Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Busy day, which seems to be the norm now, but in a good way! Spent a lot of time with my students in both classes. I’ve given the Advanced Dialogue students a couple of optional exercises and am getting ready to wrap up that class. Also getting ready to start the Scaling the Wall: Unsticking Your Book workshop on Monday, and we start writing our books in the year-long class tomorrow. I’m doing a proofread of the information packets for my in-person class that starts next week, and for the conference, and then I’ll print them over the weekend.

I feel good about the book I’m set to start tomorrow. I think I hit the right balance of planning and left enough room so it’s not over-structured, and I can flow with the story. I have a good handle on the characters and a solid plot, so, off we go!

I was offered a contract on one of my books yesterday. I need more information before I can make an informed decision (and I need to run it by my lawyer), but my gut reaction is to decline. Part of me says I must be crazy, since this is a hard book to place, but I have a bad feeling about this, and my instincts are telling me this is not a good match. I need to think about it some more.

Worked hard to get the storage room to rights yesterday. i have two more closets to sort out (there are four closets in the storage unit, plus five enormous,built-in bookcases. Unpacked and shelved twenty boxes of books, got knick-knacks and linens and sheets and towels sorted. Put together an etegere for the living room, which gives us some more space to display some of our favorite things, and rearranged a few other things. You know how it goes –you change one thing, and it affects twelve others.

I’ve got some bills to pay and some errands to run and other freelance work to kick out today, and then it’s time with my students. Tonight, I’m going to a craft class taught by a colleague from Broadway who’s out here as an artist-in-residence. Should be fun.

Devon

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Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 7:22 am  Comments (4)  
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and warm

First of all, hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and celebrate the release of my friend Michelle Miles’s new book, ONE KNIGHT ONLY. Congrats, Michelle!

Tired, but it’s a good tired. Got some work done in the morning, Drove to Wareham. Didn’t find what I needed at Lowe’s, but at a combination of other stores, unexpectedly got almost all my fall/winter shopping done: three pairs of yoga pants (two eco-friendly and amazingly comfortable that can also double as “real people pants” to go out in with tunics or long sweaters), some sports bras, three shirts, a pair of subtle Glen-Plaid dress slacks, and a pair of shoes. The shoes are really for spring and summer — turquoise suede peep-toe skiimmers. I had my eye on them earlier this year, but didn’t want to spend the money. However, they were about 85% off — I got them for $6.29! So I’m a happy camper.

And, of course, stopped at the Lindt outlet to stock up on chocolate, what with a new book to start on Saturday and all! 😉

Spent most of the afternoon organizing the storage room. We’re getting an anergy assessment on Monday, and I have to get at least the storage room organized (the basement is a lost cause). Unpacked more than a dozen boxes, rearranged things, did four loads of laundry as I discovered sheets, towels, blankets, linens. More work on that today.

And I finally have the creativity altar for the Year-Long the way I want it!

However, that meant that I was up until midnight catching up with student work. I collapsed into bed, exhausted, and dreamed about a mishmash of everyone’s stories being one big tale.

Onward.

Devon

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was spent on student work quite a bit, and running around doing more errands than I realized I had! So many errands we had to stop at Cook’s for lunch, rather than faint from hunger! 😉

As I worked on the outline for the Harpy book, and posted my first third (per the Year-Long), I realized that something that was supposed to be a B plotline threatened to take over the book. I’m going to have to simplify it – can’t be cut, because it’s part of what brings the antagonist down, but I can modify it so it doesn’t take over the book. Gotta love process.

We start writing in three days, which is pretty damned exciting!

Had a meeting for a local gardening organization last night and they voted me in as Secretary! Nothing like jumping in, right? I’m good at note-taking and brainstorming and communications, so it should all be good.

Came home, watched some acquaintances’ latest TV episode, got some other work done.

I’ve got a lot to do with the students today, some freelance work for a client, and a trip to Wareham to get a bunch done, and then start tackling the storage room.

I found a new blooming bush in the backyard — I think it’s a hibiscus. Who knew?

I’ve got photos to upload into the computer for various and sundry, so I need to do that, too, and get things moving!

Devon

Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 7:54 am  Comments (1)  
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Come visit Karina Fabian on A BIBLIO PARADISE and hear all about her great new trilogy!

