Thurs. July 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 51 — Hope for a Happy, Productive Day

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image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 9, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

There’s a new post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth. If you didn’t see the post on Ink-Dipped Advice yesterday, about red flags in job postings, check it out.

I haven’t been spending early mornings writing in my personal journal or getting my first 1K done in longhand – I’ve been headed to the computer for the past few days. It doesn’t serve me for the rest of the day, it doesn’t set the right tone, so I have to change back to longhand first thing, computer later on. It sets a more creative tone for the day.

Up early, got some work done, polished an ad for a client yesterday. Went onsite for a few hours. The first few hours are fine, because it’s just me, but then it got chaotic. And uncomfortable. But it is what it is.

Home, disinfectant protocols, and made it to Remote Chat, which is also fun. Did a couple of brainstorming sessions with a friend about possible pseudonyms for different expansions in her career. It’s always fun to serve as a sounding board like that; a nom de plume is so personal and has to work on multiple levels. When you hit the right one, you can feel it. It resonates in your body.

Cleared off some other work. Spent some time out on the deck. Willa and the bunny are fascinated by each other.

Finished Deanna Raybourn’s A MURDEROUS RELATION, which was a lot of fun. Started reading Vivien Chien’s DEATH BY DUMPLING, and I’m loving it.

A friend sent me a house listing for her neighborhood. It has everything I want in it, and the price is high for there, but lower than almost anything around here. It’s in the Midwest, and I hadn’t considered moving back there (my family lived in Chicago from when I was 1 until I was 6). Hmm. Lots to think about. I doubt I’ll have the money before it’s snapped up, but still, it’s something to think about.

One of the biggest issues that worries me there is noise. It’s in a medium-sized city. Because of my hyperaccussis, I’m thinking of moving farther away from, you know, PEOPLE. And repetitive machine noise.

It’s one of the reasons we moved to Cape Cod. I need quiet. No, “noise-cancelling” headphones don’t work. They make it worse. Anyway, in the past few years, it’s noisier in this neighborhood than it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Ave. in NYC, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Saw a job listing for a freelancer. Decent monthly retainer. But if you “apply” you get 72 hours from the moment you hit send to complete an “assessment” which includes a project-specific writing sample. Nope. On top of that, they’re saying, “oh, we’re not expecting you to do unpaid work.” THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THIS SAMPLE IS. How much do you want to bet they don’t hire anyone, change the name of the company, and publish everything without paying the writers?

Next!

The Goddess Provisions box arrived yesterday, and it is delightful. The copy of WHO COOKED ADAM SMITH’S DINNER? About inequity in economics, arrived, too. I’d read a copy from the library, realized I needed it for future reference on many projects, and bought a copy.

People are so happy with the cards we sent out. I’m glad. I’ve heard from several friends, and a friend of my mom’s called her and burst into tears because she was so happy to get the card.

Pandemic stress is getting to people. If a card can give them some pleasure and relief, I can take a few minutes to write cards. I’m going to do another batch this weekend.

This morning, I have to take the household garbage to the dump, do some client work on an online store, and get a rough draft of my new article assignment done. Plus, finish fixing THE BARD’S LAMENT and finally move on to the next section, and catch up on my Miracle of Human Languages coursework for the week.

Busy day, but I hope a relatively calm, happy, and productive one. With time put aside to sneak off a read a few chapters of the Vivien Chien book.

Have a great Thursday!

Tues. Dec. 17, 2019: Trying to Stay On Top of It All

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Lousy weather

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about one of my favorite Winter Holiday books.

Busy few days. Sorry I didn’t post at all on Friday. I was up at 5:30 and out of the house by 7. Put gas in the car, then drove up to Plymouth, to my regular mechanic, to give them their holiday treats and get the yearly inspection done.

The car passed. All those things the place that replaced my battery told me I had to pay $1800 to get done or else not pass inspection — NONE of them were true. Which makes me both angry and relieved.

I’ve spent the past nearly three months in agony fearing the car wouldn’t pass, and I couldn’t afford the additional work. Because I was lied to.

Stopped at Market Basket on the way back to pick up a few things. Swung by the library to pick up a book and talk to the librarian who took her first trip to NYC this past week, and I wrote up directions to the stuff she wanted to see. She had a great time.

Then, I just hit a wall. I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that I couldn’t do much more than play with the cats, do some more decorating, and read.

