Mon. Dec. 31, 2012: New Year’s Eve & Pens are Hopping!

IMG_0784
Iris investigates the centerpiece, a gift from Lori! Thanks!

Monday, December 31, 2012
Waning Moon
New Year’s Eve

I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s!

Better hurry and download the free Jain Lazarus tale, “First Feet” — it’s only available until January 2!

Busy weekend. Worked a lot on Friday, wrote a lot on Friday. Worked up the rough of my wacky proposal for the agent. I love it. I let it rest over the weekend, and will tweak it over the next few days to send to her later this week. Ran errands on Saturday, and did a little raking, since the storm was coming. Worked on getting out party invites all weekend.

We got about 4 inches of snow on Saturday night — not bad, considering. Did some party planning, did some cleaning up and re-arranging. Was highly irritated at the snow plow guy. As usual, he shoved snow INTO everyone’s driveways. To a point, that’s understandable, but he left a boulder-sized snowball in the elderly neighbor’s driveway. There’s no reason he couldn’t have pushed it another foot out of the way, except this guy was either inexperienced, incompetent, a dickhead, or a combination. I went over to help the neighbor.

Got my own driveway and walkway shovelled — it wasn’t too bad, except for the stuff shoved into the driveway by the plow. AND the fact that the plow destroyed the whole bottom of the front yard — again, it’s marked, there’s no reason he couldn’t have paid attention and stayed in the road. If the boulders hadn’t been there protecting the rest of the yard, he would have torn it up halfway to the house. Unacceptable. Yes, I took photos, and yes, I will be making noise to the town!

It looks really pretty, though, except for the damaged area.

Found Rosemary Edghill’s SPEAK DAGGERS TO HER, the first Bast mystery, and re-read it. Now I have the whole set to lend to Costume Imp when he comes up in spring. I have the materials prepped for tonight’s ritual, for tomorrow morning’s ritual, have to pick up a few things for the NYDay breakfast. I’m doing laundry (because I have this thing about going into the New Year with clean clothes), and will vaccuum and mop this afternoon. Changed all the beds this morning.

We lit a fire in the fireplace last night, the first successful attempt since we moved it. It was wonderful! So much fun, worked so well. We’ll be doing that a lot more all winter.

I’m still having fun with the Twelfth Night stories, although I’m a bit behind. The story on the Five Gold Rings was more complicated than I expected. Not longer – just more complicated.

I realized the idea I’ve been playing with for a few days is actually an Ivy de le Livre piece (she’s my horse-playng tarot reader character) that is BEFORE the pieces I’ve been working on. That opens all kinds of exciting possibilities.

Bill Moyers interviewed a fascinating writer named Junot Diaz — now I’m eager to read his books. What a thoughtful, articulate, intelligent man.

The president of the Writers’ Center shot me a few ideas, and I shot back a response this morning. This year will be exciting!

I’m very excited that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is circulating in the CLAMS library network! So, if you’re on Cape Cod — you can check it out of the library. What fun!

Lots to do to prep for the New Year. Have a safe and joyful holiday!

Stop by Biblio Paradise tomorrow — we’re starting the year with Shirley Wells’s latest! AND, stop by Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions tomorrow, where we start working on our New Year’s goals!

Devon

Fri. Dec. 28, 2012: New Ideas & Proposals

IMG_0715
I know I posted this picture of Tessa, the computer, and the Dragons bumper sticker, but it cracks me up, so I’m using it again!

Friday, December 28, 2012
Full Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re supposed to get snow tonight. I’d like a little white, but not too much!

I’m also really, really, REALLY excited because ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, by Annabel Aidan, is in circulation in the CLAMS network library system!

I was FINALLY able to reset my Facebook password and get back into my Devon Ellington page. The address for the page is here.

With in that Devon Ellington faction, I set up a Jain Lazarus Adventures page. Check it out here.

I still have all kinds of issues with Facebook, but it’s a promotional tool I need to learn how to utilize properly.

So, come on, sign up for those two workshops in January, “When Words Align” and “Sensory Perceptions”. Get your manuscript back on track. Learn how to layer in sensory detail. Come play with us!

So, last night’s dreams are for March. It’s the third night, AKA third month, although today is the fourth DAY. I had two sets of dreams. One, I was reading a post-apocalyptic novel (which is better than being IN one, I guess), and the other dream fled as soon as Violet woke me up by hurling a fur ball.

Smallest cat, biggest furballs.

Yesterday, we picked up some ornaments on sale — mostly cardinals, which we wanted for the tree, and put them on. Also bought another Christmas cactus and a Cyclamen plant.

