Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Raining and cold

Next year, I’m putting “taking down the decorations” on my GDR To-Do list, so I get to cross it off when I’m done. I should get a prize, or at least combat pay. My goodness me!

Hop on over to the SDR Blog to see my tough-love stance on New Year’s Resolutions, especially in relation to writing, “Resolutions Are Not For Wimps”.

U-Haul is making my life hell. Again. Since I’m contemplating legal action, that’s all I’m going to say.

Slow day on the Billy Root story. I’ve hit the point where I need to stop and figure out a few things before I can write any more. One of the main themes of this book is how Billy’s emotional age catches up to his chronological age over the course of the story. So, I’ll do that today, along with (against my better judgment) providing a test piece for a potential job – with a clause included that I retain copyright until paid for the content, and if I’m not paid, they cannot use said content.

Then, it’s off to take care of some more business stuff, search the job boards, and buckle down to the rewrite of THE MATILDA MURDERS, which is due – well, I have to look it up, but I know it’s in the next couple of weeks.

They said we’d have a bad snow/ice storm today; so far it’s rain, and I hope that’s the way it stays.

That’s the latest. Not much to report.

Devon

Billy Root story – 6,402 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6 / 60
(10.0%)
Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 8:47 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Twelfth Night
Cloudy with the temperature dropping

So what did you dream over the Twelve Days of Christmas? It’s said that, starting with the first day of Christmas, everything you dream will come true in the month aligned with the day, i.e., first day = January, second day = February, etc. Let’s just say March and April will be hectic for me if that’s true!

Today is Twelfth Night, which means of course, the beginning of Carnivale! So the Yule decorations come down and the Mardi Gras decorations go up! To replace the Yule wreath, I made a Snowflake Wreath, consisting of a white feather boa wrapped around a wreath form decorated with silver and gold stars and snowflake ribbon. That will stay up until the Spring Equinox, when I’ll replace it with the floral wreath.

Yeah, I’m kind too into decorating. Deal. 😉

I got out six queries and one submission yesterday. I already got a response back from one of the queries, telling me they’d have a decision on my status by the 10th, another response with the information I needed to make a decision on my part, and two more responses that have brought us to points of negotiation.

Massive computer problems again (familiar refrain). Tried to keep the frustration level down to a minimum. I tried Michelle’s suggestion of disk cleanup and disk defrag, but the McAfee antivirus went nuts and things were being moved all over the place and the Blue Screen of Death alternated with the White Screen of Death and the Black Screen of Death. Everything started to beep and scream and flash. It wouldn’t have surprised me to see smoke come out of the machine, although we didn’t get quite that far. I shut everything down. I managed to get use of a friend’s computer, where I re-transcribed everything that was on tape (thank goodness I hadn’t downloaded it into the computer yet) and re-created the article. I got it off. Phew. Hopefully, my delay hasn’t caused too many problems.

Managed to keep on top of yesterday’s email and started catching up with some of the backlog.

I also went through about three years’ worth of magazines, pulled out what I wanted to keep, took the rest to recycling – which took four trips. I’m a magazine junkie; I’ve let several subscriptions lapse because the magazines are no longer really relevant to my life and some of the writing’s gotten so bad that I can’t bear to read them anymore. I knew I had to cut back on some subscriptions because of economics; one of the biggest factors is the quality of the writing. Those magazines whose quality has declined – not renewing. I discovered that I missed one magazine whose subscription I let lapse a little over a year ago. I might buy a current issue or two to see if it’s worth it again.

In any case, I pulled out what I wanted, put the pages into sheet protectors, and put the protected sheets into binders. Four loads of magazines wound up in about 75 protectors, usually two sheets to a protector, so out of all those magazines, I only really needed 150 pages. Interesting.

And now I have the information that I need easily accessible, instead of hunting through a whole year or more worth of magazines.

Good morning’s work on the Billy Root story. I have so much fun in that world that it’s hard to stop. The natural daily rhythm for the piece seems to be around 1200-1400 words, which is nice. My deadline’s not yet too tight for it, more like “get it done” rather than “get it done by X date”, so I can let it take its natural rhythm, and, as long as I keep a steady pace, I should finish the first draft in early March, which is fine – have Book 3 ready just as Book 2 releases.

I ran a few errands, and now I can hunker in during the bad ice storm that’s expected tonight into tomorrow, take down the decorations, bake some bread, and figure out which of next priorities on the project list is the biggest priority. I think I’ll get back to the rewrite of THE MATILDA MURDERS tomorrow.

