Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
The Ides of March
Sunny with frost on the ground.

It snowed. I cried. I had a glass of wine.

That nowhere near sums up the day! 😉

I spent the day on the Tele-Seminar. First, I realized I had to move the conference board, because, on the site I originally placed it, when you clicked to register, everything was in Swedish. Now, I enjoy Swedes and Swedish as much as the next one (especially Swedish hockey players), but that is not the most user-friendly way to deal with seminar participants who pay to attend a conference.

So I moved it somewhere that “English” was the default language.

Then, it turns out the subdomain I set up for it via 1and1 — I couldn’t embed the code for the registration button. Oh, I COULD — if I “upgraded” my package and paid the additional monthly equivalent to my three month fee every month. I think not.

I designed (again) a page on iWeb, and I was pretty happy with it.

HOWEVER — since 1and1 won’t give me access to the FTP –for which I PAY — in order to upload the site, I couldn’t upload it. They gave me every excuse under the sun from “technical difficulties” with the FTP to everything else slimy. Now, realize, that if they actually give me access to the FTP — for which I pay — that means I can download the web files they’ve been holding hostage for the past three years. Once I have the web files, I can move hosts. I can’t lose over 10K of emails including contracts and business correspondence, and that’s what would happen if I switched hosts without being able to download the web files to my hard drive. Nor can I forward everything. I’ve tried. And if any of you dare mention “Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Explorer” I will drive a stake through your heart, because you ARE the most evil vampire — I’m on a Mac, damn it, and I’ve been trying to find a way to download since I switched (not that they let me download my files to an FTP when I was still on PC with access to Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Explorer anyway — they had excuses for that, too).

1and1.com should not be allowed to do business, because all they do is cheat you.

Anyway, I whimpered to AppleCare, who taught me how to upload the site to Mobile Me (guess I’m renewing that in April).

And, Ta-Da, here is the site for the Confident Freelancer. I hope you’ll come join us and get inspired!

Now, that took me from the time I logged on to the computer in the morning until dinnertime, along with going back-and-forth with my lovely partner and making sure we both ok’d copy before it was posted anywhere. She was working her ass off on other aspects of the project, too.

On the upside, it was the best possible day for this to happen. We’ve troubleshot as much as possible in advance, and now people can register and have a great experience. Yeah, I didn’t get to do other stuff I would have liked to get off my list — but I’m not behind, and I’m not scrambling. So it’s fine.

It’s the only day all week I could spend a big chunk of time on it, because I actually have to be in specific places at specific times every other day this week, meaning at X time, I have to walk away from the computer, no matter what is going on, come back later for a bit, leave again at Y time, etc.

Managed a quick trip down to the library to return some books due and get out another interesting stack — three Cape-centric mysteries and a book about Van Gough and Gaugin sharing a studio for nine weeks in Arles. Started one of the mysteries — hideously written. All telling, no showing, sloppy writing, cliched characters. I’m taking all three of the books in the series back today. I only managed to get to page 28 of the first one, and my time is too valuable to spend with that kind of bad writing.

In the library, I found a “biography” “written” by an actress I worked with on Broadway. Of course, I had to flip to the sections dealing with the shows on which we both worked. Wow. I don’t know if she’s delusional or trying to rewrite history to look more kindly on her or that’s the way she really thinks it happened. My diary entries for that same time period are VERY different (and no, I’m not mentioned in it by name — we were on the same show, but I was working directly with other actors).

I’ll only be on line briefly today — a little this morning (after I work on the play) to comment on student work (they have a deadline today), work on the conference board (I need to make postcards to take to the dinner tomorrow), start getting ready for Costume Imp’s visit, go to the grocery store, and, possibly, get to Ashumet, if it stays sunny. And I’m going to start the layout on the e-book.

Gotta love Canon customer service. I forgot something really basic on the camera last night (and needed the answer before the Flower show on Thursday). My instruction manuals are still packed goodness knows where. Shot them an email; got a response in under two hours — at night! Now THAT’s service! As frustrated as I’ve been with this last generation of printer, in general, they’re a fantastic company.

There’s frost on the ground this morning, which means I’m glad I didn’t put the rosemary plant out last night. It’s not happy inside, even in full sun, but I think it’s still too cold to set it on the back porch.

So that’s that, and the play needs attention, or it won’t get out the door by the end of the month.

Devon

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010
Full moon
Rainy and cold

Got up at 5:30 in the morning to run. Misery. Not only have I backslid since Friday, but the driving rain, high wind, and partially flooded streets made it impossible to get in a good session. I was wet, cold, and cranky when I got back. And the brook’s very high — I may need to move the car in an hour or so.