Michelle Miles will be there on Thursday, talking about her new release, ONE KNIGHT ONLY.

I am home, thank goodness. Still a little queasy, but home. The cats are relieved.

Yesterday, I did as much as I could with my students, wrapped things up in CT, but had to rest a lot. I had what I call the “Poison Headache” — the kind that comes from food allergies food poisoning, etc., along with the nausea and dizziness. I managed to do a Costco run and also get some ginger cookies and an apple, which helped, and at least gave me enough energy for the drive home.

The drive home was okay; stuck around New Haven for about 40 minutes, but, other than that, even with heavy traffic, it moved. Got home a little after 8:30, unloaded, played with the cats, had some scrambled eggs.

I love the new Victorian bordello lamp I bought at the antique store. And, yes, it works. However, it doesn’t shut off. The switch won’t go off. So I have to unplug it. I paid $9 for it, so I’m not going to put in $50 for a new switch.

Still don’t feel well, but there’s a lot to do today — errands, working with students, work for the Marine Life Center, my own work, a meeting tonight. I have to take it slowly, because I still don’t feel well, but at least I’m home, and that makes up for a lot.

The fog was heavy from New Bedford on home, and this morning, it was even thicker.

Came up with a new Jain Lazarus short story while I was driving, though, so it was time well spent!

Devon

Published in: on September 27, 2011 at 7:17 am  Comments (9)  
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Saturday was all about class, which was good. Caught up with my students, commented on work, answered questions.

Sunday morning, I hit the road a little after 8 AM. Traffic was heavy, but moving. I had the music turned up, and it was a reasonably smooth ride. I stopped in Old Saybrook, at my favorite place, and picked up a variety of oddities — small pottery bowls, whorled glass vases, wooden hatboxes, mercury glass candleholders, etc. along with a lamp I liked for the bedroom — only I didn’t pay attention to the kind of bulb it needs, and it may be more decorative than useful. But that’s okay; I still like it.

Arrived in CT. Tried to get settled. Went out to get Chinese take out in Greenwich. Instead of my familiar haunts, I went to the closest, Hunan Gourmet in the Whole Foods Plaza, which was about 20 minutes away instead of 30+. Well, THAT was a mistake. When I got back and unpacked, I found they left the moo shu pork out of the moo shu pork order. The pancakes and the rice were there, but no filling. When I called, the response was, “oh, yeah, we found it in the kitchen. We wondered which order it went to.” EXCUSE ME???? Supposedly there’s no manager on duty or anyone I can talk to. I go back and they hand me the congealed, tepid thing that’s now been sitting there for 40 minutes. No interest in making it right, no interest in giving me my money back or re-filling the order properly. By the time I got the tepid mess back, the pancakes were like glue, and when reheated, resembled rubber tire treads. On top of that, the reheated moo shu was just plain BAD, and the spring rolls had shrimp in them, even though I had specifically asked before I ordered, telling them I’m allergic to shrimp, and was told there was no shrimp in them. Not only did I have a lousy mess of a “dinner” that THEY messed up and didn’t make right or refund my money — and they were TWICE the price of any other place around here — it made me sick. Literally. I had a miserable night. I should have driven the extra ten minutes to one or fifteen minutes to another restaurant I know, where I know the service and the quality are good.

It would have been so simple to make it right — either replace the full order or refund my money. If I’d wandered off and left it sitting on the counter, it would have been on me — but they couldn’t be bothered to fill the order properly. And it was sealed and the contents attached, meaning it had been checked before it was brought out.

Yeah, they are going to hear from me, as it the state’s restaurant board and the BBB. Not acceptable on any level. And I reviewed them on Trip Advisor.

I”m still feeling lousy today, but I have work to do, and then I have to go back on the road in the late afternoon to drive home.

But that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I’d like to go back to bed, but that’s not an option right now.

Devon

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 7:56 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and warm

Spent time with my students yesterday, posting new exercises and giving whatever help and support to the newest member of the year-long class that I could to help her get set up. Three loads of laundry, a session trying to declutter the desk, too much admin work, cleaned another section of the kitchen (three sets of cabinets, a set of drawers, counter space. Kitchen’s looking better and better.

Heavy rain on and off all day yesterday and most of the night. We’re fine here, but where I used to live is under yet another flood watch.