I managed to pull it together in the late afternoon to put together and deliver the cookie platters to the neighbors. It was fun — a chance for us to catch up. We are all friendly in passing and help each other when we need it, but every now and again, it’s nice to spend some time in actual conversation. We are lucky in our neighbors. Most of them, anyway.

It looks like my health insurance might be sorted out for the next year. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

On Thursday night, we watched the version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Alistair Sims, which is still my favorite. Friday night, we watched HOLIDAY INN, which I had ordered from the library by accident, thinking it was the Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye version later named WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Well, it wasn’t. It was a Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film in black & white — also using the song “White Christmas” — and what a horrid movie. The racism — especially against blacks, with an entire musical number in blackface, and the awful way the black characters were written, anti-Semitic comments, the misogyny, and the fact that the characters are all so mean to each other. Awful. On so many levels. Some of the dance numbers are good, but the plot, characters, and viciousness of the movie are hateful. To think that, at any point in our history, that was considered “okay” much less acceptable, is discouraging.

Saturday morning, woke up to a bad storm with pounding rain. Made it through the flooded streets to the store to pick up a few things, and barely made it home. If I’d waited even a half hour more, some of the streets would have been impassable.

Made stollen, the traditional Dresden stollen recipe, from Mimi Sheraton’s German cookbook. Upped the almond extract a bit.

The recipe took me 8 hours to make last year, but only 6 hours this year, with the mixing and the rising. The yeast was fresher, and it rose faster.

This recipe makes 3 loaves of about 3 pounds apiece. When you think that a single pound of it from a store or ordered online costs anywhere from $9.99 to $34 and tastes like cardboard or could be used for a doorstop, this is a much better choice. In addition to being absolutely delicious. It’s an all-day project, but worth it.

Just about finished my cards on Saturday night, except for a few where I need to hunt down addresses.

Worked on the books for review. Started preparations for Winter Solstice, which is next Saturday. Got some writing done.

We put up the reindeer collection and the nutcracker collection, and cleared out my office, so that we can put up the tree in there. I cleaned up the roll-top desk, and I want to clear off my computer desk, so I can start the New Year and the new decade, with a clean desk.

I will have to make the next batch of stained glass cupcakes either today or tomorrow, and another batch of tollhouse cookies. I’m still making deliveries.

Sunday, I was up early and creating a new muffin recipe with orange, cranberry, and chocolate. It turned out well, although I think I will add some cloves next go round.

Got some writing done. Put up the tree in my office, and started decorating the rest of the office.

Watching THE QUEENS OF MYSTERY. There’s a lot of clever, fun stuff in it, but sometimes I feel it tries to hard to do too much and gets a little unfocused.

Monday, it was off to my client’s early (since we’re leaving early for our holiday lunch together). On the way, made some more cookie platter deliveries. Client work was okay, albeit a bit chaotic. Headed to the library after, to get some other work done, and send off one of the reviews.

Early at my client’s today, and then a couple of other appointments after. Decent first writing sessions of the day both days. THE QUALITY OF LIGHT is chugging along, and it will get to where it needs to go on time.

I’m working on my next essay for Medium, which I hope to post this week sometime.
Planning to finish up the reviews, so I can get them out and invoiced, either today or tomorrow.

This year, I’m very much hearth-and-home for the holidays. I’d rather do cards and cookie platters than running around to all the holiday networking events. My focus needs to be on other things right now, focused on the home front and the upcoming changes, not on socializing.

Published in: on December 17, 2019 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 17, 2019: Trying to Stay On Top of It All  
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Mon. Dec. 16, 2019: The Joy of Gentle Words #UpbeatAuthors

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image courtesy of 366608 via pixabay.com

Monday, December 16, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde

We should always take care with our words, but especially during this season. Plenty of people are dealing with stresses and pain. We want to lighten their burdens, not add to them.

At the same time, when someone is excited and happy about a tradition or something to do with the holiday, and it’s not our thing — we need to be kind enough NOT to tell them we don’t like what brings them joy.

If someone wants to say “Merry Christmas” — fine.

If someone prefers “Happy Holidays” or another greeting — fine.

If someone wants to skip the holidays this year for whatever reason — fine. But that doesn’t give them the right to last out at those who enjoy the holidays.

If someone loves the decorations and the shopping and all the rest, a lecture about the commercialization of Christmas is not helpful. Save that for a discussion at that barbecue in July.

