing and research this weekend, mostly offline. I need to make some serious progress on both INITIATE and RED WIDOW, and next week, I get back into the swing with BALTHAZAAR.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles

Friday, October 10, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold

Yesterday was busy. Got in early, processed all the check-ins that couldn’t be handled the previous day due to the computer being down; got the holds and other books processed; hand-entered the manual checkouts into the system. Thank goodness we had volunteers at the desk to handle the patrons coming in and out that day needing check-ins and check-outs, so that I could catch up on the previous afternoon’s system work.

It all got done, and that’s what counts.

Home, tired. Dinner, some reading, worked on a student manuscript.

Watched STILL LIFE, the film version of Louise Penny’s book. Nathaniel Parker played Gamache; Kate Hewlett (whose work I really enjoy) was Clara. One of the biggest delights was Anthony Lemke as Jean-Guy. I knew his work from LOST GIRL – he was terrific in this. I like the character of Jean-Guy in the books, but this was definitely a case of the actor raising it to an even better, deeper level. I hope they film more of the books in the series. I can’t wait to see what he does with Jean-Guy’s journey. I was disappointed that they pushed the character of Myrna aside, and they didn’t start the development of the wonderful relationship between Jean-Guy and Ruth. To me, the odd affection between those two is one of the best cornerstones in the series, and I hope it develops in future films.

Bad dreams last night. Truly disturbing, and when I woke from them, I remembered that they’ve been progressive. I have to stop them before they progress any farther, or I will be in trouble, so that’s on my agenda for tonight.

I have two books and a novella screaming for writing time. I managed to untangle a problem in INITIATE that prevented me from moving forward in the fight sequence. Something that happens post-sequence needs to be set up properly here, and because I’d tried to force one of the characters in a wrong direction, it wasn’t working. But we’re back on track, so that sequence should start flowing. I have to do the opening of RED WIDOW (the novella), because the characters are getting very impatient, and BALTHAZAAR is starting to percolate properly again.

I was going to submit a couple of pieces, and then realized it’s Mercury Retrograde, so there’s no damned point. I will prep them, and then send them when everything goes direct.

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I can write all day on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Wednesday, we have a staff day out in P-town, so, after tomorrow, I won’t be back on line until Thursday, which is great. I LOVE being offline at least half the week. The improvement to my work is tremendous.

I also have to do some yard work any time it’s not raining. Time to put the garden to bed for the winter.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Thurs. Oct. 9, 2014: Running (0n empty) on Multiple Rails

Thursday, October 9, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold

Busy day at the library, but a good one. I got some new records created, and new books on the shelves, which is always good. And some new DVDs, which had quite a few holds on them.

The afternoon was about the Cozy Mystery Book Group. We’d read Juliet Blackwell’s SECONDHAND SPIRITS, and all really liked it. Juliet was kind enough to write an essay just for the group, and we were all delighted with it. I’ll have to email her and thank her today. And we had cupcakes (the cupcakes I made the previous day). Because everything is more fun with a cupcake.

Home, dinner, read THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HARLOW, a cozy mystery by Kylie Logan that I bought for the library. It was fun – I think our patrons will enjoy it.

Started reading an arc of a romance novel I considered buying for the library – but it was pretty clear within ten pages that no way would I spend my own or anyone else’s money on it. She set the story in Scotland. It’s obvious she never set foot in Scotland or talked to anyone Scottish, and her only research was in other romance novels by authors who never set foot in Scotland. Besides, her characters sound like they’re from Brooklyn, not Scotland. There’s nothing wrong with sounding like you’re from Brooklyn if you are or want to pretend you are. But if you’re supposedly in the 1880s in the highlands of Scotland and not a time traveler . . .I just can’t respect someone who can’t be bothered to research. It was obvious that the flaws in the book were laziness, this idea that “it’s fiction, I can do whatever I want.” Yes, YOU can, but if you don’t have the least respect for me as a reader (not to mention that I’ve spent a lot of time in Scotland and love it dearly), I am not going to spend money on it.

The new piece is percolating. It took me awhile to settle on names for the characters, but they have now told me (in no uncertain terms) what their names are. Naming a character is such an intimate experience, and the name has so much meaning. I’m always shocked when I read on social media people wanting other people to choose character names in a story. If I’m the writer, I need to be the one choosing the name (or at least, my subconscious in the form the characters telling me what they are). It’s one thing to name a character inspired by a particular individual – it’s quite another to let random strangers choose character names. To me, that’s an invasion of something sacred between writer and character. The first sequence is almost ready to be written, and the title announced itself as well (which affected which notebook I’m using).

