Thurs. Dec. 28, 2017: Holidayish Reading (How Very Icelandic of Us)

Thursday, December 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Bitterly cold

This week is gosh darn cold!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. I’ve been up and down emotionally since the Solstice, for no discernable reason. Just hit with the blues and the blahs, and then manage to pull myself out of it.

Saturday, I gave myself a much-needed break. I needed time off. I read a lot. I’m keeping a notebook of my reading. Not to boast about it or make people who read differently feel bad, but because I’m interested in how I read and how what I read leads me to other books. Some of the entries in the notebook will be developed into “Conversations with a Book”, a new section for A Biblio Paradise.

I read several books over the weekend, some good, some mediocre. One was just awful. The protagonist was nasty and not very bright. The book was anti-environment, anti-gay, pro-church-style conformity, anti-city, pro-stupidity. A pet cat was needlessly murdered — and the protag called the cat “stupid.” A dog was shot without cause or any believable repercussions. And I’m supposed to like this protagonist? Root for her? I kept hoping she’d be the next murder victim. This particular writer has a long-running series; I’ve read some of the books and thought “meh.” This book has turned me off her completely. Kill the pets and don’t heavily punish the perpetrators and you lose me for life.

Read some interesting books, including some fiction and non-fiction. It’s because I found myself “arguing” with one of the books and taking notes that I came up with the idea of “Conversations with a Book” for A Biblio Paradise. With all the webhost shifting and email address shifting coming up, it will probably debut in February.

Christmas Eve was fun. Quiet. The roast beef turned out well, but next year, I’m making plum pudding instead of buying one. This one didn’t cut it. We always open our gifts on the Eve, so that was fun — since there were more books, and, in Icelandic tradition, we read well into the night and ate chocolate!

I wrote. Quite a bit. But not on SERENE AND DETERMINED, whose deadline is coming up this week.

The Day was nice, although started out stormy. We have the stockings on the Day. I made scrambled eggs to go with the pannettone. I made the devilled eggs for the dinner party, and we went out to dinner with friends up the street, who’d also invited other friends, a philosophy professor and his wife, a special ed teacher. Good conversation, good food, good times.

Tired, though, coming back.

Tuesday, I ran errands (including picking up pieces of Winterberry china on sale, a pattern I’ve loved for years) and did some revisions.

Wednesday, I was onsite for most of the day with a client, as I will be today. Late Wednesday, the December newsletter went out, including a holiday story that’s just for subscribers. It’s much longer than I planned, and gentler, but I like the characters, and think it might, somewhere down the line, grow into something else.

Working on finishing and polishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, which should go out tomorrow, but, in a pinch, could go out on Saturday.

I’m tired with “end of year exhaustion”, but must keep going. There’s stuff that needs to be finished, and things that need to be sorted for 2018 on many fronts.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the Year-End Wrap of the Goals-Dreams-Resolutions. On Tuesday, the new ones for 2018 will post, and Wednesday, the To Do List for January goes up.

I have to sort out my schedule so I stay on track, but build in enough room for creative percolation time and to play with new ideas.

Hope you’re having a great week!

 

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Published in: on December 28, 2017 at 3:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. Dec. 22, 2016: Lovely Solstice, Looking Forward to the Year’s End and More

Thursday, December 22, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Don’t forget, “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” is free here with Coupon Code QB74U until December 26, and “Just Jump in and Fly” is free here with Coupon Code LW63D until the same date.

Lovely Solstice celebration yesterday. Cheered me up considerably, which is part of the point of the ritual.

I have questions for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for 2017 up here. Please take some time and use them, if you connect with them. You are welcome to comment publicly on the site, or read along and work on your own. Some of the questions are from last year’s. There are also some new questions, and places where we build on the work done last year. You can access the questions here.

I’m working on the year-end wrap-up of Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. I will schedule it to post on December 31 at the GDR site.

I will not post my answers to my questions until January 2, because I intend to spend most of the 1st in deep contemplation. I am playing with ideas for a “dream” that will take several years to come to fruition, but, if I can pull it off, will be worth it. Or maybe it will stay a dream, but give me something about which to dream. We will see.

