Tues. Oct. 25, 2016: Writing, Traveling, Interviewing, Nano Musings

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

I haven’t meant to abandon the blog the past few days. A lot is going on, and only some of it can be discussed. As someone who loathes it when people tease, on social media or on websites, “I have news, but can’t tell you”, I haven’t wanted to post anything until it was a sure thing.

Week before last, things were in huge turmoil; some of it was sorted out by the beginning of last week, but then I had to play catch-up on a variety of life chores. That got done early in the week.

Midweek, I had to take the obligatory workshop at the Career Center — I chose one on how to use one’s age to one’s advantage. I was pleasantly surprised to find a talented group of people in the room, including one person who, once we started talking, it felt as though we’d known each other for years.

Immediately after the workshop, I headed to the Berkshires. I attended a networking function in Springfield on the way, which was interesting. We booked into the Black Swan Inn again, in Lee. This time, my phone worked perfectly — good thing I switched carriers — but the Kindle wouldn’t connect to the inn’s internet. So that was frustrating.

But we had a lovely dinner in Mint, the Indian restaurant in the hotel, and then watched the final debate. I don’t see how anyone could be “undecided” at this point. You’re either voting for someone who is rational, even if you don’t like her or always agree with her; or someone who is an insane narcissist.

The lower profile races are very interesting. And we’ve got some pretty important questions on our ballot as well. The great thing about being an Independent voter is that I feel no guilt about voting for the individual I believe will do the best job, no matter what the party. This is especially true in the local races, where I’ve taken the time to know the candidates. I switched my choice on one race, because the incumbent, while not perfect, is doing his best under almost impossible circumstances and making progress, while the challenger whines, in a high-pitched voice. Sorry, no whiners for me.

Thursday morning, I got to visit the Book Loft in Great Barrington. It’s been mentioned as a “best bookshop” online and in a book of essays about writers’ favorite bookshops. I can see why. Great space, wonderful selection, nice staff. Yes, I bought a few things there — how could I not?

I like Great Barrington a lot. I like the vibe there.

I had some meetings in the late morning and early afternoon, which went well, and then we drove to Sturbridge, and booked into one of my favorite places to stay in the entire U.S.

It’s called the Publick House and Historic Inn. The main building is an old, historic inn and tavern. And then they have the funky 1950’s style lodge in the back, which is where we stayed. The last time I stayed there everything was decorated in red toile — wallpaper, curtains, bed spreads. Considering how much I loathe toile, I had to laugh when I walked in. They’d redecorated — walls are now a warm beige, and the only toile is the curtains! But the rooms are large, comfortable, and reasonably priced. And the food is terrific. We had chicken potpies that were the best I’ve ever tasted.

Terrible fog the next morning delayed the return, but, finally, it was get on the road or be stuck in Friday traffic, so we got on the road. Once we broke past the traffic, it wasn’t a bad ride back to the Cape.

The cats were very happy to see us!

Unfortunately, the writing suffered, and I lost the rhythm on the two projects that had been going so well. I need to get back into the groove on them.

Over the weekend, I mainly focused on the revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. They are going very well, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. This revision is nearly done; I’ll let it marinate for a bit while I work on submission materials, do another pass, and I hope to have it out sometime in November or December.

I had an important meeting yesterday morning, and got everything dealing with that sorted out, but it wore me out. I managed to get some work done in the garden in the afternoon.

Most of the front is decorated for Samhain, but I have to put up the orange lights and carve the pumpkins.

Last night, my poor neighbors! All of a sudden, we see a slew of fire trucks outside their house. I went over to see if they were okay, if they needed to bring their dogs over out of the commotion, or all needed a place to stay. The bricks in their chimney were staying hot, even after the embers burned down, so the fire department was going to have to remove bricks from the chimney to find what caused the hotspot. Will need some massive repair work, but it’s better than having fire between the walls. We are so lucky in our fire department here.

I have to get the car re-registered today, get a LOT of writing done, and check some links on the back matter for the free download of “The Possession of Nattie Fillmore.” Yes, it will be available for download from Oct. 28 – Oct. 31. I’m thinking of adding in a coupon for “Just Jump in and Fly” to be available for the first couple of days in November. That has to get all sorted out.

I got a lovely email from someone who just read ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, loved it, and wanted more copies. Unfortunately, I’ve sold through on everything I had left when it went out of print, but I’m in the process of tweaking it for re-release as PLAYING THE ANGLES. But I’m thrilled that it still holds up and people love it. It’s one of my favorite books, and I was disappointed when it went out of print. The title didn’t help, I’m sure! I’m about a fifth of the way through the revisions on that, and I have a list of potential places for re-release, if I don’t release it myself.

I’m behind on the plays, and I’m behind on the two projects that I have to get drafted by the end of the year. I think I will skip Nano this year, although I’ll probably “write along with” Nano, even if I don’t do it.

It always feels weird doing it, but not doing it also feels weird. However, if I DO it, I feel I should DO it, which means starting a new project on the first of November and writing 50K, not working on something I already started. But I’ve got several projects I HAVE to juggle right now, that I don’t think starting something new would be useful. It would muddy the waters. Yet the book I started during Nano last year, DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, has now gone through multiple drafts and is almost ready for submission, so last year it served a purpose.

I was also put off by the forums last year. I found many of the moderators rude, and the posters spent too much time either whining or talking about how they were so great no one understood them and that’s why they self-published. In previous years, I found the forums a fun, energizing break. Last year, they were draining and annoying.