I love stuff like Secret Santa or a Giving Tree. But, for me, it’s vitally important that it not be about me — I LIKE staying anonymous. I like participating without the receiver knowing it came from me, or posting about it on social media or in any other way congratulating myself. That defeats the purpose for me.

Others feel differently. That’s up to them.

I’m a big card writer. When someone says, “Oh, I don’t have TIME to write cards” — to me, that’s a slap in the face. It gives me information about that person, that I file away for future reference. Honestly? I don’t HAVE time for plenty of things — including writing cards or even these posts. I MAKE time for them. There are plenty of reasons for not writing cards: not liking to write, not wanting to use paper products, worry about the carbon footprint of mailing things, or whatever. Those are all valid reasons. There are plenty of more valid reasons that are none of my business. But when someone uses the myth of time as their reason, chooses those words as the reason, what they are really saying is “You are not worth the five minutes it takes to choose and write a card. You’re not important enough.”

Which is useful, because then I can move them to the appropriate slot in my life, and no longer make them one of MY priorities. They get to choose their priorities during the season. I get to choose mine. When a relationship gets out of balance, then I have to adjust, for my own well-being. I can do so without giving a speech about it.

The same way I often don’t argue on social media, when someone crosses one of my lines. I either unfollow or block. I don’t owe an explanation. I get to choose my interactions. I regularly block those who mock my profession, be it writing or theatre or film. We like what we like; we don’t what we don’t. But when someone derides the profession — they’re out. No argument. Just gone.

We all have things we like and don’t like. That’s part of the wonderful fabric of what makes us unique. But scolding people for making other choices? Scolding people because they enjoy something harmless that you don’t like? No, thanks. Is that what I’m doing here? Partially, making a single statement instead of getting into a dozen small arguments.

It’s hard NOT to lash out sometimes, when we feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated. But taking a breath and choosing not to engage in hurtful words or behavior goes a long way. Not just this season, but all the time.

So, remember to breathe. Remember to rest.

Remember to be gentle with your words this season.

Published in: on December 16, 2019 at 5:54 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I’ve got a very short post up on Gratitude and Growth, about the garden.

I started writing on Medium. I’m not using it as a daily blogging platform — I have this blog for that purpose, where I natter on about whatever is in my head at the moment. I’m using Medium to write essays on things that matter to me or bother me, where they don’t fit in traditional publications. Well, they would, if I were famous; there are similar essays in all kinds of magazines, such as VICTORIA and YANKEE, but they’re all by people who are Names. Medium gives me the chance to experiment. I’m not sure if it’s actual “essay” format — I don’t think I really stick to the essay formula. But I’m writing focused pieces about what I want to write.

The first one is “The Tree is My History”and went up earlier in the week. Publishing might be easy, but setting up the account was not.

I figure I’ll write something every 2-3 weeks there, as long as I have something to say. The curation/payment system has gotten complicated. There are people who are pounding content on the platform every day, and only 35 curators. So I’m not counting on that. But I signed up for the Partnership Program, which means if it’s chosen for something or read enough or something like that, I’m eligible for payment.

But I’m not counting on it for a source of income. I’ll be grateful for it, of course; but it will also allow me to expand some writing chops in a slightly different direction, with less pressure than I’d find in other venues.

We’ll see.

Yesterday, the overnight rain turned into snow by the time I got up, so it was not fun getting to my client’s. Honestly, I was dreading it. We’ve prepped everything for an event she’s doing at the end of next week, and she’s on a tear about a couple of other things. We’re ahead of where we need to be at this point, so there’s nothing to worry about.

I had a decent, but not brilliant, first writing session yesterday, and a slightly better one this morning. I’m still working on cards, and trying to get a few other things sorted out. There’s still plenty of decorating to do, and two books for review, and the play to finish.

The radio play, “Pier-less Crime” has been accepted for production down in Florida. I’m excited. That’s a good track record. They will have produced all three of the Frieda/Lazarus radio plays by next year.

I’m trying to sort out the writing projects for next year, to make sure everything stays on track. I want to get all the stage plays out on submission, so they’re earning their keep, and look at additional markets for the radio plays. I’d like to write a couple more radio plays, and at least two stage plays. (one of which is the one about the two female writers, which I couldn’t get done this year). And I have to stay on track with the novels, both for the series, and for the other novel ideas with which I’m playing. Honestly, I don’t know where short stories fit into next year.

