Tues. Jan. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 237 — Chop Wood, Carry Water, in Spite of What’s Going On

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Well, it’s been a week, hasn’t it? I guess 2021 really is saying “Hold my beer” to 2020.

I have a post on reading goals up over on A Biblio Paradise.

I spent a good deal of time over the past few days in touch with my Congress people – telling them I am glad they are safe, but also encouraging them to take swift action. It is repulsive that those behind the domestic terrorism are still in power.

In the vein of chop wood, carry water, having to get on with daily life, I spent time working on the article – almost all the quotes have come in. I noodled on the book proposal, and am not sure I can get it done by deadline. I have the end game in my head fairly clearly, but getting there is a struggle.

Did a lot of laundry, especially the holiday fabric. Put away more decorations, and managed to get everything into the Christmas closet. Still have to pack the fabric, take down the ribbons and roll them, and take the wax out of a few pieces of fabric.

I did not clear out any boxes from the basement, with the packing away of holiday décor, so I have to make up for that this week.

Sunday, I rested. I was tired, body and soul. I read nearly all day, and that was great. I didn’t read anything I was supposed to read, just things I wanted to read.

Yesterday, I was in the office on my own, as it should be. Got a lot done. Got ahead on next week’s ad/mailing. I need to update my B2B/B2C sample document. The new samples came in, and I’ve started processing them. That always takes extra work, but it will be worth it. They look good, and putting together line sheets/pricing/getting them out to the reps is a big deal.

Home, decontaminated, in touch with my Congress people’s staffs, got some reading done. More quotes came in for the article, and I’m working on structure.

Can start to put the book proposal on paper today (well, on screen, anyway).

The Direct Cash Relief payments showed up, much to my surprise. I was about to contact my Congress people to ask why the IRS had the right to hold them hostage until we filed our tax returns, but I guess that wasn’t the case, after all.

The Goddess Provisions box finally showed up and it was lovely. Soul-soothing.

The only outstanding shipment is the first box of books from the contest, which was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but has been delayed. Once it gets here, I will start reading contest entries every day, along with everything else (will be up late reading every night until May – which is a good thing). In the meantime, I will read my book for review in the next couple of days, get that out, and get started on the next book for review.

Some more article ideas are percolating; once I get this article out, I will work on more pitches. Will get a bunch of LOIs out today, I hope.

Had a bunch of responses to LOIs wanting free, project-specific samples, which isn’t happening. Had one company try to get me to sign an NDA for an interview. It was one of the more insulting NDAs I’ve ever read, and I would have been an idiot to sign it. Not to mention the demand for free work on top of it. I countered with my test/sample agreement, and the changes they’d have to make to the NDA in order for me to sign it and they sputtered, so I said thanks, but no thanks, and moved on.

I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I have decades of experience. They can shove their demands for free labor right up their collective ass.

Today will focus on writing, over an array of several projects, and then the Knowledge Unicorns reconvene tonight. We have a lot to talk about.

Have a great day, friends! Let’s work for justice, so we can have peace. Otherwise, things will just get worse.

Wed. Dec. 2, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 196 –Head Down, Working

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

New post up over on Ink-Dipped Advice about year-end planning and assessments.

Yesterday was still stormy and icky. I worked remotely, which is always a better use of time. Got some client work done, some LOIs out.

Worked on “Lockesley Hall” without getting as far as I would like. Approved the new cover for “Too Much Mistletoe.” Did an ad to promote “Just Jump in and Fly” (it’s the image I used for today’s post). I really do love, love, love the piece.

I added in the newest buy links for it to the Delectable Digital Delights Page, the Ava Dunne page, the Bazaar page, and here, on the Stories page, which seems the most stable of them all.

I submitted my review and received the next book for review, to which I’m looking forward.

The Chewy order I placed on Monday arrived yesterday.

I finished reading a mystery by Hannah Dennison I enjoyed, and started one by another new-to-me author, set in Cambridge.

I did a little bit of decorating, but not much. I also didn’t finish the cards.

I will judge three categories next year for the contest where I’ve been judging for several years. I’m doing mystery and novella again (both of which I love), and they asked if I would add in paranormal. I’m excited. In a situation like this, whether it’s contest judging or book reviewing, I always hope to fall in love with each book.

