Tues. March 11, 2014: La, La, La, Today’s My Birthday!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Today’s my birthday! Fuck Comcast, I’m gonna have fun!

Yesterday morning, I headed to the library. Of course, it was the day everyone needed to reach me and was getting back to me with information, etc. Which was great and very productive. I just had a limited time in which to get everything done.

A lot of it was for NMLC, and we managed to get it done, going back and forth quickly. The casting has begun for the play, the press releases are going out. I’m doing some more revisions, based on the scientific feedback Kathy gave me.

Worked with students. Worked on contest entries. I mean, I’m doing that every day — so many entrants, and I want to make sure each one gets a fair share of attention. It is painfully obvious who bothered to hire a professional editor, who went with cheap because it was cheap, and who couldn’t be bothered to work with an editor. Since part of the judging criteria has to do with grammar, punctuation, etc., that all feeds into the final score, and what makes it into the finalist category or not. As it should be.

Sent out the first script packets. Always scary. Have to finish revisions on several scripts in the next few weeks — while in rehearsal for the play. While working on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and the Ferry Girl novel. Should be an interesting juggling act.

Home, took care of some stuff that was home-based. Waiting for a check that should have been here last week; very frustrating that it’s not. Shaking my head in disgust at the so-called “writer” who pursued me because he was so eager to work with me and impressed with my work, but disappeared the minute I gave him a quote for editing work. Typical. I don’t work for flattery. My work pays the bills.

On a further positive note, one of my plays is being taught at the local community college, and I will be a guest lecturer there at the end of April. I’m looking forward to it.

Read a book on wine as research for Adventures in Vineland that just made me roll my eyes. Every other paragraph was about the author’s ego. Every chapter had a photo focusing on the author, tilting her head at the camera (who told her to do that in EVERY SHOT?), with the emphasis on her rather than the wine. If I reviewed it for the blog, I’d be snarky, so I’ll just pass.

I have a lot I want to clear off my desk today, and then I want some playtime, too, because, hey, it’s my birthday and I’ve earned it!

Devon

Published in: on March 11, 2014 at 9:25 am  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Mon. March 10, 2014: And Comcast Fucks Me Again

Monday, March 10, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing and cold

Day before my birthday, snowstorm, and Comcast fucks me again. Why won’t anyone make them obey the law? Who are they paying off, how much, and why are they getting away with it? They are an example of the deep corruption that runs rampant in this country right now. Everything is corporate-centric, and fuck the actual customers. The fact that I have no other choice but Comcast is ridiculous.

I’m in the middle of casting, I’m up for several jobs, and I’m totally fucked. All because Comcast thinks they are above the law.

Good weekend, overall.

I don’t really remember Friday. I was exhausted and worked a lot. Follow-up from Boston, some good, some not-so-good. Worked on contest entries. Worked with students.

Saturday, up early, finished revisions on the play, and sent it off for comments, started casting. Also did some other paperwork for the show.

I hate the switch to daylight savings time. It always leaves me feeling awful for days. But Sunday, I sucked it up, and, although I had a slow start at first, I was relatively productive. Planned the next work on BALTHAZAAR TREAURE, figured out the research I have to do to write the opening for the ferry girl novel that my tandem novel-writing pal suggested.

Did some yard work. If I do a little bit on every nice day, I can prep the yard for summer.

Got it in me that I wanted to rearrange my closet, and did. It had gotten a little chaotic in there. Got shoes sorted, tried on clothes. I’ve lost most of the weight I gained since moving here, so things fit me again, and most of what I buy is very simple and classic, doesn’t go out of style. Made a pile for donation, a pile for sale, and a laundry pile. The laundry pile translated into about four loads of laundry, but now everything is washed and put away where it should be. I have a bit of mending to do, and some ironing, but the closet is all set, and it feels really good. Cleaned off my desk a bit, too, caught up on some filing and some other organization.

Now, I’ve got to write all the stuff I need to write, so when I hit the library, all I have to do is copy, paste, and hit send.

