Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

There’s a new, short post up on Gratitude and Growth.

I’m angry that Borders is closing the two stores within a decent driving distance from me. As much as I prefer spending my money at independent bookstores, there are times when Borders came in handy, and the two stores they’re closing were packed ALL THE TIME. As in, six check out people and a line winding back and forth no matter what day of the week or time or day I was there. There is no reason to close those stores other than Borders Corporate Management is greedy and bad at what they do (hence having to file for bankruptcy). They keep touting the website, but it sucks, and they’ve never gotten a single order correct for me, so I stopped using them. I’ll close out my gift cards and then, to hell with them. I feel bad for the wonderful people in my area who worked for them and were helpful, friendly, and supported local authors. But management in the head office? Deserve to be kicked to the curb. Corporate office management has sucked for at least the past five years, probably longer.

It’s not the death knell for bookstores. What this does is open slots for more independent bookstores (I’m so lucky that the Cape is full of them), and also, make room for a hopefully more successful, literate, book-friendly (meaning both digital and print) model. The death of the Corporate Bookstore is only going to help actual individual booksellers, authors, and readers. There are other business models where everyone wins. I’m not going to bore you with them here, but I’ve researched and written about those possibilities elsewhere, and how to make them work. Unfortunately, because so many publishers are now corporations, too, it makes it harder to convince the big houses there’s a better way to do things.

Someone stopped following me on Twitter because that “person” — I think it was a fake name — kept sending me links to write for content mills & I asked the person to stop, saying I don’t write for content mills and they couldn’t afford me. So I’m “dropped”. So sad. Not. 😉

Working on a set of proposals for some for-hire work. Tight turnaround time, clean copy, write fast and well, mimic the style previously set up. I can do all that. An assignment from a one of these establishments wouldn’t be easy, but I think it would be good experience, so I’m going to toss my hat into a couple of rings and see what comes up. If they like me, they’ll keep me on file and contact me whenever it seems there’s a good fit. It could be intermittent, short-term work that pays decently, and I can manage it with my teaching schedule and my own writing. And I’ve got some more teaching proposals to get out, for in-person, local workshops.

It’s all about time management. We all have 24 hours in every day. It’s how we choose to use them that defines us.

And my work is not separate from my life — few fiction writers’ work is. It is INTEGRATED into my life.

I finalized another deconstruction workshop for May — someone dropped out and they asked me to take over, so I have to get up to speed on the books — they’re on my To Be Read list, but now I have to sit down, read them back-to-back, taking notes, and read them for an entirely different perspective than to read it just to read it. Should be fun.

The work on the book went slowly, but pretty well yesterday. I need to get some more done this morning before I pack up and head up to Site #2, where I’ll be for the rest of the week.

Devon

Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 9:44 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

They actually gave us heat for an hour or so yesterday morning. They must have been testing the system, because we haven’t had heat on a weekday after 9 AM since the last snowstorm.

Yesterday was busy. Some was good, some not so good. The nosy, gossipy neighbor stopped me to ask how I was. I told her Elsa died, and she said, “I know. That’s good.” My jaw just dropped. I thought maybe she mis-heard me or just wasn’t listening, but she went on, “Well, she was getting to be more trouble than she was worth, wasn’t she?”

I looked at her for a minute, said, “I sincerely hope no one ever feels that way about you,” and walked away.

I was just stunned. There are very few people I’m going to miss from this town.

Drove to Stamford. Ducked in at Borders, where I found a tarot deck remaindered for $3.99., down from about $30. It was one I don’t have, so, of course, I scooped it up. I got home to find that it has two Queen of Wands and no King, which is probably why this run was remaindered. It’s fine with me — the deck is beautiful, and I simply know that if I use it, I will never get the answer that a cycle of identity is complete! 😉

Went to the farmer’s market beside Border’s. Stocked up on some lovely, lovely vegetables. Had lunch with a friend whose lovely little dog has lost her hearing, and is having a hard time adjusting (the dog). Worked with the dog a little — she’s an affectionate little thing.

Iris and Violet argued most of the morning, but had retreated to their corners by the time I came home. I worked on the materials for Confidential Job #1 in the afternoon, and they approached, sat in front of me, and just stared at me, which made it hard to concentrate. But at least they weren’t fighting.