I wrote my three French hens story, and this morning, I started on the four calling birds one. I’m having a blast with these tales. I’m pretty sure they’re in the Ava Dunne voice.

I’m juggling three very different projects right now, with three distinct protagonists — all in first person. I tried third person for all of them, and it didn’t work for any of them, so, first person it is.

I’ve got to get out the party invites and the thank you notes today, and start uploading class materials. I’m still tweaking stuff for the When Words Align class, and I’ll be tweaking exercises all the way along, as it’s so much about individual projects. I also have to finish prepping stuff for the private students starting.

I sent out two LOIs and resumes yesterday to two very different organizations, both of which I’m panting to work with. I’m trying to create my own position within each — I’ve found a way to meet their current needs AND my wish to remain a freelancer, so let’s hope one or both of them take a chance on me.

Also working on the wacky proposal for my agent.

Lots to do and limited time, so I better get moving!

Devon

Two Nina Bell holiday shorts and a romantic/comedy/fantasy twist in Yuletide myths. Don’t miss them!

And get your FREE copy of the Jain Lazarus tie-in, “First Feet”, only available until January 2!

Thurs. Oct. 4: Exciting Times and Time to Go Home!

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Worked with my students yesterday, got some good work done on a few other projects. Got an apology from the slow-paying client with a promise to “pay next week”. We’ll see if that happens. Watched several of my Sustainability video lectures, and several of the World History lectures, and took the quizzes. This week’s lectures are useful in terms of my flood/drought project. I also did an email interview promoting both the Jain Lazarus books and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT that will go up in late November.

Tessa is sulky and upset. She got out of the house and was difficult to catch yesterday, poor little thing. Hopefully, she will be glad to see me when I get home, and not act like Violet. Violet always does “talk to the tail” for three days before she forgives me.

I’m over at the Writers Vineyard today in my Annabel Aidan persona, giving thanks for this year’s Writing Harvest.

It’s more stressful here than it needs to be; I will be glad to go home. Although “home” will be chaotic for the next few weeks — the owner decided the outside of the house needs to be painted and a new roof put on.

I had a lovely meeting with an agent last night, and we had a good chat that ranged over many topics. We brainstormed some ideas, and now it’s up to me to see if I can come up with proposals that fulfill what we discussed. Excited about it.

I want to get the revisions on the article done before I head back today, and will try to get as much schoolwork done as possible. Well, I’d LIKE to curl up and read a good book, but that is not going to be an option until about Sunday! And that book will be something I’m reviewing!

Quick reminder — I’m over at the Muse Online Conference next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, teaching my Supporting Characters workshop. Hope to see you there!

Off we go — I hope the drive back won’t be bad this afternoon. I’m tired of driving in bad weather and dense traffic.

Devon

Tues. Sept. 25, 2012: Writing, Dissection, and Process

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy work day yesterday. Some library this-n-that done, I’m almost caught up with the tarot students, I started on this week’s work in the Sustainability Course, the World History Course, and the Greek/Roman Mythology course. The dynamics in each class are fascinating to me — the tone set by the professors, the way students interact, the types of people drawn to each class with their stories — but then, I’m a writer. I’m going to go beyond the surface of the course and get into both the interpersonal dynamics of the material and of the people around me. That’s what I do.

Very dangerous, knowing a writer. Everything is material. But that’s part of why it’s so great to BE a writer! ;)

Speaking of writers, I hope you’ll hop on over to A BIBLIO PARADISE today and drop a comment for my colleague and fellow Cape Cod author, Steven Marini. He’s a guest on the blog.

Got through some more submissions, some of which were much better. I’ve got two more stacks to get through this week. Got out my material for Confidential Job #1. Pitched for a job that I don’t think will be a good fit, not in content, but in time frame, and I don’t think it will work out. Of course, I realized that after I hit send.

I also had an absolutely mortifying egg-on-face few moments — I’m a guest on a bunch of different blogs to promote both ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT and HEX BREAKER (and, then, soon, I’ll be appearing to promote DEATH SPARKLES and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK). I keep track of what’s due when and where, and I wrote several of them in the last few days. Well, I thought I was late on one, scrambled, and hit send — to realize I’d sent it to the wrong person! Mortified. Absolutely mortified. I pulled it back, apologized profusely (I’d sent her everything she needed for my appearance) and then sent it off to the right person (who is very happy with it). Everything worked out, and everyone was cool about it, but I was still upset with myself. There’s a reason I’ve set up systems and organized things, and that’s so I can stay on top of multiple projects. When I make a careless mistake, I’m angry at myself.

My own work suffered yesterday, so today, I have to make up for it. I also have to do a major grocery shop over at Market Basket in Sandwich, which just makes me happy.

