Fri. Nov. 28, 2014: Back to Work After A Good Day

Friday, November 28, 2014
Waxing Moon
Snowy and cold

Wednesday was a rough day. Came home feeling very blue.

The weather was vile. I was grateful not to be on the road. We didn’t go to Maine for Thanksgiving this year — it was just too much.

Watched a documentary about Great Houses in the UK at night. I’d hoped for history, etc., but it was mostly aristocracy whining about the grand old days.

Read, researched.

Up early on Thursday. Stuffing made, turkey in the oven, the rest of the food prepared. We had a lovely meal at home, just immediate family. I wasn’t exhausted and just trying to get through it, for the first time in years.

Read, rested, figured out this and that for THE RED WIDOW. Dissecting a particular author’s books right now for structure.

Wrote RED WIDOW this morning. Feels good to get back in the groove.

I’m sure it will be a busy day today. Tomorrow’s my Saturday “off” — I have a lot to do, including decorating and starting the overseas cards, which have to go out by Monday in order to get to Europe in time for the holidays. Monday, I’m helping decorate the Marine Life Center tree for Spectacle of the Trees, and Tuesday, there are several things I may need to do — one of them involves going out of town, if the weather holds. Next week, in general, will be very busy — my long week at work, plus various events in the evening.

I am not ready for the holiday season, but I’m hoping that decorating and writing cards will get me in the spirit!

And I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

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Published in: on November 28, 2014 at 9:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 28, 2014: Back to Work After A Good Day  

Thurs. Nov. 27, 2014: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

May your day be filled with warmth, joy, and good food.

Published in: on November 27, 2014 at 9:34 am  Comments (2)  

Wed. Nov. 26, 2014: Almost Thanksgiving!

Wed. Nov. 26, 2014

Waxing Moon

Stormy and cold

 

Busy few days. Friday was challenging at work, to say the least. Came home and started cooking for my friend’s book launch the next day.

Up early on Saturday, cooked for the party. Dashed up to the West Barnstable Community Center, where the Cape Cod Woodturners were doing a demonstration. They were with the library during Village Day, and I wanted to support them. I talked to them, watched some demonstrations, and bought a lovely, small, walnut bowl. It was a first sale for a new member. So we were all delighted.

Finished the cooking and packing, loaded the car, and drove to the library. Helped decorate for the launch and set out the food. It was an excellent turn-out, about 70 people, and they bought books. It was Trisha Leaver’s launch of her book CREED. The woman representing Titcomb’s Bookshop was delightful. There were lots of good conversations. I think Trisha had fun — she could relax and celebrate with family and friends, after all the professional appearances she’d done for the book. I’m glad we could give her a good day.

Came home, had dinner, read.

Up early Sunday. It was a day off, in that I did stuff around the house and read a lot. Did some research for upcoming books. Did some work on INITIATE. Figured out where I went so far wrong on THE RED WIDOW, so now I can fix it. I needed to write all that exposition I wrote, but now I need to make it what it’s meant to be — an action-filled piece. I think I can do it. I’m thinking of writing the outline for the series arc, so I can sort out which points have to be hit in which books for which pairs of protagonists (since each novella in the series has a different set of central protagonists, who are supporting characters in the rest of the books). It’s a structural challenge, but I think I’m up to it, if I roll up my sleeves and do the work. Just means it’s not a quick thing I can dash off for the publisher, since BALTHAZAAR is taking longer than I thought.

I went to Centerville library to send off some stuff, but the internet was down. Came home and the power was down. In spite of that, I had a fabulous writing day. I prepared two submission packages, and nearly finished a third.

Watched THE 39 STEPS, the 2012 remake, in the evening, my “homework” for the Masterpiece Book and Film Club. Realized I’d watched it when it first came out.

Up early yesterday; another good yoga session. Finished the third submission package, and went to Centerville library to send them all out. Three submission packages gone; hopefully, they will all hit true and some contracts will come my way in a few weeks; now I have to focus on finishing BALTAHAZAAR TREASURE, THE RED WIDOW, and drafting INITIATE.

Also sent off one of the plays someone is considering producing. I should write a serious play, but I had an idea for something comic that I might play with.