So I found out why the sound of crickets is so prevalent in the workshop. No one’s bothered to read the damn book. Doesn’t matter that it’s the ONE thing I said in the registration information was a prerequisite, and emphasized in the Welcome message that if you don’t read the book before the class starts, the lectures won’t make any sense. How disrespectful can you get? There’s not even any homework. You sit down for one afternoon and read a book. It’s not that hard. One student admitted to not even picking up the book yet. It’s damn Thursday. The class ends Sunday. Whatever. It’s certainly not going to change the course of the Universe, and if they can’t be bothered to read the material, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m disappointed, because I was looking forward to a week of lively discussion, and I put a lot of time and effort into the lectures, but hey, I still get paid, so let them do whatever they want.

Finished reading the material for Confidential Job #1, and will do the write-up today, and probably get it off tomorrow. If they can send me the next assignment before I leave for Philly next week, I can work on it there.

Didn’t do enough sorting and purging yesterday, so I have to make up for it today. The exterminator is supposed to show up — let’s see if he bothers.

I roasted a chicken, using a recipe from FOOD AND WINE as the inspiration, and then changing stuff. It came out very well, and along with green beans and potatoes from the farmer’s market — wow. What a difference in flavor getting everything from the farmer’s market makes.

And can I just say I want to try about 80% of the recipes in the October issue of FOOD AND WINE? One of their best issues ever.

Am also rearranging some of the exercises for the Muse classes I’m teaching (can’t have returning students get complacent) and polishing the lectures for next week’s deconstruction of the film THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. Part of me says why bother, the students probably can’t be bothered to watch it before class, but I need to meet my own criteria and set my own bar. I learn a lot from setting up the lectures, so at least it’s not a waste of time.

Handled the situation of the disgusting corporation trying to take advantage of my mom (again). Yes, I got what I wanted. Got out the quarterly taxes. Have to file a bunch of stuff that got scattered all over the apartment in preparation.

Hopefully, my friend is going to drop off more boxes this week — I need them! and Bed, Bath & Beyond has some stuff that would be quite useful — on sale. Hmm, may have to wander over.

Decent first writing session of the morning. Hopefully, I can get another one at some point during the day. Better jump in the shower and then mop the floors and wipe the counters — the one time I’m not ready early for the exterminator will be the one day he’s here early.

Devon

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend.

Saturday’s job went well. I got everything done and had time to work on some writing, too. The environment was peaceful and conducive to creative work. One piece on which I’m working has a “piece with in a piece” and have to figure out the internal logistics in order to write the actual story. I did get home around midnight, though, so getting up at 6 AM on Sunday wasn’t fun.

Up early, out the door, to CT, picked up my Mom, back here (because I live across the street from the train station, so it makes sense to use this one. On the train into the city — it was actually on time, nearly unheard of in the annals of Metro North.

Up to the hotel where my friends are staying, and we met up with them and their great kids. My mom hadn’t seen them in twenty yearns, and for me, it was even longer. I hadn’t realized it was that long, because we always talk on the phone every Christmas. It was lovely to see them and catch up. I have an open invitation to come to Rio, so I very well may take them up on it next year — I can start putting aside some money every paycheck for the “Rio Fund”. 😉

One of the friends runs the first cat-only vet practice in Brazil, so, of course, we talked cats. They have a few cats in their homes, and her practice, next door, is exclusively cats, so to say she’s a “cat person” is putting it mildly. He works for a good company in Brazil — he used to actually work on the oil rigs, but now he’s back on land. We met when we lived next door to each other in a residence club, when I first moved to San Francisco, a VERY long time ago! 😉 And have stayed friends ever since.

It was great to see each other again and catch up. And the kids are great — his daughters are 12 and 4. The older daughter brought a friend over, and his nephew, about eight, was also there. All of them are very bright, self-motivated, and don’t expect the world to entertain them The four year old is more computer-savvy than I am, which is a little scary. They’re in NY for a few days, and then headed to Disney World. I know of very few American children in that age range (unless I had a strong hand in bringing them up, the way I did with most of my godkids), who would have behaved as well and handled a first trip to NYC with such sophistication, and yet still been kids.

