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.

Fri. Oct. 12, 2012: Release Day for DEATH SPARKLES!

Friday, October 12, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/Cloudy/Cold

We’re going to get our first frost tonight — this is going to be a long, cold winter!

Update: Tomorrow’s “Dissecting Submission Guidelines” is cancelled, because I am under the weather. I will reschedule it, probably for early November.

The Oct. 20th workshop, “The First Three Pages: Dynamic Openings”, however, is open for registration.

It’s here! The Death Sparkles Anthology is available. Here’s the Kindle link, and it will also be available on B&N and Smashwords. I wrote the introduction and have the final story, “Sea Diamond” , a science-fiction mystery that introduces the ass-kicking, take-no prisoners Fiona Steele. We WILL see more of her.

Nine authors contributed to this anthology, inspired from the prompt “the diamond necklace dangled from the dead woman’s hand” and nine very different interpretations of that. The wonderful PJ Friel did the cover AND is a contributor, with “The Needing”.

It’s a perfect pre-Halloween read!

Yesterday was crazy busy. Yoga was terrific. Came home and worked with my students — finally got into the Savvy forum, so I could work with tarot students and catch up a bit. I wrapped up my three day Supporting Characters workshop at the Muse Online Writing Conference, and was invited to stop in to the “Finish What You Start” Workshop and offer some tips on completion.

I wasn’t able to take anything this year, because of my schedule. They had a lot of terrific workshops, but most of them are geared to beginning writers, so there really wasn’t anything I felt I missed. There really needs to be more geared towards the intermediate/advanced and working writer –even if the person isn’t writing full-time, perpetually staying in Beginner’s classes starts having a negative return after awhile.

A royalty check for an anthology I was involved in years ago landed on my desk yesterday — a substantial one. I was thrilled. Not only did it lift my morale, it saved my bill-paying ass, since my ghostwriting client who swore up, down, and sideways, that she’d sent the check this week — STILL hasn’t paid me. I knew this project would be a pain in the butt when I took it on. As soon as I get the money, I am done with this individual.

The next round of edits came in for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so I need to get to work on that. I’ll be releasing the cover on Monday for that!

Ran some errands, got cat food in, worked with students, worked on the material for Confidential Job #1, which is due today. I’m very behind in this week’s school work. Must catch up today.

I’ve got a book proposal to write over the weekend, so there’s no time off for me this weekend.

I need a vacation — but I’m awfully thrilled about the upcoming releases.

I hope you enjoy DEATH SPARKLES!

Devon