Thank goodness we actually had hot water this morning, so I could take a hot shower when I got home.

I ran some errands on Saturday. I got a book on running. I seem to be doing most things correctly, although my stride is too short. I was worried about leaning forward, which causes all kinds of problems, so I’d shortened the stride, but it turns out that causes all sorts of other problems! I tried lengthening the stride today, without tilting forward — a challenge. But it does feel better, on those strides I manage to hit correctly. Also, I’m already getting up at 5:30 — I am not getting up an hour earlier to have a snack before I run! I am drinking juice as soon as I get up, so I don’t go out there dehydrated.

Bought another book, for fun, by a new-to-me author, and also got to work on the assignment for Confidential Job #1. It’s a challenge, not my favorite type of material, but that makes me better.

Spent a lot of time on the workshop on Saturday. The work that’s progressing progresses very well. But too many of them are ignoring my notes on grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and I find it disrespectful. I’ve also never had to repeat notes so often – with some of them, it’s like talking to wallpaper. By the third time I’ve told you to learn the difference between a possessive and a plural, you damn well better have bothered to do it, especially when I’ve told you where to find the information. And yet others completely absorb and grow. I suspect a good many of the former are simply cutting and pasting from old work, instead of creating new material as required by the class. Some, however, are finding new styles of writing they never thought they’d venture into and are excited at the prospect. What’s exciting for me is watching them grow as writers. Also, as much of a Dragon as I am about structure and as specific as I am in the requirements for the exercise, I don’t tell them what genre in which to write. So I’m getting to read some really interesting work in areas I might not normally read.

Sunday morning was lost. I got out some queries and a requested proposal packet. Then, when I switched to the little printer to print manuscript pages, it threw a hissy fit. MacGeorge responded by dumping the software for BOTH printers, and I couldn’t reload them.

Frantic call to Apple Care. My tech was a really nice woman. Even though it was another of “I’ve never seen this type of incident before”, she stuck with me, and together we figured it out. We figured where the big printer was hidden, and got it back where it was supposed to be. Turns out MacGeorge was suspicious that the little printer’s hissy fit might endanger the system as a whole, booted it out, and won’t let it reinstall because something is seriously wrong with the printer.

I’ll have to get on the phone with Canon. It will probably cost more to repair the small printer than to dump it. But I don’t think they have an equivalent of a Baby Bubble anymore, and that’s what I need for travel and for manuscript printing. I don’t believe that the MX860 is sturdy enough to cough up the amount of manuscript printing I do on a daily basis. It’s great for the submitted work, faxing, scanning, photos, copying. But I need something little I can cart around to do simple print jobs, and, at home, to just print manuscript pages. I’ve had bad experiences with HP, Lexmark, and Epson. I want to figure out what my options are with Canon. Also, I’m going to have to upgrade my OS to Snow Leopard soon, and the little printer isn’t compatible. The big one is — it came out the same weekend Snow Leopard did, the week I bought MacGeorge (who does not have Snow Leopard).

Spent many hours catching up with the workshop material. I’d planned to split it into a couple of shorter sessions throughout the day, but because of Printer Kerflamma, I couldn’t. And I’m not going to punish my students because I had technical difficulties. I expect them to be on time. I will also be on time.

Printed out the 86 or so pages of POWER OF WORDS. Sorted out some more logistical issues. Figured out how to break the overall piece down into several shorter books covering the lifespan of the story I want to tell, but each being a reasonable length and able to stand on its own. That takes a lot of pressure off — I was trying to compress events, but that left holes. Now I can tell each part of the story, and structure it in a way that’s not overwhelming. It is kind of unwieldy because of the sheer number of individual characters necessary to present the piece believably, and it’s written in a far more cinematic style than I usually use. I’m still head-jumping too much in the early sections. I need to pick a POV for each section and stick to it. That’s a note to myself for revisions. I’m not yet sure how many POVs I will use in the course of the piece — so far, there are three. I don’t want it to be too many, or it will get confusing, even if each section is clearly delineated. So I know I have to fix that, but the head-jumping is in sections in which I haven’t yet decided whose POV serves that section best. I have to see the overall balance, and then tweak as necessary, so it’s not skewed. It always throws me when I read a book and 85% is from one POV, with only a chapter or two from others.

The scene I wrote today is about 200 pages beyond where I am in the current draft, but it was fully formed, and I didn’t want to lose it. I suspect it’s the last scene in this particular book, so now I have something to write towards. I already have much of what will be book 2 outlined (since I thought it would be part of this volume).