Comcast is a vile, lying, grasping company. If the Time Warner merger goes through, even more people will lose out. It’s time to stop it.

Devon

Published in: on March 10, 2014 at 9:29 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: , , ,

Fri. March 7, 2014: Details About the Adventures in Boston

Friday, March 7, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Hop over to Adventures in Vineland to see what’s going on with the latest wine experiment.

Yesterday was exhausting, but really fun.

I didn’t sleep much, and woke up just before the alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning. Yoga, meditation, a little writing, breakfast, getting interview ready (I REALLY hate to be in full hair and make-up by 6 AM — it feels weird). Had to wear SHOES all day. I don’t wear shoes working at home; I’m barefoot until I leave the house, so wearing shoes always feels weird. Even though I have a lot of cute shoes.

Out the door by 6:15. Drove to Kingston train station. I had to buy a train ticket. MBTA had answered my email and told me I could buy it at a place called Coffee, T, and Thee. According to Google Maps, it was smack dab in the center of the road leading to the station. I figured it was a cart or something.

It wasn’t, of course. It’s a building at the end of the train platform. I bought my ticket, got change for the parking, and had to ask someone how to pay for parking. You learn the number for your space, and then you stick your $4 one-dollar bills in the slot for that space — looks like a set of metal mailboxes in an old apartment building. The guy at the coffee shop told me to make sure I folded the bills a certain way and put them in one at a time, or they wouldn’t fit. I started doing it, and the train came in. I couldn’t get the bills in and figured the train would leave without me and I’d have to wait a half hour in the cold for the next one.

The conductor said, “Don’t worry, take a breath, we’re not leavin’ without you!”

I took a breath, someone showed me how to use the can-opener-like device attached the the mailboxes with a cord to shove the money in, and I hopped on the train. All good.

What can I say? I’m used to the hateful Metro North New Haven line, where the train people will watch you run down the platform, then slam the door and pull out just as you reach it.

Thank you, kind people at the Kingston train station!

The train was awesome! The cars are old-style, like the ones we had in NY in the 60s and 70s, but very comfortable, double-decker cars, and the trains run efficiently. The conductors are really nice. The announcements are clear.

I find trains soothing. The ride in was great. It amazes me how it’s three times the distance I had to travel from my mom’s outside of NYC into NYC, but is the same price AND takes less time. That’s because Boston’s commuter rail is far more efficient than Metro North.

South Station is TEENY. Yet it’s more confusing than either Grand Central or Penn. I took out my Google map for the first interview. After about ten minutes of walking in the brutal cold, I was pretty sure the damn map was wrong (again) and I was mad. I went back to South Station to ask at the Information desk, and that was useless.

“That way” is not an answer. Especially not when “that way” encompasses three exits leading to different streets.

No kiosk or display with street maps or any relevant information. The one kiosk with tourist information had information on . . .wait for it . . .Vermont.

WTF??????

By sheer chance, I found the right street, and headed down to the first appointment. I was still an hour early. My appointment was pleased, since her day was packed, and it worked out well to see me early. We had a really nice chat and discussed a variety of possibilities. I filled out yards of paperwork, and then it was off to my next appointment.

Fortunately, the map was more correct for that one, although I later found out it took me the longest and most circuitous route possible.

I got to walk through Chinatown — small, but what a sigh of relief. I now know where to go when I need specific supplies that I can’t get on Cape. Wherever I’ve lived in the country, I’ve lived near a Chinatown until I moved to the Cape. I miss it.

Chinatown led to the start of Boylston Street, and my appointment was waaaaay down the street. Well, it wasn’t that far, just a couple of miles. If it hadn’t been so cold, it would have been a great walk, especially since it’s past the Boston Commons/Public Gardens. And next to Emerson College’s theatre is a cool little alley with an iron-front gate with the comedy/tragedy masks and interesting-looking bits inside.

I was far too early for my second appointment — but it was only a block from Copley Square, which meant the Boston Public Library. I went in and the lovely lady set up my Sandwich Library card so I can use it in the BPL System. I’m excited — I now have access to the BPL System, the Old Colony network, and the CLAMS network. Talk about feeling rich!