Off to tackle the tree, and then, it’s back to the page, and to my negotiations. I’d like to land one or two of those jobs.

Devon

Billy Root story – 5,663 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5 / 60
(8.3%)
Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm  Comments (6)  
Tags: , , , ,

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I managed to get some errands done (everything in White Plains, which was great, so I didn’t have to criss-cross the county a half a dozen times), worked on the Billy Root story, worked on the article until the file went kaplooey (again), but that was about it. Oh, yeah, I got the January newsletter out. If you didn’t get your copy, drop me a line and I’ll send it to you; if you want to sign up, the link is in the sidebar.

Today, I’m hoping to coax the file back out and finish the article, which is already late, so I can get it to my patient editor. And I have a very long list of other things to get done as well.

I’ll post my January To-Do list up on the GDR site this afternoon.

Reminder: “Holiday Wish List” comes down on January 6 (tomorrow), so if you don’t have it yet and want it, visit the Ava Dunne page for the free download.

And if you haven’t downloaded the free Jain Lazarus story “First Feet”, you can do so here.

I had a good morning’s work on the Billy Root story, just over 1400 words. Nice way to start the day and week. I like viewing the world through his eyes. He’s much more scattered that Wyatt, and his emotions are much closer to the surface, but he’s a lot of fun. I’m about halfway through Chapter Two. By the end of Chapter Two, or, by the latest, the end of Chapter Three, I’ll be able to stop and outline the whole story, because I’ll have a strong enough idea of where I’m going.

I also have to update the Jain Lazarus character/continuity notebook soon – there’s a lot I need to look up, and it’s much easier if it’s all in the book, a single spot, instead of having to go back through the two books and the short story.

Now, if I can just get everything else properly organized, I’ll have a shot at getting things done this week, this month, this year. I’ve got three pitches to get out today, and at least one submission, along with all the rest.

To answer a couple of questions:
–I’m not an experienced astrologer, although I keep track of the moon cycles and the planets because I’ve found they impact my daily life and when I’m aware of what’s going on, it’s a good heads-up.
–Laura, I get the word bar at Zokutou. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get any of the Writertopia stuff to work for me.

Back to the page.

Devon

Billy Root story – 4,262 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4 / 60
(6.7%)

The Only Thing . . .

. . .that makes it into the blog today is an updated word bar for the latest Jain Lazarus Adventure:

Billy Root story — 2,838 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2 / 60
(3.3%)

Computer Hell

Deadlines

Errands

See you tomorrow!

Devon

Published in: on January 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I just realized that I hadn’t yet posted today. I’ve been so caught up in the unusual quiet and the writing that I completely forgot.

If you haven’t downloaded the free Jain Lazarus story, “First Feet”, about my take on the tradition of first footing, you can do so here. Also, if you haven’t downloaded the free mushy holiday story “Holiday Wish List” (under the Ava Dunne name), you can do so here. The latter will only be available until Twelfth Night, and then it comes down.

I’m still having computer problems, but I’m trying to deal and not get frustrated in the same way I usually do. I’m limited in how much I can do; what I can do is prepare as much as possible so that when the computer goes on, it’s more about revision and getting the file ready for the editor than doing all the work on the computer. Less efficient, but I’ll get there in the end.

And I’m dreaming of my new computer.

I had a great yoga session this morning and did not want to get off the mat.

I had a quiet evening yesterday, getting some work done, but, mostly, resting. This morning, I started the next Jain Lazarus novel, the one from Billy Root’s POV. I don’t have a title yet, but I wrote 1547 words, which isn’t a bad start.

I also wrote nearly thirteen pages on The Lucy Gothic – once I tumble into that world, it’s very difficult to leave. If I’m clever enough to pull this story off, it will be something.

I’ve got two pitches to finish putting together and a short story submission to get out tomorrow – it needs one more read-through before I’m completely ready to hit the “send” button. I also need to set up the new pitch and submission logs for 2009 and do follow-up on anything outstanding from 2008 to which editors haven’t yet responded. I’m knocking one publication off my list completely – they don’t pay very well, they send me constant emails about the editor’s reading schedule, but don’t respond to my submissions or to my follow-ups asking (after eight months and more) the status of my submissions. So I’ve pulled everything, told them to delete me from the email list, and I’m done. I’m just not putting up with this unprofessional behavior anymore.

