Dec. 31, 2015: Happy New Year’s Eve!

new-years-eve-post-headerHappy New Year — I’ve got my wrap-up for the year over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions here.

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Published in: on December 31, 2015 at 11:29 am  Comments Off on Dec. 31, 2015: Happy New Year’s Eve!  

Fri. Dec. 25, 2015: Merry Christmas!

victorian_christmas morn

Published in: on December 25, 2015 at 1:42 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 25, 2015: Merry Christmas!  

Dec. 24, 2015: Merry Christmas Eve!

Santa Sleigh

Published in: on December 24, 2015 at 12:40 am  Comments Off on Dec. 24, 2015: Merry Christmas Eve!  

Dec. 23, 2015: Preparing for a Warm Holiday (in every sense of the Word)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Waxing Moon
Sunny and warm

Can’t believe how warm it’s been. Things are starting to blooms!

Still working on holiday cards – got a stack of them in the mail this morning, but I suspect some of the them will be more like New Year’s cards. My apologies!

Tough few days, but I survived, simply because I am not going to succumb to manipulative b.s.

I finally finished the historical play and submitted it to the company in New York! It’s called “Confidence Confidant” and is about one of Kate Warne’s cases. Kate was the first female hired by Allan Pinkerton. She was known for her undercover work – good at gaining the confidence of the suspected criminals. Basically, she pulled the long con on the con artists! This play focuses on her work on the Adams Express Company case. I spent months researching, and it was fun to write.

I’ve got a company overseas interested in a full-length version, so I’m going to open it out a bit.

But it was good to get the deadline met and done.

Knitting group was fun last night.

Supposedly I’ve won a writers’ retreat stay in Vermont, but I’m having trouble actually getting a response from them to settle the details. Hopefully, it’s not a scam.

Tomorrow will be my first day off in 25 days, and I’m looking forward to it. I want a nice, quiet Christmas of family, food, reading, and writing!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Devon

Published in: on December 23, 2015 at 10:38 am  Comments Off on Dec. 23, 2015: Preparing for a Warm Holiday (in every sense of the Word)  
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Thurs. Dec. 17, 2016: Better Not to Give Today a Title

Thursday, December 17, 2015
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cool

Busy day yesterday – mixed day. Lots of little, niggly things that could add up to bigger frustrations if I don’t remember to step back and breathe.

Getting irritated, because there are certain factions who come in to work who gripe when I don’t have baked goods out at the desk. Sorry, I’m not the designated pastry chef. I share baked goods when I can; it’s a gift, not an obligation. And if you’re going to suck all the joy out of it, I won’t do it anymore. Typical of this area – if you do something nice for someone, instead of appreciation, it leads to demands.

I managed to get three loads of laundry done before I left for work.

Came home last night, exhausted. However, we managed to finish decorating the big tree, get the skirt on, and get it into place. Our herd of sparkly deer are now on the hearth, and the nutcrackers are all through the house. I still have to set up the Santa collection, and finish the display under the small tree. And then – we are decorated!

I still have to rearrange a bunch of stuff before the party on the 3rd, but that’s okay.

Working on my domestic holiday cards, and plotting what to get my person for Secret Santa – I love Secret Santa. I love coming up with creative, small, fun gifts.

Baked for the tango party when I got home.

Up early this morning; a little work on TIE-CUTTER. Created a crockpot recipe that will cook while I’m out and about today. I was at Trader Joe’s when it opened at eight a.m. to pick up milk and eggs, and swung by the post office to mail some of the cards.

Today will be a long day, then I have to run home, eat, change, and spend a bit of time at the tango party before running to another event, and then going home to work on more cards.

My last day off was November 29. My next day off is December 24. Not the best planning on my part.

