Tues. Sept. 11, 2012: Balancing Life With 9/11

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool
11th Anniversary of 9/11

My essay on “9/11 in Fiction” is here. I hope you will stop by to read it and drop a comment.

Today is always a difficult day, no matter where we are. Later on, I will perform the ceremony I created and add to over the years to commemorate the day.

I worked a lot yesterday, but didn’t get enough done. The anthology is off my desk and onto the publisher’s desk, which is a relief. I feel good about the book, and all our contributions to it, but getting all the bits to work smoothly when sending material between different operating systems was challenging.

Speaking of which, I have to update my operating system at the end of this week. The very thought of it gives me agita. But it needs to be done. In fact, first I have to upgrade to Snow Leopard, and only THEN can I put in the newest one, Mountain Lion. I can’t skip a cat.

I have to return a stack of research books today, so I pulled whatever information I still needed. I also have to pick up some books that are on hold for me.

The contest entries I agreed to judge arrived. I will get started on them today.

I was asked to teach a 12-week intensive at a rate that breaks down to $8 per WEEK. Are you kidding me? I was polite when I declined, but I was incredibly insulted by that rate.

Worked on my Sustainability assignments for the week. Worked with my tarot students. Had some preliminary discussions about other fall, winter, and spring classes that need to get on the roster. I’m teaching less, but at rates that reflect more the work put in. And each class is only offered once in year. I want people in class who want to be there, who make it a priority, not who figure, “oh, I can take it or something like it in three months instead”.

Didn’t get enough work done on the revisions, the novel, or the novella, and am not happy about that. However, I spent a couple of much-needed hours in the yard, and it shows. I have to start putting things to bed, and I think one of my rhodies has given up the ghost.

It was so cold this morning that the heat kicked in!

Lots to do today, and only a finite amount of hours (just like everybody else), so I better get going!


Mon. July 2, 2012: Starting July at a Quick Pace

Monday, July 2, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy weekend. Spent most of Friday editing the PSA. I think we did very well with the limited time and resources we had, but I’m also thinking ahead to how we can do something a little slicker next year. Anyway, it was out on time, so hopefully WBZ will start running it between now and the ball in August.

Worked with students, put together the anthology agreement and the editing schedule for the book — the pieces in it are really good, and we’ll have something tangible of which we can all be proud.

Worked in the garden — the front and the terraced back areas are mowed. I’ll have to tackle the meadow this week. I’ll have more to say about the garden on Gratitude and Growth on Wednesday!

Finished the materials for Confidential Job #1, now I have to write it up. Started the ghostwriting project, worked on my articles, got out some interview requests for upcoming articles.

This week, I’ve got articles to write, the ghostwriting project to work on, and it’s my week to take care of Mother’s Park, up the street. I’m going this morning, and, probably, back on Friday. I’ve been invited to participate in a parade and go out on a boat for a press jaunt — I’ll have to see if I can make all the scheduling work out. The July newsletter has to go out either today or tomorrow, because there’s a gosh-darned lot going on in July, and I’ve got a couple of non-fiction ebooks to work on, and the proposal for the “Topic Workbooks”.

Edits on HEART SNATCHER are coming along. I came up with a new idea for one of the characters that I think will make a huge difference. I’m cutting a lot in this draft, but there’s always the possibility I’ll have to expand, if I go back into the direction of a larger socio-political canvas than just a typical paranormal procedural. After all, the tagline for the series is, “Who defines justice?”

Working on two short stories — the Billy Root-centric piece that has to be ready for the July 13 roast-n-toast (don’t worry, you’re all invited — check out what he’s got to say here), and a short story due on Friday. The latter, which has to be a stretch in a genre I haven’t yet worked in this year, is kind of like herding cats. I’ve worked on several ideas, but they either are too much story for the parameters, or they turn into something mystery or paranormal, along the lines of what I’ve been working in. After those two, I need to take another look at “The Possession of Nattie Fillmore” to get it up and out again, and write a paranormal short story under the Annabel Aidan name. While keeping up with the novel deadlines, and the freelance work. Juggling cats, that’s what it is!

Mahoney’s had a sale — got a cilantro plant, some more geraniums, and a black-eyed Susan I’m putting in the front. I’ve got to get some pages done now, and then go over to Mother’s Park, before I get started on the rest of my freelance day.

The weather’s beautiful, and I’m enjoying re-reading Susan Wittig Albert’s magnificent AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS. What a beautiful book!


Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Fri. June 22, 2012: Articles & Acceptances

Friday, June 22, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

HOT day yesterday. 1and1 still hasn’t fixed the problem– so the site’s been unable to be updated for a week, as of today. I’m interviewing other webhosts. I’d liked the package from Fat Cow, but there are so many billing complaints filed against them that I’m rethinking that choice. IPages and Webhosting Hub look pretty good so far, but I’m still in early stages. It has to be a site I can handle myself at a price I can manage.