Cooked the Cornish hens for the Equinox dinner, celebrated, then boiled down the bones to make stock.

Today, I have to spend a lot of time with my students, especially in the Dialogue class. I have to vacuum, do more desk declutter, and work on the next section of the kitchen. I’d like to curl up with a book, but any downtime is more likely spent with a chamomile compress over my eyes.

I have so many decorative boxes — I keep finding them when I unpack. Of course, now that I need one to put other people’s business cards in, I can’t find one! Isn’t that always the way? Will put them in a drawer in the Behemoth until I unpack some more and find one.

I have to start thinking in terms of the materials for the in-person class and the conferences I’m doing. I have the handouts ready to print, but I need to think in terms of business cards, bookmarks, etc., and get whatever needs to go out to the printer — out. Since I have several hundred copies of some the materials that need to be done double-sides, it might be more efficient in terms of time, money, and supplies, to just take it somewhere and get it done. I have to price things out this week.

Always something to do! Which is a good thing!

Devon

Published in: on September 24, 2011 at 8:18 am  Comments Off on Saturday, September 24, 2011  
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Autumn Equinox/Mabon
Rainy and warm

Busy day yesterday. Spent a lot of time with my students. One of the students had to drop out of the year-long, which is a shame, since she was talented and contributed a lot to the group. But it happens. And her slot was immediately filled by someone on the waiting list. Everyone gave her a warm welcome and is helping her catch up. So it’s all good. And I purposely started the year with a bigger group, because I knew some would have to leave.

Worked on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Worked on the Harpy book. Did the next section of the Big Fall Clean — the area around the sink, over it, and under it. The cabinets look beautiful and my sink is so shiny you could successfully do your make-up in it. I mean, I always clean up after myself, but it’s nice to do the Big Clean twice a year.

Since I don’t chemically treat my lawn, I’ve become The Bird Migration Rest Area. Seriously, it was like something out of a Hitchcock Movie yesterday. A flock of birds would land on the lawn. They’d eat, walk around, socialize, rest up, then all lift off together and continue. An hour or so later, the next flock landed. Hey, they want to clear the lawn of bugs, I’m all for it! And they’re not leaving a great big mess, either, if you get my drift.

The cats are going nuts, though! All in the window, doing that little chattering thing with their jaws, kind of like those Halloween skulls with chattering teeth.

This morning, the people across the street are getting their septic tank pumped, so there’s more feline entertainment to be had from the windows!

I had another slow start this morning — Miss Thing Violet woke me at three because she wanted breakfast, and I said, “No way!” and went back to sleep, which meant I overslept. I sat on the deck with a cup of coffee, even though it’s kind of drizzly because the deck is covered, it’s still warm enough to sit out there, and it won’t be for long! I’ve got the first of three loads of laundry going, will do another section of the kitchen later, and have a few errands to run.

Watched some TV last night. CHARLIE’S ANGELS — don’t even get me started. The 80’s show was guilty-pleasure bad for the time. The movies threw logic out the window, but the actresses let the audience in on it and they were fun. This — I don’t know if they got too many stupid notes from the network or what. It could have been whackadoodle fun, and it’s just plain bad. PERSON OF INTEREST was intriguing enough to watch again. They make some good points about people wanting to be protected,but not necessarily wanting to know the details. I’m assuming Emerson’s character will be related to the person Caviezel’s character lost in the opening. I’m not completely sold on it, yet. It could still devolve into procedure. PRIME SUSPECT — I like Maria Bello’s work, which is why I’m watching it; am not entirely sold on the show yet. I’m also trying not to compare it to the Helen Mirren version, which is difficult.

I haven’t been particularly impressed by the season premieres of the shows I usually watch, either. But that’s okay; I don’t need to watch a lot of TV. I can use that time for other things. And I don’t DVR because I simply don’t get around to watching. Besides, that’s part of “watching TV” — making it special. Special night, special time. Not watching it whenever.

Gotta get the first load of laundry into the dryer, get the second one rolling, and get going with everything else that needs to get done. There’s a lot involved to keep a house running, but it’s also very satisfying.

Devon

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and warm

Late start today. Well, at 4 AM, the storm woke me and I ran around to close windows, but then, the cats and I all went back to bed, and I didn’t wake up until 7:30, when the cats threatened to have me for breakfast if I didn’t get up and get them their proper one!