So, I’ll have fixed deadlines, and then other pieces I’ll want to fit in as I can.

Plus, some new directions for the freelance/business/marketing writing, and solid financial points I HAVE to hit, because of the other changes and demands happening. So, it’s a lot to sort out, and I want to do it in a way that makes sense and is attainable, not do it in a way that overwhelms me and then I get frustrated.

I’m off to take my mom to a doctor’s appointment, then write more cards, work on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and do some more decorating. And maybe some more cookie deliveries.

Back to the page.

Published in: on December 12, 2019 at 9:43 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing  
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Monday, Dec. 2, 2019: Defining Joy #UpbeatAuthors

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image courtesy of JillWelllington via pixabay.com

Monday, December 2, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

 

December is the month of joy here. With the Winter Holidays approaching, it makes sense to decide and define what gives us joy.

For me, especially around this season, it’s a combination of old and new traditions, decorating, baking, and doing unexpected small things for other people.

I’m a big believer in holiday cards. I sometimes cut it a little close getting them out, but it gives me pleasure to choose and write a card I think someone will enjoy, to let that person know I’m thinking of them.

I bake a lot at the holidays. I make platters with a central small cake or cupcakes and an assortment of cookies. I give those to neighbors and to people with whom I’ve had a lot of interaction over the year: the library, the mechanic, the firemen, the guy who mows the lawn, the postal carriers, etc. It gives me joy to give them something I made for them.

I go all out on the decorating. I have an entire closet in my storage room that’s the Christmas Closet, floor to ceiling winter holiday decorations (I celebrate more than Christmas in this season). I start decorating on the weekend after Thanksgiving. If I’m lucky, I get it all done by Christmas Eve! The cats know if they sit still too long, they might get decorated, too! Well, the new cats don’t know that yet, but they will.

I make the extra effort to smile at people and to say, “thank you” especially when I’m shopping. I don’t shop on Black Friday — there’s nothing I need that badly to make me wait in line in the cold for hours. I DO shop on Small Business Saturday.

I wrap up projects and look over my plans for the coming year.

When it comes to submissions, unless it’s a contracted deadline, I stop submitting by December 12 or 15, and don’t start up again until around January 6. People deserve a holiday.

It means organization on my part, to make sure I can clear as much as possible off my plate before then. If something comes in here and there for a quick turnaround, then I have the room for it.

I appreciate the decorating other people do, and the gestures they make, and the fun everyone wants to have. I try not to feel pressured by any of it, but to appreciate it. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

Instead of trying to do 20 more things, I try to do less. I work on the things that make me happy, and I steer away from that which makes me unhappy. I make an exception when it’s something that means a lot to someone who matters to me. Then I step up and do it — with grace, not grumble.

In my mind, the winter holidays are here to remind us that, even in when the weather is cold and the days short, we can create light by being joyful with and for each other. When it comes from the heart instead of because we feel it’s expected, then we can have a positive impact all around us.

I’ve talked about this all year — make a difference amongst your immediate neighbors, and start a ripple effect.

What gives you joy during this season?

 

Published in: on December 2, 2019 at 5:39 am  Comments Off on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019: Defining Joy #UpbeatAuthors  
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Wed. Nov. 6, 2017: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy few days.

My late-paying client turned out to be a life-saver, paying me for the month that was late and the monies not due until the end of December. That will go to car repairs. I’d hoped to have money to adopt another cat before the end of the year, but no such luck. Guess Tessa’s not getting a new friend until the new year!

Work on SERENE AND DETERMINED is going slowly, but going. My deadline to turn in the play is the end of the year. I’d hoped to get in in sooner, but it’s slow. When the information on someone indicates she was determined to keep a lack of drama in her life so that she could focus on her art, well, it’s difficult to dramatize! 🙂

But it’s been a joy to immerse myself in Renaissance art for a year. I learned a lot, but there’s still so much more to learn!

The idea for the Winter holiday short that goes out with the newsletter that will go out early next week hit me in the shower yesterday. I have the characters, the situation, the story. Now, if I can only keep it to under 1000 words! I wanted it to be 500 words, but I doubt I can do it justice in that.

Got more lights up, and the Santa collection out. Still have to decorate the back room and my office. Things get a little elaborate in my office.