My article about the Mermaid Ball is live on Cape Cod Women Online here. Enjoy!

The house didn’t get too bad in the heat. We had fans going, and it was okay inside. The upstairs was too hot — but of course, that’s where the cats hung out, until about mid-afternoon,when they wised up and came down to the fans. Tessa is afraid of the fans, but the other two remembered them.

Sent off my first article for the series of six I’m doing for one publication; pitched about a half a dozen articles to another publication, and, after some to-ing and fro-ing, they were accepted. Heard from the person on the ghostwriting project that the check was mailed; once it arrives, I can get going on that.

Tried to work on the second book of the trilogy, but didn’t get very far. Ripped apart the next three chapters of the first book for the next revision. A group of us are putting together an anthology, which will be fun. The stories are REALLY cool. It’s the first appearance for my sci-fi character, Fiona Steele, and I’m looking forward to it. She doesn’t bother to take names — she just kicks ass! 😉

Got up very early this morning to water everything, then sat on the deck and wrote my first 1K of the day on one project (there are two projects I’m shifting between in the morning). I’ve got a writer’s breakfast this morning with the Cape Cod Writers Center over in Osterville, then I’ve got to get started on the next articles, write two press releases, and a PSA script. Busy day — but I’m looking forward to it.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I’ve got a blog post up about Dialogue over at RWA’s Fantasy, Future, and Paranormal Chapter, here.

I’m teaching over there for two weeks in April.

Yesterday was an outstanding writing day, the type I reach for all the time. I wrote 29 pages on MODERN CREATION MYTHS, 20 in the morning, and 9 in the afternoon. I’ve developed the antagonists so they’re more fully dimensional. Even when they’re working together for a common cause, they’re still drawn very individually, with their personal, distinct reasons for making the choices they’re making clearly drawn, and separate motivations revealed over the course of the story. Money plays into their desires, but each one has specific reasons outside of money for deciding to be on that side of the fight. It gives my ensemble of protagonists a lot more to work with.

I hit a stuck point/stopping point in the afternoon, partially because I was tired, and partially because I wasn’t sure how to bridge into the next plot sequence. I hopped onto Twitter for a little mindless distraction. It just so happened, a few tweets down, an actor I follow had been shooting on Malibu beach during “golden hour” and posted an absolutely luscious photo. That photo unlocked the inspiration for what drives the next bridging section.

Yes, I made a note to thank him in the acknowledgements!

It was one of those lovely moments of synchronicity, where we were both doing our thing, happened to convene on social media at the same time, and he provided the inspiration I needed. I love when that happens.

Because actors (good ones) tend to work in a pretty high state of sensory awareness, they’re capable of capturing a moment — either in a performance or in a photo where they grab a moment outside themselves that they want to preserve in time — and sharing it in ways that make others see the world differently. All artists do that — writers, actors, painters, potters — they capture a moment in time to make the audience experience the world differently, albeit briefly.

So that was that, and a good day’s work on that piece. Then, I did some work on the Tele Seminar, including working on the landing page. Firefox (the only server I can work on my web host with) was wonky yesterday, so I have to go back and finish today.

Spent a good chunk of time on my students’ work, and am really pleased at their positive, playful, committed attitude. My workshops seem very structured at the outset, but once you’re in them, there’s a lot of creative freedom within the structure.

In the evening, I wrote nearly 5K on a project for an anthology. I was going to pass on it, but some ideas have been swirling. The characters I originally envisioned for this piece said, “No, sorry, we’re busy doing something else”, but a new cast of characters stepped up to the plate, and off we went. I haven’t written in this genre in a very long time, and wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to it, but I’m rolling with it, and seeing where it takes me.

By the time I fell into bed at nearly midnight, I was wrung out.

But I woke up ready to go back to the page this morning!

I tried a kundalini yoga session for the first time a few days ago. It was definitely a challenge, and I couldn’t do all of it full out, but I felt much better. I’m doing some yin yoga to help my back and hip flexors, and continuing with mixing hatha and vinyassa, but I think I’ll add the kundalini in a couple of times a week, too. I wonder if that has anything to do with getting the creativity flowing again?

However, my hip is bothering me from all the sitting yesterday, so I’ve got to do some poses to work the hip flexors later this morning and this afternoon. I may have to invest in one of those foam rollers. I also hope, when I start walking the sanctuaries in the nice weather, that’ll help.

Back to the page again — there’s a lot to do! I want to tackle the play first, and then move on to the other things on my list.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2009
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Just a quick check-in this morning. I have to dash to CT briefly this morning, and then I’m returning to the page.

All I could think about yesterday was the steampunk. I couldn’t physically get back to the page after my errands for several reasons, the major one being most of my day was spent taking care of Elsa. But I worked out a bunch of plot points, tossed out some more possibilities that would make the piece too long, and I think I’ve got the whole piece worked out in my head. Now, to get it all on paper.