The contrast was even stronger on the train back, where there were far too many badly behaved, spoiled suburban children running wild on the train and their parents not paying any attention, or thinking it’s “cute.”

But before we headed back on the train, we stopped at Borders and used our gift cards! I bought quite the stack of books, and didn’t get everything on my list, because I was distracted by other books that looked really interesting!

I bought Yasmine Galenorn’s newest, BONE MAGIC (of course, I’m a big fan of the series). Sharon Shinn has a new book out in the Twelve Houses series, FORTUNE AND FATE, so I had to get that (her first book in the series, MYSTIC AND RIDER, continues to be one of my favorite books across the board). I picked up Monica Ferris’s THAI DIE, a mystery that I’m worried is what I call a “gimmick” mystery (it has a counted cross stitch pattern in the back), but the story sounds intriguing enough that I bought it anyway. Nicole Peeler’s TEMPEST RISING looks good, so I added that to the pile. That’s a case where the cover design completely drew me in — Sharon Tancredi’s illustration is completely unique, especially from the other books shelved around it. So many of the cover designs are so similar — all dark with the heroine in stilettos and a bustier, could we please have a RANGE of fashion choices, thank you very much, and some color? Yes, the covers are often appropriate for individual books, and, for instance, I think Yasmine’s covers are great and unique, but when shelves and shelves of covers on books by different authors with unique voices all look the same, I don’t want to buy any of them– but the colors and the artwork on this were completely unique. And the story sounds good, so I bought it. I also bought Deanna Rayburn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE, and Karen Harper’s MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE.

A good afternoon’s shopping! 😉

There was one kid on the train, though, who didn’t fit into the “spoiled suburban brat” mode. He was about nine years old, doing card tricks. His mother was at her wits’ end — I bet he’s been saying, “Pick a card” 24/7 for WEEKS. So I let him ply his tricks on me, and he’s actually very good. I gave him a few suggestions on presentation (he takes direction well), his mother had a break, and we had fun. I’ll have to use a character inspired by him in something.

Quiet evening at home. Watched the premiere of CHUCK and was disappointed. To me, it seems meandering, repetitive, and scattered, and lost a lot of its charm. They’re spending waaaaay too much time on the friends in the store — they’s supposed to be B story-line comic relief, and they’re getting equal screen time, and it doesn’t work for me.

I have to comment on the whole Jay Leno debacle. So many mistakes were made all the way around, and, instead of fixing the issue, NBC is closing its eyes, sticking its fingers in the ears and singing, “La, La, La” at the top of its lungs. People want scripted shows in the 10 PM slot. Period. I specifically did not watch the new Leno show, which I understand was basically a re-hash of the old Leno show, but in an earlier time slot, because, as someone who’s worked in the industry, NBC could get away with 5 hours’ less of produced, scripted shows by putting him on, and I protest that, both as someone who makes my living in the industry, and as an audience member. I’d stopped watching Jay awhile back, because the segments like “Jay walking” infuriate me. Why is he rewarding people for being uniformed morons by putting them on TV?

Yes, it costs a lot of money to produce a good scripted show, and to produce it well. But it’s worth it. I definitely have my problems with LOST, but it’s well-scripted and well-produced, and has been a gold mine for ABC. As usual, the network is trying to cut costs the wrong way. Having worked on several NBC shows, unless they’re up against a producer who pushes back, they’re always trying to nickel and dime. All the networks do, which is why it’s so important that the exec producer on a show has clout and is a hardass and pushes back at the network, and trains the producers under him or her on various shows to be the same. The networks don’t care about quality most of the time (example — reality shows). They only look at numbers and gossip about the network. If they widened their view a bit, they’d end up making more money over a period of time.

Okay, it’s back to the page for me for a few hours. I should take another load of decorations to storage and run some errands. Not yet sure if that’s on the agenda. Depends on the writing and what I feel like doing. I’ve also GOT to get a new phone sooner rather than later, although I hesitate to get it during Mercury Retrograde. I’ve also got a lot of correspondence to handle this week, and continue attempting to pull off emails from 1and1.

Ick.

Devon