Having trouble choreographing the fight sequence for INITIATE. Didn’t get very far today – Aidan, my protagonist, had an epiphany, which took up the paragraphs I’d originally meant to start the fight. It will work, it adds a layer, but I need to get into the nitty gritty of the fight. And, of course, one of the characters on the other side of the fight has a more complicated agenda than I wanted.

Came in to work early (a little after 8), so that I could catch up on all the books that couldn’t be checked in with the system down yesterday, get the paging list done, and the books out to where patrons want and need them. The volunteers came in, as scheduled, at 9, and we got everything done before opening at 10. I still have to hand-enter the checkouts that were done yesterday, but at least we’re caught up, and everything is backdated so no one gets fined.

Still psychically exhausted from the weekend, although I ate pretzels last night (bread and salt), which helped somewhat.

Need to finish some student work tonight and get a good start on the fight sequence in INITIATE.

Devon

Published in: on October 9, 2014 at 9:30 am  Comments (2)  

Wed. Oct. 8, 2014; Great Retreat With a Variety of Consequences

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Full Moon
Lunar Eclipse
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and warm

I am exhausted. It was a wonderful weekend at the Historical Writers’ Retreat, but I am completely used up.

Friday was busy in waves at the library. I got on the road mid-afternoon. The directions were a little confusing, once I got past Providence, but I arrived before dark, and the leaves have already turned in CT.

Amusing signage on the way: sign for a crematorium right beside a second hand store called “Recovered Relics.”

The house is old and alive. Not haunted, but alive. I had a lovely room upstairs, looking out over the back. Got settled, went down to the lovely buffet supper. There were a dozen of us, plus the terrific staff. And an adorable, tiny Pomeranian named Bear.

Three of us are playwrights, and the others work in various disciplines, but we all share a love of historical detail. We talked well into the night. I woke up around 2, had trouble getting back to sleep, woke up again around 5, and gave up and got up a little after 6.

First one down to breakfast – another wonderful buffet. After breakfast, it was hard to tear myself away from the lively discussion to write. But I did, and went upstairs to do my work – got about 1200 words done. Came down a little before lunch to try on some corsets and costumes – decided I really like the long line of the Titanic-era corsets and clothes. Really like them.

After lunch, three of us went into the town of Putnam and spent the afternoon poking around antique and other markets. I didn’t find anything that needed to come home with me in the antique market (although my colleagues did), but when we went to one of the other stores, we all bought tiaras (because every girl should have a tiara), and a feathered mask and a lovely pair of gloves. Stopped at the liquor store on the way back to pick up some contribution for the dinner.

We dressed for afternoon tea. My costume was more steampunk recreation than correct historical rendition, but that’s that. We had a lovely tea with delicious food and good tea (served on china very similar to some in my collection), and discussed customs, mores, and the like. It was fun.

We learned how to quadrille, which was both enormous fun, and makes me determined to add more dancing to as many of my upcoming books as possible! Also makes me want to create dances, for both INITIATE and for the SPARKLE AND TARNISH steampunk series that have a foundation in the actual dances and then depart.

We had a short break, and then had a formal procession in to dinner. The dinner was served in courses and was magnificent, with the dining room decorated in high Victorian style. First course: pumpkin apple soup, served with champagne. Second course: bite-sized bits of sardine, herring, and scallop, served with white wine. Third course: orange ginger ice. Fourth course: chicken wellington, squash, and the other vegetable escapes me, served with red wine. Fifth course: salad with olives and asparagus (and we’d just learned, that afternoon, that the ONLY appropriate way to eat asparagus is with one’s fingers).

We talked about spiritualism and the way the séance had developed. Then I did tarot readings – which, along with conversation, carried us until well after 2 AM. Usually, I will do one or two readings in a day, and pause in between, eating pretzels (bread and salt, to ground). This evening, I read about eight people back-to-back without stopping – or pausing to ground in between. And then I did an extra reading – long story there.

Packed and fell into bed. Woke up with a whole new understanding of “burn out”. It felt like my insides had been scoured by a flamethrower. There was just nothing left. I couldn’t eat; I could barely drink. At first, I figured it was a hangover, but it certainly didn’t feel like any hangover I’ve ever had in my life – and I’ve had some doozies. I overdid the readings, and I paid a price.

I slept on and off most of the morning, feeling guilty that I was missing the conversation, but unable to even sit up for more than a few minutes at a time. I managed a little lunch, and a walk outside after, then got on the road and headed back. It was a rough drive, but I made it.

Got home, forced myself to eat something. Protein helped. Went to bed ridiculously early.

Up at the normal time on Monday, still feeling hollow. Pulled it together enough to write nearly 2000 words on INITIATE, and to think about stuff for Sparkle and Tarnish, and to feel something start percolating deep down. Did some crystal work and earth work to draw up some energy.