Today, I focus on writing JUST A DROP and the short story. After lunch, I deliver the last of the cookie platters to the neighbors. I’m almost finished decorating (finally). Tomorrow will be a major writing/cleaning day.

And then it’s Christmas! AND Chanukah! They both start on the same day this year.

Don’t forget to track your dreams on the Twelve Days of Christmas — they are portents of the coming year! I’m hoping to have positive ones. 2016 was a tough year, and I need a year of kindness to make up for it. With the incoming administration, it is unlikely to happen, but there’s still hope.

Devon

Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 22, 2016: Lovely Solstice, Looking Forward to the Year’s End and More  
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Wed. Nov. 4, 2015: Dealing with Loss, Pushing the Writing

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015
Waning Moon
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was busy. The Come Write In! session at the library was a lot of fun. Really nice group. I got a little over 1700 words written in longhand. Between the two projects, it brings my nano word count to just over 13K, which isn’t bad. It will drop substantially during the second part of the week because of my schedule, but that’s life. As long as I show up every day to the page, it will work.

When that was done, I helped set up the test run of the Christmas tree as a dry run for Spectacle of the Trees. We wanted to see what we still need, and we also wanted to have it up for tonight’s donor event. It looks really nice.

Iris and Tessa are renegotiating their relationship. They also both still search for Violet. Iris and Violet were litter mates and have never been apart in their entire lives. Iris howled and howled yesterday, completely grief-stricken. It’s heartbreaking.

Even though I got home mid-afternoon, I was exhausted. I’m exhausted all the time lately. I got some reading and research done, and we started raking leaves. Of course, by this morning, it doesn’t look like we raked at all.

One of the biggest challenges between switching back and forth between the two novels is that they’re both written in the first person, but the protagonists are very different from each other. It takes me awhile to drop back into the voice of one or the other.

This morning’s work on CHOLERIC is difficult. I wonder if I should have pushed through yesterday, because I was on fire and ready to start at the argument scene in the restaurant. Today, when I worked on it, it felt flat. Very frustrating. Hemingway (I think) always said to stop in the middle of something vital so you can pick up with energy; that doesn’t work for me. I need to finish the beat or I lose it.

So, today, I’m a little tired and discouraged. It doesn’t help that it will be a long day at work with an event after that should be uplifting and lovely, but I don’t feel up to it. And tomorrow morning is a meeting I’m dreading, because I always wind up feeling frustrated and discouraged when I come out of that particular committee’s meeting.

I can’t wait until the weekend. I want to get some serious sleep, if I don’t get off the waiting list and into Crimebake.

Devon

Published in: on November 4, 2015 at 10:34 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. Nov. 5, 2012: Getting Organized

Monday, November 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend. On Friday, Costume Imp made a run for home, and got there. The trip down was smooth, and he “only” had to wait an hour for a bus to get over to Brooklyn. He’s relieved to be home.

We got home in one piece, changed the beds, did loads of laundry, took down the Samhain decorations, and put everything away. For some reason, it always takes longer to put things away than get them out, doesn’t it?

I was glad to hear the NYC Marathon was cancelled this weekend, and even more heartened by the many kindnesses marathoners showed to the city, volunteering in badly-stricken areas. One-to-one humanism always works better than organizations full of red tape.

I did the schoolwork for my Greek & Roman Mythology class, and I started work on the paper for the World History class, but had nothing in the tank for it. Fortunately, the deadline’s been extended until tomorrow at 6 PM — I’ll finish it and submit it today.

I worked with tarot students, I taught the “Dissecting Submission Guidelines” class. It was very quiet. No one said peep all day. Hopefully, they still got something out of it.

Sunday, I got the last of the bulbs into the ground — hyacinth, daffodil, tulip, crocus, glory-of-the-snow. Also got most of the front lawn put to bed. I can’t complete the side yard because the damn “landscaper” who was supposed to move the forsythias (and still hasn’t) and clear away the brush LEFT any brush under 3 feet. That whole side yard is a mess. I stacked as much of the debris he couldn’t be bothered with under the forsythia bushes, so if and when he ever bothers to show up to move them, he’ll have to deal with the brush first. How much you want to bet he just tosses it on the lawn and leaves it?

