Wed. July 31, 2013: Working to Steady the Ship

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Lammas Eve

Decent workday yesterday. Got a steady stream of stuff done; as always, there’s more to do. I’m spending far too much time doing damage control from last week’s fall-out, but that’s that.

Got some work done in the garden, and on the deck. The season is turning. I wonder if that predicts a long, cold winter?

Spinning some stories, and trying to figure out how to re-prioritize the fiction. I should receive some information today that will help. The pieces are in that delicate stage, where I can’t really talk about them yet, without harming the process.

Errands to run today, more work, finalizing some contract offers, and then, IF I clear enough off my desk, I get to go out tonight!

Devon

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Published in: on July 31, 2013 at 6:38 am  Comments (2)  

Tues. July 30, 2013: Don’t Be Afraid to Say, “No.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Decent work day yesterday. Staying on track with what has to be done for the week, and also trying to replace the clients and contracts I lost from last Friday’s incident.

Will have to dump another client because I found out the reason I haven’t been paid (and it’s now nearly a month late) is because the editor never put in the invoice, although she told me she did. Not worth it. I’ve been down this road with this editor before, and told her if she pulled this shit again this go round, that was it. Another potential client tried to low ball me. If you’re going to ask me what my rate is, don’t act surprised when I tell you, and then say it’s too much, and you want to pay me less. No. I am not working for less. My rate is my rate. If you had a rate in mind, it should have been in the listing in the first place, and if it was lower than my rate, I wouldn’t have pitched. Another place asked a rate for 1 piece, then said they wanted me to write 5 pieces, but would only pay the rate I quoted on the 1 piece for the combined 5. That answer was really easy: NO.

Starting my fall cleaning early, and starting it with the profession instead of the house, I guess! Important to do that every so often. Keeps one from getting professionally stagnant and falling into the rut of allowing clients to take advantage of you because you’re worried about work or lack of it.

Did some work in the yard, yesterday and this morning. It’s not even August yet, and you can feel the season turning.

Got a lot to do today, pieces to get out, and I need to re-organize the fiction projects and re-prioritize them. I’m winding up a six month session with a student today and tomorrow. I’ve got other students who need some time. I’m revving up again for the play, and waiting to hear back on another play proposal.

The crows are all a-dither the past few days. Something has really, really upset them. They even came up on the roof of the deck outside my bedroom window to tell me about it. I wish I understood — maybe then I could soothe them a bit.

Devon

Published in: on July 30, 2013 at 7:55 am  Comments (1)  

Mon. July 29, 2013: There Will Be Consequences

Monday, July 29, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Well, the weekend was an unnecessary shitstorm of challenges, and no, I am not apologizing for my language. It’s a case where the term is exactly the right shade of meaning, and it is especially frustrating because it was unnecessary.

Last week, I was approached to do something that would help bring positive attention to one of the organizations for which I work, and which I love. I agreed, but explained that my participation had one particular caveat, due to my other contractual, legal obligations. It was a detailed conversation, and I made it clear that the one caveat could NOT be breached in order for me to participate. Since the person I was dealing with was a fellow writer, a supposedly professional colleague in the field, I was confident that the individual understood what was at stake, and from her response, that she would respect it.

Friday, the result of the participation was revealed — with the caveat broken. So now, I’m in big trouble with several clients, and have lost work. I let the people who broke the caveat know that I was unhappy and why; the individual’s boss apologized and did what could be done to mitigate the situation (it can’t be fixed). Nothing from the individual who screwed me. Which strengthens my belief that it was deliberate. There is no way there was any “misunderstanding” and no way any professional in the field would “forget” something that important on which my participation hinged and which was emphasized at length. It was a deliberate attack by someone in the same field, who’d never even met me before. I am completely mystified as to the “why”, but there is no doubt as to the deliberateness of the action. To say I am stunned doesn’t even begin to describe it. Not to mention the rage and the fact that it has a negative impact on my ability to earn a living.

There WILL be consequences, believe me.

I do not just bend over and hand back the Vaseline.

But first, my lawyer and I had to salvage what we could. The true fallout may never be known. While the immediate situation will blow over in a few days, the ripple of the impact could take months or years to figure out, especially since some of these relationships now broken thanks to this event were long-term. At least part of the negative financial impact was quickly evident; the additional impacts will take longer.

Friday was about scrambling — and still keeping my commitments. Just as the shitstorm hit, I had to go over to the Writers Center to help two colleagues prepare materials for the upcoming conference. Since both of them are writers, they understood the seriousness of the situation and the different levels of impact, not to mention the stress and emotional upset. And then I stood up quickly and hit my head on the eaves and nearly knocked myself out. I don’t know, maybe unconsciousness would have improved my day.

