Mon. April 7, 2014: Exciting New Paths

Monday, April 7, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Wow, what a weekend. Worked flat out on client projects, winding up the class, and on script revisions. In negotiations for another short script project that might happen between now and June, and which sounds kind of fun. Also worked on material for my editor.

I’m guest-lecturing at a local college later this month (they’re teaching one of my plays) and teaching a workshop at NECRWA at the beginning of May. That’s it for teaching for me for awhile. I’m glad, because I’m burned out on it, and my life is taking exciting new paths to which I want to give my full attention.

Went to NMLC mid-afternoon to work on the program and other show-related stuff. Set up the room, trying to get it warm enough so we could concentrate to work. We had a good rehearsal, got a lot done.

Landed a quick-turnaround script job (yes, paid, of course, or I wouldn’t do it), that could lead to a two or three month longer script job.

Saturday, I got some wonderful news, which I can’t share publicly until all the contracts are signed at the end of the week. But then, believe me, we’ll all be celebrating together. Also had the first interaction with my new editor at Amber Quill Press — I think we’ll get along just fine!

Did some work in the yard, raking out the terraced bed. It looks much better, and things are coming up. Hopefully, we are moving into spring. Did some work for one of my other editors, and did my pacing and muttering on the script job.

Sunday morning, I did some more pacing and muttering, and then wrote the first draft. I feel pretty good about it, which means I’ll feel even better after some revisions.

Then, I headed in to the NMLC to meet the light/sound designer for the show and we did the light hang. It went pretty well and we were done by 8:30.

Came home, had a late dinner, watched a little TV. GAME OF THRONES started again; much as I like the quality of it, I’m also tired of the unrelenting cruelty the characters have towards each other.

I have a busy day and a busy week coming up — somehow, with all this work coming in, I still have to find time to finish my taxes.

Devon

Mon. Feb. 3, 2014: Snowing and Starting

Monday, February 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

I’ve got an article up on how to get out of a blogging rut over on Learn To Blog. Stop by, drop a comment, maybe they’ll ask me back!

Busy weekend. Flat out on Friday, along with celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Felt great to get into the Year of the Horse.

Saturday was all about Imbolc, cooking, and launching two new blogs. I cooked for twelve hours, and you can see the details in my new blog on cooking, Comfort and Contradiction: Food as Muse. I also have an introductory post over on Adventures in Vineland.

Recently, I re-read Beverly Nichols’s book, MERRY HALL, a “creative nonfiction” — or maybe it’s fiction based in some fact — about buying his home and starting to revive the garden right after WWII. This weekend, I read the other two books in the trilogy, LAUGHTER ON THE STAIRS and SUNLIGHT ON THE LAWN. While there’s a funny, rather arch Noel Coward-esque tone to the books, he’s downright mean sometimes, and very condescending towards women, which I didn’t like. There’s some wonderful garden and house information, and he writes warmly and well about cats, but I finished the trilogy with mixed feelings.

Did some work on the play, but, for the most part, other than the new blogs, I gave myself a break from writing. I need to dig back in today, revising the novella and finishing a book proposal I want to send out tomorrow.

I will miss the year-long student who finished her work on the 31st. She was outstanding, and I’m looking forward to cheering her on during a long and productive writing career. I’ve still got my terrific editing intensive students, but this year, I really need — and want — to cut back on teaching. My focus needs to be elsewhere for the coming months, and I have to be very careful where I spread that energy when it comes to teaching.

Caught up on my Environmental Law and Policy class, wrote and submitted my paper. Still have two other classes to catch up on and then get going on this week’s assignments. I LOVE the law class — really terrific.

Got an interesting bite from a gig I’d pitched, not thinking in a million years they’d be interested — but they are. It’s the other side of the table from where I usually sit on this issue, so it would be an interesting challenge.

It’s snowing, and I have books due that can’t be renewed anymore, so, as soon as the library opens, I will pop down and take care of it, then stop by the post office to get a few things out.