It took 40 minutes to get the ice off my car. Ah, for the day when I’ll have a garage! Trader Joe’s was a madhouse. I guess most people stayed in during the bad weather and had to stock up. Staples was a madhouse, but I got and set up my 2010 folders. Mrs. Green’s was better, and I grabbed the coffee I needed. Again, there’s this sense of desperate shopping. I don’t know why — the sales just aren’t that good this post-holiday season, and I’m not going to shop just to shop. The stores that had very little merchandise and didn’t carry what I wanted/needed are the stores I will pass by next year. As far as my business went, they gambled and lost.

And other stores, who stepped into the breech with both customer service and quality goods will continue to get my business.

I had to drive all the way to Purchase to mail my bills because I couldn’t get near, even on foot, the post office right up the street. Sigh.

Got a rejection from a publication that both threw me and annoyed me. I know the story stands up. This is the second rejection I’ve gotten from the editor — both times, the reasons given were things that should have been in the guidelines — if you don’t want stories with more than three characters (first rejection), or you don’t want a protag under the age of 18 (second rejection), that needs to be in the guidelines. Yes, a lot of writers don’t follow guidelines properly. But, for those of us who make our living at this and actually pay attention, the guidelines need to be accurate.

Bottom line is, this woman doesn’t like my work, so I’m scratching the publication off my list and moving on. In spite of the recession, there are plenty of publications out there. And some of them have published me before and want more from me, so I better get going on that.

And I already sent out the rejected story to another market. My first submission of 2010!

Got back the rider from one publisher who’s expanding an anthology in which I appear from print into digital as well. Very happy about that. I’ve really enjoyed working with them on this anthology and the one that’s coming out in April. I love my editor there — she’s fantastic. We can really go back and forth on the details of a piece, not in conflict, but working in tandem to make the piece the best and most effective it can be.

My SMITHSONIAN magazine started arriving (since I”m now a member). It’s really great. There’s so much information I can use as research for my writing — splendid! Even stuff set in the era in which I’m currently writing! I love synchronicity.

Have a good Sunday, all! Thanks for all the good wishes towards Elsa. We can certainly use them.


Published in: on January 3, 2010 at 7:10 am  Comments (4)  
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I started work on the anthology story to replace the anthology story that didn’t fit the guidelines. I checked the website, and nearly had a fit at first – it looked like they’d changed the guidelines since last week for something due before April 1. Reading the site more closely, I realized that they now list calls for two very similar anthologies with dates very close together.

However, I’m not sure I want to participate. Something feels off. So I think I’ll pass. What a relief! If all of these characters call strongly to me, I will probably write their stories anyway at some point, but I just don’t feel that now is the right time for them. And something about this particular anthology set off warning bells, although I can’t put my finger on it.

I immediately felt better. It’s not under contract, so I’m not breaking any promises. Sometimes one focuses so much on getting work out there when one needs to prioritize what that work consists of.

I made solid progress on the first act of FEMME FATALE. It’s much darker than I expected, and I have to go back and brighten it a bit. This is supposed to be COMIC noir mystery, after all. I’m making it happen with five characters instead of six, which creates an interesting dynamic.

Ran some errands. Picked up a stack of books at a library sale – nothing like walking off with 8 books, some of them hardcovers, for only $2 to make you feel like a smart shopper! Read one of them, another Donna Leon, SUFFER THE SMALL CHILDREN, last night. I love her books. If you like well-crafted mysteries and/or are interested in contemporary Venice, these books are fabulous.

Got some work done on Chapter 13 of CRAVE THE HUNT this morning. I don’t want to get too far back into it, since I won’t be able to work on it all weekend. But I set up a few things that will be supported later. Just a few tight pages, but necessary. Now, I can move on to Chapter 14, with Jain and Wyatt in Iceland, while things start to spin out of control for Billy in Scotland.

I’m packed. I’ve got a couple of things to do this morning, a few bits to clear off and maybe get a bit done on FEMME FATALE. After lunch, I head to the site job. I’ll be offline probably until Monday. I may get back online at some point on Sunday, but I doubt I’ll post anything new until Monday.

In addition to the work I’m paid to do on site, I hope to have time to work on The Lucy Gothic a bit, sort out the dream from the other night into a viable outline, and figure out a couple of other pieces. Of course, I’m taking the yoga mat with me. And the assignment for Confidential Job #1.

I’ve sorted out the article in my head, so I may start it this morning and then polish it when I get back, so it can go off first thing Monday. It’s supposed to be a lovely weekend, so I hope to spend a little time outside as well.

McAfee, is, of course, out of control again this morning, so I don’t know how much I’ll actually get done. I loathe McAfee, Dell, and Microsoft. They’re all hateful, and, in my experience, committed to wringing as much money out of their customers as possible without providing the services for which they are paid.

Have a good one, everybody!


Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 6:38 am  Comments (9)  
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