I had to dash back because I had another scheduled appointment, for which I had to pull myself together. Hopefully I pulled that off; we’ll see. And we’ll see if this other situation has any impact on it.

I had to finish up two press releases and put changes in a third.

And then I just collapsed. I was in bed before 8 that night.

I wanted to stay in bed all day Saturday. Everyone else on the planet gets to indulge themselves when they feel like they “can’t” cope, so why don’t I get that type of day occasionally? Unfortunately, the cats had a different idea, I had to take care of some stuff in the yard, and it was the only time I had to work on a grant proposal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t download the application for said grant proposal, so to hell with it.

I did, however, get to read Kate Carlisle’s new release, A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, which was good. I like that series anyway, and it was a nice stress reliever. And, in the evening, I went down to Covell’s Beach and stood in the waves for awhile, letting the sea soothe me.

Sunday, I decided enough already with the wallowing, and I spent a good portion of the day doing what my friend Mike affectionately calls “what you do” in these situations. Let’s face it, the Universe will find a much more interesting way to get this all back in balance than I ever could. I feel much better, and ready to face a new week.

I finished and turned in my final paper for the climate literacy class. I have to do peer evaluations for this class and on one more paper for archaeology. Technically, both classes are done today. I will miss the archaeology class terribly. The professor’s opened new opportunities for me that I’m very excited about.

Today, The Modern and the Post Modern class begins. 14 weeks of literature and art. Should be interesting.

Still haven’t been paid by that other publication. That is a working relationship that will either cough up on time or come to an end.

Spun some stories yesterday, and have to take stock of deadlines and various pieces and do some reshuffling so I know what needs to be worked on when.

Today is the forty-first anniversary of my father’s death.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 7:20 am  Comments (2)  

Fri. July 26, 2013: Busy in the Right Way

Friday, July 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The cats are already shedding their summer fur and growing in the winter fur. We had to use quilts last night in bed.

Finally got the information promised to me back in JUNE and was able to do the next round of revisions. It has to go to press today. And, of course, out of an entire committee, NOT ONE PERSON got back to me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s going to press without their approval, and to hell with them.

Waiting on final approval for a press release that has to go out today.

Have another one to draft.

Was interviewed as a follow-up to the town’s climate change workshop I did a few weeks ago. That was fun. Pitched for a job to an environmental organization, and the person hiring wants to do an interview later today, so that’s a good thing.

I worked with students. I have a press release to polish for the play, and finally got another document that was supposed to be here at the beginning of the week for a mailing, so that can go out today.

I made notes on a story.

I temporarily defeated the masses of dandelions that invaded the side and front yards.

I worked re-feng shui-ing some stuff in the house.

I still have not been paid by that editor. 11 days late and counting. Obviously, this is not a good match.

The cats now want breakfast at 3 AM. Not happening.

Did the peer evaluations on the archaeology assignment; did some work on my final climate literacy assignment, which I will turn in this weekend.

I’m off to a meeting this morning, to help out with some stuff for the Writers Conference; then the interview, then getting out those mailings. Busy day, in spite of all the rain. But should be a nice start to the weekend.

Devon

Published in: on July 26, 2013 at 7:22 am  Comments (2)  

Thurs. July 25, 2013: Projects Pushing Through

Thursday, July 25, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Two days ago, I was draped across the couch like a belle in a Southern gothic novel. This morning, I had to wear a sweatshirt. One can feel the season turn.

The Fed Ex man finds me highly entertaining, because every time he arrives with the next assignment from Confidential Job #1, I do a happy dance. I’m excited by this next round of assignments.

Wrote the two final papers for my archaeology class and submitted them. Still have one more to write for climate literacy. I’ve completed all my quizzes in both courses; I just have to evaluate some peer papers and turn in the one more. Both courses end on Monday, and my class on Modernism and Post-Modernism starts then.

Put together some sample packets for potential employers and got those out. My evening meeting was cancelled, but I put together the materials for the meeting and sent it off. By the end of the day, I got the information that should have come to me six weeks ago, and I have to finish integrating that and get that stuff out today, write another press release for the Mermaid Ball, and finish the press release for the play. I’m still waiting for materials from another source to get another mailing out that should have gone out at the beginning of the week.

I’m trying to sort out my writing projects and get a reasonable schedule and sort out the queue. Of course, then a contract will drop into my lap and change it all, but at least I’ll have a plan. There’s an idea forming, and it’s just beyond my reach. I can feel it, but I can’t quite grasp it yet.

Off to work!

Devon

Published in: on July 25, 2013 at 7:24 am  Comments (1)  

Wed. July 24, 2013: Metaphorical Lemonade, anyone?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Got two bags of metaphorical rotten lemons dumped on me yesterday on two different projects. Will figure out how to make lemonade out of them, and then leave both organizations. Not worth my time, and certainly not worth the level of frustration.