Spent a good portion of the rest of the day doing yard work. We have a big storm coming in, and we wanted to get as much of it done as possible. Furniture is oiled and brought inside. Front yard and part of no-man’s land are now raked and the leaves brought to the dump. As snow melts and things dry out over the next few weeks, I’ll finish the rest of it. Unfortunately, on most of my days off, it’s rained, and I haven’t been able to do any yard work.

It was so weird outside yesterday — in the sixties, temperature-wise, but this oppressive atmosphere. I could feel the incoming storm in my skin, which is the weirdest feeling, and very uncomfortable. It was very different from the usual incoming storm sensations. This morning, I’m just back to my usual pre-storm headache. It’s kind of raining, but once it really starts storming, the headache will ease.

Need to write the next Bronwyn story (she’s my protag in “Lake Justice”). I have the opening and a basic sense of the plot, but need to flesh it out. Needs to be in the 20K range, which takes a bit of doing. But my editor wants more from this character.

The dilemma is always, do I do 1K on a variety of projects, moving between them, making slow but steady progress? Or do I focus fully on one at a time? Sometimes one way works best for me, sometimes another.

The point is to keep at it and GET IT DONE, no matter what other distractions are around.

I’ve spent too many weeks lately dithering, and the job stress hasn’t helped. This weekend, along with all the decorating and card writing and regular writing I’m doing, I am going to figure out the GDR questions for next year and then start writing my next one, three, and five year plans.

Have a wonderful holiday. Safe travel!

Devon

Published in: on November 26, 2014 at 9:08 am  Comments (2)  

Fri. Nov. 21, 2014: Prepping for Parties & Freelance Flow

Friday, November 21, 2014
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

BUSY day at the library yesterday. Good busy, but busy, between patrons and short story group and programming and grant ideas and all of that.

Also, suddenly, I’m getting a lot of requests for my scripting and editing services. I need to make sure I don’t overbook. I wasn’t going to take on ANYTHING new between now and the end of the year, just finish what I’ve got and concentrate on my own writing, but some of these gigs are awfully tempting. And I’d like to bank a bit against both a rainy day and some of the things I need/want to do next year. But I also don’t want to overbook and not be able to give each piece the attention and skill it deserves. So I said yes to a few things, and asked for more information on other things. I’m grateful for a feast cycle, but I also don’t want to sabotage myself by taking on too much.

Grocery store after work, to get some additional things for Saturday’s party. I decided to make a few additional things.

Home, dinner, research. Exhausted and to bed early, which meant I woke up at 1 AM. Managed to get to sleep again.

Up early, writing, worked on student manuscripts. To work, for a busy day of promotion, programming, getting out information. Must run to the store again for a couple of last-minute things. I’ll be baking tonight and preparing what can be prepared ahead. Tomorrow, I’ll make three dozen devilled eggs, do the stuffed celery, and the chocolate bruschetta. I also have to run over to West Barnstable to visit the Woodturners’ event – they are always so good to us, I want to support them.

The book launch for CREED is tomorrow, late afternoon, here at the library. Sunday is going to be an intense writing and yard work day, as are Monday and Tuesday.

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week!

Have a happy one!

Devon

Published in: on November 21, 2014 at 9:33 am  Comments (4)  
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Thurs. Nov. 20, 2014: Preparing for New Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions

Thursday, November 20, 2014
Day before Dark Moon
Windy and cold

Very busy the last few days, but what isn’t, coming in to the holidays?

Last Saturday, a colleague needed to switch with me for the Saturday “on” at the library, so I worked. Which was fine, except I was in terrible pain again. Fortunately, I think I’ve figured out the root cause; now I just have to work to solve it.

We dashed out to Yarmouth to a couple of stores and got the holiday cards we wanted. We’re going to write the overseas cards the weekend after Thanksgiving and get them out December 1. In NY, we mailed overseas cards on the 12th and domestic by the 15th, and they’d get there. But here, the overseas cards take much longer, for whatever reason (even though the rates have gone WAAAAY up). So we’ll get them out by the first, and, if we’re lucky, maybe they’ll hit by Valentine’s Day.

Baked the lemon cakes for Taste of the Mills that night. Up early on Sunday. Worked my way through a lot of research books. Wrote. Ran some errands.