Devon

Published in: on December 17, 2015 at 9:30 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 17, 2016: Better Not to Give Today a Title  

Wed. Dec. 16, 2015: Moving Forward at Full Speed

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Waxing Moon
Sunny and mild

I have been going flat out. I can’t wait for my next day off – Christmas Eve. I’m going to sleep until I have to get up and make dinner! 😉

Saturday, I had errands in the morning, then made it to the JFK Museum just before 10. I got the trees plugged in, organized the shift, and worked it. Shift changed at 12:30, and I raced home, got something to eat, and took my mom to the Scandinavian celebration at the Lutheran Church up in W. Barnstable. The quilts were gorgeous, but I fell in love with a Christmas mouse ornament, and that was my choice. She’s adorable, and now adorns the desk.

A neighbor is moving, and I inherited her gorgeous patio table and chairs. I ran and had dinner with another friend, and then headed back to British Beer Pub to meet up with Library friends before heading over for the Spectacle Drawing.

It went smoothly and was lots of fun. The person who won the NMLC tree jumped up and down, shouting with joy. It was so cute! We got all the details sorted for the pickup. The winner of the library tree was local, and that got sorted.

Home, tired, but started watching season 3 of MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES. It was cute, but I thought it missed some of the sense of fun of the earlier seasons.

Up early on Sunday. Got some stuff done around the house, then headed back to the museum. Helped pack up the NMLC tree, helped haul the Funraisers tree; the library tree was handled.

Home, more decorating, prepared and delivered cookie platters to the neighbors.

Up early on Monday. More cookie platters, wrote the overseas cards, got everything mailed, more decorating in the afternoon and more errands. Tuesday, again, up early, got the car inspected, ordered the online gifts, grocery shopped and ran other errands.

Was exhausted by the time I got home, but did more organizing. Managed three loads of laundry before I left for work this morning.

I’m behind on the play, but got a short extension. This coming weekend, I have to buckle down and get it finished and polished properly.

Somewhere in there, I managed to get some work done on TIE-CUTTER. I really like the book. It feels right.

Planning my “Nine Ladies Dancing” Party (since Twelfth Night, this year, is on a Wednesday). I have two parties to go to this year, Secret Santa to do, domestic cards to finish writing, and, of course, the house to finish decorating!

Somehow, it will all get done!

Devon

Published in: on December 16, 2015 at 10:53 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 16, 2015: Moving Forward at Full Speed  

Fri. Dec. 11, 2015: Great Conference, Long Stretch Ahaead

Friday, December 11, 2015
New Moon
Foggy and mild

Busy couple of days. Busy at work on Wednesday. Home, exhausted, and prepping for Thursday.

Yesterday was the Cape Coastal Conference, over at the Hyannis Conference Center and Resort. The eight hours felt like two. Lots of information – a lot to think about. However, until the community starts showing political will, the ideas and needs are going to fail. We have to put politicians in office who represent our needs, not those of special interests who basically feel if we’re not rich enough, we deserve to die. The avoidance around here of taking any sort of political action so that we can implement the needed changes is very frustrating.

Home, tired, and had to get some work done. I’m behind on the holiday cards – oh, well! 😉

Woke up at 3 AM, couldn’t get back to sleep until 5, and then was disoriented. Got myself out of the house on time, though, to do a delivery up to Long Pasture, and then go to work.

Today will be a long day, too, and tonight I have to work on cards.

Early early tomorrow, I have to take another load of leaves to the dump and then hit the post office, before working Trees, taking a quick break, and going back for the drawing. Sunday is the Santa Lucia Festival at the Lutheran church in W. Barnstable. And then we head into next week.

I’ll have to dig deep to finish the play on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, so it will be ready to send off on Thursday. Two parties next week, along with working, and then we get into Solstice/Christmas week. I’m behind on my Solstice preparations, too! 😉

Somehow, it will all come together. Then, I have to dig deep for BALTHAZAAR. And I miss working on CHOLERIC and TIE-CUTTER. Lots to do, little energy.

But I am determined to find joy in the holiday season! Hope you are, too!

Devon

Published in: on December 11, 2015 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 11, 2015: Great Conference, Long Stretch Ahaead  

Wed. Dec. 9, 2015: Fun All Around

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Waning Moon
Cloudy and mild

I’m grateful we don’t have snow yet, but I’m a little worried that we’re supposed to hit 60 this weekend. A little too warm for this time of year!