Had lunch with a writer pal in Plymouth to plan our joint event at the end of the month. It was a good conversation, ranging on a wide range of topics along with the planning. Again, I focused on protein, and felt a little stronger.

Back home, paid some bills, got some cat food in, and then headed back over the bridge to the Buzzards Bay Dive Shop for some BALTHAZAAR research. They’re wonderful there, helpful and excited about the book. I’m going to actually study some diving and wreck diving basics as though I was going to get certified, and then we’ll work through specific scenes as I write them. I think that will work well. It also got me excited about the book again, which, poor thing, has been neglected during my obsession with INITIATE.

Got a chance to read CORAMBIS, the fourth Melusine book. Loved it. Gilroi Mildmay is one of my favorite characters in fiction. Period. It ended on a positive note, with their lives continuing, although we (the readers) are no longer on the journey. I completely respect Sarah Monette’s decision not to write more about them, while still feeling I could read another twenty books with Mildmay at the center.

To bed early on Monday, still exhausted. Up Tuesday, still feeling off kilter. Worked on INITIATE. Baked for the cozy mystery group. Re-read SECONDHAND SPIRITS so I’d be prepared. Tried to make the broomstick cookies, which were a disaster. The proportions in the recipe were wrong. Last time I pull a recipe off Facebook! Jeez.

Up early this morning. Worked on INITIATE, although the (also steampunk) piece that’s been percolating is starting to take shape. I have the core characters. The first sequence is fairly well formed in my head. I have basic plot ideas, although I have to smooth them out. I THINK this will be a novella, rather than a novel (famous last words).

For INITIATE, I’m about to embark on a complicated fight sequence, followed by a quiet sequence between two characters that surprised me when it evolved, and should surprise the readers. I’m going to try to write a bit on it tonight, or get up VERY early tomorrow morning so I can write the entire fight sequence in one session. Otherwise, I’ll lose the momentum.

Busy day at the library today. Good busy, but still busy. I feel like a pumpkin whose insides were scraped out for Halloween. It’ll take awhile to get my energy back. At least, during Mercury Retrograde, I don’t usually read cards anyway, but this is October, my busiest season, and I’m flamed out already.

Which is relevant to some of the scenes I’m currently writing, and I can give a more solid sensory description to my characters. But it sucks to actually live it.

More tomorrow.

Devon

Published in: on October 8, 2014 at 10:28 am  Comments (1)  

Fri. Oct. 3, 2014: Ready for Retreat

Friday, October 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mercury Goes Retrograde Tomorrow

Just what I need. A Merc Ret while I travel (headdesk). But, according to some of the astrologers, this one is about rejuvenation and reconnection, so, hopefully, there will also be some positives involved.

Yesterday was a steadily busy day at the library. Good busy, but busy. At least I got 21 new books processed and out onto the shelves and/or in transit to where people had holds on them.

Came home, made dinner, finished packing, read a bit. Because I’d had a bad night the night before, I went to bed ridiculously early.

Up early this morning, putting the last few things together. Loaded the car, played with the cats. Violet retreated into the linen closet, and Tessa is mad at me for leaving.

I’m leaving work a little early this afternoon to get on the road before the worst of the traffic. I’m longing for this retreat. I need it badly. I’ll have writing time, along with inspiration for new ideas. I’m taking INITIATE along, of course, because I don’t want to lose its rhythm. And I’m taking the Sparkle and Tarnish materials, too, since that’s the correct period, and some of the presentations over this weekend will feed directly into that. I have CORAMBIS with me, but I have to make sure I don’t just dive into reading that and forget everything else.

My big fear is that I’m so tired, I’ll just sink into sleep and sleep most of the weekend away. I want to experience it and enjoy it.

Monday, I have a lunch meeting with the author I’m joining for an event at the end of the month. Tuesday, I have to bake and write. Wednesday is the next book club meeting, where we’re doing Juliet Blackwell’s SECONDHAND SPIRITS. I have books on vintage clothing, etc., coming in and Juliet wrote a lovely essay for the club on the inspiration.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 3, 2014 at 8:28 am  Comments (1)  

Thurs. Oct. 2, 2014: Run down and Plugging Along

Thursday, October 02, 2014
Waxing Moon

Mercury goes retrograde on Saturday – while I’m away. I’ll be traveling just before Mercury goes retrograde, and then while it’s retrograde. Not looking forward to that, although I am looking forward to the retreat.

My costume is together – found the lace gloves, and even the granny boots, which I polished up last night, and they look beautiful. Put it all in a garment bag, so it’s ready to go. Packed most of my regular clothes, and the bin with the books and manuscripts I’m taking.