And then, it’s all about digging in for the new week.

Devon

Tues. June 25, 2013: Typing Along

IMG_1360

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow. Ick. I better clear a lot off my desk today! ;)

Yesterday was all about the work — working with students, getting an article out, getting a new editing client set up, working on a new web page, getting some invoices out, taking a copyediting test for a potential new gig, and creating what I call the “Back Pocket Document” for my agent.

What’s a “Back Pocket Document?” That contains the loglines of the additional projects you’re ready to pitch when the agent or editor you’re pitching to says, “That’s not really what I’m looking for right now. What else have you got?”

Instead of looking like a fool and stuttering, you’re ready to go with other possibilities. Because agents and editors are looking for long-term investments, not one shot wonders, unless you’re a wonder along the lines of Harper Lee.

Dropped off some books at Centerville Library and picked up what they had for me; dropped off and picked up some books at Sturgis Library, wishing I’d brought work with me. It was nice and quiet, and I would have loved to tuck myself into a corner to work.

Today, I have to figure out why a mailing that I thought went through a few days ago didn’t, and make sure it gets out, order some stuff from Amazon, work with my new editing client, work on some stories, and start the next couple of articles. It looks like this afternoon’s meeting has been cancelled, which is great news.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK is going into print sooner than expected, so I have to give the PDF another last look and make sure everything’s all good to go with that one.

I got a rejection on a novelette (which I was rather expecting — this market was a long shot), so I’m trying to figure out what to do with the piece. I love the piece, but it’s an odd length and a bit of slipstream, genre-wise. Unfortunately, it’s at the right length for this particular piece. Must figure out if I want to try to put it out on my own, or keep submitting.

Devon

Mon. Sept. 24: The Autumnal Roll!

Monday, September 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy, busy, busy weekend. I was on the road, supposed to have internet, but THAT didn’t work out! I felt guilty about my tarot students, but, for the rest of my work, it was fine. I’d cleared a lot of work off my desk before I headed out.

The most important thing was that I finished the edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and got them back to my editor a couple of days early. The cover (again by the amazing PJ Friel) is set to be ready on October 5, and once it’s approved by the publisher, I’ll post it. The latest word I have on the DEATH SPARKLES anthology (in which you’ll meet one of my favorite new characters, Fiona Steele), is that it will release in October.

I’m working away on CRAVE THE HUNT, and the new book (which is still in too delicate a state to really discuss) is flying out of my fingers. I’m ready to do my first chapters for the mystery I’m using as one of my sustainability projects, and ready to do the opening on the aviation book. I’m putting together the article due Oct. 1 (I need to get it out by Friday, before I hit the road again on Saturday), and this morning, I have a write-up to do for Confidential Job #1.

On Friday morning, I had to get out the door early and drive to CT. The traffic was dreadful — for some reason, we were stuck around Fall River for nearly an hour, and then it was bad again around Stratford. Got there, exhausted. Since I didn’t have an internet connection, I concentrated on writing and on the materials for Confidential Job #1 (which were really good). To bed early, up early, more writing, back on the road later that day, and home.

Saturday was the Equinox, and I managed to get back in time to do my sunset ceremony.

Sunday, couldn’t get in to the forum where I’m teaching for some reason, which meant I couldn’t catch up with the tarot students — must to that today. However, I managed to watch the last lectures for both classes and take the quizzes and do my short weekly paper (whew). Also went to Country Gardens to pick up a few things so I can put the garden to bed for the winter.

The Sustainability Course is half-way through (we start Week 5 this week), those of the original 26,000 who are still there. Of the 70,000 in the World History class, we seem to be hanging in there. The Greek and Roman Mythology class, taught by Dr. Peter Struck of the University of Pennsylvania, starts today, and there are 50,000 of us in the class!

