Tues. Jan. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 244 — Dark Before Dawn, Dare I Hope?

image courtesy of Shantanu Kashyap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Still dark out

Busy weekend, but busy in a good way. Post up over on A Biblio Paradise about Dan Rather’s book.

I finished the book proposal and got it off on Saturday. I also completed and submitted a grant application. In and around doing five loads of laundry and the usual Saturday housework.

The first shipment of books for the contest arrived, and I unpacked them. I will process them today, and will start them this week.

Then, I was exhausted.

Other than worrying about what crap the radical right plans to pull this week, I gave myself Sunday off. Finished reading Neil Simon’s REWRITES and started his next memoir, THE PLAY GOES ON.

I put up the Carnivale decorations on the mantel, which cheers up the entire room.

I did some work on GAMBIT COLONY, which always serves as a stress reliever. But it’s difficult, this week, to focus on anything.

I took the holiday on Monday, at least, location-wise. I did not go into the office, but worked remotely for a few hours. Also got some LOIs out.

I also did a run to Trader Joe’s, the pharmacy, and dropped off some library books in the book drop.

Working on the ScriptMag article. Not sure I can get it finished today, but I will try. I alternate between struggling to concentrate and glad to have something that demands strong focus.

I am in desperate need of a real break, a couple of weeks with no pressure on me about anything. Genuine rest. Catching a day or two here and there doesn’t cut it. But I don’t see any way for me to get such a break in the foreseeable future. Not until after the move, at the very least. But I’m hurting from the exhaustion.

Today is blocked off to do some client work and the article. Once the article is out the door, I have a short story that needs some attention.

I want tomorrow to go off without any violence happening to Biden and Harris, or their families. That’s my main concern. And I want the insurrectionists destroyed. No negotiation with domestic terrorists, whether they are in public office or roaming the streets. No. Negotiation.

Published in: on January 19, 2021 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 244 — Dark Before Dawn, Dare I Hope?  
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Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 240 — Blocks of Creative Time

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Friday, January 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

Although it’s milder than normal for this time of year, it’s still cold and raw.

The Mid-Month check-in is up on the GDR site, and looking at how short the list is, I feel like crap.

Which is a shame, because I felt pretty good after yesterday’s work on the book proposal. It has to go out by Sunday, although I’m hoping to get it out today or tomorrow.

This particular organization’s guidelines are structured very differently than a traditional book proposal, so I’ve had to change my process to fit it. It’s a challenge, but in the right way. I feel good about the work I did. I don’t know if it’s what they want, but I have something solid that I can use, be it for them or somewhere else, and that feels good.

It was a good mix of finding the right resources to source for research to support the themes I the novel, and to talk about schedule and process. I need to move some material around today, and polish it. As I did my first couple of editing passes yesterday, I was alarmed by the overuse of passive voice and the overuse of adverbs. Thank goodness for edits. I’m also tightening, focusing, and clarifying.

A grant application hit my desk yesterday; it’s not a complicated process, and I might as well try. If I don’t apply, there’s no chance of getting it. But that will happen AFTER this proposal is out.

Once the book proposal is out, I have to turn my attention to the article for SCRIPTMAG. I have almost all of the material. Two sources did not get back to me with the requested quotes,  so I will move forward without them. That is due on Tuesday, so I’ll finish it over the weekend.

I finished the book for review, and will submit the review today. I have one more book assigned for review; I will do that this weekend. The first box of contest entries is supposed to arrive today, and once I process them, I will have to get started on them next week.

It felt really good, though, to spend the bulk of my energy on a single creative project yesterday. That’s the way I like to work. Large swaths of uninterrupted work time.

During our Knowledge Unicorns session yesterday, we discussed the impeachment process, and what needs to happen for the Senate to convict — and what can happen if they chose to remain loyal to a traitor.

Have a great weekend, my friends. Let’s hope we’re in for better things after what will be a chaotic week next week.

Published in: on January 15, 2021 at 7:16 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 240 — Blocks of Creative Time  
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Thurs. Jan. 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 239 — Process & Project Outlines

image courtesy of chloestrong via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Uranus Direct

Cold and cloudy

Red sky in the morning – shepherd’s warning – I guess we are getting a storm today.

The latest on the garden and the weather finally turning to winter is up on Gratitude and Growth. I don’t write anything particularly profound over there, but I do enjoy putting together the posts. It makes me look at certain aspects of my life differently, more closely, and more gently.