CORAMBIS arrived – can’t wait to dive into it.

Worked on the manuscript for my student, but I’m having a problem with the formatting. Not hers, but the computer isn’t being cooperative.

Work was busy. Got home at six, ate, read a bit, packed, worked on the costume, tried to get everything ready.

Had trouble sleeping, and then had disturbing dreams. Alarm went off at 5:30. Iris & Violet didn’t want to get up (because it was dark). Tessa whomped them on the butt to get them moving.

Tried to work on the student manuscript – and the computer had eaten it. So I had to redownload it this morning, and I’m starting from scratch.

Tired and have a headache today. I just have to get through today and part of tomorrow, and then I’m on retreat for a few days. Monday, I have a planning meeting for an event I’m doing at the end of the month, and Tuesday, I’m writing. Very tired and rundown.

I wonder if I can get away with not speaking for the three weeks Mercury is in retrograde? That’s probably the safest.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 2, 2014 at 8:39 am  Comments (3)  

Wed. Oct. 1, 2014: In the Embrace of My book

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Waxing Moon

It was fantastic to have a few days away from work. Friday was busy; Saturday was also busy, and we hosted the wonderful poet and short story writer Charles Coe. He was tremendous and insightful and intelligent and funny and magnificent. We had a small group, because it was a beautiful day, and the people who didn’t come missed out on something wonderful.

Went home, read on the deck for a bit. Wrote. Sunday was all about INITIATE. Between Sunday, Monday, and yesterday, I wrote close to 80 pages (longhand). A lot of it won’t be used, but I needed to figure out threads and work on relationships and see the bigger web so I could figure out what to focus on in the immediate. It was wonderful. Felt so right and good to be working on this.

Did a few errands on Monday, but it was mostly about INITIATE. My reward was that THE MIRADOR, the third Melusine book by Sarah Monette arrived, and I devoured all 400+ pages of it, reading well into the night. I love this series. Can’t put it down. These are books I will re-read over and over again. Tuesday morning, I got my hair cut – she chopped off over a foot of hair! I’m back to short hair. My stylist turns out to have worked for Disney on Ice several years ago. I’m happy to have a theatre person doing my hair!

Grocery shopping, more writing, some reading, and then to the library on Tuesday night. Home after eight, more writing, more reading, started packing for the writers’ retreat this weekend. I know I’ll take the manuscript and some books and some notebooks, etc., but have no idea what I’ll wear. I have to bring something nice for the candlelight supper on Saturday night. I leave straight from work on Friday.

I’ve started the Samhain decorating, although that will take awhile, because I don’t have eight or ten hours to devote to it. And I did 8 loads of laundry, including changing over to our winter slipcovers.

I’m very excited by the prospect of the Historical Writers’ Retreat this weekend – even though the novel I’m writing is High Fantasy. I think I’ll get lots of good ideas, especially for things I can apply to the steampunk Sparkle & Tarnish series. There are some steampunky elements in INITIATE – the society is starting to move towards steam and industry – so it will all be interesting.

Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 7:00 am  Comments (1)  

Fri. Sept. 26, 2014: Rearranging

Friday, September 26, 2014
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cool

Busy day at the library yesterday. Got a good chunk of paperwork done in the morning; then the new shelving arrived, delivered and installed by a group of inmates. The shelves are from Eastham library – they’re building a new one and are moving into trailers for the next three years (stressful much?). They’re getting rid of all their shelves, etc., because they won’t fit in the new building. So we inherited long units of shelving, paperback racks, the whole shebag. It’s awesome.

The inmates were a good bunch of guys. Whatever mistakes landed them where they are, they were skilled, helpful, polite, and had good hearts. Really makes you question the system that these guys are behind bars and the CEOS of banks and corporations who regularly destroy tens of thousands of lives for their own profit are rewarded with money and politicians who do whatever they say.

Once they were gone, we moved the Large Print books to one set of new shelves – now they’re in a light, cheerful area where the people who like LP can actually get at them. We’re in the process of moving audio books, CDs, romance, and science fiction/fantasy. It looks so wonderful. It makes us all happy.

Exhausted by the time I got home. The books I’m waiting for still haven’t arrived. Did some work on INITIATE and read a disappointing book. Worked on a student manuscript – I’d started it, but hadn’t had a chance to do as much work on it as I’d like.

Up early; work on INITIATE and notes for some other pieces in that world. To the library – I have so much catching up to do today, because I lost so much time the past two days in meetings and moving things around.