Also have to start the baking and finish the cards this week. Too much to do, too few hours in the day. Just like everyone else.

This morning was the joy of a candy-filled shoe! I love the morning after St. Nicholas Night! Yum yum!

Lots to do with my clients.

Busy time.

I’ll be blogging late tomorrow; National Grid is coming in to change out the meter, and then I have yoga.

Be well, be kind. Remember, Mercury is retrograde!

Published in: on December 6, 2017 at 3:32 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 6, 2017: Keeping On Keeping On  
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Mon. Dec. 23, 2013: Solstice and Writing and . . .

Monday, December 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Still dark out

Busy weekend. I don’t even remember Friday, although I suspect I worked flat out. I haven’t been getting enough of my own writing done, which is frustrating. I have a big deadline coming up in early February for a large package of projects, and that’s my main focus, around the freelance jobs that are paying the bills.

I’m disengaging from several clients who have proven to be unreliable and difficult in the wrong way. I don’t mind precise with high standards — that’s a good thing, and something I appreciate and respect. I mind legends in their own minds, without the goods to back it up. It amazes me that the lowest and most unreliable payers are often the biggest pains in the ass, and the ones most worried about other people “stealing” their material are the ones who have the weakest and most derivative stuff that no one would want to poach anyway.

The ones with the best material are the most prompt, pay fairly and on time, and the easiest to work with.

Saturday was the Solstice, a lovely holiday for me. I finished decorating (about time), although the outdoor trees don’t have lights this year, because I pulled the outdoor cords for something and didn’t put them back — I have no idea where they are. Got some of the holiday cards out (late) and will do New Year’s and Valentine’s cards for the rest. Tried ecards for some people, too — not quite as satisfying as paper cards, but better than nothing.

Sunday, I spent the morning writing a half hour teleplay. It turned out better (and different) than I expected, and is printed out and in the editing queue. A character walked in for the cliffhanger who I wasn’t expecting, and I think will be a good fulcrum/cause of conflict in the series. I set it at a friend’s Brooklyn brownstone (a place that’s often used for location shooting anyway, so . . .). Pitched for some jobs.

Some neighbors stopped by with cookies! So thoughtful. I haven’t gotten my usual holiday baking done, so it was nice to have treats.

Re-read HOGFATHER, one of my favorite Terry Pratchett novels, and relevant to the season. As usual, I laughed out loud at portions. Wrote, polished, and scheduled my Boxing Day post for Writers Vineyard, and updated my 2014 calendar on a few things.

I have to get back to work on a couple of scripts today, work on the novella, maybe work on the holiday piece that was supposed to be a short story but has turned into a novella that I would like to finish and submit by February. I also have to get the car inspected and run some errands to a few libraries. I may have a quick turnaround proofreading job, if the guy coughs up the deposit, as has been emphasized now in a half a dozen emails. I do not do a job without a deposit. When the deposit shows up, I will do the job. It’s very clear in the LOA.

I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I am unprepared!

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 7:09 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. December 19, 2012: Cookie platter deliveries

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was about writing cards (I’m still not done), baking, and delivering cookie platters in the neighborhood. I tweaked the recipe for the lemon cookies, and now, it is AWESOME. It is still, however, a pain in the butt, because of the lemon-zesting. I found my oversize cheese grater is the best device to zest a large amount of lemons. And, although I’ve been desensitizing myself to my citrus allergy (for instance, I can now eat lemon cookies and have lemon dressing on my salad), handling large quantities of fresh lemons made my hands look like I’d dipped them in acid. Well, I had — citric acid!
Soothed them with a chamomile soak.

Frosted the red velvet cupcakes. This frosting recipe is a little too sweet, and I HATE using pastry bags. Especially when they decide to spring a leak in the center.

But it got done, and the neighborhood platters went out last night. Today, I’m prepping the larger circle of platters, and then, on Thursday and Friday, I’m taking the ones that go (oh, horrors) Over The Bridge.

Packages started coming in yesterday — including a lovely fresh wreath from LL Bean that friends in Kentucky sent. I hadn’t had a chance to get one since the work was done on the house (didn’t want to do any external decorating until that was done), so the timing was perfect. It is lovely.

We also took a night drive around the light sculptures in Sandwich, along Rt. 6A and through the middle of town. They are so lovely! My favorite is the guy with the book in front of the library, the pizza, and the huge sand dollar. Lovely!