Yesterday was stressful, but I got through it, and that’s what matters.

I was happy that I had a good session early on, working on the book proposal. In this particular proposal, for this particular organization, my synopsis/outline can only be 1000 words. It’s a good challenge to write a book outline that succinct. Especially for a book that hasn’t been written.

I often do what I call my “Writer’s Rough” outline early in the process. I’ll get an idea, I’ll write a few notes. I’ll write about three or four chapters into the book, to see if it can sustain (both in terms of plot and character, and my interest in writing it).

At that point, I’ll take a few days and write my Writer’s Rough outline. That’s made up of me telling myself the story, often with snippets of dialogue, and not necessarily in order. Most of the time, I’ll do this in longhand, scribbling, separating scenes or sequences by skipping a line here and there.

Once I’ve told myself the story, I’ll read it through a few times, and number the paragraphs, putting it in what I think is the order in which I want it to flow.

I also make notes of what needs research.

Then I’ll type it up (I don’t use numbers in this). My Writer’s Rough can run anywhere from two or three pages for an idea that needs more fleshing out, to twenty or more pages, similar to a script treatment.

This allows me to work on the piece whenever I can schedule it in, without sitting there looking at a blank page, wondering what I meant to write next in it. Juggling multiple projects (the only way to keep a roof over my head) means outlining saves me pain and time. It makes my writing life more efficient.

It does NOT interfere with creativity or spontaneity. The outline is a roadmap, not a prison.

When the book is ready to submit, after however many drafts I’ve done in order to make it feel submittable, I then go back through it and create the outline (I talk more about this in the Topic Workbook SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, which should re-release in a few weeks).

Once I write the Submission Outline, I use that to write both versions of the synopsis.

With the series under contract, the process is a little different. My publisher is tiny, so it’s more informal, and there are fewer layers. While I landed the initial contract with finished manuscripts, the books to come are a little different. With the Coventina Circle series, I gave a rough overview of the whole series. It was originally six books, and will now be nine. I’d always planned four books for the Gwen Finnegan series, although I’m being urged to do more, if the next couple of books do well. The Nautical Namaste mysteries can go in many directions, but I did thumbnails of the first six.

At this point, I do a rough synopsis of where I see the book going, my editor and I have a conversation (in case she feels I’m going off-track), then I go and write it. I do my Writer’s Roughs for the books. The Coventina Circle books tend to veer off, although the other two series tend to stay pretty well close to the original vision.

In this case, I’m writing up an idea for a book that wasn’t even on my radar until I heard about this foundation’s invitation for proposals. They do mostly non-fiction, but are interested in looking at proposals for fiction, because they want something different. I’ve been in contact with them, because I wasn’t sure I’m appropriate (on any level), but they encouraged me to do it.  They want fresh perspectives on their topic. Most of those who pitch to them are serious academics. I’m the outlier. It’s a longshot, but the topic and the challenge interest me, and it’s not something I would have come up with on my own.

So I’m basically doing my Writer’s Rough and then transforming it into a Very Short submission synopsis without writing any of the book – and keeping it in their specific proposal word count and guidelines.

It’s a good exercise in being specific, but it means stretching my process within a finite time frame.

That’s what today is all about. The entire day is blocked off to devote to the proposal.

Yes, I’ll take breaks to do some admin work and read the book for review and attend the online meditation group. I might even answer some email and get out an LOI or two.

But my primary focus today is this book proposal. The deadline is Sunday, but I’d prefer to get it out earlier. I’ve been working on it on and off for weeks, and thinking about it since I first heard about it a couple of months ago.

If they like it, I land a contract that stretches me and challenges me in wonderful new ways, and I’ll be well paid for it. If I don’t land this contract, I still have an interesting book proposal I can use elsewhere – and sell.

That’s the difference between doing something like this and the unpaid, project-specific samples companies often demand. This is a project proposal that yes, takes work, and yes, there’s no guarantee the pitch will land me the contract and enough money so I don’t have to worry about freelance clients during its duration. But if it does not, it still opens the relationship with this organization AND I have something I can sell elsewhere. When you do unpaid labor as part of an interview for a company, they believe they have the right to keep and use your work without paying you for it in order for THEM to make a profit. Which is why I created my test/sample agreement.