We have poet Charles Coe here tomorrow – I’m very excited. And then I have two full days off to write. Tuesday is packed to the gills with “have-tos”, including coming in to work for a few hours (which I don’t mind). So I need to be very, very focused between now and Tuesday.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on September 26, 2014 at 8:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Thurs. Sept. 25, 2014: Precarious Balance

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cool

Busy day at the library. Hit the ground running. Frustrating meetings, but it also gave me necessary information. That goes into the long-and-short-term bin on several fronts.

Got a bunch of DVDs processed, labelled, and onto the shelf (or into the bin). Hopefully, I can create some new records for a few things today. Did some work on programming and getting this sorted out for the event this Saturday.

A writer friend who booked me to do an event with him on October 30 is also interested in having me join him in an event in Boston on October 23. So I’ll find someone to cover me and do that – that’s during Boston Book Festival, and an opportunity I cannot pass up.

The books I’m eagerly waiting for at home have not arrived yet, so I did some more work when I got home on my own stuff, and got some reading done. Was exhausted (and disappointed, due to several incidents), so went to bed early.

Wound up oversleeping this morning. Didn’t get as much done on INITIATE as I wanted, but roughed out the final scene in more detail. I’m breaking the rules – I’m going to end INITIATE on a cliffhanger. But it’s the right thing to do for this particular book, and I have to trust that.

We’re getting some new shelving at the library today, so I came in and moved a bunch of stuff around. I’m hoping to get some focused work done today, and then get back to INITIATE tonight.

Just trying to get through the next few days of work, because Sunday and Monday are days away, where I will focus on writing and some other things that need to get done. Tuesday, I’m coming in for a few hours in the late afternoon, but that’s fine. I have about another 75 pages in this central section of the book, and then comes the final third. I expect it will run over 100K, but one can get away with that in this genre.

Devon

Published in: on September 25, 2014 at 8:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Wed. September 24, 2014: Wrenched back into the present

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
New Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy few days. Can I even remember back to Friday? I remember it was busy at the library, and I was completely exhausted by the time I got home.

Saturday was my first day off from the library and other things in quite awhile. I spent most of the day writing INITIATE. I would be perfectly happy to spend the next twenty years writing in that world.

I wrote a bit out of order, because a scene that happens in another section of the book came to me solidly formed, and it informs quite a bit of what leads up to it. It’s an intense and beautiful scene. It’s a first draft, so of course it needs work, but it feels right.

Sunday, I wrote in the early morning, then headed into Hyannis to help out at the Barnstable 375 Town Picnic as part of the seven participating village libraries. We were running the old-fashioned games, and the kids had fun. I’m glad they had fun, but it’s not something I enjoy doing or am good at or what I agreed to do for the event. It was okay, I survived, they had fun, I did my duty, but that was the extent of it. I’m getting really tired of being shoved into situations to which I have not agreed, and, which, in fact, I have said I don’t want to do because people say “it’s for the good of the organization.” It is NOT good for the organization if I am forced into doing something I don’t want or like, and I’m giving up writing time so to do. It is not good for me, either, and I am not going to do it. Period. Further, another organization tried to dump on me something I already said I wouldn’t do, but they figured, what the hey, I’ll step up and clean up the mess AGAIN.

Um, no.

The writing comes FIRST. If you try to cut into my writing time, especially when I told you I’m not going to do something, I AM NOT GOING TO FUCKING DO IT. Because the writing comes FIRST. That is the difference between a professional writer and a hobbyist. I am NOT a hobbyist, and this attitude in this area that anything to do with the arts is supposed to come second to anything else anyone wants is not acceptable. I won’t do it, I won’t tolerate it, too many people are trying to ignore boundaries, and I am no longer going to be polite.

THE WRITING COMES FIRST.

Came home, read and wrote some more, but was tired and frustrated.

Up early on Monday, worked on INITIATE. Also baked for the program at the library. Had to stop in the late morning to do some stuff at the library for the program, then came home, wrote a bit, prepped some more, and headed back to the library to set up the program.

This was the Freedom to Read/Rights and Responsibilities Roundtable. We had a small, but very lively group. We laughed a lot and learned a lot. People who missed it missed a lot, and missed important information.

Home, read a bit. It was the Equinox, so I was busy with that. Up early on Tuesday. Ran some errands. Worked on INITIATE. Broke the 300 page mark on the book. Juggling a lot of plot and character threads – this definitely fits into high fantasy/epic category. But I adore these characters and I’m exploring themes that interest me..

After lunch, headed to the library for an aromatherapy program. It was interesting and fun. I knew some of the information, but also learned more, which is always a good thing.

Went back, sat on the deck for awhile with Tessa, reading and writing. Did some more work on INITIATE at night. Stayed up late reading.