Also used the stinky fish fertilizer on the front beds — phew! But it’s supposed to be great, and last year’s tulips needed re-fertilizing.

I went to a rally last night to hear Elizabeth Warren speak. She helped me several years ago in a difficult situation, helped me navigate the complexities and fight the dickheads trying to take advantage of my elderly mother (we won). I’d forgotten how funny and witty she is in person, in addition to being incredibly intelligent and committed to justice.
The space the rally was held was too small, in my opinion, and people kept coming and coming and coming — which is great — but I stayed on the fringes, not wanting to get stuck in the middle of a crowd. I got the best of both worlds — good view, could hear everything, and also not get claustrophobic.

I finished the edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and got them back to my editor. I go back to work on the next book in the series, CRAVE THE HUNT, today. I need to finish a couple of short stories this week, too. Everything I sent one of my other editors last week bounced back (due to the Hurricane), so I’m waiting to hear back from him before I send my next review. However, I have to get interview questions out to someone he assigned me, or that article will be late.

I downloaded the MIT Opencourseware class on Medieval Women Writers I wanted to start today, but it makes no sense. There’s a calendar of assignments and a reading list, but no lectures. Coursera makes much more sense.

I got out a press release for the extended deadline for the application for the Playwriting Intensive. More information here. I got quite a few requests from people who meant to get it in just under the wire on the 1st, but couldn’t because of Sandy.

I had an idea for a book I can put together and pitch to the agent (once I’m sure she’s got her power back). I basically have all the material, it’s just a case of organizing it. I’ll organize it for the proposal, and then, basically, it will be done. I also have another idea that’s been swirling around. I took some notes on it, but it has to wait its turn. There are too many deadlined projects stacked up in front of it.

I need to do some yard work later today — the terraced back area, and part of the meadow. I need to hack back the dead hostas, too. Tomorrow will be busy — I’m out of the house doing research all day, after I vote — so Wednesday morning, I’ll have to finish the yard work, ahead of the expected snow.

Snow! Christmas! Not ready to deal with any of it.

Devon

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Iris under the tree

Saturday, December 25, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cold
Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and happy weekend to those who don’t.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth if you get a chance — I have a short post for the holiday.

I got my chairs yesterday, and am totally in love with them. I had to struggle up an unplowed road (the car was NOT amused), but we did it — twice — and made two round trips to get both chairs home.

Iris investigates one of the pair of new chairs.

The chairs look nice, they’re comfortable, and the cats are fascinated by them. Maybe they smell of the dog in the house, although the legs look like there was a cat involved at some point. No matter what, they’re fabulous, the price was completely within the budget ($50 for the pair) — a true example of Mercury Retrograde at its best.

Finished the grocery shopping. Mail came early, packages kept coming, including Fed Ex (who doesn’t feel it’s beneath him to leave the truck, unlike UPS). I feel very spoiled this year, and very unapologetic about it! 😉

I’m writing this in the afternoon of the Eve, scheduling it to post. I’ve got the pork roast in the oven. I’ll make my leek-and-potato dish to go with it, and the green beans with Hollandaise. We’ll have plum pudding for dessert. We will try lighting a fire again this evening, and hope I’ve got the flue figured out properly. We’ll know pretty quickly if I don’t. We do our big celebration on the Eve, so we’ll be drinking our good cheer and opening gifts tonight.

We plan to get up very early on the morning of the Day, peek into our stockings, give the cats their toys and treats, bake biscuits, and take a look at the weather to find out if we think we can make it to Maine and back for dinner.

I’ve got a pleasant, relaxing Boxing Day planned for Sunday, complete with a turkey and all the fixings, like potatoes, and my carrot-and-parsnip dish. We have plenty of sweet things with which to indulge, too!

I’ll check back in on Monday, power permitting. We may get another foot of snow on Sunday night. My new little snowblower and I will be very busy!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Devon

Violet wishes you a Merry Christmas, too!

Published in: on December 25, 2010 at 1:44 am  Comments (7)  
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday, December 25,2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Rainy and cold
Christmas Day

The weather’s lousy here today, and supposed to get worse. I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere, although I have to leave for the site job tomorrow fairly early. Which means, of course, that today I have to pack. I have three different BIG projects that have to go with me, so that means three different BIG bags and/or crates. And the food. And the yoga paraphernalia. And i have a VW Rabbit! 😉 Hauling all that up and down three flights of stairs will NOT be fun, but, as I finish projects, I hope to bring stuff back over the course of the week when I return to feed the cats.