I have a LOT of writing to do this week. Tomorrow night’s meeting was cancelled, thank goodness, but I have a meeting on Thursday directly after yoga — I’ll have to make sure I bolt a quick snack between yoga and the meeting. Friday night, my one-act is going to be read at the Play With Your Food Festival at Tilden Arts Center, and Saturday, I hit the road again — I’m working in CT next week. Busy, busy, and keeping on top of the articles and the writing deadlines and the coursework, and I still have some manuscripts to read for that acquaintance’s submission overflow (I rarely say “never”, but in this case, I’ll say “not again without major payment”).

Costume Imp is coming down late in October, I’ve got to settle a few days for Fast & Fun Workshops and finalize the information for the Playwrighting Class, so that the application can go up.

One word at a time – -that’s how it all gets done!

The guy’s here to clean the furnace this morning, and then I have to pick up/drop off some books at a couple of the local libraries. Other than that, it’s a day of being chained to the desk (but loving it).

Did you have a good Autumnal Equinox? I’m so grateful for the many good things in my life!

Devon

Thurs. Sept. 13, 2012: Searching For Flow in My Own Work

Thursday, September 13, 2012
Day before Dark of the Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday just got away from me. I started taking care of stuff on the internet before blogging, and we all know where that leads! Worked with students. Took down the previous individual workshop pages. The info for the Falmouth workshops starting next week are here.

I’ll have some other pages up soon, talking about the upcoming Fast & Fun workshops, and I’m almost ready to upload the information for the playwrighting workshop and get the application uploaded. That’s going to be a highly competitive class to get into, and mix reading and writing. Should be a ton of fun for those who get in, though.

Went in to Cape Mac to find out how to upgrade my operating system. Brandy, you’re right — I can’t get all the way up to Mountain Lion. My trackpad won’t support it. But the guy is going to upgrade me to Snow Leopard and give MacGeorge a good, thorough scour so I can still use it for about another year, when Snow Leopard will no longer be supported. That gives me a year to put aside money, a bit at a time, to buy a new computer. I’m not happy about this — I wanted to keep this one for three or four more years, and I don’t like that I’m being FORCED to purchase a new one, because I won’t be able to get online and do my work if I don’t. But the fact that they can work it so I have a year instead of say, a week, to get together the money for a new system is a relief.

So, in the next week or two, I’ll be offline for a day or two while I get all that done. So this weekend, I have to push very hard on deadlines.

Still chasing down $$$ and getting sick of it. I’m trying to let go of the anger of the job that broke down to $8 per week — hey, I said no, move on already — but after working for several years for this company, they should be offering me more money, not less. Another editor asked for more article pitches — honey, when you pay me the outstanding money you owe me, I’ll be happy to, but I’m not writing one more word for your publication until you cough up what’s past due. And waiting for another check on a project that was invoiced several weeks ago — I put in a second request.

Working on my wrap-up/suggestion package for this afternoon’s Mermaid Ball meeting. Didn’t get enough of my own writing or editing done, so have to address that over the next few days.

Helping someone I barely know out by reading an overflow of submissions and remember why I don’t do this anymore, and why I charge a good bit of money to critique. The lack of quality on these submissions is appalling. Makes me even prouder of my graduated students, though — no wonder they’re placing their work, it’s good!

The Sustainability Course is depressing this week — we’re discussing the Tragedy of the Commons, where one’s individual actions might not seem to make a big change, but collectively, they mean we’re screwed. The poor professor — not easy to deal with 26,000 disheartened students! ;) I’m sure we’re not all blue about this week’s information, but those of us who are are being vocal about it. Have to finish the outlines today for both my projects for that class.

Gearing up for the World History Class that starts next week (70,000 strong) and the Greek/Roman Mythology course that starts the week after. No idea how many people are in the latter, but the instructor’s welcome was very funny, and we’ll be reading THE ODYSSEY as our first book. Haven’t read that since high school — should be interesting to revisit it.

Off to yoga, and then I’ve got to hunker down and really get a lot of work done today. I haven’t felt well the past few days, but too bad for me — time to get things done!