That’s the next few days, in a nutshell. Once the book proposal is out, I turn my attention to finishing and polishing the article. I’m still missing two quotes, but I have plenty of material. That will go out on Tuesday.

The Sociopath was impeached again yesterday. Now, every death, either from violence or COVID, is squarely the fault of Mitch McConnell, who, as usual, is dragging his feet and trying to play both sides against the middle. McConnell needs to be prosecuted along with the rest of the corrupt and the violent.

I’m looking forward to today’s online meditation group. I definitely need it.

And, I’m looking forward to an entire day immersed in this book proposal.

Peace and health, my friends.

Wed. Jan. 13, 2021: Die for Your Employer Day 238 — Working on Multiple Levels

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

New Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Still dark outside, but I think it’s pretty cold.

I’ve got a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, breaking down the cost when a company demands you make an “introductory video” as part of its toxic, one-way interview process. I knew the unpaid labor racked up lost income/billable hours, but I was shocked at how much more it was than I estimated.

Worked on the article; worked on the book proposal. I figured where I was getting in my own way and bogging down with the book proposal. It’s flowing better now. Got some client work done.

My friend Paula’s been urging me to adapt my short story “Help, No Questions Asked” into a series pilot. That would be so much fun. That’s been percolating at the back of my brain while I work on other things.

Got out nine LOIs to potential new clients. One, who claimed to want to hire more women, was immediately knocked off the list when they sent me a set of unpaid assessments in response to my LOI. It means they never read it, because my LOI clearly states I don’t do unpaid labor (be it tests or project-specific samples). I have a rate and a contract for that. However, I did have a nice exchange with a prospective client to whom I’d sent some materials late last week. Enjoyed it very much, so we’ll see how it goes.

Didn’t get much reading done; will have to spend more time on the book for review later today.

The Knowledge Unicorns session yesterday wasn’t about homework. It was the kids, the parents (and even my 96-year-old mom) talking about the domestic terrorism last week. We watched footage (nothing like having multiple devices running), including clips from Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and the BBC.

We talked about the Constitution, what it means to take an oath of office, what it means to put country over party – and the reverse. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, or that my opinions are the only ones, but we shared resources, talked about how Fox News and other disinformation channels were handling it, and consequences of actions.

It ran well beyond the scheduled time frame, but it was important. One of the kids admitted to not feeling safe anywhere, and not believing she ever would, and I think it’s heartbreaking. But that’s where we are.

In my lifetime, this has been the road we’ve been headed down since Reagan. I’m sure parts were put into play much earlier. This could have been stopped so many times, but we haven’t had a radical left to balance the radical right since the early 1970’s, and what’s now considered “far” left is a little bit right of center. Basic human decency is considered a “radical left” concept. People allowed themselves to be boiled like frogs for at least the past 50 years, probably longer.

You can’t “reconcile” or “unite” with people who are actively determined to kill you. You have to remove them from the equation. If you give them an inch, they’ll use it to reach over and slit your throat.

On that happy note, I’m gearing up for a stressful day in the office. I may have to miss Remote Chat, which will make me sad, but if I get enough done at the office today, I can focus on the book proposal (due on Sunday) and the article (due on Tuesday) for the next four days.

Stay safe, friends, and keep letting your elected officials know what you need them to do to fix this.

Published in: on January 13, 2021 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 13, 2021: Die for Your Employer Day 238 — Working on Multiple Levels  
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Tues. Jan. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 237 — Chop Wood, Carry Water, in Spite of What’s Going On

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Well, it’s been a week, hasn’t it? I guess 2021 really is saying “Hold my beer” to 2020.

I have a post on reading goals up over on A Biblio Paradise.

I spent a good deal of time over the past few days in touch with my Congress people – telling them I am glad they are safe, but also encouraging them to take swift action. It is repulsive that those behind the domestic terrorism are still in power.

In the vein of chop wood, carry water, having to get on with daily life, I spent time working on the article – almost all the quotes have come in. I noodled on the book proposal, and am not sure I can get it done by deadline. I have the end game in my head fairly clearly, but getting there is a struggle.

Did a lot of laundry, especially the holiday fabric. Put away more decorations, and managed to get everything into the Christmas closet. Still have to pack the fabric, take down the ribbons and roll them, and take the wax out of a few pieces of fabric.

I did not clear out any boxes from the basement, with the packing away of holiday décor, so I have to make up for that this week.