I’ve been going flat out all week. Friday and Saturday I zombie’d through work – barely made it through, but I did. I had plenty to do at home around work. Sunday I baked, and then attended the Marstons Mills Stroll.

The Stroll was fun – it was simple – start at the Community Church, pick up the brown bag with the list of places participating, and follow it around town. It was just enough, not too much, and I didn’t know several of the businesses before – but I will certainly go back to them and shop!

The Church rang their bell, we gathered around the tree for the lighting and to sing carols. It was nice. Simple in the right way, and a lot of fun.

After, I took my mom for a drive along 6A, so that we could enjoy the large light sculptures that various businesses have commissioned. They were beautiful. In previous years, they’d only used white lights – now there are a combination, and it is wonderful!

Home, some more baking, and even a bit of writing.

Monday, I was up at 4:30, so I could get my yoga and meditation practice done before I had to leave for the NMLC Board Meeting. Had the Board meeting, came back, and headed over to Titcomb’s Bookshop for the Ann Hood event. She’s promoting her newest book, KNITTING PEARLS. Several knitting groups attended – there were about 60 people there! I brought my mom along, and both of us knitted along. Yes, even I knitted – my mystery project – -and it was fun.

I was wearing one of the sweaters my mom knitted, and she got many compliments –and an invitation to join the Titcomb Bookshop knitters! It’s good for her to get out and do stuff like that.

Ann’s presentation was lovely and fun, and I got a chance to chat with her for a bit at the signing.

We came home, and I started baking again. I didn’t finish baking until after 11 at night – but – the holiday baking is done – at least, for the cookie platters.

Yesterday morning, we took a carload of leaves to the dump – and gave the guys their cookie platter – and delivered some of the other cookie platters, to the firehouse, etc. Home, early lunch, and then over to the JFK Museum, because it was my NMLC shift for Spectacle of Trees. The trees are all so beautiful and unique. It was a joy to spend time with them. We had more people come through in the first hour than in my entire shift last year. People were nice, they were excited, and, importantly, they bought Tree Bucks and put them in boxes. Which is great, because each organization gets 100% of their Tree Bucks.

So tired when I got home that I barely made it through dinner and couldn’t even read.

Up early this morning to do some more cookie platter deliveries. Long day at work, and then I have to do the platters for the neighbors.

I’m at a conference tomorrow (local, but still a conference), then working Friday, then doing Spectacle on Saturday, and Saturday night is the drawing.

Sunday, I may help with the trees, and I have to spend most of the day writing. Monday and Tuesday are errands and writing, because my play needs to go out on Thursday – so next week is shaping up to be busy.

And Solstice and Christmas are in, what, two weeks? Hannukah is already happening.

I want to keep the holidays simple – of course, I still have to write my cards! I’d rather it was about food and friends than stuff.

I haven’t put many words on paper, but I’m doing a lot of “writing in my head” as I run around, which, when I actually do sit down, makes it flow more smoothly.

Devon

Published in: on December 9, 2015 at 11:16 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 9, 2015: Fun All Around  
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Fri. Dec. 4, 2015: Challenging Day, Fun Night

Friday, December 4, 2015
Waning Moon
Sunny and Mild

Yesterday was a challenge, to say the least. Three programs at the building, back to back all day, before heading over to the VIP Party for Spectacle of the Trees. No, I was not responsible for the poor scheduling; yes, I had to clean up the mess. Don’t get me started.

I was already exhausted and running on fumes by the time I got to the party, but, because it was so lovely and lively, I perked up a bit. Fabulous turnout – it was sold out. The NMLC wreath was auctioned off for over $1400, which was brilliant. I wound up helping out as an auction spotter, which was fun. I hadn’t realized how many people I knew from various events around the Cape. It was fun.

Came home, exhausted, but so overtired I couldn’t sleep right away.

Up early this morning, still exhausted. But there’s a full day of work for me today and tomorrow, not to mention catching up on writing. I have a play due on the 17th. And I have to finish BALTHAZAAR and the two Nano novels.