Devon

Wed. June 27, 2012: Busy

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus DIRECT
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Wrote 3 PSA scripts, two press releases, outlined two articles, sent out interview requests, distributed a press release, pitched a series of articles, and worked on the ebook. Assisted in setting up a shoot for Thursday for one of the PSAs I wrote. Found out that the check that’s two weeks late probably hasn’t even been mailed yet. Frustrated with one organization — they have an exclusivity clause, so I don’t teach the same class for X months on either side of my commitment to them anywhere else. Totally understandable. Yet, they are booking instructors with classes similar to each other (and mine) very closely together — and there are even people using the titles that I originated. Without paying for the class, I don’t know how similar the material is to mine — I’m sure all our teaching styles are very different. And yes, all my materials and handouts are copyrighted. In the classes I’ve taken there, there’s not much writing involved. In the classes I teach, I demand that they write every day. But I’m not happy abut the whole situation. It’s not good for any of the teachers — it dilutes all of our classes. Offer one of each type of class per quarter, not a half a dozen of the same type of class. Saw somebody listed to teach a class on juggling writing and life — who couldn’t keep up in one of my classes and dropped out. The fact that someone who couldn’t successfully juggle is teaching a class on the topic just floors me. Not fulfilling one’s commitment does not equate with successfully juggling, in my eyes. But, that’s the way it goes. You gotta shrug and move on, or it’ll drive you crazy.

Reading a trilogy by another writer and the inconsistencies are driving me batty! Even if the writer didn’t catch all the logistical errors, where were the editors? Someone needs my Series Bible class! ;)

Revised three chapters of HEART SNATCHER. This is a quick revision for reshaping — I’ll go back in August and do another one in more detail. This revision makes it more of a paranormal mystery, a tighter-paced, tighter-focused read, and I have to decide if that’s what I want for the trilogy, or if I want to go back to the bigger canvas of social and political issues. It’ll be interesting to read the two drafts side-by-side and see which is the stronger book.

We had some cracking good thunderstorms here yesterday afternoon. The cats weren’t too happy, and some of the smaller plants needed to be rescued, but, overall, I love being inside with a good Cape Cod storm outside!

My computer was a little unhappy — making noise and getting hot — so I shut it down for the duration of the thunderstorm. Gotta keep the Macbook happy!

Poked around in Scrivener. Basically, it’s iPages on steroids with spiffier graphics. In other words, I don’t need it. And there’s no reason why material done in Scrivener can’t be posted in Standard Manuscript Format — you can set up the template to work in it. Yet again, more excuses without foundation from students (not in the year-long, though, they’ve all got the finish line in sight and are doing a great job at this point).

Meeting last night was good — lots done in an hour, just the way I like it. Came home and watched NEWSROOM again. Still loved it, although I caught a couple of continuity errors this time around and the music swelling under some of the speeches didn’t work for me. But I still can’t wait to see the next episode. And I don’t often say that about something on TV!

Up early this morning. Wrote a few pages in longhand on the magical realism piece (with Tessa on the deck) and then wrote a little over 2000 words on a contemporary piece. I like the contemporary — I find it both exciting and restful to work on. Am about to tackle three more chapters on HEART SNATCHER revisions, and then go back to the articles, pull some stuff together for tomorrow’s video shoot, and draft a cover letter for a client. Before looking around to see if there’s anything else worth pitching towards. I’m tempted to throw my hat in the ring for an editing job, but not sure I have the patience to work in the genre they need. Depends on the money — they meet my rate, I’ll give it a go. They try to lowball me and I refuse.

Back to the page!

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!

And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Wed. May 16, 2012: All Three Cats to the Vet (Big Drama & Yowling)


Iris and Violet are not amused

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy day, but didn’t get enough done. Which means today I have to push even harder. Got some errands, done, though, which helped. And my meeting last night went very well — I’ll be teaching three in-person workshops in Falmouth in the fall — if people sign up!

Prepping for my workshop on Saturday — got my class list, and am looking forward to it. Putting together my “stuff” for the class. Prepping the Submission System Workshop for June 2 — there’s more information here and sign up. It’s so important to have an efficient system — it makes life a lot easier.