The furnace guy was here yesterday, cleaned the furnace and the ductwork, everything is great. Considering that it was 39 degrees this morning, and the heat’s kicked in for the past few weeks, I’m glad.

Watched REVOLUTION last night. (Spoiler alert). They came out with a bang, and now we’re getting into the episodes that both reveal and set up the future complexities. I had some frustrations — I need to watch again the scene after Charlie killed two men and she’s trying to wrap her head around it. I feel like there was a missed opportunity — Miles could have made it clear that you hope you never “get used” to killing (it’s obvious that, although he kills when he has to, he doesn’t enjoy it); he could have dismissed her concerns; he could have pretended to dismiss her concerns as a combination of not really knowing how to deal with her and also as a bit of misplaced “tough love” because he knows she’ll have to do a lot more killing before this is done (besides, she killed someone or several someones in the first episode when she and her friends came to help him in the Big Fight Scene in Episode 1. It’s not her first kill, although it’s the first of this type of kill). Instead, it didn’t really commit to any of the above. The actors had to work too hard in that scene — the problem, I felt, was in the material and in the direction. It wasn’t layered; it was messy. That meant the actors had to work harder to try to pull it off, and the work showed, instead of it being organic. That’s not a failure on the actors’ parts — they did what they could with the material, and the writing needed to be both crisper and more layered, and the direction needed to be more specific in that scene.

Why does this moment bother me? Because it could have been a pivotal point of connection and understanding in the relationship between Charlie and Miles. The actors reached for it, but the material, in this case, didn’t give them the support it should have. You’ve got to hand it to Billy Burke — when he’s in a scene with someone, he’s totally there. A lesser actor would have hung his scene partner out to dry in order to look better, and he did not. Those are the actors you want on your project, the ones who give and receive in a scene, rather than take. Giancarlo Esposito had a lot of wonderful small moments in his scenes, too — a more insecure, self-involved actor would have used some of those moments to chew scenery or wipe the floor with his fellow actors. He doesn’t need to, and he’s far more effective doing what he’s doing. I can’t wait until Esposito and Burke have scenes together. As a writer, while it’s frustrating to see that flawed material in something that’s on network (but not a surprise), it’s also interesting to break it down and figure out what could have made the material stronger, and yet still fit into the constraints of the production (the need for scenes to be truncated for commercial breaks). As someone who worked so closely with actors for so many years, watching performances grow and change night-to-night, show-to-show, sometimes on a daily basis, I feel for the actors, and I’m always fascinated by the development of material.

So, why am I going on and on about beats and scenes in a television series that, truly, has nothing to do with me? That whole dissection experience made me a little resentful that I’m not even included in a rehearsal for my play’s reading on Friday, and that the director hasn’t even spoken to me about the material. If I was in the rehearsal room and heard the actors speak the words, I could make tweaks for it to flow more naturally before the performance, which is going to make everyone look better. I don’t believe every word is gold simply because it drips from my pen. I believe in making the words better. Part of that is being in the rehearsal process. Because I will not be pleased if the director or actors take it on themselves to change lines without discussing it with me first (there’s a reason Dramatists Guild contracts don’t allow that). There’s a difference between riffing and improvising off material and just paraphrasing or changing it. The first two, in the right hands, can take the material to the next level. The third and fourth, almost all the time, takes all the air out of material. That would be a sign of both huge ego and huge disrespect on their parts, none of which are unusual in this business. What will really kill the material if the actors take a lot of self-involved pauses you could drive trucks through. It’s written to a very specific rhythm, the rapid-fire 1940s noir patter. Friday will be interesting. It could be amazing, or it could be a disaster. Either way, I know I’ll be taking a lot of notes, and subjecting myself and the pages to the same type of dissection that I do above.

On a happier note, I was thrilled that Damian Lewis won the Emmy for HOMELAND. In my opinion, he’s one of the top actors out there, again, with a lot of quiet, detailed work, and it’s about time he got recognition.

Alright, enough musing — time to get back to the pages and get my own creative work done. I’ve got a book to finish.

Devon

Interviewed on Long & Short Romance!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

First and foremost, hop on over to LASR to read an interview with me — it was a ton of fun — I just love working with them.

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT will be available at the bookstore in the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference — woo hoo! If HEX BREAKER isn’t in print yet, they told me to go ahead and leave promotional materials in the store. Talk about a much better arrangement than at Write Angles last year, which segregated authors, lied to me about carrying me in the store, and then, the night before the conference dumped the whole problem into my lap. This was easy-peasy — I emailed the guy running the bookstore, he sent me the form, and we’re good to go. No drama, no “you’re not with a big enough publisher and not important enough for our store”, none of that. Which is one reason this conference is one of the most respected in the country.