It’s supposed to rain for the next seven days, until next Wednesday. Ark, anyone? At least I don’t have to mow!

Got my hair cut yesterday and feel much better. Amazing what a hair cut does for the morale!

Spent most of the day commenting on student work. Did some more work on my own stuff. Took an hour or so in the afternoon to sit on the deck while it was still sunny and do my work-related reading out there. Not that many days left when I can sit on the deck; I want to enjoy them!

Took a break in the late morning to start my fall cleaning. Yeah, I know, I’m a little late. Did the section to the left of the kitchen sink, over the microwave. Took everything out of all the cabinets, scrubbed out the inside of the cabinets, checked all the dishes, and, since I have cherry-toned wooden cabinets, polished the cabinets (inside and out) and polished the knobs. Scrubbed the counters, the dishwasher, and the microwave. Lots of baking soda, lemon, vinegar, wood polish, and green cleaner. Since everything was eco-friendly and pet-friendly, Tessa could “help.” It was detail-oriented and time-intensive, but worth it. What a pleasure to put the dishes away this morning!

Sure, I’d love to block out a day or a weekend and just do all the scrubbing from top to toe in the house, but I’m pulling 14+ hour days just with the classes, not to mention the rest of the work that has to get done so I can pay the bills. I have to break it down in manageable bits, and enjoy those bits when I accomplish them! The schedule will lighten up soon — I had a few cancellations in the schedule, but I have to find a way to make up the missing cash with quick-turnaround, good-paying, but not time-intensive stuff.

I wanted to wash the kitchen windows today, but it’s raining. So I guess the windows will have to wait.

Got news from my former residence that the tenants are still living in hotels after the flood/oil tank rupture, more than three weeks now. The scumbag landlords were ordered to pay for the hotel rooms and per diem — and have yet to pay anything. The tenants are going out of pocket so they have a roof over their heads. That is wrong on so many levels. Why aren’t the scumbag landlords getting arrested? Oh, right, because they’re paying off the city. I am SO glad to be out of there!

I was supposed to go dig up some material in files today for a project, but never got a confirmation, so I sent an email saying I assume the time and date won’t work, and offering possibilities for rescheduling.

I’m seriously thinking of setting a pillow on the desk behind the computer for Tessa to lounge on! She’s happy back there. She and my desktop gargoyle have made friends.

Onward and page-ward!

Devon

Published in: on September 22, 2011 at 8:02 am  Comments (2)  
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Tuesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny/rainy/comfortable

It’s sunny, it’s rainy, it’s sunny, it’s rainy . . .you get the picture.

Yesterday was busy. Worked with the students, got some of my own work done (but not enough, never enough). Drove to Sandwich to pick up the book they had on hold, but it wasn’t the one I actually needed; however, I found a bunch of other ones. Found a Cornish hen for Friday’s celebration. An evening meeting was cancelled, which meant I could relax. Spent some extra time on the yoga mat, instead.

And, of course, I have to spend a certain number of hours in the day trying to convince Iris and Violet to accept Tessa. My little diva brats are being kind of a pain. But, it’s been only about a month, and it usually takes about four months, so I just keep working. Everyone gets lots of individual attention, and I also try to get them in the same space being quiet together, rather than them chasing her or her growling at them. There’s plenty of room for everyone, both physically and emotionally, and I want them all to get along. Tessa’s a lovely little cat — sweet, friendly, smart. I don’t want her to always be afraid they’ll attack her. We’ve made progress, but not as quickly as I would have liked. This is when we really miss Elsa and Felicia, who would have gotten it all sorted out pretty quickly. Felicia was all, “I’m in charge, as as long as you acknowledge that, we’re good. Now, let me teach you all the things you’re not supposed to know.” Elsa was all, “Aren’t you cute? Let me give you a bath.” Considering how quickly the twins were accepted into the household when they were kittens, one would think they could pay it forward. I’d get another kitten to be friends with Tessa, but the lease only allows for three cats.

We’ve figured out the workroom situation, though. Violet sits in my lap when I’m at the computer. That’s her spot. Has been for years. Tessa now hides behind the screen of the laptop, with occasionally an eye or an ear coming into view, which Violet pretends she didn’t see. ‘Cause if she doesn’t see her, she doesn’t have to do anything about it. Iris sits on a nearby worktable. Sometimes Tessa pops over the top of the computer and watches, upside-down, as the words are formed on the screen, which is pretty darned cute. So at least we’re getting to work-room detente.