We semi-finalists were supposed to hear from the Body Be Gone people who won the contest by Monday, but haven’t. They’re probably a bit behind with Thanksgiving. At least my friend and I, who are both semi-finalists, know we’ll be included in the anthology.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone had a good, albeit small, Thanksgiving. None of the families were dumb enough or selfish enough to travel, thank goodness. There’s a lot of pressure around assignments before Christmas break, and everyone is exhausted – students, parents, teachers. It’s stunning to me how much administrations are failing everyone who counts on them. But our little group is holding on, and working together to keep on track with the assignments, keep up the grades (they are all doing better than they were last year), and keep afloat emotionally.

Watched MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARS last night. The script was all over the place, and needed a few more drafts. Plus, they chose to play up the weakest part of the Phryne-Jack relationship – the arguments where they hurt each other – instead of playing to their strengths, where they work as a real team, and it’s affectionate banter. It didn’t fulfill the promise it made at the end of season three.

Today is the overlap day with my client, so it will be stressful. Then, after decontamination protocols, at least I’ll be home for Remote Chat, which is always fun, and then back to work on “Locksley” and the cards.

The gifts I sent off on Saturday morning are starting to arrive. Yay! People are happy, which is always a good thing.

Deep breath. Focus on what’s right in front of me, while trying to keep long-term goals in vision.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It was a busy weekend. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and none of the busy-ness could be in the yard. I really have to mow on the next sunny day, no matter what else is going on in my schedule.

Along with errands like grocery shopping and filling the car with gas, and taking my mom to get her blood pressure checked, I got out some LOIs and wrote.

I didn’t spend much time on social media, and it was a nice break.

But the bulk of the time was spent finishing up the contest entries. Going back over my top choices, and making decisions. One category is done. All the scoring sheets are entered. The winner and five finalists chosen. I still have to write the review, but it’s percolating in my head. The second category’s choices will be made today, and the final category no later than Thursday. The quality of entrants improves every year, and it’s exciting.

I did a lot of work on the new idea, which I’m calling, at least for the moment, ELLA BY THE BAY. It will need cutting in some parts, expansion (especially sensory) in others. But I like what I’m dealing with in it, and how the characters are expanding.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like, but it’s going, and that’s always a good thing. Once the contest score sheets are all entered, I can pick up the pace on it.

I’m feeling a little better, overall, although still feeling overall burned out. Only I can’t take the time off I need. So I’m trying to find packets of restorative time, so that things don’t come to a nasty breaking point.

The Kentucky Derby was on Saturday. Omaha Beach was scratched due to breathing issues. Maximum Security was by far the best horse in the field, but he was disqualified, and Country House, the 65-1 shot who came in second, named the winner. It was a crap decision and has tainted this race forever. I’m saying that as someone who put money on Country House as my longshot pick. He did better than I expected, but he wasn’t the best horse on the field that day.

The stock market crashed yesterday morning, because the Narcissistic Sociopath threatens more tariffs on goods from China. Hmm, shortly after boasting about a phone conversation with Putin. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Was with a client yesterday. Had to skip meditation group because I had to be in Bourne for their Town Meeting. But car trouble derailed it all.

Came back later than I would have liked, and worked on the contest entries some more.

Today, I’m with a client, then at the library, then I make my decisions on the second category. I need to get some more LOIs out.

I’m deeply disappointed the Vermont gig didn’t work out, but I have to keep it in perspective in the bigger picture. It will make sense in the long run, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I need to keep my head in the game and get focused.

Of course, that meant my engine coolant light went off and I’m totally freaking out.

Left the car at the mechanic this morning. Scared to death it’s something serious. If it happened next week, no worries. I’ll have a big freelance check coming in. This week? It’s an issue. Thus goes the life of a freelancer.

Back to the page.

Published in: on May 7, 2019 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Thurs. May 10, 2018: Head Down, Working

Thursday, May 10, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Head down, working hard. I’ve been helping one client with her new collection for Spring 2019, while working on marketing materials for 2018. I’m making the final decisions for the contest I’m judging – sometimes, the winner is chosen by a few punctuation marks, or whether or not a word was mis-used, when the rest of the quality is high.

Working on HEART THEFT and NOT BY THE BOOK. HEART THEFT has the bulk of the focus right now, and I’ll switch that out next week.

I was frustrated on HEART THEFT yesterday, because it read like I was trying too hard. I’m tired, I’m not at my best, but I can’t drop the ball on this deadline, nor can I get an extension. I either step up to the opportunity, or it’s gone.

I’m excited that my radio play LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, will be performed on May 21 in Florida. I look forward to hearing it.

Back to the page – my own and those I’m judging. Finishing up the last few entries today and tomorrow.