Violet is fascinated with the Advent table, as you can see. Of course, she decided to redesign in — paw on the small plate where an ornament used to be.

Sigh.


Iris if fascinated by the tree.

Yesterday was a good, though fairly quiet day. I got the free holiday story download up, “Just Jump in and Fly”. It’s only available until the 6th of January, so hop over to the Ava Dunne page to read an excerpt and then download it before then, if you want to read it.

I dashed out just before noon to pick up more dishes for the leftovers. The store was packed, the parking lot was packed, everyone looked unhappy and almost in tears or in tears, so I felt bad for them and wished everyone I could a happy holiday.

Heard from some old friends, which was great. Got the most wonderful card from my best friend from college and his wife — they sound good, and we truly will get together in the New Year to catch up. Dropped off the cookie platter to the ex-friend who never called back, but finally called back with a lame excuse a week later — and then seemed disappointed when I refused to get into an argument about it. Sorry you have holiday-related issues; I am not going to aid you in repeating destructive patterns, nor am I your therapist. I’m just trying to have a joyful holiday. If you choose not to, that is YOUR choice, and I choose not to participate in a joy-less holiday. I dashed over to make the drop-off; I was in the middle of food preparation and couldn’t hang out.


Speaking off food, marinating the pork roast for 30 hours worked well. It was tender and succulent and perfect. I better write down the marinade recipe before I forget it — I sort of made it up on the spot.

I gathered together the different recipes I used for this holiday season so I can put together the notes and then put them together in a holiday binder, instead of just the regular binder. I got the idea from a story I’ve been working on called “Christmas Cancellation Project” (which may wind up being next year’s download), where the protag’s godkids want to make the Christmas cookies from her infamous “The Binder.”


Tried a new-to-me recipe for potatoes au gratin — it was pretty good, but I think next time, I’ll put in less milk and keep the cream amount the same. Red cabbage and green peas rounded out the menu, with plum pudding and brandy sauce for dessert.

We had to rest up after putting away the leftovers and doing the dishes. And then it was time for presents. We always open the gifts on the Eve and have the stockings on the Morning. Elsa usually loves opening presents, so I woke her up and brought her into the room. She stalked back to her nap. Iris and Violet had a ball playing with the wrapping and the ribbons and all the rest. Elsa woke up once we were done and wanted to know when we were going to open the presents!

This morning we had the stockings (cats get a stocking, too, and get to unpack it). Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs and panettone. I made the stuffing for the turkey, and it’s in the oven. I’m going to pack now, and sort out the projects that need to go with me, and then enjoy a nice dinner and a calm, family-oriented evening. I’ve adjusted the aromatherapy blend — more pine and clove, less citrus. Now it’s exactly what I want.

Heads up! Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow. Which means travel and computers will go kerplooey, and people will look at you when you talk like you’re speaking an unknown language. But the end-of-year sales will rock!

I wish you all the Merriest of Christmases, and lots of love and good cheer.

Devon

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 10:33 am  Comments (12)  
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Christmas Eve
Sunny and cold

For the curious, yes, I can celebrate both the Solstice and Christmas if I want, and it doesn’t mean I’m being hypocritical to either. The former is my chosen path in my adult life. The latter is a nod towards happy family traditions and memories, since I am one of those freakish individuals who experienced a decent amount of happiness while growing up. And I will celebrate as many traditions as I wish! So there! 😉

There’s a giftie waiting for you under the virtual tree, but you’ll have to wait until the end of the post to retrieve it.

Wow! Natalie Bahm gave me a Kreativ Blogger Award. I am so honored! Thank you so much! Part of this honor is to thank her, and I do.

Part of this honor is to pay it forward to 7 other bloggers and to write post 7 things others might not know about me.

Okay, choosing only 7 is hard, I read more than that on any given day, but here’s an attempt:

Lori Widmer — Words on the Page — she’s an amazing writer and human being, a dear friend, and one of the most spiritually aware and emotionally grounded people I know. She gives back constantly.