Up early this morning, working on INITIATE. I got in my day’s quota, and I’ll be able to go back to work on it tonight. I considered reading at Cotuit tonight, but I haven’t had time to prepare.

I have a lot of work to do at the library, and sorting through some changes made to the shared computer that frustrate me.

I’m dearly looking forward to the Historical Writers Retreat in a little over a week. This week, I’m at the library six out of seven days, which is a lot. Next week, things should be settling in more normally, and then I have the retreat to look forward to. I need the break.

I also have to figure out who to work on both INITIATE and BALTHAZAAR together, so I can get the latter back on track for my publisher. Since TRACKING MEDUSA is received so well, they want BALTHAZAAR as soon as I can get it done. But it’s hard to move between the worlds of INITIATE and BALTHAZAAR.

The two other books from the Melusine series should arrive this week – I can’t wait. I will dive back into those when I get them. They are luxurious, beautiful, powerful writing.

It’s always a shock to go back to work on a Wednesday morning and takes me awhile to settle in. I also have a program meeting to prepare for in less than a half hour. I worked ahead, mostly, but still . . .things are still fluid, to a certain extent here, and I need more of a routine established – with fewer interruptions.

I hated being wrenched out of the world of INITIATE this morning.

Devon

Published in: on September 24, 2014 at 9:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. Sept. 19, 2014: The Longing to Write

Friday, September 19, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I was discouraged about a variety of things when I got back home on Wednesday afternoon, along with just being damn tired. Did some work on INITIATE, read VIRTU. Went to bed early.

Up early yesterday, wrote a bit on INITIATE. Headed to work. Busy day. Got 40 books processed; the woman who covers them was in, so we got them either onto the shelves or out to fulfill holds. I still have a stack of DVDs to process. Wrote a proposal for the small library conference at the end of October. Did some promotion for our upcoming programs, including the Rights Roundtable on Monday night that kicks off Banned Books Week.

Yup, Banned Books week is next week, and this year’s focus is graphic novels. So grab a banned graphic novel and dig in! ;)

Updated the library website, contacted some people about programs. Busy day.

My editor wants another book as soon as I can write it. I still have some research for BALTHAZAAR before I can get back into it, and, of course, am consumed by INITIATE. But I have to give them something soon.

I also found out that I have a 5-cup Review of TRACKING MEDUSA over on Coffee Time Romance, and a 5-star review of the same book on Amazon. I loved and believed in the book for a long time before I found the right publisher, so I’m glad others are enjoying it, too. “Lake Justice” got a 3.5 out of 5, which is good, with the main criticism being it was too short – which is helpful! ;) Maybe the next Bronwyn adventure will be longer. Maybe I should cough up a Bronwyn adventure soon while I’m working on the other books for my editor!

Home, very tired, glass of wine on the deck, then grocery and cat food shopping. Dinner, some work on INITIATE, then finished VIRTU. I’ve ordered the two remaining books in the quartet and should have them by next week. Can’t wait to dive into them. I just love this series. It’s very unique, lots of gorgeous writing. At times, I wonder why one choice or another was made, but then it all ties together. The world-building is spectacular. Not only am I enjoying them, I am learning from them.

Up early today. Worked on INITIATE. Tomorrow will be my first full day off in quite awhile, and I’m going to focus on INITIATE and on the garden. I’m supposed to read to kids at the Town Picnic on Sunday, but all I know is the time. I have no idea where I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to read. I’m half tempted to make something the hell up.

I have a proposal and a couple of reports to write today, along with everything else. Better get going. I’ll check in next week – there should be lots to tell from Banned Books Week!

And, of course, the Equinox is on Monday, so I’m in preparations for that.

A student who booked an editing intensive sent the materials in some weird format (I only accept .doc) and not in Standard Manuscript Format, and then wanted me to explain what that is. No. Don’t call yourself a writer if you don’t know SMF. Go look it the fuck up. I was very, VERY clear when we discussed the possibility of taking her on this semester that I ONLY accept SMF in .doc file format and anything else would remain unread. This has been an ongoing problem with this particular individual. I will not work on something that is not correctly formatted. Period. And if you’ve been in ANY of my classes, there is NO excuse not to know what SMF is, or to show the initiative to go look it up your damn self.

Devon

Published in: on September 19, 2014 at 9:05 am  Comments (3)  
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Wed. Sept. 17, 2014: Between Many Book Worlds

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Very intense few days on the trip. It was great, but it was all very intense.

Saturday was the first meeting of the cozy book club. Small turnout, but enthusiastic. We are moving it to a different day and time for next month, hoping it will work for more people. I was very tired – I’d been up for several days preparing the materials, washing the china, making the food, packing everything. Load in and load out weren’t bad, but it still took time.