Worked Taste of the Mills. Community suppers aren’t really my thing, but, to my surprise, I enjoyed myself. I got to talk to a lot of people; I helped set up and clean up, and I floated during the event, making sure the servers had what they needed for the eaters. There were plenty of pleasantries-in-passing, but I also managed a couple of in-depth conversations with some interesting people. So it was all good.

Monday, I was seriously under the weather. I read and wrote, but didn’t get much else done, and had to pull out of a commitment that evening. Tuesday, I was up early, early, and off to the ferry. Made the 8:15 ferry. Wrote on the ferry – I have to say, I LOVE writing on the ferry.

My friend picked me up at Vineyard Haven, and we spent the day touring all six of the Martha’s Vineyard libraries. They are fantastic! Each one has a unique, wonderful personality. The staffs are terrific. Their ideas are wonderful. Their commitment is wonderful. The energy, everything, was just great. It was a beautiful autumn day – it was a truly happy, happy day on many levels. I do want to do more over there – whether it’s partnering with libraries on programs or expanding the Writers’ Center Reach out there or sometimes just taking the ferry over and finding a place to write for awhile.

It gets me thinking and re-thinking. I’m getting ready to post the questions for the upcoming cycle of Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. I have a lot to think about for the coming cycle, and decisions to make in the next year. I am entering my fifth year here on the Cape, and I have to make some long-term decisions about where I want my writing life to go in the next one, three, and five years, and where I want the rest of my life to go. I have to ask myself some difficult questions and come up with honest answers. It’s a positive, not a negative thing, and the experiences I’ve had since I moved here are part of what motivates these questions and these decisions. I have to see where my fantasy of living on the Cape and the reality merge and where they diverge. I have to decide how that fits into what I want and need in my life, and start working from there. I have to make sure things are moving forward in a balanced way – it’ll never be ALWAYS balanced, but I have to make sure that there’s a certain amount of stability and continuity in order for the writing to thrive.

Tuesday night, I read and wrote. I’ve been watching THE MURDOCH MYSTERIES, which I like, but I expected to love, and didn’t. I also did my homework for the Masterpiece Book and Film Club – Evelyn Waugh’s A HANDFUL OF DUST. I liked SCOOP and THE LOVED ONES, but, as effective and disturbing as this book was, I can’t say I LIKED it.

Wednesday, I went in early, got a bit done, then headed off to Sturgis Library for a reference committee meeting. I LOVE their genealogy room and their maritime collection room. When I go back to researching the whaling mysteries, I want to do a good deal of research and writing IN the space.

My mom and I switched off on the car – -she had something to do, and I was back at the library. Book and Film club in the afternoon, and processing some more books. Working on programming and ideas/information to help with the grants we want to land so that we CAN expand the programming. Following up on conversations had on the Vineyard.

Dashed home in the evening, microwaved something quick to eat, then headed BACK to Sturgis, because my friend Trisha Leaver was part of a YA panel, along with four other writers. The writers were all really good and it was an interesting discussion. I hope we can do some events with them here at our library, too. Trisha’s book launch is on Saturday, so we’re also finalizing details.

After the event, three of us went to Amari for drinks and snacks and discussion. Again, I’m starting to articulate the issues I need to resolve in the coming months. I thought I’d be all settled, but there’s another wave of growth and change coming. Guess I should be grateful – at least I’m not dead!

Early to the library this morning; called in to an NMLC Board meeting, and short story group’s going on. It will be another busy day, and I have to hit the grocery store on the way home – I’m preparing some of the food for Trisha’s book launch on Saturday, and I want to make sure I’m not scrambling at the last minute.

I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and going in to the holidays isn’t too stressful!

My story “Loyalty Strata” is in the NEW LEGENDS: MERCENARIES, ENGINEERS, and CAPTAINS anthology that drop this weekend at the Miami International Book Fair. It’s my first published steampunk.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on November 20, 2014 at 10:17 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 20, 2014: Preparing for New Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions  

Sat. Nov. 15: Beautiful Autumn

Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

I love autumn, in spite of the early darkness. There’s something wonderful about it.

Busy few days – the post I’d scheduled to go up yesterday didn’t, so I’m posting something today.