Still not paid by that one particular editor. Ready to cut that tie permanently, too. That editor is on final warning.

On a more positive note, The Natural History Museum wants to start promoting the October performance of MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL. I’ll put something together for them in the next day or two. The first offers go out next week to the cast.

I polished my script coverage package yesterday and started sending it out. I enjoy the work, so I might as well hustle for more of it.

Worked on some articles, worked on my archaeology paper, spun some story ideas.

Helene Hanff’s UNDERFOOT IN SHOW BUSINESS had me laughing out loud.

I have mixed feeling about another book I finished yesterday. I liked some of the story and detail, but the voice was overly simplistic and sounded just a touch too whiny as I read.

Last night’s meeting was fine, quick and efficient.

Migraine, but too bad for me. There’s a lot of work to get done today.

Devon

Published in: on July 24, 2013 at 6:38 am  Comments (1)  

Tues. July 23, 2013: Interviews & Plans

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Last Day of Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Humid and cloudy

Everyone’s all in a tizzy about the new royal baby born in the UK. I bet the mother is glad to be out of labor! All the fussing, for goodness’ sake!

Worked yesterday, with students and on pitches and with one of my editors and on admin stuff. We had a power outage for a stretch of afternoon, which threw a monkey wrench into the works. I did, however, get my final week’s coursework done for Archaeology and did well on the quiz. That class truly lit a flame of inspiration in me (not to mention how it gave me much needed information for the revisions of BLOOD AND BONE and the next Gwen/Justin books). A great deal of that is because the professor, Sue Alcock, is so inspiring. She loves what she does, she’s funny, smart, and knows how to communicate ideas in a way that makes you want to go out and discover more on your own. Truly a gifted teacher.

I was getting ready to settle back in for some work when I got a message from a local reporter, and spent the next hour being interviewed. It was fun; I liked the individual. It had to do with my work at the National Marine Life Center, so, hopefully, there’s more focus on Townsend than on me! Because it’s about the work, not about me.

I’m re-reading Helene Hanff’s UNDERFOOT IN SHOW BUSINESS, about how she tried to make it in theatre just after the depression. It’s given me an idea — I’ve got some of the characters and the situation and the time frame. I have to choose the form — do I see this as a script? As prose? I’m not sure yet.

I’m waiting to hear back on some script proposals, and I don’t want to take on anything else until I know if they’re accepted and will move forward, or if it’s a pass, and I go on to other things.

I’ve got work to do today for the upcoming conference, the ball, and tonight’s Beautification meeting. Big projects for all three organizations happen the first weeks of August. It’s a little overwhelming, and I have to make sure I don’t put myself in this situation again next year.

I need to polish some script coverage samples today and get them out, too. I want to do more of that type of work — I enjoy it. One of my editors sent off the materials for my next assignment yesterday — it should arrive tomorrow, and I can get going on it.

Back to work!

Devon

Mon. July 22, 2013: Thunder Moon

Monday, July 22, 2013
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Direct (as of Saturday)
Cooler and cloudy

Mercury is direct, thank goodness (the last few days were hell), but the dryer broke yesterday so, here we go.

Frustrated about a lot of different things, so I have to sit down, take a breath, sort it out, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. One editor, in particular, is at the last-chance line with me, mostly because I’m sick and tired of having to beg for payment. I turn in clean copy on time. Pay me according to the terms I agreed to — you don’t get to keep moving the line constantly. Or I will no longer be one of your writers. I was hesitant in writing for them again after our last round, but was reassured it wouldn’t happen again. Of course it is, and if it is not straightened out and payments handled on time, I am done with them, permanently.

I have to handle an intellectual property issue.

Companion Handbooks for last week’s classes are put together and distributed. Reviews written, polished, and to my editor (ahead of time), along with the invoice — this is the editor who’s great about paying on time! 😉

The big news is that I completed the fifth draft of the novel, updated the proposal and synopsis, and got everything off to my agent on Friday morning. I feel much better about the book now, and have a clearer vision as to what I want for the series now.

I pretty much ran out of words by then, and had trouble being coherent at all on Friday. Over the weekend, I started the writer’s rough outline of the second book in the series, and played with some short story ideas.

I was stuck in a meeting yesterday and missed Lucky’s release at Scusset Beach — I was sad about it, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Sunday afternoons in summer, it’s hard to get off the Cape over the bridges, and I couldn’t leave early enough to sit in traffic.

I’m trying to decide which of the projects needs priority now — probably the Cape Cod theatre novel. I want to pack up the drafts of this other novel and file my notes, so I’m ready to get back to work once it goes on contract.