I think most writers should try Nano at least once in their lives — and finish it, writing 50K in 30 days. It’s not that hard — 6 pages a day. What it does is get one into the daily writing/quota rhythm. It does focus on quantity over quality, but, especially early on, as you search for your voice and your rhythm, you won’t find it unless you get into a daily writing rhythm, and Nano is a good catalyst for that.

Right now, though, I don’t feel it serves me. I have to focus on pieces that already have established their own rhythms, and meet pre-existing deadlines that are separate from Nano. I also need to put together some good marketing for my books for the holidays. It would probably be a good idea to put out a newsletter again one of these days.

So there it is — a nice long catch-up before I get going on a busy day and what is sure to be a busy week!

I’ve got an Artists HobNob Event tonight, which should be tons of fun. Can’t wait to see everyone again.
Have a great week! I’ll remind everyone on Friday about the free download, and it will also be on Facebook and Twitter.

Devon

Published in: on October 25, 2016 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 25, 2016: Writing, Traveling, Interviewing, Nano Musings  
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Wed. May 11, 2016: Back from Vacation!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter direct (as of the 9th)
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was on vacation. It was nice to have time off, although I didn’t get as much rest as I hoped. And it’s nice that one of the retrogrades has gone direct.

It rained almost the entire time, except for the past two days. That made things a bit more complicated, but I kind of like rain — gives one the chance to be a little more quiet.

I spent the first part of my vacation in the Berkshires, at Kripalu. I was looking forward to it enormously — which was probably one reason I was so disappointed. They no longer enforce the “electronic devices only in the Wifi lounge” policy. People were on their cell phones EVERYWHERE, even right under the signs that asked them not to. The Sunroom, which is supposed to be for quiet contemplation, was turned into an office by a group of people — laptops, file folders, bag lunches. They texted in the meditation room; they were on their phones in the silent dining room. People are now smoking outside (it used to be no smoking anywhere on the grounds). Not only is it contradictory to their stated mission (which makes them hypocrites), but it makes them any nameless, overpriced resort out there. There was NO WHERE on the entire property where one could go for quiet contemplation. Not acceptable.

I enjoyed some interested workshops, but it didn’t make up for the fact that there was nowhere to go to be quiet. The point of an R&R retreat is to have “rest” and “relaxation”. I got neither –and, at those prices, I expected both.

My favorite program was given by the chef — the food is still outstanding. I learned a lot I could take back with me and use. I met some great people, including a lovely woman from Syracuse who is a graphic designer.

I stayed at the Black Swan Inn — right across Laurel Lake from the Edith Wharton house. It’s a lovely hotel. I had a fantastic room with one of the most comfortable beds in which I’ve ever slept. Unfortunately, T-Mobile has no coverage in the Berkshires, so my cell phone was useless. The landline in my room didn’t work. My Kindle worked, on the hotel’s wifi, so I emailed a neighbor and asked him to contact home and let them know I got in safely.

Ironic — more electronically disconnected at the Inn than at Kripalu!

Once home, I focused on the writing. I’m just past the halfway mark on the DEATH OF A CHOLERIC rewrites. I believe the book will need one more round of revisions before it’s ready to send out. I also got a lot of work done on Nonfiction #1. And, I’ve started purging things — from the office, and then I’ll tackle all those unpacked boxes in the basement. It’s slow going, but at least there’s progress.

We’re also preparing for company to come in from Europe this weekend. Four people, so the little red house will be packed to the gills!

I’d put down fertilizer and grass seed before I left, on the front lawn. The daily rain did its thing while I was gone. I finally got the terraced back area mowed and fertilized, and got the front mowed again. I’d put in some creeping phlox at the bottom of the driveway, which is cheerful. I got a new, long hose for the front, so I’ve got long hoses both front and back to keep everything properly watered. I still have to rake out some beds and weed them, and I have to get in topsoil for the circular bed in No Man’s Land, so I can plant the bee/hummingbird plants.

I replanted most of the tomatoes, the peas, and the cucumber yesterday, and started zucchini, kale, and beans yesterday.

The mower’s being a pain in the butt — I’m fighting it so much to get it started that I barely have any energy left to actually mow! I still have to mow the meadow, and yank out some stuff that’s invaded.

I’d love another week to just read and sleep, but no such luck. It’s back to work today. I’m sure there are piles on my desk, and I have a program this upcoming weekend. I have a lot of PR to get out for upcoming programs.

The food is figured out when the guests arrive — I’ll be doing a lot of cooking as well as everything else.

I’ve been really careful in the revisions of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m only revising three chapters per day, and then reading the next day’s material for revision. That way, I don’t burn out, and I can keep a good overall eye on the piece, instead of getting bogged down in the same types of things that bogged down the draft. In general, I’ve used a much slower pace on this book, and I like it. The quality of work is better. The drafting was still 1K/day, but the rest of it — I’m letting it marinate in between drafts, and I’m pacing the revisions in a way that allows for better work.

Work on “just a Drop” is much slower than I would like, and I won’t get a chance to work on it with guests this weekend, but that’s life. Still trying to figure out how to fit the revisions of HEART SNATCHER back in, without throwing the entire schedule off.

I feel like I’ve already put in a full day before going to work — in the garden before 6 AM, working on Nonfiction #1, and then working on revision chapters before heading to work. Ah, the life of a writer!

Hope you’re having a wonderful spring!

Devon

Published in: on May 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm  Comments Off on Wed. May 11, 2016: Back from Vacation!  
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