Sunday, I rested. I was tired, body and soul. I read nearly all day, and that was great. I didn’t read anything I was supposed to read, just things I wanted to read.

Yesterday, I was in the office on my own, as it should be. Got a lot done. Got ahead on next week’s ad/mailing. I need to update my B2B/B2C sample document. The new samples came in, and I’ve started processing them. That always takes extra work, but it will be worth it. They look good, and putting together line sheets/pricing/getting them out to the reps is a big deal.

Home, decontaminated, in touch with my Congress people’s staffs, got some reading done. More quotes came in for the article, and I’m working on structure.

Can start to put the book proposal on paper today (well, on screen, anyway).

The Direct Cash Relief payments showed up, much to my surprise. I was about to contact my Congress people to ask why the IRS had the right to hold them hostage until we filed our tax returns, but I guess that wasn’t the case, after all.

The Goddess Provisions box finally showed up and it was lovely. Soul-soothing.

The only outstanding shipment is the first box of books from the contest, which was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but has been delayed. Once it gets here, I will start reading contest entries every day, along with everything else (will be up late reading every night until May – which is a good thing). In the meantime, I will read my book for review in the next couple of days, get that out, and get started on the next book for review.

Some more article ideas are percolating; once I get this article out, I will work on more pitches. Will get a bunch of LOIs out today, I hope.

Had a bunch of responses to LOIs wanting free, project-specific samples, which isn’t happening. Had one company try to get me to sign an NDA for an interview. It was one of the more insulting NDAs I’ve ever read, and I would have been an idiot to sign it. Not to mention the demand for free work on top of it. I countered with my test/sample agreement, and the changes they’d have to make to the NDA in order for me to sign it and they sputtered, so I said thanks, but no thanks, and moved on.

I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I have decades of experience. They can shove their demands for free labor right up their collective ass.

Today will focus on writing, over an array of several projects, and then the Knowledge Unicorns reconvene tonight. We have a lot to talk about.

Have a great day, friends! Let’s work for justice, so we can have peace. Otherwise, things will just get worse.

Fri. Jan. 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 233 — Congress, Do Your Job!

image courtesy of Sang Hyun Cho via pixabay.com

Friday, January 8, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I kind of feel like I’m juggling pitchforks right now, but that’s where we are. Having a migraine doesn’t help, either.

The post isn’t yet ready for the food blog, Comfort and Contradiction. That will go up later today, possibly in the afternoon. It might even be tomorrow.

It was difficult to focus yesterday, especially since Congress isn’t doing its job and removing the Sociopath. Why anyone thought Pence would step up and do the right thing with the 25th Amendment is beyond me. He has never done the right thing in his life or his career. He’s incapable of it, which is why he was chosen for the job. And the cowardly cabinet, jumping ship so they don’t have to go on record? May they all reap what they’ve sown.

I was in touch with my Senators and Representative early yesterday, and will do so again today. I’m lucky that they are smart, determined, and listen, and so do their staffs.

The riots at the inauguration will be terrifying. They can be stopped, but those with the power to do so are refusing, and that is unacceptable. We can’t wait until “the middle of next week” to START impeachment. It needs to happen today. It should have happened on Wednesday night, or early Thursday morning.

Worked on my article and the book proposal a little bit yesterday. I will do some more work on the article later this afternoon, and the weekend will focus on the book proposal. Did some noodling for an email blast for a client that needs to go out on Monday; will do some more work on it today. Will also start reading my book for review.

The architect’s lamp arrived yesterday, to replace the one my dad bought in 1967 that gave up the ghost last week. It’s wonderful. It’s so nice to have really good light in the workspace again. I do want to see if, at some point, I can get the lamp fixed, though. It’s a wonderful lamp, and a strong connection to my dad, who died in 1972.

The teal velvet arrived – in a large roll. My postal carrier must hate me. I’d ignored the information that the fabric was 60” wide rather than 45” wide. So, I have a LOT of teal velvet. Seriously thinking I could reupholster the couch with it instead of making clothes. Because it would look a little weird if I wore something that matched the couch exactly. The price was fantastic, so I have no regrets. I might rethink how to use it, though.

The necklace I ordered from Peculiarity Shop also arrived. It’s delightful. That was part of the inspiration for the teal velvet.