I’ve got five press releases (for my own work) to get out today. And I have to finish the write ups for confidential job #1 and finish the rough on my article. I’ll have to wait for a couple of quotes, but I want the article in good enough shape so that I can just pop ‘em in and send it out.

Check out Nancy Oliver’s post “When the Safety Net is Gone” over on Words on the Page, as part of Writers Worth Week.

I need to hustle some quick-turnaround and quick-paying work to make up for the money spent on the brakes and what I’ll have to spend today at the vet — all three little darlings are going in, and that’s going to be a big chunk of change. But, it has to be done.

Tonight is the Writers Night Out dinner, so I’m off to that. And I’ve got to buckle down on some of my other fiction deadlines. I’m behind. I’ve got to get back in balance with the short term work and the long term.

I’ve got a post up on Gratitude and Growth with garden photos.

Feeling a little run down, and am looking forward to next weekend, when I’ve got several consecutive days OFF.

Devon

Wed. May 9, 2012: Rain, Project Shifts, and New Circles


The tulip tree at my great uncle’s in Maine

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Saturday’s the Amazing Antagonists Workshop, a day of creating fascinating, complex characters to be good obstacles for your protagonist. Sign up now — registration closes Friday night, so you can’t suddenly wake up Saturday morning and decide you want in!
Information and registration here.

Worked flat out all day yesterday, trying to get it all done, get the grocery shopping, bill paying, all that other stuff done along with the actual work so I can pay the bills! ;) It was too wet to mow (aw), but hopefully, it will help both the grass seed and the anti-ant stuff I had to put down (yet again). And I’m doing the laundry rather piece-meal — a few loads here, a few loads there.

Designed and printed a new Fearless Ink business card. I really want to redesign the website, too. It’s a little too simple, and I think I’ll upload the portfolio, so there are samples.

Spent some time with students, sent back a bunch of assignments where I asked for two scenes and they submitted four or five. Two scenes means TWO scenes. And, when I’ve provided a tip sheet on what a scene IS and you ignore it — no, the assignment goes back. When I say you can’t use something from a current WIP, and I recognize the characters and the location from another class — it’s going back. There’s a reason the assignments are structured in a certain way and build in a certain way. I’m trying to get them to look at structure in a way that supports their overall work, so they’re very aware of the weight and balance of each scene and the importance of each scene in relation to the scenes around it, and don’t dilute their stories with needless wandering. Learn how to read and apply guidelines. It’ll help a lot of submissions being deleted unread when you submit!

Didn’t get as much of my own writing done as I would have liked, but I’ll make up for it today.

Drafted a PSA and a press release for my pro bono client; am waiting for the green light to get it out. Contacted an editor to find out when I’ll get the specs for an article they asked me to write — they forgot to send them or thought someone else was sending them or something. In any case, I never got them, and the deadline was last Monday. But they are holding the spot for me, and I’ll do it this week.

Two new assignments from Confidential Job #1, both of which look terrific, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into them.

Made the appointments to get the car serviced (tomorrow) and the cats to the vet next week. Yup. All three at once. Get it over with. Whew! That’ll be a chunk of change!

Attended an open house for the American Business Women’s Association over in Hyannis. I had a good time and met some interesting people. I’ve been to a couple of these type of events elsewhere, and it’s all corporate types gossiping about things that aren’t any of their business (well, that’s what gossip is, isn’t it?) This event was completely different. The participants were lively and interesting, representing a wide array of professions, and they could talk about a vast array of topics. One could have a conversation, not just blah, blah, blah, buy this, blah, blah, blah. I’m glad I went, and I’m interested in spending more time with them to find out what they’re about. I don’t know how much I can do that this summer — which is already booked to the gills between teaching and visitors and the Cape Cod Writers Conference and yoga and my own book deadlines. But it’s nice to know it’s there, and I may get more involved in the fall.