The circulating portion of the library was too noisy, so I went up to the older building, the one that’s very similar to NYPL on 42nd St./Fifth Avenue, and set up in one of the reading rooms to do some work (because yes, I always bring work with me). I had a solid hour to work in the library, which was delightful.

Headed back to my next appointment. There were a couple of things that set of warning bells at first, but the person with whom I had the appointment, and the department in which it was in were terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

When the appointment was done, I headed back towards South Station, first on Boylston Street, but then, instead of the weird zigzag the Google map had me do getting there, I cut through the theatre district. First of all, it was my type of area — theatres, I felt right at home. Second, it was a faster and more efficient way to get to the station.

I hit South Station in time to catch the train I wanted. Stopped at The Well for a really good coffee and Rosie’s bakery for a nice cookie — I’d eaten breakfast at 5:30 and hadn’t had a chance to eat lunch. If the weather was more temperate, I would have packed a few other things in.

Rode the top level of the double decker back, which was fun. I was just as excited as the five year old riding with his Grandma.

Got back to Kingston, headed back over the bridge. Stopped at Market Basket to pick up a few things, and home. Pizza for dinner.

Now that the psychological barrier’s been broken to get into Boston, I’ll be able to get in and out more efficiently and more often. That’s where the money jobs and several other good opportunities are, and I need to be able to take advantage of them. The bus would pick me up/drop me off faster, but it’s both more expensive than the train AND there’s the chance I’d be stuck in traffic, which, on days where I have rehearsal, is not an option.

Went to bed really early last night. My legs hurt from walking on concrete all day – not used to it. But I liked walking around, and will like it even more when the weather is better.

Now, I have a lot to catch up on and prep for the weekend. Back to the page! Have a great weekend.

Devon

Thurs. March 6, 2014: An Adventure In Boston

I’m having an adventure in Boston today — I’ll fill you in on the details tomorrow!

Published in: on March 6, 2014 at 8:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 6, 2014: An Adventure In Boston  

March 5, 2014: Head Down Working

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Decent day’s work yesterday — pitching, got a review out, worked on play revisions, worked on the interview article, worked through a few more contest entries. Disappointing when one of them, that I was really looking forward to from the blurb and cover, wound up being in present tense, jumping throughout timelines, which doesn’t work at all. Oh, well.

Prepped for tonight’s Writers Center Board Meeting, finished prepping for tomorrow’s adventure.

A friend lost her beloved dog yesterday — always so sad to lose a member of the family.

Getting ready to do the first chapter of the ferry girl novel, and dig back in to BALTHAZAAR.

That’s pretty much it — slogging through, hoping spring arrives eventually.

Devon

Published in: on March 5, 2014 at 8:08 am  Comments Off on March 5, 2014: Head Down Working  
Tags: , ,

Tues. March 4, 2014: Good Clients are Gems; Bad Get Tossed Off

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I know I worked yesterday, all day, but wound up feeling unsatisfied anyway.

Shoveled the snow — only a couple of inches, light and fluffy, not bad at all. Working my way through the contest materials. The first batch was innovative and well-edited. This next group of books, not so much. But this category is very competitive, so it’s good that I can weed some of them out early on.

Finished the next book my editor sent for review. Difficult material, beautifully done, but writing the review will be a challenge.

Interview questions out for an article, and my delightful subject already sent them back. This individual is truly lovely to work with, and I feel lucky that I landed the assignment.

Contract arrived for a gig starting mid-April (short one, until mid-May). Signed, and will pop in the mail today. Should be fun.