Most of the day was spent taking down the holiday decorations, in and around keeping up with the news. We’re almost finished – I have to finish packing up the decorations in my office and the back room and put away the small tree. I also need to finish switching out the fabric and take down the ribbons around the doors and windows. And put up the Carnivale decorations.

I heard back from the potential client, whose questions I’d turned around yesterday. The client wants me to do a copywriting test – under NDA. In response, I sent my Test/Sample Agreement, including the rate – and pointed out that one clause in the NDA has to be either struck or modified, because if I signed it as is, it would negate my agreement.

I have no doubt they’ll refuse, and we’ll both move on. But I don’t work for free, and I don’t do unpaid labor as part of the interview process. If I start a relationship by capitulating, it means they will continue to try to take advantage. I’m not 20, begging for my first job. The whole “testing” process is ridiculous anyway. Read my samples. If you can’t tell whether or not I’m a fit by the samples, that tells more about your lack of critical reading skill than my writing skill.

Did a no-contact pickup of a new-to-me beautiful rocking chair I got on craigslist. It’s wonderful. I decontaminated it, so it could come into the house without sitting in quarantine for several days. With over 7100 new virus cases from Wednesday into Thursday, I have to be careful. I was going to do an early morning grocery run to Star Market tomorrow for a few things I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s, but I’m considering putting it off because even going to the grocery store at this point is a risk.

About to run down to the library for a curbside pickup, then home, decontaminate, and it’s back to work, taking down the decorations and focusing on writing.

Have a great weekend, friends. Let’s hope next week is more hopeful and just. Let’s hope we have a country by next week.

Published in: on January 8, 2021 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 233 — Congress, Do Your Job!  
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Sat. Sept. 12, 2015: Preparing for Vacation

Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The weight of yesterday was obvious, but it was also helpful to share it. That Budweiser commercial, the one only shown once after the event, gets me every time.

Work was fine. I got a lot done, in preparation for being gone for a week. Everything is set, as far as I can tell, so I’m not leaving anyone holding the bag.

I’m also missing two Board meetings — one would be my last as Secretary of the Writers Center Board, and the other is the Marine Life Center Board. First meeting I missed in my term for both of them, so I refuse to feel guilty. Especially since I prepared notes/did homework/voiced opinions in anticipation of agenda items.

I got frustrated with Amazon yesterday — I’m supposed to be able to use the Coursera app on the Kindle Fire, but it won’t download (it tells me there’s a geographic problem, although the US has designated permissions), and support/customer service was polite, but unhelpful. They’ve just gotten so big, they are no longer interested in solving customer service issues. I’ve got the app on my phone, but it would be easier to work on the Kindle.

“Unethical Decision Making in Organizations” starts next week, out of the University of Lausanne. Looking forward to it.

Dashed home — we had guests up from CT on their way to a wedding. They had to leave just a few minutes after I got back from work. It was lovely to see them again, and the cats had kept everyone busy. Now that Violet is feeling better, she is being demanding! It was funny, though.

After dinner, Part 2 of the 9/11 remembrances, and we could feel some of the grief lifting. We’ll never get over it, but we’re learning to live with it, and perhaps being together really does help.

It will also inform the writing.

I’m watching the second season of SIX FEET UNDER and thoroughly enjoying it. I’d forgotten how much fun that show is.

Packing and prepping for the trip. I’m working until mid-afternoon today, and I want to make sure my desk is CLEAR before I go. I miss Village Day tomorrow, but I worked it last year. Again, I refuse to feel guilty. I’ve earned this time, and I’m using it, free and clear.

In preparation for Kripalu, I upped the yoga practice, doing a full hour now in the morning and at night. I don’t want to be completely out of shape when I get there — although I should probably have started doing this about a month ago! 😉

I’m packing a handful of writing projects, so I can go with whatever moves me the most in the moment — and hope I don’t get too many new inspirations. Or, if I do, that they are for short stories and not novels!

I’ve got a book proposal to send off before I leave, and maybe get out a short story.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be online next week — I’m tempted to blog “from the road”, but I’m also tempted to be completely disconnected.

Have a wonderful weekend, and a wonderful week!