A potential client who talked big of course did not come through. Not at all surprising, and I’m relieved to be out of that one! If you’re trying to present yourself as progressive and ethically responsible, you better be able to back it up, and this one can’t. Doesn’t have the balls.

The positive result is that the project that this individual had blown a lot of hot air about how fabulous it was, how important participating in it was, and then backed out of because the individual can’t walk the talk, is taking a new direction that’s both more economically viable and will get us a broader, international audience. So it all worked out for the best.

A colleague of mine had a great episode central to his character on his TV show last night. He did an awesome job. So happy for him.

I’m going to yoga this morning, since I have to take in the car tomorrow to Plymouth. It always rains when I go to yoga!

Going to try to get a little bit of time on the page before yoga.

Devon

Wed. April 4, 2012: Head Down & Working

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT — thank goodness!
Sunny and pleasant

Didn’t spend as much time on the computer as I needed to yesterday, but at least my back and eyes got some rest. Ran errands, did some yard work, worked on a few proposals, worked on stuff for classes (both as teacher and student).

I’m moving back and forth between two novels set in (different realities) in NY. It makes me a little dizzy, and I have to be very, very careful not to get the two New Yorks mixed up.

Read Yasmine Galenorn’s SHADED VISION, of her Otherword series, and liked it. I enjoy the series anyway, and the Delilah books are my favorite.

Working on articles, proposals, and the materials for next week’s meeting. We’re having company in from CT this weekend, so there’s also a whirlwind of cleaning and tidying going on!

I’d like to plant the pansies in the urn outside, but I’m worried it’s too cold.

I’m going to teach a short workshop at the Muse Conference in October, just a couple of days, instead of the entire week. That should be fun. As soon as the info goes live, I’ll post it.

Nothing particularly exciting to report — just head down and to work!

Devon

Don’t forget the 1-day Dialogue Seminar on April 14!

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Thurs. March 22, 2012: Nap, Please?

Thursday, March 22, 2012
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and warm

Yesterday was just flat out. I was up around 6 AM and didn’t stop until 10 PM at night. It was a good day, but busy. HEX BREAKER edits and updated front matter are out to my editor. In my Annabel Aidan persona, I’ve got an article up on The Writers Vineyard about fear. I managed to log in to the workshop site (which I couldn’t get into on Tuesday afternoon or evening), but it was right before I had to leave, so I couldn’t do more than say I’d put in extra hours today and tomorrow.

Hit the road by 9 AM. Lots of fog and traffic. We stopped in Mystic for a few things, and then in Niantic. I found some things I was looking for, and some I didn’t know I needed at the Book Barn, we had a quick lunch, and then continued on. I got Costume Imp to his 4 PM train back to the city, and arrived at the site shortly thereafter.

I unloaded, got settled a bit, and then there was a dinner — good food, good wine, good conversation. But by the time everything was all wrapped up, it was 10 PM, and I was far too tired to even try to comment on student work. One of the other guests was also a teacher, and we talked about educational modules, etc. I’ve been talking to a lot of teachers, lately, who are involved in many different types of teaching. We all face very similar challenges, no matter what type of organization we’re connected with.

Up at 4:30 this morning, had to do work here on site until a few minutes ago. I’ve got to get the HEX BREAKER media kit done in the next couple of days. I’m going to hop online and comment on student work for a couple of hours, then do some more work here, then go back and comment more, etc. I might have to take a 40 minute nap or something this afternoon. I am rather wiped out.

I’ve got website updates to upload soon, and I’m working on the Jain Lazarus tie-in story and the Billy Root marketing idea that will coincide with HEX BREAKER’s release. So, lots to do, and limited amount of hours.

Back to it.

Devon

Tues. Feb. 21, 2012: HEX BREAKER cover

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

And here it is. The new cover for HEX BREAKER’S re-release. The artist is the amazing PJ Friel, who is one of my writing students (she’s an awesome writer as well as an awesome artist). I LOVE this cover, and the publisher approved it, so we’re good to go.

Now, I just have to get those revisions done this week!