There’s definitely an audience for this story, although selling it will be tough. I can’t get so wrapped up in it that I let other, more easily marketable (not to mention deadlined) projects fall by the wayside. Yet more restructuring of my time in the future.

I booked a part-week gig in mid-April at my favorite site. I love being there, because I’m in more of an oversight capacity and can do my own writing, as long as I’m physically present.

And no, I did not even look at my taxes this weekend. Oh, well.

Devon

PS The only comments I have to make regarding all these celebrity infidelities eating up media time are:
–if you’re going to mess with skanks and hos, don’t be surprised when they turn on you for profit.
–if you like sleeping with lots of different people, don’t get married.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Dreary and cool

Stop by Diane Parkin’s blog today and read her interview with me (“The Evolution of Dixie and Jenny”), and visit Hywela Lyn’s blog for another stop on the DIXIE DUST tour!

Thanks to both of you for being such lovely and gracious hosts.

There was so much hail in New Jersey yesterday that people were out (in their shorts) with snow shovels!

For some reason, I couldn’t shake off my fatigue and lethargy yesterday. I scanned the job boards. There was some good material, but it was site work, and too far away for me. Still, it was nice to see a better quality of work up there.

Worked on the DIXIE DUST postcard mailing. The first list is almost complete and ready. As soon as I’ve got the second wave compiled, that should go out in a week or so.

Designed the postcard for Fearless Ink. It’s a first wave post-card, going out as part of a mass-mailing, different than the targeted list with the brochure. I also have to design a second card, that’s the follow-up card to the targeted mailing. I need to find scored, colored postcard stock. Any ideas? All the colored stock I’ve found is unscored. Me with a paper cutter and three curious cats? Now that’s an accident waiting to happen. I’d rather used scored cards.

Struggled with the write up for Confidential Job #1. I know what I want to say, but I’m not saying it well.

Worked on client projects, but it was slower going than I expected, and not because of the projects, but because my brain felt unfocused, so eventually I put it aside. My clients deserve SHARP focus.

I’m getting caught up on my filing and excavating my desk. Once the PC is done, I’ll have a desk back so I can work — right now, I use the Macbok on the part of the desk that used to house the PC keyboard, while the old monitor dominates the desk. I think I’ll put the monitor up on Freecycle eventually, with a bunch of other things, remove the hard drive, and then take the tower to the next county electronics recycling day. My old PC in storage also needs to go. Now that I know HOW to remove a hard drive, it’s not such a big deal. Plus, since I won’t need the damned thing once the transfer is complete, I don’t have to stress about screwing something up.

Pulled off a bunch more stuff from the PC, converted short stories from floppies, etc. The PC crashed every 6 or 7 minutes and took approx. 18-22 minutes to reboot. I HATE it. I can’t wait to be done with Dell for good. What a piece of crap. Not to mention that the older Microsoft programs can’t even be read by the newer ones. If I thought about all the lost time and productivity over the past years, because I never bit the bullet and got a Mac before this year, I could just kill myself. It’s amazing I ever managed to get ANYTHING out to a publisher or an editor.

By 3:30, I was feeling pretty lousy, and cancelled out of that evening’s workshop. It’ll come around again in a month or so, so I haven’t lost my opportunity forever. I had a quiet night, eating lots of vegetables, drinking juice, going to bed early. I feel a little better this morning, but still not all that sharp. I figure if I don’t push too hard for the next few days, I should get my feet back under me and be fine. Everything really starts to accelerate next week, so slowing down a bit this week and building up my reserves makes sense.

I have a big grocery shopping trip today (possibly to Trader Joe’s as well as to the usual store. I’m trying some great recipes this week, and I’m very excited.

I plan to clear some client projects off my desk this afternoon, and then spend a few days this week focused primarily on my fiction.

I worry that I’m spending so much time on re-organization and admin and workshops and all that, but, if I do it now, and reconfigure my workspace and my files and everything, it will streamline the rest of the year and help me be more productive.

Oh, and Chase Bank gets yet another Middle Finger Award. Yeah, like that’s a surprise.

Anyway, I better get going. I want to get a lot done early in the day and then rest. in spite of feeling under the weather last night, I pushed through my workout, and, once I was done, I was glad I did. During it, I wasn’t so sure, but it was the right choice.

Before I go to DC next week, I’m going to upload all the photos on the camera so far to the computer, just in case something goes wonky through one of the security areas. i fI lose the photos from the day, I’ll be sad, but I’ll deal. But if I lose everything I’ve put on the card so far, I’ll be very upset. So I’ll back it up first.