Last night we worked on all sitting on the living room couch, watching TV together without hissing, spitting, or growling. We managed fifteen minutes, which is the longest we’ve gone yet without chaos.

Tessa, that little monkey, slipped out when I was watering yesterday. She didn’t try to run away; she just wanted to play in the mums. I finally caught her around the side of the house under the rosebushes. Glad she’s micro-chipped, but still — too dangerous for her to be out. I haven’t been able to get her into the harness yet; if I can, I’ll take her on the deck with me, harnessed and leashed.. I took Iris out a few weeks ago — she wasn’t sure she liked it. She was a bit scared, and howled, but she was also interested. Tessa really likes to be out (she was a stray once), but it’s too dangerous here.

Getting some decent work done on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which is a relief, although it’s slower than I’d like. Percolating on the Harpy book. Some day it will have a title, and I’ll be so pleased!

Not happy with the latest assignment from Confidential Job #1. It’s over 600 pages, and the first 23 were flat, telling-not-showing narration. But, it’s the job, so it will get done.

I hope to get my hair cut; it’s kind of driving me nuts. And then, I’ve got another long day at the computer.

Thanks for the suggestions re: the eyes. I think 12-14 hours a day staring at the screen, dealing with student work is most of it. There are days when I have to turn around 24K just in one class, and then switch over to the other class and keep going. I may have to up the fruit/vegetable intake to adjust. I’m pretty careful about my sugar intake, but I may be ingesting too much starch, which breaks down to sugar, so I’ll do some adjustments. And maybe do some chamomile compresses a couple of times a day. Or eyebright.

Hair salon, and then back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on September 21, 2011 at 7:43 am  Comments (3)  
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Hop on over to A BIBLIO PARADISE and read a great interview with author Pauline Baird Jones. Her newest release is a steampunk, and I’m excited to read it. Pauline and I “met” when she was the moderator for a chat I did over on Long & Short Romance to promote ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT.

Busy day yesterday. I was working on the computer in the morning longer than I intended, and was late getting out to do the errands. Got most of them done, including getting yet another stack of books out of the local library, this one including two cookbooks by Ina Garten that have some really great recipes in them. I look forward to trying them out. I love test driving cookbooks from the library. And the October issues of both FOOD AND WINE and BON APPETIT have some great recipes in them.

I also got out a book that’s supposed to give you ideas for a clean, harmonious, restful space. All it did was stress me out. I can’t live in something that sparse and full of angles and cold. I like color and texture and warmth. I use a lot of cool colors like blues and greens — water colors, but mix them with warmer tones, and change colors seasonally to compliment or contrast what’s going on outside. I find even warm colors and textures can be restful, if situated properly. Living in white? White walls, white floors, white furnishings, white accessories? No. Not only would I feel like i was a lab rat, it’s not practical with pets, and it’s a color I find stressful, not restful.

Couldn’t find cornish hen at the grocery store. The Autumn Equinox is on Friday, and I always make a cornish hen for the meal. I’ll have to try some of the other stores.

Had a lot of trouble with my eyes in the afternoon and evening, and had to limit computer time. This means I’m behind with my students, but that’s the way it is. I couldn’t focus my eyes enough to read what was on the screen.

Percolated on the book, but didn’t do much physical work on the outline. Came up with a few backstory possibilities and tossed ‘em. They make it all a little too pat, and move away from what makes the story unique and what ties it into classical mythology.

I’ve got to get a press release out for the National Marine Life Center (it’s written, it just need to be distributed), go to Sandwich to the library (figures, I come home with one of the books I ordered only to find the note that they put aside another one). All good, though, I’ll take any excuse to go to Sandwich. Unfortunately, I forgot to take the lawn clippings to the dump — gotta take care of that today, before there’s a great big mess in the garage. A freelance job scheduled in two weeks cancelled — I have to come up with something to make up the financial difference pretty darn quickly. Will be sending out queries for some quick turn-around projects.

Now, to spend some time with my students before heading out. I’d like to beat the rain.

Devon

Published in: on September 20, 2011 at 7:38 am  Comments (6)  
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool.