I’ve also updated the Jain Lazarus site, and there’s some cool new information over there — about tie-in short stories, the new re-release, etc. As soon as I have a firm release date, I’ll be pestering people for interviews and blog tours!

I thought I’d be able to schedule something to post yesterday, but no luck. I spent the last five days working in CT. I like the gig, but it was hard to be away from home. I really do work better at home.

I didn’t get enough done on the HEX BREAKER edits. I got some good work done on HEART-BINDER, and I also got some great work done on the long short story and the shorter story. I sketched out a few ideas. And then, I went back and took another look at POWER OF WORDS, which, of course, really wants some attention because of everything else that is on deadline! There is potential here, although I think, because of the detail and the scope of the piece, it needs to go the indie route. Only an editor who’d actually worked on set would be able to effectively edit the piece, and that’s going to be next to impossible to find. If I go indie, I’ll get to interview the editors myself. Also, I think it’s kind of unfair to dump this muddle on a publisher. I need to get it streamlined and sorted and figure out a good presentation that will catch and hold the readers while still keeping the vision and integrity of the daily detail of the piece, WHILE juggling as many arcs and characters as the series does. But the piece just won’t let me rest, so, in a few weeks when I’ve got a few things cleared off my desk, I will give it a few hours’ worth of attention a week, without letting it take over, the way it usually does.

Got some good research done for another project, some of which feeds into the harpy trilogy, which was a happy surprise. Oh, and I even did the work for which I was brought down to CT!

I got the next assignment for Confidential Job #1, but haven’t had the chance to start it yet. HEX BREAKER edits are front and center all week.

I’m juggling three classes this week and the private students, which is a bit much, but, somehow, it will all get done.

This morning, I’m off to meditation, and then I have to take my mom to medical appointments. After that, the primary focus is on the HEX BREAKER edits, although the classes need some attention, too.

HOLIDAY HOCUS-POCUS has a good group in there, and looks like it will be fun. It’s more informational and brainstorming than “you have to write a 1500 word story by Friday”, but I’m still doing what I always do, which is tweak the lectures as I put them up, to make sure I have a lot of information that’s both broad and specific.

I’m going to try to knock out some words on HEART BINDER before I have to leave for meditation, and then, off we go, racing through the day.

I can’t believe how much Tessa grew in just a few days!

Devon

Thurs. Jan. 26, 2012: The Teaching Juggling Act


Tessa checks out the buffet table, the morning after the party

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Still dark out

I’ve got a piece on “Fuel for a Weary Soul” over on Writers Vineyard (as Annabel). Go check it out!

Busy day yesterday. Read as much student work as I could before my eyes gave out. Got irritated because a student who wastes a lot of time expects ME to organize threads to HER convenience and keep HER organized, instead of taking responsibility for herself, and wants me to “add extra slots” in classes. First of all, I am not her personal assistant; second, every extra student adds at least 40 minutes to an hour to my work day; more if they have questions (which they’re encouraged to ask — you learn by asking questions and DOING). There are only twenty four hours in a day. I put limits on classes FOR A REASON. I’m not going to work 24/7 — not for these prices anyway — and too many students in a class means I can’t give the individual attention to each piece that it needs. I allowed two extra students in the current class, and I’m stretched beyond my limit, even though the class is lively and active and working their butts off and it’s all positive. The lack of respect some people have is just appalling. I’m sure all teachers go through it. Goes with the gig. People who don’t teach don’t understand the time OUTSIDE of direct interaction it takes to do the job effectively.

The wall is painted and looks lovely. Got a bunch of work done on Confidential Job #1,and will start the second part of the two-part project today, getting the write up of the first part out. Yoga this morning, then I have to take my mom to the eye doctor to get measured for her eye operation. That’s supposed to take three hours, so I will take a notebook and the materials for Confidential Job #1 with me.