Diane Parkin — another amazing writer and good friend. She gets more done in an hour than I can get done in a week.

Michelle MilesYe Olde Inkwell — terrific balance of blogging between writing and life.

Lara Stauffer Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom. A daily must-read from a good friend whose life is very different from my own!

Colin GalbraithFreedom From the Mundane — another good friend and fellow writer, whose blog is a daily must-read.

Brandy Book Mom — because she loves books and cats.

Margaret FinneganFinnegan Begin Again. I just found this blog the other day, and it is amazing.

Okay, now for 7 things:

1. I developed a deadly allergy to shrimp. I used to love shrimp and now I’m horribly, horribly allergic. As in vomiting-for-18-hours-straight-and-going-to-the-hospital allergic.

2. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals, and I trust them even less if the animals don’t like them back. In my experience, the animals are usually right! 😉

3. Three things on my Must-Learn Someday List are: Learning to play the piano; taking a pottery class; learning to paint.

4. Even though I spent over 20 years in theatre, the period where I wanted to be an actor was very short-lived. I don’t like that much attention focused on me. Although many actors look at playing characters as getting to be someone totally different, for me it was always about bringing forward different aspects of my personality, and I like to choose for whom I do that.

5. I loathe tabloids and gossip magazines. Having worked with lots of actors over the years and feeling protective of the ones I like and admire, I am enraged to see such lies printed — and 90% of what goes in those rag sheets are lies. They are lies that hurt people, and for the general public to think it’s “fun” to feed into those lies by purchasing the magazines, reading, and even believing the crap makes me sick. Not only that, they are poorly written. If house guests leave one of the mags behind, I literally remove it from the premises with tongs and scrub the place down.

6. I get twitchy if I walk into someone’s house and there aren’t any books around. I try to get out of there as quickly as possible.

7. I am better at crochet than I am at knitting. I’d love to be a better knitter, but I’m awkward and clumsy at it. For some reason, I find crochet easier and more logical.

On to other things. I realized that I don’t have enough dishes for left overs (I’m taking left overs with me to the site), so I have to dash out today and get some more.

Yesterday was fine. I wrote. All day. Over 6K. Until nearly midnight. Edited, polished, et al, this morning.

So, here’s your giftie:

JUST JUMP IN AND FLY: a holiday tale by Ava Dunne.

When two men have an accident with eight no-so-tiny reindeer on her front lawn, Susanna Wright has to balance thinking they’re delusional with keeping in the spirit of the night and getting them back on the road.

The story pulls from a mix of myths and traditions, sprinkled with a few of my own “what ifs”. Although it’s just over 10K, it’s a fast read, and, I hope, a funny one.

To read an excerpt, visit the Ava Dunne page. The download link is also on the site. It downloads as a PDF.

Enjoy!

Devon

Monday, December 21, 2009


Detail of living room garland

Monday, December 21, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Yule — The Winter Solstice
Sunny and cold

I have to take a minute to rant about yet again about how much 1and1 WebHosting sucks. They forced a mail upgrade RIGHT BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS, a busy, stressful enough time as it is, with no instructions, and I can’t do anything. I had the newsletter all set to go == finally — and can’t add in any of the addresses. I am sick and tired of them taking my money and NOT GIVING ME SERVICE.

I wound up hand-entering every address for the newsletter. Of course, the site boots me off it every 3 minutes, so I couldn’t even get a decent amount of addresses in at any given time — because it won’t let me copy and paste or click and add or anything that it is supposed to do. Tech support’s instructions have nothing to do with what is actually on the screen.

I have GOT to take another iWeb design class as soon as possible to answer my last few questions, get the sites redesigned, and then get them the hell off that host. Right now, FAT COW and GREEN GEEKS are my top contenders.

It also means sorting through all the mail and pulling the files, which is a huge job( since I have to get and file approximately 500 emails per day pertaining to various projects), and something I haven’t had the time to complete, which is why it’s taken me so long to dump this awful web host.

Other than that, it was a decent day. I dug out the car — the snow was light and powdery, so it was no big deal. I took it easy, because I’m tired — a little writing, a little reading.