Devon

Published in: on September 12, 2015 at 9:44 am  Comments Off on Sat. Sept. 12, 2015: Preparing for Vacation  
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Tues. Feb. 4, 2014: Crusty Snow and School Work

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

We had snow most of yesterday, the wet, icky kind. It didn’t stop until after dark, which means I got to shovel wet, crusty snow this morning. And that Toro Power Shovel? Piece of crap. I thought Toro products were good and reliable, but both the design on this and its unreliability make it a huge disappointment. Save your money and and buy a product that actually WORKS.

If you haven’t dropped a comment on my blogging article, please do so. I’d love to be asked back for a regular gig.

Finished up a book proposal yesterday, printed it out, and realized that there were font and formatting problems, so I had to go back, fix it, and reprint. It looked good on screen, but I hadn’t checked the details, and it wasn’t right, so . . .had to make it right. That will go into the mail today, when I get to the post office. I fell in love with the book all over again, working on the proposal.

Polished the sci-fi/horror/western novella and submitted it to Amber Quill, who let me know, a few hours later, that they accepted it! That was quick! We’re going to find a new title — which makes perfect sense — but they definitely want it. Nice, quick sale! Now, I need to polish another novella for them and get back to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Did some work on the new play, but it still isn’t where I want it.

Made a quick library run to return some books and get out some novels for the snowstorm. Reading Jake Arnott’s THE HOUSE OF RUMOUR, whose chapters are structured on the Major Arcana of the tarot.

Trying to catch up on computational neuroscience work, but it’s giving me a headache (no pun intended). Catching up on Astrobiology — fascinating class, out of University of Edinburgh, and did the peer evaluations on the Environmental Law papers.

Did some thinking on an untitled novella (which seems to be expanding into a novel) and on the Sparkle and Tarnish project. Caught up on some correspondence.

I need to get a lot of writing done and work with students. I’ve got a new student, a guy whose college papers I proofread, who’s hired me to give him some grammar lessons along the way. So that’s all good.

Got paid for my last two articles on the random-date-paying market — earlier than I expected, which is nice.

I’ve got some wine research to do for Adventures in Vineland, and some other research on a couple of articles I’m interesting in pitching to markets that are a bit of a stretch for me.

I was invited to participate in an eco-festival this spring out in Provincetown. I’d wanted to do it last year, but didn’t find out about it until too late. This year, unfortunately, it conflict with the dates for the new play. Oh, well. It’ll happen when it’s time, I guess.

Back to the page, and to the school work.

Devon

Published in: on February 4, 2014 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 4, 2014: Crusty Snow and School Work  
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Wed. Sept. 4, 2013: Writing Frenzy and Neuro-Ethics

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Day Before Dark Moon
Sunny and cooler

Flat out yesterday. 4707 words (18 pages) on one of the two priority projects I’m juggling. Just over 1200 words this morning, and nowhere near stopping, although this morning’s work was more of a struggle. I was fighting a scene in a different POV, because I don’t like switching POVS within a chapter. But I didn’t want this whole chapter in this second POV. But I needed the scene. I tried to do without, and it didn’t work. So I went back and added it in, and now the chapter is smoothing out a bit.

Also invoiced some articles, wrote, polished, invoiced, and sent off two reviews. Pitched a couple of jobs. Responded to some emails. Worked on the book proposal, but couldn’t finish it. I’ll have to finish it and get it out today.

I had to stop work for a few hours yesterday because of severe storms, and I didn’t want to blow out the computer. Thunder, lightening, torrential rain. Refilled the jugs with rainwater for the plants, though, but it was still a lot.

Sat down and watched THE BOURNE LEGACY all the way through last night. Hey, I pay for On Demand, I might as well use it. I liked it a lot better than I expected. Structurally, it’s astonishing. I mean, the action sequences are spectacular, too, but the way it’s written and edited, the structure is one of the strongest I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll have to watch it a few more times and break it down, really get inside the structure, live in its skin, and I’ll learn a lot. Renner and Weisz were excellent, and I love how, with Weisz’s character, every time she’s pushed beyond her limits and one thinks she’ll totally lose it, she steps up and comes through. Some of the supporting cast were a bit cardboard, but I figure those character developments were sacrificed for pace. I would have liked the assassin in that final chase to have been a threat from earlier on, but that’s just me wanting more development in antagonists in work — heck, I teach a class on antagonists. There were a couple of places where I wanted just a single beat of stillness — both these actors can use stillness to positive effect, and, especially in a movie where pace is so important, there were two or three scenes where I just wanted ONE more beat of stillness, especially between them. I felt the full connection was cut short in those particular edits.