Yesterday, I worked a lot, but didn’t get enough done. Sound familiar? But I got some ideas to one of my new editors, got some work in for another client, mowed the terraced back area, took all the clippings to the dump, In the afternoon, I managed to write 1857 words (a whole chapter) on HEART BINDER, and I read 70 pages of a manuscript for critique. And baked a cake.

I went to the client meeting at 6:30 last night, and didn’t get home until after 11. It was fun, and nice to do focused work in company, but I was beat by the time I got in. Overslept this morning, and then did some more work for that client before I even got a chance to blog.

Tessa was mad at me — our routine this summer has been that I take her out with me in the morning and put her in her cage on the deck. She watches me water, and then is out with me while I have my first cup of coffee, percolate ideas, and write the first 1K of the day in longhand. Later, at the end of the day, she comes out with me again, while I have a glass of wine on the deck and either read or write some more.

Well, yesterday afternoon, I was behind in the work, and couldn’t take her out before I left. And this morning, it was rainy. She was one sulky girl. I took her out this morning in my arms and she got rained on — which, of course, in her feline mind, is all my fault.

Anyway, I’ve got a LOT on my plate today — better get to it.

I’m so happy with the LASR interview!

Devon

Don’t forget — Taste of Tarot workshop for artists in all media, this Saturday afternoon, June 16, at Three Fish and a Ram Community Art Center in Mashpee. More info here.

Tues. May 22, 2012: Roller Coaster Day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was such and up-and-down day! Managed to revised six chapters of HEART SNATCHER, which was a great note on which to start. Got some other work done, spent time with students.

Had a few hours of alternating fury and misery when I discovered that some individuals on a job in whom I invested hundreds of hours of time and trust just threw it back in my face. Well, what are you going to do? I already knew the situation was not one in which I wanted to stay past the current commitments — but at least I FULFILL my commitments. It’s about fear, power, manipulation, done via passive aggression — you know how well THAT goes over with me! You don’t get your own way all the time, Pickle, especially when you’re wrong and doing something destructive to yourself and others. Imagining how to fictionally kill them off in a story made me realize just how ridiculous it all is, and how it’s not worth my time and energy. New doors are opening for me; I have no reason not to take fresh risks. Especially not out of misplaced loyalty.

The Writers Center wants to put me on their regular roster for Tomorrow’s Writers Today — they thought I did well, the kids responded positively, and they want me back. Good! I can take what I learned from this go-round, switch up a few things, focus it differently, and make it better.

I got some more good news — a piece one of my private students worked on under guidance has been offered a contract! I’m thrilled for her. She worked hard on it, and it was a case of taking a good idea and going deeper, that’s all.

I got my next assignment for Confidential Job #1 — a double this time! Can’t wait to do it. Didn’t manage to finish the article (still waiting for quotes). Managed, however, to do a good deal of press for my upcoming workshops — putting them up in local events calendars, etc. — and got some ads for business services out there. Got a negative response back on a pitch — but the content of the refusal had nothing to do with what I actually pitched, so I think they might have sent me someone else’s letter. In other words, I dodged a bullet!

Very tired, but that’s just the way it is right now. Looking forward to the holiday weekend break. I’ll be writing, but not interacting.

The West Dennis Library is doing a benefit on June 10. They asked me to donate a signed copy of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT for the Book Basket they’re auctioning off. I’m delighted! More information here.

A few things to think about/remember/check out:

On Saturday, May 26, from 10 AM to Midnight EST, please click over to 100carsforgood.com with your Facebook account and vote for the National Marine Life Center — we’re a finalist in the program, and have the chance to win a Highlander in order to transport wildlife to and from the hospital. It would make a huge difference to the center, so please stop by and give us a vote!

Writers Worth Week continues with Kimberly Ben’s article on Flexing Your Confidence Muscle.

Don’t forget to sign up for Setting Up Your Submissions System online seminar on June 2. I’ll walk you through bios, loglines, submission packets, clip files, the types of ways to prepare your files so all you have to do is attach, and more. The resource guide is worth the price. More information and registration here.

If you’re in and around the Cape area in June and July, I’m teaching in person at Three Fish and A Ram Community Art Center in Mashpee. There’s a tarot class for artists in all media, a writer/performer collaborative, and a writing workshop to stretch technique. I’ve got a page with details set up here.

I’m off to mediation now — I need it! Then, it’s back to work.