I must be dreaming about Christmas at night, because for the past three mornings, I woke up thinking it was Christmas Day. And, on Sunday morning, I woke up at 2 AM, absolutely convinced I forgot to put the turkey into the oven. I dashed into the kitchen with Elsa faithfully following behind me (Violet glanced up and said, “You’re kidding, right? I’m not getting up at 2 AM”). When I saw there was no turkey in the fridge to go into the oven, I realized I must have been dreaming!

I have a contract to sign and get back in the mail. The rights on the PERFECTLY PLUM anthology are expanding to include digital, so they sent me an addendum — seems perfectly fair, and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a go.

I’ve got to run to the store today to get some more heavy cream for the trifle, and a few other things, but, for the most part, I want to concentrate on getting back into the writing groove today and work on the stories due in (gulp) less than two weeks.

As I look over the projects and deadlines and ideas for 2010, I realize that, not only do I have to up my quality, I have to seriously up my quantity. That’s always a tricky tightrope — the bulk of the writers who swear they can write four articles in an hour for mill content sites (thereby selling work for $15/article, (when if they put in a few more minutes, they could sell it for 10X that much in legitimate publications AND retain reprint rights) focus on quantity. They have to — they can’t earn anything if they’re not turning out bulk content. And they’ll burn out pretty damn fast — no one can retain that kind of pace for long and keep up a high quality. In fact, of the writing I’ve read by some of the loudest defenders of the content mills — bluntly, their quality is non-existent, and there’s a reason they’re not hired by higher paying publications. I see why some of my clients have come to me begging me to clean up mess created by mill content writers. I do it, but the price is high. By “clean up”, I don’t mean revise — I mean I throw it all out, start from scratch, and create a piece of solid writing that draws in customers for my clients. The “clean up” part comes because the previous writer not only turned in poor quality, but turned it in late, which means I’m working on a truncated deadline. And there’s a price on that.

Quality is always the most important, but, in order to both achieve what I want to achieve and earn the money I need to earn to make a living at this, I have to up the ante in every possible way. I have to find a way to up the quantity, retain (and improve) the quality (because if you don’t at least strive to make every piece you do better than the last, you are doing a disservice to yourself AND the writing), and not burn out. I have to be much more focused and disciplined with my time than I’ve been the past couple of months. This year, in general, I’ve gotten way behind on a couple of things, and there is simply no excuse. Either I want it enough to do what needs to be done, or I shouldn’t be in the business. Period. We all have twenty four hours in every day. It’s how we choose to use them that defines us. Since I choose to define myself as “writer”, I damn well have to make some changes in how I structure my day.

I leave for a site job the day after Christmas Day, so I have to be packed and organized for that, too, by Christmas. AND friends are coming into town just for a few hours that day, so I’m trying to coordinate at quick visit. I’ve also got to get New Year’s sorted — New Year’s Eve will be stressful because I have to be on the road at night (hopefully I can get going early enough to avoid the bulk of the drunks), but New Year’s Day should be a pretty wonderful start to the year.

I’m ready to start a new decade. This one’s certainly been a challenge! Lots of wonderful things in it, too, but I’m ready to attack the next decade with vigor!

Back to the page.

Devon

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008
Dark Moon
Cloudy and mild

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas Day. Today, in some parts of the world, it’s known as “Boxing Day”. When I was little, I always wondered why they’d take a day off to box! Of course, the real meaning is boxing up things to give to charity, but when I was little, I thought it was all about the sport!

It took nearly an hour to wrestle the turkey into submission. Why or why do they embed plastic crap in the meat? Getting it out is always a challenge. Anyway, I got it out, I got the bird stuffed (yes, I still put stuffing IN the turkey, I’m an experienced enough cook to know how to do that without making anyone sick), and in it went.

The cats were wild, playing with their stockings and their catnip. It was hilarious.

Talked to lots of family and friends.

Missed my grandmother a lot. Although it’s been quite a few years since she spent the Christmas holidays with us, when she was able to, she’d come down the day before Christmas or so and stay for four or five days, and we always had a lively time of it. Even though she hasn’t been with us for several years, because she was still alive and around and we could talk to her on Christmas, we missed her, but not like yesterday, when we couldn’t even talk to her. So that made the day a little bittersweet. We’re using her china, we’re telling her stories, we’re grateful for the years we had together, but we still miss her.