What I found interesting in the plot was that it reminds me of research I did on various Super Soldier programs a few years ago – I wonder if the screenwriters and I read some of the same source material. Somewhere, still packed, I have the book on the program that I tracked down, after finding it at the library and knowing I had to have it as part of my research materials for a project. I remember working with Vietnam Vets years ago, and they were already talking about that kind of program. So it’s interesting to see how these theories and possibilities are creatively explored. And the question asked over and over again: Can you keep your moral compass, your integrity as a human being, and still participate in war? If you don’t participate in war, is the only choice being conquered? Do some have to hang up their moral/human integrity in the name of keeping the many safe? Where do you draw the line? I don’t think we have easy answers to that. I don’t think there have ever been easy answers to that, no matter what we want to think and believe on an individual basis. Warfare has always been about cruelty and dehumanization, and advances in technology and genome science have created new questions, not solved old ones.

That’s why I signed up for the Neuroethics class that keeps getting postponed. These are some of the questions we explore in regard to programs like developing Super Soldiers. I want to take that class, because I want to dig deeper.

Then watched LUTHER on BBC America, which is just so character-oriented that it’s always a terrific ride. I think it’s running four consecutive nights, so that will be good.

Lots of work today,and a blazing headache, so I better get to it.

Devon

Tues. June 11, 2013: Slowly Recovering

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

By noon yesterday, I got my proposal and sample chapter polished enough so I could send it to my agent. She was impressed, said it didn’t need any changes, and forwarded it on to the editor who requested it. So we’ll see from there what happens.

I was wiped out by the end of it.

Worked with students, posted materials for the Supporting Characters workshop at RWA.

Read Mercedes Lackey’s STEADFAST. Liked it a lot, although the ending was a bit abrupt, in my opinion.

Prepped for this afternoon’s meeting. Signed up for an environmental conference that will run Thursday and Friday.

Went to bed early and wasn’t up half the night coughing. Didn’t even need to get up in the night to take medicine. Hoping I’ve turned the corner.

Need to get back on track with a few things today, but I’m exhausted. Working up a book proposal and sample chapter to specific guidelines in three days took more out of me than I expected. But it’s a great opportunity for something I’d like to try, so it was worth it.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on June 11, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. March 18, 2013: Take a Breath, Mercury is Direct

Monday, March 18, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct (as of yesterday)
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

What a relief to have Mercury go direct. This is one of the worst Merc Rets I remember in the last five or six years. Coupled with the Saturn Retrograde, it nearly killed me. I hope I can start getting things back on track, although, according to the astrologer, the upcoming full moon is going to be tough, too. Hopefully, I can mitigate that, and keep it from happening, instead of getting so worried that I make it happen.

Rehearsal Friday night went well. We are getting there, and let’s hope we just keep improving and peak on the show date.

Worked with students. I’m in a good rhythm with two of them and the third had a positive breakthrough and is back on track, so that’s all good. Got out a press release and am waiting for comments on it — if it doesn’t go out in the next day or two, there’s no point in sending it; it won’t print in time.

Speaking of press releases, here is the link to the release about the Author Services expansion with Fearless Ink.

There’s still time to sign up for next Saturday’s Query Clinic — bring in your query letters and get line-by-line support. Information here.

Most of the weekend was spent on the new book, and putting together the materials I promised my agent, that I want to get to her today or tomorrow (because there was no way I was going to send them during a Mercury Retrograde). The introduction, the thumbnails of the first five books in the series, marketing plan, and competition list — all of those are solid. I’m still not happy with the synopsis, and that’s what I’m wrestling with.

I managed to get out of the creative rut I was in — the pressures of chasing down payments soooo late, while trying to land work and rehearse the play and promote the book just released and juggle this project — I was feeling creatively drained. But, by having this project as my central focus, and doing a lot of pacing and muttering, I broke through, and I think I’ll be okay.

I also read several of the books for the contest I’m judging; some good, some weak.

Some idiot contacted me to “hire” me to write articles — at $1.50 per article. Yup, one dollar and fifty cents for an 800-word article, that would appear under the hirer’s name. My response was neither diplomatic nor polite.

So, it’s getting back to it this morning, and getting out some difficult correspondence, along with getting out the proposal, continuing to track down payments, some of which are now nearly a month late, pitching to potential new clients, working with students, preparing for rehearsal, running errands . . .you get the picture.