Okay writing session this morning. I’m worried that I have too much narrative in this section. I need to write it, but may cut it and integrate it into dialogue in the revisions. However, it has to be written before it can be revised.

I also wished I had thought of it sooner — offering a free short story every day for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas — a comic something related to the holiday. Now, the First Day of Christmas is a week from today — but I don’t see how I can get it together fast enough. What I may do is WRITE the relevant tale on each of these twelve days, and offer them next year — that gives me time to revise them, do decent design work for the covers, and do a good job making them available next year. Each one will only be available for 24 hours. Maybe, the following year, I’ll sell them as a collection.

I already jotted a few notes on the first one, and have the opening lines!

Have to finish up the PDF for the Flash 7 class to get that out. I am seriously behind in my schoolwork — good thing I’m not going for certification in either of these classes!

Onward!

Devon

Enjoy the Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays! Two holiday-themed Nina Bell comic mysteries, and a fantasy/comic/romantic twist on Yuletide myths!

“When Words Align” — Jan. 2-9. Get your WIP or revision back on track with focused, individualized exercises and critiques. More info and registration here.

“Sensory Perceptions” — this popular workshop is back ONCE in 2013, and it’s happening from January 2-February 3. Learn how to use the senses to boost your fiction to its highest level, creating six sense-driven short pieces, while layering sensory detail into a longer piece. More info and registration here.

Tuesday, Dec. 18: Baking Exhaustion & Sugar Overload

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All three can finally share the same chair

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Yup, I thought yesterday was December 15 -hence the mistake in the Blog Post title. I truly thought it was the 15th, not the 17th, which meant I missed a live video chat last night I wanted to attend. Fortunately, I wasn’t the presenter!

Yesterday I buckled down to holiday cards. My disorganization from last year bit me in the butt, because I spent more time hunting down changes of address than I spent on cards, and only made it through the J’s. That’s for domestic — all the overseas went out last week, thank goodness.

I also baked the molasses spice cookies I’d prepped on Sunday — three batches of them. They came out very well. I baked one batch of the lemon sugar cookies. They taste great, but the batch doesn’t make as many as I hoped, and I discovered it takes two lemons to create 1/3 of a cup of zest. So I’ll be buying more lemons today. The cookies are good, but they are a pain to prep, so this will probably be the only year I do them. Instead of two more batches of those, I have to do three.

This morning, I baked two batches of red velvet cupcakes. I’ll have to do at least one batch more. I also designed and printed the tags for the cookie platters. I don’t know what happened to the gift tags I’ve made in other years — disappeared into the Gift Tag Vortex, I guess. I combined what’s on the platter onto the tag, so I don’t have to prep the sheets of photographs.

The batter for red velvet cupcakes looks like blood — they’d be good for a Halloween party!

My hip flexors are giving me a lot of problems. I took valerian last night, to relax it enough to get some sleep, but I’m groggy this morning — which I shouldn’t be, from valerian. Too much raw cookie dough, probably — sugar crash.

Lousy first morning writing session, but I’ve got to get all this other stuff done, and I want to start moving the cookie platters out either later today or tomorrow. Anything with red velvet in it can’t sit around. I realized I need to yank some of the subplots from this book and save them for one further in the series. I can plant the seeds for those arcs now, but otherwise, too much gets too sprawly too fast.

I started planning the food for the Twelfth Night party — that’s not too far away, and I have to start thinking about invites, etc. But first, I need to get the cards and cookies out!

I’d love an extended nap, but that’s not on the agenda right now!

Pat, to answer your question about swapping out a revised piece for a contest entry — no, that’s not usually allowed. I’m trading on the relationship I have with this particular production company IF this draft is strong enough to land me a slot. What you send is what you’re judged on — if you get in, then, there is often a revision process. Before something is published, it’s going to get an edit (one hopes). But once it’s in the pipeline, you don’t get to swap it out. That’s where careful copy editing and proof-reading is so important. If a mistake hits someone in the pipeline on a bad day and that individual finds it particularly grating, you’re out. My revision for this play — should I land the slot — is more than just typos. I want to do a structural change, and hope that the seven pages it takes me to accomplish that will be allowed. I won’t know until mid-January, but I want to have the next draft in good shape, and then, if this draft gets me in, I’ll request the swap. If the draft doesn’t get me in, if I blew it, that’s on me, but at least I tried. I’ll still have a rewritten draft to submit elsewhere.