As we took apart the turkey leftovers, Elsa tried to make off with a turkey leg bone that was so large she had to drag it across the floor. Thank goodness we caught her before she got it to her stash under the sofa. Can you imagine those consequences? Yuck.

I made great progress on the revision of OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. One more pass at it for a final polish, and it’s ready to go. I’ll make the end of year deadline. Whew. The revisions have made it a much stronger book.

This computer continues to run like the junk heap it is. It will be amazing if I can keep it barely running until I can replace it. I am sick of Dell, sick of Microsoft, sick of companies getting away with substandard products.

I’m headed out to bounce between two site jobs for the next few days. I doubt I’ll have much, if any, internet access, so don’t expect to hear from me until the 30th of December.

Feel free to post your 2008 wrap up over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site. On January 2, we start posting what we want to achieve for January and how to get there. My vision for the site isn’t just posting lists and check-ins, but generating active discussion.

I’ll check back in next Tuesday. Have a great weekend, everyone. The moon turns to new tomorrow, and I don’t know about you, but I am ready for a fresh start!

Devon

Published in: on December 26, 2008 at 11:11 am  Comments (6)  
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

holiday-wish-list

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Day before the Dark Moon
Christmas Eve
Rainy and mild

Yes, it’s here and it’s ready – my holiday gift to you, a new Congress Corners story called “Holiday Wish List”. It’s a free download on the Ava Dunne page of the Devon Ellington website. It will only be available until Twelfth Night, so enjoy it while you can! There’s an excerpt at the bottom of this page.

I’m warning you, it’s a mushy Christmas tale, so if you’re not into that kind of piece, skip it.

Hey, you can always buy TOO MUCH MISTLETOE, if you haven’t yet, and get something a little more comic and edgy, right? You can get TOO MUCH MISTLETOE here.

I had a pretty good writing day, although massive computer problems meant I didn’t actually finish “Holiday Wish List” until after midnight. Yeah, it was supposed to be 1500 words and it’s about 8500 – so you’re getting a long short story!

I cannot wait to get rid of this crappy computer and get my Mac in February. If I can just coax this one along for a few more months . . .

Couldn’t get my car out, so that’s on the agenda for today. It’s thawed quite a bit and it’s raining, so I ought to be able to manage it.

Hopefully, it won’t now flood! I’ll traipse down every few hours to keep an eye on the brook!

I’ve got to get to the grocery store for just a few more things. I’m serving a pork roast tonight, with red cabbage, baked potatoes, and green beans in hollandaise sauce. And we’re having plum pudding for dessert.

Have a lovely holiday!

Devon

Excerpt from “Holiday Wish List” ©2008 Ava Dunne:

Why, oh why did Cassio have to go and ruin a perfectly wonderful, romantic Christmas with an engagement ring?

But maybe it wasn’t an engagement ring. Maybe it was just . . .a ring.

Believe that and I’ve got a bridge you can get cheap in Brooklyn, she said to herself.

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to interfere, but are you all right?”

Doris blinked away tears and looked up into a pair of kind, very dark blue eyes. “Uh, yes, I’m sorry, I’m being silly.” She took a good look at the man. He was tall, lean, handsome in an untraditional way. His thick, fair hair had a bit of a wave to it, almost touching his collar, and his eyes were a blue so deep they were almost purple. He wore a well-tailored charcoal gray coat with black gloves and a deeper gray scarf. By the lines around his eyes, she figured him to be in his late thirties or maybe early forties. If she was looking, she’d be looking at him, he had such an air of self-possession and intelligence about him.

“The holidays can get stressful. American?” He sat on the bench beside her.

“Originally.” Doris was naturally cautious.

“Me, too, although I like to think of the world as my home.” He gave a rueful smile. “Never could stay in one place for long. Though I admit, sometimes around the holidays, it makes me feel . . .” he paused, searching for the words, “nostalgic.”

“For the type of old-home, picture perfect Christmases that never happened?” Doris couldn’t resist asking.

You can download the full story from the Ava Dunne page here.

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 9:08 am  Comments (7)  
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