And, we’re supposed to have another snowstorm overnight — up to a foot of snow in some places!

Devon

Thurs. Oct. 18, 2012: Intense Day


This is why I live here

Thursday, October 18, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

It’s going to take me about a week to recover from yesterday. I busted my ass most of the day on the non-fiction book proposal. I finally got the sample chapter where I wanted it, tweaked, proofed, and hit “send” at 3:49 in the afternoon.

During this, of course, I’d been making the devilled eggs.

Once I hit “send”, I was ready to puke and then take a nap, neither of which was on the agenda. I had all of 15 minutes to get out of sweat pants and pull myself together appropriately for a cocktail party at the National Marine Life Center.

I got there on time. The space was set up beautifully — just gorgeous! It’s amazing what someone with an eye for decorative detail can do with things that were in the space, and it looked beautiful. I had to untangle some of the eggs — a perky lil’ teenage blonde had wandered into the road 1/2 mile from the center, nearly causing a three car accident (good thing I had new brakes) — her eye on the guys in the pickup trucks that were the other two cars! But the devilled eggs survived, even if they’d rearranged themselves a bit, and people loved them.

The cocktail party was to celebrate the fact that we’re now open to accept seals, and we have our first one — Townsend. Who is such a little cutie! But it was a time to bring together those who’ve worked so hard to bring this to fruition and those who are just learning about the Center and what we do.

It was a lovely evening. I got to catch up with people I knew and get acquainted with some terrific and interesting people that I didn’t know before.

Came home, ate, checked email — found out that the person to whom I sent the proposal already read it and likes it. We have a phone conversation tomorrow for tweaks, and I’ll rewrite this weekend, and . . .we’re off. Considering how far out of my usual wheelhouse this is, I’m happy for the positive response. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, though.

I have a TON of work today, especially when it comes to the classes I’m taking, and the final prep on the course I’m teaching on Saturday.

Yoga was great, but I have a migraine to beat the band.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on October 18, 2012 at 11:08 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Oct. 17, 2012: Earthquake & Book Proposal


I love this photo. I took it on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard last month

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Intense day yesterday, part of which culminated in an earthquake in the evening. Yup, an earthquake in New England. No wonder the cats were restless and upset all day, and I was ready to turn inside out. The quake was centered in Maine, but felt all the way into Rhode Island.

For me? Cats were upset, but I wondered why a garbage truck was on our little street after dark!

Sounds silly, but it did feel like that bubble of tension that was building all day inside me was relieved once the quake actually happened.

The worst was the local ABC affiliate news, WCVB — they cut into programming to announce it. Okay, fine, makes sense. Then, they ramble on and on and on, repeating the same three sentences over and over and putting people on TV who said things like, “my couch moved a few inches” or “my bedroom door popped open.” Um, and this is news because. . .? There weren’t injuries or fires or power outages. Tell us that and go back to programming. The anchors, who usually give the impression of being a few beats the music behind anyway, looked like utter morons. Totally left out to dry by their EP. Embarrassing. They kept the crawl under the programs all night — the same three sentences. If you don’t have something valuable to say, shut up and don’t waste our time.

I spent time with my tarot students yesterday, but the bulk of the day was spent on the non-fiction book proposal and the query letter. I’m finally happy with both. It was a huge challenge, well out of my comfort zone, but also incredibly exciting. If the proposal sells, it’ll be a great experience to write. What I’m not satisfied with yet is my sample chapter. So I’ll do some more work on that today, and then . . .of it goes.

I have a lot of work to get through today, since I spent so much time on the proposal yesterday, AND I have to make two dozen devilled eggs — we’re having a cocktail party at the National Marine Life Center this afternoon.

Also, time to turn some attention towards the school work. I’m excited about the mythology paper and turning over ideas for the world history paper. I THINK I have one final paper to write in the Sustainability class, too. Plus, I have to review my peers’ projects.

Back to the page.

Devon

Don’t forget to sign up for the First Three Pages:Dynamic Openings, this Sunday, Oct. 20. Take your book or story’s opening, and make it the strongest it can be.

Have you read DEATH SPARKLES yet? This anthology’s got nine vivid, exciting stories about death and diamonds — and is a top 100 Amazon seller! Proceeds go to literacy charity.