Back to baking. I may have to take a nap for an hour or so this afternoon.

Devon

Nibble on the Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays! Two Nina Bell shorts (read excerpts here) and an Ava Dunne romantic comedy/fantasy twist on traditional Yuletide myths (read excerpt here).

When Words Align is a one-week intensive to get you back on track with either your WIP or your revision, January 2-9.

Sensory Perceptions teaches you, story-by-story to focus on each of the senses, while layering them into a longer piece. January 2-February 3.

Fri. Dec. 14: Roofers Still Here and Frost on the Ground

Friday, December 14, 2012
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Ended up spending most of the day out doing errands, which was productive, but left a lot of work to do here at home. Roofers still here. I’m hoping they will be done either today or Monday.

Wrote my overseas cards. Need two addresses, but the others will go out today, and then I’ll tackle the domestic ones — I want everything out this weekend. I have a couple of things I still want to get for my mom and the stocking stuffers, but, for the most part, the holiday shopping is done. I’ve got most of the food for Christmas Eve dinner, and have to get the turkey for the Day closer to it, because there’s no room for it in the fridge.

I’m going to get started on the baking today, too. I think I’ll do the toll house cookies today, the molasses spice tomorrow, the lemon Sunday, the cupcakes Monday, and then I can do/deliver the plates starting Monday afternoon or Tuesday.

Good morning’s writing session on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE. It was hard to stop. I want to clear a few things off my desk and then spend some long days on it over the holidays.

Got a few things that must get done today, in addition to holiday preparations, and must catch up on the schoolwork. Also, want to spend some quality time with my students.

I’m feeling on a fairly even keel — I just wish I had more holiday spirit! Nothing’s wrong, but I’m not in the holiday mood I’m usually in at this point.

I am, however, looking forward to tomorrow’s Holly Walk at the Audubon Sanctuary. It’s one of my favorite events all year.

Devon

Don’t miss the Delectable Digital Delights — holiday shorts for your busy season! Two Nina Bell tales and one romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide myths!

Published in: on December 14, 2012 at 8:15 am  Comments (3)  
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Wed. Dec. 21: Getting Things Done

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Finished the holiday cards yesterday. Did some job negotiation. Worked with students.

Felt like crap, so put myself to bed for the afternoon, and then felt better.

Lots of errands to run today. I originally wanted to split them up over yesterday and today, but wasn’t feeling up to it, so I’ll do everything today.

Good writing session this morning on the harpy trilogy. Have to put some energy today towards other manuscripts on deadline — I’ll be doing a lot of switching back and forth during this “break” and running through the class prep for the January workshops.

I do plan to take Christmas weekend and New Year’s weekend off, but I want to get a lot of other work done in the interim.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1329
Total word count: 16,266

Published in: on December 21, 2011 at 7:30 am  Comments (3)  
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Mon. Dec. 19: Time Flies When You’re Decorating

Monday, December 19, 2011
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

We had a lovely dusting of snow yesterday. Things look lovely. But it’s cold.

Friday was busy. Finally got things to the dump — two trips, one for garbage and recycling, one for bags of leaves. Still have a couple of bags in the garage, but, for the most part — done. Still have some leaves to tidy up in the meadow, but can’t do it if they’re under snow.

Working on the domestic cards. Plan to get them out today.

The job I pitched for on Tuesday asked for more info by Wednesday, and I worked it up and sent it on Friday. Either they hire me, or they don’t. I’d love to add them to my roster as a regular gig, but I can’t tie myself in knots about it. They have a specific tone — either I managed to mimic it, or I didn’t. But the quick response was good for my morale!

The yoga party on Friday was fun. The yoga part was hard, much more challenging than I’m used to, but I’m glad I did it.

Saturday was about running errands and getting the rest of the house decorated. I didn’t even turn on the computer, and it was nice to be away from it for a day.

Yesterday was about newspapers, catching up with students, writing cards, and going to a neighbor’s party, which was fun. Tonight, I have a meeting on a possible theatre collaboration.

Violet is a little under the weather today. I’m hoping she just feels the need for a day off, too. I’m keeping an eye on her; hopefully, she’ll be fine and we won’t have to take a trip to the vet later this week.

I’m finally back on track with Book 2 of the trilogy. I’ve written and discarded about 6K over the past few days, but today’s words can stay (in this draft, anyway).