I’m going to Target in the next week or so. I need more bins, and, as I finish with the boxes of floppies, I’ll stash them in a bin and take them to storage. More room for the stuff I actually use! There’s going to be a lot of cleaning out of things over the next few months!

The fix Canon sent me for the little printer worked, and I printed out what I have of CRAVE THE HUNT, the Billy Root piece, so I can get back to it this week. I hadn’t realized how much I’d written. This will be the biggest book of the series so far. It’s kind of a turning point for several characters, so it makes sense.

Back to the page.

Devon

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yeah, it’s STILL raining. I hope that means we’ll have lots of gorgeous flowers when it finally lets up.

Speaking of gorgeous flowers, my morning glories are blooming! Imagine! In a north-facing window! Beautiful! Hopefully, the moonflowers will bloom, too.

Hop on over to FEMMEFAN to read my Belmont Stakes wrap-up.

And if you haven’t read my interview with Kim Smith, please drop by here and leave a comment!

Yesterday was caught up in business, and I didn’t get much other stuff done. I helped my mom with a bunch of stuff. We stopped at our favorite Chinese restaurant on the way home and got some take out. The food is always excellent, and the prices are great. AND they’re really nice.

The issues with 1and1 seem to be cleared up, at least for the moment. Let’s hope they remain so. And Canon sent me the fixes for both printers, so that seems to be resolved. Many thanks to both of them. We think that, with the big printer, someone else’s wireless crossed communication with my printer, and my printer was printing from someone else’s computer. We hope that’s now fixed. I don’t have wi-fi, I don’t have my printer set up for wi-fi, but . . .

I’m a little behind where I’d like to be on client projects, although no deadlines are in jeopardy. I have to reshuffle a couple of projects over the next few days, but everything will get done. And I need to get back to my own fiction. I’m behind where I’d like to be on that, although, again, no deadlines are in jeopardy.

I’ve got some more business to take care of today, and if all goes well with that, the next few weeks will be crazy. Most of it will be great, some of it will be frustrating, it will be exhausting, but the outcome should be quite good.

I don’t plan to be online very much today. I’m a little cranky because someone broke the city code and woke me with a leaf blower (yes, in the middle of the rain) at 6:15 this morning. And ran it for 45 minutes. Leaf blowers are banned entirely by the city code from May 1 – either September 1 or October 1. So I have to put in a call to City Hall. I don’t care what day of the year it is — I should NEVER be woken up by a leaf blower at 6:15 in the morning.

I think leaf blowers should be banned anyway, all the time, especially around here. All they do is kick up dust,dirt, and noise pollution. The guys who run them just walk around pointing them randomly at the asphalt. I have yet to see them ever use them on LEAVES. And as far as leaves go? Use a damn rake! Much more eco-friendly. I understand if it’s the Town Park and there are acres and acres of leaves in the fall — but handkerchief-sized yards don’t need them, especially when they’re not used properly.

Come by Sole Struck Fashions tomorrow. It’ll be my monthly post.

I didn’t do anything particularly interesting that can be discussed on the blog. Sorry.

I’ll put in a good day’s work today. Tomorrow, I’m up early, because I have a meeting with a Congressional Representative at 9 AM. And I have another Mac class in CT at 2 PM. I’m going to go a little early and play with the iPod touch and ask some questions. I’m not actually going to BUY it tomorrow, but at least I’ll do my research, so when I’m ready, it’s just a case of the cash changing hands. I can Tweet from it, so soon — none of you will be safe!

I have another Mac workshop on Sunday morning, and one on Monday night. Then I think I’m done for about a week. Yeah. I’ll have taken nine workshops in a month. And I’ll know how to use my computer! These are the free workshops Apple offers. They’re incredibly helpful. I feel like I should bake them all brownies or something.

Speaking of brownies, I baked some for myself yesterday afternoon. Just because there must always be something chocolate in this house. It’s a requirement.

It’s supposed to clear up this afternoon. I’m going to run over and check the brook in a bit, and determine whether or not I need to move the car. Hopefully, I don’t.

I got my confirmation yesterday — I am officially a member of Broad Universe! Woo-hoo! I can’t wait to get involved supporting my fellow fantasy and science-fiction writers. And my renewal from PEN arrived, along with the new membership card. I’m delighted. I need to talk to them about the plans for the Laura Ling/Euna Lee situation, and also about Prague.

Slow day on the Matty book. The Lucy Gothic is starting to pull at me again, but I’ve got other projects to complete before I can get back to it.

Have a great day!

Devon