If you didn’t get a chance to read the review with the wonderful, talented, and successful Linda Rettstatt on Saturday, it’s the post below this one, and well worth reading, for both readers and writers. She has some wonderful insights. Drop her a comment and let her know you stopped by! It SHOULD have been up on Friday, but I somehow got dates mixed up, and I offer her my deepest apologies.

Saturday was busy. Ran errands, mowed the terraced back section of the lawn (it looks awesome), did some pruning and cutting back in the beds. The tomatoes are just starting to bloom, but I’m pretty sure it’s too late in the season to get much. However, I’m still getting a handful of ripe strawberries every morning with my breakfast (second crop, who knew?), and there are some cucumbers and green peppers struggling to mature.

Spent time with my students. Worked on the Harpy book. There’s a writer named Mackenzie who has a series featuring a Fury as her main character, set in Boston. I want to read them, but I’ll wait until this book is written, edited, and on submission. Plus, mine is set in NY! Well, kind of an Alt-NY! 😉

Sunday, I was out early to get the newspapers. Read the papers (with the cats). Tidied up the living room and cleaned off the coffee table to decorate it for autumn. Amazing how stuff accumulates on it! But now it looks really nice. Washed the slipcovers, put on the ones for autumn, rearranged the pillows so the cats can curl up on cushions and look out of windows.

Spent the rest of the day either on student work, but most of it working on the outline of the Harpy book. I’ve got it roughed out; there are still some holes, but I’ve got enough of a foundation so writing the book should go pretty logically. The first draft will inform a lot of the plot, and it’s interesting to see how certain characters became more important and certain ones less so as the book develops.

Emmys were fun last night. Jane Lynch was good as host, but I thought, overall, sometimes they were just trying too hard to be hip and funny. I was thrilled that Peter Dinklage won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for GAME OF THRONES. His work in that is fantastic.

Today, I’ve got yet more errands — some books to return to the library and some other running around. The bulk of the day is spent with students, and, hopefully, getting some other writing done. I’m also in deep prep mode for next month’s class and for the Write Angles Conference. I look forward to being a presenter!

Devon

Published in: on September 19, 2011 at 7:30 am  Comments (4)  
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The Fascinating and Wonderful Linda Rettstatt!

The fascinating and wonderful Linda Rettstatt is a guest on the blog today. And I’m over on her blog, One Woman’s Write. Please give Linda a warm welcome!

Annabel Aidan: As a fellow theatre professional, I immediately gravitated to the information you used to review plays. I remember how nerve-wracking it is to open a play on Broadway and know how much those critics decide if you still have a job tomorrow or not. And how heartbreaking it could be when a reviewer with a personal axe to grind went after someone on the creative team or the cast. But there were also a lot of reviewers who loved the art and craft, and who had terrific insights that were helpful to both us and the audience. What was the most exciting part about being a reviewer, and what was the hardest?

Linda Rettstatt: Well, to put this in context, I grew up in a very small town in southwestern Pennsylvania. Everyone knew everyone else. And on a good day, the local paper was twelve pages. The community theater group was comprised of all local folks. So, obviously, I had to tread lightly. I loved stepping back and critically observing the performances. The hardest part was writing an objective review without slighting anyone and finding a way to be honest without hurting feelings. (After all, I had to pass these folks on the street the next day.)

AA: Again, in your information, I’m drawn to the fact that you write with both humor and hope. Why do you think those two elements are so important?

LR: My career background is in clinical social work, and I worked as psychotherapist for a number of years. I discovered (though I’m sure I’m not the first to know this ☺) that a number of people who presented themselves with symptoms of depression were lacking a few things in their lives—a creative element, humor, and hope. I think we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves and we definitely need to feel hopeful about the future. I can find humor in the most dire situations—something that can get me into trouble when I laugh inappropriately when others are somber.

AA: In AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE and in THE YEAR I LOST MY MIND, your heroines are in their fifties. As someone approaching fifty myself, I’m delighted to see heroines with some life experience out there. Did you meet any resistance when you shopped the book? Were you ever encouraged to make your heroines younger? Or do you think the tide is turning for the majority of heroines having to be young and inexperienced?