Worked on the play, did some plotting for BALTHAZAAR. Sent out some pitches. Dealt with some wearying demands from wanna-bes. I don’t jump through hoops — this is what I do, here are my credentials, here are my rates, these are the terms, this is the contract. Either you want to be a client, or you don’t. I’m not turning around a 100K edit in 24 hours for $20. Not happening. Even if you paid market rate (which is about 100 times that), I couldn’t turn around a 100K line edit in 24 hours and do a good job. If you don’t work with contracts or “believe in” deposits, we are not a good fit. Buh-bye. Sending me nasty, ranting emails demanding that I change my business to suit you isn’t going to work. Sometimes there’s room to negotiate, on certain projects with the right circumstances. But I charge professional fees and provide professional services. If that doesn’t fit with your “business model”, go hire a content-mill-level person and you’ll get content-mill-level service. Don’t tell me I “have to” work for less than my fees at an unreasonable turnaround time, because you “chose” me and I should feel “privileged”. That’s not how professional business relationships work.

If we’re a good fit, we will both feel the time/money/service ratio is fair, and we will feel “privileged” to work WITH EACH OTHER.

Lots of writing to get done today, so I better get to work.

Devon

Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 9:14 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , ,

Mon. March 3, 2014: Retrogrades & Why You Need A Professonal-Level Editor

Monday, March 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing

I’ll have my March To-Do list up on the GDR site shortly.

Mercury went direct on Friday, thank goodness. It was like a huge weight was lifted off. Mars went retrograde on Saturday — so be careful about having too short a fuse and REacting instead of thinking first. Saturn went retrograde yesterday — it’s the planet of life lessons. If you refused to learn the last time it went retrograde and in the interim, while it was direct, if you’re not being true to yourself — Saturn will kick your ass even harder this time around.

There is something I’m doing, a commitment I must fulfill during this month, and then I will take a break from that particular part of my career. Doing it is too frustrating, takes too much energy without enough reward, and by continuing to agree to do it, I am not being true to myself. So I need to stop. Yes, Saturn, I am listening. Please don’t kick my ass! 😉

Worked flat out on Friday and Saturday. I’ve started working through the books that arrived for the contest — there are a lot of them. What I like about these is that, although they are indie published, so far, all of the ones I read hired in an actual, professional editor. What a huge difference from the contests I’ve judged where it was obvious there was no editor, or, if an editor was listed, it was obviously a cheap-ass, content-mill level editor.

As a writer who is grateful when I am paired with a good editor who pushes me to be my best, I know how important that partnership is. Unfortunately, too many aspiring writers don’t want to pay a professional price to get professional work, and can’t be bothered to learn the basics of third-grade level English themselves. Yes, that’s right — can’t be bothered. Every library has books on grammar, structure, editing. If you didn’t pay attention now, bother to learn.

If you can’t afford the rate for a professional to edit the whole novel, get the first three chapters line edited and APPLY IT TO THE REST. It’s called “critical thinking” and “reasoning”, and if you’re going to be in the world of words, you need to know how to do it.

A few months ago, an aspiring writer came to me for advice, complaining that the work was rejected over and over and over again. When I looked at it, there wasn’t a single sentence without a spelling, grammar, or punctuation error. A reader couldn’t even tell what the story was about because it was too hard to fight through the way it was presented to get to the content. When I pointed out the individual had to work on craft elements, the response was, “I don’t have time for that boring stuff. I’m an artist.”

All great artists fuse craft with art. They don’t always stick to the rules, but they know them inside out and choose when to break them.

Fortunately, so far, all the books I’ve read for this contest have at least had a good copy editor, and don’t get marked down on that aspect (yes, that is one of the things taken into consideration). Some of them could have used a strong content editor, but at least I can get to the story itself so it stands or falls on its own merits.

Landed an interview gig with someone based overseas. Am about to send off the questions. Should be fun.

Stuck to my staying-offline-on-Sundays (which, in most cases, is now a necessity — I need the break). Instead, I wrote, in longhand, nearly 30 pages of TRUE HOME. The research I’ve done the past week came together.

Watched the Oscars last night. Thought they were rather tepid. Also, award season’s gotten too cluttered.

Had a nice fire in the fireplace yesterday. When the snow stops in a few hours, I will go out and shovel.

The priority today is to finish the revisions on the play. I need to start casting this week.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on March 3, 2014 at 9:04 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,