Published in: on May 10, 2018 at 10:32 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 10, 2018: Head Down, Working  
Tags: , , , ,

Wed. March 25, 2015: Coming Off a Good Writing Weekend

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and a little warmer

Busy times. I went flat out on Friday, working on ComCat practice in the morning, and writing press releases and PSAs all afternoon. I had a raging migraine by the time I got home.

Saturday was my Saturday “off” from work. I tried to get the headache under control, and I worked on contest entries. There was some good stuff in there.

On Sunday, I finished the student manuscript that’s taken me so long. It’s a relief to get it off my desk, and now the student needs to understand and apply the edits.

I didn’t mean to, but got caught up in the serial novel, what used to be THE POWER OF WORDS. I wrote a new opening for the first book, INSPIRED INCUBATION (yeah, that title’s got to go, even though it’s better than the original title). I like it better.

The advice is to start as far in to the story as possible. I actually backed up a couple of scenes from where I started the book originally, BUT (and the “but” is important), even though it’s chronologically earlier, it’s a more active point in the story, on both physical and emotional levels. That lets me slide into the material that was the original opening (with some cuts) in a way that makes more sense.

I started working on the rewrites for what used to be the second section of the first book, but is now the second book, COLLABORATIVE BIRTH. I still kind of like that title — it fits what the book is about. There are some pretty extensive rewrites, as there were in the first book, but it pulls together much better.

All of Monday was about COLLABORATIVE BIRTH, except for a quick trip to send off the student’s manuscript, turn down a job that was flattering, but I knew in my gut was not the right choice for me, and take the recycling to the dump. Yes, I lead a glamorous life! 😉

I finished the section set on Cape Cod, which only needed some minor tweaking, and then started the section set in Prague — which needed to be ripped apart and rebuilt.

Yesterday, I did a little bit of work on COLLABORATIVE BIRTH, then turned on the Dukane (which is the microfilm machine), and started on the Pinkerton Detective reels borrowed from the University of Indiana for the historical play. Wow. Just wow.

It took me six hours to read one reel, and I got 16 pages’ worth of notes out of it. Some are relevant to the historical play. Some will go into the novel that will cover more than the play possibly could.

It’s also awesome to have the machine at home, and be able to take my time with it, instead of worrying that I’ll overrun whatever time I booked in someone else’s facility.

I also finished rewriting the Prague section of the book, which means I’ve done a serious 165 pages of revisions in the past few days.

I also baked for Thursday’s Pub Serve meeting. Feeding representatives from all the libraries, so it better be good! 😉

Watched NOW YOU SEE ME last night. I’ve watched it probably a dozen times before, and I always find something new to enjoy. It’s a clever, well-done, smart movie with a great cast. I don’t think people really knew what to do with it when it first came out, but I love it.

I’m in at work a little early today, because I have to leave at 5 instead of 6 to head to the National Marine Life Center for their annual meeting. A gasoline truck crashed at the Bourne Rotary this morning, dumping 12,000 gallons into the road, some of which got into the canal. Hopefully, the Bourne Bridge will be accessible by evening. Right now it’s closed for the clean-up. Hopefully, the ecological impact can be somewhat contained.

Tomorrow is PubServe in the morning, then I’m at work in the afternoon, and have Tango at night. Friday and Saturday are at work; probably busy.

The snow packs are shrinking. I’d like to start cleaning up the yard. Although there are big, melted patches out there, there are still snow banks that prevent me from getting from the house to the sections of the yard that need cleaning up.

But the four o’clocks are starting to come up inside. I have to do some more planting early next week, or nothing will come up until Christmas.

Have a great week!

Devon

Published in: on March 25, 2015 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 25, 2015: Coming Off a Good Writing Weekend  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Feb. 28, 2014: Contest Judging and Mercury Direct

Friday, February 28, 2014
Dark Moon
Mercury Direct as of 9 AM EST (but can still wonk things until tomorrow)
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Decent work day yesterday. I’m very close on the play, which is a relief. I think I finally found the key to making it work.

Stop by Adventures in Vineland to see what I’ve been drinking, and what did and did not get done in February on the GDR site.

Ran some errands, dropped off books, picked up books, did some research, got some more work done on TRUE HOME and adapting the second episode of TALENT.

Wrote a kick-ass LOI that will go out with the script packets next week.