I was exhausted by the time I got home. Read Sharon Shinn’s ROYAL AIRS on the deck. I’m a huge fan of her books anyway, and this is in the same series as TROUBLED WATERS. I read the library copy, but I’ll be buying my own.

Packed what I needed for my trip to New York. Decided I was going to try to travel as light as possible.

To bed early. Up early on Sunday. Wrote 1000 words on INITIATE. Packed the car, ate a good breakfast. Hit the road about a half hour later than I wanted – mostly because I wanted to finish the sequence I was writing on INITIATE.

Traffic wasn’t bad, and it was a beautiful day to drive. I listened to MacTalla Mor on the way down. Stopped in Niantic at the Book Barn. Sold some duplicate books I’d accumulated over the years, and some books my mom wanted to get rid of. And then bought books. And books. And books. It was wonderful. I gorged myself on various titles and authors I’d been looking for, and on some I wanted to try.

Stopped in Old Saybrook. Found some silver flatware – some in my pattern and some in a complimentary pattern – and a small painted stool I will varnish to protect the paint and use for plants.

Hit Greenwich Library around 3 PM. Because, of course, if I’m going somewhere, where is my first refuge? The library. Texted my friend to let her know I arrived. Settled in with Sarah Monette’s MELUSINE – and was captivated from the first page.

I was supposed to be writing.

My friend contacted me and wanted me to come out to the small island sanctuary where her family has had a house for generations. So I drove to Rye and parked at the dock and waited for her. Had to jump into the small boat – not sure if it’s a skiff or what. Whatever it was, it was small and low to the water. And I can’t swim. To say I was terrified is an understatement. But I kept my cool outwardly and didn’t moan.

We went out to the island, which is beautiful, and there was a lively group there of people who like to have actual conversation, not just griping or gossip. So that was fun. And one had worked for the Sound Tigers the same year I trotted around with them doing research, yet our paths hadn’t crossed. So it was fun to share stories about our favorite hockey boys. I can’t believe it’s been a dozen years since I spent time with them. They’re all men now, most of them are out of hockey and with families of their own. It feels like months, not years.

We came back later than expected ,on the tiny boat, in the dark. I was scared, but didn’t outwardly panic, even when we hit a piece of driftwood and I was sure we were going to trip over. I was actually more worried about the longhand chapter of INITIATE in my bag than anything else. But it was all good.

It was odd driving around in Rye. I felt absolutely nothing. I spent many years in the town – from first grade through high school. So many experiences that shaped me happened there. And I felt . ..nothing. Not even the basic curiosity I usually feel in a new town. Not anger or resentment or nostalgia or . . . anything. It was like entering a void. Which was weird. I felt like I should feel something, even if it was negative or uncomfortable.

Didn’t sleep well, lots of odd dreams, but was up early and on a train to the city just after 8. Rye is only 25 miles from New York, a much shorter distance than Kingston is from Boston – yet the round trip train ticket is more expensive.

Hit the city early. Walked around. Spent some time writing in Bryant Park, by the main branch of the New York Public Library (see a pattern with my first choice of refuge?). I had, after all, to write my 1K on INITIATE, or I’d be out of sorts all day.

Then, it was to the Morgan Library (patterns much?) for my 10:30 appointment. The Department Head/Curator who took time to speak with me was amazing. Again, it was invigorating to have a real conversation, and it ranged along a wide spectrum of topics. I learned A LOT, and he also gave me confidence that many of my initial instincts in dealing with what I’m dealing with are correct (even if I’m not always toeing the usual library line on some things). We’ve both done a lot of different things in life that brought us to working in libraries and we share a passion for books and learning and information and how we like to handle/acquire/live with books that is often similar. It was a wonderful experience. He’s someone with whom I want to keep in touch, and someone for whom I hope I can be a resource for the weird information I tend to accumulate. His kindness and generosity of spirit towards someone who’s basically making it up as she goes along in this whole library adventure was deeply appreciated.

It was later than I expected when I got out of there (I expected he might have 15 or 20 minutes to spare, and we talked for nearly two hours – I felt like I was a time hog). I wanted to see what had changed. New York is still vibrant, and it was nice to be around its diversity. The pace felt slower, which was odd. I felt like I was at my old NYC pace, but people around me weren’t. Maybe I was simply in areas with tourists.

I swung by Christie’s, just for the heck of it, and was lucky enough that they were having a viewing of Asian Art. I got to talk to people (more real conversations) about textiles and ceramics. They couldn’t answer all of my questions, so now I have to do some research on my own. Which is just fine, because I didn’t really have the language to ask properly what I wanted to know. But Christie’s has always treated me well and going in there is always a pleasure. I learn a lot and get visual stimulation and the impact of actual valued and valuable art works that one can’t get in many other places. The emotional impact is very different between a photograph of something from the 1700s and the actual object.