Devon

Fri. March 23, 2012: A Mercury Retrograde Start to the Day

Friday, March 23, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was busy. Put my head down and worked all day. Confidential Job #1 offered me something fun in addition to my usual roster of assignments; I said yes. I’m thrilled that my editor thought of me for it. Caught up on student work. Discovered that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT got a very good review here. Worked on the pre-release publicity for HEX BREAKER. Did the work I’m paid to do here on site. Worked on the materials for another project that will go live shortly.

I managed a nap, only to be woken by one of my least favorite noises on the planet — a leaf blower.

This morning was a typical Mercury Retrograde morning. Alarm went off early; I contemplated skipping yoga because I wanted more sleep. But I figured I’d feel better after yoga, so I got up and out of the house and headed to yoga. Only to find a note on the door stating it was cancelled. Okaaaaay. Stopped and got coffee and went to the beach I used to walk near the art deco amusement park instead. Sat down on a bench that was still wet from the overnight, but it was still nice out. Got an idea for a piece that I might be able to meld with some other ideas I’ve been tossing around. Maybe even with my horse-playing tarot reader character.

Decided I wanted a muffin on my way home and drove all kinds of places with no luck. You would have thought I was on the quest for Excalibur or something. It’s a muffin, people, not that hard. I could have made a batch in the time it took to track one down. Finally got one at the grocery store, got back to the job site, and ate it outside in the sun.

Spent the morning doing work on a project that doesn’t need my primary attention right now, but is so fascinating, I can’t stop. Am about to check in with students, then do some more writing, then do more student work later in the afternoon.

Word from home is that the maple tree, two holly trees, a hydrangea, Rose of Sharon, and Mountain Laurel arrived this morning — figures they’d arrive when I’m not there to plant them. Not sure what to do with the maple tree — since I’m renting, do I put it in a pot or donate it somewhere? Will have to see when I get home.

Did some work on the Jain Lazarus story that has to be ready to go with the release of HEX BREAKER. Need to do some rearranging on the site. Thought through some of the ongoing Jain Lazarus marketing stuff I need to do, and how I can cross-market along with ASSUMPTION, although they are two different worlds under two different names.

Got a few proposals to get out today, too. Got to just keep on it, right? That’s the only way to get everything where I need to be.

I’m looking forward to Memorial Day weekend, where we all have a few days off!

Devon

Mon. March 19, 2012: Start of a New Work Week

Monday, March 19, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It’s been so busy that I can’t even remember back to Friday! ;) Anyway, I know I spent a lot of time with students both Friday and Saturday, because, by dinnertime Saturday, I was caught up on everything that had been posted to that time, and I could take yesterday off with a clear conscience.

I finished the materials for Confidential Job #1, and this morning I send off the report. The next assignment will probably come while I’m out on assignment this week, so I won’t be able to start it until next week, but that’s okay. I like what I’ve been sent, lately, which makes it more fun.

Got out some proposals, dropped off a press packet on ASSUMPTION, got a few more leads on potential new clients that I need to follow up on. Considered a blogging job, but, really, there were so many red flags in the ad, I decided to pass. When the employer says that a low price is a “high” price paid for top-quality content and then says it’s an “easy” job for the right person — run like hell. I would have liked to write about the topic — I know it well — but not at those prices.

Killion Slade brought up a good point in the comments to Friday’s post — bartering. I’m a huge fan of bartering. When I lived in Seattle, the arts community survived a lot by bartering with each other. Here on the Cape, it happens, too, and it’s a lot of fun as well as being useful. The thing about bartering is — you get an even exchange between two individuals, each with a skill the other needs. So the energy/karmic exchange is balanced. And I also have a couple of pro bono clients on the roster, and will, once or twice a year, contribute to an anthology that gives its proceeds to a charity I care about. That’s all part of the flow of the work. What gets my goat (and all the other animals in the barn) is when someone who claims to be a legitimate employer wants my skills for nothing, giving nothing in return, but “exposure”. Generally, these are the same “employers” who say the work is “easy” (yet, somehow, they can’t do it themselves) or ask for unpaid, project-specific “samples” (which means everyone gets a piece of the project, does it for free, gets told they weren’t hired, the “employer” absconds with all the unpaid elements, changes the company name and has unpaid labor for a finished product). The lines are different for everyone, but this is how I pay the bills. I’m perfectly happy to barter, if the other half of the equation has something that I need. But I’m not just throwing my work out for “exposure.”

We never made it out of the house for the art opening on Friday night — it was raw and rainy. We’ve been catching up (or, for me, re-watching) the first season of TORCHWOOD, which has been a lot of fun, from a structural, writer’s perspective as much as from a viewing perspective.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday. I should have been out doing yard work. Instead, we went over to a friend’s house (an artist who moved up here from New York last year and now just lives a few blocks away), catching up around the fire pit. It was good.