I watched season two of SLINGS AND ARROWS, and have now started season three. It makes me laugh, and remember my days in rep theatre. It’s a well-done show. Most of my favorite work, lately, is coming out of Canada.

Research, research, research on the books/stories on deadlines and for the grants I’m helping out with for some former professors. I’ve also written some press releases for the library, and some ideas on grants and programming, and gotten out the information for BREAKFAST WITH SANTA, the NMLC fundraiser. Student work and information, and my own work. It means late nights and early mornings to get it all done, but that’s the gig. I’m deep in the plans for my friend’s book launch next week, and preparing for the December programs, and looking ahead to programs well into next spring.

I need to sit down with my 2015 calendar and list of projects/deadlines for my own work, and slot things in. There will be more script work next year, and I have to make sure I stay on top of it all. I’m near the end of the five year plan I had when I left New York, so I have to assess what’s happened, where I am now, and my vision for the next few years. What I’ve experienced since moving here have influenced what I want to do and where I want to go in the next few years, and I have to figure some things out and make some plans.

I’m getting Thanksgiving, the Yuletide season and all the stuff that needs to happen with that, and thinking ahead to what needs to be planned on a personal level in January.

It’ll be a busy weekend – I was supposed to be “off” from the library this Saturday, but switched with a colleague who has to take care of something, and there’s a program, and then I have to run some errands (ran some at 7 AM, too) and bake for tomorrow’s TASTE OF THE MILLS. Monday, I’m in the writing cave most of the day, but I have a Canal Chamber meeting in the evening over the bridge, and Tuesday, I’m on the Vineyard.

Onward! Lots of fun stuff.

Have a great weekend! It is GORGEOUS here!

Devon

Published in: on November 15, 2014 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Sat. Nov. 15: Beautiful Autumn  

Thurs. Nov. 13, 2014: Working in All Directions

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy few days. Can I even remember back that far?

Been busy at work, been busy at home. Doing a lot of research; working on RED WIDOW. Also went back to a couple of other projects that are in various stages, went over the material, and I’m re-sorting those priorities. Not getting enough yard work done. Getting paperwork done, especially on the home front, contracts, and the like, and preparing submissions.

Got another small royalty check and the payment for the anthology that’s about to release. I’m excited – my first steampunk story in print! That will drop at the end of next week.

Doing my wreck diving homework for the background on BALTHAZAAR – behind where I’d like to be, but it’s getting done, and a lot of it is creative work, sitting on the floor with a large piece of paper, trying to visualize things. Putting together lots of questions.

A project in DC I thought was dead due to the change in Congress is still on the burner – it may be another six months to a year before it’s up and running, but there’s grant writing and proposal writing to be done in the meantime, interviews to be conducted, etc. If it happens (and there are so many “ifs” involved), it will mean going to DC on some of the days I’m not scheduled to work elsewhere. Not that I mind, especially if someone else is making the arrangements and paying for it! It’s a project I really want to be involved with, although I’m a way out of the box choice – which is exactly why the person heading the project, a former professor of mine, is bound and determined that I remain a part of it.

Got a request for a play of mine – a company in Florida is interested in it. That might be kind of fun, adding it to the resume. I’d just license it, not go down and work on it.

Went to see a facility here on the Cape in connection with another project, earlier this week. I was disappointed. I expected more from the location. I’m still glad I saw it, and it made the creative wheels turn, but I don’t see how we can work out the practicalities in the near future.

Yesterday, Talin Bookbindery did a program at the library. It was magnificent, one of the best programs I’ve attended anywhere. I was even more enchanted with the bookbinding process by the end of it than at the beginning. And the process of making marbled papers! A true art. Wonderful.

Spending lots of time on student work. Hopefully, the students are getting something positive out of it. It was the right route to go for the past few months, only working with private students, and teaching groups in one-shot deals, not long-term classes. I’m under too much deadline pressure right now for anything else.

Even though I was “on” last Saturday here, I switched with a colleague for this weekend, who has a commitment. Not a problem at all. And I have to participate in “Taste of the Mills” this weekend, and write up some proposals for new programs. Monday, I’m in the writing cave; Tuesday, I’m spending the day on Martha’s Vineyard. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate!