I’m happy with the progress on HEART BINDER. I just have to get a few other of my own projects back on track, and I won’t feel so pressured and resentful. I need to remember to focus on and be grateful for all that is wonderful in the class situation and let the irritations slide off more. Everyone’s working hard AND doing good work. The year-longs are required to have their drafts finished by the 31st or they’re out of the class — 50% of them are done. Not too shabby. Most of the 5 in 10s are staying on schedule, and the work is terrific. Really impressive, and the range of topics and how they’re handled is wonderful. I ENJOY going to the page and reading the material each day — I’ve just got only X amount of time to get it all done! Being interested in the world helps make them better writers.

Not loving the Mars retrograde, I have to say. Struggling with the personal crap it brings up, and trying to handle it with a modicum of grace! It will be good to be in yoga class this morning, for some kick-booty Om! ;) That’s part of the retrograde — gaining skills to help you deal with it positively. Saying “I am positively OVER this retrograde” probably isn’t what “they” had in mind! ;)

I was assigned my new editor for the reboot of HEX BREAKER, so let’s hope that’s going to be a good partnership. I need to start pulling together my press kit for that. Once I get my edits, they’re going to have to turn around pretty fast, I’d think — two weeks or so. So the more I can get cleared off my plate ahead of time, the less pressure.

To yoga, to medical appointments (scribbling in the waiting room), and then back to the page.

I’m reading the seed catalogs and dreaming of this year’s garden. Let’s hope I’ve learned something from both what did and did not work last year!

Devon

Fri. Jan. 20, 2012: Talking to Wallpaper


Tessa likes the toaster cover

Friday, January 20, 2012
Waning Moon
Snowy and cold

Most of yesterday was spent with students, commenting on work. I’m getting a little tired of feeling like I’m talking to wallpaper. If someone has taken classes with me for months, and I’ve given, repeatedly, the same comment on comma placement, I expect them to actually take the comments and do something about it. This refusal certain students have to learn the fundamentals of the craft is beyond irritating. When I say STRUNK & WHITE’S ELEMENTS OF STYLE is a required text, I mean it.

I discussed it with a writer acquaintance who shrugged and said, “Culls the herd. Dipshit can’t be bothered to learn craft, more open slots for those of use who do.”

Which made me laugh, but . . .as a teacher, I want my students to succeed. I want them to go off and live independent, successful, happy lives as writers. If I do my job properly, they’ll outgrow me, and good for them. So when they’re given the tools and REFUSE to use them, I get frustrated.

On the flip side of that, one of my best, most productive students has a new book out (she started working with me while she was writing it) and it’s getting great reviews. She deserves them — she’s talented AND works her butt off. And I’m happy in the wide range of topics that the 5 in 10 students are tackling. They’re taking some interesting chances, and some of them aren’t limiting themselves to a single genre. They truly are taking advantage of this opportunity to play and experiment out of their comfort zones.

Yoga was great yesterday, and then, in the evening, I went to a lecture on women’s health issues, was was both interesting and lots of fun. Lots of laughter AND lots of information, which is a good way to go. It’s also amazing how much misinformation is out there, especially as peddled by both insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies — for their own profit, of course.

It also confirmed something I know — I have to up my exercise ante at this stage of my life. I’ve been leaning entirely on yoga the last few months. I have to add the weight training back in, and, if I don’t run, I should at least walk. My mind doesn’t want to run, but my body’s craving it. I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country. I can get out and walk a few miles a few times a week.

We had a little bit of snow — not much, just a bit. The owner’s coming to prime the fixed wall today. I’ve got a busy (and hopefully productive) weekend ahead of me. I’m spinning my wheels on a couple of projects, and I need to pull myself out of the muck and get down to it. A new client project comes in on Monday with a two-week turnaround, so there’s no room for any self-indulgence on my part.

I’m pretty happy with this batch of short stories I’m writing. They have a verve, an energy to them, that a lot of earlier work lacked. So at least I’m going in the right direction in some of my own work. Now, to get the novels back up to speed . . .

Devon

Published in: on January 20, 2012 at 8:31 am  Comments (3)  
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