This week is busy — finishing up a few things around here, including the edits for HEX BREAKER, which have to go out in a couple of days, working with students, etc. I have a site job for the last half of the week, and then, when I get back, it’s time to start working on the taxes! My payment came through, along with the “official notification” of the change in payment terms (biting my tongue), and some other issues that I’m just not getting into here. I’ve also got to set up a possible project for mid-April — if that works, I will post about it here shortly. If that goes well, there will be more along that vein. I also have to update my workshop page on the website, and some of my other pages. Lots to do!

I played with some short story ideas over the weekend. They’re still a little vague — almost like dream images, or just snippets of a scene. They need more development before I can figure out what they are. Two submission calls hit my desk to which I’d like to respond, so I hope the stories hurry up and starting forming!

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 7:46 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Wed. March 7, 2012: Tessa is Fascinated

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Day before Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The garage door is being wonky — can’t close it from the outside with the opener. I can OPEN it, but to close it, I have to do so from inside, then go out the front door. Kind of a pain. Yet ANOTHER repair. And Mercury doesn’t even go retrograde until next week!

Made it to meditation, and glad I went. It was a really good session. I felt I had a better perspective afterwards.

Home, breakfast, some work, then off to Sandwich Library. I was supposed to just make returns, but, of course, I got a stack of books out, including SISTER by Rosamund Lipton. One of my students in a reviewing class suggested it a few months back, and this is the first time I’ve found it. I started it last night — excellent. I’m pretty sure I know who the murderer is, due to the use of language in certain places, but I might be surprised. Just finished FLIRTING WITH PETE by Barbara Delinsky. Her novel last year, ESCAPE, was one of my favorite books of 2011. This was published in 2003, and is very different. Another book I thoroughly enjoyed.

Grocery shopping, laundry, students, a typical day. My mom’s surgery is tomorrow, so I doubt I’ll be online much. I’m going to yoga today instead of my usual Thursday morning class. I’ve got to work on a new Jain Lazarus short story, and a new story with Morag, from ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT.

Tessa sits n the window, staring across the street at the enormous black Maine coon cat, who’s sunning herself outside. Tessa’s just fascinated by her.

Costume Imp is coming up next week, and he’ll come along to the Boston Horticulture Show with us. That will be fun!

Devon

Feb. 22, 2012: Stockpiling the feast against the famine

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and wet

It rained last night, so everything glistens in the sun.

Meditation was good yesterday, but taking that time in the morning meant adding hours in to the back of the day, so I was working until 10 PM. That’s just the way this week will be — I have to finish the HEX BREAKER edits, keep up with my other writing, and teach three classes. I will enjoy the feast and stockpile against famine.

Speaking of teaching, the local writers’ center asked me to teach a day-long workshop in May for teens. I think that will be really fun, and I look forward to putting together something dynamic that gets their creative juices flowing far beyond the single day. From what I understand, these are bright, highly-motivated teens anyway, so they’re eager to jump in and DO. I’m pretty excited, and very honored that they asked.

I’ve got to finish tweaking another short story today and get it up for class — I went off on a tangent that did not work AT ALL — I discovered a lot about the characters, but now, I need to put something relevant on the page!

Also had some good pondering on HEART BINDER. So, even though I feel mired in so many “have-tos” this week, it’s still being a creative week.

I’m off to take my mom to a medical appointment now, and then, it’s back to the page.

Devon

HEX BREAKER: A Jain Lazarus Adventure
Coming soon from Solstice Publishing
http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT
Still available in print and digital editions from Champagne Books

Published in: on February 22, 2012 at 8:10 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , , ,

Dec. 12: Local Acknowledgement & Adventures in Holiday Baking

Monday, December 12, 2011
Waning Moon
Uranus DIRECT (as of Saturday)
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

It looks so pretty with the frost on the grass!

What a weekend!

The exciting news is that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT was included in the CAPE COD TIMES’S column of “Books to keep you warm on Cold Cape Cod Nights”. I had no idea, and was thrilled to open the paper and see it. To be mentioned in the Sunday paper’s book section — with a cover photograph — I was thrilled!

Saturday morning was the holly walk — the first thing I did when I moved to the area last year, and still something I love to do. It was so much fun, and it’s fascinating to see how the Sanctuary evolved through the year. Got some holly boughs (yes, it’s part of the walk, I didn’t just take them) — will try to use some of the berries (well, the seeds in the berries) to start some hollies that are descended from these trees. They’d have special meaning.