This weekend, it’s my “Saturday on”, and then I plan to do my holiday baking – and there’s a caroling event I have to attend on Sunday. Monday is an NMLC Board meeting and an event at Titcomb’s. Tuesday I’m working a shift at Spectacle, and then it’s back here at the desk again through next week, working Spectacle again on Saturday and then attending the drawing.

I’m very, very, very tired, but so is everyone else who’s been working flat out. Eventually, we’ll catch up!

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on December 4, 2015 at 10:10 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 4, 2015: Challenging Day, Fun Night  

Thurs. Dec. 3, 2015: Running on Fumes

Thursday, December 03, 2015
Waning Moon
Foggy and mild

Thank Goodness I finished Nano before Thanksgiving, or I’d have had a nervous breakdown!

Thanksgiving was good – we stayed in Ogonquit, even got to walk the beach, and then headed up to Gray for the dinner with 46 people – none of whom are Trump supporters, thank goodness.

The hotel was lovely, we managed to avoid traffic, and, all in all, had a terrific time.

The cats were upset – they still miss Violet, and I think they were worried we weren’t coming back. A good part of the weekend was spent soothing them.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving was my Saturday “on” at work, so that was busy. Sunday, I was trying to get the decorating going – I’d started Friday, and was just too tired on Saturday after work to get anything done.

Monday, we hit Spectacle of Trees flat out. Loaded up the car at the library, headed over to the JFK Museum. Bounced between helping with the library tree and the Marine Life Center tree – although, to give credit where credit is due, I didn’t do much on the Marine Life Center tree. They had it down!

Ran some errands for the trees, came home, tried to get some decorating done. If I never see another twinkle light, it will be too soon. Well, until next year, anyway!

First thing Tuesday was a dump run, and then over to the museum to consult on the tree before heading to yet another funeral – for the mother of a fellow NMLC Board member. Several of us went together. It was a lovely service, with beautiful, fun remembrances by family members.

Then, I headed to Target, running more errands for Spectacle – and back to the museum to drop things off.

Home for a quick bite, then took my mother to the knitting group, where she had a good time, while I tried to get some other work done –Including fighting with TMobile. The card I bought to refill the phone couldn’t be read – the PIN was too faint – and they didn’t want to credit me, although I had both the serial number from the card and the activation code from the purchase site. It took over an hour to get it sorted out, and then it was a mess again the next morning, and I had to fight again. I’m tired of these customer service reps who lie when they get tired of dealing with a situation. Fix the damn problem, or pass me on to a supervisor, as you are required to do BY LAW. Too bad you’re outsourced elsewhere – you have to abide by US LAW.

I bought this phone when my TMobile phone died because I could switch carriers, so that’s what I’ll do in January. Fresh start for the new year.

Wednesday morning, dropped off both wreaths for tonight’s VIP Reception at the Hyannisport Club. Then headed to the JFK Museum, helped fluff both trees. We had lunch at the British Beer Company – surprisingly good – and back to work, where we were exhausted. The adrenalin faded, and we were melting over the furniture. There was a Development Committee meeting until the end of the day, but we were all fried by then.

Home. Baked the gingerbread and the lemon tea cakes for today’s Victorian Tea. Dinner, and to bed early. Baked scones this morning and hit the ground running – four events today. Just thinking about it makes me tired.

Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season!

Devon

Published in: on December 3, 2015 at 11:37 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 3, 2015: Running on Fumes  
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Post Nano Tip: Dec. 2: What You Learned

You might not be able to answer this yet. You might be too tired, and not have enough distance. But it’s worth evaluating your Nano experience.

What did you learn about yourself and your writing?

If one of your writing obstacles is not scheduling daily time to write, did the parameters of Nano help you do that?

Were you too ambitious? Did you make it too easy on yourself?

Are you happy with getting down words on paper? Remember, this is a FIRST DRAFT. It’s not submission-ready. Nor will it be submission-ready if you do a single pass and then run it through spell check.

If you’re not finished, you need to keep up a daily pace, with scheduled days off, until you’re done.

If you finished within Nano, and WHEN you finish outside of Nano, you need to put the draft aside for a long enough period so you can get some objectivity.