There’s a lot to do and I’m in a cycle of burn out and frustration right now, that I hope to break soon. I want today’s full moon (The Thunder Moon) to start a cycle of joy and abundance.

Devon

Published in: on July 22, 2013 at 6:43 am  Comments (1)  

Thurs. July 18, 2013: Obsessed with Revision

Struggling with the last third of the revision yesterday, I suddenly realized the whole book needed to be rewritten in first person.

Anyone who’s done that kind of revision knows it’s far more than replacing pronouns. Switching POV is a massive rewrite.

I managed the first 89 pages/5 chapters before my meeting, and about another 60 pages when I got home. This is the key that unlocked the book. NOW, finally, it feels right.

Also completed my week’s work for both archaeology and climate literacy, and worked with students.

But now — back to the revisions!

Published in: on July 18, 2013 at 6:49 am  Comments (1)  

Wed. July 17, 2013: Treading Water (barely)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot

I’m over on Jean Drew’s blog, “Adventures in Authorland”, talking about writing, inspiration, and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

The “Develop Your Idea” course wraps up today.

My focus will be back on finishing up the revisions of THE CHARISMA KILLINGS, and also on the Mermaid Ball. Yesterday, we took some measurements over at the venue for the Ball, and today’s a committee meeting. I’m getting things sorted out for the Writers’ Conference, also coming up quickly, and, as usual, dealing with late-paying clients. Truly sick of it, and hopefully, over the coming weeks, will break all ties with these clients and replace them with reliable ones.

I have a manuscript critique special running this week — 30 pages (in standard manuscript format) for $50. Contact fearlessinkworkshops – at – gamail – dot -com to set up an appointment.

Pitched some articles to a publication with whom I’d like to establish a relationship, and pitched for a well-paying job that is kind of out there, but something I’d be very good at.

Feeling a little frustrated and overwhelmed. And just trying to survive the last few days of Mercury Retrograde.

Devon

Published in: on July 17, 2013 at 7:21 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 17, 2013: Treading Water (barely)  

Tues. July 16, 2013: Head Down Working

Not much to say, except I have my head down working, I’m waiting for client payments to come through, I’m trying to get the ribs to heal, it’s too hot, and the power is wonky.

I’m looking forward to Mercury going direct in five days.

Published in: on July 16, 2013 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 16, 2013: Head Down Working  

Thurs. July 12, 2013: Today’s Another Day

Thursday, July 11, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Humid and cloudy

Last day to sign up for the “Start Your Revision Engines” workshop, which begins tomorrow. Registration closes at 5 PM EST today, which means the combo discount offer for both the revision workshop and the “Develop Your Idea” workshop, running next week, also expires today. Info here.

While you’re clicking around, visit my article on “Character Balance” here, over on the Writers Vineyard in my Annabel Aidan persona. Something I’m struggling with in the current revision.

Yesterday just sucked six ways from Sunday, and I’m over a lot of people and a lot of situations. I do not want to make decisions out of haste or anger during Mercury retrograde, but there are changes coming.

But today is a new day, and therefore, it will be better!

Finished my archaeology paper, turned it in, started this week’s coursework, wrote and polished a review, sent it to my editor, and he’s already sent out the material for the next assignment. Love that rhythm! Got some writing done, but not enough, worked with students, battled with the revision.

My rib is giving me a lot of trouble. But I have a lot to do today before I can rest.

Better get going.

Devon

Wed. July 10, 2013: Epiphany with Music

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Humid, sticky, icky

Yesterday was a busy workday, with interruptions. Had to mow the front (it was getting frightening). In true Mercury Retrograde fashion, I ran out of gas halfway through (thought I had enough) and had to go get more.

Prepped for the jazz concert. Did some more work. Helped out at the jazz concert.

It was a ton of fun. I’ll be putting up photos on the appropriate blog soon. We doused each other in bug spray, served lemonade at intermission, and, in general, had a good time.

During one of the Big Band numbers, when people were dancing, I suddenly had an epiphany on my revision. Funny how that works!

Speaking of revisions, in addition to the Revision Workshop July 12-15, I’m offering a “Develop Your Idea” workshop July 15-17, where you’ll learn how to develop an idea, how to pick a format, and how to handle an idea that hits you when you’re on deadline with something else. If you take BOTH workshops, you get a special combined deal of only $50 for both. So sign up now! Info here.

This week is my week to look after Mother’s Park, so off I went, first thing in the morning. Collected trash, deadheaded roses and lilies, did some weeding.

Now, it’s back to work. The air is so thick that it’s hard to breathe.

There’s A LOT on my plate, and I don’t feel up to it, but too bad for me. Better get going!

Devon