Devon

Today’s word count: 1789
Total word count: 14,162

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 9:45 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


ice-encrusted light fixture by the front door

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Stayed in all day yesterday, except for the few times I went out to brush the snow that fell from the roof right onto the front step (would be good to have a little awning over the door, but that’s not my call). Wrote, read, enjoyed the season.

I’m thoroughly enjoying Alan Bennett’s UNTOLD STORIES. I’m a big fan of his writing anyway, and this book of diaries and essays is fascinating.

Designed, wrote, and delivered the thank you notes to the neighbors for helping me out by digging me out.

Had to redesign the party invite, because the template didn’t work with the notecards I have, but managed to do it. I had to wrestle the printer, though. I love Canon printers, and want to stay with them, but the MX860 is a piece of crap, especially the bottom tray, which is plastic painted to look like metal, and messes up special papers. I’d use the top tray exclusively for special papers, but you can’t always convince the printer to pull from it. I’ve complained to Canon about this model ever since I bought it, and get no solutions. I want my old multi-pass to get fixed and use that again, because it was a warhorse and a workhorse, and maybe just keep this for photo work, but I don’t know if I can still get the ink. I’ve got a stockpile, but still . . .

Anyway, the invitations are very pretty and will go out today.

Didn’t get much writing done, unfortunately.

Tried to light a fire in the fireplace for Yule. The smoke’s going up the chimney, so the flue’s properly open, but it’s also going in the house. Not badly enough to set off the smoke alarms, thank goodness, but enough to notice. I’m not sure if it’s my fire-building skills (probably) or what — the owner said the chimney was cleaned and inspected right before we rented. Costume Imp will have to figure it out when he gets here.

Speaking of Costume Imp, we are finalizing the plans for his week up here, and he’s already packed. We are very much alike in those types of aspects!

I looked at snowblowers online. I may get a small, electric one — yes, I know if the power goes out I’m back to using the shovel. But I need one that fits in the car and that I feel comfortable handling, and a lot of the bigger ones (besides being out of my price range) don’t seem comfortable for me to handle. I’ll have to play with a few today in the store and see what happens.

I also have to stop by my insurance agent’s to drop off the Allstate policy so she can do the official State of MA paperwork telling them to shove it, we’re covered with a better agency. I love that the state has official paperwork for that!

I contacted the Senators and my new Representative to introduce myself and voice a few opinions. Because how can they represent me if they don’t know where I stand on issues? I can’t expect them to be psychic. Anyway, within 24 hours, I heard back from everyone’s offices, very nice, offering to meet and talk to me about anything that’s on my mind, and giving actual responses to the content of my messages, so it wasn’t just robo-response. I was particularly blunt with Senator Brown’s office, saying I expected him to actually listen to his constituency, not goose-step the Republican Party line. He’s stepped out of the box a few times now to vote for things with which I agree, so it gives me some cautious optimism. I’m an independent — I’m an example of the type of voter both parties need to listen to, or they won’t keep their jobs.

MA will lose one congressperson in 2010, and NY two. I hope it’s none of mine! I was counted in NY, because that’s where I lived in April. And now I’m here, where they’re saying population has dropped (which, on levels outside of Federal funding, is just fine with me).

ALICE was rebroadcast last night, and I watched the last two hours. I enjoy that production so much, especially Andrew Lee Potts and Caterina Scorsone. Lots of really good work there. Makes me miss my actors (but not enough to go back).

The Hounds of the Baskervilles woke me up early this morning, baying at who-knows-what. Probably the moon. The full moon was gorgeous over the yard. There are also all kinds of tracks in the yard, including a set that come right up to the windows, skirt the house, and go to the back deck, but not on it. I’m not well versed enough in tracks to know what it is. It might be Imp Dog, it might be a small coyote, it might be a fisher. And there was something in the yard with hooves rather than paws, but I don’t know what. I haven’t seen any deer in the area since I arrived — they mostly stay on conservation land. Maybe a reindeer took a break on a training run! 😉

So, today is about writing, errands, and maybe getting some more unpacking done. We’re supposed to get more snow tonight, and they’re wavering as to whether the weekend’s big storm hits on Saturday or Sunday, so I don’t know if we’ll risk going to Maine. We might be better off tucked in here at home.

Back to the page. I want to play with a few ideas.

Devon