Genuine revisions mean you re-envision your novel. It’s about more than just fixing typos and putting in the proper punctuation and smoothing out discrepancies. It’s about restructuring, if necessary. Cutting scenes, characters, chapters, if necessary. Following trails you abandoned originally, because they serve the overall piece better. Adding scenes, if necessary. Re-shaping. Making every sentence sing.

That takes time and commitment. It’s a totally different headspace than is needed to create a first draft.

I prefer to draft in the morning and edit a different project in the afternoon. That way, I can give my full attention to a project in the form in which it needs attention.

What do I believe I learned this Nano?

I learned that 1667+ words a day is not, for the most part, a natural pace for me. I worked on two very, very different projects. Their natural pace was either around 1400 words a day, or around 2000 words a day, depending on whether it was a good day or a mediocre day.

Working on two different projects (minimum) is the norm for me. So the fact that I moved between the two projects wasn’t an obstacle, for the most part. It was a positive in that, when I felt tired or stuck on one, I could move to the other, and keep going. It made it easier to reach the 50K. The downside was that I sometimes I felt I lost focus.

I was worried that, because both novels are in first person, I would muddy the voices. Fortunately, both the characters and genres are different enough that I didn’t. But sometimes I felt I was copping out by moving from one to the other.

However, I still got a great deal of work done on both. The words counted didn’t even include all the character tracking sheets and research I had to stop and do on the way.

I was also inspired to write an outline for a third project, which I did not count in Nano, an historical novel with touches of romance and mystery. I admit, I was tempted to call it “Rebel 2” and work on it. I wrote an outline and basic character relationships – mostly so my protagonists would shut up and let me write the other pieces. But it wasn’t part of my word count.

Another helpful thing I did was sit down with my roster of projects and set deadlines into the future. Some are dictated by my publishing schedule; others I fit in and around those contracts. I am frustrated with the amount of time given for each book, feeling I am not working fast enough; however, it is a realistic schedule to make sure each book is GOOD enough.

The quality is more important than the quantity.

That seems counter to Nano, which focuses on quantity, but it’s actually an outgrowth.

The other helpful thing about this year’s Nano was that I used it to break poor writing habits I’d fallen into over the preceding months. Again, this sounds counter to Nano. But I had been lazy – writing at odd moments or skipping too many days in a row and then binge writing. Nano got me back on a daily writing quota schedule.

I didn’t spend much time on forums this year, which had been one of my great joys in previous years. I got to hang out with other writers in my region, which was nice. Our ML was terrific, and our group was both fun and supportive. I didn’t enjoy myself on the general forums, mostly because I’m at a different place in my writing life than most of them are. I have different obstacles and concerns. I’ve also gone from having low tolerance for whiners to zero tolerance for whiners, and a necessary part of forum interaction is giving people a place to whine.

I need to be around people DOING, not whining, or planning. DOING. Active, not passive. Anything else is too energy-depleting for me right now.

So there were a lot of positives in the past month.

Will I do it again?

Every December, I swear I won’t. However, I won’t really know until November 1 of next year.

I hope you had a wonderful experience and that you keep writing.

Devon

Published in: on December 2, 2015 at 5:41 am  Comments Off on Post Nano Tip: Dec. 2: What You Learned  
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Post Nano Tip: Dec. 1: Now What?

Are you thoroughly exhausted and can’t stand the thought of typing another word? Feel free to take today off.

Because tomorrow, unless you finished your draft – you’re jumping back in! 😉

If you wrote regularly but didn’t reach 50K — good for you, you wrote! Keep writing. Take today off, and, tomorrow, go back to the page and keep going — until you’re done.

If you wrote regularly and hit 50K — good for you! Take today off and go back to the page tomorrow until you finish your draft.

If you already finished the novel — good for you! Put it away and do not look at it for two months. Take today off and start work on something else tomorrow.

Or, because it’s December, give yourself the holidays off and make a commitment to light a candle on January 1 and start writing your next novel.

Good for you!

Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 5:12 am  Comments (1)