Did a bunch of pitches and LOIs; got some good responses immediately. Looking back at my pitch log, February’s responses were much higher than January’s, and the places to which I sent LOIs because I was interested had a much higher rate of positive response than any job postings. On the downside, as usual, there were still too many “writers” looking for “editors” who expect professional level work done for free. No. This is my business, not my hobby.

Happy that I have two more acceptances from my publisher; now that Mercury is going direct, I can actually sign the contracts.

Wrote, edited, polished, and submitted a review for a book I really enjoyed. My editor’s already shipped out my next batch.

Also, the books arrived via UPS for the first of the three contests I’m judging this spring. He had to use the dolly to get them to the house. One box was 50 lbs, the other 32 lbs. So exciting to open them!

The cover designs ALL look good this year. Really nice work.

Once the boxes were opened, I sorted the books into categories (I’m judging three categories for this contest). Then, I took the packing list to cross check what I’m supposed to have with what was actually in the box. Some of the missing ones are still to ship; some will be submitted electronically. I wrote up the list and sent it to Contest Central, to make sure our lists matched. Contest Central sent me the ebooks last night, and we matched lists again. The other books will be shipped shortly, and then we’ll finalize lists. The books are boxed in categories, with their judging sheets, ready to read.

I started in on the reading last night. Every time I pick up an entrant’s book, I want to fall in love with it. It doesn’t always happen, but I always start filled with optimism. I WANT these writers to succeed.

As I finish each book, I put it in one of three piles for its category: The Yes Pile, The No Pile, The Maybe Pile. If it’s submitted electronically, I put my notes for that book in the particular pile, so it gets the same amount of attention as the print books. Once I’ve completed the category, I go through each pile again, re-reading the notes, seeing how I still feel about each book, now that I’ve read everything in that category. As I read them, each book must stand or fall on its own. Once they’ve all been read, I have to weigh them against each other. Sometimes it means re-reading sections. Then, I go through The Maybe Pile yet again, making a final decision as to whether a book in it goes into Yes or No. The Maybe Pile is now empty.

Then, I go through The Yes Pile as many times as I need to, deciding which I think is the strongest book in the category, and which I feel are the four runners-up. That’s the list I submit.

I do this for each category. The writers poured their hearts and souls into their books, and I want every book to have a fair shot.

Busy weekend, lots of writing to get done, so I better get moving. We are going to be slammed with another major storm Sunday/Monday. Enough already!

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on February 28, 2014 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 28, 2014: Contest Judging and Mercury Direct  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tues. April 30, 2013: Contests and Writing and Paperwork

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

My guest on A Biblio Paradise today is Mike Robinson, talking about THE PRINCE OF EARTH. Stop by!

Worked like crazy yesterday, yet feel I got so little done.

On the plus side, I finished Chapter 14 and wrote Chapter 15. Which means I have to dive into Chapter 16 this morning. I have to make a decision by this chapter for the heat level of this book — there are several kinds of ways I could go with it, and I don’t want to lose the light tone I need, but I also want to let my protag go with her desires — that’s part of it. It’s also why it’s not marketed as a “romance”, because I’m giving her options.

My webhost was down yesterday, which hindered my work. I have to take a proofreading test for a big job today — must brush up on CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE — I use Strunk. And I don’t want to do it when I’m too tired, or I’ll make careless mistakes and lose the job.

People are signing up for the free tips — so glad. Had a nice exchange with another writer — we went to each other’s workshops this weekend.

Am finishing up the paperwork for the contest I’m judging — lots of paperwork. But picked my top choices and sent off the recommendations. Yesterday was about rearranging the stacks of books I’d read, comparing them against each other as well as individual stories.

Keyed in some data I needed, worked with students.

This morning, I’ve written a thousand words of a short story that started pulling at me. I hoped it would be only six pages (about 1500 words), but it’s growing like a dandelion and I want to see where it goes.

I need to start setting up my NY appointments for the end of next month, and make sure all my presentations and materials are in good shape. I’m juggling various projects, and need to make sure I don’t drop the ball on any of them, while still hustling enough freelance projects to pay the bills short term. Same old, same old.

But I love the longer days, and I’m definitely feeling more productive and more creative.

Devon

Last chance to sign up for the free Manuscript Preparation Tips in May. Signing up also gets you Devon’s Random Newsletter and a 10% discount off up to 30 pages critique. More information here.

Have You Entered?

The contest to win a copy of HEX BREAKER ends tomorrow.

If you haven’t entered, stop by this link, the interview Crystal Adkins did with me, leave a comment, and enter to win!

Devon

Published in: on August 9, 2008 at 9:31 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,