The answers to questions 13-25 for the 2009 GRDS are up on the site. Go on over to read them or comment or put up your own answers. Tomorrow, I’ll put up my To-Do List for the month.

Back to the page.

Devon

Billy Root’s story – 1547 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1 / 60
(1.7%)
Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 2:59 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , ,

January 2, 2009

first-feel-cover-thumbnail

Friday, January 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

The Jain Lazarus short story, “First Feet” is available as a free download. You can read an excerpt and then download it here.

I’m sorry it took me so long to get it up. I’m having horrible computer problems. It’s the same old refrain: Dell, Microsoft, and NitroPDF all suck, and I lose half my working day because these dishonorable companies, who are quick to take consumer money, do not honor their side of the contract, which is to supply products that WORK.

It will be good to get my new computer, and to hell with all of them.

Anyway, I’m happy with “First Feet”. It much more light-hearted than some of the other Jain Lazarus stories, yet gives more about everyone’s background, and when you read OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and the Billy Root story (that I begin tomorrow), you’ll go, “Oh, yeah, that goes back to ‘First Feet’.” At the same time, you don’t NEED to read any of them to enjoy each one separately.

I had a good couple of days, in spite of losing more than half my workday yet again today due to computer problems.

The weather was pretty bad on New Year’s Eve – a twenty minute drive took me an hour and a half. I was kind of shocked at how bad the roads were once I crossed the border into Connecticut. But I got there, unloaded the food, and prepared the h’ors d’oeuvres. (Five bags of food). Good thing I did, because the power went out. Fortunately, the fireplace is gas (wood-burning is better in my opinion, but beggars can’t be choosers) and the gas stove still worked, so we weren’t completely lost.

The power came back on a few hours later, which was a relief. It would have been a cold, dark night otherwise. They’re not big on candles or flashlights at this house. Good thing I always keep my Mag light in my bag.

We enjoyed a good chat by the fire with wine and cheese mid-afternoon. We had a fairly early supper (the salmon in mustard-wine sauce with spinach and mashed potatoes). And wine. Buche de Noel for dessert. At 8:30, we had the traditional herring salad – only, because I can’t stand herring, I mixed it with chopped egg, scallion, and sour cream. If I say so myself, it wasn’t bad. With more wine, of course.

We brought out the devilled eggs and the smoked salmon/spinach appetizers around 11, along with the champagne and happily kicked 2008 out the door, welcoming in 2009. I am so READY for a new year.

I was up early the next morning, grateful for a few minutes of peace and quiet to do my yoga. The past few years, I’ve been so used to going on yoga retreats that a grown-up house party weekend felt odd. I’m not used to being around people for such a stretch, even people I like.

Anyway, we had a big bacon-and-eggs breakfast, complete with more champagne (either with orange juice or cranberry, depending on what people wanted). We watched The Tournament of Roses Parade, always one of my favorites, while I prepared the duck.

I roasted the duck with a combination of fennel, shallot, and rosemary – quite good. The mashed potatoes were such a hit it was requested to have mashed potatoes again instead of roasted potatoes – no problem. And steamed green beans with hollandaise. And, of course, more wine. And more of the Buche de Noel for dessert.

It quickly came back to me how much I hate taking the remainder of the duck off the bone; next time, I may go to the butcher and ask just for duck breasts and duck legs instead of the whole duck.

Some of the rest of them stayed to watch football, but I packed up and came home in the late afternoon. The cats had plenty to tell me, and, frankly, I was tired. I had a good workout session at night and just took it easy. I don’t have an alcohol-related hangover, because I drank very little over long stretches of time; but I’ve got a food hangover. Thirty-six hours focused on food and drink.

In spite of everything, I managed over a thousand words on the Lucy Gothic project while I was gone.

Had a slow start this morning, but did my yoga and set back to work getting “First Feet” up. It was ready to go, it was just a case of the computer freezing, locking files, refusing to upload, Nitro PDF refusing to open, etc., etc., etc. for about six hours.

Oy.

But the story’s up. I think I’m going to take a break before I tackle another file, an article file that’s on deadline and with which I’m also having trouble, due to technical difficulties beyond my control.

I’ll make it an early night tonight, I think. It’s snowing again, which is fine with me, since I don’t have to go anywhere. I have a long weekend of writing ahead of me, but I have every intention of pacing myself.

The first set of answers to GDR questions will go up either later today or first thing tomorrow. Make sure you hop on over to the GDR site to take a look and post your answers to the questions, should you wish.

Devon