Then, of course, I was close to running late. I grabbed some watermelon for lunch on the move as I headed up through Hell’s Kitchen (name it something gentrified all you want, it will ALWAYS be Hell’s Kitchen) to Lincoln Center. Hit the Library for the Performing Arts and had my meeting with the curators from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection.

Again, very generous with time and resources and cautions. They gave me a good baseline for how things are usually done. I saw the archives – so much wonderful history is in there, some of which is history I studied that influenced me; some of which is my personal history, people who actually shaped my career and my vision of a career in theatre. I asked a lot of questions, got a lot of information.

By the time I left, I was on overload. I was going to make another stop, almost made it to the building, and just couldn’t. Spread me with butter and serve me on a plate, because I was toast. I did, however, run into a store and buy a new tote bag for all the information I’d accumulated.

I headed to Sosa Borella (a favorite hangout from my days on WICKED and where I had my first book launch party), had something to eat (because I was ready to pass out) and a glass of wine. Listened to the first world problems of some yuppies nearby, thinking, “wow, if I told you some of my stories, you’d run screaming”, but kept my mouth shut. Costume Imp was the first to join me, and then two other friends. We had a great dinner and catch up, and even caught a train back at a reasonable time.

Caught up with the friend with whom I stayed, made sure I was properly packed. Up early on Tuesday morning, wrote 1K on INITIATE. In the car a little after 8 to head for the Asian grocery store in White Plains – which didn’t open until 10 that day. The traffic was backed up, so I took backroads until I got ahead of the problem, then hit the Merritt and headed back. I was working on potential plot threads for INITIATE, following the threads, deciding which to keep, which to develop, which to toss.

Stopped in Mystic on the way home, at Mystical Elements. I needed to stock up on aquamarines and bloodstones – neither of which they had. But they had some moonstones and a Botswana Agate I needed, so I got those, and some candles. And I got some hematite rings for the thumbs. Then headed over to Silk Road, for a bagua mirror (found a GORGEOUS one), and picked up a necklace and a moonstone ring to replace a ring I’d lost when packing the car at home on Sunday morning. I’ve worn eight rings on my fingers for years – now I have the full ten. Also got a nice pendant.

Back in the car, home around 3. Unpacked, settled in, read the rest of MELUSINE. Obsessed with the book, the gorgeous writing, the world-building. Finished it (all 496 pages) and started in on VIRTU, the next book.

To bed early – exhausted – in spite of all the reading and the plotting and the this and the that.

Up early this morning – 1K on INITIATE, starting a new section, layering in some other stuff I need to put in to widen the world.

To Barnstable Law Library for a meeting of the Reference Committee. It was terrific, great resource, and I applied for a card for our library, so we can access resources. Had some terrific conversations with some of my fellow librarians.

Stopped at Nirvana to treat myself to a Café Mocha and headed to work, where things were a bit in turmoil, and my desk was stacked to the rafters – which is fine, since it’s boxes of books. A couple of things that were promised to be handled while I was gone hadn’t been, which caused a slight case of the crankies on my part, but they’re now handled and nobody died, so it’s really not that big a deal. An annoyance, not a catastrophe. We also had a meeting for a proposal for a project in conjunction with Heritage Garden that I really, really want to do, and the Youth Services Librarian created a beautiful design. I also have to write a proposal for my boss’s presentation for a small libraries’ conference in Sturbridge at the end of October. Plus unpack all the boxes, and go through the books withdrawn via weeding.

It’s almost the end of the work day, so I’ll do what I can do, then descend into VIRTU – although I do need to write more on INITIATE tonight. I didn’t have three eight hour days to devote to it this week, and my characters are annoyed with me, which causes internal stress. I ordered the other two books in the series – there are four and I’d only found two in Niantic, not knowing there were four or realizing how hard I’d fall for these two. I am going to be very protective and possessive of my copies, because I will keep going back to this series for both enjoyment and because, structurally, they are so well done.

I also have to prepare for tomorrow morning’s Marine Life Center Board Meeting and set up for Short Story Group here before I go, since I will be late coming in.

It will take a few days to settle in again. I kind of feel like I’m floating between worlds right now. I’m surprised how easily I slipped back into New York mode, and I’m glad I could genuinely enjoy New York City, without feeling like I was missing anything, and still being convinced that leaving when I did was the right thing to do.

I am, however, being faced with other decisions and more change in the coming months. I’d like to sit and plan, but every time I do that, it backfires, so I will just have to trust my instincts.

Devon

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