Came back, baked 5 dozen tollhouse cookies. Tried the thumbprint recipe – which I’ve successfully used before — and it didn’t work. That’ll teach me. Instead of using my beloved Land O’Lakes butter, which I usually use for baking, I’d bought cheaper butter in bulk at Costco, knowing that I’d be doing hundreds of cookies this year. Well, the butter didn’t cream properly with the sugar. Didn’t matter the temperature, didn’t matter the type of utensil — wooden spoon, paddle attachment, regular mixer. I wound up with a streusel-like substance instead of creamed butter and sugar. It was fine with the tollhouse cookies, but the thumbprints couldn’t be imprinted — they simply shattered. Adding liquid just made them melt into puddles.

So the thumbprint cookies are not an option this year.

Prepped 5 dozen molasses spice cookies for the next day’s baking. The molasses took care of the streusel effect, and it was not a problem.

Sunday, after reading the papers, I baked the 5 dozen molasses spice. Perfection. I prepped the dough for the eggnog angels, the only rolled cookie I planned for this year. Again — streusel effect, even with the eggnog. I put the dough into the fridge to chill, hoping that would help. Then, I baked 3 dozen oatmeal raisin cookies (the replacement for the thumbprint) and 5 dozen banana-walnut-chocolate chip cookies. The oatmeal raisin cookies can be a little crumbly, and the mashed banana helped smooth out the butter.

When I tried to roll out the dough for the eggnog angels, no dice. You could roll it, but as soon as you used a cutter, they shattered. So I used the same method used for the molasses spice — rolled into balls, dusted with sugar, flattened with a glass dipped in sugar. It made a lot more than the cutouts would be, and they’re round instead of angels, but they taste good. Hopefully, the icing will still work on them. Without using the sugar to roll and flatten, they fell apart.

Okay, I’m convinced, Land O’Lakes forever more! ;)

Today, I have the mini-lemon bundt cakes and all the glazes/icing to do. Tomorrow, the platters are packed and go out the door. The rest of the packages also have to be wrapped and packed today, and go out the door tomorrow.

In the meantime, I had to spend time with students, read a friend’s manuscript, and then a client project came in for immediate turnaround. This is not the client’s usual MO, so, while there’s definitely the rush fee attached, I’m not refusing the job. I’m also working on my business plan for next year. I want to change a certain amount of things. This was the first year I had a chance to really see what it was like to work without the pressures of scumbag landlords and Broadway commute. What I learned from this year, I can apply moving forward, to shape my work like into what I want AND what meets the financial needs. In order to do that, I have to tweak some things and radically change others.

And then there was The Stroll. The Village Holiday Strolls are a HUGE deal on the Cape. Every village has on. If you live there, you damn well better get out there and STROLL, or you hear about it all year. I was too tired last year, having moved here a few weeks before, and I’m STILL getting flack about it! So I stopped everything, showered (dough in the hair is not a good look for me), dressed, and off we went.

Parking was a nightmare, because there isn’t any. They block off the streets that actually have parking lots, so you’re off trying to find a side street with no lights on and park on the edge of someone’s property. Everything dead-ends, but there’s no room to turn around, because the streets are narrow, filled with parked cars, and more cars are coming at you all the time, but there’s no exit. And everyone’s in dark colors, darting around the streets, so you’re worried you’re going to run someone over. Only the dogs have reflective collars on.

And there ARE dogs — tons of them. Which is very cute. The dogs stroll as seriously as the people. And they’re so well behaved, with all the chaos and the noise and the smells and the other dogs. They don’t even try to steal the hot dogs!

The historic houses and everything else are all decorated to the hilt, the streets are blocked off so people can wander, and tables are set up with hot chocolate and hot dogs and baked goods and all kinds of stuff. There are donation buckets set up — not quite sure for what. And teens running around with buckets asking for donations for the needy. I’m such a cynical Manhattanite that I assumed it was a scam, but I was told it’s actually true. It’s fun and festive, although there were too many teenagers who’d consumed too much sugar racing around, shrieking. But they weren’t doing any harm, and they were having fun. It’s not like they were wilding or anything. Teenage conversation here is so different than in Westchester, where all they did was whine about their parents not paying for enough. Here, they actually go out and do stuff and talk about what they’re doing and want to do, and make up actual adventures, and then go HAVE them. They’re much more aware of and engaged in the world, which is nice. I think they’re smarter, too — probably because their parents aren’t all over-medicated and aren’t over-medicating them.