LR: When I began to write, I started with what I knew. And I knew about being a woman of fifty-something. In many ways, And The Truth Will Set You Free is a fantasy biography, if you will. Kate’s story is as I had once imagined my own story and the dream to relocate to New England and write. Also, I’ve done a lot of work with women dealing with mid-life issues. So it seemed natural for me, when writing women’s fiction to address those issues in my books. I received a wonderful response to those books and the characters. I have, however, written stories of younger characters such as Claire in Pieces (thirties) and Lily in Renting to Own who is a 23-year-old single mother.

AA: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

LR: The rush that comes with that initial idea for a story and then meeting the character in my head. The newness of a story is like falling in love, and I will typically spend two or three days working for ten to twelve hours straight at that point. Sometimes I forget to eat (but then I make up for it!)

AA: What do you do on the days when it’s hard to put butt in chair and get it done?

LR: I don’t have many of those days. But when I feel stuck, I will sometimes take a drive and have a heart-to-heart chat with my characters. They will usually lead me out of that blind alley. If anything, I have to sometimes force myself to shut down the laptop and socialize with friends for a while. I can become a bit of a hermit when I’m writing.

AA: What do you feel is the most joyful part of your writing life as a whole?

LR: Seeing my books in print, of course, is one (both electronically and in paperback). But I love to chat with readers and hear from women about how my stories impact their lives. I’ve had women write and say, “Kate’s story in And the Truth Will Set You Free is my story. I didn’t feel so alone after reading the book.” And I had a woman who had been a single mother tell me that I nailed her experience in telling Lily’s story in Renting to Own. I want my stories to give women strength, love, humor, and hope.

Bio:
Linda Rettstatt is the author of nine women’s fiction and mainstream romance novels. Her work is published with Champagne Books, Class Act Books, and Wings ePress. She is a Pennsylvania Yankee currently residing in Northwest Mississippi, not far from Memphis, where she has yet to report an Elvis sighting. Her books have finaled three times for EPIC e-Book Awards, and she was named 2010 Author of the Year by Champagne Books. You can find Linda on the web at www.lindarettstatt.com and at www.onewomanswrite.blogspot.com

Published in: on September 17, 2011 at 7:51 am  Comments (3)  
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The temperature really dropped severely. I may have to turn the heat on today.

Poor Tessa! She’s losing some of her baby teeth, and one of her kibbles got caught in a loose tooth yesterday. She was very uncomfortable, and it was quite the adventure getting the food off without hurting her — the tooth is loose, but not loose enough to come out yet. She recovered pretty quickly, though.

Ran errands, including getting in some decorations for the house for fall. I don’t think I can do my skeletons-playing-poker display this October, because the posing skeletons that can withstand outdoor weather are out of my budget this year. So I have to come up with something else! Bought each cat a new toy and handed them out, so there wouldn’t be any jealousy, but, of course, everyone wanted someone else’s toy! Even though they were all the same, just different colors.

Spent most of the day catching up with students. Most of the work is very good. Unfortunately, sometimes, even when it’s good, it’s not always relevant to the exercise. If the workshop focuses on dialogue, and the exercise requires that you communicate specific information through interaction and dialogue, why would you post an entire exercise that’s only narration and internal monologue? If I ask for one scene with a specific purpose, why are you also posting the scenes leading up to it? If I’ve sent something back multiple times to fix paragraph structure, and you have both STRUNK & WHITE and the lectures detailing how to correctly structure paragraphs with dialogue, why are you still posting with the same mistakes?

Fortunately, that’s the minority, and the stuff that’s good is REALLY good. Even a lot of the stuff that doesn’t fit the exercises is really good — but it still doesn’t fit the purpose of why we’re here, and it gets sent back for revision!

What’s exciting about all this is that there are a lot of great storytellers out there, and that’s good for the industry — not just so publishers can make money, but so readers have many choices of well-written, intriguing pieces.

Speaking of which, I ordered some books, including the new Terry Pratchett and the new Sharon Shinn, which starts a new series from her. They should arrive the first week of October — can’t wait!

It didn’t rain yesterday after all, which means I could have mowed some more, but didn’t. So I guess I’ll have to make up for it today! I also have to go to two different libraries to pick up books I put on hold for the Harpy book.

The prep for this book is going well. I’ll be well prepared to start writing on October 1, and it will be hard not to begin before then.

Devon

Published in: on September 16, 2011 at 7:24 am  Comments (4)  
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