The webs in RED WIDOW and the novellas connected to it intrigue me. I’m wondering just how far I can push certain elements in this series. Guess I’ll find out soon, huh?

Devon

Fri. Nov. 7, 2014: Re-energized

Friday, November 07, 2014
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Busy couple of days, and my apologies for not blogging. Busy at work. Busy at home. A lot going on that has to be juggled.

We had a good Writers’ Center Board meeting on Wednesday night. The new board members bring fresh enthusiasm and Ideas – I hope we can implement some of them.

I’m not where I want to be on RED WIDOW, but the arcs for the entire series are becoming clearer, and I’m understanding what needs to be set up in this novella in order for them to make sense. I need to do a final pass over two novel manuscripts of other projects this weekend in order to submit them early next week.

Yesterday was another busy day at work. After, the magnificent Trisha Leaver taught a workshop on the craft of the short story. It was a small, but enthusiastic group, and we all got a lot out of it. It clarified a few points in some of my current work where I’m having trouble, and reminded me what to look for moving forward.

I’m doing the prep work for next Wednesday’s book club (Kate Carlisle’s HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER). I’m doing research on Colette (for INITIATE – which sounds weird, but there’s a method to this madness) and doing my wreck diving homework.

Last night, I finally gave up and took valerian root before bed. I don’t take it often, but I finally slept through the night for the first time in weeks and woke up without being in excruciating pain – this week has been very difficult. There’s still some echo pain, but, overall, I feel better. I was able to have a good yoga session this morning, and I hope to do some intense practice over the weekend, in and around the writing.

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on” here at the library, and Sunday morning, I’m going to catch the end of a conference located an hour or so upstate, connected to an organization I re-joined this month. Monday and Tuesday, I plan to be offline in the writing cave, writing and working on students’ manuscripts.

My calendars for next year are supposed to arrive soon – the dates are stacking up. I’ll be a guest blogger on C.L. Lawrence’s blog in late January – I’m already playing with ideas. I have to sit down with the manuscripts and contracts and make sure everything’s entered properly, and they’ve been reshuffled to fit the commitments. I also need to finish putting the garden to bed.

Have a wonderful weekend, all, and I’ll check back in next week!

It’s so nice to be almost pain-free. Even if it’s only for a few days, it makes a big difference.

Devon

Wed. Nov. 5, 2014: This and That and a Good Review

Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. It was nice to actually have some time off this weekend. I desparately needed it. I had to excommunicate someone from my universe, but that’s the way it goes, sometimes. Toxic people need to go.

I got a lot done around the house this weekend, read a lot, wrote quite a bit, but never enough. It never IS enough, no matter how much is written. Worked on student work. Made some plans. Put away the Samhain decorations, curtains, etc., and put up the winter curtains.

On Saturday, we went grocery shopping. When we came back, the house was cold and smelled of gas. I called the heating people, and they sent someone out. The ignitor switch failed and had to be replaced; he had the new part in his truck, thank goodness. So we had heat before the snowstorm hit.

Yup, on Sunday, there was snow. Tucked in and read and wrote all day. Needed the break.

Monday, I was up at 4:30 in the morning and on the road by 6. Headed to Worcester, for the annual meeting for the state library system. It was a good day. Great people, good program. Glad I went. It’s wonderful to meet and talk with colleagues – see how everyone handles challenges, the unique challenges each library faces, etc. Definitely time well spent.

Came home, worked. Yesterday, worked all day on various projects, ran errands, trying to get out some submissions. There’s some unpleasant stuff going on that has to be dealt with. It makes me unhappy, but, even beyond that, it makes me sad. I don’t like people who are two-faced and hypocritical. When someone pretends to be one thing and reveals the true self – always better to know sooner than later, but still . . .but, that’s life. Know a lot of people. Have a few friends.

Got a nice review of “Lake Justice”. Both reviews have marked on the shortness of the piece. That WAS the point – that these are short pieces. They’re clearly marked as shorts, so I’m not sure where the confusion comes in. I am, however, gratified that people want more.

Lots of writing to do this week and weekend. Onward!

Devon

Published in: on November 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm  Comments (2)