It was lovely, but such hell getting in and out with the parking situation that I may just risk local wrath an NOT do it again next year! They could use the shopping center parking lots on Rt. 28 and then take those historic trolleys they’re so proud of and shuttle people back and forth. But they won’t change, because “this is the way it’s always been done.”

And then the microwave died. Billowed smoke, got very hot, smelled weird. Unplugged it, cooled it with ice, will have to get rid of it. No microwave popcorn for me for a bit! Well, I don’t use it that much anyway, so it’s not THAT big a deal, but, after the holidays, I’ll probably get a new one.

I’m behind where I’d like to be on the cards — I wanted to have them all out today — not happening. But I’ll get them out in the next few days. And then I have to worry about the party invitations! ;)

I’m doing a live chat tonight at 7 PM over at Savvy Authors, talking about short stories in general, and my 5 in 10 short story workshop that starts in January in particular.

This week, I also have the Writers’ Association Holiday Dinner and a yoga party. Busy, busy!

And I figure, if I’m lucky, I’ll finish decorating the house by Christmas Eve!

Back to the page, and onward.

Devon

Roasted!

Makes sense, since this is Ink in My COFFEE, right?

Anyway, this is one of the most fun events I’ve done to promote ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT:

Author Roast

Visit and leave a comment, so they invite me back for my next release!

Published in: on October 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm  Comments Off  
Tags: , ,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Sunshine-kissed kitty

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

More retrogrades, people! And, technically, the summer vacation-that-wasn’t for me is over, and this gig is nearly over. I needed to write 15K in these past two weeks, here on site. I got 500 done, due to interruptions and the amount of stuff piled onto me that had nothing to do with my job. I can’t write a single sentence without a massive interruption, and I cannot be in that situation. Even if I tried to stay up all night, after I was drained of every ounce of life force from this place, I’m interrupted constantly. Just not acceptable, and I can’t put myself in this situation again. The daily micromanaging has abated, slightly, but now I find out the client’s given out my cell phone number to this one and that one without permission — and I am extremely fierce about who gets that number. Again, not acceptable. Well, Friday, I’m gone.

I got the following sent to me about my former building in NY. Read the article here.

If I still lived there, I’d be in a hotel somewhere — and what would have happened to the cats? I moved at the right time. My heart breaks for my former neighbors. I talked to a couple of them yesterday — they are in shock, dazed, and angry. One expects something like this from the scumbag landlords, but the City is also liable, morally if not legally, for continuing to allow those basement apartments to be rented when they are regularly flooded out and the residents lose everything. WHEN someone dies — and, eventually, someone will — these scumbags will still feel nothing. Because both the landlords and the current City Council there don’t consider the tenants are worthwhile citizens. The landlords consider them an ATM machine, and the City Council doesn’t think they are “good enough” to live in that pretentious Westchester town because they’re renters instead of owners, so the Council doesn’t care

Yesterday was practically productive, if not creatively productive. I got out some questions for a press release I’m working on, to wrap up the Mermaid Ball, four sets of interview questions, and got the last details worked out for the Year-Long Intensive, which starts tomorrow. I got in two good sessions of yoga, and a good meditation sit, which helped a lot.

I thought about what book I want to start working on tomorrow (while I finish SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which I simply can’t work on here, because I can’t get enough time in to write more than a line at a time without interruption, and then I lose my train of creativity). I circled back to the yoga mystery, reconnected a bit with it, and wondered if, maybe, that’s what I should work on. I’d be challenging myself within the formula, but not setting up so huge a challenge that I can’t meet it. In other words, it’s a pretty safe choice, which means I’m not sure I should do it. I’m trying to decide if I should do one of the two urban fantasy ideas I was playing with. Both are unique, stories I haven’t seen before, and I’m writing them because they are something I’d like to read. One rotates through three POVs — initially, it only rotated through two, but a character who was supposed to just be in a couple of scenes stepped up and said, “Hey, I’m important to this process!” The other one has a strong base in mythology and an intense central relationship, but never quite handled in this particular way. Then, of course, there’s the urban fantasy comic noir, which I originally envisioned as a series of linked short stories or novellas, but I could turn into a novel. And I need to make a decision — soon.

Today, I have to write the press release, work on the newsletter, and see if maybe I can possibly get any writing done. There will be a cleaning crew in here on site, so, again — constant interruptions.

Two more days. I just have to keep it together for two more days.

I feel very, very lucky and have enormous gratitude for the fact that I am HERE and not where I used to live, and that we had little storm damage and kept the power on. So many are so much worse off than I am, that, in perspective, these irritants are just that — irritants. They are something that I can,ultimately, not let happen again. But you can’t control a hurricane.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available in print and digital versions from Champagne Books, and digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,021 other followers